The complementary use of Communication and Public Relations practices

In previous publication, we analyzed from various angles the communication identity of a few businesses. However, we have not yet analyzed the relevance of Communication with Public Relations, a topic of particular interest, as there is a confusion as to whether they are identical, different or related to their target objectives. We acknowledge their scientific difference, but they should not be implemented separately or one of the two objects be overlooked in the promotion of the hotel business. 

A company as long as remains in the market and – consequently – states that it is “doing business”, is a living organism. A company offering products or services is in a constant relationship with its customer/buyer from which it is dependent. This, of course, does not mean in any case slavish allegiance to uncontrolled or unreasonable demands. For this reason, a company must have a business plan and implement a specific policy for its relations with others with the cooperation of the appropriate consultants. In fact, the communication policy is the most delicate aspect, as it is entrusted with the role of the ‘ambassador’ of the public image the company projects for itself. 

I believe that the business that needs the right and properly targeted communication policy more than many other businesses is the hotel business because the objective of the customer relationship focuses on trying to feel “at home away from home”. This requires, in addition to the self-evident high quality of service, a constant discreet contact with the customer to feel that the business is interested in both his/her particular needs at a personalized level and his/her opinion which at a certain rate should determine the business’s future practices. Does this refer to Communication or Public Relations one would ask? What matters the most is not how a business practice is called, but how it is implemented. In this case, by managing Public Relations, the business “communicates” itself/ its product by stating that it is actively differentiating itself from any other similar business because it adopts a customer-focused policy. `After all, any relationship has a purpose only when it serves and builds the public image of the business and strengthens its differentiation over others.

The same correlation of Communication and Public Relations works for other aspects of the business. The company needs to communicate, establish and, of course, maintain relationships not only with customers but also with other groups, such as travel agents, the media, and even its own employees. Regarding the tour operators, it is certain that the hotel is under serious pressure. The appropriate communication policy should focus on building trust for transactions and not compliance as this would indicate weakness and significantly determine its business profile in the market. The media play an important role in shaping the public image. Of course media should not ‘advertise’ something that does not exist as it is a completely unethical practice, and which reality itself denies (the attempt to show a professional identity that does not exist). Unfortunately, there are many entrepreneurs who create in collaboration with some media an image that in today’s competitive environment collapses immediately with the absence of capabilities and infrastructure. The omnipotence of the media should be interpreted correctly as the ability to promote a product or service that can justify its reputation. The advertising concept of “the repeated lie becomes truth” is in the past. 

Finally, it should be noted that the company communicates or builds relationships with its employees. The employees who – in this case – are selected to communicate with customers should be great communicators and of course they should be treated appropriately by the business. It has been proven that – in the hotel business in particular – the constant turnover is a devastating mistake and the popular (!) saying “noone is irreplaceable” turns out to be at least naive in the mid-term. 

Therefore, the position supported is that of the complementary use of Communication and Public Relations practices. After all, there is no need to separate those practices that it is proven daily that they complement each other. In case there is some academic notion that insists on their separation, let me respectfully insist on the result.

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