June 12, 2018 – Hospitality Social Media News

Hospitality Social Media News

 

 

 

 

June 12, 2018 Issue

Latest Updates – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Yelp

 

A lot of social media changes have happened in the past two weeks, giving us features ranging from Instagram Ad updates to new ways to connect with guests on Yelp. This edition of our biweekly newsletter takes an in-depth look at all of them and how they will affect your hotels and resorts moving forward. Let’s get started.

Organic Instagram Posts Can Be Made Into Ads

Previously, Instagram’s organic posts could only be promoted through an ad system if they were boosted natively on-platform. Now, you can turn single image and single video organic Instagram posts into actual ads through Power Editor and the Ads Manager.

These ads will give you more objectives, better targeting, and more bidding options than boosted posts did. If you’re worried about all the engagement disappearing, that shouldn’t be a concern; all likes and comments will be aggregated on the original organic content.

What This Means for Hotels

Hotels and resorts can use this new feature to gain a large amount of engagement in likes and comments on their organic content very quickly, in addition to building brand awareness and encouraging more bookings. Since Instagram has recently rolled out the new CTA buttons that allow for reservations to made, making your content look as good as possible with likes and comments could help get you more bookings.

Facebook Stories Get Instagram-Style Polling 

Instagram Stories polls have been a great way to drive engagement and get feedback from followers. Now these polls are now coming to Facebook. Poll stickers will let you ask a question and fill in two potential answers.

Image source: Facebook

What This Means for Hotels

Facebook users haven’t engaged with Stories as often as they do with Instagram’s counterpart, but that may change thanks to the increasingly engaging features being added to the platform. People love to share their opinions, so now would be a great opportunity to ask guests that they think about a vacation at your resort. Some questions you could ask include:

  • “What’s your favorite part of your stay? Spa or Restaurants?”
  • “Which would you choose: Pool view or Ocean view?”
  • “Favorite resort activity: Snowboarding or Skiing?”

Facebook Events Testing New Ticketing Feature

Facebook is currently testing new functionality for their Events feature, including new ticketing and messaging options. The ticketing feature will allow businesses to offer two purchasing options, including through the site or ad the event, or to request/purchase tickets through Messenger.

What This Means for Hotels

If your resort hosts any kind of event or conference and sells the tickets directly, this could help you boost attendance by offering more convenient ways to purchase tickets and the ability to answer questions quickly.

Facebook Tests Review Scores on Business Pages

The traditional ratings system on Facebook utilizes a 5-star scale. The platform is currently testing a new review system that factors in ratings, user reviews, and the recommendations people share on platform. Instead of five stars, the new system gives you a score out of ten.

Image Source: Social Media Examiner

What This Means for Hotels 

Reviews from guests are always important, and that’s still true. If you only have a few ratings and some other feedback on-site (or a single negative rating and plenty of positive general feedback on the platform), check and see if this new system works for you. Right now some Pages have the option to choose one over the other, though that may not be the case forever. Take advantage of that while you can, and use the system that helps you promote your hotel most effectively.

Pinterest Tests Screen-Wide Video Ads 

Pinterest is currently testing a new promoted video format that will take up the full width of a mobile screen. It’s only being tested by a few big name companies like Kohl’s, American Express, and Tropicana, but hopefully we’ll see more from this soon.

What This Means for Hotels

Full-screen video ads will ensure that you have a user’s full attention, making it easier to accomplish higher video completion rates from users and making your ad more impactful.

Once available, you can showcase the stunning views around your hotel and resort. When possible, use text to explain what users are seeing if you want to get the most clicks (and bookings!). Remember that Pinterest is used to make buying decisions, so once this ad format is available, take advantage of that to put a full-screen ad in front of users doing research for their next vacation or event.

Yelp Rolls Out Collections

Yelp has just rolled out a new feature called Collections, which provides users with personalized, “hand-picked” recommendations based on their Yelp activity. The Collections will be made up of recommendations from friends and top-rated recommendations from the Yelp community in general. New recommendations are provided weekly, and users can create their own Collections of favorite brands, stores, and (of course) hotels. 

What This Means for Hotels  

We don’t know a ton yet about how exactly to be featured in a Collection by Yelp, but this is a feature that we’ll keep an eye on as personalized suggestions containing your resort could be a goldmine.

In general, encourage users to leave reviews on the platform with follow-up emails after their stay, or mention it during checkout. Yelp is already partially a numbers game as it is, so getting more reviews could only help you if you want to be featured in Collections moving forward, too.

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Unique Hotels and Experiences Fascinate Locals & Tourists

Whether it’s a local looking for a fun weekend or a tourist looking for a unique travel adventure, hotels are ramping up the possibilities to fulfill guest needs and expectations for the most unique escapades.

 

Today’s travelers are not just satisfied with getting the comforts of home through amenities and services during their hotel stay. They want a hotel to give them a singular, distinct experience. With so much competition, hoteliers are becoming inventive, feeding the imagination to create the ultimate guest experience. There is no short supply of hotels that have sparked interest and created the allure for such one-of-a-kind moments.

 

Imagination is the air of the mind – Philip James Bailey

 

From cave to ice to underground hotels, you can experience it all. You can stay in a cave hotel like Dreams Cave Hotel  in Turkey. How about The Icehotel made completely of ice in Sweden or the glass igloos of Kakslauttanen Artic Resort in Finland with spectacular viewing of the Northern Lights? Stateside you can stay on board what was once a world-class ocean liner, The Queen Mary, or in an underwater hotel like Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Florida. How about sleeping in a caboose car at The Red Caboose Motel in Pennsylvania?

 

Even brand hotels are getting creative by offering entertainment with a unique bent like the new Cachet Boutique in New York City with its soon-to-be revival of the old Playboy Club lounge – bunnies and all. In Los Angeles you have the Onyx Rooftop in the Hotel Shangri-La with its throwback to the 1970’s including a disco dance floor and a 70’s nightclub dress code. On the rooftop of the Dana Hotel & Spa in Chicago, there is Apogee offering beverages made of smoke or edible butterflies.

 

With so many hotels vying for guest attention, the travel trend today is ‘the more unique the better’. The smaller boutique and independent hotels work especially hard to stand out against brands and, in so doing, not only attract the travelers to their unique hotel but also create opportunities to get those coveted bookings.

 

From theme related rooms, bars and restaurants to converted historic sites, there is a hotel adventure to spark everyone’s interest that will surely keep guests talking about their stay long after they have checked out. Mission well accomplished!

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.