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Don’t waist my time

Richard John loosens his belt and offers advice to destinations

I’ve been whizzing around the world recently for you, dear reader, to help some of CN’s sister titles with destination reports. It’s hard work – especially on the waistline – but a great privilege. 

However, while it is our job to ask the questions, there are a few things that venues can do to help maximise the opportunity to generate coverage. Here are my top six:

1. Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask, as well as answer questions. Destinations might get a group of writers together, whose interests cover all aspects of travel; the MICE sector is focussed, and we are after specific information. Showing us bedroom after bedroom isn’t always helpful.

2. Don’t give us brochures and books. We travel light, and everyone doing that creates a mass of paper that we will guiltily ditch. It’s the same with merchandising. We are avid users of the internet so there’s nothing physical we need in our hands (aside from a drink!).

3. Tell us stories, not just facts. Reveal the creative aspects of conferences that go past the pages of the brochure. And while you might be proud of your venue, help us with a sense of perspective. Can your venue hold a car launch? Drive one in and prove it.

4. And focus: if your ideal conference is 500 people over three days who eat offsite one night, tell us. Don’t try and be all things to all people. You will have a niche, too. You might be flexible, but what would the perfect event party look like for you? Case studies – even anonymised – are welcome. 

5. Think about how you can help us. Can you make suggestions such as ‘Top 10 Places to Eat/Things To See.’ Many of us write for web as well as print and the internet loves a list.

6. Keep in touch and remember we might welcome a piece about a strand – e.g. sustainability – rather than just a destination. Sometimes I have to get viewpoints and I have a regular handful of contacts who can give me two pithy sentences and some extra angles. I’m busy; help me write my article. 

And a bonus, my personal bête noire: please don’t tell me that your venue is great for weddings, and then show me the pictures. I don’t do weddings.

My waistline and I look forward to meeting you.