Drive your business forward with Travel PR
Travel and Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. New destinations are emerging all the time, and with the rise of online travel businesses, competition is fierce. So whether you’re a global tour operator, boutique travel agency, industry association, or holiday company, you need to work a lot harder to stand out and gain market share.
And a travel PR campaign can help. Positive coverage on the TV & radio, a spread in a weekend supplement or luxury lifestyle magazine, or a post about your business on a high-profile travel blog can make all the difference between receiving a booking or being bypassed in favour of another travel provider or destination.
So how can travel PR help you elevate your brand? You need to do something extraordinary; something that will capture the imagination of a global audience.
To explain, let’s take a look at one of the finest travel PR campaigns of them all: Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best job in the world’.
Best job in the world
The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of the Great Barrier Reef and increase visitor numbers to Queensland. And what better way to do this than by advertising a £67,380 annual salary to one lucky recruit for the post of Island Caretaker of picturesque Hamilton Island?
Dubbed the greatest PR stunt in history by many in the industry, the campaign harnessed the press, TV and social media to create a worldwide reality TV competition that tapped into young people’s wanderlust.
Candidates were asked to audition via video clips for the post, in exchange for exploring the Island and blogging about their adventures for six months. The audition tapes, which showed the lengths people would go to, naturally made their way on to YouTube and other video-sharing sites as part of a massive viral explosion, which was aided and abetted by an enormous amount of TV and print coverage.
Momentum built over the course of a year, from the job application process through to the X-Factor-style whittling-down of the candidates.
The stats speak for themselves. Over 35,000 applications were received from 200 countries, and 75,855 people voted for their favourite candidate.
News that Ben Southall, an ostrich-riding, bungee-jumping charity worker from Hampshire, had beaten 35,000 hopefuls to be put in charge of Hamilton Island was shared around the world within minutes of the announcement being made. By lunchtime, almost 1,000 websites, from Canada to China and Germany to Indonesia, were running the story.
£35m of publicity
The PR stunt generated more than £35m in publicity value through TV, radio and newspaper coverage, as well as online discussion groups, bulletin boards, blogs and websites. Tourism Queensland couldn’t have bought that sort of publicity. To orchestrate a major advertising campaign in the UK alone would cost millions, but this went international. Plus, editorial coverage is a lot more valuable and has more resonance than paid advertising.
The campaign also did its job in terms of the original brief: to boost tourism to The Great Barrier Reef. Virgin Australia now flies frequently to Hamilton Island, and there has been an 82% increase in bookings to the island resort.
The initiative is a fine example of how PR works when left to do what it does best – spread a positive story as far and wide as possible in a glowing light. It ticked all the boxes, creating an ongoing narrative that worked globally and gathered acres of free publicity
The PR story was also intrinsic to the brand: it was impossible to forget what it was promoting, and it was really well-executed. It’s a huge contrast to so many travel PR campaigns that use old-fashioned techniques such as promoting the results of surveys, and using sales-heavy, bland copy.
If you want your travel business to make a name for itself, take a leaf out of Tourism Queensland’s PR book and do something exceptional and unique.