The world is filled with hundreds of destinations, thousands of hotels, and even more attractions. So, convincing a traveler to choose one over the other boils down to the power of public relations. If the tourism PR is done well, a previously unpopular destination can become a hotspot (i.e., Iceland), a hotel can sell out, and a new attraction can become a must-see. But what are the strategies?
What is the goal of tourism PR?
Booking travel has changed drastically over the past couple of decades. In that period, we’ve gone from calling up airlines and getting paper tickets or using a travel agent to seeing a wanderlust Instagram post and booking an entire adventure online. This ease of booking and planning is incredible for travelers and travel companies alike. But, with that ease comes significant competition as the internet is now saturated with options.
Tourism PR aims to help travel companies stand out from the crowd by ensuring diversification of exposure.
5 PR Strategies for Travel Companies
There are many strategies that we utilize in PR that can vary across clients. But, when it comes to tourism PR, there are five key ways to increase recognition.
Do Your Research
Before deciding where to focus your attention, you should consider the travel company’s current perception. Reach out to travel industry insiders and contacts to learn how they perceive the business. For example, find out what it’s known for if it’s a destination. This provides valuable insight into where you can lean into the locale’s strengths, but it can also shed light on opportunities to highlight details that travelers might need to learn about. The same applies to nearly any travel company—hotel, cruise, etc. You need to know where you stand to make a strategic move going forward.
Carve Out a Few Niches
Once you have that research, you can determine how the travel company should be positioned. It’s impossible to be all things to all people. Instead, choosing a few niches that set the company apart is better. This helps stand out among the crowd as you can then target audiences that would appreciate those niches. For example, a travel company with a wellness focus won’t necessarily want to waste effort on a college spring break traveler. While it might seem like casting a wide net will mean more business, focusing on highlighting select details will mean a more engaged traveler. And they’re likely to run in circles with similar interests, so the message will naturally spread.
Also, defining those niche offerings is more appealing to media outlets as they need to know why they should be writing about one travel company over another. If you can own a more specific market, it makes it more appealing as a writing topic.
Creating partnerships will raise awareness of a hospitality destination, hotel, brand, etc. For example, if the travel company has a wellness focus, it may partner with an athletic apparel brand. This allows for a crossover of audiences we know have similar interests. It also can elevate both brands as the partnerships insinuate a stamp of approval giving more validity and gravitas to both.
You can also look at partnerships that make experiencing the travel company easier. For example, a hotel could partner with an airline to create an easy-to-book package. There are various ways to tackle partnerships, but it should always be part of your tourism PR strategy.
Utilize Social Media
It’s undeniable that social media is a powerful tool for any PR. That’s especially true for tourism PR. Travelers will book an entire trip based on a photo they saw on Instagram. So, a travel company must utilize social media as a PR tool. Ensure you have excellent photography; invite target influencers to experience the company firsthand and post about it; and have ways for travelers to engage via hashtags, contests, and more. All of this will amplify the company beyond traditional media and advertising.
Target Specific Media Outlets
As explained above, a travel company can only attract some. So, just as you should be carving out niche differentiators, you should also target specific media outlets and reporters. For example, a reporter that covers hospitality business news won’t write about a new design element. That would be better suited for a design-focused outlet. There may be a business angle, but identify those various angles and target the proper outlets/reporters that beat. What’s great about this targeted approach is that it actually creates more opportunities for coverage on a single travel company.
Overall, smart tourism PR strategizing can revolutionize the way a travel company is perceived and affect its bottom line, with travelers choosing to book with them over another company in a very crowded market. It all starts with taking the time to understand where you stand and what makes you different. From there, it’s a matter of utilizing the right tools, such as social media and partnerships, to get in front of those that care most. Finally, don’t forget to target specific media outlets for the best chance at success. Do all this, and a travel company will soon see the fruits of their PR labor.
If you’re a travel company looking to break into the media, get in touch with Pace PR to discuss your goals!