Organizing a Successful Press FamTrip
By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | May 06, 2010
The key to organizing a successful press trip is to make sure that all aspects of the trip are planned properly to the last detail. Media pay attention to the little things, and in some cases, details make their story. Below is a checklist to keep in mind when thinking of putting a fam trip together at your hotel:
Plan ahead. There is never a great time to give comp rooms, but most hotels run seasonally and factor in the cost of fam trips to their overall marketing and public relations budget. Pick a relatively low occupancy week in advance, at least 6-8 months prior to sending invitations to the press. It may be a good time for you to host media, but it needs to be a good time for them to attend as well, and writers' schedules tend to fill up in advance fairly quickly. Timing is everything!
Gather media lists. Based on approximately the number of rooms you can set aside for the press trip, you need to prioritize with your public relations professional as to who is a priority to invite and why. You need to be strategic about every invitation that will go out. Try to avoid inviting people of competing publications, which may turn out to be an awkward move on your part. Established and trusted travel writers make great guests, because they could write multiple stories on your property which may be picked up by two or more publications.
Seek help from your local CVB. Most hotels are members of their local visitors' bureau, which is a great resource for media lists, verifying reporters' backgrounds, and other information. They may also help you with providing fillers, such as area maps, access to city sites and venues, and a lot more, which will make your press trip a full experience. CVBs can also assist with transportation contacts and more.
What expenses should you cover? While some hotels have the budget to provide airline tickets or train fares, most properties do not. And in other cases, publications won't even allow it. You should research what the norm is for your area by asking your CVB, and then make your decision. Naturally, room, tax and breakfast should be included for everyone, as well as access to amenities such as the gym, pool, business center. In order to write about those things, writers need to try them first. Some hotels will cover a massage in their spa, or their goodbye dinner at their restaurant. There are many thing you can be creative about, just make sure you are keeping your guests entertained! And as a final note, your itinerary should include airport transfers for those flying, and parking passes for those who driving.
Create an interesting itinerary. While you would like the media to stay at your property 24/7 during their stay, unless the hotel/resort is on a secluded island, they will want to get out and about. You should welcome this opportunity to not only "sell" your property to the press, but also promote the destination. Remember, no one will come to a hotel, just because of the custom made beds you have or the super-fast internet connection, they usually have to have a reason to be at your location and that includes deciding on traveling to that destination (business/leisure). Arrange for them to visit the local museums, art galleries and cultural centers. Maybe you can get them tickets to a show and offer them dinner or a cocktail at your restaurant beforehand. Be creative and informative in your descriptions.
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