Lodging Interactive Offering Free Services Bundle to New Digital Marketing Clients in 2014

Need a new Website… Search Engine Content Marketing… Social Media Engagement… and Online Reputation Management? Hotels that sign up for full-service digital marketing services will receive a FREE gift that will keep on giving throughout the New Year!

press-20131211

PARSIPPANY, NJ , December 11, 2013Lodging Interactive is offering a gift to hoteliers this holiday season that will keep on giving throughout 2014. Any hotel that signs up for full-service digital marketing before January 31 will receive a bundle of FREE services, valued at more than $8,000.

“This is the time of year for giving, and Lodging Interactive is bundling some of its most popular programs and offering them to hoteliers as our gift,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “These supplemental tools are the difference between a good online marketing program and a GREAT digital marketing strategy that yields measurable results.”
For a limited time, anyone partnering with Lodging Interactive for full digital marketing services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management, will receive the following at no cost:

  • Every new website gets FREE Mobile Responsive Website design (PC, Tablet and Smartphone)
  • Free HotelFAQS’s service and integration into new website
  • Free Guest Review System and integration into new website
  • Free Gift Certificate marketing with listing on GiftHotel.com
  • Free video montage with hotel images

Gifts that Keep on Giving

  • FREE Responsive Website Design: Lodging Interactive’s Responsive Website Design approach is aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).
  • FREE HotelFAQs.com Service: HotelFAQs.com is a service that provides a clean, interactive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page that resides on a hotel’s website. HotelFAQs.com drills down and provides details on happenings in and around each hotel to provide richer content for travelers. A Check Out Our FAQs float button appears on every page of the hotel’s website. If information is not available on a specific topic, a Suggest a Category or Question button is provided that encourages travelers to submit a question so that Lodging Interactive can search and post the answer. This not only heightens customer service, but it is a great way to capture prospective guests’ email information for future marketing efforts.
  • FREE Guest Review System: Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System is a web-based tool that is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on their hotel websites. By allowing management to respond to comments in real time hotels are improving two-way hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty. The system also stops fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds, helping hotels to maintain their reputations. In addition, directing guests to the hotel’s website to post comments and reviews keeps them from being redirected to an OTA where they may never come back to book direct. Travelers can share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends, opening up avenues to new booking audiences, and again, more revenue opportunities.
  • FREE Gift Certificate Marketing: GiftHotel.com is the world’s largest portal website exclusively marketing gift cards for hotels, resorts and spas. Gift Hotel enables properties to create gift card listings on www.GiftHotel.com and receive qualified sales directly to their websites where transactions are processed. There are no commissions to pay or revenues to share. Gift Hotel enables hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants to create their own listings, including photographs and videos showcasing their location, amenities and services.  Consumers search the site based on their criteria and are returned a list of businesses that meet their needs.  When ready to make the gift card purchase, Gift Hotel links shoppers to the business’ website where they buy direct. Gift Hotel also includes integrated Google mapping technologies, guest reviews and social networking components for sharing listings with family and friends.
  • FREE Video Montage: 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 will engage potential guests and visually communicate a property’s unique benefits by creating a video montage using the hotel’s own images. This tool will enable hotel marketers to add a personal touch to their websites by using crisp HD Video.

“The New Year is upon us, so don’t delay . . . sign up for Lodging Interactive’s full-service digital marketing service and get your FREE digital marketing bundle today,” Vallauri said. “On behalf of the entire Lodging Interactive staff, we wish all in the global hospitality industry a Happy Holidays.”

Visit http://www.LodgingInteractive.com for more information.

New Copywriting Service Launched For Hotels

Hospitality-focused copywriting service from Lodging Interactive helping hotels ensure their websites are optimized for Google’s Hummingbird algorythm changes

press-20131203a
PARSIPPANY, NJ , December 3, 2013 – A recent survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group reports that 56.6 percent more Americans will travel over the 2013 holiday from Thanksgiving through January 1, 2014 compared to those who traveled during the same period in 2013. Travelers looking for lodging accommodations may have difficulty finding a hotel via Google if the property’s website has not been updated from a keyword search algorithm to one that is content driven and recognized by Google’s Hummingbird. To help hotels deliver fresh content that answers searchers specific questions, Lodging Interactive is launching a new service called “HotelWebPages.com.”

