Travel and tourism is consists in advertising services, and services are hard to control. That's why PR and Campaigns are trusted here. In this particular assignment I'll look at real need for PR and its role for Travel and Tourism industry. I am going to try to determine requirements for analysis of PR success, skills a PR specialist need and types of press designed for PR specialists. In previous practical part of the assignment I am going to try to build a PR arrange for a luxury hotel and will look at standards for evaluation of your PR plan.
There are numerous meanings of PR, such as "the procedure of creating positive image in third party's brains" or "practice of managing information move between a business and the public". All these definitions have a standard point: PR can be used to shape the good image of a product, organization, and individual; to help a business to meet its goals effectively, successfully and effectively.
The focus on of PR is Image (positive generally, sometimes negative) and the tool used to achieve it is called "publicity". Promotion can be positive or negative, rather than always can be controlled by the organization. Natural disasters are not controllable by companies taking care of travel resorts, these disasters however will bring lots of attention of marketing and damage revenue. Scandals and bad gossips about a super star person - "face" of the company cannot always be controlled. Some people say that there surely is no such thing as bad promotion - any publicity is good. This affirmation is arguable, as bad promotion may create bad image of the business.
PR is tightly related to marketing activities of the business, the targets and goals of both departments are interrelated and often very much dependent on results of each other. The targets of marketing are to add product to a customer in the right place at the right time, "sell" the product on the marketplace. PR helps to achieve these aims by making open public (market) alert to company and its products, creating good image of the company.
PR is part of Promotional combination (Advertising, PR, sales promotions and direct offering). PR is carefully related to advertising, helps to make people aware of a product/business, getting attention of varied public and making sales and profit. Various open public includes customers, shareholders, community, general public (potential clients), money lenders. . . However PR and advert are different, advertising are controllable, costs more, less credible and PR means less control, lower costs, more credibility.
Different uses of PR include press relations, product publicity, corporate communication, sponsorships, influencing specific categories (community). They all work in different way, but all have the aim of creating a good reputation, attracting attention, creating good image of a product or a corporation inside (corporate communication) and outside the company. Important use of PR is defending product reputation through large amount of positive publicity, covering negative image and scandals related to a product/company.
PR is important promotional tool for Travel and Tourism. It includes multiple purposes, such as promoting a meeting or vacation spot, building trustworthiness of a corporation as "green" and liable resident, detracting attention of open public from negative events (injuries, natural disasters).
Let's look closer to different uses of PR in Travel and Tourism industry
Promotional tool. PR is employed by themselves or with other elements of promotional mix. The aim of promotion is create positive impact on public. A business may wish to promote new activity, change in targets, change in general management, etc. PR is vital here, as promotion will be going right through pr announcements, press meetings, sponsorships and awards in contests, invitation of journalists to try new activities (hotel, appeal, flight) free of charge.
Communicational tool. Internal and exterior communication is very important areas of business lifetime and PR is widely used in both of these. Internal communication means communication with company's employees. Can often be underestimated, which might lead to bad morale and affect quality of products and especially services of the business. Service part is vital for tourism industry, as almost all of the products here are combined with services. External communication means keeping exterior parties (customers, shareholders, etc. ) educated about changes in business. Is usually done through media releases, conferences with invitation of important friends (where in fact the media are communicated face-to-face).
Creating awareness. Consciousness means attention and credit from open public (customers, investors, money lenders), is very important to any business. Recognition may be basic, created through ad, helping local charities; orientated to special person/corporation as business plan provided to money lenders (standard bank); a simple word about changes in opening hours in the shop screen. Recognition is important part of PR activities as it gets attention from existing and new stakeholders and creates base for building marriage. New hotel or travel hotel opening will be served will waste promotion to bring public attention and create consciousness.
Building credibility. Reliability means successful procedure of business. PR is important here as simple advertising will not have the same impact as done well news release (people have a tendency to pay better attention articles than to "annoying" adverts). Advertising is done and covered in journalist review of restaurant or appeal, special news release about Eco task. The key of success here is first-hand experience, Tourism industry provides experience generally. Sky hotel will like article in national paper written as third party experience to simple advertisement.
