Travel insights from Rick Zimmerman, President & CEO, KHM Travel Group

Telling Your Story Through Local Media

The relationship between the media and the travel industry has been an interesting one over the past four months. There have been countless attention-grabbing headlines regarding travel. Many have been about health and safety. Others have focused on destinations and possible trends that may emerge in the post-pandemic world.

As the attention gradually shifts to travel resuming, it’s important for travel advisors to have a voice that is heard alongside the news and any speculation. Using the media to shine a positive light on the customer service that trusted travel professionals provide their clients can help the industry rebound. Below are a few suggestions to ensure every encounter with the media is effective and conveys your unique perspective.

Sharing Your Experiences

Writers typically rely on historical travel data and trends to shape their stories–both of which have been turned upside down this year. As destinations and resorts begin to open, you may find yourself being one of the first to experience the new normal of air travel, resort stays, or cruising. Your willingness to share your experiences, photos, and advice is crucial to helping others know what to expect. Hearing your firsthand story may even instill comfort and confidence in someone taking that first step to plan a vacation.

Handling Interviews

If you are fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with a member of the media directly, make sure you are prepared. Gather a few talking points and do your research ahead of time, so you’re able to answers questions with confidence. Reporters will need to rely on travel agencies to learn the common questions travelers have and which destinations are top of mind. Preparing ahead of time demonstrates your professionalism and can lead to future interviews or on-camera opportunities.

Working Together

Above all else, the most important thing to keep in mind when speaking to the media is that you’re working together. Do your best to make their job as easy as possible by providing all the necessary information upfront to ensure they can report accurately. Always be respectful of their time and understand that they often work on tight deadlines. This is the first time any of us are dealing with a global pandemic. If you see a story with inaccurate details about booking travel, calmly respond and offer your perspective as a travel advisor.

Building a relationship with your local media is a marketing strategy that will take time. But as we begin to emerge from our homes and venture back into the world, it will be more important than ever for the stories of travel advisors to be heard.

About the Author

Rick Zimmerman is the President of KHM Travel Group, one of the country’s leading host travel agencies. Rick joined the travel industry fresh out of college where he worked as a travel agent for a small agency in Cleveland, Ohio. After a 25-year career in the construction industry, Rick returned to his travel roots and helped found KHM Travel Group in 2005. Rick is an active advocate of the travel agent community and serves on multiple travel-related Advisory Boards.

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