Bringing a Taste of Maine to NYC

Maine Office of Tourism

Objectives:

  • Host event in New York City for locally-based travel, lifestyle, and food journalists to showcase Maine as a vacation destination
  • Encourage a minimum of 20 tourism attractions and businesses to participate in the event as partners of the Maine Office of Tourism
  • Attract a smaller but more exclusive group of journalists
  • Ensure all admitted to the event are invited, accredited media
  • Provide fresh story ideas tailored to specific media outlets

Situation Analysis:

The Maine Office of Tourism’s annual Taste of Maine Media Marketplace, organized by NMC, was held in New York because of the vast number of consumer media outlets located in the city. Maine-themed food and beverages were served, and the décor was also Maine themed. Journalists sampled from the sumptuous fare as they visited the displays of a variety of Maine attractions and tourism-related businesses to garner story ideas. The event became very popular with the New York media. NMC set out to build upon this success to make an even bigger splash targeting top-tier media outlets.

Methods:

The event had historically drawn a large number of journalists representing outlets that fall outside of the realm of the Maine Office of Tourism’s “most wanted” media list. Working with a smaller budget than it had in past years, NMC strove to reduce the number of guests while increasing the quality of outlets represented on the RSVP list.

NMC also set out to expand the number of participating Maine businesses and attractions, looking beyond traditional participants to the world-class artisans and craftspeople represented through the Maine Made program. These individuals would add depth to the marketplace and could offer new story angles related to shopping – one of the top vacation activities in Maine – and reinforce the state’s widely recognized reputation for producing high-quality items, another reason visitors are drawn to Maine.

Leading up to the event, the agency helped tourism partners devise exciting displays and demos that would capture journalist’s interests and add to the excitement of the marketplace. It also devised a list of innovative story ideas distributed to guests to help plant the seed for future media coverage on Maine, recognizing that media results take time to cultivate and continued follow-up in the months to come would be imperative.

Before, during and after the event, NMC fostered interest from a number of high-profile outlets by suggesting individualized news hooks tailored to their individual markets and involving Maine tourism partners attending the event.

Results:

With participation from more than 24 tourism partners representing a variety of Maine regions and niche markets, NMC attracted guests from more than 30 “most wanted” media outlets including Travel + Leisure; O, The Oprah Magazine; “Today”; Condé Nast Traveler; Endless Vacation; Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel; and Audubon Magazine.

Through individualized pitching, the agency was able to secure a spot on the “Today” show on Maine lobster and Maine vacation packages as well as interest from Food and Wine in the state’s hut-to-hut trail system, Maine Huts & Trails.