At Abode PR, we are regularly approached by businesses in the short-term rental industry, or companies keen to break into this fast-growing space, which want to explore how actively working with a public relations agency might prove beneficial.
The reasons for seeking out a PR strategy are wide and varied – a bit like the businesses themselves.
A question we always ask potential clients at the offset of a scoping conversation is, ‘What do you need PR to achieve for your business?’
This question is fundamental. Answers given include, ‘Raising our profile, increasing traffic to our website, help with converting initial enquiries to customers, increasing enquiries, having an edge on our competition, building resilience in our business, attracting media attention, influencing the ‘influencers’, support for breaking into a new market and helping us to tell others what we do and how well we do it.’
All of these answers point towards four fundamental objectives. In fact, these key goals are relevant to all businesses; be they short-term rental, technology, property management or none of the above.
These are the four main driving PR objectives for our clients:
- To build trust in their business value proposition
- To position their offering – reach better customers
- To become ‘Thought Leaders’ – get an edge
- Grow their reach – improve SEO
- Building trust in your value proposition
Building trust with potential clients, partners or property managers is essential for all short-term rental businesses, whether they are tech companies, enterprise property managers or industry associations. However, PR alone can’t create and sustain trust. If your product or service is not up to scratch, no amount of positive PR will save you in the long run.
Garnering mentions and press coverage, having your product shared through social media and being featured on industry or travel platforms can really help to build trust, enhance good feelings and develop the reputation of an already genuinely excellent experience.
Essentially, people believe what others say about you more readily than they believe what you say about yourself or your business. This goes for the good and the not so good. Making a significant decision about software or investing your asset with a property manager requires trust. Committing to a new product or service or changing behaviour requires it too.
- Positioning your offering – reaching better customers
A strong public relations and content marketing strategy can be a powerful tool for reaching new/better customers by consistently positioning your value proposition and educating potential customers.
PR involves two-way conversations and therefore is an ideal process for discovering how best to connect with the stakeholders that you really want to influence. Using messaging and content that ‘touches’ your ideal market is also something that PR excels at.
- Developing ‘Thought Leadership’ – gaining the edge
Developing reputation through ‘thought leadership’ is closely linked to building trust and reputation. It is also linked to enhancing SEO. PR can help to shape a company’s reputation as the ‘go-to’ expert in its field. Be that as the tech expert CEO, the vacation rental guru or the hospitality advisor.
PR and inbound content marketing position expertise and communicate to specific audiences the benefits that your product, service or experience will deliver. Having the development of ‘expertise’ as a key public relations objective also increases the likelihood that you will attract more media or influencer attention. Publicity opportunities tend to attract more of the same and momentum plays a role in sustained visibility.
- Growing reach – improve SEO
Digital PR focuses on coverage, mentions (citations) and links which are online rather than offline. Digital PR is also the backbone of modern PR. Having backlinks and mentions in high-quality online publications or ‘small’ but very targeted trade publications has a significant impact on your website’s visibility and reach.
Most B2B hospitality and enterprise property management businesses are in fact online businesses (as the primary storefront) so a PR strategy which supports SEO is fundamental to success.
However, we also have an informal 80/20 rule when weighing up the merits of both online and traditional PR. Any strategy that focuses solely on generating traffic and enhancing SEO is limited. ‘Traditional PR’ is still very much involved in our other two objectives; building trust and developing thought leadership.
In order to be as successful as possible with your PR strategy, make sure that these four objectives are at the forefront of both your thinking and also that of your chosen PR agency. By being focused on these goals, you will better achieve results which can only have a positive impact on your business.
About Jessica Gillingham
Jessica is the director and owner of Abode PR, a specialist PR and content marketing agency partnering with hospitality technology, proptech and enterprise property management brands operating in the international vacation and short-term rental space.