“SEO has changed forever, and for the better,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “Gone are the days of keyword-centric marketing; instead, it’s all about page-centric content marketing and verbose search queries. Hotels need to develop professionally written, unique content for their websites in order to capture bookings, and there’s no time like the present to get started.”

Last month Google significantly changed its algorithm (“Hummingbird”) that determines search results. The new system interprets the “inferred meaning” of a search, rather than providing listings that contain exact keywords used in the query. Google’s rational is this: by requiring sites to deliver improved content that answers searchers specific questions, it will provide a more reliable resource, and in turn, improve the site’s visibility and viability. Google wants hoteliers to stop obsessing over keywords and instead answer the questions that travelers want to have answered to differentiate themselves from the competition. While this theory has its merits, it poses many challenges to hoteliers. That’s where HotelWebPages.com comes in.

“For more than 10 years, Lodging Interactive has been helping hoteliers drive more direct business from their websites,” Vallauri said. “We know SEO and we know hospitality. We understand that hoteliers don’t have the skill set or the time to rewrite their content to meet Google’s new algorithm changes. Through our HotelWebPages.com service, we’re leveraging our team of professional copywriters to develop fresh content for hotels based on location and destination. This new content will add value to visitors and traction to search engines. It’s the way that Google wants to see it, and our team is standing by to get hotel websites ready to attract holiday travelers.”
press-20131203b

Giving the Gift of Relevant Content to ALL

So that ALL hoteliers can benefit from HotelWebPages.com, Lodging Interactive is making its hospitality-focused copywriting service available to those who use — and don’t use — Lodging Interactive to design, host and manage their existing websites. Lodging Interactive will develop unique content for any hotel and the property’s webmaster can then post the unique content.

Lodging Interactive is offering three structured pricing plans for HotelWebPages.com to enable even the smallest of properties to optimize their website to take advantage of Google’s Hummingbird algorithmic changes.

For more information on Hotel Web Pages, including pricing per each package, call 877-291-4411 or visit http://www.hotelwebpages.com/.

Hoteliers Getting ‘In’ on the Social Media, Reputation Management Conversation via Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle

hoteliers-getting-in-on-the-social-media-reputation-management-conversation-via-lodging-interactive-and-commingleLodging Interactive and CoMMingle recently launched an “invitation only” LinkedIn Group to provide hoteliers with an interactive forum to discuss news and updates concerning social networks. The “Hospitality Social Media Marketing & Reputation Management” discussion group is a viable resource for hotel employees looking to engage in conversations about what is working or not working with their social media campaigns and capitalize on success secrets shared by their peers.

During the first month of its launch, LinkedIn attracted 4,500 users. As of October 2013, its following has grown to more than 259 million users. Available in 20 languages and reaching 200 countries, LinkedIn’s goal is to increase its global business network to 3 billion. Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle works with hoteliers to grow and better manage their use of social media channels, provide reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.

“Hoteliers want to converse with their peers and discover what makes others’ social media campaigns so attractive and interactive to consumers,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “As the world’s largest business professional social media network, establishing a new LinkedIn Group is the ideal medium for us to reach out to those people in search of guidance and connect them with people who are eager to share their secrets to success. We truly believe that those who join the Hospitality Social Media Marketing & Reputation Management group via LinkedIn will find it to quickly become the No. 1 source for all things social media and reputation management.”

This Hospitality Social Media Marketing & Reputation Management Group is moderated. It is managed by invitation only to avoid spamming and commercialism. Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will not use the forum to sell its services to the group, nor will it allow others to do the same.

“The art of social media marketing and reputation management is simple; it’s about people,” said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. “We created this group for discussions, information sharing, advice or just simply have a conversation on social media marketing and reputation management within the hospitality industry.”

The Hospitality Social Media Marketing & Reputation Management Group had a soft launch in June, and an avid membership group has been forming. To join, simply click here, and then click “Join” in the upper right hand corner of the website.

For more information on outsourcing a hotel social media campaign to CoMMingle, call 877-291-4411 or visit www.commingle.me.

About Lodging Interactive

Lodging Interactive, headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, is a full-service digital marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for more than a decade. The company provides a portfolio of effective hotel Internet marketing services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, ownership properties, spas and restaurants. Clients include branded hotels from nearly every major brand as well as prestigious, landmark independent hotels. Through its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency operating division, the company offers hospitality focused and fully managed outsourced hotel social media marketing customized solutions. Lodging Interactive has been recognized as a leader by the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Web Marketing Association and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards. It is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and is a Preferred Vendor for Best Western International. For more information please contact us at sales@lodginginteractive.com or at 877-291-4411 ext 701. The company’s website is located at www.LodgingInteractive.com.

