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How Does Public Relations Fit into a Hotel's Marketing Plan?

Hoteliers understand what it is they need to do to market their product. But what is public relations and how does it work when assembling your marketing plan?

The truth is, hotel marketers think very traditionally. And unfortunately, this means regarding the discipline of marketing as an expense item, rather than as a return on investment.

The ‘expense” philosophy usually means spending your marketing dollars, over time, on ad placement in media, to communicate your message. This is certainly important, but unless your results can be measured or tracked, this may not be the most efficient way to get your message out there.

When marketing tactics involve public relations, direct mail, sales, e-marketing, website maintenance, and then media placement, your dollars can be allocated so that they are more focused, more targeted and more effective.

What is public relations? Hotel public relations includes activities such as press relations, special events planning, targetted outreach for focused editorial coverage, organization of press familiarization trips (so that travel writers can experience your venue first hand), newsletters, community relations, and philanthropy.

Ironically while marketing budgets have decreased over the last few years, it was public relations that usually took the hit, even that it is a less expensive cost item than the other marketing tactics mentioned above, and that it produces more beneficial results. It’s just that it is usually considered an afterthought, rather than as a core marketing tactic.

The power of public relations is well proven. It’s the most cost-effective method for promoting a travel product, establishing third-party credibility, and getting your name in front of the trade industry and publications, and of course, the public. Placing stories with press releases, articles, and columns is your link to countless national and local newsrooms, editors, and journalists. And the media provide significantly more credibility than expensive traditional display advertising.

How should you get back into the p.r. game? How can you get started using public relations if we haven’t in the past?
  • First, take a look at how public relations has shaped the development of your company. Have you been taking advantage of the P.R. opportunities provided to you by your brand or your Convention and Visitors Bureau? What are the images, perceptions and messages already out there about your hotel or establishment? Are they accurate? Is it the message you want the public to know? Does that message need to be modified? Strengthened?

  • Determine which marketing, sales, and public relations disciplines will work in tandem with one another to support each other’s messages. Will direct mail to a targeted pre-determined audience support editorial coverage in the publications this group reads? Will direct contact by your sales director help support the messages you want shared? Will web-marketing and e-mail marketing be the tactic used to support the p.r. effort at this time?

  • Agree upon your public relations objectives and dedicate monies to make public relations work for you. It’s always amazing to see how hotel operators and owners expect a lot when they give a little. “P.R. can handle it, and we don’t need a whole lot of funds.” Well, you may not need as much as you would for advertising, direct mail or image advertising, but there should be a budget allocated for press release distribution, photography, special events, clipping services, opportunities to entertain the media, and so on.

  • Do you have someone on staff to handle media relations? If funds allow, this is an excellent strategy to maximize awareness and gain the utmost exposure. In-house public relations can be so strong for a hotel, resort, destination, as it allows a spokesperson to really focus and dedicate efforts for promoting your product. But don’t use this individual to handle all the miscellaneous activities unrelated to public relations. It is not unusual for a really good p.r. person to be an excellent jack-of-all-trades. And that is because good p.r. people are very resourceful and always can find a contact or an answer to any issue. But don’t allow hotel management to always “throw anything” their way. Let the p.r. person concentrate on press relations, special events and media.

  • If resources for P.R. are limited and you can’t afford an on-site person, consider bringing in an outside public relations expert to focus on specific proactive tasks, serve as the liaison with writers and editors, and assist your hotel with publicity efforts.
Remember, public relations demands a professional with the experience, writing skills, public speaking skills, and media relationships to capitalize on. This effort should not be left to a sales secretary or the general manager’s assistant to simply “handle.” The p.r. activities should not be thrown on to someone as created additional work. Public relations truly requires a polished, refined and intelligent presentation from the professional dedicated to this discipline. The time, organization, creativity, skill, and media contacts required for a successful effort, takes experience and know-how.

