VRS175 – PR for Vacation Rentals with Jessica Gillingham

Have you ever wondered how to get your vacation rental mentioned in a media article, or thought you may have a story that would be interesting enough to feature in a travel blog?

Some years ago when I was running our UK based company, Clearwater Holidays, we wanted to get the message out about our cottage area here in Ontario. It was tough. Few people were aware that this beautiful region of lakes and rivers existed, and that is was so close to Toronto. Yes, they knew about Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, but our mission was to get them to drive a couple of hours north and experience the magic of cottage country.

So, we hired a PR company. Over a 6-month period, they delivered a stream of press releases to their media contacts and we began to see the results.

There was a visit from a well-known travel writer to our River House that resulted in a double page spread in the Sunday Times describing the area, and talking about ending their day ‘jumping into the cool water of the river and then relaxing in the hot tub, under millions of stars in the clearest sky imaginable’.

We had multiple mentions in local newspapers up and down the country, and were featured in several glossy magazines. We hosted half a dozen journalists in our cottages, and although it was often several months before an article appeared, when it did, the immediacy of the public response was incredible.

In short, it was one of the best investments in marketing we made in our time as a travel company.

But what if you just have one property and want to connect with media and travel writers yourself? Well of course, we have the answer.

Today’s guest is a public relations professional who specialises in vacation rentals, and who tells us how to connect with the travel media, using traditional methods as well as social media outlets.

Jessica Gillingham honed her PR skills in the travel industry and has recently launched Abode-PR, a company specialising in promoting and marketing vacation rentals. She will be presenting at the Vacation Rental Success Summit in Toronto in May, and in this episode she shares some of her tips and PR secrets.

We talk about:

  • The change in the PR approach in the past decade
  • How to contact a journalist – and how not to
  • The best social media platforms for connecting with the travel press
  • Why you need a ‘hook’
  • Why the press release is still alive and kicking
  • What journalists write about – and hint…it’s not about your property
  • How to create a media kit on your website
  • The importance of having hi-res images to share
  • How to capture the attention of a busy travel writer
  • Where to find media lists

Links mentioned in this episode:

Abode-PR  – Jessica’s PR Company

  • Thank you Heather. I had lunch with Jessica in Barcelona at Antonio’s summit. Looking forward to catching up with her in May.

  • Jessica Gillingham

    I’m looking forward to catching up with you again in Toronto Terry!

  • Peter Willmott

    Hi Jessica
    This is a brilliant development for you-I really like the theme…’Abode PR-Dedicated solely to the Vacation Rental Industry’ -well done and good luck. Peter W