Google Mobile First Indexing: What it means for Your Hotel Website

Google’s ranking system has been looking at content on the desktop version to evaluate user relevance. Then in May 2016, Google’s algorithms were updated to include mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. Today, Google Mobile First Indexing is going to affect how well you rank in the Search Engines.  Most searches are carried out using mobile devices. In fact, according to eMarketer research, 69.8% of travelers will book flights and hotels via mobile by 2019.

Responsive websites were created to adapt to both the desktop and mobile viewer.  With the onset of Google mobile first indexing experimentation, hotel marketers need to look at how their mobile audience views their website.

How Mobile Differs from Desktop VersionsMobile, Desktop, Tablet versions of a hotel website

In some cases, the mobile version is a scaled back version of the desktop website so there might be less content than the desktop page. If mobile pages have less content than desktop, it can cause issues with Google’s algorithms because they aren’t evaluating the page used by the mobile user. Google recently announced they would begin to assess ranking content based on mobile versions of websites.

Google mobile first indexing doesn’t change much for responsive websites. It will view the content on desktop and mobile in the same way and then format by device. It also doesn’t mean that desktop only websites will not be visible. Google will still crawl content of both desktop and mobile.

Only if your hotel has separate desktop and mobile versions will this new indexing become an issue. Google has suggestions for steps you can take to optimize for this algorithm change.

Growing Importance of Local SEO

Then with searches via mobile increasing, the search terms have become more local in nature. This puts local SEO in the spotlight.  The hotel’s marketing team will need to tailor metadata to include location and reap the benefits of localized search.  Creating optimized content means less frustrations on the part of the mobile user. Relevancy, engagement and timeliness of content continue to be important as ranking factors, but getting the information through speedy search results has become just as, if not, more important.

Google mobile first indexing, though in it’s early stages, is paving the way for reconsideration in hotel website design to accommodate increasing mobile usage.  Hotel marketers will need to be ready to ride the wave of the future.

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Lodging Interactive’s Kristine Gilbert Wins President’s Award

Lodging Interactive 2016b Award

Kristine Gilbert wins Lodging Interactive’s 2016 Presidents Award 2016.

Parsippany, New Jersey – DJ Vallauri, President & CEO of Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, announces that Kristine Gilbert, Creative Coordinator for CoMMingle, is the recipient of the 2016 President’s Award of Excellence. The annual award, which was created in 2013 by DJ Vallauri, recognizes an employee who has exhibited exceptional contributions and service throughout the previous year.  Ms. Gilbert was presented with the prestigious award at the company’s yearly meeting held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, New Jersey on December 9th. She was nominated for the President’s Award by Rosella Virdo’, Managing Director of CoMMIngle, the division of Lodging Interactive that spearheads social media services.

 

During her years with Lodging Interactive, Kristine has progressed professionally through positions leading to her current role and her determination and enthusiasm transcend all areas of her life. While supporting and caring for her husband and two children, she has made time to give back to her community. Kristine is an avid runner and recently ran for The Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon that, since 1954, has provided vital services for people and families in Lehigh Valley, from early childhood developmental programs to support services for people in retirement. She has also championed numerous fundraisers for children through health and fitness.

 

“Kristine is a dedicated individual who has a deep passion for her work that is equaled by her passion for serving her community,” said Mr. Vallauri.  “Whether as a beta tester for new services we have launched or as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for the many social networks and blogging platforms, Kristine has taken on every challenge as the Creative Coordinator for CoMMingle with limitless enthusiasm and admirable determination. She is a quintessential example of Lodging Interactive’s ideals and values. I congratulate her on this well-deserved President’s Award of Excellence.“

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5 Top Hospitality Trends for 2017

There were many changes for the hotel industry in 2016, from technological advances to millennials growing influence.  So what hospitality trends can hoteliers expect in 2017?

Choice Hotels’ online survey shows some interesting travel trends for 2017.  In terms of domestic destinations, it showed people are willing to spend more to explore new places.  Also, regardless of destination, most would splurge on food and beverages while 30% of budgets would be spent on accommodations. With these results in hand, hoteliers have a lot of considerations to get a piece of the action.  Below are the top 5 hospitality trends we think you should look for in 2017.

