Account Management Principles From Our Director

team-alicia-pavignano

The key to successful account management is great organization, time management, and good listening skills.  Managing multiple accounts can be a daunting task if you do not have the tools in place to keep your responsibilities in check.  Some of the questions you may ask yourself in planning out your tasks may be, what does the client expect from me, how can I meet their expectations, what are the deliverables I owe the client, how can I show the client the value of my services.

What does the client expect from me?

Clients expect that you keep their best interests in mind.  They expect you to listen to them.  As digital marketing experts, it’s the account managers’ responsibility to provide marketing strategies, recommendations and a well organized plan to help them reach their goals.  Clients expect communication!  In addition to regularly scheduled calls, you should be checking in with clients in between these calls.  Send them an article of interest or see if there is anything they need. It’s important that they know you are there and ready to assist.

How can I meet the expectations of my clients?

To meet their expectations, the most important thing you can do is to really understand your client.  Listen to what they say.  You must understand their needs and goals, their market and what they have available for their consumers.  It is only after this clear understanding that you can successfully put a plan into action.

What are the deliverables I owe the client?

Your client has a need to know and understand how they are performing.  One of the key deliverables to provide your client with is monthly and weekly reports.  Reports reflect their performance and are a clear measure of whether or not they are achieving their goals.  In addition to providing these reports, a clear understanding of them is vital.  Requests made by the client are also considered deliverables and should be provided on a timely basis.  As their marketing specialist, you should be providing strategies based on their needs, information on what their competitors are doing, changes occurring in the industry, and above all, a marketing plan for the year.  A marketing plan is key in providing suggestions throughout the year and with specific dates outlined in the plan, it keeps the client on track for the deliverables they owe you, i.e. holiday menus or specials.

How can I show the client the value of my services?

By showing a clear understanding of their goals and offering suggestions to reach those goals, you are showing the value of your services.  However, more importantly is sharing with the client the positive outcomes of your strategies.  That is where the true value lies.  Having a keen insight to the industry and the changes that occur shows the client your awareness and expertise in preparing them for the effects they may feel.

As account managers, once you have these questions answered you can put your plan into action and figure out how you will manage the tasks involved to be successful.  Some valuable tips include, using a calendar to trace out important dates and for scheduling, recording all emails, phone calls and voicemails, preparing an agenda prior to calls, subscribing to industry newsletters to keep up with the latest trends, and keeping a checklist of tasks pertaining to each client to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.  Find what works best for you and follow through and you’ll see how manageable your accounts can be.

What does a Website Award do for your Hotel?

Paying for a pat on our own back to get a Trophy – not anymore!

What does a Website Award do for your Hotel? Nothing.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Let’s back track a bit.

‘Old school’ style awards honor process and procedure – you enter your work product to an organization or committee to be judged by a panel, hopefully of your peers.  They choose the best submission according to a pre-selected list of criteria. A winner is chosen and ceremoniously, a physical award is given.

This process costs money. Entrants have always paid a fee to be considered for an award.  There are administrative costs that need to be covered for the award organizer.  Makes sense to me.

The benefits of winning an award, gives your business:

  • Credibility
  • Validation
  • Peer acknowledgement
  • Reputation builder
  • Promote your achievement & leverage ranking

Great – did you notice something?

The benefits of winning the award are for the company that created your website.  What does it do for your hotel? Perhaps it is a sign of prestige? The company you hired did such a good job, an award was won.  Ok, let’s go with that one for now.  I would agree that it would be prestigious … if it were based on transparency and true competition.

I promise, I am getting somewhere with this rant.

Over the years, Lodging Interactive has won many awards for website development, design, etc. We’ve always paid to enter into the numerous “competitions”, as we should.  Whenever we won an award, we were asked to buy the award. Yes, buy the physical award.

It seemed odd. I would have thought the cost of the award would have been collectively part of the entrance fee. It is the same for numerous industry awards. We kept paying to enter and then paying when we won.

