“Touchpoints”: Alex Sousa – Show Notes

  • Name: Adam Stoker
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Fiji
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Name: Alex Sousa
  • Position: Public Relations Manager at Relic Agency
  • Favorite Destination: Dublin, Ireland and Amman, Jordan
  • Dream Destination: Japan or Australia

“Touchpoints” – Show Notes and Highlights

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Show Highlights

Alex’s Background

  • Alex started out in journalism, mostly writing lifestyle and entertainment pieces. 
  • As a journalism student, he went to Amman, Jordan to study the effects of the media on the Arab Israeli conflict.
  • After getting married, Alex decided to shift his career to a more family-friendly one. He started searching for jobs in the PR sector. Before he found one that fit, he decided to take a gap year teaching journalism at a high school. 
  • Following his teaching experience, Alex joined the Relic team as the PR Manager. 

PR For Tourism and Destinations

  • The best thing a destination can do is be authentic to their destination. People planning a trip to your destination have an idea of what it’s going to be like before they arrive. If your destination doesn’t match up to their perceived idea based on your advertising and messaging it reflects poorly on your brand.
  • Destinations need to know their brand. They have to know who they are and what they are offering and then they need to portray it accurately to their personas.
  • It’s important to honestly evaluate your destination and determine what you actually offer, and what you are good at. Make sure your audience understands what you offer. 
  • Talk to locals about their opinions on what’s done well and talk to visitors. Utilize focus groups and any opportunity that arises, like one to gain insight into the visitors’ experience in your destination.
  • Tourism, economic development, businesses, and industries in a destination need to come together to raise each other up. Together they are all building the destination’s brand. 

Newsworthiness in Pitching to Journalists and Editors

  • A press release is news. It should read like a news story. Something that is happening soon or ties into something happening soon. It has importance to the region where you are trying to get it published.
  • It also needs to apply to the demographic who will be reading it. A press release has to have an effect on people to garner their interest. 
    • A good example for press releases is a big event that is coming up.
  • When it comes to feature stories, they can be a bit removed from the constraints of a press release, but they will still do better with elements of newsworthiness. Feature stories are good to reach out to a travel writer or influencer and have them create a piece about an aspect of your destination. Where press releases are more based on quick facts, feature stories are experiential. 
    • A feature story will sound more like it’s saying, “This is what I saw. This is where I was at. This was the attitude and the feel of it, and this is why it’s interesting.”

“Touchpoints”

  • Right now it’s the perfect time to evaluate your brand. With the restraints on travel and fewer visitors, it’s an ideal time to see how you can physically update and fix-up areas of your destination.
  • The big reason to look at your brand holistically right now is because of the pause in travel. The second restraints are over though, everywhere will indirectly be competing for the X amount of travelers there are. The destinations that take time to look at their brand and know what they offer are going to have a competitive edge over those who rush to get messaging out there as soon as they can. 
  • Destinations need to adapt and say, “How are we going to excel in this new world? What do we need to do? What do travelers want now?” instead of, “How do we get back to the way things were?”
  • As a PR manager, you have to look at what people’s concerns are and know how to address and remove those concerns so they don’t have to think about them. 
  • Use the worksheets in each section of “Touchpoints” to help break down your brand’s own touchpoints and how they are ranking and how to improve them. The book works to make these overwhelming questions bite-sized and manageable of how to improve your destination. 
  • Look at your visitors as actual people with concerns, worries, and stresses. People who have good and bad days. People make the choice to come to your destination. Take a step back and look at what their needs and expectations are. Consider their wants and desires. Those will help you understand your audience and how your brand can cater to them. 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast