Latest Social Media Updates: Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram

We’re nearing the end of summer vacation season, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to take your foot off the marketing breaks! Instead, take a look at all the new changes happening on social media that can directly affect the hospitality industry and see how to incorporate them to better serve and understand your guests.

Facebook Updates Video Ad Metrics to Remove Redundancies 

Facebook recently updated its video ad metrics to better match actual viewer behavior. The changes include:

●     Video play metrics, which tell advertisers how often video ads are played instead of just seen (impressions)

●     The measuring of unrepeated seconds, which changes how Facebook evaluates watch time on video ads

●     Removal of redundant metrics like video watched percentage and 30-second video views

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels

Many hotels and resorts use video ads on Facebook and Instagram to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and increase reservation bookings. Be on the lookout for these changes. The new video play metric will be particularly helpful, because when compared against impressions, you’ll be able to gauge initial interest. If necessary, this can help you make changes to your video campaigns to get more interest early on, getting more results.

Facebook Releases New Mobile Ad Creation Tools 

Facebook’s Ads Manager app now has a whole suite of new creative tools that allow you to create more dynamic ad campaigns right on your mobile device.

New features include abilities to:

●     Add logos or text overlay to your ad images

●     Check to make sure there’s no more than 20% text on your ads

●     Crop images

●     Add stickers

●     Apply color filters

●     Use ad templates to improve appearance

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels

The ability for hotels and resorts to better create more visually appealing ads on the go is always an advantage. We no longer need to rely on third-party apps or designers to add text overlay, logos, or adjust the color on our ad images, saving us a few steps along the way.

Facebook Restricts Cross-Posts from Twitter

As of August 1st, Facebook restricted posting access to the platform. Tweets and Retweets are no longer automatically cross-posted on Facebook, even if you had that feature enabled. This is due to the new API restrictions Facebook has been putting in place.

Image source: TechCrunch 

What This Means for Hotels

Best practices have already dictated not to cross-post tweets to your hotel’s professional pages on Facebook, so not many hotels and resorts will see a lot of change here. That being said, if you use any kind of software to automatically post your Tweets to your Page, shut it down immediately.

Facebook Updates Workplace 

Facebook has been aggressively updating their Workplace over the past few months, and they just rolled out a few more features. The new additions focus on improving team collaboration and improving personalization capabilities to boost relationship building. They include:

●     One-click connection to facilitate chat

●     Highlight team members’ birthdays

●     Directory search, which makes it easier to find team members

●     Workplace profiles to share personal information

●     Admin control over what’s shared in Workplace profiles

Image source: Facebook 

Facebook’s Workplace has also required an email startup, messaging, and calendar app called Redkix, and there are rumors that this will be used to improve communication abilities in Workplace further.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook’s Workplace seems to be positioning itself to attempt to replace Slack, and larger hotels and resorts with larger teams (either internal or external) typically need software like this for communication, project management, and distribution of important messages. If you’re in need of software like this for your hotel, keep an eye on Workplace and all the new features– it may be the right fit for you.

WhatsApp Releases Business API 

WhatsApp’s launch of the Business API is an expansion of their business tools, and it allows larger businesses to send non-promotional messages to customers like reservation reminders or shipping information. You can do this for a fixed rate. The new API is currently only available for 90 specific companies, but it will be rolled out on a more widespread basis soon.

What This Means for Hotels

The ability for hotels and resorts to be able to send reservation reminders or arrival instructions is another great way to engage guests before they even set foot on your property. This is also a great way to jumpstart conversations; guests can respond with any questions they have, and you can address them right away, providing top-notch customer service.

Instagram Tests Emoji Reactions to Stories 

Thanks to marketing sleuth Matt Navarra, we know that Instagram is testing new Facebook-style emoji response options for Instagram Stories. The Facebook counterpart just rolled out last month, so there’s a good chance we’ll see this soon.

(no image source picture tag because it’s a tweet)

What This Means for Hotels

More reaction options means that hotels and resorts can get more potential engagement when using Stories. You can increase the number of responses you get by asking users outright how they feel, or to share their opinions by selecting certain emojis.

Restaurant Reputation Management Services

Lodging Interactive Launches Reputation Management for Restaurants

. Fully managed service for restaurants.

PARSIPPANY, NJ, August 1, 2018 – Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has expanded its CoMMingle reputation management services into the restaurant industry. During the last 10 years CoMMingle has established itself as the hospitality industry’s leading provider of guest review management services and has partnered with hundreds of hotels worldwide.

 

 

“Providing our CoMMingle reputation management services to restaurants is a natural extension of our very mature and proven hospitality services,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and CEO. “As Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor restaurant review volumes continue to grow, it is critical for restaurant owners to provide timely management responses.”

