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Google Now Displays Tweets in Mobile Search Results

The Twitter-Google partnership means a presence on Twitter is now an SEO requirement for hotels.

Image Credit/Source: Twitter
Image Credit/Source: Twitter

Yesterday, Google and Twitter both announced that Tweets will be displayed in mobile search results on mobile browsers as well as on the Google App for iOS and Android. Eventually, Google and Twitter plan to expand this to desktop search and other languages.

Can you say “game changer”?

We’ve always said a presence on social media is important for your hotel and that hoteliers cannot ignore the increase in mobile usage, if not simply for the advantages of better Google search rankings. With the two coming together to display Tweets prominently at the top of mobile search results, hoteliers must pay attention. There is no avoiding Twitter any longer.

Let’s use an example:

Say your property has a Memorial Day Weekend package or last-minute travel deal. You diligently put it on your website, you may even post it on your blog. Those are great ways to gain traction in search and to provide fresh, relevant content to your site visitors, but it can take some time to really gain SEO footing that way — sometimes weeks. So unless you have the time and energy to plan and post that content a month or more ahead of the holiday or event you’re talking about, it may not serve you well in the short term.

Now, what if you took that blog and tweeted about it? Maybe your tweet includes the city your hotel is in as well as a few relevant hashtags. With Google including Tweets in mobile search results, if you have a last-minute traveler or millennial that wants to book a stay this weekend, they’ll now see your tweet as a real-time result to their search. This gives your property visibility and searchers the opportunity to click thru to your blog and then hopefully your site.

Like we said, game changer.

Learn more about how you can utilize Twitter to harness the power of mobile search and reach new audiences by contacting us today. Being active on Twitter is no longer optional. Google adding tweets to search results now makes Twitter an SEO requirement for hotels.

What’s Happening with Google Products in 2015?

Google+ Products

It’s no secret that social media websites are a chatter with talk of major changes to Google+ in 2015.

Trying to get the inside scoop on what’s going on with Google Products in 2015? The buzz, according to a number of sites, is that the search engine may be dismantling Google+ in favor of separate products like Google Streams and Google Photo among others.

The industry talk is all speculation at this point. The general public will likely remain in the dark until at least after Google’s annual I/O conference in May, but that hasn’t stopped many from sharing their own hypotheses of what will become of G+.

What does Lodging Interactive think?

We can speculate like everyone else, but what we do know based on our experiences with the hospitality industry, is that there have been noticeable changes in the Google products integration over the last year. Back in April 2014, Vic Gundotra, father of G+ left Google. CEO of Google, Larry Page, left the breadcrumbs to follow on the future of G+.

Rather than speculate, we’ll have updates on any product announcements from Google this year.

“Ok Google” Voice Search

Search from any screen on your Android device with “Ok Google”.

Google released a new way to search from any screen on your Android device. Simply say, “Ok Google” from the Google Home Screen or Search Widget and you will be taken to Google’s search results page, weather or maps. If you say, “Ok Google, what is the closest hotel to Indianapolis Airport”, or “Ok Google, who was in the new X-Men Movie?” Google will show you a list of search results.

The cool part is that now whatever screen you are in, you can say, “Ok Google” and be taken to the app. When you are in your email and you want to contact someone, simply say, “Ok Google” call (name) and it will contact that person.

It’s perfect for traveling, too! Do you want to know what the temperature is in Boston or find out what time check-in is at your hotel? Simply say, “Ok Google” and you will get the information at your fingertips.

Get started by making sure you have the latest Google Search app (version 3.5), then find the “Google Settings” icon.
Once you are there, go to: Google Settings -> Search & Now -> Voice -> “Ok Google” Detection and check “From any screen”.

You will then be prompted to say, “Ok Google” three times so your voice can be recognized by the app.

With “Ok Google” you can:

  • Get Organized – set alarms, track packages, keep notes, use memos
  • Make Contact – make calls, send emails, update your social media
  • Entertain Yourself – watch movies, listen to music, watch sports or listen to a specific radio station
  • Travel – navigation, directions, check-in, check-out of hotels, get restaurant information, look up local area attractions
  • Reference – get time, weather, translate, dictionary, conversion

We hope you enjoy using “Ok Google”. Let us know how you are using it to make your life easier, especially when traveling or finding the perfect hotel. Keep an eye on future releases. Currently, this is available only in the US with the only language being English.

Reference: Google

Lodging Interactive Becomes Best Western Preferred Vendor

As a Best Western Preferred Vendor, Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, will introduce new pricing plans, financial service models, mobile website offerings and content management toolkits exclusive to members of THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HOTEL FAMILY® during the 2012 Best Western Supply Products Showcase, to be held October 11 to 13 at The Venetian in Las Vegas. 

