Every single day, a PR gets in touch to ask whether I could meet a visiting hotel dignitary who’s in town: a CEO, a finance director, a GM, the head of the spa, a restaurant designer.
When I first started out in travel journalism, I said yes to pretty much every invitation I was sent. I had no idea who did what, and needed to figure it all out.
In the past 15 years, though, I’ve wised up – and realised that it’s a total waste of time seeing certain people.
For instance: the finance director. No matter how interesting he thinks his profits and losses are, I’m not there to report on corporate finance.
Secondly: CEOs. When readers look to travel writers, it’s not for information about where hotel groups are looking to expand in five years. They want to know where to go on holiday now.
Thirdly, the sales rep. So many people mix up sales and PR. They shouldn’t, as they have totally different roles. The job of sales reps is to sell hotels to travel agents and tour operators: their heads are full of financial data, and details about the size of rooms and numbers of suites (all of which make most journalists yawn).
Whereas, PRs should be there to provide interesting stories that might translate into inspirational articles: whether those are about interesting characters, or fabulous interiors, or new spas and wellness journeys that will inspire us – and then our readers – to visit.
So please don’t take offence when I say no to your (well-intentioned) invitations. But unless your hotel representatives are versed in the art of seducing journalists with fascinating stories, or shots of beautiful interiors, or explanations about experiences we will all want to do, I’m going to have to (once again) decline.