Mt. Hood & the Gorge :

Media Deskside Tours

This biennium was the first time the Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge region had the opportunity to do our own media outreach. This allowed us to control the messaging to media around our key priorities, including promoting lesser visited communities, off-season travel, and mid-week stays. The investment included working with Lawrence PR to help plan four deskside tours over the course of the two years in key fly/drive markets: Vancouver B.C., Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Additionally, the region hosted two SATW FAMs and attended the Travel Oregon Media Event for Portland writers.

The Mt. Hood/Gorge RDMO worked with Lawrence PR to schedule four media deskside tours over the course of two years. These took place in target fly/drive markets: Vancouver, BC, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The RDMO met with 59 media during the deskside tours, where the RDMO pitched media on stories about target areas for the region, including multi-day visits, arts & culture, heritage, agritourism, and some of our less visited communities. These trips resulted in five media FAMs with five more in the pipeline in the next biennium. This was the first time the region has been able to invest in PR and we found it to be a success. The media we met with were excited to hear from us, hungry for information, and eager to share our stories.

Goals

The goal was two deskside tours scheduled and attended annually (four total), with four media FAMs scheduled as an outcome of the deskside tours. In addition to exceeding those goals, we also hosted two SATW FAMs and attended the Travel Oregon Media Marketplace alongside our local partner Cliff Barackman from the new North American Bigfoot Center where together we met with 16 media.

We worked with Lawrence PR to help execute the deskside tours and Travel Oregon to help with the SATW FAMS and Portland media event.

Results

We got some good coverage on multi-day messaging as well as highlights of lesser visited communities. We were able to get quality family/Oregon Trail coverage as well. Some of the off-season messaging will come through in the upcoming FAMs.

Moving Forward

We plan to continue to invest in PR based on the success of this bienniums investments. We already have funding in place to follow up with and support the rest of the leads from the FY 17/19 PR efforts as well as participate in an In-Market Activation with Travel Oregon and conduct two deskside tours in FY 20/21.

Everything had to be created from scratch. We didn’t have systems previously in place to prepare for deskside tours, track follow-up, etc. With the help of our partners, we were able to build upon our ability to effectively pitch and follow up on media leads.

One challenge was the staff capacity needed to execute deskside tours and have timely follow up. We ended up investing more in our PR agency to help with follow up so we did not lose the leads developed in market. This will be accounted for in the new biennium.

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