Travel and tourism public relations play a key role in helping your company remain visible in its field. Without proper PR, most people won’t even know who your brand is or what it does.
Here are some ways you can create great PR yourself, even without hiring a professional agency.
What is the role of Public Relations in the travel and tourism industry?
People travel further and more frequently than ever before. So your brand has no choice but to try harder and harder to stand out in this competitive market.
Public Relations (PR) is one of the big things that affect tourism. It refers to getting information out there to the public about an entity, offering them something exciting and newsworthy.
Public relations covers traditional media relations, content creation, and social media initiatives. It’s a long-term strategy – a consistent, ongoing presence generates awareness and exposure and helps companies reach revenue goals.
Despite its importance, public relations is still viewed as a less important part of the marketing mix by many brands.
There is nothing more false than that – PR, no matter the industry, should be treated seriously and with the right strategy.
It’s essential to portray your brand well to increase bookings, engage customers, and build a positive reputation that will impact your whole brand’s performance.
What are the benefits of public relations in travel and tourism?
- Travel PR brings valuable media connections. The media regularly release, for example, lists of the top hotels to visit – use it to your advantage and make sure that your business is in it. Such positive publicity builds credibility and helps create a positive image.
- PR can be a useful promotional tool. Blog reviews and press releases are a great way to tell your company’s story in an engaging, opinionated tone. It doesn’t have to be too pushy to be successful. They can help you build credibility and exposure for the brand.
- PR streamlines the process of creating your brand’s awareness. By supporting charities or organizing special events, you can easily promote your brand and build awareness. Whether launching a new product or just running a promotional campaign, you can easily promote your business through these PR activities.
- PR provides a greater connection with the audience. All actions will not stay irrelevant for your target audience. It will pay off in the future.
- PR can help you communicate with the stakeholders. Public relations activities can help you maintain a good relationship with all the stakeholders, e.g., the investors or even employees.
Tips and tricks for creating an effective PR campaign
Tourism and travel is a slightly different industry than others (but one where you have lots of room for action). The following tips are helpful in general, but you can also find some that work particularly well in your field.
To succeed in this hugely competitive market – take a look at some actions that can help you leverage your business objectives.
1. Have a strong social media strategy
It may not surprise you at all – but pay close attention to your social media strategy. The Internet has become the most popular channel for travelers to book their trips – more than ever before travelers are online and mobile-savvy.
83% of US adults now prefer to book their travel online. From general data, reviews to exciting photos of resorts and hotels – every detail matters to encourage them to purchase.
Experiment with different strategies to see what works best for you. Be creative, gather your data, look at what others do, and develop a plan that suits your business model best.
This is easy to say but often hard to actually do. We are all so used to our own social media platforms that it is tough to look outside of your comfort zone.
It’s no use just posting on Facebook or Instagram – if you want actionable results, you have to take a closer look at each platform and see what opportunities they offer you.
2. Bet on local, personalized messages
You can’t be everywhere at the same time. So don’t try to market your company in every corner of the world – focus on specific areas and people who live there.
The personal touch goes a long way, especially when trying to increase your brand awareness among travelers. Keep in mind that word-of-mouth marketing is quite popular in the tourism industry.
Understand your target audience, and customer needs clearly to know how to create a message that will convince them.
3. Partner with important travelers and influencers
Explore influencers and brands associated with the demographic you’re aiming for, and figure out how you can partner with and gain exposure through them.
There are many influencers explicitly connected with the travel industry (from nano influencers to top ones). Most of them work within Instagram but very often extend their activity to other platforms as well.
Bringing in partners to help with your tourism campaign can be a great idea. But before you start, make sure you approach the right person who will bring in more traffic and increase brand awareness.
4. Focus on mobile devices
70% of travelers research trips on their smartphones. Even if you’re used to targeting desktop users, it makes sense to create a couple of versions of your site – one specifically designed for the small screen.
Having a mobile version of your website will keep you ahead of the competition and ensure that users can find everything they may need on the go.
5. Create video content
Videos are an excellent way to catch consumers’ attention and help them picture what it would be like to vacation on the beach, ski in fresh powder, or cruise among Norwegian fiords.
All PR activities can be strengthened by engaging, creative content. Create a video using the best quality equipment you have available. It doesn’t need to be professional-level editing or animation, but it does need to look good.
The video’s production value is a massive factor in terms of the return on investment it will generate for you, simply because viewers will be far more likely to engage with your work if it looks appealing.
6. Participate in and organize events
Public relations events are your chance to show off your company or offers and services to the general public. Organizing and participating in PR events allows you to create a positive image of your company and highlight its social benefits.
Take part in events organized by third parties, such as fairs and exhibitions, to gain significant opportunities to reach customers directly and gain lasting business relationships. Promoting your brand during major travel events is a great way to call attention to your company.
7. Look to the future of VR technology
The development of VR technology can change the world of tourism (and already does).
As a growing number of enterprises start using VR as a sales tool, such experience has become an important part of marketing strategies used by businesses that deal with the travel and tourism industry – from hotels to airlines companies.
Companies must offer their customers tailored services and products – from developing a custom virtual reality app for mobile devices to unique virtual tours.
The technology can, for example, be used to present hotel interiors in detail or to show what tourists can expect at a particular place on the spot.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase 360-degree imagery of a destination with high resolution, allowing the user to imagine themselves at the travel destination.
8. Interact with prospects and customers
PR is not only about events, taking care of the overall image of your company, etc. You can’t forget about one of the most critical factors – your audience. It’s not enough to give them engaging content and experience.
To take care of your positive online image, you have to interact with your audience. Respond to the reviews (both positive and negative), and remember that you should answer all the questions your prospects have.
Thus, you can create a positive customer experience and retain loyal clients.
9. Monitor social media mentions of your brand
We know that it’s hard to track all the mentions and react as quickly as possible. However, consider testing out a social monitoring tool if it’s too much for you and you want to make your work easier.
It’s a solution that will notify you as soon as somebody mentions your brand and automatically detect the mentions’ sentiment. It also provides ready-made reports, full of valuable data that you can generate in a matter of a minute.
Such real-time tracking helps you to manage your online presence and the whole PR campaign more effectively.
10. Measure the results of your efforts
What happens if you’re running a PR campaign for your travel company and all of a sudden, you notice that the conversion rate has gone down? Or that there was no improvement whatsoever?
Before making any changes, it’s important to measure the results of your efforts. Otherwise, you can lose a lot of money unnecessarily.
Having metrics in place is the key to understanding if you’re doing a good job, and it will tell you what needs to be done.
You should set up measurements to track your efforts. It can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet and adding columns such as:
- Type of PR (for example, press release, blog article)
- Metrics (e.g. sales leads)
- Result (was there any improvement?)
You can then dig into deeper data that will help you pinpoint the action items that need fixing. Ultimately, it enables you to understand whether or not your PR campaign is successful and if there are any areas for improvement.
Public relations in the travel and tourism industry is not just about adding hype to your product, getting online visibility, and so on. Instead, PR helps provide value that goes beyond just the promotion of your company or business.
In the travel industry, the benefits of PR are huge. It helps companies gain more market penetration, create awareness about their business, build loyalty with existing customers and potential prospects, and raise the conversion rate.
If you want to set up a successful PR campaign, then consider all the tips that we mentioned here. Good luck!