Two facts have upturned how hotel marketers and public relations experts count successes and a reality is that we are not going back to the simpler time we used to live in. That's good for a big reason: we now are much closer to truly seeing how powerful smart PR can be. Especially in the travel business where story and imagery and video - the building blocks of travel PR - obviously can deliver results.Here are the facts that have changed everything. First: we increasingly see hotel executives - both GMs and DoSMs - with at least some business school background. And b-school people love metrics. They want to measure and, initially at leas t, some PR people howl but they eventually buckle up. The more we measure, the more powerfully we prove our worth.The second fact: the old way of measuring - so-called advertising value equivalents (AVE) - has been pretty much universally tossed on the rubbish heap. It just doesn't work. It certainly does not work for many of the new tools in the PR toolbelt. But, really, it never worked.The AVE idea was that you'd take a story placed by PR, measure it (literally with a ruler in many cases), then calculate how much the same amount of advertising would cost. And PR would blow trumpets that its work had resulted in, oh, a $100,000 worth of New York Times coverage.Good as that sounds, it's nonsensical. For one thing, in buying an ad, the advertiser gets lots of power - sometimes right down to exact placement and certainly the choice of image and the exact wording. When a story is about you, you get none of that.AVE also glossed over the reality that different stories deliver different values. What's the worth of a tepid hotel review? Are those eight inches worth less than eight inches of praise? Of course. But how to calculate?In 2010, a collection of PR measurement experts gathered in Barcelona and one of the things they did was toss out AVE. They also came up with new ways to measure results. In 2015, PR practitioners issued a fine
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