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The quest for press-trip chemistry

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The quest for press-trip chemistry

As we returned from Cyprus last week, I had an interesting chat with Louis from Perowne International about getting the right mix of journalists on group press trips. Beyond the obvious key factors – good titles to delight the client; a confirmed commission – they try to ensure good chemistry on the junket.
Rather like those dating apps which try to match people, there’s obviously a limit to how expertly this can be done; nothing can ever perfectly predict the interpersonal relations between humans. There do seem to be some basic rules to follow, however:
1) No dickheads – black-list anyone with a history of knobbish behaviour, no matter how important they are.
2) Try not to have too much breadth of interest (e.g. a honeymoons writer, a food specialist, a budget-travel writer and a luxury-travel writer) unless the itinerary is wildly flexible, as you’ll otherwise risk disquiet.
3) No rival publications or editors, for fear of squabbling.
4) Try to avoid a mixture of young, dewy-eyed, relentlessly-enthusiastic, non-travel writer and patronising, savvy, scornful, slightly-entitled veteran.
The last never ends well. My favourite such instance came in Buenos Aires when a legendary travel journalist deigned to join the rest of us for dinner – having hitherto avoided our amateur, low-brow, inexpert company – at an expensive steak restaurant, and was soon confrontationally correcting (for the 34th time) a younger lady’s statement regarding malbec grapes. Alas – as a waiter soon verified – she was actually right. He sulked the rest of the evening, and she was upset. Ugh.
Most group trips function terrifically – perhaps because they’re well chosen, as in Cyprus, and also because they somewhat have to. The forced intimacy of them is a strange thing (so often locals have exclaimed in shock, “you’ve only just met?!”, such is already our chemistry and ease around one another), but it’s part of being a travel journalist and being at work. At the airport where you meet, everyone shakes hands awkwardly and instantly forgets names; come the end, it’s all hugs, shared jokes and fond goodbyes. I’ve had several groups so wonderful that we still meet up to this day.

What Richard Thinks…

“This is an especially great release given that English isn’t Mónica’s native language — and I’ve never come across the declaration of a sustainable breakfast before. Very cool (and great-looking) cups!”

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