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Issue #48: Marketing Yourself at Travel Shows
February 02, 2015
I follow the travel writers that are regarded as highly successful. I like to see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and learn from them.
And I’ve noticed one attribute they all have in common. You’ll probably think it’s good writing skills. But, surprisingly, great literary skill is not their best trait. Certainly they write well—or at least up to a publishable standard—but their writing is no better than thousands of other travel writers out there who are not as successful.
The one thing these successful travel writers have in common is excellent marketing skills. They’re good at networking. They’re good at selling their story ideas to magazines and attracting people to their websites. Because of their marketing prowess, they get cool press trips and Fam Tours. These days we call this ‘branding’ or ‘establishing a platform’.
One marketing technique that successful travel writers use is an often-overlooked avenue of making contacts with tourism agencies—the travel trade show. These shows are intended to hook up travel agents and writers with tourism and destination media reps. The exhibitors include international resorts & hotels, CVB’s, national tourist boards, airlines, tour operators, and tourist attractions.
I attended a travel trade show last week, here in Seattle. From one pleasant evening of being wined and dined by two dozen tourism agency reps, I arranged the following:
In addition I networked with tourism media reps from Malaysia, Israel & India. All have since placed my name on their press trip invitation lists.
And these results are from a small travel show!
There’s one company that arranges travel trade shows around the U.S. and encourages travel writers to attend their shows—in fact they’re screaming out for travel writers. The day before the Seattle travel show I got an email asking if I would send out travel show invitations to other travel writers.
This travel trade show group hosts shows in Vancouver, B.C; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Concord, & Mountain View, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Colorado Springs & Denver, Colorado; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You can attend these travel shows for free. All you have to do is register on their website and you’re in! No registration fees or hidden costs.
You can learn more about where you can register for their travel trade shows in today’s featured article. I’ve included a link in the article.
Using Travel Shows to Land Press TripsI just came across a posting by one of my Facebook travel writer friends. She announced that she was attending a travel show.
Her posting said: “Legs are tired…I feel like I’ve walked across the six continents after visiting most of the booths representing many countries and travel operators. Made lots of connections with potential opportunities for my travel writing.”
She posted a few photos of her favorite booths and mentioned why she liked them: “perks for travel writers . . . like familiarization trips to these locations in exchange for articles promoting tourism. Gotta get serious about this opportunity.”
This same writer later emailed to tell me that she’s very excited and preparing query letters to pitch stories about Cuba, Panama, and Costa Rica.
Her post was a reminder to me of how effective travel shows are to get your name on media lists for press trips and familiarization tours (aka FAM tours) - and to line up Fam tours in exotic and interesting cities and countries.
Will my Facebook travel writer friend get some press trips or personal Fam tours to those three countries? If she can round up assignments about those countries, and especially if she rounds up multiple assignments, she will probably nail one or two of those trips.
Certainly her chances of scoring a press trip to these places are far better than a random travel writer who has never attended the travel show and met the tourism media/PR rep face-to-face for those countries.
I’ve been attending travel shows since 2007. To me, they seem like a natural thing for travel writers to attend. But I’ve always been surprised at how many of my travel writing peers never bother with them.
Their usual comment is something like this, “They’re just for tourists”. I don’t agree.
Please share this e-zine with friends, family or anyone who may be interested in travel writing and can benefit from some free marketing and travel writing information.
That’s all for now.
Until next time, you keep pitching....
Please note: Some products mentioned in this e-zine may result in my receiving a small referral fee if you decide to purchase the product. I only recommend products and services that I believe are high quality and can help you be more successful as a freelance writer. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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