This Week in Hospitality Social Media Marketing News- November 13, 2018

We’re nearing the end of the year and are getting ready for the big holiday rush, but now is no time to let your social media marketing slide. There have been a lot of new updates that have rolled out in the past week that are directly relevant to hotels and resorts, so let’s dive in and look at each one.

Facebook Caught Inflating Video Metrics 

Facebook has recently come under fire with the accusations that they’ve been inflating video metrics, making it look like people were watching more video than they were. Facebook has admitted to this in the past, but a current lawsuit is suggesting that the inflation was much higher than acknowledged. Instead of being inflated by 60-80%, research has shown that it was likely closer to 150-900%.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Be careful when using video metrics to make big marketing or advertising decisions on Facebook. Until things are truly resolved, you may be getting false positives. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use video advertising, because even with inflated metrics it presents a great opportunity as an advertising format. That being said, watch other key metrics on these campaigns, too.

Facebook Releases “Instant Forms” For More Objectives 

Facebook’s instant forms– previously known as “lead forms” — have been restricted to the lead generation objective. Moving forward, advertisers will be able to attach instant forms to the brand awareness, traffic, and reach objectives in newsfeed and Story ads on both Instagram and Facebook.

This update will also give us “platform reporting,” which shows advertisers whether an instant form was submitted through Facebook or Instagram so you can better determine which channel is more effective.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Instant forms open up within Facebook, fill out as much of a user’s information as possible automatically, and provide advertisers with that data. They’re most often used to collect contact information like email addresses. Use them to your advantage, capturing guest information so that you can reach out to them with special, relevant offers at a later date.

Facebook Releases New Video Options 

Facebook has just released two new video ad buying options on Facebook: In-Stream Reserve and ThruPlay.

In-Stream Reserve allows advertisers to choose placements in video that come from “the most engaging, highest quality” publishers on Facebook, increasing the likelihood that your ad will be watched fully by an engaged audience. These ads are purchased in advance.

ThruPlay gives advertisers more control over what they’re paying for, allowing them to optimize and pay for ads only if they’re watched either through to completion or for a minimum of 15 seconds.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

More control for advertisers is always a plus, especially with video ad metrics being inflated. Hotels and resorts can use this feature to increase the likelihood that they’re only paying for views of a substantial length. It can also help advertisers get those views by offering high-engaging, high-view placements.

Facebook Cracks Down on “Low Quality” Ads 

Facebook has put a lot of effort into reducing “low quality” ads from appearing in the feed, and they’re taking further steps to do so. They’re now looking for certain triggers like misleading information or sensationalized language when approving ads.

Ads that are deemed “low quality” will either struggle to get the number of placements they should or may even be rejected all together.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Most hotels and resorts won’t be hugely affected by this, as our industry isn’t known for bait-and-switches or misleading information like other industries. That being said, make sure that your ad campaigns are straight forward. You can still capture the excitement and luxury of staying at your resort without going over-the-top with hyperbolic language.

Instagram Announced “Promote” for Stories

Instagram has just announced their new “Promote” option for stories, which works exactly like Facebook’s and Instagram’s “boost post” options. Advertisers will be able to pay to have their already-running Stories appear in users’ feeds, like other Story ads that you’d run. This feature has not been released yet, but it’s being tested globally, so keep an eye out.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Instagram Story Ads can take a little while to create, so this will be a great asset to hotels and resorts using Stories to connect with their guests. If you choose to use the feature, make sure to use an instant form in the Story so that you’re able to drive real results if viewers are interested.

Pinterest Releases “Promoted Carousel” 

Pinterest has just rolled out a new “Promoted Carousel” ad format, which works similarly to Facebook’s carousel ads. Advertisers can add multiple cards to their ads, with each card featuring a unique image, title, description, and (if you choose) landing page.

Image source: Pinterest 

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts 

Carousel ads have higher-than-average performance (including CTR) than other ad formats on Facebook, so the same could be true for Pinterest. Use carousel ads to showcase different locations, or different features, rooms, or amenities in a single hotel or resort to show everything you have to offer.

