Using Holidays to Generate Awareness of Your Property

By LeJane Carson Principal, Carson Stoga Communications | February 13, 2010

Reporters are always looking for news pegs, and holidays or annual events provide just the opportunity to write about your property. Start at the beginning of the year and determine each monthly holiday and consider how your property might be a good "fit" with that holiday.

Travel writers aren't the only ones interested in writing about hotels. Restaurant and food writers, as well as family and lifestyle reporters are all good sources to keep in touch with. They don't receive as much information from hotels as travel reporters and are sometimes looking for something to add to a story on those not-so-popular holidays they are covering.

Coordinate a planning session NOW with your public relations firm, if you have one; if you don't; gather a group of creative people from your staff that would be up for an afternoon brainstorming session. Quite often, the most creative people are the ones you'd least expect. Draw from departments like accounting, PBX and convention services. You will be pleasantly surprised at the ideas that come from staff members who do not typically get the opportunity to be involved with more creative activities.

Grab a calendar and start through the year. Don't wait until you have a need month to panic and develop an activity or package at the last minute, as it will be destined to fail. Most daily newspaper reporters work weeks in advance and national monthly publications prepare two to three, sometimes even six months in advance. Keep that in mind if you are hoping to gain coverage in the media.

January

Let's take January, while everyone is recuperating from the Christmas season. The end of January or early February is that once-a-year event when everyone is a football fan...Super Bowl Sunday.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.