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Tips to Working with Media in the First Half of 2021

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As we look forward to this summer when travel will hopefully be returning slowly, we should ask ourselves, what should we be doing now to prepare?  One of the many things on that to-do list is likely marketing; that’s where media can come in.  They can be your teammates in getting the word out that you are open and ready for business, and they may even be able to travel before most people are ready to pack their bags. 

As media, we want the travel industry to comeback as much as businesses do.  Travel is our love and our livelihood. Here are 7 tips to working with media to amplify your marketing message this year more than ever. 

Know Your Goal

As with anything, before you rush into something, take the time to understand what your goal is in working with media.  Do you want to gain social following, gain signups to your mailing list, get PR, or let people know about your safety protocols?  These are all reasons to work with media (traditional and influencers). 

Steve Markle from OARS Rafting explained, “Our goal is to reach more people with the message that guided river trips may just be the best way to vacation in 2020 and 2021 and that even under normal circumstances a multi-day river trip can be a transformative, deeply meaningful experience – especially for first-timers. We want to make sure people know they can still travel, and what we’re doing to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 on our trips.” 

© Sherry Ott

Go Back to Old Relationships

Go back to media who have traveled with you or written about you before.  They already know your brand/product.  Ask them to amplify specials/discounts/messages since they likely want to assist.   Maybe they can repost old articles they’ve written about your destination with little effort, or reacquaint their social followers about the trip they took with you. A good relationship with media is a long-term relationship.  Treat them like ambassadors and keep them informed on your latest happenings, tours, changes, and promos.

Being heard among all the other ‘travel noise’ is key when things reopen.  This is a great time to rely upon your ‘media ambassadors’ to help get the word out.  Go back to media you have worked with in the past, and work with them to re-promote your business to their audience on social media and update that older information with any COVID safety updates, etc. In fact, boosting posts, or doing sponsored posts/stories with influencers who have traveled on your trips is a great investment and a way to reach audience beyond your mailing list. 

Start the Process Now

According to Digital media marketing experts, Hecktic Media, “With the light at the end of the tunnel (finally!), those travel influencers whose businesses survived the crushing effects of the pandemic will be eager to go again. So will many travel marketers, which likely means that influencer calendars will fill up quickly. Now is the time to start engaging with influencers and planning next steps.”

Fill Your Empty Spaces as Travel Begins Again

As travel starts up in 2021, you may not have fully booked trips, why not consider filling it up with media as a marketing effort. 

© Sherry Ott

Amplify Your Message

Contract with media/influencers to be an extension of your marketing campaign or to share specific messages, discounts, and availability. 

Many digital influencers have more than 10,000 followers on Instagram which means they have the ability to do ‘Swipe Up’ links on their Instagram stories sending people directly to your website or email signup.  Consider working with an influencer you know who can create swipe up links sharing specific messages and pushing people to your website or newsletter signup.  

To Pay or Not to Pay – Be Creative

As mentioned above, influencer rates may be decreasing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for free.  The best thing to do is talk with them honestly and brainstorm together finding a way to work together that benefits both parties.  Everyone is hurting financially so take this into account.

If you don’t have the budget to work with media/creators – then think about media rates to fill empty spaces on a tour, or seed them with cultural product from your destination to ensure you are kept top of mind. 

If media has written about you in the past, maybe you can use your social media marketing budget to invest in having them repost and boost it on their channel.  This will reach a new larger audience and have your destination or tour get seen by more people.    

© Sherry Ott

Agree upon the Deliverables and Timing Before

Always make sure that there are good lines of communication when working with media.  If you have specific deliverables and timing you desire, then ensure all of that is agreed upon very clearly before the project or campaign. I prefer to have contracts with due dates whenever money is exchanged, ensuring everyone is working off of the same expectations. 

Hopefully can you take advantage of your existing media relationships or new relationships to drive awareness now so that you are top of mind when people can travel again. Media is eager to work with you and get people traveling, just as much as you are!

If you have questions for Sherry about media relations or this article she can be found at


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