‘Any press is good press’… Or maybe not…



‘Any press is good press’

There are many variations on this statement. Oscar Wilde said –

‘there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about’.

Or PT Barnum is reported to have said ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity’.

But after a little bit of googling on the topic I found that the earliest quote like this from PT Barnum was in 1915 and he said –

 ‘All publicity is good if it is intelligent.’

I think this one is probably the most accurate.

The Charleville Lodge hotel are currently receiving a lot of attention over a Facebook post. I turned on the car radio to hear a spokesman for the hotel, I missed the intro so I didnt catch his name, but it may have been the owner or manager. He was discussing

a) his right to increase prices around the date of the Ed Sheeran concert and
b) defending his Facebook post where he suggested anyone who didnt like the price hike should seek accommodation at homeless shelters. He went as far as posting links to charity websites.

Based on the reaction from callers, replies to the Facebook post and media attention I think this is a case of a publicity stunt back firing.

Its not because of the price hike but more the messaging the hotelier has opted to use around his decision.

Stick to what you know

Clearly, the guy knows what he’s doing with his hotel. Like most things, hotel rooms are priced based on supply and demand. It makes no commercial sense for a hotel to maintain a low price when all around them are raising theirs. The same happens with airline tickets the closer to the flight date, late night pubs can charge more for a pint after regular closing time, restaurants charge more on Valentines night and the list goes on.

He went on to say he was trying to be funny and he felt he should communicate with people who had reached out to him on social media, in this case Facebook. Apparently, he has a track record of posting ‘funny’ posts. The problem here being, he’s not a comedian and he is walking a social media tight rope.

He should probably stick to running his hotel.

Both comedy and communication are quite subjective or based on personal feelings.

We know comedians are trying to be funny because they work hard on their act to create a set up for the punchline even if the subject matter is controversial. And, they’re comedians so we expect them to be be joking.

We don’t always expect or recognise comedy on a business social media page, like a hotel. If you’re going to try comedy you should put some careful consideration into the joke and maybe get some opinions before posting. Especially when you consider his joke was about homeless shelters against the backdrop of increasing prices and therefore increasing proifits for his hotel.

Communication is also subjective in that your audience may disagree with your opinion. In most cases this is fine and they are quite entitled to do so. But, if you’re a business do you really want to turn off potential future customers with bad jokes and less than courteous responses?

What happens when the music stop s and the lights come on?

The hotel has since announced a competition to give away eight tickets to the Ed Sheeran contest and has asked people to leave a five star review to be eligible to enter, which is clever.

But roll it forward a few months to after Ed Sheeran has been and gone. If a potential new customer googles ‘Charleville Lodge’ they may be put off by the many links to news stories of irrate reactions to their comedic efforts.

Or the tone of the Facebook page posts might be a little off putting, for example “**FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL THE HATERS RINGING THE HOTEL AND SHOUTING HYSTERICALLY DOWN THE PHONE**”.

Or they may see the competition and feel the Facebook page rating is artificially elevated due to the Ed Sheeran competition.

What he could have said

The issue people were having was over something objective – the price of a room. He should have kept his response objective – Our rooms are costing X, this is still cheaper than Hotel Y.

He could have touted for repeat business – Anyone that books with us and displays an Ed Sheeran ticket will get X% discount for another stay or a meal included.

He could have offered a competition for all guests staying on the Ed Sheeran weekend with the prize being a free nights accommodation or X% discount for another stay  a meal included.

This guys seems to have his fans but he has attracted a lot of new ‘haters’ as he calls them. These ‘haters’ could have been new guests down the line. While his social media style doesn’t seem to have hurt the hotel’s business so far, he or the hotel is walking a the public opinion tight rope.