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Adding angles to press-trip invites

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Like a long-dormant car spluttering into action, press-trip invites are becoming decidedly more commonplace in my inbox – although I do worry that fourth (or fifth — France having seemingly squeezed in an extra one) waves of Covid might yet rain on this parade.

One of the invites this week, for a hotel in Dublin from Layla at Third City, came with a couple of suggested angles for me to pitch to an editor. One is too business-travelly for me, but the other could work: I’ve asked for some clarification. Either way, though, it was brilliant to get these ideas.

Too many press-trip invites lack them. A typical one might outline the planned schedule, and highlight a new hotel restaurant or experience we’d visit, but that’s about it.

Unless I’m pitching a straight-up review, a new hotel restaurant won’t normally be enough to earn me a feature commission; nor, most likely, will new experiences (unless they’re unusual and have wide appeal). Instead, I’d need to pitch a trend — have there been a series of cool restaurant or foodie openings in the wider, previously-barren area? – or an article on the destination in general with a topical ‘hook’. That hook might be a new flight, new national-park status, links to a forthcoming major film… you know the sort of thing!

If you can proactively help us journalists with that by suggesting such hooks like Layla did, all the better. In most cases we’ll require or want a commission in order to bagsy a place on the trip, so it’s very much in your interest too.

PS: Lottie Gross and Steph Dyson covered this topic from the journalist perspective in a press trip-focused monthly series of their Talking Travel Writing newsletter in August – and specifically in the August 10 entry, “How to tease ideas out of press trip itineraries”. You’ll need to pay to read that one, but I’d suggest it’d be worthwhile doing so (and I promise I’m not on commission!) simply to see how we travel writers react to invites.

What Richard Thinks…

“Great craic from Ellie here: a newsworthy subject matter, plus I love the inclusion of four venues as examples to provide some colour — it’s exactly what someone covering the story would want”
 
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