Boost your Hotel Bookings with Live Chat

Live Chat has been around for years.  If your hotel is still doubting its use, you should watch episode 48 of the #AskDJV show today and learn how you can boost your hotel bookings.

Advantages of Live Chat for Hotels

Now that mobile has increased in popularity, being able to live chat with your customers has almost become a necessity in order to promote loyalty and build brand ambassadors.  They want to know about your amenities, hotel policies, meeting space and restaurants before checking into your property.  More than “basic” information, they want to know how you can help them.  Maybe there’s a group event that has special needs, or perhaps they have questions about your pet policies.  Whatever their needs, if you can answer them through live chat support, you’re way ahead of your competition.

Live Chat Customer Service

Using live chat customer services is a great way to engage your hotel guests and bring customer service to a new level.  That’s why we’ve created CoMMingle Live.  CoMMingle Live is the hospitality industry’s first real time live chat service for hotels and resorts.  We did beta testing on live chat with our clients and have found:

40% increase in Request for Proposal submissions.  People asking to book weddings, meetings, conferences, reunions, all through the live chat.  We’ve been able to help those hotels capture 40% more RFPs than they normally receive through their website.

We’ve also seen a 12% increase of direct bookings when live chat technology with human engagement is deployed.

Learn more about Live Chat for your hotel and watch episode 48 of the #AskDJV show today.

Lodging Interactive BETA’s Live Chat Customer Service For Hotels

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Lodging Interactive BETA’s Live Chat Customer Service For Hotels

 

PARSIPPANY, NJ – April 26, 2016   Lodging Interactive, the leading digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the rollout of CoMMingle Live the hospitality industry’s first real time live chat service for hotels and resorts. CoMMingle Live elevates online customer service to an entirely new level and has shown to increase RFP and online direct bookings for hotels.

 

“In 2016 Customer service has become the new marketing as social media networks continue to evolve into direct consumer to brand communication platforms,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President. “Our CoMMingle Live service enables hotels and resorts to humanize their properties and to build loyalty with customers by providing a level of online customer service never before experienced in our industry.”

 

CoMMingle Live is provided through a combination of state of the art live chat technologies and the Company’s own live chat agents. All operations are handled in the US and agents are trained to engage with customers as an extension of the property’s own operational team.

 

“As consumers we’ve all become comfortable with live chat services when shopping our favorite online sites, like Amazon or Best Buy, but when booking hotels online we’re left with more questions than can be answered via hotel websites,” added Mr. Vallauri. “CoMMingle Live bridges that tremendous gap and not only provides real time assistance to consumers but also generates increased business for the properties.”

 

During a three month BETA test, CoMMingle Live increased group RFP requests by nearly 40% and online direct  bookings by 12%. Customer satisfaction levels and ongoing engagement also grew at a rapid pace.

 

CoMMingle Live enables us to provide the highest level of customer service even before our guests arrive,” said Ed Reagoso, General Manager of the Wilshire Grand Hotel. “I’ve been amazed at the level of customer engagement we’ve been able to achieve which helps us build long term loyalty.”

 

CoMMingle Live is easy for hotels to implement by simply placing a snippet of code onto their website. The CoMMingle Live technology is fully mobile enabled and automatically launches when consumers visit a hotel’s website. The service captures the consumer’s full name and email address prior to launching into the live chat session. “As an added benefit for hotels, CoMMingle Live creates a valuable database which can be used for future marketing programs,” added Mr. Vallauri.

 

For more information please visit: LiveChatForHotels.com.

 

About Lodging Interactive:

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement 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. The company also offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 social customer care service as well as HotelSiteXPRESS, which designs affordable, responsive websites that properties own.

 

Lodging Interactive is a 2015 Adrian Award winner and 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 DJ Vallauri is the Social Media Director and on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter.  Lodging Interactive is also a preferred Vendor for Best Western International, and is a member of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Long-Tail Keywords for Better Search Ranking and Increased Profits

Rank Brain was Google’s answer to bringing the human element into their search engine queries.  With the ever-changing way people search out information, using an artificial intelligence machine to manage searches that were never before included, is allowing Google to get closer to their goal of returning the best search results. Considering the seemingly small 15% of searches never before included translates to more that 500 million searches daily, this system is nothing to scuff at!

 

So in a post Rank Brain world, what will allow for better search rankings to generate traffic and sales? You will need to learn about long-tail keywords and understand how consumers come to their final buying decision. Long-tail keywords are descriptive phrases of four or more keywords that are highly specific. There are many free tools to help you generate them like longtailgenerator.com or keywordtool.io and, if your long-tail keywords address the needs of the person searching, it will most likely rank well on Google.  The concept is that consumers use a specific search phrase when they are ready to make their final purchase decision and you want every opportunity to capture this buyer using your long-tail keywords.

