Friday, June 11, 2010

Public Relations - Like Money in the Bank

I have to admit, there are times when I have missed working for an iconic Hotel, a place with history and overwhelming market presence, where all of the major social events take place.

Those Hotels have their benefits, and they are not without their challenges as well. But one of the benefits has often been having an in-house Public Relations Manager or Director.

When you have that kind of property, with that kind of profile, everyone can see the value in having an in-house person to handle Public Relations. It’s an easy sell, and, you can more clearly demonstrate the ROI that you are getting for your investment.

When you are not at a property like I have just described, it is often a great deal harder to justify having an in-house Public Relations person, and I get that. I would agree that there simply is not the ROI to justify that position.

That said, I do still believe that every property should invest in Public Relations, in one way or another, and specifically, should have a Public Relations strategy.

If you are opening a Hotel, in my opinion, there is no excuse for not employing someone, albeit on contract, for at least a 12 month period, starting about 6 months before you open, and potentially terminating, or trimming back, about 6 months after you’ve been open.

Under those circumstances, the ROI is definitely there, and if you find the right person, they have all the contacts that you could spend the next year trying to form relationships with, and you still wouldn’t have the relationship that your PR guru will have with them, and that is where the value starts to show up.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Deirdre Campbell and her team at Tartan Public Relations, more than once over the years, and they have certainly demonstrated that value connections for me, and, they are just a great bunch of people to work with who know and understand our industry. Just what you want from a business partner.

With the right person in place, they can make a few calls, or blast out a few emails, and if they have provided solid leads in the past, to qualified writers who are looking for their next story, then those media types will come, and, because they have been pre-qualified you could say, your chances of an article are strong, certainly, way stronger than you trying to pitch this on your own.

And even if you have an existing product in the market, I would still advocate for you to get a Public Relations person in, and get them to generate some ideas for you. Sit down with them, tell them what you want from your relationship, get a quote, establish some measurable outcomes, and get on with it.

It’s money well spent. Just one well placed article, or perhaps a new idea that gives you a point of differentiation in your market, has certainly got a great deal more value than the type of contracted, short-term job that I am speaking about.

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