Hospitality Social Media News is brought to you by Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. For more information:

Telephone: 877-291-4411

Email: info@lodginginteractive.com

Live Chat With Us – Real Humans – No Bots

Lodging Interactive Rolls Out Commingle:Engage Total Customer Engagement Services.

commingle:engage guest engagement services

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of commingle:engage, a total customer engagement solution for hotels and resorts. commingle:engage is a fully managed service that enables properties, of any size, to effectively build customer loyalty through personal, one-on-one, customer engagement with new and past guests.

 

“Since 2006 we’ve successfully established CoMMingle as the leading provider of guest reputation management and social media marketing services exclusively for hospitality,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s, Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to continue our path of helping properties build relationships with their potential and past guests through our commingle:engage services.”

 

 

commingle:engage provides fully managed customer engagement services in four key areas and creates the foundation for customer loyalty and advocacy.

commingle hotel reputation management services

 

“There is no other company in our industry that can match the customer engagement value we can deliver through our commingle:engage services,” added Mr. Vallauri. “Customers don’t want anything to do with ‘big data’ and ‘technology stacks’, they want real-time customer service and assistance on their time and their messaging platform of choice. commingle:engage brings customer service back as a property differentiator and competitive advantage.”

 

commingle:engage offers 24/7 guest review monitoring and hotel website engagement.

 

According to HubSpot Research, consumers are impatient and 82% expect fast responses to their inquiries. Additionally 90% of consumers rate immediate responses as very important when having a sales question. commingle:engage provides hotels with 7 day a week website live chat services, staffed by USA based company employees. “The ability to engage with hotel website visitors 7 days a week, truly takes customer services to the highest level and presents a compelling competitive differentiator for any property,” added Mr. Vallauri.

 

commingle:engage is powered by proprietary technologies.

commingle hotel reputation management services

 

Through the use of proprietary technologies that leverage social media platform API’s and integration with IBM’s Watson Supercomputer, commingle:engage uses the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze thousands of top performing social media posts to determine common engagement characteristics. This provides valuable insights which help to increase customer engagement levels.

 

For more information please visit https://commingleengage.com or call 877-291-4411 extension 701.

 

 

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, Instagram, YouTube: Announcements & New Features Impacting Hotels and Resorts

Hospitality Social Media News

 

As we ramp up for the holiday season, multiple social media sites have proved that they’re not slowing down just because it’s near the end of the year. In the past two weeks we’ve seen big announcements and new features from platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, all of which can impact hotels and resorts.

Instagram Rolls Out Quick Replies & GIFs in Messaging 

Instagram has rolled out new direct messaging features, including quick replies for business accounts and GIF sharing. Quick replies allow business accounts to save messages that answer commonly-asked questions such as resort checkout hours, pricing, or amenities available.

Both new features are available in the latest versions of Android and iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to share GIFs will allow hotels and resorts to showcase their personality when interacting with guests if they see fit, but the true shining star here is the quick replies feature.

Hotels and resorts can save canned responses to everything from “Hi, we’ll respond to your message shortly!” to “Thanks for asking. Our in-resort restaurant does take reservations but they’re not necessary.” This can save you a lot of time without needing to rely on chatbots while still answering guest questions promptly.

Instagram Stories Accepts Longer Videos

Instagram Stories is now letting users post videos longer than fifteen seconds… sort of. They’ll now accept videos for uploading that are longer, but they’ll then break them down into multiple sections. The different sections will be played one after another.

This feature is currently only available on Android devices. It’s not known if or when it will come to iOS.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Many hotels and resorts are already using multiple short Stories to tell a longer story arch and keep users engaged. Now, however, you won’t have to manually break them down with another tool before you upload them, which will save you a significant amount of time.

If you do use this tool, make sure to check and see how the video is broken down; in some cases, it may be more beneficial to do it yourself manually to ensure that different sections of videos begin and end at the exact right times. If you’re featuring videos of your hotel, for example, each individual Story could show your lobby, your waterfront views, and a suite in individual Stories; you’d want to ensure that these were broken down into distinct sections for maximum impact.

New YouTube Ad Extensions & Reporting Announced

YouTube will soon be rolling out new types of actionable ad extensions. Soon, you’ll be able to add extensions to your TrueView in-stream ads that allow users to take actions like downloading an app or book a trip to you.

