Friday Q & A with hotel guru Fiona Duncan


Fiona, AKA The Hotel Guru, Is the Telegraph Travel’s hotel expert, reviews the best and worst of Britain’s hotels and bed and breakfasts, from boutique to budget, countryside to city centre.

1. What makes you open an email from a PR?

If I know them and like them….ie if I have worked with them before and know they have clients that suit me, good angles, are efficient, self-motivated and friendly. 2) (less often) If the subject of the email catches my eye, particularly if I don’t know the PR themselves but do know of their company.

2. Would you open emails from PR’s you don’t know?

Yes, but only if the words in the subject box are eye catching and up my alley. The vast majority of emails from PRs do not get opened. Sometimes I make mistakes and miss things because of it, but not very often.

3. Do you answer your landline during a working day?

No. It’s either someone trying to sell me something I don’t want or a PR I don’t want to speak to.

4. Do you like images within a PR pitch?

Yes, but only one or two.

5. When is the best time for you to meet a PR?

Morning coffee or afternoon tea. Occasionally lunch time if they are mates or have an excellent portfolio of clients.

7. What are your top 2 tips for a PR trying to secure coverage?

Tailor your pitch to the journalist in question i.e. know the journalist’s style/preferences/audience and pitch accordingly and only if there is a genuine story there for that journalist/publication. There’s nothing worse than a PR pitching to you when they don’t know what your columns are called or are about or who you write for generally. Don’t pitch if you haven’t got a strong story or an angle around the hotel or whatever (and, for me, that story doesn’t have to involve the word ‘new’).

Don’t be vapid. PRs who are warm, engaging, creative, intelligent but also gritty are the ones who get through to me.

8. Are you happy to be contacted via social media / what are the boundaries?

Generally no. The odd good thing has come via Instagram, which I take part in. But I don’t do Twitter or Facebook or Linkedin. Life’s to short and emails work perfectly for me.

9. Spirulina or Sauvignon?

Sauvignon and plenty of it (though of course I may say Spirulina after Kamalaya…miracles do happen!)

10. Stylist or The Spectator?


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