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.

Tweet!

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 April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.