Why do hotels take time to answer guest reviews?

guest reviews99  Guest Reviews – 99 Opportunities

As people use social media for expressing their opinions or for a source of information, it is important that hotels carefully monitor their online reputation. By responding to negative or positive guest reviews, the hotel is letting travelers know that they care about their guest’s feedback and are willing to make the necessary improvements to ensure their future guests do not experience the same thing.

Sometimes Good Intentions Go Bad

You’ve done everything possible to try to turn your guests experience around and they still write a bad review, what do you do? By responding back to your guests it allows you to share your perspective and to guide what is being said about your hotel. For example, if a guest should claim that they found a bed bug in their room, you can respond back to the guest letting them know (and anyone else reading the review) that your hotel has taken the necessary measures to ensure that your rooms are always at their best and highlight any changes your hotel have made.

Also, by responding back to your guest reviews, it allows the hotel to address those accusations so bizarre, that there’s no way it can be true. From a so-called hotel haunting to sarcastic feedback, by responding to such accusations in a positive tone, you can ensure your guests that all is well for their future stay.

So why do hotels answer guest reviews? Because it is important understand that the guest experience doesn’t just end when they walk out the door. It continues long after the guest has left. Your guests experience is a measure of how well you are doing and what can be improved.


  1. It is important to not delay your response. In our 24-hour/7-days a week social media word, guests want to hear back from the hotel quickly.
  2. Keep it real. If it sounds canned, then they won’t feel you are being sincere to their experience.
  3. If you say you are going to fix it, then make sure you do. Nothing like getting several reviews about the same issue long after you have claimed to have made the changes.

Your response is just as valuable as the guest review. So take advantage of this opportunity to turn and negative experience into a positive one or take that positive stay and make it memorable long after they have left.

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Lodging Interactive Offers Search Engine Marketing To BookingSuite Hotels

Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it is offering special Search Engine Marketing (SEM) programs to all BookingSuite hotel customers. It was announced last week, via an email to all hotel members, that BookingSuite would no longer provide SEM services to its member hotels effective January 1, 2017.

“It is an unfortunate position BookingSuite hotel customers find themselves in and confirms that ‘you get what you pay for’ and that there is no cutting corners when it comes to hotel search engine marketing,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and CEO.  “SEM is core to every hotel’s digital marketing plan and our team of SEM experts stand ready to help BookingSuite hotels make a smooth transition.”

Lodging Interactive has established affordable SEM package plans exclusively for BookingSuite hotel customers.  The package plans include:

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

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has exclusively worked with hotels and resorts to maximize online digital revenues opportunities.  Clients include small to mid-sized independent properties as well as franchised branded properties representing nearly every brand.

For more information on the special BookingSuite SEM packages please visit: www.hotelSEM.com or call 877-291-4411 ext. 701.

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Hotels Reaching Out to Millennials Through Texting?

It’s the same story with a new twist – No matter the era we were born into, most innovations are made by youth looking for the next best thing that will differentiate them from older generations.  Then older generations learn to adapt to the changes.  It’s an expected part of the life cycle.


These days the millennial lifestyle has shaped the way we communicate. Nearly a quarter of the US population are millennials and, with mobile usage increasing each year, our exchanges have adapted to accommodate the explosion of social media outlets, video viewing and – texting!


Reality Mine, a mobile research agency, found a trend across all generations that texting has become preferable to calling and the trend is most prevalent in millennials. The April 2016 OpenMarket nationwide poll of millennials showed that 75% of millennials preferred texting more than any other method of communication.  The more recent OpenMarket survey shows text messaging is the preferred way millennials like having exchanges with businesses. According to this recent survey:


  • Texting leads the way as a notification preference from businesses followed by email and then last with calls.
  • 80% prefer texting a company’s 1-800 customer service line rather than making a call and being put on hold.
  • 60% prefer texting with companies because it’s quick and works within their schedule without being intrusive
  • 30% receive texts from companies they interact with on a regular basis and, of these, 75% find text reminders and promotions helpful
  • Only 0 to 5 texts from businesses are received per week and nearly 20% never receive any texts from businesses.


