Leigh Cort Publicity - Effective Public Relations

Tourism Impacted by Travel Writers

Leigh Cort Publicity
The Impact of 25 Journalists On a Mission
St. Augustine (September 28, 2006) Leigh Cort believes in the First Coast. She has invited 24 top travel/food journalists to visit St. Augustine for a 3-night ‘FAM’ (familiarization) trip September 24-27. The theme is ‘Romance is Inn the Air’ and more than 250 writers replied to her invitation in order for Cort to select her best 2 dozen.

The writers are arriving from Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, South & North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania and of course all corners of Florida. They represent syndicated newspapers, radio & TV, online travel e-zines, topline magazines and freelance venues. They will be staying at one of the 7 Inns of Elegance in historic St. Augustine as they explore history, adventure and sample the booming dining and cultural scene of America’s oldest city.

“I’m overwhelmed at the positive response from hundreds of journalists after I sent the invitation to more than 2,000 credentialed travel writers” Cort says. “Most of them haven’t been to NE Florida and the few who have written about our city/area before, are excited to learn ‘what’s new’. The biggest challenge is to provide all of these professionals great content; so that when they return to their respective cities, they are inspired to give our region the best coverage in a positive light.”

The Red St. Augustine Sightseeing Train sees great value in touring the writers through the historic city during their visit. The event launches with a welcome reception at the Casablanca Inn, a tour and then dinner at the St. Francis Inn, dining on their Chef’s interpretation of one of Henry Flagler’s grand dinners at the Ponce de Leon Hotel. Dining unfolds with a trio of dinners at restaurants with a unique theme. “It’s great being a food & travel writer; they know how to pace themselves when on a FAM trip” according to Cort. “They dine lavishly, tour extensively, stay on a well-planned schedule of events. This group is excited to experience one of the 7 Inns, meet the innkeepers and learn about their historical relevance which spans architecture from 1791-1915.”

Prior to being chosen by Cort, the journalists had to fill out a questionnaire about what topics interested them: accommodations, dining, culture, history, romance. Most of those chosen selected all five categories. “I am always excited to spend mega hours with writers, publishers, editors who travel extensively around the globe. The innkeepers and I are proud to share as much as we know about:
• the growing excitement and developments of St. Augustine
• art & cultural expansion of the First Coast
• culinary options that are escalating in NE Florida
• what visitors need to know when coming to St. Augustine that will enhance their overall experience

“Media coverage doesn’t happen overnight. A perfect example is the Southern Living Magazine feature in June about Frixa Olive Oil brought to St. Augustine by George Chryssaidis, owner of Athena Café. Their researchers and writers visited December ‘05, and it came out 7 months later. Quality of bona fide media exposure is worth the wait.”
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