Presentation on theme: "Comping for Coverage: What Journalists Expect on Press Trips A survey of what North American journalists expect cruise lines to pay for on individual and."— Presentation transcript:
Comping for Coverage: What Journalists Expect on Press Trips A survey of what North American journalists expect cruise lines to pay for on individual and group editorial research trips Conducted by October 2014
Overview Cruise line PR departments are increasingly being asked to produce more media coverage with flat or reduced budgets. At the same time, media outlets are tightening their travel budgets and freelancers are facing reduced pay for stories. Cruise lines have long offered the most inclusive press trips in the travel business, and journalists’ expectations of what should be included on complimentary cruises consequently are high.
To assess what journalists expect to be included on comped cruises, NewmanPR designed a brief six- question survey that covered individual and group press trips as well as trips where a guest accompanies the journalist. The survey was sent to 200 journalists the agency works with regularly representing a variety of print and online outlets. The response rate was 17%, which exceeded the average of 10% to 15% for external (non- employee) surveys.
Respondents contribute to a cross-section of media outlets: Newspaper (online & print) 38% Magazine (print) 68% Magazine (online) 74% Radio 9% Television 9% Website (consumer) 35% Website (trade) 15% Cruise News Blog 29%
Respondents are relatively active on major social media networks: Facebook 58% Twitter 53% Instagram 21% Pinterest 18% YouTube 9%
Airfare 97% Port Charges 88% Gratuities 68% Transfers 97% Shore Excursions 74% Internet 94% Drinks 21% Specialty Restaurants 62% Spa Treatments 29% Hotel (forced layover) 91% Which of the following do you expect to be included on a GROUP press trip?
“Other” Comments from the Question: Which of the following do you expect to be included on a GROUP press trip? I'd expect some drinks, maybe one spa treatment (unless the focus of the writer's feature would be spa, then more). Internet is nice... A shore tour is nice to include; also the specialty restaurant/s and spa if these experiences are part of the planned coverage. Major gratuities — but not all tipping. Wine with dinner only; limited shorex.
Airfare 88% Port Charges 91% Transfers 88% Shore Excursions 65% Internet 82% Drinks 21% Specialty Restaurants 59% Spa Treatments 32% Hotel (forced layover) 79% Which of the following do you expect to be included on an INDIVIDUAL press trip?
Note: inclusions such as specific shore excursions, specialty restaurants, and spa treatments are based on relevance to assignment(s). A choice of some shore excursions but not necessarily all. A shore tour is nice to include; also the specialty restaurant/s and spa if these experiences are part of the planned coverage. Limiting drinks and specialty restaurants is fine. I declined a press trip when told that because of the category of my cabin, I would be unable to dine in a specific specialty restaurant. And then I met someone else who did the same when he was told he wouldn't be able to dine there! “Other” Comments from the Question: Which of the following do you expect to be included on an INDIVIDUAL press trip?
Airfare 15% Port Charges 64% Gratuities 36% Transfers 55% Shore Excursions 30% Internet 24% Drinks 9% Specialty Restaurants 27% Spa Treatments 6% When traveling with a guest, expectations were significantly lower. We asked: If traveling with a GUEST, which of the following do you expect the cruise line to cover for the guest:
“Other” Comments from the Question: If traveling with a GUEST, which of the following do you expect the cruise line to cover for the guest? A couple of shore excursions, specialty restaurant WITH the writer but a guest is a bonus -- it's not a paid holiday for couples! I certainly wouldn't expect air for a guest, though a few cruise lines do offer that which puts them in the "wildly generous" category in my book. If you are offering the opportunity of a guest, I'd really expect the same things to be included on the ship as for the journalist, including gratuities and port charges. Anything off the ship (including air fare) I wouldn't expect. Nothing.
Some elements are considered “deal breakers” if not included (more than 50% would not go). We asked: Which of the following would make you decide not to take a GROUP trip if not included? Airfare 94% Port Charges 59% Transfers 50%
Airfare 85% Port Charges 58% Transfers 46% Some elements are considered “deal breakers” if not included (more than 50% would not go). We asked: Which of the following would make you decide not to take an INDIVIDUAL trip if not included?
“Other” Comments from the Question: Which of the following would make you decide not to take a GROUP or an INDIVIDUAL trip if not included? If I'm taking an individual press trip, I'm on an assignment and I'd expect these relevant expenses to be covered. If none of the above were offered AND no OBC were offered, that might be the deal breaker. I will not buy internet — so you are losing social media exposure by not providing it for me.... Sometimes it can be less expensive to blow off a "media rate” and just book using one of the "fire sales" that are frequently available. If air is reasonable, then there are no deal breakers.
Conclusions While journalists’ expectations are typically higher and they expect more inclusivity on group press trips, in general, media expect the cruise line to cover airfare, gratuities, port charges, Internet, transfers, some shore excursions and forced layovers. Specialty restaurants, spa treatments and drinks are generally considered optional, though appreciated when provided, unless they are critical to the reporter’s story angle, in which case they can be deal breakers.
Expectations for guests were reasonable across the board, with journalists not expecting the line to cover many of the elements that are “deal breakers for the media. Based on the comments, media expectations about what should be comped on press trips are reasonable, given the economic realities of the business. If cruise lines want to attract tier-one journalists and media outlets to review their product, they will have to provide, at the least, airfare, gratuities and port fees, and Internet access. # # #
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