Episode 192: Supporting the Tourism Industry from Lockdown to Reopening, with Rachel Laber Pulvino

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Rachel Laber Pulvino is a Rochester native who has the privilege of promoting her hometown on a daily basis as the Director of Public Relations and Communications for Visit Rochester. In this role, Rachel is regularly reaching out to regional, national, and international media to share Rochester’s story, and help media and visitors alike discover the activities and attractions that make Rochester an ideal destination. Raised in Rochester, Rachel attended SUNY Geneseo, where she earned a B.A. in Communication and continued on to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University for graduate school, where she earned an M.S. in Public Relations. Rachel is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, Rochester Chapter, currently serving on the board, while also volunteering on the programming and PRism award committees. Rachel also volunteers her time for the SUNY Geneseo Alumni Association Board of Directors as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Rochester. Rachel is a proud resident of the City of Rochester where she resides with her husband, Rich Pulvino. When she’s not playing tour guide to visiting travel writers on the weekend, you can find Rachel visiting wineries in the Finger Lakes, at arts and cultural performance, or at Wegmans.

Destination on the Left is joined by Rachel Laber, the Director of Market Communications and Public Relations for Visit Rochester. She joins Destination on the Left again to talk about what the Visit Rochester team is doing to support their tourism industry partners through the pandemic. Rachel originally appeared on Episode #57, where we talked about driving tourism in Rochester, NY through creativity and collaboration. She is here to expand on that and talk about the different programs and response measures her team has taken over the past four months.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How Visit Rochester pivoted to help the community respond to the pandemic
  • The development of Visit Rochester’s digital content strategy for the local market
  • The ROC acronym and how Visit Rochester has used it to navigate the pandemic
  • How Visit Rochester began to create new programs after learning that the pandemic was going to be a long-fought battle
  • What Visit Rochester did to help local businesses in the community thrive during the reopening phase
  • How the ROC Ready Promise is providing a sense of safety to visitors in the reopening phase
  • The creation and execution of Visit Rochester’s Rediscover Rochester campaign
A Lifeline for the Community

Rachel Laber is the Director of Market Communications and Public Relations for Visit Rochester. She joins Destination on the Left again to talk about what the Visit Rochester team is doing to support their tourism industry partners through the pandemic. Rachel originally appeared on Episode #57, where we talked about driving tourism in Rochester, NY through creativity and collaboration. She is here to expand on that and talk about the different programs and response measures her team has taken over the past four months. From the initial lockdown to the reopening phase, Visit Rochester has remained nimble throughout. This is a look into the challenges they faced during quarantine, and how they overcame them to continue supporting the industry.

Visit Rochester’s Massive Pivot

When the stay-at-home order first went into effect back in March, Rachel and her team had to act swiftly. They began meeting and ideating daily to try and plan for what might be coming down the pipeline, and fight or flight took over. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, Rachel and her team approached the problem as realists, identifying what challenges were on the horizon, and what they could do to support their stakeholders at that moment. Visit Rochester pivoted right away, and within 24 hours, they shifted their efforts from marketing Rochester to outsiders to speaking directly to their local audience.

Knowledge is Power

Visit Rochester dedicated itself to promoting local businesses. They helped organize and roll out virtual events that their attraction partners were putting together. And ultimately, they became a conduit of information. Rachel and her team were fiercely on top of all developments in government regulation and response, and they made sure their partners were informed so they could plan their next moves accordingly. It inspired a powerful digital content strategy that is still driving traffic for all of their partners today, and it took the organization’s creative and collaborative function to an entirely new level.

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