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Lodging Interactive Launches AI Powered Website ADA Compliance Service for Hotels

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its AI-powered ADA compliance service for hotel websites which remediates website ADA compliance issues in real-time.

“There is so much confusion and noise in the marketplace regarding ADA compliance for hotel websites and hoteliers are confused by the numerous approaches (and cost models) towards meeting website compliance. We have developed a service that combines the latest in ADA compliance machine learning technologies with human oversight and management specifically to address the unique needs of the hospitality industry,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.

Hotel website ADA accessibility refers to a set of rules, behaviors, code standards and design guidelines that are meant to allow people with disabilities to effectively navigate through websites. To achieve this, the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) has created the “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) which are meant to explain and guide developers on how to make websites accessible. These guidelines have been adopted by governments around the world and are now a part of various legislations, such as the ADA, Section 508, EN 301549, and others.

Lodging Interactive’s solution utilizes two components that, together, achieve website compliance. The first is a foreground application, the accessibility interface, which is responsible for 30% of the requirements, mostly UI and design-related. The second is a background application (AI, Machine Learning powered), which is responsible for the remaining 70% of requirements, mostly related to blind people’s screen-reader adjustments, and keyboard navigation optimizations for people with motor impairments.

“The AI technology is session based and ADA compliance is triggered in real-time. This means the website’s design and navigation structure are not compromised for non-disabled browsers. The AI runs in the background and optimizes the accessibility level of the website every 24 hours. The AI engine remediates the website’s HTML accessibility issues as well as functionality and behavior, for people using screen readers and those with motor impairments using a keyboard,” added Mr, Vallauri.

Lodging Interactive’s AI Powered ADA Accessibility Compliance Service includes:

  • Initial website review and code compatibility audit.
  • Complete AI code implementation on your website.
  • Multi-browser testing.
  • Hotel website becomes ADA compliant within 48 hours.
  • Website scans every 24 hours to ensure any new content, images or pages are also rendered compliant with the WCAG 2.1 and ADA standards.
  • Accessibility Statement and certification of performance.
  • Fully GDPR compliant.
  • Monthly website review and internal audit to ensure ongoing ADA compliance.

The service is included at no additional charge for all new hotel websites developed by Lodging Interactive and can be purchased for an existing website. For more information, please visit https://lodginginteractive.com/products-services/hotel-ada-compliance/ or call us at
877-291-4411 ext. 704.

About Lodging Interactive

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

commingle:engage, the Company’s social media and reputation management division, has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually.

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.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served 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.

Contact
DJ Vallauri
President & Founder
Phone: 877-291-4411
Fax: 877-833-7375

May 17, 2019 Issue: What’s New in Social Media This Week and What it Means for Hotels

In the last few weeks, the Facebook empire has made some big developments to their platforms that are directly relevant to hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry. In this week’s social media updates, we’ll look at each one and how you can expect for it to impact you.

Facebook’s New Interface Prioritizes New Features 

Facebook has recently released a new mobile app that is a little more user-friendly and runs a little quicker. It also puts emphasis on Stories, Groups, and Events, drawing users’ attention to these popular features.

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Image source: BusinessInsider 

The mobile app is already rolling out, and the matching desktop interface will likely soon follow.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: This is good news, because Facebook is prioritizing interactivity and community-building features that users are drawn to. For hotels and resorts who are creating communities on the social media network in the form of groups, using events to generate interest, and leveraging Stories to extend your reach, you’ll be ahead of your competition and able to stay relevant in your audience’s feed.

Messenger’s Interface Gets an Update 

Just like Facebook, their Messenger app has been updated with a simplified, faster version that’s been a little decluttered. Facebook has been working on rebuilding the platform “from the ground up” so that it’s more functional and a lot faster for users. The new version has a heavy focus on chat, but also offers video co-watching capabilities to keep people interacting within the app.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Facebook announced earlier this year that they’re planning on integrating their messaging apps– including Messenger, Instagram direct, and WhatsApp– for a seamless user experience, and this may be part of it. A new and improved messenger could mean that more of your guests will use this messaging platform to get in touch, so make sure you’re paying close attention to these channels.

