The power of data: Hard numbers improve pitching success

The power of data: Hard numbers improve pitching success

It’s a fact. Provable numbers, easily checked statistics, and eye-catching infographics all can help your pitch stand out from the daily deluge in an editor’s inbox. And in an era of fake news, “post-truth,” and “alternative facts,” reliable data is more important than ever. Here are three winning ways to use stats to strengthen your publicity angle:

Piggy-back on a trend

Peruse third-party studies for interesting figures that support something relevant to your hotel. Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, for instance, is an excellent, credible resource for hospitality industry stats and trends. One example: a recent Cornell study of the workout habits of U.S. travelers revealed that while a full half intend to use the hotel gym when they book their stay, only 22 percent follow through. We’re using those stats to create a pitch promoting out-of-the-box gym offerings at several client hotels and resorts that are designed to convert good intentions into workouts accomplished.

Expose a trend

If your hotel company has the bandwidth to conduct a proper, third-party survey, that’s a great opportunity to position it as a thought leader. Case in point: Four Points by Sheraton commissioned a survey focused on business travelers’ habits on the road. Among the interesting trends revealed were that road warriors typically take three to four mobile devices with them. We packaged our stat-heavy pitch with an easy-to-digest infographic, and the resulting media coverage went well beyond the hospitality trades — including a CNN report that today’s travelers are “goo-goo for gadgets.”

When you create your survey, don’t underestimate the value of including a few questions specifically intended to harvest a quirky nugget or two. The Four Points by Sheraton survey raised a few eyebrows with its reveal that the majority of business travelers report their spouse/partner is more likely to surprise them with a sexy video chat (56 percent) than have flowers delivered to their room (17 percent) or mail them a card (12 percent). By positioning that tidbit prominently in our pitch, we caught the attention of CNBC, which posted the survey results under the title Some Mobile Habits of Business Travelers are NSFW: Survey.

Buck a trend

Resort fees are par for the course in the industry. So when Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid eliminated the resort fee while adding a host of complimentary amenities (and coined the phrase “resort inclusive” in the process), we took it to the press. We had the data to show that a modest rate increase at the resort not only offset the added costs but led to increased revenue, occupancy and RevPAR. Our pitch resulted in a feature article in HOTELS magazine based on an in-depth interview with the general manager. Fox News picked up the story as well in a travel piece, Hotels that win guests by zigging where others zag.

As news organizations vet the story angles that come their way, the easier you can make it for editors to confirm your claims, the better. So include links to your sources, and in particular to any research that is not your own. And remember, to get your pitch to the top of the editorial heap, let the numbers do the talking.