Is Your Hotel Part of the Social Media Conversation?

Are you participating and/or encouraging conversation on your hotel's social media channels? Is your social media presence consistent? Do you know the right social networks to target for your audience and social search? If you're unsure, it's time to call CoMMingle. An outsourced social media marketing agency from Lodging Interactive, CoMMingle develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas to help craft their social media marketing messaging to keep travelers thirsting for more informational content . . . more dialog . . . and more fun.

"One of the first questions we get asked at CoMMingle is: What social networks do we need a presence on and how do we market to that audience without overselling ourselves?" said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "Creativity, posting content consistently, remaining fluid with the ever changing tides of social media, and having a message that is relative to each audience is the key to engagement and social media success.

"You don't have to win a popularity contest on social media to connect with your past, present and future guests," Virdo said. "Hotels should keep in mind the 'social' aspect of social media. In the last five years, social media has evolved from both the user standpoint as well as the business side. People interact on social networks to be engaging, without being bombarded by marketing and advertising."

The question becomes: “How does a hotel share its offerings, promotions, specials, location, etc. without strong arm marketing?” This is where the softer — or conversational  — side of marketing comes in.

"We are not standing on top of a mountain shouting our message and expect everyone to listen," Virdo said. "Climb down the mountain, mingle with the people and talk. It's simple. Just talk. Now is the time to softly market your property while adding a human voice to the business. These conversations will become an integral part of social search."

CoMMingle serves as a consultant to its customers, advising hotels how to deal with social media, reputation management on review sites, online issues that arise as more social media channels become an extension of customer service, and giving them tools to manage their social presence effectively. For instance, CoMMingle will nip a bad review in the bud by working with hotel management to learn the details of an issue, formulate the response to adhere to third-arty website policies and manage the conversation online for the client. A neglected Tweet can turn into a negative Facebook post and eventually turn into a devastating TripAdvisor review. CoMMingle assists in managing the reputation of the hotel in online conversations and comments, as well as enhancing reputation by addressing issues with the transparency needed on the social networks to remain authentic.

"As CoMMingle clients, hotels are not buying Facebook 'maintenance,' but rather they receive a vast array of social media and reputation management services that can be adjusted to a client's specific needs as well as allow the client to stay visible where the conversation is taking place," Virdo said.

Lodging Interactive Teams with InnLink to Offer Booking Engine, GDS/OTA Connectivity

Hotels using Lodging Interactive for online marketing services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management, can now benefit from the industry-leading InnLink Central Reservation System powered by Travlynx. Through this integration partnership, Lodging Interactive has added a booking engine and connectivity to the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Online Travel Agents (OTA) to its long list of award-winning, interactive and social media marketing services.

InnLink, powered by TravLynx CRS technology, has been delivering comprehensive reservations and revenue management solutions with award-winning customer service in the hospitality and travel industries for more than 20 years. The company powers more than 6,000 independent hotels, chain properties, resorts and destinations worldwide. 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 more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services.

"Lodging Interactive continues to go above and beyond its full-service web design and management services by partnering with the industry's best-of-breed solutions providers with whom we have uncanny synergies," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "InnLink was created for hoteliers, by hoteliers, as a way to deliver easy-to-use, intuitive management tools to hotels that have limited resources or that desire competitive support in their local market. Likewise, Lodging Interactive was formed to assist hotel operators who are struggling with finding the internal resources needed to implement online marketing strategies, manage social networks and establish effective social media marketing campaigns.

"Together, Lodging Interactive and TravLynx are leveraging their years of expertise to deliver the best possible results for our customers, including maximizing incremental net revenues and increasing visibility for mid-tier, limited-service hotel chains and independent properties," Vallauri said. "Our customers benefit by receiving an abundance of proven services, from seamless connectivity via InnLink to the GDSs and placement with the OTAs, to easy-to-use and understand analytics and a full-service call center based exclusively in the United States."

Kristin Intress, CEO of InnLink, said customers too will see immediate benefits from enlisting Lodging Interactive's expertise.

"Through this partnership, our customers have direct access to expert hotel marketing services that deliver results and win awards," Intress said. "Not only will Lodging Interactive's website design and management services be extended to TravLynx users, but customers will also benefit from expanded services, including website audits, website hosting and server management, a robust content management system, an optional Guest Review System, lead capture and reporting, social media analytics, social network engagement, mobile website development and more.

"Like Lodging Interactive, we only partner with the best," she said. "We are thrilled to be adding more services to drive net reservation revenue for our clients via Lodging Interactive; true leaders in their field and a good match for InnLink."

InnLink provides Lodging Interactive customers with access to:

• Seamless connectivity to the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs)
• Improved placement with the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
• Direct Connect, Net Rate and Merchant model programs
• Fully customizable booking engine with easy to use/understand analytics
• Complete integration of packages and up sells to increase ADR and RevPAR
• Mobile booking engine through smartphones and social media (Facebook)
• Personalized, full-service call center based exclusively in the U.S.
• Group and Tour Reservation Desk with no additional fees
• Independent and after hours/overflow answering
• 24/7/365 reservation services

Via Lodging Interactive, InnLink customers, and those using any of the InnLink solutions, can receive:

• Website Design and Management
• Social Media Marketing
• Reputation Management
• Guest Review System
• Email newsletter marketing
• Video production
• Hotel gift certificates marketing
• Full advertising agency services
• Measurement and accountability services