In the dynamic world of hospitality, where every guest experience counts, independent hotels and resorts often face a unique set of challenges. Unlike large hotel chains, independent properties must rely on their distinctive charm and character to attract guests. In this competitive landscape, Public Relations (PR) emerges as a powerful tool that can make all the difference in the success of an independent hotel or resort’s marketing strategy.
Understanding Public Relations (PR) in Hospitality Marketing
Defining Public Relations in Hospitality Marketing
Public Relations, commonly known as PR, encompasses a range of activities aimed at managing and enhancing the reputation of a brand or organization. In the context of the hospitality industry, PR involves building and maintaining positive relationships with guests, media, stakeholders, and the community.
Key Functions of PR in Hospitality
PR serves several essential functions in the world of hotels and resorts, including:
Creating a Positive Image: PR helps shape the hotel’s brand identity, highlighting its unique features and values.
Effective Communication: It facilitates communication with both internal and external stakeholders, ensuring a consistent message.
Crisis Management: PR professionals play a crucial role in handling crises or negative situations that may arise in the hospitality sector.
The Independent Hotel and Resort Landscape
Unique Challenges Faced by Independent Properties
Independent hotels and resorts face the challenge of standing out in a crowded market. Without the backing of a well-known brand, they must rely on their individuality and character to attract guests. Take for example the Fernie Fox Hotel. As an independent hotel in a saturated resort destination, they have had to work extra hard to get their name known. One key aspect of their PR strategy is regular donations to local groups and organizations. This provides for the opportunity to generate both goodwill with the community, but also to have local news organizations write editorial about them.
Necessity of a Distinctive Brand Image
In an era where travelers seek authentic experiences, independent hotels have a unique advantage. PR helps these properties showcase their distinctiveness and establish a strong brand image. Ensuring that you have identified your branding, and have a clear brand guide will help your staff, and any supporting agencies understand what exactly you hope your guests will experience and feel with every. single. touchpoint. they have with your business.
Competitive Advantages of Independent Hotels and Resorts
Independents can leverage PR to:
Emphasize Local Connections: Highlighting ties to the local community can attract travelers looking for an authentic experience. Being involved in the community also builds word-of-mouth advertising for friends and family.
Personalized Service: PR can spotlight the personalized service and attention to detail that independent hotels provide. This doesn’t need to be 5-star levels of service, but having senior staff or ownership being on the property and interacting with guests one-on-one can make any guest feel like a VIP.
PR as a Strategic Element
Cornerstone of a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
PR should be a cornerstone of any independent hotel or resort’s marketing strategy. It works in synergy with other marketing efforts to create a holistic and impactful approach. Building relationships with editorial and media outlets help you grow your earned media exposure.
Linking PR to Broader Business Goals
Effective PR aligns with the hotel’s overall business objectives, contributing to revenue growth, guest satisfaction, and long-term sustainability. Regularly being present in outlets that your target audience consumes builds your brand loyalty and brand awareness.
PR’s Contribution to Long-Term Sustainability
Sustainable practices and a positive reputation generated through PR efforts can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business, contributing to the hotel’s long-term success. Every business owner know its easier to sell to a repeat guest than it is to a new customer.
Building a Strong PR Campaign
Identifying Target Audiences and Stakeholders
Understanding the needs and preferences of your target audiences is critical. PR professionals analyze and segment audiences to tailor messages effectively. Knowing your target audience and ideal guest personas helps ensure that your PR activities are efficient and effective.
Crafting Compelling Storytelling
Compelling storytelling is at the heart of PR success. It involves conveying the hotel’s unique story and values to connect with guests emotionally. Features on new services at the property, changes in management or policies, and the like are all excellent opportunities for PR.
Utilizing Digital and Traditional PR Tactics
A well-rounded PR strategy blends digital and traditional tactics, including media relations, social media engagement, influencer partnerships, and content marketing. The role of traditional media should never be discounted, and the opportunity for earned media on televions, radio, and print can be huge for independent properties.
Measuring PR Success
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for PR Campaigns
To evaluate the impact of PR efforts, hotels and resorts can track KPIs such as media coverage, website traffic, social media engagement, and guest feedback. Understanding the KPI’s and how they relate to business metrics is important for decision making.
Monitoring and Analyzing PR Impact
Regularly monitoring and analyzing PR data allows for adjustments and refinements to PR strategies, ensuring they remain effective over time. Public Relations is not just a “one and done” activity, but should be regarded as a long term investment in relationship building.
Adjusting Strategies Based on Data Insights
Data insights can reveal what’s working and what isn’t, allowing for informed decisions and continuous improvement.
Challenges and Pitfalls in PR for Independent Hotels and Resorts
The most common obstacle is resource availability to commit to a PR campaign. Having someone with a perspective on what makes for a compelling story, or, how to write about an event in a compelling way, is important.
Strategies to Overcome Challenges
One strategy employed by many independent hotels and resorts is to hire an outside agency to help with PR. birr agency has worked with a variety of properties, resorts, and destinations to build PR campaigns and manage ongoing PR activity.
Recap of PR’s Importance
In conclusion, PR plays an integral role in the success of independent hotels and resorts, helping them build strong brand identities and connect with their target audiences.
Encouragement to Invest in PR
We encourage all independent hoteliers to recognize the significance of PR and invest in strategies that can set their properties apart.
As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, PR will remain a powerful tool for independent hotels and resorts to thrive in a competitive market. Embrace PR, tell your unique story, and watch your property shine in the spotlight. If you’d like to learn more about birr agency’s Public Realtion in hospitality marketing services, book a meeting for a no obligation chat.