In the contemporary context of BREXIT, the economic market of Britain as well as total the European Union are in a turmoil situation which is also affected the tourism market of VisitBritain. In this report, building value of tourism of Britain is discussed in the context of Brighton seaside tourist destination, which is recently on the declining side due to the economic turmoil. In the words of Petrovici (2014, p.67), public relation is that tool which enables an organisation to maintain their communication with their target customer and their audience. They are the person whom a person contacts in case of any grievance or feedback. Furthermore, they act as a linking agent between the outside wo
In the report, the roles and the importance of effectual public relation for travel and tourism business are discussed with the appropriate paradigm. In the next portion, the report will deal with the application public relations and promotions skills within a travel and tourism context of Brighton. According to Lahav et al. (2013, p.291) in the modern time the roles of media is indispensable in the case of pursuing personal relation of any organisation. Hence, the roles of media in the context public relations and promotions skills within a travel and tourism context of Brighton are also stated here. With the help of above element, a viable public relations plan in a travel and tourism context of Brighton is also presented in the final portion of the report.
Evaluation of the role of public relations within the travel and tourism sector as a promotional tool
Brighton is a European city hustling and bustling like a regular European city with lots of other attraction namely an outlandish Royal Palace with the domed Indian style palace re-imagined architect John Nash, fascinating museums, a beautiful neon-lit Brighton Pier beach with invigorating ocean views, marvellous shopping and late-night pubs and clubs (VisitBritain, 2016).
Culbertson and Chen (2013, p.89), implies that public relations are the commutation link of an organisation which needs to establish proper relationships with the public including consumers, legislators and stakeholders of the company. VisitBritain can achieve this by favourable publicity, positive corporate image and tackling unfavourable incidents as well as a rumour. Public relations is possibly comprised of holding special events, writing press releases, arranging and publishing consumer surveys about a service or the organisation, and labours to put a positive turn on negative news about the organisation.
There are mainly two divisions of public relations as for example, marketing and non-marketing public relations. In the non-marketing section, the public relation deals with the organisation’s messages about general management issues (Ju Jin et al. 2016, p.109). Furthermore, when a travel and tourism organisation like VisitBritain is going to change any of their dealings with a customer or any decision-making processes, which have a great impact on the perception of the customers they are dealing with. As for example when VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has decided to launch their new travel plan of the Brighton, they need PR to make their customer aware of the plan and seek their feedback regarding their decision and tourism plan.
Analysis of publics including the current and potential visitors and other stakeholders within a travel and tourism context.
Any organisation is mainly made up of different corporate stakeholders. According to Pastras and Bramwell, (2013, p.390) a corporate stakeholder can be identified as an individual or a group of people who is directly or indirectly affected by the actions of the contextual business organisation. However, Papasolomou and Melanthiou, (2012, p.319) describes stakeholders as those groups whose support is important for the very existence of the organisation. In that note it can be said for the VisitBritain their employees, managers, shareholders, contractual employees, suppliers, customer, society and government are an important stakeholder (Lee et al. 2012, p.584). These stakeholders are again subdivided into external and internal stakeholder. Employees, managers, shareholders or owners of VisitBritain come under internal stakeholder whereas the rest of the stakeholders are classified as an external stakeholder.
External stakeholders are those individuals who are not within the organisational bodies. However, External stakeholders of VisitBritain are concerned as well as affected by performance of the business of the travel company (Rodríguez-Antón et al. 2013, p.25). The local government needs the VisitBritain to perform well as they contributes to economy by paying taxes, employing more people, following laws, and truthfully reporting its financial conditions. On the other hand, customers of VisitBritain expect the organisation to provide high-quality goods or services at low cost. The community wants the business to contribute positively to its local environment and population.
Discussion of the importance of public relations to travel and tourism businesses [Task 1A]
VisitBritain uses Public relation as a promotional method for their travel and tourism business. The primary objective of Public Relations is establishing a good image of a specific destination in order to grab the attention of tourists. Apart from grabbing the attention of travellers, they also create awareness in public regarding the business practices of VisitBritain. They also manage the communication process within and outside the organisation (Lee et al. 2012, p.589). They tend to handle different social media accounts of the organisations so as the brand image of the organisation become enhanced. Further, if any negative publicity arises they try to resolve it or turn it into a positive one. If that is not possible, then they opt for masking that with a positive one. They also arrange and coordinate different sponsorship as a means to gain publicity and credibility.
Being an established name in the travel and tourism industry, VisitBritain is responsible for maintaining that the experiences of the clients choosing this company are exclusive (VisitBritain.com, 2016). Hence, it is important for the company to conduct destination audit in order to evaluate the scope of the destination in attracting the target customers and ensuring steady growth of the organisation. In this audit report, Brighton as a tourist destination has been evaluated (VisitBritain.com, 2016). The audit provides an overview, which can prompt the public relations department to adopt effective destination management, processes which will widen the scope of Brighton as an ideal holidaying location.
