Why effective Travel PR must be about more than press trips

The best Travel PR includes crisis and reputation planning, media training and public affairs outreach

The most common tactics in Travel PR are press releases and press trips – the content of which helps to fill the travel sections of newspapers and websites.

Even with budgets under tighter control, the Travel Editor remains one of the most popular people on any newsroom floor because they need help from other journalists to cover press trips and holidays.

However, there are several other strategic communications tactics which travel brands must use as part of a comprehensive communications strategy.

Here are our top three tips on how travel firms can secure additional coverage, mitigate problems and exert influence:

Promote a strong spokesperson.

Few companies can boast charismatic leaders such as Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, whose media presence drives considerable attention both in print and on broadcast. However, having an identifiable spokesperson serving as the public face of your company can prove invaluable.

A well-articulated spokesperson opens up opportunities for opinion pieces that position your brand and its values outside the conventional travel pages.

The same person can offer insights through reactive news commentary on related topics, positioning your company as a thought leader in the industry.

Even the most charismatic travel executives can benefit from thorough media training to ensure they’re well-equipped to handle interactions with journalists across print, radio, and TV.

Crises reaction and reputation planning.

Every good business should be constantly evaluating reputational issues and preparing for moments of crisis. This is of particularly high importance in the travel sector where things inevitable do go wrong.

Resorts, hotels, airlines, cruise companies, holiday parks and venues can quickly find themselves on the back foot responding to outbreaks of illness or tricky complaints from customers.

Social media has made it very easy for disgruntled clients and staff to voice their grievances publicly and you need to know how to respond.

It’s important to take time out of the normal communications cycle to map out potential crises and longer-term reputation issues.

Ensure you have key messages in place, know how to escalate a crisis within the organisation and make sure that anyone who may speak to a journalist has received media training.

Can your business take the lead in a tricky field and become an advocate for change?

Public affairs outreach.

Given the close relationship between government and the travel industry, a robust public affairs strategy can yield substantial dividends.

During peak seasons such as summer, when travel firms may grapple with flight cancellations, supply chain issues and staff shortages, engaging with political stakeholders becomes crucial.

By making sure their voices are heard, travel companies, airports and airlines can work together with policymakers to implement measures which mitigate operational challenges.

This proactive engagement can facilitate a better business environment and remove unnecessary roadblocks, driving forward both the industry and your firm’s success.

Is your travel company or associated business looking for PR or Public Affairs support? Why not get in touch with our team of experts today to discuss how we could support you with a complex Travel PR strategy?

Get in touch with the team