Why Marketing and PR Budgets Are No Longer Optional as We Recover From the Downturn
By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | November 14, 2010
We're coming to the close of 2010, and we have explored the downward economic trends and how they continue to impact the hotel industry. In the beginning of the year, we talked about the importance of investing in Marketing and Public Relations, since these areas are key in order to build up a property's message and enhance its brand.
Of course, many businesses continue to scale back, and have even eliminated PR and Marketing efforts entirely. In most cases, that decision turned out to be unwise. In a Social Media, SEO-era, your hotel's name must be out on the Internet. Period. Whether through Social Media Marketing, or a healthy blend of PR and traditional marketing, hotels must have their message clear and communicated. Gone are the days of the website alone doing the work for you. Guests now anticipate hotels to be active on Facebook, engaging on Twitter, and listed on Foursquare. Hotel online reputation is one of the reasons why PR and Marketing are no longer budgets that are considered "optional."
A very clear example of the importance of having a steady and strategic PR presence is reflected on the tragic situation at the Gulf of Mexico and the oil spill. While we will not explore the reasons why the oil spill was so disastrous, the takeaway from that crisis is that you must have a good PR team in place, because your message must be clear ahead of time. Preparation and clarity in goals help an organization thrive and grow in the right direction. This makes sense for hotels who are looking to grow in the midst (and hopefully tail end) of this economic downturn.
PR and Marketing need not be endless budgets, but they need to be there. So as you plan your 2011 budgets for the year, consider the following:
- As a hotelier, what are your plans for the property?
Are you rebranding, are you introducing new amenities or loyalty programs? Are you making changes that may affect your target market? Be specific in what you are looking to achieve in the short term (6-18 months) and in the long term (2-5 years).