Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Communications

First Advisor

Emmett Coffey


The purpose of this study was to investigate the current knowledge, importance and application of public relations within Irish Luxury Hotels. Another aim was to find out how the public relations theories of relationship management, strategic management and communications are used in the sector.

The research methodology in this study used a mixed method approach. Quantitative research was used in the form of an online questionnaire and qualitative research was used in the form of semi-structured interviews. The online questionnaire was distributed to all luxury four star and five star properties with an online presence in Ireland with an aim to develop a profile of the sector and to discover the current knowledge and application of public relations within the sector; 98 responses were received. To further this body of knowledge, qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews were used in order to gather an understanding of the sectors use and interpretation of public relations. Interviews were conducted with Karen Fleming- Marketing Manager, Mayfield Manor Cork, David Glynn- Marketing Director McWilliams Hotel Mayo and Alison O'Brien- Senior Account Manager, Fuzion Communications, Cork.

The mixed methods data highlighted the need for public relations to be handled as a standalone management function, integrated into daily business operations. Research also indicated that public relations is an important element to a business strategy which needs to be planned and implemented strategically integrated with other business functions.

In addition although results show that Irish luxury hotels have a high regard for relationship management, they have a varied knowledge of public relations and they generally fail to incorporate public relations as an internal communications strategy. Further although practitioners have embraced Web 2.0 and social media, they emphasised that these tools must be managed strategically.

The principle conclusion was that although the sector has a high regard for relationship management, the sector does not fully understand the extent of public relations or its potential to act as a standalone strategic business function that can manage both internal and external publics.

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