Travel PR News
- Ffestiniog Travel commended at first-ever Telegraph Travel Awards
Big congratulations to our client, Ffestiniog Travel (www.ffestiniogtravel.com), named as runner-up in the Favourite Rail Operator category at the prestigious Telegraph Travel Awards, held on 27 November at The Shard in London. Presenting the award to Ffestiniog Travel’s General Manager, Maria Cook, Gyles Brandreth added his own personal plaudits for the rail travel specialist that celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014. See more here.
- Travel PR welcomes three new team members
New staff – they’re like buses. None for ages and then three come along at once! Joining us in our Twickenham office are Matilda Long (Intern) and Becky Milne (Account Manager), whilst Fiona Elliott (Associate) returns to the Travel PR ranks after a leave of absence to raise her three young children.
- Best bib and tucker at the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Awards
Travel PR’s Sue, Sarah and Karen got their glad rags on for the prestigious annual gathering of the British Guild of Travel Writers, held on 3 November at London’s Savoy hotel. Hosted this year by the Belgian Tourist Board, the evening featured the presentation of a number of prizes including Travel Writer of the Year, which was sponsored by Travel PR. Sue took to the stage to present this coveted award to accomplished freelance journalist, Mike Unwin.
- Victories at The British Travel Awards 2013
The results are in from the British Travel Awards 2013 (announced on 31 October) and we’re thrilled to congratulate three of our clients on their well-deserved victories. Activities Abroad took the prize in the Best Small Family Holiday Company and Best Small Activities & Sports Holiday Company categories, The Aurora Zone bagged the top spot in the Best Small Adults Only Holiday Company category, and Solos won the Best Medium Singles Holiday Company for the third year running.
- Travel PR kicks off autumn with three lovely new clients
Joining us is the internationally-renowned La Plagne in France’s Savoie region – ten ski villages within one resort, while active travellers should also check out Wildwind, offering specialist sailing holidays on the Greek island of Lefkas as well as its brand stablemates: Wildwind Adventures (Greece & Mauritius) and Healthy Options – Yoga and Pilates holidays in Greece and Marrakech. The UK’s no.1 singles holiday company, Solos, tops off our new client trio, with a worldwide programme of short breaks, escorted tours, sun, cruise and activity holidays from which to choose.
- Berns scoops two nominations in the World Travel Awards 2013
Congratulations to our Stockholm hotel client, Berns (www.berns.se/en), which has been nominated in two categories at this year’s World Travel Awards: ‘Sweden’s leading boutique hotel’ and ‘Sweden’s leading hotel’. To vote for Berns, register at www.worldtravelawards.com/vote, select ‘Europe’ and then the category.
- Helena has a head for heights!
We’re proud of all our team members, but particularly so of Helena this week. Just back from a familiarisation trip to the Alentejo region of Portugal. Helena has had us enthralled with tales of her first-ever skydiving experience – she jumped at 4,200m with 60 seconds of freefall! Big thanks to the team at the Skydive Europe centre for delivering her back to solid ground safely.
- Travel PR’s Twitter page nears 10,000 followers – win Afternoon Tea for Two at The Goring
We’re proud to run the most popular Twitter account of any UK travel PR company, one which will soon reach the significant milestone of 10,000 followers. To celebrate, we’re offering our 10,000th follower Afternoon Tea for two at The Goring hotel.
- London Marathon’s running tick
Last Sunday, Helen Porter (Sue’s sister) ran the London Marathon dressed as a tick. Raising the huge sum of £32,207.50 for our pro-bono client, Lyme Disease Action, Helen completed the 26.2 miles in an impressive five hours and thirty-nine minutes – she came 280th in her category. The money raised will be put to good use educating both health professionals and the public about Lyme disease. In particular, the funds will be used to make an online training video for GPs, who are rarely taught anything about Lyme disease at medical school. Helen’s sponsorship page is open until the end of June: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/helenporter1
- Marmotte Mountain
Travel PR is now working with Marmotte Mountain, an independent boutique ski chalet company with five luxury catered properties around Chamonix and Argentière in the French Alps. The company also organises Tour de France-themed cycling holidays with ten-night luxury itineraries which follow the race (in its 100th year) from Provence to Paris. The holidays are led by the Australian cyclist, Greg Griffiths, who was Chief Commissaire (judge) for mountain biking at the London Olympics.