 

For example, users will begin their search in general terms like “new york hotels” but there is great competition faced with larger sites like Expedia or Travelocity and brand sites like Marriott or Hilton who have invested vast amounts of money to get first search results. So keeping in mind Google’s Rank Brain, using long-tail keywords will mean you use more specific search phrases like “hotels near times square new york”. This will help increase search traffic to your site and lead to your ultimate goal of more sales.

 

To optimize your site pages you will need quality links to those long-tail keywords that will help increase your ranking and send traffic your way. User Generated Content (USG) and social sharing are ideal for adding more content to pages because you touch on variations in keyword phrases. Buyers will seek out their friends for suggestions or opinions and, when they like or have conversations about your product on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+, you would be generating traffic to your site.

 

The end game is to make a profit so do your thorough research to find those long-tail keywords that make it all work for you.

Lodging Interactive Picks Up Adrian Award At NYC Gala

NEW YORK, NY – February 17, 2016   Lodging Interactive, the leading digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, was honored at the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards where the company received an award of excellence in the category of Web Design & Digital Marketing.  The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) annual gala was held on Tuesday, February 17th at New York’s Marriott Marquis.

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From left to right: Wolfgang Wehen General Manager Newport Beachside Resort, David Krech Director of Marketing Newport Beachside Resort, DJ Vallauri Founder & CEO Lodging Interactive with his wife Marcey Vallauri.

 

“We are honored to have received an Adrian Award for our design and development work on the Newport Beachside Resort’s new responsive website,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.  “Our designers and developers, in cooperation with our client, created a website showcasing the experience guests can expect when staying in this North Miami beachside resort which was worthy of an Adrian, and for which I’m very proud of.”

 

This year’s HSMAI Adrian Award competition was extremely competitive with more than 1,300 entries submitted.  Lodging Interactive’s work was judged to be exceptional by experts in the hospitality, travel, tourism and media industries.  Judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on its own merit and success in achieving its stated objectives.

 

About Lodging Interactive:

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement 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. The company also offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 social customer care service as well as HotelSiteXPRESS, which designs affordable, responsive websites that properties own.

 

Lodging Interactive is a 2015 Adrian Award winner and 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 DJ Vallauri is the Social Media Director and on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter.  Lodging Interactive is also a preferred Vendor for Best Western International, and is a member of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

Lodging Interactive Wins HSMAI Adrian Award

Lodging Interactive Wins Prestigious HSMAI Adrian Award For Web Design & Digital Marketing

lodging interactive wins adrian award 2015

PARSIPPANY, NJ – November 23, 2015   Lodging Interactive, a leading digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has won a 2015 Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Award for innovative website design and cutting edge marketing practices for its work on the www.NewportBeachsideResort.com website.

 

“The HSMAI Adrian Awards has become the world’s most renowned and prestigious web marketing competition dedicated to the travel industry,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & CEO.  “We are honored to have our work acknowledged as a Silver winner in the 2015 competition.”

 

This year’s HSMAI Adrian Award competition was extremely competitive with more than 1,300 entries submitted. Lodging Interactive’s work was judged to be exceptional by experts in the hospitality, travel, tourism and media industries.  Judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on its own merit and success in achieving its objectives.

 

For more information visit LodgingInteractive.com or contact us at 877-291-4411 ext. 704.

 

About Lodging Interactive:

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement 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. The company also offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 social customer care service as well as HotelSiteXPRESS, which designs affordable, responsive websites that properties own.

 

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 DJ Vallauri is the Social Media Director and on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter.  Lodging Interactive is also a preferred Vendor for Best Western International, and is a member of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

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How To Write For The Web

Writing for the web has always required good copy writing and storytelling skills.  After all, you only have seconds to “tell your story” before your visitor bounces off your page, and even worse your website.  Last week MOZ.com published findings of their latest study related to website copy writing.  Their Whiteboard Friday video should be watched and it’s packed with good copy writing insights and data to back it up.  Click on the image below to view the video.

 

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Lodging Interactive Wins 10 Website Design Awards

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Lodging Interactive Wins 10 Website Design Awards

 

PARSIPPANY, NJ – October 6, 2015   Lodging Interactive, the digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has won multiple Web Marketing Association Awards and Travel Weekly Silver Magellan Awards outstanding website design and development.

