Public Relations Dissertation

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Public Relations

In society, in all platforms of work and life, the application of public relation as a job as well as a term is considerably significant. Similarly, the importance of public relations as a vital form of communication cannot be neglected. The core purpose of public relation is to generate concrete public image through a communication model. Thus, the whole country obtains a positive image as a tourist destination and this aspect of public relation is the most beneficial for the tourism industry.

The period of economic recession turns the attention of various countries towards the promotion of travel and tourism industry. A new marketing approached was devised to attract more and more tourists for a specific destination. Obviously, tourists travel to a familiar tourist destination, in this regard; the modern perspective of tourism marketing plays a vital role. Nonetheless, the application of marketing tactics, techniques, and knowledge fortify the foundation for portraying an attractive picture of a specific tourist destination, which helps to motivate tourists and develop comparative advantages.

Marketing mix is an inseparable part of promotion, which facilitates marketing for the growth of the destination. Likewise, in the promotional mix, public relation underpins the several weak spot of the tourism business. Clearly, public relation is an arresting and consistent approach depicting the product and pulls the attention of guests towards a specific destination through a gaining and competent method.

However, despite understanding the impressive importance of public relation, no mandatory attention has been put forth, at national and international level, by the present and past researchers. Moreover, in tourism about public relation very brief material is available, which is comprised of very few articles and manuals. In addition, no authentic textbook or scientific publication has been written regarding the importance of public relation in tourism. Nevertheless, more emphasis has been given to marketing in tourism; thus, public relation has been treated as a segment of promotion and marketing.

The public relation theorists and the marketing theorists have a contradiction between them regarding the status of public relation as a branch of marketing or as an individual separate subject. The public relation theorists think that owing to the public relation’s large scope it should be treated as separate subject. The American public relation researchers have given this classification of marketing tools.

The current paper has been organized in the following manners:

  • Introduction
  • Basic theoretical postulates about marketing of a tourist destination and its relation with the communication of the market
  • Public relations
  • The utilization of media in public relation for travel and tourism exposure
  • Conclusion

Public Relations Definitions

BIPR (The British Institute of Public Relations) describes public relations as maintaining common consideration between an organization and its publics through purposeful organized and continue endeavor for establishment is public relations. According to the definition, public relation is not a random activity instead; it is designed and structured on considerations of an organization and its publics. Thus, public relation is comprised of outcomes, analysis, expectations, considerations, attention and research.

To start just the plan is not sufficient a continued endeavor is mandatory. The purpose of plan must be achieved logically. However, when circumstances are not favorable such as poor economy, volatile politics and similar aspects the target becomes more difficult.

PRSA (The Public Relations Society of America) defines public relations, as the purpose of public relations is to develop and generate common motives among institutions and groups.

The book “Effective Public Relations” is measured the bible of public relations in America. It is written by Cutlip, Center and Broom (1985) describes public relations as, public relations is a function of management that maintains, recognizes and institutes common advantageous attachments between an organization and its publics, obviously, the success of an organization depends on publics. Conversely, most of the organizations never feel that their success depends on the common association with publics. If the organizations neglects the fact of importance of its publics they cannot grasp the real success in business.

In his book, Frank Jefkins (1993), a British author explains public relations, to obtain goals related to common concerns public relation provides planned communication between an organization and publics inwardly and outwardly. This definition depicts a two-way communication inward and outward between publics and organization underpin through common purposes.

Variation In Public Relations

Nowadays, the approach of public relation has transformed significantly and has various functions. International Public Relations Association, which was founded in London in 1950, these Public Relations are comprised of organized, resolute and continued working through maintaining and establishing common consideration between an organization and its surroundings and the surroundings of an organization is public (www.

Public Relations Dissertation
Public Relations Dissertation

In the language of tourism, the description and parameters of public relations and its meaning have been defined as “in tourism the perception of public relations points towards all the functions implemented a tourism offer, for generating, in the public a positive opinion regarding all the functions, services, targets of the work, and work. Thus, public relation is an organized, pre-planned and mindful function that can affect the public pertinently (Senečić and Vukonić, 1997).

