Lodging Interactive More Than Doubles its Growth and Service Offering in 2012

The adage "You can never have too much of a good thing" is ringing true to hundreds of hoteliers worldwide who received extraordinary Internet marketing services from Lodging Interactive and its subsidiary CoMMingle this year. Over the last 12 months, the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry racked up an unprecedented list of accomplishments. 

"2012 was a very good year for Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle, but it was even more impactful for our customers," said Founder and President DJ Vallauri. "We planned to introduce a few new services and robust business models, but once we got rolling, ideas for even more breakthrough services were proposed. Thanks to the creativity and expertise of the Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle teams, we provided more new services to hotels in 2012 than in the last 10 years combined. From limited-time FREE audits to full-service website design and management, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and measurement and accountability services, 2012 was truly a banner year for Lodging Interactive."

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. In 2012 alone, the company achieved a 85% increase in growth, a 40% increase in staffing, and more than doubled the number of services it now offers to hotels — some of which are absolutely FREE of charge to its customers.

In 2012, Lodging Interactive earned the following for website design:

• Three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotels/Resorts category for its website design of the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts, the Denver Renaissance in Colorado and the Doubletree Oak Brook in Illinois by the Interactive Media Council Inc. This was the third consecutive year that Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle was recognized by the IMC for its aptitude in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites.

• The Silver Magellan Award from Travel Weekly for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Fla.

• Two Web Awards / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence from the Web Marketing Assn. for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach and the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts.

• The 2012 Silver Award / Creative Excellence in Hotel and Lodging from the International Academy of the Visual Arts for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

Like its coveted website design service, Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System also was in high demand in 2012. The hotel-based guest comment system enables guests to post comments about their hotel experience and provides hotel management with the ability to respond in real time when reviews are received. The Guest Review System ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. Additionally, travelers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends.

The success of the Guest Review System spurred Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle to develop and introduced the following new Internet marketing services this year:

• HotelWebShows — A service enabling hotel marketers to add a personal touch to their websites by using crisp HD Video. All video produced through HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive are 1080i quality and delivered in TV, Web and Mobile formats. Videos are available in 30 second, 60 second and 90 second lengths, and will include music and graphics.

• CoMMingle Social + — A service for hoteliers managing their own Facebook and Twitter accounts but who also want to get involved in the new, emerging social engagement channels such as Google+ Business Page and Pinterest, but do not have the resources in-house to handle it. CoMMingle Social+ adds weekly postings on Facebook and Twitter for hotels that have pages but find it hard to consistently post during the week.

• InnterACT Performance Portal — A website analytics and social service providing real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and the latest social media monitoring tools. The InnterACT online client portal was made available to existing customers at no cost.

• Hotel Website Solutions — A service offering online marketing services at a low, monthly fee with all upfront costs removed. The service includes website design and management, reputation management, search engine marketing, real-time analytics and accountability, PLUS Lodging Interactive's Content Management System and its coveted Guest Review System.

• Mobile Website Development — A FREE service made available to all new customers contracting full agency services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. Through this service, hotels received up to 10 static pages of their online website in a mobile format, with an option to purchase more.

To help its customers stay competitive, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle also offered the following FREE services:

• FREE Website Audit — Determines if a website is performing properly and achieving rankings
• FREE Social Media Analytics Reporting Tool — Delivers weekly analytics about a hotel's activity on the top social media networks, including: Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Google+ and blogs.
• FREE Content Management Systems + FREE Mobile Website.

"To say we were busy in 2012 is an understatement," Vallauri said. "In addition to creating a bevvy of new services to keep our customers performing successfully, we managed to show support to our brand partners and industry associations as well. In 2012, Lodging Interactive became a Best Western Preferred Vendor, and we support the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assn. International (HSMAI) and the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. We also participated in select industry conferences and events to network with our customers.

"While being visible is important to Lodging Interactive, it's far more important for us to ensure that our customers are visible via the various online and social media channels and that their online reputations are being properly scrutinized and managed," he said. "This new year, those who partner with Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will be well positioned to socialize and engage with their target audiences. If your hotel needs to be seen in 2013, then it's time to call Lodging Interactive."

