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A SURVEY ON THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON CORPORATE IMAGE OF HOSPITALITY INDUSTRIES OF CAMEROON

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A SURVEY ON THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON CORPORATE IMAGE OF HOSPITALITY INDUSTRIES OF CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Public relations has existed throughout human history. The development of public relations brought harmony and understanding to the relationship between the creator and the created (Edward, 2018). According to him, public relations is “practically as old as society”. Also, Patrick, a publisher of the Public Relations society of America (PRSA) asserts that public relations can be traced back to the fundamental human need for building and enhancing relationships, a concept that has been present since the creation of Adam and Eve according to religious beliefs. However, managing the image and communication of an organization or individual with various groups such as the general public, media, clients, investors, and employees is termed public relations (PR). 

Furthermore, public relations focuses on building and sustaining a positive reputation and rapport through transparent engagement with these groups. while PR professionals utilize diverse tactics like media engagement, social media management, crisis communication, event coordination, and community involvement to influence public perception and shape opinions about their organization or client (Zdravkovska, 2018). Additionally, they monitor and analyze media coverage and public sentiment to evaluate their strategies and make adjustments as needed. Building relationships of trust, credibility, and goodwill between a business and its stakeholders is the ultimate purpose of public relations. This might enhance the business's standing with the public, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately result in financial success. Similarly, public relations experts use a variety of strategies to manage and enhance their clients' or organizations' relationships with stakeholders and reputation. 

Public relations play a vital role in the hospitality sector by helping to shape and maintain a positive public perception of hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses. Through public relations efforts, relationships with customers, staff, the media, and other stakeholders can be nurtured and strengthened, leading to increased brand recognition, improved reputation, heightened customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increased revenue (Sichula, 2020).

According to Rubaid (2022), a well-executed public relations strategy can effectively promote new products, services, and events within the hospitality industry, as well as help businesses overcome challenges and seize opportunities. It can also enhance customer loyalty, mitigate negative publicity, and position hospitality businesses as industry leaders. In today's competitive business landscape, where cost-effectiveness is paramount, the promotion mix has shifted towards more affordable customer-reach strategies (Antonucci,2020). As a result, having a robust public relations plan is essential for success in the fast-paced and competitive hospitality industry. Whether through traditional media channels, digital platforms, or community engagement, public relations can contribute to building a positive reputation and fostering lasting relationships that drive corporate growth and success. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to carry out a survey on the impact of public relations on corporate image of hospitality industries of Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

 Public relations plays a crucial role in fostering reciprocal relationships between businesses and their clients, thereby enhancing overall company performance. It is widely acknowledged for its reliability and cost-effectiveness (Williams, 2018).  However, Beavers Moss (2021) asserts that PR is a form of communication that complements and can be customized to align with various advertising components within the hospitality industry. While PR endeavors to reinforce these elements, there exists a significant difference between PR and advertising. PR lends credibility and trust to the advertising message by reaching out, whereas advertising retains control over the organization's entire message and amplifies exposure. PR enhances brand recognition, whereas marketing enhances brand awareness. However, despite being closely related, PR and marketing often face challenges within organizations. Moreover, distinguishing the starting point of PR and the endpoint of marketing can sometimes be challenging. Furthermore, in order to effectively use public relations in the hospitality industries, the industries must build trusting connections with influential people who can help them communicate their brand's narrative and promote the distinctive experience they have to offer. Similarly, according to Ashfaq (2021),PR experts help overcome obstacles by not only promoting brands but also serving as a crucial spokesperson in crisis communications. It is in the light of these that the study seeks to a survey on the impact of public relations on corporate image of hospitality industries of Cameroon.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to survey on the impact of public relations on corporate image of hospitality industries of Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

Determine whether there is a significant relationship between public relation and the corporate image of hospitality firms.

Identify the public relations strategies employed by hospitality businesses in Cameroon.

Examine the effectiveness of public relations strategies employed by hospitality businesses in shaping their corporate image.

Investigate the impact of public relations on the corporate image of hospitality industry of Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

Is there a statistically significant relationship between public relations efforts and the corporate image of hospitality firms?

What specific public relations strategies are commonly utilized by hospitality businesses in Cameroon?

How effective are the public relations strategies implemented by hospitality businesses in Cameroon in shaping their corporate image?

What is the impact of public relations activities on the corporate image of the hospitality industry in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant  impact of public relations activities on the corporate image of the hospitality industry in Cameroon.

Ha: There is a significant  impact of public relations activities on the corporate image of the hospitality industry in Cameroon.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Hotel managers, marketers, and public relations practitioners in Cameroon's hospitality sector will benefit from the findings of this study. They will have an understanding of how their PR efforts influence corporate image and how they can enhance their strategies to improve their brand perception. Further more, the findings of this study will be used by government agencies in charge of economic development and tourism to create laws and policies that encourage efficient public relations strategies used by the hospitality sector, therefore boosting the nation's travel and tourist industry. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard the impact of public relations on corporate image of hospitality industries of Cameroon.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on a survey on the impact of public relations on corporate image of hospitality industries of Cameroon Empirically, this study will determine whether there is a significant relationship between public relation and the corporate image of hospitality firms, identify the public relations strategies employed by hospitality businesses in Cameroon, examine the effectiveness of public relations strategies employed by hospitality businesses in shaping their corporate image and investigate the impact of public relations on the corporate image of hospitality industry of Cameroon.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to staff of some selected hotels in Douala, Cameroon.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.8 Definition of Terms

Public Relations:  these are strategic communication processes between an organization and its various public or stakeholders. 

Performance: refers to the manner in which someone or something functions or operates, often evaluated against specific criteria or standards.

Hospitality Industry: encompasses businesses and services that cater to the needs and preferences of travelers, tourists, and guests. It includes various sectors such as lodging (hotels, motels, resorts), food and beverage services (restaurants, cafes, bars), event planning, tourism services, entertainment, and transportation.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: Yes available


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