PR professionals create return on investment

Hotel public relations managers feel pressure to grow business

Pressure is increasingly building on the shoulders of hotels’ PR professionals to boost guest numbers. A group of experts at a Hotelier Middle East roundtable discussion say that the target of marketing departments has been changing, from simply gaining a large amount of exposure to how many extra guests are coming through the doors as a direct result of their PR campaigns. “Some of the marketing budgets have been cut, but with PR they’re looking for more of that ROI in terms of actual money coming into the doors,” says Sarah Omolewu, public relations manager at Raffles Dubai. PR professionals are now expected to come up with promotional codes and initiatives connected with Facebook and social media. “We’re trying to find ways to track who is coming in and how much money is coming in at the end of the day, as opposed to how many people are hearing about what you’re doing,” Omolewu explains.
“Gone are the days when you could do a ‘nice to have it’ advert and a bit of PR around it,” agrees Derryn French, director of market communications at Le Meridien and The Westin Mina Seyahi complex in Dubai. “You now have to justify what you’re doing to contribute to the success of the business.” As a result, the role of PR is considered at being more on a corporate level.
Hotelier Middle East
[pictured: Residence Suites Dubai F.C.]