While she always thought she might one day find herself working in the travel industry, Rosanne Coloccia never thought she would be combining her passion and training to be a successful travel advisor and media celebrity.
A Phoenix native, she graduated from USC in 1986 with a journalism degree, and worked for about 12 years in television news production, including a stint at KCOP in Los Angeles and KTVK 3 in Phoenix.
Working 50 hours a week, and the mother of a small child, Coloccia knew she needed to make a change. “I wanted something I could eventually do from home,” she said.
Looking to pursue her travel passion, she enrolled in travel school in July 1998 and took a job as an advisor for a storefront travel agency in downtown Phoenix.
“I was approached by one of my friends at KTVK. She asked if I would be interested in being on air covering friendly topics like travel tips, go here not there,” Coloccia recounts. She was excited to mesh her two talents, and by September she was a regular at the station.
“Being new to the industry, I knew being on TV regularly would help pump up the leisure side of the agency locally,” she said, and it did.
Initially, Coloccia was appearing every 3-4 weeks, “but that Christmas, they asked me to write for their website, and then it became every two weeks.” She did that as both an employee of her first employer, and then later, in April 2001, when she started her own home-based agency.
Coloccia took a brief hiatus when she worked for the Arizona Superior Court in Phoenix, in 2012, returning to travel in August 2017 working for Phoenix-based Preferred Travel Services. “I put out the notice to my friends that I was getting back into travel, and I literally did a segment my very first day back in the business,” she said.
Today, Coloccia is the resident travel expert for KTVK 3TV and KPHO, the CBS Phoenix affiliate, Channel 5. She appears approximately twice a month on air, on weekends, and typically will develop a blog to accompany the piece.
Her blogs are archived on her own page at the AZFamily.com website, with links to her RoSaysGo Facebook page, her email at Preferred Travel Services, a boutique agency in Phoenix, as well as Preferred’s Instagram page.
“Being a local travel expert is a very good way to generate awareness and leads,” Coloccia said from her experience. “And the more you are on air, the more you are going to drive business to your website. We can measure the increase in clicks to the agency website after I appear.”
Coloccia offers these tips to agents looking to find regular gigs with their local television stations:
1. Find the right person first
It is much easier to get someone at the assignment desk at your local TV and radio station to return your call, rather than the on air personalities that you see. Also, weekend producers are more receptive to feature stories, because their programming is lighter and more fun than what is typically covered on the weekdays. Befriend them and set yourself up as a local expert and resource for travel stories.
2. Consider starting with radio, not TV
Radio is just easier, because they have much more time to fill than the local TV stations, which may only have a morning and evening slot, and weekends. Also, not everyone is made to be on TV. Some people are not comfortable on camera.
3. Be patient
You may pitch 14 stories before you hear anything. It is all about developing a relationship with the right assignment editors. If you call and pester the assignment editor regularly, you won’t help yourself. When you are developing your contacts, have a couple of good story ideas, especially travel tips, like how to smooth your way through the airport on a busy holiday weekend. But not every story will fit with what they are doing that weekend.
4. Soft pedal the sales pitch
They are not going to let you do sales on TV, and if you do, you may not be asked back. You need to keep your comments more advice-based or topic-oriented. Think about how the viewers are your clients and potential clients, and share what your clients need to know. You will get the sales calls simply by being you, and demonstrating your expertise.
5. Leverage your appearances across all of your digital assets
We post our TV appearances all over social media and the segment will be added to the topic of my blog at the AZFamily website. You have to promote, promote, promote, through all of your online channels.