#AskDJV Episode 58 – Hotel Reputation Management HSMAI Panel Discussion

#AskDJV Episode 58 - Hotel Reputation ManagementHello Everybody and welcome to the #AskDJV show. This is episode 58! I’m so glad you joined us today. On this week’s episode, we’re going to do something a little bit different.

I was on a panel discussion just a few weeks ago, on the HSMAI Greater New York (Hotel Sales & Marketing Association) related to Hotel Reputation Management and Best Practices and we had a hotelier with me as well as someone from TripAdvisor.  So, the first question was:

What can hotels do to encourage more hotel reviews from their customers?

It’s very simple. You need to ask your customers. As someone is checking out at your front desk, it takes less than 10 seconds to say, “Have you enjoyed your stay?” and they say, “Yes” and you can see how they are excited and they enjoyed their stay. “Would you mind please going to TripAdvisor?” “Here’s a little card with the website address on it and leave us a review?” “We’d greatly appreciate that.”

Also TripAdvisor has their own tools that you can download from your business account and actually go in there and see all of the resources they have, to actually help you to acquire more reviews for your website.

What Reviews Should Hotels Respond To?

Was another question, one that we get asked all the time. Our belief is that you should always respond to positive and negative reviews. All reviews, period. The first reason is because you want to show that you appreciate the time that someone took to write a review and you’re now coming along and responding because you’re showing that attention to detail, if you will, on responding to that review.

But the really, really, really, important reason you want to respond to all reviews is because you’re not really just writing it for the person who read the review. 93% of consumers will visit review websites before booking a hotel website. That’s a stat that TripAdvisor just recently put out. So, with that in mind, you want to make sure that you’re writing it with the intent of the next person coming along actually seeing your response. It shows them you care and it gives you an opportunity to correct any negative situation that happened or to thank them for a positive review and pump up your positive vibe, if you will, for the new guest opportunities that come along.

Who Should Respond at the Hotel Level to Reviews?

It should come directly from the General Manager as far as the signature. You know, you may look to find assistance by a company like ours who actually provides review response services for hotels, we do that for 100’s of hotels, we’re the largest provider handling over 200,000 reviews a year.

But don’t forget Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Google. Consumers are also leaving reviews on those platforms and it’s important as a hotelier that you are always watching for those. We have many hotels where we are actually seeing more Google reviews every month posted than on TripAdvisor. Next question that came up that was pretty important was, “What do you do?”:

How do you address a complaint, where someone is complaining about price?”

What you want to do is address the situation by providing the following:
• One is you want to state how compatible and comparable your pricing is to other hotels in the marketplace. So it’s important that you state that because you don’t want people to think, well, they could just go to another hotel and get a better price on WiFi or parking.
• You also then want to show them a solution. Present a solution where you can say to them, “You can go to our website and actually book a package that includes WiFi or free parking.”

Another question that came up on the panel was

How do you handle fake reviews that you believe are just from disgruntled employees or competitors?

Now, we’re not really seeing fake reviews that much and competitors going on there. Rest assured that TripAdvisor takes this very, very seriously and your option is to really go and contact your account manager at TripAdvisor and have them investigate that review and potentially remove it from their site.

The last question I’ll leave you with that was on the panel is

Should a hotel website have their own reviews on their own website?

And my answer to that is, “Absolutely.”

Because we know if someone leaves and goes to an OTA website, they may never come back. They may make a reservation for one of your competitors, on TripAdvisor, for example, or go to Expedia and check out the reviews there and decide to make a reservation there for one of your competitors. So you want to keep them on your website as much as possible.

There are many technologies out there available that will enable you to do that, they all have plug-ins that you can plug in, as well as other companies like ourselves have a service where you can also integrate a guest review system into your website.

So, there you have it, those are the questions that were asked at the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association luncheon last month and I’m happy to be able to share with you our responses and our point of view.

Please be sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel so that you can stay up to date as new videos come out. Thanks again for joining and we’ll see you next week. Take care.

