Developing Partnerships with CVBs and State Tourism Offices

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

In today's marketing tool box, public relations continues to grow in importance. The reason for this is simple. The strategy of talking at consumers through advertising alone is no longer a successful one. Now, consumers respond to dialogue, relationships, interactions, and honest communications. The strategies and tactics to best accomplish this fall under the public relations umbrella. After all, PR has always been about building and maintaining relationships with multiple audiences.

With many tactics falling under the PR umbrella, many hotels find their PR budgets growing. However, those budgets are not limitless. How can you accomplish it all? One strategy is to take advantage of the opportunities available by partnering with your local convention and visitors bureau, tourism development council, chamber of commerce, or state tourism office. By partnering with these organizations, a hotel can pursue opportunities they may not be able budget for on their own, such as reaching international markets.

The first step is to identify effective and important PR tactics. 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 and podcasts.

State tourism offices and most CVBs will have a PR team, or a representative on the marketing staff, pursuing public relations initiatives. If your hotel is trying to get its story out to travel writers, food writers, feature writers, etc., then partnering with your CVB or state office is a great way to accomplish that goal.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, contact the appropriate person at the CVB or state office and communicate your interest in working with them. Let them know your hotel can assist writers with valuable information and host journalists. That may seem obvious, but in my contacts with the PR reps from these organizations, time and time again, I hear about only a small number of hotels reaching out to the PR teams and maintaining those relationships.

The next step is to make sure any communications from the destination or organization you are working with are directed to the appropriate contact at the hotel. For example, each week Visit Florida, the Sunshine State's tourism promotion corporation, sends out a list of journalists and the information the writer is seeking for upcoming articles, such as special packages, new amenities, etc. If these leads are not received by a person at the hotel who is going to respond, the opportunity is missed.

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