Irvin Mayfield's Blog

Week 6: Mark Romig

by SonnyLee on Oct.04, 2011, under Weekly Guests

Mark C. Romig, APR

A native New Orleanian, Mark is the CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency responsible for enhancing the tourism industry through effective marketing and promotional programs. An established public relations and marketing professional and is currently accredited (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America. Mark has been involved in a variety of historic and milestone events throughout his career, including the development of the Hotel Inter-Continental New Orleans, the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair, U.S. presidential nomination attempts by both Elizabeth and Bob Dole, the successful 1999 reopening of Harrah’s New Orleans, the 2006 Sugar Bowl (only Sugar Bowl game ever to be played outside of New Orleans due to Katrina) and the wildly successful Idea Village New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Prior to joining NOTMC, Mark served several years as Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations for HCA Inc. – Delta Division (Hospital Corporation of America). HCA is one of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, operating hospitals in 20 states and England. The Delta Division encompasses HCA’s Louisiana and Mississippi operations, including Tulane Medical Center and Tulane-Lakeside Hospital. Mark joined HCA after a sixteen year career at Peter A. Mayer Advertising. Named Top Executive by the Advertising Club of New Orleans in 2002, he was promoted to President of Peter A. Mayer Advertising’s Public Relations Division in 2004, managing a staff of ten professionals and dozens of clients. While at Peter Mayer Advertising, Mark also provided professional support to many community initiatives including the introduction of former New Orleans Chief of Police  Richard Pennington, the Bring New Orleans Back Commission and the Fleur de Lis Ambassador Program. Prior to joining the agency in 1992, Mark served as Vice President – Public Affairs for New Orleans-based Hibernia National Bank. From 1985 to 1987, and then again for a brief period in 1988, Mark served on the Secretary’s staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.  There, he worked as a Staff Assistant to Secretary Elizabeth H. Dole, and also performed a similar role for Mrs. Dole during her husband’s run for the presidential nomination in 1987-88. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Mark was Director of Protocol and Guest Relations for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition (1984 World’s Fair) from 1982 – 1984. Immediately following the World’s Fair, he served a brief stint as Executive Director of LaFete, New Orleans’ Summer Festival, the non-profit organization promoting New Orleans during the summer months. Prior to joining the World’s Fair team, Mark was part of the team that developed the New Orleans Inter-Continental Hotel, and was hired as its first National Sales Manager.

Active in his community, Mark, along with his father Jerry, is serving as Co-Chair of the Media & PR Committee for the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee and is also working in a volunteer leadership role for the city’s participation in the 2012 Bicentennial of the War of 1812 (OpSail 2012). He is a member of the Board of Trustees and Board Secretary for Xavier University of Louisiana. Mark also is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the NO/AIDS Task Force. He is president of the Fontainebleau Improvement Association and is affiliated with City Year – Louisiana, serving as a City Year – Louisiana Champion. He is also a member of the New Orleans City Park Board of Commissioners and a Board Member of TKOP – Circle of Courage Mentoring.

Mark is immediate past Chairman of the Board of The Idea Village and is an emeritus member of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the annual PGA TOUR ‘s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He is a former President and Chairman of the Board of the Sugar Bowl Committee, heading up the organization during Hurricane Katrina, when the annual event was temporarily relocated to Atlanta (currently a member of the Executive Committee).  He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Project Lazarus (currently a member of the Development Council) and the Southern Repertory Theater. Mark is past International President of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity (TKE), and is a former board member of the TKE Educational Foundation. He remains active in his fraternity as a leadership development speaker at the Charles Walgreen TKE Leadership Academy, with a concentration on servant leadership models. Mark is a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute and Leadership Louisiana. For several years Mark taught public relations courses at Tulane’s University College.

Mark graduated from Brother Martin High School and attended the University of New Orleans, where he received his B.S. from the School of Business Administration (School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration) in 1978. While in college, Mark interned at the Royal Orleans Hotel, working in several departments to gain experience and credit toward his degree. He was named the school’s outstanding alumnus in 1984. Mark is a member of St. Rita Parish in New Orleans.  He was also honored by the Young Leadership Council as a Role Model and received St. Elizabeth’s Guild Volunteer Activist Award in 2008.