Texting and Chat a Mainstay in Customer Service

Guests seek out real time customer service and crave the human touch. Whether it’s planning a wedding, business function or an ideal hotel stay, they want prompt service and clear information to make choices. Working with a person, not a machine with robotic responses makes the guest feel welcome and cared for. Also, people want on-the-spot service when they need those towels or want to know what eateries are in the area. Texting hotel staff helps them get what they need during their stay and live chat gets them what they need to make the ideal stay or party arrangement. Both present opportunities for hoteliers to efficiently and effectively reach out to their guests.

Live Chat for Hotels

Live Chat for Hotels

Technology and Need for Information Security

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just something seen in a sci-fi thriller. From maid service to concierge duties, hotels have expanded their use of AI for efficiency and service not to mention lowering labor costs. But with new technology comes the need for increased security. Hoteliers will have to factor in account security to protect data and guard against identity fraud.

Mobile Usage Continued Increase

Most searches are conducted on mobile and, according to eMarketer travel research, 51.8% will use mobile devices for their travel bookings and it’s expected to rise to 86.4% by 2019.  Using a smart phone for bookings, check-ins and room service have begun to take over the traditional methods but hoteliers can expect it to become the norm.

Mobile Friendly Websites a Necessity

With the onset of Google’s mobile-first indexing, mobile friendly sites will become a necessity. With more searches happening via mobile, search terms will become more local so meta data will need to be tailored to include location. Speedy search results will also need to become a priority for hotel marketers in order to reap the benefits.

Millennials Leading Way to Future

Millennials are looking for unique guest experiences and are not driven by the same travel needs in days of yore. No packaged deals for this crowd! It’s all about living the entire experience from the time they begin their destination search to foodie experiences and throughout their hotel stay. So hoteliers will need to find ways to create shareable and unique experiences to appease the millennial appetite.

Cultural shifts, changing market trends and guest behavior will demand new strategies so as not lose out on any opportunities for optimizing revenues. Are you ready for 2017?

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Is your Hotel Website Losing Traffic?

If you have a hotel website the hope is that with each passing year you continue to see an increase in traffic to your site.  Unfortunately, this may not always be the case.  You may experience a decline in your website traffic year to year and if this is the case, there are a number of things that should be checked that can help determine why the decrease occurred.

Website Traffic Drop Checklist

We’ve put together a list for you of common causes for your hotel website traffic to drop.  See if any of these affected your YOY traffic.

Google Knowledge Graph

  • Perhaps one of the greatest traffic drivers for a hotel website is the Google Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph provides pertinent information about a hotel, as well as a direct link to its website.  If your website is not properly linked to the Google Knowledge Graph you can guarantee your traffic will decline.  The Google Knowledge Graph is highly visited, so you’ll want to make sure it’s taking users to the right place.
    Google Knowledge Graph

    Google Knowledge Graph

     

    Historical Events

  • How have events in your market differed from year to year? Historical events, like the Pope’s visit to the United States, will increase hotel searches and drive more traffic. However, if your market is not experiencing the same high profile events the following year, then you could potentially see the volume of hotel searches and website visits go down.
    Pope Visit

    Pope Visit to US in 2016 affects overall YOY traffic

     

    Referral Traffic

  • Are you still linked to the same quality referring websites? Referral traffic may not be the same year to year if you’ve stopped advertising on certain sites or if 3rd party sites sites have dropped you from their listings.  In addition, sometimes 3rd party websites go through changes that may affect how traffic to your site is recorded.  For example, if they change their page formatting to accordion style, Google will most likely not record the traffic being sent to your site because the search engines have difficulty reading the content on accordion style pages.  Be cognizant of the referrers sending traffic to your site.  Periodically, check their websites for any changes that could be affecting your traffic.
    Example of Losing Quality Backlinks

    Losing Quality Backlinks

     

    Hotel Website Design

  • Along the same lines, how is your hotel website design affecting traffic? If your website has accordion pages or pages with tabs you might be getting traffic to the site, but it may not be recorded, so you will see a change in your traffic numbers year to year.  In an instance such as this, it’s important to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms or you may be sabotaging yourself.
    Accordion Page

    Accordion Page Example

     

    New Hotel Competitors

  • New competition in the market may also affect traffic numbers. With more hotels in the area there are more options for consumers, so traffic may be diverted to the market newcomers.  Always be aware of your new “neighbors” and what’s on the horizon, as well.  According to NYC & Company, the official Travel & Tourism company for NY, New York City has the nation’s most active hotel development pipeline, with 107,000 hotel rooms in 2016, and a total inventory of 133,000+ rooms expected by the end of 2019.
    New Hotel Competitors NYC

    New Hotel Competitors in NYC

     

    PPC Advertising

  • Lastly, are you spending money on PPC advertising and if so, are you spending enough? Now that Google has removed the PPC ads from the right side of the search page there is 66% less page real estate available, making the competition for the top ads even greater.  With increased competition comes higher keyword costs.  If you’re not spending enough for your market or if you are not increasing your budget year to year, your PPC dollars will not be effective.  With rising costs each year, as well as new competitors, you have to have the right budget to stay in the game.

