A travel agency can achieve a very effective public relations program for very little capital expenditure. However, to be effective, the program will almost certainly involve an extensive outlay of energy and effort. For the travel agent willing to put in the time necessary, a public relations campaign can be one of the most effective ways of raising the agency’s public profile. Public relations typically carries an inherent third-party endorsement. As a result, potential clients will feel more immediately confident in the expertise of the travel agent when the marketing message is received via a public relations channel.
As we have discussed this week, there are typically four distribution channels for a public relations campaign: media, public speaking, publishing and sponsorships. In most campaigns, the agency will utilize more than one of these avenues and each will support the other. However, each distribution channel is a specialty all to itself, which is why a good PR campaign requires a high degree of effort to effectively initiate and maintain. There are events to plan, copy to produce, articles to write and interviews to give. Each of these components require dedicated attention. Only rarely does good PR just “happen”; more often it is the result of much concerted effort.
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One of the best ways to accomplish the heavy lifting requirements of a publicity campaign is to leverage a local not-for-profit organization for which you have a real, authentic affinity. As an example, what if your travel agency sponsored a weekend in conjunction with the local animal shelter to increase the number of volunteers? For your part, you would agree to develop the campaign, invite clients, give interviews and sponsor a local award to the individuals who have contributed most in the past year to the well being of animals on a volunteer basis. Your actual cost would be the expense involved in a plaque or trophy from a local supplier (who should be an actual or future client of yours). Your upside would be the enormous number of people who would read the press releases, work at the shelter, or who would be attracted to the event. Participation with a not-for-profit organization carries a tremendous amount of good-will. By giving of your time to a worthy cause, you would reap not only good publicity, but, more importantly no small measure of good karma.
Who could ask for anything more?