The Key to Creating Media Buzz Around a Hotel Acquisition or New Development
By: Andrea Trapani
Times are changing in the real estate and investment markets. As the housing market has continued to improve, with home prices here in Michigan up 53% over this time last year, we are seeing this trend of “slow, but steady” progress on the commercial real estate front as well. Many of our hospitality industry clients have seen an uptick in action, acquiring new properties and, in some cases, developing new property to expand their geographic footprint and portfolio.
Obviously, a hotel acquisition or a new development is principally viewed as a business transaction. And while that certainly is the case, overlooking the opportunity an acquisition presents from a media standpoint can be an easy—albeit regrettable—mistake to make.
Too often, golden media opportunities get lost in the scramble of trying to get a hotel ready for its grand opening. Our role as a communications counselor is to ensure the business side of the operation doesn’t overshadow the positive attention and exposure that can be generated by the right PR strategy.
Hotel deals provide a boost to an area’s economy through added spending and an increase in jobs, and they often come along with additional perks such as new dining or entertainment options. This is news that local residents want to hear about and local media wants to cover. By pitching the right stories to the right outlets at the right time, we have secured positive, ongoing media features highlighting many of our client’s acquisitions before, during and after the announcement.
We also have leveraged this news in front of hospitality and investment-focused national audiences—further solidifying many hotel companies’ reputations as strong dealmakers and experts in hotel management.
One of our most successful new development announcements to date took place just last year, when a client purchased and completely redeveloped a substantial property in the heart of a large Midwestern city. By planning months in advance and structuring each pitch carefully, we were able to slowly drip news about the reconstruction to both national trade and local media outlets. This allowed us to stagger the news stories out over a period of nearly six months, which kept our client visible in the media and top of mind with both future local consumers and potential industry partners.
With each acquisition, there’s almost always a unique feature to be highlighted, such as a celebrity chef, interesting amenities or a significant renovation. With this in mind, it’s imperative to approach each announcement on an individual basis and bring the most distinguishable and interesting aspects of the hotel to the forefront. This will catch the eyes of reporters, travelers and industry power players.
The months leading up to the opening of a hotel development are often a whirlwind, and it is key for PR pros to be nimble, adaptable and accountable. Hotel owners and executives don’t have the time to concern themselves with securing media coverage, which is why a PR firm with solid industry relationships is integral to building a successful brand. By planning months in advance, staggering the release of news and highlighting the right features, an acquisition or hotel development announcement can lead to a barrage of positive exposure on a local, regional and national stage. In this case, slow and steady wins the race.