Hospitality PR | Olivia Warne - Founder, Pendulum Communications

Find out what makes Hospitality PR such a fulfilling sector to work in

Some of us eat to live and others, live to eat. I'm in the latter category and so is this episode's guest, Olivia Warne, owner of hospitality-focused PR agency Pendulum Communications. In this sector specialist episode, we chat about Olivia's transition from a graduate in hospitality PR in London to launching her own hospitality agency in Sydney. We cover what's to love about hospitality, give graduates some tips on how to stand out when applying for jobs and discuss the general attributes that are helpful to have within PR.


“Never over promise and under deliver. Your reputation will develop from your honesty and your ability to deliver the results you have agreed on, so don't give clients, managers or media an opportunity not to trust you”

WHAT'S TO LOVE ABOUT HOSPITALITY PR?

  • It's a grounded industry, made up of hard-working business owners who have often worked in entry-level hospitality jobs and worked their way up. They understand every element of their business and are genuinely passionate about the industry, so it's great to work with clients who are so enthusiastic

  • You get to see the results of the media coverage you have secured when you see a venue packed out from launch. It's very fulfilling to know most of the people engaging with that venue are there because they've read an article that you have pitched

  • The PR work is varied. In one day, you could be organising a launch event, coordinating a photo shoot, pitching to media, engaging with influencers and researching for an upcoming media send-out

  • Especially with hospitality venues, you become an extension of that team for the duration of the campaign. You're thought of less as a consultant and more so as a key member of that business

  • With agency hospitality PR, you have a good mix of retainer clients and project clients. The short, sharp, 3 - 6 month projects can rotate quite quickly and give you something new and fresh to focus on, which complements the brands you've work with for a few years and you know intimately well


Listen to the full episode on The PR Pod podcast for more about working in Hospitality PR. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".

HOW TO MAKE YOUR MARK WHEN APPLYING FOR A GRADUATE POSITION...

  • Have genuine passion for the industry that particular job is focused in and be able to validate that by speaking about what you like about it, what trends you've noticed, brands you identify with etc. Businesses want to know you have a positive connection to their product/clients and that you will represent them well

  • Strong social skills. Can you communicate confidently in the interview? Will they be able to trust that you can manage yourself if you're with media, clients or other departments?

  • Diligent and eager to learn. Not everyone is super social but if you show you are particularly strong when it comes to attention to detail, getting your work done and display an eagerness to develop you skills, that is highly desirable

  • Be appropriately dressed. If you're unsure what is expected of you, always dress smart. It's better to present well to show that you know what is expected of someone in professional circumstances

  • Spend some time familiarising yourself with the media outlets relevant to the industry or sector you're applying for a job in. You won't be expected to have media contacts just yet but you will be expected to have an understanding of the print and online publications that are pertinent to that business/clients

  • Look through the brands/clients that company represents, and do a quick Google to see what coverage they secured recently. They may ask you if you're familiar with the recent launch of a product/client so being able to drop some names of publications you saw coverage in will be beneficial

  • Have strong writing skills. Your writing is probably limited to university assignments or internship tasks at this stage but it's likely you'll be asked to do a writing assignment in the interview process so if you've not written anything for a while, do some practice


SECURED A JOB IN PR? HERE'S SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU STAND APART

  • Never delete an email. There may be times where someone disputes a piece of information or says they never received an email so create email folders and keep track of everything coming in and out of your inbox to be accountable

  • Have excellent time management skills. (Need a recap on how you could manage your time better? Check out this episode on Managing Your Time)

  • Don't forget to follow up with a journalist if you've organised something for them. If you've organised for a journalist to do an interview or perhaps visit a restaurant for dinner, make a note in your tasks or calendar to reconfirm the day before and make another note to follow up afterwards, to find out how it went. It gives you a chance to sniff out out any issues or to get positive feedback to pass on, as well as check on expected coverage

  • Moving to a new country and applying for PR jobs? Get to know the media landscape. Invest some time and money in understanding the main news outlets as well as the publications relevant to the sector you're hoping to work in. As much as having media contacts is very important, they'll recognise you have made the effort to understand the local media

  • Identify your weaknesses as a PR and develop a plan to work on them. Written a couple of below-average media releases recently? Write some practice ones and get a manager or colleague you trust to review and edit

  • Learn from your colleagues. Make note of what they get praised for and what they are not doing so well. Don't make the same mistakes they do

  • Keep on top of industry/sector news. Know the movements of competitor companies/brands, understand key trends, have an opinion on major developments

  • Have attention to detail. Always make sure your spelling and grammar is correct, keep track of every task and when it's due, and have a clear filing system for your inbox and work documents

If you'd like to learn more about working within lifestyle PR, check out this episode with Allira Carroll from Tonic PR.

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