What Defines Hotel Public Relations?

By Doug Luciani Chief Associate, PRofit from PR - Public Relations & Marketing | October 28, 2008

Public relations is more than just media relations efforts. There are other tactics and strategies that can be implemented to reach your target audience.

Ask a roomful of professionals to define Public Relations and you'll receive a number of different answers, and most of them would be a narrow representation of the entire PR picture. Public Relations is not just publicity, working with journalists, or community events. It is about building relationships with the bottom line to a hotel's balance sheet - its customers. Today, getting the consumer's attention to tell them about your property is not easy.

Research abounds on the decline of paid advertising effectiveness. Savvy consumers find ads to be less credible. Furthermore, new tools allow them to remove these intrusions from their daily lives: Tivo, Do Not Call lists, e-mail spam filters, pop-up blockers, just to name a few.

Today's consumers respond to dialogue, relationships, interactions, and honest communications. Businesses in any industry, including hospitality, need to implement and execute integrated marketing campaigns. More and more, these campaigns find public relations taking the lead because PR has always been about relationships with multiple audiences.

There are many tactics in the public relations tool box. Media relations, or publicity, is usually the first that comes to mind, followed by special events. However, the list doesn't end there. Newsletters, consumer promotions, and crisis communications should also be included. New technologies and mediums include blogs, vlogs, podcasts and vodcasts. On a broader level, PR is evolving into content development that helps a business create experiential marketing concepts for consumers.

While most people are familiar with media relations and special events, it's still appropriate to quickly cover what is involved. Media relations, of course, involves building relationships with journalists. The end goal is to get your hotel included in travel articles, business articles, etc. This media coverage creates a third-party endorsement of your property. Regardless of the size of your property, you probably have a story that will be of interest to the press. However, when dealing with the media you need a newsworthy story. Special events include grand openings, ground breaking ceremonies, charity events, or even a media stunt (think Hollywood movie premieres).

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.