During a weekly manager’s meeting, the discussion arose about the awards. Were we paying to play? Are we paying to give ourselves a pat on the back that we are good? It didn’t feel honest. It didn’t feel right. On further thought about this subject, could it be that the cost of the physical award was not collectively covered in the entrance fee because there weren’t three awards to give but hundreds?

Ok, I’ll give that a moment to sink in.

Not everyone is a winner. I believe competition is healthy. I love trophies and awards. Paying for the privilege of winning an award that is part of our job seems a bit self-serving since my company reaps the benefits of that award and not the hotel.

I would rather that the efforts of our labor, and your dollars, be spent on an amazing website that would win an award of results: Rankings, Conversions, ROI, Organic Search Results, Visual Presentation, Easy Navigation and so on.

From now on at Lodging Interactive, no purchase is necessary to build a winner.  We win when our clients say we win. We will not be entering any more awards programs.

The money that would have been spent will be repurposed to charity or back to the clients.

And the winner is…

You.

Season’s Greetings from Lodging Interactive to You and Yours!

Warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year from the entire Lodging Interactive family!

Annual MeetingLodging Interactive recently rounded out a wonderful year that featured exciting announcements, new services, design awards and much more at our annual company meeting held at The Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, New Jersey.

The LI team took a look back at 2014 and discussed our goals and ideas for 2015. We also shared plenty of delicious food, great conversation, laughs and of course — hashtag cookies!

Thank you to our valued clients for a terrific 2014!

We are excited about the opportunities that await us in the New Year and wish you all a prosperous 2015!

Lodging Interactive Offers Community Support

Alicia Pavignano One of the things we pride ourselves on at Lodgining Interactive is not only our success in the digital marketing industry, but also the importance we  place on giving back to the community.  There are so many wonderful organizations that are always in need of a helping hand and Lodging Interactive is  happy to step in and lend it.  What makes the contributions even more special is the consideration given to the employees and their special connection  to organizations or charities that they may be involved with.  So, not only is there a need fulfilled in the community, but the  efforts of the Lodging Interactive team members are also supported.

Over the years, Lodging Interactive has given support to a number of organizations that work to better our communities.  These non-profit organizations and educational institutions focus on important needs and issues in our communities. Some of the groups that have received support include, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Homeless Solutions, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the Alzheimer Foundation of America.

Most recently, for the second year in a row, a generous donation was provided to Beautiful People, a non-profit organization that provides adaptive sports leagues for children with disabilities.  Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Warwick, NY, Beautiful People allows children 5 and older to participate in sports, like baseball, basketball and soccer, who otherwise might not be able to take advantage of these activities due to physical and/or developmental disabilities.  In addition to providing fun sporting activities, children are also able to work on their socialization skills, coordination, agility, mobility and this all plays a role in increasing their self-esteem.  Without the funding from others, Beautiful People would not be able to function and carry out the very important work that they do.  This year Lodging Interactive’s contribution will go toward sponsoring the awards for the baseball players and the volunteers that help on the field.

This organization is near and dear to some of our team members, including myself.  This is just one of the many reasons I am proud to be a part of this company.

 

 

 

Meet Our Two New Hires!

travelers-are-craving-fresh-content-their-way-by-dj-vallauriWe’re so happy to have added two key players to our operational team.  Gouri Karode and Mary Jo Caruso.

Gouri is our new Manager of Paid Advertising and  oversees our paid marketing teams. Gouri is a certified Google AdWords Professional and a Bing Accredited Professional. She also holds Digital Marketing Certificate from NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Mary Jo “MJ” Caruso is our Manager of Search Engine Optimization.  MJ began her Search Engine Optimization (SEO) career in 1997 when she developed her first e-commerce website selling chocolate on the Internet. Her love of SEO caused her to sell her company to pursue her SEO & digital marketing dreams. From there, Mary Jo went on to work with Fortune 500 companies, honing her SEO & Internet marketing talents learning about the auto, healthcare, real estate and hospitality industries. MJ’s primary focus now is making our clients happy by offering them SEO solutions customized to their overall company goals.

Welcome ladies!  We’re glad you decided to join our team.

 

Our New Website Is Launched

Happy New Year!

