In today’s Fast Take Friday, Ruth explains the need for a short, quick video for stakeholders.
BikeHike Adventures Hires AHA Creative Strategies
Vancouver, B.C. – BikeHike Adventures Inc., a Vancouver-based adventure travel tour company, is celebrating 20 years of being in business by hiring a PR agency to spread the word about their more than 50 unique, active and culturally immersive travel tours.
Trish Sare, Founder and Director of BikeHike Adventures, said: “We’ve been assisting our clients in seeing special parts of the world for two decades and wanted to share more of our stories with other like-minded travellers. PR is a great way to do that.” She added: “We have worked with AHA Creative Strategies on small projects before and they understand what we’re all about. Through our publicity efforts, we’re hoping to connect with more people that want a rich, deeply cultural travel experience like the ones we offer. We’re excited about celebrating our anniversary with PR!”
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014, BikeHike Adventures specializes in multi-sport adventure travel tours in more than 30 countries worldwide. Biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, sea kayaking and horseback riding are just a few examples of the multi-sport activities offered. Tours have a range of activity levels from easy to strenuous. Customized private holidays are available, as are volunteer adventure trips, active family vacations, honeymoons and corporate team-building trips. All tours are limited to 12 individuals in order to provide a more authentic experience. With no single supplement fee, solo travellers are welcome and encouraged.
AHA Creative Strategies is a boutique agency that specializes in travel, tourism and hospitality PR. AHA has developed, executed and managed highly successful PR campaigns and projects for travel clients locally, nationally, in the U.S. and internationally.
For more information on BikeHike Adventures or to interview Trish Sare, please contact Paul Holman at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-886-1788.
Editorial, sponsored and advertorial content
I spent last week in meetings with journalists in Vancouver and Toronto. Here at AHA, we regularly meet with writers and editors and TV and radio producers so we can keep informed about what they are looking for; how we might be able to provide them with information about our clients that they would see as relevant, valuable and useful; and how their jobs have changed. (They have changed a lot in the past five years and continue to change.)
We’re quite fortunate that we have built up solid relationships with some of the key journalists in Canada and the U.S. and that they take our calls, open our e-mails, and agree to meet us for coffee when we are in town. This is an important activity for us and for our clients. It is a priority for us.
I heard something very interesting in the meetings last week. Toward the end of our meetings, several of the journalists who deal with sections that are not breaking news brought up sponsored content. They made it clear that a good story is a good story and they would run it, but added that there is an opportunity for sponsored content that is written by editorial staff and is like editorial, but paid for by the organization.
This is interesting to me on several levels. When I was at Maclean’s magazine – there was no way that any journalist would have brought up content that was paid for by the interview subject. But that was a different time and the media world has changed completely over the past decade. We used to call this type of content: advertorial. It was more of an article than an ad, but was developed and paid for by the client organization and you paid ad rates to run the piece.
Now, there is a hybrid – you are paying for space but a journalist writes the content. And it is crucial that as communicators we realize that this is now our reality. The question is – how do we best manage the process now that PR or communications is no longer just about earned content, but includes paid content as well? It changes our strategy and our approach.
This is yet another canary in the coal mine, in my opinion. While media relations and generating editorial coverage (and now potentially paying for some of it) will always be important to many organizations, it is also a wake up call that organizations (and their communications teams) should be creating their own content. You need good editorial writers who can authentically tell your story – and not make it feel like a marketing piece.
This is another signal that content is crucial, and that the way we create and share information and our organizational story continues to change. The train has left the station; it is important that you bring your organization or your clients along for this amazing adventure. An adventure that continues to change and evolve – meaning that as communicators, we need to adapt and grow.
How to respond to negative feedback online
We have clients in a range of sectors including travel and tourism. Online networking sites such as TripAdvisor, Cruise Critic, Yelp and others can provide exceptional opportunities for tourism and hospitality-based businesses – and they can also be incredibly damaging.
I spend time on many of these sites for both personal (I travel a lot) and professional (seeing what people are saying about our clients) reasons. I am always surprised when I speak to someone in the tourism and hospitality world who says they don’t monitor or respond to reviews on these sites. (Our clients are fully engaged in these sites because it’s an important component of their overall brand reputation and PR strategy.)
Not responding is a huge risk – unless you are happy at the bottom of the heap, are the absolute cheapest in the market, and know that you will always get someone prepared to put up with low quality because of price. And today, with so many deals and reductions coming through Groupon and other deal brokers, even that isn’t a good approach. If you don’t respond, at some point negative reviews will decrease your revenue flow.
As someone who travels a great deal in my personal life – I know how much a response to a critical review means to me. It shows me that the hotel, airline, tour operator or restaurant team cares about the experience. And if they acknowledged that they made a mistake – I am good with that. Everyone makes mistakes, the key is to acknowledge it, take responsibility and show how it won’t happen again. It’s not rocket science, people.
If the reviewer has some facts wrong or has a different perspective, I like it when the service provider puts forward their side of the story. I don’t think every reviewer is absolutely right in their criticism. If you read their other reviews – you will often see that they never like anything. A review that is so over-the-top negative, that has been written by a competitor, can be smelled a mile away.
As a professional who works in the tourism and travel industry, I know how important it is to read the reviews, to take the criticism seriously (it provides a real opportunity to improve your business), and to respond to the good and the negative. Saying thank you to those who leave you good reviews is a nice touch and it gives you an opportunity to highlight some of your key offerings within your response.
Responding to a critical review to explain why something happened and, if necessary, to offer to make it right is crucial. Otherwise, that negative review sits there telling the story of your brand. No one should be able to own your brand story except you. Take the time and make the effort. It will provide return on investment for you.
AHA works with clients in a range of sectors – consumer goods, technology, post-secondary education, health care, fitness, law and the judiciary, fashion, not-for-profit, insurance and, of course, travel. We provide a range of services for our clients including promotional public relations, community relations (including social media), strategic communications planning, writing and editing services, messaging and positioning, crisis and communication planning, and issues communication management.
We have extensive travel PR experience and a strong skill set in this area. Our clients range from tourism boards to hotels to airlines to tour operators and local activities. We have spent a decade building positive relationships with traditional and online journalists, bloggers and editorial content creators. AHA works in the world of travel because we love it, we’re really good at it, and we continue to grow and evolve our skill set in this ever-changing world.
Recently, we decided to put a little more focus on travel PR. Believe me, that doesn’t mean that our non-travel clients will get any less attention. Each one of our clients knows how important they are to us – and how dedicated we are to providing world-class client service and generating exceptional results. What it does mean is that we are going to get a little more proactive in the area of travel business development. We’re a little spoiled here. We have been incredibly fortunate that colleagues, clients, former clients and professional acquaintances recommend us and refer new clients to us – and that has kept us pretty busy. However, we have a kick-ass crew across the country and it’s time to reach out and connect with some great potential clients.
As a part of the launch of our increased focus in the area of travel, we worked the fabulously talented, incredibly professional, and delightful to work with Tanya Gadsby of Drawing Out Ideas to produce a short graphic recording video that highlights the benefits of working with AHA for your travel PR. We hope you like it!