Newell: New Orleans' top tourism rankings are no accident

The wins just keep stacking up for workers in the Crescent City's lifeblood industry

Newell Normand
November 22, 2019 - 5:38 pm

TripAdvisor has named New Orleans a 2019 "Most Excellent City Overall," placing it among international destinations with the highest percentage of certificate of excellence recipients. To explain what that's all about, Newell invited Mark Romig, the President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation onto the show Friday morning.

"From what I understand, this is quite a designation to have, Mark!" Newell began.

"This is one of the top designations you can have, because it works on a couple of points," Romig explained. "When people visit our site, the time they spend there reviewing opportunities, events, places to stay - that's all calculated along with user reviews from visitors who are constantly talking to TripAdvisor about their experiences all around the world. It's really a direct feedback from the consumer, as to what New Orleans is like to visit."

 "They have developed an algorithm that calculates all these things," Newell said, "and we're in good company, along with Reykjavik, Edinburgh, Marrakesh... this list goes on and on."

So why is this happening?

"It's because of the people that work in the industry - they make this happen each and every day, and we cannot thank them enough. Our hospitality workers love what they do, they have a real passion for this city, they provide this service 24/7/365 and people keep coming back. It's the culture seekers that we want to see here, people that will respect our culture and invest in it while they're hear. To see musicians, pay to see them play, buy our art, share their experience on social media. People talk about their experiences days, weeks, even month after they've been here."

READ MORE: See TripAdvisor's "Most Excellent City Overall" rankings 

"When we think about what's on social media," Newell continued, "and how we're getting graded all the time for everything we do - y'all have taken on an even bigger role of educating how these ratings services work, and making sure that one little component out there doesn't destroy the overall rating for the whole city."

"It's interesting - social media and the Internet is 24/7 and misperceptions can be put out there that you have to spend a lot of time trying to correct. You've gotten to a point now where everyone is an influencer, whether to a family member, business associate, or even millions of people. So it's important for us to stay ahead of that and put out positive messaging about the great things happening in the city. We can't pull back from that. Everyone is welcome here, but we want everyone to come visit in a responsible way. That's how we attract those culture seekers to New Orleans."

Newell concluded, "I think it's important for everybody to know - the whole backdrop to this, and how you get to this point, it just doesn't happen on it's own... everybody in this industry is an ambassador for the City, 24/7, all hands on deck all the time. Thank you guys for being the fiduciaries of the tourism industry for us, we truly appreciate the effort and the great work you do!"

Hear the entire interview in the audio player below.

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