Why Travel PR is more than just press trips.

Why Travel PR is more than just press releases and press trips.

The mainstays of travel PR are press releases and press trips – the content of which fills the media’s travel sections.

There will always be a role for press releases, which remain a highly effective way of securing widespread coverage with an announcement of a new itinerary, a new initiative or a new hire.

Arguably the whole UK media is underpinned by press trips. Where would travel journalism be without them? Offering travel journalists holidays in return for coverage is what oils the wheels of the whole industry.

Within any newsroom the Travel Editor is the most popular person, handing over holidays to reporters from other departments in return for a write-up. A quick look at any media database shows that most journalists like to list travel as one of their areas of expertise. Free trip anyone?!

The UK Travel & Tourism sector is continuing to rise with the country’s GDP predicted to rise £192 billion by the end of 2022, with the summer being a prime time for people in the UK to travel abroad and tourists visiting the UK.

With this in mind, there has never been a better time, or a more important time, for travel companies to implement an effective communications strategy if they want to drive demand, gain favour with stakeholders and entice the best staff.

However, there are several other communications tactics that travel brands can use to achieve media mentions outside the travel pages.

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

Promote a strong spokesperson.

Not every company has a character like Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary in the boardroom. And maybe that’s no bad thing. But just think of the number of column inches he gets. Having an identifiable spokesperson who can become the public face of your company is invaluable.

A strong figurehead can unlock opportunities for opinion pieces that promote your brand and its values outside the travel pages, in the comment sections of newspapers and websites.

Similarly, a spokesperson can provide reactive news commentary around subjects your company has an interest in.
As well as print opportunities, a brand figurehead can be placed as a commentator on TV and radio news – or to discuss travel issues in other slots.

There is an example of PHA’s work in this field here.

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 do go wrong.

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.

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 is also very useful to consider bigger reputational issues and consider how they can be turned into an advantage. Can your business take the lead in a tricky field and become an advocate for change?

There is an example of PHA’s work in this field here and here.

Public affairs outreach.

Given the close relationship between government and the travel industry, devoting resources to Public Affairs can pay huge dividends, especially for travel firms during the busy summer period.

With the current challenges surrounding flight cancellations, supply chain issues and staff shortages airlines should be engaging with not only public but also political stakeholders to ensure their voice is heard and the necessary measures are put in place to provide the support the industry requires.

Engaging with political decision makers can help improve a challenging operating environment for businesses and remove any unnecessary obstacles that make doing business harder than it needs to be for both airlines and consumers.

There is an example of PHA’s work in this field here.

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