The key to success with public relations at hospitality trade shows is advance planning, identifying, prioritizing and promoting the news you have to share. If you’re new to the travel and hospitality industry, you will quickly see that participating in a trade show can be a major investment of time, resources and budget.
Like many industries, hospitality is highly competitive. This means that numerous companies, associations and suppliers are working hard to promote their brands and news in order to break through the noise at a conference.
6 Tips For Success With Public Relations At Hospitality Trade Shows
1) Get Engaged
- Review and select the best trade shows that align with your organization’s business goals.
- Research all the public relations and marketing opportunities that the selected trade shows provide for exhibitors and consider proposing additional options. You might be able to sponsor a pressroom breakfast or schedule a press conference in a private room, if you have major industry news. You can also showcase new brand amenities and let the media experience them.
- Meet with brand leaders and determine a trade show strategy with key priorities. Determine a budget and the best tactics to bring those ideas to life.
- Consider joining the association’s industry communications committee to gain more opportunities and insight.
- Annual awards, industry scholarships, chair appointments and charity auctions – these are all great ways to support the industry and are often promoted prior, during and post-conference. Additionally, attending media cover these activities, which allows your brand to generate more coverage.
- Amplify your industry conference timed news on your social media channels, as well as those for the annual trade show. Don’t forget to include show hash tags. Trade media may also producing podcasts and print media sometimes use video footage online.
2) Take The Stage
Position your senior executives as thought leaders in the industry by seeking opportunities for keynote speeches, industry roundtables, executive panels, and breakout sessions. These are determined far in advance and bring added opportunity for coverage.
The key trade media cover all the key panel and speaking sessions and use images and footage for their print and digital media channels.
3) Orchestrate On-Site Media Relations
Review editorial calendars at least three months in advance to find trade show media opportunities. Seek inclusion in major trade industry roundup stories, cover stories, feature stories, leadership profiles and Q&A pieces.
At major hospitality business and financial conferences, like The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), companies often pitch story ideas in advance, reserve on-site conference rooms, and schedule on-site executive interviews for their key spokespeople.
4) Maximize Your Reach
Several of the major annual industry trade shows, such as the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, have multiple marketing and public relations opportunities, including:
- Possibility to meet all the participating news media at the show. Each year they also host a private reception of media and public relations representatives. Media attendance is by invitation only, and they are vetted.
- An online press room goes live 30 days in advance of an event and remains active a month afterward. It houses press materials, press releases, photos, logos, and videos. The site also includes a daily U.S. Supplier newsfeed to all participating media.
- A supplier can have informational and promotional items delivered directly to delegates’ hotel rooms in the official show bag with Hotel Distribution Service – called room drop.
- Reserved tables and invite news media to join you at Official Luncheons.
- Contact lists for pre and post-marketing efforts.
- Some hospitality shows have media lounges or other designated areas where you can meet media, including pressroom operations on-site, reserved press conference rooms and media interview rooms.
- Utilize the online show messaging system to send a welcome note to key media and coordinate a time to meet face-to-face.
5) Multi-Prong Approach
- Sponsor a special trade magazine’s show edition, which typically includes special marketing and PR opportunities for inclusion in print and online.
- Advertorial for a trade magazine show issue.
- If your key company or brand spokesperson is in a media market like New York City, plan and schedule chair side meetings for them.
- Showcase your local “halo” hotel – a leading property that positively represents the brand’s image – if you have major news to share or the hotel has gone through a major renovation, expansion, introducing a key new service, or is new to the brand.
- Your local hotel might consider becoming a conference host hotel for attending media.
Pre-market your trade show participation to create buzz and help drive traffic to your booth. E-blasts and event invitations should generate interest about major news your company will announce and make sure to invite media to stop by your booth to meet your new leaders.
If your booth features something highly visual or newsworthy and you have a key leader on-site, pitch a photo opportunity. Work hand-in-hand with brand marketing and sales leaders regarding company events. Develop themed print and digital client/media invitations with your booth number and RSVP reminders.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start planning further in advance to ensure s. It feels good when media, clients, suppliers and the host association take note of your company’s major news, and your leaders are complimented.
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