Amy SedeñoAmy Sedeño

As the PR landscape continues to evolve, artificial intelligence is making its way into our everyday account servicing. While adopting AI presents exciting possibilities for PR professionals, it also introduces a unique set of challenges. As with any new technology, there’s a learning curve for PR practitioners, but with AI, there’s the added stigma of dehumanizing the core of our business: “human relations.” After research and practice on how to implement tools like ChatGPT, PitchPrefer and Brandwatch in our work, it’s important to objectively delve into the benefits, drawbacks and the verdict on the use of AI for travel public relations. By understanding the intricacies of this technology and its impact on our profession, we can navigate the evolving landscape with confidence and make informed decisions about incorporating AI into our workflows.

The good

What drove us to explore AI at CIIC PR in the first place was the premise to understand consumer analytics better. Data-driven PR is smart PR, and AI-powered tools can help us analyze large volumes of data, monitor media coverage and engage with consumers more efficiently. By tracking news mentions and measuring the impact of our campaigns, we can optimize media relations, refine our strategy, identify areas of opportunity and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive environment. For example, Coca-Cola’s “Taste the Feeling” campaign used AI to analyze social media conversations and identify emotions associated with Coca-Cola products. Subsequently, this data was utilized to craft personalized advertisements and tailored product recommendations that resonated with their target audience. These predictive analytics can uncover valuable information to guide PR strategy, especially for hotel clients and destinations which need current consumer insights, consumer preferences and market trends to make strategic decisions.

This article is featured in O'Dwyer's July '23 Travel & Tourism PR Magazine
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Some PR agencies are also using AI-powered chatbots to automate tasks like media monitoring and social media engagement, as well as to generate reports and insights allowing PR professionals to focus on higher-level strategy. AI-powered media monitoring tools can also scan through multiple publications, blogs and social media platforms to identify relevant coverage and trending topics. This allows PR professionals to stay on top of the latest news and trends in real-time, enabling them to respond proactively to media inquiries and opportunities and manage potential issues before they become a crisis.

Writing tools can also be used to help break writer’s block, find a perfect keyword or even spark creativity for social media posts. By leveraging AI, PR practitioners can tap into a vast pool of knowledge and data to find the perfect keywords that resonate with their target audience, enhancing the visibility and impact of their messaging.

AI can also be used to brainstorm creative ideas and as a starting point for press releases and pitches through Natural Language Generation technology.

Another added benefit is optimizing influencer marketing campaigns by assisting in identifying relevant influencers in the travel industry and analyzing their social media engagement and audience demographic. It’s important to know the limitations of this feature since PR pros know their clients best and the personalities and content that align with the brands they represent.

The bad

Is AI too much of a good thing? Some of the rising concerns over AI-powered tools are privacy, ethical considerations and data security. There’s also the issue of trust, which is why agencies need to be transparent about the tools they use and how they’re implemented. It’s essential to adhere to ethical guidelines and best practices to maintain trust with clients, media and stakeholders. Relying too heavily on AI can result in factual errors and inaccuracies if the sources are not properly vetted.

Another common criticism is the potential loss of human touch and personalization because these tools can’t grasp human emotion and lack the empathy and understanding necessary for critical problem-solving.

While AI can assist in content generation, it lacks the element of storytelling and originality that content creators bring to the table. Especially with creatives, there’s the fear of job displacement. Generic, stale messaging does not drive action, and that’s where our expertise comes in. It can also result in messaging that is tone-deaf or simply irrelevant to your target audience. Take BuzzFeed for example. The company announced in January that it would start using AI for some of its content. The result has been, as expected, lackluster, with many articles using the same format. AI-generated travel articles, for instance, don’t have the nuances we come to expect from experienced travel writers who take in the sights, smells and sounds of a destination and turn it into aspirational stories.

Keeping up with the rapid growth of AI can also pose a challenge. Public relations is a dynamic industry that requires professionals to keep up with trends and tools. The ever-evolving world of AI will require us to stay ahead and engage in continuous learning and adaptation more than ever.

The verdict

Successful PR strategies are built upon the foundation of professionals who possess deep industry experience, understanding the nuances and intricacies of effective communication. While AI-powered tools offer tremendous benefits in terms of strategy optimization and efficiency, they shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for human knowledge and expertise. AI lacks the ability to fully comprehend and replicate the range of emotions and nuanced decision-making required to navigate the complex aspects of our business. It’s crucial to recognize the limitations of AI while acknowledging its potential advantages. By embracing AI technology, agencies can develop more targeted and personalized campaigns, leveraging data-driven insights to deliver optimal results for clients. Furthermore, AI can automate standardized processes, freeing up time for PR professionals to explore creative angles and innovative approaches. However, it’s essential to view AI as a tool that enhances our capabilities rather than a complete replacement for the human touch, storytelling prowess, and strategic thinking that PR professionals bring to the table. The key lies in striking a balance between leveraging AI’s power and harnessing our own expertise to create impactful and successful PR campaigns.


Amy Sedeño is Vice President & Partner at CIIC PR. To learn more about CIIC PR and our services, contact us at connect@ciicprcom.