- Travel PR rubs shoulders with Ben Fogle at RGS Azores talk
Travel PR’s Julia, Sarah and Sue attended an engaging talk on the Azores by Ben Fogle, held at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Tuesday 19 March. The intrepid explorer spoke about his love for islands and, in particular, the unspoilt mid-Atlantic archipelago of which he is now ambassador.
- Travel PR welcomes new client Boutique Retreats
We’re pleased to announce that Travel PR is now representing Boutique Retreats. Offering an impressive portfolio of luxurious self-catering properties across Cornwall, Boutique Retreats bridges the gap between high-end hotels and traditional holiday rentals with a selection of superbly-appointed cottages, home stays and farm stays suitable for couples, families and larger groups.
- Sarah Belcher’s back from maternity leave
We have a familiar face amongst us again, as Account Director Sarah Belcher returns from maternity leave. Now the proud Mum to baby Robin as well as looking after all things Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection at Travel PR, we’re all delighted to see her back. If you’d like to contact Sarah, her email is email@example.com.
- Travel PR supports Travel Trade Crusade: 12-14 July
The brainchild of Beachcomber Tours’ Sarah Archer, Travel Trade Crusade is a charity road trip across Europe, traversing five countries in three days and completing a number of (as yet undisclosed!) challenges along the way. Fancy dress is not compulsory, but we expect lots of great photos from those who decide to do so. Travel Trade Crusade starts in Calais at 9am on Friday 12 July and ends in Amsterdam on Sunday 14 July.
- AITO Agents’ Domestic Conference 2013
Travel PR once again attended the annual AITO Agents’ domestic conference – held in Warwickshire over the weekend of 12-13 January – one of the largest gatherings of independent travel agents and operators in the country. Sustainability was the hot theme of this year’s event…
- Travel PR now representing Robin Pope Safaris in both Zambia AND Malawi
We’re pleased to announce that Travel PR is now representing Robin Pope Safaris’ operations in Zambia. Having already promoted the safari experts’ Malawi programme during the second half of 2012, we’ve now been signed up to represent Robin Pope Safaris in both Zambia and Malawi for the whole of 2013.
- Kirker Holidays’ client is the one-billionth tourist of 2012
Congratulations to Kirker Holidays, whose client has been chosen as the symbolic face for the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation’s announcement that one billion tourists have travelled in 2012. Mrs Sheppard-Floyd – who had booked to travel to Madrid in December – was welcomed at a VIP ceremony. Kirker’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Ted Wake, says: “It’s an honour for a Kirker client to have been selected to celebrate such a milestone in tourism.”
- Sue Ockwell to join the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Advisory Board
Travel PR’s Founder Director, Sue Ockwell, has been invited to join the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Advisory Board. Ranked number one in the UK & Europe for its tourism and hospitality programme, the university aims to become the world’s leading school and has enlisted the services of leading industry figures to help it do so.
- Travel PR welcomes new client The Tide House
Travel PR is now representing The Tide House, a luxury small hotel (opened late 2012) in St Ives, west Cornwall. Set just a few steps from the popular seaside town’s quayside, restaurants, galleries (including Tate St Ives), it offers six lovely, individually-designed bedrooms as well as a comfortable snug, holistic treatment room and a cosy den for children, complete with Playstation and toys. Prices from £115 per room per night, including full Cornish breakfast.
- AITO Meets the Media 2012
Travel PR joined AITO and over 100 top journalists at the annual AITO Meets the Media event. One of the travel calendar’s most anticipated networking opportunities, Meets the Media also sees AITO present its coveted travel writer of the year awards. This year’s winners are Oliver Smith of Lonely Planet Traveller (Travel Writer of the Year 2012), Chris Leadbeater, writing for Mail Online (Online Travel Writer of the Year 2012) and Rory Goulding of Lonely Planet Traveller (Young Travel Writer of the Year 2012).
