Best Practices for Executing a Group Press Trip

January 5, 2016

press trip

PR professionals at destination marketing organizations are often tasked with arranging press trips for media – securing participants, organizing flights and developing itineraries that will drive editorial coverage. Part art, part science, here are a few best practices.

Have a theme:
Decide on a theme for the trip and stick to it. The theme will help you customize a unique itinerary that allows you to highlight both your “must-see” tourism experiences and hidden gems. It will also help you source unique voices in your local community who can best tell the story – from local chefs and entrepreneurs, to lifelong residents and celebrities who call the area home. The theme and itinerary content will then naturally narrow your target list and woo the journalists and digital influencers who will truly appreciate the theme.

Be flexible, but firm with partners:
Reach out to your tourism partners as early as possible, providing as much information as you can pertaining to your expectations and what they can anticipate in return. Your partners may have a better idea of what will make a stronger story for your group, so be open to their suggestions. Yet, keep the theme in mind and don’t be afraid to say “that’s not quite the right fit.”

Distribute invites early:
Tourism media often book trips months in advance, especially those who work with long-lead publications. It is important to send out invitations at least eight weeks in advance, providing as much information as possible. At this point most items on the itinerary won’t be confirmed and that is understandable, but DMOs who are able to provide complete itineraries will benefit from landing the most prolific editorial participants. If your most desired journalist is not available, don’t be afraid to ask for a personal recommendation of another writer who might be interested. You’re likely to unearth new talent you’ve never previously considered approaching.

Details, details, details:
Once media are confirmed, share as many details with your partners as possible, including, outlet names, journalist names, links to sample articles, social media handles, impression numbers and journalist preferences. This will allow you partners to engage with participants even before they arrive in your destination.

When the itinerary is finalized send it to the journalists, laying out each day with the time of each activity, contact details for the supporting DMO, social media handles of attractions, and links so they can do their own research before the trip and be prepared.

Put on your happy face:
You become a destination ambassador when media are in town. While certain personalities in your group may prove challenging to handle, it is crucial to keep your cool, play mediator and ensure that everyone has what they need to write a positive, robust story.

  • Don’t schedule things too early in the morning. If breakfast is the first stop, make it optional – some media are not morning people or don’t eat breakfast and would prefer to just meet up for the first activity in the day.
  • Take time to get to know the media individually and avoid playing favorites. Sit next to a different person at each meal or in the car. The personal connection will go a long way in their experience on the trip and will give you a sense of what makes them tick.
  • Provide adequate down-time each day for the media to explore on their own, get some work done and to have personal time. It will result in a more customized destination story.
  • The itinerary may change slightly while on location due to circumstances out of your control, but it is up to you to make sure the group is prepared and on time for all activities.
  • Have contact details on hand for all media and partners in the event someone gets lost, you’re running behind or need to confirm details.

Have other tips for running successful press trips?  Tweet us @aboutDCI!

Ally Carlson

Written by Ally Carlson

Ally is a communications veteran based in Toronto. She not only creates original content that engages consumers, she's adept at leveraging media platforms and social influence that motivates consumer travel.

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1 Comment

  • Tamara (Globe Guide) says:

    Great article, totally agree with all of this having been on many press trips. I appreciate when there is free time, as not only does it give me a chance to further explore on my own, but also edit some photos to post to my social media accounts which generate more exposure about the trip in real time.

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