Image source: Google

YouTube will also be releasing new metrics to show the overall impact of your ad campaigns, including a groundbreaking “lifted users” metric that will tell you how many users were influenced by the ad even if they don’t convert immediately.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

The ability to make YouTube video ads more effective and to better understand how they’re working will make YouTube video ads more valuable. If you’re utilizing video ads for your hotel and your guest demographics are on YouTube, check out the new “book a trip” extensions to see how they work for you.

Instagram Is Testing Hashtag-Free Posts

According to The Next Web, Instagram is testing a type of format that would allow users to publish posts that have hashtags attached, but not included in the captions. It looks like instead of being placed in captions, the hashtags may appear in blocks underneath posts. This hasn’t been officially confirmed by Instagram, but Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong was able to snag a few screenshots.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Right now this feature is still in testing, but it could mean a big change in Instagram best practices if it gets approved. Hashtags will still be just as important, giving you the powerful reach potential they do now, though you’ll need to be careful to make sure your branded hashtag is placed in a way that guests will see it like on your profile or in the caption itself if possible. We’ll keep an eye on this one and update you as more information comes out.

Facebook Announces Premieres & Video Polls 

Facebook has just announced a globe launch of their new Premieres, which is new video format that’s more interactive. Creators can record a video for fans ahead of time, release it at the time of their choosing, and then allow users to engage with it in real viewing time.

Image source: TechCrunch

Facebook is also releasing Facebook Live video polls, which can be used to increase engagement and make the videos more dynamic in real time.

What This Means for Hotels & Resorts

Premieres have all the advantages of Facebook Lives, but they come with the added bonus of no unpleasant surprises. You won’t have to worry about technical glitches, someone swearing loudly in the background, or getting stumped by a difficult guest question. These videos will be created ahead of time and can be edited, but you can still engage with users as they watch your video in real time, making them more engaging than typical non-live videos and thus more impactful.

Video marketing is only going to continue to be an important part of marketing moving into 2019, so use all the tools at your disposal– including Premiers and video polls– in order to help your content stand out and build relationships with your fans.

Forget Loyalty Programs: Customer Service Matters Most to Travelers

Most hotels and resorts offer some sort of loyalty program, allowing guests to accrue points based on stays and purchases that they can later use for free or discounted bookings. Publix’s BOGOs are great, after all; why not set up something similar for hotels?

 

While many guests are avid users of your hotel’s rewards program, they’re likely avid users of your competitors’ rewards programs, too. It’s almost a guarantee, after all, that almost all of your competitors will have their own similar programs in place.

 

Think with Google recently conducted a study  to find what matters most to high value travelers and see which factors will affect where they choose to stay. Loyalty programs were a factor, but not a major one, ranking fourth on the list of considerations that high value travelers focused on.

 

So what was the number one factor that guests took into consideration when choosing where to stay?

 

Customer service.

 

Why Customer Service Comes in First

Many hotels may automatically assume that if their loyalty program is superior to their competitors, that’s all it will take to create true loyalty, but we already know that isn’t the case. So why is customer service so important?

 

Image source: Think with Google

 

There’s several answers to this. The most obvious is that the market is now saturated with loyalty programs that are all so similar that they’re no longer unique; they’re almost expected in many cases. Customer service has become the true differentiator.

 

Excellent customer service will also directly impact a guest’s entire experience with you, from the pre-booking research all the way to the checkout and beyond. It will be the difference between whether they struggle (or fail) to book a reservation with you, get the accommodations they need, and have a positive experience, or whether they walk away dissatisfied (or worse).

 

How quickly and personably you can resolve any concerns will be what sways them, because when it comes to where they’re staying, they need to know they’re in good hands. Strong customer service builds trust, and trust can begin to foster true brand loyalty.

 

Meanwhile, loyalty programs don’t actually impact a guest’s experience at all; it just affects their wallet. And since only 21% of most high value travelers— the kind you really want to get on board– will sacrifice comfort for a lower cost, those savings only amount to so much when they can find something similar elsewhere.

How You Can Offer Exceptional Customer Service to Every Guest

While it goes without saying that being warm and accommodating in person is an important part of customer service, true customer excellence needs to start long before they show up at the check-in desk with their bags in hand.

