Unveiling the Power of PR: Standardization, Value, and Advocacy in the Travel Industry, with Claire Koenig

Episode 331

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On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Claire Koenig about her role as Co-Chair of the Destinations International PR and Communications Committee. We discuss in detail the creation of the Public Relations Measurement Guidelines Handbook. Claire also shares the upcoming priorities of the Committee, including an update to the Crisis Handbook, work on reputational issues facing destinations, and how the Committee plans to help raise the comms profession up for destinations worldwide.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why the Destinations International PR and Communications Working Group was formed
  • Claire’s part in creating the Public Relations Measurement Guidelines Handbook
  • Why destinations should adopt the standards to refine and modernize their marketing processes
  • Outdated metrics and what we should be looking at these days to evaluate our PR efficacy
  • How the Barcelona Principles work to help destinations score their efforts
  • Next priorities for the Destinations International PR and Communications Committee

Understanding Metrics

In this episode of Destination on the Left, our guest Claire Koenig sheds light on PR for destinations and the need to move away from traditional metrics like Add Equivalency Value (AVE) and impressions. AVE measures the cost of buying an ad equivalent to the earned media coverage, but it fails to capture the true value and impact of earned media.

We discuss why the value of being featured in prestigious publications like The New York Times or National Geographic Travel and Leisure goes beyond a monetary value, as it validates a destination and can have far-reaching benefits, such as attracting conventions and visitors.

Tailoring Measurement Practices

Claire also dives into the Barcelona Principles and how they offer a scoring system that allows destinations to tailor their measurement practices while creating uniformity across the industry. The Barcelona Principles encourage destinations to evaluate their earned media efforts using a scoring system. This involves breaking down the evaluation into different buckets and assessing factors such as the targeted markets reached, key messages conveyed the nature of the media placement, and the prominence of the destination within the coverage.

By calculating scores for these various elements, destinations can derive an overall vertical score demonstrating how their reputation is elevated through earned media generated by their tourism bureau. While measuring the impact of earned media on reputation is challenging due to its wide-ranging effects, the scoring system provides tangible numbers and enhances transparency in the PR and media relations process.

One significant benefit of adopting a scoring system, such as the one outlined in the Destination International Public Relations Measurement Guidelines Handbook. is that it allows PR professionals and DMOs to illustrate the value they bring.

Current Projects for the Destinations International PR and Communications Committee

Claire also highlights the importance of standardizing job descriptions and advocating for salary transparency in the field of travel and hospitality PR. By organizing job descriptions based on the budget size and creating standardized templates, managers and directors can effectively hire the right talent for their teams.


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