5 Tips for Scoring Press and Fam Trips
5 Tips for Scoring Press and Fam Trips
Interested in joining a press trip? Also known a familiarization, or fam trip, this kind of trip is organized by a country’s tourism board, a PR firm, or a tour operator that brings together a group of travel writers, bloggers, photographers and social media influencers and shows them a particular destination. In return, the participants showcase their experiences for their audience, enticing them to go. The best part about these trips? They’re either all-inclusive or offered at a steep discount.
As a fam trip veteran who recently returned from a Mexico press trip, thanks to Pink Pangea, here are my tips for landing your own!
Be incredibly professional
This seems like a given, but you’d be surprised by how many travelers–whose blogs started as a way to keep up with family or friends–don’t consider press trips to be a serious business opportunity. A great way to connect with companies and tourism boards is to treat travel writing as the profession it is. To monetize your blog you need to network at conferences, attend writing retreats, participate in Twitter chats, and join Facebook groups.
Being an active participant in these outlets will give you a chance to expose your writing to groups outside of your readership, grow your audience and have others in the travel community get to know you and your work. The more you are an active participant, the more you will learn, increasing your expertise in your field. I nabbed the Mexico press trip that Pink Pangea offered because I had written several articles for them and was an active member on their Facebook group. When I saw a call for a writer to go to Mexico, I jumped on the opportunity.
Be a pleasure to work with
There is nothing worse than having a self-entitled writer on a group trip. They complain about food, show up late, or trail behind, taking too many selfies. Although you are there as a guest of the location and they will usually bend over backwards to make sure that you are enjoying yourself, don’t forget to be grateful to be there. Most FAM trips are small groups and there were probably dozens of other new bloggers chomping at the bit for your spot.
I’ve been on trips where attendees have been rude to the group or the hosts, which reflects poorly on the travel blogging community as a whole. I always try to be courteous, and after my trip is over I make sure to send emails thanking the hosts and the person/s responsible. Word of bad behavior spreads, and you may not be invited back.
Write quality content
I cannot stress enough how important this is. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to all things travel. A lot of them don’t last very long, and that is largely to do with poor quality content. You can have all the attractive bells and whistles to entice readers to your page, but if your photography is sub par and your writing is even worse, you will not draw the return readers that you want. Do the research and make sure your facts are accurate.
Edit, and make sure your sentence structure is correct. Be more than a site that lists the “top ten things to do” or narrates the day-to-day itinerary. The interesting stories, intriguing places and unique plot lines make the best travel writing. Such storytellers have readers coming back each week to read about another adventure.
Play the social media game
Gaining followers on social media channels and likes on photos is a game that, with time and patience, can be won. But what tour operators or tourism boards should be looking for is engagement. Engagement has become increasingly more important than numbers when scoring a spot on a press trip. Brands are often looking for “small and mighty” sites over “large and underwhelming.” You can have sponsored followers on Facebook, purchased followers on Twitter or have fake accounts following you on Instagram, but then nobody will be commenting on your pictures, reading your articles or taking that next step and booking a trip after your recommendations.
On some of my first trips I was self-conscious that my accounts didn’t have a large number of followers. But then again, large numbers were not why I was chosen to attend the trip. My readers are a community of travelers who listen to my stories and trust what I share. That has been revealed to be more powerful than inflated social media accounts.
Be a genuine person who is easy to get along with, and this will come through in your writing!
Press Trips: 5 Tips for Scoring Press and Fam Trips. Have you scored a press trip? We’d love to hear your story. Email us at email@example.com.