This newsletter is a loose sequel to my one of a fortnight ago, which considered the potential need for PCR tests on overseas press trips for the foreseeable.
That’s one question mark currently hanging over the press-trip picture; another concerns whether it’s even possible to elicit commitment for late spring and beyond. Having been asked by her domestic client to start magicking up a May press trip, Maddi at Bloxham PR told me that one journalist she asked “said publications weren’t commissioning anything that involves travel, no matter how many months away.”
I’ve heard this from some of my outlets, too; others are happier to commission, but with a firm asterisk on everything – the asterisk warning that, in the worst case, a commission might end up in the bin. That’s likelier with topical stories – ones pegged on 2021 being the anniversary of something, say – than with others. An incredible new hotel will still be an incredible new hotel, for instance, whether it opens tomorrow or in autumn, meaning that a commission based on it ought to be timeless.
As for us freelancers, will we commit to travelling in May, or July, or November, or 2034? For me, at least in the case of May or July, it would be a case of evaluating potential loss: if I was paying any significant chunk of the trip, that seems too great a risk given the odds of postponement. No doubt your clients would feel similarly. Right now, then, the most feasible PR/journalist arrangements appear to be those with the fewest definite financial commitments necessitated; perhaps only – if you’ll forgive the sexist term – a gentleman’s agreement and a blocked-out diary.
On the flipside, I don’t want to suddenly have to arrange a tranche of last-minute trips in April for May, or whenever travel becomes possible again. So, as soon as a travel-possible time starts vaguely looming on the horizon, I’ll begin plotting and pitching. That, therefore, is probably also the moment for you PRs to really begin trying to fill press trips in earnest – domestic ones at least.
“Chloe wins the weekly trophy simply for such commendable brevity. Booking policies are a relevant but wholly unexciting subject; recognising that, she provides only the key facts in straightforward fashion, and no filler. I wish more releases followed suit.”