I wonder if the Downtown Orlando community grasps the stage that is being thrust upon them — and the unparalleled opportunity that stage will bring – starting tomorrow morning. For every reporter granted courtroom access, there are at least four other support personnel in the wings walking downtown streets, browsing our stores, utilizing our free Lymmo transportation service and looking to detect the pulse of Orlando. They want to know what makes Orlando tick. These journalists are fascinated by the juxtaposition of our magical tourism “worlds” (Disney World, Sea World, even Flea World) against the world of a death penalty murder trial that, deservedly or not, has captured the world’s attention.
The setting of the last gargantuan trial (from a media perspective) was held near the Hollywood stages in Los Angeles, a city that is accustomed to aggressive paparazzi, famous faces and larger-than- life personalities. With the O.J. Simpson trial as a barometer, it’s safe to say that Orlando has never experienced anything like what is about to descend upon the City Beautiful. Mayor Dyer, Orlando City Council and the Downtown Development Board grasp this as an opportunity to showcase our true Orlando – to demonstrate our sense of neighborhoods and community and yes, our potential as a cosmopolitan destination is in the balance the next month or so.
While cities across the country are begging for publicity to generate economic development, the international stage has been thrust upon us. It’s an opportunity to tout our greatness and to counter the image of a young mother who is charged with murdering her child. It’s up to the folks in Downtown Orlando to seize this opportunity for the right kind of stardom.
Lori C. Booker, APR, is founder and CEO of CBR and is a respected media commentator.
CBR, long considered one of the Southeast’s premier independent public relations firms, has appointed Peggy Gies as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning. Gies brings more than 20 years of advertising and marketing experience to the company and will develop and implement campaigns for clients with a focus on integrated communications.
CBR expanded in the past year with a second office in Melbourne, Fla., bucking the national trend by growing during the recession. “When the market began to contract, we decided that the best plan of action would be to concentrate our energies on our existing clients. That strategy worked better than even I anticipated,” said CEO and Founder Lori C. Booker, APR. “We not only increased revenue, but we increased our staff as a result. With more than 25 years under our belt, and with the most experienced and dedicated team of professionals ever assembled in a local firm, CBR is poised to dominate the market as the economy recovers.”
CBR also announced the promotion of Brittany Hobbs to Account Coordinator. Hobbs interned at CBR in 2009 and joined the staff full time in January 2010 as an account assistant.
Interested in joining us? Check out the Career section of our website for more information.
It wasn’t on Page One yesterday, but it should have been. Tucked away in the second section of the Orlando Sentinel was a small shaded box announcing “Another good month for hotel-tax collections.” I wonder how many grasp the importance of that article’s findings?
Sentinel staff writer Sara K. Clarke astutely noted that February’s resort tax revenues year-to-year were up a whopping 21 percent. Re-stated, the tourism business had a 21 percent rebound — and no one’s shouting about it.
Hear me shout!
As the founder and CEO of CBR, I have navigated this company through several recessions, downturns, re-corrections – whatever term you use. They were all times of belt-tightening and cash-flow challenges. But CBR didn’t just survive, we thrived. Now, it sounds like the tourism business is doing the same. Hurray for Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida for the jump start. For decades, we have turned to Disney for the economic miracles, but this time we give a bow to Harry’s wand.
In our decades of active involvement in IPREX, a world-wide consortium of “hot shop” PR firms, I have noted something very interesting: Florida is the last to feel a recession and the first to experience the recovery. I explored this theory with my Rollins College public relations class a few years back, and the students and I determined that the most obvious explanation is that families pre-pay their vacations and, when the economy is looking good again, they pre-book the next one. It’s probably not the most scientific way to reach a conclusion, but it bears noting as we march out of the Great Recession here in the Sunshine State.
Florida’s tourism industry is an economic indicator that’s worth watching. And smart companies are doing just that.
Lori C. Booker, APR
CBR encourages its staff to participate in organizations outside of the everyday work schedule – both for professional and personal growth.
As members of various organizations, our staffers often bring to our attention new opportunities and resources we can share with you! The most recent opportunity came from our COO, Patrice Lynch, who is the Ways and Means Chair for Executive Women International of Orlando.
Do you know of a junior in high school or an adult student thinking about going back to school to continue their education? EWI of Orlando is offering two different scholarships – one for a junior in high school and one for an adult student.
If you are interested in more information or know someone in Lake, Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties who might be interested, please visit the EWI Orlando Scholarship page to view the application details.
The submission deadline is March 31.
We are extremely grateful to the men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedom. To commemorate our veterans and active troops, Central Florida is hosting an array of activities over the coming days, including parades and memorial ceremonies. The Orlando Sentinel has a list of observances in the area. Many local restaurants are even giving away free meals.
In addition, one of our longtime clients, Seminole Behavioral Healthcare, is offering a FREE online course today to help recognize signs of emotional trauma, anxiety or post-traumatic stress among soldiers. We hope you can find the time to take it today.
This should not be the only day we recognize our troops. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers all the time for protecting our great nation.