Crisis management. Taking care of negative promotion is another important job of PR. Bad things happen and cannot always be controlled. Negative gossips can damage tourism business, as customer experience and good reputation are vital part of tourism services. Conquering negative implications and covering them with positive promotion (pr announcements, official apologies, results management plan) is part of PR. After implications of tsunami 2011 in Japan were liquidated nationwide tour operators invited travel companies and journalists from across the world to visit Japan, to improve the credit and attention of the public again and bring sales to devastated countrywide tourism.
Sponsorship of an event, competition, charity is an efficient way of attaining and retaining good reputation. It has other benefits: is ways to work together with other organizations, establish relationship for mutual benefits, please important stakeholders by delivering them VIP moves to occurrences (such as free VIP Olympic Games passes were shown to travel firms staff by Games sponsors).
Task 2 Measure the performance of PR in Travel and Tourism business and skills necessary for effective PR.
Successful PR activity requires certain skills from people involved in it. In PR quality of information is more important that its quantity, quality PR is the key to success for a Tourism business. Let's look closer at very important to PR person skills:
Recognizing good opportunities quickly. Opportunity is a screen to success. The key point here's to see good, creative, profitable opportunity and improve it, utilize it before competitors undertake it. This skill forms with education and experience; learning, practicing and constantly refining experience is the best way to maximize the PR potential.
Find information which is very interesting for a presenter (press, marketing). Not all the information is of value for the advertising, press is merely interested in colorful, well written and "hot" stories. Recognizing the value of potential report quickly and presenting it to the marketing correctly is valuable knowledge for a PR person. The capability to choose the best media and offer information to necessary people is very much indeed also important.
Ability to present information well (in internal and external magazines). Is basic PR skill, requires capacity to write grammatically correct, present information in interesting and creative way (style, layout, language, use visual components as furniture and images). Creativeness can be an important here. Communicational materials (brochures, updates, magazines, reports) are of huge use in virtually any business, assisting to research and effect the market (promote, pull attention, build image).
Ability to pull attention of right visitors to business' activity. The Importance of PR events cannot be underestimated. Press meetings, functions, opening parties, exhibitions help bring attention of important people, to establish connections, get positive responses in the advertising. Occurrence of important people at an event (such as potential shareholders or journalists) is vital here.
Ability to build customer relations. This is social skill and partially formed with experience. However, the base of relationship is natural, personal capability to listen, converse well and gain empathy of strangers. The ability to find what customers want and need is essential to building positive customer relations and bringing public attention.
Case analysis: budget accommodation (youth hostel) in central London
As we already know PR is essential for setting up and boosting image of the business. The use of PR may maintain positivity (new product introduction) or negative (problems management).
Let's look deeper at the case study. Piccadilly Hostel is large children hostel in Central London. They have 7 surfaces, 300 sleeping rooms (dormitories of 4, 6, 8 and 10 people and private rooms), in a position to accommodate 700 friends at the same time. The hostel is the only business of Piccadilly Hotel Ltd.
Marketing function here starts with 4P marketing combination (product, price, advertising and place). Product is quality accommodation in central London, shut down to underground stop and main places of interest. The hostel sets budget price, orientated on youth travellers and folks who's simply going on a budget, people from all over the world. Campaigns - hostel is getting its customers via online advertising campaign, direct e-mails, social press (Facebook, Twitter), dealing with international travel firms and posting on contrast websites such as Trip Consultant. Place - the hostel offers almost all of its mattresses online, directly on the web site or through travel companies.
Promotional techniques used are:
Sales promotions, direct marketing. The hostel places price offers in off-peak cycles, e-mails vouchers and money off coupons to its past customers, collections price offers for big groups of folks and customers who stays on for very long time.
Educational visits. Hostel works directly with various travel firms and investors groups. The representatives are often invited for short educational head to (observe the hotel facilities) and also to try the hotel facilities (stay in the hotel).
Advertisement and articles online and in social marketing. The hostel regularly advertises online, places articles on international travel websites around the world (TripAdvisor, Expedia). Hostel has recognized accounts on Facebook and Twitter, with them to converse to fellow customers and post latest price offers and news.
Street advertising. Piccadilly Hostel places advertisements on a huge electronic billboard next to closest underground stop, where it can be seen by many travelers every day.
