Tips for desk side visits / meet and greets with destinations
If you’ve established yourself as a blogger, you may receive invites for a meet and greet from a visiting destination. Culinary travel is becoming quite popular! While many destinations present this as their way of wooing us writers and bloggers to visit their destination, it is also a way for them to gauge if we will be a good fit. Here they can tell if we have good hygiene, can we hold our liquor (yes that is a problem on press trips), how we get along with others, etc.
Publicists invite you to a restaurant so they can get to know your demeanor and behavior among others.
Be prepared for your meeting with a destination
Bring your business cards, yes. But also have your elevator speech ready. Sure, you should have a good synopsis of who you are, what your write about and who your audience is on your blog. But when you meet these representatives, that’s one of the first questions they’ll ask. So be ready and make sure you can highlight any specialties. Do you make videos? Are you the queen (or king) or Instagram stories. Let them know!
Desk side visits
These are happening more and more. They’ll probably want to meet you at a coffee shop. Since I live in the suburbs, I always try to suggest a meeting point not too far from where they are staying in town. Sure, they are here to meet with us, but I don't want to make it completely inconvenient for the visiting destination and their staff. Hint: If they have to travel way out of their way to see you, it is an indication that you will be difficult on a media trip.
How long do desk side visits last?
Allow for 30 minutes. If you are going to a dinner, allow about 2 or 2.5 hours.
Share your interests when appropriate at the media / blogger dinner
Maybe you write about culinary, but you love zip lining. Or you love intimate music venues where you can hear up and coming artists. I am always game to see a city’s theatrical venue. This is terrific way to weave other passions into the culinary travel story you will tell. Honestly, I love the trips that are tailored to me specifically, as opposed to a press trip. Those are most often the best!
Follow your hosts lead at the destination's event
If they are bringing out food family style, don’t be the douchebag that insists on ordering something separately, unless you have a food allergy. If your booze choices are limited to white or red wine, don’t order the $15 specialty cocktail.This is a good indicator you will be demanding on a trip and they won’t want to have you. Oh you don't do beer or wine? Then stick with water.
Be social at the media / blogger dinner
If you are at a dinner with a bunch of people, chances are they might join you on press trip for this destination. The representatives are gauging how you get along with others as well. One of the biggest headaches for them is difficult people. Organizing and managing these trips is complicated enough. They don’t want to be your mom too or deal with a negative Nancy.
I was once on a trip with a woman who (her first time at the destination) kept asking when she could come back. She then insisted on having a fried of hers in the city join us for a lunch so the friend could promote her book to us. This is completely uncouth. I doubt she will get a return visit.