Julie Sickel joins Dots & Lines as shareholder and Managing Director, EMEA, leading company’s global expansion

ATLANTA, January 28, 2020 – Dots & Lines Inc. is pleased to announce the addition of corporate travel marketing and communications professional Julie Sickel to its team as a corporate shareholder and Managing Director, EMEA. Under Sickel’s leadership, Dots & Lines will open a London office to support the expansion of the company’s global footprint and service offerings in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Julie Sickel

“Julie brings unparalleled experience to the Dots and Lines team and I am thrilled to work with her on engagements with our current and future clients, as well as partner with her in continuing to refine and develop our business strategy in her role as a shareholder in our corporation,” said Katharine Farrell, President of Dots & Lines. “Her background in the corporate travel industry as a reporter, editor and content creator will help to take our organization to the next level as we enter the new decade.”

The addition of Sickel to the Dots & Lines team comes on the heels of a rapid period of growth for the company, including an 85% year-over-year increase in revenue and doubling of its workforce.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Dots and Lines to support its expansion — not only geographically, but also in the scope of offerings it can provide to current and prospective clients,” said Sickel. “Up to now, public relations and marketing support have been at the core of the business. I’m excited to offer additional services, including market strategy, brand strategy and thought leadership to travel suppliers across the globe.”

Prior to joining Dots & Lines, Sickel led marketing content creation for the B2B corporate travel arm of HRS, a global provider of technology solutions designed to make corporate hotel programs more data-rich, efficient and cost-effective. Sickel also previously served as editor of Business Travel News and managing editor of Travel Procurement, where she covered the hotel industry, travel technology and travel management. 

Sickel earned her MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business’ Langone Program in 2019 with specializations in marketing and management of technology and operations. 

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About Dots & Lines Inc.
Dots & Lines Inc. is an independent marketing and communications consultancy that provides services including marketing strategy, public relations, brand management, and event marketing, among others, to clients. Dots & Lines is part of The Nina & Pinta Group, a global international network serving clients in the managed travel and technology space. For more information about Dots & Lines and its services, visit DotsandLinesInc.com.

Marketing and public relations specialist Lauren Holmes joins Atlanta-based consultancy Dots & Lines as a consultant

ATLANTA August 5, 2019 – Marketing and public relations specialist Lauren Holmes will be joining Atlanta-based consultancy Dots & Lines as a consultant, effective immediately. Holmes brings B2B and B2C marketing expertise as well as a focus on international PR for many company types to current and future Dots & Lines clients.

“Lauren’s background and professional experience truly speak for themselves,” said Katharine Williams, President of Dots & Lines. “We’ve recently experienced increased demand for public relations services and are thrilled to have Lauren join our team to contribute to our continued success and growth in this area.”

An influential communicator, Lauren Holmes has more than 20 years of global marketing and communications experience. Before joining Atlanta-based real estate consultancy Trimont in 2017, she served as an independent marketing and communications specialist partnering with clients in various industries including commercial real estate, talent management, and hospitality.

Prior to Trimont, she served as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Advito, the global consulting arm of BCD Travel, where she spearheaded a global brand transformation project. She conducted similar work at TravelClick, where she oversaw the global public relations efforts in addition to the brand transformation following two major company acquisitions. She began her career in public relations and marketing roles at the corporate office for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, later serving as the Director of Public Relations for the company’s flagship resort in Naples, Fla.

“I am excited to return to the corporate travel industry and work closely with such a talented group of individuals in this new role with Dots & Lines,” said Holmes. “The client list they have developed and the type of work they are doing made the decision to join forces easy. I am looking forward to returning ‘home’ to my friends and former colleagues in the business travel space.”

About Dots & Lines
Dots & Lines LLC is an independent marketing consultancy that provides services including marketing strategy, public relations, brand management, and event marketing, among others, to clients. Dots & Lines is part of The Nina & Pinta Group, a global international network serving clients in the managed travel and technology space. For more information about Dots & Lines and its services, visit DotsandLinesConsulting.com.

5 things not to say to a travel journalist

tips for press interview

Disclaimer: As an ex-journalist, I may be slightly biased…

Journalists aren’t influencers or publicists. They are paid to ask difficult questions and to fact-check. In recent years the profession has gone through many changes, resulting in more pressure on fewer journalists to produce more stories. Publications have folded, while others have flourished online.

Despite blogs and social media providing free content, people continue to turn to the press for verified information. A story written in a trusted publication continues to carry much more weight than a thinly veiled advertisement or article based on questionable information.

All that said, public relations is crucial for companies in the travel industry.

Unfortunately, not everyone respects the profession. Sometimes, executives and marketers view reporters only as generators of “free advertising.”

As PR professionals, our job is to guide our clients in finding the best angles to pitch their stories to the press and to help the media understand the news element and value of our clients’ announcements.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting a press interview.

1. “Did you receive my press release?”

Chances are that, yes, your press release is buried among a hundred others in the reporter’s inbox. Journalists are working under pressure with stressful deadlines. Asking questions like this will only put you in a bad light. If your release has value for the publication it will be sorted and you will be contacted. If you’ve developed a proper PR strategy, you’ll already know the best ways (email, social media, phone, text messaging, etc.) to reach reporters working on the topics that affect your organization. If you don’t, get to know the reporter and his or her preferences. Above all, learn to pitch your news so that it stands out.

2. “When can you publish my press release?”

Remember that most journalists won’t take your word on face value. They won’t publish a story with a single source. Your press release might be published as a short brief on its own. If your story calls for a proper article, reporters will conduct interviews and contact other sources. Journalists rarely have a say on when a story might be released. It is for the editor to decide based on other news. What might seem urgent for you will probably be much less critical for the news editor.

3. Don’t say “No comment.”

If you do, be ready for the journalist to start digging. If you believe you might one day be in an awkward position, prepare for it in advance. Other people will be happy to provide comments so do your job and control the discussion.

4. “Are you speaking to my competitors?”

As we’ve seen above, good journalists aren’t publishing single-source stories. Chances are the reporter you are speaking with has or will reach-out to competitors so don’t bother mentioning it. However, you can build trust by offering sources to beef-up the story. Clients using your products are always appreciated, as are independent consultants or renowned experts. The journalist will welcome saving time on research and will probably return the favor.

5. “Let me check your story before you publish it.”

Each publication has its internal policy about this issue. As a rule of thumb, news media are free to publish what they want. They don’t have to let you review their story or even your quotes.
Expect not to approve the story before it goes to press; this is why you must be extremely careful during the interview. Make sure to speak clearly. Never use jargon and double check that the reporter understood you. Not everyone is an expert in your field. It might be the first story the reporter writes about your industry. Reformulate complex issues and offer to send additional information by email. Use this opportunity to rephrase essential facts. Pay attention to the reporter’s note taking. Pause when needed to let the journalist catch-up.

I could go on forever about the do’s and don’ts of PR. The best way to conduct an interview is to come prepared and to be honest and empathic. The best interviews are discussions between trusting professionals.

Learn about the journalist and the publication. What is the reporter usually writing about? Who are his or her readers? Keep this in mind to craft your message and find the right angle for the interview. Remember that journalists work on deadline be ready to give impromptu interviews when called. If you aren’t prepared to answer their questions, they will find someone else.

Contact us to learn more about our media training workshop.