2020 has been a year of massive challenges for the travel sphere. Travel sectors around the world have been damaged irreparably, but borders have already started to open and welcome guests again this year. Travel is vital for each of us; it can broaden our mind and relieve stress. Will travelling be the same as it once was? What does it mean to travel safely in 2021? I talk to Cleo Anderson, Founder of The Anderson Media Group, about the post-lockdown travel sphere and how to boost travel PR even if some borders are still closed.
As an introduction, can you tell us a bit about the background of The Anderson Media Group?
We are an award-winning top-ranked PR agency with a presence in both Europe and the US – we specialise in luxury and lifestyle, and this encompasses everything from health and beauty to food and travel. The brands we work with tend to be on the aspirational end of the spectrum.
What type of brands do you usually work with?
We tend to work with lifestyle brands that are looking for a unique take on PR; we love to work with brands that are either just launching, or those looking for a PR shake-up and a fresh take on how to attract media attention after being with another agency for a long time. We like to highlight that a new perspective on a company and what it does can encourage fresh media coverage. We’ve worked with high-end beauty brands and ultra-expensive accessories (we mounted the global PR campaign with Mischa Barton and the most expensive iPhone case in the world), but we also love working in the travel sphere; we currently work with a number of luxury hotels and we are also working with the West Sweden Tourist Board on promoting their region to the world.
Since the pandemic, how has travel PR changed?
Obviously during the pandemic travel and tourism has pretty much been at a standstill – most people are not able to travel. And yet we have still been securing significant media coverage for our hotel and travel clients. PR coverage has remained hopeful – it has been a way to keep people full of optimism and looking forward to the future. An example would be the recent Forbes feature, highlighting the most beautiful places in the world to propose – coverage that we secured for a hotel client in Santorini. People still want to think about romance, engagements and weddings in the future. Conversely, we’ve also seen coverage that incorporates travel into your life while staying at home – the Michelin star Chef Ioannis Parikos who works with hotel client Semili Mykonos got some lovely coverage outlining how to cook a Greek dish at home from scratch. It encourages the “feel” of travel while still being at home.
As a professional, can you share some insights about the new post-lockdown travel PR sphere?
Editors and journalists are now turning towards stories that will encourage travel as the global borders slowly reopen – media will be looking at where in the world people should be looking to enjoy their freedom one again; where it’s safe, relatively easy to visit, and where to go for experiences that are unique and out of the ordinary. Travel boards and travel agencies really should be looking at launching PR and marketing campaigns that will help them stand out in order to attract the eager tourist who has missed seeing the world for such a prolonged period of time. They should be asking why travellers should want to travel to their unique part of the world.
Do you think it is essential to travel? Does it affect our mental health?
For me, it’s a yes to both. It broadens the mind, opens up our social sphere, and is a tonic for the soul. I talk about this at length in my recent interview with Forbes. I personally could not live without travel and adventure.
What do you think would be a good topic to pitch for countries, regions and hotels right now?
In my mind, anything that makes you unique and different as a travel destination – that can be culture, food, climate, design, history; the list goes on. The question to ask is what do you have that others don’t that will attract travellers? I do also think that right now safety and ease of access is on everyone’s mind. A country that stands out for me in all of these areas currently is the Seychelles, which has just reopened.
In your opinion, what should travel clients change in their PR strategies to get better results in the new post-covid reality?
I think it’s essential to get a new perspective – a new set of eyes on what makes your country or establishment a draw after such a lengthy global lockdown. There are too many story ideas to list here in any detail, but finding a PR campaign that feels “fresh” to me is key.
Can you please share some of your recent achievements?
We continue to make placements for clients in everything from Elle Magazine and the Mail on Sunday to Forbes. We’re also delighted to be working with the West Sweden Tourist Board and Pater Noster Hotel (a gorgeous boutique hotel within a lighthouse on the Swedish coast) – the hotel will be featured in the upcoming Hollywood Gift Bags, gifted to the top 25 Oscar Nominees. An opportunity like that is always exciting as it means guaranteed global media coverage for the clients and is an excellent example of how hotels and Tourist Boards should be thinking outside of the box in terms of PR and global reach. We’re also excited to have been working with a cluster of high-end hotels on the Greek Islands, who all seem happy with the media coverage we’ve garnered for them during lockdown
All of it is satisfying.
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