 

The Web Marketing Association was founded in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and development of the best websites on the World Wide Web. Lodging Interactive 2015 awards were won for the following websites:

 

 

“We are thrilled once again to receive recognition from The Web Marketing Association, and proudly add these awards to the recent industry acknowledgements Lodging Interactive websites have earned,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and CEO of Lodging Interactive. “We are grateful to The Web Marketing Association for recognizing our website designs as the ‘best’ in the industry and share this honor with our team of highly skilled web experts.”

 

In addition, the company added two Travel Weekly 2015 Silver Magellan Awards for design and development of the following websites:

 

 

Also the company added four W3 2015 Awards for design and development of the following websites

 

 

The W3 Awards honors creative excellence on the Web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning Websites, Web Video and Online Marketing programs. Simply put, the W3 is the first major Web competition to be accessible to the biggest agencies, the smallest firms, and everyone in between. Small firms are as likely to win as Fortune 500 companies and international agencies.

 

The W3 Awards is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms.

 

The New Jersey based digital marketing agency, has provided customized website design, reputation management and social media marketing services to over 650 properties in 45 countries for nearly 15 years. To take your hotel website to the next level visit:

 

https://lodginginteractive.com/products-services/website-creative-design/

About Lodging Interactive:

 

Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement 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. The company also offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry’s first 24/7/365 social customer care service as well as HotelSiteXPRESS, which designs affordable, responsive websites that properties own.

 

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 DJ Vallauri is the Social Media Director and on the Board of Directors of HSMAI’s New York Chapter.  Lodging Interactive is also a preferred Vendor for Best Western International, and is a member of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). For more information, please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com, 877-291-4411 or visit the company’s website.

 

Why Image ALT tags are important to your website

You have been optimizing sites utilizing content keywords to increase your search engine rankings. But photos, renderings and videos are considered content. So how effectively are you using image Alt Attributes (a.k.a. Alt Tags or Alt Text) to increase search traffic and image ranking?

 

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) sets open Web standards with international member participation. Their guidelines are used by designers, developers, authors and the like who write code or content. One of the more recent updates to W3C’s document, Techniques for WCAG 2.0, considers web content and its accessibility to people with physical, cognitive or neurological disabilities.

 

In accordance with W3C recommendations the Alt Attribute gives a content description to the image file. So the text provides a visually impaired visitor who uses a screen reader to know what the image portrays. Besides effectively relaying the image to a user who can’t see the image, the Alt Attribute provides another way to increase your site’s ranking because your image description shows up in organic results.

 

Google’s SEO Starter Guide includes their information about optimizing images and they have some excellent points to make the most of Alt Tags. Here are a few:

  1. Keep image file name keyword “rich” but not keyword “stuffed”
  2. Text description should be short and to the point (image descriptions should be in context with the content)
  3. Use photos of high quality (a great photo keeps user’s interest)
  4. Image placement (keep image to the top of the page)
  5. Image size (optimizes page loading speed)

 

Also keep in mind that some users would first be captivated by the visual image and then use search results to click to the full website that houses that image. You wouldn’t want to miss out on any potential web traffic because your image Alt Attributes are not optimized! In the end, it is all about creating a great user experience that will increase traffic on your site and increase your ranking on the search engines.

Hoteliers Need to Own Their Property Website

HotelSiteXPRESSOwning, not renting, a modern, innovative and affordable hotel website is possible.

The hospitality industry has seen a number of agencies offering hoteliers a low-cost, low-budget website that they can rent. It has been widely noted that these agencies, which promise all of the bells and whistles associated with investing thousands of dollars and development resources, often leave hoteliers in the lurch after the deal is done.

Why? A number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that agencies that rent hotel websites do not provide hoteliers with true ownership of their content which becomes problematic as explained below.

It should come as no surprise that a hotel’s digital assets should be owned by the property, however, the subject of digital ownership seems to be overlooked by hoteliers doing business with rental agencies. Hoteliers’ ownership should reach past the physical ownership of their property to include their digital content and here is why:

Ownership Means Freedom

Not only do hoteliers have the flexibility of controlling their content, but they have the flexibility of taking an owned website and choosing which vendor or agency works with their property. An owned website that is not built using a proprietary Content Management System (CMS) gives hotel owners total freedom to take their website and work with any number of vendors. A hotel will not be confined to stick with the agreement strictly on the grounds that their website will cease to function if they opt to take their business elsewhere. Unlike websites that hotel owners own, properties cannot take their rental websites with them.