Absence of a Guest Review System Could Land Your Hotel on the NAUGHTY List

Looking for the "gift that keeps on giving" this holiday season? A gift that gives travelers a feeling of appreciation, knowing their personal service requests have been heard? What about a gift for owners that improves the hotel's perceptions in the online marketplace and impacts purchasing decisions of future guests, resulting in a more healthy bottom line? This ideal gift is not a specialty item, nor is it a here-today/gone-tomorrow fad. It's something that 71% of travelers say they want and 68% say determines whether or not they at your hotel, according to Forrester Research and TripAdvisor. This gift is the Guest Review System available from Lodging Interactive.

Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System is hotel-based guest comment system which enables guests to post comments about their hotel experience and provides hotel management with the ability to respond in real time when reviews are received. The Guest Review System ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. Additionally, travelers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends. If the legitimacy of a negative review is in question, hoteliers can validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website, providing hotels with complete control on which reviews are made public.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
"No matter how great the service, there will always be a Scrooge ready to write a bad review," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Oftentimes complaints are justified and demand an immediate response and resolution. Other times, the rant is simply a bad seed planted by a competitor looking to give the hotel a black eye. Nonetheless, each provides a critical opportunity for the hotel to put its best foot forward."

A 2011 Forrester study found that close to 50 percent of consumers will not book a hotel that doesn’t have online reviews. Likewise, PhocusWright reports that people who read online hotel reviews are 59 percent more likely to book. Hoteliers can't afford to ignore these statistics, yet many still do. As of August, only 32% of hotels worldwide are responding to reviews, according to a recent Tnooz article. That leaves a large universe of hoteliers who are turning a blind eye to their customers. The hotels that are engaging with guests are seeing a 6% increase in review scores (Tnooz).

"Replying to reviews gives travelers confidence that they are booking at a hotel that will take care of their needs," Vallauri said. "Even responses to negative reviews written about a hotel makes 79% of travelers feel reassured, according to Forrester researchers. In today's economy, giving guests assurance and comfort is critical to gaining market share and boosting occupancy, average daily rate, revenue per available room and the bottom line. Investing in a Guest Review System is a small price to pay for loyalty and repeat business."

The Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive is low cost and can be implemented in about 10 minutes. All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. As an option, the company is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf if staffing is an issue.

"Lodging Interactive can help hotels that may have had below average guest-satisfaction scores move from the NAUGHTY to NICE list easily while rebuilding credibility, restoring consumer confidence, and regaining lost business from third-party review sites simply by adding our Guest Review System to their websites," Vallauri said. "It's easy to win guests' over — even before they arrive — simply by posting your position about guest service, immediately fixing what may be broke, and saying 'thank you' to those who complement you for a job well done."

The following are the Top 10 Rants and Raves in 2012 based on a survey of 1 million guest reviews that landed hotels on either the NAUGHTY or NICE list as reported on Tnooz:

 NAUGHTY
  1. Unprofessional/incompetent service (11,785 mentions)
  2. Small room (8,669 mentions)
  3. Expensive/overpriced (8,390 mentions)
  4. Tasteless, bad breakfast (8,243 mentions)
  5. Bad food (5,956 mentions)
  6. Dirty room (5,439 mentions)
  7. Unfriendly service (5,123 mentions)
  8. Bad bathroom (4,600 mentions)
  9. Bad service (4,266 mentions)
 10. Loud, noisy room (4,123 mentions)

  NICE
  1. Friendly, professional, efficient service (103,440 mentions)
  2. Great, well-situated location (98,668 mentions)
  3. Good room (40,191 mentions)
  4. Great food (42,868 mentions)
  5. Great breakfast (41,356 mentions)
  6. Clean room/hotel (27,513 mentions)
  7. Large room (23,867 mentions)
  8. Good, affordable price (23,292 mentions)
  9. Good bed (11,369 mentions)
 10. Nice view (9,147 mentions)

"Travelers have no problem telling the world what they like and don't like about your hotel," Vallauri said. "It's important that hoteliers take the NICE approach to their response: Be thankful, polite, and respectful of guests, even if the complaint is not warranted. Remain calm and always be courteous. Tell the guest how the situation will be addressed and what the next steps are. Tell the guest that you deem the complaint to be serious, and that there is a plan in place to resolve the matter. More importantly, give each guest a way to stay in touch with management, and invite further feedback."

