Marketing Tips for Travel Workshops

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Marketing Tips for Travel Workshops

  1. 1. World Travel 101 Marketing Presentations Blurbs World Travel 101 - Get out and see the world! Join Hostelling International-USA for our beginning travel education program. Learn from an experienced traveler as they present travel-related 'how-tos' and tips from their adventures. Learn how to travel safely and responsibly on a shoestring budget, plus get advice on packing, accommodations, and resources. Women Traveling Solo Women have been traveling solo for centuries. Long before airplanes, backpacks for women or the internet, women have always traveled. You can too! There is no one way to take a trip, but traveling solo can be a very positive, life-changing, and empowering experience. Learn from a volunteer from Hostelling International about respect, skills, concerns, health & safety for your solo trip. Travel the USA with Hostels Thinking about planning a trip in the U.S. this year? See some great urban and rural hostels where you can stay for under $35 a night. Get ready for your own trip with a budget, packing tips, and transportation & lodging options. Re-check your cultural awareness and meet experienced travelers to share tips & tricks. Generating Publicity on the Cheap Develop a concise press release that provides essential information • particularly: What, Where, When and Who to contact. The release should be presented in a standard release format to ensure clarity of message and pick- up by a media outlet. To see the included press release how to guide, click here. Send press releases for possible print, web, radio and TV coverage to both general and college media points, as relevant. Be sure to give 3-4 weeks of lead-time. (Note: the deadlines and hoops you have to jump through to have your workshop listed in event and activities calendars in local media can vary widely. For each, determine who your contact is, what their rules are, and in what format(s) they prefer to receive the information (and keep this info handy for future reference). Some cities have non-profit agencies that maintain resource directories on local media that include the deadlines and contact information. Ask around to see if such a resource exists in your area.) • Local public access cable and public radio stations may run PSAs (public service announcements). As a non-profit organization, we’re often eligible for these. Some public access cable shows may even be willing to cover the
  2. 2. workshop and/or videotape an interview with a council or hostel representative. This could even be a mini-workshop! • Setting up a series of workshops rather than individual ones takes more time to set up, but because you only have to send out one batch of press releases, a series is easier, faster and cheaper to promote. A series can also help establish you as more of a travel education “player.” A variety of subjects, titles, target audiences and locations works best for a series. If you’ll just be offering the same workshop, definitely try varying the location, time of day, etc. • For larger papers, try to get your press release on as many editors’ desks as possible so that you can get more than one listing. Try the calendar/events editor, travel section, outdoor section, etc. • If you have the possibility for a Sunday travel section listing, try to schedule the actual workshop for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays are too close to the weekend to get good attendance, and Friday is never a good idea. • Promote the workshop in your council’s newsletter and website. Local members can give your workshops great word-of-mouth publicity. • Send an announcement on your council or hostel’s email list and ask recipients to forward it to anyone they think may be interested. If you don’t currently have an email list, evaluations from this workshop are a good way to start building one, so be sure to collect email addresses from participants. The sign-up sheet in the Tool Kit does this. When developing an email list, include a disclaimer and information about how people can add or delete themselves, suggested URLs, etc. • Flyers at the council, hostel, local library, coffee shops, co-ops, student hang outs, community and university bulletin boards (general use boards, and also boards & media outlets for specific clubs and departments), cafés, discount partner businesses, local outdoor stores (REI and the like) and other businesses that give you permission. (Note: find out what the rules and procedures are for the places you want to advertise. Seek ways to extend a flyer’s lifespan, including cheap, clear plastic stands.) • If conducting the workshop at an off-site venue such as a library or bookstore, check to see if you can get plugged into their in-house publicity efforts, including printed and e-newsletters and flyers. (Note: these extra PR channels can often require more than a month’s notice.) • Record an announcement promoting the workshop for your council or hostel’s answering machine.
  3. 3. • Be sure to post these workshops on your council or hostel’s site. • Include a flyer or invitation with information requests your council receives prior to the workshop. Post your workshops on any local online community calendars. If your region • has an active presence on www.craigslist.org, for example, definitely list it there. www.idealist.org is another free site for listing. Ways to increase publicity: • Consider partnering with organizations or venues whose own public profile can help raise yours. • Be on the lookout for local internationally themed events in need of content and offer to present the workshop as part of the event. • See if you can present a mini-travel workshop, focusing on one component, at a local Rotary Club or Toastmasters chapter. This can serve as an “infomercial” for a longer version, and will reach a new audience. General Publicity Notes: • College students are a key group, but they are not the only group – the best workshops are the ones with mixed audiences. • Your contact person for the media (listed on both the press release and the PSA) should be someone who is available by telephone during the day. Cell phones are great for this provided the person will be able to answer during the day, or call back quickly. Return every media call promptly. • • If a paper doesn’t run your listing in an events calendar, call them and (nicely) find out why. • When writing your own press releases and PSAs, make sure they are properly formatted with all the necessary information. When creating flyers, put yourself in the public’s shoes – what words and • images grab your attention? Be sure to highlight that the workshop is FREE, and that it will focus on TIPS. • Always carefully proofread your work for grammar and logic, and have someone else look at it!
  4. 4. Props: Promote HI: Along with a passport, money belt, backpack, and guidebooks, • be sure to promote HI-USA in the materials and props you use. If you have an HI, hostel or council t-shirt: wear it (unless a t-shirt would be too casual for the audience). If you’ve got a travel mug, coffee mug, baseball cap, etc., with our logo, bring it along, wear it--display it. Building recognition of our logo builds recognition of our brand. Displays and materials: Make sure along with all the handouts included in • the Tool Kit, you distribute local promotional materials. Whether it’s an HI- USA brochure, a council newsletter, flyers for upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, Hostelling guidebooks and maps, business cards, membership applications/brochures, misc. freebies, etc., bring it along! Follow-up: At the conclusion of the workshop, you still have a little bit of work to do to wrap it all up. Audience follow-up: Try to get everyone in the audience to fill out an • evaluation form. This feedback is essential in order to build on your workshop successes. Be sure to add everyone to the volunteer and/or mailing lists. Venue & co-sponsor follow-up: If you used an off-site venue or had a co- • sponsor, be sure to send a thank-you note and encourage their future participation. Speaker(s) follow-up: Thank-you notes to your presenters are also • essential. If you have a chance to provide them with general evaluation form feedback, it can help them for future presentations. If there’s an area where presenters need to make some improvement, be encouraging about it, and also be sure to compliment them on the aspects of the presentation you or the audience thought went over very well. Consider using the “3-1” rule – for every bit of constructive criticism you share, try to highlight three positives. Media follow-up: Free publicity is great publicity, and a simple thank-you • note can go a long way to making sure you continue to get that publicity in the future. In fact, it’s often through the relationships you build with local media representatives that can determine how much publicity you get.

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