This could not only present opportunities for hotels to better reach their millennial and even Generation Z guests but also help create a more efficient staff in terms of operations. Hotels could improve the guest service experience by using text messaging to confirm spa appointment, send payment reminders, process Wi-Fi requests, make and confirm room reservations, provide offers/discounts/coupons and conduct short surveys just to name a few.


Providing such services via text would reach out to millennials and improve your hotel’s chances for good guest reviews. If the millennial guest is left feeling satisfied with your hotel’s service they would be inclined to let others in their network know it. Good reviews mean a greater chance for positive content in organic search results. Positive organic content means building toward a better reputation for your hotel. A better reputation increases opportunities for direct bookings.


If hotels want to reach millennials, then it’s best to reach them in their language preference – text messaging!

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Hotel ABC’s of Pay Per Click Marketing

PPC is an ever evolving form of digital advertising that has proven to provide great results if you plan well, monitor your campaigns and spend the appropriate budget each month.  It is an especially popular form of advertising for the travel industry.  Hotels, in particular can benefit greatly from paid ads, as it gets you easily noticed when potential guests are searching for accommodations.  However, in order to be successful, you must have the right strategy in place.  This is where a lot of misconceptions about PPC come into play and your PPC advertising can prove to be ineffective if not handled properly.  Hotels need to fully understand how PPC works and the repercussions that can occur if it’s mismanaged.

One of the first things you need to decide for your PPC advertising is how much will you allocate to your monthly budget.  There are quite a few factors to consider when determining your budget.  Some of these include, what market is your hotel in, how many campaigns you will be running, and what the average cost per click is for the keywords you are targeting.

Let’s face it, if your hotel is in a market like Miami or New York City you’re going to need a larger budget than say a hotel in Des Moines or Bismark.  Frankly, there just isn’t a comparable volume of searches in these markets and this is one of the first items of consideration.

How many campaigns you’ll run is also an important factor.  Hotels will often want to advertise their event space and so that may mean you’ll consider a meeting and/or wedding campaign. This would probably be in addition to a general hotel/location campaign.   Depending on your market, there may also be popular local attractions that you’ll want to focus on, which would require yet another campaign.  So, keep in mind that your monthly budget needs to be distributed among all running campaigns and you don’t want to stretch that budget too thin because that may lead to having campaigns that don’t have budgets healthy enough to be effective.

In addition to spreading the budget over the number of campaigns you have, you also have to distribute the monthly budget over the 30 days within the month.  So, for example, if your monthly budget is $750 and you divide that by 30 days, you have a daily budget of only $25 to spend.  Although it may seem that $750 is a large chunk of your advertising budget going toward PPC, in actuality it really isn’t when you break it down to the daily budget.  This is where your keyword cost per clicks are going to be very important to understand.  Let’s take a market like New York City.  As you see in the screen shot below, these are 3 keywords that have very high cost per click rates of $19.90, $18.24, and $22.55.  This means that a bid on any of these keywords will decrease your daily budget by the respective price.  If the daily budget is $25 then you can only afford to get one click per day with high priced, competitive keywords such as these.  It’s important to remember that once you exhaust your daily budget, your ads are no longer shown until the next day when your daily budget replenishes itself.  Also, if your budget is only allowing for 1-2 clicks per day, the traffic to your website will be pretty dismal at only 30-60 visits in an entire month!



Keyword Cost per Click
“boutique hotels new york” $19.90
+boutique+hotels+in+new+york $18.24
+nyc+boutique+hotels $22.55


In a situation like this it would be more appropriate to have a monthly budget in the range of at least $3500-$5000.  This will increase the daily budget and allow for more clicks, which leads to more website visits, which leads to more opportunities for bookings.

You will also want to consider seasonality when planning your PPC campaign budget.  You will most likely not need the same monthly budget throughout the year.  Historically, many markets will see a decrease in traffic during September due to summer coming to an end and families getting into “back to school” mode.  This would be a prime example of a month where you may decide to decrease your budget.  Whereas, you may want to consider increasing your budget when the winter holiday season begins to approach, as consumer searches tend to be on the rise during this time.

