Articles: Blogs

What should you look for in a travel PR firm?

80:20 Communications - 15th August 2013

Choosing a good travel PR firm can be a challenge, with many competing providers on the market. Here, we offer six tips that can help you select the right PR experts for your business.

  1. Look for a team that offers insights. When you select a PR firm, you are effectively ‘buying’ the people who will look after you day-to-day. Therefore, look for travel PR experts who not only love travel, but have a strong track record of delivering excellent PR results and of understanding your audiences. For example, our team at 80:20 Communications includes not only seasoned travel PR professionals, but also former journalists and editors, such as the former editor of TTG Middle East & North Africa and Travel Weekly. This combination means we can understand the media’s needs as well as those of our clients, thereby allowing us to suggest truly effective travel PR strategies and tactics.
  2. Search for knowledge of your sector. You should look for companies who can offer PR insights based on relevant experience. For example, if you are a hotel operator, you should look partly for PR firms who have previously promoted hotels or resorts. However, you may also want to consider travel PR firms with broader experience: these firms may be able to suggest ideas that have worked well for other types of travel business, and which, when applied to your sector, could be fresh and eye-catching for your target audiences.
  3. Check for business understanding. Your PR team needs to understand your overarching business strategy and how its work needs to complement your other marketing activities. Therefore, look for a travel PR team that can see its work for you in the widest context. Test for this quality by asking agencies how they could work alongside your other marketing agencies to deliver successful integrated marketing programmes.
  4. Demand creativity. It is widely recognised that PR is a creative activity, but it is important to understand why this is important. In many markets around the world, PR is already a mature industry. This means there are many PR firms and clients vying for the attention of journalists. At the same time, changes in the media caused by the digital revolution mean publishers now have fewer journalists and less space available to report news. As a result, your travel PR firm need to come up with creative and original ways to bring your story to life, in a way that excites journalists, encapsulates your messages and is consistent with your brand positioning. Therefore, look hard at the evidence a firm can offer of their creativity, because this is a key weapon in your PR armoury.
  5. Ensure your firm is organised. Before every glamorous-sounding media trip, there is a mountain of pre-trip organisation to climb. Your travel PR firm need to be able to keep multiple balls in the air to ensure that the right media are invited and looked after, from start to finish, and then followed up with afterwards to ensure that valuable coverage appears. Therefore, as the yin to the yang of PR creativity, look for a travel PR firm that also knows how to multi-task. Ask for examples of how they have managed multiple deadlines simultaneously to achieve a successful outcome.
  6. Seek out social media ‘mavens’ (experts). Travel was one of the pioneer industries for the online world. We all became comfortable with booking our trips and holidays via online travel agents a long time before we embraced other aspects of our digital lives. As a result, it is no surprise that social media has become immensely important as a component of travel PR. Your PR agency not only needs to demonstrate a real understanding of social media platforms and ‘netiquette’, but, using the aforementioned creativity, needs to know how to generate content that tells your story in a way that engages followers and encourages them to share and recommend the material you put online.

We hope these tips are helpful. For more advice or to discuss how 80:20 Communications could help your business, please contact us.