Lodging Interactive Introduces HD Video Service: ‘HotelWebShows’

Video marketing is fast becoming one of the most effective ways to get attention and drive guests to make bookings. As a result, Lodging Interactive, an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, is launching a new program that will engage potential guests and visually communicate a property's unique benefits. "HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive" enables hotel marketers to add a personal touch to their websites by using crisp HD Video.

"Video is a very powerful, yet often underutilized marketing tool within the hospitality industry," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Including video on website landing pages makes them 53 percent more likely to show up on the first page of Google, and it's estimated that a potential guest who watches a video is 85 percent more likely to book with your hotel (BoT Video).

"For these reasons, Lodging Interactive has partnered with one of the industry’s leading video production companies to offer videos of all types to hotels: Hotel profiles, guest testimonials, scripted ads, video news releases, event coverage and even professional feature stories," he said. "Using an easy, online video portal, along with dedicated producers and 24/7 customer service, hoteliers will quickly be able to market to travelers and get results. From ordering and production to delivery and approval, Lodging Interactive is making video production simple, affordable, and hassle-free."

Did you know . . .

• Videos are 50 times more likely to receive an organic first page ranking than traditional text pages (Forrester Research)
• Approximately 340,000 years worth of online video are watched every day (BoT Video)
• 500 video links are tweeted out every minute (BoT Video)
• 68% of viewers share video links (Sharing means more promotion for your brand) (BoT Video)
• More than 50% of the videos on YouTube have been rated or include comments from the community (A new way to engage with customers) (BoT Video)
• The average user’s visit to a text and image-based website lasts only 43 seconds; for a website with video, the average visit lasts 5 minutes and 50 seconds (BoT Video)

"Today’s Internet user has a limited attention span, therefore video marketing is a proven and effective way to grab a website visitor in the first few seconds," Vallauri said. "Adding videos to a webpage will not only help hotel marketers to engage their audience and deliver their messages more quickly and creatively, but more videos means more search results; more search results will result in more clicks; more clicks will result in more sales; and more sales delivers more bottom line revenue. Some recent studies have demonstrated that adding video to a website can increase purchasing rates by as much as 300%."

Putting on a Show
The benefits of video marketing, when tied to a social media campaign, are far reaching. YouTube, for example, is helping travelers visualize their stay before they make a reservation. Whether it's a video showcasing an exceptional convention facility, a hotel's "green" program that encourages guest participation, spa services, loyalty club member testimonials, and even in-room technology or mobile app demonstrations, each provides engaging content to the right social media audience. When these videos are embedded on the hotel's website and within social networks such as YouTube and Facebook, they will drive bookings and revenues. When tagged and optimized for search engines, videos dramatically increase a property's visibility and improve search rankings.

Through HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive, hoteliers will be assigned a personal video production portal where they will be guided through the video process. From there they will order the video, complete a simple online questionnaire, schedule the shoot and review the footage. The online interface makes the process simple and hassle free. Then, within 48 hours, a producer will be assigned to the project. This person becomes the hotel's single point of contact, responsible for handling every detail. The video will then be uploaded onto the video production portal for review and feedback. It's that easy!

All video produced through HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive are 1080i quality and delivered in TV, Web and Mobile formats. Videos are available in 30 second, 60 second and 90 second lengths, and will include music and graphics.

FREE Whitepaper
Hotels that act now can receive a White Paper titled: "Destination Visibility: How Hotels & Resorts Market Online" absolutely FREE.

Are Web Crawlers Creeping Around Your Site? Find Out Via a FREE Website Structure Audit from Lodging Interactive

Are there web crawlers creeping around your site? You had better hope so. Web crawlers are computer programs that the search engines use to gather data and index information from a website. Today, Lodging Interactive is offering a FREE Website Structure Audit Report that provides insightful data about crawl statistics, crawl availability, content and structure crawl stats and more.

