Fill Seats: How PR Helps Hospitality Brands

December 21, 2022

Do you remember the days when a trifold brochure was enough to sell out auditoriums, pack theme parks and entice guests to reserve a table? While a catchy tagline and stellar logo are certainly key tools in a business’ brand kit, we’re living in an age when consumers crave experiences even before…well, the actual experience. As hotels, restaurants, live shows and other hospitality businesses strive to book reservations and meet goals, there are a few strategic methods on how PR helps hospitality brands.

We gleaned insight from Bolt PR Director Sara Ryan, who has over 10 years of experience fine tuning her public relations skills, working with celebrity chefs, luxury property groups and other hospitality brands in major markets, such as Las Vegas, to create experiential PR strategies that drive customers to click, book and reserve services. Here are a few insider tips on how the right PR team can send your audience into overflow status.

Partner with PR Pros with a Passion for Hospitality

You’re excited about your brand, and to fill seats consumers must feel that excitement too. To radiate that passion, it’s important to partner with a PR agency team that truly loves hospitality. While word of mouth is often the case for any business in the industry, it's just as important to hire an agency that can assist your business with brand awareness, partnerships, events and more. Search for agencies with a proven track record of creativity and success in driving consumers to experience businesses like yours, whether a restaurant, bakery, hotel or bespoke event, and see if they're a fit for your brand by asking a few of the top questions to ask a PR agency.

Hospitality PR All Comes Down to Planning

Typically, businesses should consider starting their marketing and public relations efforts up to three months prior to an event, holiday or other promotional opportunity. Because many customers prefer to plan their weekend getaways or family vacations ahead of time –  from hotel accommodations to dining reservations, and show tickets to attractions – it's critical to get on their radar early. Aside from planning ahead, it's also a good idea to collaborate with your PR agency to ensure a steady drumbeat of coverage for those last-minute planners. Success often takes time, and the raw truth of PR is that it all comes down to telling the right story at the right time, whether it be a company milestone, announcement, or even a food holiday.

PR Professionals Should Paint the Full Picture

An expert PR agency will understand the importance of painting the full picture to capture your audience with every stunning detail. Whether your brand has an in-house marketing team or is partnering with multiple agencies, it’s crucial to coordinate all marketing efforts with the PR agency from advertising to social media, partnerships, and beyond. At Bolt, our team of experts takes a comprehensive approach by offering integrated PR, content development and digital marketing solutions so client campaigns are streamlined and set up for success. Additionally, the hospitality industry requires a special local touch where brands must be active community partners. Consider identifying a nonprofit or community organization that aligns with your brand and collaborating with your public relations team to create a partnership that will allow your company to grow its roots in the community. This will not only help with media relations but will also demonstrate community goodwill, and the community will be good to you and your business.

PR Has the Power to Charge Growth

Whether launching a new hotel or restaurant, repositioning a recently renovated property, or generating overall brand awareness for your company, the right PR team will drive growth – and have fun while they’re at it. It’s all about crafting the right brand narrative and drawing your audience into the story where they can almost taste the experience before ever clicking “book now.” PR talent has the ability to craft the perfect “FOMO” experience to entice locals and tourists alike. And through media coverage, PR empowers those in hospitality to effectively promote their brand and, as a result, manage their reputation within the industry. Maintaining a steady drumbeat of coverage and landing a top placement in a major outlet can often result in guests flocking to your establishment. In addition to public relations efforts, consider influencer relationships or community partnerships to showcase the experience firsthand and, as a result, get your potential customers excited about your business.

PR Generates the Right Message at the Right Time

In the world of hospitality, it all comes down to who your potential customer will be interacting with, because human interactions and experiences set the stage. So, in addition to telling the story of your brand, it's important to share the stories of the people who represent it and really infuse it with that personalized touch. Whether a front desk agent, a restaurant server, or a performer, your employees are the best brand ambassadors. Meaningful PR messaging includes behind-the-scenes looks and “a day in the life'' interviews, as well as other brand stories that encompass the team making the magic happen day in and day out. An expert PR team knows how to craft the right message for all of your audiences, from customers and community partners, to employees and investors, and equip everyone on your team, from front desk agents to ticket brokers, who are charged with “selling” the experience.

The experience really begins when an expert PR agency team partners with a hospitality brand. From driving results for hotels and restaurants, to bars and live shows, it’s all about portraying an experience through compelling storytelling, visuals that jump off the screen and immersive experiences that entice and spark action for customers to call, click, book and fill those seats. If you’re ready to engage your audience and “fill seats,” the Bolt PR team has the industry experience to catapult your brand into the spotlight. Let’s talk about generating enough buzz to create that virtual line around the block to your business.

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