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