When Outwrite client hoteliers Julian and Andy Banner Price decided to sign up for Channel 4’s reality TV show Four in a Bed it proved to be a smart move.

In the series, each night of the week competing B&B owners visit each other’s establishments and rate it against their own standards.

Each programme focuses on one establishment and in the final episode the hosts meet for one last time to find out what they’ve been paid and to thrash out their differences.

Julian and Andy, who run five star Plas Dinas hotel, have enjoyed lots of positive publicity as a result of their appearance. During the week of the broadcast alone, they had over 100,000 hits to their website and several bookings, including a wedding.

Similarly, when easyJet was filmed for fly on the wall documentary Airline, showcasing the daily happenings of passengers, ground workers and on board staff, the business enjoyed a huge boost. Bosses reported a big upturn in bookings with the website going into meltdown at 9pm as the programme finished.

However, signing up for reality television cannot be taken lightly. Whilst it works well for some people, others have bitterly regretted the experience.

The entertainment value of reality television comes from the fascination the viewer has with observing human nature – watching how people speak and behave in unusual situations.

For the TV makers, the pressure is on to ensure high viewing figures and some have been accused of manipulation and clever editing tricks to increase the entertainment value.

Reality TV thrives on unusual circumstances such as placing people in a closed house, a tropical jungle or exposing their business to scrutiny on programmes like The Hotel Inspector and Mary Queen of Shops.

In fact, some program makers have been heavily criticised for being cruel and exploiting the vulnerable.

The message is clear that if you sign up for reality TV, ensure you go in with your eyes wide open and ask lots of questions of the programme makers.

Ask them about previous programmes they have worked on and if you can see them. You could also ask if you’ll have any say over the final broadcast – although this is unlikely.

Keep remembering that the reality TV programmes are made for entertainment – if you can be involved and give your business a boost, then that’s terrific!

Outwrite PR