In a perfect world you would see a consistent increase in website traffic year after year.  However, you can’t count on that happening, but if you are aware of market conditions, have good strategies in place and take the right course of actions, you could greatly increase your chances of avoiding a traffic decline.

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Data Proves Branded Hotel Vanity Sites Are Effective

PARSIPPANY, NJ – January 4, 2017  It’s been an ongoing mission of the major hotel brands to convince hotel management companies and hotel owners to “retire” their vanity websites. In fact, this has been going on for the last 15 years and the efforts have had marginal success for the brands.  However, the brands have recently stepped up their efforts with more “forceful persuasions” this time around and have decided to pull out all stops in their efforts.

Much has been written in the past on the revenue benefits vanity sites have for properties and the value they provide to potential guests.  But we thought it would be worthwhile for us to provide substantive and data driven facts as to show the real value vanity websites have for hotel operators and the brands.  For this article we reviewed data sets from a sampling of 25 branded vanity websites we have managed for over 5 years.  Our findings conclusively support that branded hotel vanity websites remain relevant in 2017 and must be maintained to maximize direct booking revenue opportunities.

 

Top Reasons Why Vanity Websites Remain Relevant in 2017:

  • Vanity websites have higher booking conversion rates than brand.com.
  • Vanity websites capture qualified wedding and group event leads.
  • Vanity websites outrank brand.com on Search Engines for localized search terms.
  • Vanity websites provide differentiation against local independent hotel websites.
  • Vanity websites offer differentiation against other same brand properties on brand.com.
  • Google deems vanity websites as authoritative and provides them with “site links”.

Vanity websites have higher booking conversion rates than brand.com.

The data continues to show that in many cases, vanity websites achieve higher online booking conversion rates than the brand.com sites.  As reported by brand referral reports, we’ve consistently seen vanity website conversion rates north of 8%.  This is a substantially higher booking conversion rate when compared to the brand.com conversion rates of 3%-4% overall.  The vanity website higher conversion rates can be attributed to the marketing and messaging value vanity websites offer to potential guests.  When vanity websites provide deep, localized content to visitors it increases the conversion rates dramatically when compared to the boring, cookie cutter, brand centric content found on brand.com.

Vanity websites capture qualified wedding and group event leads.

For nearly 15 years we have seen substantial year over year growth in event RFP submissions through the hotel vanity websites we manage.  This growth can be attributed to vanity websites effectively communicating property venue advantages when compared with the lack luster meeting and wedding content found on most brand.com websites.  The vanity website supports and effectively “sells” the event venue through comprehensive, deep visual and contextual content.

Vanity websites outrank brand.com on Search Engines for localized search terms.

With a properly deployed organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program vanity websites will outrank brand.com for localized, longer-tail, non-branded keyword phrases.  We have experienced much success in placing higher in Google SERP’s as a result of comprehensive and well thought out organic SEO programs.  Higher organic ranking on Google will, again, drive a more qualified prospect to the vanity website, which is a key reason why vanity websites enjoy higher look to book conversion rates.

Vanity websites provide differentiation against local independent hotel websites.

Independent properties are increasingly deploying aggressive direct booking strategies to stand out within their competitive sets.  Most will not only highlight why consumers should book directly with them versus an OTA, but offer creative localized content and special offers.  Independent properties also market their unique advantages over big box branded properties that provide generic guest experiences.  Vanity websites provide branded properties with the ability to stand out with their marketing messaging and to highlight their unique property attributes, while maintaining the power of the brand.com booking engine which is never bypassed.

Vanity websites offer differentiation against other same brand properties on brand.com.

While the brands continue to improve their brand.com user experience, by their own admission they still have a  long way to go and in fact, in our opinion, may never be able to adequately convey the unique attributes for each of their franchised properties.  Vanity websites provide a unique advantage by being able to differentiate themselves against other brand.com sister properties.  Simply visit any brand.com property and conduct a city search, i.e. “New York City”, and you’ll be presented with a long list of brand member properties, each of which will be presented by the brand in a uniform, bland and unattractive manner.

