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Harnessing Journalists for Your Hotel: 5 Strategies Beyond Breaking News

From hiring to boosting sales, reporters can prove helpful to business.

If you’re having trouble with hiring or with sluggish room sales, you aren’t alone. Consider how reporters can help delineate those issues and why they might matter to the larger public.

As fraught as the journalism industry is with issues and controversy now, there are ways you can marry your interests to those of reporters and possibly help bring traffic into your hotel. Read how routine journalism endeavors may benefit you under the right circumstances.

1. Consider student media connections

Parents need a place to stay if and when they come into town, and you could offer a deal to adults who have children at the local university. One way to reach college students and parents is via student-run campus media stations.

Running an ad there might put you front of mind for travelers who are looking for a place to rest their head after a flight or long drive. If you’re looking to recruit hospitality students for an intern or part-time employment of some sort, making yourself a staunch supporter of student media is a smart move.

If you’re looking to reach students and alums, buy an ad. Get in touch with interested faculty and staff and establish a connection that students might see fit to write about. If you can draw a line between your business and higher education, you might find students see fit to write about the intersection between hospitality and their institution of sorts.

2. Detail the local hospitality issues for news-gatherers

If there are issues your business has that fold into the larger fabric of your city or county, public relations personnel might see fit to amplify that issue via local media.

Crime that rankles or an increase in cost of living that pushes workers further out of the community are both examples of issues that might interest a reporter trying to inform the public.

A well-written and fulsome might force a response, which could look like a larger police presence in the area to deter crime or a push for more affordable housing tied to the examples I gave earlier. Citizen journalists will care about this, but so will professional ones regardless of their ilk.

Don’t think about newspapers alone, either. Public radio personnel are a good choice, as are their counterparts in the television world. Making your points clear across those mediums will take some nuance, since they explain the significance of their stories to the public in unique and distinct ways.

3. Pay attention to sports reporting — where do sports teams stay when they visit?

One of the ways to help distinguish yourself among competitors is to find out how you can accommodate visiting sports teams.

Professional and youth sports are both billion-dollar industries, and you may find a great deal of new business. Youth programs travel throughout the year, be it for baseball or basketball or whatever else.

When you see reporters writing stories about game coverage that took place, consider getting in touch with these and programs and try to get a feel for if you can take some business from the hotel down the street.

Consider that a discount given consistent business — many tournaments happen each year in the same cities — can go a long way toward making program staff happy.

Professional sports teams bring a whole lot of notoriety, but they come with some complications too. NBA teams, for example, will need longer beds and perhaps increased security considerations.

4. Frame yourself as a journalism conference venue

Journalism organizations have regional and national conferences each year to network, discuss ideas, and talk about the state of an ever-changing industry.

As an example, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Associated Collegiate Press all meet in different places at least once a year. Frame yourself as an ardent supporter of journalism near and far.

Doing so may well go a long way since full-throated support is few and far between these days in many cases. These behemoth journalism organizations have regions, too, in addition to the happenings at their national headquarters. You should be offering your venue(s) as a viable conference venue either for a regional meeting or a national one.

5. Let media members use your resources for meetings, interviews, etc.

We’re in a place now as a country and world where many are working from home, but for some, doing so isn’t conducive to doing the type of quality work they seek.

Hotels are spaces that can be useful to reporters and editors who are looking to interact with the community and looking for a place to work in relative peace.

If a source feels uneasy about coming to a newsroom because of security fears, hotels can be a good compromise.

Since many places will fly a candidate into a given city for interviews, why not sell these news organizations on the idea of having an interview begin and end in the same place?

It doesn’t get more convenient than having an interview then retiring to a hotel room to decompress. That’s a much better option than having candidates in a stale newsroom, or at home.