Hotel Social Media Marketing to Different Generations

Different generation inspirations and expectations

 

Whether it’s Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X or Baby Boomers, your hotel social media marketing strategy needs to include plans that effectively reach out to your desired target audience. What motivates them? What is their purchasing power and disposable income? What are their inspirations and expectations on social media?

percentage of US adults who use social media

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

 

Hotel social media marketing approaches

 

Each generation approaches social media based on their life experiences and inspirations. They each have preferred social media platforms but how and why they use them makes finding the right approach to each group a challenge. While these groups may share an interest in some of the same social media platforms, they have different ways of using and communicating through these platforms.

 

Baby Boomers

The often forgotten group when it comes to social media – are part of the generation that developed the internet and the desktop computer as we know it today. Two of the most notable are Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple). Tim Berners-Lee together with Robert Cailliau, is recognized as the inventor of the World Wide Web. They have the largest disposable income of all age groups. According to Pew Research, 69% of adults aged 50 to 64 used social networking sites. Most preferred Facebook so they could revive friendships of bygone days to reminisce and perhaps renew those friendships.

 

Social Media Approach: 91% have a social media account and 95% prefer to communicate with businesses via email. They want relevant content and have a preference to content based platforms like Facebook and YouTube. If they can share their views and opinions, they’re all in! They don’t hesitate to voice and share their opinions and look for deals and information. So this is the generation that newsletter signups, informative video content, questionnaires, contests, promotions and polls help increase your hotel’s chances for awareness, engagement and interaction.

Generation X

This is a smaller group in between Baby Boomers and Millennials – the so-called “MTV” generation. They grew up with the music video craze as the power of visuals over words grew stronger and they have the second largest disposable income next to Baby Boomers. They lived most of their life away from the internet and social media so they like things simple and clear. This is the group that considers what will make their life easier and rewarding. So luxurious services and products have a definite attraction.

 

Social Media Approach:  This group likes content that is visually engaging so photo/picture/video-based content will appeal to them. They are brand loyalists so building relationships with them is the easiest of all groups. They are the most likely to follow brands and share content through social media outlets. But they will just as well unfollow a brand because something said was offensive or against their personal beliefs. Calls to action are your best bet to catching their attention. One click solutions to websites are best for this generation as are avoiding polls and quizzes. They are a reflective group so invoking memories will indulge their needs and inspire them to engage with your hotel.

Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y)

This is the largest of all groups who have high ideals and are vocal about what they represent. When it comes to social media, millennials are the most influential of all generations. They seek out brand advocates because they see peers as a trustworthy source. They base their decisions about hotels through ratings and reviews. They engage with multiple social media platforms rather than have a loyalty to just one. They’re technologically savvy and have changed the landscape for hotel social media.

 

Social Media Approach:  This generation is the one that will turn to social media instead of phone or email to communicate with your hotel. They are the most influential on social media and seek out brand advocates. The exchanges allow them to express what they care about and, at the same time, build relationships that hotels can tap into. They expect relevant and credible content so hotels can build better relationships with millennials by ensuring they are adding value to the exchanges.

 

Generation Z

This is the youngest group who were born with the digital world in the palm of their hands – the true digital generation – that doesn’t know what life was like before the advent of computers. This generation is the most forward thinking and innovative. They are impressionable and most feel that social media directly impacts how they feel about themselves. Virtual Reality as part of your hotel’s social media marketing would be of most interest to this group. Compared to other generations, a recent Google research survey shows this generation to be the most “connected” of all groups.

 

Social Media Approach: Video content that empowers or motivates is what will inspire this generation. When it comes to social media engagement, quick, brief content catches their attention and inspires them to interact. Being authentic is key as most in this generation would prefer to see real people marketing to them than celebrities.  Exclusive offers that provide real-time results are a way to gain their loyalty.

 

GenZ represents a large segment of the population

 

Whichever generation you are targeting for your hotel social media marketing, you will first need to understand the mindset of each group, how you can interact with them, and the right social media platform to reach them. You will want to find their triggers and make them an advocate of your hotel. But the ultimate success of your social media marketing campaign to each generation will be when your efforts turn those likes and shares into bookings.

Lodging Interactive Launches Social Influencer Marketing Services for Hotels

PARSIPPANY, NJ – April 18, 2017 Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its social influencer marketing program called, “Social Voices Influencer Marketing Services” for the hospitality industry. Social Voices provides hotels with the ability to leverage the social influence of others to drive brand awareness and new revenue opportunities for their properties.