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Since 2001, the company has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

"When it comes to website optimization, most hoteliers are cognizant of keeping content fresh — from updating specials and photos to adding blogs and social media links — or at least they should be," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "While each of these elements is vital to a successful web presence, there are far more 'structural' elements that need scrutinizing. Lodging Interactive has the resources and analytic tools in place to drill down and dissect all the critical components, from analyzing domain statistics and social activity, to examining search engine distribution and link status. Let's face it, a broken link could leave your customers hanging.

"In order to have a successful online marketing program, hotel marketers must know how to make website optimization work for them," Vallauri said. "Knowing how to attract the Internet's search engines isn't an easy task. Lodging Interactive has developed analytical tools that search a hotel's site for missing or empty title tags, duplicate page titles, duplicate code, empty meta description tags, conflicting character encoding, lengthy URLs, and the dreaded 'frame.' The fastest way to hamper an Internet site crawler is to build a website that contains 'frames' because most search engines can't penetrate them. Each of these details may seem tedious, but they determine the ranking of a webpage."

Now through January 1st, Lodging Interactive will provide hotels at no cost with their own individual Website Audit Report that scours their websites looking for structural breaches. The audit will test web pages and links for valid syntax and structure, monitor the site to see when its structure and contents change and more. To sign up for the FREE Website Structure Audit Report, click here.

It's Time to 'InnterACT '
Existing customers or those partnering with Lodging Interactive for full digital marketing services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management, also can benefit from the company's real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and social media monitoring tool, InnterACT. Using a digital dashboard, hoteliers can remotely access analytical production information about their website performance, search engine ranking performance, as well as the bounce rate and average time spent on the site. The system provides real-time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on Google, Yahoo and Bing, and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from. Because the dashboard can be customized, hoteliers can view these reports in such a way that is personal to them, so that when they log in, the information they need most is always present, such as website traffic analytics and landing page views.

"InnterACT is an online performance portal that contains the data necessary for hotels to access key metric reports to see how well their website is performing," Vallauri said. "This means Lodging Interactive customers don't have to go elsewhere to see how well their campaigns are running. They can log in and access real time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on the search engines and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from.

"The bottom line is this: Whether you need a one-time audit of your website structure or prefer to outsource the analytics process to us ongoing, hoteliers can rest comfortably knowing that their marketing messages and reputations are in extremely capable hands that deliver results," he added.

Lodging Interactive Offering FREE Social Media Analytics Reporting Tool

According to Social Media Examiner, the world's largest online social media magazine, marketers today are placing high value on social media, with 83 percent rating the network as being important for business. As hoteliers prepare for 2013, it's important to have a solid understanding on the value that social media is bringing to each property and/or brand, and how to measure its return on investment. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is offering a FREE social media reporting tool to hoteliers that delivers weekly analytics about a hotel's activity on the top social media networks, including: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and blogs. This offer is made to the first 100 hotel marketers that sign up.

"The importance of building a social media presence is growing across all hotel segments," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Hotels that are active and visible on the social network will certainly have a competitive edge. But how does a hotelier know if his or her social marketing efforts are paying off? How many people are talking about the hotel or promotion on Facebook? What is your weekly total reach? Are fans engaged? Are they talking about your posts? Who are 'they'? Do you know who likes you . . . or dislikes you and how often daily? Do you know the country or city where your fans originate from?  The analytical questions are endless.”

"At Lodging Interactive, we understand how taxing social media tracking can be," Vallauri said. "According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 59% of marketers are using social media for six hours or more each week, and 33% invest 11 or more hours weekly posting and monitoring mentions. However, only 30% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing. That means, many hoteliers are attempting to manage and analyze their social media programs on their own. To aide in their efforts, CoMMingle will provide a weekly analytical report to track performance. Hotel marketers simply need to sign up to start receiving these free reports. There is no log-in required to view the data. It's simple, it's no cost, and it brings all analytics together into one report delivered direct to the hotel." 

