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How can you tell if Travel Writers are legit?

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wendydk

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According to the Resources section of bb.com
This question arises frequently at PR workshops and on Internet forums. Here are a number of steps you can take to determine if a travel writer is legit.
  1. Check on the writer's credentials via a Google or Yahoo search. Your CVB or chamber of commerce may be members of a travel writer's association and can check to see if a writer is credentialed. If possible, sign up to provide lodging for visiting writers whose credentials have been established.
  2. Ask the writer for a letter of assignment from the publication they claim to represent.
  3. Ask for copies of previous articles or clips.
  4. Ask when the story will be published.
  5. Most importantly, ask if your property will be included in the story and how. Be sure to mention that your phone number and website should be included.
Stuff happens: Sometimes a writer will research and write a story, it’s accepted for publication, and then it gets canceled or postponed due to breaking news or budgetary concerns. Believe me, as a travel writer, this is a huge disappointment. Please understand that there is no guarantee that if you host a writer the story will definitely appear. Often circumstances out of the control of the writer occur to preclude the story from appearing.
Media policy: Establish a media policy that you can fall back on when questionable requests are received. For example, decide that a writer may bring only one guest and rooms will not be available to travel writers during peak times. You can always make exceptions, but it will give you a baseline to work from.
Comps: We strongly encourage you to offer free rooms to legitimate travel writers on a space available basis. Although paying guests are always the top priority, putting a travel writer in a room that would otherwise go unsold is a risk-free way to get publicity. Only a tiny number of writers are prohibited from accepting comps, and they won’t be insulted by your invitation. Professional travel writers will never ask for the whole inn, and will usually be flexible about staying when you have openings. Only a handful of writers have expense accounts that enable them to travel anonymously – they are prohibited by company policy from accepting free or discounted rooms. Best to remember this advice from Monty Turner (Run of the River, Leavenworth, WA): “Treat all guests like travel writers; treat all travel writers like guests.”
Rule of thumb: If you have an available room that you’re unlikely to sell, host a travel writer. While nothing may come of it, many times a story will eventually appear that will feature your inn. If you are contacted by a travel writer and have questions about their legitimacy, feel free to contact Marti@BedandBreakfast.com.
 

EmptyNest

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Hey anyone can tell you they are writing a story on a B& B. I could for sure...doesn't mean you have to believe me. Some state travel associations look for places to put up guest writers gratis in return for story and line mentions..but just out of the blue.....
I would expect that they would have some sort of press credentials...if doing a story for THEIR magazine or newspaper.
If it is just a free lancer out there trying to score a "free night" from you and no real promises of a credible story in a credible source..tell them to take a hike!!!!
In fact, most legitimate "reviewers" would not ask for a free night.
NOw if say a photographer would be willing to barter his excellent photos of your B &B in exchange for a free night..that might be a different story.
 

JBloggs

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I have found a travel writer will book their room like everyone else and not want a "fake" perspective of their stay. Now if you choose to comp the stay later at check in etc, then great. I have had a few here and they never asked for a freebie. Of course you never know what will hit the cutting room floor and if you will even be mentioned in said article.
I have offered them discounts to which they were grateful.
 

gillumhouse

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If they are asking for a freebie on a weekend in high season it is usually a scam for a free room. I do not know any legit writers who would ask for a weekend in high season.
Edited to add that most of my writers were arranged through the Tourism Division which tells me they are vetted.
 

egoodell

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I get travel writers asking for free stays and wine tours during the high season. They want to include their husbands too. I tell them no and they email me back saying, "that's fine, another property has taken up my offer" Sure. I never hear anyone else here telling me they hosted them. Sure.
RIki
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I get travel writers asking for free stays and wine tours during the high season. They want to include their husbands too. I tell them no and they email me back saying, "that's fine, another property has taken up my offer" Sure. I never hear anyone else here telling me they hosted them. Sure.
RIki.
Whatever folks may say about the fact that only a minority of travel writers are forbidden from accepting freebies, it is always my position that travel writers can't take freebies and be objective.
They're then not travel writers, they're publicists for the B&Bs. If, that is, they're ever published. And if they are, how good is the publication if it's that easily fooled.
So I don't give freebies to travel writers. And yes, I've had them say the same thing - that someone else took them up on it. And never once have I ever found a real innkeeper in my area who admitted as much. Nor have I seen the article that was supposed to feature the area either from these "travel writers" lacking in either expense accounts or education in conflicts of interest.
I say if an inn wants to hire a publicist and write some press releases, they should do that. Good marketing tools for sure.
But relying on the unreliable credentials of "travel writers"? No. Not me.
 

