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Destination Marketing Takeaways for Public Relations

Posted by | Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

Have your recent web searches included “Flights to”? Ours have, and there’s a reason why, especially in January and February.

The mind wanders to enticingly unvisited corners of the map as a New Year approaches and travel plans begin to take shape. – Lonely Planet

So pack your bags– your travel destination has already been decided. Now it’s time to search for your upcoming flight, or a list of cheap tickets.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these are the top flight searches in the U.S., per Google Trends:

  • Flights to Vegas
  • Flights to Florida
  • Flights to Hawaii
  • Flights to Mexico

Those searches are mostly originating from the Northeast, including New York, and the top related search to “Flights to” is “Cheap Flights”.

So how do we already know where we are going? 

Enter destination marketers, and the lessons that PR Pros can learn from them. The goal of destination markets is to fill in the blanks after “Flights to” (or any method of travel) long before you’ve made the decision to book a flight, or hit the road.  This is mostly done through awareness, relationships, location (geography) and interest.


Build awareness around what you do best. Critical Mention is to Media Monitoring as Florida is to beaches.

As a PR professional, build awareness around how people feel about a particular message and location. Using sight, sound and motion, try telling your story with video. Make it personal with a variety of content types. AdWords for Videos allows advertising and public relations professionals to build awareness through promoted videos on YouTube. For example, Visit Florida has more than 12 million views on their YouTube channel. 


CVBs, or Convention and Visitors Bureaus, are in business for relationship building. Budgets are formed through matching government grants, tax funds and member fees, including hotel taxes (Hotel occupancy/transient taxes).

As a PR professional, similar value is found with diversified campaigns and contacts.  What value do you place on a media contact or source that frequently cites or includes your client?


Savvy search marketers have long-perfected geo-modified search terms (location based search, ie, Chicago hotel vs. hotel). By focusing their strategy on “what’s within driving distance,” they are able to prioritize daily tasks into impactful results.

 Long tail search data (3+ keyword searches), enables marketers and PR professionals, to easily position ads or ranked pages for relevant keywords. There’s lots of search volume for “best pizza in New York City”. Get creative in Search and Social. According to Google Trends, there were “trillions of searches” in 2014. There’s a lot of search volume and impression share out there for your campaigns. 

Interest Categories

For CVBs, increased visitors for conferences, events, and points of interest lead to “heads in beds” (hotel bookings) with increases in local business (restaurants, shopping, etc.).

You’ve painted a vivid story; Now it’s time to include some facts. What are the features and benefits that you are trying to convey? What are the differentiators of your brand? What makes you special?

Surveys help PR pros gather market research from a specific audience. Use those data-driven findings to help shape and improve your message. What is your audience interested in?

If you’ve never sent our a survey before, Try Google’s Consumer Surveys:


Happy travels (and relations)! 

Destination Marketing Takeaways for Public Relations

| Marketing, Public Relations | No Comments

Have your recent web searches included “Flights to”? Ours have, and there’s a reason why, especially in January and February. The mind wanders to enticingly unvisited corners of the map…

PR Resolutions: Checklist of Must-Dos in 2015

| PR | No Comments

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Media Coverage About Top CEOs (By Revenue)

| Media Monitoring | No Comments

How are the world’s leading CEOs being mentioned in the media?  We’ve created a list of the top 10 global companies by revenue and took an inside look at their…

Top Health Experts To Follow in 2015

| Media Monitoring | No Comments

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| Media Monitoring, Newsletter, Press Releases | No Comments

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TV Remains Top Device for Accessing News

