When most people think about vacationing with friends, visions of fun, relaxation and adventure enter the mind, but if you are the trip planner, these visions can be quite the opposite. Being the architect of a trip can be quite stressful, but all of the hard work can be valuable for getting PR experience. Allow me to elaborate with ten reasons how vacation planning requires a lot of PR skills.
- Making a pitch – Last year, I had a vision of visiting Indianapolis with a group of friends. Using what I know about them, I designed a pitch to sell the city and try to get people on board to travel with me. During the pitch, you woo them with words that will spark up an interest that will get their attention and follow it through by talking about the things they love that the city has to offer, in order to sign them up.
- Communication – A good PR person must communicate well with the group. One of my jobs for my upcoming Chicago trip is to hear questions and concerns one person has, solve the problem, and relay the results to the other travelers in a timely matter.
- Organization – If you don’t have a file with all the travel information, (i.e. hotel stats, transportation schedules, maps, attractions you want to see) you will be doomed from the start. You need to create a system that’s best for you.
- Planning an itinerary – Anyone who has ever planned an event knows that staying on schedule is the lifeblood of every event. It can be a great source of stress. It is vital that you make sure your group stays on the same page and is well aware of the time, or else a trip has a potential to be stressful and a disaster for everyone involved.
- Budgeting – Speaking of event planning, here is the biggest pain of them all, budgeting. When it comes to money, some people don’t want to budge. One of the most daunting tasks is finding a hotel that will satisfy everyone, without damaging the checkbook so much. In my experience, most of the arguments that go into a trip are hotel costs. Your best bet is to make a list of six hotels based on the median of the most/least each person is willing to spend on each hotel and making a pro/cons list for each one.
- Creating Hype – You want the people you are traveling with to be pumped up and excited. This keeps interests up and helps get rid of bad thoughts and poor attitudes. One guy in a bad mood can kill a trip for the rest.
- Blogs as a Trip Enhancer – Everybody should blog, especially in PR. When people go to a museum, they will just look around, be engaged, but not too much and may not get the full pleasure. People with a “Blogging” mentality, will have a stronger and more enjoyable experience. Bloggers want to get the full story of every item; they lock in to every sound, sight, and smell in order to capture a great narrative that they can type out to the world.
- Photography – A great PR plan or pitch should have great photography to make it look prettier. Here’s your chance to practice.
- Crisis Management –When you get a bunch of guys together, as a group you know someone is going to mess up. Crisis management is vital. When someone mess up, it is important that someone fixes the situation without incident. You need to be apologetic, trustful, and have the verbal skills to diffuse the situation without upsetting any more people than the ones who are already upset. The easy part of vacation crisis management is getting out of an incident in one piece.
- Enjoying the End Results – After every PR pro gets through a project, it feels like the weight of the world is lifted upon your back. Not everything will go right, but for a PR pro, that’s okay it’s just a lesson learned.
Vice President of Communications