- Travel PR presents BGTW’s Travel Writer of the Year Award to Adrian Phillips
Sue Ockwell, Julia Farish and Karen Carpenter joined the travel industry’s glitterati at the annual British Guild of Travel Writers’ Gala Dinner, held on Sunday 4 November 2012 at London’s Savoy hotel. As well enjoying dinner and a surprise performance by Matt Goss (flown in especially by event sponsors, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors’ Authority), Sue presented freelance journalist Adrian Phillips with the Guild’s prestigious Travel Writer of the Year award, sponsored by Travel PR. Our congratulations to Adrian and the evening’s other worthy winners.
- Expert Africa voted Best Tour Operator to sub-Saharan Africa
Many congratulations to our long-standing client, Expert Africa, who picked up the Best Tour Operator to sub-Saharan Africa at the 2012 British Travel Awards ceremony, held in Central London on Thursday 1 November. Collecting the award was Expert Africa’s Managing Director, Chris McIntyre, who is also the author of Bradt Guidesto Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zanzibar. Expert Africa specialises in creating bespoke safari and beach trips to eastern and southern Africa, using community-run lodges, indulgent camps and boutique, beach and city hotels.
- Travel PR takes on Scrubba, the world’s smallest washing machine!
We are thrilled to be representing Scrubba in the UK. Created by entrepreneur and backpacker Ashley Newland, ‘the world’s smallest washing machine’ was launched in Ashley’s native Australia in June 2012. Combining an internal washboard with a high-tech watertight bag, Scrubba is lightweight, environmentally-friendly and makes the perfect travel companion for adventurous and gap-year travellers, hikers, festival-goers and families with young children.
- Travel PR appoints a new intern
We are delighted to have appointed a new intern to our office for the next few months. Alice Thornton joins us after graduating earlier this year from the University of Exeter and then interning in the sales & marketing department of an AITO member, Original Travel, a role which will provide invaluable experience for her time at Travel PR. Alice will be working with a range of clients, as well as on our social media activity, and we especially hope to mine her passion for all things marine-based.
- Travel PR welcomes two new team members
We are delighted to welcome two new recruits to the Travel PR team. Laura Manning will be working on a number of client accounts including Sunvil and AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators), whilst Polly Kemp-King is working with us on a range of client accounts and social media projects during her summer recess from the University of Bristol.
- Lyme Disease Action’s 2012 conference
During the weekend of 21/22 July, Travel PR’s Sue and Helena were in Carlisle for Lyme Disease Action’s 2012 conference. Held at the University of Cumbria, the conference was well attended, with one participant coming across from California for the occasion. The programme was varied and covered everything from the neuropsychiatry of Lyme disease to healthcare guidelines, and the day ended with an animated (and less daunting than it sounds!) presentation by Dr. Richard Bingham of the University of Huddersfield and his complex research into the outer membrane of Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacterium which causes Lyme disease). The conference marked the end of an exciting week, during which LDA’s Chairman, Stella Huyshe-Shires, participated in a US Congressional hearing on Lyme disease.
- Travel PR is delighted to be working with Activities Abroad once more.
Travel PR is delighted to be working with Activities Abroad once more. It’s a particularly exciting time for Activities Abroad, with the launch of a new brand, Illumanis, this summer and with another brand, The White Circle, launching in August 2012. A leading health and fitness travel company, Illumanis offers a range of luxurious, yet scientifically-designed, weight-loss, tone-up, muscle-mass and fitness boot-camp holidays in Turkey. The White Circle, once launched, will offer adult winter-activity holidays. Travel PR continues to work with Activities Abroad’s The Aurora Zone and Winter Weddings.
- AITO’s Summer BBQ is a great success again
On 11 July, Travel PR once again helped to organise AITO’s annual Summer BBQ – an ever-popular gathering of top national travel journalists and AITO members and affiliates now running for the past 10 years.
