Important Trends Transforming How Hotel Public Relations is Practiced Today

By Mary Gendron Senior Vice President / Managing Director, Eric Mower & Associates | March 15, 2010

Trends born out of new technology - some unheard just months ago - are rapidly transforming how public relations is being practiced today. The sooner these can be acknowledged, examined and considered, the better equipped we will be to develop and maintain the optimum strategy for our organizations or our clients. And the better prepared we will be to anticipate and incorporate the next wave of innovation in our business.

When you think about it, early public relations tools consisted of the telephone, the typewriter and the handshake. These were the forerunners of the high-tech/high-touch approach that would follow in the latter part of the 20th Century. Public relations professionals - both in-house and agency -- would launch, nurture and grow their practices based on getting to know the press and their needs through a call or a face-to-face meeting.

Initial contacts made over the phone, a cup of coffee, or a cocktail could develop into long term relationships based on the journalist's respect and trust of the PR practitioner - earned, always, by providing him or her with timely, useful, and accurate information that the journalist viewed as newsworthy for readers or viewers.

The relationship that existed between public relations and editorial was a direct connection. The constituent (end-user, consumer, potential customer) was involved as the reader or viewer of any press coverage resulting from the exchange.

This time-honored practice, still in place today in hotels and public relations agencies, became enhanced by technology introduced in the 1980s and 1990s. The enhancements increased productivity as well as competition while speeding up the process of public relations from a brisk walk to a fast run.

As recently as the 1980s, widespread use of the personal computer, fax machine and affordable, reliable overnight courier services were added as new, useful tools which made communication with the press quicker and easier than ever. No longer did a personal letter need to be retyped over and over again to be mailed to each press contact. A basic letter could easily be personalized and an original printed, then sent out the door...or faxed...or couriered from coast to coast to arrive, with accompanying press materials, on an editor's desk the very next morning.

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