 

According to ReviewTrackers, 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.

 

 

Additionally, according to Illumen’s Top 50 Digital Marketing Stats for The Restaurant Business:

 

  1. Over 1 billion restaurant visits by consumers are influenced by online marketing (Monetate).
  2. Out of all industries, consumers read restaurant reviews more than any other industry (Bright Local).
  3. Since 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations for dining decisions, it’s key you have a bunch of positive reviews (Bright Local).
  4. A half-star difference on a Yelp review rating can swing restaurant business by a whopping 27% (Foodbeast).
  5. Restaurants who respond to customers on social media will win as 71% say they’re more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly to them on social media (Forbes).

 

Please click for more information or contact us on 877-291-4411 extension 704 or email info@lodginginteractive.com.

 

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management 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 cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

 

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually. 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.

 

For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

Contact: DJ Vallauri

 

pressreleases@lodginginteractive.com / 877-291-4411

 

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Latest Hotel Social Media Changes

We’re in the middle of summer’s busy season, but that means it’s more important than ever to stay up to date on all the latest social changes. This month we’ve got new updates that will allow us to continue making more engaging content with a little less hassle. Let’s take a look.

Facebook Adds a Stories Archive Feature

Facebook has been testing and slowly rolling out an Archive feature for their Stories, and it works differently than Instagram’s Stories Highlights. Users who have this feature can now save their Facebook Stories once they expire so they can repost them again later if they choose.

What This Means for Hotels

The expiration of Stories after 24 hours has always been a setback of the feature, because it can be difficult to create content that has such a short shelf life. The ability to save the content and reuse it is a huge advantage if it’s evergreen.

Want to simplify things further? It would also work to just download stories after you create them on Instagram, add them to your Instagram highlights, and then upload it to Facebook, too.

Facebook Rolls Out Crossposting Ability with Instagram 

We’ve had the ability to share Instagram posts directly onto Facebook for a very long time, but now we have a new feature that lets us do the reverse, too. Pages can now crosspost to Instagram as long as their Facebook post contains a single image. Multi-image and video posts are not currently supported.

What This Means for Hotels

Being able to easily distribute content to two platforms at once can save you time, especially if you aren’t already using social scheduling software. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Instagram best practices don’t always line up with Facebook’s. You’ll want to add hashtags, for example, to your Instagram posts so that potential guests have a better chance of finding you.

It will be better to post individually in most cases, but if you ever have something you need to distribute quickly, this feature will work for that.

Instagram Launched Question Stickers 

Instagram has just released a Questions Sticker to its Stories. This is another interactive sticker that allows users to ask their followers questions. The replies their followers submit will be shown to you privately, but they can be shared within the Stories feed. It is now available for both iOS and Android users with the latest update of the app.

Image source: Instagram 

What This Means for Hotels

This new sticker is another way to get engagement through Stories, but it also gives you a way to build and leverage social proof. Ask your guest questions about their stays or their dream vacations, or even what types of events they’d like to attend or host at your resort. Share some of the best answers to your Stories in order to demonstrate social proof and build relationships with your guests and followers.

Instagram Tests In-App Verification 

In-App verification has been available on Instagram for a while for high-profile brands and users, a coveted blue checkmark you’ve also seen on Facebook and Twitter. However, the company has approved an incredibly low amount of accounts for verification. Instagram is currently testing a new in-app verification option, where public figures, celebrities, and brands can submit a form to apply, which requires usernames, full names, and photo identification. Currently, the in-app form for verification is only available to iOS users in a selected test group, but will soon be coming to Android.

Image source: Mashable 

What This Means for Hotels

The blue checkmark automatically signals that your hotel or resort is established enough to be recognized on social media, and you risk losing credibility if you’re the only one without it. Users may be more likely to go to a website and book reservations through Instagram profiles with that blue checkmark, so keep an eye out and do what you can to apply as soon as possible.

LinkedIn Announces In-Feed Translations 

LinkedIn is slowly releasing a new translations feature similar to Facebooks. This feature will allow users to see a “See Translation” button on posts that are written in languages different than what they speak. There will be more than 60 languages included in the translation feature, including German and Japanese. More languages will follow.

What This Means for Hotels

If your hotel or resort hosts professional events or has a large number of traveling professionals, LinkedIn could be a valuable marketing channel. Even if you don’t, most hotels and resorts may benefit from using the platform to find new employees or vendors. The ability for your posts to have more reach just with a click of a button on the user’s part is a huge advantage, no matter what specific goal you’re using LinkedIn to accomplish.

