Public Relations

5 Key Takeaways from the 2022 PRSA Travel & Tourism Conference

Applying classroom learning to workplace practices

When you think of a Public Relations professional, what are some of the first characteristics that come to mind? For me, it is an outgoing personality, and the ability to adapt quickly and think on your feet. This May, PRSA’s (Public Relation Society of America) Travel & Tourism section hosted a conference filled with hundreds of these individuals from all sides of the PR industry – from freelance journalists and content creators to podcast hosts and other PR peers. After two years of COVID shutdowns, attendees were even more enthusiastic about gathering and made the most of our time in the beautiful city of Spokane, WA.

This four-day event was filled with information and insight from some of the industry’s top leaders. Here are five key takeaways that I brought home following the 2022 conference:

  1. Pitch relationships, not news.

Journalists are people too, and sometimes the work that they put into their publications can take weeks and even months to write. That being said, they need a solid PR partner to help with the details that drive the story. While we are all eager to get earned media quickly, it is extremely beneficial to connect with the journalist on a personal level first. Do research on who they are and what excites them and then pitch them a story that would be meaningful to them. Ensure the journalist that you will be on their team to help gather the best content for their piece. When it goes to print, celebrate together!

  1. Team up with industry players.

Often times we are weary of rivalry from competitors in our industry, but depending on the nature of your work, you may want to think more collaboratively. During the conference, PR folks from neighboring (competing) tourism destinations spoke about the benefits of teaming up to form coalitions for additional coverage. By working together, they can pitch regional road trips specifying unique features of each stop and dividing the costs for host trips. Freelancers in the room agreed that they value these collaborations and appreciate detailed itineraries for their host trips.

  1. Leverage your resources.

Did you know that iPhones can now capture RAW footage through your built-in camera app?! Technology today is so advanced that companies can now take quality photos and videos for social media without the expensive equipment that was once required. Apps like Adobe Lightroom and InShot are also great editing tools to spice up content right at your fingertips!

  1. Network, network, network.

Attending a conference is so much more than PowerPoints and note taking – you can do that online for much less! There is a strategy behind the “optional dinner outings” and group trivia, and that is to connect, collaborate, and learn from others in the industry on a personal level. This conference did a great job at incorporating time for attendees to network with each other, connect on LinkedIn, and brainstorm ways to apply what was taught in the classroom. One of my favorite sessions was the opportunity to deliver a pitch and receive live, on-the-spot feedback from journalists. What a great way to drive conversation and extend your professional network, all while tailoring the perfect pitch for your client.

  1. Keep motivated with self-care.

As we build our professional skills, we can’t disregard our personal development and wellbeing. Keynote speakers, Cheryl Strayed and Jimmie Allen, spoke on the importance of living a great life to enhance your career and build leadership skills that transfer into the workplace. “Trust your clarity. Keep learning. Keep seeking.” There are just a couple of the takeaways that remind us to create balance and maintain a wholesome, successful career.

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