Google deems vanity websites as authoritative and provides them with “sitelinks”.

In many cases Google has designated vanity websites as “authoritative” websites and issues extended sitelinks as a result.  When Google designates a vanity website as being “authoritative” they’re confirming the value of a vanity website’s content and determines it to be the be the most useful to Google users.  Here is Google’s definition of an authoritative website:

Known sites—A known site is the official website for an entity as shown in Knowledge Graph cards. If you add markup to a known site, that data is treated as authoritative and used for Knowledge Graph cards where it is not already determined by data you put into Google My Business. This includes your official logo and social profile links. However, if you enter contact information through Google My Business, that data source is treated as authoritative.  Source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-features 

We have observed many occasions where the brands have utilized Google My Business to manually change the Google authoritative website links from pointing to the vanity websites and redirecting them to the brand.com websites.  This premeditated tactic is essentially siphoning away the vanity websites’ established Google organic traffic, in essence “killing” the vanity websites.

Why do the brands care about vanity websites since all the bookings are passed through to the brand.com booking engines?  

This is a valid question, when you consider that the hotel owner and/or management company is paying separately for the expense of maintaining and marketing a vanity website.  Furthermore, the brand.com website ultimately gains all bookings as a result, with no additional expense to the brand.  Why wouldn’t the brands endorse any effort that generates additional direct booking opportunities for a property and the brand, and doing so at no additional expense to the brand?

In our opinion, it’s a matter of the brands wanting to control 100% of a hotel’s direct revenue channels and in doing so ensuring substantial losses to a property should it ever decide to switch to another brand or, heaven forbid, become an independent property.  Many industry experts have written about the diminishing value of a hotel brand in a technologically connected mobile world full of choices.

Our recommendations.

Clearly, brands will continue to “strong-arm” hotel owners and management companies into being compliant and will use various tactics such as negatively influencing a property’s brand quality scores to force adherence.  The brands will continue sharing misinformation with their hotel members by claiming their research shows vanity websites “create confusion and an inconsistent guest experience” and thus “increasing the odds that consumers will book with a competitor”.

It appears to us that the brands are fiercely trying to protect, and rightfully so, against properties that may be weighing the costs associated with their brand versus switching to another brand or converting to an independent property. While we take no issue with this strategy, we do have issues when this done by communicating misinformation at the expense of the owner and/or management company.

Two Simple Recommendations:

  1. Insist on maintaining your hotel’s vanity website, at least for another 12-18 months, as the industry determines how well the brand.com websites can communicate the uniqueness of your property.
  2. Demand that your Google Knowledge Graph link sends users to your Google determined authoritative website.

In conclusion, our data and experiences support vanity websites and their relevancy and ability to drive direct business to the brand.com websites and “retiring” them should be carefully considered by hotel operators.

About Lodging Interactive:

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner, and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the company’s president, DJ Vallauri, currently serves on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

 

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Lodging Interactive Launches Human Powered Conversational Hotel Websites

Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its next generation hotel websites for branded and independent hotels.  The newly developed micro-websites are supported by real-time human sales and customer service agents and have been developed to capture qualified event business leads for hotel sales teams.

Customer Engagement Platform

“Conversational commerce is moving very fast and in 2017 consumers will increasingly expect hotels to provide a real-time customer engagement platform through their websites,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.  “Our human powered conversational micro-websites combine a highly targeted and sales focused website with our real-time live chat agents. This provides hotels with a compelling, sales driven micro-website that compliments their main website and/or brand.com website and will drive new direct business.”

Lodging Interactive’s human powered conversational micro-websites have been designed for independent and branded/franchised properties. Micro-websites offered include:

  • Weddings
  • Ethnic Weddings
  • Meeting & Corporate Events
  • Spa & Wellness Center
  • Restaurant & Bars
  • Quinceanera (Sweet 15)
  • Sweet 16
  • Golf
  • Tennis

Included with each human powered micro-website is a comprehensive Search Engine Marketing (SEM) service to ensure maximum search engine ranking and visibility.   SEM services include:

  • Keyword research
  • Initial & ongoing consultation with an assigned SEM expert
  • Onsite organic search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search optimization of website content & copywriting
  • Inclusion of H1, H2 and Alt Tags
  • Ongoing addition of new search engine optimized pages
  • Full reporting & transparency of micro-website KPI’s
  • Pay-Per-Click campaign management
  • Retargeting & display paid advertising programs
  • Creative ad copywriting and placement

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has exclusively worked with hotels and resorts to maximize direct online digital revenue opportunities.  Clients include independent properties as well as franchised branded properties representing nearly every brand.  Additionally, Lodging Interactive is a trusted partner of many of the largest hotel management companies in North America.

