When budgets shrink with the retrenching of the economy, what tool in the marketing mix is the most cost effective? Public relations is one of the most under utilized avenues to dedicate your dollars to. And boutique PR firms as well as those practicing travel PR such as Abelow PR (www.AbelowPR.com) will give the most bang for the buck, particularly if they have a breadth of experience to launch and maintain an ongoing campaign that will yield results. The ROI on public relations campaigns can be astounding when compared with advertising.
For example, Abelow PR recently completed a two year campaign for a luxury group of hotels in India which clearly demonstrates the value. The expense was about $75,000 per year, and yielded cover stories in Conde Nast Traveler and coverage in the New York Times as well as host of other online and print media. In total the campaign reached in excess of 25 million, when you assume that two people read a magazine, making it a very conservative estimate. If you take an advertising equivalency of the space of the Conde Nast Traveler story alone, with their full color page rate at $21,000 and with the hotel group mentioned on several pages on the inside adding an additional $60,000 in value, they broken even on just one story. The agency garnered between five to seven stories per month, and extensive coverage on Google!
Agencies deliver a range of results, but in this instance, Abelow PR secured about 30 stories, including such A list media as Travel and Leisure and Vanity Fair as well as a wide range of trade and online media from Forbes.com to Businessweek.com. Media relations specialists, which function in any PR agency, are the ones with those coveted contacts.
An added boost from publicity is the editorial endorsement of the publication that runs the story. These "mark of approvals" can be utilized on the hotel or destination's website. Anyone who looks at a website is swayed positively if that property can cite a quote from a leading travel publication. When an excerpt from a prominent magazine or national newspaper is prominent on a website, immediately the viewer's mind is influenced in a positive way.
In today's information environment, public relations campaigns that are carefully orchestrated across both traditional media and online platforms have tremendous power. Never before have there been so many tactics available for public relations campaigns. Everyday we read about studies touting the growing influence of blogs and social media. While the airwaves and world of print journalism are still important, the power of the web cannot be underestimated.
When looking to engage a top boutique PR agency, make sure you find one that is adept at all the new tools available in the ever expanding media of the information age. Availing yourself to that kind of expertise will go a long way to reaching and influencing your target market. And best of all, the exposure positions you well against your competition which is of paramount importance in today's economy.