In partnership with Destination British Columbia, Thompson Okanagan Tourism works with journalists, freelance writers, social influencers, editors and broadcasters on travel-focused stories to build destination awareness in our top markets. Howard Grieve, Travel Trade and Media Specialist helps with research, travel planning, image sourcing, interview contacts, filming and more.
National and Provincial Partnerships
TOTA works with our national and provincial partners including but not limited to Destination Canada, Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism Canada, Indigenous Tourism BC, and the BC Wine Institute to acquire and share story ideas, fulfill media requests for destination information.
TOTA works with our regional partners Tourism Valemount, Tourism Wells Gray, Tourism Sun Peaks, Tourism Kamloops, Explore Gold Country, Tourism Merritt, Shuswap Tourism, Tourism Vernon, SilverStar Resort, Apex Resort, Baldy Mountain Ski Resort, Tourism Kelowna, Big White Resort, Travel Penticton, Destination Osoyoos, Similkameen and Boundary regions to share story ideas, new product announcements, and hosting media in region. In addition to our Advisory Committee, TOTA also works directly with many stakeholders, private PR firms and industry associations.
Marketplaces and Events
TOTA currently attends the following Travel Media Marketplaces and events:
- Destination Canada — GoMedia Marketplace — annual, domestic and international media
- Destination Canada — Canada Media Marketplace — annual, USA media
- Destination BC — Media events in Seattle, Calgary, and Vancouver — annual, locally based media
TOTA is a long standing member of TMAC, the Travel Media Association of Canada.
TOTA is constantly seeking new story ideas relating to the promotion of regional tourism products. Story ideas are used to attract attention and to present an angle that journalists will then pitch to editors as potential articles they can write. For example, the ability to sleep overnight in a covered wagon can be grouped together with other unusual accommodations to create an article that is informative and attracts travellers to consider a Thompson Okanagan visit. New product is commonly used to create story idea pitches. TOTA reaches out to our regional partners and to stakeholders for content. This is usually done in advance of marketplaces and events to provide fresh story ideas based on the most current content.
To view the latest story tip ideas and recent archives, visit the media section of our Travel Trade website.
Hosting Travel Media in Region
Once a story idea has been picked and assigned to a journalist, a visit may be planned to familiarize the writer to the region and to the details of the story ideas. TOTA works with Destination BC, regional partners and stakeholders to provide in-region planning and logistics around the trip. Familiarization visits (often referred to as “Fams”) are usually short and specific to the theme of the story. In some cases top writers are invited into the region and toured around with the hope that they will be inspired by a story, a character, a tourism product or other experiences and come up with their own story ideas. In some cases, stories may not be published for up to two years after a visit.
Destination Information Support
TOTA provides support for media by providing a wide range of services. These include fact checking for editors on stories submitted by writers, providing contact information for the people that provide tourism experiences, updating information from in-region visits that may have changed from the time the story was written and then published. We provide images and b-roll to accompany story ideas and compliment what may have been taken by the writers when in region. It is not uncommon to be contacted by a writer contracted by a publication and seeking content on ‘Top Ten Beaches’ or ‘New Events’ or ‘Wineries with Accommodations’.
Travel Media Communications
Thompson Okanagan Tourism maintains a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that manages the communications and tracking of media and articles. Each time a member of the travel media is newly engaged with TOTA, they have an account set up in the CRM system which contains basic contact information along with as much insight as possible on media preferences and outlets. Following attendance at a media marketplace and event, media accounts are updated to reflect the discussions during appointments and to update contact information. This system is also used to target media with regular communications including TOTA news centre items. Destination content is regularly promoted through social media channels. We maintain website content and produce print collateral to assist in the pitching of story ideas.
Recently Published Articles
Check out published articles.
For assistance on Travel Media requests and further information on TOTA Travel Media Relations, please contact:
Howard Grieve, Travel Trade and Media Specialist