Nancy J. Friedman: Founder, NJF PR & Principal, MMGY Global

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An industry thought leader, creative pioneer, and award-winning strategist, Nancy Friedman continues to set the benchmark for public relations done right for hotels, luxury brands, and destinations. The inspiration behind many of the world’s most lauded property and lifestyle product stories. Nancy and her team have launched more than 70 hotels in New York City alone. From her early ascent to the head of PR for Ian Schrager & Steve Rubell, to her current post as a Principal in MMGY Global, helping to steer one of the industry’s most talented PR teams, Nancy’s rare combination of grace and tenacity have led to countless industry firsts. Today, she is the “go-to” PR counsel to some of the most innovative leaders in hospitality and tour de force behind Hotel Week NYC™.

How did you get into the industry?

I got into the industry quite by accident. I was working at Travel & Leisure magazine as the assistant to the president and publisher.  After a sales trip to the Dominican Republic, I heard they needed a PR director and took a writing test. With my journalism degree, writing a press release seemed easy and I got hired. Because I loved the island so much, I could sell it to anyone and thus my PR career was born.

Any emerging industry trends?

The biggest trend I’m seeing now is the need for more integrated marketing. Clients want influencers, traditional media, digital exposure, experiential. 360 degree marketing approach.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The shrinking print marketplace is always a challenge. Other challenges include quantifying influencer reach. And in the travel area, lack of cooperation from airlines is another hurdle.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

My firm was just acquired by MMGY Global. They are planning to grow a best-in-class global travel company. The timing is optimum and I am excited to be part of the growth plan.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Future acquisitions by MMGY will enable NJF to play in a bigger sandbox around the world where travel continues to grow and be one of the economy’s brightest spots.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

Some years ago, I pioneered Hotel Week NYC. With the help of MMGY, we plan to expand this initiative to other cities and market it much more aggressively.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

I have always loved this business and was able to marry my passions of media with travel.  The biggest challenge was from the HR side.  Hiring talent, maintaining talent and learning how to navigate the millennial generation has remained the biggest difficulty.  I call it googlization of the marketplace.  Everyone sees all the perks from Silicon Valley and want that for a boutique agency in NY.  

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

We have many loyal clients who appreciate what we produce for them, how much we care about their business and how mutually invested we are in the relationship. We determined who our ideal clients were some years ago, and try to keep that as a guideline when deciding who we represent.  We need to be advocates so we have to believe it what we are promoting. Coverage, visibility, counsel are key.

How do you motivate others?

We work hard on creating a happy culture in the workplace. Happy clients are our best ambassadors.  We listen to the staff and try to respond to their needs and wants within reason. For our 25th anniversary, if we met our sales goals (which we did!) I bought a plane ticket for everyone to travel to their dream destination. Someone went to Japan, another to Bhutan, Paris, etc.  It was a huge success.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Read everything. Familiarize yourself with media, your competition, network, work hard. Follow your passion and heart. There are no shortcuts.