Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to Write Travel Guides and Brochures

More about Travel Writing

Welcome to part two of our travel writing series. Last week we looked at writing a first-hand account of a trip; this week we look at the more formal aspect of producing brochures and guides. This side of the market is more often covered by fulltime writers, employed for the specific purpose of putting together a variety of travel publications. The firms who employ these writers also pay graphic designers to fit the text around scenic photos and colourful backgrounds. The result is a professional glossy brochure or magazine. A freelancer is at a disadvantage without this back up team but there are still opportunities available.

Look for Potential Markets
Go into your local tourism center and have a look at what is on offer. Take home a selection to see how they are written and laid out. Here is a list of the type of businesses that commonly advertise to tourists:

· Car rental firms
· Hotels/motels and other accommodation
· Tours/cruises/day trips
· Extreme sports such as bungy jumping and white water rafting
· Access to natural wonders such as caves and waterfalls
· Entertainment venues
· Restaurants
· Scenic Flights

From your knowledge of the area, analyze if there are any companies that are not represented but have something to offer tourists. These would be a good place to start looking for some work. If you have a friend who’s good at layout and design, maybe you could work as a team. Remember to price printing costs if you decide to go this route.

Contact the Professionals
Track down the companies that churn out travel brochures and send your résumé into them. Offer to do freelance work on smaller, lesser known locations or areas that are not included in their material. You could also offer your services as a stand in if they suddenly need an extra writer.

What is Included in a Guide or Brochure
They are commonly written as a list of facts with a little description thrown in. Some are stand alone brochures for a specific resort while others are general ones, covering a town and surrounding area. These are the things that are generally included:

· Where to stay
· What to do
· What to see
· Where to eat
· Climate and monthly average temperatures and rainfall
· Shopping
· Cultural differences to be aware of
· Historical background
· Maps

Look Beyond the Obvious
Look at putting together something different that will pay you through advertising sold. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

· Free Activities
· Activities for $25 and less
· Child-friendly activities
· Christchurch for the Disabled
· Extreme Sports in New Zealand
· Beauty Treatments in New Zealand
· Events Calendar for February 2009
· Off the Beaten Track – Secrets from the Locals

Be prepared to do a lot of research and spend time in libraries and interviewing people if you’re determined to get into this line of work. It can be great fun and very rewarding but don’t expect to find huge success overnight. It will be a case of taking things step by step and seizing every opportunity.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.

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