6 Ways to Captivate the Meetings and Events Press

July 14, 2023

During the 2023 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Travel and Tourism section conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attendees dove headfirst into a discussion on how best to connect destinations with the meetings and events press. DCI attended the media session entitled Pitching the Big Picture for Meetings and Events, to learn more about trends directly from the editors who put destinations front and center for planners.

Danielle LeBreck, Senior Content Director at Meetings Today, Loren G. Edelstein, Vice President and Content Director at Northstar Meetings Group, and Michelle Russell, Editor in Chief at Convene, assembled to share their biggest advice for destinations eyeing the meeting industry.

No matter the reason you may be looking to attract meeting planners’ attention, these takeaways are key to pitching efficiently and effectively.

1. Mind Their Inboxes
These editors said they receive 1000 emails each day and, sorry, but they don’t open them all. The trick to getting their attention is making sure the subject line is smart. If they aren’t even going to open it, then even the most glorious pitch will go unseen.
But, even if your pitch isn’t read right away, know that editors do search their inboxes when working on a story to check on pitches and story ideas they may have missed when the topic wasn’t top of mind.
And don’t start with, “Have I got a great destination for you!” Leave the cuteness at the door and lead with compelling research or news that throws them immediately into an engaging pitch. You’ll cut through the noise better with a sharp angle right away.

2. Feature Experts
Interesting pitches are half the battle. The editors also want you to offer experts that can spotlight the intellectual capital of a destination. Be smart about your pitching and infuse some top-tier leaders and changemakers to help sharpen that angle anymore.
Once an editor wants to work with a story, the next step is finding sources, so make it easier for them and you’re on your way to landing more coverage.

3. Checked Out of Hotels
The editors know how important hotels and event properties are for the meetings and events industry. They are cornerstones! For pitching purposes, however, it’s time to know that hotel renovations will never be feature stories except in the most extreme and surprising cases.
At best they’ll be part of a roundup of hotel news, but try to find more engaging and innovative ways to pitch hotels if you want significant coverage.

4. Get Unique with Diversity
Even the meetings and events space is concerned with DEI – and that’s a good thing. While stories about diverse suppliers and other angles still gain traction, destinations need to remember the full – if not endless – spectrum of diversity. For example, especially for meetings and events, neurodiversity and accessibility are important.
So pitch DEI stories – please – but editors want to hear that your destination and venue understands the vast complexity of those three letters if they’re going to run a story about your efforts.

5. Who Are You Writing For?
DMOs obviously want to target leisure travelers, but their needs and expectations aren’t the same as the audiences for editors during this panel. Their publications – reminder! – focus on groups and meeting planners, so your pitch needs to be equally as focused.
Write your pitch and ask yourself why a meeting professional would care about the topic in the first place. The story speaks to them. It helps them. It makes their job more dynamic or easier. All of these are good signs. If it’s just interesting because it sounds fun for a leisure traveler, you are missing the mark, and consequently missing the chance for coverage.
Consider what makes your destination unique not for the everyday traveler, but for the group and business travelers who will be flocking thanks to all the fantastic coverage these editors can help you generate.

6. Focus Your Fam Trips
These editors need more than a standard press trip, since they are also interested specifically in the meeting side of things. Invitations to experience your destination that piggyback off other events and meeting planner fams are the best options.
They are also looking for themes in their meeting fam trips as well, so steer clear of generic trips and showcase what your destination does best. Focus on the specific industries and niches that make your destination attractive to meeting planners and you’ll have an easier time landing a headline in the meetings and events press.

Hoping to connect better with the meeting and events press? Advance your destination’s reputation by getting in touch with Daniella Middleton at [email protected] to learn about how DCI’s more than 60 years of experience can benefit your goals.

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Daniella Middleton