Having spent seven years with the Singaporean travel publications, Rachel witnessed the ups and downs of the tourism sector. But no circumstances before transformed the media landscape as dramatic as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Only recently Rachel was invited to attend a media familiarization trip to Australia. During her visit to a trade show in Sydney, she picked up a story about how crucial working holiday makers were in addressing labor crunch there. “After two years of doom and gloom, being able to write such thing again and meet people in person is very different from writing on a computer,” said the assistant editor.
However much we expect the return to ‘normal’, like it or not, hybrid arrangement is one of the key changes being integrated into our daily lives. With no exception of the MICE industry, Rachel said she would pay close attention to hybrid events, new digital gadgets that can contribute to travel experience, and Metaverse.
Nevertheless, hotel openings, destination announcements, trending products, and hot deals remain evergreen topics for travel media. No matter what theme the pitch is centered around, Rachel advised PR professionals to learn more about her company, read some of her articles, and understand the audience (travel agents, corporate organizers, and event planners) before submitting a proposal.
In the fourth episode of PR Newswire’s monthly podcast series, Behind The Byline, Rachel shares how media pitches can be improved. She also discusses the travel trends she is looking out for. What’s more, Rachel talks about her experiences on recent media familiarization trips and her most memorable assignment to date.
Here’re the highlights from the podcast:
1. How are things seem to be picking up with more countries lifting their restrictions?
Recent (travel) news coverage has been through the roof. I have never been busier this time over the past few years. It’s been really refreshing to do travel news again. Everybody is excited, everybody is ready to go.
After two years of doom and gloom, this is really great. I was given a chance to attend two media familiarization trips to Thailand and Australia. The feeling of flying off and taking off nearly brought me to tears. And the number of ideas, pictures and stories generated from these trips is what motivates me.
2. What type of news in the travel industry are you looking out for now as travel boundaries are reopening?
We take any press release that comes from travel and hospitality. Sometimes it depends on whether they are angled towards our publications or not.
We do hotel openings, we do destination announcements, we also run ‘What to Buy Now’, which is for travel agents to be kept updated of the freshest products that come out from different attractions or hotels. We also run ‘Hot Deals’. These are more consumer-facing packages. It is to let the travel agents know that these exist that they can sell to their customers.
3. What is the memorable assignment or interview that you have done in your career?
It has to be my very first time I was sent alone to visit Japan. This is way back in 2017. It was my first solo travel trade show which I had the freedom to sniff around for stories, talk to people, and muster the courage to politely stop someone and speak to them. Most of the stories that come out from these trade shows are the most I am proudest of.
4. How do you think media pitches to you can be improved?
Sometimes press releases are blindly sent to us, but again it may not be something under our control. It will help when PR professionals read up our company, look at some of our articles and think of our audience, which is travel agents, corporate organizers, and event planners before putting forth a pitch that could interest us.
1m01s: Rachel’s introduction
1m51s: More about TTG Asia
2m46s: Travel media gains momentum as more countries lift restrictions
4m09s: Travel news Rachel is looking out for now
5m15s: Rachel’s experiences on recent media familiarization trips
6m12s: A regular workday for Rachel
6m48s: Rachel’s most memorable assignment and interview
8m35s: Stories that Rachel looks for when attending B2B travel trade shows
9m35s: Media pitches that capture Rachel’s attention
11m30s: What Rachel does if she receives interesting yet insubstantial press releases
12m24s: Press release headlines that stand out
13m46s: Some other reporting by Rachel
14m27s: How media pitches can be improved
16m14s: Ways for PR pros to maintain a good relationship with media
16m54s: Upcoming travel trends and events