Five top tips for a successful press trip
Arranging a press trip can be a logistical nightmare of gargantuan proportions, but if you get it right, it is one of the most effective forms of PR you can do for a hospitality client.
1. Put together a homogenous group of media
When inviting media on a press trip, make sure the invitees have something in common. One senior editor and four influencers on the trip might not make for the most compatible and synergetic group. As writers will be spending several days, activities and meals together having shared experiences, interests or other common references will path the way for effortless conversations at dinner.
2. Preparation is everything, obviously
As the PR rep, you need to be organised beyond organised. Preparation is absolutely imperative to success. Make sure to reach an agreement on the press coverage in advance, create a well-thought-out itinerary for your press trip and follow up (repeatedly!) on every single detail of the trip including flights, accommodation, activities, visas, etc. At In2 Consulting we ask editors to fill out a tongue-in-cheek “getting to know you” form. This sets a relaxed tone and is the first step to creating rapport with the group, which really is the key to a successful press trip. The form lists personal likes and dislikes, dietary requirements, social media handles, agreed press coverage and editorial focus, allowing your client and other partners involved to prepare personal touches for each participant. Also, please allow me to share a few DON’Ts: don’t schedule a press trip around the 25th of the month when monthly publications have their deadlines and try to limit the press trip to 3-5 days in length as many publications will not be able to have their writers and editors away from the office for longer trips.
3. Make everyone happy
As the PR rep your primary job is to keep your client, partners and editors happy. Manage expectations by sharing information in advance with all parties involved. Give the editors access to fact sheets, image galleries, hashtags and all information necessary for feature writing. Treat everyone involved as VIPs and do not get pompous about your own role. During the press trip, keep everyone informed daily of how things are going (WhatsApp groups are excellent tools) and after the press trip, make sure to collate press coverage and feedback in a detailed report.
4. Keep the itinerary flexible
When developing the itinerary for your press trip, make sure to schedule several blocks of free time. Why? A jam-packed itinerary stresses and annoys the editors. If they wanted hectic days, they would have stayed in the office. Trust me on this one; you need to allow free time to write, relax and truly experience the product, services and activities your client offers. If necessary, take charge of the itinerary when on location and explain to your client why it’s better to let the editors paddle
board, if that’s what they want, rather than trudge through a local market in the sweltering midday sun. And for goodness sake include a spa treatment in the itinerary.
5. Get up close and personal
The success of a press trip depends largely on personal relations. The “chaperoning” PR rep should be sociable and outgoing, omnipresent, proactive and organised. Given that you have actually managed to entice super busy editors to come away from the office, you need to get engaged on a personal level. Even if this means you are singing karaoke until 3 am and then have to be up at dawn to round up everyone for breakfast. If the press trip feels more like a well-deserved break to the media than work, you have succeeded. In my humble experience, a happy editor writes happy articles.
In conclusion, I have found the most important feedback from editors on press trips to be: “finally an itinerary that actually allows for time to write and relax” and “what a relief to be hanging out with a PR rep who is fun and friendly, making the trip so enjoyable.”
Blog by Cristina Kristensen, Senior Communication Consultant