Finding Your Hotel Staff Ambassadors

Human beings are an emotional bunch: Emotions lead to a great customer experience. It’s the emotional experience that shows how well your hotel succeeds in providing great customer service. Emotions are a strong motivator that drives bookings. One thing for sure – it’s important to not just consider exchanges with hotel guests as a chance to complete a sale but an opportunity to strengthen your hotel’s connection to guests and potential guests.

Great customer service comes down to the relationships that hotel staff forms with guests and the good feelings that create unforgettable memories for guests. It’s that genuine authentic customer relationship that promises sustained growth.

This is where hotel ambassadors come to play such a vital role. They create a buzz about your hotel to their many followers. Their influence is what brings more attention to your hotel and there’s nothing like tapping into the wealth of peer-to-peer marketing!

But are you only thinking about your influencers in terms of social media champions? Well think again. It’s time to look internally and recognize the value of your own staff.  Your staff ensures a smooth consistency of your hotel’s service from online presence to the actual hotel stay experience – no empty hype. They are the face that guests remember making them feel uniquely valued, special and important.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

First impressions are lasting ones and your staff is the first to have a face-to-face exchange with guests. The last thing you want is bad customer service taking on a life of its own where guests and/or potential guests end up taking their business elsewhere. So it’s important to empower your staff so that the guest experience is pleasurable and memorable:

  • Take care of the guest issue in a timely manner. Guests want to feel that you are respectfully and quickly trying to find a resolution to their issue, whether big or small, and that their issue is as important to you as it is to them.
  • Listen and inspire empathy not apathy. Guests want to feel your caring about their concerns is sincere and that they have been heard. They need to know they matter and your attention makes them feel they are important.
  • Provide service consistency: Whether it is a guest or potential guest, staff needs to treat them both exactly the same. Your online presence should be consistent with the face-to-face interaction at your hotel. It is the best word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Be kind and have a great attitude: These will go a long way to affecting your guests and reflect back onto employee productivity. Happy employees make for happy guests. Treat your employees with kindness and respect and it will have a ripple effect toward your guests. Kindness is contagious. Pay it forward!

When staff finds harmony with hotel values that’s when you find – and keep – hard working staffers. Recognizing employees when they hit the mark on hotel goals, challenges and expectations gives them a sense of being part of the team and play a vital role in the bigger economic picture of the hotel. If your staff has an emotional stake in their job it creates loyalty to you and this in turn creates customer loyalty. So listen to your staff. They are first in the line of fire with your guests and know what guests want and need.  Make them part of the solutions you provide and don’t miss out on their invaluable feedback. So who are your hotel staff ambassadors?

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Facebook Messenger and Mobile Messaging Apps

Facebook Messenger is one of many messaging services offering immediate customer response. The particular features offered by each app as well as what demographic it attracts determine what content fits and which app should be used.  The main purpose of these apps is to connect people together by sending free messages, pictures and videos.

Here are some compelling stats: WeChat has grown quite popular in the Asian market and has more than 697 million monthly active users.  Snapchat has 100 million daily users and is popular with millennials though its user base is aging up. Over 16000 companies from 140 countries use LiveChat. WhatsApp has 900 million users worldwide in 109 countries and is popular in markets outside the US. Facebook Messenger has now become the most popular of all messaging services with 1 billion users.

Almost every major messaging service has grown exponentially in recent years and is dominating mobile usage. This warrants the attention of hotels in seeing the importance of having a messaging service in place on their websites and leveraging chat toward providing efficient customer service.

Hotels can provide instant guest gratification with their on-the-spot answers and, since issues are resolved on the fly during the chat session, it significantly reduces follow up time. Hotels can also provide guidance toward making the final booking all the while potential guests are navigating their websites.

It’s not just about discount programs or loyalty points. Show your guests they are important and make them feel special.  Find and use a messenger app on your website and make it all about your guest or potential guest’s happiness.  It’s the guest experience that will create your hotel’s loyal followers.

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Guess Who’s Using Snapchat Now?

Picture this – 2016 – Any Town, USA – A mom and dad need to search out retirement plans. Mom and dad are avoiding call to insurance company. Mom can’t make call because she is learning how to use Snapchamp… uhh… Snapchat with her teenaged son.  This is actually a tiny snippet of a Nationwide Insurance commercial but is very telling of a shift in Snapchat’s audience.

Snapchat has 100 million daily users with 10 billion video views per day. Up until now viewers have been mostly a younger crowd between the ages of 18 to 34. Snapchat’s reach to a younger audience, lower advertising prices, addition of tracking and measurement tools as well as their ad partner program, has shown they’re serious about generating revenue.  For hotels, this app is a consideration for inclusion in their social media budgets as they try to reach out to millennials.

Now Snapchat is broadening its reach by slowly attracting an older set. While only 2% of Snapchat users were older than 35 three years ago, it has grown to 14% today. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that this shift in demographics could mean Snapchat will inevitably face some growing pains much like the ones Facebook experienced.

