Public relations refers to building good relations with the hospitality or tourism company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, creating and sustaining a strong corporate image, and dealing with unfounded rumors, stories, and events (Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2002). Public relations by its very meaning connotes dealing with the public; however, the public takes many different forms of groups who may have some relationship with hospitality or tourism organizations. Usually the customers, both current and potential, are the most obvious public group, but constituents will include government agencies, suppliers, citizen action groups including environmental or cause related groups, the media, and the financial community including bankers and investment partners. Hospitality and tourism companies must also be involved with ‘internal publics’ which will include employees, board of directors or internal advisory groups, stockholders and sub contractors. In larger hospitality firms, public relations responsibilities may be handled by the PR Department while in smaller firms it will be an extension of the marketing function of the business. Major activities would include press relations and press releases, product and service publicity, corporate or business communications, lobbying and legislative review, and counseling. PR plans are a requirement of most forward thinking companies as well as planning for disasters and crises. In business subjected to any array of potential natural or man made disasters, crisis management planning is a special area of preparation for the hospitality firm. PR tools that are used include: publications, events, news, speeches, public service activities, and identity media. PR function may also include a role in the sales and marketing function of sales promotion, activities that include setting objectives and selecting and developing the appropriate consumer promotion tools.
Kotler, P., Bowen, J., & Makens, J. (2003). Marketing for hospitality and tourism (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Middleton, V. T. C., & Clarke, J. (2001). Marketing in travel & tourism (3rd. ed.). Butterworth Heinemann.