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Didi Lutz

There is one thing every hotel has in common: to satisfy the guest's request no matter how odd, peculiar or demanding. If you're a luxury hotel, the number of requests increase and their nature becomes even more complex. And they need to be fulfilled at the speed of light. In the midst of daily operations - preparation for arrivals, room inspections, hosting private events, and countless other details - there is a small department that devotes its efforts solely in establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between the hotel and all its publics. The term "publics" generally refers to any group attempting to influence an organization, and within hospitality, examples of publics include of course guests, VIPs, unions, activists, government, community leaders, and employees only to name a few. The public relations team leverages the hotel's mission and goals to reflect its interests to these publics and acts as a communications liaison. But the public that occupies a communication manager's time the most are the all-powerful, the invincible, the almighty Media. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Choosing a successful publicist in hospitality can be difficult because there are not that many agencies or independent consultants who specialize in the hotel industry and know its media environment well. To begin with, when recognizing the need to outsource, hoteliers must establish a budget for public relations that will not only include service fees, but also the traditional "wining and dining", complimentary room nights for media, subsidizing press trips, and the cost of article reprints and permissions for their use on websites and press kits. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Press fam trips typically take a lot of time to be properly organized and planned. Consider them as an investment for the future, since the stories generated from this effort will help your property's positive word of mouth. And as most carefully researched investments, the efforts from the fam trip will grow over time into an invaluable return: your organization's success! Here are some tips to ensure you provide the most effective fam trip for your property... READ MORE

Didi Lutz

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... READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Blogs (traditionally called Web Logs): A fairly recent type of medium, created at will for sharing news, opinions and information. Hotels are slowly beginning to realize the importance of these authoritarian online outlets that are taking the Internet by storm with postings of accurate and sometimes very inaccurate information. The worst of it is, blogs are most times not objective and heavily biased sources of news, but since they are so widespread they become an alarming concern. It is no surprise why PR professionals should keep this emerging type of media on their radar screens to protect the branding and image of their clients. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

So many times I have heard from clients that previous pr campaigns have totally missed the mark on what the hotel was trying to accomplish, whether it was showcasing a renovation, introducing a new image, expanding audiences or recovering from a crisis. Public relations campaigns can be damaging as much as they can be successful if they aren't planned to the last detail. By details, I don't necessarily mean holding countless of fruitless meetings that last for hours with the hotel management, but rather using time productively by taking what was said in a meeting to produce pure public relations results that will align with the overall objectives of the hotel. I have put together some pointers and suggestions about creating a public relations plan that will prove to be successful! READ MORE

Didi Lutz

From my experience, the saying "any publicity is great publicity" does not hold true. Unless you want your hotel to be at the mercy of the media, investing in strategic public relations is the best way to go. We have elaborated on the subject of public relations quite extensively over the last three years, and discussed the best ways to tailor a plan that fits your property, how to protect against potential crises, how to host events, and of course we have talked about ways to choose the best professional to represent your hotel and company. But what about broadcast PR? While I think that for long term branding purposes print placements may work better, depending on your property, there is quite a lot that can be accomplished with a television spot. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

The impact of social responsibility on any business is enormous. While you are creating programs to benefit your community, for instance, supporting a charitable organization, taking measures to go green, funding children's initiatives or anything else, your credibility increases greatly as a business. You may think, "We're in the hospitality business, why should we care about building a playground in another part of town?" The answer is, your hotel is part of the community and the world. We are all responsible. Practicing social responsibility in your business can also help you from a public relations standpoint. Here are some suggestions as to how to start becoming involved. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

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. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Hopefully, it will be the only part of your strategic Public Relations plan that you will never have to execute: a crisis plan is often times the most important part of the communications strategy. A crisis is usually referred to as an event that can affect a property in a negative way. This can be anything from a fire, to a guest relations issue, a computer glitch, or it can result from a renovation, a management change, new ownership, etc. The effects of a crisis can be short term or long term, and many times the damage can be irreversible. When a crisis is handled poorly, it affects your reputation, brand management, and most of all your credibility- and when credibility is badly damaged, the affects can be fatal to your business. READ MORE

Gini Dietrich

The current economic climate is undoubtedly influencing the way you do business and like many, you likely are looking for places to cut back. Marketing may seem like the best place to get started, but in tough economic times it is more important than ever to keep the lines of communication open on all fronts. If you stop communicating and differentiating your organization, you risk joining the ranks of hotels viewed as commodities. Once that happens, it is very difficult to remove the label and revive your brand. In this article, I explore ways to position your hotel as a must-visit destination in cost-effective ways. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Have you heard the term embrace the highs and the lows in business cycles? The highs offer us for prosperity, success, recognition and a bright future. The lows, on the other hand, can prepare us to work better under pressure, change our approach and challenge our creativity. We're in a definite low point in the cycles of business, and the idea of recession marketing is becoming more mainstream. The purpose of recession marketing is to tackle the economic challenges with a customized, fast-action plan that will work for your property. READ MORE

Lanny Grossman

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. Now more than ever, innovative, smart and non-traditional approaches to getting your hotel more exposure are required and I am going to help you discover how. READ MORE

Lanny Grossman

In order to ensure your message reaches the right audience, you need to not only be targeted in your media outreach, but in order to do so, you need to understand your end consumer. The following article helps guide you to discovering who your customers are and once you have that information, how you can use it to reach the proper media outlet and journalist. With thousands of messages bombarding both journalists and consumers daily, it is essential for yours to be relevant and on point. READ MORE

Didi Lutz

Stop! If you are reading this and thinking about cutting back on your Marketing budget, reconsider. If public relations is part of this budget, think again if you should cut it. Because once it is gone, PR is very hard to ramp up again and recoup for lost time. In tough economic times, as the one we are currently going through, we all know it's important to cut corners and switch into survival mode until things look better. But, just because you are slimming down costs right now, this doesn't guarantee you save time and money in the long run. Read my column to find out why investing in media relations is sensible for your property, especially during a downturn. READ MORE

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Coming up in May 2021...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Now More Than Ever

One theory about the pandemic states that future viruses are more likely to originate and flourish due to global warming. If true, the urgency to accelerate the adoption of eco-friendly practices is greater than ever. Of course, there are many other reasons to create a sustainable operation, including reduced utility costs, savings on operational costs, healthier and happier guests and employees, and positive publicity, marketing and community goodwill. Many hotels are introducing innovative programs into their operations - from recycling bins in guest rooms to starting a roof top garden. Other hotels are using eco-friendly cleaning products, reusing towels and sheets, sourcing locally grown food, supporting the use of electric vehicles, and permitting guests to refill their reusable water bottles with clean, filtered water. Finally, some hotels are encouraging guests to get involved by making it possible for them to participate in local community clean-up projects. 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.