#AskDJV Episode 57 – Live Chat and Live Chat Widgets on Hotel Websites

#AskDJV Episode 57 Live Chat WidgetsHello Everybody and welcome to the #AskDJV show.  This is episode 57 of the #AskDJV show.  Thank you so much for joining us this week.  On this week’s episode, I’d like to talk about live chat and live chat widgets on hotel websites

I’ve got 5 reasons, 5 top reasons why your hotel needs to have a live chat widget and service for your website customers.

5 Top Reasons Why Your Hotel Needs a Live Chat Widget on Your Website

Reason#1 – It Humanizes Your Brand

It enables you to make your brand human and to engage with another human being.  Someone wants an answer now, why not provide that to them? That will facilitate the booking.  It will create a loyal guest that says, “You know what?” “This hotel really cares about the engagement and connection with me, I’m going to give them a shot.”  “I may make a reservation.”

Reason#2 – You’re Providing Time Back to your Consumer

Specifically, you’re enabling your consumer to engage and interact with you on their time, not your time.  When you give back someone their time they will become very loyal to you, that’s for sure, 100%.

Reason#3 – You’re Going to Provide Answers in Real Time to what has traditionally been known as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now, you and I both know that many hotel websites, in fact your hotel website, may not have an FAQ page on it, shame on you, you should have that as a bare minimum.  But this takes it up a notch.  You’re providing real time FAQ service when the consumer wants it.

Reason#4 – You’re Going to Drive more RFP submissions through your website

Here’s an example:
A wedding couple about to get married a year from now is surfing through your website. Well, without FAQ’s their kinda left on their own, but if they have a wedding planning question, it’s easy for you to engage with them via live chat to enable that conversation, to push them to filling out an RFP form vs. leaving them on their own and having them go to potentially a competitor because you’re not there servicing them in a real-time human engagement and assisted sales support channel.

Reason#5 – and this is a BIG ONE Guys – You’re Avoiding Potential Crisis Situations

We have seen examples of people going to their hotel room, trying to figure out who they need to speak with, they’re very upset, they go on your website, well, we’re able to capture them in our live chat service and speak to them and calm them down and escalate that conversation to the General Manager because that crisis situation can blow up into a real nasty fight with your hotel and that consumer and it can be aired on TripAdvisor and other OTA websites.  So crisis escalation is something that you will capture through a live chat service as well.

Those are the 5 reasons why your hotel website needs to have a live chat service.  Now, if you can’t do it for yourself, we have a live chat for hotels.com website, you can check that out, livechatforhotels.com and you’ll be able to get information on what we can do to support you with our own live chat agents, 7 days a week, full coverage.
Thanks again for joining us on this week’s episode on the #AskDJV show.  Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can be informed when new episodes come out.  Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.

#AskDJV Episode 56: Social Influencer Marketing – Part 2

Influencer Marketing = part 2

 

Hello Everybody, welcome to Episode 56 of the #AskDJV Show.  On this week’s episode, I want to continue the discussion as it relates to Social Media Influencer Marketing.

Now, as a hotelier, the way you deploy a Social Media Influencer program is multi-faceted.

The first thing you’re going to do is use Google to find someone of interest.  Someone you believe can properly represent your hotel in a professional, yet fun and informative manner to their followers.  You want to find someone who has a decent amount of followers on Instagram, on Twitter, etc., but not too many that they are going to charge you so much money for their services.  So you don’t want to look for a Kim Kardashian as I used in last week’s episode.

Social Media Influencers

You want to use what’s called a “micro influencer”.  These are folks who have anywhere from 3,4,5,000 followers up to maybe 40 or 50,000 followers.  That’s a more reasonable number for you to work with.  So identify those people, reach out to them and contact them and ask them if they’d be willing to work with you on an Influencer Campaign Plan with you and your property.  Once you get their acceptance, then you start thinking about what’s the strategy?  What am I trying to achieve with this Influencer Program?

Now, at first blush, you’re probably going to want to focus on branding and getting the word out about your hotel and share with people anything your website, your hotel has to offer.  So it’s going to be more of a branding exercise than a revenue exercise where you’re offering discounts.  The first step is to really get your brand out there amongst the various followers that this person can now provide visibility into your hotel.

