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MARKETING: Effective Public Relations as a Marketing Tool in the Hospitality Industry
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Effective Public Relations
as a Marketing Tool in the Hospitality Industry
By Anne Shore

BT 201711 MARKETING 01      看过我们的过往期刊的朋友对酒店业一定不会陌生。从过去的一些业内人士的访谈记录和报道中,我们也了解到不少该行业的乐趣与挑战所在。

      当然,酒店业不单单包括我们所熟知的住宿服务部分,还包含餐饮、旅行在内。这类服务的共同特征是以大众的闲暇时间和出行需求为依托,所以提供更好的服务、口碑以提高市场份额成为酒店业始终需要关注的问题。在此基础上,维护好公共关系就显得尤为重要。

      公共关系通常又被称为PR,主要职能为组织机构信息传播,关系协调与形象管理事务的咨询、策划、实施和服务的管理职能。包括选创组织的成功,降低组织失败的影响,宣布变更等等。和中国传统个人关系的中的面子类似。在市场营销学体系中,公共关系是企业机构唯一一项用来建立公众信任度的工具,它可以为企业树立信誉,建立良好的企业形象;毕竟在当今社会中,公众舆论对企业有着更大的影响力。争取舆论支持,争取公众信任,成为企业生存发展的重要条件之一。公共关系通过具体工作树立公司良好形象,以取得公众理解、支持、信任,从而有利于企业推出新产品、筹集资金、吸引人才,实现盈利目标。公共关系处理得当还可以协调纠纷,化解企业信任危机,将危机造成的组织信誉、形象损失降到最低限度,进而因势利导,使坏事变为好事。这种功能是广告、人员推销、营业推广所不具有的。

      作为服务行业,酒店业无论多重视公共关系都不为过。通过平媒、纸媒、网络媒体进行宣传营销和维护酒店声誉都是可以看得见收效的不错方式。而无论是普通宣传还是活动路演,酒店品牌的公关活动都是一个“劳动密集型”工作。其中需要大量的人员、沟通、策划和严格的执行。只要执行得当,PR工作都可以成为一个令你为之赞叹的有效市场推广方法。

BT 201711 MARKETING 03
The hospitality industry is a wide-ranging industry that comprises of 3 broad business groups viz. Accommodations (hotels, lodging, motels, etc.), Food & Beverages (restaurants, bars, fast food chains, etc.) and lastly Travel and Tourism (airlines, travel agencies, cruise lines, etc.). All of these business groups meticulously provide services to the public and strive to enhance their experiences and satisfaction aspects.
 

What makes it stand out from other industries is that the Hospitality industry greatly relies on customer’s free time and surplus income. And that's why providing superior services to the customers has to be the most significant focus of these business groups, as the public is not there because of their primary necessities. For employing this, one needs to come up with several marketing strategies, creative notions, precise planning, and favorable implementation techniques.

BT 201711 MARKETING 06What does the term “Public Relations” mean?

Public Relations is a two-way communication strategy framed by businesses to create a renowned and positive public image of their business brand. Using different types of tactics, companies try to maintain a mutual relationship of understanding with its customers. Often, Public Relations might be misinterpreted as Advertising or Media relations. Rather, the sole purpose of Public Relations is to influence the opinions of customers so they hold positive impression and better understanding towards the company.
 

Difference between “Public Relations” and “Advertising”:

BT 201711 MARKETING 02 2Marketing is a firm’s strategy of using Market Research and Marketing Tools to promote and sell their services. Out of these, two core Marketing tools are Advertising and Public Relations. Advertising is a mass communication tool that promotes a service or a product via audio or visual modes (paid).
 

Public Relations is a highly effective marketing technique where public attitude, public needs, and public concerns are accessed and various programs are executed accordingly to satisfy them. In simple words, Public Relations target the concept of market research, public response and feedback. That is why PR is more like building a personal relationship with the customer. Besides, this method is much more cost-effective than Advertising.
 

