Travelers are Craving Fresh Content Their Way

travelers-are-craving-fresh-content-their-way-by-dj-vallauriThe hotel’s website is the heartbeat of its eMarketing program, and to have a strong impact on prospects and guests, it must continually pump relevant messaging to the various mobile and social media platforms in the right formats. Travelers will research a hotel in different ways using a variety of devices. Chances are high that the property they select will be the one speaking to them in their preferred online/social/mobile language. To show customers and potential guests that you care and want their business, hotel marketers will need to learn how to romance travelers using appealing and relevant content. The best prescription for a healthy website and a happy guest relationship is a steady dose of fresh content.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, think of the hotel website like a dating profile; it tells prospective guests everything you want them to know about you. Put your best face and features forward, including property photos, loyalty program details, specialty services, amenities listings, customer reviews, etc. The fresher the profile, the more interested prospects will be, and the more time they will spend on the site in an attempt to get to know you better.

Making a website “fresh” is more than just tweaking copy here and there; the site needs to look its best to attract prospects. Why would someone pick your hotel over another? Tell them. Give lookers tempting tidbits of information about the property, its services and amenities to keep them coming back to the site and away from the OTAs. Show them. Use photos to convey what would be missed if they don’t book at your hotel and use video to give tours of the property or showcase special events. Let others tell them and show them. Attach widgets to the website that link to the various social media outlets and let others who have experienced all you have to offer brag about how amazing you are. The prettier the site, the more interesting, and the more interactive, the more hits it will receive and the more bookings it will convert.

The mobile web is a streamlined version of the hotel’s proprietary website. Based on consumer demand and the prediction that there will be more mobile users accessing the Internet this year than desktop users, extra attention needs to be place on the mobile web. Using the latest responsive design technologies, which adapts website content to fit different screen sizes and reformats data elements so that they are more easily viewable, hotels can effectively reach mobile users on whichever device they prefer to use.

Linking website content directly to social media channels, including links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and others, is equally important. When reaching potential customers via social media, it is vital that hoteliers respect the context of each platform. For example, marketers should NEVER push out their Facebook content to Twitter users. Facebook and Twitter users are different, and they like to be communicated to in the context of their social platform; be authentic. Effective online marketing is about using all the tools available to reach and engage with potential customers wherever they are online.

Storytelling on social media channels is key. Hotels should not go for the sale or the close without first building up credibility through social engagement and storytelling. Using micro content (not long posts) works well on the social channels to build up engagement. Marketers should look for trending themes and keywords and leverage those with relevant messaging. Offer unique content that connects your property with the trending topic and add value.

Effective social media marketing is not easy. It requires skill sets a property management team may not have in-house. Unless a hotel has dedicated internal resources, partnering with a social media engagement agency like Lodging Interactive is the best solution. Lodging Interactive, through its CoMMingle social media engagement agency, provides professionally managed and comprehensive social media marketing and reputation management services to hundreds of properties.

How Hotels Can Use YouTube to Generate Bookings

Full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency Lodging Interactive says videos convey visual and emotional touch points which are present in almost every travel offering, and that is what drives bookings; Are you using video effectively?

 

Parsippany, N.J. — February 4, 2014 — Video content site YouTube is claiming that more than 1 billion unique users visit its website each month, spending more than 6 billion hours watching videos. This year, Cisco is reporting that 90 percent of all web traffic will be video based; online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016, and globally, online video traffic will represent 55 percent of all Internet traffic by 2016 as well. Nielsen has noted that YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18 to 34 than any cable network; this is mission-critical information considering that the Millennial or Generation Y demographic will become the core customer within the hospitality and travel industries over the next five to 10 years. If video marketing is key to attracting attention of hospitality’s biggest audience and driving guests to make bookings, why then is video so underutilized by hotels today?

 

“The answer is simple: Hoteliers need guidance as to how to create videos for search engine marketing and guest engagement,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. “Just as marketers became proficient at using keywords — and now content-driven marketing — to maximize search results for their websites, they now need to engage in similar practices to optimize video. The key to turning lookers into bookers is found in delivering creative, yet relevant, content that informs and entertains travelers and prospective guests, and there’s no better vehicle to do that than video.

