Are Online Placements More Valuable Than Print?

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | July 24, 2011

You remember those days. Your hotel made it on the front page of the daily newspaper, or scored an awesome feature in a prestigious glossy travel publication. You ordered tons of hard copies and sent them along with personalized notes to your repeat guests. You laminated copies of the article to place in fancy frames all around the hotel, and your office. You added copies to your press kit and send off to media to generate more interest. It worked like a charm for new marketing and sales opportunities.

Well, those golden days of print are gone. Yes, gone and disappeared for good. Go ahead and mourn it if you like.

We can finally say that the dust has begun to settle after social media took over the publishing industry and caused its major shakeout. The world of publishing has been reshaped and is now in the process of adjusting to the almighty digital space. Up until five years ago, print ruled the PR world. For hotels, PR meant bringing in reviewers, facilitating fam trips for media, organizing events, writing traditional press releases, announcements, giving tours, and talking to reporters who wrote the stories.

These days, everyone and anyone can be a writer and a reporter. With social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and so on) enabling citizen journalism, PR folks had to slowly get accustomed to talking directly to the audience, bypassing the media. People who have access to a computer and internet can become the journalists. PR folks have had to learn to change their language and their toolbox since they no longer speak to journalists who write for traditional media outlets. It's been a heck of a transition from print to online, to social media – and beyond.

But, like any crisis, this too has taught hotels how to value placements in today's digital space, where terms such as "level of engagement," "number of likes," "followers," "post quality," matter more than the traditional measurement tools of the overplayed column inches and inclusion of photo in the print article.

Online has conquered print. Or, rather, it has made print immortal. With the dust settling in publishing, we understand that online reading versus print reading offer two very different experiences. It's one thing to read news on a computer or mobile device. People get easily distracted when reading an article online, filled with links and information to side-track them. They aren't necessarily focused on reading that one article, and more like to get distracted by curiously clicking on an embedded link that will take them to another page. Reading and searching online becomes a chain reaction. And that's the idea. Sharing content over and over, while engaging with that content is what online media outlets offer. Social media come in to help promote and share that content. Think of online sharing as a digital word of mouth, where people write articles and talk to the world about their experience, positive or negative, and opening it to commentary to their network and beyond.

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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.