 

Every guest– and every potential guest– not only expects but demandstop of the line customer service at every turn, and if they don’t see it from the get-go then you’ve already lost their booking. And in today’s world, that means focusing on your website’s online communication with guests.

 

More and more guests prefer to find questions about a potential booking online, whether that’s through your site’s information or through a live chat service. They want the information fast, and they want it without a big hassle or having to wait on hold or go through an automated phone system.

 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that while customer service was the first priority for guests when considering where to book, an easy-to-use website came in at second place. The two now go hand-in-hand for many guests, so in order to deliver outstanding customer care, you need to do so in the communication of their choosing. That means improving your live chat services immediately if you haven’t already.

 

Live Chat for Hotels & Resorts: No Longer Optional

The writing is on the wall here, and with websites and customer service both valued so highly by high-value, high-spending travelers, you can’t afford to skimp out on live chat for your site.

 

And when we say live chat, we’re not talking about robotic, badly-programmed chatbots. We’re not even talking about chatbots that have been programmed really well, because customers don’t want to go through anykind of automated process; they want to be put in touch with an actual human representative who they feel cares about them and can help them immediately. No chatbot can offer the kind of personalized help and attention that high value guests have come to expect, so they’ll let you down in the long run.

 

Instead, human-to-human live chat through your site is the only way to go. While it may sound like a lot to tackle, it doesn’t have to be.

 

CoMMingle Live Chat, for example, offers full, 24/7 live chat management for hotels and resorts so we can pick up the slack while you focus on the guests who are actively staying with you. Potential guests will receive immediate responses from real, highly trained representatives who all have experience in the hospitality industry and will learn the in’s and out’s of your specific hotel to deliver personalized customer service just like you would.

 

Whether you invest in a service like CoMMingle or take on the process yourself, immediate-response live chat isn’t so much a great option as it is a necessary one. It will only become more important moving forward, so stay ahead of your competition and adapt now if you haven’t already. Your loyalty programs, after all, can apparently only help you so much, so it’s best to make investments where they’ll matter post: the actual experience of the guests themselves.

Restaurant Reputation Management Services

Lodging Interactive Launches Reputation Management for Restaurants

. Fully managed service for restaurants.

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

About Lodging Interactive

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

 

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually. The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

 

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

 

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

 

Contact: DJ Vallauri

 

pressreleases@lodginginteractive.com / 877-291-4411

 

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Messaging Apps as Ubiquitous as Booking Engines for Hotel Websites

Live chat for hotels.

Technology has made us more dependent on its abilities to plan better vacations and business trips. In recent times hotel websites have come a long way from simply being online static e-brochures to becoming more experiential. Online hotel website experiences sell rooms and create loyal guests. Yet, for the majority of hotel websites, the experience remains mediocre and “ok” at best. Think about it, when you visit a hotel website you are basically on your own without any human connections or the ability to engage and ask questions that you are sure to have when you consider booking a hotel online. Why is that? It’s 2018 after all, so it can’t be a technology issue or is it?

 

Personal technologies over the last 10 years have changed our lives and the world we live in. When you consider how far we have come and how comfortable we have become in being interconnected through mobile devices, it’s no wonder that we crave immediate responses to our hotel questions. And mobile technology is the enabler as nearly every human on the planet carries computing power that can fit in one hand what once took large data centers, and millions of dollars, to equal the same power. Do you realize that Apple’s iPad was introduced to the world only 8 years ago? That Uber launched in 2009 and Snapchat was launched in 2011?

 

There is no turning back, we are all online and we are all connected. As a result, we have the ability and, many times, we demand immediate gratification. This is where I believe most hoteliers are missing tremendous opportunities to book more business and build loyalty. By leveraging the power of website live chat and guest messaging, hoteliers can really gain market share. We constantly read about hoteliers wanting to drive more direct business to their websites with the intent of lowering their OTA and third party booking costs.

 

Website live chat has been around for many years and, as consumers, we have become comfortable when a live chat window pops up while we’re shopping for a pair of shoes online. After all we can decide to engage, or not, and we control the conversation. Live chat agents are not applying hard sales tactics, they are supporting us as we navigate through the online purchasing process.

