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News for the Hospitality Executive

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How to Get More Sales from Your Public Relations and Marketing Dollars

By Julie Keyser-Squires, APR

ATLANTA, GA – November 16, 2009 - When Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation, suggested at the 2009 ALIS Hotel Leader’s Outlook panel that the rebound would not be immediate because “the psychological impact was too great,” we agreed.  Have you been psychologically impacted over the past year?  I have. Businesses in our global industry are in the wringer.  The bright side is that when a company goes through a wringer, what remains is the true value in the business.   

I believe you can still squeeze more value from your public relations and digital marketing dollars by following these four steps:

1.  Know what you are good at.  Outsource the rest
Make an honest evaluation of the time plus digital marketing and public relations resources you have in-house - outsource the rest.

2.  Develop high-value content. Export it consistently.

With the shrinking news hole and proliferation of social media outlets, it is tempting to get caught up in the excitement of the medium.  In fact, the most important marketing exercise your company can undergo is a deep dive into your message.  What is your company’s true value-add? What is your differentiator? What business problem does your company solve?  Answer these questions first, simplify your message and then consistently distribute it.

3.  Search engine optimize everything.

Search is the new homepage.  After you research your company’s keywords, sprinkle them through every piece of writing and micro-writing you distribute. Thanks to @stacywms for her blog series on “How to Leverage Social Media for Search Engine Optimization:” http://ow.ly/BKW5 , which explores SEO for each social media tactic.  Take a look.

4.  Embrace social media technology to save your time.

Social media will hit a tipping point of credibility and use in the hospitality and tourism industry in 2010 and will yield lucrative ROI strategies. Get started now, with one tactic at a time.  Here is an effective tutorial on how to tap Twitter’s power in 30 minutes a day. 

Twitter Power Strategy

The below tactics assume you already:
1.       Have a PR and marketing plan in place.
2.       Understand how twitter use fits into that plan and supports your business goals.

Build Your Technology Savvy

Read with Tweetdeck.

Post with HootSuite.

-Lets you tweet from multiple profiles (ex: @Juliesquires, @SoftscribeInc).
-Lets you schedule future tweets.
-Ow.ly URL shortener gives analytics.
Post via your PDA with Tweetie on your iPhone, Twitterberry on your Blackberry.
Program your sources to provide as many interesting, relevant links as possible. 
Sources:  Alltop.com: travel and hotel
SmartBriefs
Hotelmarketing.com
StumbleUpon

I also use GoogleReader to subscribe to select marketing blogs.

            If you follow everyone who follows you, you can use the Direct Message (DM), which is more efficient than email.  Use www.twimailer.com to automate follow backs.

Measure Your Success.
Establish measurement goals before you start – increased followers, click throughs to landing page, search conversions.
Measure with Radian6, ObjectiveMarketer, or your own homegrown approach that could include:
-Google/Yahoo alerts
-PRWeb news service metrics
-Inbound links
-Google analytics for landing pages and websites
-Coverage in blogs, other websites, publications

You could develop a similar efficient strategy for each social media tactic that supports your business goals.

May you “be in heaven in 2011,” to quote Jim Burba, president of Burba Hotel Network, and squeeze more sales value from your public relations and digital marketing dollars.



Julie Keyser-Squires, APR, is CEO of
Softscribe Inc., a digital marketing + PR firm that applies SEO and social media to help clients increase sales. Give her a shout on twitter @Juliesquires; comment on her First Light business blog http://softscribe.wordpress.com/  or sign up for her free quarterly video email snack at www.marketingsnacks.com.

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Contact:

Julie Keyser-Squires, APR
Softscribe Inc.
Julie@softscribeinc.com
(404)256-5512
Twitter:  @Juliesquires 
http://www.softscribeinc.com
http://www.marketingsnacks.com

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Also see: Softscribe Inc.'s Operations Director Debbie Reale Earns Advanced SEO Certification; 'Search is the new homepage;' Softscribe's Reale optimizes clients' online presence for more business leads / August 2009

Softscribe Inc.’s First Users Group Reveals Keen Tech Vendor Appetite for Social Media; Meetup of 30 people during HITEC represented 100% client attendance / July 2009

Franchisors, Owners, Operators: Questions You Always Wanted to Ask About Social Media / Julie Keyser-Squires, APR / June 2009
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