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas. The company works with its customers to grow and better manage their use of social media channels, provide reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.  
The social media reporting tool being provided by CoMMingle free of charge to hoteliers includes (but is not limited to):

Facebook Management:
• Weekly total reach and the number of people talking
• Total likes, Friends of Fans, People Talking About This During the Past Week, and Weekly Total Reach
• Page Post Report
• Fan Report by Country, City, Language, and Like Sources
• Who was Reached and How
• Who is talking about your page and How they are talking

 Twitter Management:
• Number of tweets
• Number of replies
• Number of retweets
• Number of Followers
• Number of those Following

YouTube:
• Number of video views
• Which video was viewed the most (if hotel has more than one video)

"There is valuable information for everyone through this free reporting tool," Vallauri said. "Social media novices will quickly see if their commitment is paying off (or not paying off). Those more experienced can use the data to develop more comprehensive plans across more channels. The bottom line is, social media is key to increasing online exposure, building traction, driving traffic, developing market intelligence, generating leads, maintaining loyalty, improving search rankings, growing business partnerships, reducing marketing expenses and boosting sales. Hoteliers who may be struggling with analyzing the effectiveness of their social media strategy to reach these goals can rely on CoMMingle to help in a variety of ways. This free report is a good first step."

To sign up for the FREE Social Media Analytical Reporting Tool, click here.

Lodging Interactive Fall Podcast IDs Top 4 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools for 2013

With Fall now upon us and hoteliers knee-deep in the budget-planning process for 2013, there's no time like the present for hotel owners and managers to focus on their social media marketing initiatives for the coming year. HotelCast 2.0, a free podcast produced by Lodging Interactive, is LIVE and offering up-to-date information on the latest tools and comprehensive strategies needed to implement an effective online marketing plan.

"Making a few postings on your property’s Facebook page or sending out a few tweets is barely scratching the surface of what a successful social media marketing strategy should be," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Social media has become an everyday part of consumers' global travel habits. Hotels that are not fully utilizing its power are missing the boat when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. In just 10 minutes, HotelCast 2.0 will identify how hoteliers can start putting the power of online and social media marketing to work for them. And, if the people or financial resources aren't readily available, we offer a solution for that too."

As part of its Fall podcast, Lodging Interactive identifies four key ingredients to initiating an effective, yet affordable, digital marketing campaign. From refreshing websites and taking a hands-on role in managing guest reviews to mobilizing web content and monitoring social media channels, the podcast lists ways properties can make the 2013 budgeting process a little easier and a lot more effective.

"Social media management and online marketing can be overwhelming for even the most experienced marketer," Vallauri said. "Time and budget constraints are just a small part of the problem. The good news is, Lodging Interactive and our outsourced social media marketing agency, CoMMingle, can help by taking the necessary tasks off hoteliers shoulders. CoMMingle provides website solutions, full guest review management, and complete social media marketing and engagement at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time social media person."

Click to listen to HotelCast 2.0

A big part of social media marketing for hospitality is managing guest reviews. In HotelCast 2.0, hear what noted travel writer and guide book author Arthur Frommer had to say about online guest reviews. If your hotel hasn't taken the proper steps to manage this controversial  subject, Lodging Interactive has the solution, its Guest Review System and even offers a free trial! HotelCast 2.0 tells listeners how they can manage guest reviews at NO cost, with NO contract to sign, and with NO cancellation restrictions.

Finally, is your hotel taking advantage of the power of QR codes to engage with new and existing customer? HotelCast 2.0 identifies how businesses are using these little boxes of code to open up a plethora of social media marketing opportunities. With consumers scanning QR codes 5.3 million times in the month of June alone, there's no time to waste with getting on board.

Lodging Interactive Continues to Win Multiple Industry Awards for Website Design

On the heels of winning three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in website design by the Interactive Media Council Inc., Lodging Interactive is pleased to announce another series of distinctive honors. This month, the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry was recognized by Travel Weekly, the Web Marketing Association, and the International Academy of the Visual Arts for its website design and development work.

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. Property sites designed by Lodging Interactive receiving top honors include:

          Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach in Florida:

• Silver Magellan Award / Travel Weekly
• 2012 Web Award / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence / Web Marketing Assn.
• 2012 Silver Award / Creative Excellence in Hotel and Lodging / International Academy of the Visual Arts
    
Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts:

• 2012 Web Award / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence / Web Marketing Assn.