 

Let’s not forget that the hospitality industry is all about being hospitable and providing service to guests when they are in-house but in my experience, hospitality and service needs to start on the hotel’s website before a potential guest books a room. This is where live chat engagement can make a huge difference. Live chat leverages the same technologies we have all become so dependent upon and it provides that immediate guest gratification we want while supporting the online sales process.

 

The smart hoteliers understand that the overall hotel guest experience begins at the website level when the guest first experiences the hotel. This is evidenced by the abundance of personalization technologies promising to deliver a “unique experience” for every website visitor. Yet most hotel websites are cold and impersonal. They provide the potential guest with a self-service browsing environment and the only option is to figure it out for themselves. Why? It doesn’t have to be this way when the technology is here today and with zero learning curve from the consumer’s perspective. Clearly every hotelier I speak to about online customer service agrees that having a live chat channel available on their website makes perfect sense. I have yet to come across any hotelier who disagrees.

 

The clear recurring comment I receive from hoteliers is that budgets and appropriate staffing is the issue preventing their website from becoming more useful to visitors and more effective at driving direct business: Two things they most desperately want by the way. While I agree that on-property staffing specifically for website live chat doesn’t make sense for the majority of properties, all properties can benefit from partnering with a company that provides fully managed live chat services for hotels. Our agency provides USA based fully managed live chat services to hotels, 7 days a week year-round. And while other agencies provide similar services, hoteliers should keep in mind that quality really matters with live chat. The worst possible situation that can happen is for a hotel to partner with a live chat service overseas who has live chat agents that don’t have a good understanding of “American” English and its nuances.

 

I’m a firm believer that just as hotels post telephone numbers on their websites, so too will live chat widgets become as ubiquitous as booking engines have become. Staffing issues aside, there is no downside when you’re trying to help your potential customers do business with you.

 

Messaging services are also becoming increasingly widespread within the hospitality industry. Much of this has to do with the amount of venture capital chasing new technology platforms in an attempt to disrupt the hospitality market. Live chat has not experienced the same level of fervor due to live chat technologies not being the shiny new technology du jour. After all live chat has been in existence for over a decade in other industries.

 

I believe messaging platforms work well at the property. It makes perfect sense to provide streamlined communications for in-house guests. While it is easy for a guest to pick up the phone in their room to request more towels be sent up to their room, it is not always the case where the hotel answers the phone fast enough. We’ve all be there I’m sure, calling the front desk or operator during check in and check out time only to have the phone ring 15 to 20 times before we hang up in frustration. On site guest messaging certainly helps with this, but only if the hotel staff…yes a human is on the other end ready, willing and able to respond in a timely manner. Perhaps when it all plays out with on-property messaging, the same “staffing” issue will become evident. Only time will tell on this one.

 

While I’m on the topic of having “humans” on the other end of live chat and messaging technology platforms, lets discuss the chatbot and its relevance for the hospitality industry. Going back to the beginning of this article, we’re in the hospitality business and in a business where customer service always wins. All the technology in the world won’t help your hotel if you are not able to meet or exceed customer service expectations.

 

Having engaged with (uhm, tested) many chatbots I can say that I’m not very impressed with the level of understanding they have or the engagement opportunities they offer. Going beyond asking a chatbot “what time is check in” or “does your hotel have onsite parking”, chatbots are useless other than to aggravate customers and potentially hurt business opportunities for a property. I believe chatbots for the hospitality industry is simply not ready for prime time. Why would any hotelier risk his property’s reputation and customer service to a chatbot who can’t complete the conversation with a human? Smart hoteliers will want to wait until the artificial intelligence technology improves, which experts say is 10 years away. Customer service and building guest loyalty is so important and still requires humans after all.

 

Oh, one more thing. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back for hotels when it comes to providing website visitors with live chat engagement services. Research confirms this.

 

Live chat is the natural way we, as consumers, have been conditioned to interact online. The successful hotelier is the one who understands this and uses live chat as a true differentiator for his or her property. Our own research indicates that less than 5% of hotel websites in North America offer live chat and real time human engagement services. This presents a huge business opportunity for the smart hotelier.