Lodging Interactive Announces LinkedIn Marketing Services for Hotels

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its fully managed CoMMingle LinkedIn marketing service for the hospitality industry. CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing manages all aspects of a hotel’s LinkedIn presence and community engagement.

 

“LinkedIn presents enormous branding and business opportunities for hotels and has been mostly ignored by property marketing teams.  With over 560 million LinkedIn monthly users, hoteliers must maintain a presence and aggressively build and engage with their LinkedIn community as they have done for years on traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO. “Our CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing service is fully managed for the hotel. While we manage the hotel’s entire presence on LinkedIn, the property approves every post and our teams work with the property in a collaborative manner to establish a monthly LinkedIn content calendar.”

LinkedIn Marketing for Hotels

 

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion and continues to enhance the platform as LinkedIn continues to be the leading business-2-business networking platform. LinkedIn’s Q3 2016 revenue was $960 million with 17% generated ($162 million) generated from premium account subscriptions; 18% ($175 million) from marketing solutions, and staggering 65% ($623 million) from talent solutions.

 

“While traditionally known as thesocial network for job seekers and employers, LinkedIn offers an impressive treasure trove of new business opportunities for hotels that only needs to be mined.  For example, when you consider that meeting planner executives can be directly reached through LinkedIn, it becomes very interesting for hoteliers,” added Mr. Vallauri. “Our service ensures hotels have a professionally managed presence on LinkedIn and positions the property to capture new business opportunities.”

CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing services include:

 

  • Establishing an effective Company LinkedIn Page for your hotel.
  • We will define your audience and goals.
  • Create a LinkedIn content marketing calendar.
  • Pre-approved content and content planning.
  • Write and post LinkedIn content.
  • Leverage rich media video content.
  • Research appropriate #hashtags to use in posts.
  • Manage job postings.
  • Create and manage LinkedIn advertising campaigns.
  • Cross market your LinkedIn profile with your social media accounts.
  • Engage with posted comments.
  • Comprehensive monthly reporting.

 

For more information on CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing please contact us at: https://lodginginteractive.com/contact/or call 877-291-4411 extension 704.

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management 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 cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually. 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.

For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Contact: DJ Vallauri

pressreleases@lodginginteractive.com / 877-291-4411

Social Media Trend: Race for Creative Tools to Make Dynamic On-site Content

Hospitality Social Media News

As social media has evolved, we’ve seen each platform racing to make on-site content more dynamic. GIFs can be added to comments on Facebook, there are interactive stickers for stories, and video is booming everywhere. The last two weeks’ worth of social media updates largely reflect this trend, granting hotels and resorts new creative tools to better connect with our audiences.

Let’s take a look at what’s new in social media…

Facebook Releases New Video-Focused Features

Facebook has released a handful of new features designed improve its video platform and make it more community-oriented.

These features include:

●     New interactive abilities like polling during Live Streaming

●     Bringing videos from Pages into the Watch tab

●     A new video template that will put videos at the forefront of a brand’s Page (though this is still in testing)

●     The Android version of the Facebook Creator App

Facebook is also testing out a new Brand Collabs Manager. This tool will allow businesses to discover and connect with creators and influencers who they can establish deals or partnerships.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Video isn’t going anywhere, so new features to help hotels and resorts get the most out of it are welcome. Take advantage of all video features that are available to you to increase engagement and make your content more dynamic and interactive.

You can apply for access to the Brand Collabs Manager now (though it may take awhile to be accepted). Once admitted into the program, you can connect with influencers who can help you promote your hotel or resort by coming to stay, attending an event at your venue, or even just eating at your on-site restaurant.

Facebook Introduces Info and Ads on Pages 

In an effort to improve transparency further, Facebook has launched a new Info and Ads section to Pages. This section will allow any Facebook user to view all the active ads that Page is running through Facebook Ads (including Instagram and audience Network). Users will be able to click on the interactive elements of an ad, like the CTA button, but not see engagement.

Users will also now be able to see any name changes your Page has undergone, along with its date of creation.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Your guests having the ability to see your ads and past business information likely won’t affect most hotels and resorts. You will want to be careful when you’re running special offers that are targeted to exclusive groups, even if it’s because they’re part of a rewards program or first-time guests. One guest won’t like to see that you’re offering 10% off to another for reasons they can’t discern, so keep an eye on this.

Twitter Rolls Out In-Stream Video Ads to More Advertisers 

Twitter has been testing in-stream video ads, and now they’re now rolling out the feature to advertisers in 12 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, France, India, Japan, and Australia. These are pre-roll ads, meaning they’ll show before the video that your guests are interested in watching.