Influencer Marketing Agreement

Once you’ve identified that scope of work, you then to have to enter into an agreement with that influencer and you’re going to negotiate back and forth, put together a written agreement as to what the deliverables are.  When they’re going to start working for you, when they’re going to end working for you.  The days they are going to visit and the days they are going to leave.  What they are going to do and what they are going to showcase at your property.  If you have a great pool, a great spa, tennis courts, golf course, you want to make sure you work that into the agreement so that the influencer showcases all of those different attributes and benefits of staying at your property.

Maybe come up with a storyboard. That’s what we do for our customers.  We create a complete storyboard from start to finish to actually let the hotelier and the influencer know what is expected in this overall program.  Once you’ve negotiated this with the influencer, the next step is to get them to your property, right?  You want to wine and dine them.  You want to assign someone from your staff to work with the influencer as they travel through your property or through your complex, as they are going on the tennis courts, as they are going to the beach or the swimming pool, etc.  The important thing is to stay out of their way.  They have their own followers who expect a certain personality from this influencer.  You don’t want to taint that or change that in any way, with you being too involved or too hands on.  So don’t micromanage the process, just be aware of what the deliverables are and make sure along the way there are checks and balances to make sure your influencer is doing what they need to do.

As the influencer goes about doing his or her work throughout the weekend at your property, filming instagram stories, snapchat stories, they are also going to take many pictures for you in what we call a “viro”.

Now, those viro images are what you are going to use to support this campaign for the next 60-90 days on an on-going basis.  So, it’s not a one-time shot, the influencer visiting your property, doing their thing and they’re gone.  It’s they do that and then you, your responsibility is to take that viro and repurpose it so that you can keep the campaign going for a good 30, 60, 90 days after the influencer has left.  That’s how you deploy Social Media Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing Agency

If you need any help with that, our agency certainly is the leader in this space. We can help you as it relates to Hospitality Influencer Marketing.  Just get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help you out and show you the way to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode, I hope you learned something on it.  Be sure to subscribe to the red YouTube button down below so that you can stay up to date as new episodes come out.

Thanks again for joining us this week and we’ll see you again next week!  Take care.

 

View Social Influencer Marketing – Part 1

#AskDJV Episode 55: Social Influencer Marketing

AskDJV Episode 55 - Social Influencer Marketing

Hello Everybody, welcome to the #AskDJV Show.  I’m DJ Vallauri and this is Episode 55.  So glad you could join us this week.

On this week’s episode, I’d like to talk about Social Media Influencer Marketing for the hospitality industry.  Now it’s going to be a two-step show because this week we are going to focus on what actually is defined as Social Media Influencer Marketing and next week we’re going to actually tell you how to do it yourself and the pitfalls to avoid.

Social Media Influencers

So, on this week’s show, let’s talk about the definition of Social Media Influencer Programs

When Kim Kardashian posts on twitter, posts on Facebook or on Instagram about a product or service, that is most likely a paid advertisement.  That’s influencer marketing at work.  You see, whoever is owning that product or service is actually having Kim Kardashian promote that service or product to her followers, right?  To her millions of followers.

Well, the same is happening in the hospitality industry.  Many hotels are starting to take their Social Media Marketing to the next level.  It all started with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram posting, right and hopefully as hoteliers you’re all doing that already because it’s so important that you do that consistently to engage and build loyalty with your customer base.

So, here’s how it’s done…

You go out and locate someone who’s got a lot of followers on Instagram or Snapchat or Twitter or Facebook and you do a deal with them and say, “I want you to promote my property.  I want you to come stay at my hotel.  I’m going to wine and dine you for the weekend and I want you to showcase to all of your followers how great our property is and what the experience is like when you stay here at our property. And in return, we will give you A, B, C, & D.”  We’re going to cover that in next week’s show.

That is Influencer Marketing.  You’re spreading your brand, your hotel to other people on the Internet on these Social Media platforms that have so many more followers than you do.