 

Lodging Interactive Launches Industry First Real-Time Reputation Management

Real time hotel reputation management

 

Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch CoMMingle Live Real-Time Reputation Management for hotels and resorts.  CoMMingle Live provides the highest level of reputation management by writing and posting guest review responses on all major OTA’s, social media platforms and for major hotel brands. The service also ensures franchised properties remain in compliance with brand guidelines while maximizing brand quality scores.

“There is no question the guest review landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. TripAdvisor once the ‘defacto’ guest review site now gives way to Booking.com and Google reviews, which when combined make up to 50% of the industry’s total guest review volume,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & president. “And according to a recent Moz report, the quality of native Google reviews is a huge factor in the search engine’s ranking algorithm.”

CoMMingle Live, is the hospitality industry’s first reputation management service to include real-time live chat human engagement via Facebook and the hotel’s website. The company’s USA based live chat agents are at the ready to assist any guest, potential or past guest 7 days a week.

In addition, CoMMingle Live monitors and responds to guest reviews on:

  • TripAdvisor
  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • Hotels.com
  • Travelocity
  • Orbitz
  • Facebook Reviews
  • Google Reviews
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Marriott Verified Reviews
  • Starwood PHG Reviews
  • Hilton Hotels Reviews
  • IHG Brand Reviews

Serving hotels and resorts since 2009 Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle Social Media Division has established itself as the industry leader in full service hotel reputation management and social media marketing and engagement. Customers include the Omni Berkshire Hotel in New York, the Boston Harbor Hotel, the Hawks Cay Resort and hundreds of other properties.

“Our team responds to over 200,000 guest reviews per year and works with hundreds of properties around the globe” added Mr. Vallauri. “We believe CoMMingle Live is a natural service extension and delivers unmatched value to our customers.”

For more information please click here or call 877-291-4411 ext. 704.

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses annually. The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

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

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

 

live chat

Why Customer Service is the New Marketing.

At any given moment, there’s a half dozen marketing buzzwords floating around in the advertising industry. We hear about growth hacking and gamification and wearables, all of which are (or have been) popular strategies designed to help businesses build their brand and market themselves.

That’s all well and great, but sometimes the most effective forms of marketing are also the most straightforward. This is true when you embrace customer service as an essential component of your hotel’s marketing strategy.

Why Is Customer Service Important for Marketing? 

Customer service and marketing have traditionally been two very separate departments, with entirely different teams handling each. While the hotel marketing staff ultimately does have a different job than your customer service representatives, there should be overlap between the two for best results.

Marketing, after all, is a discipline that focuses on showing potential guests exactly why they should be making reservations at your hotel. It’s about proving that you’re superior to your competition and that you can best serve their needs. This absolutely includes advertising, but it also can be a lot more personal, with one-on-one interactions being the most powerful.

How Exactly Does Customer Service Tie into Marketing? 

If a hotel or resort has responsive, genuine customer service, their guests will be sure to take note of that right off the bat. Customer service that is both good and fast is important to increasing numbers of guests, especially since there is more competition than ever before; if they don’t feel like you appreciate their business, they’ll take their business to your competition.  With this being such an important factor, having great customer service can help build your brand and shift client perception of you.

It’s also worth noting that customer service is now more closely tied to conventional marketing channels than ever before. Interested potential guests are more likely to contact you through social media private messaging or live chat than phone, email, or mail, so lumping customer service into the performance of your social and marketing channels is an essential part of how customers will interact with them. Some platforms, like Facebook, will even post information about your response time publicly, which can affect how users perceive your brand.

Ultimately, customer service representatives can become exceptional salespeople in addition to making sure all your guests are happy, promoting the right services, bookings, or amenities at the exact right time. Their recommendations will be more personal than autoresponders or Chabots, which utilize algorithms that most times don’t properly and become frustrating to potential guests. By giving your customer service representatives sales and marketing training, they’ll be aptly equipped to handle any guest crisis or question while understanding how to help use the interaction to strengthen your brand.

How Live Chat Can Seamlessly Integrate Customer Service and Marketing 

If customer service is the secret to better marketing, live chat is easily the secret to better customer service. Live chat lets you provide instant and excellent customer service to users who are contacting you with questions, concerns, and problems about a stay at your hotel.

For resorts and hotels in the hospitality industry, this can make the difference between landing a new repeat guest or losing them to a competitor forever. Being available to answer any questions personally and on a case-by-case  basis (instead of utilizing strict, inflexible policies) will help you build your brand and loyalty.

