There is a secret to creating PR-worthy tourism packages. But first, let’s be clear. This isn’t about just creating tourism packages in general. Anyone can do that. It’s as simple as – for example – adding a meal to lodging or giving a third night free, and voila…you’ve got a package.
But a PR-worthy package? Something journalists will care about, and then write about and spread the word about? THAT takes some doing.
Picture this. You’re a hotel working on creating a dog-friendly package, and your BIG thing is that you’ve got branded dog bowls to put in the room and a little bag of treats given at check-in. You’re excited about it and can’t wait to send out the press release to the media.
Then you come across this article including photos like this one highlighting the Pampered Pup Program + Moving Meditation/Forest Bathing Therapy session for you and your dog at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston:
Suddenly you hear that sad trombone sound (womp womp) that accompanies the realization that your package isn’t newsworthy.
Listen, don’t be sad. That doesn’t mean your package won’t SELL. Put it on your website, send it in an email blast, share it on socials… it’s not “bad” or “wrong.”
It’s just not really that newsworthy.
So if your goal is to get media attention, here are four criteria to help you create PR-worthy tourism packages. If you’ve got all four of these criteria covered in a single package, chances are you’ve got a PR home run. But sometimes even having only one is enough if it’s exceptionally strong. However, if your package meets NONE of these criteria, then don’t waste your time with a press release. The news just isn’t there.
1) A CLEVER NAME
Tourism is a fun industry so a boring name just lacks allure. Calling a package with room and breakfast your “Bed & Breakfast Package” is just so blah. How about Pajamas & Pancakes? Even just calling it a “Sleep & Eat Package” would make it a bit more interesting because something that basic is unexpected. Things like Girlfriend Getaways, Romance Package, Family Fun… they’re all pretty yawn-inducing from a news standpoint. Try to make them less generic and more specific to what’s included in the package.
And it’s not even just for hotels. When creating a roundup of winter romance packages for the Miramichi region of New Brunswick, Canada, we titled the program “Making Whoopee on the Miramichi.” It’s different, and different has the potential to get attention.
2) UNCOMMON ELEMENT(S)
If boring names don’t get attention, boring elements certainly don’t. Again, remember that so-called boring elements CAN STILL SELL. Add a bottle of champagne to the room package…it can sell. Make it a bottle that’s engraved with the couple’s name and special occasion date…it piques interest. Add in a butler to serve it with a rare cheese platter and a trio of musicians to provide ambiance? NOW you’re talking.
The more unique, unusual, and unexpected your package’s elements are, the more likely they are to get media attention. Often those things can be operationally challenging, but there’s a reason the phrase “no pain, no gain” exists. For more inspiration here, see How to Develop Creative Tourism Marketing & PR Ideas and What’s a Newsworthy Animal Experience in Tourism.
3) A TREND TIE-IN
When trends are happening – whether it’s the Olympics, a new blockbuster movie opening, a holiday season, a viral TikTok trend, or whatever – if you can find a way to align your organization with them, you instantly raise your own newsworthiness. Journalists often want to write stories that tie into what everyone is talking about…and YOU could help them do that. The trick here is catching the trend when it’s on the way up and BEFORE it peaks. For example, Barbie (the movie) was released in US theaters on July 21, 2023. If you had a “Think Pink” package ready to promote in July as part of the movie release hoopla, great. If you suddenly decided to do a Barbie package a few months later in October… that’s random, with no timely hook or context to make the Barbie tie-in relevant.
This holds true even for seasonal packages… if you get your Thanksgiving Weekend Package (hopefully with a better name than that) out the door to the media the week before Thanksgiving, very few journalists will have time to write about it. They were covering that weeks (and months) ago.
A trend could be pop culture, seasonal, sports-related, something going viral on social media… anything that’s capturing the general public awareness.
4) SIMPLICITY OF BOOKING
And finally, one of the most essential things needed to create PR-worthy tourism packages: make it easy to book. You’ve got to remember that the media outlet is the middle-man here, and journalists have limited space to use when communicating their stories to their audiences. If your amazing, creative, clever package requires a full set of instructions for how to book, or you can’t get it up on your website in time… or it’s on your website but not connected to your booking engine…or (insert other complex challenge here)… it makes it less attractive for a journalist to include. Don’t make it hard for them to communicate, and don’t make it hard for consumers to book.
Overall, it’s just important to remember that PR isn’t always the goal. You can certainly sell packages that aren’t newsworthy! And sometimes packages can be newsworthy even when you’re not trying… you may just happen to catch a journalist’s interest with the right topic at the right time. But if you are setting out to actually CREATE some PR-worthy tourism packages, these four criteria will help guide you toward success.