Learn more about our revolutionary human powered micro-websites today or call 877-291-4411 ext. 701.

 

About Lodging Interactive:

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner, and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.

Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the company’s president, DJ Vallauri, currently serves on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

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Millennials Mobile Usage Frequency & Security Concerns

Millennials mobile usage frequency & security concerns are shaping the way we do business now and will continue to shape how the hotel industry does business in the future.  Mobile phones and payment terminals have become best friends. Carry cash? Nah. Just whip out your cell to make mobile payments with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Wait on bank lines?  Nah. Just login to your bank account with your mobile device and….voila!  NFC payments made in a few minutes.

Millennial Mobile Usage Statistics

Using mobile devices to conduct transactions has become second nature to millennials.  It’s convenient, easy and quick.  Mitek, a mobile capture and identity verification provider, conducted a survey of 3,010 smartphone users. They found that one fourth of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34 used mobile for their transactions and purchases at least once a day. While 29% said they used mobile a few times per week. One in five said they used their mobile device to pay for things once or twice per month.

 

But 42% of millennials believe the benefits of using mobile for transactions are being weighed down by rising fraud and security concerns. With more companies adding steps to verify identity, 20% said there were just too many verification steps involved with their mobile devices. As a consequence, 19% said their mobile experience was not as good as their desktop experience.

 

Lodging Interactive Mobile Experience

 

 

Millennials are more likely to put their trust in technology-based companies for their transactions, like PayPal and Square, rather than traditional banks who require multi-step identity verification.  The point to keep in mind is that criminals aren’t selective whom they target but rather in how easy it is to get into accounts.  So we all need to remain diligent in account security.

 

Though privacy issues are not as strong in millennials as they were for previous generations, the security concerns are still very real. With more than 46% of the population as millennials are expected to be in the work force by 2020, companies will need to find better solutions for mobile payments.

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The Costly Effects of Bad Customer Service on Hotels

Ultimately every hotel manager wants to provide the best in guest satisfaction. In today’s world, hotel guest satisfaction is based on customer service and it extends beyond check out. One guest who experiences a short tempered front desk clerk, a towel requested but not sent to the room or a doorman busy with his cell phone can seem insignificant on their own. But collectively and consistently, these situations will find their way to a reputation of bad customer service on review sites, spilling over to social media outlets and become detrimental to a hotel’s bottom line.

 

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” –Warren Buffett

 

Consistent poor customer service can create a variety of negative and costly impacts on your hotel. But if actions are quickly taken to correct them, a hotel manager can avoid any long-term effects on their hotel’s reputation and profitability.

 

Keeping Current, Potential and Future Guests

Build loyalty by building relationships. Guests are more likely to book their stay and speak well of your hotel within their circle of friends and family if they are given the attention they feel they deserve. Then good customer service and positive reviews provide the fuel for invaluable word-of-mouth advertising. Instead of costing your business, your guests could become hotel influencers in social media.

 

Holding Onto Your Hotel Reputation

No guest wants to be ignored and no hotel manager wants to lose bookings because of poor customer service. Guests would be quick to post negative reviews and vent their frustrations to their immediate social circles and beyond. It’s all in your control so make sure you have a key representative reaching out right away to address the issue. Accept responsibility and make amends. This shows good faith and leaves a guest or prospective guest with the knowledge that your hotel hears every voice and cares. Set a customer service standard that will become routine in your hotel operations.

 

Keeping Your Best Employees

Keep an eye out for low performers who leave your best employees to pick up the slack. If the situation goes on without correction for too long, it will eventually make your best employees grow weary, dissatisfied and even consider resigning their position. Recruiting and training new staff is a costly venture.  So incentivize your staff to deliver the best customer service. Promote or spotlight your best staff performers that go above and beyond to please your guests. Their efforts toward providing great customer service should set the standard that makes up your hotel’s culture and they will become your staff advocates.

