Travel PR pros have long relied on press trips to introduce key media to all that their clients have to offer. Whether it is a destination, hotel, resort or signature event, a press release will never compare to a firsthand experience. The issue is that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Believe us, we’ve seen it all. More importantly, we’ve learned from it and have developed our own recipe for success that hasn’t failed us yet. Without giving away all of our secrets, we want to share our condensed guide to coordinating a memorable press trip from start to finish – guaranteed to satisfy clients and media alike!
Step 1: Pick a theme
- Identify a key focus area to build your trip itinerary around – be it a festival, relevant travel trend or niche offering unique to your client. This will help keep your journalists on track, while also allowing you to control the type of coverage you’re looking to garner as a result.
Step 2: Develop a compelling invitation letter
- Travel writers receive countless trip invitations daily, so it is important to set yourself apart so as to not get lost in the clutter. Take time to curate a thoughtful invitation letter that spotlights your best itinerary highlights. Don’t rinse-and-repeat the same letter for everyone either – be considerate of personalized interests and beats.
Step 3: Hyper-target key journalists
- Build your wish list of media attendees prior to outreach, but make it realistic. They should all have an editorial focus that aligns with the trip’s theme. Otherwise, expect them to pass altogether or produce coverage that completely misses the mark.
Step 4: Confirm assignments
- It is crucial to receive a written confirmation from freelancers – and even staffers – to designate their editorial commitment to you, even if it’s just a simple email correspondence. If you can’t get that, make sure they’ve produced coverage for your target outlet regularly within the past year.
Step 5: Personalize your itinerary
- While group press trips are a great way to gain different perspectives of shared experiences, it’s important to allow journalists time to explore on their own. Be sure to ask them in advance if they’re interested in setting up any interviews or tours outside of your designated itinerary in an effort to avoid cookie-cutter articles from each attendee.
Step 6: Prepare media for departure
- Leave no room for unwanted surprises! Prior to their departure, properly educate your guests on the weather, tipping protocol, money conversion and more. Also, be sure to clearly designate which elements of the trip your client will cover and what is at their own expense.
Step 7: Follow-up
- Be a reliable resource. Always welcome your guests back from their journey and offer assistance with their stories. Set aside time to chat about their experience and hear how it could have been improved. This will help solidify your relationship and better plan for the future!
Christina Conrado is a Senior Account Executive on the travel team at Coyne PR