"Lodging Interactive is more than just a company that builds websites," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Our award-winning full-service agency is uniquely positioned within the hospitality industry to offer the latest website management tools to maximize results for our clients. Website design is just one piece of the puzzle. We combine our design expertise with a unique ability to manage website content, guest reviews, and our customers' overall online reputations. It is this full-service approach to online marketing that makes our customers' websites stand out and achieve maximum optimization.

"We would like to thank Travel Weekly, the Web Marketing Association, and the International Academy of the Visual Arts for recognizing these property websites as the 'best' in the travel industry," he said. "We proudly share these honors with Lodging Interactive's team of more than 50 highly skilled web experts."

Lodging Interactive also was recognized by the International Academy of the Visual Arts with a Silver Award for its Guest Review System. The online tool alerts hotel management in real time when reviews are posted to their web sites. The GRS ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. Additionally, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website.

 

Lodging Interactive Offering FREE CMS & Mobile Website

With all the ongoing changes in search engine algorithms and social media sites seeking fresh and relevant content to index, it is increasingly important for hotels to stay on top of their website content in order to remain relevant. Lodging Interactive makes it easy for hotels to stay relevant through the use of its premium hotel Content Management System (CMS). For a limited time, new customers that sign up for full digital marketing services will receive a free Content Management System and a free mobile website; Offer  ends October 31.

"These days hoteliers need to take a real-time, hands-on approach to managing website content, guest reviews, and their overall reputations," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "The best way to do this is to partner with a digital agency that can offer the content management tools to empower the hotel to be involved with their website content. Our award winning agency is uniquely positioned within the hospitality industry and offers the latest website management tools to maximize results for our clients.”

The Lodging Interactive Content Management System will enable hoteliers to:

• Manage website text content
• Add, delete and modify pages
• Manage header/footer navigation items
• Manage website images and photo gallery images
• Manage the entire site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• Instantly create updated XML site maps

"With this tool, all website updates are performed in real time," Vallauri said. "The CMS is browser-based, with no software to download and no technical skills required to operate it. The Lodging Interactive CMS gives hotels total control over web content and it enables them to continually find new ways to redirect travelers from third-party sites to their proprietary websites."

In addition, and for a limited time only, new clients will also receive a mobile website at no additional cost. Lodging Interactive will develop and host up to 10 mobile pages which can include details of the property, including description of rooms, amenities, premise, packages, restaurants, spas, recreation facilities, loyalty programs and online reservations. Additional features may include mapping and directions, click-to-call functionality, photo gallery, embedded video capability, convention and/or meeting listings, social media links, guest reviews and more.

"Any hotel that partners with Lodging Interactive for website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management — September 15 through October 31 — will receive our easy-to-use and extremely comprehensive CMS at absolutely no cost and we will even include a free mobile website," Vallauri said.

USA Today and ABC News Report Guest Satisfaction Lowest in Seven Years

A recent article in USA Today reports that hotel guest satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in seven years, noting that check-in and check-out, guestrooms, food, Internet/WiFi fees, and facilities such as pools and business centers top the list of travelers' dislikes. ABC News also reported that how a person books their hotel stay may also be related to their satisfaction. In Hotels with Highest, Lowest Guest Satisfaction, Travel & Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown wrote that "guests who book their hotel stay with online travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia and competitors) tend to be less satisfied with their stay then those who book directly with the hotel web site or over the phone. These travelers tend to be more price-sensitive, have lower levels of satisfaction with their stay, are less loyal to hotel brands and tend to report more problems."

The underlying message for hoteliers is twofold: 1) If you don't take direct control of your guest reviews NOW, chances are the comments they post will not only turn travelers off, it could keep them away.  2) It's time to refresh your websites because enticing travelers to book directly on your website will improve your chances of having satisfied customers, thereby increasing your chances of receiving positive reviews.

"It only takes one unhappy guest to post a bad review, then the company's reputation is damaged, which in turn effects their sales," said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive, an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. "Today travelers have no problem telling the world what they like — and more importantly, don't like — about their hotel experience. Knowing how easy the Web and social media has made it for consumers to find their voices, hoteliers should be fearful to create an atmosphere whereby a negative review can even occur. Those hotel companies that have been identified in recent reports by travelers as providing below average service need to act — and quickly — to salvage their reputations and restore faith in their patrons."