We hope you had a great holiday and are ready to make 2014 the best year ever!

Over the past few weeks we’ve been busy working on putting the final touches on our new website and recently launched it.  We’re still tweaking and fixing things here & there, so we appreciate your patience.  Let us know what you think.

DJ

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Lodging Interactive!

Tomorrow is the day to give thanks for all the good things in life.

To us, you are all part of that good in life.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving from the Lodging Interactive family to yours.

World Cup 2010 breaks records on Twitter but are the Tweets worth reading? Are your Hotel’s Tweets worth reading?

Being a huge World Cup follower, I decided to do some research on the World Cup's impact on the web. According to Akamai's Net Usage Index, the game between USA vs Algeria on Wednesday saw a traffic spike to 11.2 million visitors per minute during the Landon Donovan goal in the 91st minute. It moved past the 2008 Presidential election!

Wc-akamai-spike

Breaking it down further, on average Twitter normally sees about 750 tweets per second. During the World Cup Games, records were being broken to 3,000 tweets per second during the games goals.

That's a lot of Tweets. What had me curious was the quality of Tweets vs. the quanity of them.

So besides the typical "Gooooaaaalll" Tweets when a favorite team scored, what relevant information was actually being shared? I came across an article from Esquire which broke down the chatter on Twitter during the World Cup games, "10.6 percent meaningful conversation and 6 percent self-promotion, plus 8.4 percent spam, 30 percent babble, 42 percent re-tweets… and only 2.4 percent legitimate news".

So now I bet you're wondering why is she talking about the World Cup when she should be blogging about hotels using social media as a marketing tool.

Two reasons.

The first and most important reason:

You say your hotel already participates in social media and networking. But what exactly are you saying to give substance to your followers. Those statistics I mentioned from Esquire are extremely telling, on an exaggerated scale, but I believe make a very good point on the overall ratio of chatter.

If the intern you hired is only adding to the "30% babble" on Tweeter about your hotel, what is the value added to your hotel's business? How effectively is it meeting your social media marketing goals and objectives? Do you have a plan in place to achieve those goals?

It's time to have a strategy regarding your social media marketing plan. Tweeting babble can be fun, but effectively participating in the "10.4% of meaningful conversation" and "2.4% of legitimate news" is what will yield results for your hotel's business.

Now the second reason? I have World Cup frenzy – my favorite team got eliminated yesterday but Wednesday the USA advanced to the Round of 16!

Go USA!

Until next time,

Rosella

CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Manager

Plan. Socialize. Engage. Measure. 

Every hotel wants positive Trip Advisor reviews but is your hotel really listening?

Trip Advisor is a main source for many travelers in their decision process of selecting a hotel. These potential guests are visiting the site to read about past guest experiences and a general "feel" of other people's opinion about your hotel.

Of course every hotel hopes that the reviews will all be positive but we know that isn't always the case. Hoping won't help either, you need to be pro-active in your approach.

Traditional marketing allows you to share and control the information about your hotel in a positive light. With social networking at everyone's finger tips, there is a shift to the guest in control of that marketing information.

But this shouldn't discourage you nor should it be ignored. Just like potential guests that are 'listening' to past guests, so should the hotel. Reputation management in social media marketing is a vital part of any hotel's marketing plan.

Read the past reviews about your hotel. Listen to the positive and negative aspects of them. More likely than not, you will find a common thread amongst them.

You might learn that the majority loved the hotel but complained about the older beds. You could discover that people felt the hotel was gorgeous with wonderful amenities but customer service was not up to par or that customer service was fantastic but the resort fee was too high.

Whatever it is that you discover others are saying about your hotel, the best course of action is to respond. This allows the hotel property to join in the discussion that so many are using to make their hotel destination plans. It gives you a chance to change a negative into a positive, disseminate current information about the hotel and encourage a potential guest to visit by showing that you are listening and being responsive to all reviews, both positive and negative. 

Potential guests are listening and reacting to the social network of online reviews and so should your hotel.

Until next time,

Rosella

CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Manager

Plan. Socialize. Engage. Measure.