Hawaii’s island of Lanai once again hosted its “Writers in Residence” program for the second year in a row, and this year the Value Luxury Travel Network had representation in the program.

Chris Gray Faust participated in the first year’s program (here’s a flashback to her coverage), and this year Andy Hayes (that’s me!) was a group representative – click here to see my coverage, which just finished.

How the Writers in Residence Program Works

There are multiple “writers in residence” programs out there, but here’s how the Visit Lanai program works:

  • The destination choose a set of writers for the year’s program.  Each writer (and their optional guest, since the trip is for 1 week) is slotted into a month on the calendar, so that no two writers are traveling at the same time.
  • Writers exchange details so that each can support and promote the others while in residence.
  • Writers work with the destination to prepare an itinerary suiting their own interests and specialties.
  • Each writer travels and the others share their content and continue in a dialogue until it is their turn.  In the Lanai case, other Hawaiian bloggers and locals also got involved.
  • Writers do real-time  updates in the destination – from tweets and instagram posts,to uploading and processing photos, video, or shorter articles.
  • Writers do a traditional trip followup on featured coverage as well as continued posts on social media.

For projects like these, fees are usually determined based on the amount of work requested from the writer and are generally paid as a per diem.

Results

results

This year’s program is still finishing up, but just a few examples of the results already achieved:

  • A Flickr gallery (updated daily during the trip) with over 1,000 reviews
  • A series of 5 featured articles, covering both service pieces and inspirational essays, as well as one of our longest photo essays with almost 150 likes on Facebook.  The series has received over 10,000 views, with an email newsletter promotion still forthcoming.
  • Real-time Twitter engagement before, during, and after the trip via the hashtag, #VisitLanai, as well as Instagram and Facebook.
  • Participation in a group Pinterest board, Visit Lanai.

And all that is just post-trip coverage; from remaining online promotions to continued traction on search engine traffic means we’ll continue to see our readers considering the island of Lanai for their travels.

Would a Writers in Residence Program Work for you?

Are you wondering if a “writers in residence” style program would work for you?  Here are just a few of the benefits of the program:

  • Allows you to get multiple perspectives on your product or destination.  Writers can all travel at the same time to intensify the coverage, or trips can be spread out to smooth out coverage flow.
  • Writers have more time to prepare additional marketing materials for you – that might be on site photography, content for your Facebook pages, news for your Twitter stream, photos for Pinterest boards, or blog posts for your blog.
  • Targeted writers in the value luxury market can help extend your high season or attract travelers from unique niches.

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