Public Relations & International Tourism

Public relations and international tourism summary

Worked directly with local, domestic and international media pitching story ideas, hosting press trips and responding to inquiries in order to garner positive editorial coverage for Wake County as a destination of choice for leisure visitors, meetings and conventions as well as sporting events. Also worked with international tour operators and receptives to increase awareness of the area to foreign individual travelers.

Virtual tradeshows and media missions

By hitting the road virtually to take the Raleigh, N.C., story to key media marketplaces and missions in key markets—as well as sending electronic pitches to targeted media—the department pitched Raleigh story ideas to journalists both domestically and abroad.

Proactive pitching

Wrote press releases and pitches distributed to strategically targeted media outlets locally, regionally and nationally. Releases focused on topics ranging from new lodging, attractions and restaurants in Wake County to CVB accomplishments and key tourism industry performance indicators: they also showcased the role tourism plays in driving broader economic development, talent acquisition and providing job opportunities to the area.

Earned media coverage

As a result of the media relations efforts mentioned above, the department was able to garner nearly 900 earned media placements totaling 525 million impressions and stellar media coverage of the Raleigh area as a premier leisure, meeting and sports destination. Significant placements in national publications included Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Food Network, Southern Living, Bloomberg, Thrillist, Eater Carolinas, The Local Palate, Meetings Today, Smart Meetings and others. The media had some great things to say about Raleigh, N.C., this past year as well.

The department was able to leverage the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy to generate significant local media coverage on the value of the tourism industry across Wake County. Stories generated in March through June focused on the impact on jobs locally, how locals could support businesses during the pandemic and what businesses were doing to reopen safely.

International tourism initiatives

In its fourth year, the Public Relations and International Tourism Department aimed its international tourism efforts at growing foreign individual travel, specifically from three key international markets with direct daily flights—Canada, U.K. and France. Initiatives included one-on-one trainings with foreign tour operators who book individual travel as well as hosting tour operators for familiarization trips.

The department attended several virtual tradeshows hosted by Brand USA throughout the pandemic, getting in front of key clients overseas and forming relationships with new ones. Also executed a comprehensive, multichannel marketing campaign with Hotelbeds in conjunction with Travel South USA and Visit North Carolina that was aimed at generating room-nights during the pandemic from domestic travelers as well as future bookings by international travelers; in total, the campaign generated more than 8,500 room-nights booked in Wake County.