Lodging Interactive, CoMMingle Recognize Excellence with Director Promotions

With more than 50 employees serving more than 650 hotels, Lodging Interactive values the expertise and dedication of its team members and rewards them accordingly by promoting from within whenever possible. Recently Alicia Pavignano was promoted from Manager to Director of Client Services for Lodging Interactive, and Rosella Virdo was advanced from Manager to Director of Social Media Marketing for CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive.

Lodging Interactive is an award winning social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, while CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that also 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. CoMMingle also provides reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring and social search engine optimization.

"At Lodging Interactive, we believe it's critical to acknowledge employees for a job well done and show each person how much he or she is appreciated," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive/CoMMingle Founder and President. "Alicia Pavignano and Rosella Virdo have each contributed a great deal to our company, and not only is the workplace better because of their efforts, but our customer satisfaction is at an all time high. These promotions are a reflection of jobs well done."

As Director of Client Services, Pavignano oversees and directs experienced client teams focused on providing a consultative, hands on approach to website maintenance and advising on web strategies and Internet marketing reporting.

"From a client-service perspective, the No. 1 challenge I see hoteliers facing today is being able to remain one step ahead of their competitors as it relates to their own website marketing," Pavignano said. "With the Internet playing an ever increasing role in room reservation revenue, as well as group/event revenue, it is so vital that the information that is put out there is current and advertised in a timely manner. This promotion to Director of Client Services is enabling me to work more closely with clients to overcome online marketing challenges and assist them in reaching definable goals."

By taking a more active role with Lodging Interactive clients and actually becoming an extension of the hotel's marketing department, Pavignano said she hopes to further nurture the company/client relationship.

"I've had the great fortune to work at Lodging Interactive for the past five years, and during that time I have witnessed firsthand the incredible growth in our client base, advances in the services we provide, and tremendous growth and stability of our staff," she said. "Although my role is constantly changing, I am confident that under the direction of DJ Vallauri, everyone at Lodging Interactive will continue to provide services that truly satisfy our customer's needs for assistance with Internet marketing."

Prior to joining Lodging Interactive Pavignano held senior management positions with various national media companies based in New York. She is a graduate of Hunter College, where she received her Master of Science in Education and Pace University, where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration and was awarded a four-year, full-tuition academic scholarship.

Improving Social Circles
As Director of the CoMMingle Social Media Marketing operating division and its related departments, Virdo is responsible for client reputation management and responses, social platform blogging and micro-blogging, report management and tracking, copy writing and overall CoMMingle office operations.

"This new position gives me the opportunity to lead the CoMMingle team while working hands-on with clients while planning the direction of all Lodging Interactive's social media efforts," Virdo said. "Our customers directly benefit from the in-the-trenches experience I gained related to social media marketing for hospitality. Because of my experience, I am able to work closer with each client and help them coordinate their marketing efforts into the social media arena. It's a win-win for everyone."

Virdo said keeping up with the ever-changing social media landscape is a real challenge for hoteliers today. CoMMingle brings much-needed expertise to the table that enables managers to easily blend social media into their traditional marketing efforts to achieve the best possible results.

"One of the great advantages of being a CoMMingle customer is that we tackle social media challenges on behalf of our customer hotels, teaching and sharing with them the nuances of each social network so they can continue to evolve throughout the process," Virdo said. "We are very fortunate not only as employees, but as an industry to have DJ Vallauri directing this effort. He has continually remained three steps ahead of where social media is heading and shares his vast knowledge through us to the industry.

"For example, with Google's search algorithm, Panda and the Freshness initiative, hoteliers can now blend in their social media efforts to remain optimized on search engines," she said. "DJ saw this search shift coming three years ago and lead CoMMingle in tracking this crucial need for our clients. His vision, enthusiasm and foresight creates an infectious energy in this company. It is from those qualities that he created a service for our hospitality customers that we as a staff believe passionately in and which delivers results. To say that I feel fortunate to be part of his 'work family' for the past three years is an understatement."

Virdo joined CoMMingle with more than 25 years advertising and marketing experience, working in operational and management positions for various advertising agencies throughout New York and New Jersey. She studied Hotel/Restaurant Management at The College of Technology of the City University of New York.

 

Lodging Interactive Launches Vanity URL Service for Google+

Would you rather create a link to your branded Google+ Business Page that looks like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107157850917015701607/posts#107157850917015701607/posts or that looks like this: http://GPlusPage.biz/HotelName/G+? The latter is possible with Link2Brand from Lodging Interactive.

"Lodging Interactive has developed the technology for creating branded vanity URLs for Google+ Business Pages that removes lengthy numeric coding and adds click tracking as part of the service," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Facebook met this challenge early on, as more and more companies began using the social media mechanism for business promotions, but to date, G+ hasn't caught on.

"Link2Brand not only owns Google+ related domain names (which can be used with the service to create a hotel’s vanity URL link), but our proprietary click-tracking system will report the number of times a viewer clicked on the link to connect to the hotel’s G+ Business Page," Vallauri said. "It's an easy to use and highly secure tool that also provides valuable analytics. No other company is offering this level of G+ service and support."

According to Google, Google+ has reached 90 million+ users as of January 2012 globally, making it the 4th largest social network. The company also maintains that Google+ is the fastest growing network of all times. It only took Google+ 3 weeks to reach 20 million users, while it took Facebook 3 years, Twitter 2.5 years and MySpace 2 years to hit that milestone.

