Yahoo! Launches New Video Site

On the heels of the incredible (but no real business model) sucess of YouTube.com, Yahoo! has announced it’s own online Video offering. 

Yahoo’s sales team will begin selling rich media ads specifically for the Yahoo Current channels, and plans to sell commercial :15 and :30 pre-roll ads in coming months. Yahoo will also sell premier sponsorships of channels and special sections. Initially, ads will run across all four Yahoo Current channels, but could be segmented out over time once audience size grows.

Click here to read the more…

Business Week’s Click Fraud Article

Business Week’s October 2 cover story on Click Fraud is worth the read. It really makes you think with the continued rise in click fraud, every hotel should seriously be rolling out an aggressive Organic Optimization Strategy.  As you may know Organic Search Engine Optimization takes time and financial investment to produce ongoing results.  In the long run, SEO cannot be avoided.  It’s like the old muffler commercial…."you can pay me now, or you can pay me later."

Click here to read the Business Week Click Fraud story.

Microsoft Unveils Digital Advertising Solutions

By Kevin Newcomb

September 25, 2006

Microsoft will unveil a new unified advertising strategy today with the launch of Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.

The
new branding incorporates ad offerings across MSN and Windows Live; the
upcoming Xbox and Office Online; and future Windows Mobile and IPTV ad
products. The goal is to bring together these various ad products and
services into a coherent offering for advertisers.

"Microsoft’s
advertising business is growing quickly and becoming more
sophisticated. It is our responsibility to clearly articulate to
advertisers how they can apply our broad set of assets and
relationships to reach consumers across the many digital touch points
of their day," Joanne Bradford, corporate VP of global sales and
marketing and chief media revenue officer at Microsoft, said in a
statement.

A new Web site
for advertisers offers details on Microsoft’s various offerings,
detailing the various opportunities available to advertisers on each
property. Also on the site are several video interviews with media,
advertising, and digital agencies. The interviews cover topics like
creativity, media fragmentation, user-generated content, and
advertising relevance.

Microsoft has been expanding its ad services for the past year, since it began refocusing its businessadCenter platform, launch the Live.com portal, and set up a new online business group, with MSN honcho Yusuf Mehdi heading it up as chief advertising strategist.

The company has also looked outside its business for ad growth, acquiring in-game ad provider Massive, and striking a deal with social network Facebook, for example.

"As
today’s consumers spend more and more time online across various
digital devices like mobile phones and video games, advertisers are
finding they can no longer reach their entire target audience by
advertising on a single medium," Bradford said. "We’re addressing the
reality of media fragmentation and enabling advertisers to get back to
what they do best: creating engaging and creative ads."

on advertising a year ago. During that time, it has continued to develops its

Financial Concerns For Yahoo!

According to the Wall Street Jornal today…

Yahoo Inc. will require its U.S. workers to take vacation or unpaid time off
the week between Christmas and New Year’s, in a move that could signal
concern about hitting some financial goals for the year.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet company said in an
email sent to employees that it will close its U.S. offices for that
week. "This will allow many U.S. [employees] to enjoy guilt-free time
off while helping Yahoo reduce unused vacation time," wrote Libby
Sartain, Yahoo senior vice president for human resources, in an email
Thursday to Yahoo workers.

"This is a decision that we have been considering for
some time, and is consistent with the practices of many other companies
of our scale," said a Yahoo spokeswoman. The Yahoo move was mentioned
in Silicon Valley blog Valleywag last week.

Requiring workers to take time off at the end of the
year can reduce a company’s liability for accrued vacation and
temporarily cut some staff and facility expenses.

Yahoo hasn’t used the practice — at least not in
recent years — say people familiar with the matter. Yahoo had 10,500
employees world-wide as of the end of June.

The holiday office-closing announcement followed
public comments Tuesday by Yahoo executives that it expects to post
revenue for the third quarter at the lower end of its projections, amid
their concerns about slowing growth in spending by some online
advertisers.

"Typically when companies do this, it’s not a positive
sign," said Scott Kessler, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in New
York. "Whether it’s a bad thing or not, it’s unclear yet because we
don’t know all the details," he added.