16 Comments for this entry

  • eilertsent

    I was pretty impressed with Mark Romig’s presentation/interview. His resume was insanely diverse, he must never sleep! I think it is funny that he would never want to be what he went to school for, that is pretty ironic. But I guess people change and figure out what they want in life. I really enjoyed the ads and commercials, I did a semester of marketing and I have seen those commercials before and thought, wow that is an AWESOME concept. I mean, it really is some great advertisement! I always enjoy the word association part at the end with Professor Mayfield and his responses were pretty entertaining. I think he had a lot of motivational things to say that kind of spoke to me and I am really happy I had the opportunity to sit down with him. It is always nice to meet different people from New Orleans, and he definitely knows the city! I also want to thank him (if he reads this) for that book! I am always looking for new things to do in this city and that book will be a great resource of information!

  • samantha junot

    “What a busy guy”, is all that I can think after Professor Mayfield read a little about Mr. Mark Romig’s life.

    Mr. Romig is the CEO of the New Orleans Marketing and Tourism Corporation, which seems like a job that consumes the majority of ones time. He says that the major goal of the NOTMC is to “get butts in beds”. He talks about some of the strategies that he and his team take when advertising the city of New Orleans. Each advertisement is based on the slogan “New Orleans. You’re different here.” The commercials he showed the class fit the slogan perfectly. The way they targeting specific age groups in each, was perfect also. The commercials would definitely make me want to visit New Orleans. He also brought to class some ads. These ads were hilarious! My favorite ad said, “We are an equal opportunity city. We party at every opportunity.” The ads ranged from food to entertainment to culture. They definitely showcased the city!

    Mr. Romig is, without a doubt, very passionate and educated in what he does. This makes me feel great because my job depends on tourists. I feel confident that the marketing for the tourism industry in New Orleans is in good hands. Big thanks to Mr. Romig for not only a job well done, but for also taking time out of his busy schedule to come talk to us.

  • charbonsauk

    What a diverse and unique individual! Mark has done and seen it all (or so it seems) and yet he’s not bragadocious. He simply and eloquintly shares his experiences and seems to genuinely hope for the transfer of knowledge, making scary changes look like opportunities. Take it all in and try everything before you decide what you want to do day in and day out. It’s your life and your career, make the most of it, enjoy it. It’s all about perspective, and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of Mark’s. And that presentation, all I can say is that I don’t see how there are ever any available rooms in the city, I want to come play here and I LIVE here! OH, and the book, how generous! and what an informative resource to add to my arsenal, several pages are dog eared already, Thank You!

  • BeckyR

    Mark Romig

    (I don’t Facebook or Tweet, so I’m posting those comments here.)

    Tweet: Mark Romig was one of my favorite guests so far. His presentation was excellent and made me feel like the city’s marketing is in good hands.

    Facebook: Mark Romig comes from a family that has served New Orleans well. His father has been the popular Saints booth announcer for decades and (I’m not sure if she’s still there but) his sister Mary Beth has worked with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. So I’m not surprised that Mark Romig was such an impressive guest. I’m glad to have him representing and marketing my city.

  • BeckyR

    Mark Romig
    Mr. Romig was one of my favorite guests so far, partly because he did a presentation that really enhanced his talk. I think the class would be better if more guests did presentations. Although, I grant that Mr. Romig’s job (marketing) lends itself more to giving formal presentations than some of the other guests’ occupations would. I was also impressed with the material presented. The campaign was smart. Not only was it well written and well executed, it cleverly conveyed the concept of what really draws people to New Orleans. They may initially come here because the city and culture are different from they live. But New Orleans gets under people’s skin not just because of how the city is different, but more importantly because of how they are different when they are here. And that is really what brings people back again and again. New Orleans provides people with an off-ramp from the highway that they spend their lives racing down. In New Orleans, they can get out of the car, stretch their legs and remember what it feels like to just be. That’s the real secret of our city and I’m thrilled that the powers-that-be have been smart enough to come up with a campaign to promote it. Also, as a person who has spent my entire life in New Orleans, I have too often witnessed less than impressive people running way too many things. Mr. Romig, who is obviously capable, intelligent, and knows a lot about his business, was a breath of fresh air. Thank you Mr. Romig.

  • BeckyR
    Mr. Romig mentioned the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation’s consumer website, which is a terrific resource both for travelers and locals who are just looking for something to do. I had originally come across it when I was researching my last book and wanted more information on a new festival. There are calendars of events and festivals, which allow you to click on the event, which brings you to an information page on that particular event. There are guides for things to do in and around the city, divided into different categories (eating, listening to music, shopping, seeing attractions, etc.). The entire site is very user-friendly and actually has helpful information. You can also find some insider stuff that wouldn’t be on other sites where they only list attractions or events that advertise. For example, under “Lagniappe” there are recommendations to go ride the rides at the City Park amusement area and to listen to local music on WWOZ. The folks who put this site together have done a really good job. After Mr. Romig’s presentation, I decided to check out the site again and, along with looking at the calendars of events, I also found myself clicking on some of the deals being offered at area hotels and thinking how fun it would be to go spend the night in the French Quarter. I think a website is pretty well done when it piques the interest of locals as well as out-of-towners. I now keep this site bookmarked so if I have friends in town or if I just want to know if there are any big events that are going to make the restaurant I work at crowded this weekend, all I have to do is click on this one site to find out.

