• Alexandra Avila

Six Tips to Navigating This Unprecedented Time in Travel PR



An interview with PR Net


While COVID-19 forced their hotel clients closed, the team at REYA, a boutique agency for luxury travel brands, is busier than ever, pushing ahead with a proactive approach to communications while travel media goes into a tail spin. Founder Alexandra Avila offers a unique take on brand communications, having been the client, publisher and agency. Here are her six tips to navigating this unprecedented time in travel PR.


Tip 1: Know Your Audience 

Due to covid we're seeing three segments impacted. They each have their own challenges and worries. Know your audience and what will resonate with them. 


1. Directly Impacted: Worried About Tomorrow

These are your frontline medical and essential workers, people whose health has been jeopardized by covid, or acting as a caregiver to someone in their household.

2. Indirectly Impacted: Worried About the Future

These are people impacted by the economy. They have lost their jobs, savings or are trying to salvage their businesses.

3. Inconvenienced: Worried About Today

These are those who still have their full time jobs, collecting salary and benefits, while also getting to save money by staying home. They are just waiting for life to go back to normal.


Tip 2: Fit for Print

Print books are struggling as reporters and photographers are kept from going on assignment. Instead, editors are relying on the journalists just back from trips or sitting on stories they may have passed on before. While Europe would get covered obsessively, more obscure and remote destinations are getting a chance. Jacqui Gifford shared on a media panel recently, that destinations such as Safari remain good travel inspirations due to their long planning cycle. We're going back and looking at who we've hosted, who could pen a great essay and may be sitting on great photography, and leading with that. 


Tip 3: Follow the Traffic

At REYA Communications we're curious to see which websites were still thriving during the pandemic. Here is a look at traffic percentage growth pulled from Similar Web for Feb to March. There's no surprise that news sites like NYT and Bloomberg are thriving.The luxury publications are chugging along, catering to the "Inconvenienced" mentioned earlier. While T+L is showing impressive traffic growth, while the traveler books lost market share, as they shift strategies while travel is on hold.


Tip 4: Don't Assume. Listen. 

Rather than looking to the media to see where the conversation is going, go to the source. At REYA Communications, we use Twitter and Google Trends to see what the people want to talk about. It just might surprise you to see what's trending. 


Tip 5: SEO Now, Benefit Later

Developing SEO-friendly content and updating your website's SEO will reap you benefits with Google down the road. Hotels are hesitant to do PR when they are closed, but this is the time to get your online coverage with their backlinks and keywords out into the interweb. Now is the time to work on building up their Domain Authority with top ranking media sites. 


Tip 6: Get Started on Your Media Hosting Strategy

At REYA Communications, we've spoken with a few travel writers who are eager to get back to the field to report. They know there are risks and some comforts will be lost, but they want to get out there and do their jobs. With airlines looking for positive coverage, sponsorship for media tickets will be more available, and while flights are cheap, properties who couldn't afford to fly media out before will have the chance to now. We're looking at working with tourism boards more closely to look at expediting media visas for writers who can prove immunity. These first journalists will be the ones to report early on the new way of travel, and dictate which destinations to go to.