Need Help Replying to Online Reviews?

In addition to monitoring online chatter, CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive quickly replies to guest comments on each hotel’s behalf to better manage its online reputation


PARSIPPANY, NJ , November 13, 2013 – In today’s hospitality climate, it is very important that hoteliers monitor what people are saying about their properties online and in social media. Monitoring one’s online reputation is just the first step to a maintaining a stellar image. According to CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive, a social media marketing and engagement agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas, the missing piece to the reputation-management puzzle is responding to the negative and positive guest reviews.

Recent studies confirm that 95 percent of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. But with an abundance of social media websites, blogs, podcasts, news sites, video sites, and more, it’s nearly impossible for hoteliers to effectively monitor the chatter on their own, let alone respond to each review. The best way to truly manage a hotel’s online reputation is by partnering with a full-service agency that offers both monitoring and response services.

“Hotels have an abundance of loyal, happy guests who don’t feel the need to review the property online, but if they do review a property, a response acknowledges their loyalty and creates a social influencer,” said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. “Meanwhile, a few dissatisfied guests are willing to voice their experience on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, or any other review forum they can find online. Because those sites have leverage with the major search engines, influencing the sentiment of the reviews will impact the perception of the property on a search results page. Happy guests or dissatisfied guests, they all play a part in a hotel’s online reputation. Hoteliers no longer control the perception of the property; that is in the hands of guests. But hoteliers can influence that perception.”

A new study reveals that 53 percent of consumers expect a brand to respond to a tweet within an hour. When asked how quickly a response is expected from a brand on Twitter, 65 percent of the survey participants said they want a response in two hours time or less, with 20 percent expecting a response in 30 minutes or less. The study found brands that respond to tweets in a timely manner garner more favorable reactions from consumers, with 47 percent of respondents more likely to recommend the brand through social media and 34 percent likely to buy more products from the brand. Sixty percent claimed they were more likely to take a negative action toward brands that did not respond to tweets in an acceptable time period.

“Unlike other services that only provide alerts when someone makes an online comment about the hotel, CoMMingle provides timely responses back to the original posting – providing a true social media monitoring and online reputation management service,” Virdo said. “CoMMingle will work with hotels to PLAN their social media strategies. Then we will assist hotels to SOCIALIZE with customers, managing and monitoring their Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Next, we help hoteliers INFLUENCE their online reputations by writing management responses on TripAdvisor and other review sites. The hotel approves the response, and the CoMMingle team takes care of the post. Finally, CoMMingle provides analytics to help each hotel MEASURE results of each campaign.”

To put the PLAN + SOCIALIZE + ENGAGE + MEASURE = ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT plan into action today, call CoMMingle at 877-291-4411 or visit www.commingle.me.

 

HotelFAQS.com Helping Hotels Elevate Visibility on Google

Last month Google significantly changed its algorithm that determines search results. The new system interprets the “inferred meaning” of a search, rather than providing listings that contain exact keywords used in the query. Google’s rational is this: by requiring sites to deliver improved content that answers searchers specific questions, it will provide a more reliable resource, and in turn, improve the site’s visibility and viability. In an effort to help hoteliers improve booking conversions, Lodging Interactive launched a new service called HotelFAQs.com that provides comprehensive responses to these exact types of pressing and personalized questions.

“Content that travelers like, Google will like,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “Google wants hoteliers to stop obsessing over keywords and instead answer the questions that travelers want to have answered to differentiate themselves from the competition. While this theory has its merits, it poses a lot of challenges to hoteliers. Trying to answer all of the questions that potential customers ask online not only is an exercise in futility, but operators could lose business because of it. This is where HotelFAQs.com comes in handy.

“Created by our team of hotel marketing experts, HotelFAQs.com is a service that provides a clean, interactive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page that resides on a hotel’s website,” he said. “Before lookers become bookers, they want to know: Is a lifeguard is on duty at the pool? If yes, during what hours? What time is the continental breakfast served, and is it free? Does the property offer a babysitting service? If yes, what are the age parameters? HotelFAQs.com customizes the web page specific to each hotel, differentiating it from all the others in the area. By allowing lookers to find out everything they need to know when they are considering booking, it leads to higher conversions.”

