Nothing beats experiencing something for yourself – but most people only have a finite amount of holiday each year, so how to influence them to spend it with you? When it comes to travel PR, well-organized press and influencer trips can be a really effective way of promoting your business to new audiences.
Reflection PR has recently returned from a third press trip in the past six months to Dubrovnik as part of a campaign for client Valamar Hotels & Resorts, to highlight their offering to UK audiences. The itinerary we compiled with the client team focused on the hotel’s high-quality accommodation and facilities, supported by ease of accessibility from the UK, within the broader appeal of this historic city as a destination.
Just last month we wrote about the experience being key to travel marketing, and hosted press trips are one of the key ways that we deliver it. By offering (carefully-selected) writers the opportunity to experience your brand for themselves, you will be able to reach new audiences with engaging and enticing coverage that really brings your business to life.
If you’re new to the travel and tourism sector, you might question the value for money that the effort and time involved in putting on an all-expenses-paid trip gives your business, so here’s a brief ‘How to’ set up a press trip to ensure that it delivers as an effective strand to your marketing activity.
Where to start?
Working backwards from the client’s objectives, we start by putting together a shortlist of media targets. This may be focused on print journalists or digital influencers, or a mixture. We’ll look at each outlet’s reach and house style, to see which ones are the best fit, taking into consideration other factors like publication schedules to ensure that coverage appears at the most effective time.
Once we have identified specific writers, we’ll work with them to set up their story and develop the hooks that work for them which may include additions to the itinerary and support with supplying specific images or fact-file info. For the brand itself, this is where we liaise closely to line up the desired coverage. Whilst the extent to which this can be negotiated varies depending on the writer’s own status, as a staff journalist, freelancer or blogger, it’s fair to say that a can-do attitude and quick responses go a long way to boosting your chances.
Participants confirmed, what next?
Advance preparation is key so whether that’s finding out the dietary requirements of guests, or ensuring that they’re physically up for any of the activities you’ve got planned, try and establish a rapport with participants ahead of the trip itself. This helps everyone to relax, and therefore enjoy, the trip more which in turn leads to a more positive experience all round.
For a group trip, it’s always a good idea to provide a nominated host, who basically takes on the role of ensuring that everyone is where they need to be at the right time! From providing a welcoming committee at the airport to assisting with check-in, undertaking multiple head counts, setting up additional excursions and managing any unexpected issues, the host is there to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
It’s also a good idea to provide a comprehensive ‘press pack’, to include images and information about items that have been experienced on the trip. Many top travel writers are away more than they are at home, so making it easy for them to get hold of accurate info in their own time can really pay dividends in the eventual published piece.
Pulling it all together
With a range of online and print writers in the mix, it’s important to keep track of coverage which may be published over an extended period. Starting with as-live monitoring of any social media activity during the trip, you then need to keep track of articles as and when they appear. Maintaining a good relationship with participants on the trip is one of the easiest ways to do this, and also makes it more likely that they will consult with us to ensure that their write-up is factually correct.
Of course, none of this happens by itself and whilst you can undertake your own online research into travel writers and outlets, judge who is the best fit for your brand, arrange the itinerary, liaise with participants, put together a comprehensive press pack, host the trip and do all of the requisite follow-up, it can be hugely time-consuming which is where working with a PR agency can help.
With a little black book already full of travel writers and influencers, and years of experience organising trips in the UK and abroad under our belts, we’re one step ahead. If you think your business could benefit from a wider audience, we’d love to help.