Hotel Public Relations: When to hire an outside firm

By Gini Dietrich Founder & CEO, Arment Dietrich Inc. | October 28, 2008

Establishing your business as a leader in your industry and differentiating yourself from your competitors are critical to success. While quality products or services, excellent customer service, and streamlined operations are the building blocks of a profitable business, they do little if potential customers do not know your company exists.

Public relations helps you maintain the customers you have and engage new ones. All companies engage in public relations at some level, but as you grow, you may find yourself needing outside help to manage the ever-growing needs of your key stakeholders. There comes a time when, in order to achieve your goals, you must stop relying on your internal staff and trust an outside company or consultant to meet your requirements.

Businesses hire an outside firm to handle many different types of public relations efforts. Some of the most common responsibilities trusted to an outside firm are corporate public relations, project-based public relations, and crisis communications. While these three areas are not the only capabilities most public relations agencies offer, they provide good examples of when you should consider hiring an outside firm.

Corporate Public Relations

A major reason businesses hire an outside public relations firm is to handle their corporate public relations needs or media activities designed to communicate overall brand messages. Duties might consist of day-to-day activities raising brand awareness among your target audiences and establishing your company as a thought leader in your industry. News releases, bylined articles, special events, speaking engagements, and proactive media pitching are just some of the myriad tactics employed by a public relations firm to help your business succeed.

As a business owner, your main concern is the success of your operation. Whether you operate a single property or own 100 full-service hotels, an outside public relations firm can help you reach your goals. Outside support is especially helpful as you undergo rapid growth or a major transition. Is your business poised for expansion where your best people are needed in other areas? Are you growing too quickly to capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves? Is your staff overwhelmed with other areas of the business and letting public relations slip? Do you need a team who has experience and a proven track record to assist you in reaching your goals?

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.