It takes a great client to make a great agency. That’s an adage we’ve quoted for 30 plus years. Much has changed in the practice of travel PR over that time, but the best PR campaigns remain the product of a happy, inspired and trusting working relationship between client and agency. Many years ago, in response to an offbeat idea we floated to launch a new hotel brand, the client said, “this will push us out on a limb – but we know you won’t let us fall off.” That response said volumes about the client/agency relationship. It was strong enough to allow for risk-taking and trusting enough to give the client confidence that its best interests would be safeguarded.
Here are five hallmarks, or the Five Cs, of a successful travel client/agency relationship:
Communication: As is true of any relationship, regular conversation (by email, phone or texts) enhances understanding and builds bonds. While it’s valuable to schedule formal client calls and meetings, day-to-day interaction is the real glue in the relationship.
Consistency: An agency is only as good as the regular input/information it gets from clients. Travel is dynamic. Travel clients are in a great position to consistently talk trends, rates, special packages and promotions, individual guest and group needs and so much more with their agencies.
Clarity: The quality of information given an agency goes a long way to insuring efficient and effective outcomes. Travel clients should arm their agencies with the facts and figures that substantiate any pertinent angles.
Creativity: Encouraging creativity will bring out the best in an agency. PR is a business of ideas – and nothing is more rewarding than seeing a client embrace fresh thinking. We achieved our most memorable travel-related work – e.g. using kinetic energy to light up hotel signage and launching fireworks off the Brooklyn Bridge to launch an airline – when our clients shared our zeal for making the impossible possible.
Consideration: Jumping through hoops is not novel to agencies, but when clients think ahead, give their agency enough time to execute well, and show simple consideration for the time and effort their account teams put in, everyone wins.