Moreover, it is important to recognize public relations as a different form of communication while describing the concept of public relations.

Public relation has been often classified under marketing through marketing and marketing communications theorists (Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2001); however, public relations theorists (Cutlip, Center and Broom, 2003) observe it as a different management category. In any circumstances, on marketing process the effect of public relations cannot be denied.

In addition, there is a wrong perception about public relation that it is always classified in the group of advertising, publicity and media relations.

According to Deuschi (2007) who defines public relations, it is a function of management, which utilizes mutual communication and works to facilitate the public with the purpose to affect the opinion of the public; moreover, its purpose is to obtain concern and recognition for the organization.

The Association Of Marketing And Public Relations

Conversely, marketing is considered as a function of management, which directs and organizes all the activities of business by engaging the evaluation of the requirements of the customers and, thus, transforming buying power into a concrete demand for a specific product. Thereby, make it possible for the consumer to have it, thence, accumulating profit and obtaining different goals of business (Weber and Boranić, 2000).

However, without public relations marketing process cannot be perceived. Both the functions are very arresting for the growth of business and only their inter-connectivity make it real excellent outcomes for business.

Mostly marketing, communication, and marketing approaches have various kinds of public relations. The only dissimilarity is the targeted public as public is communicated directly. Nonetheless, the target public can vary according to the activity.

Specifically, for the current paper the author has chosen an outline from the most common kinds of public relations regarding tourism. They have been devised and separated by Black (2003) into fundamental categories, and this is comprehensively encircling all the important detail related to the target public within tourism destination scenario. They have been mentioned below:

  • Internal public relations
  • Association with state administration and government
  • Domestic public relations and community associations
  • Consumer attachments and international public relations
  • Publicity and media relations

The Principles of Malvin Sharp

A deep understanding of public opinion is necessary for a public relations practitioner. The understanding helps him/her to comprehend the variation of public opinion, he/she can recognize opinion leaders who have formal and informal opinion and he/she can develop a relation with them through particular messages. For maintaining favorable public opinion, Melvin Sharp (2000) devised the following principles to guide organizations:

  1. Although technology is accountable for the segmentation of current society, yet it can be implemented to access publics.
  2. For both external and internal publics the management of an organization’s communication is mandatory to make sure precise and appropriate comment because transformation, adaptation and adjustment are necessary for durability.
  3. According to law and social rights all stakeholders have the right to have all the information regarding decisions, which can affect directly or indirectly them; thus, accurate information should be provided for the welfare of all.
  4. The opinions and attitudes of the public, in complete operational atmosphere, is the base of social and economic strength of an organization.

Critical Elements of Public Relations

Wilcox, Ault and Agee (1998) have recognized seven practical and critical elements of public relations. These are very helpful in monitoring public opinion in public relations:

  • Advisory committees: The committee is inclusive of prominent citizens to offer advice regarding policies, public relations programming and concepts.
  • Staff meetings: To impart knowledge and experience through sharing the obtained knowledge of informal research through staff meetings is a good practice.
  • Sampling/polling: For the organization and its policies a deliberate and organized research regarding the attitudes and interests of public is polling.
  • Telephone calls and letters: After tracking the patterns that might be helpful for essential changes in company policies this genuine source emerges.
  • Media reports: These can be obtained after monitoring the media for editorials, OP-Ed pages, and letters to the editor and through news stories.
  • Field reports: Sales people, customers and various patrons submit complements, suggestions, questions and complaints, which can be achieved through field reports.
  • Personal contact: Friends, company employees, customers, opinion leaders, consultants, and business associates are the people that can be accessed easily through a phone call or by obtaining an appointment.

Destination Marketing and Public Relations

In destination marketing and in promotion of tourism, the author of this paper has researched extensively and has discovered that public relation is a noticeable segment for promotion of tourism, which influences directly all the functions of travel and tourism. Moreover, community tourism organizations and national tourism organizations during organizations of marketing management of destination can take advantage of public relation for making an effective strategy.

