News -- By Month/September 2011
Updated September 1, 2011
-- Shell out $60,00 and Rediscover the Titantic
-- Boy Gets Tossed into Water by Passenger on Tour Boat to Toughen Him Up
-- Division Working to combat the impact of Hurricane Irene on N.C. Tourism
The Division has been using all of its resources to combat the impact of Hurricane Irene on North Carolina’s tourism industry. All aspects of the Division have been working in close collaboration with industry partners and other state agencies since the hurricane’s projected path first tracked across the state. From pro-active messages before the storm, to fielding calls from residents and visitors during the storm, to recovery marketing efforts to protect Labor Day weekend and beyond, the Division has made every effort to protect the state. The Division was successful in generating several media stories which appeared in USA Today
and outlets of the North Carolina News Network
While thoughts go out to those who suffered losses during the storm, the Division is relieved that so much of the state was spared and is open and ready for visitors (including nearly all of the state’s 300 miles of beaches).
Before, during and after the storm, the Division’s Call Center and N.C. Welcome Centers answered nearly 1,000 calls from potential visitors and evacuees and directed them to safe areas and lodging in the state. The call center stayed open 24/7 during the storm and handled calls for the N.C. Dept. of Transportation’s customer service line as well.
After conferring with Eastern North Carolina tourism partners, the Division developed and implemented a post-storm online advertising campaign to get the “we are open” message out to potential visitors throughout North Carolina as well as in the Richmond, Norfolk/Tidewater and Columbia markets. Special thanks goes out to the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the North Carolina Press Association for their assistance in immediately getting the message to their partner outlets. For instance, WRAL-FM
also placed a banner ad on the middle of its home page.
The message reinforces to visitors both in and out of state that a visit from Hurricane Irene hasn’t kept life on North Carolina’s coast from returning to normal in most areas in time for Labor Day weekend. To see a sample of the campaign ads, click here
. Additional co-operative advertising is being planned in target markets to promote fall visitation to impacted areas as well as traditional fall destinations.
Throughout the storm, the Division has had continuing updates on VisitNC.com on current conditions utilizing the Travel Advisory and Google map tools, developed a custom landing site with post-storm positive images and sent post-storm positive eEdition drops to the VisitNC.com subscriber base. VisitNC.com will continue to be updated to offer the latest news on re-openings and highlight positive imagery of the state. Traffic to the site during the last week was up 26 percent above last year with nearly 10,000 visits to the Division’s storm advisory page.
The Division also leveraged its in-state media partnerships with the North Carolina Press and Broadcast associations. The associations agreed to run the Division’s post-hurricane online display advertising on their sites and through radio and TV scripts. The Broadcast Association is assisting in arranging live interviews with Division staff regarding re-openings, events and other reasons to travel within and to North Carolina.
The Division’s PR team has done numerous interviews with media outlets ranging from USA Today to News 14 Carolina, emphasizing positive story lines to all targeted media outlets. The Division’s staff photographer is in the coastal region shooting positive images and video for VisitNC.com and social media outlets. Ongoing social media efforts have been in place to ensure accurate information is shared among followers and fans on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Additional media outlets where the Division appeared with its post-storm message included Fox News Online (national); TV/cable channels NewsChannel 8 (Washington, D.C.), WNCN (NBC), WRAL (CBS), WTVD (ABC) and WUNC; and radio WPTF-AM, WKML-FM, WRDU-FM, and WZTK-FM; plus newspapers such as Myrtle Beach Sun News. WRAL-FM also placed a banner ad on the middle of its home page.
The Division will continue to work with partners impacted by the storm to promote a swift recovery. For information on any of the hurricane-related marketing efforts, contact Wit Tuttell
at (919) 733-7472.
Visit NC Newslink
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