At first glance, you may think TravelMedia.ie only looks after the Irish market, but we do a lot of travel PR in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. One example of our UK travel PR campaigns is with the Barbados tourist board, Visit Barbados. In October 2021, Aer Lingus launched their first direct Caribbean route from Manchester to Bridgetown, Barbados. TravelMedia.ie worked with the tourist board on their UK travel PR campaign to promote this new route through the inaugural flight on the 20th of October 2021.
To celebrate the launch of this new route, Visit Barbados and Aer Lingus ran a joint press trip to Barbados, flying media out on the inaugural flight from Manchester. The trip included a number of media from The Sun, Wales Online, Press Association, Cheshire Life, the Telegraph, and the Daily Mail.
Pre-Departure PR Activity
Looking after tourist board public relations in the UK, the TravelMedia.ie team is always up to date with the latest travel restrictions and protocols within Britain and any country we travel to. At the time of this press trip, all media travelling to Barbados had to have evidence of a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to departure. All media for this trip were fully vaccinated and at the time had to take a PCR test when they landed in Bridgetown and restrict their movements in their hotel until they received their results – this was about 24 hours. Check the latest travel protocols for arrivals to Barbados at www.visitbarbados.org.
Before departure on arrival to Manchester Airport, media and persons travelling on flight EI 30 were met with the sweet sounds of Barbados from the Caribbean steel band playing at the check-in desks. A photographer was also organised to take photos of travellers checking in, altogether creating great excitement around the launch of this new route!
Once the media went through security, they were invited into Manchester Airport’s 1903 lounge to enjoy some pre-departure nibbles before heading to the gate where they were greeted with cupcakes, banners and more photographs as they boarded. As part of this joint press trip, Aer Lingus arranged business class tickets for the media attending, so they could travel to Barbados in style!
On-the-Ground PR Activity
When the inaugural flight landed in Bridgetown, Barbados, travellers were met with even more fanfare! The celebrations continued as soon as the aircraft touched down as it was welcomed with a hose down from the Barbados Fire Department. As passengers disembarked, they were greeted with music, entertainers, and gifts from the tourist board. Local media were on the tarmac to capture the moments for national news publications. Barbados Minister for Tourism, Hon. Lisa Cummins, welcomed passengers as they arrived at the airport.
Media management is one of the key benefits of employing a travel public relations firm in the UK. TravelMedia.ie’s Ali Finnegan was the UK public relations representative for the Barbados tourist board on this press trip. Ali hosted the UK media while in Barbados along with Aer Lingus’ PR representative, ensuring the itinerary, prepared by the tourist board and TravelMedia.ie, ran smoothly. Visit Barbados worked with local tourism partners for the media’s itinerary, ensuring a range of experiences to guarantee maximum coverage for all parties involved.
During the trip, the group stayed firstly in Bougainvillea, an oceanfront hotel located on the Southern coast of Barbados. The group were welcomed to the beautiful hotel with a complimentary rum punch on arrival before being escorted to their spacious, ocean-view rooms.
After four nights in Bougainvillea, the group were transferred to The Sands, set on a picturesque white sand beach on the South Coast of Barbados. The contemporary-styled all-inclusive hotel was a hit with our UK media group, boasting modern, trendy rooms and friendly staff.
The success of a press trip can depend on the itinerary. TravelMedia.ie works with clients to create a well-rounded itinerary, ensuring that the media are catered for, and the itinerary works for the angle of their piece(s). Having a UK travel PR agency to cater for this type of media management can relieve a huge amount of stress when organising a trip for UK media.
On this press trip, the group stayed in Barbados for seven days before returning to Manchester via Aer Lingus Business Class. During their seven-day stay, they enjoyed a jam-packed itinerary, exploring the whole island of Barbados from head to toe!
Firstly, the group ventured out to sea on a luxury catamaran cruise from Bridgetown where they experienced the wonders of the Caribbean Sea in style! During their cruise, the group enjoyed incredible views of the Barbados coastline, snorkelled with tropical fish, swam with the beautiful sea turtles, and, in true Bajan style, caught some rays with a rum punch in-hand!
Next up for our media group was a day of fun, adventure, and sightseeing on the Island Safari Adventure. On this day out, media explored some of the most beautiful places in Barbados, journeying through forests, gullies and remote bays, enjoying stunning views and discovering the hidden corners of the island. The group were driven around the island in the company of an experienced guide, travelling off-road and over all sorts of terrain – some more comfortable than others!
