Five Non-traditional Ways of Getting Your Hotel Exposure
By Lanny Grossman President, EM50 Communications | April 01, 2010
Whatever happened to just having a good product, excellent service and an interesting history in order to get great media exposure? The simple answer is increased competition in a crowded travel landscape and the everyday shrinking of the travel media. With travel pages disappearing and newspapers and magazines folding by the day, there are far fewer places to secure coverage so hotels have to fight amongst themselves for those coveted column inches. In the following several paragraphs, I will outline innovative, smart and non-traditional approaches to getting your hotel more exposure.
There are two main reasons to create packages or promotions: to get media attention and/or to actually drive reservations. If they do both, that's terrific but for the purposes of this topic we will focus on the first one. Every hotel from the smallest to the largest, whether a city center property or a remote island retreat, offers simple packages and promotions such as bed and breakfast or a romantic package with accommodations and a bottle of champagne. Those things may get booked from time to time, but they are not going to get you press. The two types of packages that get picked up by the media either have terrific value and are rate driven (the media loves guest savings) or it is an out of the box, exciting idea or experience that it is worth mentioning. Find aspects of your local surroundings and/or property that can be incorporated. Instead of the simple champagne and strawberries romance package, organize a couples' chocolate tasting with a local vendor or your own pastry chef. With advance notice, order a custom label bottle of wine for the couple marking their special occasion. On the value side of things, use your local resources to increase the value to the guest. Approach a local vendor about gifting something to guests as a way to increase exposure for their store or service. For example, a local restaurant or clothing store can contribute a gift card to each guest to get them in the door while providing value to the package price in advance. Very simply, whenever you are creating a package or a promotion, ask yourself, would I want to read about this? Is it interesting and unique?
In the era of disappearing traditional media, we are forced to look outside the historically targeted media outlets like daily newspapers and glossy travel magazines. Most properties these days want to attract guests to book directly to their proprietary website to avoid paying outside fees and commissions to third party distribution companies. These efforts target Internet-using guests in an online world. So, in that respect, seek out travel blogs and websites that reach your desired end user. There area a growing number of blogs, daily lifestyle emails and websites that feature travel content on a daily basis. With new content needed daily, or maybe even weekly, there is a much greater opportunity to have your share of the pie. The bloggers or web editors need your content as much as you need their help reaching your target audience who can click on a link directly from the editorial site to your homepage. The clippings may not be as fancy and bragging rights may shrink a bit, but online outlets and alternative blogs are a great tool to reach your core customer in a timely fashion.