Bookings soar by 93%! 196% increase in website traffic! Sales up 400% in a month!
Last week, I received numerous emails along these lines, each joyously declaring a surge in interest, sales or both following Lord Boris’s already-legendary ‘roadmap’. There were probably hundreds more which I didn’t get, too, ones just sent (quite rightly) to travel-news specialists like the Telegraph’s Oliver Smith or, the authority on such stories, Ben Clatworthy at The Times.
With my Metro page currently in pandemic purgatory, I don’t write such newsy stories. But I really appreciated getting them – the industry tonic was hugely welcome, for a start – and find them interesting.
When I used to do news stories like this, or indeed when I worked with Ben, there were a few things you could do to boost your coverage chances. Having truly persuasive figures helps – Jet2’s eye-opening figures enable the sub-heading in The Times’s story, for instance – but you mustn’t fake or fudge these. A non-bland quote in which your client says something either definitive – “this is our best trading day in history” – or discursive, such as Cool Camping’s quotes in The Telegraph’s article, are always welcome.
Otherwise, your best bet is speed. The roadmap was widely predicted to be announced by Lord Bojo on Monday evening, and a booking boom was fairly predictable, too. If still working in PR, I’d have looked to have my release approved and ready to send early on Tuesday morning – with only some numbers to fill in, e.g. “online enquiries up XX% overnight” – once that data was clarified. (Obviously all this relies on a XXX client with sufficient time.) The Telegraph and Times stories were both published on Tuesday afternoon, so anything sent later had already missed the boat. With such a brutally short window, advance prep would have been key.
Props to those who acted swiftly – Anna Penson from Citypress and White Tiger’s Laura Marfell-Williams sent the first releases that I received – but also to anyone who did something more incisive. In a trend-type pitch, Cesca Hedley at Fox Communications cited multiple arguments why Greece was likely to prosper allied to the government’s announcement. Courtesy of her Four Communications client, Zoe Poulton outlined not just booking spikes, but the week’s top five best-selling destinations – decidedly interesting additional data, even if it possibly delayed her release.
Time to stop: my need for a cup of tea has risen by 730% since I started writing this email…
“Firstly, Elise’s release is fascinating. Secondly, it’s inspiring. Third, the IWD hook is smart. And fourth, huge kudos to her and Untamed Borders for also declaring that other, rival companies (e.g Intrepid) are helping this movement – that only strengthens her story.”