Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 11 - News Release
2006 Calendar of Events News Release
Zandra Wolfgram, Public Relations Director; Christy Kearney, Communications Manager

Golden Image Award
Judges' Award

Research/Situation Analysis: After the major storms in 2004 and 2005, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort saw a decrease in booking inquiries for 2006; visitor numbers for the state of Florida slightly declined in the fourth quarter of 2005, and concerns about the area's beach conditions circulated. A 2005 Visitor Tracking Study confirmed off-the-beach offerings were important to visitors when choosing a resort. Of Sandestin visitors polled, 61% ranked non-activities as "must-haves" demonstrating that maintaining year-round events and activities is vital to differentiating Sandestin as the resort of choice. In fact, 13% of unaided survey respondents named the Sandestin Wine Festival as a specific activity they enjoyed. As part of the resort's overall marketing and PR efforts to boost room nights and visitation, Sandestin established a two-fold goal: 1) leverage the resort's ongoing special events to reach media and consumers in the resort's top target markets such as Atlanta and Birmingham positioning the resort as a year-round destination with engaging special events and 2) stay top-of-mind with locals by pursuing special event coverage in media outlets between Panama City Beach and Pensacola. Sandestin's PR Team fashioned a news release showcasing the resort's calendar of events for 2006, with a special focus on significant annual events.


- Secure 25 event placements in Top Tier Media and 75 in regional publications.
- Secure 300 hits in Northwest Florida Daily News, The Destin Log and the Walton Sun.
- Secure at least 3 placements of the full-annual calendar in local publications.
- Secure an average of 25 event placements in local papers each month.
- Generate buzz year-round by securing monthly hits in local magazine calendar listings.
- Secure placement in at least one Visit Florida round-up release, sent to 2,000 media.
- Secure prominent placements in local event tabloids for at least 5 annual events.
- Help to increase attendance to key annual events such as the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, 20th Anniversary Sandestin Wine Festival, the 20th Annual Sandestin Triathlon and The Boeing Championship at Sandestin.
- Maintain resort visitation numbers of 520,037.


- Gathered event details from resort's event planners and crafted a news release to position events a series of family-friendly events throughout the calendar year and highlighting the resort's major annual events and giving an overview of all resort events.
- Sent the release to the resort's Top Tier Media list (145 key media) and list of qualified regional/national media; and 30 targeted local media contacts.
- Broke out annual calendar of events release into regular round-up releases as a constant reminder of year-round events and festivities at the resort.
- Posted the calendar of events news release online in the Sandestin Media Room, included in all Sandestin Press Kits and used in ongoing lead fulfillments.


- Secured 34 placements in the resort's Top Tier Media, 96 placements in regional/national media and 396 placements in local newspapers, for more than 46,105,723 impressions.
- Secured an average of 33 event hits in local papers each month, 32% more than goal.
- Full calendar of events was featured in event section of Destin Log January to February.
- Secured coverage in local magazine calendars every month and more than 10 prominent cover/lead page placements in weekly event showcase tabloids.
- Key annual events saw increases in attendance numbers ¡V the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic increased 67%, 20th Anniversary Sandestin Wine Festival increased approximately 26%, the 20th Annual Sandestin Triathlon hit capacity with 700 participants and The Boeing Championship at Sandestin had 23% more attendees than predicted.
- Holiday events were included in Oct. 23 Visit Florida Release sent to 2,000 media.
- Realized a 2% increase in resort visitation (523,037 guests) in 2006 over 2005.

Budget: Calendar of Events News Release ($125); the follow-up releases were crafted in house at no cost, except 40 hours of staff time. National distribution was no cost through Bacon's contract. Local distribution via e-mail was free. Clipping fees were $600/month for Bacon's. Visit Florida Partnership benefits (research) were $5,500 for the year. Walton County TDC Research was no cost.