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Demystifying the travel trade press | Calls for pitches
Never pitched the trade press? You should, says Lottie. Here's why.
Hello, lovely readers. How are you? Really — we want to know. It feels to us like the industry is back on full throttle, with endless press trip invitations and commissions coming left, right and centre. Steph’s currently in Peru, soon to head over to Colombia, for various stories including a commission from The Indy, while Lottie is hunkered down writing her talk for DogFest and Dogstival, where she’ll be promoting her book (out 16 May!) all summer long, and preparing for a camping trip for the i paper.
Don’t forget, we’re hoping to run our first Talking Travel Writing retreat this year, with seminars, workshops and press trip activities included so you can learn, experience and then pitch away. We’d love to hear your thoughts on how it’s run and, most importantly, how much it should cost (for a two-night trip), here.
We’ll bring you more news as we have it, but for now, here’s Lottie waxing lyrical about the travel trade press and why you need to pitch them.
Why I love writing for B2B titles
I’ve just filed a 2,000 word hotel review. No, I didn’t go over wordcount on my latest one for The Telegraph, it was actually commissioned at 2,000 words! How often does that happen? Rarely. And especially rarely for a hotel review.
This was actually the fourth 2,000-word feature I’ve filed in the last few months. In January, I profiled a brilliant young master distiller, and in February I interviewed the owner of a pop-up hotel. All of these features, all 6,000 words of them, were commissioned by one publication and they’ve just commissioned another 2,000 worder from me this week. I love working for The Caterer.
Now, lots of you probably have no clue what The Caterer is. I certainly didn’t until about four years ago when I started writing for the B2B titles. Since then, B2B clients have made up around 35% of my income each year. But I can hear a few of you at the back saying, WTF is B2B? Let me explain…
What is a B2B travel magazine?
B2B stands for business-to-business. In media, this means a magazine or website that publishes content about a particular aspect of business or an industry, aimed at those working in that industry. The Caterer, as you have now probably guessed, is a magazine all about hospitality for hospitality professionals. Now, it’s not strictly travel, but it includes many of the elements within travel — primarily, hotels and restaurants — which is how I got involved with them.
Sound boring? I don’t think it is. Especially when I get 2k-word assignments that require me to shoot up to Manchester on the train to stay at the city’s coolest new hotel and interview its owner. I certainly wasn’t complaining when I had to sip gin at 11am on a Monday at Henley Distillery in order to write about the UK’s youngest master distiller, and I’m not complaining about my next commission, a piece that explores the future of food in restaurants (hello insect protein and lab-grown meat).
I really love writing B2B stories — and not just because I get to do cool stuff, either (although let’s be honest, I definitely won the day when Travel Weekly sent me to drink all the wine in Porto last month). I love the B2B side of things because I feel like, rather than just writing about holidays or experiences, I’m providing content that helps people. OK — I’m not changing lives, but I am potentially changing livelihoods. It’s a bit like what we do with this newsletter: I’m helping other people in business do their business better by learning from other businesses I interview for my features. That feels good to me.
This month we’ll be sending our THREE interviews with commissioning editors to our paid subscribers. Don’t miss out, become a paid subscriber now 👇
So, how do you get into B2B writing?
Well, my story isn’t going to help you much. I first started writing B2B content for Booking.com’s industry-facing blog, Click. The editor got in touch with me way back in 2016 after Googling “London travel writer”, and she asked if I’d be open to contributing. I was a bit non-plussed by the idea, but when she said they were paying 60-euro cents per word, I quickly perked up. They’d send me two assignments a month on various topics, some of which I’d never heard of, and I’d bring in an extra £1,200 as a result. When I got into the flow of writing for a business audience — hoteliers, general managers, hospitality professionals — I actually started to enjoy it. Plus, I learned a hell of a lot about the inner workings of our industry that helped me contextualise the things I was seeing on the road in my “day job”.
But thanks to that experience, I could then go forth and pitch my own ideas to other B2B titles, like TTG or Travel Weekly. And that, really, is how anyone can get involved in writing for B2B titles. Just like the papers and magazines on the shelves in WH Smith, the trade titles also have editors who want pitches. What’s more, many of these titles are weekly so there’s a higher chance of your pitch landing because there’s a demand for more content.
But what kind of content do they want? And how do you pitch them? The same rules apply here as to other publications: read the magazines, understand their audience, pitch relevant stories. Or, you could become a paid supporter for £50 a year and over the next three weeks you’ll get that information directly from the editors of three major trade titles. We’ll be asking them how much they pay, what stories they want, and whether they will work with writers going on press trips (spoiler: the answer’s usually yes!).
Which titles are in the travel trade press?
Aspire (supplement to Travel Weekly)
Calls for pitches
Tweet of the week
Who to follow
Jessica Poitevien was one of the excellent interviewees in our last series on career growth as travel writers. I was inspired by her thoughts on pitching and used her advice to get myself a commission just last week!
I devoured this FT piece by Jamie Lafferty last weekend, and as far as assignments go, riding around Havana with Che Guevara’s son is a pretty cool one and Shelly Rubenstein got the golden ticket with The Times.
We ought to really show you some great B2B writing here, too, so lap up this piece by Mary Novakovich on Croatian wine routes, and have a flick through TTG’s April edition.