I’m always amused by reporters on the Weather Channel who, despite being whipped by gale-force winds or slammed by torrential rains, seem to relish the ravages of a truly awful storm. Then again, it would be pretty boring to report an endless summer of perfect 75-degree-and-sunny days.
Truth be told, a good PR professional will also embrace news events for inspiration. For those of us lucky enough to focus primarily on the hospitality and travel industries, global events are a lightning rod for ideas. The carnage wrought by Brexit has us transfixed, not only for all the obvious and well-reported reasons, but also for the longer-term effects on travel to and from England and the investment in hotels in that country. So those of us representing properties in England are no doubt conjuring up new Leave or Remain packages and Brexit cocktails to reclaim guests. And those of us representing properties in the U.S. are busy enticing our British friends to enjoy our off-season destinations, like Arizona, where they can vacation in five-star resorts, despite the weakened pound, for a fraction of their in-season cost.
In less contentious news (Zika aside), there are the impending Olympics in Rio. Four years ago, we had a field day designing Olympic prep programs for ordinary people at a resort that happened to have a former Olympic swimming medalist on staff. It’s not so hard, it turns out, to get extensive coverage when you capitalize on an uplifting global event. Icing on the cake is that we get to reintroduce the program, thanks to another Summer Olympics.
Where else in the news do we find inspiration? The misdeeds of Volkswagen might get us thinking about alternate, nonpolluting modes of transportation — yes, bike rentals and bike tours! Hillary most certainly has us calculating how many female general managers there are in the world of hotels and pitching stories on their singular attributes. The crackdown on Airbnb in key cities like Los Angeles and Berlin, with New York and San Francisco in the rearview mirror, is prompting us to rethink the extent to which they will compromise the hotel industry.
We can certainly take the news at face value. Or we can let it inform how we approach the businesses we represent. I’m passionate about communing with The New York Times every morning. Whatever your source of news, it’s invaluable to carefully consider its consequences or opportunities for your professional connections.