Anna Cummins is the UK PR manager at the Austrian National Tourist Office. Responsible for a broad range of PR activities, Anna handles media enquiries, event organisation and PR campaigns. We spoke to Anna about the role of a tourist office PR, the evolution of the PR industry, how she works with both traditional and ‘new’ media, and her advice for new PRs.
Can you tell us about your background up to your current role?
I joined the Austrian National Tourist Office in 2010 as online content editor. It was the perfect role for me at the time to combine my love of writing and travel with my fluency in German. Part of my job description was to cover for the then PR Manager and I soon realised how much I enjoyed this side of things: the interaction with the media, organising events and accompanying press trips to Austria. When the position became available in 2015 I jumped at the chance and have not looked back since.
What does your day to day consist of?
We have two major campaigns each year, promoting the summer and winter seasons in Austria. In their run-up, I am busy preparing for the media launch, which brings our Austrian partners together with the best British travel writers at a venue or with a concept unique to the campaign. Back in the office I prepare press releases for our newsroom and to send to the media, coordinate trips for journalists to Austria, oversee content co-operations and respond to general media enquiries.
What are the biggest changes to travel PR you’ve seen over time?
It has become standard for journalists to have to take time for press trips out of their holiday allowance, which can make it difficult to secure the big publications for group trips. We see far more individual trips now than when I first joined the company.
What criteria do you look at when building media (new or traditional) relationships?
I am aware that journalists do not have enough hours in the day. Long lunches might not be possible, but an efficient response to their enquiries is much appreciated, as is the odd coffee and regular invites to our events, where they get to network with multiple contacts in one evening.
What are your dos and don’ts for blogger collaborations?
Do ensure the terms are set in stone before departure. Don’t put them through a stringent itinerary. Bloggers tend to prefer free time to explore their surroundings.
Can you give an example of a good collaboration you’ve recently worked on?
Captivate have recently been out to Vorarlberg and Graz on a food campaign named ‘Austrian Takeaways’. There is so much people don’t know about Austrian cuisine and how wonderful, varied and also high-end the local produce can be.
How important for your ROI is traditional media channels and relations compared with new ones?
Very. Classic print coverage speaks for itself and is a great way to reach our target group.
What’s the best destination in the world?
Is this a trick question 😉
How important is imagery to your campaigns?
The image is key to the campaign. It is what will get people dreaming about a destination, picturing themselves there.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into PR?
Decide which industry you would like to work in and get chatting to people. Where do you feel most at home? You need a product or destination you feel passionate and comfortable talking about, then your day to day tasks will come easily.