Public relations and funding

Why your public relations and reputation strategy are vital for funding

This article was first published in VRMA Arrival’s June Magazine

Of course, you need to have a solid business with a path to profit, but if you’re on a funding journey, an often overlooked aspect of public relations is its ability to potentially dramatically increase the likelihood of investment. Whether you’re a property manager startup or a more established company looking for support around mergers and acquisitions (M&As) or exits, a strong public relations strategy will support you in achieving your ambitions.

When done well, investment PR raises your company’s and spokesperson’s profile to establish you as an expert in your field. As a founder of a vacation rental company, you likely already are a go-to expert, but the key is in your target market knowing this. Having increased brand awareness and a great reputation in the press will boost your appeal to potential investors, who recognize well-known leaders with authority in their sector, are less of a risk.

What are the different stages of funding?

Pre-seed – At the very beginning of a startup’s journey, funding is required to develop a proof of concept or product. This investment often comes from the founders themselves or family and friends.

Seed – Seed funding marks the first official equity stage investment raised by the company and is used for product development and market research.

Series A – Series A funding aims to support and establish a startup, and is primarily focused on ensuring a company’s product will be successful. This type of funding is usually led by one investor, likely a venture capitalist (a private investor who provides capital in return for an equity stake), or in some cases, funding is raised through crowdfunding.

Series B – Once a company has established its product and market, series B funding can support the scaling of this opportunity. Again, this stage is most often funded by venture capitalists firms to grow the company quickly in terms of customers and employees.

Series C – This level of funding often refers to expansions of new markets (like going international), such as through acquisitions, and the development of new products. Now that the company is showing signs of success, this is the stage where other investors, such as investment bankers, hedge funds, and private equity firms, will start to invest.

Series D, E, and beyond – Most companies won’t require funding beyond Series C. However,  there are a few circumstances where mature businesses may require further investment, such as wanting to stay private, increasing company value prior to an initial public offering (IPO), or when the company hasn’t hit expected targets after series C funding (referred to as a ‘down round’).

How public relations can support businesses during each stage of funding

The key to gaining funding for your business is working in advance to strengthen your vacation rental business’s profile. The aim is to increase brand recognition to make potential investors aware of your business or product. The more presence you have in your specific field, the more trust investors will have in your business.

A good public relations strategy will help you achieve an elevated status in your sector by building your company’s voice and raising the profile of your C-suite. Leveraging press releases, thought leadership articles, bylines, industry comments, podcasts, speaking opportunities, M&A activity, and any media coverage, PR specialists will establish greater visibility and reputation for your business within your chosen industry. Significant industry presence is vital for every part of a funding journey, whether to increase trust to attract investors, showcase company performance, or announce partnerships.

According to research, press releases are seen as the most trustworthy content format as trust in news sources continues to fade, with 42% ranking press releases above spokespeople (29%) and company websites (21%) for the most trustworthy type of content.

During financial PR, it’s essential that from the offset, your company’s message remains clear and consistent throughout all of these press opportunities to communicate your brand’s credibility, as well as elevate your authority as a leader. A good PR team is aware of this and will help you to establish a tone of voice that can be used across all communications.

To gain the trust of potential investors, hospitality tech companies need to have a significant presence in their specified industry. There’s no better time than now to begin your journey of elevating your brand, business, and spokespeople if you have a business growth plan which requires future funding.

About Jessica Gillingham

Jessica is the founder and CEO of Abode Worldwide, a public relations agency she launched in 2017 to focus on raising the profile of transformative technology solutions and enterprise operators in the global short-term rental, lodging, and living sectors.

With over 20 years of experience in travel, hospitality, and technology, Jessica is also an advisor, board member, leadership mentor, and industry commentator on the confluence between hospitality, living, and property. Her company sits at the heart of the developing intersection between work, life, and play and partners with brands leading in this transformation.

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