There are many hotel marketing blogs and hotel consultants writing lukewarm ideas about promoting your hotel brand with the help of PR and media.
While some of their hotel PR marketing strategies are good, others are plain useless. The information about this topic is confusing. Probably this is a reason why hotel PR management is not commonly adopted.
The PR and media adoption rate among independent hotels is shocking. Less than 30% of hotel management teams engage in regular hotel PR activities, and only 10% shared claimed that public relations hold an important part of their hotel brand and marketing strategy.
Hotel brand awareness and public relations are linked
Only very few independent hotel brands do an extraordinary job in terms of PR marketing management. The keyword here is extraordinary. Doing average things is unlikely to get average results. Copying basic hotel PR and marketing tricks will make your hotel brand average, so plan to do something better instead.
Having a strong brand is a priceless asset in independent hotel marketing. A popular hotel brand generates demand, makes guests want to book your hotel while enabling you to dictate room rates. We always say that the shortest way to break out from the price-location competitive pricing trap is elevating your hotel brand value above the competition. Good hotel PR management a brand is the #1 tool for that.
Just a quick note: inviting average social media influencers is not a hotel PR strategy
When we talk about hotel brand management strategies with our consulting clients, PR management is always a topic to discuss. Not surprisingly, most lots of hotels consider social media marketing as part of their hotel PR strategy.
“We invite influencers regularly” – they say. Those influencers are typically low to mid-tier Instagram profiles with little to no relevance to the actual target market of the hotel. Working with social media influencers is only a good tool if they are true celebrities, being famous for something other than just having a popular social profile.
Micro-influencers, content creators, and travel bloggers have little to no hotel PR value and contribute close to nothing to the brand growth of the property.
In this article, we will discuss some beefy hotel PR strategies and techniques that turned average hotels and resorts into sought-after brands. It’s time to forget the small-time hotel PR management like sending press releases, YouTube Ads, micro-influencer, or buying social media shoutouts. Think big. So let’s get started!
What can you do to increase your hotel brand popularity in dramatic measures?
1. Get your hotel featured in movies
Getting your hotel featured in movies is the fastest way to build an iconic brand presence. Think about all those iconic landmark hotels in Manhattan, New York, or those resorts where popular movies have taken place? There is hardly anyone on planet Earth who would not know the Plaza Hotel from Home Alone 2 – where Kevin McCallister spent his Christmas away from his family. That was like 30 years ago.
Why would anyone want to feature your hotel in their upcoming movie? We can suggest a couple of good reasons. Contact us to discuss further.
Did you know that Donald Trump demanded to be featured in Home Alone 2 as part of their deal with the movie producers?
A more recent example of this is The Dictator, a comedy from 2012. The filming location was the Roosevelt Hotel, East 45th Street & Madison Avenue, Manhattan.
Approach movie production companies
Securing locations for movies can be very expensive. Filmmakers on a budget are always looking for viable locations for their scenes that won’t require spending too much. Approaching filmmakers, movie production studios, and other film-industry-specific companies is a great start in finding opportunities to be featured.
Offer accommodation, facilities, and services for movie features
Shooting a movie is expensive. Besides paying for the location, film crew members need food, water, coffee, bathrooms, and a place to stay. Your hotel might be perfect for them.
Make sure that the movie feature of your hotel will have significant PR promotional value
In return for providing location and services for filmmakers, make sure that your hotel will be mentioned, credited, and highlighted multiple times in the final movie.
Needless to say, every single feature needs to be agreed on and has to be precisely outlined in a contract. You need to be able to make the film production company legally liable – in case they fail to include the features that were previously agreed on.
2. Invite top celebrities to your hotel (not influencers)
Most celebrities will charge a significant amount of money to agree to a public PR stay in your hotel. You don’t want that. Aside from their compensation, sought-after celebrities will most likely demand to pay return first-class flight tickets for themselves, and all their travel companions. This can be rather expensive, as their travel companions can include their entire family, their trainer, photographer, and further people.
We have been working on cases where an A-list Hollywood celebrity took her personal trainer, hairstylist, lawyer and makeup artist as well. As you might imagine, that particular PR media collaboration was very expensive.
Instead of inviting them to visit your hotel, a much better approach is to offer open invitations. Something like the below:
We are a big fan of yours. If you ever come to (your destination), we would be more than happy to offer our Presidential Suite for your stay and offer free access to all facilities for you and your group.
The Hotel Management Team”
Simple as that, you can offer open invitations to even hundreds of celebrities to stay in your hotel, and from that point, it’s just a numbers game. The more invitation you send, the more chance you will have to secure celebrity stays.
Make sure that you invite popular celebs only, not those B-class rundown folks who used to be popular 10 years ago but hardly anyone cares about today.
3. Offer free stays and meeting space for politicians and high-profile business people
Following the very same hotel PR approach, you can also invite politicians, high-profile businesspeople, or even oligarchs and dictators to visit your prestigious hotel. The more controversial the better.
These people are typically followed by the media, and countless reports will be published about their luxurious hotel stays. Looking beyond media value, if the overall experience turns out to be impressive enough for them, they will not hesitate to recommend your hotel to their affluent friends.
Some of our hotel clients who got started with this program are now enjoying increased meeting, event, and corporate stays. Your hotel brand associated with high-profile business people will enjoy significantly higher demand due to the earned bragging factor.
Who would not like to have their corporate meetings in the Hanoi Metropole where Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had their not so “secret” meetings? Perhaps sitting in the same conference room where these controversial world leaders met?
It is an absolute win-win situation, much better than being stingy and trying to charge them corporate rates or joking by offering free water and newspaper.
4. Seek media attention continuously – have active media relations with journalists
Journalists are in the business of writing good stories. Interesting stories happen in hotels, other than introducing a new welcome drink or updating the massage price list (sarcasm).
Having active connections with journalists is an extremely valuable asset to build a strong media and PR presence for your hotel brand. Of course, you need to treat them right. Do not hesitate to invest in good media connections. Instead of sending out random news or updates to an email list of journalists, keeping them close is a lot better strategy.
Journalists are actively seeking opportunities to write and share good stories, so any time a newsworthy event happens in your hotel, you will be able to update them personally.
High-profile hotel PR strategies and PR management is not for every hotel. While reading this article, you might think that your average hotel will not get the attention of film crews or politicians. You might be right.
Thinking out of the box and identifiying creative PR angles is a good way to come up with suitable scenarios that look well in the media. We always encourage our clients to try to popularize their hotel for what it is. In case you are blessed with a grand building with amazing facilities and features then your PR and media arrangements will happen a lot more easier.
Regardless of what hotel PR management goals you see suitable, your PR strategy will require continous and consistent efforts.
Feel free to contact us to talk about your hotel PR management. We have quite some experience with media, PR as well as top-tier celebreties so we can sure work something out for to grow your hotel brand with the help of PR and media.