There are specific objectives, which were defined in this audit. It is ensured that these objectives are achieved to implement the relevant campaign to attract the prospective customers looking forward to a relaxing holiday chooses the travel packages of Brighton extended by the company.
- To analyse the resources available in the destination
- To identify whether the built perception is adequately fulfilled or not
- To zero-in on the most effective PR tools and media channels to attract customers and provide them accurate information
- To evaluate whether the campaign is effectively reaching the message
It is important on the party of the public relations officers to make sure that the promotion of chosen package of Brighton tourism is implemented only after the appropriate evaluation is done. According to Austin and Pinkleton (2015, p.13), the environmental analysis can thus, be considered by the managers to get a clear overview which can be helpful in selecting the most effective methods of the campaign.
Economic Factor- Being one of the most cost-effective destinations for short trips, Brighton is a hot favourite location for many looking for a cheap day out. With low-priced eateries and travelling costs, the economic factors can attract the target audience. The packages extended by VisitBritain makes it even more convenient for the audience to enjoy with the family even in the limited budget (VisitBritain.com, 2016). However, the inflation rate is required to be taken into consideration while trying to convince the potential visitors.
Social Factor- The social factor also plays an important part. It can be said that the packages can be availed by people from a varied social background. Hence, the scope of their interactions gets higher. The host communities interact with the tourists and thus, can have a positive or negative impact.
Environmental Factor- Being situated in the coastal areas of the country, it can be one of the most attractive places for the tourists looking for a day out. The climatic conditions of this place remain pleasant. Thus, VisitBritain considers the environmental factors while implementing the campaign (VisitBritain.com, 2016).
Families looking forward to a quick holiday or day out in the beaches of Brighton are given main focus by the organisation. The target is not only limited to the families in Britain. The tourists are also targeted by the organisations, which are visiting the exotic locations of the country.
Selecting Communication Channels:
It is realised by the public relations managers of the company that in order to reach the message to the target audience, potent communication channels are required (Dozier et al. 2013, p.45). With the increasing dependency on the digital platforms, VisitBritain utilises this platform to aware the target clients.
Hence, the information regarding the visit in Brighton is provided in the official website of the company. The promotion on social media is also a great way to inform the audience regarding the Brighton sightseeing packages.
Promoting the packages in conventional and traditional ways by using the print and electronic media are considered by the organisation as well (Pastras and Bramwell, 2013, p.395).
Outdoor campaigning is extended in order to let the audience know about the offers extended by them in the Brighton packages.
These media channels require promoting the services through various tools like newsletters, reports, websites and much more.
PR skills implementation:
In order to measure the effectiveness of the implemented strategies, the public relation managers use certain skills (Hays et al. 2013, p.215). When it comes to services like tour packages, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented campaigning strategy to promote the Brighton tour packages. Hence, utilisation of skills like communications, research and so on, managing the public can be easier. With the help of skills as such, it can be easier for the PR managers of VisitBritain to achieve the objectives of the organisation.
VisitBritain utilises media in the promotion of tourism in Britain, for building up the economy of the country. It manages its consumer loyalty regarding the travel and tourism packages of Brighton, UK, by means of their Public Relations department, who address the concerns of the customers, by applying various theories. Out of all these theories, the travel agency is Maxwell McCombs is mainly seen to apply Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw's Agenda Setting Theory in the assessment of the media content influencing the perception of their consumers (McCombs, 2013, p.1). VisitBritain has been seen to use create awareness and maintain their consumer loyalty, by means conducting quantitative and qualitative research analysis by using content analysis and interview methods. This is then interpreted with respect to the family holiday packages of Brighton offered by the agency - Brighton City Sightseeing Bus Tour, Sea Life Brighton Aquarium and Royal Pavilion Brighton (Refer to Appendix 1).
From the cost, prices analysed it has been seen that most consumers opt for the family holiday package of Brighton City Sightseeing Bus Tour. VisitBritain applies the Agenda Setting theory, by conducting a research, where a sample each of print media, electronic media and social media is taken and classified as per the agenda of the media content (Macnamara and Zerfass, 2012, p.287). This sampling is done on the consumers as well, where a selected number of consumers are taken and interviewed to know their perception about the company. The content of the media is then analysed and classified and rated as intentional or informational. The interviews are then interpreted and analysed to see how much the media has influenced the perception of the consumers, by using techniques such as Google Analytics as an analytical tool for undertaking data about how far consumers have been influenced by media (Papasolomou and Melanthiou, 2012, p.319). This interpretation is then used for addressing the consumer concerns by use of written media, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, SEO ratings, campaigning and using electronic media for addressing consumers by video, telephone and interviews (Ruck and Welch, 2012, p. 294).