Lodging Interactive has established a Guest Review System for hotels that alerts management in real time when reviews are posted to their web sites. This ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. Additionally, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website.

"Negative reviews will happen; no matter how stellar the hotel's reputation, someone will find something to complain about — even if it's a competitor posting a fraudulent review," Vallauri said. "The key to containment comes with responding immediately to the post and flipping the negative experience into a positive — preferably before the guest has even left the property. Equally important is responding in an appropriate manner. Be thankful, polite, and respectful of guests, even if the complaint is not warranted. Remain calm and always be courteous. Tell the guest how the situation will be addressed and what the next steps are. Tell the guest that you deem the complaint to be serious, and that there is a plan in place to resolve the matter. More importantly, give him or her a way to stay in touch with management, and invite further feedback."

Hotels can quickly and cost-effectively add Lodging Interactive's low-cost, turn-key Guest Review System in about 10 minutes. All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. In addition, the company is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf if staffing is an issue.

But wait, there's more . . .
Hotels needing to update their websites to provide fresh content and simplify the direct booking process can actually receive the Guest Review System absolutely FREE!

"Adding guest reviews to a hotel's website is critical for business success today, but if the website isn't fresh — featuring new, visually appealing photos and links to social media channels to ensure more chatter — owners and operators are just compounding the problem," Vallauri said. "Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program enables hoteliers to refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost, and we'll throw the Guest Review System in at no additional cost."

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package is:

• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• Online analytical reporting
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting and Server Management
• Robust Content Management, and
• Guest Review System at no additional cost.

"It's important for hoteliers to know that they can easily and affordably take control of their reputations by simply and affordably updating their Web sites and adding a Guest Review through Lodging Interactive," Vallauri said. "Hotel companies that have been ranked as providing below average satisfaction to guests can easily boost their credibility, restore consumer confidence, and regain lost business from third-party review sites."

Lodging Interactive has identified the following five ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of online marketing and social media channels for 2013 and beyond:

1. Keep Your Hotel’s Website "Fresh" by updating websites at least every two years
2. Take Control Of Your Hotel’s Guest Reviews by adding review functionality to your web site
3. Invest in Mobile Marketing
4. Enhance your presence on all social media channels
5. Manage our online reputation by monitoring chatter

 

Lodging Interactive’s Top 5 Budget Items for 2013

As the dreaded budget season draws near, hoteliers need to place a more strategic focus on digital marketing for 2013, especially when it comes to their social, local and mobile marketing efforts. Lodging Interactive and its subsidiary CoMMingle have identified five digital marketing must-haves to add to the budget in order to remain competitive in 2013, especially today's price-conscious mid-size and independent properties.

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hospitality entities. Together, the companies have identified the following top five ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of online marketing and social media channels for 2013 and beyond:

1. Keep Your Hotel’s Website "Fresh":  Just because a hotel updates or makes corrections to its webpage doesn't automatically make it "fresh." Hotels need to continually add new photos to make the website more visually appealing. New content also needs to continually be added, such as press releases and blogs that also can be linked to the various social media channels to ensure more chatter and visibility. Finally, there needs to be accountability to ensure that the web page is meeting goals and reaching its attended audience.

All these things can be accomplished easily and affordably in 2013 via Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program. By adopting Hotel Website Solutions, hoteliers can refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost. Included in the package is:

• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• Online analytical reporting
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting and Server Management
• Robust Content Management, and
• Guest Review System at no additional cost.

2. Take Control Of Your Hotel’s Guest Reviews: It's a known fact that hotels are dependent on reviews and that travelers will seek online reviews just prior to making their online reservations. Knowing if a review is legitimate is confusing for travelers, but knowing how to best manage guest reviews is even more perplexing for managers. Lodging Interactive has designed a way to simplify the guest review process. The company's Guest Review System offers a turn-key system that enables a hotel's proprietary website with the ability for travelers to post reviews and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes. Hotel managers receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities.

