“How can we cut through the staycation noise?” asks Julia from Wild Card, sagely referring to the fact that domestic travel is likely to again – chiefly due to closed borders – be all the holiday rage this spring and summer. Much of what reaches mine and other travel journalists’ inboxes will be staycation-focused, so which tacks can make you stand out?
Talking about unusual places will help. So, if your client isn’t just consigned to just one region, avoid the classics like Cornwall or north Norfolk, and tell me instead about the Lincolnshire Wolds or West Yorkshire. If a client only covers those classic areas, is there a significantly less-travelled portion of them which is now (genuinely) emerging? Why is that?
New and unusual offerings remain of interest, even more so in this crowded landscape. While foraging and field-to-fork restaurants are old hat, hat-making could be cool. Ditto afternoon tea at an incredible location. These offerings mustn’t be too zany – readers would have to want to come and do them enough to book solely for that reason.
Spill the beans about certified booking trends, if any are truly noteworthy (more on this subject next week). News writers or travel staffers at the papers love those.
Openings are always exciting, but each must boast a USP and provide something different – the first luxury hotel in a town, maybe, or the first full treehouse spa (yes please!). Stress this USP; stress it before saying anything else.
Finally, look at what each newspaper travel section has been doing of late. The Mail on Sunday, for instance, has run lists around classic British foods, estuaries and Wessex; unsung elements or regions making for a fun round-up for instance. More down-the-middle fare – secret UK corners; what’s already selling out – has been covered by Telegraph writers. But The Independent are tending to run insidery, industry-analysing stories – e.g. how Covid has affected hotel plastic use. Could you pitch ideas along such lines to the relevant editors?
“Whenever we can go to Thailand, a tuk-tuk tour sounds like madcap fun – making it tempting for sections to cover as a NIB. Credit to Catriona for using a big, easily-readable font, and thus using fewer words.”