Messenger Offers New Lead Generation Tools 

Facebook’s Messenger is gaining a few new features designed to make it easier for businesses to drive meaningful results through the platform. This includes appointment-booking, lead generation templates, and clickable CTAs that can drive actions. These features are currently being beta tested, and will roll out to those who don’t have them later this year.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Increasing numbers of guests are using Messenger to get in touch with hotels and resorts, and this trend will likely continue with the new and improved mobile app. These features can be used to encourage users to take actions like heading your site to book rooms, and booking reservations for your in-resort restaurant or spa.

Instagram Releases Stories’ Quiz Stickers 

Instagram’s new Quiz Stickers allow users and brands to ask their followers a multiple-choice question. You can choose the correct answer, and you can see which answers your followers are choosing.

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What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: This is a versatile sticker when it comes to connecting with guests. One great use may be to offer users who answer a question about your location or your resort correctly a chance to win a prize, like a free extra night or a discounted spa service. This will generate a lot of hype and engagement, which is always great for bookings.

Even if you aren’t using it as part of a giveaway opportunity, guests love interactive Story features, and this is one that will be sure to catch their attention and help you build brand awareness– especially if they want to know whether or not they answered right. Follow up the quiz sticker with a short video explaining the correct answer if possible.

Lodging Interactive Launches PULSE Reputation Management Platform for Hotels & Restaurants

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its PULSE Reputation Management Platform for hotels and restaurants. PULSE enables customers 24/7, real-time access to their guest review data and management responses.

“PULSE provides our commingle:engage reputation management customers with a modern and visually enticing way to monitor and view guest reviews along with the guest review responses we’ve written for them. Additionally, customers can easily review their sentiment analysis sorted by any custom keyword attribute combination,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.

The PULSE platform enables brands and management companies to establish companywide roll-up reporting and regional property clusters to access their respective properties in one online dashboard. PULSE is a SAAS application and requires no software downloads and is completely mobile enabled.

Guest Reviews Dashboard

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Sentiment Analysis

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PULSE connects to all major OTA’s as well as Google, Facebook and Yelp and captures all guest reviews in near real-time. “By using custom API connections, we have immediate access to guest reviews as they happen,” said Mr. Vallauri. “This enables us to provide the fastest turn-around for guest reviews responses.”

PULSE is offered to all commingle:engage customers on a complimentary basis and can also be licensed on its own.

For additional information on PULSE or the commingle:engage reputation management services, please visit commingleengage.com or call Lodging Interactive at 877-291-4411 ext 704.

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The Company provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants, and spas. commingle:engage has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually.

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.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served 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.

What Just Happened in Social Media and what it Means for Hotels – March 14, 2019

The hospitality industry never sleeps and social media doesn’t, either. This week’s edition of our biweekly newsletter discusses new changes to Facebook groups, expanded Promoted Pin access, clarification of YouTube policies, and some news about what Instagram is working on next.

Facebook Releases New Management Tools 

Facebook has just released a flurry of new formatting updates and management tools for Page and group admins. These new changes include:

●     The expansion of subscription groups, which allow businesses to create paid, subscription-only groups

●     Searching membership requests by name, so you can ensure certain audience members are granted fast access to your group.

●     Page admins can respond to Instagram private messages through their Facebook inboxes

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Improved ease of use for Page and group admins is an asset for hotels and resorts and any of the social media managers that work for them. Groups have become a strong marketing strategy, and having the ability to better manage branded groups that center your hotel or resort can provide a better experience for you and your guests.

And take note of the Instagram messaging showing up in the inboxes of Facebook Pages. There are also rumors that Instagram is testing messaging on the desktop version of their site, and all of this lines up with their grand plan to integrate the messaging apps from Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp by early next year.

Pinterest Expands Ad Access to Four New Countries 

Pinterest has released ad access to four new countries, including business accounts in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain, who previously didn’t have this feature available to them yet, even though countries who did have the ads already were able to target audiences in those countries.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: It’s not uncommon for hotels or resorts to have businesses in multiple countries. If this applies to you, and one of your business accounts is located in Germany, Italy, Spain, or Austria, you now have the opportunity to run Promoted Pin campaigns. They can be an effective way to generate site traffic, especially if you target keywords like “dream vacation” or “mountain resort.”

Instagram Releases Follower-Sorting Feature 

Instagram is testing and slowly releasing a new follower-sorting feature on the mobile app. Business profiles can sort their follower list by who has been there the longest, and who was most recent to join.

