At some point in time, your hotel will need a PR agency. Among many things a PR agency, will develop your strategy for reaching out to the masses.
However you need to identify how to hire a PR agency for your hotel based on what you need from them.
Like a hotel has full service and select service, a PR agency will offer you a basket of service or just one or two elements of the work. In this post, lets look at how to hire a PR agency for your hotel.
Set your objectives and goals
Needless to say this is the first and foremost thing that you need to understand. A PR agency will only be able to do what you ask them to do.
If you are opening a hotel, the task and objective may be different than if you are trying to revive the brand. Also knowing what you wish to accomplish with your partner agency will help you to develop a better working relationship.
A PR agency typically does the following:
- Reputation management
- Crisis management
- Media relationship
- Social media relationship
Make a Shortlist
In the world of PR, you will have specialist who do only social media and others who offer full service. Also the field has big agencies to freelancers.
As you speak to your colleagues in the industry, ask for referral and make a list of atleast 5 agencies in each category listed above. Invite them for a chat over a call or zoom meeting to understand how they work and if they have any idea that you can benefit from.
When you give them a brand positioning, they must be able to give you at-least one idea that you are excited about.
If they are able to give you clear numbers like revenue growth etc, it is better than getting vanity metrics like Facebook likes and shares.
How big is the agency?
This question is important. When you are just starting out and need only social media management, you can go with an agency or even a freelancer. However as your needs evolve, if the agency is big enough they may be able to handle media relations or crisis communication.
PR should be undertaken with a 3 to 4 year time frame and one key criteria to hire a PR agency for your hotel should be whether the agency can provide you service as your brand evolves.
How big is your Budget?
Typically, your hotel budget will be about 7 – 8% of the overall revenue. This will include everything from salaries to advertising spend. If you wish to be effective in PR, your budget should not be less than 3-4% of the total revenue.
If you are opening the hotel, you should go up to 7% of projected revenue on PR since the future trajectory of the hotel depends on positioning the hotel well.
Most PR agency will work on a retainer. Understanding the pricing and what you get for it will avoid many heartburns down the road.
Onboard the agency
Once you have hired the agency, just like you do an induction for an employee, you need to ensure that you provide the agency a complete understanding of your brand and what you are trying to achieve. If you do not do that, your agency will not be able to provide you with key insights and provide opportunities for success.
They should be made to feel a part of your team and have an equal stake in your success. They will also need to know your budgets and goals so that they can partner with you to help achieve them.
A PR agency can provide your hotel with great value provided you have screened and hired them to accomplish your strategic goals. Plan in advance before you reach out to agencies on what you wish to achieve out of the engagement.