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Niagara Now: 'FAMing' the Falls

by jmaloni
Sat, Aug 24th 2013 12:10 am
Michelle Blackley is shown at the Travel Media Showcase in Rockford, Ill., where she met with travel writers. Niagara USA will host the TMS Family Travel Conference in September.
Michelle Blackley is shown at the Travel Media Showcase in Rockford, Ill., where she met with travel writers. Niagara USA will host the TMS Family Travel Conference in September.

by Michelle Blackley

The summer months in Niagara USA are peak season for anyone who works in the travel and tourism industry, and that's especially true for those in a marketing and communications role. Not only does a daily schedule consist of normal meetings, emails and phone calls, but it can also mean hosting out-of-town writers and traveling to trade shows throughout the U.S. and Canada to entice more writers to visit the following season, and cultivate relationships with them during the shoulder seasons.

During the past two years, the number of visiting travel writers to Niagara USA has doubled, which increases our exposure to the world in terms of "free" publicity. When the Singapore Daily News published an article about attractions in Niagara USA, the article equated to $20,000. There is currently a video of Niagara Falls on MikesRoadTrip.com that continues to garner attention and grow in monetary value (it was most recently reported as a $10,000 value).

Taking a writer throughout Niagara County can be a very rewarding, yet exhausting process. For usually two to three days, I and members of my staff are meeting writers for meals, going on attractions with them, scheduling and attending meetings with constituents, and sometimes even acting as a production assistant or filling in as a model or actor!

These familiarization or "FAM" tours are excellent ways for businesses to make themselves known to media from around the world. To learn about some of the trips I've taken media on, or to be part of one, contact me at [email protected].

Michelle Blackley is the communications manager/interim director of marketing at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, and is an adjunct instructor of communications at Buffalo State College. Follow her@shellblackley.

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