Press Trip Tips from a FAM Newbie

Before interning at MYPR, the word “press trip” wasn’t on my radar, and “FAM” simply meant family to me. I quickly learned that FAM is short for “familiarization trip” and how crucial these expeditions are to gain positive publicity on a destination.

As an outdoor enthusiast and avid hiker, I was thrilled to find out MYPR would be hosting a hiking press trip this summer. It also made sense to host a trip focused on hiking, as it is the No. 1 activity people participate in when visiting Vail in the summertime.

I had assisted with planning individual press trips, yet this would be my first group experience and first time planning a trip from start to finish. While there may have been a few bumps along the way, we received nothing put positive feedback from the writers we hosted, and I personally had one of the most enjoyable weeks this summer (especially llama trekking!).

I learned so much about press trip pitching, planning and execution, which helped me become much more confident in hosting media. There were five key lessons I learned along the way that helped me generate a successful trip.

MYPR, Press Trip, Paragon Guides, 10th Mountain Division Hut

Hiking FAM group at the 10th Mountain Division Hut.

Research is key. Because we spend time and money to create a memorable trip, I learned how crucial it is to intensely research the writers we invite. Our main goal was to showcase Vail as a hiking destination, so I started by researching writers who are passionate about hiking and outdoor adventure and also noted the outlets they write for.

Managing expectations. I quickly learned the importance of being upfront and honest with writers regarding what we’ll cover for the trip and what we expect on their end. I found that all the writers we invited on the trip had participated in numerous press trips before, and had different experiences. In order to avoid confusion later down the line, I learned to ask what they hope to get out of the trip, and provide them with as many details early in the process, such as expenses that we cover and which activities we’re able to accommodate.

Community relationships. During the planning process, I learned how important it is to garner relationships with community partners.   I wanted to make sure the writers would have diverse experiences while in Vail in order to provide a wide range of coverage for their stories. In order to achieve this, I looked at the writer’s preferences, and connected with the appropriate contacts to set-up memorable experiences.

More details the better. Creating an itinerary for each writer was a big part of the planning process, starting with a master list and curating it into individual ones. I learned to provide as many details as I can, so that the writers don’t need to spend extra time dissecting their itineraries, when they could spend that time writing. I included supplemental resources such as maps to each destination and social media handles for places they’d visit.

Have a Plan B. As much as we would’ve liked the trip to match the itinerary perfectly, there are usually issues that are out of our control. We were prepared to handle any mini-crises such as delayed flights or severe weather conditions. I found that the best way to plan for these crises was to have a plan b for each activity. For example, majority of the group was scheduled for mountain biking at the exact time a thunderstorm hit Vail. We had an indoor activity ready for them to participate in, which worked out perfectly.

With one successful press trip under my belt, I’m even more excited to host media in the future and help them write stories that will inspire other people to travel and try new experiences.

Make sure to check out the pictures from our hiking press trip (including llama selfies!) over on our social media channels.