Public Relations for Travel Agents – How to Interest Media | Travel Research Online


Public Relations for Travel Agents – How to Interest Media

Why is it that some travel agencies consistently manage to garner good press coverage while others don’t?  Smart travel agents that know how to get their name in the paper know how to find a unique angle for their story ideas or speaking engagements and to fashion and time the story to the needs of the press. By developing an awareness of trends, timely events and other cultural influences, you are more likely to find the public interest inherent in your story that reporters seek for their articles.

Part of your overall networking stragegy should be to meet as many people associated with media as possible.  Writers, editors, radio and television personalities, publishers.  Cultivating good relationships in the media helps to give you an edge in getting your story noticed by those responsible for editorial and advertising.

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A crucial mistake is to approach a reporter with bare information on your services or on client product. Writers look for “angles” and for human interest. Writers and reporters are interested in stories that advance their reader’s interests, not your business. If at all possible, utilize the services of a local PR professional. Local publicists are likely to already have established relationships with reporters and know how to craft a press release or story for your community market.

An excellent way to properly time your PR campaigns is to take a look at the editorial calendars of your area’s local magazines and print publications. Most publications produce an editorial calendar – a list of themes for upcoming issues- to provide advertisers with an advance awareness of good issues in which to place an advertisement. However, editorial calendars also give the smart travel consultant insight into opportunities to have local media feature their travel planning practice in an article.

For example, at random we pulled the editorial calendar for Philadelphia Magazine:

Look at the topics to be covered in this one magazine. Each issue represents several reporters with critical deadlines, looking for stories and angles for that issue: March – Travel; June – City & Shore travel; September – Fall Travel … do you get the idea that travel is an important editorial concern? In addition, the small business nature of the travel agency provides magazines a wealth of opportunity for special niche stories on trends in travel, women in business, eco-travel; working at home; working in a new economy, etc.

To take advantage of the editorial calendar, write the editorial staff well in advance of their deadlines, which will also be featured on the calendar. Give the editors an interesting twist on some national issue that has a local angle: “Philadelphia travel agent promotes angry green travel!” What does that mean? I have no idea, but it grabs your attention, doesn’t it? It will grab the attention of a local reporter as well.

Take some time to investigate the editorial calendars of some of your local magazines and learn to spin a good human interest story. You might just find a real opportunity awaits.

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