Malama Maui Press Trip

by Chris Christensen on April 22, 2010

In late March I had a chance to travel to Maui as part of a social media team on a press trip sponsored by the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau. The trip was titled “Malama Maui” which is Hawaiian for “to nurture Maui”. I had a chance to ask Keli’i Brown of the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau some questions about the trip.

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What was the goal of the trip?

As always, our goal is to allow journalists to experience Maui’s myriad offerings and to write about their experiences. The most recent press trip was unique in that we organized a social media campaign to include a team of experts to promote Maui via their respective social media networks not only during the week of the press trip but pre-and-post. This was a way for Maui to include new media as part of the press group, and it was a way for Maui to see new media in action. We also including traditional broadcast and print media for good measure!

How do you measure success for the trip, that is, using what metrics?

That’s a tricky question because one has to be more specific in regards to what you want to measure. For us (in PR), our first and foremost measurement of success is the experience. The satisfaction level of the media participants as well as our PR partners is all important as a membership organization. In the end, we want to know that Maui satisfies and we want the people who live on Maui to interact with visitors to have an enjoyable, positive, honorable experience.

Our goal is to share the culture(s), landscape, people, natural attractions, accommodations, activities, festivals, etc. Did Maui meet or exceed desired expectations or did we fall short?  We then consider the editorial placement by the participating journalists. Was the coverage handled in a way that best showcases Maui? Will that story motivate visitors to come to our island? These are things we look at as the PR team so we are better suited to work with future media and assist our on island partners.

Next, we look at the value and reach of editorial placements. These figures provide a tangible measure of success, something we can share with others as a measurement of success.  We use professional services to track ad rates and circulation figures. We compile this data and hope to have a minimum of 3 to 1 return on our financial investment.  For example if we paid $1,000 to host a journalists airfare, rental car, etc. We hope the resulting editorial will be worth more than $4,000.

Would you be willing to ballpark the cost of the event?

I really can’t share specific costs of our press trip with you, but I can tell you that in general, “hard dollars” for a press trip can run anywhere from $10,000 – $15,000, depending on the size of the group. That number would typically include airfare, rental cars, some meals and some activities. That does not include in-kind support we receive for accommodations, most meals and most activities. There is also the “time” it takes to plan such a trip.

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