Held at Hamilton Place, by Hyde Park Corner, this year’s BBQ was especially successful and offered fantastic networking opportunities – even the lack of early evening sunshine didn’t dampen spirits! Ninety or so high-quality journalists turned up to discuss ideas with about 50 specialist tour operators and affiliate tourist board partners, stopping only to chomp on the delicious buffet offerings and profiteroles.
We loved reading all of the positive tweets from attendees following the event, including the Editor-in-Chief of Wanderlust, Lyn Hughes’ comment: “Great evening at #AITO BBQ – still one of the best events of the year. Thanks to all, inc lovely @Travel PR”. Richard Hammond, editor of greentraveller.co.uk, went one stage further, calling it the “best travel press event of the year”. Click here for YouTube video or click here to see images on Flickr.
- Travel PR representing Robin Pope Safaris’ Malawi properties
Travel PR’s latest client is Robin Pope Safaris, the Zambian-based safari experts founded by the legendary man himself in 1985. We will be representing its two existing Malawian properties, Mkulumadzi and Pumulani, and building the hype about a forthcoming third lodge. Mkulumadzi is the first and currently only lodge in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, a place revitalised by the pioneering African Parks organisation, and home to Malawi’s most exciting game, most of which is habituated and easy to spot.
Once lions are introduced (sponsored by Robin Pope Safaris) to Majete in August 2012, the reserve will become Malawi’s first park to boast all of the ‘Big Five’. Mkulumadzi’s eight spacious chalets blend luxury and isolation in a romantic setting beside the Shire River, shaded by giant leadwood trees and wild mangos. Meanwhile, Pumulani offers ten stylish villas with cooling grass roofs, an infinity pool, an array of activities and a restaurant and bar set high above the southern end of Lake Malawi. It provides the perfect beach add-on to a Zambian, Zimbabwean or Malawian safari.
Due in 2013, Robin Pope Safaris’ third Malawian property will bring visitors to the country’s biggest national park, Liwonde, home to prolific wildlife and beautiful riverine scenery.
- The AITO & AITO Agents’ joint overseas conference 2012 is a success
Travel PR’s Sue and Steph visited Madeira, Portugal, last weekend (14-17 June) for the AITO and AITO Agents‘ joint overseas conference 2012. Sponsored by the Madeira Promotion Bureau, the conference was held in Funchal and saw an engaging mix of big-name speakers from both inside and outside the travel industry. Highlights included Deirdre Bounds telling a fascinating story about how she grew a highly successful travel company from a bedsit in Leeds, while there was an extremely useful media panel discussion with Jane Knight, the Travel Editor of The Times, and Wanderlust‘s Editor-in-Chief, Lyn Hughes. There was the chance to explore the island too, including an exhilarating jeep adventure up the mountains!
- Ruth Stanbridge joins Travel PR
The Travel PR team is delighted to welcome Ruth Stanbridge, who joins us as Office Manager & Accountant. With financial skills honed from nine years working in the City of London and a great interest in travel, Ruth is looking forward to combining both in her new role. More information about Ruth here.
- Travel PR represents The Aurora Zone for a second season
A brand of Activities Abroad, The Aurora Zone was the UK’s first (and remains its foremost) provider of energetic ‘Aurora-hunting’ trips – small-group tours that dramatically enhance travellers’ chances of seeing the Northern Lights by utilising various modes of transport, advanced geophysical forecasts and experience-based local knowledge. It also offers much more leisurely alternatives for less-active types. Trips visit Finland, Norway and Sweden, and include activities such as snowmobiling, husky-sledding and a photography lesson.
According to NASA, 2012 is the period of the Solar Maximum – when the Aurora Borealis will be at its most vivid for 50 years – making this season the best opportunity to see them until 2030. NASA says that 2013 will likely provide almost-as-fantastic Northern Lights-viewing, too, so now is very much the time to go and see this natural phenomenon.
- Travel PR round up hosted on Telegraph.co.uk
We had some fantastic success recently when Telegraph.co.uk’s travel pages hosted, in its entirety, a quirky press release we’d produced for our client Holidaysplease.co.uk. Written by us using suggestions from Holidaysplease.co.uk, the release outlined ten bizarre beaches around the world (Holidaysplease.co.uk being a long-haul specialist). Telegraph.co.uk used this for a light-hearted, interesting gallery article, with valuable weblinks at either end for our client.