"Maintaining an up-to-date website and monitoring the various social channels for visibility and engagement is critical to brand success today," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Industry reports show direct bookings via the hotel's proprietary website are on the rise, and unprecedented numbers of travelers are being drawn to new and established social media sites — from Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Wikipedia — to name just a few. Lodging Interactive not only has the team in place to design prized hotel websites for Best Western properties, but our proficiency in managing those sites, along with establishing brand presence on all social media marketing and engagement channels, is unsurpassed."

Through Lodging Interactive's preferred vendor status, Best Western members will receive fresh and enhanced website content, effective social media marketing campaigns, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, social search engine optimization, and assistance with online engagement of social media strategic planning via its social media marketing agency, CoMMingle. In addition, Best Western hotels will have the direct benefit of featuring Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System directly on their Websites, giving travelers a place to post comments and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes. In turn, hotel managers will receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities.

Lodging Interactive is comprised of a team of more than 50 highly skilled web experts. Since 2001, the company has provided more than 650 hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services. In May, Lodging Interactive was recognized by the Interactive Media Council Inc., winning three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotels/Resorts category for its website design services. This is the third consecutive year that the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry has been recognized by the IMC for its aptitude in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites. 

"We are honored to be part of Best Western's preferred vendor program and look forward to meeting with members in October," Vallauri said. "Our unique online marketing techniques, combined with our social media marketing services, wins online business for hotels and resorts. Whether Best Western members need to supplement their current Internet marketing programs or establish new social media engagement programs, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will deliver proven services that are measured by clear definitive results."

Drowning in a Sea of Social Media Mayhem? ‘CoMMingle Social+’ Comes to the Rescue

Just as hoteliers get comfortable with social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube, new sites are emerging, such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Wikipedia to name just a few, that are making an equally big online marketing impact. To ensure hotels are covered across all social media channels, Lodging Interactive and its subsidiary CoMMingle are announcing a new level of service called CoMMingle Social+. CoMMingle Social+ serves as an extension to the hotel’s core social presence on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube plus it provides a fully managed presence on additional emerging social media marketing and engagement channels.

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hospitality entities. Together, the companies are providing powerful new ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of social media channels.  

"CoMMingle Social+ is a service for hoteliers who already manage their own Facebook and Twitter accounts but also want to get involved in the new, emerging social engagement channels but do not have the resources in-house to handle it," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "In addition, CoMMingle Social+ will add weekly postings on Facebook and Twitter for hotels that have pages but find it hard to consistently post during the week."

Through the CoMMingle Social+ program, team members will work with hotels to initially establish, and then manage on an ongoing basis, the following social networks & engagement channels:

• Google+ Business Page – CoMMingle will set up the page if needed and maintain weekly postings on the page and engage with consumers as needed;

• Pinterest – CoMMingle will create a Pinterest hotel account, relevant pin boards, and then pin images weekly to the boards. CoMMingle will also monitor and engage with consumers as needed;

• Facebook – CoMMingle will create additional apps for the property, above and beyond what is presently being managed by the hotel. Apps could include promotions, specials and contests;

• Ongoing Facebook & Twitter postings – CoMMingle will go a step further and assist hotels that have don't have the time to post content consistently to Facebook and Twitter by posting content weekly on the hotel’s behalf and engage with consumers as needed;

• Wikipedia – CoMMingle will set up a Wikipedia listing if one does not exist and create social links. CoMMingle will also monitor the Wikipedia listing quarterly and check content for accuracy.

With social media increasingly becoming an integral part of consumers' global travel habits, hotel operators are struggling with finding the internal resources to manage social networks and establishing effective social media marketing campaigns. CoMMingle is designed to assist hotels in engaging online with social media strategic planning, growing and managing social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.

"The challenge for hoteliers is not just being visible via the various social channels, but being engaging, constantly monitoring content and keeping the conversations going," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "That's where the success or failure of a social media marketing program comes to play. If a hotel does not have numerous dedicated staff members serving as its social media watch dog, it's easy for the plan to fall apart. With so many consumers being drawn to these new, relevant social media sites, it's near impossible for hoteliers to keep abreast of the chatter. With CoMMingle Social+, we become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting instant replies if desired."

How Good Is Your Hotel’s Social Media?

Does trying to manage your social media presence have you in a tail spin? Are you still unsure of the value that social media brings to your hotel's online marketing program? Would you like add social marketing expertise without adding overhead? If "yes," than it's time to CoMMingle. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas. The company works with its customers to grow and better manage their use of social media channels, provide reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.