Image source: Social Media Today 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: While this feature may not seem too impressive at a first glance, it actually has huge potential for hotels and resorts.Your most long-term followers, for example, could be potential brand advocates. Your most recent followers, on the other hand, may benefit from some active relationship-building, like an effort to reach out through a private DM to welcome them to your channel or offer a special coupon code for booking.

YouTube Updates Its Penalty System

YouTube has updated and simplified their penalty system for creators and community members. Now, if users violate a rule, they’ll be given a warning with no immediate penalty on their channel aside from the removal of the offending content. After the warnings, if violations are still made, YouTube will freeze the ability to upload new content twice, before terminating the channel on the third strike.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: All brands on YouTube should be following their guidelines as is, and most hotels and resorts do that well. The majority of guidelines focus on things like language, inappropriate content, and scams or misleading information. As long as your external links are taking users exactly where you say they will, you’ll pretty much be in the clear.

YouTube Confirms Crackdown on Giveaways 

The YouTube community has recently noticed that videos featuring on-platform giveaways have been flagged more often, and YouTube has confirmed that while giveaways and contests aren’t being banned, they’re cracking down more on certain violations. Specifically, giveaways cannot be used to link to external websites that are solely designed to increase engagement metrics.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: If you want to host giveaways or contests on YouTube to promote your hotel or resort, make sure that you’re following all of their community rules. You can still use giveaways to increase brand awareness and generate engagement on-platform with on-platform videos.

How to Get Your Resort & Travel Brochure PDFs To Google’s Position Zero By Lodging Interactive

Plenty of hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry have brochures and guides for guests conveniently packaged into one hyper-valuable PDF. They list everything from resort amenities and pricing to events happening at the hotel to what to do in the area, and so much more.

 

Now, there’s a chance to have those PDFs featured prominently on Google in a way that can help you increase brand awareness and connect with new guests.

 

Google has just announced that they’ll be pulling content from online PDFs to use in their featured snippets section of position zero. This presents an enormous opportunity for hotels and resorts to maximize search visibility, which can directly lead to more traffic and an increase in reservations.

 

Ready to take advantage of this for your business? We’re going to show you exactly how to create and optimize content so it has a shot at snagging that prime placement.

Google’s Position Zero: What It Is And Why It Matters for Hotels & Resorts

Google’s Position Zero is also known as their featured snippet block, where a searcher’s question is answered in a concise way. These answers are featured above the rest of the search results for maximum visibility, and users can click for more information to be taken to the source.

 

 

 

Historically, only HTML links were used as sources for featured snippets, but now content from online PDFs (the key word here being online) will be used, too.

 

 

It’s not uncommon for hotels and resorts to already have a number of PDF resources available for their guests, and now there’s an opportunity for those already-existing resources to be used to increase search visibility. Brands also have the option to create content that is specifically written with featured snippets in mind, providing value to potential guests right from the very first interaction.

How to Rank for Google’s Position Zero with PDFs

You know you want to rank for Position Zero to increase brand awareness and hopefully get plenty of clicks and links back to your site. Here’s how you can do it.

Optimize PDFs for Featured Snippets

You have the best shot of appearing in a featured snippet if content within your PDF is, in fact, optimized for that purpose. Consider what questions your guests ask frequently, because these are questions they’ll likely search for online, too. Then create succinct, concise answers for each. Opt for simple but actionable statements, and use bullet-point lists if needed.

 

For the hospitality industry, examples of content that may do well include addressing questions like what to do in an area or what standard checkout procedures are in a resort.

 

Remember, the better you’re able to directly answer these questions in a search-friendly way, the more likely you are to get a shot at that featured snippet.

 

Consider SEO-Friendliness

As you’re optimizing your content, take careful consideration of SEO into account. I recommend using tools like SEMrush to look for question-based keywords that generate a large number of traffic, and use headlines or subheads in the PDF using these same keywords. Asking the question in the PDF and then immediately answering it can help you get results.

 

Publish that PDF Online

Don’t just feature a landing page with the actual PDF and require users to download it before accessing the content, because this will prevent it from being crawlable. And if Google can’t access the information, they can’t share it.

 

You can have your PDFs available on your own site, giving them their own page, and still offering users the ability to download the content if they choose.