In addition, Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System keeps guests on the hotel's website and turns lookers into bookers at higher hotel rates when compared to the OTA’s. Hotels risk losing website visitors if those potential bookers are forced to leave the website in search of guest reviews on third party websites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia or Hotels.com that sell rooms purchased from hotels on a net rate model. Once gone, they may never come back.

All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. This empowers hoteliers to interact personally with their most valued direct customers. When guests take the time to post their experiences, their time, effort and patronage should be recognized and rewarded with an immediate reply. The Guest Review System alerts management in real time when reviews are posted. This ensures that there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property.

3. Mobile Marketing: Industry analysts predict that the mobile web will be more far reaching than desktop Internet use by 2015. Therefore there's no time like the present to jump on the mobile bandwagon and start reaching mobile savvy travelers via the channels and devices they depend on daily. With a mobile website, hotels can offer mobile users a dynamic and streamlined user experience regardless of mobile device.

Lodging Interactive provides FREE Mobile Website Development to all new customers contracting full agency services. Any hotel company partnering with Lodging Interactive for website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management will receive a complimentary mobile webiste. Mobile pages can detail the property, including description of rooms, amenities, premise, packages, restaurants, spas, recreation facilities, loyalty programs and online reservations. Additional features may include mapping and directions, click-to-call functionality, photo gallery, embedded video capability, convention and/or meeting listings, social media links, guest reviews and more. Mobile website management and hosting also is provided by Lodging Interactive.

4. Social Media Monitoring & Management: Today hoteliers are getting comfortable with social media giants Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube. But new sites are emerging, such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Wikipedia to name just a few that are making an equally big online marketing impact. It's critical that hotels are covered across all social media channels in order to be effective. The problem is finding the internal resources to manage social networks and establishing effective social media marketing campaigns. CoMMingle will assist hotels in engaging online with social media strategic planning, growing and managing social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.

Hotels that can't afford to have an internal, full-time social media watch dog can now cost-effectively budget the services of Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle in 2013 to become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting replies if desired. CoMMingle will work with hotels to initially establish, then manage on an ongoing basis, the following social networks & engagement channels:

• Google+ Business Page – CoMMingle will set up the page if needed and maintain weekly postings on the page. 
• Pinterest – CoMMingle will create a Pinterest hotel account, relevant pin boards, and then pin images weekly to the boards. CoMMingle will also monitor and engage with consumers as needed.
• Facebook – CoMMingle will create additional apps for the property, above and beyond what is presently being managed by the hotel.
• Ongoing Facebook & Twitter postings – CoMMingle will go a step further and assist hotels that don't have the time to post content consistently to Facebook and Twitter by posting content weekly on the hotel’s behalf.
• Wikipedia – CoMMingle will set up a Wikipedia listing if one does not exist and create social links. CoMMingle will also monitor the Wikipedia listing quarterly and check content for accuracy.

5. Reputation Management: Hotels of all sizes have begun to add social media technologies that monitor a hotel's or brand's online reputation, but unless those tools are being maximized, reputations and business practices can still suffer. Lodging Interactive believes that it takes people, in addition to technologies, to make reputation management effective. That's why Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle have teamed up with leading hospitality reputation-management companies to supplement their technology applications whereby CoMMingle provides the human resources necessary to answer guest reviews and manage guest responses on behalf of the hotel.

Hotels using solutions from companies such as Revinate can outsource the social media monitoring and guest review response portion to Lodging Interactive. Logging in as the hotel, the CoMMingle team will reply to guest reviews accordingly, always keeping the hotel apprised of comments and alerting it to concerns.

2013 Bonus Tips:
In addition to Lodging Interactive's top 5 budget recommendations, here are other items every hotelier should plan for in 2013:

1. Quarterly landing pages to promote seasonal activities through the website.  When properly keyword optimized landing pages provide fresh, relevant content for search engines and website visitors.
2. Facebook applications development to leverage a hotel’s website promotions on the largest social media engagement channel.
3. Create independent videos for the promotion of hotel meeting space and packages, weddings and other social events.  Once created, optimize them and host them on YouTube.
4. Consistent email marketing programs targeting travel agents and meeting planners.  Email marketing remains very effective and every hotel website should maintain it’s own email capture widget.