Set up a PR Campaign Using Harvard's Approach

By Lorraine Abelow Founder & President, Abelow PR | April 23, 2017

The Harvard Business School coined the term Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) as a marketing concept in the early 1940s. Abelow PR, a boutique public relations agency that specializes in the hospitality field, follows this strategy as the basis for its campaigns. Identifying these points about your brand is a fundamental step. From there, you should develop an elevator pitch that summarizes what makes you different from everyone else. During the dot-com boom of the 1980s and 1990s, the elevator pitch was created to give the target market the gist of a company and overall raison d'être. Here we'll discuss the steps involved in creating a successful PR campaign.

Elevator Pitch

The concept of the "elevator pitch" comes from a likely situation where you and someone else are on a moving elevator. During this time, you only have a few seconds to convince the person you're with why your company is different and better from the others out there before the elevator reaches its designated floor.

If you're marketing a hotel, it's vital to differentiate your property from the competition. This provides you a foundation for sales. In order to do this, you must make all of your marketing channels consistent with your communication methods that explain why somebody should stay with you based on your distinct offerings.

Your travel PR firm should take you through this process at the outset of the campaign. The time required to do this is minimal, but it's absolutely essential when creating a successful marketing program. If you fail to do this, everything you say about your hotel might sound just like all the properties down the street.

Mission statements aren't elevator pitches. Mission statements are different because, while they define your goals and company ethics, they don't necessarily say what distinguishes your property so you can sell it.

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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.