 

Social Voices Influencer Marketing

 

“Social influencer marketing is an emerging branding strategy for the hospitality industry and one that enhances a hotel’s current social media marketing and engagement initiatives,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and CEO. “Social Voices is a fully managed influencer marketing program providing hotels with complete campaign management from start to finish.”

 

Social Voices Influencer Marketing works with hotels to develop effective social influencer marketing campaigns centered around Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogging. The company utilizes industry leading platform technologies to determine the best social influencer candidates for campaigns and manages the entire influencer bidding and contracting process for its hotel customers. Throughout the process hotels receive ongoing analytical KPI reports and engagement metrics to validate the effectiveness of the social influencer campaigns.

 

“Research shows that 92% of people say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations over ads. And user generated content (UGC) when part of an overall strategic social media marketing campaign, can drive tremendous branding reach and positive Earned Media Value (EMV),” stated Vallauri. “Until now, the challenge has been providing an affordable social influencer marketing program for individual properties. Our Social Voices Influencer Marketing service addresses this past challenge.”

 

Marriott Rewards Is Giving 4 Influencers Spectacles to Make Buzzy Snapchat Stories

 

 

As reported in Adweek, Marriott Hotels is working with social media influencers to create organic content by leveraging each influencers’ Snapchat channel to create 10-second vertical clips using Snap’s (parent company of Snapchat) video-enabled Spectacles glasses to capture the influencers’ Marriott travel adventures. Also, Marriott has hired four social influencers—Jen Levinson, Tom Jauncey, Sara Hopkins and Diipa Khosla—to take over the brand’s Snapchat account roughly once a month. social influencer marketing

 

“Authenticity is a trait that customers value, especially millennials, and with influencer marketing that is not compromised. It is difficult to achieve that credibility with traditional advertising especially when a campaign is eventually over. Influencer marketing is like a gift that keeps giving because the influencer posts stay active, the brand stays engaged and the results can translate to higher EMV as those engaged become customers,” stated Rosella Virdo, Managing Director, CoMMingle.

 

Social Voices Influencer Marketing services are powered by Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle Social Media Engagement operational division. Since launching in 2009 CoMMingle has grown to become the largest social media and reputation management firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses for hundreds of hotels and resorts.

 

To learn more about Lodging Interactive’s Social Voices Influencer Marketing visit SocialVoices.com.

 

About Lodging Interactive:

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. 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. For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

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The Benefits of Internet Marketing for Hotels

As we are so entrenched in the digital age, it seems logical that your hotel advertising should be as well.  For many years hotels have relied on print marketing in newspapers, magazines or paper mailers to get their message to potential customers.  There may still be a few hoteliers out there using these methods, when in fact, the benefits of Internet marketing for hotels greatly outweigh any other means of advertising.

As a hotel owner/manager your goal is to increase room revenue.  You want more “heads in beds”.  To achieve this you need to think like the consumer and understand how they purchase goods and services.  In this day and age, more and more people are on their mobile devices conducting research and comparing prices because it’s quick, easy and right in the palm of their hands.  If you’re not in the digital world you are missing out on many opportunities to grab the attention of these users.

When marketing your hotel website, keep in mind the benefits you will reap.

It’s convenient.  When you advertise online, you’re available 24 hours a day to take reservations and to showcase your property.  With busy schedules, consumers are searching the web at all hours of the day, so whether Internet Marketing for Hotels it’s the early riser or the night owl, you can access them all.

Your reach is greater.  Using internet marketing services allows you to reach people all over the world rather than those in a specific market or a particular part of the country.

You can build relationships. Unlike traditional print marketing, internet marketing for hotels provide an opportunity to build a database of those who visit your website.  By providing a newsletter sign up or an e-offers sign up, you can develop a list of potential customers to reach out to. You can then tailor and email offers that speak to the needs and wants of your database.  Another option is to give your guests a chance to leave a review that you can personally respond to.  This shows your guest that you care about their experience and value their opinion.  Each of these items will help build positive relationships with your guests.

Online marketing is a must for hotels if you want to be successful and stand out from your competitors. There are too many components to website marketing that make it an effective strategy not to be overlooked or undermined.