HotelFAQs.com by Lodging Interactive drills down and provides details on happenings in and around each hotel to provide richer content for travelers. A Check Out Our FAQs float button appears on every page of the hotel’s website. If information is not available on a specific topic, a Suggest a Category or Question button is provided that encourages travelers to submit a question so that Lodging Interactive can search and post the answer. This not only heightens customer service, but it is a great way to capture prospective guests’ email information for future marketing efforts.

“If a potential guest poses a question, Lodging Interactive will research it on the hotel’s behalf . . . find the answer . . . and respond to the customer to stop booking abandonment,” Vallauri said. “We’ll even update the FAQs on a hotel’s website to reflect the new information. But that’s not all. Lodging Interactive will also create and maintain a list of attractions and events local to each area to drive potential visitors to a hotel and close on more business. Not only does HotelFAQs.com help hotels to attract more bookings, but its a cool new way to provide phenomenal customer service and improve upon the hotel’s online reputation as the best place to stay in your area.”

HotelFAQs.com from Lodging Interactive provides an easy and affordable way to:

• Increase bookings online
• Improve two-way hotel-to-guest/guest-to-hotel communications
• Capture customer information for ongoing marketing efforts
• Boost organic SEO value for vanity websites
• Communicate product and service differentiation
• Leverage local events, attractions and exhibits to increase loyalty
• Documents hotel policies
• Build ongoing FAQ content
• Stay relevant in light of the new Google Hummingbird algorithm changes

HotelFAQs.com easily integrates into any hotel’s Facebook page and blog.  Fully mobile compatible, HotelFAQs.com enables smartphone users to also benefit from vital FAQ content, thereby supporting and increasing mobile booking conversion rates.

An informational video is now available by clicking here.

Are You Posting Properly to Facebook?

Today, there are more than 1.5 billion active Facebook users, with 699 million people logging onto Facebook each day and 4.5 billion "likes" generated daily as of May 2013, according to the leading social media giant. More important to note is that 16 million local business pages have been created since June, which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012, Facebook reports. Hoteliers who want to compete effectively and maintain a competitive edge need to know how to best utilize Facebook and ensure that their efforts stand out and reach intended audiences. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive, an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas, has a simple list of suggestions to make the most out of a Facebook social media campaign.

"Approximately 42 percent of marketers claim that eMarketing via Facebook is crucial for business success," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "That leaves 58 percent of marketers who seem to be missing the big picture. Utilize Facebook as more than just another vehicle to advertise or promote your property. Social media marketing has become an extension of your customer service. With that knowledge and focus, you can then speak with your fans about your property and offerings, drive engagement and create loyalty. Then social media marketing becomes an all-encompassing vehicle to reach, speak and mingle with your audience, paving the road for a successful marketing campaign.

"Social Media Marketing has a different approach than traditional marketing," she said. "No longer do you shout your message, now you share your message to those listening and encourage them to share spread the word. Today with social media, hoteliers have the opportunity to share, connect and listen to their fans/guests, and most importantly, offer the level of customer service they come to expect while still sharing all you have to offer. This new way of marketing includes reputation management, customer service, traditional marketing and giving a human voice to a brick and mortar business. To help hotel marketers put their best Facebook post forward, the CoMMingle team is offering the following tips."

10 Tips to Facebook Posting Success:

1. Keep it short: Share just a bit of what you’d like to say, but be brief. Try to keep the post to around 250 characters, without losing the message you want to share.

2. Photos / Videos: To make your message stand out, a photo or video will bring the eye to the message. Give viewers an inside view of what makes the hotel tick. An example: Showcase your employees. Adding a first name and a face from the person to the service they received or will be receiving, offers that personal touch. Display a front desk clerk welcoming a guest . . . the housekeeper hard at work . . . or your marketing manager smiling at their desk. Always ask the employee for their permission before you post.

3. Call to Action: Engage your audience by asking questions or suggest a link to visit, "like" the post, or share an experience.

4. Offer a perk to your Fans: Create a special offer with link, exclusive to your fans. Links and calls to action add value to a Facebook campaign.

5. Participation: Ask your audience to participate in the process of building your next package or promotion. For example, request feedback from your fans on what type of amenities they would like to see in a package? Free Internet, Free Parking, Free Resort Fees, Dinner for Two, etc. Use the feedback to create the package then let your audience know that they were a vital part of the process by their input. 

6. Be consistent and current: Post about local events around the hotel. Make sure that you offer links, and post consistently (once or twice a week is good).