Image source: Twitter 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Facebook’s mid-stream video ads have gotten lukewarm reception, but pre-roll ads have distinct advantages. With many users being willing to watch a quick ad to get to the content they really want to see, you have a captive audience. Now imagine being able to show that relevant captive audience a quick intro video about your resort or hotel, selling them the adventure of travel or the relaxation of a weekend away.

YouTube is Testing New Creative Suite 

YouTube is currently working with select brands to test out a series of new tools that will offer new analytics and testing tools for creators on the platform.

These new tools include:

●     Video Experiments, which is a testing tool in Adwords that makes it easier to evaluate the effective of creative aspects of a video ad on its results.

●      Video Creative Analytics that evaluates video performance within different audience segments.

●     Video Ad Sequencing, which will allow you to tell your brand story in snippets through different ads. The videos will be shown to individual users in a specified sequence to improve storytelling.

●     YouTube Director Mix, which is a tool that allows you to create a base version of an ad that can have different text, image, sound, and even video swapped out based on the audience seeing it.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Most hotels and resorts won’t have these tools for a little while, but they’ll be great to have once they’re available to everyone. Being able to more effectively test video ads and understand why they are or aren’t working will be essential to improved success moving forward.

The ad sequencing will also be a huge development for brands, as the shorter snippets of video shown in sequence will improve consistency in brand storytelling and make the ads significantly more effective as a result. You’ll be able to slowly introduce guests to your hotel piece by piece, building brand recognition and increasing the odds that they click over time.

Instagram Launches Music in Stories 

Instagram users in select countries can now add music to their Stories. They can choose a song by selecting the Music icon that’s found in the stickers section.

Image source: Instagram

Music for stories is only available in 51 countries (though Instagram didn’t specify which) and on iOS. Support for Android will be coming soon.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Instagram Stories are already fun and can be interactive thanks to features like polling and shoppable stickers. Music takes that one step further. Music is a great way to help your Story stand out from the rest, and it can help you better portray a feeling. A whimsical melody can up the romance of a video of your on-site wedding venue, and a tropical beat could make your sparkling pool that much more irresistible.

Instagram IGTV Launch, Facebook A/B Testing for Organic Posts and more….

We’re almost halfway through the year, and the world of social media has changed drastically– even in the last two weeks. Let’s take a look at the most recent social media updates and how they’ll affect hotels and resorts.

Instagram Announces IGTV

Instagram just launched IGTV, a YouTube-esque platform that allows users to create and share videos up to an hour long. IGTV can be accessed through Instagram, but is also available as a standalone app.

Image source: TechCrunch

IGTV will curate relevant videos for each individual user, including videos from those they follow, and show them that content in their feed.

What This Means for Hotels – IGTV Video Marketing Helps Hotels

Video marketing is huge for the hospitality industry and now you can tap into your Instagram user base and go beyond the short video limitations. You can show extended videos that feature your hotel’s amenities, on-site activities, meeting rooms, and more.

Instagram Shares Algorithm Insights

Last week, Instagram opened up, sharing specific insight on how its feed algorithm works. We now know that the following factors most heavily determine what users see in their feeds:

●    Expected interest determined by past behavior on similar content

●    The recency of the post, with newer posts getting priority

●    How much they’ve interacted with the person posting

None of these factors are surprising, and there are three more factors that can contribute somewhat to feed placement. They also revealed that while they don’t penalize brands for posting “too frequently,” if you share several posts in short succession, you’ll likely only have one or two show up towards the top of your followers’ feeds.

What This Means for Hotels – Driving Hotel Engagement with Instagram

Focus on driving engagement on Instagram, as this will help you perform better on the algorithm. Pictures and videos of the stunning views and exciting events will be sure to get plenty of likes and comments. You’ll also want to make sure you space out content enough that you aren’t necessarily competing against yourself for those spots in guests’ feeds.

Instagram Releases @mention Sharing for Stories

Now, when someone tags your property’s profile in a Story using the @mention sticker, you have the option to add that content to your own Story. The original story will appear as a sticker on yours, which you can rotate, resize, or add to it as you see fit.

Image source: Instagram

What This Means for Hotels – Hotel User Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) from guests is exceptionally powerful, and this is one of the best ways to showcase it. Plenty of guests share Stories during their stay with you, but since it disappears after 24 hours, this effect was limited and short-lived.

To get the most out of your guests UGC featuring your hotel, share it to your Story and then add it to a Story Highlight dedicated purely to UGC from guest visits.

Facebook Experiments with A/B Testing for Organic Posts

Facebook is currently experimenting with the ability for Pages to run A/B testing with organic posts. Admins will be able to post two versions of a post and show them to two different sets of audience members to see how each performs.

