Integrated Marketing Campaigns Put it all Together

By Doug Luciani Chief Associate, PRofit from PR - Public Relations & Marketing | May 06, 2010

There was once a time where a company could develop a product, advertise the product in newspapers, on television and on the radio, and build a successful brand worth millions and perhaps billions of dollars. Proctor and Gamble followed that strategy for decades. However, today's consumer is not as easily swayed by a clever jingle or celebrity spokesperson.

Today, consumers respond to a dialogue. Businesses can't simply speak at their audience, but instead must establish a relationship, positive interactions, and honest communications. In order to accomplish this, businesses in any industry, including hospitality, need to implement and execute integrated marketing campaigns.

Visit Florida, the Sunshine State's official tourism promotion corporation, conducted a survey to determine what most influenced people to plan a Florida vacation. Advertising finished a distance fifth behind word of mouth, their official web site, travel articles (public relations), general travel web sites, and even specific hotels and resorts. Advertising only finished slightly ahead of travel agents and timeshares.

While the impact of advertising may be diminishing, it still plays a role in developing business. But, it simply can't be the only tool you pull out of your marketing toolbox, or even the lead tool. Integrated marketing campaigns are led by a combination of public relations efforts, promotions, e-marketing, advertising, and even the service you deliver to guests.

One of the keys to a successful integrated marketing campaign is that it must create an experience for the consumer. Don't simply tell the consumer your resort has a spa. Your marketing efforts should be developed in a way that the consumer actually experiences the spa before they've even checked in.

More and more, integrated marketing campaigns find public relations taking the lead because PR has always been about relationships with multiple audiences. PR is evolving into content development that helps a business create experiential marketing concepts for consumers. Sharing your story with the press through media relations helps to create a third-party endorsement of your property.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.