"Social media is more about psychology than marketing," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "Those in charge of managing social media need to understand the mindset of each audience on each network. It's a job that requires the wearing of many hats. It's not just about selling a hotel experience or product. It's about engagement. Content is important. Social channels exist for communication. When guests — past and present — post on your hotel's Facebook page, for example, someone needs to be monitoring the channel ready to post a response. It's a way to take online marketing to the next level."

In a recent article titled "Top 10 hospitality industry trends for 2012," Robert Rauch reported: "By 2016, half of the travel industry will be using social media as a way of generating revenue and bookings. Currently more than one-fifth (22 percent) use social media as a revenue generating tool with a further 27 percent planning to do so over the next five years. Plus, social media will become more of a key component of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) algorithms. Facebook's posts are already integrated into Bing search and Google+ emerged with native integration into Google search. Hotels can no longer afford to linger over adding social media to their marketing mix. It's now a necessary element of traffic-driving success."

Peter O'Connor, Professor of Information Systems at ESSEC Business School in France, recently said: "2012 will be the year when hotels wake up to the power of social media." In an article titled "Hotels Start Putting Their Own 'Social Media House' in Order," O'Connor wrote: "Since travelers enjoy talking about their experiences, discussing future plans and seeking the recommendations of others, social media sites such as blogs, social networks and review sites have become important information resources. Such sites provide consumers with easy access to a pool of high-quality, topical and most importantly, unbiased information, generated not by commercial interests but by other consumers, thus helping to reduce, if not totally eliminate, the aforementioned credibility issue. As a result, social media have had an almost immediate and dramatic effect on how travel is researched, planned and bought."

Engaging with Social Media
With social media becoming such an integral part of consumers' global travel habits, hotels are struggling with finding the internal resources to manage social networks and establish effective social media marketing campaigns. CoMMingle is designed to assist hotels in engaging online with social media strategic planning, growing and managing social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization

"The challenge for hoteliers is not just being visible via the various social channels — including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and blogs — but being interactive, constantly monitoring content and keeping the conversations going," CoMMingle's Virdo said. "That's where the success or failure of a social media marketing program comes to play. If a hotel does not have a dedicated staff member serving as its social media watch dog, it's easy for the plan to fall apart. That's where CoMMingle comes in. We become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting instant replies if desired."

Not only does CoMMingle become an extension of a hotel's Public Relations and Marketing teams, but the company also serves as a consultant to its customers, advising hotels how to deal with social media reviews and giving them tools to manage their social presence effectively. For instance, CoMMingle will nip a bad review in the bud by contacting the hotel and having the appropriate person address the situation — or CoMMingle can manage the conversation. A neglected Tweet can turn into negative Facebook post and eventually turn into a devastating TripAdvisor review.

"As a CoMMingle customer, hotels are not buying Facebook 'maintenance,' but rather they receive a vast array of services that can be adjusted hourly, daily, weekly or monthly," Virdo said. "We literally go with the social-media flow, identifying for the hotel where its strength lies. If a hotel is strong on Twitter, CoMMingle will suggest a campaign that addresses the Twitter audience; If the hotel's strength is on Facebook, then we will suggest posts that drive traffic back to the hotel's Website and/or blog and also continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter."

According to travel market research firm PhocusWright, social networking is one of the most powerful forces driving travel planning today. The firm found that social media use among travelers is growing far faster than the travel industry itself. A survey conducted by travel social network WAYN for the World Travel & Tourism Council and carried out in conjunction with Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, asked nearly 3,580 people (780 U.S., 2,800 non-U.S.) a range of questions about how they plan, book and use technology with travel. The study revealed that 38% percent of U.S. travelers and 64% of non-U.S. travelers are using social networks while travelling. Of those, 32% of U.S. and 22% of non-U.S. travelers frequently blog about their experiences.

"Social media marketing must be part of every hotel's strategic marketing plan," said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. "But it's important to note that one size social media marketing does not fit all. CoMMingle takes the time to understand each hotel's overall goals and objectives, then the team crafts a social media strategic plan for that specific property, backed by proprietary technologies and experienced social media marketers. With experts predicting that social media will continue to grow by leaps and bounds through 2016 and beyond, there is no better time than the present to CoMMingle."

Lodging Interactive Launches Vanity URL Service for Google+

Would you rather create a link to your branded Google+ Business Page that looks like this: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107157850917015701607/posts#107157850917015701607/posts or that looks like this: http://GPlusPage.biz/HotelName/G+? The latter is possible with Link2Brand from Lodging Interactive.

"Lodging Interactive has developed the technology for creating branded vanity URLs for Google+ Business Pages that removes lengthy numeric coding and adds click tracking as part of the service," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Facebook met this challenge early on, as more and more companies began using the social media mechanism for business promotions, but to date, G+ hasn't caught on.