What This Means for Hotels – A/B Testing for Hotels

A/B testing is important, and it lets us better evaluate what content our guests most want to see. Being able to see what types of posts drive the most site clicks, messages with inquiries, and bookings will be invaluable to improving the effectiveness of your campaigns. A/B testing, after all, will give you more insight than just general analytics because you can see how subtle changes can make substantial differences.

Facebook Enforces New Custom Audience Requirements

Starting July 2nd, advertisers will need to specify how they got the information of their custom audiences when uploading lists of guest files. You can say that you got the information directly from customers, directly from partners, or a combination of the two.

Image source: Facebook

You’ll also need to set up partnerships and agree to share customer files in Business Manager if you’re sharing information with another business.

What This Means for Hotels – Facebook Audience Requirements for Hotels

In reality, the first part of this new change won’t affect most hotels and resorts much. You’ll just need to specify how you got your guest information, and if you got it when they booked, “directly from customer” is all you need.

Hotels and resorts using services from agencies like Lodging Interactive would need to set up this partnership so that we could run their ad campaigns for them. This is easy, however, and only needs to be done once.

Facebook is Monetizing The Marketplace with Ads

Facebook has officially monetized the Marketplace, allowing some advertisers to place ads within the Marketplace feeds. Optional objectives include conversions, video views, reach, traffic, and product catalogue. This feature will be rolling out to advertisers targeting audiences in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Hotel Live Chat Instant Gratification Wins Every Time

PARSIPPANY, NJ – June 20, 2018– There’s a lot of debate about the best way to handle the huge influx of guest messages happening through private message and live chat platforms.

 

Should we be using more automation? More resources in house? More outsourcing?

 

There are a number of different services and solutions out there– not all of which are created equal– but there’s one thing that everyone agrees on: Answering customer messages quickly and thoroughly is essential. And by fast, we mean lightningfast.

 

Chief of Marketing of Booking.com Pepijn Rijvers put it perfectly when he recently stated that a slow response or no response to a private message “basically means ‘I don’t count’” from a guest’s perspective.

 

He’s absolutely right. It’s trivial and it’s maybe a little impulsive, but we live in a world where instant gratification is expected. Getting a response in ten seconds or less is no longer a sign of exceptional customer care; it’s a requirementof decent customer service, period. This puts more strain on businesses, especially those heavy in one-on-one customer interaction like hotels or resorts.

 

So what can we do about it?

 

Live Chat Expectations: The Solutions

When it comes to managing the demands of live chat messaging, there are a few common approaches.

 

Some prefer to hire multi-person, in-house teams to handle the messages. These teams become expensive to staff, train, and maintain. You either have to worry about increased pay rates for holidays and graveyard shifts, or not offer that availability to guests who may need urgent attention during those times.

 

Others, like Booking.com, opt to utilize chatbots and automate more of the process. While chatbots can help to cut down on costs and improve automation, they also lack a personal touch and are incapable of resolving guest concerns or questions in a personalized way that can provide exceptional service. For some industries that may be ok, but not for those with the high level of personalized assistance that guests need while interacting with hotels, resorts, or other businesses in the hospitality industry.

 

I agree with Rijvers earlier assessment about the importance of not only live chat but exceptionally fast live chat. I also agree with the statements that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are becoming even more important platforms for customer service. That being said, I disagree with the fact that it’s too difficult or impossible to provide fast and thorough responses without the use of chatbots, especially for hotels at a larger scale.

 

Here’s what he had to say:

“If you’re a hotel with 100 rooms you’re not going to manually respond to every message 24/7 even though you may have 150 check-ins a day that are all asking questions. You already have two staff on board that are going to do this. So you need to both enhance the customer experience and deliver services, faster and cheaper. This can be done though automation and it is better to start investing now.”

Automation is great. It’s convenient, and sure, it’s relatively cheap. But it’s not always the most effective, especially when you have large numbers of unique and personalized requests from guests that truly do require one-on-one personalization.

Why Human-to-Human Interaction Will Always Be Best

Guests would much rather know that a real person who cares about them and understands their problem in a way a robot never could is going to get that answer to their question or resolve their problem. If they don’t feel like you can offer that, they might turn to your competition who can.

Human-to-human interaction is always the right choice when it comes to investing in your guests, because they won’t care about you if you don’t care about them. An actual, trained customer service representative will be able to assess situations and address customer concerns with a personalized solution based on the guest and their specific needs.

