Promoting a Destination and In Turn Your Hotel

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | May 06, 2010

With the exception of popular metro cities that lure travelers around the clock, there are thousands of destinations that operate by the season, with some alive only for weeks out of the year. The nature of your destination affects hotel occupancy and the way you manage your business daily. Without presenting a specific town/city/island example, I would like to examine what it is like to factor into your public relations strategy the idea of destination public relations and marketing. While this is no easy task, there are ways to link the two and provide your location with the exposure it needs to become appealing to travelers. For you the goal is simple: when travelers and potential guests read about your destination they should automatically think of your hotel as the perfect place to stay. In order to do this, consider the following strategy and tweak it to fit your property's profile...

With the exception of popular metro cities that lure travelers around the clock, there are thousands of destinations that operate by the season, with some alive only for weeks out of the year. The nature of your destination affects hotel occupancy and the way you manage your business daily.

Without presenting a specific town/city/island example, I would like to examine what it is like to factor into your public relations strategy the idea of destination public relations and marketing. While this is no easy task, there are ways to link the two and provide your location with the exposure it needs to become appealing to travelers. For you the goal is simple: when travelers and potential guests read about your destination they should automatically think of your hotel as the perfect place to stay.

In order to do this, consider the following strategy and tweak it to fit your property's profile:

  • Research. I mention this in every article I write and the reason is because I know that planning and preparation provide knowledge and insight. With media research, you will determine what media outlets are appropriate for your audience. If your season is only a few months out of the year on a luxurious island, obviously you need to search for outlets that cover seasonal destinations for the upscale market. Ask your public relations professional to create a media list and create relationships with those reporters.

  • Work with local CVBs and Chambers of Commerce. Both are terrific sources of networking and destination information. As members, you get access to press leads, and media you wouldn't otherwise, as some reporters tend to call local tourism offices directly instead of the hotel directly. However, if your public relations manager is proactive, s/he will have created relationships with media who will often bypass the tourism offices and contact the hotel directly because they already know someone. Tourism offices can also help with creating destination packages to attract media, and can also provide additional information. Making use of these resources is worth the time and trouble, especially if you cannot afford to hire a publicist.

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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.