How Carmel-by-the-Sea used media relations to fine-tune its romantic reputation | Techy Kings

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Carmel-by-the-Sea's public relations campaign helped change the narrative.

Couples have long been drawn to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming one-square-mile coastal village in California. Although Carmel consistently ranks as one of the most romantic destinations worldwide, its official travel website Visit Carmel (CarmelCalifornia.com) aims to capture a wider audience of travelers.

Five stories placed Carmel as:

  • A village with fabulous architecture
  • Easily accessible for wine, culinary and art history experiences
  • A destination that has secret passages, cobbled streets, boutique shopping and distinguished hotels
  • A place with idyllic sandy beaches, outdoor activities and walking opportunities in the center
  • A pet-friendly village

One of Abbi Agency’s goals was to secure ink in “best of” lists in top travel magazines. It created a digital PR campaign that used storylines and messaging from Visit Carmel’s marketing to reach its target audiences online. In addition to receiving information, online visitors had the option to directly click through to CarmelCalifornia.com.

To achieve its goals, the agency established an online media room, organized individual itineraries for journalists and used the power of video and social media to showcase boutique hotels and inns, rare experiences and unparalleled food and wine offerings.

The campaign generated 69 digital placements and nine print placements. Sixty-eight percent of digital placements drove viewers to CarmelCalifornia.com. The publications have a combined online readership of 1.82 billion, resulting in 3.42 million estimated impressions.

Visit Carmel also experienced growth on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition to the 15.7% increase in total audience, digital channels received more than 31 million net impressions, a 49% increase. There was also a 36.4% increase in engagement compared to the previous year.

Accolades include landing on Travel + Leisure’s “11 Best Small Towns in America,” Condé Nast Traveler’pp “6 US Cities Full of European Charm” and Fodor’s Travel Guide’s “20 of the Best US Coastal Cities for Fall Travel.”

For its ability to drive visits and bookings, the agency was named a winner in the PR campaigns category in PR Daily’s Social Media & Digital Awards.

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