Latest Facebook Mobile Apps and What They Mean for Your Hotel

Facebook Mobile AppsSocial media marketing for hotels is ever changing and mobile usage is becoming the norm for searches and social interaction.  At the forefront of these changes is Facebook Mobile Apps. With more than 1.65 billion active users, this global social media giant has changed the way people communicate and engage with each other. So it’s a natural progression that Facebook recently introduced the mobile app version of their two popular features, Facebook Events and Facebook Recommendations.

How can hotels leverage these Facebook Mobile Apps features within their social media marketing strategies?  To answer this, we would first need to understand how these features work and what they provide:

What are Facebook Event and Recommendations?

Facebook Event can be used to notify or invite friends, family, fans or group members to any upcoming function, gathering or bash. They can be private or public. Private events are just that: Events that can only be seen by the people invited. But a person can reach out to their connections and have them invite their friends. A public event is an invitation to everyone and can be seen by anyone regardless of whether they have a Facebook account or not.

Facebook Recommendations on the other hand is used to see what a person’s connections are up to, suggested places to visit, things to do or what events are coming into your local area as well as services that may prove useful. You will also see updates from a person’s connections for past events attended. It’s essentially a place to give and share experiences of places, events and services with your family, friends and other connections.

 

Leveraging Facebook features in hotel social media marketing plans

 

So how can hotels use these features? If leveraged well, your hotel:

  • Will be able to tap into local events announced through Events and Recommendations to reach your target audience
  • Individual users will be able to use the call-to-action buttons (which start from the recommendations page) to interact with your hotel directly through Facebook Messenger or might even tag your hotel alerting friends your hotel is worth checking out.
  • If any user shares his/her own experiences or recommends your hotel through these features, your hotel would become part of their peer’s networks also and friend recommendations carry weight in final buying and booking decisions.
  • For hotels that present their own events through their business Facebook account, you have the chance to reach a wider audience.

 

These new Facebook features present a number of opportunities to drive future and repeat bookings. It’s well worth making them a part of your hotel’s social media marketing strategy.

Why Hotels Should Choose Google AdWords & Bing Certified PPC Partners

Bing Ads Accredited ProfessionalGoogle Certified Partner

 

 

 

 

Hotels using Certified PPC Partners such as Google AdWords & Bing Ads can reach new guests in a targeted way and promote direct bookings.

Hotel paid search marketing can sometimes be tricky and especially challenging when setting up PPC campaigns in Google AdWords. If not set-up correctly, your hotel may end up spending thousands of dollars without getting any of the desired results in return.

What is a Google Partner Agency?                       

At Lodging Interactive we are proud to have a professional on our team that is certified in the use of Google AdWords and Google Analytics. We link our Google AdWords Partner badge directly to our Partner page. But what does it mean to be a badged Google Partner and why is having your hotel work with a Google Partner better?

Google made a Google Partner badge available to advertisers who have passed Google’s criteria as well as have met higher spending and performance requirements. Lodging Interactive has earned this badge by being certified in AdWords, managing a large ad spend every 90 days, and continuously meeting Google’s standards to maintain partner status.

We have also earned specializations in Search and Mobile advertising. This means we are certified in these specific product areas and are well versed in helping clients create and optimize ads for both desktop and mobile.

Why a Google Certified Agency like Lodging Interactive is Just Perfect

Hotel Marketing Expertise: Since 2001, our team has worked in online marketing services focusing on the hotel & hospitality industry. We are successfully managing custom hotel website design, website creation, strategic marketing, customer relations & hotel social media for independent hotels, branded properties and numerous hotel management companies.

Google Certified Analyst: Our dedicated certified manager stays up-to-date with the latest Google AdWords, Google Analytics and YouTube tools as well as algorithm updates by writing and passing Google certification exams every 12 months.
PPC Best Practices: To maintain Google Partner status, our agency team member must take certification exams in AdWords Fundamentals, Search, Display, Video, and Mobile Advertising along with Analytics. We follow Google’s standards for account management best practices to maintain our Google Partner badge.

Inside Insights & Features: Partners know what is going on with Google services and products all the time and this gives us valuable insights into the latest trends, events, & inside news in the industry. It also gives us access to Google’s beta features, up to a year or more before they become available to the public, as well as applications in the industry.

Direct Google Access: Google Partners with a large ad spend have a dedicated Google Agency Team that can be contacted any time a client has an issue without waiting in line.