 

Reaching Conversions and Profits

You don’t want to have guests lose interest in the hotel because of poor customer service. Lower sales and profits start a cycle of reducing costs and staff as well as plunging service levels even further. Regularly monitor and address customer service issues early and often. The best solution to bad customer service is to prevent it but the second best way is to fix the problem before it creates bigger issues that will affect your bottom line.

 

Having good customer service is not just about attracting new guests but guest retention as well as incentivizing your best employees. It sets the groundwork for a profitable, reputable and exceptional hotel. Don’t make the mistake of putting customer service second on your list in operations. It is the groundwork that will create revenue opportunities your hotel will not want to miss.

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Make Twitter a Part of Your Hotel Digital Marketing Strategy

Providing great customer service to boost direct bookings is the end game no matter what social media platform your hotel uses to engage potential guests. Twitter hotel marketing is no different.  What makes Twitter stand out as one of the top digital channels for getting out your hotel’s message and helping to create the best hotel guest experience? Well every hotel has a story to tell and Twitter is a great platform to get the conversation going.

In a world where large hotel chains can swallow up the competition, digital marketers for smaller and independent hotels could create revenue opportunities by using Twitter to improve customer service and increase guest engagement. Hotels can tap into Twitter’s 313 million users who post 500 million tweets per day. Reaching such a large audience, hotels can announce openings, special offers, services and other promotions.

Building a Twitter Community with your Hoteltwitter hotel marketing

Going beyond this global reach, Twitter hotel marketing can also be the means to build a sense of community around your hotel. Reaching out to Twitter followers shows your hotel is ready and willing to listen to guest needs. Providing quick responses or solutions to their needs, wants and frustrations will build a sense of trust from hotel followers. It will also encourage your followers to have a greater interaction with your hotel and show potential guests that you care.

 

A recently published infographic from Digital Information World shows some valuable Twitter findings. Here are only a few to consider:

  1. 85% of followers feel more connected to a business after following
  2. 77% of Twitter users feel better about a brand when it replies to their tweet
  3. Companies using Twitter for customer service see a 19% increase in customer satisfaction.
  4. 70% of small business followers retweet content

Then keeping an eye on your Twitter stats could reveal your hotel influencers as well as gain insight into your audience. With this information in hand, you can learn how to focus on your marketing objectives so you can make your hotel stand out among the rest.

Now joining in on a new marketing trend, Twitter has gotten into live streaming with the likes of Presidential debates and National Football League games to name a few. The best part of this is non-Twitter users can watch a live stream without creating a Twitter account. Imagine the possibilities!

Making Twitter a part of your hotel digital marketing strategy offers many chances for using guest feedback to make the most of their hotel experience. It will give you insight on areas that need improvement and allow relationships to continue with incentives to return long after the guest has checked out, as well as increase opportunities for direct bookings. It’s your hotel’s chance to use the platform to reach your guests and build on your reputation. Are you making the most of Twitter hotel marketing?

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Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring: A Fly on the Wall Approach to Social Media

Social Listening vs. Social MonitoringYou monitor your hotel’s social accounts. Logging into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram faithfully to see what type of feedback visitors have posted on your pages.  But is it enough?  What are your fans (and critics) saying about you behind your back?

When considering your social efforts – social monitoring and social listening are often used interchangeably but there are subtle differences between the two that can make a big difference in learning what is being said about your brand.

 

Social Monitoring:  The practice of monitoring online conversations about a specific phrase, word, or brand. It looks at individual messages coming in across your channels.

Vs

Social Listening:  Is more of a proactive approach to social media.  It examines what is being said in online conversations around your brand. This practice allows you to see what the online community is saying ABOUT you, rather than TO you.

When it comes to social listening, the expression, “I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation!”  Is what immediately comes to mind.

Hotels can take that fly on the wall approach to watch people’s feedback, questions, conversations or comments in order to discover opportunities and create interesting content for those audiences. Remember, these are social opportunities that are not using the @ sign for your property’s social media page or tagging you directly.

Why is social listening important?

Social Listening helps to:

  • Spark new conversation
  • Provides awareness
  • Identify social media champions and social influencers
  • Builds brand exposure
  • Helps find customer support or sales opportunities you may have previously missed

Social listening also assists in preventing negative reviews of your property by those guests who may not feel their needs are being addressed. 

When done right, the combination of social monitoring and social listening can offer engagement opportunities that can help turn a social conversation between strangers into loyal fans and guests who tell all their friends how great your property is. All because you took that fly on the wall approach to social media.

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