How to Host a Travel Writer: A Guide for Destinations
A travel writer or blogger wants to visit your hotel, attraction, restaurant – or maybe do a full FAM weekend in your destination. That’s great! But the initial excitement might start to wear off as you ask yourself, How do I prepare? What do I need to do? What do I tell my staff? Here are some tips on what to expect when hosting a travel writer or blogger.
How to Prepare
Before a travel writer comes, make sure your partners and staff are aware of the visit.
- Share the writer’s first name, publication, and angle. Do they write for a travel magazine, a travel blog, or are they a foodie influencer? This will give partners and staff an idea of what the writer may be focusing on while making the writer’s experience more personal.
- Give advice. A travel writer will pick up on the little things, both good and bad, so tell your partners how to provide the best experience. Staff should be hospitable and attentive, tables should be set beautifully, and guest rooms should be spotless.
- Identify limitations. Find out from your partners ahead of time if there are any limitations. Is there a time limitation to the tour? Is flash photography allowed? Knowing this information ahead of time will prevent awkward interactions when the travel writer visits.
- Know what the writer wants. Do they want to be guided from stop to stop, or prefer exploring on their own? Are they early-morning risers or night owls? Yoga or cider bar? Choose experiences that fit with their angle and interests. (And see more about adapting your FAMs to a changing media landscape in a previous blog.)
What to Expect
First things first, a travel writer is different from your leisure traveler. They are visiting to get the inside scoop – to taste the best dish on the menu, to experience the overall atmosphere during happy hour, to stay in the room with the best view of the lakefront. Hey, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
- Expect them to ask questions. They may take notes about interesting facts or double-check spelling for an article. If they’re stepping outside of their comfort zone for a unique or unfamiliar experience – say fly-fishing in the Catskills for the first time – they may ask questions that would seem silly or simple to a local.
- Give them what they need. Equip the travel writer or influencer with the hashtags and handles for your destination and attractions. This will give your attraction credit, while exposing your destination to their audience.
- Give them enough time. Allow them to walk around and explore on their own, or take photographs of a meal before diving in. If they are a social media influencer (or just active on certain sites), they will probably want to post to their channels in the moment. That means they may need a little more time to capture the best angle or lighting, apply any filters, and post with the perfect caption and hashtags.
- Provide some downtime. After a long day of wine tastings and sightseeing, travel writers may be tired while you’re raring to go to the next attraction. Give them some downtime to relax before meals or allow them to turn-in early one night. This may also give them time to catch up on writing or social media posts.
You’ve invested in their visit, now help them tell their story.
- Thank them. A couple days after a travel writer or blogger leaves, send a polite note. Thank them for visiting and ask if they need any additional information or photographs for their article or blog. When sending professional photography, be sure to provide the proper permissions or rights so the photographer can be credited in the article or blog.
- Follow on social media. It’s a great idea for your destination or attraction to follow them on social media and interact with their posts about their visit. Comment about the great time you had together or re-post their killer photos. This will make your destination seem more human and may help you grow followers! They may continue to post days, weeks, even months after their trip so check regularly.
- Share their story. When their article or blog post gets published, send it to your partners and share it on your social platforms as well.