Value of Media Visits
Media visits or media FAM tours are a great way to secure positive, feature coverage for your brand or destination and build media relationships.
When media experience something first-hand, they are better able to tell an authentic story to their readers or followers.
If a media representative, blogger or influencer requests a visit, you have the right to the following:
- Confirm credentials. Do your own research to determine if the person’s coverage is a right fit for your brand.
- Request assignment letters. Not all media have an assignment prior to traveling; however, it is a best practice to request one.
- Offer press rates. While many traveling media and influencers prefer complimentary airfare, accommodations, meals and excursions, based upon your assessment of their resulting coverage, you have the right to offer press rates. Not all media can accept complimentary. Writers on staff at many mainstream media outlets cannot accept complimentary offers, such as The New York Times.
- Request more information. If you are not familiar with the outlet, request to see a media kit and a recent issue (if a magazine). You can also request examples of prior similar coverage, articles, social media posts.
- Turn down requests. If you are unable to accommodate the media influencer/request for whatever reason (occupancy, budget, etc.) and have to decline a request, you can always offer to meet the person for a meal/tour while they are in your location , if applicable.
- Requests results. It is OK to ask when the resulting coverage will be published and for a copy or link once available.
Tips for a seamless visit
It is crucial that you and the media/influencer have the same expectations. Communication is key. A great way to do this is by filling out a form so that no detail is missed. Critical items often forgotten about are cell phone numbers and emergency contact information.
Visiting media and influencers expect the following prior to a visit:
To know what’s included. It is necessary to clearly outline what is included/paid for during their stay, such as airfare, transportation to and from airports, upgrades, checked baggage, car rentals, parking, hotel nights, meals both planned and unplanned, as well as excursions. Complimentary breakfast is often expected and encouraged to provide. Other meals are to be evaluated on case by case. Depending on the length of stay and story topic, it is often appropriate for one meal per day to be complimentary. What’s included should reflect the angle of their story and also be clearly outlined in an itinerary.
- Detailed itinerary. An itinerary should be given based on their needs/requests, including scheduled activities, meals, social handles, contact information and a packing list. It is also a best practice to arrange a time for you to meet one-on-one, even if it is just a few minutes for coffee. You should be able to gauge how much time the journalist or influencer will have based on your conversations, details of their stay and story angle.
- Understanding of who they will meet. It is also a good idea to identify any local personalities they may encounter during the trip; many media like to interview locals to gain perspective on a destination and incorporate feedback from locals in their stories. These personalities could be chefs, tour operators, retailers, concierges or other locals who have a good story to tell.
- Free time. Allowing a journalist or influencer to experience a destination on their own is incredibly important. Their itinerary should include ample free time for them to explore, take photos, relax and do work – remember this is their job. You can always make suggestions for activities they may want to incorporate in their trip without a property or destination having to pay for them or organize.
- Plus ones. Some media may be traveling with a colleague or family member. You must outline expectations for any guests/family members they may be traveling with. You are not obligated to pay for their guests, nor is it necessary; however, in many cases it is logistically easier to cover some meals and excursions for an entire party. This should be reviewed on a case-by case basis.
Visiting media and influencers expect the following during their visit:
- A warm welcome. Airport pick-up, a hand-written note and something as simple as smiling faces go a long way to kick-off a great trip.
- Flexibility. Once on-site, the journalist or influencer may want to change their itinerary. This can be an unfortunate situation especially when so much time goes into setting up the visit. This can also be a positive situation, especially if the change is the result of the journalist uncovering a story angle they hadn’t thought of previously. While it is a good idea to allow flexibility in an itinerary, it is also OK to hold firm if a change will drastically disrupt what has already been arranged. Use discretion when agreeing to change course.
After the visit:
- Follow-up is critical. It is very important to follow up immediately following a visit to ensure the contact didn’t encounter any issues that could negatively impact their coverage. If they did, it is crucial to address the issue and understand if it will impact their coverage. Of course, this is also a great way to find out what you or your tourism partners are doing well. Providing a feedback form is a good way to capture all of the details you need. After some time has passed, it is OK to check-in to see how the contact’s story is coming along and to offer any additional assistance.
- Say thank you. Once an article or post is published be sure to send a quick thank you.