By combining different method of PR and advertising Piccadilly Hostel gets attention of open public surrounding the world and works as successful business with huge customer platform, presents interest for potential companions and investors.
The term Press relates to print out, broadcasting media, electronic digital and on-line mass media (relatively new and becoming more and more popular), face-to-face contact.
Printed media. Papers, magazines, journals and internet directories and catalogues always performed huge role in advertising and PR activities of Tourism industry. Press releases covering new hotel or appeal, brochures about a company's services (hotel, airfare, and travel company), articles in papers and magazines, printed directories for tourists with contact information of sights and venues have always been of large use within Tourism. Printed press can cover large amount of customers at the same time at relatively low priced, it could be addressed to a specific band of customers (business periodicals, free newspaper publishers read by large group of potential vacationers, etc. ). Is mobile, gives opportunity to assess visitors response by special coupons, has additional trustworthiness factor (advertisement in form of information or review article). Press presents experience in interesting, bright colored way. Is very important to Travel and Tourism industry which relies on selling typically experience.
Broadcasting is often referred to radio and television set, although cinema, theatre and relatively new electronic digital and social multimedia form part of broadcasting press. Each marketing has own benefits and drawbacks, that is why broadcasting advertising often used in complex.
a) Television has always been trusted in PR for promoting products and services (especially by FMCG companies). It can cover large amount of customers in real time, can be zoned (divided by regions, different PR can be utilized in different areas), is interactive (provides chance of real time reactions - and sales), is popular, can be looked at at customer's home in comfort.
b) Radio is possessed and listened by large amount of people, is very mobile (doesn't require a special place, can be listened on the run via cellular phone), real time and up thus far, broadcasts 24/7. Although radio has negatives - no picture can be transmitted, which is not good for advertisement of the travel destination.
c) Theatre and theatre are essential multimedia for Travel advert, as customers can be shown a colourful advertisement (restaurant, visitor vacation spot). People cannot omit a cinema advertisement, and tend to be dedicated and less annoyed by advertising as they arrived to the cinema/theatre to take pleasure from.
Electronic media made an appearance recently, but getting increasingly popular, especially in children auditory; with advantages as low priced, popularity, coverage of different people, real time operation. Websites, social media, direct e-mails provide good mean of communication, PR, sales. Sales and reviews of new product (new airfare, attraction) can be done through own website for free or through associates website for a charge (travel organization). Online accounts on public marketing (Facebook) give opportunity for live improvements and real time customer communication at low priced. Review websites as Trip Consultant provide free, real-time and credible reviews of tourism business. The acceptance of electronic advertising is rising with growing use of computers and Internet, low cost mobile Broadband and free Wi-Fi hotspots. However, the drawback here may be the necessity of special equipment (computer, tablet, smartphone) and special skills to utilize it.
Sponsorship is a mean of appealing to focus on company's services, creating advantageous image locally (customers), trusted in Tourism business. Travel stations, competition sponsorships, celebrities using services of a company, visitor services featured in movies (resort, airline flight) are good means of PR. Often consumer doesn't notice the PR part in it, such as movie having a resort or super star choice of air travel/hotel. Sponsorships however are costly (although extremely effective) means of PR.
Different types of multimedia have different benefits and drawbacks. The choice of appropriate medium means careful work and is determined by character of event or product marketed. The PR person can choose from editorials (printed out multimedia), press conferences, product presentation situations, educational appointments.
Editorials are presented in form of news article, although have indirect function of advertising. Paid as advert by way of a company but controlled by editorial multimedia personnel. Editorials are well-liked by Tourism businesses because of reliability factor and demonstration in form of first hands (journalists) experience. Editorial doesn't appear to be advertisement (getting more attention of general public) but operates in advertising way (attracting attention, creating good image). Examples are promotional articles about hotels, plane tickets, resorts in newspapers and periodicals.
Press conferences are being used to make a special announcement, display new product. They are attended by journalists from different advertising (press, broadcasting, electronic digital) and used for spreading note across different mass media simultaneously, in real time. Press meetings have benefits of being personalized, real-time incidents (opportunity of requesting questions, create important contacts). The disadvantage this is actually the opportunity of difficult questions (which have to be answered) rather than focusing on how many guests will exactly arrive. Press seminar is ideal mean of crisis management (such as mishaps and natural disasters managing which unfortunately are common for Travel and leisure industry).