How does public relations fit into your marketing plan?

reprinted with the permission of National Hotel Executive


When this test taken
Hi, I am just working on a business plan for a hotel, what aspects do you feel i need to involve and work on while preparing on the Public Relations part? any suggestions? thank you in advance
Hi Jourden, i'd be happy to set up a time to speak with you. feel free to dial 516 248 8828 x 278
Your comments are real and can be used as a marketing strategy regardless of location and any other parameter. Your ideas suite best for branded hotels, most of the times they are 5 stars and above. I am working as a marketing head for a 1 star hotel in Mumbai. The area is commercial and 90% of the customers are from corporate. But of late they go for other hotels sorounding ours, which are at least 3 star. We are unable to compete with them. If you can suggest us with any valuable ideas it will be great help.
You know it's difficult when higher quality hotels are in the neighborhood. this gives customers options. And if they can pay a similiar rate for a better value, that's where they will go. if you can prove a "value" to the customers who will be interested in your product, that's a start.
Hi i have been ask to set up pr department in a hotel but am only level 300 student can u pls help me on how to start n what to do thanks
Jessica, there are so many components to p.r.. Please find out what your hotel's goals are. then feel free to call me at 516 248 8828 x 278 to discuss further...
I really apppreciate your help in my project I would be much happy If I would have got more Information about it, I would like to have more Information about the features, Advantages and dsadvantages of it,
Desearia que me informen para la realizacion de un curso de Gerenciamiento de Hotel , Relaciones Publicas y Marketing. Desearia hacer curso a distancia y los costos del mismo.Tambien si ustedes dan Certificaiones del mismo. Muchas Gracias y aguardo su respuesta.
Hi Leora. Thank you for all of the wonderful information on this page. I presently work in a hotel as the Business Developer/ PRO. It is a new hotel, not yet open to guests. What first and basic steps will you advise i take, Its my first job in the industry. Thank you!
Hi there....i would strongly recommend that you spend some time meeting with other p.r. hotel reps in your competitive set to understand the variety of their work and responsiblities and what's important in that community. i am happy to spend some time to advise you as well if your hotel would be willing to invest in a bit of a start up effort to get you going..... i can be reached at llanz@hvs.com.
Pls help me out . I was just employ to a hotel as P.R O and i was ask to prepared my proposal to the manager of the hotel . What should i do . I am a novic
Hello to you Moyinbo, i would be happy to spend some time training you if your hotel would like to have you trained and prepped for this position. feel free to email me at llanz@hvs.com or have your hotel general manager call me to discuss a training for you.
Hi Leara, what are the duties of public relations in hotels
Hi Najee, the responsibilities are varied. The ultimate goal is to generate the maximum positive publicity and community outreach. Connecting with travel writers, possibly even overseeing or working with a social media team; involvement in community outreach; special events and more. I need to better understand the context of the question. feel free to email me details at llanz@hvs.com and even better, feel free to peruse through our multitude of articles on our website - they will help convey the variety of functions that public relations affects.
Hi Leora, I really appreciate your effort, and trust me I have been hooked onto this site for the past one month, sometimes I log onto the site to ask something but it gets automatically answered by reading the comments. I have been recently hired by a 4 star hotel that had no PR personnel in the past and they are reluctant to spend any penny on PR or advertisement. I am new here as this is my first job in hospitality industry. The local media and corporate clients of the organization don't know me as of yet. Please suggest if there is any easy and cost effective way of entertaining the local media. Plus the management has particularly no task available for me except for handling the Facebook page and replying to emails, please tell me 5 tasks to start off with that you think would be really appreciated by the management. Looking forward to hear from you :)
Hi MJ, so glad you have found the site helpful. really. perhaps try to get to know your local media contacts by simply inviting them for a tour of your hotel, and you can give them a press kit; if you can offer to have coffee with them to sit down and begin speaking and hopefully commencing a good working relationship, that will help for sure. as for 5 basics to get started: 1. meet with the departments at your hotel so they know who you are; do some p.r. for yourself; set up p.r. and social media guidelines with regard to who should and should not speak to the press, or what is ok to post on social media 2.reach out and meet with local media and travel press to begin establishing relationships 3. engage in conversations on your social media sites; speak about issues relating to the hotel, to your destination, holidays, what groups may be staying at hotel, etc 4.. monitor through google alerts what is being said about your hotel 5.. ensure that your print and on line marketing material is up to date, intriguing and clearly shows potential guests the benefits of staying at your hotel. This is just a couple of ideas to start. there will be more as you develop the role. perhaps look up job descriptions of p.r. managers at other hotels, and meet those p.r. managers at your competitors to understand their roles and challenges.