| Broadcast, Newsletter, TV | No Comments

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Video News

Top Tech Earning TV Coverage During CES
Top Tech Earning TV Coverage During CES
The Garmin VIVO Fit has been mentioned on TV 48 times in the past 7 days, with coverage mostly from Extra (est. audience of more than 4 million). The Fit is a fitness band that automatically greets users with a personalized daily goal, tracks their progress and reminds them when it's time to move. In conjunction with CES, Bosch has been mentioned 148 times. BOSCH demonstrated driverless car parking with Park Assist. Park Assist will be an available smart phone app that works on any vehicle. The app scans the space and the car does the rest. For Google Glass competitors: Sony showed off the Smarteye, which is built its own frame, resembling traditionally glasses. Sony has been mentioned more than 459, and on wider programming, such as HLN and Global News Networks. For Fashionistas: There's a new GPS integrated jacket and LED high heels that can broadcast images, messages or even Live Twitter feeds. Now that's high-tech fashion!
Sweet as Tupelo Honey
Sweet as Tupelo Honey
For people looking to relocate, Wikipedia may be their first visit. But with only a few lines of text for towns such as Tupelo, Mississippi, they may be looking for more substance to make the transition from somewhere else a little easier: Enter the role of the community development organization of Tupelo, the city seat of Lee County, who previously published a guide to the county's businesses, restaurants and attractions in a local publication called 'Images'. Recently, the public relations team has moved their community relations efforts to a new publication and online living directory called "Livability". Livability is an online resource for cities to combine information on not just living and business information, but things to do for potential visitors and tourists. It's a great resource for anyone looking to move or travel to a new city. The site also offers a LivScore and other helpful ways to choose your next destination or home. Currently, Palo Alto, Calfornia ranks #1 on Livability and although Tupelo lacks a rank in the top 100, the town boasts small-town living and the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Building Imaginations
Building Imaginations
The parents and children of St. George, Utah and aspiring museum operators have something new to be excited about: This week marked the official opening of the St. George Children's Museum. The newly designed building hopes to inspire the imagination of all visitors. It's a fitting place, as even the foundation of the old building was built a century ago with black volcanic rock and the walls are made of red sandstone blocks. Funding for the museum comes mostly through corporate and private donors. The museum also offers both membership only hours and private events, with a gift shop housed on premises. The museum was almost 10 years in the making, with many of the exhibits being repurposed from other museums. The museum currently operates under limited resources and is seeking volunteers so they can operate on a long term basis. For those looking for a way to give back to the community, volunteering at your local museum, or even starting your own, gives the rewards of discovery and education to growing minds. You can visit to learn more.
Reconstructing a National Image
Reconstructing a National Image
As combat operations in Afghanistan are scheduled to draw to a close at the end of 2014, questions about the effectiveness of reconstruction and the country's future continue to grow. Meanwhile, in Kabul and barricaded by blast walls and guard towers, the American University of Afghanistan offers a lasting symbol of America's involvement in Afghanistan. Other than the fortifications, the building stands unassuming, as there is no sign of American influence. There is no American flag or emblem. Inside the building offers a different story. With nearly 2,000 students, the first private, not-for-profit university in Afghanistan offers a chance of a higher education, a brighter future and a possible road out of the country. It's a place of freedom of speech and a haven where both men and women can converse openly. The University currently relies on contributions from around the world... including those made through the Friends of the American University of Afghanistan, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. You can contribute online today.
Ending a Long-Term Crisis
Ending a Long-Term Crisis
For more than 8 decades, "Redskins" has been the name used by Washington's NFL franchise and according to owner Daniel Synder, "It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect." Kansas City has also been criticized for their own franchise name, "Chiefs". In 1992, NFL representatives met with tribal leaders about the Redskins and Chiefs team names, which ended in the league not pressuring the teams to change their names. Alternative names have also been rumored, such as a patent taken out by Synder's neighbor on the name "Brave Hearts". The NFL continues to meet with tribal leadership and public outcry continues to grow over the names. But what's in a name? In 1998, the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee and renamed themselves the Titans. You can learn more about crisis communication strategies during Critical Mention's Webinar. Insight provided by Critical Mention's media monitoring service
When an Individual Becomes an Issue & Crisis
When an Individual Becomes an Issue & Crisis
