Meet a Hodger: Erin Bagnell

Hodges recently welcomed Erin Bagnell to its lineup. Erin brings extensive PR experience in the travel, tourism and hospitality space where she’s told the stories of destinations for nearly two decades.

It’s no wonder that Erin has had so much success in public relations; she’s easy to talk with, curious, smart and genuine. Her cheerful personality is palpable when she’s talking about something she enjoys. To say we’re thrilled to have her would be an understatement.

Prior to transitioning to the agency world, Erin spent 14 years at Richmond Region Tourism, collaborating with writers and content creators to promote all that Richmond has to offer. Her work led to national and international coverage of our beloved region, helping bring Greater Richmond out of the shadows.

Originally from Roanoke, Erin attended UVA (yay, English majors!) and began her career in D.C., eventually making her way to Richmond where she started her family and began spreading the wings of her career.

Keep reading to learn more about Erin and her take on travel trends.

What’s your secret to media relations?

I’m always seeking out opportunities to make a personal connection. I find face-to-face time to be incredibly valuable – and more fun! Coffee dates and good old fashioned phone calls are my favorite way to get to know someone. Fortunately, these days face-to-face communications aren’t limited by geography – virtual coffees are great too.

People are looking for authentic experiences and a sense of discovery which means they’ll often choose an off-the-beaten-path adventure over a trip to a popular destination. And with costs rising everywhere, travelers appreciate value. A focus on good value and smaller crowds means more people are taking trips during the shoulder seasons. Flexible work options also have contributed to this trend. I’ve also noticed some “Cool-cationing.” Where everyone used to flock to the sun for a summer vacation, nowadays people are often hoping to cool off. Last summer, my Instagram feed was full of friends’ Maine vacation pictures!

Do you have a favorite media placement?

When Richmond Region Tourism launched an effort to reach LGBTQ visitors, we hosted some wonderful travel writers and showed them that Richmond is a welcoming destination. The resulting stories were powerful. One article that appeared in Passport, a LGBTQ travel magazine, was a particularly beautiful representation of Richmond. The writer captured everything about what makes the area special. He highlighted LGBTQ individuals and business owners making incredible contributions to the community and took readers through Richmond’s LGBTQ history. The article ran nearly 15 years ago and is still a favorite due to its authenticity and impact. 

Lindsay O'Bar

Lindsay’s work focuses on community relations, internal communications and media relations for companies like Kroger, Virginia’s Community Colleges and the Virginia Department of Transportation. By marrying research and strategic thinking, she helps clients thoughtfully engage audiences and the community while driving business results.

Read more by Lindsay

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