#AskDJV – Episode 27: How to Avoid Negative Hotel Reviews

It’s time for episode 27 of the #AskDJV Show. In this week’s episode, DJ Vallauri discusses how hoteliers can avoid negative hotel reviews for their properties. Take a look:

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

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How to Improve Your Hotel’s TripAdvisor Ranking

There are many ways hotels can increase their ranking on TripAdvisor

With multiple social media channels, online forums, and review sites too many to list, consumers are driving change in the hotel industry and part of that is their willingness to trust online reviews.  Whether or not you are managing your business listing on TripAdvisor’s review site, people are telling their stories, sharing their impressions, and rating your business on that site every day.  Couple that with 76% of surveyed travelers are willing to pay more for more highly rated hotels and you may be interested in what you can do to improve your hotel’s TripAdvisor ranking.

How does TripAdvisor determine your ranking?  Although their algorithm is super secret, TripAdvisor does share that there are 3 components that are weighted and considered most important.  The quality of your reviews, the quantity of reviews you have, and the age of your reviews. With many variables coming into play, an algorithm is needed to help sort through all the noise. Having a rank that captures positive reviews that are recent and numerous, gives the consumer a place to start in their search for accommodations.

Quantity

The quantity of reviews can be increased in several ways.  TripAdvisor offers free tools like widgets for your website or social channels, e-mail templates, and flyers to help encourage your guests to share their experience. These tools are available in their Management Center, but you have to claim your business listing if you want all the fun stuff.

Just ask!  Upon departure, ask how their stay was and if they would consider submitting a review.  Offering incentives is not allowed, so play by the rules as set by their guidelines, or you may be penalized.

Quality

The quality of your reviews really comes down to service, hospitality, and listening to your guests.  Use your guest’s feedback to track what you’re doing well and where you may need more work. There is a lot of data in those reviews and they can be quite useful to help you prioritize what impacts their experience the most.

Age

Over time, your older reviews will have less value.  What someone said 5 years ago may no longer be relevant, so fresher reviews are important.

What else can you do? Here are a couple of extra tips…

  • Respond to each review.  Now that you have claimed your listing, take advantage of the ability to respond to your guests which can also improve your ranking.  A strong reputation management strategy will not only benefit your position on TripAdvisor, but most importantly show your future and past guests that you value what they say – that you are listening.
  • Manage those negative reviews.  Not all reviews are relevant or even appropriate and can be quite damaging to your reputation.  If they clearly breach any of the review site’s guidelines, you may flag them and request removal.
  • Recent Renovations?  If you’ve made significant changes, but you still have a large quantity of negative reviews, you can essentially start over.  You’ll have to submit some documents to prove what changes have been made, but if accepted you get to start at zero and re-build your rank.  Keep in mind that you’ll lose all reviews, including the positive ones so weigh this move carefully.

It all still comes down to the guest experience.  To have any of these steps impact your ranking in a positive way, attention to service and hospitality will always be fundamental.  Be responsive and engage with your guests to continue the relationship long after they leave your property and all your efforts should pay off.

For more reputation management best practices, visit our website or contact Lodging Interactive today.

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#AskDJV – Episode 26: How Does Hotel Information Architecture Affect Your Website Design?

Hello everyone! Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 26, I’m talking about how your hotel information architecture can affect your website design.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

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Google Now Displays Tweets in Mobile Search Results

The Twitter-Google partnership means a presence on Twitter is now an SEO requirement for hotels.

Image Credit/Source: Twitter
Image Credit/Source: Twitter

Yesterday, Google and Twitter both announced that Tweets will be displayed in mobile search results on mobile browsers as well as on the Google App for iOS and Android. Eventually, Google and Twitter plan to expand this to desktop search and other languages.

Can you say “game changer”?

We’ve always said a presence on social media is important for your hotel and that hoteliers cannot ignore the increase in mobile usage, if not simply for the advantages of better Google search rankings. With the two coming together to display Tweets prominently at the top of mobile search results, hoteliers must pay attention. There is no avoiding Twitter any longer.

Let’s use an example:

Say your property has a Memorial Day Weekend package or last-minute travel deal. You diligently put it on your website, you may even post it on your blog. Those are great ways to gain traction in search and to provide fresh, relevant content to your site visitors, but it can take some time to really gain SEO footing that way — sometimes weeks. So unless you have the time and energy to plan and post that content a month or more ahead of the holiday or event you’re talking about, it may not serve you well in the short term.

