The hotel industry is more competitive than ever before. There are more properties today than there were even just a few years ago, and thanks to things like travel restrictions, those hotels are vying for the same customers. To stand out, you must find new ways to reach your audience. PR for hotel properties is one option that you’re likely not using yet.
Should you use PR activities for hotels? The answer to that is a resounding yes. However, there are still a lot of questions here that need to be answered.
Why Is PR for a Hotel Important?
Why use public relations for a hotel property? Simply put, there are a few better ways to get your name out there, making this one of the better options for promotion in the hospitality industry. Of course, there’s more to it than SEO.
PR is an essential element in building credibility for your brand. Consumers are more than a little jaded today. That’s understandable since they’re bombarded by advertisements constantly. Hotel PR activities help you stand out for the right reasons and, in the process, you build credibility, change the way people perceive your hotel. Of course, public relations activities do help enhance your online presence, and those benefits are certainly not inconsequential.
It’s about gaining visibility within the hospitality industry while simultaneously making your property stand out for all the right reasons. So, what types of PR should you use, though? With the wealth of options out there, it can be challenging to determine which is the best fit for your specific needs, requirements, and budget.
The Types of PR for a Hotel
In most cases, marketing strategies are designed to get the word out about your business. With PR, the goal is different. It’s more about perception, either maintaining a positive perception, or building one (whether that’s for the first time or an attempt to repair damage). As such, you’ll need to use different types of hotel PR in your plan. We’ve outlined some of the most important PR types below.
Press releases are powerful tools to help drive the narrative surrounding your brand. They’re also potent SEO options, although they shouldn’t be created strictly for SEO-focused benefits. A press release should be newsworthy and focused on getting your news out to journalists and news outlets, both in print and online.
If you have major news, such as a new hotel construction project, a merger or acquisition, or something of similar significance, you might choose to hold a news conference. This essentially takes the announcement that would have been made through the press release and turns it into a speaking engagement in front of reporters and TV crews.
Like press conferences, speaking events and engagements allow you to be front and centre and to build your brand through personal interaction, as well as potentially through coverage by news sources. However, “speaking events” is a pretty broad category and can include everything from hospitality conferences to technology conferences (if you’re pioneering a new technology within your hotel, for instance). Trade shows, conferences, and the like can also be powerful ways to network with others, while simultaneously establishing you and your property as industry leaders.
Perhaps the most iconic type of PR for hotel managers and owners is news coverage. This is most often through local newspapers, but it can also come through interviews in trade magazines, local news channel coverage, and much more. How do you get news coverage? Many things can qualify, such as hosting a community event or festival at your property, celebrating the opening of a new amenity at the hotel, inking a partnership deal, and so much more.
Creating Your Hotel PR Plan
With a better understanding of the types of PR out there for you, it’s time to talk about putting everything together into a PR plan and working that into your hotel communication strategy. How do you do this? Let’s break it down for you:
Step 1: Assessment
The first thing you need to do is determine what opportunities you have for public relations in the first place. Are you about to partner with a local business to offer special deals to your guests? Is there a tradeshow or conference coming up? Have you won an award?
Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to opportunities, but some are better than others. Some can be combined to maximize their impact, too. For instance, while you’ll get headlines for speaking events, you can boost those by also putting out a press release announcing the event (or the success of the event, depending on your goals).
Step 2: Create a Press Kit
Next, you need to create a press kit. This will enable you to be very responsive to anyone who reaches out to you for further information, comments about an event, or other PR needs. Your press kit should include the following:
- Details about your company/property’s story
- Branded marketing assets
- Information about you and other members of your team
- Previous press releases and media mentions
- Property fact sheet
- Information on any awards you’ve won
- Contact information
Step 3: Be Responsive
It’s important to respond quickly to anyone who reaches out for an interview, with a speaking engagement opportunity, or other public relations activity. Your press kit will help ensure that you can do that, but don’t limit yourself to that alone.
Step 4: Determine How You’ll Deal with Negative Press
Ideally, you’ll focus on finding positive public relations opportunities. However, you won’t always enjoy good press. Make sure you have a plan for dealing with negative press and bad reviews.
Resources to Help Maximize Your Hospitality Promotions
Cultivating PR activities for hotels is just one step. You also need ways to put your plan into action. These free resources will help you do just that.
Google Alerts: set up Google Alerts to send you an email notification if you, your team members, or your property are mentioned online. This is a great way to also manage any potential negative reviews, as you’ll be notified of all mentions.
HelpAReporterOut.com: Dubbed HARO, this website is a great way to connect with reporters and others in the news industry. Don’t think that because it’s free you lack reach, either. Reuters, Time Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal all use HARO.
It’s Time to Polish That Image
As you can see, PR activities for hotels offer a lot of benefits. You can build a positive image of your property, maintain it, set yourself up as a thought leader in the industry, and so much more. Take your time and consider the types of public relations strategies available and the PR opportunities out there for you. Then build your strategy and conquer the world.
Hotelogix Editorial Desk
Hotelogix‘s team of researchers and writers are constantly innovating to share the latest trends from the travel and hospitality space. Got suggestions? Write to us on email@example.com.