You Know What They Say

June 5th, 2012 | Posted by jenfortecuomo in General Travel - (Comments Off)

If you’re a travel writer or publicist, you probably know the old adage about press trips: There’s one in every group and if you don’t know who it is…it’s probably you.

Well, I am happy to say it isn’t always true. For several years I’ve conducted a group press trip to the Sagamore Resort on beautiful Lake George. It’s always a good time and thus far we’ve attracted great groups of people who, despite most of them having never met before, hit it off splendidly. This year was no exception.

Sagamore GM Tom Guay, Alexis Tarraze, David Eisen, Mike Espindle, me and Sales & Marketing Director Kevin Rosa on The Morgan

It isn’t really brain surgery, running a press trip. I try to make them fun and relaxing and enjoyable. It’s easy enough to do at a resort, especially one like The Sagamore, which has so much for people to do. This trip was uncomplicated with some cocktails, a few meals and the obligatory property tour.

One of the highlights was a beautiful tour on the lake. Lake George is one of the cleanest and most pristine lakes in the U.S. We went on The Morgan, a 19th-century replica boat that does daily tours around the lake for guests. We left around 6pm, as the skies were clearing from a rainy day. The mist sat on the mountains and our fearless Captain skirted into a place known for spotting bald eagles. We didn’t see any but the scene wasn’t any less majestic or captivating.

We had all age groups and different types of writers, from newspaper, to trade publications to golf writers. Thankfully the weather cleared up on Sunday and the golfers were able to play.

My golf writers! A lovely bunch, would travel anywhere with them.

What I’ve learned about running press trips is this – don’t over schedule so writers can enjoy an authentic experience the way they would if they were traveling without your guidance or help. That way they feel relaxed enough to find their own angle and story within the group experience. And make friends…a few drinks in a pub after the scheduled activities are over can forge connections with writers that last for years.

Alexis, me, the angry stuffed bear and David in Mr. Brown's Pub at The Sagamore

In case you’re wondering, yes PR guy was there….he took the beautiful photo below from our balcony.

The view from our room...amazing.

All in all we had a lovely, successful trip with no “klunkers.” Unless the old adage is true and if you don’t know who it is, it’s you. Which would mean ….oh no…it couldn’t be me, could it??

I am not a Travel Agent. Really.

March 23rd, 2012 | Posted by jenfortecuomo in General Travel - (Comments Off)

People frequently ask me what I do. I tell them Travel PR. Dull look. “Travel Agent,” they ask politely. No. “Oh you do advertising for hotels.” No. Then I start to explain what I do and then I see the glazed look come over their eyes. So, I’ve given up trying to explain to people what I do for a living. I know my husband 99% gets it (cause he’s the official PR Guy to my PR Girl) and he helps me with the business. My mother-in-law mostly thinks I am taking a vacation when I am traveling for work, making me feel like mother of the year while she watches my kids. And tells me how they cry because I’m not there. And then she starts crying. But that is a different blog entry.

Really though, is it my fault that my work trips sometimes involve gourmet meals, boat trips, beach excursions and spa treatments? But alas, that does not make it any easier to explain what you do – it makes it harder. “Oh tough job you have.” Well actually, unless you’ve run a 6 person press trip you wouldn’t realize it isn’t really the most fun anyone’s ever had! But again, that is a different blog entry and I’d have to save that for after I retire. (Oh the stories I could tell. Actually I am going to compile a book with all my publicist friends about the worst press trip moments ever. Yes media peeps, we talk. And it isn’t pretty. You know what they say….there is one on every trip. If you don’t know who it is…it’s probably you.)

But as the closest thing to a travel expert any of my friends have, I am often asked travel-related questions and asked for recommendations. So I’ve compiled some of my favorites for you all – some are current and past clients and some are not….

The Sagamore, Bolton Landing on Lake George – this is by far one of the best family resorts we’ve ever visited. I went there for my 40th, with four other families and we had a blast. The resort is so wonderful for everything – food, activities, keeping kids occupied. Kids of almost any age will love the Rec. It’s got mini-golf, wiffle ball, basketball, Wii and more. There is spa, golf, a gorgeous pool and is on one of the cleanest, most beautiful lakes in the country. Plus, it’s only a four hour drive from NYC. It isn’t just me, we all loved it and had a fabulous time.

Sienna posing on the lawn of The Sagamore

Kids on the rocking chairs outside the Sagamore Rec - kid activity center

On the Deck at Sagamore

Curtain Bluff, Antigua – this is a charming, sweet, affordable all-inclusive hotel on the ocean in Antigua. The staff is wonderful, the food is top-notch, the rooms are all on the water. We went there for a three night romantic getaway a few years ago after my son was born. I highly recommend it for families or couples. It is relaxing and inviting. Some of the best staff you’ll ever find at a hotel. It’s on our very short list for our 10 year vow renewal in 2015.

Mustique – there is no place I would rather be than on this island. It is expensive but worth every penny. I aim to go again one day and that time, unfortunately, I will probably have to pay for it myself. There are gorgeous villas to rent by the week (staffed) and also a small hotel called the Cotton House. If you can afford to splurge, do it by going to Mustique. You will never experience anything so fabulous again!

Hibiscus Villa in Mustique

Ft. Lauderdale W Hotel – spent my other 40th birthday (i.e. kid free 40th) there with my best friends and my sister. If you’re looking for a totally cool and much more chill alternative to Miami, check this hotel out. Awesome rooftop pool, crazy scene, wonderful restaurant. Ft. Lauderdale is way underrated and much more laid-back than Miami.

At dinner in the W

Ocean City, NJ – everyone who knows me knows I am a Jersey Shore lover. Forget the Hamptons. Jersey Shore is so much more family-oriented and full of fun things to do. Rent a house one block from the ocean. Get one near the boardwalk and you’ll never have to move your car all week. Rent bikes, go to the beach, mini-golf, water park, munch on boardwalk fries, monkey bread, soft serve and salt water taffy. There is no better way to spend an evening than on the Ocean City Boardwalk with the warm salt air on your face and the sound of the amusements in the background.

Nick on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, August 2009

In reality, I am not an expert on travel. I will leave that to editors, bloggers, writers and adventurers who are probably way more well-traveled than myself. But I do keep my finger on the pulse, read a lot and am passionate about travel. So ask away! If I can help, I will. But don’t ask me to book your trip. Really. I don’t do that.