Sensorpro’s Chris Byrne advises hoteliers to plan ahead: “as we are now in the middle of winter holiday season, hospitality firms should be looking at the next season or next years’ bookings by reaching out to their customers now.”
In hospitality, every season brings something new and marketing, advertising, and PR need to align with certain events of the year. Each passing month has its highlights, some attracting more business than others. Valentine’s Day, for example, is a gold mine for companies all over the world. Summers are ideal for beach properties, winters beckon with skiing resorts, autumns bring harvest festivals like Oktoberfest, and the list of examples goes on forever, as each destination is different.
Sensorpro’s Chris Byrne advises hoteliers to plan ahead: “as we are now in the middle of winter holiday season, hospitality firms should be looking at the next season or next years' bookings by reaching out to their customers now.”
This makes sense as studies have shown that people are planning holidays well in advance taking advantage of early booking fees for airlines. Many hotels offer season packages at discounted prices, attracting more guests with early-bird fees.
Speaking of seasonal events, Rafe Gomez of VC Inc. Marketing suggests cooperation with local charitable organizations: “Hotel properties that offer seasonal dining events should partner with charitable organizations in their communities, and donate a portion of the proceeds of the events to those organizations.“ Beyond the PR benefits of such actions, hotels can also “ramp up social media engagement, elevate the connection between the property and its community, and elevate marketplace awareness of both the partnership and the event,” Gomez added.
To illustrate how hotels can partner with local charities, we can look at a past event where Mamaison Residence Downtown Prague joined forces with Chance 4 Children for a Christmas event collecting educational and sport-themed presents for the little ones living at a children’s come in Písek.
Christina Daves, founder of PR for Anyone reminds hotel owners and managers to be genuine and active on Facebook, mainly taking advantage of Facebook Live: “Show your existing and potential audience you and your property, authentically, through the eyes of a smartphone video – not a professional sales video. After you’ve done the live video, boost the post and expand your reach to your targeted demographic.”
Seasonal PR applies for hotels with restaurants too. These have excellent media opportunities every time they update their menus. “Hold media dinners each and every time a new menu is featured, which should happen every quarter,” said Whitney Moerings of White Water Agency. “Media dinners should be hosted for food editors, local reporters, and food bloggers. Wine and dine local influencers, discuss the menu and wine/cocktail pairing, and host a party strictly for them. In exchange, each media influencer will write, review, photograph, snapchat, Instagram, and so on, giving the hotel and restaurant expanded press coverage,” she added.
Andrea Cordts of Fetch PR reminds hoteliers and hospitality pros to prepare their media materials long before the season: “The number one thing hoteliers and hospitality pros need to do to prepare for spring 2017 is to have all of their materials, promotions, and photos ready to go well *before* spring. Your public relations and social media efforts will not be nearly as successful if you are too late to catch anyone's attention! Once you have everything in place, begin reaching out to media to find out when they will be writing about travel trends, local deals, etc. Most people are shocked at how early media begin planning. Social media is a bit more relaxed, but you still want to hit your channels hard at least a month out,” she told Travel Daily News.
Finally, Julie Freeman, managing director at NJF, an MMGY Global Company, reminds hoteliers that many travelers enjoy experiencing destinations like a local: “Hoteliers can meet this demand by showcasing local artists and musicians, creating walking tours that include hidden gems, and partnering with local businesses.” The opportunities are endless every different season.
Please join me again next week when I will share concrete examples of seasonal PR tips for summer that can boost hotel occupancy.
A former military journalist, Mihaela is the founder and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She's also the former founder/editor at Everything PR, Search Engine Journal, and Argo Travel News. Her credentials speak for themselves: she is a cited authority on public relations issues, and her work and expertise are featured on BBC News, Reuters, Yahoo! Small Business Adviser, Al Jazeera, The Epoch Times, SitePoint, Search Engine Journal, and many others.