The perks of specialism
A few times over the years, when encountering travel companies which cover an array of destinations without a particular niche (e.g. wildlife-watching), I’ve asked about their specialties. “Everywhere,” once answered the marketing manager of one during my PR career. “Oh, they’re very strong on Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas,” I was later told about another, now as a journalist. “Plus the Middle East and Australasia. And Antarctica.”
I get it, really. The company is good at it all – or else they wouldn’t sell each destination – and absolutely doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed or restricted to one area.
The downside to this approach, however, was evident last week while I worked on a teeny-tiny Greece and Portugal round-up for The Times. My editor asked me to concentrate on “country specialists” – at which point I fired up the dusty database in my brain and printed out a mental results list of those who specialise in each. Much of that database has been invisibly assembled while I’ve scoffed free granola at various PR coffee meetings during the past decade – and whenever someone hasn’t answered “Everywhere”.
So, as tricky and undesirable as it may be, I would urge those representing rangy clients to try and more narrowly define – with or without said client’s blessing – some specialist areas. It’s possible to do so gently, without masking their breadth of offering. For example: “Africa and Greenland are particular areas of focus, though they do cover the whole world.” Or: “While they sell trips everywhere, its their USA programme which rivals that of any other UK operator.”
That sort of thing would always be precious for us travel journalists to know – and might just score said client a few more mentions down the line.
What Richard Thinks…
“Reported laughter in Crystal Palace, courtesy of Nici’s humorous release really charming me (and capturing my attention)!”