As a travel PR agency, our hotel and travel clients rely on our expertise in organizing successful, cost-effective and highly impactful press trips to highlight their brand. Beyond the initial steps of attracting and securing the attendance of top tier journalists on assignment, perhaps the most important element of press trip planning involves putting together the perfect itinerary.
As a hotel or tour operator, it is important to understand that yes, while journalists on a press trip are working, the product (or story) that results from their trip will be a reflection of their personal experience. Thus, when we advise our clients on press trip itineraries, there are a few factors we always keep in mind – ultimately, trying to craft the ideal experience for the journalists, their outlets and audiences.
Here are our top five tips to keep in mind when putting together your next press trip itinerary:
- Highlight the Best Aspects of Your Property – This one is a no brainer. The purpose of a press trip is to have journalists experience your product firsthand. Beyond providing a general overview of the property in the way of a site inspection, etc, the itinerary should allow journalists to experience the aspects of your property that truly distinguish it. If there is a signature spa treatment that is out of this world, make sure that journalists have the option to experience it. Highlight your cuisine in the form of tasting menus that allow journalists to explore your menu through a multi-course experience. You get the idea.
- Keep in Mind The Audience – Press trips have a purpose and end goal – feature editorial coverage highlighting your hotel or company. Make sure in putting together the itinerary that you take into account the audience of the media outlets attending. For instance, Outside magazine’s readers have far different interests than the readers of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. This doesn’t mean however, that you can’t design an itinerary that would meet both outlets’ editorial needs. Be creative and keep in mind balancing the needs of all attendees to offer the best material for their stories.
- Allow for Free Time – Free time – everyone needs it, but more often than not we hear from journalists that other public relations agencies neglect to provide it. Make sure to allow for at least a few hours of free time a day. Journalists will value this and will ultimately gain more from the experience. They may opt for additional interviews during free time, retreat to their room to finalize a story or enjoy a cocktail by the pool. The point is that the time is theirs and it will allow them to experience what it’s like to be a guest at the property.
- Gauge the Interests of Your Attendees – Communicate with your attendees in advance of the press trip to gain a thorough understanding of what attracted them to attend the trip. Understanding what most intrigues them will allow you to put together an itinerary that will heighten their experience at your resort – thus adding inspiration to their story.
- Be Flexible – It’s simple, be open to change. Situations may arise where a journalist really, really wants to experience a certain tour or spa treatment that was not included on the original itinerary. This is normal. Our advice is always to do everything in your power to make it happen. They will appreciate it and it will serve your purpose in the end.
What tips do you have for planning press trips?