One guest who asks for a room with a kitchen, for example, might just want a mini-fridge and a microwave; others might expect a stove, counter space, and pots and pans. The former might not be willing to pay for a full-on kitchen, while the latter may have medically-required dietary restraints that necessitates the stove and preparation ability, so they can make their own food.

Similarly, not all guest complaints are equal, so solutions can’t just be automated. Someone who had a light flickering isn’t going to need the same level of compensation as a guest whose AC went out in the Bahamas in July and gave Grandma heatstroke. Robots might offer the same solution for each of these guests, which is a disservice to both of them and to your business.

It’s also worth noting that guests can tell when they’re talking to a chatbot and they may not be happy about it. Chatbots have that painful association of long navigation menus you get while calling your insurance company; you get ten options in, and you’re still asked to hold for an operator because the system couldn’t figure out what you wanted. This doesn’t exactly bode well for guests who are demanding instant gratification and outstanding customer support.

So Is an In-House Team My Only Option

While some hotels and resorts opt to hire staff, whose sole purpose is to answer guest live chat messages, this isn’t the most practical option. We recommend outsourcing.

 

CoMMingle offers a live chat service designed specifically to help hotels and resorts handle the flood of live messages coming from multiple platforms online. All of our U.S. agents are trained in customer service excellence, and we’ll be able to answer all of your incoming messages in real-time. We’ll keep costs down and profits up, giving you the solution you need so you can keep running your business and keep guests happy.

 

Chatbots, after all, can be a big investment. We’d rather you invest in your guests instead, prioritizing people over automation and giving every guest the best experience possible with personalized attention and care.

 

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management 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.

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses.  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 and is a Forbes.com Agency Council contributor. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

June 12, 2018 – Hospitality Social Media News

Hospitality Social Media News

 

 

 

 

June 12, 2018 Issue

Latest Updates – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Yelp

 

A lot of social media changes have happened in the past two weeks, giving us features ranging from Instagram Ad updates to new ways to connect with guests on Yelp. This edition of our biweekly newsletter takes an in-depth look at all of them and how they will affect your hotels and resorts moving forward. Let’s get started.

Organic Instagram Posts Can Be Made Into Ads

Previously, Instagram’s organic posts could only be promoted through an ad system if they were boosted natively on-platform. Now, you can turn single image and single video organic Instagram posts into actual ads through Power Editor and the Ads Manager.

These ads will give you more objectives, better targeting, and more bidding options than boosted posts did. If you’re worried about all the engagement disappearing, that shouldn’t be a concern; all likes and comments will be aggregated on the original organic content.

What This Means for Hotels

Hotels and resorts can use this new feature to gain a large amount of engagement in likes and comments on their organic content very quickly, in addition to building brand awareness and encouraging more bookings. Since Instagram has recently rolled out the new CTA buttons that allow for reservations to made, making your content look as good as possible with likes and comments could help get you more bookings.

Facebook Stories Get Instagram-Style Polling 

Instagram Stories polls have been a great way to drive engagement and get feedback from followers. Now these polls are now coming to Facebook. Poll stickers will let you ask a question and fill in two potential answers.

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook users haven’t engaged with Stories as often as they do with Instagram’s counterpart, but that may change thanks to the increasingly engaging features being added to the platform. People love to share their opinions, so now would be a great opportunity to ask guests that they think about a vacation at your resort. Some questions you could ask include:

  • “What’s your favorite part of your stay? Spa or Restaurants?”
  • “Which would you choose: Pool view or Ocean view?”
  • “Favorite resort activity: Snowboarding or Skiing?”

Facebook Events Testing New Ticketing Feature

Facebook is currently testing new functionality for their Events feature, including new ticketing and messaging options. The ticketing feature will allow businesses to offer two purchasing options, including through the site or ad the event, or to request/purchase tickets through Messenger.

What This Means for Hotels

If your resort hosts any kind of event or conference and sells the tickets directly, this could help you boost attendance by offering more convenient ways to purchase tickets and the ability to answer questions quickly.

Facebook Tests Review Scores on Business Pages

The traditional ratings system on Facebook utilizes a 5-star scale. The platform is currently testing a new review system that factors in ratings, user reviews, and the recommendations people share on platform. Instead of five stars, the new system gives you a score out of ten.

Image Source: Social Media Examiner

What This Means for Hotels 

Reviews from guests are always important, and that’s still true. If you only have a few ratings and some other feedback on-site (or a single negative rating and plenty of positive general feedback on the platform), check and see if this new system works for you. Right now some Pages have the option to choose one over the other, though that may not be the case forever. Take advantage of that while you can, and use the system that helps you promote your hotel most effectively.