Now, what if you took that blog and tweeted about it? Maybe your tweet includes the city your hotel is in as well as a few relevant hashtags. With Google including Tweets in mobile search results, if you have a last-minute traveler or millennial that wants to book a stay this weekend, they’ll now see your tweet as a real-time result to their search. This gives your property visibility and searchers the opportunity to click thru to your blog and then hopefully your site.

Like we said, game changer.

Learn more about how you can utilize Twitter to harness the power of mobile search and reach new audiences by contacting us today. Being active on Twitter is no longer optional. Google adding tweets to search results now makes Twitter an SEO requirement for hotels.

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#AskDJV Show – Special Episode – Are Vanity Hotel Websites Doorway Pages?

In March, Google announced that they are taking the initiative to shut down “doorway pages”. While this is great news in the world of search results, it is causing confusion among hoteliers, specifically franchisees of branded properties.

Many brands are taking Google’s recent focus on “doorway pages” and confusing property owners by saying that their vanity websites fall into this category. We’ve produced a special episode of the #AskDJV Show to let property owners and franchisees know that this is absolutely not the case. Your vanity website is not, by Google’s own definition, a “doorway page”.

Doorway pages are sites that are set up to game the system. Doorway pages provide no real value to users and utilize unethical practices like “keyword stuffing” in order to achieve search engine rankings and take visitors to another website. Google says “[t]hey are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.”

A property’s own proprietary vanity site offers a wealth of information to site visitors — from hotel policies to nearby attractions and everything in between. Watch the special edition of the #AskDJV Show for more information as well as how you as property owners can respond if your brand tell you that you are required to shut down your vanity site because it is a “doorway site”.

What hoteliers need to know about “doorway pages”:

– They are spam pages that have zero content or value for users and acts as a gateway to another page.
– They are landing pages that act as a funnel, offering little to no new web content for site visitors.
– They use “spam” techniques to gain high search rankings like keyword stuffing and black hat SEO.
– Vanity sites offer relevant content that site visitors find useful, thus they are not considered “doorway pages”.

Push back against your brand’s attempt to classify your vanity site as a “doorway page”. Explain that you are spending your own money, outside of the franchise fees, to promote your property and drive more business to the brand website. After vanity site visitors select your property, they are taking to the brand website to book their reservation, not some other OTA.

Continue to evolve and market your property against your competitive set. You need to differentiate your hotel from not only other brands, but sister brands under your own brand’s umbrella. Property owners, you should still utilize vanity sites to differentiate yourself and share what is unique about your guest experience. This is particularly important given that your property’s page on your brand’s site is built from database driven content and looks exactly the same as every other branded property listed there.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m happy to help any branded property better understand the truth about “doorway pages” as well as why your propriety vanity site is essential to your business and the furthest thing from one.

– DJ Vallauri
Founder & President, Lodging Interactive

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Lodging Interactive Wins Communicator Award for Hotel Website Design

Lodging Interactive, the digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, has a new distinction that we are proud to add to our multiple website design award wins in 2015.

Our New Jersey based agency, which has provided customized website design, reputation management and social media marketing services to over 750 properties in 45 countries, was selected as a 2015 Communicator Award of Excellence winner in the Websites – Hotel and Lodging category for our design of the Marriott Pleasanton website.

Lodging Interactive - Communicator AwardJudged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA), the Communicator Award received over 6000 entries in 2015 and gives out two distinctions with the Award of Excellence being the highest honor. According to a press release, the 21st Annual Communicator Awards “is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring the creative excellence for communications professionals.”

The Marriott Pleasanton website, features a responsive design, dynamic content and strong visual appeal. The site adds the 2015 Communicator Award to their other recent honors including a 2014 Horizon Interactive Awards – Silver Award and 2015 Interactive Media Outstanding Achievement Award.

“We are thrilled once again to receive recognition from The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, and proudly add this award to the recent industry acknowledgements Lodging Interactive websites have earned,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “We are grateful to AIVA for recognizing Marriott Pleasanton’s website as one of the ‘best’ in the industry and share these honors with our team of highly skilled web experts.”

To learn more about the recent design achievements of the Lodging Interactive web development team or for additional information on our robust, customizable website design solutions tailored to the hospitality industry, visit our website.

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#AskDJV – Episode 24: Tips on Social Media Engagement

Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 24, I’m sharing tips for how to jump-start your hotel’s social media engagement.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

 

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#AskDJV – Episode 23: Does My Hotel Need Social Customer Care?

Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 23, which you may have seen me live stream on Periscope earlier this week, I share why your hotel needs a social customer care service strategy.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

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