Although a proven effective way to market yourself, there needs to be a full understanding of PPC and the correct campaign management in order to achieve positive results.  Taking all of the above factors into consideration, understanding the market and carefully planning your budget, will put you on the right track for success in PPC advertising.

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Lodging Interactive Provides Hotels Online Real Time Sales Support Via Live Chat

Lodging Interactive, the leading digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced its expanded CoMMingle Live ChatSM service to now include real-time sharing of hotel promotional materials during online chats with potential guests.

“When a visitor navigates through a hotel’s website and engages via live chat, CoMMingle Live Chat agents will have an opportunity to share hotel specific promotional materials in real time,” stated Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President.  “CoMMingle Live Chat now serves as a real-time sales agent, 7 days a week, where there currently is none on the hotel’s website.”

Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle Live Chat service is a fully managed, real-time service for hotels and resorts.  CoMMingle Live Chat elevates online customer service, customer engagement and sales to an entirely new level and has shown to increase corporate group and social event RFP submissions.

“In a time when properties are looking to minimize their OTA contributions and for ways to drive direct website business, our fully managed CoMMingle Live Chat service provides hotels with a competitive service and selling advantage,” added Mr. Vallauri.

CoMMingle Live Chat service benefits for hotels:

  • Real-time customer engagement throughout the booking process
  • Real-time online sharing of promotional documents with potential guests
  • Provides conversational commerce while assisting in the booking process
  • Increases direct booking opportunities and event RFP submissions
  • Reduces negative reviews/comments posted to TripAdvisor & OTA sites
  • Crisis alert escalation to property as needed
  • Offers true market differentiation within competitive set
  • Unlimited live agent fully managed chats for low monthly fee
  • 100% mobile responsive enabled
  • 100% US based live chat agents, employed by Lodging Interactive

Getting started with CoMMingle Live Chat is easy and implementation only requires a small snippet of code be added to the hotel website.  For more information, please visit: LiveChatForHotels.com.

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Foster a Great Hotel Guest Experience with Live Chat

What live chat feature creates a great hotel guest experience: The easy to use technology or the personal attention? There could be many thought provoking analogies for both sides but at the heart of all possibilities is one common thread: The hotel guest.


Live chat as a technology has been around for years and used extensively for online retail sites but using a tried and tested technology on hotel websites? – You bet! – The familiarity of a well-known platform reduces any guest or prospective guest frustrations with things like website navigation or a non-responsive hotel phone line. The easier the interaction, the more pleased the hotel guests. The more pleased the hotel guests, the more chances of having them book their hotel stay directly through your hotel website.


From the human perspective, who wouldn’t want to deal with less frustration and get a bit of personal attention? Live chat agents would be present in the moment that the hotel website visitor is searching out answers. Whether it’s seeking to know more about hotel activity offerings, requesting wedding information or wanting to know area attractions, the guest would be pleased with your short response time as they go through their travel journey searches. This all gives the hotel a chance to build relationships on a personal level, creating an unforgettable guest experience and motivating guests toward making direct bookings for rooms, meetings or events.


Putting the guest experience first and foremost gives an advantage to hotels. Whereas OTA’s have little to do with the overall guest experience, hotels who use live chat can engage visitors on a personal level with a real person not an avatar. Live chat would be there on your hotel website prepared to address all interactions – the first line to the customer service experience. This will increase opportunities to gain customer loyalty and repeat business as well as creating chances to upsell.


In the end, lessening a potential guest’s frustrations and being present in the moment a visitor seeks out information, clarification or direction is what live chat is all about. The easier it is to conduct a transaction, the less frustrated the visitor, the better the guest experience. So make the hotel guest experience your focal point with live chat.