Conclusively, the importance of public relation is undeniable, in this regard; the following hypotheses have been tested:

  1. The application of public relation is not in the right direction
  2. Public relation has a separate identity and is different from advertising
  3. For promotion of a tourist destination regarding destination marketing it is very helpful

The clarification of the concept is necessary prior to describe the demand of public relations within the parameters of tourist destination marketing. Marketing of traditional product is considerably dissimilar from marketing in tourism. In the features of supply and demand, this vital variation is hidden. Tourism is a type of service according to Mill and Morrison (1985), “What is sold is a non-material experience, and not material goods, which may be tested before use“(Cited Moutinho, 2005).

For the application of marketing in tourism, two methods are implemented. (1) For utilizing and establishing marketing as a foundation of business guiding principle for individual companies are accumulating advantages/profits through tourism market; (2) in utilizing and establishing as supporting force to business strategy, which is at the scale of an individual unit provides a fundamental approach regarding placements of organization through tourism (Senečić and Vukonić, 1997).

Stakeholders and Public Relations

According to the association with the organization, not many efforts have been made to recognize stakeholders, specifically, in public relations literature. Nonetheless, some segmentations of stakeholders are very simple such as internal and external publics. The best efforts to recognize all stakeholders through the public relations literature were made by Grunig and Hunt (1984) in their linkage model. To recognize relationship’s of stakeholders with an organization this model has four linkages normative linkages, diffused linkages, functional linkages, and enabling linkages.

The relationship between public relations, stakeholders theory and stakeholders management provide guidance in recognizing publics and important stakeholders. However, it is critical to know how much attention should be given to each stakeholder or how much they deserve.

Moreover, usually, public and stakeholders’ terms are implied as they are same but this is a vague concept. In the public relations and different literature of mass media public is recognized according to their association with the message while stakeholders are recognizes in business literature in line with their association to an organization (Winn, 2001).

The most popular definition of stakeholders is Freeman’s definition who states that if a person or groups of persons is affected by any action of an organization or they can affect the performance of an organization are called stakeholders (Freeman, 1984).

Media, Tourism and Public Relations

According to the freedictionary mass media represents the ways of communication that can easily access to great number of people quickly. The mass media means may be radio, magazines, newspapers television etc. To observe behavior, perceptions, beliefs and values of people sociologists study mass media. For instance, mass media impart knowledge about social evils and dangers such as young people learn how and with whom to have sexual relations because it may be dangerous due to the fear of AIDS. Mass media has immense power; it can turn loyalty of people against and in favor of political leaders. Several movements in the history are the contribution of mass media (chegg).

Inventors and modern technologies have made the media of current age inseparable part of human lives. The significance of media is undeniable and the impact of media on human lives is long lasting.

Television is the most common source of media. It is an important part of every household. Children of current age cannot live without watching cartoons and their favorite programs. They watch television without tiring for hours. These impressions of television screens become their friends and dreams. When they grow up and start going to schools their eyes catch the images of magazines and popular newspapers. Some of the images remain commit to their memories for years and some efface very soon.

The topic of media is very interesting and one can read it and define it for hours. There are several hot topics that attract the audience, obviously, everybody has a different taste and interest; therefore, people choose specific newspapers and magazines for their study. The dissimilar interests of people are politics, showbiz, sports and many more. The subject of media is very intricate and it has perceptible distinctions according to country, culture and politics.

Tourism is fragmented and intricate industry; it has several dimensions, which perform their roles in hotel chains, tour operators and air carriers. Therefore, smaller organizations at regional and local standards and national organizations have to solve their issues regarding planning, promotion and research at the national standards (Moutinho, 2005).

