PR is one of those disciplines that are hard to understand when you are not an industry insider. The line between marketing, advertising, and PR are often blurry, but ideally, these three departments should act together, as a whole. When dealing with people and your product is their convenience and calmness, then PR represents your ‘customer service’ and ‘marketing’ departments. Its most important tool is i-n-f-o-r-m-a-t-i-o-n.
PR needs information about the guest from arrival and to departure and beyond. Information is the lifeblood of good PR, the essence of good communication, and a key to customer satisfaction.
The first source of information PR looks at is the reservations department. Then, PR looks at the front office – groom and receptionist, and finally, PR will consult all other departments for other details that help to serve the interest of the customer to build good will for the hotel.
PR needs information on things that may cause inconvenience for the guest as much as it needs details about the things that are making the guest happy. Everything else is dealt with discretion, as the customer’s privacy is paramount. These are the main seven things PRs need to integrate within hotel operations:
- The purpose of one’s booking: whether it is a honeymoon, visiting a hospital nearby, sitting exams, pleasure, business, regular business, convention or fair, and so on. This information is made available by the Department of reservations.
- The Department of reservations also needs to communicate how easy it was for the client to make the booking and whether the price was within the budget of the guest.
- PRs will also inquire on the age of the guests and whether they have children who are coming along. This is still information made available by the Department of reservations.
- On to the front office (reception), PR will enquire how long was their trip to your establishment.
- Comfort is crucial, so the front desk needs to ask guests if their bed, pillows, and other in-room facilities are comfortable and meet their expectations. The reception informs PR to address issues timely and efficiently.
- PRs monitor all departments for potential in-house incidents during the stay of the guests.
- A critical question addressed by PRs is what made the visitors’ best and worst impression during their visit. For this purpose, PRs use surveys and questionnaires, but many hotels prefer the human factor, delegating this task to a hostess.
To obtain in-depth information, PR needs to have access to a well-structured and updated program, which is ideally maintained by all departments. The daily logbook from reception can serve this kind of program recording the “guest history.” This is very important if we consider that all departments, such as maintenance, security, housekeeping, and restaurant – as well as guests themselves – refer all the issues to the front desk.
Once PRs are informed on all open matters, they know what to expect and how to solve them in time! That is how the PR manager can discuss and find the best possible solution.
It is also important for the guest to know the person he can contact when any issue occurs – and here the human factor matters the most. All incidents are best solved face-to-face.