I have an interview with the general manager for a 5 star hotel ,Pr executive position and quite frankly i am edgy and nervous. My previous job was media sales executive and unsure as to what questions will be thrown at me for the above mentioned position as this is my first time entering this market. I have no knowledge.I need your guidance as to how i can better prepare myself. Thank you
Hi there., Omar. feel free to call me at the office 516 248 8828 x 278 and i can assist you directly. But you should be prepared to write a press release, to share what press contacts you have, to demonstrate promotions and marketing saavy, a comfort with social media and demonstrate that you can multi task and understand p.r. today in hospitality is not a 9-5 job. do you have a copy of the job description?
Hi Leora,ll will like to know the tactics public relations managers use in the hotels. l have just been employed as a P.R in a hotel. thanks .flora.
hi flora, where is your hotel? what are your feeder markets? what press are important to you? lots of questions to answer to determine priorities for p.r. and set goals. I am out of the office this week, but feel free to email me at llanz@hvs.com and we can set up a time to speak and see how i might be able to assist you.
hye, im gonna do an asignment about the public relation. i hope u can give me a support in your words. ok, what is the public relation activity that is suits for the hotel industry actually? and how it can help to complement the strategic perspective for the company?
Hi Myra, i could go on and on, but public relations should not just complement a strategic perspective, it should be part of it. It help to build brand awareness, project a willingness (if done right) to be transparent and develop a relationship with guests and can help strengthen marketing to communicate the appropriate messages to the appropriate audiences. PR today includes among other things press relations,community relations, social media marketing, social action and more. It's very critical to be integrated properly....let me know if you are looking for more insight.
please i;m about to be employed in one of the top hotels in the world as PR but i don;t have any knowledge on duties of PR.please show me the tips to know.log on to www.africaafrica1.com.thanks
Hello Justice, start off by reading the variety of public relations articles on our hvs.com site. important skills - written and verbal communications, social media saavy, honesty and integrity - among many others......hope some of our articles help you get started. Also learn more from the Public Relations Society of America and even the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.
hi.i am looking for internship in Dubai this summer.i already have Dubai residence visa.i need internship for 8weeks.kindly help me out i am willing to do full time.I am doing postgraduate studies in advertising and public relations. regards Masooma Shah
Hi Masooma, Please try to contact Ms. Hala Choufany at hchoufany@hvs.com as she is based in Dubai and may provide assistance to you. Summer interns to work directly with me would be unpaid - but i would need to see resume and have references as well, Sincerely Leora Lanz
i.m need resersh about public relation in hotel
Hi Farhat, hoping you received my earlier email? There are numerous articles that i've written about public relations in the hotel industry. And PR is rapidly changing because of social media and a much more integrated marketing communications environment. i would be happy to speak with you if you need more information in addition to the articles that we have in the HVS library.....
Hi Leora, nice to talk with you. I am in Caracas and planning to build a plan for a hotel. Since our economy is very depressed there are to many doing the same things. I was thinking of proposing a plan very original with activities to atract customers not only for thematic dinners or brunches or happy hours but to create special events far from being tipically "hotelly", how do you perceive these ideas and if you agree with creativity so dettached from hotel stuff. Thanks
Hi marielena, Take a step back for a moment. it sounds like the hotels are holding similar types of events for locals. what you need to do is draft your marketing plan first - who are your audiences/guests? what are the messages you want to communicate to them? what types of amenities/activities helps project these messages? that will make you distinct from the other hotels - not just who has the different or better party. i would be happy to speak with you directly if you'd like me to assist you in the marketing planning piece of this which is very key before you get started.
