How to do PR in the time of corona

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Just like everything else, the world of PR has looked completely different this year – especially when working with travel destinations, hotels, etc… But even during a global pandemic it is possible to do travel PR– it is just about doing it in the right way.

The past 9 months have undoubtedly been tough for the travel industry in general. This has also affected our daily work as an PR agency, with our majority of clients being within travel and tourism. An almost instant lockdown and immediate travel restrictions have been some of the challenges we have faced.

However, as the past months have shown us, it IS possible for travel destinations although people cannot travel right now.

Here are some of the key learnings we have made this year about doing PR in the time of corona virus.

Media sentiment
It is important to stay in touch with media relations on a regular basis in order to stay updated on their sentiment, including which media writes about travel and which media does not.

Find new angles
Despite a lot of restrictions – especially in the tourism industry – it is possible to be creative and find new angles on PR stories, not encouraging to travel right away – but instead focusing more on trends and tendencies. Some destinations may use the crisis to develop new cycling routes or as a basis to focus more on sustainable initiatives. It is just about finding the right angles.

Virtual events
Virtual events and happenings have increased in popularity during the last months, and within our industry it is also a well-known way of keeping editors, journalists, freelancers and influencers up to date on the destinations we represent.  However, since almost all kinds of brands and companies are doing virtual events these days, it is more important than ever to stand out to catch their attention. It is key to present something relevant and new to the media to make them sign up AND feel they spend their time on something valuable – otherwise the event will lose its purpose.

Stay in touch
During a time like this, it is important not to cut the contact with media relations such as journalists and influencers although there is not much positive news to share – but rather stay in touch with them about e.g. ideas for story angles and possibilities for future press trips. In line with the above, this is also a way of keeping your destination or brand top of mind for future story opportunities. Taking care of your relations can seem to pay off in the longer run.

Prepare a plan
Although it might not be possible to execute events, press trips, campaigns etc. right away, it is important to prepare for when things are “back to normal”. Therefore, it’s important to make a plan for what to do and how to do it when e.g. travel advisories are eased.

Show appreciation
As a means to strengthen the relationship with media contacts, it might make sense sending a small greeting e.g. a traditional, local product related to a public holiday or another reason for celebration in the respective destination. This shows that the relationship is valuable and is also a way of keeping the destination/brand top of mind for future activities – when this becomes relevant again.

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