Product start is a large and less formal occasion, usually is starting party. Is targeted to bring attention and get response in media. It can be a cocktail reception, meal, seminar, with invitation of journalists, superstars, partners, potential traders, senior members of community. The existence of Tv set at the function is welcomed as live translation is good for the coordinator company. New resort openings, new plane demonstrations, festive people structured by large companies (with invitation of journalists and stars) are normal for Travel and Tourism.
Educational goes to are popular in Tourism business. Visits require appealing journalists; travel companies/partners staff to experience the merchandise (new hotel, resort) in first hand. They are directed to bring reputation, increase sales, show product to lovers (vendors). It's often accompanied by advertisement-article explaining (usually in great way) the experience. These visits are also used as educational shoot for travel agency personnel (helps to know better he product they sell).
Sales promotion is distinct part of promotional blend, however, very meticulously related to PR and frequently used as PR tool. Is short-term price incentive to improve sales, earning money is main aim for here. Usually used in off-peak intervals, can be used all around the year. Vouchers, discount rates, money off coupons, devotion credit cards are part of sales deals. Most airline carriers have commitment programs, giving special discounts and presents for consistent customers.
Francis Jeffkins created 6 details PR planning model, arguing that planning can be done in 6 simple steps.
Effective PR doesn't happen unintentionally, it needs to be carefully prepared. As any plan, PR plan has goals, strategies and actions. The goals may change as time passes, PR planning is constant process and demonstrates any change in circumstances and always uses any free or low priced opportunity for publicity.
Most popular and broadly accepted model is Jeffkins model consists in:
Situation Evaluation (Research) analyzes current situation as SWOT, objective and prices of organization, external factors as pressure teams activity and competition. PR plan should fit in overall marketing planning rather than go against goals and quest of the company. PR plan research however needs additional research of market and its preferences, effective marketing, etc.
Establishing the Marketing Objectives part includes defining aims (goals), strategies and strategies. Most popular objectives of PR plan are creating awareness (new product, new management, new charity program); build trustworthiness (make people assume that the publicity is via third party and not a well planned and paid work of the company self applied); increase sales; build good image; defend declining image and lower promotional costs. Aims are never static, they change as well as circumstances.
Defining the Target Audience (Publics) is determining relevant audience and researching issues very important to given audience. Building right communication for the right community is crucial for success of PR plan. Important thing here is creating emails that don't deny one another (for different communities hobbies) and carefully check that a message is not offensive for other, not goal, audiences.
Media Selection. The advertising will bring the concept to the prospective audience, deciding on the best marketing means choosing best way to achieve the audience. Media designed for PR specialists include published press, TV and radio broadcasting, conferences and occurrences (charity situations, sponsorships, opening gatherings, press meetings), Internet (quite new but already very powerful mean of communication and PR).
Establishing a Budget. PR, as any other activity of corporation should be affordable and budget planning really helps to find optimal cost-result way for PR. Some PR activities come for free (as word of mouth) but most are paid and sometimes very costly. The costs include earnings of PR personnel, agents and media fees, costs of setting up happenings and sponsorships, etc. You can find hidden costs that need to be counted for, as costs of free promotional items (food samples, hotel rooms) and earnings lost because these things were not sold ("opportunity cost").
Implementation and Control. Execution is about making PR plan work. Not all press releases or online articles will be released, grand opportunities and sponsorships have to be mirrored about in multimedia to get attention and make PR plan work. Making PR situations interesting for marketing and building good romance with marketing owners is essential point of PR plan execution. Control can be an important point as it shows how effective PR plan was (by checking forecasted results of PR activity with real ones). The control points may be offered by sales, brand commitment, market position, attention from the general public, etc.
Hilton is international hotel chain providing luxury services for holidaymakers. It programs to open new hotel in London, UK. PR specialists created plan to undermine the opening.
Situation research. London is huge city with developed network of accommodation for any pocket, including luxury services, your competition is great here. You may still find areas in Central London with great potential where no luxury accommodation is accessible. Hilton is brand accepted worldwide with outstanding reputation. Corporation programs to create luxury accommodation and bring new lease of life to the Central London area, with internet casino and pubs, luxury shopping center, 5 star kitchen and purely guarded hotel access to protect level of privacy of the guests.