Pinterest Tests Screen-Wide Video Ads 

Pinterest is currently testing a new promoted video format that will take up the full width of a mobile screen. It’s only being tested by a few big name companies like Kohl’s, American Express, and Tropicana, but hopefully we’ll see more from this soon.

What This Means for Hotels

Full-screen video ads will ensure that you have a user’s full attention, making it easier to accomplish higher video completion rates from users and making your ad more impactful.

Once available, you can showcase the stunning views around your hotel and resort. When possible, use text to explain what users are seeing if you want to get the most clicks (and bookings!). Remember that Pinterest is used to make buying decisions, so once this ad format is available, take advantage of that to put a full-screen ad in front of users doing research for their next vacation or event.

Yelp Rolls Out Collections

Yelp has just rolled out a new feature called Collections, which provides users with personalized, “hand-picked” recommendations based on their Yelp activity. The Collections will be made up of recommendations from friends and top-rated recommendations from the Yelp community in general. New recommendations are provided weekly, and users can create their own Collections of favorite brands, stores, and (of course) hotels. 

What This Means for Hotels  

We don’t know a ton yet about how exactly to be featured in a Collection by Yelp, but this is a feature that we’ll keep an eye on as personalized suggestions containing your resort could be a goldmine.

In general, encourage users to leave reviews on the platform with follow-up emails after their stay, or mention it during checkout. Yelp is already partially a numbers game as it is, so getting more reviews could only help you if you want to be featured in Collections moving forward, too.

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Big Changes from Facebook and Instagram

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GDPR has everyone scrambling to make big changes, and in the midst of all of it, there’s a handful of big social media changes that have slipped through unnoticed, coming from both Facebook and Instagram. In this latest edition of our biweekly newsletter, we’ll take a close look at the ones that will directly impact hotels and resorts.

Instagram New Call to Action Buttons Include Booking Options

New Call to Action (CTA) buttons are coming to Instagram soon. These new options include Reserve, Get Tickets, Start Order, and Book. These new CTA buttons will work alongside a number of different partners, including Booksy, ChowNow, OpenTable, Reserve, Tock, Yelp Reservations, and SevenRooms.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Previously, hotels and resorts (and the restaurants and salons within them) had to rely on a “call us” or “message us” CTA to encourage reservations, sending users through an extra step. Now, users can book reservations at your resort, appointments at a salon, or even order room service right through Instagram. Convenience is key, especially for guests on vacation.

Instagram Updates Inbox for Better Guest Interaction

Instagram is rolling out a new, simplified inbox that’s designed to improve communication. This inbox will automatically sort messages into a direct inbox, and a pending inbox. The direct inbox will only have messages sent by users, eliminating the onslaught of Stories mentions. There will also be new features that allow you to star and filter your conversations for improved follow up.

Image source: Instagram

What This Means for Hotels

Improved guest interaction is something all hotels and resorts strive for, and with guests increasing turning to Instagram to message us, it’s essential that we’re able to identify any incoming communication and respond in a timely manner. This will make it easier to follow up if necessary, making it a little simpler to provide exceptional customer service on this platform, too.

Instagram Tests Native Payment Option

Instagram has made big strides when it comes to selling through the platform, and now they’re testing native payment options that will allow them to sell on the platform. And don’t worry, this isn’t just for ecommerce businesses; an Instagram spokesman confirmed that users will be able to utilize feature when booking appointments and reservations at restaurants, salons, and—you guessed it—hotels.

Image source: TechCrunch

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Though this feature would take a little while to roll out, there’s a lot of potential for usage amongst hotels and resorts. While guests can absolutely still book reservations through your site, having an additional channel of selling—especially one that’s so visual and filled with social proof from past guests—can help you get more bookings and keep your rooms full. You can also use this feature in your resort’s restaurants and salons, letting users know up front that this is an option so they don’t have to worry about the hassle of carrying cash with them.

Facebook Updates Ads Reporting

Facebook has announced that they’ll be updating their Ads reporting interface for faster review and analysis. There will be a drag-and-drop feature that will let you choose which metrics you want to include in your reports, and will allow you to analyze factors like age, gender, placement, and more. This will start rolling out within the next month.

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Faster and easier ads review means that hotels and resorts will be able to better determine what campaigns are working and—most importantly—why they’re working. You may find different audience niches to target in future campaigns so that you can increase bookings and increase ROI.

Facebook Adds New Features to Live Broadcasts 

Facebook has introduced three different live broadcast updates that are designed to make it a little easier for Pages to go live. They’ve already rolled out the ability to crosspost live videos to multiple different Pages as unique original posts, increasing views. Persistent stream keys are now available, simplifying the process of collaborating with different locations and team members. They’re also testing a rewind feature, that will allow users to rewind live videos, catching up on what they’ve missed while the video is still broadcasting in real time.