7. Create a Social Media Calendar: Plan a strategy to compliment your off line marketing initiatives. Topics, times, frequency that work best with the hospitality industry. Remember that these “best practices” of when to post are not relevant to every industry and every audience. Learn your audience; learn the audience of your industry.

8. Target: You can create posts on Facebook specific to an audience. If you have a package available to only the  residents of your state, then target post to the audience in that segmented location demographic.

9. Schedule posts: You can schedule posts up to six months in advance in 10 minute intervals. This will help you manage your time more effectively.

10. Have fun. Keep the “social” on your social network. Post fun trivia facts about your location; create engaging puzzles focused on your brand or city; send encouragement of support to your local sports teams, etc.

"According to Infodocket, the average time spent per Facebook visit is about 20 minutes," Virdo said. "You have a small window of opportunity to share your message and speak with your audience. Knowing effective ways to reach them could make all the difference in your success. If you are still unsure as to whether or not your message is effective, give CoMMingle a call today."

Lodging Interactive Named Among the ‘Best Interactive Agencies Worldwide’

Lodging Interactive was recognized as one of “the best interactive agencies, designers and creators worldwide” for its creative excellence in website design by the International Academy of the Visual Arts. Last week, the full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry was presented with three 2013 W3 Silver Awards in both the Hotel & Lodging and Travel categories, one for Green Mountain Inn, and two for Lakeway Resort and Spa. Also in September, Lodging Interactive earned a Gold Magellan Award from Travel Weekly also for the Green Mountain Inn product.

“On behalf of the more than 500 members of The International Academy of the Visual Arts, we are honored to recognize our winners as they continue to set a high standard of excellence for Web development,” said IAVA Director Linda Day. “We were amazed at the caliber and quality of work we received this year.  Our winners continue to push the envelope of Internet creativity and web design, and it is gratifying to see such great work from the smallest agencies to the biggest firms.”

Green Mountain Inn and Lakeway Resort and Spa websites were chosen from among 4,000 entries. The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the Web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning Websites, Web Video and Online Marketing programs. The W3 Awards is sanctioned and judged by the IAVA, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms.

“We are delighted to have been recognized once again by the IAVA for our team’s talent in designing websites that drive business,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “The competition among full-service agencies is getting harder and harder every year. That pushes specialized digital marketing agencies such as ours to work even harder to develop online marketing programs and products that make our customers stand head and shoulders above the rest. To have been selected from among a group of some of the biggest the Fortune 500 agencies and international organizations is truly a testimony to our skill and commitment to customers.

“Lodging Interactive consistently wins awards because we consistently develop the latest website management tools to maximize results,” Vallauri said. “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.”

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. The full-service agency also has developed website management tools for optimizing search, maximizing bookings and protecting each hotel’s online reputation.

Lodging Interactive Named Among the ‘Best Interactive Agencies Worldwide’

Lodging Interactive was recognized as one of "the best interactive agencies, designers and creators worldwide" for its creative excellence in website design by the International Academy of the Visual Arts. Last week, the full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry was presented with three 2013 W3 Silver Awards in both the Hotel & Lodging and Travel categories, one for Green Mountain Inn, and two for Lakeway Resort and Spa. Also in September, Lodging Interactive earned a Gold Magellan Award from Travel Weekly also for the Green Mountain Inn product.

“On behalf of the more than 500 members of The International Academy of the Visual Arts, we are honored to recognize our winners as they continue to set a high standard of excellence for Web development," said IAVA Director Linda Day. "We were amazed at the caliber and quality of work we received this year.  Our winners continue to push the envelope of Internet creativity and web design, and it is gratifying to see such great work from the smallest agencies to the biggest firms.”

Green Mountain Inn and Lakeway Resort and Spa websites were chosen from among 4,000 entries. The W³ Awards honors creative excellence on the Web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning Websites, Web Video and Online Marketing programs. The W3 Awards is sanctioned and judged by the IAVA, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms. 

"We are delighted to have been recognized once again by the IAVA for our team's talent in designing websites that drive business," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. "The competition among full-service agencies is getting harder and harder every year. That pushes specialized digital marketing agencies such as ours to work even harder to develop online marketing programs and products that make our customers stand head and shoulders above the rest. To have been selected from among a group of some of the biggest the Fortune 500 agencies and international organizations is truly a testimony to our skill and commitment to customers.

