Take the example of a well-patronized airline.
As an established carrier with a broad customer base, you’ve enhanced your service and are talking about it: the comfortable new recliner in Business Class, an improved entertainment package in coach, or, you’ve elevating your passengers’ dining experience with an on-board Cordon Blue chef. If you’re a hotelier, perhaps you’ve opened a luxurious new resort: unique, exclusive, spot-on for an affluent market segment. Getting the word out to your potential market, you can announce your innovativeness via press release to the classic media channels. On the more extravagant side, you can launch a unique and premium event to signal your new endeavor.
Product referrals are only genuine coming from people who have actually tried, tested and approved them. What better way to promote a premium product or service than by offering an influencer the chance to fly the route or sleep in the beds? The testimonials of influencers and opinion leaders give your product visibility and make your claims believable.
Organizing a media familiarization trip is the logical step, you say. But what’s the true benefit at the bottom line? The focus of a travel review is traditionally placed on the journey’s destination, with the press reporting accordingly. The coverage of the product or service is often treated as an “also ran” – meaning your story can be cut to a minimum and relegating it to the information box at end of the article.
Acknowledge your potential – offer innovative solutions
Using the standard marketing approach, you can expect predictable – and standard – results. Just as media and its acceptance evolve over time, so must the tools reaching out to your customers also evolve. Promoting your airline as the preferred transportation of choice and hotels as the perfect accommodation bar none is definitely the standard approach. But you needn’t follow the crowd. Take the creative initiative and reach out for viable alternatives – break through the standard PR monotony and you’ll get the interest – and interesting PR coverage – you’ve put your money on.
PR’s real job is storytelling – picking up where marketing leaves off
Get the most out of your media fam trip by making REAL news. Pick up on a story line that gets journalists interested in telling YOUR story. The list of opportunities is long and colorful. Airlines don’t just offer technical advancement. Take the blogger influencer who tweets live while directly in flight, or who delivers his review uncut on his blog. Your hotel’s food and drink specialties can inspire a culinary gourmet to give an all-out review on your outstanding preparation and selection. A well-known celebrity’s experience in your Business class or hotel suite, splashed with a bit of luscious local glamour, is an article welcome in many lifestyle magazines.
To answer the question posed at the beginning, NO, media fam trips for airlines and hotels have not seen their day. But they should definitely be implemented more creatively. To be successful, today’s public relations campaign builds on live interaction with targeted audiences and capitalizes on the gain to be made by highlighting and cashing in on a product’s emotional appeal. Ergo: the success of well-planned video strategies, as they abound in digital media channels.
Prerequisite for building the market character of your product is, of course, high quality content. A lesson we all learned way before the onset of our digital age. PR has always stood for good storytelling. But please don’t confuse a well-founded story with a slightly shoddy fairy tale. Successful PR connects good services and products with anecdotes, history, current themes and personalities that reach way beyond your actual product offering. The emotional involvement they provoke opens the way for new and lasting product identification and loyalty.