As the owner or manager of a hotel, club or restaurant, you’re automatically admired and recognised, so don’t give away the advantage. Here’s a list of easy-to-prepare essentials to get the best from media attention and publicity. By Ken Burgin.
1. Have your ‘elevator speech’ ready
Have a quick 30 second explanation of what you do and who your customers are. What would you tell someone between the first and the 20th floor? Australians often play-down their achievements, but this can be a great opportunity to arouse interest.
2. ‘Business is great’
Period. No one is really interested in hearing about your problems – they’ve got enough of their own. Even if business is slow, tell diners about one of your great staff members, an interesting customer or recent menu changes. Sometimes you have to ‘fake it until you make it’.
3. Don’t take sides
Remember the saying ‘in business, there are no enemies’? Whatever you think privately about the prime minister, the local council or anything else political, keep it to yourself. You never know who may disagree, and they might’ve be planning to make a purchase.
4. Support a cause, thoughtfully and consistently
The local soccer team is a good cause, and there are other groups that may engage people more effectively: overseas child sponsorship, a health charity or environmental work. Tryo to choose something that you and your staff can watch develop and grow over time. Your support will be made known, but modestly.
5. Have good photos available
Head shots, working shots and pictures of the business. Some magazines want ‘high resolution’ photos. This means 300dpi (dots per inch – dots also equal pixels). Modern digital cameras do the job nicely, but make sure your face is well-lit.
6. Be available to the media
If a journalist rings, your staff should know how to find you quickly. A journalist doesn’t expect you to be instantly available, but they do want to hear back within the hour. In any event, it’s good practice to ask if you can call back in 10 minutes so you can collect your thoughts or check facts. Don’t just talk about yourself but follow their line of questioning.
7. Dress for success
It’s not about labels, but people assume you have a good life, so wear modern clothes and shoes, certainly beyond the standard of your staff. Decent glasses, a good haircut, and – gentlemen, shave every day if you don’t have a beard. Smile more, and look after your teeth.
8. Take care with the car
Funny thing with Aussies – sometimes they admire your extravagance, and other times they think it’s coming out of their pocket. You love the idea of a new LandCruiser, but your staff, your fans and some of your suppliers may start to take a different approach when it comes to negotiating wages and money. A new Commodore may be enough.
9. Check the quality of your phone messages and email replies
Officious voicemails or staff can sabotage your image, and misspelt emails make you look uneducated. Set up ‘auto-signatures’ in your email if your typing is slow but you want to look professional.
10. Have a friendly biography on your website
Many websites have an ‘About Us’ section, but no faces or names. Tell us about what you enjoy, what you’ve done before and about your passion for the industry – this helps customers and strangers make a personal connection.
11. Look professional on social media sites
Chances are your Facebook profile is private, but make sure the details available are flattering, and sober. Add a profile to LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals – this will often be one of the first things people will see if they do a Google search for your name.
Ken Burgin is owner of Profitable Hospitality, profitablehospitality.com