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If your hotel goes live on Facebook, these are all features that you can take advantage of to get more out of live. Share your content to different Pages (especially if you have a salon and restaurant in-resort with different profiles) for maximum views, and use the persistent stream keys with encoders to coordinate with multiple team members, potentially broadcasting from different sister resorts or even different locations within a single resort.

Hospitality Social Media Marketing News – May 16, 2018

Social media normally evolves quickly, but the past few weeks have been a flurry of new updates that seem to be coming at us faster than ever. In this bi-weekly edition of our newsletter, we’ve got big updates from Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Keep reading to see how they affect you and your hotel.

Facebook Rolls Out New Analytics App

Facebooks has recently made some big additions to their analytics suite. The first of these changes is a new analytics mobile app that allows admins to review metrics and insights on the go. They’ve also added a new featured called Journeys, which provides anonymous omni-channel data reporting that helps you evaluate the relationships users have with your business before they purchase. This ties in with their new feature that automatically detects sales funnels and common paths to conversions.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

More data is always good. Being able to access insights on the go is always convenient, but being able to get a better understanding of how guests interact with us online (and not just on Facebook) before they convert and book reservations is incredible. We can see which offers and packages are most effective at increasing bookings, and how more of our guests are interacting with us.

Facebook Announced New Integrations for Workplace

Increasing numbers of hotels and resorts are testing out Facebook’s Workplace to create a cohesive, online work environment. Facebook has sweetened the deal even more, announcing a large number of new integrations for Workplace. These integrations include many of the world’s leading enterprise cloud services, including Hubspot, Hootsuite, Zoom, and SurveyMonkey. Facebook has also improved extension sharing and search features for Workplace.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

For hotels and resorts using Workspace for their teams, this will improve functionality on the platform. Being able to integrate with third party cloud services and more easily share extensions with your staff will streamline the process and make online teamwork a little more efficient.

Facebook Refines Targeting Policies & Exclusion Targeting

In attempt to keep their ad services in good standing, Facebook has announced that they have removed thousands of exclusion targeting categories from the ad system. Advertisers use exclusion targeting to eliminate irrelevant audience members from seeing an ad, ensuring it was seen by the right people instead. While there are plenty of legitimate uses for this feature, Facebook was worried about abuse.

Image source: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/reviewing-targeting-to-ensure-advertising-is-safe-and-civil

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

There are still some exclusion targeting categories available, so your marketing strategies haven’t been thrown out the door if you use this on your ad campaigns. Facebook supposedly focused on removing topics that related to sensitive or personal attributes like religion, sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity. You’ll still be able to exclude users who are already connected to your Page if you want to target new users only.

Facebook Reopens App Reviews

In our last newsletter, we shared an update that Facebook was pausing app reviews while they sorted through privacy issues. We’re happy to announce that Facebook has reopened the review process.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

If you have an app for your hotel or resort and are trying to get it approved, reviews are now open, making it possible. If you were waiting to submit until after the pause was over, now is your chance.

Instagarm Updates Stories & Posting Functionality  

Stories is an exceptionally popular on feature on Instagram, and now we have new functionality when using it to market to potential guests. It’s now possible to upload multiple photos and videos to a story at once, saving you a significant amount of time.

They’ve also improved location tagging, with Stories automatically suggestions location stickers based on where the photo or video was taken.

These new features are currently available on Android devices and will be rolling out to iOS in the following weeks.

Image source: https://instagram-press.com/blog/2018/04/24/improvements-to-stories-uploads/

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Since third party posting tools can’t post to Stories but it’s an essential marketing tool, being able to upload more content at once will save hotels significant amounts of time without sacrificing any of the benefits. Even more importantly, location stickers being suggested to guests can increase the number of user-generated content posts your resort gets, as users may be more likely to tag you if the platform does it for them.

Pinterest Releases New Business Profiles & Insights

Pinterest has revamped the appearance of business profiles, which features a dynamic cover image that lets you showcase certain boards or recent activity. In addition to the new sleek, modern look, we’re also getting more insights that include the number of users who saw your pins within 30 days.

Image source: https://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/new-profile-new-insights-new-ways-to-get-discovered

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The new look of the Pinterest business profiles is already a plus, but the rest of the updates are what will affect hotels and resorts most. Choose your dynamic cover image carefully; instead of highlighting recent activity, use it to share boards of your most popular destinations or spa packages to give them maximum visibility. And as the new insights feature rolls out fully, you can use it to evaluate how your audience is responding to your pins.