8 Key Points to Effective Integrated Marketing Communications

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | October 28, 2008

While I was in school studying for my Master's in Public Relations, students were divided in two theories: there was the IMC group and the PR group. Both had sound arguments, but while the PR group was protective of the essence of pure, strategic public relations, the IMC group believed that the communications process can be practiced holistically by unifying its aspects.

Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC, is a strategic management process that encourages the blending of Advertising, Public Relations, Sales Promotion and all aspects of the traditional Marketing mix. As we gallop and conquer the digital information age, IMC has become an effective way to communicate across various industries and is particulary successful within the hospitality industry.

As a hotelier or hotel manager, among your responsibilities is to communicate messages to your defined public: your guests, employees, the community, and your target audience as a whole. While we have discussed each one of these communications aspects individually in past articles, we haven't explored what could be done if we mix the all together.

With IMC, you encourage consistency in your message. For example, if you are announcing a renovation, you will want to let everyone know of the new changes, and your plans of encouraging guests to visit. To do this, you invest in an IMC campaign that combines the following:

1) First, make sure your message is clear. There is nothing worse than reading an ad, or a story, or listening to a radio commercial that has no call for action, or doesn't explain the point of the message

2) Advertising. As the most traditional paid form of communication, advertising is becoming more creative each day. Forget just print. Aside from basic online banners and annoying pop-ups, there are multiple ways to advertise to the right media outlets, so invest in good research before you dive into paying a lot of money.

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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.