- Objective. Determine what you want to achieve and the line of communication that you want to transmit. Target the media you want to invite accordingly and the numbers you can successfully host. Quantity of journalists should not be the objective.
- Plan ahead. Often press trips are planned with only a few weeks advance notice. The more time there is to plan and provide journalists with detailed information, the better.
- Collaborate. The team in charge of logistics on the ground should work closely with the agency or persons coordinating with the media.
- Individual media visits vs. group press trips. Many journalists participate on group trips on a regular basis, and prefer group activities. Yet many others will not participate in group trips, period. Depending on the industry and size of the company/organization launching a PR strategy it is important to decide if individual media visits will be accommodated. If you host a group, make sure your itinerary is relevant to their interests. If you host an individual visit, get to know the journalist before he or she visits.
- Downtime/ free time. Press trip hosts understandably want to show their media guests as much as possible. However, in a recent survey conducted by S&R we found free time was a “must have” for all respondents. This includes sufficient time between tours and meals for your guests to change and rest.
- Internet access. Press trips are work trips. This means media reps need to work on stories and stay in touch with their office. It is imperative that guests have easy access to internet at all hours. Hotel room internet access is preferred, but as some hotels begin to focus internet usage in common areas it is important that the setting is comfortable, and provides privacy if needed.
- Flexibility. Group visits should allow flexibility within reason. It is especially important to accommodate certain requests that are in reference to assigned story topics.
- Hour by hour itineraries. Everyone is different. Often journalists who have never visited a destination prefer more detailed itineraries, whereas journalists who are familiar prefer less structure. It is important to assign reasonable start and end times so the days are not too long.
There will always be imperfections during press trips, but when they are well organized they can generate great benefits. A couple of weeks ago we received a note from a journalist for whom we arranged a media visit. He wrote “[the] trip was one of the best media trips I’ve been on, and I’ve been on quite a few! My hat is off to you… and everyone who helped. I was very pleased with all the arrangements, schedule, etc. Outstanding trip.” Our client benefited from two months of premium national exposure through the print and online circulation of this journalists article. The article’s message was consistent with the client’s communication strategy, and that is what defines a successful press trip.