A company that doesn’t continue to maintain Google’s standards for partner status can have their badge removed. This ensures that a high standard of service is maintained no matter the date that the Partner Status was achieved.

Part II – Bing Ads Accredited Professional

Many companies overlook paid search ads on Bing, but they make up a 28.7% share of all searches.

Similar to the Google Partner exam provided by Google, Bing Ads has an Accredited Professional Certification. In order to use Bing Ads on a day-to-day basis, the Bing Ads certification ensures your skills and abilities as a digital marketing and paid search professional are up to date. Like Google, Bing also offers similar benefits for its Accredited Professionals.

Bing constantly creates new and fancy features for your account expansion and improvement. As a Bing Accredited Professional, we join the crew of knowledgeable account executives and PPC experts in the industry.

Get started with your Hotel PPC Campaign today.

Lodging Interactive Launches Educational White Paper Series

PARSIPPANY, NJ – April 4, 2017 Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its educational white paper series. The series can be found here: https://lodginginteractive.com/about-us/white-papers/

 

“Our concept is simply to educate and share relevant hospitality digital marketing information that enables hotel General Managers to make the best informed decisions for their properties,” said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and CEO. “Each white paper is a brief five pages that can be read online or downloaded as a PDF document. We’ve purposely kept them as short as possible while being meaningful.”

 

The Company plans to add new white papers bi-weekly. Current Lodging Interactive white papers posted include:

  • The Future of Hotel Customer Service
  • Hotel Social Media Marketing Tips
  • Improving Hotel Guest Experience with Live Chat
  • Tips for a Successful Hotel Website Redesign

All white papers are free to read and download and do not require email registration. “No email required, although we’d like it very much if you subscribe to our email list,” added Mr. Vallauri.

 

The white papers can be found here: https://lodginginteractive.com/about-us/white-papers/

About Lodging Interactive:

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

 

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

 

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

Tips for a Successful Hotel Website Redesign – Part 4

You have now launched your revamped hotel website and believe you can sit back to enjoy the proverbial fruits of your labor. Well don’t go into your happy place just yet. In this last part of our series, we will be discussing some post launch follow-ups of your hotel website redesign.

In your redesign process, you made sure to:

  • Have a plan that could turn your visitors into guests.
  • Have landing pages encouraging prospective guests to explore further.
  • Have a website that reflects your hotel’s voice

You confidently launched your new site and now there are some last checks to ensure all is working, linking and presenting as you had planned.

hotel website redesignHotel Website Redesign Post Launch Checklist

You can start with giving one more look at your hotel website for any server errors, broken and inbound links, CSS errors, no index tags, PPC ads and tracking codes.  Then you will also need to:

  • Update your Sitemaps file to see if search engines found new web pages and/or errors on your website
  • Check your analytics & webmaster tools for bounce rates and stats on your new site
  • Optimize for SEO (internal & external links, keywords etc)
  • Periodically check rankings: Re-indexing by search engines takes time
  • Review your site’s performance in various browsers for desktop, smartphone and tablet
  • Re-test web forms and emails sent by scripts. (The last thing you want is a frustrated potential guest who can’t make their way to you or where you are directing them!)
  • Check search results after search engines have re-indexed your site
  • Check re-indexed pages for improvements or a drop from your previous numbers.

Your hotel website is your strongest marketing tool. You want it to have a positive impact with the goals you set as well as the features and functionality your guests will appreciate. These last checks will give you a chance to fix any last minute issues before they start to affect your rankings and cut into your ROI.

If you have just joined us, please read the first three parts of this series:

Hotel Website Redesign – Part 1

Hotel Website Redesign – Part 2

Hotel Website Redesign – Part 3

Hotel Executive CEO Interview: Dj Vallauri

Human Powered Websites are the Future

CEO INTERVIEW: DJ VALLAURI, LODGING INTERACTIVE FOUNDER & CEO

There is no doubt that, as consumers, we are always looking for solutions that save us time. Time is the one factor in our daily lives of which we never seem to have enough of. Large consumer brands such as Amazon, Best Buy, Comcast, and many others understand this important human factor and take advantage of opportunities to return “time” back to consumers. But how are they doing this and why haven’t hotel brands followed suit?

Recently Benedict Cummins from HotelExecutive connected with DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and President, to discuss his vision on human powered websites and why he believes they are the future for the hospitality industry.