Certainly, the tourist destination marketing as an activity of business and philosophy of modern business attach the destination product to the market and, which occurs at two occasions: at the level of the organizer’s offer and at the destination altitude. In the present paper, the stress will be given on the destination altitude as the activities of marketing are, usually performed, at a lower level, by tourism organizations and by national tourism organizations.

In the marketing process, the most significant aspects are communication with the market. Kesic (2003) there are two fundamental approaches of communication:

  1. Mass communication
  2. Mutual communication

Mass communication is related to the media just as a liaison within the process of communication and it is generally points towards mass communication. According to Meler (1999), the promotional activities can be segregated into classified large groups.

  1. Fundamental promotional activities such as publicity, public relations, personal selling, sales promotions, and advertising.
  2. Derivative promotional activities such as “word of mouth” advertising, customer services, packaging, and designing.

The most liable bodies are community tourism organizations when at the destination level the communication/promotional mix and its function is considered. However, when the promotional activities are related to other countries, it would becomes the liability of the regional organizations and national tourism organizations along with local organizations because they are familiarized the domestic market and community.

In practice, the tourism workers implement all type of the communication or promotional mix. Nevertheless, most of the researchers and authors suggest that the utilization of public relations, promotions, personal selling and advertising are the fundamental of promotional mix and they are enough for the purpose.

When an organization utilizes editorial, stories, interviews and different kinds of writing material to promote a specific service or product to inform the public; it implements publicity. Through media coverage a product or service is highlighted. Definitely, this is the most vital and cost curtailing method to attract public.

The implication of publicity in travel and tourism is very common. It guides and motivates travelers and provokes them to choose one travel destination over another travel destination. Moreover, it is not just like paid advertisement instead it is an unpaid proposal. The characteristics of publicity are to provide information regarding a specific product or service. An effective publicity leads the customer to bookings and enquires.

The word media has countless meanings. It covers a variety of niches such as radio, television, internet, newspapers, magazines etc. Apart from common media after the arrival of Web 2, which is known as social media that is also an effective media for publicity? However, to select right media for the product promotion requires research and understanding of the market. It is the first important step to promote any product among customers. The organization or related staff has to identify the most popular media for the promotion of their product.

After the launching of the product publicity thorough any medium, the organization has to view the advertisement and judge its audience reaction regarding the product. This approach helps to recognize any flaw in the ad because mistakes can be made. Moreover, the organization recognizes the uniqueness or commonness of their product and it also identifies whether the selected medium can reach to the targeted audience or not.

During a survey regarding the assessment of the impact of social and other medium of publicity that are being implemented in the practices of public relations it was revealed that each year the medium are increasing. For some businesses, Facebook is considered the most significant social media in all public relations and communication endeavors apart from video sharing sites such as podcasts, electronic forums, blogs, YouTube, search engine marketing and Twitter. For organizing and managing an organization’s social media communication and blogs, public relations or communication is consistently the most important function of an organization.

In this regard, marketing is considered second, obviously. In addition, according to the practitioners of social media and other types of medium of publicity are incessantly improving their precision in truth telling, honesty, trust and credibility. Furthermore, the practitioners have observed that the new media serving effectively as a regulator regarding traditional news media and is influencing organizational and corporate culture clearness, which is enhancing a ethical and translucent culture. In addition, the people of public relations are spending more time in social media and blogging in an average workday. They are spending almost 35% of their working time in social media activities.

Social Media

 Some people still define the social media and other medium of communication similarly, though they are transforming into new approach. For any person social media is a method to include changes or improvement, assessment and commentary, via online provide and get real-time feedback, and publish digital creative content (Mark Dykeman, 2008). According to Joe Marchese (2007), there is a visible difference between traditional media per se television, radio, magazines, newspapers and social media. Although social media is not the media itself, yet it provides surrounding of conversation, consumption, distribution and discovery of the media. However, both the media have the capability to access to small as well as large audience. Nonetheless, a significant difference is cost difference of both the media, the traditional medium’s production cost is higher than the social media production cost. The social media only requires access to computer and the art of selecting and communicating with the audience.

