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How To Leverage Destination Accolades and Travel Media Placements

One way or another, as a destination public relations professional, you work hard for the accolades, endorsements and winning media placements that come your way. After all, they are a result of doing your job well and doing equally good to get the word out on what you’re doing.

By all means, make the most of both impressive media coverage and endorsements. That doesn’t just happen in a busy organization, but, with a game plan in place to do the best possible job with leveraging “the good word,” you can raise the profile of your organization and offer real value to your destination and media partners.

Your destination partners, board, and city officials will have reason to be gratified by your efforts to position your destination in a positive light in the minds of prospective travelers, the talent local companies need to fill open jobs and locals alike. Media who work with the destination organization will appreciate that you are extending the reach of their articles to a larger audience – more readers. After all, from Buzzfeed to the New York Times, it is a top priority of online media for their readers to hit “share” as often as possible. Your efforts to advance the end goal of your media partners will be noticed and appreciated!

To Establish A Game Plan – Follow These Steps

When your tourism organization has exciting media coverage or glowing endorsements, to share with the largest possible audience, here are the steps to follow to make extending the reach of the endorsement business-as-usual.

1) All publications not only like you to share but have rules about doing so. Follow all of their guidelines for reproducing, quoting, and linking back to the publication or the individual or group that provided the endorsement or accolade. This is a matter of respect and actually represents the recognition for the source. Do keep in mind that print media stories, in particular, are copyrighted, so before you reproduce a story on your own channel, check that you have the right or permission to do so.

2) Make full use of your website’s media accolades page by uploading all good stories. The most eye-catching go at the top (on Facebook, you can “pin” them there). For how long? It probably is best to set a specific period of time. Little hurts a website’s appeal more than stale stories and a sense that nobody cares about the site. Of course, as new stories and endorsements come along, they get pride of place. See Visit Long Beach for an example:

3) You will want your own press release to announce in local media that you have won an accolade or endorsement. While a broad distribution to nation press certainly isn’t necessary, a local distribution will inform your local stakeholders that good things are happening as a result of your destination organization’s public relations efforts. Endorsements and significant media coverage take on the most meaning when you weave them into the wider story of the tourism organization. You cite an endorsement in the context of recent outstanding developments and exciting plans. Reporting positive media coverage naturally leads to an explanation of what occasioned it.

4) Feature articles, third-party endorsements, and news about your destination also can be shared on your Facebook page, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and other social media sites. All are important because surveys show that very different age groups favor different social media venues and, surprisingly, different geographic areas also have distinct preferences for Instagram versus LinkedIn, for example.

Barbados Forbes Article:

Chattanooga 52 Places:

Chattanooga Lonely Planet Top 10 U.S. travel destinations for 2018:

St. Louis HSMAI Awards:

5) We also recommend including recent feature stories and awards in your newsletters to stakeholders, media and consumers. This is an easy way to share your accomplishments with links to media coverage and information about noteworthy accolades. See this great example from Louisville:

6) When you are pitching the next story to the media, by the way, you should incorporate endorsements that still feel relevant and exciting. The material can be shared with emails to the media, also, who will see stories as a concrete indication of interest on the part of their media peers. This increases your chances of catching an editor’s attention to your pitch if done respectfully and informatively.

7) You can keep an especially impressive and notable award or other recognition in the public eye by making it part of your automatic email signature. Your partners in city government and other organizations can boast, too, in the appropriate similar venues. One thing they will want is readily available hyperlinks to the relevant stories to include with their mention. Make sure those links are accurate, by the way, a “dead link” is a real anti-climax to growing interest in following a story.

One of the big payoffs of making the most of media coverage and endorsements is that it encourages more coverage in the future. When media and others see the prominence you give to their words, and the effort you make to get them to the widest possible audience, they are going to have you in mind when the next opportunity arises.

Development Counsellors International (DCI) is committed to leveraging destination public relations efforts to increase visitors and business attention to destinations worldwide. If you have examples of how you have leveraged positive press or editorial endorsements, please let us know by posting a comment.


Written By

Janelle McKinsey

Janelle is the Account Director in the DCI Los Angeles office. With a background in media relations, she enjoys story telling and is fortunate enough to do so within the exciting world of travel.

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