Best of all, live chat marketing won’t slow you down. The immediacy of this particular medium is good for guests who expect faster-than-the-speed-of-light responses, but it also works in the favor of the hotels using them; instead of getting bogged down with back-and-forth emails over several days, you can solve a guest’s question in minutes without ever facing the risk of losing them because it’s just plain taking too long.

If you’re struggling to implement live chat for your hotel or resort, look into live chat management services like CoMMingle Live. We offer full live chat management, with our live chat tool integrating with your website and social media direct messaging platforms. We have highly trained agents on hand to help your guests s get their problems solved quickly. This can help you book more, build a reputation as a brand who is invested in customer relationships, and save you money all at once while you can put time into the other areas of your hotel that need you most.

Want to learn more about how CoMMingle can help you? Get in touch with us here.   

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas.

CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses.  The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

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

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

What is the ROI of Human Powered Website Live Chat?

Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today offered some insightful looks into the return on investment of live chat for hotels.

 

“I am often asked by hoteliers what is the return on investment, or ROI, when implementing a live chat service on their website,” stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and President. “Like any new product or service that is leading the way to something new and better for an industry, there is always a hesitation at first, as business operators attempt to justify the return on investment of this shiny, new thing.”

 

It has often been said that Customer Service is the new marketing for businesses. And for those businesses that can return valuable time to their consumers, studies have shown loyalty and engagement increase between the consumer and the brand for those businesses. This is supported by the fact that, as consumers, we lead increasingly busy and hectic lifestyles. “So time has become the new currency for the way we live,” added Mr. Vallauri.

 

Hotel operators should be extremely excited with the widely accepted technology and service opportunity known as website live chat. The excitement should stem from the fact that millions of people around the world are very comfortable with the technology and are already utilizing live chat services in other industries such as banking and insurance.  It is very rare to find a technology that has been widely used by millions of consumers around the world and see that same technology having such a profound impact on the return and profitability of a hotel website.

 

Live Chat Saves Consumers Time and Builds Trust.

 

Hotel websites have predominately always been a self-service model for consumers. Meaning when a consumer visits a hotel website, they are left on their own to navigate through what may be a complex structure of interlinked web pages in order to find what they are ultimately searching.

 

For many years website analytics professionals have always looked at the time spent on the website. This KPI or metric measurement has been utilized for the last 15 years as an indication of success when someone remains on your website for an extended period of time. After all, the longer they stay on the website, the assumption is made that they are browsing through all the website content pages finding and enjoying the content.

 

When in fact many consumers are spending more time than they need to spend on a hotel website because they simply cannot find what they need, quickly and efficiently. This can be evidenced by a couple attempting to research for an upcoming wedding they are planning. During the planning stages they will visit a hotel website to check out the wedding facilities and photo gallery as well as dig through the website to seek out any wedding packages or, better yet, catering menus and pricing. “Many times these activities are not as seamless as they should be, and they take time. And time brings me back to my initial comments of saving time for consumers,” said Mr. Vallauri.

 

Live Chat Provides Live Sales Assistance. 

 

According to recent data provided by Forrester, 53% of online buyers are likely to abandon a website if they can’t find answers to their questions quickly. And 44% of consumers stated that having questions answered by a live person is one of the most important features a website can offer.

 

Live Chat Increases Event RFPs. 

 

Now consider a hotel website that has a live chat service enabled. The couple arrives at the hotel website and immediately is greeted with a welcome and an opportunity from a real person providing assistance. A conversation ensues. The couple is guided to the exact pages they are looking for, and is even provided with catering menus, wedding packages and pricing by document sharing in real time. Even an entire wedding sales and marketing media kit or PDF document can be shared with the consumer by the live chat agent in real time. This provides instant gratification and savings of time. The conversation continues. The live chat agent offers the couple an opportunity to have someone from the hotel’s catering department contact them immediately or the next day to follow up and answer any questions or check wedding venue availability.

 

It’s all about instant gratification and saving time for the consumer. Isn’t this what we all want from companies we do business with?

 

Increase Direct Booking Opportunities. 

