If you think media connection is all it takes to excel in hospitality public relations, think again. It is one thing to generate press releases and garner publicity, and another to ace in hospitality PR. Here’s our tip: Look into how a hotel is chosen by guests in your region and work out the publicity strategies from there.
In Market Metrix, a global hotel study that analysed the reasons why guests select a particular accommodation, past experience (11.9%) plays a much bigger role in hotel selection than the influence of a recommendation by friend or colleague (6.8%), reputation of hotel (5.5%), special promotion (5.0%), loyalty programs points / rewards (3.8%), and positive online reviews (2.9%).
What Asian Guests Look For When Choosing A Hotel
In Asia, personal referrals and recommendations are a powerful influencing factor. 12.2% of hotel bookings come from recommendations by friends or colleagues. Personal referrals play a much lesser role in Europe (7.5%) and are relied on even in the Americas (4.1%). These recommendations are based on personal experience which makes customer service even more critical.
In order to succeed in garnering personal referrals, creating consistent and superior guest experience is fundamental yet wide-spectrum: It requires greater emphasis on stay experience, insights of location and network of benefits.
Living at the height of social media and the increasing number of user-generated reviews, emphasis on reputation management and its guest experience precursor have never mattered more.
The Importance of Being Hospitable in Hospitality PR
As much as it is the job of the housekeeping to get the room ready for the next guest, it is the duty of a hospitality PR practitioner to build and safeguard the reputation of the hospitality establishment. Reputation management in the hospitality industry is an ever-ongoing process of ensuring excellent guest experience every single time. This requires a PR practitioner to not only be efficient but hospitable. While the term hospitable can be rather vague for most, we have outlined the three E’s of what it means to be hospitable.
Empathy is one of the most crucial interpersonal intelligence qualities an excellent PR practitioner should have. It is the ability to actively listen, understand and relate to feelings of the guest, interpret the unspoken and appreciate and acknowledge diverse viewpoints. This trait is especially important when it comes to planning for an itinerary, negotiating for exposures and when guests encountered an unpleasant experience. The ability to stand in the shoes of the media and that of the client aids in safeguarding interests and ensuring the best outcomes for each of the parties involved.
Passion is among the top qualities sought after by employers in the hospitality industry . This requirement extends beyond the service staff to the PR practitioners. The enthusiasm to ensure that the media representatives have an enjoyable experience at the premise is crucial. While the amenities and service standards speak for themselves, the infectious gusto of a good PR practitioner would take interpretation and communication of the experience to another level. This often involves going above and beyond one’s job requirements such as customising welcome packages and bringing the media reps to explore nearby sights and happenings. For those trying to discover or rediscover that spark of passion, or as the speaker puts it – to see the miracle in the mundane, we recommend this TEDx video:
PRoTip: While it is important to ensure that the media has a great time and that the client receives favourable publicity, there is a fine line between gift-giving and bribery. Always gift responsibly!
Attention to details is a common requirement for both PR and hospitality industries . Any mistakes in coordinating itineraries or leaving out certain details in the media kit could tarnish the overall experience. The effects could be much severe when it involves lengthy corporate procedures, agencies and overseas media. Minute faults on any part could greatly inconvenience the other parties involved. As much as it is a PR practitioner’s duty to solve problems, it is usually easier to pre-empt them. By paying the necessary attention to details and accounting for each possible scenario, the margin for errors can be greatly reduced.
While other competencies are essential to land a position in hospitality PR, what helps to set a fantastic practitioner apart from a mediocre one is the possessing of all the three E’s.
 Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education Vol.23, Issue 2, 2011, Seeking Excellent Recruits For Hotel Management Training: An Intercultural Comparative Study, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10963758.2011.10697001
 Hospitality Schools, Top 10 Qualities of a Great Hospitality Employee, 2017, http://hospitalityschools.com/resources/top-10-qualities-of-a-great-hospitality-employee.