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Hotel Marketing Trend – Video Rules!

video image


When the Buggles presented their music video hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” in 1979, there was somewhat of a premonition for what role video would play in our lives going forward.  The internet became accessible to everyone and opened a pathway to social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Periscope and Instagram – all providing visuals that capture everyone’s attention and endless opportunities for hotels.


It’s a known fact that people will remember 80% of what they see versus only 20% of what they read. With video, being present in the moment without actually being at the hotel will resonate with the potential guest who makes purchasing decisions based on the emotional connection to your hotel visuals.


So it’s not a far stretch to see why this trend toward video presents all kinds of possibilities for the hotel digital marketer to build guest loyalty, raise brand awareness, increase engagements and leverage a hotel’s place in this medium.


A recent Cisco Systems study shows that, by 2019, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic. Instagram has at least one photo or video posted 73% of the time each week.  YouTube has become the #2 search engine right after Google. Facebook has been vying for a piece of the action by introducing its video platform, Facebook Live earlier this year that promises to rival YouTube. Then Facebook upped the ante in August by starting to test live stream ads.


The growing interest in video has sparked a consideration of budgeting dollars toward video marketing and advertising. If you haven’t already, hotel digital marketers should consider video as part of their overall marketing strategy & make video spending a part of their budget.  


Hotels can drive home a powerful response, increase chances for conversions and create a more personal relationship with guests and potential guests through the best storytelling medium there is – video!  So be heard. What’s your hotel’s story?

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Live Chat Best Practices and Etiquette for a Better Hotel Guest Experience

While the traveler begins to explore the endless possibilities for that perfect hotel stay, they will search sites that have the most appealing visuals and the easiest, quickest responses to their questions. This initial emotional connection becomes the hotel’s opportunity to tap into the traveler’s journey and ‘wow’ that prospective guest into choosing your hotel. With the right approach and tools, hotels could start building relationships that turn into satisfied guests who will give repeat business – Here enters live chat.


The live chat agent could be one of the first contacts a guest or prospective guest will have with your hotel. So a hotel would want to ensure that they have a warm, friendly approach and provide informative, clear and accurate information. To the prospective guest, the experience should feel like they are asking advice or information from a trusted friend. Live chat ‘friends’ would be there to guide them and gently push them along toward clicking on that book now button.


So you have the right tool with live chat on your website. Now you need to make it all about the guest experience. The key is to treat visitors as people – show your human side. To provide the best customer experience, live chat agents should:


  1. Own the conversation: Be truly helpful. Ask precise but simple questions that leave nothing to interpretation. Build trust and credibility with the customer using warm language that is tone of voice in chat, avoiding sarcasm and opinions. Ensure people they are in capable and friendly hands.


  1. Be pleasant & empathetic: Put yourself in the requestor’s shoes. Your tone will carry through the written conversation so be respectful. Never leave a question unanswered. Leave your attitude at the door. The whole point is to make the person contacting you feel they can trust you. Be polite and show you value the guest.


  1. Communicate professionally: The very nature of live chat is written communication. So be clear. Dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s. Avoid typos. Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Write complete sentences. No colloquial jargon or acronyms as not everyone would be familiar with them.


  1. Answer quickly and concisely: Being there the moment someone reaches out is the natural promise of live chat. It’s the immediacy of help or direction that catches the requestor’s attention. So keep their attention by promptly responding to every message. No stalling or fumbling for words as you not only risk having the person leave the chat but your hotel would lose the opportunity for guest satisfaction.


  1. Show you are an expert: Agents needs to be well trained and have a good knowledge base. You need to be sure what you are saying when sharing information and providing website guidance to visitors. It’ the best way to win over the visitor’s confidence and have them come back again and again.


Once these basics are set, your hotel is on its way to providing guests with the wow factor. Chats that leave the prospective guest feeling happy create a positive experience they will not forget and will want to share with others – they become your ideal hotel ambassadors.  Have you added live chat to your customer service strategy?

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Social Media Crisis Management – Are You Ready?

I have three pieces of advice that are critical to any social media crisis management plan and will help you get through any crisis – social media or otherwise.

