Benchmarking Survey Finds Rapid Movement into Social Media for Online Marketing Initiatives

"An analysis by a Cornell University researcher finds that hospitality firms rated Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as the most effective online marketing channels.

The research surveyed a total of 426 marketing executives, drawn from the Travelcom conference and Center for Hospitality Research databases, with support from Vantage Strategy and iPerceptions. The report summary will be presented Thursday morning (March 31) at the Travelcom conference in Las Vegas, and the full study will be released by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research."

Read the full article at www.hotelnewsresource.com

The Future of Social Search

"A “social search” is one that ties a searcher’s social graph to his search queries. With social search, each searcher sees unique results that are shaped by the interests of his social network friends.

Google, not the company to often fudge with the appearance or function of its search results, turned on its version of social search more than a year ago. It has since gone on to more prominently feature social search results and blend them in with regular results.

One should not make light of these changes; they point to the company’s recognition that the average web user, who now spends more time on Facebook, may be not-so-quietly demanding a new form of search."

Read the full article at www.mashable.com

From research to booking to check-in: Tune your site for traveler’s true needs

"Travel is one of few industries bless with reliable, built-in buying seasons, and therefore, predictable consumer buying patterns and behaviors. From research and booking to take-off and arrival, the opportunities to capitalize on travel promotions and discount offers, as well as relevant upsell and cross-sell opportunities, are virtually limitless."

Read more on www.hotelmarketing.com

Microsoft Bing: Impact on Google, Expedia

"Microsoft's Bing has recently added a new feature called Price Predictors to its travel searches. It suggests if one should buy now or hold off for a better fare based on how fares are trending. Some analysts believe this will have an impact on companies like Expedia and challenge Google's move into travel search."

Read more at www.hotelmarketing.com

Hotels .com Adds Facebook Comments Plug-In

"Hotels.com said today it has launched a Facebook comments plug-in on its U.S. and U.K. websites.

The plug-in allows Facebook users to leave comments directly on the hotels.com site, which will then appear on their friends’ Facebook news feed. Comments made by friends can be shared in the stream on the hotels.com page."

Read the full article at www.webpronews.com

Lodging Interactive Launches Turn-Key Mobile SMS Text Messaging Services

Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, announced today the roll out of its Mobile SMS Text Marketing services for the hospitality industry. The Company's new Mobile SMS Text marketing services provide comprehensive turn-key outsourced solutions that build guest loyalty while driving new revenue.

"With 92% of the US population owning a cell phone it is becoming increasingly important for hoteliers to leverage the marketing opportunities Mobile SMS Text marketing offers," said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder & President. "Our solutions build upon our mobile website design services and provide a turn-key platform for hotels to get involved in mobile marketing."

Through various package levels, Lodging Interactive will design a fully search engine optimized mobile website to ensure proper content rendering on all major cell phone devices. Mobile websites are designed for efficient navigation from any iPhone, Android, Black Berry, Google smart phones as well as basic flip cell phones. All packages include complete hosting and ongoing maintenance of the hotel's mobile website.

Additionally, Lodging Interactive will establish customized Mobile SMS Text marketing programs to ensure an ongoing level of guest and prospective guest mobile communications. Through its Mobile SMS Text messaging platform Lodging Interactive Account Managers work with the hotel property management to create and schedule mobile communications in a complete turn-key approach.

"We want to make it very easy for hoteliers to get involved with Mobile SMS Text marketing. This is why we developed a complete turn-key approach," added Mr. Vallauri. "From designing the initial mobile website to creating and managing ongoing Mobile SMS Text messaging to in-house guests, past guests and potential guests, our people manage the entire program for our hotel clients."

Richard Walsh, the Lodging Interactive Vice President of Business Development shared his observations; “Easy mobile access, navigation and research on your mobile website is an important integral part of a successful marketing program. Plus, the added benefit of reaching out to in-house guests, past and prospective guests with immediate news, services and specials with brief unobtrusive opt-in messages is equally valuable. The smart phone has become the communication method of choice for both business and leisure travelers, our new mobile marketing service packages are designed for quick implementation, a total solution and measured results.”

For more information related to the Lodging Interactive Mobile SMS Marketing service, please contact Mr. Richard Walsh, Vice President of Business Development at 877-291-4411 ext. 705 or via email at rjwalsh@lodginginteractive.com

Cornell Hospitality Research Summit Catalogues Opportunities and Challenges in Use of Social Media

"It’s hard to think of an industry that is a better fit for social media, whether it’s Facebook or Flickr, YouTube or Twitter. But at the same time, no industry runs greater risk from poorly considered tactics or inappropriate social media strategies. As documented in a new set of proceedings, presenters at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (CHRS) documented the hospitality industry’s current use of social media, and outlined the remarkable potential for future social media platforms. Held in October 2010, CHRS brought 225 industry leaders and researchers to theCornell School of Hotel Administration to examine and analyze current industry issues, with a goal of moving forward in research and practice. The proceedings are found in “Social Media and the Hospitality Industry: Holding the Tiger by the Tail,” available at no charge from the Center for Hospitality Research(CHR) at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/roundtableproceedings/roundtable-15460.html."

Read the full article at www.hotelnewsresource.com

Pegasus, Google team to offer direct links for hotel bookings

"According to Travel Weekly, Pegasus confirmed it is working with Google to include hotel pricing and direct links to hotel booking sites alongside OTA listings on its new Google Maps hotel search function. What's more, the company next week will announce a similar tool for metasearch sites."

Read the full article hotelmarketing.com

Google reaching out to major hotel brands and CRS providers

"Google first connected with OTAs, such as Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and Hotels.com, to introduce their application programming interface that would allow for real-time sharing of rates and availability on Google Maps. Now they’re in the process of contacting CRS providers and major brands to offer the same access."

via www.hotelmarketing.com

Seeking to Weed Out Drivel, Google Adjusts Search Engine

"In a tacit admission that Web publishers are flooding its search engine with low-quality pages, Google has revised its methods to improve the usefulness of its results.

Google said the change would raise the rankings of high-quality Web sites and reduce those of lesser sites, affecting 12 percent of search queries."

Read the full article on www.nytimes.com