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Our Biggest Takeaways from the PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference 

Brianna Francis Public Relations Director

When it comes to destination PR, the true constant in an ever pivoting discipline is Public Relations Society of America’s Travel  and Tourism Section. This group convenes once a year with a conference to gather the greatest communicators from destinations, hotels and attractions to celebrate, learn and inspire storytelling for the year to come. Additionally, the conference does an excellent job of engaging media in our field to garner insights for our working relationships. Some of Madden Media’s PR team had the opportunity to attend and participate in PRSA, here are our key takeaways.

AI’s Place in PR

Engaging in a roundtable on AI, Madden Media was able to hear from destinations and PR professionals on how they’re using tools like ChatGPT. The resounding answer was utilizing the intelligence in ways to enhance their workflow, engage copy editing, and focusing in on tools to expedite media monitoring. You can read our recent thoughts on AI and Evolving Revenue Models here.

Our Biggest Takeaways from the PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference 
Brianna Francis, Public Relations Director at Madden Media

Engaging Media

Our Biggest Takeaways from the PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference 

One of our favorite parts about PRSA is hearing from writers directly on trends, how to pitch, as well as the stories they like to cover. Writers with bylines in Travel + Leisure, Southern Living, Eater, Essence, Detour, Local Palate, Good Grit, and so many more were in attendance. While personal pitching preferences vary the resounding message is always to do your research before you send.

Take into consideration if that writer has covered the topic you’re pitching, is this something their publications can even cover, is the pitch actually unique? Above all things, engage and build true relationships over transactions.

leaning into meetings and conventions

Your destination storylines don’t just sit in your leisure vertical. Ensuring that you’re engaging meetings and conventions writers is key. Go past the square footage of your ballrooms and lean into industry trends like wellness, cultural, and AI use for meetings. Not sure when to pitch what? Engage editors for their editorial calendars to align your pitching efforts with their interests. Pro tip: Make sure you have meeting planners ready to be quoted about utilizing your services and destination assets! 

notes from the editor’s desk

The conference consistently delivers on an incredible editors panel that offers insight into directions that major publications are heading. The panel included Laura Redman, Editor At Large for AFAR, Jeremy Tarr, Digital Editorial Director for Fodor’s Travel, and Elizabeth Rhodes, Senior Editor for Travel + Leisure. While each publication’s needs vary, they are all consistent in their push for SEO needs for online use, quick and catchy headline pitches will receive preference. Additionally, lead times on pitches continue to be two to three months in advance, if not longer for online pieces. Our favorite takeaway came from Jeremy, “You need an agency!” 

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