VisitBritain uses the theory to promote its campaign by means of print media, electronic media, outdoor campaigning and social media. The organisation shall use print media to creating advertisements for promoting the tourism of Brighton among the consumers. This shall help in creating brand awareness among the consumers about the organisation and its products, including the holiday packages to the destination (Duhé, 2015, p.153). They shall further apply outdoor campaigning with the help of banners, posters and hoardings to create a buzz about the holiday package among the consumers. The organisation shall use electronic media for promoting a holiday at Brighton by working with other organisations by conducting face-to-face interviews, telephonic conversations, keeping in touch with consumers via electronic mails and video conferences, helping the travel agency to address the consumers by the use of media. Last but not the least, the company has been seen to utilise social media in increasing its SEO popularity, by maximising use of Google through its linked sites such as YouTube, Google+, Google Alerts and Google Hotel Finder, along with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, with blogs. This is done to keep up their organisational reputation by checking their online reputation, as well as their TripAdvisor listing (Kavoura, 2014, p.490).
It has been seen that VisitBritain keeps a healthy relation with the media sources, in order to promote and campaign tourism of Brighton for their consumers. The Public Relation practitioners of VisitBritain are seen to use the information provided in the media sources, to gain an insight into the demands and perception about the tourism package and the organisational reputation, among consumers, by the application of Agenda Setting Theory in their research method. The media sources, on the other hand, want to pass the latest juicy, eye-catching information to create awareness among the consumers. Studies have shown that news media has been seen to have more impact on the perception of consumers, as compared to the blogs and social media, relating to the reliability and ethical basis of provided information (Wilson and Supa, 2013, p.1)
The PR department of VisitBritain is seen to mainly use digital marketing and online booking for the promotion of tourism in Brighton. They are seen to promote mainly three packages regarding Brighton, an aquarium tour, a royal pavilion tour and a bus tour, of which the bus tour is seen to be the most popular one. Hence, the key media, which shall be used in this case, is social media, where SEO ratings, blogs, social networking sites and organisational websites are used as a tool for the promotion of tours by the organisation (Hays et al. 2013, p.211). This is because social media is such a tool, which goes viral in the world, reaching out to masses of people, helping the PR department to interact with consumers, and create awareness about the tour package. The organisation is seen to collate and analyse the media present in the sample, to prepare and supervise the campaigning of tourism by creating e-brochures, addressing consumers via video chatting, along with an analysis of the content of Facebook, YouTube videos and Twitter as well as blog contents. VisitBritain is further seen to maximise the use of Google and its links to increase its popularity in the SEO ratings (Kelleher, 2015, p.281).
It has been noted that the exit of the UK from the European Union (EU) has created a great economic impact, especially regarding the foreign tourists visiting Brighton. PR department of VisitBritain uses social media to address the concerns of the tourists, inviting them to visit the beautiful coastal city of Brighton, by using innovative means. Some of the innovative means which can be used by VisitBritain are creating e-advertisements about tourism fairs, where online media can be used for inviting people to travel fairs. For knowing more about the tourism of Brighton especially the bus tours, which stops at 11 stops including the Royal Pavilion, which lies in the heart of the city (Safer et al. 2013, p.213). Another method, which can be used, is the sponsorship of educational programmes for foreign students, where the students can take the tour of the city during a weekend and promote the tourism of Brighton by telling about their lovely tour to other people. These activities shall be supported by a press conference along with a follow-up.
It has been seen that both the media as well as VisitBritain promote the tourism of the lovely coastal city of Brighton. Since the company uses online marketing; social media has been used along with the use of press conferences. Press conference has been seen to be an effective tool for the tourism promotion since they are taken as the traditional, ethical and more reliable sources of information regarding the tour packages, the destination and the organisational status of the travel agencies. These conferences held to come up with a follow-up, where the strategies discussed shall be put to a question and answer session, helping the company to solve the queries of people, through the press (Sotiriadis and Van Zyl, 2013, p.103).
The organisation shall utilise social media for the creation of e-advertisements of its travel fairs and sponsorship programmes. It has been seen that VisitBritain utilises social media for the campaigning of its tourism activities because it enables the organisation to reach a wide mass of active consumers (Swarbrooke and Page, 2012, p.2). These active consumers are seen to comment on the social networking sites, blogs and websites. Moreover, it is cost-effective for the organisation, since the videos and advertisements only have to be made at one go, enabling the organisation to reach a large number of people at the same time, serving to be time-saving as well (Sparks et al. 2013, p.1).