According to the Pew Research Center (2005, 2008 & 2012), in 2008, for the first time in history people started to read news through online sources instead of traditional mass media. The American tendency of viewing information online exhibits that the trend is transforming; however, it is not surprising, for instance, now Americans subscribe newspapers only on Sunday and all other days of the week they read online.

In 1995, only 10% adult Americans were utilizing the web service; however, in 2009, 80% Americans are taking advantage of internet (Pew, 2005, 2008, 2012). In addition, the University of Southern California and its Center for the Digital Future state that the figures of Americans who are using internet are 82% (2010).According to the search results of Pew 57% of Americans have laptops and 88% have cell phones. Nevertheless, income, education, and age are the provoking factors for the utilization of internet. Moreover, in the mentioned demographic classification, recently, great increase of utilization of internet has been observed. For instance, Americans over the age of 65 almost half of them are utilizing internet 86% of them are very active and have contacts through email and 34% of them have social networks interactions. Furthermore, the younger generation is more active regarding the implementation of new technologies as compare to the older generation. The new generation use internet for specific purposes such as downloading movies, songs and books (Pew, 2005, 2008, 2012).

The most significant advantage in the internet promotion is its easy measurement because websites record the data of visitors’ quantity, their staying duration and can calculate the clicking rates. This specific feature helps the companies to assess the efficiency of the advertising campaign and what further improvement can be done for enhancement (Arkantos, 2007).

Another advantage of online promotion and marketing is its limitless boundaries; obviously, the geography cannot affect its strength and the organization can reach every customer globally. Moreover, the cost of local publicity would be greater than global publicity (UNWTO, 2005 p. 54). Thus, even local companies can reach global customers.

However, Akantos (2007) considers that online marketing has some disadvantages. Though small companies have advantage in promotion of their products through online, yet with low budget, they cannot imagine to invest in huge expensive online advertising campaigns, for instance, they cannot invest in cost per click campaign.

Moreover, the remoteness between consumers and companies makes things suspicious and worse. It is difficult to believe a product or a service, specifically, which has virtual existence. Thus, first to find reliable consumers and companies is necessary. Arkantos (2007) also considers geographical distance between seller and buyer a problem for business. Furthermore, due to countless offers and limitless information the consumer becomes reluctant in making decisions because he/she becomes confuse (UNWTO, 2005 p. 54).

Moreover, not all the people have access to internet; likewise, some of them do not have even computers. Thereby, to reach them through internet is not possible. In addition, there are people who do not use internet, for instance, the population of France is 60 million, yet juts 29 million people utilize the facility of internet (Veille info Tourism, 2007). Kotler and Bliemel (2001 p. 1212) claim that not for all products and services the online marketing is feasible. There are numerous services and products, which may not be promoted or sold through web.

However, Solis, (2011 p. 21) does not agree with other researchers. According to him, any service or device, which gets the help of internet to take advantages of conversation, is social media. Similarly, Wright and Hinson (2012) in their annual studies have observed the utilization of social media. They reveal in their findings that for public relations social media has brought positive changes, the new transforming technology has provided the power to organized communication with inner and outer audiences and, thus, facilitates the professionals. Therefore, social media has become important for various organizations and for public relations its significance cannot be neglected.

The Role of Engagement in Public Relations and Social Media

The word engagement has various meanings; however, its relation with public relations is obvious. The public relations practitioners convey engagement as a contact with any organization or conversation that helps in developing associations. The core focus of Solis’s book is engagement he thinks that one way communication is less important than two-way communication or dialogue; moreover, he emphasis the engagement of organization otherwise he suggests the organization should wind up its business (Solis, 2011, p. 2). Li and Bernoff (2008) also mentioned in their research about engagement and its relation with “conversation” and “talk.” However, Paine who wrote a book about measurement could not mention engagement in detail. Nonetheless, she accepts its significance and she describes the term of management as a number of retweets, number of comments in a blog, and numbers of visits of a visitor on a specific site.

