By Lorraine Abelow
The often baffling variety of content streams can be bewildering for sales and marketing executives. An integrated hospitality PR program that engages and ultimately sells to your target market is a challenge – but absolutely vital.
Your sales toolbox requires constant churning of content rich messages and intensive outreach by your marketing team through online PR. Getting through to editors to gain A list exposure in such outlets as Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times benefit from relationships developed over time. That is where a savvy travel and luxury PR agency comes in. But, you'd be surprised how regional magazines like Ocean Drive in Miami and blogs can work effectively.
Find a hotel PR agency that can affordably manage your entire communications platform successfully. At the outset it is vital to get your foundation in place. That means identifying how you are different than other properties, and from there creating your key message points.
Push Out That Publicity Through Social Media
There is nothing more seductive than a published article about your property so share those placements with your community, and is a super way to juice up your Instagram and Facebook feeds. When integrating your publicity campaign make sure to synchronize your social media program. All of this is happens once you have an integrated your hospitality PR plan in place.
When stories appear in the media, push them through your feeds. Your social media influencer marketing team works hard to place these stories, whether they are mentions or home runs, your followers will be excited by these posts. An added benefit is that journalists will get ideas for stories of their own through about you.
Blogger relations is also essential, but a full vetting out is necessary. Surprisingly, blogs are highly influential and get indexed by Google, but it is important to evaluate the blogger carefully.
Pass It On: Kindness Works!
Remember, "Pass it on?" We live in a friendly age, and you are a good corporate citizen to congratulate your competition, too. So, if you are mentioned in a round-up, tag the hotel down the block that is featured as well. We are all in this together.
At any given time there is a story in the local news of people "paying it forward." Some instances are organic, like the "kindness chain" at a Starbucks in Florida. Others, like an initiative to provide holiday cards to military men and women overseas, take some coordination. Always the efforts are built on the philosophy of helping others in a selfless way. So what happens when a brand tries to use this social phenomenon as the basis of a social marketing campaign?
Last year, JetBlue introduced its latest promotional effort, a campaign called "Fly It Forward" that provides consumers worthy of admiration with a free flight and gives them the chance to do the same for others.
The campaign kicked off with a Chicago community worker-turned-United Nations delegate who received a ticket to New York City. She, in turn, awarded one to a woman who was in rehab after losing both her legs in an accident, and the trend continued. JetBlue launched the campaign with four profiles selected by JetBlue crewmembers and a planning team that "scoured the social web for deserving stories." Then it turned the job over to the people of Twitter, asking them to nominate "Fly It Forward" candidates
A successfully campaign must be planned and launched with intensity. There must be a steady stream of coverage and exposure daily in your feeds. Through all of these activities, you will gain increased exposure, build website traffic, and the public will gain general knowledge about your property or company. When it comes to making a choice, they will choose you over your competitors. Since you never know when they will be inclined to make a travel decision, your constant visibility is required.
Luxury Travel's Distinctive Footprint on Social Media
A a solid digital public relations firm will tell you, creativity is key to get stories and position your product so it is eye catching. Hyatt used this approach as a way to get noticed in the social media universe by creating @HyattConcierge on Twitter, which displays both their superb customer service and enables its customers to maintain the conversation beyond just days spent at their hotels. Creating these opportunities for customer interaction and integrating them with media campaigns keeps you present in a consumer's mind, a great way to create a lifelong customer.
Snapchat: Timely and Powerful Techniques
Snapchat is an emerging platform that has caught on like wildfire with the attention of an increasingly important audience – Millennials. W Hotels jumped at the chance to be the first travel brand to participate in a national geofilter campaign. W Hotels partnered with a multimedia artist to create new geofilters. The filters were created to support the Human Rights Campaign's fight for equality, and they featured phrases such as "I am what I am" and "The road to equality has never been straight." Timely and powerful. This is also timely given the #metoo campaign that has created a groundswell on Facebook and Instagram.
One of the many advantages of a savvy hospitality PR firm is their ability to integrate social media with traditional media outlets. With hundreds of millions of consumers actively using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Snapchat to make travel plans with more signing up each second, the time for the hospitality industry to get involved is now. Boutique PR agencies are often the most affordable, seen they are lean and mean.