Working with travel PRs, PR agencies and tourist boards is often part-and-parcel of travel writing, whether you’ve got a commission and now need hosting/assistance, or you’re attending a press/fam trip, or you just need extra information for a round-up or one-off help.
In this BGTW Talks Travel discussion, we talk to these brilliant, experienced PRs about best-practice in the industry, how travel media (journalists, photographers, bloggers, broadcasters etc.) can/should approach with their requests, expectations and boundaries, ethics, and what not to do. They’ll also share success stories, and talk about how to get the most of out of this media-PR relationship.
There’ll be a Q&A at the end so please do feel free to ask. You can also email [email protected] if you want to send questions in advance or suggest points to raise in the main discussion.
Mary-Clare Gribbon, co-founder, GribbonBerry
Mary-Clare (M-C) has worked in the travel and hospitality sector for over 15 years, co-founding award-winning agency GribbonBerry seven years ago. Over the years she has won and headed up numerous high-profile accounts, from Incredible India and Visit Madeira tourist boards to wellness brands e.g. BodyHoliday St. Lucia, to hotel groups such as Taj Hotels and Melia Hotels International, and boutique properties, including ION Iceland, The Serras Barcelona and St. James’s Hotel & Club Mayfair. M-C believes in the transformative power of travel and wellness, and has a keen interest in mindfulness, adventures, food and hospitality. She lives in East London and escapes to the countryside when she can.
Carol Hay, founder, McKenzie Gayle Limited representing the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO)
Until 2019, Carol was Director of Marketing UK & Europe at the CTO, which she now represents at McKenzie Gayle Limited, a global tourism marketing and development agency. Prior to her decade at the CTO, Carol has held senior roles at tourism organisations such as the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, Jamaica Tourist Board and BWIA International Airways. She also coaches and mentors professional women and young people, and is a strong advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in the tourism industry.
Kate McWilliams, managing director at LOTUS
Kate McWilliams is a founding member of UK-based travel PR & Marketing consultancy LOTUS. She has wide-ranging experience, having represented national and regional tourism boards, tour operators, airlines, hotel groups, and travel associations. Kate is passionate about Spain and Latin America, and heads up all the Spanish and LATAM accounts at LOTUS, including the Spanish Tourist Office (Turespaña), the Balearic Islands, and the Latin American Travel Association. In 2021, Kate appeared on CNN, LBC and in many publications, speaking about key travel trends. She is fluent in Spanish and is a trustee and volunteer of the LATA Foundation.
James Treacy, PR & communications manager at Abercrombie & Kent
James started his career agency side working for big brands such as L’Oréal and Primark, but his love for travel PR began when working on the Air New Zealand account. His jump in-house was to Tourism Australia, where he led on several projects, including The Great Reef series with Sir David Attenborough, the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Melbourne, and much more. He has been at luxury tour operator A&K for four years, looking after their tour operating businesses’ and hotel brands’ PR.
Meera Dattani, events director, BGTW
Meera is a freelance travel journalist, co-editor of online travel magazine Adventure.com, and co-founder of the Unpacking Media Bias newsletter.