Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism nationally recognized by PRSA

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach

Award-winning website revamp attracts meeting planners to small-town beach destination

GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – When the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) released the 2020 Bronze Anvil Award recipients last month, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT) was among the nominees.

PRSA is the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community. The Bronze Anvil Awards recognize outstanding public relations tactics — such as the use of social media, video, blogs, podcasts, annual reports, digital newsletters and websites  — that contribute to the overall success of programs or campaigns.

Ally Mills Dorrough, APR, TMP, communications and marketing specialist for the sales and Sports Commission arms of GSOBT was honored with a Bronze Anvil of Commendation for her case study examining the relaunch of the organization’s webpages geared toward meeting planners.

“We needed to reevaluate the flow of the site to show planners why to choose Alabama’s beaches and then give them solid resources to make planning easy,” Dorrough said. “It was truly a team effort to make the revamped meetings website a reality, and I am honored to have played a major part in this process.”

Since the inception of the project early in 2018, Dorrough worked closely with GSOBT’s communications and digital teams to develop a more comprehensive strategy for the meetings site to help planners choose Alabama’s beaches and give them resources to efficiently plan.

With competitive meetings destinations such as New Orleans, Dallas and Indianapolis in mind, the team aimed to improve resources for meeting planners and to increase meeting and convention business to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. During the first six months, the new webpages saw a 31.33% increase in traffic and a 31.39% increase in new visitors over the same time period the previous year. After the website’s successful relaunch, Dorrough compiled her research, planning, implementation and evaluation into the case study she submitted to PRSA.

“We are all very proud of Ally and appreciate all she did to help us launch our new website,” said Beth Gendler, vice president of sales and sports. “She has been a tremendous asset to both sales and sports even before she joined us full-time and most especially since then. We love her can-do attitude, excitement and professionalism.”

Out of 322 case studies entered, only 67 organizations were awarded a Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation. In each category, only one Bronze Anvil is awarded, and no more than three Bronze Anvil of Commendations are awarded.

“The Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation is a highlight of my career and truly showcases my passion for travel public relations,” Dorrough said. “I am overwhelmed to have received this honor on behalf of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, the organization that has pushed me to learn, grow and strive for excellence.”

The lessons learned from this project also played a role in Dorrough earning her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board last fall. The Accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skills and abilities associated with the profession. Candidates must successfully complete a rigorous process, including presenting his or her portfolio to a panel presentation of three peers and sitting for a computer-based examination to be granted the APR. Dorrough presented her panel with a preliminary case study for the meetings site that earned GSOBT the Bronze Anvil of Commendation.

To take a look at the award-winning website, visit