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After four-years in the planning, the most anticipated cruise ship of the year, Celebrity Edge, set sail on her maiden voyage in November and we were lucky enough to be on board, not just once, but twice.

To amplify the launch we hosted two press trips, one on the first sailing and, a week later, one for the naming ceremony, with journalists from across the spectrum: trade, national newspapers, luxury consumer publication, bloggers and influencers. The brief was to attract new-to-cruise media to showcase the benefits of a luxury cruise holiday. Siren’s expertise and contacts from our luxury lifestyle clients helped us to secure attendees and coverage from publications that had never attended a Celebrity Cruises ship launch including Tatler, Vanity Fair, Forbes and the FT.

The response from the press has been pretty unanimous, Edge is unlike any ship that has come before and is transforming the cruise and wider travel industry, not just challenging misconceptions about holidays at sea, but demolishing them in whirl of Michelin quality menus, Kelly Hoppen designed rooms and contemporary entertainment found nowhere else at sea. By far the high-point was the naming ceremony where the ship’s godmother, Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, officially launched Celebrity Edge.

The coverage achieved for our client, Celebrity Cruises, has exceeded our wildest expectations, but then so has Edge – she is a ship like no other we’ve set foot on and one we’re itching to board again in May 2019 when she sails to the Mediterranean via Southampton.

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Many times travel businesses will invest resources into building a website only to tick it of the ‘to do’ list and very little understanding how to maximise it and draw in new business leads. Or worse! Heaven forbid one completely by passes this and just set up social media channels missing out on promoting valuable travel website content!

So how can travel companies, especially those utilising a travel pr agency, direct traffic to their websites? Content, content, content! And don’t skimp out on SEO – yes that dreaded acronym. It’s pretty self-explanatory: Search Engine Optimisation and your business’ best friend if you take the time to understand what it does for you!

Promote what you’re doing exceptionally well. Toot your own horn, shout about it from every rooftop!You’re allowed! How? Build a blog on your website as a shop ‘window shop’ to your services and what you bring to the table and boost it through Instagram and/or Twitter. This is the most organic (and less costly) way to drive traffic to your website.

Then there are other ways of driving business leads to your website which involve a bit more investment.  Facebook and Google re-targeting ads are just two of the tools that will not only direct people to your website but also re engage those who have visited before.

If you’re still unsure about the best way to approach website traffic here’s great piece on Forbes on the 23 Proven Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Website.

Bottom line is, in a time were so much information is pushing consumers/clients in different directions it’s important to cut through the noise and not only capture your audience’s attention but keep them engaged with content that quenched their thirst of knowledge for a particular topic.

And if you’re looking for a good‘horn tooting’ example, check out Siren’s other blog posts to see how we display our own PR/Comms case studies and client work.

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‘Tis the season when Christmas dominates consumer’s mood, their booked up calendar (filled with unnecessary seasonal events and multiple family gatherings) and ultimately their buying behaviour. PR can have a huge influence in the Christmassy feels, which seem to be starting earlier and earlier each year. For me, it all begins when Tesco brings out their wonderful big tins of Quality Streets and Celebrations. But you know it has really started when brands start releasing their highly anticipated festive campaigns all fighting to take that number one spot that has everyone talking about it. How many tears one sheds over TV Christmas adverts seems to determine how consumers choose one specific brand over another when doing their Christmas shopping. I’ve picked my top five PR campaigns that are at the top of my Christmas list this year.

Elton John’s nostalgic John Lewis campaign

 

This year, John Lewis has produced a story that focuses on the power of a gift and how that gift (the piano) inspired, changed and influenced Elton John’s life. The advert travels backwards throughout Elton’s life until the Christmas day he received the piano. Elton is a well-known and well-liked musician, which appeals to a large audience. Also, by going back in time it gives a nostalgic feel to Christmas, which makes the audience link this feeling to John Lewis.

McDonald’s #ReindeerReady campaign


Here is another campaign that plays on your heart strings. The advert focuses on the tradition of leaving a mince pie and carrots for Father Christmas and his reindeers, a tradition the whole country can relate to. It then finishes with McDonald’s providing a big sack of carrots and potentially saving these lost Christmas traditions.

Sainsbury’s ‘The Big Night’ campaign


This advert stars an eight year old giving the performance of her life, all for her mum. It includes a cast of 59 kids all dressed as a variety of Christmas staples that are also performing to all their families. It’s even been voted the best of 2018, most probably due to the sentimental feel it portrays, with the children ‘giving it their all’ for their parents watching.

Virgin Train ‘it’s a Wonderful Life’

Platforms on the Virgin Trains route from Glasgow to London have been inscribed with quotes from the Christmas favourite film, it’s a Wonderful Life. This is to help people struggling with mental health issues, with the aim of showing how powerful small acts of kindness really can be. This is a simple but strong message which can reach a large amount of people.

Boots #GiftsThatGetThem campaign


This year Boots have focused on celebrating your loved ones by giving them something that says… ‘you get them’. The advert focuses on a mum and daughter’s relationship which makes it relatable to Boots female audience. The advert then ends with the daughter giving her mum a specific product before they hug underneath the Christmas tree, signifying a personal and heart-warming feel to the present.

 

 

 

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Earlier this month the who’s who of the travel industry descended on the Excel Centre for World Travel Market 2018.

 

For a first timer, I just hadn’t anticipated the sheer scale of the event. We had plenty of clients attending this year but I was personally there to support the Barbados Tourism marketing Inc, once I navigated my way through the hundreds of stands to theirs…There I was in Europe trying to strain my eyes in the vain hope of spotting the Caribbean. 15 minutes later after a brief tour round Asia and an accidental visit to Russia I found Barbados.

 

This was to be our home for the next three days. On the stand we had the Barbados delegation which included the new minister of Tourism & International Transport the Hon. Kerrie Symmonds. Though he was kept busy with meetings most of the time, the Minister managed to squeeze in a few moments to blend himself a smoothie on the snazzy bike blender we had for delegates to try out.

 

The whole team was also excited to have the cricket legends Sir Garfield Sobers and Desmond Haynes on the stand, charming the socks off everybody that passed by and carrying out interviews with the media and taking part in a live radio broadcast.

 

We were also joined by many of the trade partners that have supported Barbados tourism throughout the year, as well the fabulous Bajan chef Michael Harrison who cooked up a storm with his demonstrations.

 

The event was a great success and the BTMI team are feeling confident and excited for 2019.

 

As for me, I can’t wait for next year. WTM is a hugely creative event and wonderful melting pot of all cultures, countries, and travel connoisseurs.

 

My top tip is to wear flat shoes and bring as many business cards as you can carry!

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