Moreover, it has also been seen that VisitBritain shall utilise social media for creating awareness of campaigning by means of fairs and sponsorship programmes. This enables the travel agency to gain a wide range of consumers from various sectors – be them from the corporate to the educational to even the family sector itself. It helps them to increase their contacts, enabling the organisation to not only promote the tourism of Brighton but to also building their connections with the public. Further, the absence of middlemen enables the PR department to directly address the concerns and queries of the consumers, bringing more and more people to visit the attractive city of Brighton (Scott, 2015, p.5). It has also been seen that its use of social media will enable the organisation to share its case studies along with success stories, with the social mass, creating awareness about what Brighton offers for them, and why they should retreat to the lovely coastal city for their holiday. In addition, the company shall use social media as a campaigning tool since it is easy to operate and enables active conversation with the consumers, by addressing the follow-up, where the feedback, comments and queries of the consumers are addressed for promoting their rank among the TripAdvisor status.
Public Relation Plan for Brighton Bus Tour by VisitBritain
It can be undeniably stated that the Public Relation Campaigns are one of the major functions that the PR department of VisitBritain has to undertake. In order to make sure that the bus tour of Brighton is able to satiate the consumers and provide them with an exciting experience, it is important for the PR managers to make sure that the target audience is able to receive adequate information regarding the offerings extended by the company for Brighton tour. Therefore, the public relations department engages in managing the various networking channels that are helpful in reaching the messages to the target clients.
Steps of effective PR plans
With a step-by-step process, the campaign will be able to derive positive results in favour of the organisation (Gössling et al. 2012, p.38). The first step that is required to be taken by VisitBritain is to set specific goals for the campaign. It is the responsibility of the public relations employees to create awareness among the mass. Hence, the aim of the campaign is to reach a wide range of target customers through appropriate channels.
The second step that has to be taken is to identify the target customers. Since Brighton is a destination for short visit, the target audience will be the families looking for a day out to relax on the beaches or other tourists visiting the various locations in the country. Corporate clients for MICE tours, medical tourists and the students on educational trips are also targeted. It is important to make sure that the appropriate messages are created to reach the audience.
Selecting the appropriate media is very crucial for any PR plan. As Gössling et al. (2012, p.67) states, it is impossible for any organisation to rely on the only mouth of words method to influence the target audience. With the help of appropriate media, it can be easier for the organisation to achieve the target market. VisitBritain realises the same and the campaign will incorporate media like print media, electronics media as well as the social media. Announcements, notices and informative approaches as such are required to be extended to the audience.
The next step is to zero-in on the budget. This step requires the public relations managers to coordinate with the finance department. It is important to establish the amount of resources required for the public relations activities. The budget required for the public relations processes will range from moderate to high.
Implementation is the final step of any PR campaign. It is considered important for the media operators to establish a healthy and professional relationship with the media personnel. This will make sure the media is covering the information in an appropriate way. Thus, it can be ensured that the target customers are positively influenced.
The PR activities that can be undertaken by VisitBritain is by conducting appropriate sponsorship programs for foreign students. Using the media and advertisements can be effective in influencing the mass without much effort. In order to draw the attention of the media, a press conference is required to be arranged by the PRO. A follow-up process should also be undertaken to make sure that the media are addressing the campaign in good light. Participation in travel fairs will also be one of the key PR strategies to influence target customers. Hence, the most cost-effective measures are required to be taken by the public relations department of VisitBritain for their campaign.
Reviewing the effectiveness of PR campaign
It is important to monitor the effectiveness of the PR activities and events in order to derive fruitful results. With the help of the appropriate measures, it can be said that the effectiveness of the campaign can be measured easily. The attention from the media for the campaign will depend on the numbers of media house personnel attending the press conference. Once the media are informed about the campaign, it is important to ensure that the media coverage is monitored by the professionals (Altinay et al. 2015, p.12). It will provide them with a sight regarding the performance of the PR activity.
Apart from media coverage, the social media platform is an effective source to review the PR influence. The scope of instant feedback can be utilised to garner the idea of the effectiveness of PR campaign in influencing the audience.
Monitoring the change in attitudes of the target customers as well as the media is also a good reviewing method (Imran et al. 2014, p.23). It will provide the scope to understand whether the campaign has been positively adopted by the target clients or not.
The effect on the sales and profits can be reviewed as well to analyse the effectivity of the PR campaign. The final review method is by evaluating whether the objectives of the campaign have been achieved after the campaign got over or not.
Thus, with the help of proper review methods, the scope of determining the effectiveness as well as identifying the drawbacks and eliminating them considerably can be widened.
At the end of this report, this can be concluded that the roles and the importance of effectual public relations are indispensable for a fine brand image of the contextual travel and tourism organisation, VisitBritain. In order to make a strategy for planning public relation program a business audit is conducted. In addition, a environmental analysis is also done to understand the external environment of travel and tourism business. It is found that the target customer for Brighton seaside tourism plan of VisitBritain is mainly travel enthusiast families. With a view to the target audience, the communication channels are decided as print media, electronic media and social media.
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