If you have the budget, a press trip can be the best way to engage media with what your client has to offer. Pleasant company, in-person interaction with key spokespeople and a visceral experience of a concept are, perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the best ways to get the message across.
Of course, nothing in life comes for free – the smoothest of press trips that elicit compliments and smiles from all involved will probably be the result of many sleepless nights on the part of the PR. Here are a few top tips that can alleviate this worrying.
Get the basics right
I sometimes joke that the reason many people still don’t understand what PR entails is because it includes within it so many jobs: copywriter, MC, (metaphorical) fire-fighter, and, perhaps my least favourite, travel agent. If you find yourself booking transport on behalf of journalists, do so carefully. Double check, triple check, quadruple check, and don’t mind the bead of sweat that appears on your forehead – it’s a sign you’re concentrating enough to get it right. And don’t forget to collect all contact details, dietary requirements and be aware of any issues with disabled access.
Building an itinerary
Make sure you build an itinerary that’s not too packed, or you may find yourself losing media by the wayside. Do remember that you’re crafting a positive experience, and that strict time constraints and rushed meal times are probably not the best indicators of this. Work out an itinerary that minimises potential logistical problems and that ensures enough time is spent in each place.
Be aware of deadlines
Equip yourself with a good understanding of who is on your trip and the kind of writing they’re planning to do. Journalists attending on behalf of long-lead magazines may not write up their insights from the trip until it’s over, but online contributors and those who write for newspapers may have immediate deadlines you should be aware of. Find out what these are and make sure they have what they need to be able to write and be able to meet these. You should also find out in advance if any of your trip require photo opportunities to make sure you can assess if, when and how these can be achieved.
So, everyone’s turned up, the trip is organised, the itinerary is well laid out, and you, as a host, are just the ticket for an enjoyable trip. If you think there’s nothing else you can do, think again. Don’t be afraid to overthink. A good thing to do is try and identify weak spots in your itinerary. Do you have a flight immediately followed by a long appointment? Carry a power pack and a variety of wires. Is one of the activities outside in the sun? Carry water. Carry sunscreen. Are you not totally convinced that the food in the hotel will go down a treat? Bring a chocolate bar or two. Is there a particularly long break between your final engagement of the day and dinner? Make sure you know where the nearest bar is. It’s these little things that can make all the difference.