 

“Authentic, compelling and informative video content will entice travelers and convey a hotel’s unique experiences to online visitors,” Vallauri said. “A video embedded on the homepage of the hotel’s website and also uploaded to YouTube and the other leading social media channels can be what sets your property apart from other destinations. Video conveys visual and emotional touch points which are present in almost every travel offering, and that is what drives bookings. With the constant expansion of Internet advertising, hoteliers need to discover the impact that online promotion with video can have on travelers.”

 

Did you know?

 

  • Bookings are 67% more likely to happen when a video tour is available.
  • Internet shoppers who view your video are an astounding 89% more likely to book.

 

“Watching a video of a hotel before checking in has such great value; it’s been reported to increase conversion rates by up to 85%,” Vallauri said. “But as online video moves from being the exception to the norm, more innovative marketing and spend will be required. To be effective, video marketing must do three things: 1) increase awareness, 2) generate buzz and 3) boost bookings.”

Today’s Internet user has a limited attention span, therefore video marketing is designed to hook a website visitor in the first few seconds. Video, when uploaded to YouTube and added to the hotel’s webpage will help hotel marketers to engage their audience and deliver their messages more quickly and creatively. More videos means more search results; more search results will result in more clicks; more clicks will result in more sales; and more sales delivers more bottom line revenue

“The benefits of video marketing, when tied to YouTube and a social media campaign, are far reaching,” Vallauri said. “YouTube, for example, is helping travelers visualize their stay before they make a reservation. Whether it’s a video showcasing an exceptional convention facility, a hotel’s ‘green’ program that encourages guest participation, spa services, loyalty club member testimonials, and even in-room technology or mobile app demonstrations, each provides engaging content to the right social media audience. When these videos are embedded on the hotel’s website PLUS shared on YouTube and other social channels, it increases visibility and ultimately leads to more bookings and revenues. When tagged and optimized for search engines, videos dramatically increase a property’s visibility and improve search rankings.”

Did you know?

 

  • Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion dollars (and YouTube was just a year old.)
  • Both Google and YouTube offer tools such as “Google Trends” and “YouTube Videos Keyword Tool” to help hoteliers identify keywords to use in video titles, and a “Google Keyword Planner” which enables hoteliers to plug in a video title to determine effectiveness
  • Google+ has taken over as the No. 2 social media position from Twitter, and it may replace Facebook as No. 1 in a few years.

 

 

Hoteliers should not overlook Google+ as a critical social media outlet if they want to remain competitive. With integration between Google+ and YouTube, comments posted on YouTube about a video are being displayed and viewed across all G+ social groups or “circles,” giving the video even greater exposure. The Google/YouTube partnership not only aids search functionality, but hoteliers that link their YouTube channel to their Google Analytics account will obtain additional data about video effectiveness. If the content isn’t working, or the keywords aren’t attracting the right eyeballs, marketers can then make adjustments accordingly.

 

 

Did you know?

 

  • When uploading videos for the first time, careful consideration needs to be given to the file name, title and content description. Titles should be no more than 100 characters and only the first 40 to 60 characters will be displayed. Tags should always be used and feature the hotel and brand name.
  • Sharing videos across all the hotel’s social media channels will increase eyeball frequency and duration. The more “likes” a video has improves its ranking. Therefore, embed your video wherever and whenever possible.
  • Sound and video quality count in SEO effectiveness. Create links within your video to other videos . . . encourage comments . . . choose syndication whenever possible . . . upload in 1080p HD whenever possible and in TV, Web and mobile formats . . . select thumbnail images wisely; they can boost click-throughs.

 

 

“Posting a video on YouTube while also embedding it on the hotel website gives added value to the descriptive words used to describe the hotel rooms and features,” Vallauri said. “People greatly prefer watching video over reading text for its ability to engage and this spans just about every industry. When it comes to engagement, Comscore says online video is 5.33 times more effective than text, and, site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% closer to purchase.”

 

Hoteliers interested in video creation but don’t know where to start are encouraged to call Lodging Interactive. As a full-service digital market and social media engagement agency, Lodging Interactive can guide hoteliers through the video process and even produce videos for the hotel using its HotelWebShows.com service offering. All videos produced through HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive are 1080i quality and delivered in TV, Web and Mobile formats. Videos are available in 30 second, 60 second and 90  second lengths, and will include music and graphics.

 

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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.