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Do's and don'ts of hosting a travel writer

As a travel writer, just when one thinks it can't get any better, there are moments when it does. The same is true for the other side of the coin. Travel writers often endure extended periods away from loved ones and extensive travel and are faced with the challenge of sounding fresh and lively in their writing.
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It is not just about travelling, but experiencing all that is and passionately relating that which we experience to promote the tourism fraternity. As a travel writer with years in the industry and having had the opportunity to interact with several other travel writers, here is a list of a travel writer's less than ideal work situations.

Cut us some slack


Nothing is better than arriving at a location and getting interactive hosts who have an exciting itinerary of things to do and see. But at the end of the day, it is not supposed to be a boot camp. Overzealous hosts who pack itinerary lists that run from sunrise to sunset without room to breathe can exhaust travel writers as opposed to invigorating them. Rather pick a handful experiences and offerings that you want to feature and present them exceptionally well.

Is this it?


On the other end of the spectrum, nothing is more frustrating than getting to a place and there is nothing to do. No breakfast to write about, or activities planned. Please bear in mind I may have a stringent, rather lengthy feature spread that I may have to write about and while one can write so much about the journey and room, it would be so great if you showcased why your accommodation is worth visiting.

Show up


When we finally get to your establishment and settle down, at some point during our stay, it really makes a difference if the owner or manager can set time aside to interact with us and tell us more about the establishment. Having someone from management showing up goes a long way as it can also be quoted in the article to give it an authoritative voice. Even if it is just a five minute chat to welcome us to the establishment and ask if we traveled well, this one act of kindness is constantly praised by those in the industry and the lack thereof is noticeable.

Didn't you know I was coming?


While sitting at a meeting with fellow travel writers and publishers, one of the challenges named was that of establishments who do not notify their staff in advance. Some of the outcomes of this was that rooms were not booked, no one knew what to do and in some instances there was so much confusion and hostility at a guest taking notes and pictures that travel writers checked out and left.

Say something


There are often many amazing stories surrounding establishments that viewers long to read about. These get lost when guest houses, hotels and restaurants expecting a travel writer prevent staff and patrons from talking to the writer. At times travel writers are reprimanded for talking to chefs, staff and guests, many of whom have the most wonderful untold stories to share.

About Phindiwe Nkosi

Phindiwe Nkosi has a decade of experience coupled by post graduate studies from the University of Pretoria. Her experience ranges from working as a journalist, international news anchor, travel writer, speech writer, marketing and communications manager, editor, blogger, foodie and ghostwriter. She is also the founder of Travel Anthem and freelances for clients across South Africa, UK, Australia, Canada, India, Zimbabwe and more. Email her at phindiwe@communicationanthem.co.za for your writing and blogging needs.
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