"Lodging Interactive consistently wins awards because we consistently develop the latest website management tools to maximize results," Vallauri said. "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."

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. The full-service agency also has developed website management tools for optimizing search, maximizing bookings and protecting each hotel's online reputation.

Don’t Get ‘Scroogled’ By Google’s Latest Keyword Changes

Have you read about Google's recent announcement to make "keyword (Not Provided)" 100% of all organic referrals? As a hotel marketer, you may be wondering what you can do to make sure you don't get "Scroogled."  Google has been gradually moving in this direction since 2011 so it shouldn't be a total surprise to online marketers, yet many hotel websites that are built around keyword centric SEO models will be impacted.  By "bucketing" all the organic keyword search data into (Not Provided), Google is essentially telling us to move from a keyword centric marketing approach to a more engaging content/page centric approach. Don't panic just yet. Let me help to clarify what savvy hoteliers can do to make sure they don't get Scroogled on this latest Google algorithm change.

The good news is that Google hasn't yet rolled this out to 100% of the web just yet, and if the past is indicative of previous algorithmic updates, it could take a few months to fully deploy. In fact, we are seeing many client websites still detailing the organic search terms in their analytics reporting. NOW is the time to make sure that your "house is in order" and that your hotel website content is up to snuff.

Keyword Stuffing is Dead: Really Dead

Google's latest move is in keeping with the previous Panda Update which effectively degraded websites that had low quality content and poor user experiences. If your hotel's website is stuffed with keywords in an attempt to "game the system," you should be concerned and should move quickly to develop quality content that adds value to your website visitors.  Lodging Interactive has had the foresight and understanding that quality content will always trump keyword rich content 100% of the time. Over the last couple of years, we have invested heavily in building up our CoMMingle Social Media Marketing division by hiring many professional copywriters. Our in-house copywriters are utilized for client blogging, social media engagement and the development of quality website copy for our clients. Blogging, social media engagement and quality website content is what Google is telling us websites need in order to succeed in the post keyword SEO era. As a savvy hotelier you should sit down with your website agency and review the freshness and quality of your website's content, making sure it adds value to the reader and not just the search engines.

Content is King: It Always Has Been

It’s been said many times in the past, and it is imperative now; Content Is King. Not only will quality and engaging content provide better organic results for your website, it will also help your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns.  How you ask?  When Google deems your content as “quality content,” it will increase your overall PPC Quality Scores which in turn means lower cost-per-clicks (CPC) and higher page displays for your ads.  So by taking the time to develop quality content for your website visitors, you will benefit from lower CPC’s and better paid advertising conversions.

What Can Your Hotel Do Now?

If you are fortunate enough to have in-house copywriting skills, you should revisit your website copy and make sure it still offers value to your targeted readers.  If you were reading it for the first time, would you find the content fresh, relevant and engaging?  If you don’t, hunker down and start re-writing your copy.  Here are some overall recommendation to guide your efforts:

● Establish a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page for your property.  Be sure to go beyond the obvious of check-in/check-out times and consider including FAQs related to local attractions and events. Also include FAQs about babysitting services, gluten free options, local transportation costs, etc.  Lodging Interactive offers hotels HotelFAQS.info which can help you manage your comprehensive FAQs.

● Create dedicated landing pages for your promotions and specials throughout the year.  Have a Thanksgiving package/promotion?  Create a new landing page and name it YourHotelDomain.com/specials/thanksgiving-special.shtml. Rinse and repeat the process for each package/promotion you have on your site.

● All major events, attractions & exhibits also deserve their own dedicated landing pages.  Remember to use the web page naming convention mention on the previous bullet.  By adding dedicated landing pages, your website page count will increase dramatically which tells Google your site is seriously committed to providing quality and engaging content. 

● Be sure to add content gradually over time, do not create all your landing pages at one time.  Google’s sophisticated technology will detect this and may flag your site unnecessarily as a spammy site.

● Launch a blog for your property and include various departments as editors. You may consider your General Manager, Catering Manager, Front Office Manager and Concierge as weekly contributors to the blog. Include all hotel constituencies in your social media / blogging content plan to ensure consistency of posts and topics complement each other.

● Just as you create an annual Sales & Marketing Plan for your hotel, get into the habit of creating a content acquisition plan. This will enable you and your team to stay focused on building your quality and engaging content. 