- Travel PR welcomes new client Pride of Britain Hotels
Travel PR is now representing Pride of Britain Hotels, a not-for-profit consortium of 43 privately-owned independent British hotels that provides, first and foremost, superb hospitality to its guests. Styles of property include castles, manor houses, country mansions, spa hotels, contemporary properties, stately homes, inns and even a cruise ship. Locations range from coastal, waterside and countryside – some with beautiful grounds and parkland surrounding them – to bustling cities. Member hotels include Bailiffscourt Hotel, Calcot Manor, The Goring, The Devonshire Arms, Hartwell House and Spa, Lords of the Manor and The Swan at Lavenham. The consortium is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012 and is proud to be the official hotel partner to the National Trust.
- Travel PR now representing Naturetrek
Travel PR’s latest client is Naturetrek, the UK’s leading wildlife-tour specialist. Offering around 375 expert-led tours, Naturetrek takes its small groups everywhere, covering all continents and many oceans in between, from spring birdwatching in Armenia to classic African safaris in Zambia. Specialties include birdwatching trips, botany tours, bear, whale & tiger-viewing, polar cruises and photography holidays, with every trip led by expert naturalist guides and boasting a strong sustainable tourism ethic. Unusual offerings include seeing dragonflies in Bulgaria, wildlife-watching in Belarus and a jaguar safari to Brazil’s Pantanal. A burgeoning tailormade programme is available for those preferring to travel privately.
- Twitter: the big 5,000
Saturday 10 March was a momentous day for our much-admired Twitter account as it accrued its 5,000th follower. The account, easily the most successful of any UK PR company, has seen numbers consistently grow since its launch less than two years ago. This achievement feels even more impressive as we follow less than 500 people, and have never resorted to the ‘follow-to-be-followed’ tactics that many of our rivals employ.
To celebrate, Richard, our Head of Social Media, spoke to Tom Doggett Marketing about the account’s success, and exactly why he thinks it works so well.
For details of our other social media work, go here.
- There’s no changing their minds now!
Travel PR’s Steph and Helena have now set up fundraising pages for the one-day, 26-mile charity trek that they’re doing on 13 May. Organised by our client Discover Adventure, the London Stadia Trekathon takes in the sites of the Olympics 2012. If you would like to show your support, Steph is raising money for Alzheimer’s Society, here; and Helena is raising money for Lyme Disease Action, here.
- Beach-side signing: Travel PR signs a contract with the Costa Alentejana tourist board (Turismo do Alentejo Litoral) – 10 February 2012
The President of the Costa Alentejano tourist board, also the Mayor of Grândola, Carlos Vicente Beato, and Sue Ockwell, founder director of Travel PR, signed a contract to promote this little-known area of the Alentejo, Portugal, amidst acres of white-sand beach adjacent to the Comporta Cafe, Comporta Beach, close to the Troía Resort peninsula and just south of Lisbon. In early February, the skies were blue, the sun shone brightly and diners ate outside – quite a contrast with the snow back in the UK.
Click here for YouTube footage.
Click here for Storify journal.
- Vacations to America joins Travel PR
Travel PR is delighted to be working with Vacations to America, which offers an extensive range of fly drive, escorted and tailor-made tours across the entire 50 states of the United States of America. Its new 2012 brochure is separated into seven key regions – New England, Great Lakes and the North East, the South, Florida, California, the West and the rest of the USA and Canada. The trips cover popular and lesser-known routes and activities, as well as unique accommodation that is often unavailable to book from the UK, including charming country inns, small luxury hotels and private villas.
- AITO Collection – Exclusive Preview
On Tuesday 31 January, Portuguese Ambassador, Joao de Vallera, hosted the Association of Independent Tour Operators’ (AITO) Collection – Exclusive Preview at his residence in London’s Belgravia. The evening saw the launch of the 2012 Member Media Contacts booklet and gave AITO members the opportunity to discuss their 2012 travel programmes with assembled representatives of the travel media. A video of the event is available here.