Dear Team, Thank you so much for this page and the valuable information I read. I might be interviewed soon by a hotel in UAE - big chain for a PR and Communication Director and though I have a pretty good experience in PR /communication and Marketing, Id would like to have some tips on the questions I might be facing and some possible answers. Of course I shall adapt your info to my situation; What questions shall I formulate when the employer ask me if I have questions for him? Shall I give you some details on me and my cv so that you can have a better view on my personal experience? Kind regards, Manu
Hi Manu. you might want to be prepared for the following:show samples of your press releases; show samples of the clippings that were generated; be prepared with references from press; be prepared with specific examples of successes in internal communications, with promotions you may have initiated, or with systems you've put into place that make internal or external communications more seamless; also be prepared to share your comfort level with social media. Hoping this helps?
Hi we are located in Southern California. We will be constructing a 200 room hotel near a nationally known ski resort. Our funding agency will provide a generous advertising budget. we are looking for a pr firm to establish a national and international footprint for the hotel. we want to start with a coming soon, opening soon, grand opining and advertising throughout the year. we wish to reach all media internet, travel magazines, travel agencies, and airlines, rv magazines, cable tv, sports media, motocross, motorcycle media as these types of =[events are held during summer months at the ski resort. 760-617-3273
Hi James, i will be in touch with you in the next day or so to speak directly. thank you so much for reaching out to HVS Sales & Marketing Services.
Louise, i have been asked to set up the marketing department of an independent hotel company that relied on referrals for past business. (a) Do you have a sample template for this (b) Do you also have a sample marketing plan template?
Hi David, My colleagues and I do have experience assembling sales and marketing departments in hotels and yes we do have sample marketing plan templates. IS there a phone number where i may reach you to learn more about your needs and see how we can be of service? thank you. Leora Lanz
how does direct marketing apply in a hospitality industry specicly the ,telemarketing,direct mail markerting and email direct marketig
Telemarketing, direct mail and email marketing are all tactics that can be extremely useful and productive for a hotel depending on the target audience and message. if you wish to learn more, i would be happy to connect with you and share some experience and knowledge as well as learn your situation to assess marketing needs.
would love to kindly know various tactics are utilized by organizations in their pr activities
Hi Tabitha, would be happy to set up a call to discuss directly is there a number where i can reach you. would be happy to provide guidance
hi, I am applying for an internship in PR at a resort. I have my degree in Hotel Hospitality and Business. I don't know a whole lot about PR. Just the basics. What do I need to know to get this internship? Please help. Thank you.
Hi Danielle, great writing and communications skills. knowledge of professional use of social media; did i say great communications skills? great writing? eventually your ability to develop relationships with media, bloggers, etc to strengthen the publicity will kick in. good luck with your internship.
I had a similar question to the one advertised above by Louise and was interested in the answer provided. Also, on a more specific aspect, is there any recent reserach describing the benefits of Public Relations in hotels? Thank you for your time!
You can check out the Public Relations Society of America's website PRSA.org to see what research has been done on the ROI and benefits of public relations. specifically for hotels? Try HSMAI.org (the hotel sales and marketing association), but i can tell you that p.r. today is more than just press relations and is a very integral part of a hotel's marketing communications efforts.
1, what are the best PR approach for publicising and promoting a year old 4 star hotel 2,apart from a hotels website, what are the other steps for attract ing potential foriegn clients
If you know your feeder markets, a press effort should be devoted to those markets to reintroduce/introduce the hotel; invite press or bloggers from those markets; put video and audio on your social media outlets and website; and the emailings and pay per click that your sales and marketing team will kick in will help. sales calls to those markets too, etc, etc.....need to develop a sales and p.r. action plan for your feeder markets. hope this helps a little and if you need help, do let me know.
how do you create a publicity campaign for a hotel,what steps do you follow,what questions do you ask?
Hi Louise, that's a very big questions with lots of potential answers. I would like to know more about your specific needs or thoughts and then i can better respond to your question. Please feel free to contact me. May i have your contact details to set up a mutually convenient time for a conversation? thank you, Leora

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