Art galleries in the air, celebrity chef TV shows filmed in exotic locales, “destination wedding” social media contests– all illustrate the close creative bond between travel and PR. Fortunately, travel industry prospects have improved as consumers and clients move forward and the economy continues its slow recovery: travel experts and industry reports say 2013 is shaping up to be a good year.
The travel business is more cyclical than most, but the mood at two travel marketing industry events held in New York this week was upbeat. These events included the ATME/Association of Travel Marketing Executives Think Tank and the HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Digital Marketing Strategy Conference–and while the panels and presentations focused on a cross-section of platforms, PR’s signature mixture of digital and traditional media also got its due.
“PR is often an overlooked channel, and it maximizes the trend of grazing on content and making compelling use of news events. It’s about inserting our brands in a targeted way where it’s relevant. It allows you to go places where our other media efforts don’t reach”. That assessment from Simon Bradley, VP Marketing North America at Virgin Atlantic Airways, may come as no surprise. After all, Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson has long been a PR master.
Still, Virgin is far from the only travel brand using PR to creatively address different communications issues such as generating buzz, building brand awareness and incorporating consumer stories into content. Click through for examples of how the conferences’ marketing executives from international airlines, hotels and destinations use PR to their advantage.