So this is big. After many months of deliberations, failed attempts - and honestly, towards the end, quite a bit of bitching by Zuzi (“So when is the podcast coming out? This is ridiculous.“) - I have the slightly nervous pleasure of introducing the Taste of Prague Podcast. It’s a podcast about two things we love: travel and food. And it’s about travel and food in two places we love: Prague… and everywhere else.
When we started the Taste of Prague food tours back in 2011, we had no prior experience in tourism. And eight years later, it is still an industry that keeps fascinating us. I mean, 25 years ago, Taste of Prague could not have existed. But now the internet, the connected phones and the apps, and the affordability of travel have changed everything, and will continue to change everything. It is fun to be in the middle of it, but it’s also nice to take a bit of a back seat, put the popcorn in the microwave, and just enjoy the show. And that’s what this podcast should be: a look at travel and food around the world, mostly through interviews with interesting people who have something to say about either or both. Oh, and we’ll throw in tips for Prague, I guess.
Anyway, here we go, and we start with a bang.
Taste of Prague Podcast Ep 1: Jiri of Czech Tourism
Jirka Duzar is not only a friend, but a true Renaissance man: he is an accomplished photographer (for a sample of his work, have a look at his website and Instagram account), owns a coffee business with his father (and a very successful business at that), an avid cyclist, but first and foremost the Digital Strategy Manager for Czech Tourism’s US and Canada office. And as such, he is in charge of Czech Tourism’s collaborations with influencers. And all that at less than 33 years of age. Makes me kinda rethink my career.
What the previous paragraph fails to mention is that Jirka is also a super nice guy that will fit seamlessly in any situation: whether in a hip-hop concert or an opera, a bar hopping spree with the guys or dinner with the in-laws, he is a person that will make you feel at ease. Picturing Jirka angry takes a lot of wild imagination for me personally. And he has an incredible memory, which he demonstrates when he whips out the ramen story during the podcast (we met for the first time in Ippudo in New York’s East Side four years ago, and recorded the interview in Ichiran Ramen in Brooklyn).
Jirka also has a lot to say about the travel industry in the US and in the Czech Republic, given his status and experience within the Czech tourism board. This episode of the podcast has been basically conceived as a guideline for aspiring influencers on what to do and what not to do when you reach out to a national tourism boards for collaboration or help. And Jirka does have some insight knowledge of the entire process of the things tourism boards look for when in touch with an influencer. So please sit back and enjoy, whether you are or want to be a travel influencer, or are a business that may be interested in working with one.
The questions that are discussed in the podcast include the following:
How do you land a job with Czech Tourism? (Basically, you ask and you get.)
What is the most common misconception about work in Czech Tourism? (They just don’t push leaflets around.)
How high is the Czech Republic on US traveler’ bucket list? (Pretty high actually.)
Do representatives of various national tourism boards hang out together in real life? (Yup.)
Does Czech Tourism vet journalists who ask for press trips? (Yes, see previous question.)
Does Czech tourism proactively reach out to journalists and influencers? (Oh you bet.)
How do you measure the success of a press trip or an influencer collaboration? (There’s ways.)
How do traditional journalists see influencers? (They want to become influencers, too.)
How many times do influencers approach Czech tourism’s NY office, and how many actually get anything? (One per thirty gets something. Roughly.)
What does Czech Tourism look for in an influencer’s pitch? Does Czech Tourism look at influencers’ stats and do they fake them?
What are influencers’ biggest mistakes? Is the quality of their content important?
Do influencers send cookie-cutter pitches? (Sadly, yes.)
Does Czech Tourism proactively reach out to influencers? (Uh huh.)
What is the legal framework of an influencer collaboration? Do you need a tender? Is it a public contract? (There is a written contract.)
Does Czech tourism prefer in kind or cash deals when working with influencers? (Cash, baby!)
Do influencers working with Czech Tourism have to disclose that the content is sponsored? (Ehhh…)
Do influencers ever fake sponsorships even if they don’t have landed any? (Whaaat?)
What is the future for national tourism boards?
What is Jirka’s guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
And here’s some quotes that stuck in my mind:
“Influencer is an outcome, not a profession.”
“The first thing we look at is the influencer’s audience, and how engaged it is.”
(On what you should do as an influencer:) “You should have a niche. Be an expert on a specific segment of travel. The more and specific you are, the better. Numbers are not the most important thing. They can be skewed or faked. What is more important is content quality. And you just need to be a down-to-earth human.”
“Don’t try to be an influencers. Most influencers started out of passion and then it took off. Maybe it’s not your destiny to become an influencer. Just don’t try to be one.”
“In the future, we should not focus on marketing tourism, but on managing tourism.”
One final note before we get to the actual podcast: let’s be honest here, the quality of the audio is not great. Turns out miking a conversation on two tiny mics hooked up to an iPhone in a super busy ramen place was not the best idea. But we just thought the information in Jirka’s interview is just too interesting to let pass. So please excuse the audio and bear with me here - the actual interview is just under 30 minutes, and well worth a listen. I promise the next interviews will have a much better quality. Guess this is the price of learning on the job. Oh well.
Taste of Prague Podcast Ep 1: JIRKA of CZECH TOURISM
So there you go! I hope you have enjoyed the very first episode of the Taste of Prague Podcast! We normally don’t allow comments below our posts (sorry! we just don’t have the time to respond to everyone), but will allow comments under the podcasts - I am literally learning as I go and things like “not talking over other people” and “position the mike properly” are new things to me, so I will be happy for any merciful feedback.
One more thing: Going forward, the Taste of Prague podcast will be primarily in English, but at times along the road, we will do “video podcasts” in Czech with English subtitles if we think a person who does not speak English has something very interesting to say.
One last thing: please rank us high whenever you can. I’ve been told it matters. Thanks!