Most businesses in the hospitality industry are likely to use a marketing plan, but it’s essential to regard public relations (PR) as an equally important and effective tool. PR should sit alongside your marketing strategy and complement your marketing efforts. It is the glue that holds together your brand reputation; it can support customer loyalty, and more importantly, can help you connect with and influence your target audience.
Regardless of whether you are in the food and beverage, accommodation, recreation, travel or events sector, PR can provide many benefits. PR is not about selling, it is about influencing, and we will explain why.
If you’re an organisation looking for long term growth and success, PR cannot be overlooked. It can enhance and safeguard your brand’s reputation and, to some extent, allow you to control how the public perceives your organisation.
PR scratches the surface of your identity and considers how your brand looks to your target audience:
- Your vision and tone of voice and how these are communicated
- Is your content all on brand and does it speak to your customers?
- Your activity across social media
- Your online presence (or lack of it)
- The types of reviews you’re receiving
- Whether or not your products and/or services suit your target audience
- If and how you are listening to and engaging with your customers
PR takes a considered approach to all the above to ensure the pieces all fit well together, and your brand is continually evolving to the needs of the consumer.
Crisis comms can save your reputation
Whether it was in your control or not we all know that, sometimes, things go wrong. We’ve already established that brand reputation is a valuable asset because, ultimately, how a crisis is managed can make or break your future reputation – no matter what came before it.
In today’s digital world, it does not take long for something to gain momentum and go viral. If an organisation does not act quickly, years of building positive relationships in the hospitality industry can be permanently damaged in seconds.
Having a crisis plan or procedure in place ensures there’s a process to follow if and when one should occur. It’s the proactive part of a crisis; the part you can control. A clear plan provides you with set guidelines to follow and ensure no activity has been missed. In a crisis, a diverse team manages communication—from social media and online content to handling expectations from journalists and stakeholders.
The key aim of a clear crisis management plan is to protect reputation, minimise damage and get you back to ‘business as usual’ as soon as possible.
A fantastic example of a crisis handled well was when KFC ran out of chicken in 2018. The brand turned this around with a quick apology and a clucking good response.
Media relations and news distribution
In the hospitality industry, upcoming trends like eco-friendly practices and technology growth provide ample discussion points for the future.
It probably goes without saying that media relations plays a huge role in PR! It’s not just about ‘sending out a quick press release’; it’s the time taken to research the media landscape and build relationships with editors and reporters. A good PR professional (like one you might find in the team at Conteur…) understands how to write for the media, while considering target audience, publication and tone. Long gone are the days of just focussing on your more traditional media outlets such as newspapers and magazines; organisations should now be considering the world of modern PR such as digital opportunities, engaging with influencers and securing podcasts.
Covering news such as your events, CSR, opinion pieces and thought leadership, media relations should be an integral part of your PR strategy when considering how to elevate your brand reputation and engage with your audience.
There are so many opportunities for businesses in the hospitality industry to publicise themselves across the media. When a strategic and considered approach is taken, the benefits of earned media can be enjoyed nicely alongside paid media.
Be remembered for that oh so clever PR campaign
From creating your own gin brand and edible hotel to providing hypnosis and kindness schemes, a well thought out PR campaign or stunt will provide you with that all important brand recognition.
The beauty of a PR campaign is they can be so versatile. Combine it with your digital, marketing and social efforts, and you have yourself a huge amount of content to push out to your target audience, and ultimately attract new customers. It’s a way to create a media narrative, alongside your marketing call to actions.
This type of activity provides you with the opportunity to stand out from your competitors and shout about what you do. A well-executed PR campaign, backed by the digital landscape, yields valuable digital and traditional coverage, with viral potential.
So be brave; step outside of the box and you could find your brand being talked about for months!
At Conteur, we are experienced in working with the hospitality sector.
We take pride in providing a service where clients consider our team an extension of theirs. Taking a full partnership approach, we take the time to get to know your business and competitors, as well as your visions, values and business objectives.
This all supports the creation of a carefully considered PR strategy where we can deliver both proactive and reactive PR for your business.
Get in touch with our friendly PR team to have a chat and find out more! We aim to Tell Your Story Better.