Campaign: Festival package agent IfB woos the UK media - Travel PR

Campaign: Launch of International Festivals Bureau

Client: Seatem Group

PR team: Hulse Communications

Timescale: November 2003-September 2004

Budget: £25,000

German entertainment and ticketing group Seatem asked travel and leisure PR specialist Hulse Communications to help it launch its specialist brand - the International Festivals Bureau (IfB) - in the UK, without any advertising support. The company offers packages to European music festivals. Objectives

To establish awareness among potential consumers. To launch IfB as a premier source of music festival packages. To generate sales for IfB, particularly the annual Prague Winter Festival.

Strategy and Plan

IfB's target audience is educated, mainly older travellers who enjoy music and culture and prefer to book direct rather than through travel agents.

The first step was to identify the media outlets and specific journalists who would reach this audience most effectively, and a list of more than 50 writers and broadcasters was drawn up.

The first activity was to get key journalists to visit the Prague Winter Festival in early January at short notice. Since this time of year is normally a busy period, Hulse invited journalists' partners to make the trip more appealing.

Publications including The Observer, Classic FM Magazine, Choice and The Lady visited Prague.

The main media launch followed this trip and took place in the newly renovated London Coliseum. Around 30 journalists, including the Daily Mail's travel editor, attended a performance of the English National Opera's Carmen with champagne and food in a private room.

Another press trip was held in July - a visit to Verona for a floodlit performance of Aida in the 20,000-seat Roman Arena.

Selected releases and one-to-one contacts with key target media followed.

These included a lunch meeting at between IfB and a senior producer and researcher from the BBC's Holiday, who are reportedly interested in visiting a future Prague Winter Festival.

Measurement and Evaluation

In-house measurement of the coverage shows it has reached an audience of around ten million to date. All coverage has been positive and has recommended IfB and its packages.

Highlights included a double-page spread in The Observer's Escape section, a four-page spread in Classic FM Magazine, pictures of the Verona and Prague events in The Times and the Sunday Express, and a four-page spread in BBC Music Magazine.

The Daily Mail has scheduled a feature on the Verona opera season, and promotions have been lined up with The Daily Telegraph. Daily Mail travel-advice columnist Susan Marling recommended IfB for its Prague package.

Results

Bookings for the 2005 Prague Winter Festival have, so far, exceeded 250, and the event is expected to be sold out by the end of November.

The Lady editor Arline Usden attended the Prague and Verona press trips: 'I wrote a two-page feature on the Prague festival, and a report on the Verona event will be in our forthcoming specialist holiday issue,' she says.

'The story is very suitable for our readers, who are ABC1 over-40s and like to be looked after. I met the company's managing director, and the trips were very well organised. I was impressed.'

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