Five Common Sense Steps to Stronger Public Relations
Hotel Common Sense™
My columns address many issues facing hospitality business operators. Many of my articles cover topics that are of interest to hotel and restaurant managers, hotel owners, innkeepers and hospitality associations. One of the topic areas I receive the most feedback and requests for additional materials are in the area of sales and marketing, which I have come to recognize is one of the three most essential for success.
- Be proud to be the expert you are - One of the fundamentals today in business is to distinguish yourself from your competitors. With the ever increasing number of branded hotels, restaurants, clubs, spas and retail businesses, the need to differentiate you from the others has also increased. First, find that competitive edge that you have over your competitor, which is a measurable difference and benefit to your guests. It could be specific services, extended hours, focus on certain markets, or any of dozens of distinctions that allow you to stand apart. You then become the market leader in that special area of distinction and an expert. Media of all types are always looking for fresh expert perspectives and sources for stories. The amount of coverage will vary on the type of story, but being quoted as an authority and an expert in a focused piece will pay positive dividends.
- Make a focused effort to become a local news source - While local newspapers are struggling, there are still many print and broadcasting options available in local markets. These media focus on hometown and regional stories for logical reasons, including their sincere goal to feature interesting stories and ideas on local businesses. If it doesn't have a local slant, they may not be interested. We have all seen enjoyed people helping people stories and the hospitality industry has many of those kinds of inspirational examples to share
- Prepare genuine solid press releases and send them out at reasonable times. Smaller budgets in challenging economic times may mean more self directed PR efforts and problems can arise. Thinking like an editor or a reporter may not be second nature, but any hospitality business manager or owner can be successful with some practice and effort. Press releases should not be about special prices unless there is a real story on it, such as for example returning to the price levels when the business was founded 25 years ago for a certain period. The real impact stories tend to focus more on the personal side of life. The CBS Sunday Morning show in the US often has many of these kind of stories that are not heavy news, but that touch people in different ways. Look for genuine stories of unique tourism, or events that are not likely to be as well-known.
- Work with the media in a postie fashion- Media still has deadlines and they are likely covering your hospitality business on one, so recognize their pressures when you can. If a reporter calls you, get back to them as quickly as you can. I have written an earlier piece on CRISIS COMMUNICATION and I recommend you are prepared to handle the inevitable crisis that will affect your hospitality business someday.
- Recognize and support Social Media as a major player in building awareness. Being visible is essential to success and survival in a world where information is instantaneous. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter and a growing number of dozens of other social media outlets are collectively a fast way to increase that visibility. Regardless of one's age. Technical interests or preferences, creating a plan to develop social media and potential common stakeholders at a comparatively low cost is something to be considered and used. The reach is unbelievable, but there needs to be a plan.
- Public Relations is effective because of the real or imagined 3rd party endorsement and message. It seems less like advertising and less intrusive than some direct selling, but we must all appreciate the reality that it is one tool of marketing. Our success comes from using all of those tools.
"What are you doing at your hotel, restaurant or hospitality business?
Hospitality Tip of the Week™:
"PR means telling the truth and working ethically - even when all the media want is headlines and all the public wants is scapegoats. Public relations fails when there is no integrity."
Thirteen Strategies to Make Your Hotel More Profitable Now Part of the 2011 Keys To Success Workshop Series
KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for our 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™
John Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO
KEYS TO SUCCESS™ is the umbrella title for our programs, hospitality services and columns. This year's writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™, THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™ and Principles for Success.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.