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   "Must See" media relations program
   Travel & tourism/Office of TourismOhio/The Americas/Fahlgren Mortine

Challenge

By serving as a marketing bureau for tourism attractions and sites throughout Ohio, the Office of TourismOhio fosters economic vitality by promoting travel and leisure activities - and spending - in the state. TourismOhio historically positioned the state as a family friendly and value-driven destination. In 2012, travel trend forecasting suggested that Ohio's target travelers were becoming more willing to travel away from the Midwest and visit beaches, and cities outside of the state's borders. TourismOhio sought to evolve the state's value-driven platform with new messaging focused on boldly positioning Ohio tourism destinations as "must see" alongside other top U.S. cities and attractions. This strategic media relations approach consisted of many elements to build productive media relationships and propel media exposure for Ohio tourism.

Response

Key objectives included reaching a relevant consumer audience of 400 million potential travelers via earned media and generating at least $10 million in earned media value. Positioning Ohio's tourism experiences as best-in-class was the theme of the overall program, which meant that unique attractions and Ohio's accessibility to potential travelers were featured in nearly every news release, story idea, media pitch or online program. The media kit and online press room were continually updated and used to support media relations efforts. The team conducted a national media tour and presented story ideas of national interest to editors of leading consumer and travel publications.

Results

The media relations program exceeded all objectives, achieving an audience reach of more than 422 million relevant consumers and $13.2 million in media value.

The efforts of the Office of TourismOhio's media relations program resulted in placements in Budget Travel, Food & Wine, Detroit Metro Parent, GQ Magazine, Smart Travel, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, USATODAY.com, and Midwest Living.

Most importantly, in 2012, the state experienced a 6.5 percent growth in Ohio tourism's economy.