 

PDF aggregators will also likely eventually find their way to you, featuring your content on their site. This increases the number of backlinks to your site (as long as they’re linking to you and giving you permission), which can increase both your domain authority (which gives you a better shot at ranking higher in the SERPs) and site traffic, helping you get closer towards that goal.

Tips to Maximize Guest Contact from Your PDFs

To maximize the amount of site traffic you get from your PDFs, consider the following for best results:

  • Offer valuable information. This is what people are typically looking for and what shows up in featured snippets.
  • Create PDF headlines that relate to the searches you want to appear in.
  • Keep SEO and keywords in mind when creating and organizing your PDF; answer questions immediately instead of dragging out the answers.
  • Add links! This is the most important step. Add links to your site including your homepage and resources like your blog so that readers can end up coming back to you. Without this, you’re leaving a lot of potential on the table.

Conclusion

Many brands have everything from lead magnet ebooks to travel brochures online available to connect with guests and improve their experience along the way. Optimize your content moving forward with the featured snippet potential in mind, because the potential search visibility and resulting traffic could be an opportunity too good to pass up.

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

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

commingle:engage 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 a full suite of comprehensive social media marketing services.

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.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served 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.

What Just Happened in Social Media and What it Means for Hotels

Social media never stops, and neither do the updates that shape the platforms our guests are frequently engaging with. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen exciting new developments from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Reddit that are all working to change the game just a bit. Let’s take a look at all these updates and how they’ll affect hotels and resorts.

Facebook Releases “Unsend” Feature for Messenger

Facebook has rolled out a new “unsend” feature in Messenger, allowing you to remove a message within ten minutes after it was first sent. To delete specific blocks of text, tap on it and select the option “remove for everyone.” It will be replaced with an alert showing that a message was removed. This works for group conversations as well as one-on-one convos in Messenger, and it’s being released to a global audience.

What This Means for Hotels

We’ve all likely made use of Gmail’s “unsend” feature at some point, and now we have this functionality for Facebook, too. If you accidentally send incorrect information or need to revise a statement, you can use this feature when working with guests, but note that you should be careful of how you do it. Have a clear amendment and an explanation of what the deleted content was and why it was deleted so that guests won’t feel like you’re trying to cover up mistakes or pull one over on them.

Twitter Bans Follow-Unfollow Services

Twitter has announced that they’re suspending follow-unfollow services, cutting off API access to this software. Follow-unfollow software goes against Twitter’s terms of service, and is often used in attempt to quickly inflate someone’s follower count. Apps being suspended include Crowdfire, ManageFlitter, and Statusbrew.

What This Means for Hotels

This announcement closely aligns with the changes Twitter has been making recently to improve authenticity on the platform and the user experience along with it. Since follow-unfollow is more like an attempt at cheating the system instead of engaging with it, taking away from the user experience. If you’re using this software, go ahead and remove it now and focus on other strategies to connect with new followers.

Instagram Now Features IGTV Previews in Feed

Instagram has announced that previews of videos from IGTV accounts users follow will now appear in their main Instagram feeds. Creators will be able to share up to a minute-long preview to Instagram, and users simply have to tap on the preview to watch the full-length content on IGTV.

What This Means for Hotels

IGTV is a standalone app that integrates with Instagram, and now it will be much easier to usher users from one to the other to see your long-form content. Consider using IGTV to share longer videos showcasing your resort, highlighting events, and even highlighting amenities or doing Q&As and use your built-in Instagram audience to get more viewers.

LinkedIn Releases New Tools for Company Pages

LinkedIn has rolled out a lot of new updates this month, the first of which includes new features for their Company Pages.

The new changes include:

●     More in-depth analytics that include more audience demographic information

●     A Pages Toolkit that feature short, actionable guides about how to optimize advertising on-platform

●     Content Suggestions, which provide information on what your audience may be interested in seeing

What This Means for Hotels

Company Pages historically haven’t been as useful as business profiles on other platforms just because there weren’t as many useful, actionable features for companies to use. LinkedIn is really trying to change that, and the new resources available for Pages could make them significantly more prominent for hotels and resorts looking to connect with B2B professionals.

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Recruiting & Job Searching Features

LinkedIn has rolled out more recruiting and job hunting features in attempt to streamline the process for both parties involved. Job searchers will be able to learn more about the companies they’re interested in working with, and even track them for future job openings. There are more developments in the works here, and hopefully we’ll have more news soon.

