Tips on Navigating Travel Pitches for a Smooth Landing

Pointers from TV, online and print editors.

Travel is a huge and growing industry covered by a wide range of publications that offer PR professionals many opportunities to score placements for their clients.

Travel editors are open to PR pitches and often save them for future reference–as long as they contain compelling travel topics, people, places or products. They also double-check TripAdvisor reviews, recommend retweeting their stories and accept fam trips – with caveats.

Travel producers and editors from Yahoo Travel, Skift, NY1 News and the New York Post shared their insights and details about their outlets at a PCNY/ Publicity Club of New York event on Wednesday. Peter Himler, PCNY president and principal of Flatiron Communications LLC, moderated and the following served as panelists:

  • Yahoo Travel: Laura Begley Bloom, executive editor
  • Skift: Jason Clampet, co-founder, head of content
  • NY1 News: Valarie D’Elia, edits and produces Travel with Val segments
  • New York Post: David Kaufman, travel, home and real estate editor

Fam/press trips

More travel media brands allow these trips now, but editors select only those that include special destinations–and they make no promises about coverage. D’Elia must disclose the trip in her script, Begley Bloom has a standard policy that press trip attendees must produce a story per day on the road, Clampet’s staff finds the excursions valuable for information gathering, and Kaufman only allows such trips if they offer worthwhile experiences.

Each editor highlighted what differentiates their outlets and types of content they look for:

Yahoo Travel

Yahoo Travel covers 15 breaking news and feature stories per day, and is the top travel site in terms of traffic, Begley Bloom said. Topics span different aspects of travel, such as solo or family trips. They prefer stories about real people, such as pieces they ran about a couple who met and got married on Turkish Airlines, and an Australian couple who bought an island in Cambodia and became hoteliers.

Yahoo Travel Explorers is a network of travel bloggers who post stories (like ‘10 Tips for Happy Haggling’) on Tumblr, and the brand selectively features them on their site. Yahoo also has partnerships with other travel outlets. Begley Bloom said they welcome PR pitches, and are also looking for video content.

Skift

The rapidly growing 3-year old brand is currently the most visited travel news site in the U.S., according to Clampet. While most of their audience is comprised of travel industry professionals, other readers are armchair travelers. They work across travel silos (air, hotels, tech) to find common touchpoints and shared lessons. The site also studies travel strategy, marketing and tech to find similar products, like apps for hotel and airline check-ins.

Skift conducts C-Suite interviews, and does news stories, such as hotel guests wanting luxury and sustainability. They focus on original content and partner with sites like Bloomberg. Among their products, (some are subscription-based): daily newsletters, twice-monthly trends reports and podcasts. They also produce sponsored content and an annual conference.

Resized--C74V9462_Sing_Me_Back_Home_A_Journey_Through_Count.jpgNew York Post

The travel section, appearing on Tuesdays, covers a range of stories, Kaufman said, such as discount trips, travel related products, fashion, design or real estate (i.e. hotel-condo developments). In addition, their Alexa luxury supplements appear 30 times per year, each focused on a specific theme.

The Post is increasing its digital presence and has a partnership with Yahoo Travel. Given their small staff, they also use contributed content. They occasionally cover local events if they’re compelling. Travel stories and pitches are welcome, but as Kaufman noted, “We love sensationalism, scandal and sex, so we do travel stories in our own Postian way.”

NY1 News

D’Elia is a self-described “travel production factory” since she does two stories per week, year round. She produces her own work and has a website and said she’s all about video and story ideas. Her pieces are 2 minutes long, including interviews, and she travels far and wide to exotic locales such as Cuba, where she did an 8-part series. She also explores places closer to home, such as Bear Mountain, because her diverse audience also likes local and regional stories.

She covers a wide range of topics, including those based on PR pitches, but when sending videos, limit the files to teaser length. And PRs take note: Now she’s working on a roundup story featuring crazy destination PR stunts, and is looking for related video contributions.

Images courtesy of Yahoo Travel/Turkish Airlines and New York Post/Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum