21st Century Hotel Public Relations - 10 Approaches Your Granddad Never Thought Of

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | September 18, 2011

The practice of public relations for hotels, like the practice of public relations for all industries, has steadily evolved over the years. In the last decade, however, change has come much more rapidly. The channels of communication have opened wide, and what was once a single three-branched media river has multiplied (or divided?) into thousands of individual streams. Through these streams flows a volume of information no one thirty years ago could have even begun to fathom, let alone process.

This means there is a wealth of public relations strategies available that leverage the nature of this information delivery delta. For lodging, an industry that sometimes seems hopelessly tethered to past practices, these strategies and tactics can appear daunting, foreign, or even irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hotels are entirely capable- one might even say well-poised - to execute 21st century public relations strategies. Because the core product hotels are delivering is an inherently personal one (the guest experience), it lends itself to well-targeted, personalized communications- which, of course, are the hallmark of 21st century public relations.

So without further ado, here is our list of ten next generation public relations approaches hotels can and ought to be exploring right away. Some may not be revelations in the truest sense of the word (anyone not running a hotel from a cave in Antarctica knows about Twitter and Facebook), but all of these are strategies that hotels in general have not engaged to their fullest potential.

Tweet!

Twitter is the ultimate mash-up of personal and broadcast communication. As such, it is the penultimate 21st century PR tool. Tweeting relevant, gripping information is an excellent way to build awareness and engagement among your followers (hopefully loyal, previous and potential guests). It's also a way to develop an identity through content, or a way to reinforce an existing brand. Where most hotels get tripped up in Twitter is by being inconsistent tweeters, or slow responders. Create a Twitter strategy, and make someone in the marketing and PR department accountable for monitoring your feed and executing the strategy on an ongoing basis.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.