Earlier this year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the first press trip of my professional career for rbb’s client, the Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt. The trip took me across the Lesser Antilles of the Windward Islands to the stunning country of St. Lucia, a breathtaking Caribbean destination that is home to the first Inclusive Collection resort on the island, Zoëtry Marigot Bay St. Lucia.
With my departure date approaching, I was both anxious and excited; anxious because this would be my first time speaking to a group of journalists in-person, and excited because I knew this would be my chance to work towards one of my career goals: strengthening my media relations skills.
From this trip, I learned three essential tips and tricks on how to best prepare for media trips and fortify relationships with journalists:
- Ease the nerves with extensive research.
There is no such thing as being over-prepared! Before heading on the press trip, I made sure to do extensive research on everything regarding the resort, the journalists, and the island. I learned the hours of operation for the restaurants, the number of pools on-site, and even different spa treatments offered. Knowing about the resort wasn’t enough though, and I made sure to dig into the beautiful lore of the island in case any questions came up about the weather, the time difference, activities available, and more.
After all that research, I felt at ease that I was more than prepared to answer any and all questions thrown my way.
- When in doubt, lean on your team.
You know what they say: teamwork makes the dream work! With the incredible guidance of my managers, the Inclusive Collection team, and the resort team, I felt better equipped to engage with the journalists. My manager, Rebecca, helped in leading conversations with the media and I took notes on how to connect with them on topics not only related to their work, but their personal lives and interests as well.
Moreover, I learned how to be more resourceful when it came to ensuring a smooth trip overall, as the entire team devoted their time and energy to creating a seamless itinerary. I knew that with my team by my side, there was no reason to ever be worried or anxious because they’d have my back.
- Connect with the attending media – beyond the agenda.
It’s all about going above and beyond the agenda! After observing the team and their interactions with the media, I learned how to better connect with the journalists on a deeper level that went beyond work. Through exciting excursions, intimate dinners, and downtime at the resort, I was able to learn about their interests beyond writing and journalism.
While I have a passion for public relations, I’m also an avid film lover, which I discovered Brian Majors of TravelPulse was, as well! And while getting a cocktail at the bar, I was chatting with Omar Perez of Travel Weekly who told me he had a fondness for old-school rock and metal, just like me. Through these conversations, I now not only have a professional connection with them, but a personal one that will make working together in the future even more genuine and exciting.
With the extensive research I did, the supportive team members I had, and the connections beyond the work agenda I made, I was able to learn the essential ideas of fortifying authentic relationships with the media. I’m grateful that within just one year into my professional career, I was able to attend a press trip surrounded by people that helped strengthen my ability to interact with journalists and accomplish one of my career goals.
With these three tips and tricks in mind, I know I’ll always be prepared for future media trips that I attend and, eventually, organize!