At the end of the day, what will happen is:

  • You’ll get great visibility.
  • You’ll gain more likes and more followers on your own hotel accounts (because as the Influencer is showcasing your property, they are also tagging your property and your accounts in Social Media).
  • People will know exactly where to go to start following you and to start engaging with you.

That is Social Media Influencer Marketing.  It’s easier said than done. So, I want to make sure you come back next week so that you could see how to actually do it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Episode of the #AskDJV Show.  Be sure to subscribe down below on the red YouTube Subscribe Button so that you’ll get alerts when new videos come out.

Thanks again for joining us and we’ll see you next week!

View Social Influencer Marketing – Part 2

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.

The Best Hotel Marketing Strategy should include Chat Messaging

Chat messaging has become a useful tool in marketing strategies of the hospitality industry to meet growing consumer demand. The Economist reported 2.5 billion people worldwide had installed at least one messaging app and that number was expected to grow to 3.6 billion within a few years. A recent OpenMarket study this January found that 57% of mobile device users worldwide found the best way to communicate with hotels is via messaging.

Chat Messaging Makes Efficient Use of Hotel Resources

Where there is demand, hotel marketing professionals need to respond. Hoteliers are discovering the value of chat messaging apps with time and labor saving strategies of the hotel’s front desk staff as well as helping guests or potential guests make purchasing decisions.

But using chat messaging is not only making more efficient use of your hotel staff’s time. It also gives your hotel the means to ensure great customer service and increase both conversion rates and RFP submissions. Of course let’s not forget that chat messaging provides engagement opportunities. When you have engagement, you create loyalty and with loyalty come the opportunities to close business.

Human Powered Live Chat Messaging vs. Automated Chat Bots

As consumers we want instant gratification – getting answers to our questions/inquiries right away – and so it would be with people who contact your hotel. But who wants programmed answers from a chatbot? People prefer the human contact – it is more personal, warm and welcoming than an automated, cold bot!

The argument is that an automated chat bot could have algorithms set up so that basic questions – information about amenities, pricing etc. – are answered but what happens when the person contacting your hotel has specific needs or questions that an automated bot is not programmed to give? Would you want your answer to be “Sorry, I can’t understand. Please call the hotel at …..”?

The person might end up calling but now they use up the very resources the hotel was trying to get to work more efficiently. So using an automated bot defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Then not-to-mention there is the person’s building frustration when your the front desk clerk can’t provide a quick response either as they’re attending to other hotel guests.  “Hold please” is not an answer anyone wants to hear. Now your hotel has the potential of having this person just drop contacting your hotel altogether and move on to other choices.

The best solution for your hotel is the combination of both the technology and the human element. But regardless of whether you will have automated or human powered chat messaging, your hotel can expect chat messaging to grow more popular and that its presence will be around in the years ahead. Are you ready?

Guest Expectations: Hotel Customer Relations Challenge

In this digital age, use of social networks has become the new word-of-mouth communication channels amongst peers. Spreading the news about your hotel’s handling of customer relations may have a new delivery method but it can still make or break your hotel’s reputation – only now it is in cyber space and much more far reaching!

Whether your guests are Millennials, GenX or baby boomers, each group has different expectations from their hotel stay and want to be reached through different social channels.  This presents a challenge for hotels to provide exceptional customer service to the different demographics of each group.

 

Hotel Customer Relations

The string that binds hotels with these different groups is delivering high-quality customer service. What hotel wants to turn away bookings or future bookings? The answer is right in your hands! If guests perceive your hotel in a bad light, the ramifications of poor customer service will inevitably lead to a bad reputation and loss in sales. But you can turn this around by ensuring you listen to your guests needs, handle the issues – big or small – with speed, respect and graciousness.

eMarketer chart of people who have stopped doing business with companies due to poor customer relations

 

Going above and beyond to help make your guest’s experience a memorable one shows your hotel provides value to your guests so that they make the original booking and keep coming back again and again.  It all comes down to hotel customer relations with your guests. No matter the age, how well you treat your guest means great reviews, attracting potential guests and positively affecting your bottom line.