"Link2Brand not only owns Google+ related domain names (which can be used with the service to create a hotel’s vanity URL link), but our proprietary click-tracking system will report the number of times a viewer clicked on the link to connect to the hotel’s G+ Business Page," Vallauri said. "It's an easy to use and highly secure tool that also provides valuable analytics. No other company is offering this level of G+ service and support."

According to Google, Google+ has reached 90 million+ users as of January 2012 globally, making it the 4th largest social network. The company also maintains that Google+ is the fastest growing network of all times. It only took Google+ 3 weeks to reach 20 million users, while it took Facebook 3 years, Twitter 2.5 years and MySpace 2 years to hit that milestone.

Google+ Business Page Creation
Before the Link2Brand service can be utilized, a hotel must first have a Google+ Business Page. This social media channel allows members (hotels) to organize people (guests) into social groups referred to as "Circles." Then, hoteliers engage with their own circles of potential guests and build larger circles through social networking and marketing.

Lodging Interactive offers a Google+ Page Creation service for hotels, while its subsidiary CoMMingle manages the page to ensure that each hotel is properly positioned on Google+. As an extension of a hotel's marketing department, CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive takes a pro-active role in managing each hotel's online presence and communications to not only Google+, but to all social media networking communities.

"Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle work side by side to ensure maximum social media exposure for our customers," Vallauri said. "First, we create the Google+ page for our customers to maximize their exposure through all social media channels. Second, we leverage all of the opportunities available from Google+ to engage with guests on a hotel's behalf so the likelihood of their content will be picked up on travel related searches. Third, we make it simple for hotels to promote their Google+ presence by creating vanity URLs that best represent their brand and provide click-tracking to monitor the program's effectiveness.

"We understand how difficult it can be to keep up with this rapidly accelerating social media scene," he said. " Lodging Interactive is here to help."

Lodging Interactive, CoMMingle Adds Google+ Service to Enhance Hotels’ Social Media Strategies

The social media universe no longer rests solely with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Today Google+ is quickly becoming an important Internet marketing player. Lodging Interactive, a social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, and its subsidiary CoMMingle, a social media consultancy, is now offering a turnkey service for creating and professionally managing Google+ Business Pages.

According to Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com Founder Paul Allen in his Google+ blog, the Google+ network will hit 400 million users by the end of 2012. Facebook currently has more than 800 million users. Google+ is adding 625,000 new users per day or 20 million per month on average.

"Social networking continues to be the least expensive way for hotels to market their brand, engage guests and build loyalty," said D.J. Vallauri, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle Founder and President. "Taking advantage of all social media channels is critical. Today, only a few hotel companies have expanded their inner circles outside of Facebook to include Google+. Failure to do so can be detrimental in the long term."

Google+ Business Pages are socially enabled and allow members (hotels) to organize people (guests) into social groups referred to as "Circles." Then, hoteliers engage with their own circles of potential guests and build larger circles through social networking and marketing.

"We understand how difficult it can be to keep up with this rapidly accelerating social media scene," Vallauri said. "As such, we are offering to leverage all the opportunities available from Google+ to engage with guests on a hotel's behalf so the likelihood of their content will be picked up on travel related searches."

Vallauri explained that Google considers Google+ 1's ("likes") as social signals within its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). As the Google+ network continues to grow, the weight applied to +1's will receive more consideration, and the hotels with the most +1's will reinforce their search engine rankings.

Here's how it works:
Lodging Interactive will create a Google+ Business Page on behalf of its customers. Then, CoMMingle takes over. CoMMingle's fully managed social media marketing service ensures that each hotel is properly positioned on Google+ where potential and past guests "commingle" to discuss their destination, including the hotel. As an extension of a hotel's marketing department, CoMMingle takes a pro-active role in managing each hotel's online presence and communications to not only Google+, but to all social media networking communities.

"Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle work side by side to ensure maximum social media exposure for our customers," Vallauri said. "Think of us as a dating service. Lodging Interactive makes each hotel look good and lets travelers know that they are 'available.' Then it's CoMMingle's job to keep the conversation flowing and continually fill the date card. The more content created by Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle, the wider a hotel's social media circles expand. The end result is better exposure on Google and a much stronger overall social media strategy."

Google flight search breaks vow, Expedia says

"Google Inc. is breaking a promise it made to antitrust regulators who approved its purchase of ITA Software Inc. this year by ranking its new flight information service ahead of competitors, according to Expedia Inc.

Google, which introduced its own flight search service Sept. 13, “excludes any link to online travel agencies, which are key options for comparison shopping,’’ according to testimony by Tom Barnett, Expedia’s outside counsel, prepared for delivery today at a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing on Google’s business practices on the Internet."

via boston.com – read full article