Target audience includes stars, associates of worldwide governments, wealthy entrepreneurs, famous music and movie stars.
PR plan will contain:
Press discussion before even starting the building works to get attention of journalists worldwide.
Articles about Hilton Organization featuring strategies for new hotel in London in press surrounding the world, TV broadcasting during music shows and concerts to attract attention of general public and make people discuss new hotel.
Constant revisions in worldwide press and Television about how exactly building, decorating, furnishing works are going to keep the general public interested, Television set program presenting new hotel when is preparing to open.
Inviting worldwide famous chefs, barmen to work with new hotel venues, offering this on the TV worldwide.
Grand opening party with concert of the worldwide famous actors; journalists from surrounding the world and other important guests, welcoming of the personalities, journalists and guests to stay free of charge after get together.
The media used are press, Television for his or her worldwide coverage and capability to reach market: superstars and stars mostly. Internet will be used as secondary multimedia, presenting new hotel in sites and superstar websites (is cheaper that TV)
The budget of this PR plan is huge, continuous TV broadcasting; last opening party, famous chefs to work at Hilton and free night for the friends will cost fortune. The Hilton Company will make sure it has the money to repay building works and PR marketing campaign.
PR is part of Promotional mix and will come in range with other elements. That's why checking the effectiveness of PR only as promotional tool may be difficult. The possible ways to see how effective PR is are:
Exposures in the marketing is attention from the public helped bring by PR. Methods to assess it are online and press remarks, search engine ranks, positive discussions in the media, raise in public areas awareness. PR businesses supply clients with "clipping catalogs" showing all exposure achieved in a time period (for example previous month) in all the press (Television set, radio, press, online). However, exposure may be hard to count up (is impossible to know how many people seen it advertisement) and level of exposure entirely doesn't show PR performance (not all the exposure will come from target audience). For instance, aircraft presentation will bring exposure from the public in form of online commentary and discussions, training video viewings online, Television and radio conversations not paid by the company owing the aircraft. All this exposure will be carefully inspected and measured to observe how effective the display was.
Awareness from the general public is another way to measure PR efficiency, is change in public attention due to PR event. Is measured in research, verifying how well people witnessed PR event (display, opening, information) can recall this event. Consciousness works well way to check on stand-alone PR activity. However is not so productive when PR event travelled as well as other promotions (sales promotion, advertising). If hotel starting event was reinforced by advertising is hard to share which of these two brought more attention.
Attitude change is one of the main element targets of PR campaign and ways to measure its success. Any PR activity will result in attitude change which is monitored in studies. On-line panels, telephone or personal interviews will show the switch in public frame of mind before and after PR event. Promotional advertising campaign showing benefits of ecotourism by travel organization will raise the demand and positive attitude of open public to ecotourism. Surveying the people after the advertising campaign will show how effective it was. However, attitude shift might not exactly only be the result of this given PR campaign (but other related information and articles, not related to given plan). Popularity of ecotourism may be partially the result of government marketing campaign or activity of "green" categories.
Media relations as way to evaluate success of PR plan are about degree of co-operation with different marketing. Successful PR advertising campaign will raise the attention of journalists and make all of them want to be part of the marketing campaign now and in future. That's why journalists, important folks from the media and various celebrities tend to be invited grand hotel openings, new aircraft presentations, new traveler destination launches. A lot more famous guests are present, the better will be attention in the mass media.
Contribution to earnings is best approach to evaluate PR plan success. Bringing up sales and profits are best news for company directors. PR plan is part of overall company activity though and raising sales might not exactly be the consequence of PR marketing campaign only, is hard to determine exactly which percentage of sales was contributed by PR activity.
Any PR plan has own objectives, deciding how effectively and effectively these targets achieved is the way to see effectiveness of a PR plan. PR plan, however forms part of overall business activity and promotional mix, is hard to evaluate success PR plan separately.
Importance of PR is hard to underestimate, it helps tourism businesses increase and broaden, make profit in fast changing circumstances. It is relatively new, but growing popular area of research, with demand for good PR specialists. PR is about creating and handling the image of companies, products and entire business and Travel industry is no exception.