A CMS totally exclusive to any digital  agency is only useful when the relationship with the vendor is strong. Outside of the relationship, if a hotel wishes to move to a different agency, they would be forced to start from scratch or pay a hefty amount of money to convert their site into one which can be moved to another digital agency. That is an exceptional amount of blind trust and control being placed in the hands of the digital agency, with hoteliers having little to no recourse if they are displeased with the service or product they receive.

Ownership Means A True Investment

While low cost and minimal fees are an appealing draw, rental websites are a classic example of a scenario in which one gets what one pays for, but in this case, possibly even less since the ownership of the site and what hoteliers are putting funds toward is not theirs at the end of the day. This doesn’t even take into account the additional shortcomings seen from rented hotel websites such as no search engine optimization, little service or support following the initial set-up, a limited number of site pages, photos or content and so on.

Website Ownership Can Be Affordable

At Lodging Interactive, our award-winning website development team does not believe in holding hotel websites hostage. To offer the industry an alternative solution to renting a property website, we’ve created HotelSiteXPRESS. HotelSiteXPRESS is a website design solution, beginning at just $425 per month, that offers hoteliers high-quality, responsive sites built using WordPress Content Management System that they 100% own. These sites can be up and running in less than 10 days and are the property of the hotel owners who can manage them independently of our service, if they choose.

“Investing in the creation and management of a hotel website should be an investment, the extent of which is to be determined by each property owner individually. However, this investment, no matter how large or small, should result in owning the digital assets of that property. Don’t give away the rights just to save a few dollars when there is a fair, affordable month-to-month solution that allows hoteliers to own their websites completely,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President.

To learn more, visit the HotelSiteXPRESS website or contact us for additional details on why hoteliers should steer clear of renting a website for their properties.

Lodging Interactive Launches HotelSiteXPRESS

We are pleased to announce HotelSiteXPRESS – our affordable, month-to-month website solutions.

Lodging Interactive - HotelSiteXPRESSToday Lodging Interactive announced the launch of HotelSiteXPRESS, an affordable website design solution for hotels. HotelSiteXPRESS provides hotels with a unique website ownership opportunity versus lengthy rental programs offered by competitors.

This is the latest endeavor for our New Jersey based firm, which saw a need for an affordable website solution upon hearing of the difficulties many hoteliers faced after signing up for lost-cost rental websites.

“HotelSiteXPRESS addresses a marketplace need for smaller properties that want to upgrade their website presence but don’t have large budgets to do so. The service also enables the properties to own their websites, versus having to be stuck in long term website rental agreement,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive.

“Each HotelSiteXPRESS website includes a responsive design built on a WordPress Content Management System (CMS) providing hoteliers with complete control of their websites,” added Vallauri.

While other vendors lock hoteliers into multi-year agreements, HotelSiteXPRESS offers month-to-month agreements, starting at just $425 per month. A streamlined onboarding process provides for quick implementations within 10 days. HotelSiteXPRESS is also booking engine independent, which enables hoteliers to select their preferred booking engine without being forced into expensive booking engine solutions.

Features of HotelSiteXPRESS include:

  • Modern Hotel Themed Designs – Hotels select from large, visually appealing site designs.
  • Mobile-Friendly – Sites are responsive and render properly on all devices.
  • Low, Monthly Fee – Fraction of traditional site design, starting at just $425.
  • Easy CMS – Includes WordPress CMS, intuitive system for site management.
  • Fast Setup – Websites can be up and running in less than 10 days.
  • Owned by Property – No renting of the website. Hoteliers own it outright.
  • Search Engine Optimized – Sites are optimized for Google, Bing & Yahoo.
  • No Hidden Hosting Costs – Hosting costs are built in, so there’s no added fee.
  • Google Analytics Included – View real-time site data from the website dashboard.
  • Booking Engine Integration – Integrate any booking engine.

Hoteliers have the option of choosing from nine website designs (with more coming soon), created specifically for the hospitality industry and built with the WordPress Content Management System. This allows hotels the flexibility of modifying their content while not being held captive by a proprietary content management system that is exclusive to the agency the hotelier is working with.

“We set out to provide modern, responsive websites that look great across all screens at a price point smaller properties can afford,” says Vallauri. “HotelSiteXPRESS also provides hotels ownership and should they elect to, the flexibility to host the website themselves without the need of an agency.”

In addition to creating a new website for their hotel, hoteliers can also add a number of premium, al a carte services that include Search Engine Marketing, Display Advertising, Social Media Marketing, 24/7 Social Customer Care, Email Marketing, Video Production, and Reputation Management, all provided by Lodging Interactive’s award-winning team.

For a live demo and to learn more, please visit the HotelSiteXPRESS website.