What This Means for Hotels

Social media isn’t just for connecting with guests; it can help you find great employees for your hotels and resorts, too. If you’re hiring, take a close look at LinkedIn. You could find some outstanding candidates and quickly review their job history and even testimonials from past colleagues or employers.

LinkedIn Announced “LinkedIn Live”

Live broadcasting is everywhere, and now LinkedIn has announced their own version. After partnering with a few third-party streaming services, they’ve created a native live feature. Right now it’s in testing with a small group of users in the US, but this will likely roll out to wider audiences soon, allowing users to share broadcasts with select groups or to all of their followers.

Image source: Social Media Today 

What This Means for Hotels

LinkedIn is unique in that it’s a business-oriented professional network, so your guests will be using it differently than Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Make sure that the live content you share is created with that in mind. You can focus on information sharing and value-based lives to appeal to your guests. Consider starting with videos that offer information about how to choose a resort for your conference, or places to visit in their off-time when guests are near your resort for work.

Reddit Offers Advanced Features for Advertisers

Reddit Ads have been around for a while, but they’re now releasing a few new features to make the platform more appealing for advertisers. They’ve just rolled out App Install campaigns, which will be shown to users of Reddit’s mobile app for the highest chance of users taking action. They’ve also improved their ad tracking and reporting capabilities with a conversion pixel, giving advertisers more concrete data about how their campaigns are performing.

What This Means for Hotels

First, if your hotel or resort has a mobile app, consider testing out Reddit’s App Install campaigns to connect with new guests. And if you’ve used Reddit before but ended up unhappy with the lack of detailed reporting, consider taking another look. Reddit Ads has less competition than other social PPC platforms like Facebook and Instagram, so that could work in your favor.

All-In-One Facebook Messaging & What It Means for the Hospitality Industry

Last week, Facebook announced it is reportedly working to develop a single, unified messaging infrastructure and increasing the connection between several of their apps.

 

The integration will allow users to communicate cross-platform even while using the individual apps of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram’s messaging, combining the world’s 3 largest messaging platforms. Thousands of Facebook employees are supposedly hard at work, with the goal being to make the integration complete by the end of 2019 or early 2020, though Zuckerberg has said that the functionality likely wouldn’t be possible until sometime in 2020 at the latest.

 

This is happening in the midst of questions about too much connectivity and user privacy concerns, which has garnered mixed reactions to the news at hand even though Facebook first started laying the groundwork for this as early as 2016.

 

Right now, while users are deciding how they feel about this, businesses and marketers have gone straight into what it might mean for them and how it will impact their guest relationships. Some have argued that it will “strengthen Facebook’s grip” on users, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg taking charge of platforms he’d previously said he wouldn’t be heavily involved with.

 

After a great deal of research, I believe this will be a powerful and very positive change for businesses in the hospitality industry, opening the door to the future of live chat.

 

We already know that live chat is essential for businesses in the hospitality industry, where guests frequently have questions to be answered or special accommodations to be requested that an FAQ section just won’t solve. One study even found that 79% of customers prefer live chat to other options because it was both immediate and convenient, which is a winning combination in our on-the-go world.

 

We’ve already seen an increase in guests reaching out to hotels and resorts through social media direct messaging because it’s easy and it’s fast for them, but it’s still convenient. They’re able to send a message to a resort through Facebook Messenger, put down their phone, run their errands, and then come back later to see what was said. There’s the immediacy of live chat without the inherent urgency; they won’t be dropped from the chat if they don’t reply quickly enough, so it’s well-suited to busy consumers.

 

I believe that this Facebook messaging integration, as a result, will become a live chat replacement, giving consumers the ultimate control in how and when they’re getting in touch with hotels. Since there are more than 2.6 million users on the messaging apps combined as it is, this is a valuable opportunity for businesses in the hospitality industry to connect with their guests in a place they’ll be happy to engage.

 

Consumer control is almost always a good thing for any business that’s willing to rise and meet the challenge, and I know we’re getting our clients ready for the shift ahead. Are you getting ready?

 

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, full-service Hotel Marketing and Social Media Engagement Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. Since 2001, we have provided hundreds of hotels and resorts with proven, ROI driven online marketing services.  For more information please visit call 877-291-4411 or visit https://lodginginteractive.com.