  • samantha junot

    I have to agree with Becky and say that more presentations, like Mr. Romig did, would give the class a little extra “umph”. I genuinely enjoyed the presentation, but we didn’t learn much about his life (only what his “resume” said). There was no interview done. I hope that if other guests do a presentation similar to this, we will get at least a short interview as well.

  • zach

    Tourism is New Orleans largest industry, and Mark Romig is all about tourism since he is CEO of New Orleans Marketing Corporation. Mark Romig has had a countless number of different jobs and one may wonder whether that is a good thing or bad thing. Mark Romig jokingly says that he couldn’t keep a job, when the true story is that his help can benefit anything. The simplest way to put Mark Romig’s job for the time being is to “put butts in beds.”
    Mark Romig’s job is to make New Orleans tourism appeal to tourists. Not make it appeal to just a specific genre of tourists but to every kind of tourists from young to old and many other different kinds of people. At the same time, certain strategies are used to target certain audiences. The strategies used could be to promote New Orleans culture to people who are interested in learning the culture, or cuisine for people interested in trying out new food. A major one is the endless amount of festivals going on at almost all times of the year that can appeal to any genre of people. With all of those great things to promote about the city, Mark Romig makes them look even greater in order to get the hotels in New Orleans filled with guests. The city of New Orleans has something going on in it at every time of year no matter it be a convention, sports game, or a festival.
    Mark Romig works closely with New Orleans’ convention bureau so he can get a good idea of when to market any event in order to make the most amount of hotel space available. Some events that Mark Romig has promoted and will promote are the World Fair, past Superbowls, and the 2013 Superbowl. Depending on the event and the time of year Mark Romig can strategically promote the event to specific audiences in order to have the best turnout.
    Mark Romig’s job is incredibly important to the city of New Orleans because tourism is a major aspect the city thrives off of. The more tourists mean more hotels, which leads to more jobs for the community, creating a better economy in the community and a better chance for sustainable living. The better tourism is, the better the city of New Orleans is, and we can all thank Mark Romig for that.

  • toupsd

    Mr. Romig was a very special guest to me. First off his presentation was very interesting and made the interview much better. Second off all the work that he’s done for his home town of New Orleans is really great for the city and all of it’s inhabitants. To me, New Orleans has always been one of the most exotic cities in the US. I’m sure every person in the class would agree with me by saying that the city itself is such a special place that is very important to all of us. Whenever I’m a tourist in a different city I look around for the soul and character that New Orleans has always been known to have. After Katrina many of us were worried that our favorite city might not ever be the same. Mr. Romig is doing his part in bringing others from around the country and even the world to participate in the joy that New Orleans brings. Bringing money to the city is one of the most important things to bringing it back to its past state. Tourism is one of the most important ways to bring revenue into the city and Mr. Romig is literally working around the clock in various different ways to help the city that we love so much.

  • toupsd

    New Orleans is probably one of the best places to work in the tourism market. We have two huge music festivals that tourists come to see from all across the country. We have legal gambling that our neighbor Texas doesn’t even have. The French Quarter is a place that almost every American has heard about and has dreamed about coming to. Then we have festival season with dozens of different huge activities that are all fun and interesting in many different ways. Then to top it all off we have Mardi Gras, a celebration that almost seems like a myth to out-of-towners because it is so surreal in anywhere else in the country. It may seem like Mr. Romig’s job is a piece of cake with all of these activities, yet it isn’t. It’s clear by the amount of work that he does that it takes a little effort to show how great this city is. His ads and marketing campaigns were wonderful and could make anyone want to take a trip down here. I respect him because he sees the beauty of our beloved city, and he wants to show its greatness to everyone across the world.

