What you don’t know, are the details of my press trip!
BUT WHY HAMBURG?
The thing is, I’ve been to Hamburg many times, but I’ve never been to Hamburg as a tourist!
Why is that, you might ask?
To be honest, I simply don’t know!
But I wanted to shake things up a little, and change!
If you recall, almost a year ago, I went to the International Trade Fair in Berlin, otherwise known as ITB Berlin, and met up with some of the marketing people of Hamburg.
The fellows at Hamburg.com saw this, reached out and said,”Hey! Come to Hamburg. See for yourself!”
So I did!
Thanks so much Hamburg Marketing!
WHY GO TO HAMBURG?
Hamburg really isn’t that big, so follow my footsteps and don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk too!
A BRIEF PIECE OF HISTORY:
Hamburg, otherwise known as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second-largest city in Germany, and has a population of about 1.8 million people!
And let me tell you, it doesn’t even feel like a city…!
Hamburg lies in a very strategic position with Continental Europe to the South and the Nordic States to the North. The North Sea is to the West and the Baltic Sea is to the North-East.
Hamburg is also a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a World Heritage UNESCO site, with signs of wealth and glory all over the region. Of course, during the Great Fire of Hamburg, and during the Second World War, the importance of the harbour made it an important target, such that many parts of the city, was destroyed.
During the 13th – 16th century, Hamburg was considered second only to the port and city of Lübeck, as a central trading hub for sea-borne trade.
With the discovery of the Americas and the emerging transatlantic trade, Hamburg exceeded all other German ports, and became the main Central European hub for freight travel, transatlantic passengers and from 1871, the principal port of trade in Germany!
WHAT IS A PRESS OR FAM TRIP?
A PRESS TRIP is normally described as a visit to a destination, country, city, hotel, venue etc, organised for media groups.
It usually introduces and presents the best bits of a particular itinerary and is usually for a small group of journalists or bloggers, or an organised private trip.
Although a press trip could be for a few hours, it usually refers to a trip of a few days.
A familiarization trip, or FAM TRIP as it is better known, is similar to a press trip however, it usually includes a visit to a number of sights, venues, activities, accommodations, or restaurant spots, in one area or region.
It is typically organised for travel industry professionals, to give them a better understanding of the regions and products they are trying to sell to their clients.
Lots of different activities are included so that as much as possible can be experienced. Sometimes journalists might attend a FAM TRIP too.
In both instances your costs will usually be covered, though this will vary depending on the organiser.
I categorise official FAM / Press trips as different to customised press trips.
On official FAM / Press trips, pretty much everything is paid for. Including transport, hotels, food & entertainment such as the following:
- My first press or FAM trip ever to Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as, Northern France!
- 10 reasons why Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as Northern France, is more than just stinky cheese and a paté made from goose!
- My second glorious press trip to England. Yes, I’m going to Bristol & Bath. Yippee!
- Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!
- 48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do!
- 10 amazing reasons why you should visit Bristol.
- 15 incredible reasons why you should visit Bath in 2016: Heigh Ho!
- My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
- Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!
- Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
- How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!
However, once I confirmed it, a very important client also contacted me, so I ended up arriving one day earlier than the other participants, and leaving earlier too, so I paid for my own dinner and refreshments.
It would have been ideal, but my hotel had lost the press package that should have been waiting for me, and by the time I had contacted everyone to find out where it was, all the tourist sights had closed!
I never did find my press package, but that’s a story for another day!
My visit to Hamburg was a press trip.
Once the Press trip officially started, we didn’t have to pay for a single thing!
Of course, if you suddenly fancied a spot of your finest whisky, Monsieur. Or felt that snacks and drinks from the minibar were perhaps included. You’d be wrong!
Your hefty bill and service charge, would be all on you!
HOW DID I GET INVITED?
Well, my first big break came just five (5) months after I started writing as a blogger.
To be quite frank, I have been extremely lucky to be at the right place, at the right time.
In 2014, I happened to be at the Sony Centre in Berlin where I got chatting to a PR person who promised to put me on the guest list of the Berlin Music Video Awards. She did, and even though, I never saw her again, my pro-active activity coupled with an outgoing personality, and a genuine interest to get involved, opened the door to being invited into the VIP section, a glimpse into the media world, and a whole host of people who had a friendly eye, and were willing to help me in my quest for knowledge and information.
People really like my personality, so I’ve often been an invited guest of city-destinations in which trips have been organised and customised to my own personal requirements. This is the best type of press trip to have, so I consider myself extremely lucky and very honoured. You can read more about them here.
You can imagine my anxiety.
WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THE HAMBURG PRESS TRIP?
The point of this PRESS trip was to introduce the region as not only an interesting place to visit, but a historical cultural one too. A destination that would hit all the right spots for someone like me.
And ultimately, someone like you!
This press trip was a three (3) day exploration, starting from Friday and finishing on Sunday.
I didn’t have any information as to who was going to be there, and what type of bloggers would be attending.
You tend to get a little anxious that you’re going to be too shy, people aren’t going to like you, you’re not going to like them, you end up being that blogger, or that you’re going to be completely out of your depth and thus, comfort zone.
I also felt a little nervous about the sleeping arrangements.
WOULD I GET MY OWN ROOM ON A PRESS TRIP?
I always do of course, but still, I constantly worry, and it brings me out in a sweat since nobody actually tells you!
And because I arrived one day (1) day before the others, I was placed in a grown-up more corporate-like hotel called the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, while the others were in a young-ish boutique hotel called the Fritz im Pyjama Hotel.
At first, I was a little disappointed not to be placed in the same hotel as everyone else, but when I saw my room at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, I soon forgot all about it!
