Many people think of hotels as part of travel-related stories, yet they are also a part of lifestyle, architecture, design, and business beats at various publications.
"Right now, you're seeing a big push to get hotels covered off the travel pages," notes Laura Davidson, president of Laura Davidson Public Relations, adding that the movement is toward more focus on lifestyle, business, and even pitches that highlight the hotelier's philanthropic initiatives.
A major frustration of hotel-minded journalists is the task of sorting through travel deals and Mother's Day promotions to find stories that are truly relevant to their audience, says Jeff Weinstein, editor-in-chief of Hotels, a trade magazine.
"We focus on hotel development and hotel operations, and we're looking for ideas to help our audience of very sophisticated hoteliers better serve their customers and make more money," he says. "We also like case studies, so that our readers understand what something costs and what the return was."
The hotel industry is also filled with larger-than-life characters, from Paris and Nicky Hilton to Ian Schrager, says Juliana Shallcross, senior editor at HotelChatter.com, a consumer Web site.
"Definitely the personality and sensibility of the hotelier translates into the type of experience that you'll have at the hotel, so that's something we're interested in as well," she says.
Though read closely by the industry, Shallcross says HotelChatter.com, purchased by CondŽ Nast in April, strives to look at every story from a guest perspective, an influence that affects even the type of photos it runs.
"I'm not against using art from the hotel, because they do have great photographs, but we want to make sure those are true to life," she adds. "They tend to make the rooms look bigger than they are, and are a little too staged. Someone can get that by going to the hotel Web site, so we want them to know what it really looks like in the daylight."
The industry depends heavily on PR, not just to generate tourism, but also to alert local neighborhoods of the restaurants and lounges found in both boutique and larger hotels. Wendy Gordon, president of Flash Communications, says that doesn't mean hotels have become a harder pitch, but PR pros should pitch stories beyond the review.
"We always try to focus on trends, but you also want to look at other things going on in the news," Gordon says. She's currently pitching inauguration-themed hotel stories about who will be staying where next January.
"If you can pitch something that ties into what people are already covering, you'll have a good chance at success."
Look for pitches that position a hotel as more than just a room for the night by focusing on benefits, conferences, or events that highlight the hotel's integral place in the local community
The country's celebrity obsession makes it easy to pitch hotels as places to see and be seen, so alert the media to stars that are staying there
Help your hotel clients move beyond short-term deal-and promotion-themed pitches by including them in trend stories for business, lifestyle, and design outlets