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

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

commingle:engage 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 services for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com operation and comprehensive social media marketing services.

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.

The Company’s Founder & CEO, DJ Vallauri, formerly served 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.

Facebook Announces Plans to Merge Messaging Apps

In the past year, there’s been a lot of discussion and scandal around data breaches and platform manipulation from third parties. This newsletter, which is covering the last few weeks of news, shows that this is still front and center in the minds of many, including the platforms themselves. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at what’s new on social media and how it will impact hotels and resorts.

Facebook Announces Plans to Merge Messaging Apps 

The New York Times has just announced that Facebook is reportedly planning on integrating the private message features from Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger into one single technical infrastructure. According to Facebook, the services will each remain in stand-alone apps, it would just change from a technical point of view.

What This Means for Hotels 

We think this is a game changer in social media and, even more importantly, in the worlds of customer service and live chat.

Here’s what we know so far:

●     Users will be able to connect across multiple messaging platforms

●     All apps will incorporate end-to-end encryption

●     The goal is to increase utility (and we think it will)

●     It will change the game for live chat, and we’re already underway working on what’s next.

Facebook Offers New Additional Transparency Features 

Facebook is rolling out new transparency features to hopefully restore more trust in the Pages marketing on platform. One of these features is their new Quality tab, which tells users if a Page has had any content revoked due to false information, hate speech, or other violations of community guidelines. It will also show Pages the content that was removed to hopefully better help them understand how they were in violation of the rules.

Image source: Facebook  

They’re also cracking down on the creation of new Pages or profiles that are similar to those removed for violating standards.

What This Means for Hotels

Trust is a big thing for Facebook users right now, and the platform is doing everything they can to at least help users trust the brands advertising on it right now. Ensure that your content is adhering to the community regulations and you’ll be in good standing with Facebook and your audience. There’s no need to hide skeletons, after all, if there aren’t any skeletons in the first place.

Twitter Rolls Out Two New Features

Last week, Twitter released a new tool on desktop that allows users to edit images in-app before publishing. The tool isn’t anything too advanced, but it does allow you to resize or crop the image to hopefully make it more appealing to your followers.

Image source: Matt Navarra 

They also released new social functions for events, including the ability to see how many people are engaging with an event in real time.

What This Means for Hotels

Most hotels and resorts are likely having their images edited before they make it to Twitter, but if you aren’t and you’re looking for an easy solution, this is it.

The social context for events, on the other hand, could have a huge impact on hotels. If you’re hosting a big conference at your hotel and want to create a Twitter Event to generate buzz, this feature could help you leverage social proof to do exactly that.

Periscope Adds Guests to Live Streams

Periscope– Twitter’s sister company focusing on live videos– has just updated their platform so that users hosting a broadcast can invite up to three guests to participate. This feature previously wasn’t available on Periscope, but there is a catch: the invited users won’t appear on the screen, and it will only be their audio that’s shared.

What This Means for Hotels

More options for live video are always a good thing considering its value in today’s social media marketing climate. If your audience is particularly active on Twitter, you can take advantage of this and interview guests, staff, or other industry experts. Keep in mind, however, that it’s easier on Facebook and Instagram to host lives where guests can be seen during the broadcast, so it may be a good idea to start there.

LinkedIn Ads Roll Out Interest Targeting

LinkedIn Ads has just introduced interest targeting to their ad platform, allowing advertisers to target users based on topics they’ve expressed interest in. And one of those interests are “business travel,” opening the door for hotels and resorts to connect with potential guests who may be looking to book reservations.

What This Means for Hotels

LinkedIn Ads can yield great results, and if you’re using them for marketing to either gain new employees or connect with new guests, interest targeting may open up options to better connect with the right people. You could create an ad targeting that “business travel” interest, for example, or even target users who are interested in biology if you’ve got a science convention happening in your hotel and want to increase attendance and hotel reservations.

While you don’t want to use targeting that you don’t need or that isolates too much of your audience, this feature will be good to have when it’s relevant to the campaigns you’re creating.

Latest Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

The new year always brings new changes, and this month we’ve had an onslaught of social media updates as each platform readies themselves for success in 2019. We’ve got new features designed to improve the users’ and marketers’ experience, so let’s take a look at the ones that will affect hotels, resorts, and other businesses in the hospitality industry.