On October 30, 2013, the United States Senate confirmed Katherine Archuleta as the next federal personnel chief. Archuleta's nomination was stalled for months after her predecessor stepped down in April over a dispute about how the Affordable Care Act treats Capitol Hill aides and members of Congress. Several members of the opposing party stated their opposition towards the issue, rather than the individual nominee themselves. There are several key takeaways from Archuleta's response: 1) She maintained her individualism and track record 2) She outlined a personally accountable plan Archuleta has described her leadership style as "holding individuals accountable" for their work and has pledged to create a plan in her first 100 days to move the Office of Personnel Management forward. Since the position was created in 1978, this was the first time that a nominee to run the agency was confirmed with a recorded vote, which was approved by a slight majority. You can learn more about crisis communication strategies during Critical Mention's Webinar. Insight provided by Critical Mention's media monitoring service
Paying for Silence in Times of Crisis
Paying for Silence in Times of Crisis
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, many state entities have rewritten their crisis communication strategies. Unlike the federal government, which cannot be sued by federal employees, organizations must invest in hefty insurance policies and awareness programs. In a recent Al Jazeera interview, crisis communication expert and acclaimed sports lawyer, Dominic Romano, offered a few key takeaways for organizations to focus on: 1) Monitor any issues very carefully 2) Take allegations seriously 3) Immediately implement policies In the case of Jerry Sandusky, the failure to act was a contributing factor to the size of the settlement for all of the victims. The continued cost of public relations and awareness, combined with settlement money and legal fees may bring the insurance and taxpayer cost to close to 100 million dollars. There are serious consequences for these transgressions and somebody has to pay if allegations aren't taken seriously. You can learn more about crisis communication strategies during Critical Mention's Webinar. Insight provided by Critical Mention's media monitoring service
Smoking Crack Usually Starts a Crisis
Smoking Crack Usually Starts a Crisis
It is crisis mode for the Toronto mayor's office, as a rumored video has made its way to the Toronto police department. The video allegedly shows the mayor smoking crack. Although the mayor hasn't yet been charged with any crimes, a myriad of events have begun to tarnish his public image. Ford's image has so far been bolstered by transit proposal victories and public appearances, such as an annual BBQ event that draws thousands of attendees. According to Bill Walker from PR agency FleishmanHillard, here's what Rob Ford did wrong: Ford made the media the villain and blamed the Toronto Star and people believed him. Prior to the video, Ford's support went up for awhile... which may change now that the video has surfaced. According to police, no charges against the mayor have been filed and nothing in video supports charges. You can learn more about crisis communication strategies during Critical Mention's Webinar. Insight provided by Critical Mention's media monitoring service
The Chris Brown Celebrity Crisis
The Chris Brown Celebrity Crisis
Dyana Williams is a leading crisis management and public relations consultant for radio and music personalities. In the world of celebrity and media, individuals embody their own brands. So for Williams and many PR pros: managing a crisis means taking immediate action. For Chris Brown's recent altercation, Williams has offered a few takeaways on national television. These can also be followed by brands in crisis. Maintaining innocence or a stance is priority number one. Next, maintaining an image, specifically a positive one is important. For Brown while he enters rehab for anger management, seeking professional advice is time-sensitive. Williams confirms that Brown may need help in preventing or mitigating altercations, but believes he could have been provoked in a recent assault that may violate his parole. You can learn more about crisis communication strategies during Critical Mention's Webinar. Insight provided by Critical Mention's media monitoring service
Tesla - Innovation vs. Traditional Media
Tesla - Innovation vs. Traditional Media
Within two days of October 01, 2013, Tesla's share price lost about 12% with a decreased stock value of about 3 billion dollars. It was on that day, that a Tesla S model -- previously recognized by at least 6 separate automobile publications as the car of the year -- caught fire. Before an official report was released, the New York Times released an article "Car Fire a Test for High-Flying Tesla". Other media outlets also couldn't resist weighing in on the graphic video that went viral of the Tesla Model S engulfed in flames after an accident. On October 4, 2013, Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, explained exacted what occurred on the Tesla blog, saying the S model hit a large piece of debris on the underside of the vehicle, punching a 3-inch hole through an armor plate that protects the car's bottom. It was an accident that would have been even more devastating to a gas powered vehicle. Several days after Musk's comments, NPR ran their own story, without a single mention to Musk's public explanation to the fire. In times of crisis, public relations professionals need a full accounting of media coverage before, during, and sometimes weeks and months after an event. Tell us what you think on the Critical Mention Facebook page.