To be heard, one must first learn to listen

Listening to each group’s needs and wants is the key to providing great customer service. Who doesn’t want to feel special? Whether it’s the millennial looking for the next happening eatery or the baby boomer looking for a fun activity to share with their family, carefully listening to the expectations and feed back of each group is the best way to successfully manage them.

Provide the unique guest experience

When choosing a hotel, today’s guests want that special experience and the human-touch that makes them feel connected. If your hotel embraces the neighborhood, taking in every bit of the area and extending the uniqueness of your community out to guests, it would provide a personalized experience your guest will not forget.

Accommodate guest lifestyle preferences and expectations

There is a definite shift in preferences and expectations of today’s hotel guest. There is a service-oriented lifestyle together with the need to be engaged and entertained.  There is a desire for the human-to-human factor that makes a guest hotel stay comforting and welcoming. The saying goes home is where the heart is. Make your guests love their hotel stay by showing them your hotel is not traditional and stagnant but is warm and inviting. It is the relationship you build with your guests that will make your hotel be the “it” place to be.

In the end, the best way to handle guest expectations, no matter the demographics, is ensure you provide the best quality customer service. Your hotel will become the destination point that provides the personal, authentic experience today’s hotel guest expects and craves. Hotel marketers need to be mindful of this and adapt hotel marketing strategies to meet the challenge.

#AskDJV Episode 53: Hotel Pay Per Click Budgets

In Episode 53 of the #AskDJV show, DJ Vallauri discusses hotel pay per click budgets. Watch this week’s episode to learn how you can avoid the common pitfalls of other hoteliers.

Video Transcript:

Hotel Pay Per Click Budgets

Hello Everybody and Welcome to the #AskDJV Show, I’m DJ Vallauri this is Episode 53 of the #AskDJV show.

On this week’s episode, I’d like to talk about hoteliers spreading their PPC budget way too thin.

Let me explain:

PPC Cost per Click’s (CPC’s) have increased over the last ten-fifteen years dramatically, yet hotel budgets kind of stay the same for PPC budgets. It’s important that your hotel keeps up with the rising costs of cost per clicks. I remember the day when you could buy a travel related keyword or hotel related keyword for 75 cents. Those days are long gone. That same keyword will now cost you as a hotelier $5, $10, or $15, $20 per click, yet your budget is still operating as if that keyword was 75 cents. So, it’s important when you do your annual budgeting that you increase your PPC marketing allocation to be able to keep up with the trends and the market costs.

Google Pay Per Click

Now, in addition to this, unfortunately, Google, about a year ago, removed the right rail of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). What that means for you, as a hotelier is that there are fewer opportunities for your hotel to actually appear on the PPC results page. Bigger brands, OTA’s, other travel sites are bidding for the same terms you are and now have larger budgets (because they’ve increased accordingly and you haven’t). So, it’s important that you keep up your budgeting. Now hoteliers often come to us and say, “We want to focus not only on our transient campaigns, but we also want to focus on weddings and group business.” Because that’s big in 2017, but the down side is the hotel operators never have enough funds or additional funds to run those wedding and meeting campaigns. So, the result is you’re thinning out your PPC budget even further, you’re watering it down, you’re spreading yourself too thin, as they say, from a marketing perspective you don’t have enough marketing dollars.

Pay Per Click Advertising

So, you need to focus on what you’re going after from a PPC strategy and make sure that you have the right budget allocated for that and your agency can help you determine what that right budget is.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the #AskDJV show, be sure to Subscribe down below (the red YouTube button), so that you can stay in touch when new episodes come out on a weekly basis. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you next week. Take care.

Include Video in Your Hotel’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Plans

Visual content social media marketing speaks volumes and video is the most powerful storytelling tool your hotel can include in your 2017 social media marketing plans arsenal. Through video, hotel digital marketers have a great opportunity to build guest loyalty, raise brand awareness, increase engagements and leverage your hotel’s place in this medium.

