October 20, 2021
When a traveler is looking for fun things to do on vacation, they consult a variety of sources: friends & family, influencers on the internet, Facebook groups… but more often than not, it starts with a google search. “Things to do in your destination” and “your destination tours” are just a few of the most common search phrases people use when searching for activities.
Take a moment to type these searches into Google and see what comes up. Likely, you’ll see a few things from Tripadvisor and other tour aggregating sites and then an endless list of articles from travel magazines and blogs. As you go deeper and deeper into the results pages, you’ll find the publications get smaller and more niche, from mom bloggers to adventure travelers to city guides from your local paper.
Getting listed or featured on these sites is one of the best ways to drive awareness and traffic for your tour or activity! Sometimes you might get a surprise email from a publisher who has contacted you to inform you that your tour has been featured in their roundup. But what if you could be pro-active about getting your activity featured? Getting your story told in travel publications is a strategic PR move that can really help you grow. Here are some tips and how-to’s for getting started.
Publications come in all sizes and formats. Some are purely digital, some send out a physical print publication to a subscriber list, some even just have an email newsletter! If you do a Google search for activities in your destination, take note of which publications come up. Are any of them publications you would want to be featured in? Start compiling your list in an excel sheet along with links to contact information. Sometimes you’ll find an email, other times you’ll find a contact form for PR pitches.
While big travel magazines and the local newspapers are prime PR opportunities, don’t overlook smaller niche publications that have loyal readership. These are often online journals and blogs run by a smaller team. A smaller operation could actually be more favorable, because there’s less competition and less of a chance of your story falling through the cracks. So, spend some time searching the internet for niche publications that cover travel and tourism. Pinterest is a great place for finding these sorts of opportunities.
The most important (and often overlooked) part of PR isn’t in a well-written press release. You can waste a lot of time learning about PR tactics and best practices only to pitch a commonplace story that editors are going to pass on. In a time where everyone has a story to tell, it’s about doing something different and compelling that is worth talking about. Keep in mind that editors are being pitched all day long. How can you make your story stand out? What is your hook? What can you tell them that is going to get them to lean in? What is going to make their readers eager to keep reading? Writers are always looking for a unique angle, something that is going to add value to their subscribers. The last thing you want to do is pitch them a general advertisement for your tour/activity.
Always be prepared – if someone comes to you wanting more information about your tour, it’s best practice to send over a press kit. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should give people a strong idea of your story. Ideally your press kit should make it easy for the writer to put together a compelling article on you. We’ve seen some pretty creative approaches to a press kit in the travel industry, but one of our favorites is a list of ‘story starters’ – prompts that writers can use to get their creative juices flowing. Check out this example.
Most writers have their own social media handles, and you can find them easily on Twitter and Instagram. If there’s a publication you’re dying to get into, take note of who is writing the articles that cover tours & activities. Start building a genuine relationship with them by responding to their content & stories and resharing their articles. Over time, the hope is this editor will take notice. Eventually, when you have something to pitch them, you can reach out and share your news. But it’s important to be respectful of any communication policies they have in place. Take note and see if they set any ground rules for pitching.
Are you ready to start spreading your story? We hope these PR tips have been helpful and encourage you to share any great press successes in our free Facebook group!