Hotel Public Relations: Rethinking Outdated Media Tactics

By Jennifer Nagy President, jlnpr | October 09, 2011

When most people think about the public relations profession, they think of two things: spin and propaganda. Sometimes, people will even go so far as to think that public relations professionals are nothing more than paid mouthpieces with questionable morality. Being a PR person, I definitely object to this incorrect portrayal of my beloved career choice. With that being said, I definitely understand where people get this misconception.

The first PR people, like the 'Father of Spin' Edward Bernays, used much different tools than the ones that I employ every day in promoting and publicizing my clients. In the early years of PR, propaganda – defined by Edward Bernays as "the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses" - was a commonly used tool. In the past, publicists were viewed as deceptive manipulators, whereas today, PR people are embraced by journalists as a credible, trustworthy source of information.

This change in perception has been greatly influenced by the continual update of the beliefs, actions and strategies used by professionals in the field. As such, it's important for the industry to continue moving forward as the world of media and technology changes, updating yesterday's strategies and tactics to ensure that we, as an industry, are most effective at spreading the word for our clients, our companies or our brands.

So to help you to update your PR strategies, here are three ways that you can rethink your outdated hotel marketing and media strategies and become more effective at generating consumer interest and inspiring action (i.e. bookings!).

Outdated tactic: The press release

I know that you're probably reading this wondering: "What? But the press release is the basic tool in every PR person's arsenal. Without the press release, how am I going to inform media about my property's news?"

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.