Developing a travel PR campaign for affiliate clients presents a particular challenge. After all they don’t own their own hotels, boats, planes, they don’t sell their own package holidays and most of the time they don’t even mind who you travel with.
That leaves us a bit short of stories on the PR side.
Travel affiliate clients just want traffic, which they can then convert to clickers to send on their way to happy merchants in exchange for a slice of the pie.
There’s very little there for a traditional travel PR to get their teeth into. Or is there?
I asked him to share his views of travel PR for affiliate marketing.
Andy, how do you start getting your affiliate clients ink?
There are two elements to this. Going right back to Marketing 101, it is all about the brand. Regardless of whether or not you are selling tours or holidays that are packaged in your name or in another operators name, the brand that you use as the platform for making this sale must be credible.
Once you have the basis of a credible brand, good search positioning, unique, intriguing content, good customer feedback and all the other areas that go into this, you can begin to spread the word using public relations activity.
Is everything aimed at driving traffic or is there a reputation element?
Our approach to this is three pronged and combines both the need to increase traffic along with building a reputation. If you are working with a brand that has no presence within the media then you first of all have to create a profile and “noise” to get yourself established.
The three areas are:
1. Consumer stories
2. Reactive stories
3. Feature pieces in the travel sections.
This means doing releases on everything possible within your sector, and maybe even outside it to try and attract attention and get your company name in the papers.
From this initial stage you are then in a better position to look for larger features within the travel sector that will deliver more relevant stories.
Finally, once you are in a position where you are known by media across both consumer and travel sectors, you can strive to be the first to react to breaking industry news in order to become an authority and the first port of call for journalists looking for an alternative to the older travel brands that are out there.
It is important that from the outset you know how far you want to push your brand: if you want to do the more fun and consumer led stories or if you simply want to stick to the drier, more conservative travel angles.
What travel company owners across the affiliate sector need to keep in mind is that, as with most sections of national newspapers, the travel sections are shrinking in size and readership, meaning it is more important that their PR work focuses on getting ink in the front of the paper, in the news and general consumer sections.
Very useful. Thanks very much for your time, Andy.