When you think about public relations, a lot of areas come to mind like agency, entertainment, and event planning. One industry that you may not think of is tourism PR. It was not until after my study abroad experience that I began to consider this as a viable field I wanted to pursue. It combined all the things I loved- Philadelphia, traveling, and public relations. The only problem was I knew little to nothing about this rarely mentioned industry. But a few information interviews later, I've come up with some “need to know” points about travel PR:
- It’s not just about travel. This industry isn't simply about marketing to travelers so they visit your city. You’ll be working with a lot of different industries that encompass the visitor experience from arts and entertainment to local hotels and hospitality.
- You need to know your markets. Tourism PR works to reach the domestic, international, and niche markets, so it’s important to know who your audience is. These can include either a specific city like Boston or London or a group like the LGBT community. Being aware of the culture or needs of who you’re reaching will affect your messaging.
- Bloggers are changing the job. The increase in travel bloggers is affecting the way tourism PR professionals are doing their job. Now, travel bloggers are pitching THEM! These freelance bloggers pitch their post ideas in the hopes of getting their stories picked up and purchased.
- Sponsorships are increasing. Not only are travel bloggers changing the industry, but so is sponsored content. The future of tourism PR will see less traditional pitching to media outlets and more sponsorships.
Tourism PR isn't simply about promoting your city in the hopes of attracting visitors. It encompasses so many elements and industries that it’s often similar to agency life. But of course the most important thing to remember about tourism PR is that it takes a passion for your city and a love for showing what is has to offer.