Panic Cartoon Face on Social Media Crisis

Don’t Panic about a Social Media Crisis!

OK, here goes…

1) Do not panic
2) Stop Panicking
3) See step 1 and/or step 2

When you go into panic mode, bad decisions are made. A bad decision regarding a crisis on social media is unforgiving. And that is the last thing you need when the responsibility of your hotel’s reputation is on your shoulders.

Do not panic.  Take a deep breath.


This is where your leadership skills come into play:

  • Gather your marketing team, even those outside of social media, and members of whatever department is the focus of the crisis.
  • Discuss the situation – Is it a crisis or just an outburst?
  • Select one lead person to manage the situation
  • Create a plan and strategy for handling the situation

Simple, right? The issue is in the 4th bullet point. How do you create a plan and strategy for a crisis or an outburst on social media? The important part of addressing this question is that the plan needs to be in place BEFORE a social media crisis or outburst arises.  The plan will feel like a security blanket and not panicking will be easier than you think.

Think of it like house insurance. You have it, hopefully never need it. Should there be a fire in your home, you are covered. Having a social media crisis plan in place is like insurance for your reputation.

Yes, social media content is fast paced, immediate and ‘fun’. The truth is that social media for businesses is a bit more serious.

Social media planning for businesses involves many areas, including:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Advertising Spend
  • Content Calendars
  • Business Need Focus
  • Target Audience
  • Crisis Management

This is usually the time when upper management realizes that hiring an inexperienced intern wasn’t the best idea. I always joke with my team that posting a picture of a cute kitten is easy, but the cute kitten isn’t going to help you in a crisis.

Every crisis or outburst on social media is different and should be dealt with accordingly. If I could offer one piece of advice when creating your crisis management plan, it would be to accept you cannot control the situation but you can certainly influence it.

Influence allows you to change the perception, guide it to where you need it to go, manage the outcries and be human about the issue to your audience.

Do you have a social media crisis management plan in place for your hotel?

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Guest Moments with Hotel Live Chat

You know you want to get away for a bit but have no particular destination in mind. So you turn to your smartphone, tablet or desktop and start surfing the net looking for inspiration. You dream about sea, surf, beach view rooms, mountain cabins, good eateries, activities and spa treatments you would love to try out. Now you need to figure out the where, when and how – so many choices. Is your hotel there in the traveler’s journey to ensure their online experience moves them onto your hotel doorstep?


Life is not measured by the number of breaths, but by the moments that take our breath away.


When guests start their journey with no particular hotel in mind but rather searching to see what and who best fills their needs and wants – those places, hotels or activities that will realize their idea of a dream stay – your hotel should be searchable. Whether it’s at the moment a potential guest starts surfing the net, in the planning stages or during their stay, hotel marketers need to tap into those snippets of time offering the most relevant information that will capture – and hold – the traveler or guest interest.


Hotel marketers have the perfect opportunity to find ways to capitalize on these guest moments. Providing great visuals is a start as people are likely to gravitate toward what comes to them visually than something they read. But while the photos or videos will lure in the guest, live chat will provide quick answers, direction and information that will keep the traveler on your site.  At the same time it will lower overall contact center costs as live chat can handle multi-guest interactions eliminating additional hires.


Your hotel needs to capture the traveler in all steps of their decision-making. Making information easily accessible, you will speak to the guest’s needs and not miss the chance of gaining their loyalty or increasing chances of a booking. Too many steps might exasperate the inquisitive traveler who just wants quick details and live chat can help them narrow down their choices. Live chat will also create the potential to increase sales as it provides the chance to upsell by leading a guest to the correct place to reserving a room or booking a meeting.


Live chat puts a personal touch to the conversation and gives you the edge in providing the greatest customer service that guests will remember during their search moments.  You will be speaking to the guest’s needs and not miss the chance of gaining their loyalty, keep them coming back and spread the word to others.


Ensure your hotel is part of the guest’s journey from visualizing that dream spot or wedding to planning to booking. The moments of their journey become your opportunity to earn a stronger ROI.

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