- Travel PR welcomes new client Peter Sommer Travels
Travel PR is delighted to be working with new client Peter Sommer Travels. Specialising in archaeological and cultural tours, gulet cruises and private charters, Peter Sommer Travels offers holidays across Turkey, Greece, southern Italy and Sicily.
- AITO Agents’ domestic conference, 2012
Over the weekend of 14-15 January, Travel PR’s Sue and Steph attended the AITO Specialist Travel Agents’ domestic conference – held this year at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire. The event saw the largest gathering of truly independent agents and operators in the UK travel sector, with a record number of more than 200 delegates taking part.
- Travel PR to take part in London Stadia Trekathon
Travel PR’s Steph Reed and Helena Hamlyn are set to take part in our client, Discover Adventure’s, 26-mile London Stadia Trekathon, which takes place next May. This unique expedition gives people the chance to see for themselves venues in the capital that will be used for the London 2102 Olympics.
- 4,000 and counting
Our Twitter account reached a staggering 4,000 followers at the end of November; an especially impressive figure given that we follow less than 500 tweeters ourselves.
- Great Little Breaks launches
We have lift off! Travel PR’s newest client, Great Little Breaks, launched on Monday 28 November with a sophisticated party at the Millennium Mayfair London Hotel. A champagne afternoon tea was served, followed by champagne and canapés for journalists and Great Little Breaks’ strategic partners.
- Meet the travel experts in Twickenham: Sunvil at Strawberry Hill House
Travel PR worked alongside one of its main clients, the Sunvil Holidays group, to ensure the smooth running of its ‘Meet the Travel Experts’ event at Strawberry Hill House on Saturday 19 November. Twickenham-based Sunvil and its sister companies Expert Africa and GIC The Villa Collection invited clients and friends to spend an inspiring day at the newly-renovated historic Gothic castle to learn about the destinations it offers.
- Artistic Director or Music at Tresanton, Noam Greenberg, interviewed on BBC Radio 3
Travel PR is pleased to share this link with you to listen to Noam Greenberg, Artistic Director of Music atTresanton, on BBC Radio 3′s In Tune programme on 15 November (58 minutes in).
- The Mayor of Vilnius at World Travel Market
Travel PR enjoyed working with the Mayor of Vilnius (famous for this brilliant You Tube video) and the Lithuanian Tourist Board at this year’s World Travel Market. On Monday 7 November, the Mayor was interviewed by journalists and bloggers on the Lithuania stand and hosted a private evening reception where guests were treated to Baltic amber vodka, Lithuanian beer and traditional cuisine.
- British Guild of Travel Writers’ Annual Awards Dinner
Travel PR rubbed shoulders with the great and good at the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Annual Awards Dinner, held on the evening of 6 November at London’s Savoy Hotel. Traditionally held on the eve of World Travel Market (runs 7-10 November at ExCeL), this annual black-tie event brings together some of the UK’s top travel journalists for a lovely evening of anecdote sharing and award giving.
- Launch of ‘Tales from the Fast Trains by Tom Chesshyre
Travel PR’s Sue Ockwell and Karen Carpenter attended the launch of ‘Tales from the Fast Trains’, by The Times’ Tom Chesshyre, held in the Foyles bookstore at London’s St Pancras International station.
- Make Holidays Greener Week
The Travel Foundation’s ‘Make Holidays Greener’ week is now in full swing.
- Sue Ockwell made Trustee of Lyme Disease Action
Travel PR’s Founder Director, Sue Ockwell, is delighted to have been made a Trustee of Lyme Disease Action.
- New Client Win – Campaya
Travel PR has welcomed Campaya to its stable of clients.
- British Guild of Travel Writers’ Member Event – London
Travel PR’s Founder Director, Sue Ockwell, attended a British Guild of Travel Writers’ (BGTW) member event on 21 June 2011.
- Travel PR Twitter site in Top 100
Travel PR is thrilled to see its Twitter account named as one of ‘100 Must Follow Twitter Accounts’
- New Client Wins
Travel PR is delighted to announce the addition of two new clients to its diverse portfolio.