Facebook Releases Multi-Language Dynamic Ads

Facebook has just rolled out a new type of Dynamic Ads that enables businesses to create ads in multiple languages. When creating your ad campaigns, just add in different language variations of the text you’re using, along with the URL of the landing page you’re sending users to.

Image source: Social Media Today 

What This Means for Hotels

Previously, advertisers were having to create multiple ads that were targeted by language and/or location, and then creating distinct ads for each individual language. This speeds up the process, and is a game changer for hotels and resorts, especially those with bilingual or international audiences.

Facebook Alters Group Invitation System

Previously, any time someone added a new user to their group, the person was automatically added as a member. While this did help to inflate group size, it was a superficial growth and many people would mute notifications and never engage. To prevent this from happening, Facebook users who are now added will have an “invited” status until they choose to actually join themselves.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are an excellent community-building opportunity, but superficial growth won’t do you a lot of good. This new change will ensure that your group will only have engaged members within it, making your analytics more valuable and your community more close-knit.

Facebook Rolls Out Call-to-Action Stickers for Page Stories

Facebook Stories now have a new CTA sticker, which allows Pages to create clickable links encouraging users to “Shop Now,” “Book Now,” “Call Now,” or “Get Directions” directly within the Story.

Image source: Matt Navara 

What This Means for Hotels

Stories are a popular feature and have previously been most useful for brand awareness. This allows Pages to turn their Stores into clickable marketing content that users will happily engage with. The Book Now, Call Now, and Get Directions stickers will all be incredibly valuable to hotels and resorts, allowing them to easily drive actions and communication with potential guests.

Facebook Testing Stories Event Stickers

A new Facebook Story sticker is currently being tested that allows Pages to feature events in their Stories. It appears as though the events must be created as a Facebook event to be able to use this feature, and it’s currently only available in testing in the US, Mexico, and Brazil.

Image source: Engadget 

What This Means for Hotels

Many hotels and resorts regularly hold events ranging from mega conferences to a small movie night for guests by the pool. Creating official Facebook events and then being able to promote them in Stories– which don’t have the issue of declining organic reach– in an engaging, interactive way can mean good news for the attendance of your events (and thus your bottom line).

Big Changes Announced at Twitter

Twitter has announced a number of big changes happening on the platform in 2019. Most haven’t happened just yet, but the sneak peek is still valuable.

Here’s what’s changing:

●     A redesign of the site, which will be less cluttered with a two-column layout, and come with new features like improved search and emoji shortcuts.

●     Beta testing for new “conversational” features, including algorithmically-sorted replies.

●      New event, content, and audience analytics tools to improve marketers’ and businesses’ understanding of what’s happening and why.

Image source: Twitter

What This Means for Hotels

It’s no secret that Twitter has been looking at a revamp for awhile; they were losing followers and they knew they had to adapt. These changes are all shifts towards making Twitter into something new and more appealing for both users and marketers. Hotels and resorts should keep an eye on the changes and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. We’ll keep you updated on this as they roll out.

TweetDeck Offers New Scheduling Abilities

TweetDeck is owned by Twitter and is their recommended tool for scheduling content. Now, the TweetDeck is capable of scheduling tweets that contain videos or multiple images. Previously, hotels and resorts were relying on third-party software for this feature.

Image source: Twitter 

What This Means for Hotels

While many hotels and resorts already rely on either agencies to take over their marketing for them or third-party software which offers similar features across multiple platforms, this is still a good thing for those who don’t have access (or the budget) for either.

Instagram Releases Ability to Post to Multiple Accounts

If you have several linked accounts on Instagram, you can now share a single post to multiple accounts at the same time when uploading new content. This feature is exclusive to newsfeed content (not Stories), and currently only available for iOS devices, and there’s no information yet about when it will be released to Android users.

Image source: TechCrunch 

What This Means for Hotels

Most hotels and resorts, again, are already using third-party software to handle this task, and it’s most often used to share the same post to other branded accounts like a sister hotel or the resort’s restaurant’s profile. If this software isn’t in the budget, however, this is a good option to speed up the process.