PR works to gain positive attention of the customers towards their company and strives to mitigate any kind of negative publicity. Meaning, it makes sure the customers, stakeholders, employees, different suppliers, etc. are all aware of your brand’s or property’s name and appreciate the image that it has framed through mass communication.
 

Assets of Public Relations:

If compared to Advertising, Public Relations has more credibility because the content is generated by trusted third parties and is not uncensored or biased like Advertising. And in addition to that, it is much more inexpensive than Advertising.
 

Effective ways of implementing Public Relations as a Marketing tool

• Emphasizing your achievements and positive assets:

Public relations is an inherent tactic for the hospitality industry to enlighten its customers about their potential assets through media outlets. Use PR to elucidate your company’s positive image in respect to your competitors. Make it a point to not generate lies but only emphasize your potentials, or else that is just going to attract negative publicity from media. Examples of this can be publicizing that your hotel possesses historical heritage or your company establishing into another sector or so on.
 

BT 201711 MARKETING 04• Expand your Audience:

Building a positive image about your property/brand is often limited only to customers. Even though customers make up a huge part of your audience, you still need to reach out to other types of audience as well. For that, try to raise awareness regarding your company amongst Industry experts as well as Industry Publications. By doing that, you get a chance to present yourself as an expert in your field and build more credibility for your company's name. Plus, this will be eventually carried to general public as well.
 

Business media is yet another audience that plays a vital role in creating business stories which many customers have access to.
 

• Building Media Relations:

Media will act as a source to circulate news and messages through different channels to portray your company's name. This includes release of media statements, on-site media tours, releasing fact sheets and so on. Creating good relationships with media will allow you to get hold of key journalists and help you manage problems, crisis or risks that your company is facing.
 

• Effective use of Social Media:

Social media is a widespread platform where you get to directly communicate with your customers rather than through any media channels. Social media sites let you boost exposure of your business brand in a very short time and also increases the scope of audience engagement. Travel Blogs or Video blogs (vlogs) is the most radical way of Marketing where visitors are stating their experiences through videos or personal writings. This greatly influences website page visitors to visit your hotel or tourist destination.
 

• Print Media:

Credibility through Newsletters, Reviews in newspapers or magazines is much more effective than that through Advertising. With these tools, you can release your new services, cut rates or plans that will be launched in near future.
 

Frequent newsletters will boost your personal relationship with customers and enhance the image of your business brand. The only concern here would be, the information provided through print media must be newsworthy and of great value, not just for your business brand but for your customers as well.
 

• Involving in Partnerships and Sponsorship:

To create goodwill and appreciation towards your business brand, one needs to build loyalty and emotional relationship with customers. If your business brand supports any non-profit social cause or sponsors charity events, it might appeal customers to put their trust in your business. PR will work towards using this opportunity to grab the attention of editors so they cover this story and make it newsworthy. This adds directly to the positive word of mouth for your business.

BT 201711 MARKETING 09Wrapping Up

Public Relations is a great strategy to help Sales and Marketing teams in boosting their outreach creativities. This is done by adding straight to the word of mouth (WOM), increasing your business brand’s exposure and keeping up with the competitors. Which is why, Sales and Marketing teams are incomplete without the PR.
 

Hospitality industry needs to recognize the potential of PR and utilize it as a broad platform of two-way Mass communication. Comprehensively speaking, Hospitality industry, be it tourism or hotel or restaurants, can achieve great success when Print media, Social media, and Public Relations is scrupulously employed as their Marketing tools.
 

Hoteliers also need to take heed that PR campaigns are not going to make them popular overnight. When actually implemented, PR becomes much more realistic than it sounds and so you need to focus on creating a long-lasting impact on your business brand. You need to assess how exactly your business brand is being observed internationally, nationally and locally.
 

Even though implementing PR is not so mind-boggling, but it is a labor-intensive procedure where a lot of strategies, communication, relationship-building, schedules, deadlines, writing, etc. is dedicated. If you do it right, PR works as an amazing Marketing tool for portraying a credible image of your brand.
 

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