So your DC hotel wants a new PR campaign, something different than what the competition’s been doing. The best publicists get their clients to confront industry standards, and encourage valuable ideas to generate from within.
In DC, the common PR solution offers a theme that leverages politics, our city’s bread and butter. Normally that’s not a bad place to start, but for a DC hotel – a place that wants to indulge a customer’s appeal to taste and design – politics are about as borrrrrring as it gets. And besides, the dirty secret of our town is that no one wants to have drinks with the person who insists on talking all-politics-all-the-time.
To go past the hotel public relations comfort zone and find new hotel elements to publicize, here are some questions to ask yourself:
• Does each hotel floor have a theme, maybe one that’s about famous artists, rock stars, periods in history?
• Got a concierge floor, one with a private check-in, food, snacks, signature cocktails, free drinks all day long?
• Do you have cars to get guests around town? What about free bikes and Metro passes? If not, how about offering passes for the new Capitol Bikeshare?
• How about a pre-programmed iPad, loaded with music based on a guest’s choice made while booking?
• How about monthly-themed parties to shake up an otherwise stodgy bar/club scene? How about an international DJ rotation?
• Have you recruited and publicized the chef at the hotel restaurant, who hopefully serves a menu with locally-sourced ingredients and who offers exclusive cooking classes to guests? How about something similar with the hotel’s famous interior designer?
• How about movie night events when the weather’s not so great?
• What’s your strategy to get fundraising events staged at the hotel’s banquet rooms?
• Got a pool? If so, how about yoga lessons by the water? Or, what if the instructors were around the pool doing their moves while guests sunned about?
• Got promotions with our world-class museums and galleries? Do you have vintage collections of art work? How about rotating unique art throughout the guest rooms?
For hotel PR, the key is to get the guests involved in staying on the property. And before you hire that new PR firm, make sure they understand the importance of distinction. What’s their own philosophy of marketing themselves? Is their website cool and different, or is it laced with a bunch of lame PR buzzwords (e.g., “traditional publicity techniques in utilization of beneficial client optics with engagement of tiered differential marketing apparatus blah blah blah”), cringe-worthy stock photography, and a mugshot of someone who looks like they want to sell you discount insurance? Where’s the sense of humor? A hotel should be fun, so you should enjoy interaction with your partner PR firm.