Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Work with an Internet Travel Writer: Promote your resorts, events and destinations


One of the quickest ways to get your name out there is to connect with an Internet travel writer. Some of them are bloggers and some write articles for established Internet magazines and newspapers. Here are some tips from an experienced Internet travel writer that will help you get the most for your marketing or PR budget:

Vet Your Writer
You'll want to know if your writer is authentic and will produce. And, if you have access to data on page views, you'll want to know how many unique visitors the writer has to their site per month.

No matter if the writer has a small personal blog or writes for a large Internet travel site, you can't go wrong having your name and information out there on the Internet. And, having information out there in as many places as possible is nothing but good for business.

The best way to vet a writer is to Google their name. See what comes up. If they are an active writer, a great deal should show up. Look at sites like LinkedIn and read about their background and interests.

Ask your colleagues. Quite often writers will have a reputation across the industry.

Check out what they have written about properties or destinations similar to yours. If you like their style, there is a good chance they will do something similar for you.

Find out if they are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and if they post regularly about their travels. How many followers do they have?

Do they belong to any professional travel writing organizations? These organizations have screening processes for members.
Consider what experiences will be provided to a visiting
travel writer. This woodsy resort provided a pancake breakfast
cooked over an open fire.

Talk to the Writer
Ask them what to expect. Of course you will be offering them a complimentary stay, trip or tours. But what then? And what is their timeline?

Some Internet travel writers write for multiple sites. Can they present your property and destination in several ways so that more than one article will be published?

Time is of the essence. A writer who can produce an Internet article as soon as they return home is not unusual. It is only the print journalists who may make you wait a year before seeing an article (if, the editor does not pull it!).

Make sure that you have communicated to the writer, what is being provided and what is not. Having this in writing helps avoid misunderstandings. Quite often a destination will provide transportation, accommodations and meals.

It is not unusual to state that alcohol purchases and souvenirs are up to the writer to cover. And, any services requested outside of the agreement, such as spa services and a room-service snack can be billed to the writer.

Working with the Writer - The Itinerary
Make sure your writer is a good match for your property or destination. If you've invited a writer who covers family vacations, make sure you highlight family activities when you build their itinerary.

Build down time into the itinerary. Let the writer enjoy your destination or property as if they are a guest. If your resort is a place to relax, you wouldn't want your writer returning home harried and exhausted. If you have a spa, make sure the writer is offered a complimentary spa treatment.

Let the writer review the itinerary before it is finalized. They may have some great ideas or see some duplication in the experiences you have planned.
Travel writers in Canyon de Chelly
When the writer arrives, meet them and present them with a press packet which will include the itinerary, contact information for key persons, fact sheets, press releases and photographs on a thumb drive.

Be available during the writer's stay for questions and requests. It is wonderful to meet them for a quick orientation, but no doubt requests, such as photo opportunities, will present themselves later.

At the end of the stay, be sure and check in with the writer to see if there are additional questions and, especially, if there are concerns.

Social Media
Many Internet travel writers tweet their experiences as they go. This gives your destination or property extra exposure. They may also post photographs on Facebook and Instagram during their experience with you.

It is customary that once the article is written it is "socialized." An Internet writer should publicize their article via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.  So that you know what they are doing with social media, ask for their "handles" and follow them.  If you like what they say on twitter, for example, re-tweet them to your followers.

Press Trip or Individual Travel
I, for one, am a great fan of press trips. I love communing with other journalists as I am shown a destination. I enjoy having transportation provided and enjoy group meals. However, some writers do not like press trips. They want to explore your destination or property on their own.

Press trips are considerable work for a CVB or resort. On the other hand, offering a room and meals to a travel writer and their spouse, is fairly easy.
Travel writers on a guest ranch press trip.
Follow Up
Once the travel writer has left, be sure and follow up to see if they need additional information or photos. Respond to their requests quickly. Internet travel writers write quickly and are interested in getting information about their trip on the Internet as soon as possible.  Be sure and ask the writer to send you links when their articles or blog entries are written. You deserve that!

Tips and Trivia

Glossy Print Articles: Those in marketing and public relations often make the mistake of requiring that a travel writer be a print journalist. Yes, the article will appear in a glossy high-end magazine perhaps, but how long will that magazine be out there?  It may be tossed the month after it is published. Ideally the magazine also has an Internet site, where the article about your property or destination will appear. But that cannot be taken for granted.

To Swag or not to Swag: Should you provide gifts to travel writers?  Something representing your location or event is always appreciated. These don't have to be expensive. I have received note cubes with the destination logo, a cap after a helicopter flight (still my favorite cap), nuts from a nut farm I toured and so on. Often writers do not have the money or the time to purchase souvenirs and so these little things are appreciated.

What to do about the Writer who Cannot Accept Comped Trips: There are some publications that do not allow comped trips. For these writers, you can offer a reasonable media rate.

Why You Should Offer Air Fare: If you look at how many places a travel writer goes in a year, you'll begin to understand that they could not afford that amount of travel unless they are independently wealthy. Many travel writers are young 20-somethings and, on the other end of the spectrum, retirees who enjoy sharing their knowledge of the world. I have never met an independently wealthy travel writer.  And my wealthy friends don't want to spend the time that it takes to put together a good travel article. So yes, offer to provide air fare.

What to do if you are not in the Article:  Unless your travel writer has a horrific experience, you can expect to have your destination or property included in the article. However, if you provide the travel writer with a broad range of experiences during their visit, it is typical that not EVERYTHING is covered or mentioned in the article. That is to be expected.

Work with Internet Travel Writers and Benefit
Working with an Internet travel writer can bring you exposure that, in comparison to purchasing advertising, costs very little. If the invited writer is prepared for the trip and adequately supported during their visit, you can expect some great Internet coverage.

Note: The author of this article, Elizabeth Rose, travels throughout the West and beyond reviewing destinations, services, accommodations, events and restaurants. As an expert in cultural tourism, her writing reflects that passion.  She also provides content and editing for established travel websites. Website

Content copyright: Elizabeth R. Rose

For reviews and media trips, Liz can be contacted via e-mail, southwestliz@yahoo.com