Passport to Publicity: 6 Tips to Pitching Your Tourism Destination


The U.S. travel and tourism sector is a formidable force, contributing an impressive $1.9 trillion to the economy and supporting 9.5 million American jobs, according to the International Trade Administration. However, in a competitive landscape where every destination vies for attention, how can brands stand out and attract visitors?

One highly effective strategy we've discovered for promoting hospitality and tourism brands is media relations. Yet, with thousands of travel writers receiving countless pitches weekly, grabbing a journalist's attention can be daunting. In fact, according to Muckrack’s 2024 State of Journalism survey 49% of journalists surveyed say they respond to PR pitches seldom or never. So how do you make your destination stand out?

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Personalization is Paramount

As is the case with any good pitch - personalization is key. Pitching a travel writer who focuses on family beach vacations to visit your landlocked party city will likely fall flat.

Journalists surveyed say the number one reason they reject PR pitches is because they don’t match their coverage beat or geographic area. So follow these best practices:

  • Conduct thorough research beforehand; the "spray and pray" method isn't effective. 
  • Quality contacts and tailored pitches always surpass quantity. Take the time to read journalists' profiles, check their social media, and review their previous work. 

Pursuing extra effort benefits your brand and respects the writers' time. After all, you want published content that aligns with your destination's brand.

Tap into Trends

Tapping into broader travel trends can significantly boost your chances of securing media placements for your travel destination. By tailoring your pitches to current trends, you capture the attention of journalists and editors looking for fresh content. This approach not only resonates with audiences seeking the latest travel experiences but also highlights your destination's relevance and appeal. Leveraging travel trends in your pitches can enhance your destination's visibility and appeal in the competitive travel media landscape. Again, research comes into play here.

2024 travel trends to consider: 

  • Wellness travel
  • Sustainable travel
  • Voluntourism
  • Solo travel
  • Spontaneous or on-a-whim travel
  • Adventure travel
  • Multi-generational travel

Identify journalists who cover trends relevant to your location and craft pitches that showcase how your destination uniquely fits into these trends.

Paint a Picture

Today’s travelers are highly influenced by the images they see on social media and in the glossy pages of their favorite travel outlets. Don't hold back your best asset - include captivating images of your location directly in your pitch email. Avoid making journalists work to open attachments or navigate to a media kit to initially view the images. Present your best visuals upfront to grab their attention immediately. Print media outlets do require high-resolution images–and they will want to know you have them–but these can either be provided via a link, zip file or mention they’re available upon request. 

Keep it Simple

Muckrack’s survey reveals 83% of journalists prefer to receive pitches via email and 65% prefer pitches that are under 200 words. Journalists are busy. They get bombarded with dozens to even hundreds of pitch emails each week. As PR pros, we pride ourselves on our ability to craft a story, but journalists need us to get to the point.

Make your pitches concise, take out anything superfluous or unnecessary. One journalist quoted said, “Avoid ridiculous hyperbole and get to the point already.”

All the journalist really needs is an elevator pitch: If you can pique their interest, you’ll have plenty of time to gush about everything you love about your destination in follow-up conversations. The first step - just hook them.

The Value of Fam Tours

Familiarization tours offer an excellent opportunity to host a group of travel writers, allowing you to highlight the compelling reasons why they should feature your destination in their stories. It allows you to cultivate an event where you pull together vendors and community partners to put your best foot forward and the results, if you do it right, are worth every bit of effort.

One familiarity tour of 5-10 writers can result in several dozen media placements since freelance writers are submitting different angles from the same destination to multiple editors, plus sharing on their own blogs or well-followed social channels. Getting your brand out on multiple channels from these trusted sources increases your credibility and visibility in one fell swoop.

These events are also an opportunity to form lasting relationships with travel writers who will come back to you again and again for coverage that fits your destination - you have a festival coming up, a new hotel or restaurant that will fit an upcoming article they’re writing. Once that relationship is formed, your emails are less likely to sit on read.

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PR is Cumulative

Lastly, remember that PR is a long-term investment. Building relationships with the media takes time, but the payoff is substantial. Be patient and persistent; even if a pitch doesn't succeed initially, maintaining relationships can yield results over time. Journalists change jobs and write for various outlets throughout their careers, so nurturing these relationships is invaluable for long-term success.

In conclusion, by personalizing pitches, tapping into trends, painting vivid pictures, keeping it simple, organizing familiarization tours and understanding the cumulative nature of PR, your hospitality and tourism brand can effectively promote its destination and stand out in a competitive market.