Google+ Business Page Creation
Before the Link2Brand service can be utilized, a hotel must first have a Google+ Business Page. This social media channel allows members (hotels) to organize people (guests) into social groups referred to as "Circles." Then, hoteliers engage with their own circles of potential guests and build larger circles through social networking and marketing.

Lodging Interactive offers a Google+ Page Creation service for hotels, while its subsidiary CoMMingle manages the page to ensure that each hotel is properly positioned on Google+. As an extension of a hotel's marketing department, CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive takes a pro-active role in managing each hotel's online presence and communications to not only Google+, but to all social media networking communities.

"Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle work side by side to ensure maximum social media exposure for our customers," Vallauri said. "First, we create the Google+ page for our customers to maximize their exposure through all social media channels. Second, we leverage all of the opportunities available from Google+ to engage with guests on a hotel's behalf so the likelihood of their content will be picked up on travel related searches. Third, we make it simple for hotels to promote their Google+ presence by creating vanity URLs that best represent their brand and provide click-tracking to monitor the program's effectiveness.

"We understand how difficult it can be to keep up with this rapidly accelerating social media scene," he said. " Lodging Interactive is here to help."

Lodging Interactive, CoMMingle Adds Google+ Service to Enhance Hotels’ Social Media Strategies

The social media universe no longer rests solely with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Today Google+ is quickly becoming an important Internet marketing player. Lodging Interactive, a social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, and its subsidiary CoMMingle, a social media consultancy, is now offering a turnkey service for creating and professionally managing Google+ Business Pages.

According to Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com Founder Paul Allen in his Google+ blog, the Google+ network will hit 400 million users by the end of 2012. Facebook currently has more than 800 million users. Google+ is adding 625,000 new users per day or 20 million per month on average.

"Social networking continues to be the least expensive way for hotels to market their brand, engage guests and build loyalty," said D.J. Vallauri, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle Founder and President. "Taking advantage of all social media channels is critical. Today, only a few hotel companies have expanded their inner circles outside of Facebook to include Google+. Failure to do so can be detrimental in the long term."

Google+ Business Pages are socially enabled and allow members (hotels) to organize people (guests) into social groups referred to as "Circles." Then, hoteliers engage with their own circles of potential guests and build larger circles through social networking and marketing.

"We understand how difficult it can be to keep up with this rapidly accelerating social media scene," Vallauri said. "As such, we are offering to leverage all the opportunities available from Google+ to engage with guests on a hotel's behalf so the likelihood of their content will be picked up on travel related searches."

Vallauri explained that Google considers Google+ 1's ("likes") as social signals within its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). As the Google+ network continues to grow, the weight applied to +1's will receive more consideration, and the hotels with the most +1's will reinforce their search engine rankings.

Here's how it works:
Lodging Interactive will create a Google+ Business Page on behalf of its customers. Then, CoMMingle takes over. CoMMingle's fully managed social media marketing service ensures that each hotel is properly positioned on Google+ where potential and past guests "commingle" to discuss their destination, including the hotel. As an extension of a hotel's marketing department, CoMMingle takes a pro-active role in managing each hotel's online presence and communications to not only Google+, but to all social media networking communities.

"Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle work side by side to ensure maximum social media exposure for our customers," Vallauri said. "Think of us as a dating service. Lodging Interactive makes each hotel look good and lets travelers know that they are 'available.' Then it's CoMMingle's job to keep the conversation flowing and continually fill the date card. The more content created by Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle, the wider a hotel's social media circles expand. The end result is better exposure on Google and a much stronger overall social media strategy."

Yelp Reports Wider Loss for 2011 After Marketing, Development Costs Climb – Bloomberg

Yelp Inc. (YELP), the user-generated review site that’s planning an initial public offering, reported a wider loss in 2011 after increasing spending to attract reviewers and make the service easier to use.

via www.bloomberg.com

TripAdvisor statement following UK advertising watchdog complaint

TripAdvisor issued an official statement following the Advertising Standards Authority's upholding of a complaint against the company, stating "the ruling flies in the face of common sense and is unrealistic in its expectations from sites like ours."

read more: www.hotelmarketing.com

BackBid lets hotels compete for your business – USATODAY.com

A new hotel-booking site, BackBid, turns hotel shopping on its head: As a potential guest, you become the pursued rather than the pursuer.

via travel.usatoday.com

Report says hotels lose out with merchant sales on the Web – Travel Weekly

When U.S. hotels distribute rooms through online travel agencies (OTAs) in merchant sales, they give up twice as much in lost revenue as they pay out in commissions on standard agency sales, according to a new research report from Smith Travel Research (STR) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). 

The report, presented at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) here last week, both reflects and supports hoteliers’ efforts to rein in digital distribution costs with initiatives such as the new RoomKey.com booking site. 

U.S. hotel owners collectively discounted their rooms to OTAs by about $2.7 billion, up from about $2.4 billion in 2009 and more than double the $1.3 billion in commissions paid to travel agents through GDSs, according to the 214-page report. 

via www.travelweekly.com

Tripadvisor banned from claiming its reviews are real – Telegraph

They argued that wording on Tripadvisor’s website – claiming that the site contained “reviews you can trust” and “honest” opinions from “real travellers” – was misleading as Tripadvisor could not prove that the reviews were genuine.

via www.telegraph.co.uk