In the past TBEX asia 2015 Bangkok, I had followed a session with the theme as it is written in the title above.
The presentation was delivered by an Irish Public Relations Agency company who is specialized in the field of travel. Actually, this session is not for bloggers, but for business people in the industry. But, because the class I attended was quite boring, I finally decided to move into this class.
I often come for famtrip, so I am quite interested to see how this activity should be done to be successful.
So here I noted some important points about how the trip is supposed to be done by the host (tourism board, DMC, brand), especially in its digital activity.
1. Early planning and engagement with bloggers. Listen.
Which bloggers should you invite? The one with a thousand of followers on twitter? Well, maybe yes, for two-three years ago. But you can buy fake followers cheaply these days. So that metric should not be your main concern.
Look for their engagement with their followers. Look how they respond to comments in their post. Look for potential that you can amplify.
After that, follow them well in advance. Engage well in advance – start the conversation early. Research handles and hashtags, tell them early. Tell how your social media team will act on this trip.
Tell venues, hotels, attractions media are coming. Get WiFi access / passwords.
A simple detail done and your blogger will be very thankful.
2. More bespoke trips, less group trips, more flexibility.
“Ah, Jaysus, not another church/cathedral!
If I see the inside of one more church, I’ll turn atheist.”
Rather than get a dozen of bloggers come together to the same destination, you better divide them to a few group, for example, and going to different destination. Or at least a different corner of that destination. So the bloggers can have different point of view and more personal stories. That’s very important.
3. More free time.
“8am starts after 11pm finishes. Are you serious?”
Free time – often, that’s the only chance a writer gets to experience the more personal encounters with a place and it’s people.
For myself, I need to wander alone for some time, feel the atmosphere of the place, taking photos, speak with people, until I can find a place where I can daydream to create the stories on my head. Well that’s just me saying hehe.
4. Better planning.
Media and organizers should work together on an angle that suits the individual publication beforehand. Group trips serve a purpose, but they can also mean several publications have the exact same story.
The host’s PR and social media team should prepare thousand of tweets or other social media posts ready based on the trip schedule. This will make live post easier.
5. Trips are an active media environment. No longer passive. Preparation required.
Dear host, this is 2015. You are now part of the conversation. No longer passive bystanders. You must actively engaging, following, sharing, RTs, likes.
And don’t forget to write a blog/news from the trip on your website. Live. Every single day.
6. Social time. admin time. Downtime.
If schedule is too tight. How can we tweet and share our picture on instagram? We bloggers are working hard to create the story. The only time we can do social media time is when on the bus.
Too bad, most of the time the bus does not have wifi on most of the trip.
7. Everyone on the same story. Group trips vs individual trips.
“Plus, I can’t overstate the value of free-time (and I’m not talking 45 minutes back in the hotel between excursions). Free time, a chance to wander alone, take photographs…………………”
A relaxed writer is a better writer – if you’re being frog matched from A to B at top speed then the best you can ever really come up with are bullet points which may make for informative but very rarely entertaining copy. Information you can lift from websites but personal experiences are vital.
You know, readers know have more faith in bloggers stories rather than tourism website copywriting. So make sure bloggers get their stories well.
8. Group trips less work, more economies of scale, but…….
But each of story the bloggers write will be almost the same and it’s boring!
9. Handles, hashtags in advance.
Having a hashtag for the trip is obviously a great thing. Not just for trending, but it also helps the journalists connect with their fellow press trips/organisers through social media via searching the hashtag.
Often when I go to a famtrip and found my fellow bloggers ask, “What’s your hashtag?”
And we end up have different hashtags for ourselves.
10. Amplification – partners need to engage, hotels, restaurants, venues etc.
One of the most important things that comes up time & time again….is, don’t set up a blog trip and then sit back and wait for the bloggers to bring eyeballs.
Make sure that you and all your stakeholders are amplifying every tweet, every instagram, every post, etc.
11. WiFi, MiFi – everywhere, passwords, logins.
Basic human needs : Clothing, Food, and Shelter.
Basic blogger needs : Wifi, Wifi, and Wifi.
12. Paid support. Facebook, reach your audience.
You spent so much money to brought us thousand miles from our home to your destination, but you did not spend just a few dollars for paid support on social media to reach more audience?
That is too bad, actually..
BUT FOR THE GOD SAKE, DON’T CREATE A FAKE TRENDING TOPIC WITH BOT. THAT’S SHAMEFUL!
- More Free time
- Less group trips.
- More tailored trips.
- More engagement, pre, post, during.
And For Bloggers
Say thank you. We are talk, we all know each other.
If the itinerary says 10am start, it doesn’t mean 10.15 or 10.25.
For the tour guide: when he/she eventually leaves you, pass the hat around and stick 10 €$£ each in it to show your appreciation.
Share again and again and again, please. Stats please, they would love them.
Be respectful to your hosts and your colleagues and have the good manners to turn up on time.
The perfect trip is one where guests and hosts show each other respect, and allow breathing space
PS : Thank you for the Tourism Authority of Thailand for inviting me to TBEX Asia!
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