21st Century Hotel Public Relations - 10 Approaches Your Granddad Never Thought Of

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | September 18, 2011

The practice of public relations for hotels, like the practice of public relations for all industries, has steadily evolved over the years. In the last decade, however, change has come much more rapidly. The channels of communication have opened wide, and what was once a single three-branched media river has multiplied (or divided?) into thousands of individual streams. Through these streams flows a volume of information no one thirty years ago could have even begun to fathom, let alone process.

This means there is a wealth of public relations strategies available that leverage the nature of this information delivery delta. For lodging, an industry that sometimes seems hopelessly tethered to past practices, these strategies and tactics can appear daunting, foreign, or even irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hotels are entirely capable- one might even say well-poised - to execute 21st century public relations strategies. Because the core product hotels are delivering is an inherently personal one (the guest experience), it lends itself to well-targeted, personalized communications- which, of course, are the hallmark of 21st century public relations.

So without further ado, here is our list of ten next generation public relations approaches hotels can and ought to be exploring right away. Some may not be revelations in the truest sense of the word (anyone not running a hotel from a cave in Antarctica knows about Twitter and Facebook), but all of these are strategies that hotels in general have not engaged to their fullest potential.


Twitter is the ultimate mash-up of personal and broadcast communication. As such, it is the penultimate 21st century PR tool. Tweeting relevant, gripping information is an excellent way to build awareness and engagement among your followers (hopefully loyal, previous and potential guests). It's also a way to develop an identity through content, or a way to reinforce an existing brand. Where most hotels get tripped up in Twitter is by being inconsistent tweeters, or slow responders. Create a Twitter strategy, and make someone in the marketing and PR department accountable for monitoring your feed and executing the strategy on an ongoing basis.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.