Solis describes the arresting position of engagement. With stakeholders, it is a two-way conversation where, simultaneously, listening and engagement work together through conversation by social media platforms and this process is the responsibility of all the stakeholders. Moreover, he decries completely the obsolete conception that only one department has the responsibility of organizing and looking after the social media. However, in his book, Solis only focused Facebook and Twitter while he completely unnoticed the podcasts, blogs and Flickr. The important parts of engagement are conversation between an organization and community (Solis, 2011).

He considers that without helpful exchange, collaboration, insight and substance conversation is useless because it does not offer mutual satisfaction (Solis, 2011, p. 23). Interestingly, this important aspect is usually infringed in social media. For the benefit of engagement beyond keeping in view common satisfaction or helpfulness of their stakeholders, organizations usually take in worthless posts on their social media. In the chapter of “Rules of Engagement” Solis (2011) describes the method for engagement. Moreover, to guide foster engagement he highlights the significance of developing policies.

Solis describes the arresting position of engagement. With stakeholders, it is a two-way conversation where, simultaneously, listening and engagement work together through conversation by social media platforms and this process is the responsibility of all the stakeholders. Moreover, he decries completely the obsolete conception that only one department has the responsibility of organizing and looking after the social media. However, in his book, Solis only focused Facebook and Twitter while he completely unnoticed the podcasts, blogs and Flickr. The important parts of engagement are conversation between an organization and community (Solis, 2011).

He considers that without helpful exchange, collaboration, insight and substance conversation is useless because it does not offer mutual satisfaction (Solis, 2011, p. 23). Interestingly, this important aspect is usually infringed in social media. For the benefit of engagement beyond keeping in view common satisfaction or helpfulness of their stakeholders, organizations usually take in worthless posts on their social media. In the chapter of “Rules of Engagement” Solis (2011) describes the method for engagement. Moreover, to guide foster engagement he highlights the significance of developing policies.

The meanings of public relations are diversifying and have various shades such as recruitment campaign, political communication, propaganda, publicity etc. The Association of American Railroads first implemented the term of public relations, in 1897 (Cameron, Wilcox, Reber and Shin 2008, p.66). Nonetheless, in the scenario of communication activities the term is older than 1897 (Cameron al., 2008, p. 63). However, Newsom, Turk and Kruckberg (2007, p. 25) state that in the United States, public relations began in 1600-1799.

According to Newsom et al. (2007, p.25), states that from the beginning of civilized history some of public relations’ functions have been experienced. The experience was felt through different form of mass media such as newspaper in the 19th century, through radio in the early 20th century, and through television in the 1950s and for public relations campaigns it improved the opportunities. Moreover, different approaches of communication were practiced before the arrival and growth of the media market and for the conductions of public relations campaigns, the early practitioners of public relations have implemented these.

The most influential methods to develop a brand is public relations. During 2012, for the amplification of regional marketing campaigns of Tourism Calgary public relations have been implemented powerfully.

In communicating of the refreshed brand, public relations activities are vital because they enhance awareness and finally improve the sales. To have people listen the specific message through the positive headlines is the most reliable and quickest approach. In creative campaign finishing the key to understand behaviors through public relations is important as it recognizes the actual drivers of behavioral transformation.


In the current study, the impact of public relations and media has been studied extensively. Moreover, the contrast of mass media and social medai has been conducted. The importance of public relations and media is undeniable for the development of travel and tourism. Organizations related to travel and tourism can take advantages of such studies, which guide them to identify correct medium for publicity.


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Steve Jones

My name is Steve Jones and I’m the creator and administrator of the dissertation topics blog. I’m a senior writer at and hold a BA (hons) Business degree and MBA, I live in Birmingham (just moved here from London), I’m a keen writer, always glued to a book and have an interest in economics theory.

6 thoughts on “Public Relations Dissertation”

  1. Hi, I should take some time learning even more or understanding Public Relations a lot more. Thank you for awesome information I used to be searching for this content for my own dissertation.

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