Benedict: DJ, your agency has been in the digital marketing space for over 15 years now, offering hotels the tools and services to drive direct bookings via their websites. As it relates to hotel websites, how have things changed in the past few years and where are things headed?

DJ: Hotel websites have come a very long way in the past 15 years. Hotel websites are no longer considered “brochureware” but rather are active sales tools operating on a 24/7/365 day a year basis. Most recently new technology developments have occurred in the area of making desktop websites more manageable and effective on mobile devices. One specific example of this is the responsive adaptive technology. The majority of hoteliers have come to understand the importance in providing consumers with an exceptional online browsing experience via their mobile devices. As a result, the majority of hotel websites today are properly rendering on mobile devices. The hospitality industry has never been known to be on the cutting edge of technology But when Google introduced search engine ranking penalties for non-mobile friendly websites, I believe this pushed the hospitality industry to make the proper investments in responsive website technologies.

Benedict: Yes, mobile technologies have certainly affected the entire Internet and not just the hospitality industry. But is it all about technology or is there more? How do you see the hotel website evolving in the next few years?

DJ: That’s a great question, but let’s step back for a moment. The hospitality industry is all about being hospitable towards people. We’re about the human-to-human connections we have with our guests. We’re about providing experiences our guests will remember for a lifetime and will hopefully share with their network of friends and families either in person or via social media channels. The experienced hotel operator clearly understands this concept of “humanizing” their property. Operating a property with this mindset clearly provides a competitive advantage for those General Managers that “get it.” You see, it’s no longer about the technology. The technology is purely the price of entry today. The hotels that will win over the next 24 months will be those that introduce the human elements of real-time engagement via the technology. In other words, leveraging the technologies available to better engage and build relationships with their guests via human connections. Hotel websites have traditionally been a one-way conversation that hotels have with their potential guests. A website visitor simply clicks around the website to search for the information they need. Sometimes they’re successful but most times they’re not. The website of today and the next 24 months, flips this model upside down and enables two-way conversations between the hotel and their potential guests, in real-time while they’re online.

Benedict: That’s interesting. Can you please elaborate on this?

DJ: The hotel industry has always been slow to adapt new technologies, but what I’m going to discuss is not new technology. In fact it’s been around for over 15 years. I’m specifically referring to live chat technologies. As consumers we’ve been using live chat for many years. When we visit websites like Amazon, Comcast, American Express or nearly any major online retailer, we find online live chat to be very efficient when we’re in need of a little more information than most websites can provide prior to making a purchase. Live chat has always felt comfortable to consumers because it’s certainly easy to use but, most importantly, it allows us to control the conversation and interaction on our own time. As I mentioned earlier, time is one asset that we have very little of these days. Why would someone go through endless telephone IVR prompts only to be put into a holding queue?  Now when you consider how consumers use their mobile devices… today’s consumers are “attached” to their mobile devices nearly 24/7 and certainly their mobile devices are always nearby and within easy reach. And those mobile devices are always connected via broadband to the Internet. It’s only been recently that live chat applications have been made totally mobile allowing consumers to “ask questions” anytime and on-the-go. Such power in our pockets… it’s very exciting.

Benedict: So are you saying that live chat is going to flip the hotel-consumer engagement model?

DJ: Yes exactly. When we researched the market viability for a fully managed live chat service we found that, of 2500 hotels in North America, less than half of 1% had a live chat widget on their website. This equates to only 12 of 2500 hotels that had live chat enabled on their website. This got us very excited as it confirmed the market opportunity for us. It would be our challenge to come up with a cost effective business model and service to address the market need. This is why we developed our fully managed CoMMingle Live Chat service for the hospitality industry. Our model is to license the best live chat platform available on the market and to hire US based live chat agents and put them on our payroll. We certainly looked at outsourcing our live chat agent services to existing companies in the Philippines but felt the quality of service we could provide through them would not be acceptable. So we now have our own live chat agents, on our payroll and part of our company. This decision has proven to be the right decision for us and our hotel clients.

Benedict: So your live chat service is completely managed for the hotel? How do your agents know enough about the hotel?

DJ: Yes our CoMMingle Live Chat service is fully managed and we handle all the live chat sessions for each property. During the onboarding process, our agents are trained on the property information as well as the specific voice and tone the property is seeking in their customer live chat engagements. Additionally, we have other training programs to ensure our agents are as knowledgeable as they would be sitting at the property. Also because our live agents are 100% dedicated to the operation, we have instilled our own core customer service values and salesmanship. The entire process is very efficient.