As more parents get into checking up on what their kids are doing, so will the older generation’s interest in the app itself. With more attention to Snapchat from parents of those millennias, so will the attention of marketers and advertisers.

Hooking onto Snapchat their young audience found a safe haven for exchanges with their peers – but oh snap! Can’t you just hear the younger audience cringe at the thought of having their parents on their beloved app? Youth is nothing short of resilient. They will happily go looking for the next best thing.

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Is Your Hotel Onboard the Instagram Stories Locomotion?

The speed at which good-old grey matter processes visual information is what a supercomputer aspires to be when it grows up! Of all the information the brain processes, 90% is visual data. Visuals process 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.  A few years ago MIT neuroscientists found that the brain can identify images seen in 13 milliseconds.

So it’s – well – a no brainer that pictures, photos and videos rule supreme in social media and Instagram is the jewel in the crown for this medium.

Instagram has grown to more than 500 million active users with more than 95 million photos and videos uploaded. User engagement is increasing 53% year-over-year. At least one photo or video is posted by brands 73% of the time each week.  There are now more than 77 million active US users that are on Instagram at least once per month and, by 2018, this is expected to increase to more than 100 million.

Enticing stats, right? Now how about this…

People will remember 80% of what they see versus only 20% of what they read. Why? We get emotionally attached to what we see versus what we read because reading involves more firing of those neurons. Pictures, photos and videos get us to feel. So there is more of a connection to consumers through the emotional bonding of visuals.

Adding to its allure, Instagram just introduced their version of Snapchat’s Stories. Instagram has basically copied the popular Snapchat feature but made it more user friendly so it is quickly creating a buzz for users and businesses alike.

Having more than double the amount of users than Snapchat and a more brand friendly appeal, it’s only a matter of time before the Instagram stories feature will take off with users. In less than a week since its introduction, many companies have already launched Instagram Stories. Hotel marketers will have a field day reaching their guests and potential guests.  What a great new way to gain brand loyalists all the while using a familiar platform!

All this together presents great opportunities for hotel marketers to tap into the world that is Instagram reaching out to guests, gaining new followers and finding brand champions.

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now…. so if you haven’t already included Instagram as part of your hotel’s marketing strategy, it’s time to get onboard the Instagram Locomotion!

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Digital Marketing Success: Balancing People + Metrics

Number of page views, conversion and impression rates, unique sessions and engagements, landing and exit pages, errors, ROI – and on and on and on – you get the drift. Measurables!

When it comes to digital marketing in the hotel industry, we have created a need to measure every bit of data that we can gather. The pressure to make the information quantifiable is at the forefront of every marketing decision. It has become the basis upon which most digital marketers will decide where it is best to invest their marketing dollars.

Something that is usable and quantifiable is real. Hotels can use these metrics to make decisions about whether or not their digital marketing campaigns have been successful, right? Well, not exactly. Data doesn’t provide the whole story of your hotel’s digital marketing health.

While there is no doubt that metrics can help you align your hotel’s digital marketing plans, what brings your hotel to the point of profitability does not completely rely on metrics. It’s about people – pure and simple – your guests, your followers, your brand champions and their experiences at your hotel.

But it seems the delicate balance between metrics and the people that give those metrics value has tipped in favor of the numbers themselves. So like anything that gets thrown off balance, if you only consider metrics for your hotel’s reputation and fiscal survival, then your hotel runs the risk of becoming just another hotel looking for that sale to add to their coffers.

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of data and statistics but you can’t lose sight that people and their experiences with your hotel make the numbers magic happen. Hotels need to tip back the scale so that it comes to a balanced and image-healthy view of your hotel. You can always get that initial booking and look great on paper but you can’t have a successful digital marketing campaign without consistent bookings. It is the guest experience that maintains your hotel’s reputation and keeps those bookings coming. Profits will then naturally follow and consistently grow.

Know your objectives. Know your audience. Keep it human. Tell your story. Create unforgettable memories. Build a loyal following and foster brand advocates. See the scale balancing yet?

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Add Pokémon Go to your 2017 Hotel Budget | AskDJV Episode 50

Add Pokémon Go to your 2017 Hotel Budget. No, this is not a typo. If you have watched the news lately or seen people actually playing the game, you know Pokémon Go is hot right now. Want the general name for it? It’s called “Augmented Reality”.

In this week’s episode of the #AskDJV show – episode 50, already, can you believe it? Our own DJ Vallauri talks about augmented reality and how it can enhance your overall bottom line without costing you a fortune. Hoteliers will want to learn how they can increase their revenues, while attracting new audiences to their hotels, restaurants, meetings and wedding venues.

Small business owners will want to hear about the real life examples and how spending a little can go a longer way in marketing your business well into the future.

