Business Tips

How can hospitality businesses make the most of the media to help their recovery?

How can hospitality businesses make the most of the media to help their recovery?

After being locked down for 18 months everyone in the UK is desperate for their break, whether that’s a fortnight’s full-scale holiday or simply a couple of hours in the local pub beer garden.

What’s clear though is that the vast majority of us are looking towards UK destinations, with bookings for August nearly 500% higher than two years ago.

But what are the rules, where are the attractions and where should we go?

Journalists are very willing to help share the details and there has never been a more important time for hospitality businesses to make full use of media outlets to promote themselves.

So how should they go about it?

What are journalists looking for?

Journalists aren’t there to give free advertising. Their focus is always on actual stories with good images. They need something that’s different, something that their readers will be interested in.  The more impactful the news, the more likely it is that a journalist will pick it up and write the story.

So what are the PR stories most likely to be picked up?

National journalists and broadcasters will look for details that will support the trending news. They will be interested in the impact of government actions, staff issues as a result of Brexit, Covid isolation and furlough for instance. Or difficulties in getting specific food delivered, running Covid compliant locations, managing Covid loan repayments and running businesses with lower volumes of visitors.

What are the secrets in getting media pick up?

Being noticed quickly by the journalists means a good headline and a good image. The short punchy headline needs to catch the right journalists’ eyes. For regional news titles include the locality in the headline so that local journalists can easily identify the stories that will be suit their audiences.

The image needs to be relevant to the story, but also one that will draw people to it, and will look good in print and online. It needs to be good quality, and businesses that discreetly have their business in the background can find themselves with some ‘free’ advertising.

Journalists’ articles are always more successful with an image alongside, and it can often make the difference between a release getting picked up rather than passed over.

Being available for the Journalist

Always make sure that you include your contact details in any outreach to a journalist and be available at their convenience rather than your own.

Journalists work to tight deadlines, and are time short, so will move onto the next potential case study on their list if they are struggling to get hold of you, and you aren’t available.

What are the best ways to contact a journalist?

There are three ways businesses usually engage with journalists.

  • When the journalist is looking for business case studies and comments for articles they are writing. They look for these through ‘Media Requests’ using social media or one of the online request channels. Businesses access these by being registered to one of the Media Request services and watching social media.
  • When businesses are sending press releases of their news to journalists, in the hope that they will be interested in them and cover them in their columns. To do their distributions businesses can email specific journalists direct, use one of the online distribution services, or employ a PR agency to do the work for them.
  • When businesses are simply getting to know a journalist so that they can engage with them personally when they have a story to pitch to them. This is usually done by following them on Twitter and commenting but can be as simple as catching a coffee if the journalist is willing and has time.

Is it worth it?

19 out of 20 of us now do our research and take note of others’ reviews and recommendation before deciding where to go on holiday, what events we should go to, and where we should eat.

One of the most listened to sets of reviewers are journalists, and it is well worth businesses making PR part of their marketing strategies, allocating at least 10% of their marketing spend to PR, but no more that 20% of their budget, leaving plenty too for other marketing initiatives.

What services are available and at what price?

Businesses have two options when looking for help with their PR.

They can employ a PR professional either in an agency or as a freelancer, where the monthly cost will generally range from £750 a month for a freelancer through to several thousands of pounds a month for an agency.

Alternatively, they can use one of the online services such as JournoLink, where the monthly cost can be as low as £50.