Working with bloggers is so important for brands. Many companies, having already realised this, now include it in their marketing strategies and annual PR and advertising budgets.
Holding a press trip is a very cost-effective way to promote your hotel. When you invite several select travel bloggers to your hotel, what you get is articles about your hotel on many different blogs and on social media—and Google will love you forever. Some bloggers even pitch their articles to other publications. Inviting an influencer (someone who has the power to influence purchasing decisions) to visit your hotel is the only way to secure an in-depth article. This is your chance to show off your hotel to the people who can tell your story in an emotionally appealing way – online.
In a press trip, you showcase the very best of your property. You can point out to bloggers all the things that might normally be overlooked. Another big advantage is the real-time postings, which engender an immediate engagement with wide audiences.
Blog posts are different from every other ad or piece of writing out there. You never really know what bloggers are going to write about, or which angle they will take. Most bloggers are out-of-the-box thinkers; they are creative and always eager to find something special.
Travel bloggers write about their real experiences. They take pictures, film videos, and show their audiences what kind of adventure they’re having at the moment. Which is why it’s important for you to work with them, so that their stories unfold at your hotel. Word-of-mouth promotion is marketing gold after all. And travel bloggers are known for creating more engagement overall than any other blogging group.
That said, there are some things that all hoteliers should keep in mind when planning a press trip for bloggers.
Travel bloggers can only write about things they actually experience firsthand. If you are a brand, a hotel, or a DMO (destination marketing organisation), you need to offer such experiences to the influencers. And once you have them all there, make the most of it!
Here are some tips for maximising the results of your hotel press trips
If you plan to work with travel bloggers, you should consult your marketing department. It makes sense to look at the travel blogger’s key audience. If you want to promote your hotel in Europe, for example, look for blogs with key audience located there—this is something you can’t tell simply by reading the blogs, though. You have to ask the bloggers what countries they target (each usually has two or three). Some travel bloggers may have one target group for their blog, and a completely different country target group for their social media accounts. Look at your collaboration as a marketing campaign: before you spend money on marketing, evaluate your options first.
Book in advance
There are lots of travel bloggers out there, but there are also lots of destinations and hotels eager to work with them. Time is always of the essence. Try to send out the dates of the press trip at least two months in advance. Last-minute scheduling just doesn’t work anymore, not if you want to invite special bloggers to your property.
Give a welcome package
Upon arrival, welcome the bloggers and provide each with a guide and a summary of everything your place has to offer. You can also give them some information about the location or offer them some delicacies from your country. This is neither expensive nor difficult, and it does make a good impression right at the beginning.
Influencers like to constantly engage with their audiences, especially through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Periscope. It’s fast, and while they’re enjoying your hotel, they’re blazing the trail for the post they’re writing on it at the same time. What could hinder this? Not having a good Wi-Fi connection, of course. Wi-Fi is so important today, and not only for the travel bloggers who experience your hotels; sometimes it’s the deciding factor for choosing your brand over another.
Make your expectations clear
There might be times when you welcome a travel blogger to your hotel and it has frustrating results. Why? Because you didn’t communicate your expectations to the travel blogger, or tell them clearly what you can offer them. You should always try to think a few steps ahead. Tell the blogger exactly what you would like to have in the post and what you can offer in return. You may have to negotiate a little, but in the end you will both be more satisfied with the results.
Don’t hide things
It seems pretty easy: when you invite influencers, you want them to write about your wonderful hotel, the location, the entertainment, the food, or whatever else. This may come as a surprise to you, but even travel bloggers aren’t mind readers. Usually, they only have a short time in the field, so you have to show them everything you want them to write about. Start with a tour of your facility on the first day. Even if they don’t write about everything, they’ve still seen it all. If you have a wonderful hidden pool that’s perfect for relaxing in and the influencer doesn’t know about it, how could they possibly write it into the post? This happens to me so many times and it’s a shame. Even for the travel blogger it’s really frustrating when they find out that the best chef on the island was right there in the kitchen and they never had the chance to try anything he cooked; or when they find out too late about the coolest rooftop bar, the outstanding spa, etc. Show them your “behind the scenes” as well. It’s what makes you human and distinguishes you from others.
Sometimes less is more
I know that you have a wonderful property and you really want to show the influencers all the great things. Everything! You plan the itinerary down to the last second, and that’s where it gets out of hand. Don’t pack too much into the schedule. You need to allow the travel bloggers writing and personal time. You already told them what they can find, and now it’s up to them to experience things for themselves. If they have to run from one “appointment” to another they will not have time to promote your property as well as they could.
Never forget the most important thing: fun. If the travel blogger has fun, I’m pretty sure it will come through in every written word. Enjoy the press trip with the bloggers, and let them enjoy the trip as well.
Ask for feedback
Working in the same brand for a long time makes you a little blind to some aspects. Ask your press trip group to share with you their thoughts or comments. You can learn a lot, and it will help you to improve the next press trip.
Note: Consider every aspect when you think about press trips. You will not only profit from that particular trip, with all of the content spread over different blogs and social media, in different countries and languages, but bloggers will often continue to produce additional features for years to come, as well. Press trips also foster a relationship between you and the media. Which is why they are essential for the growth and development of your brand.
Do you want to know more about working with bloggers?