 

Now consider the consumer who is planning to make a direct booking on your website but is confused about the particular view or location of a room. They want to know the difference between an oceanfront room and a partial view oceanfront room.  As they pass through the booking engine, the hotel’s live chat service agent is always available to answer and clarify information for the consumer. Again doing so in real time and with the potential of moving the consumer towards placing the booking rather than leaving the website in total frustration is another opportunity to increase ROI.

 

And when you think about the real-time marketing opportunities that a live chat service can provide to your hotel website visitors, it really gets exciting.  Live chat agents are always in a position to promote specials, discounted rates or an upgrade, as they engage with the consumer in real time. This can be simply handled by providing the consumer with a specialized booking link or SRP code within the live chat engagement session with the consumer.

 

Customer Service is the NEW Marketing.

 

Clearly the way businesses and hotels can differentiate themselves from their competitive sets, is to implement a live chat service on their website. We believe live chat service for hotels will become as ubiquitous as online booking engines have become. When you have a technology that is widely adopted around the world by millions of people, saves time and provides human engagement between consumers and brands, you win the hearts and wallets of consumers, helping to increase your ROI.

 

Lodging Interactive, through its CoMMingle Live Chat Service, offers 7-day a week live chat services coverage. U.S.A. based live chat agents are all employed by Lodging Interactive and are fully trained to understand the unique attributes of the hotel customers they serve. For more information please visit: www.LiveChatForHotels.com or call us at 877-291-4411 extension 701.

 

 

About Lodging Interactive

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Through its web design and search optimization division as well as its CoMMingle Social Media Division, Lodging Interactive provides effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants and spas. CoMMingle has established itself as the largest provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry, handling over 200,000 guest review responses.  The company also offers fully managed Live Chat agents for hotel websites through its LiveChatForHotels.com division.

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

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

The Changing Face of Customer Service for Hotels

Customer service has come a long way in the last hundred years but the most dramatic changes have happened – and quickly – in the last thirty. We have gone from brick and mortar shopping to online shopping – from using travel agencies for vacation bookings to searching social networks and using messaging apps.

hotel customer service

From the early 90s into the 21st century, the Internet and social media platforms changed the way we find and share information. Where we once looked directly to advertisers, fellow workers, business customer service staff, family or friends for information and ideas during our travel journey, we now look to online reviews, social networks and hotel websites.

 

We also seek out the opinion of peers online to help us sift through all the available offers, products and services we want or need to find that perfect hotel stay, vacation spot or foodie experience. Then just to mix things up a bit, different generations have different expectations.

 

Through all these recent social and technological innovations as well as different generational expectations of what great customer service entails, there are common needs that bind it altogether and exemplify the changing face of customer service for hotels:

Omnichannel Integrations

 Customer service and the customer experience expectations of today’s travelers have changed forever.  Whether it’s the tech savvy millennial or older generations, guests expect hotels to respond on their preferred channel.  So a seamless integration of services like social media, email and chat into one eCommerce platform will be in sights for the future. For the hotel, it means customer service agents get notifications from all channels coming into one place and a unified voice across all channels for messages that go out.

Self-service 

Making the customer experience easy and enjoyable is what it’s all about. Hotel guests or potential guests don’t want to struggle around your website and waste time trying to find the information they need.  Things like integration of a live chat service to your website, building a user-friendly website with great functionality or adding a great FAQ knowledge base make for an efficient, fast and enjoyable guest experience. Also, with mobile usage on a continuous rise, a responsive website is a must. For the hotel, it means you are making your guest’s life easier and saving them valuable time – two things that will go a long way in gaining and keeping their loyalty.

Guest empowerment and emotions

The human need for emotional bonding is a huge factor in providing great customer service and a strong motivator that drives bookings. Making your guests feel uniquely valued, special and important is a means to gaining their loyalty. You can’t currently make a chatbot empathize with your guest needs. For the hotel, it means keeping in mind that it is the genuine authentic relationship that sustains growth.

With so much digital competition, the new face of customer service for hotels is all about the guest experience. The genuine, feel good moments are not just a chance to complete a sale but an opportunity to strengthen your hotel’s connection to guests and potential guests. It’s what draws them into your hotel and keeps them coming back expanding your follower base and generating revenue.