How to Pitch: DRIFT Travel Magazine

May 20, 2021
Niagara Falls including American Falls in foreground and Horseshoe Falls in background, with autumn leaf colors

Pitching to travel writers and editors now is not the pitching of yesteryear. There’s no surprise there. We’re all operating in a new environment, but we’re here to tell you that good pitching is more important than ever for travel PR professionals.

Travel journalists and editors have not stopped covering the industry and destinations, even if they’ve all taken a slight hiatus from press trips and traveling themselves. On the contrary, with so many destinations eager for coverage, they are not lacking options when it comes to stories.

DRIFT Travel Magazine is a luxury Canadian-based travel publication found in newsstands but also with a robust web presence across social media. Editor Steve Drake spoke with DCI about what he’s looking for from destinations and travel marketers looking to get covered in his magazine. As North American travelers from both the U.S. and Canada see hopeful rates of vaccinations, attracting these markets will be vital for recovery.

Traditional, high-end travel may be on a break, but meaningful wellness travel will still very much attract those looking to spend big as pent up demand reaches a saturation point. Publications like DRIFT Travel Magazine are poised to attract such consumers.

Drake shared with DCI that, of course, not being able to travel and report on new destinations has been a frustration throughout the last year. “In addition, the realization that a high degree of sensitivity was required, as our readers were not travelling and feeling frustrated as well,” he said. These shared frustrations among writers and editors, however, have altered their needs and expectations as they create the travel coverage that will drive recovery.

What is most noteworthy is what he is looking for now that recovery efforts are underway, and destinations and travel marketers should pay attention.

Pitching DRIFT Travel Magazine

Drake’s publication focuses on luxury topics, so new stories related to wellness, golf, and wide-open spaces are very much on his radar for the next few months. “Also, destinations that have exciting opportunities to travelers. As always, luxury hotels and destination offerings are always of interest,” he said.

To catch his attention, keep it short and keep it direct. Drake said pitches are coming in faster than ever as destinations compete for print magazine space and coverage. Put some effort into crafting pitches that do the work they need to do and fast. “Headlines pique our interest followed by a succinct 1-2 paragraphs that give us the whole story in a nutshell,” he said.

For some helpful tips, Drake wants marketers to do their homework. For example, he wants a destination that his readers will want to visit but that DRIFT Travel Magazine has not covered recently. A pitch about a previous cover story destination is going to land on deaf ears.

Moreover, the general accessibility of the destination, in this ever-changing COVID landscape, is also necessary for travel PR professionals to highlight. “Given the current climate with the pandemic, vaccines and country requirements, how easy or difficult is it for our readers to access the destination?” he said. Marketers need to make it abundantly clear what hurdles might await travelers to their destinations in each pitch.

Above all, Drake wants fresh content and not just the basic highlights from a destination that has reopened to some level of normalcy. “Are there new things happening? What is the lure to the destination? What is the story line? As a luxury focused travel magazine, the reason must be compelling,” he shared. The emphasis is on new. Avoid wasting a pitch if you can’t come up with anything newsworthy to share.

Do’s and don’t’s

When crafting connections to the media, destinations should look to examples like Portugal. Drake holds their “Can’t Skip Hope” video campaign a notable example. “It’s compelling, relevant and timely and it really hit a chord with travelers,” he said.

But what does he not want for DRIFT Travel Magazine? Drake is looking to get away from pandemic-related coverage. “We are not interested in post-pandemic vaccine or COVID focused content or roundups. We want to look through and past the pandemic and look to the future of travel,” he said.

Likewise, basic pitches about reopening of hotels and restaurants are not going to land on receptive ears at DRIFT Travel Magazine. “They are happening in every destination around the world. The story needs to be more than just the re-opening,” he said.

Press trips

The basic needs of travel journalism have not disappeared just because of a halt in travel. Writers and editors still need access to the places they will be covering. As virtual press trips continue to offer insight into a destination, Drake is hopeful that in-person will return as an industry norm. “With the understanding that many will be virtual press trips for a while, the expectation is that destinations will continue to offer hosted press trips free of charge,” he said.

Destinations, therefore, want to keep in mind that many travel writers will be waiting for those invites as soon as restrictions loosen to appropriate levels.

Perhaps most importantly, Drake wants destinations and marketers to know that nothing has fundamentally changed that much in the travel media. The goals to tell a good story are still the same from before the pandemic began. “We still fill each issue with inspiring travel stories and destination focused editorial content. We just work harder to ensure the content is sympathetic and relevant to readers,” he said.

Marketers looking to place destinations in prominent North American travel media have to keep that in mind as we ramp up pitching efforts. The media – and the consumers it serves – need new, fresh, inspiring content to motivate them to take their first trip in months. Crafting a solid pitch is the first step to getting them there.

Looking to get noticed by the Canadian travel press during recovery? It’s the heart of what we do at DCI, and our 60+ years of destination marketing inform every move we make. Get in touch with Tania Kedikian at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI can connect you to the Canadian travel press.