egoodell

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I get travel writers asking for free stays and wine tours during the high season. They want to include their husbands too. I tell them no and they email me back saying, "that's fine, another property has taken up my offer" Sure. I never hear anyone else here telling me they hosted them. Sure.
RIki.
Whatever folks may say about the fact that only a minority of travel writers are forbidden from accepting freebies, it is always my position that travel writers can't take freebies and be objective.
They're then not travel writers, they're publicists for the B&Bs. If, that is, they're ever published. And if they are, how good is the publication if it's that easily fooled.
So I don't give freebies to travel writers. And yes, I've had them say the same thing - that someone else took them up on it. And never once have I ever found a real innkeeper in my area who admitted as much. Nor have I seen the article that was supposed to feature the area either from these "travel writers" lacking in either expense accounts or education in conflicts of interest.
I say if an inn wants to hire a publicist and write some press releases, they should do that. Good marketing tools for sure.
But relying on the unreliable credentials of "travel writers"? No. Not me.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
But relying on the unreliable credentials of "travel writers"? No. Not me.
Neither me, especially when she wants to include her husband in the freebie. Nervy, if you ask me!
Riki
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I get travel writers asking for free stays and wine tours during the high season. They want to include their husbands too. I tell them no and they email me back saying, "that's fine, another property has taken up my offer" Sure. I never hear anyone else here telling me they hosted them. Sure.
RIki.
Whatever folks may say about the fact that only a minority of travel writers are forbidden from accepting freebies, it is always my position that travel writers can't take freebies and be objective.
They're then not travel writers, they're publicists for the B&Bs. If, that is, they're ever published. And if they are, how good is the publication if it's that easily fooled.
So I don't give freebies to travel writers. And yes, I've had them say the same thing - that someone else took them up on it. And never once have I ever found a real innkeeper in my area who admitted as much. Nor have I seen the article that was supposed to feature the area either from these "travel writers" lacking in either expense accounts or education in conflicts of interest.
I say if an inn wants to hire a publicist and write some press releases, they should do that. Good marketing tools for sure.
But relying on the unreliable credentials of "travel writers"? No. Not me.
.
Innkeeper To Go said:
But relying on the unreliable credentials of "travel writers"? No. Not me.
Neither me, especially when she wants to include her husband in the freebie. Nervy, if you ask me!
Riki
.
I had a guy tell me once that he had traveled across America no less than five times pretending to be a travel writer. He said he traveled with his wife and no one questioned that. And, no, he never wrote a single article. It was a scam that he was quite proud of, in fact. At least after a few glasses of wine, that is.
How to tell if they're scammers? IMHO, if they're asking for freebies, they're not legit.
 

Suzie Q

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Hey anyone can tell you they are writing a story on a B& B. I could for sure...doesn't mean you have to believe me. Some state travel associations look for places to put up guest writers gratis in return for story and line mentions..but just out of the blue.....
I would expect that they would have some sort of press credentials...if doing a story for THEIR magazine or newspaper.
If it is just a free lancer out there trying to score a "free night" from you and no real promises of a credible story in a credible source..tell them to take a hike!!!!
In fact, most legitimate "reviewers" would not ask for a free night.
NOw if say a photographer would be willing to barter his excellent photos of your B &B in exchange for a free night..that might be a different story..
I used to write, freelance, for www.epinions.com. I'd let the innkeeper know this, after I checked in, and offer to let her read a copy of it before publishing it. I NEVER asked for as much as a discount. I'd emphasize the positives of the establishment and rarely, if ever, comment on any negatives. If the place was abysmal, I just wouldn't write about it.
 
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