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Five Common Sense Steps to Stronger Public Relations

by Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA CMHS
April 18, 2011

My columns address many issues facing hospitality business operators.  Many of my articles cover topics that are of interest to hotel and restaurant managers, hotel owners, innkeepers and hospitality associations.  One of the topic areas I receive the most feedback and requests for additional materials are in the area of sales and marketing, which I have come to recognize is one of the three most essential for success.
With that in mind, here are Five Common Sense Steps to Stronger Public Relations that should help improve the positioning and perception of your hospitality business, as well as revenues:

1.      Be proud to be the expert you are -  One of the fundamentals today in business is to distinguish yourself from your competitors. With the ever increasing number of branded hotels, restaurants, clubs, spas and retail businesses, the need to differentiate you from the others has  also increased. First, find that competitive edge that you have over your competitor, which is a measurable difference and benefit to your guests. It could be specific services, extended hours, focus on certain markets, or any of dozens of distinctions that allow you to stand apart.  You then become the market leader in that special area of distinction and an expert. Media of all types are always looking for fresh expert perspectives and sources for stories. The amount of coverage will vary on the type of story, but being quoted as an authority and an expert in a focused piece will pay positive dividends.

2.      Make a focused effort to become a local news source — While local newspapers are struggling, there are still many print and broadcasting options available in local markets.  These  media focus on hometown and regional stories for logical reasons, including their sincere goal to feature interesting stories and ideas on local businesses. If it doesn’t have a local slant, they may not be  interested.  We have all seen enjoyed people helping people stories and the hospitality industry has many of those kinds of inspirational examples to share  

3.      Prepare genuine solid press releases and send them out at reasonable times.   Smaller budgets in challenging economic times may mean  more self directed PR efforts and problems can arise.   Thinking like an editor or a reporter may not be second nature, but any hospitality business manager or  owner can be successful with some practice and effort.  Press releases should not be about special prices unless there is a real story on it, such as for example returning to the price levels when the business was founded 25 years ago for a certain period. The real impact stories tend  to focus more on the personal side of life.  The CBS Sunday Morning show in the US often has many of these kind of stories that are not heavy news, but that touch people in different ways.  Look for genuine stories of unique tourism, or events that are not likely to be as well-known.  

4.      Work with the media in a postie fashion— Media still has deadlines and they are likely covering your hospitality business  on one, so recognize their pressures when you can. If a reporter calls you, get back to them as quickly as you can.  I have written an earlier piece on CRISIS COMMUNICATION and I recommend you are prepared to handle the inevitable crisis that will affect your hospitality business someday.

5.      Recognize and support Social Media as a major player in building awareness.   Being visible is essential to success and survival in a world where information is instantaneous. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter and a growing number of dozens of other social media outlets are collectively a fast way to increase that visibility.  Regardless of one's age. Technical interests or preferences, creating a plan to develop social media and potential common stakeholders at a comparatively low cost is something to be considered and used.  The reach is unbelievable, but there needs to be a plan.

Public Relations is effective because of the real or imagined 3rd party endorsement and message.  It seems less like advertising and less intrusive than some direct selling, but we must all appreciate the reality that it is one tool of marketing.   Our success comes from using all of those tools.

What are you doing at your hotel, restaurant or hospitality business?

Hospitality Tip of the WeekTM

"PR means telling the truth and working ethically - even when all the media want is headlines and all the public wants is scapegoats. Public relations fails when there is no integrity."
Viv Segal

Program #17

Thirteen Strategies to Make Your Hotel More Profitable Now
Part of the 2011 Keys To Success Workshop Series

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™   and Principles for Success.

Don't forget the special values being offered to industry professionals available on annual membership at  

Feel free to share an idea for a column at [email protected]  anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them [email protected].   Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.


Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
[email protected]

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Also See: A Smile from - April 14 - International Moment of Laughter Day / Dr. John Hogan / April 2011

Lessons From the Field™: Communications 101 – How to effectively use the telephone / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Principles of Success: Fine Tuning Your Hospitality Business Strategies for A Measurable Competitive Advantage - Part 2 / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Principles of Success: Fine tuning Your Hospitality Business Strategies for A Measurable Competitive Advantage - Part 1 / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Hotels Were More Interesting than Selling Insurance: An Unexpected Career; A Professional and Personal Tribute to Neil Salerno, CHME CHA / Dr. John Hogan and Howard Feiertag / March 2011

Principles of Success: Evaluate Your Hospitality Business Strategies to Create a Real and Measurable Competitive Advantage / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Sales Blitzes: A Look At the Benefits of Team Efforts / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Principles for Success: No Nonsense Benchmarking for Hotels and Hospitality Businesses / Dr. John Hogan / March 2011

Principles for Success: What we have here is a FAILURE to COMMUNICATE! / Dr. John Hogan / February 2011

Making This New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Last - Part 3; Real and Practical Action Steps #13-28 / Dr. John Hogan / February 2011

Making This New Year's Hospitality Resolutions: Real and Practical - Sales Action Steps #1-12 / Dr. John Hogan / January 2011

Making New Year's Hospitality Resolutions Real and Practical; A “Fresh Air- New Ideas” Perspective / Dr. John Hogan / January 2011

Keys to Success: Be Aware of and Work with the Law; Do Not be Afraid of it / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Keys to Success: Make Your Hotel More Profitable and Successful – 2011 is the critical time to invest in Your Talent and Your Team / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Keys to Success: A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry; 13 Best Practices for Hospitality Training Managers & Directors / Dr. John Hogan / December 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Looking Ahead! / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Learning from The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

Five Considerations in Hiring a Hospitality Consultant; Understanding the Qualifications for Effective Hospitality Consultants / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Half Luck and Half Brains - Kemmons Wilson's 20 Steps for Success / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Ten Quotes Addressing the Topic of SERVICE / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations - Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance (Part 2 of 2) / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance Part 1 of 2 / Dr John Hogan

Hospitality Conversations: Examining the Learning Options Available in the Hospitality Field / Dr John Hogan / July 2010
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