As you may have noticed from my profile or LinkedIn, I currently work for a public relations agency. One of the agency’s clients is a major hospitality/travel company and my team specifically represents 8 of their brands. This may not sound like a large number but overall it’s over hundreds of hotels that we have to keep track of on a daily basis. While we’re not expected to know every single thing about every single property at all times, we are expected to be able to find information on these properties whenever needed for something like a media opportunity (or media opp), for example. A media opportunity, for those who may be unfamiliar, is typically a reactive request or call to action from a reporter that is looking for specific details to include in an upcoming article or another piece of coverage. These requests can be direct and to the point, such as a request looking for any properties in Philadelphia, or they can be extremely niche like a request for properties that feature the color red (yes, this is a real opportunity I had to spend hours researching – but I secured the inclusion for the client!).
Because we are responsible for so many properties, more often than not it can very difficult finding a location that best fits the request or inquiry that we receive, especially since the information lives in numerous different locations such as previous press releases or newsroom stories, the agency’s internal repository, the property websites, etc. It can all be very time consuming to search for which is not made any easier when you’re operating under a tight deadline (which we often are) as media opps sometimes come with turnarounds of only 1 hour or less!
As a publicist, you never want to miss out on a potential opportunity but with quick turnarounds that require a ton of research, it can feel daunting to find the right fit for your client. What the agency and client need to improve this process is a shared repository complete with property information, detailed descriptions and images, amenities offered, food and beverage offerings, best points of contact, etc. – every piece of info you could possibly need living in one central place.
When looking at the above “as-is/to-be” model, it may not seem like the process is being streamlined all that much on the to-be path since only two tasks would be cut from the as-is path. However, those two tasks are the most time-consuming aspects of the entire process. Internal research can sometimes take hours, and if we have to reach out to properties for information, hours can turn into days. Having approved messaging on one database that is easy to search through using keywords could potentially cut the project time in half and lead to better chances of the client being included in major publications.