Mr. Kessler predicted any positive impact of the move
on Yahoo’s finances would be minimal, saying it would depend on factors
such as how many workers would have taken that week off anyway.

Written by Kevin J. Delaney

Your Google Ad – Now You See It, Now Your Don’t

Apparently it looks like Google is testing a new way in which it shows you sponsored (paid ads) on their search results.  Basically, if you do a search and see an advertising in the top blue sponsored area and DON’T click on it but search again numerous times (about 6-10 times) it will move the ad listing to the right hand side of the page.  Looks like Google doesn’t want to show you a paid ad that you’re not going to click on and they’re not going to make money on.  They get smarter every day!

InterContinental Hotels Turns to Branded Web Films

You know I give InterContinental Hotels a lot of credit for thinking outside the box!  I mean they’re trying to apply a cool, hip technology like online movies and webcams to the every day business of marketing hotels.  Nice move!

Their objective is obviously to sell more rooms, and the belief is that if a potential guest can "see" what  is in and around the local area of the hotel, they may want to book there.  While this approach is well suited for the large brands such as InterContinental Hotels who have the budget dollars to deploy this on a massive scale, your property can also provide a similar approach by using our Google hotelMASHUPS product.

Have a look at our Google hotelMASHUPS and start "showing" your potential hotel guests what’s nearby and increase your online conversion rates.

Click here to read more about our Google hotelMASHUPS.

Is Cost Per Action In Our Future?

You might have heard that Google, Yahoo and MSN are thinking about launching a new Pay-Per-Click model called "Cost Per Action".  This might be the waive of the future and we believe certainly make a lot of sense.  In a Cost Per Action model, hotels would only pay the Search Engines when a booking or sale is made and NOT on a "click through" as is now the case.

Search Engines believe this is a good alternative in dealing with the rising amount of click fraud that seriously exposes them to liabilities and tremendous financial downside.  Also, the Cost Per Action model may actually increase Search Engine revenues as each "action" will cost the advertiser (hotels) more than the traditional cost-per-click.

What do you think? Post your comments here.

What makes a Sale Profitable

The price, of course, determines your profit, but the price depends on number one your relevant costs and demand for what you are selling!  You create demand through successful marketing!  In our industry, hospitality, the perception of what a branded hotel has to offer has a value because you must adhere to certain service and quality policies and standards.  The potential guest has an expectation.  For an independent hotel, the guests perception is formed based on your price, marketing descriptive information and comfort with their point of contact (front desk, phone reservations center or website).

Depending how close you set your price to your fixed and variable costs determines what level of occupancy you need achieve to show a profit.  There are of course good days and bad days!  Preferably more good days than bad for the year.

With these fundamentals in mind, it is important to look at how many sales opportunities you receive and how many are won and how many are lost.  Closing the sale has very little to do with price!  A sale is made because the prospect believes what information they have about your hotel’s location, services and availability.  A sale is made because the prospect is comfortable with what they receive at the point of sale; a courteous greeting, a speedy response, attention to their specific questions in a clear informative response and an understandable informative professional offer.

These sales fundamentals apply especially to corporate rate negotiations as well as group and meeting sales opportunities.  In today’s world, more than half of your sales are concluded online.  How do you present your hotel, how accurate and descriptive is your information and how quickly can you respond to an inquiry with a professional response and offer?  You may want to track the number of opportunities and your closure ratio for a certain period of time just to see what how successful your sales activities really are.  How many front desk opportunities did you have?  How many website visitors did you have?  How many RFPs and group requests did you have?  And, finally how many of each in these categories were sold?

We are all sales people in one way or another because we all need to convince another human being of something every day.  We are need to make our point or convince someone that we are right or that we need something in return.  How responsive are you?  How do you provide information?  How do you measure your success?

For my own reasons, I ask you to take a look at the Lodging Interactive eProposal Rapid Response System to help your hotel sell more corporate rate deals, groups and meetings.

Internet Budgeting Advice for 2007

Richard Walsh, our Vice President of Business Development, recently wrote a great piece on things you should consider when setting your Internet Marketing for 2007. 

Click here to read his article…