Keeping Travelers Happy and Wanting More: Guest Post by Thomas Donovan

In today’s fast-paced and highly stressful society, people are looking to escape from the pressures and extreme demands of their everyday lives. If for just a few days or a week, a vacation is one way in which people can relax and enjoy time off from their busy schedules. Those who take advantage of their time off of work tend to be more successful and better workers as a result. However, this type of leisure activity would not even be remotely possible without the hard work and dedication of public relations professionals specializing in this line of work.

The main goal of any PR professional is to keep the public happy and informed about whichever topic pertains to them. In the travel industry, attracting visitors and keeping them happy upon arrival is the primary focus. It is also very important in this type of PR (as well as in others) to maintain a friendly connection with as many media outlets as possible. Having a good relationship with editors and writers makes it possible for the clients to get as much recognition as possible. To make certain these important goals are met, PR staff must follow three simple, yet utterly important steps:

1.     Increase the public’s level of desire to visit a place.
2.     Make sure the traveler can reach the destination.
3.     Make sure visitors are well treated, comfortable, and entertained during the visit.

In an effort to ensure step number one is met, the PR team produces newspaper and magazine articles, flashy and exciting brochures, as well as travel videos and films, just to name a few. Major companies are targets of many of these tactics, for these groups are among the leaders in worldwide travel. These companies will often times schedule meetings and major conferences in remote areas and resorts. Campaigns and strategic plans are always in motion because there is always room for improvement and the PR team can never be satisfied. Miami’s travel and tourism industry has seen great success due to the city’s hard work and dedication to its publics.

Reaching one’s desired destination safely and comfortably can be a very tricky point to accomplish. The PR teams working for airlines, cruise lines, and transit lines dedicate their work to making sure patrons enjoy their experiences and continue to use them as their means of transportation. Of course, planes are sometimes delayed or sold out, cruises may encounter bad weather causing a rocky voyage, and a number of other circumstances could always abruptly arise. However, the job of the PR team is to explicitly train the crews and strategically plan ahead for possible crises. Handling the media and having a well thought out plan-of-action are at the utmost importance. Some handle the circumstance well, while others fail to meet expectations.

Careers in this field range from working for a theme park such as Walt Disney World, cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, or even a tourist attracted country. For each of these different fields, the goal still remains the same. However, what may be different is the target audience. For example, Walt Disney World Resort may target families with young children through their magazine articles, movies, and brochures. On the other hand, cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise will typically target an older audience, for the 60-plus age group has the highest percentage of passengers. All the while, PR professionals still focus on the main goal, which is to attract visitors and to keep them happy on their trips.

Personally, I have encountered both types of vacation experiences. I have been to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and have never experienced a negative trip. Those who I have spoken to have also had great experiences at this resort. However, I have heard a number of horror stories from peers about trips taken on a cruise, a remote island or an overseas country. A group of friends I know spoke about their disastrous trip to Mexico for Spring Break. They talked about the hotel being unaccommodating and in bad condition, their “all-inclusive” package being not what was expected, and feeling in danger while being there. This example poses a very big issue for the PR staff working for the country and the different resorts found there. Not everyone will have the same vacation experiences, and it is impossible to please everyone. However, I still believe it is the job of the PR professionals to do everything in their power to accommodate and please travelers.

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