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 and to promote the return of RDU International Airport’s nonstop international flights.
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.
Wrote press releases and pitches distributed to strategically targeted media outlets locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Releases focused on topics ranging from boutique lodging, attractions, soft outdoor adventure and new restaurants in Wake County to Greater Raleigh 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.
Continued to engage mainstream travel outlets that consider Raleigh, N.C., an "undiscovered" destination with many new and exciting things happening. There is increased interest in Raleigh as a travel destination, and because of this, the Public Relations and International Tourism Department hosted more than 20 credentialed and working media from both domestic and international publications.
Earned media coverage
As a result of the media relations efforts mentioned above, the department was able to secure more than 550 earned media placements totaling over 586 million impressions and stellar media coverage of the Raleigh area as a premier leisure, meeting and sports destination (see coverage highlights on our "Raleigh, N.C., in the News" page, here). Significant placements in national and international publications included Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, Lonely Planet, Toronto Star, Southern Living, AFAR, Complex, Traveling Mom, Thrillist, Food Network, The Local Palate, Saveur, The Esports Observer, Sports Business Journal, Meetings Today, Smart Meetings and others. The media had great things to say about Raleigh, N.C.
International tourism initiatives
In its fifth year, the Public Relations and International Tourism Department aimed its international tourism efforts at growing foreign individual travel, specifically from four key international markets with direct daily flights—Canada, U.K., France and Iceland. Initiatives included one-on-one trainings with foreign tour operators who book individual travel as well as hosting tour operators for familiarization trips.
Through attending four key tradeshows—Brand USA Travel Week Europe, Travel South International Showcase, TravMedia International Media Marketplace and U.S. Travel Association's IPW—the team was able to meet with tour operators, receptives and media, establishing connections and fostering relationships in key markets as well as other emerging markets and countries.
The department 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 11,500 room-nights booked in Wake County (up 31% from the 2019 pre-pandemic campaign with the largest increase in the Canada market).