Located in the parish of St. Peter, St. Nicholas Abbey was a must-see for the media group on their trip to Barbados. Built in 1660, St. Nicholas Abbey is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere. The media enjoyed a guided tour of the great house, home to a wealth of tradition spanning 350-years. After the tour, the group went on to the boiling house and rum distillery to taste test the famous St. Nicholas Abbey Rum, which proved to be a winner all-round!
Next up on the itinerary was the Andromeda Gardens, Barbados’ only botanical garden. Located between the parishes of St. Joseph and St. John, Andromeda Gardens is home to over 90 plant families, making it one of the most diverse gardens in the world that exists in the tropical climate. The six-acre gardens are home to over 500 distinct species of plants and flowers such as frangipani, bougainvillaea, and the giant Mexican sunflower, fruit trees including breadfruit, Barbados cherry, and banana, shrubs, and even a succulent garden!
Located near the centre of the island, Harrison’s Cave is one of the classic tourist attractions in Barbados, and our media group understood why on their visit! The group took a tram tour through this natural phenomenon of the tropical world, enjoying picturesque views of running streams, waterfalls and magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The Culinary Capital of the Caribbean
Barbados is known as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, and for good reason! While on the island, our media group got the full Bajan culinary experience, dining in some of the best-loved restaurants across the island.
Champers is one of the most well-known restaurants in Barbados, most likely for its consistently, great quality food, service, and beautiful cliff-top setting that overlooks the Accra Beach. The UK media joined Barbados Minister for Tourism, Hon. Lisa Cummins, for a delicious dinner in Champers after a successful media Q&A with the Minister, led by Visit Barbados’ PR representative, Ali Finnegan.
No trip to Barbados is complete without a little (or a lot!) of rum! Our media group experienced an incredible dinner and drinks experience, surrounded by 150 rums from all over the world, in the only Rum Vault in Barbados! The group were treated to a 4-course dinner with rum cocktail pairings by Mount Gay Rum’s Master Blender!
Boasting a beautiful waterfront location, The Beach House was one of top lunch spots for the group on this press trip. With its relaxed, beachy vibes, this restaurant offers one of Barbados’ most sought after dining experiences with internationally recognized standards of cuisine and service both at lunch and dinner, offering a choice of local dishes and international favourites.
Located in Hastings, Christ Church, just around the corner from The Sands, Tapas Restaurant offered our group of journalists rich, flavourful meals complimented with perfectly mixed concoctions from the bar. The restaurant, located just on the tip of the Richard Haynes Boardwalk, offered the diners unparalleled sea views during their meal.
Last, but certainly not least, the UK media group dined at Fusion Rooftop, located on the top floor of the luxurious Limegrove Lifestyle complex on the exclusive West Coast of Barbados. Boasting a spacious, 72 seat ‘alfresco’ restaurant, Fusion Rooftop offers all guests a contemporary lounge and dramatic full-service bar, which the group thoroughly enjoyed! The press group were treated to a sumptuous meal at Fusion Rooftop, with Asian and Bajan flavours perfectly mixed. There was not an empty plate left on the table!
Post-Travel Public Relations
Unfortunately, the Visit Barbados and Aer Lingus press trip had to come to an end after seven fun-filled days in paradise! After the trip Barbados’ UK travel PR rep, Ali Finnegan, reported back to the tourist board on the trip. Ali divulged what worked, and what didn’t in terms of the itinerary and the flow of the trip, and if there were any non-urgent matters relating to the media, this is when a UK travel PR agency would discuss these with their client.
When representing a tourist board or other client on a press trip, TravelMedia.ie would follow up with the media group a few days after returning, providing information for the journalists’ fact boxes, hi-resolution photos of the activities, hotels, restaurants the group visited, and any other general information the journalist requires.
Once the media have published their pieces, they liaise with the UK travel public relations firm, TravelMedia.ie. Our team will include it in our report and share the coverage with our client, Visit Barbados, and any other partners mentioned.
Overall, the Visit Barbados and Aer Lingus press trip was a huge success, with features in National Geographic, Cheshire Life, the Sun, and the Telegraph to name but a few. A press trip is just one of the many public relations activities TravelMedia.ie look after in the UK market for our clients – find out more here.
Are you looking for a travel PR contact in the UK? Please reach out to Michael Collins, M.D. of TravelMedia.ie, email@example.com.