February may be the shortest month of the year, but its PR potential is the greatest because it celebrates Valentine's Day. Whether you love the holiday or you totally dislike it, the day has enormous sales potential. But before you start counting your revenue, here's the most valuable PR tip for this event, offered by Simon Harding of Theatre Breaks: "Valentine's Day is not a day for making money, but building relationships."
Good relationships enhance your PR efforts and boost brand awareness. When guests are impressed by your hotel's offers, they are likely to share their experiences on social media, generating online word of mouth.
David Mitroff, Ph.D., business consultant, marketing expert, keynote speaker, and founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc. has several great Valentine's Day PR tips that are guaranteed to make this special day the ROI-boosting and relationship building event it deserves to be.
"The most important thing to remember when creating Valentine's Day offers for a hotel business in 2017 is to offer add-on's and avoid discounts. It's more attractive to suggest you are offering extra features than giving a cheaper experience," he told Hospitality Net suggesting that people are seeking to impress their loved ones rather than getting deals. Mitroff also suggested that hotels and motels could offer complimentary champagne and wine, because "guests likely already have reservations at a restaurant, but wouldn't have the time to pick up a chilled drink during their stay. This also helps justify a higher room rate for Valentine's weekend."
Mitroff goes on with more valuable insight: "Consider extensions and late check-outs because there is nothing less romantic than having to rush a stay." Finally, he also advises hotels to offer guests a floral arrangement or a bouquet ready in their rooms, "because your guests might be traveling to your location and won't have time to pick up flowers themselves."
Rana Kay, Director of Public Relations at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, advises hotels to think outside the box: "Think beyond traditional champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to get the media's attention. Your best bet is to create an offering that reflects the unique characteristics of your property. At Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, we have a distinct focus on music and entertainment, so we include amenities such as a curated love song playlist and this year, a scavenger hunt." Kay also suggests having both affordable offers and more extravagant packages, to appeal to all budgets. Social media aspects and Instagram-worthy moments are also a must, according to Kay.
Indeed, Valentine's Day can be an occasion to boost awareness about your hotel and hospitality business on all social media channels. Promoting offers on Twitter and Facebook, in particular with the help of promoted posts, has the potential to reach broad audiences. If Valentine's Day specials are appealing enough, the number of shares and reshares will generate the viral engagement you need to increase ROI and even capture free mainstream media mentions. For social media promotions, using hashtags is a practice that should not be ignored. You can always check out #valentinesday on Instagram for ideas of content that become viral, or on Twitter to see what people and businesses are sharing in real time.
Journalists are interested in Valentine's Day offers from hotels and restaurants too. A good way to reach them is to become a source at Help a Reporter Out and send them a pitch when you see a query that applies to your business.
Besides focusing exclusively on couples, hoteliers and hospitality pros are also advised to prepare something special for singles. Anti-Valentine offers can be a big hit if done properly. Last, but not least, to cover all angles, creating a fun Valentine's Day program for children, like making Valentine's Day cards for Mom and Dad, can help attract married couples who travel with their little ones on this occasion.