May 31, 2017
Pittsford, N.Y. - A collaborative, 14-county public relations program has garnered over 1.7 billion impressions for the Finger Lakes Vacation Region in 2016. The Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council - an organization composed of 14 representatives from each of the counties of the Finger Lakes Vacation Region - started the collaborative program in 2010 as a way to increase marketing efforts for the Finger Lakes and to draw more attention to the region as a whole. The Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council is the official tourism promotion agency of the Finger Lakes Region, and is recognized by I Love NY as the agency that coordinates advertising and marketing strategy for the counties and businesses within the 9,000 square mile region.
Several components of the year-round public relations program help the region gain media attention, and the many businesses and attractions that rely on tourism in New York State. Direct pitching, hosting media familiarization tours (FAMs), and deskside visits giving counties face-to-face interaction with journalists in different markets all support public relations efforts.
In 2016, the region hosted over 25 journalists on individual press trips within the Finger Lakes. Counties collaborated on regional itineraries for media from publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, and CountryLiving.com, with a total of 444 media placements for the year. Press trips focused in on a variety of travel-related topics from family travel to food and drink to outdoor recreation opportunities.
One notable feature was a national TODAY show segment featuring Seneca Falls and the Finger Lakes region, highlighting the 70th anniversary of It's a Wonderful Life. Segment host Al Roker visited Seneca Falls to interview the three actors who played the Bailey children. The segment was also shared on ABC Nightly News, NPR, CBS This Morning, Fox & Friends, as well as online in Vanity Fair, Country Living, and Vogue.
In addition to the regional public relations program, media outreach is supported by I Love NY - the official tourism brand for New York State. Group press trips, media leads, social media outreach, and similar initiatives are led by I Love NY to promote the state and bring attention to the many regions and destinations in New York. These efforts have shown results for the Finger Lakes region specifically on both a national and international level - including an individual press trip with the New York Times, and group FAMs focused on the historical women's rights movement, unique parks and attractions, and more.
One notable FAM trip was a group of five Australian journalists who visited the region in April of 2016, and provided a snapshot of the New York and the Finger Lakes as a destination for international travelers.
"Collaborative programs like this one are essential to our region, and tourism economy," says Finger Lakes Regional Board Chair, Rebecca Maffei. "The 14 counties working together over the past seven years have produced stronger results together, as evidenced by the amount of impressions we had in 2016,and increasedoverall awareness of the Finger Lakes Region."
The Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council
The breathtaking Finger Lakes takes its name from eleven lakes spanning the region like a giant handprint, stretching from its easternmost point in Onondaga County to its westernmost border in Livingston County, near Letchworth State Park. Boasting a mix of nature trails and natural beauty, wineries and breweries scattered across the region, and quaint villages close to large metropolitan areas, the Finger Lakes Vacation Region has a plethora of tourist attractions within its borders.
In January 2014, the 14 Official County Tourism Promotion Agencies of the Finger Lakes Vacation Region formed a 501(c)(3) organization known as the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council (FLRTC). The FLRTC Board includes representation from all 14 TPAs and counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates. For information about attractions and events throughout the Finger Lakes region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com or call 1-888-408-1693.