Thursday, 20 August 2009
MY HIGH-FIVE FOR AN EFFECTIVE HOSPITALITY PR EXPERT
Prabhjot Bedi, Founder-Editor of www.hospemag.com and Proprietor of Eclat Institute of Hospitality Management - Chandigarh, saw a nice article on hospitality public relations and asked me to send in my comments (http://www.hospemag.com/2009/08/know-guest-post-five-musts-for.html).
Prabhjot thinks they make an interesting read. If you are in PR then its obvious why, but, perhaps all hoteliers should be looking at developing PR skills. This is it.
So here follow my high-five for an effective Hospitality PR Expert -
1. Develop multi-level skills set - You need to be a good writer, good with graphics and creatives for all your marcomm needs, good event organiser, tech savvy and with a bit of finance and business acumen in order to understand the bottomline well and add your spin to it.
2. Nose for news - When writing press releases and backgrounders ensure that your pitch has a high news value for both the target audience and the vehicle you want to see it carried in. Otherwise you just end up wasting paper and the journalists time who then would subject your release to the waste basket treatment.
3. FACE & THE BODY - Since you are the face of your organisation that interfaces with a wide range of publics - from heads of state to the celeb clientele to the media - you need to have well-honed social skills, be charming in your demeanour and engaging in your conversations. At the same time, since you are also the dogsbody that carries out the nitty gritties of the PR functions, you need to be always on the ball to keep the PR machinery well-oiled and running, seemingly, effortlessly. Being like the duck that seems calm on the surface but paddles madly underneath, is then a virtue.
4. KNOW IT ALL - You must have a thorough understanding of the various operations of your business. Definitely what keeps Sales & Marketing, Food & beverage, Catering, HR ticking but you must also be in cahoots with the Security Chief, Engineering Head, Housekeeping people, the interior, art or flower expert, the Purchasing Head - in order to keep all your ten fingers on the various pulses and be well equipped to develop interesting, multifarious story angles aimed at a plethora of publications.
5. Be Locally sound and Globally propelled - since you work in an international industry and are also driven to market your specific destination, being international in your approach at the same time being a great cultural ambassador is a major plus.
While on this subject, I would like to share Charlotte Novom's views on the FIVE musts for effective public relations that have appeared in hotelworld NETWORK (http://www.hotelworldnetwork.com/public-relations/five-musts-effective-hospitality-public-relations?registrationmessage=User%20created%20successfully) -
Public relations and marketing communications have taken on an entirely new level of importance in recent years. With the popularity of social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, and the application of mobile messaging, electronic message distribution and many other 2.0 methods, public relations has a dramatic new face and the potential for driving even more dramatic revenue-producing results.
As a hotel operator, it is important to grasp the importance of this new role. Your message needs to be clearly crafted and tailored to specific audiences—and message consistency remains paramount. Your communication methods must be geared to the audiences’ preferred way of consuming information. In today’s economy, you need to focus on public relations because well-conceived plans can influence business results more effectively and at a significantly lower cost than advertising. It is also true that public relations allow you to speak directly to the customer in a personal tone that motivates prospects to take action. Finally, your public relations campaigns can be measured.
Consider these “Five Musts” for effective public relations today:
Think with vision. Make your positioning extend through to every message point you or your agency communicates. Nobody has time for a boring message.
Maintain an active press release schedule. Press releases, which came to be thought of as less effective than the direct pitch to a specific journalist, are now quite valuable. They populate the Internet with your product name and in today’s fast-paced communications environment, they often become a primary research tool used by journalists to write their stories.
Invest in and use technology to save time and increase your understanding of the reach of your message. Articles in the press can become “test marketing” tools and help you refine your broader marketing goals and strategies. Some agencies subscribe to highly sophisticated database management and news retrieval systems that allow you to view the penetration of the message down to the neighborhood level.
Measure results. Ensure that your PR department or agency is providing you with a strategic analysis of results. A listing of articles, copies of these and the calculation of audience impressions and approximate advertising value are the standard. Regard your PR professionals as your collaborators, engaging them fully in shaping strategy and implementing your organization’s plan.
Embrace the Web 2.0 world. Integrate your messages and deliver them through planned multiple distribution channels.
(Pictures courtesy - www.flickr.com AND www.deviantart.com)