Category Archive: Hospitality & Tourism Public Relations

Public relations provides a recipe for success for restaurants on Orlando’s International Drive

Though new food fads are created daily in the restaurant business, it is often the old favorite dishes and drinks that are top sellers.

The Orlando Eye at I-Drive 360

The same is true is in restaurant marketing. Public relations – announcing your story before everyone else does it for you – has been around for years. Some might say that public relations and its main dish, the press release, are old news in today’s digital age. Yet PR is still the building block for restaurant success and a key step to customer credibility.

For owners with an eye on the bottom line, restaurant PR can produce results. It can get people talking about your restaurant, your new space or your new menu.

Wellons Communications has had success with restaurants across the Sunshine State, launching new restaurants and keeping existing brands in the public eye – no matter where the customer gets their news.

This month kicks off the  celebration for Orlando I-Drive 360, a new entertainment complex with the Orlando Eye, attractions and host of wonderful shopping and dining options. Our agency is proud to play a part in the promotion of this new mecca for tourists. We were honored to open Tin Roof, a restaurant and live music venue, as well as Cowgirls Rockbar.

We also opened and partied with McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon in the neighboring complex Vue at 360. For each of the openings we used public relations to help find qualified staff, educate food media on new signature dishes and create credible media buzz that brings people in the door.

At Wellons Communications, we don’t make the food – but we do make it sizzle.

Building your brand one step at a time

Marketing agencies like to tout their wins for big companies. We applaud those wins, for we know how hard they are to garner.

Yet, what about small companies? Don’t they deserve the same services as the big firms? Emphatically we say yes!

Sometimes when you’re a small company just trying to make your way in the world you have to start somewhere. That somewhere might be a single press release, or media pitching, or social media campaign.

We have had the privilege of working with national companies in multiple markets.  Our firm takes an equal amount of pride in the work we do to promote smaller businesses. We are happy to provide project work – a single press release if needed – to bring companies the publicity and business they richly deserve.

In just the past few months we’ve announced restaurant openings, worked with dance companies, app developers, window shade manufacturers, and even horse farms to help promote small business owners.

We’d love to tell your story!  Reach out to us at 407.339.0879 or to discuss your PR potential.

Independence Day on Publicity Stained Beaches

We don’t have an oil problem; we have a public relations problems.

We don’t have an oil problem; we have a public relations problem.

The summer travel season is well underway this weekend with big 4th of July celebrations planned. But how many people will be vacationing along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and our home state of Florida?

Independence Day for many this year means independence from the bustling crowds of tourists. That is just a crying shame. Julian MacQueen, a hotelier in Pensacola Beach, Fla., proclaimed to The Wall Street Journal this week, “Our biggest problem is a public relations problem, and not an oil problem.’’

MacQueen could not be more right on – at least in Florida there are hundreds of miles of beautiful Gulf beaches completely unaffected by the BP oil disasters. But for tourists looking at one shot at a great summer vacation, many have voted with their pocketbooks that the Gulf is too big a risk.

Actually, smart tourists looking to save big money should come on down. In many places, Florida beaches are more likely to be littered with deals than tar balls.

For resort owners affected by the oil either in perception or reality, they must stay vigilant in trying to get their message out to tourists. BP had funded $25 million for advertising in major drive markets and Florida’s governor is seeking more.

While getting the message out on a large scale is appreciated, vacation home managers, small inn operators and restaurant owners have issues closer to home – how to keep revenue up!

Possible PR steps should include:

·         Regular web site updates with shots of their deals

·         Training and talking points for your front desk and reservation staff

·         Direct marketing and e-blasts to past guests

·         Social media updates on Facebook and Twitter

·         Making yourself available to stories about tourism and the oil impact in your area

·         Honesty with your customers

·         Crisis and customer care plan in place for refunds

No one can tell how or when this oil crisis will end for the travel, tourism and hospitality businesses along the Gulf Coast. Treating the customers right and providing the best information possible as fast as possible will be the best PR of all.

There is hope that the Gulf Coast can celebrate independence from the oil leaks as soon as possible.

From The Wall Street Journal

From The Wall Street Journal

Panhandle Tourism Takes a Hit Even Though Beaches are Beautiful

Destin, Fla.
Destin, Fla.

The beaches in Destin, Fla., were beautifully clear this past weekend for Memorial Day. Yet many of the visitors stayed away.

No oil or tar balls have hit the pristine Florida panhandle. Still, patrons are afraid. The key drive markets throughout the South have seen constant coverage of oil in the Gulf.

We have had the pleasure of representing resorts and vacation homes across the panhandle, and what is unfolding is another undeserved blow for the region. For the past three summers, many of the resorts suffered thanks to the economy. The mayor of Destin told CBS Evening News this was supposed to be the recovery year: The year when people from Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta and points beyond ventured back to these wonderful Florida beaches.

Oil has caused the recovery to slide off course.

Florida officials have said it will take a concentrated effort to tell tourists that it’s still okay to enjoy the Florida beaches. They are right. No matter what happens with the oil, it is going to take consistent and honest reporting of the beaches’ conditions for the tourists to have the confidence to return in full force. Educational public relations is going to be key for full recovery.

Perception – unfortunately for Destin, Fla. – is reality. The facts say the coast is clear for now. Some tourists are not taking chances and have picked other summer fun spots.

Recovery is coming. But with an uncapped oil well not expected to be resolved soon, that elusive recovery will likely have to wait.

Destin is destined to give great travel deals this summer. This wonderful community deserves support.


Mirror Mirror on an attraction

Mirror Maze

Often times, hospitality companies do not look themselves in the mirror and ask the tough questions like: How can we better position ourselves for growth? Ripley Entertainment has taken that hard look and is on a pathway to open more Mirror Maze attractions in tourism destination spots across the country.

The company announced this week its first attraction is El Paso. The company already has successful Ripley attractions in Dallas and San Antonio.  Could Texas be big enough for more Ripley expansions? For the latest in Ripley news go to