Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Challenge

H-Town, The Energy Capital of the World, Space City: Houston is known for many things, but the one that’s often overlooked is its out-of-this-world culinary scene. The challenge was finding a newsworthy way to highlight award-winning restaurants and generate media coverage as a result.

Insight

You can tell someone how great the Houston food scene is a million times over, but you have to see it, taste it and experience it to believe it. 

Idea

In 2016, eight chefs and restaurants were nominated for prestigious James Beard Awards, underscoring the caliber of Houston culinary talent and giving us a ready-made showcase to unveil to food news media. We knew that our budget would stretch further if we organized a press trip for top-tier food freelancers and contributors rather than on-staff editors and reporters.

Solution

Working with freelancers and contributors was the best way to make connections within top-tier outlets, since they have more flexibility to accept press trips and write for multiple publications. We invited six top writers to travel  to Houston to immerse themselves in all that the city has to offer. Their resumes boasted stories in the NY Post, U.S News & World Report, AARP, Saveur, Forbes, Sherman’s Travel and more.

Results

Six journalists turned into 20 stories totaling more than 483 million message-rich impressions in USA Today, Forbes, Yahoo, MSN, U.S. News & World Report, Jetsetter, the NY Post and the Travel Channel. The press trip, and associated news media attention, set the stage for countless follow-up stories about Houston's dining scene and chefs in other agenda-setting print, broadcast and digital outlets. But most importantly, Houston is finally becoming recognized as a leader in culinary excellence.