Top tips for the hospitality industry & the online newsroom approach from BHA Partner, Mynewsdesk

To keep up with developing trends in communications and the changing media landscape, many organisations are beginning to think and act like media companies, a strategy which we at Mynewsdesk refer to as the online newsroom approach.

Working in this way means organisations will be better equipped to take advantage of breaking news stories or quickly respond to crises, deal with the many different social media channels their audiences use to communicate and better engage with their key stakeholders.

The same idea can be applied to the hospitality industry too. Check out our top tips below...

Define your audience

In recent years we’ve seen the rise in the popularity and influence of food and travel blogs. In addition, social media, review sites and apps have empowered the voice of the everyday consumer, meaning every customer is now a potential reviewer of your product or services.

Therefore, doesn’t it make sense for their newsrooms to serve more than just journalists?

List your communications objectives then work out who you need to engage with to make these happen.

Create a persona of each different type of person you want to engage with and every time you have an idea for a piece of content, test it against these.

Establish an editorial position

Do not be tempted to write everything there is to know on a topic all at once. Nobody wants to wade through streams of lengthy content to eventually find something of relevance to them.

To really connect with your audience communicate simply and succinctly, explaining how what you’re writing is of value to them.

Don’t fall for the myth of virality - actions speak louder than views

It may be good for your corporate ego to get thousands of YouTube views, but without a clear goal and call to action the effort will be wasted.

Establish your success measures first. What does success look like? If you don’t know before you start you won’t know when you’ve finished.

Air Canada have faced a few problems this year and are seeking to rebuild their reputation. Check out this video which has received over 1 million views in it’s first week of launch.

Do you think it rivals last year’s WestJet viral video?

Both of these videos demonstrate the airlines’ commitment to their customers and definitely help to enhance their positive reputation.

Find your tone of voice

People now communicate across a variety of different channels rendering it almost impossible for an organisation to create content for each individual one.

The best stories work at a human level, with an informal and direct tone of voice. Make your message clear, compelling and consistent wherever your audience sees it.

Build a team

  1. When you build your marketing or communications team, make sure to hire people with versatile skill sets. It’s important to have a team who can, between them, produce high quality written material as well as great multimedia content to suit multiple channels and get the best value out of it by executing a proper marketing communications strategy.
  2. Use guest bloggers. There are loads of travel and food bloggers. Find the best ones related to your particular niche, local area and has a readership of the people you want to target. Why not then invite them to test out your products or services or build their profile by writing content
  3. Positive user generated content is a great endorsement for your brand. Clearly display hashtags around your venue such as on the bottom of menus, on specials boards, marketing collateral and so on. Also frequently remind your followers on social or in your email marketing campaigns that customers can submit their pictures, reviews or opinion pieces about their experience with your organisation, the local region etc. This content then can be used as is or repackage as part of larger content pieces. You never know, some customers could even become regular contributors.

A great example of this is VisitScotland and their Instagram account. They’ve created the hashtag #BrilliantMoments and ask their followers to share “celebrate & share the best photos of Scotland with the world!” by giving VisitScotland permission to repost their photos on their instagram account by using the hashtag.

They receive enough contributions that they have enough photos to post every day, cutting out the time to source or take the photos themselves.

Visitscotland instagram

Use the diary

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone in the hospitality industry that they have to be mindful of national holidays, festivals, cultural and seasonal events.

However, if you haven’t already, you should create a content calendar with all of these important dates clearly highlighted so you can plan your communications well in advance.

...but be ready to react to news

The internet has brought about the rise of the 24 hour news cycle meaning organisations must always be ready to respond to breaking news along with increasing pressure on companies to be more transparent in their communications. Furthermore, when a crisis hits, organisations are now expected to respond in minutes rather than in hours or days.

Glamour model Katie Price, also known as Jordan, was offered a full refund from Sandals holiday following her wedding and honeymoon and one of their resorts after she complained about her stay. Humorously, Sandals offered her the refund under the condition that Ms Price never use their resorts for one of her future weddings or honeymoons… ouch!

The hilarious response meant that Sandals were able to turn a potential crisis on it’s head and showed that their brand has a sense of humour.

Define a workable sign-off process

To take full advantage of breaking news stories and trends you must set up an efficient content approval process to ensure your voice is heard as part of topical discussions.

Establish no-go areas

As Will Sturgeon, Executive Director of Strategy at GolinHarris said, "You can't have every piece pulled apart by committee - it slows things down, gets messy and gets expensive."

It’s important to create a set of guidelines so everyone in your organisation who can create content or is active on social media is aware of what they can and can’t comment on.

Give them what they want

Every piece of content you create, regardless of what its purpose is, must be interesting. If you hadn’t created it yourself, would you be interested in it? Is it something you’d imagine your friends talking about and sharing on social media?

And finally, don’t forget to measure how effective your campaigns and content have been. This will tell you if you are really giving your audience what they want.

Download our ‘Rise of the brand newsroom’ white paper for a more in-depth look at the brand newsroom approach and tips from leading PR and communications professionals.

Rise of the Brand Newsroom Download
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