Leif Pettersen

Résumé | Samples | Twitter | Blog | Podcast | Video



Mall of America | Tourism Communications Manager

• Designed integrated campaigns to increase tourism visibility and visits, including composing the bid for, planning and hosting the award-winning TBEX Minnesota conference (my video announcement); creating the Writer-in-Residence contest (which attracted more than 4,200 applicants); spearheading the annual #MinNoCoata travel media campaign, experiential tours and interactive experiences
• Generated story/feature ideas to pitch to national and international editors, producers, and reporters, including Racked (1, 2), Buzzfeed, Samantha Brown and Rudy Maxa's World travel radio show

• Drove the early adopter effort in virtual reality & telepresence robot tours, used to promote the Mall at shows, events and conferences

• Broadened relationships with news and travel media, placing more than 30 travel media stories each year, in addition to the surge of stories resulting from TBEX Minnesota
• Served on the Transportation and Wayfinding subcommittee for the Minneapolis 2030 Tourism Master Plan
• Promoted the Mall at travel shows in key U.S. and international markets, including TBEX, IPW, IMM and The New York Times Travel Show
• Researched and launched the new Accessibility webpage for travelers with special needs (a $17.3 billion industry annually)

• W
rote custom trade articles, partner communications and other media/marketing
• Coordinated tourism social media activities with digital teams
• Managed tourism content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
• Launched the Travel Insiders e-newsletter, targeted for travel media
• Editorial lead and content creation for the Mall employee intranet site

• Assisted with annual strategic plan for tourism marketing communication platforms, including digital (web, mobile, social), print and signage
• Managed the day to day operations of the Tourism Department and staff


Additional Experience

• Nearly 15 years working in tourism marketing, travel writing, and creative destination promotion, much of which was performed remotely and independently with collaborators on four continents
• Author and researcher for several travel apps, including Mall of America, Florence Explorer, Romania Traveler's Guide and Bindu Media’s Florence guide
• Author of Backpacking with Dracula: On the Trail of Vlad "The Impaler" Dracula and the Vampire He Inspired (2016) - history, travel, humor
• Author of Throwing Up: Notes from 35 Years of Juggling (2018) - memoir, humor
• Extensive experience with travel writing and reviewing, long-tail web content production, copy writing, blogging platforms, SEO, and guidebook authoring
• Advanced understanding of social media strategies on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Weibo and Wechat
• Articles and copy have appeared on MSN, CNN, USA Today, Lonely Planet, BBC Travel, StarTribune, Minnesota Monthly magazine, Global Traveler magazine and vita.mn
• Have spoken, presented and appeared on panels at TBEX (North America, Europe and Asia), radio shows (Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa's World, MyTalk107), tourism and hospitality groups, travel and tourism podcasts and TV
• In-depth understanding of new media marketing and influencer initiatives, vetting and designing media familiarization tours
• Visitor-perspective tourism marketing expertise collected from living abroad for over four years, visiting 57 countries and over 400 cities and islands
• Member of the Minneapolis Skyway Advisory Committee since 2013
• Solid base in a number of European languages, including Spanish, Italian and Romanian
Silver medalist at the 2014 International Jugglers’ Association championships


Previous Employment

Lonely Planet | Guidebook author, online features writer

• On-the-ground research for numerous travel guidebook titles
• Primary author for Romania editions 4 & 5, Tuscany & Umbria editions 4 & 5
• Chapter author Italy 8, Eastern Europe editions 9, 10 & 11, and Europe on a Shoestring editions 5, 6 & 7
• Contributor for Bluelist '07 and The Europe Book
• Duties included desk research, cartography, text formatting and fact checking
Articles written for LonelyPlanet.com frequently exceed 20,000 views

MSN | Writer, content creator, humorist

Writer/producer for trending news site msnNOW (now dark)
Frequent traveler advice and tips for Connections, a resource website for Delta Airlines
Humorous vignettes for the Verizon City of Speed web portal
U.S. street food map mash-up for Appetite for Life
MSN Buyer's Guides for tech and gadgets

Global Traveler magazine | Contributor

Travel destination feature articles tailored for executive business travelers
Service pieces and destination business reports


Technical Knowledge

• High familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Acrobat Pro
• Experience with website hosting, WordPress and basic HTML and CSS coding



B.A., Theatre Arts from the U. of Minnesota, Twin Cities