Marketing Properties via Augmented Reality

Once you’ve watched the video, if you are interested in marketing your properties via augmented reality, contact us today and we will work with you finding the best augmented reality games to represent your hotel or small business. Get in on the ground floor, before your competitors today!

To learn more about the Pokémon Go phenomenon and to take advantage of the business opportunities augmented reality games create, watch Episode 50 of the #AskDJV show today.

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The Right to Gripe: Hotel Guest Reviews

Hotel Guest Reviews Feedback Bubbles for written content

Hotel Guest Reviews :

Your hotel’s reputation is everything.  The majority of your guests, if not all, have a computer or mobile device, making it easier to make their feedback go viral.  Most consumers will turn to online reviews to assist in their decision-making process.  It is important to actively monitor and respond to all hotel guest reviews to resolve any issues.

Negative Reviews: If you ignore it, it won’t just go away.

Though some would stay the easiest way to handle negative reviews is to prevent them in the first place.  However, we all know it is impossible to please every guest that stays with you.  When a guest writes a negative review, even if you do not feel it is valid, it is their experience and they want to feel their feedback is not falling on deaf ears.  When you answer a review, it not only lets other readers see that you are interested in providing great customer service, but it is an opportunity to make improvements.

On the flip-side, you can also turn positive reviews from guests into brand champions.  The good news, you have a positive review.  Now what are you going to do to distinguish your hotel from the others, who have also received positive reviews?  By answering your positive reviews, it not only shows your appreciation for their feedback, but it continues the positive experience after they have let your hotel.  By taking the extra step, you can turn your loyal guests to an enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

Hotel Guest Reviews and Search Engines

When responding to a review, it is important for the guest to feel that they can write about their experience from their point-of-view and not be chastised for their feedback.  Whether the review is positive or negative, you always want your guests to feel that they can reach out and discuss their experience.  Reviews do more than just build customer loyalty, they also help improve your ranking on search engines like Google.  The more that is written about your hotel, the more the search engine will consider your hotel’s name to be important.

It is important to remember, that the review was written by a person, with emotions and feelings.  When responding back, it is equally important not to come off defensive.  Let them know that you are thankful that they reached out to you and that you are listening.

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Why Adding Fresh Content is Critical for Your Website’s Health

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Social Media Facts Hoteliers Should Know

In this wide and vast social media marketing land, what do hotelier’s need to know about social media networks to make good marketing decisions? Knowing how people are using these social media networks will help you decide where to focus your social media marketing efforts and dollars.

Consider these recent survey, report and study results:

  • 65% of adults are now using social networking sites according to a Pew Research Center report
  • According to MediaPost, the average person spends more time online than watching television and the largest advertising medium is the Internet.
  • A CMO survey found digital marketing budgets and spending is predicted to grow 12% in the next year
  • In the U.S., an estimated 185 million people use social media in 2016 and forecasted to exceed 200 million by 2020.
  • At least 60 percent of the population in North America has at least one social networking profile.
  • Customer service was the focus of an American Express report of how U.S. customers use social media networks: 50% seek responses to a service issue, 48% praise the company for good service and 46% vent about poor service.
  • A Forrester study showed that 55% of U.S. adults would abandon their purchase if they can’t get a quick answer to their question.

So now the question is: Which network(s) can zone in on your hotel’s targeted audience ensuring successful campaigns? Here are some stats from the more popular social media networks to consider:

 

  • Facebook now has 1.59 billion monthly users and 91% of them are millennials between the ages of 15 and 34.
  • There are 1.44 billion mobile monthly users on Facebook and mobile accounts for most of their digital ad revenue.
  • 6 percent of Facebook’s daily active users are outside the U.S.
  • YouTube has over a billion users viewing millions of hours of videos every day and reaches out to 18 to 34-year-olds.
  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile and reach out to 18 to 49-year-olds, more than any cable network in the U.S. and with an average viewing session of 40 minutes.
  • 80% of YouTube’s views are from outside the U.S.
  • Twitter has 310 million monthly active users with 83 percent of them active on mobile.
  • Twitter states they have 1 billion unique visits to sites with embedded Tweets on a monthly basis
  • Instagram just announced that they are 500 million strong and that more than 300 million of these use Instagram every day.
  • For global reach, Instagram says that 80% of their users are outside the U.S.
  • On a daily basis, more than 80 million photos are shared on Instagram with 3.5 billion likes.
  • eMarketer forecasted that Instagram ads would bring an estimated $2.81 billion in mobile ad revenue globally by 2017.
  • Snapchat has recently updated their stats to show 100 million daily users with 10 billion video views per day and a reach to users between the ages of 18 to 34.
  • Nielsen is collecting data on Snapchat video ad views for a comparison to traditional television advertising in their Digital Ad Ratings program.

Any way you slice it, dice it, bake it or grill it, digital marketers need to raise brand awareness and increase engagements that could bring along revenue opportunities. What better way to do this than understanding your audience and using the right social media network to reach them.

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