Last week, Stuart McDonald of Travelfish wrote a really interesting proposal for a press trip format. His suggestion was fairly simple – instead of getting writers on to a press trip, and setting up all the elements of that trip, they should just give the writers a lump sum of money to go and explore the destination and write what they want to write afterwards. That way, the writer picks what he or she is interested in, hunts down suitable accommodation that he or she would stay in if paying themselves, and experiences the country properly as an anonymous traveller.
McDonald suggested there would be no demands on what has to be written as a result – just an open invitation to go and explore, then blog whatever they like afterwards. And, if the tourist board has chosen smartly, the writer will also sell stories to newspapers, magazines and other websites.
There’s a lot of trust involved in such an approach, of course. But there’s also a lot of logic, too. The right person will want to get as much material as possible. They’ll want to use it to grow their blog, attract more readers and get existing readers sticking around for longer. It’s no coincidence that the longer a writer spends in a destination, the more stories they tend to get.
Unsurprisingly, I’m rather enchanted by this idea. And I’ll modify it slightly. Instead of offering me a press trip with a set itinerary and all manner of freebies, just give me the value of that press trip to play with. I can guarantee that I can make it last longer staying in the £50 to £80 a night hotels that travellers are looking for rather than luxury properties with huge room rates. And I can guarantee that I can find more stories worth writing with that extra time and freedom.
If the trouble is getting this past the beancounters, then let’s dress it up as an advertising budget. I’ve got a sponsored posts system. The posts are editorially independent, but sponsors get to give themselves a wee plug at the bottom. Give me the cash to set up my own visit, and I’ll let a tourist board sponsor a corresponding number of posts. And they can be the ones about the relevant destination too.
Interested? Then let’s talk…
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BOOK YOUR OWN ADVENTUREThe following sites are usually my first port of call when booking a trip - so I recommend them as somewhere to start when booking your own holiday.
HOTELS: Hotels.com (£) or Agoda (£)
FLIGHTS: Skyscanner (£) Kayak or Roundtheworldflights.com
CAR HIRE: Car Rentals (£)
GUIDE BOOKS: Amazon (£)
TOURS AND ACTIVITIES: Viator (£)
If you liked this story, there are plenty more in my book.