All Hotels Need a PR Plan

Whether a hotel is small, inexpensive, luxury, a resort, near a national park, or something else, PR should be a primary concern for any destination. For all types of hotels and whether or not a PR professional is in their budget, it’s still important to get the word out and keep getting it out.

In small communities near a significant tourist attraction, there are built-in approaches that can be shared on websites and social media. But the truth is, for all hotels one of the most important things to know is what about your hotel is special, unique, outstanding, or better than others in a similar price range in the area.

Find What’s Unique

A honeymoon specialty resort in the Poconos might have a heart-shaped or champagne glass tub, a fireplace, and a round bed, and pictures of those should be on the website, but many other hotels in the area will also have those. Either look for or create something unique to your hotel, maybe horse riding lessons or putting that tub with sauna jets out on a private balcony overlooking particularly scenic views. It could also be a four-star Michelin rated restaurant on the premises. Whatever is special about your place should be key to all your advertisements and PR, setting you apart from the rest.

If you aren’t certain, then speak to your visitors, ask them what they loved about their stay, what they think would make it better, and ultimately, ask them to write a quick paragraph about your place. Offer them something special for doing so – maybe five free postcards or two-for-one coupons to a local bakery.

Do something special after they leave. Send a thank you or if they came celebrating an anniversary or birthday, make note of it in your calendar to send a card the next year to commemorate and offer something in celebration of that event. It might be an all-day lift ticket if you operate a ski resort, or send a picture of how beautiful nature is there during your off-season.

PR Benefits

PR is usually less expensive than ad campaigns, but they can also work together to amplify your efforts. For small hotels, using social media platforms is a good way to do some targeted advertising without spending a lot of money. Just make sure you get professional-grade photos for your efforts. If you don’t want to spend a lot, offer your guests the opportunity for a free night added to a paid two-night stay if they win a monthly photo contest of the area or something about the hotel they loved.

Talk to employees about extracurricular activities and share their stories with the local newspaper, then share those articles on social media right after it comes out as well as about a month later, and then maybe again six months later. People don’t see all the things listed on social media since only so many things appear on a news feed on the sites.

Small hotels may take advantage of opportunities to list travel-related sites to share their unique and special traits such as extreme customer service or maybe a breakfast buffet for all guests that features fresh blueberry items if the hotel is in blueberry country. Have free drop-off and pick-up service to a nearby amusement park or other activity.

Ideas for a Hotel PR Campaign

  • Look at sites for other hotels near and far to see what works for them and get ideas, then make them applicable to your place.
  • Share stories on social media about events in the community, local places to visit, annual festivals, even who the best local teachers are for skiing, swimming, snorkeling, and surfing. Tell about where the best place to find arrowheads, seashells, souvenirs trinkets, etc.
  • Mention special services like a spa, driving range for golf, tennis lessons from a pro, or family style eating for guests.
  • Always ask for them to write a brief review or to share what they liked best on their social media accounts. Word of mouth PR is one of the most effective ways to promote your business.

Top Questions about Artificial Intelligence Answered


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic at digital marketing conferences this year, and Social Media Marketing World 2017 was no exception. Talking about the future of AI can be mind blowing, especially when experts estimate that computers will rival (or even surpass) human intelligence in as little as 16 years. What shocked me more than these predictions was that this technology isn’t only applicable in the far-off future; there are actually practical ways to apply it to business today. Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, was able to deliver some informative answers to the biggest questions about AI; where it’s going and how businesses should be taking advantage of it:

How do I know if my business could benefit from AI?

  • If you or your employees do the same task three or more times a day, AI could potentially solve it, because Penn predicts that if you do it with a template today, a machine does it without you tomorrow.

How can I implement AI for my business today?

  • You can get 1,000 machine-generated blog posts for as low as $250. Compared to the time it takes an employee to write one, there are a lot of money-saving opportunities for your business when using natural language generation software.
  • If you’re not ready to invest yet, there’s a free AI tool you can try right now. Anyone can retrieve immediate answers to marketing questions like, “How much does my competitor spend on PPC?” and “What keywords are they buying?” using GrowthBot, a machine-learning chatbot available now on Facebook Messenger and Slack. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

“Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.”

Is my job going to be replaced by a robot? How can I avoid this?

  • The harsh truth is, as AI grows, we will need fewer humans, especially at entry level. So business professionals should start developing multidisciplinary skills and think about learning a programming language like R or Python.
  • It will be a few more years before natural language processing starts to make content creators obsolete. To have a marketing career in an AI world, become outcome focused and let the machines do the heavy lifting. Become the guy who helps the machines learn what great writing is.

How can I convince my company and its culture that AI is important? 

  • “Scare them,” says Penn. Use competitors as examples to show how your company will either be leagues ahead or left behind if it doesn’t keep up.

You know the triangle where you have fast, cheap and good, but you only get to pick two? AI is going to change that. The reality is that computers are faster, cheaper and smarter than humans, so we should start finding ways to work with AI now. If you don’t, your competitors will.


How Diverse Are We?

Reporting on diversity is tricky for small organisations. Percentages can be misleading when a single hire or departure can shift the proportions in a category by 5 or 10 percent. And you need to be careful about what you’re publishing when percentages on charts might represent a single individual, you risk breaching confidences. Typically, as well, small organisations don’t have HR departments, there’s no one with specific training in what ‘diversity’ questions to ask and how to ask them.

Nevertheless we think it’s important to start monitoring our diversity and equally important for us to share what we can. That report is below. We’re afraid there aren’t any fancy bar charts, there’s not enough data to require them. There’s also a brief note on our method.

Doing this has made us wonder whether there’s a way we can join with other organisations to make this stuff easier for us all, perhaps we can share tools and techniques and create a useful set of comparison data. We’re going to look into that and write more soon.

 If you’re interested in joining in, please get in touch.

What have we learned from the data?

We need to be more diverse. We’re doing better than some in some areas; our creative department, for instance, is 40% women, but even that’s not the 50% it should be and that’s a highlight. We’re too male, too white, and too heterogeneous. We need to fix that. That will be part of our growth plan and we will report on our progress here.

Diversity at BETC London March 2017

(We’ve rounded all the figures so they may add up to more than 100%)

  • 60% of us are men, 40% are women. 
  • 33%of the senior management is female (ie there are two men and one woman)
  • More than half of us (57%) are between 25 and 34. 22% are 35-44, 13% are 16-24, 8% are 45-54.
  • We have no staff who would be defined as disabled according to the 2010 Equality Act and no one with a long-term health problem.
  • We are 57% white (of various British origins) and 26% white (from non-British origins). We’re 5% Black British, 5% Arab and 9% from mixed/multiple ethnic background.
  • 48% of us went to a state school, 26% attended school outside the UK, 26% went to a fee-paying school.
  • 78% of us went to university and 43% of us were part of the first generation in their family to do so.
  • 22% of us are primary or secondary carers for children. (So we’re pretty committed to be a family-friendly place to work)

Note on method

We did this by sending round a Google Forms questionnaire which you can see here.  

It’s based on this one (WARNING – Word doc) from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They seem like the kind of organisation that would have thought this stuff through. If you’d like to use our questionnaire for your study please feel free. Get in touch and we’ll share it.