What’s Happening – COVID-19 has changed travel but also energized vacationers to become creative.  In the U.S., a “get-away” is a “right” and Americans plan to make it happen. This in turn has transformed how we approach communications. As LHG represents over 20 destinations, an immediate modification of course was crucial. Yes, Americans are discovering America but very important, they still want to dream of far away places.

How does PR fit into this evolution? We learned quickly that regional press has taken on new significance due to tremendous populations shifts in this country. Of course, national media continued to be important but needed a different approach to produce desired results.  We learned that reporters were seeking information on trends covering such subjects as Travel Pods, Voluntourism, Zoom Towns, Great American Road Trip and RV Travel, Micro-cations, Staycations. Other aspects of importance included Safety and Hygiene clearly identified and a need for Flexible Bookings.

Beyond real travel, editors wanted their audiences to dream and destinations knew they must “keep alive” their many attributes. Thus, virtual public relations came into play. Producing exciting video and creative photography became essential. As culinary is always a draw, having tastings, cooking demonstrations, recipes were well-liked. Visiting exhibitions, offering art lectures and showcasing attractions were popular.  Even home fitness/wellness and telemedicine had an audience. Desiring to engage their customers, destinations moved in-person events online that met with great interest and success. Another virtual phenomenon was Zoom desk-side media/client meetings that allowed clients to tell their story in real time.

The other big change was the disappearance of the “American News’ Room” with media working from home. This meant no down time and quick action to produce client results.

In Conclusion – Yes, a new world for travel and for public relations serving this segment, however, some things never change. Knowing the media personally and giving them what they need when they need it, having positive relationships with clients and offering empathy during uncertain times and always going the extra mile are keys to success whatever the environment.