The importance of public relations has been growing exponentially in
the last two decades. Even military leaders realize that public relations are an important tool to communicate with the public and spread the message.
Public relations is all about co-ordination of all kinds of departments within an organization, i.e hotel, restaurant, and co-ordination of a number of media and guests.
Ultimately, public relations means, trying to maintain a perfect balance between various relevant departments and individuals. In formal terminology, a public relations manager needs to in sync with all types of media, government agencies, guests, trade unions, employees and their families, suppliers, opinion formers, shareholders and the local community.
Most people think hat public relations work in hotels/restaurants and other hospitality enterprises is a little more than flashing a pearly-toothed smile and making some courteous inanities. Behind the glamour of public relations work, lie hours of hard, intuitive, and intelligent work regarding perspective guests, regular clients, v. i. P.’s frequent travellers (airline crews if the hotel caters to them), and cajoling the media.
Unlike public relations in a company, this position in a luxury hotel takes an added importance, because of the constant challenges that guests, unexpected and catastrophic situations throw at professionals.
As a public relations manager, one must tread a thin line all the time and be extremely circumspect with unnecessary and frivolous comments.
Whether it is an irate guest, a negative publicity, or organizing social events in the last minute, the day is a replete with unending challenges.
To make matters worse, there exists no formal training for a public relations executive. Practically everyone learns on the job by trial and error, or by a benevolent executive with years of experience, and ability to teach, mentor and guide.
Most public relations executives believe that over the years guests have become more demanding and knowledgeable about all kinds of services, food quality, beverage selection and amenities. They are vocal if their expectations fail to meet commensurate with prices charged.
A public relations manager’s people skills must be sharp at all times, when regular guests demand out-of-the-ordinary services believing to be standard. Public relations executives must be up-to-date with regard to changes in the market place.
Twenty years ago no guest expected to find internet connectivity in a hotel room, or a business centre in the lobby or an entertainment centre in the room, just to name a few. Today these are standards in mid-stream and luxury hotels.
A varied professional background helps advance the career of a public relations executive, but a degree in psychology may be considered the best for an entry-level position.
Clear speech, logical, and coherent delivery of information, quick thinking, keeping promises and entertaining media groups or individuals represent important aspects of public relations work.
Unfortunately, many hotels, including luxury establishments, spend too little or this department, yet expect substantial returns. Budgetary constraints can be unwelcome burdens.
Public relations managers in hospitality enterprises span an extensive range of jobs from which many individuals shy away.
A mercurial personality and ability to juggle a multitude of tasks simultaneously help a public relations manager perform effectively and efficiently.
Regardless of al the `surprises and pressures the position offers some individuals to thrive and enjoy their position despite the low pay, but substantial perks.