The Inside Story of DO|AC

DOACThe Inside Story of DO|AC held last week was an anticipated program for PPRA members. Atlantic City, a destination for tourists and a home away from home for some PPRA members went through some major shakeups at the end of 2014. Many members asked “What is Atlantic City going to do?” prior to the presentation and speakers from the Atlantic City Alliance did not disappoint.

Jeff Guaracino (Executive Director), Nicole Cashman (Public Relations) and Melanie Sole (Public Relations) provided PPRA members with an in-depth power point presentation that promoted the positive of Atlantic City and how the Atlantic City Alliance was the reinvention of the city’s tourism and marketing campaigns. While Atlantic City produced $2.5 billion in gaming revenue last year and can fill 15,000 rooms on a weekend, the Atlantic City Alliance’s goal is to attract the leisure tourist to the entertainment capital of the Jersey Shore.

In 2014 alone, the Atlantic City Alliance had:

  • 500+ media trips through FAM tours or visiting journalists
  • Good Morning America
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Philadelphia and New York Advertising
  • 13,000 radio ads
  • The Miss America Pageant’s return to Atlantic City
  • Two free concerts on the beach that attracted more than 20,000 attendees
  • The DO|AC experience on wheels campaign
  • Toll Free Tuesday
  • Return customer rates increasing to 68%

While last year’s destination marketing campaign led to an impressive roster of placements and content integration, the audience asked what is next in 2015? Jeff Guaracino said they had no idea and that the next 30 days will be eye opening as the state has sent in emergency managers to evaluate how to fix the issues in Atlantic City. The Atlantic City Alliance staying true to their message “promote the positive” is focused on summer and Memorial Day Weekend. Nicole Cashman and Melanie Sole applauded Jeff and told the audience it’s amazing to work with and have a boss or client who has such optimism and drive for their organization.

To our tourism neighbor at the Jersey Shore, we are rooting for you and thank you for sharing The Inside Story of DO|AC.

Jade Barnes is the Marketing Coordinator for The Shops at Liberty Place and a proud Atlantic City native. While handling all of the traditional and digital marketing for The Shops, Jade runs all of the events from concept to execution. While writing her own personal blog, Jade works with Femme & Fortune an online magazine for ambitious women and the Temple Women’s Network. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Did Your Hotel Take a Vacation From Public Relations 101?

As the summer travel season heats up, I’m reminded of many hotel stays over the years, some good and some bad. The really bad ones are always the first to come to mind.  While the incidents aren’t always memorable, the way they were handled leaves a lasting impression.

At the pool area of a Key West hotel, I was approached on my back by an iguana. Quite scary for a Philadelphian. Surprisingly, the hotel really didn’t seem fazed. Didn’t even ask if I was okay. And yes, this was a major hotel chain.

Once at the Jersey Shore, a major storm knocked out the power, including the key cards into the hotel rooms. No owners were to be found, and hotel guests were stranded outside during a monsoon for hours. The next morning, there was no form of compensation, credit or otherwise, for not being able to get into our rooms during the storm.

This year, I got locked inside the hotel bathroom after the door knob broke. For a change, this hotel reaction was positive; in fact, I was impressed. Not only did the engineers come to the room within five minutes to fix the knob, the front desk called three times that day to make sure I was okay.

That positive experience made me think back to my not so positive experiences. Isn’t the role of hotel management to be effective public relations practitioners — even if that is not their title? To care about what their stakeholders and customers think of the hotel by the time they leave? Today it doesn’t take long for a guest review to go up on TripAdvisor.  The hotel owners often post a nice response and take the conversation offline. But isn’t a face to face discussion with the guest the best way to address the incident?

Acknowledging that these hotels are in business to make money, we all know they can’t compensate guests by not charging for their stay every time an incident happens. But calling a guest to confirm that the matter has been appropriately resolved doesn’t cost money and goes a long way.

That’s handling your public.

These types of incidents are not exclusive to mediocre hotels; anything can happen at the high end chains as well.

I hope your hotel doesn’t take a vacation from public relations this summer.

But if it does, let’s share our ideas about how they could have effectively reversed the impact without being forced to operate in the red. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

Karen Toner is a PPRA member and communications member at ParenteBeard, an accounting firm in Center City. She assures you in spite of her hotel “incidents,” she’s had many great vacation stays — made possible by the help of awesome hotel staff members.

Philly Celebrates National Travel And Tourism Week

Last week, members of Philadelphia’s hospitality industry joined together to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week 2014 and kick-off the city’s big summer season. On Tuesday, May 6, hundreds of hospitality workers — including everyone from the presidents of the PHLCVB and Visit Philadelphia to Rocky impersonators — gathered on Broad Street to mark the occasion.

Each year, Philadelphia’s travel and tourism industry generates $10 billion in economic impact to the city, and employs 90,000 people in the region, according to Visit Philadelphia. Known for its historic sites, rich dining scene, and plethora of cultural institutions, the City of Brotherly Love is always a hot spot for visitors. The summer tends to be a particularly busy period for the city’s tourism industry, especially with the numerous festivals and other unique events that happen in Philadelphia during those months. 

Did you or your clients do anything special to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week? Have anything planned to take advantage of the busy summer season?

Member Spotlight: Khaila Edward

The following is part of our Member Spotlight series. Twice a month, the PPRA blog will feature a profile on one of our members. Today’s post highlights PPRA’s Community Service Chair Khaila Edward.

Khaila_headshotrSo, how long have you been a member of PPRA?

After attending a number of events as a non-member, I finally joined PPRA in 2012.

How did you get into PR?

My undergraduate degree is in Advertising and Graphic Design with a sprinkling of PR electives but after a PR internship at cause communications firm GMMB in Washington D.C. exposed me to how public relations can truly shape perceptions, I realized that my strengths as a writer were better suited to the PR industry. After college, I worked briefly in PR at LevLane, in marketing for a global refrigeration distributor and while getting my Masters in Communication at Villanova, found my way back to PR at the PHLCVB.

Tell us a little bit about your current position.

I’m currently the Communications Manager at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), where I work to raise Philadelphia’s profile as a national and international meeting, convention and sporting event destination through media relations and social media.

What is your favorite aspect of your current job?

I love that every day is different. One day I could be writing a press release about a convention of orthodontists coming to Philadelphia and the next I’m promoting the National Curling Championships. There is always something new to experience and to learn at my job, which keeps me on my toes and challenges me professionally.

Are there any PR trends that you’re really into right now? 

I am very interested in PR measurement at the moment. Tying PR efforts to impact on business has always been challenging and with the development of the Barcelona Principles for PR practitioners I love that there is now more conversation about global industry standards, legitimacy and how our jobs really impact business outcomes. I would love to see more academia injected into PR.

What social media platform do you use the most in your personal life? What about for business purposes?

In my personal life I tweet a lot and am also active on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I don’t use Facebook for business at all but will sometimes use Twitter to reach out to media. I also manage the PHLCVB’s @meetPHL Twitter account.

If you could give one piece of advice to current PR students about getting into the industry, what would it be?

My advice would definitely be to hone your writing. Fall in love with grammar, read as much as possible and expand your vocabulary. A well-written cover letter or writing sample catches my attention every time. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, be tenacious and people will take notice.

What is your favorite thing about Philly?

There are too many favorite things to name but it would probably be Kelly Drive during the summer.

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m originally from Trinidad & Tobago and only moved to the US for college (H-UUUUU!).