Video Marketing for Hotels

Trends are continuing to show that video marketing for hotels should have a significant role in your hotel marketing strategy and budget. Some recent Cisco predictions state that advertising spend is expected to grow by 31% in 2017 and, by the year 2020, 80% of internet traffic will be video.

  • 500 million people are watching Facebook videos every day.
  • 82% of Twitter users regularly watch video content on Twitter.
  • 33% of tablet owners watch about an hour of video on their devices
  • 28% of smartphone users watch a video on their devices at least once a day.

Hotel video message clear and relevant

Don’t forget to keep your hotel video message clear and relevant to your target audience. Videos can be incredibly engaging, helping you to build a bond between your hotel and your guest as well as be shared with people within your guest’s networks. But video is not just YouTube anymore. The best place to share videos and gain exposure for your hotel is through social media channels like Facebook Live, Instagram stories, Twitter and Snapchat stories. Telling a story about your hotel, local attractions and/or staff through video will provide guests with good experiences that can make an impactful impression.

The new marketing is all about personalization and building relationships by offering a great guest experience. Hotels that focus on considerate and compassionate visual content marketing will touch guests’ hearts and minds every time. There is great potential for guests to make purchasing decisions based on the emotional connection they make with your hotel.

There is no special script. Stay one step ahead of the competition and use video to bring your message home to your guests and future guests.  There is power in adding video to your social media marketing plans.

#AskDJV Episode 52: Live Chat

#AskDJV Episode 52 talks about Live Chat and how it can help the customer service efforts of your hotels.  Learn how managed live chat can be attained for your hotel at affordable prices while bringing an old technology to the forefront.  Get Live Chat for hotels today.

Video Transcript:

Live Chat for Hotels

 

Hello Everybody and Welcome to the #AskDJV Show, I’m DJ Vallauri and thank you so much for joining me this week.

 

This is Episode 52 so I’m super pumped because we’ve been putting out these videos for over a year.

On this week’s show, I’d like to talk about how Customer Service is really becoming a marketing advantage and marketing differentiator for hotels who do it right.  Think about the Ritz Carlton hotel company.  You think about Ritz Carlton and you know you’re going to get great service, right? You just know it.

If you stay at a Ritz Carlton, and you stay at a JW Marriott or Mandarin Oriental or St. Regis or Four Seasons, they are all great facilities, they have great rooms, great accommodations, they are all lavishly appointed, but where the Ritz Carlton hotel company does it right is when they provide their level of service.  If a customer has an issue, each employee has the ability to spend up to $2,000 on the spot to solve that customer’s issue.  They can spend that money without having to get his or her management approval.  That’s key.  That’s what makes Ritz Carlton above and beyond when it comes to customer service in our industry.

As consumers, we have high speed internet access on our phones.  Our phones are with us nearly 24/7, right.  When we have a question of the hotel, we are always forced to call.  As you know, sometimes the hotels don’t answer the telephone promptly, which causes us to call the hotel numerous times.

Why put your guests through that, when you can solve and provide great customer service, solve the issues they might have right on the spot in real time.  I’m going to tell you how to do that.

Customer Service begins the first time that consumer engages with your hotel brand online and on your website.  Every hotel should have installed on their website a push to chat, also known as a live chat function.

Whenever we have a question online, we see that “let me help you” “chat with me now”, we click on that and ask a question.

The same thing needs to apply to the hotel industry.  The technology is there, consumers have been using it for ten years, we all know how to use live chat, there’s no learning curve whatsoever.

That’s where the marketing advantage comes in.  Now our firm, Lodging Interactive actually has a live chat fully managed service and we provide live chat to many, many hotels.  With our own people in the United States, we put the technology on your website and we provide live chat service support for the hotel industry seven days a week.

So, we can provide that service for you if you can’t do it yourself and we can do so in a cost-effective manner. Live Chat provides your hotel with a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace.

So, if you have any questions, I welcome them.  Please email me at dj@lodginginteractive.com.  And as always please make sure you follow us by clicking on the subscribe button down below on YouTube to make sure you get weekly announcements of these videos.

Thanks again for joining us this week and we hope to see you next week.