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).

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.