Hoteliers Take Control Of Guest Reviews For Less Than $65 Per Month

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article titled "Big Flaws in Hotel Rankings," it was said that "influencing reviews and ratings is a time-honored tradition in the hotel and restaurant industries." After about five years of printing reader letters about hotels in the 1960s, travel-guidebook legend Arthur Frommer said he realized that hotels were writing letters about themselves. "Hotels are so dependent on reviews that of course they will generate their own," Frommer said. "They would be crazy not to." As for online reviews, which have replaced guidebooks for many travelers, Mr. Frommer has disdain. "It's a vast buzzing, blooming confusion."

Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, has designed a way to remove this "blooming confusion" from the "buzzing," online marketing/social media equation. The company's Guest Review System sits on a hotel's proprietary website and enables travelers to post comments 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.

"The impact that guest review sites are having today on consumers buying decisions is off the charts — just look at the rapid growth of TripAdvisor and its competitors Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz and," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "The rise in review-site popularity — and their associated challenges — has spurred some of the large brands, such as Starwood and Marriott, to migrate the review process to their proprietary websites. This is good for the industry overall. With the brands leading the way, soon hotels of all sizes and across all segments will follow suit, leveling the playing field for hotels worldwide and making the industry more competitive and more in control of their reputations. Hotels that want to jump on the bandwagon but don't know how or where to start, can easily and affordably turn to Lodging Interactive."

All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code attached to their Website. Once initiated, hotels 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 valued 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.

"Third-party review sites do have merit when they make interaction between the reviewer and hotel possible — but that's not often the case," Vallauri said. "As hotels strive to deliver the ultimate customer service today, adding a proprietary Guest Review System raises the bar for service delivery and gives operators the ability to really sell their hotels. With direct bookings on a continual climb industrywide, adding this service to the hotel's website is the next evolution in website optimization and improved customer relations."

As an added benefit of the Guest Review System, travelers are encouraged to share their reviews on Facebook with 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 is offering a free trial of its Guest Review System. There is no contract to sign and hotels can cancel anytime. When the trial concludes, hotels can maintain the service for about $60 per month with no long-term agreements and the ability to cancel at any time.

Lodging Interactive and Masterminds Form Strategic Partnership

Lodging Interactive is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Masterminds, a leading full-service travel and leisure creative advertising agency in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. This new alliance transforms the company from an interactive and social media marketing agency to one offering a comprehensive set of integrated marketing and media planning services, from branding to television/radio/video production and more.

"We are thrilled to strengthen our interactive marketing capabilities by offering our clients Masterminds' award-winning agency services through this partnership," said D.J. Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Masterminds completes our product offering enabling us to offer fully integrated online and offline marketing plans with a proven track record for getting results. Masterminds’ talent has garnered an impressive collection of awards for their work in print, TV, radio, outdoor, online, direct mail and the disciplines of guerilla and experiential marketing. Their results-oriented approach to media advertising utilizes up-to-the-minute research from Nielsen, Arbitron, Simmons, Scarborough and others to evaluate all options and achieve maximum value for our clients' investment dollars.

Through its partnership with Masterminds, Lodging Interactive has the comprehensive resources to offer upgraded services to customers who require branding consultation, integrated advertising plans, award winning creative and full service media planning and management. The company’s ability to provide a single point of contact ensures a truly integrated marketing solution delivering proven results for hospitality customers.

"Today Lodging Interactive is a complete, one-stop-shop for everything marketing and advertising related that hotels, spa’s and restaurants need to stay competitive," he said. "By expanding our product offering to now include services typically offered only by large-scale ad agencies, Lodging Interactive is creating even more value for our customers."

Lodging Interactive remains focused on delivering comprehensive interactive marketing services exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, while its CoMMingle division continues to provide outsourced social media marketing services and reputation management.  New agency services, powered by Masterminds, now include:

• Integrated Marketing Plans
• New Product Introductions
• Branding Campaigns
• Logo Development
• Television Production
• Radio Production
• Media Planning & Placement
• Interactive Advertising
• Promotional Development & Sweepstakes
• Customer Loyalty Programs
• Direct Mail Programs
• E-blasts & Newsletters
• Photography & Videography
• Market Research
• Sales Kits
• Brochures
• Mobile Marketing

From Nancy Smith, CEO Masterminds: “Masterminds is pleased to partner with Lodging Interactive and looks forward to working together to provide truly integrated marketing and advertising solutions to a broad range of hospitality and leisure clients. To often, clients are forced deal with a variety of agencies in order to get interactive, social and traditional advertising services. Our unique partnership provides best in class services through a single agency relationship. We are especially pleased with this partnership because both companies share a unwavering commitment to client service and client satisfaction.”

Lodging Interactive Becomes Best Western Preferred Vendor

As a Best Western Preferred Vendor, Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, will introduce new pricing plans, financial service models, mobile website offerings and content management toolkits exclusive to members of THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL FAMILY® during the 2012 Best Western Supply Products Showcase, to be held October 11 to 13 at The Venetian in Las Vegas. 

"Maintaining an up-to-date website and monitoring the various social channels for visibility and engagement is critical to brand success today," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Industry reports show direct bookings via the hotel's proprietary website are on the rise, and unprecedented numbers of travelers are being drawn to new and established social media sites — from Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Wikipedia — to name just a few. Lodging Interactive not only has the team in place to design prized hotel websites for Best Western properties, but our proficiency in managing those sites, along with establishing brand presence on all social media marketing and engagement channels, is unsurpassed."

Through Lodging Interactive's preferred vendor status, Best Western members will receive fresh and enhanced website content, effective social media marketing campaigns, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, social search engine optimization, and assistance with online engagement of social media strategic planning via its social media marketing agency, CoMMingle. In addition, Best Western hotels will have the direct benefit of featuring Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System directly on their Websites, giving travelers a place to post comments and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes. In turn, hotel managers will receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities.

Lodging Interactive is comprised of a team of more than 50 highly skilled web experts. 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. In May, Lodging Interactive was recognized by the Interactive Media Council Inc., winning three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotels/Resorts category for its website design services. This is the third consecutive year that the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry has been recognized by the IMC for its aptitude in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites. 

"We are honored to be part of Best Western's preferred vendor program and look forward to meeting with members in October," Vallauri said. "Our unique online marketing techniques, combined with our social media marketing services, wins online business for hotels and resorts. Whether Best Western members need to supplement their current Internet marketing programs or establish new social media engagement programs, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will deliver proven services that are measured by clear definitive results."