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re considering hiring the professional services of an outside interactive agency to develop your landing pages and engaging content, make sure they’re exclusively servicing the hospitality industry so you don’t spend time “teaching” them your business.  Also make sure they have the technology and tools in-house to monitor your website content for effectiveness and suggested changes.  Lodging Interactive has partnered with leading content marketing platforms and intelligence tools to enable our search engine marketing teams to analyze page content for quality and effectiveness.  It is a combination of marketing technologies and human copywriting skills, exclusively in hospitality, that enables Lodging Interactive to ensure client websites are well positioned for Google's latest algorithm change.

Keywords Are Still Effective . . . Well Sort Of

While Google has made the shift from being keyword centric to now being pages/content centric, lets not forget that keyword research is still an important aspect of effective SEO.  Keyword data can still be obtained by running Google AdWords campaigns.  By running Google PPC campaigns your hotel is still able to obtain keyword level data. You can use this data to guide your organic content writing initiatives.  Additionally, your keyword level data can be useful when creating landing page and content themes for your new website content.

In Conclusion: The Times Are Changing, But There Is No Need To Panic

Be sure to monitor the effectiveness of your landing pages and monitor not only the inbound traffic to those pages, but your bounce rates.  A lower bounce rate indicates your visitors are seeing value in your content and are clicking through to the rest of the site. Also look for what we call “content opportunities” on your top landing pages. These are landing pages that have high engagement (ie. highest number of visits and the lowest bounce rates) in comparison to their share of total website traffic. Continue tweaking and fine tuning these pages to improve the overall engagement over time and monitor any new landing pages you have created for their effectiveness.

 

Lodging Interactive Earns ‘Travel Weekly’ Gold Magellan Award

Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, has once again earned a coveted Magellan Award from Travel Weekly in the Hospitality Website Category. This year, the company was selected as a 2013 Gold Magellan Award Winner for its "outstanding" design and development work for Green Mountain Inn.

"Once again being selected as a Magellan Award Winner is an important accomplishment because it proves to our customers that we represent a high standard of excellence within the travel industry," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president.  "While our competitors make claims to being the 'best' our award-winning track records speaks for itself. By earning this Gold Magellan Award, Travel Weekly is saying that 'Lodging Interactive is among the best in the travel industry.' We couldn't be more proud."

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. The full-service agency also has developed website management tools for optimizing search, maximizing bookings and protecting each hotel's online reputation.

Since January, Lodging Interactive has added the following tools and programs to enhance its services portfolio:'

· Gift Hotel – A service that enables properties to create gift card listings on www.GiftHotel.com and receive qualified sales directly to their websites where transactions are processed. There are no commissions to pay or revenues to share.

· eNewsletter Service – A fully managed program that includes professional copywriting, creative design, email list management, distribution and analytics reporting. 

· Facebook Widget – An addition to its popular online Guest Review System, Lodging Interactive's new Facebook Widget links comments from the hotel's website to its Facebook page in real time. The tool enables potential guests to read guest reviews on Facebook and enables past guests to leave reviews directly on Facebook. 

· HotelFAQs – A tool that enables hotel websites to offer comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) pages.  The results are increased booking conversion rates, reduced customer calls to the front desk and exceptional online customer service.

Green Mountain Embracing Digital Marketing

In addition to website design, Green Mountain Inn, located at 18 Main Street in Stowe, Vermont, has turned to Lodging Interactive for expanded SEO and pay-per-click services to enhance the efficiencies of its award-winning website. The historic property, built in 1833, also relies on CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive, an engagement and social media marketing agency, to help grow its social media presence and protect its online reputation through consumer sentiment monitoring and more. Green Mountain Inn also utilizes Lodging Interactive's eNewsletter service to send a consistent message from the hotel to its email list.

"Lodging Interactive does much more than build hotel websites," Vallauri said. "We are a company committed to full-service digital marketing and social media engagement. Keeping website and mobile web content fresh is just the first step to hotel success in today's digital media age. Scrutinizing the property's reputation via the web and social media channels and responding to guest reviews is critical for operational success and true customer-relationship management. Adding in supplemental services that also help to increase revenues, provide analytics and keep travelers connected to the hotel and to each other across the social media channels is a value-added bonus. More than ever before, hoteliers can count on Lodging Interactive to provide consistency of managed services across the board for all their managed digital marketing needs.

"For Lodging Interactive, consistently winning awards is pretty nice too," he said. "I would like to thank our talented team of web experts for their ongoing hard work and dedication to keeping the websites of our hotel customers fresh and engaging."