Yes, I know.
Silly isn’t it, but there you have it!
WERE WE GIVEN ANY DETAILS AT ALL?
The Host was Hamburg Marketing. They were highly organised and thoroughly fantastic.
On this press trip we were expected to be doing the following:
HAMBURG PRESS TRIP – HOLY HAMBURG!
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 12
DEPARTURE: December 1st
RETURN: December 3rd
SPEICHERSTADT AND HAFENCITY: TRADITION AND MODERNITY
Located in the very heart of the city, the innovative architectural design of HafenCity on the waterfront, make it well worth exploring.
You will find the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district with its beautiful canals, red-brick facades, winding bridges and picturesque views, which together with the Kontorhaus district and Chilehaus, were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2015.
Speicherstadt is the world’s largest coherent warehouse complex and includes a number of interesting museums and exciting exhibitions!
Hamburg is a city with a rich choice of top-class cultural events for all lovers of culture, renowned orchestras and theatres, a vibrant museum landscape with spectacular exhibitions, as well as experimental dance theatre and world-class ballet productions that reflect Hamburg’s great cultural diversity.
Hamburg has plenty to offer.
I was excited!
MEDIA TRIP PROGRAMME:
- Individual arrival to Hamburg
- Individual transfer
- Check-in at the hotel
- Welcome by Hamburg Marketing
- Transfer to Schanzenviertel
- Guided Tour through the young and trendy neighbourhoods of the Schanzen-District and Karolinenviertel / St. Pauli
- Dinner at Altes Mädchen
- Visit of Santa Pauli Christmas Market
- Enjoy Hamburg’s Red Light District, otherwise known as the Reeperbahn. On your own!
- Meeting at the hotel lobby and transfer to Ottensen / Altona
- Guided tour through the Ottensen neighbourhood
- Visit the Christmas market
- Lunch at Zweipunktnull
- Free Time
- Meeting at the hotel lobby
- Dinner at the Sushi Bar restaurant – Mikawa #2
- Dance on the Harbour Boat Cruise with DJ Martin Mandola: Frau Hedis TanzKafee Winterparty
I managed to join the group for a quick dinner, had a glass of champagne, then took off!
‘Would have been:
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Free time
HAMBURG MARKETING RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES:
- The HafenCity Christmas Market in the Überseequartier, otherwise known as HafenCity Quarter!
- The Christmas Market at the Michel
- The Gay Winter Pride in St. Georg Christmas Market
- The Hamburg Fish Market
- The Portuguese Quarter
- Hop-on-Hop off red double-decker bus City tour
I didn’t have time to do any of these activities, but as I arrived a day earlier, I was able to make my own way around, and spent quite a pleasant afternoon (with sprinklings of snow) at the Hamburg HafenCity, the Speicherstadt or Warehouse District, the Altona-Altstadt or Old Town, the UNESCO Kontorhausviertel, and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, otherwise known as the Elbphilharmonie!
Since it was around Christmas when I went to Hamburg, I also managed to fit in the historical Roncalli Christmas Market, and the very famous Hanseatic Gänsemarkt Christmas Market, otherwise known as the Goose Market!
Mind you, I would have quite fancied going to the Hamburg Dungeon!
SO HOW WAS IT?
It was a pretty packed programme, but awesome!
As I write this, it’s February 10th, and so much has happened since!
ANY TIPS GOING ON A FAM TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME?
- Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before, and after the conference
- You don’t have to have a huge following to be accepted onto a FAM / Press trip
- Improve your photography
- Have great content
- Educate yourself and if you don’t know, ask your fellow invites
- Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging / press community
- Take your business cards
- Try to get some sleep
- Get comfy but smarten yourself up, if the venue demands it
- Be punctual
- Stay professional
- Don’t whinge
- Follow the programme
- Be a team-player
- Keep smiling
- Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone
- Don’t be stupid either
- Be yourself
- Write about your FAM trip and send it to the host or organiser
- Thank the host or organiser
- Have a great time
The staff of Hamburg Marketing (Jessica & her team), and awesome guide for the weekend – Marc Müller – were all warm, welcoming, hilariously funny (you should hear the stories!!), but very professional.
They made sure that we were well-looked after, nobody got lost or forgot anything. And nobody got left behind or ostracised.
There were moments of laughter, but most importantly, lots of smiling, laughing, and learning from each other.
We all got on extremely well!
We were a small group of just ten (10) bloggers (including myself) from five (5) international countries.
Our job for that weekend was to visit and see the region for ourselves and hopefully, discover the many interests and joys of Hamburg, so that other travellers and visitors are encouraged to come and visit themselves.
And we did!
By the way, a Hamburger Labskaus is a speciality usually only found in North Germany.
It’s a gripping combination of corn beef or cooked salted meat, beetroot, potatoes, pickled gherkins, onions, rollmop, and a fried egg plopped on top of it all!
MY FOURTH FAM / PRESS TRIP TO HAMBURG – HOLY HAMBURG!
This article is part-sponsored, and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Hamburg Marketing, Visit Hamburg, Deutsche Bahn and the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel, all opinions and the hearty markets that I visited in Hamburg, are my very own!
I’ll be at the UK Germany 2018 Launch Party on Valentine’s Day – on the 14th of February, 2018. Tickets are free of charge, so if you’re in Berlin, join the party!
I’ll be at Berlin’s most famous film festival – The 68th showing of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, taking place between 15th – 25th February, 2018. Everyone’s most excited! Tickets are on sale from 12.02.18.
Save the Date!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in February, then move on!
February is going to be busy!
See you next week!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!