In the mind of average hotel management, PR is just an expense that takes their time, costs money, and does not guarantee results. Chasing those super important quarterly targets and doing the weekly management meetings, doing PR to grow a hotel brand is usually not a priority for hotel marketing teams. Big mistake.
Before we get into the specs of hotel marketing and hotel PR press release distribution, see some stories to get inspired.
Stories about hotels that grew into iconic status with media attention and public relations
All iconic hotel brands have significant PR coverage. When thinking about classic luxury hotel brands, we often imagine movie stars like Marilyn Monroe in her famous Beverly Hills Hotel, or rock stars snorting coke in Los Angeles hotel suites.
In more recent times, diplomatic deals among world leaders, like Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un did in St. Regis Singapore. The hotel received enormous publicity, so much that their brand website failed to cope with the sudden increase in web traffic. Experts estimated that it would have cost around $6,000,000 in ad spend to receive the same traffic within one week. The hotel secured its name in history books and documentaries for the next hundred years.
Donal Trump and Kim Jong-un used to arrange meetings in Vietnam as, which made the Hanoi Metropole even more famous. Time, Forbes, Business, and all other big media wrote about them.
Privileged people doing out-of-ordinary things in luxurious surroundings, with journalists, paparazzi, and the whole media after them. In 1972, Keith Richards from Rolling Stones threw a TV off a hotel balcony, and decades after its still in the know. It made the Andaz West Hollywood (formerly the Continental Hyatt House) more popular than ever. Fans want to stay in the same suite even today. And all it cost was few-hundred-dollar TV.
These are the events and happenings that made hotel brands famous, unforgettable and sought-after. The same is happening today.
While you are trying to figure out which emoji works best for your hotel’s Facebook page, or what subject line to write for an e-mail newsletter (that 2% will open), some other hotels are already planning their way to put write brand name onto the hotel hall of fame.
And let me tell you something. Keith Richards did not throw out that TV by accident. It was a classic PR stunt. Everything was prepared and purposefully published in various popular media outlets of the time. So before thinking about trashing a hotel room for publicity, make sure that the media is there and broadcasting.
PR is not advertising, but the targeted and purposeful storytelling to shape public opinion about your hotel brand
Most independent hotel marketing teams avoid PR because they don’t know how to do it – while others start it the wrong way, seeing it as an advertising tool. That is not true.
We have seen hotel press releases talking about “XYZ hotel introduced a 10% discount on direct bookings and 25% discount on massage”. Sorry, but this is not newsworthy, and even if such press releases make it to publishing, hardly any readers will get excited about it. This means that the PR campaign’s value will be zero.
Public relations for hotels is not about advertising, or anything advertorial. It is about crafting and sharing stories that will catch the attention of the public, bring attention to your hotel brand, and that is it. People love to read and share good stories. Editors love good stories. So think about what would make a good story that has the potential to go viral.
Public relations and PR is available for independent hotels too, even with a low marketing budget
Frequent news and media coverage is probably the single best tool to build reputation, grow brand awareness and generate demand for your hotel. The good news is that it is available for every hotel management team with some creativity. And it does not need to cost a lot either.
The most iconic hotel brands are built with continuous public relations management efforts, and they invested a significant amount of time and resources in building their connections with media executives, journalists, high-profile celebrities, politicians, and business people who are continuously in the news.
Even if you do not want to aspire to iconic status, getting started with hotel PR can increase your hotel brand reputation in powerful ways. Many of our hotel clients became famous because of doing public relations.
You do not need to invest millions of dollars to invite and host celebrities, or to buy journalists to write about your hotel. All you need to do is crafting exciting stories and distribute press releases to journalists. We are talking about less than $1,000 for a PR campaign.
How much do hotel PR and press release distribution cost?
There are different solutions to get started with hotel PR. The most obvious solution is to connect with a specialized PR agency that has all the media contacts you need to introduce your hotel brand to the public. The problem is that traditional PR agencies are rather expensive.
Typical monthly retainers with a hospitality-focused PR agency will range between $2,000-$5,000 on the low end and top-notch firms can go all the way up to $20,000-$50,000 per month depending on the scope of work and value provided.
International hotel brands can spend millions of dollars to buy all the publicity they need to secure an always-growing brand reputation.
For most independent hotels with a low marketing budget, signing a long-term contract with a PR agency does not seem like a suitable option. In this case, occasional press releases are a great alternative.
Here at Daniel Diosi & Partners, we also offer one-off press release distribution services, that can reach millions of journalists around the world. In addition, we can share your PR updates and press releases to industry-standard newswires, such as Cision and PR Newswire.
All you need is a good story and $750 for the press release distribution, and you can get started with regular, or occasional hotel PR campaigns. In case your marketing team is not comfortable with crafting PR stories, we can help with that too.
Why public relations and media features are important for a hotel brand?
Before you make your decision to start PR activities for your hotel brand or not, let’s recap the benefits of public relations.
- Instant reputation boost for your hotel brand
- The most cost-effective brand-building tool
- An excellent tool for hotel brand and marketing communication
- People will talk about your hotel
- Reaching people without advertising
Other than the minimal PR investment, there is nothing to lose by getting started with hotel public relations campaigns.
While your hotel might not become the next Ritz-Carlton or the next Burj al Arab, consistent PR efforts can elevate your hotel brand above your competitive set in your destination. Leading hotel brands engage in public relations for a reason, and PR has been an excellent brand-building tool for hotels for nearly a century.