YouTube Eliminates Activity-Sharing to Twitter

Beginning on February 1st, YouTube will be removing the ability to automatically post your YouTube activity to Twitter. You can still share videos from YouTube with the Share button, but this will have to be done manually.

What This Means for Hotels

If YouTube marketing is a part of your strategy, take note of this. Instead of relying on auto-sharing, use scheduling software to distribute the link to the video on other sites if you choose and customize the messaging accompanying it for each individual platform. You can also choose to upload the video natively, which can help it get more traction on each platform.

Latest Social Media Changes Affecting Hotels and Resorts

Happy 2019, everyone! As we move into the new year, it’s time to take a look at our social media strategies to assess what’s working and how we can better connect with our guests. This includes assessing all the new social media that impact hotels and resorts, so take a look at everything that’s happened over the holiday break so you can get your campaigns up to speed.

Two New Features Arrive in Facebook’s Business Manager 

Image source: Matt Navara 

What This Means for Hotels

This isn’t a huge change, but if you find yourself regularly adding new team members or third party partners to your Facebook accounts, this could make it a little easier and give you more control. It doesn’t seem to have rolled out to everyone at this point, so if you don’t have it yet, you hopefully will soon.

Facebook Group Admins Can Share Feedback on Removed Posts 

Facebook Groups have offered a new moderating tool for admins, allowing them to offer private feedback to the author of a removed post. The member will be notified that their post was deleted, and they’ll be given information from an anonymous admin (not a specific one) about why that was the case.

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook Groups are an excellent community-building tool, and when it comes to Groups that are centered around your hotel or resort, it’s important to stay on top of its moderation. Using the feedback tool to keep your members following group rules without running the risk of accidentally publicly shaming someone can keep your community growing and moving in a positive direction.

Instagram Rolls Out Video Scheduling

Post scheduling through third-party software has been available for a while, but it was only available for images. Instagram updated its API towards the end of last year to allow the scheduling of videos on Instagram, too. Social media scheduling software is starting to catch up and offer this feature to subscribers, so keep an eye out for this one.

What This Means for Hotels

The ability to schedule video content to Instagram will be a game changer, especially considering that video has proven to yield high engagement rates on the platform. Now, you won’t have to worry about taking time away from your guests to ensure that your Instagram videos go live at peak posting times. Keep an eye on your social media scheduling software, as they’ll likely be releasing this feature soon if they haven’t already.

YouTube Ads Updated in Response to Changing User Patterns

User video consumption and behavior continually evolves, and YouTube ensures that they’re adapting frequently. Their ad system is being updated as a result of changing viewing patterns. These changes include:

●     The testing of two back-to-back stacked ads, which reduces the frequency of ad breaks for viewers watching long-form videos.

●     The rollout of the ability for advertisers to target TV screens with their ad campaigns, which accounts for the increased number of ad views happening on television sets.

●     More ad placements on the home feed, which allow users to see ads for video recommendations targeting them and encourages self-directed discovery.

Image source: Google 

What This Means for Hotels

YouTube’s dedication to change its ad offerings alongside evolving user behavior is a huge advantage for advertisers. By stacking ads, for example, users will have fewer ad breaks and are therefore more likely to watch the full video– and all of its ads. This is good for both the content creator and all the advertisers trying to bid on those competitive placements.

Hotels and resorts should carefully consider whether or not they want to exclusively target TV viewers for their campaigns, as the inability for users to click on a link while watching could potentially decrease the effectiveness of ads meant to drive conversions. Ad campaigns that are focused on brand recall, however, could see great results from this.

YouTube Creates Their Own Version of Stories

It feels like 2018 was the year of Stories, and now YouTube is catching up to Facebook and Instagram to offer their own unique take. Their short-form video format– titled “Reels”– has been rebranded into YouTube Stories and recently released with a new set of creator tools to accounts with more than 10,000 subscribers.

Image source: Google 

Unlike on other platforms, these Stories will be available for a full seven days before they disappear to maximize views. They can show up in the home feeds of both subscribers and non-subscribers.

What This Means for Hotels

The Stories feature has been hugely popular on both Instagram and Facebook, and it may see the same engagement from YouTube followers, too. If you have those 10,000 subscribers, test them out to connect with past, present, and future guests. The community-building features that are focusing on engaging with your audience could be a huge asset for this, giving you the ability to publicly respond to comments with photos or videos to keep the conversation going.