“Public Relations” refers not to a single tactic but to a varied number of ways that a travel agent can reach out to the public at large and raise the profile of their travel agency. Public relations tactics tend to be a favorite of guerilla marketers as they depend more on personal effort than outlays of capital and, properly executed, can be highly effective. Public relations also have the great advantage of being a more personal approach to marketing. The personality of the travel consultant is at the center of each effort, and the authenticity of the travel consultant is immediately available to everyone within the effort’s sphere of influence. Taking on a public relations effort is no small feat in that it requires that the travel agent put themselves in full view of the public with little margin.
If your travel practice is centered in your local community, there is probably no more important set of tactics than those grouped under the label of public relations. Keep in mind that you might choose one, all, or none of these tactics for your own use and depending on your own individual personality. However, a well rounded marketing plan will almost certainly contain at least one of the following tactics:
- Press Releases
- Writing Articles
- Public Speaking Opportunities
- Volunteer Work
Not each of these public relations tactic is applicable to every distribution channel. For example, if you have a good contact at the local VFW, you need to choose the most adventageous tactic or set of tactics to market to them. Perhaps a press release directed to their local newsletter might be effective, but maybe not as effective as speaking in front of the group or writing an article for the newsletter. Perhaps several of these tactics in combination would work better than any single tactic alone. Each circumstance will be different and will require concerted analysis on your part.
Exercise: Take the time to read these articles on public relations. Look through your marketing efforts and determine the role that Public Relations tactics have historically played. How successful were your efforts at reaching out on a personal level to the media, the public and through networking opportunities? Evaluate which of the above tactics you would like to know more about. Determine to stretch yourself and to take on a tactic that might not feel entirely comfortable to you.