Hosted Group Press Trips
Great Rail Journeys Ltd. PR
April 2015, Liguria, Italy
Angus McDonal Trust

A PR plan was developed that would support the overall commercial objectives and strategies to grow the business. The focus was on the big picture and to ensure all PR activities and campaigns were integrated into the marketing strategy. Three Little Birds aim was to complement, support and develop the tour operator’s efforts and investment to grow.
One such activity that was introduced was hosted group press trips. In addition to tailor-made individual press trips the hosted group trips would allow the tour operator to build relationships with the media and maximise coverage for key destinations within the portfolio as well as engage with potential customers.

Angus McDonal Trust

Group press trips would be designed, managed and hosted by Sheila Manzano where travel writers would have a positive “GRJ” experience enabling them to produce inspirational travel features, reaching a targeted audience. A schedule of hosted group press trips was developed. Suggested press trips focused on two main criteria:

  • 1. key destinations for the tour operator – both the best-selling and areas of growth (new product development)
  • 2. angles for the media – generating interesting travel features that would engage with their reader
Angus McDonal Trust

Partners – presents opportunity to increase visitor numbers to destinations, hotel nights at contracted hotels and support tour sales of various ground arrangements.

Media - identified based on the reader demographic matching that of Great Rail Journeys Ltd. and suitability of the destination, itinerary and angle of the travel feature to the publication.

Writers - selected based on experience, published features, current partnerships and professionalism.

Included in the schedule was a 5 day group press trip to Liguria Italy with key partner, Liguria Tourist Board.

  • Secured editorial coverage in consumer and trade press and targeted online media - The Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, Express (S Magazine), Woman (magazine), Manchester Evening News,, Silver Travel Advisor, Green Traveller, “Journeys” GRJ Blog, Selling Travel
  • Print coverage in 3 national newspapers, one of the UK’s bestselling woman’s magazines in publication since 1937 and key regional Trinity Mirror daily – Circulation: 2.7million
  • Print coverage in trade press circulated through UK’s travel agencies – Readership: 45,000
  • Online coverage 4 key websites – Unique visitors per month 902,000
  • Social Media reach– Twitter Followers (#LiguriarailGRJ) 7+ million
  • Demonstrated to key industry partner it’s investment to increase visitor numbers/sales
  • Provided a platform for partners to showcase their products
  • Managed costs to facilitate other press trips from the overall assigned budget
  • Benefitted from additional coverage for news story in The Telegraph (Turin Shroud)
  • Future opportunities to work with publications opened up
Michael Wood