Benedict: What about all the talk of artificial intelligence and robotic chat bots. Do automated chat bots offer an even more efficient live chat model for hotels?

DJ: Well one thing that became entirely clear to us when we launched our live chat service for hotels was that you cannot automate, nor should you, a conversation between a potential guest and a hotel. We have seen live chat engagements turn from a simple question about the destination to actually making an online reservation and assisting the future guest with spa reservations as an add-on sales opportunity. Our agents are not only working to provide the highest level of customer service while someone is browsing the hotel website, but they also act as what we call “assisted sales agents”. Meaning, our live chat agents can assist in closing business. They share sales materials such as floor plans, catering menus and wedding package information with potential customers via the live chat session. Our agents truly act as a sales support team when someone is in the buying mode. Chat bots can be effective when consumers are looking to book point-to-point air travel, a simple conversational string that can present airfares and flight options. But trying to automate hotel live chat sessions is like trying to automate a telephone conversation; it simply cannot be done. There are too may variables involved just as there are with telephone conversations. Why don’t you try the Expedia Messenger chat bot for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Their chat bot experience is not so great, and I’m being polite. Besides this issue, try telling a hotel General Manager that a chat bot will be engaging with their potential customers. Trust me, you won’t get far with that conversation.

Benedict: But can hotels just add their own widget for live chat to their website? Why do they need to outsource this?

DJ: They could and many hotels have tried exactly this in the past. But the issue within our industry is having the qualified staff available to handle the live chat engagement and staffing has always been a challenge for properties. We heard from General Managers who have tried to handle live chat on their own and they’ve all echoed the same staffing issue. You see live chat volume will vary from day to day and week to week. This makes it practically impossible to staff at the property level with one or two dedicated people.

Benedict: So clearly you’re very bullish on live chat for the hospitality industry.

DJ: You can mark my words, live chat will become as ubiquitous as the online hotel booking engine has become today. This will happen very quickly, within the next 24 months or sooner. Live chat is what all consumers want and, with zero learning curve, it is even more certain that live chat will become the norm very quickly.

DJ Vallauri, Founder & President of Lodging Interactive, has been proactive and successful in all his social media initiatives over the last five years through CoMMingle. DJ saw the void of participation on social media from individual hotel properties and in 2010 CoMMingle was born.Through his insightful projections, CoMMingle has become a successful division of Lodging Interactive solely dedicated to social media marketing, social customer service and reputation management for the Hospitality Industry. Every industry’s social media needs are different and DJ understands the needs and challenges faced by hotels. Mr. Vallauri can be contacted at 877-291-4411 ext 704 | Lodging or dj@lodginginteractive.com

The Hotel Business Review is a weekly journal of best practices in hotel management and operations and is available at www.hotelexecutive.com. HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review.

Tips for a Successful Hotel Website Redesign – Part 3 of 4

You took care of your backups, laid out a plan and redesigned your hotel website according to your objectives and what you had mapped out. That’s great! But before you launch your hotel website redesign, you will need to do some final checks of your updated site to ensure the transition to launch goes smoothly.

hotel website redesign

Hotel Website Redesign Pre-launch Checklist

You’ve taken care of the basics but some final checks before launch should include:

  • Making sure all your tracking codes are up-to-date and working.
  • Ensuring your AdWords and PPC campaigns are updated.
  • Checking that 301 redirects are working.
  • Verifying any email addresses connected with your site are working properly.
  • Removing any robots.txt tags you might have temporarily used while in the development environment.

Your hotel’s pre-launch checking phase will ensure the minimal amount of hiccups when you actually launch your updated site. You want to avoid problems with CMS systems and be certain that you are not sending your guests and future guests to pages with broken links. In other words, avoiding pitfalls that will adversely affect your hotel SEO rankings or AdWords quality score.

 5, 4, 3, 2, 1……Launch Time!

 Your website is your biggest marketing and sales tool. So it would be well worth your while to spend the time rechecking all aspects of your updated website before it goes live. After all, your objective during a hotel website redesign is to avoid any downtime, cost over-runs and lost rankings – all while protecting traffic.

In our next and final installment of this series we will be discussing some post hotel website redesign checks.