“We would like you to arrange a press trip to Barcelona next month.”
Hearing those words from my new client in the first week of the contract made my heart skip a beat.
I wanted to list any number of factors that would make such a trip impossible: the time pressures on journalists; the restrictions on taking ‘freebies’; and the fact that three days out of the office over a bank holiday and heading into half term would quite simply make this a near-impossible task! My brain was firing all cylinders on how to make this a success but at the same time I was already admitting defeat.
Even as I was thinking this, I was smiling, nodding my head and saying this would be no problem at all… Despite my reservations, the trip was an undeniable success.
The following tips will hopefully help others who find themselves in a similar situation…
1. Vary the itinerary
Put your PR head on and remember the golden ‘80/20’ rule. Everything in PR should be 20% about your client and 80% centered on the bigger picture.
In this instance it was a leading luxury hotel brand that we were shouting about and while they do have an amazing offering, the rule was still applicable. As a result, the itinerary was very much focused around the destination with attending journalists getting a complete experience of Barcelona as a city.
By following this strategy, you make the offer more enticing and allow for an ‘all round’ review which won’t come across as too ‘pluggy’.
2. Think carefully about your target media
Contrary to popular opinion, traditional journalists and bloggers get on extremely well. Organizing a press trip that combines these two groups not only allows you to extend the reach of your client’s messaging, but also makes for interesting conversation once on the trip. We took it one step further and also mixed nationalities, which made it even more fun!
3. Have bespoke conversations and take time to listen
Do not send a mass invitation out. Call your target media, discuss what would make it work for them and make bespoke allowances where you can.
All five of the journalists who attended the Barcelona press trip requested different departing airports – would you believe it! Instead of letting this derail the trip, we booked from five separate airports. I made sure to land an hour before the first arrival to ensure the party got together at the earliest opportunity…
4. Share expectations early on
Talk openly with the attending media about what is expected from them post-trip. Share agreed key messaging, facilitate research around flight prices and extra activities (even if they are not client-focused) and ‘talk timing’.
If everything is agreed beforehand it allows for a more relaxed trip, with the journalist fully in-the-know before the trip has even begun.
5. Realize reviews are not always 100% perfect
And this is what makes them such effective PR tools. Consumers want to know the genuine pros and cons of different types of holidays – because not all holidays are for everyone. It is essential to make sure your client knows that reviews are seen as credible and trustworthy – and therefore it’s always possible that flaws will be picked up on. A review is a ‘real’ piece of journalism, and consumers trust honesty.
So, the team did in fact secure five journalists for this particular press trip and the resulting media coverage was plentiful, effective and definitely ‘on brand’. In hindsight, we can attribute this to the wonderful, varied and genuine experience they all had.
So don’t believe the myths – the group press trip is certainly not dead. You just need to put in the work to make sure everything runs smoothly – from invites right through to coverage.