Press trips: Brands must rethink their strategies by testing new destinations and inviting a range of creators

Posted by Caroline Edwards in Comment

6 months ago

2023 saw a lack of originality with brand trips, making them all appear the same and uninspired. In 2024, brands need to make the effort to be more creative by introducing new locations and activities to help them stand out from the crowd and entice creators to attend.

Retailers regularly take creators to a limited rotation of UK destinations – namely Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire or aboard the Belmond British Pullman and Royal Scotsman luxury trains. Not to mention, it’s often the same or similar type of influencers who are in attendance.

At least three companies took creators to the Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk within a two-week period in November 2023. KISS invited a group for a staycation, talent stayed at the location with AllSaints for a few days and influencers also spent one night there with Too Faced. Then, both Space NK and Kate Spade New York held events on the British Pullman in December 2023.

Press trips need more originality

While these places are hotspots for a reason, and staycations and trains are a more sustainable option than flying influencers abroad, the repetition makes the trips appear less special. Would a creator want to go to the Wilderness Reserve multiple times a year with different brands? Perhaps, but it does risk them being more likely to say no in order to prioritise paid work.

When it comes to international locations, brands usually take UK and Ireland creators to New York, Paris and Ibiza. In the summer of 2023, beauty and alcohol companies such as Caudalie, Color Wow Hair, Jimmy Choo, Tequila Rose and San Miguel all took influencers to the popular Balearic island.

It makes sense why brands use tried-and-true locations, as inviting creators to new destinations can cause backlash if proper research isn’t done. Benefit Cosmetics’ 2022 trip to Hawaii was called out because the island has issues with water shortages and overtourism, while Tarte Cosmetics’ 2023 Dubai trip was criticised for being too lavish during the cost-of-living crisis.

That said, going to a new country or city can be successful. Skincare brand Topicals took 12 influencers on a week-long trip to Accra, Ghana in late December 2023 and #TopicalsGoneToGhana has nearly five million TikTok views. The event was praised for its guest list, timing, embodying the brand’s values and appealing to its target audience.

Some advice? Rethink your press trip strategy. Ensure it’s accessible and inclusive, invite new and up-and-coming creators, and make sure the event aligns with and represents your company. Make sure the destination is genuine and has a significant tie to your launch or history. Most importantly, think outside the box.

By Caroline Edwards, CORQ news and features writer. Picture credit: Jessie Bush via Instagram