  • charbonsauk

    From what I saw, Mark Romig and his cohorts at the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. really have a handle on getting “heads in beds.” Marketing strategies are well thought out, graphics are “reach out and grab you” good, strategies for timing and placement of ads are logical. With tourism providing more than 70 thousand jobs in the New Orleans area, I’d have to say that Mark and his crew are quite successful at “selling” New Orleans. When I go to the Quarter for lunch and sightseeing or shopping or whatever, to “play” tourist, “I’m different here” and hell, I’m from here, I live here! It was interesting to learn that one dollar spent in marketing nets a return of seventeen! I’ll be sure to chat up my long distance friends to help make New Orleans work! Afterall, as a resident, I have a vested interest in seeing this work! Thanks Mark, very enlightning!

  • schmidtj

    My word. This man has worked in advertising, toursim, been involved in everything from charities to the world’s fair to the sugar bowl. A UNO alumni in tourism, I am glad to have had the oppertunity to hear him speak. His presaentation was fun and fascinating, telling me how important timing and placement is in ads, and how tourism provides 70,000 jobs. One slide in particular stuck me. It showed room availability, and showed just how truely devistating Katrina was, by showing that New Orleans went from 38,000 available rooms to just 2,000. It also struck me when he said that when you visit New Orleans, you are not visiting a city, you are visiting a culture. Having lived here my whole life, I never really thought much about it, but looking back at all of my vacations, I realize just how true that is. Houston, Dallas, Panama City, Orlando, they are all just cities with attractions, but here, there is complete culture immersion, so much a part of everything we do.

  • schmidtj

    I was fascinated by the target marketing he spoke of for the “off season”, when nothing specific is happeneing in New Orleans. He spoke of going to nearby places, a car ride or short plane ride away from us, and telling them how great it is to visit here. The advertising and public relations on TV and radio reaches so many people to promote festivals and tourism. Rating performance by looking at visitation, spending, festival attendence, and other aspects of tourism seems to be reasonable. The “bed tax” paying for marketing tourism is a brilliant idea. It amazes me that for every dollar they spend it generates 17,000 back. It’s wonderful to learn about tourism and marketing in a tourist city like New Orleans, Ienjoyed it immensely.

  • kellyi

    Mark Romig’s presentation was amazing! I still can’t believe how prepared he was slide show and had examples of his work to show us. Out of all the guests we have had there have been none with so many visuals. I never really realized how much time and effort was spent marketing the same product to different age groups. He truly has an understanding of New Orleans and how to market the city a way that speaks to everybody. In a city like New Orleans that thrives on tourism it is amazing what a pull advertising can have on the amount of jobs in the city. Mark Romig has a true understanding of how tourism works and what people want. He truly was a unique guest and by far the most prepared!

  • rushings

    • Mark Romig has an extensive and impressive resume. I first heard about him in an HRT class a few semesters ago while exploring the principles of tourism in New Orleans as well as the purpose of the CVB, Convention and & Visitors Bureau. Mark Romig is currently the CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. It is a city agency that was created in 1990 for the purpose of “putting butts in beds”, increasing the occupancy of hotels which provide jobs and economic impact in New Orleans. Its initial purpose was to promote summer travel. The largest industry in New Orleans is tourism, which employs about 70,000 people. Mark Romig gave us a little insight on the city’s marketing strategy. For every dollar that is spent in marketing for marketing New Orleans, the state receives at least $17 in direct and indirect tax revenue for visitor spending. Unlike other cities, we don’t have beaches to lure tourists, therefore we get majority of our tourism from attractions that are easy to get to, great hotel deals, hospitality and most important culture. The commercials shown really capture the essence of New Orleans. What you see on TV is what you get when you visit New Orleans. Although they’re for marketing purposes, you can catch those fun events and happy people celebrating all around the city.
    I’m excited for the upcoming plans Mark Romig has in store for our city. There is no reason why any tourist wouldn’t want to visit this cultural, merry city.

  • rushings

    • With the help of Mark Romig’s presentation, I’ve come up with a few reasons why tourists should visit New Orleans:
    -New Orleans has more to offer than music and food. The city also has a cultural art scene. Visitors can get a glimpse of rare and original New Orleans art in galleries, museums, or even on buildings and streets throughout the downtown area.
    -There is a celebration for everything. You can attend a festival just about every other weekend in the city. Festivals varying from seafood, music, and art attract tourists from all surrounding areas. There is a festival for every interest.
    -New Orleans’ attractions are convenient to get to. While there are cabs you can use for transportation, New Orleans is best seen on foot. You can take your time to stop and enjoy sites, or even walk along the Mississippi River, all while mingling with other New Orleanians. The streetcar and city bus is also available for transportation.
    -“It’s New Orleans. You’re different here.” New Orleans is a city unlike anywhere else. People come here to unwind, let their hair down, and be carefree. There’s so much of life in this authentic city that needs to be experienced.

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