Travel Writer Guidelines & Policies

Maryland’s Guidelines for Working With the Travel Media

The mission of the public relations unit of Maryland’s Office of Tourism Development is to assist qualified journalists develop travel stories about Maryland’s destinations, attractions, accommodations, restaurants and travel-related businesses.

To serve you better, we have developed the following set of guidelines as a way of ensuring that all journalists receive equal treatment and that each experience is as productive as possible.

For the purposes of these guidelines, we have divided journalists into two categories: a) those participating in a group familiarization tour organized and paid for by the state, and b) those traveling independently – either on assignment for a publication or on a freelance basis.

We appreciate your willingness to abide by these guidelines.

1. All journalists will be asked to fill out the Maryland media request form. The form includes a request for copies or links to recently published travel stories and/or an assignment letter.

2. All journalists seeking assistance in planning an independent tour of Maryland must give the state’s Office of Tourism Development a minimum of two weeks notice of their intentions, and additional notice when requesting visits during peak season/holidays. This is a matter of courtesy to the private-sector partners (attractions, hotels, restaurants, event organizers, etc.) who will help make the trip a success, as well as an aid to scheduling PR staff time.

3. a) On a group press trip organized by the Maryland Office of Tourism (alone or in partnership with Capital Region USA), all transportation will be provided.
b) Independent journalists will be responsible for their own transportation to, from and around Maryland.

4. a) A predetermined itinerary, accommodations, admission to attractions, expert guides and meals will also be included when available.
b) The public relations staff will attempt to negotiate complimentary or reduced-rate arrangements for independent writers but cannot guarantee success. Arrangements for such writers will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and will often depend on seasonal availability, holidays, city-wide events, tourism and destination marketing office budgets, etc. *Given the limited financial resources due to the pandemic, please understand journalist visits may not be available for any reason, as it is at the discretion of our industry partners and their resources.

5. Complimentary accommodations will not include any incidentals (i.e. phone charges, non-complimentary WIFI, room service, in-room movies, spa services, laundry, parking, valet, tips, etc.)

6. Complimentary meals may or may not include alcohol depending on the policies of your host destination; typically gratuity is not included, and will be the responsibility of the journalist.

7. Some Maryland destinations have VIP or media passes available for qualified journalists that will provide free entry to area attractions.

8. a) Most group press tours are space-limited by design, therefore, no spouses, children, parents, significant others or friends may participate in an organized press tour unless specifically invited by your hosts.
b) Journalists traveling independently sometimes wish to bring a companion with them - friend, spouse, and/or family members. However, the presence of these guests often makes it impossible for the state to negotiate complimentary admissions, accommodations or meals. Such courtesies are wholly left to the discretion of our contacts at the attractions, accommodations, restaurants and events, and, if they are unable to supply gratis services, the journalist agrees to be responsible for any costs incurred by the extra traveler(s).

9. Please note that any offer of assistance is extended to working media only. Photographers must have their own separate byline and be on assignment with the writer. Travel expenses for significant others who accompany working media are not covered; the journalist or guest will be responsible for all associated costs for meals, admissions, guide costs, tips, etc. Maryland Tourism cannot provide any assistance if the primary purpose of your trip is for leisure or holiday travel with your friends and/or family.

10. As a matter of courtesy, the state requests that all journalists hosted by the State of Maryland please send at least one copy of any article(s) or program(s) generated as a result of the visit. Details about circulation, reach, audience and ad rates are appreciated as well.

11. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Maryland requires face coverings to be worn for all employees and guests, including children older than five years of age, when indoors. When outdoors, face coverings are required if unable to consistently maintain at least six feet of distance from other non-household individuals and are advisable under all conditions. For exceptions to this requirement, please see Executive Order 20-08-03-01. Customers with disabilities who are unable to wear a face covering must be provided with an opportunity to receive the same goods and services as customers without disabilities. For more information, please see the Face Coverings FAQ.

12. COVID-19 pandemic safety precautions are subject to change at any time, including during a press visit, and all journalists are responsible for monitoring conditions, recommendations and mandates so as to be in compliance with federal, state and local regulations while traveling within Maryland.