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Lodging Interactive and Masterminds Form Strategic Partnership

Lodging Interactive is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Masterminds, a leading full-service travel and leisure creative advertising agency in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. This new alliance transforms the company from an interactive and social media marketing agency to one offering a comprehensive set of integrated marketing and media planning services, from branding to television/radio/video production and more.

"We are thrilled to strengthen our interactive marketing capabilities by offering our clients Masterminds' award-winning agency services through this partnership," said D.J. Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Masterminds completes our product offering enabling us to offer fully integrated online and offline marketing plans with a proven track record for getting results. Masterminds’ talent has garnered an impressive collection of awards for their work in print, TV, radio, outdoor, online, direct mail and the disciplines of guerilla and experiential marketing. Their results-oriented approach to media advertising utilizes up-to-the-minute research from Nielsen, Arbitron, Simmons, Scarborough and others to evaluate all options and achieve maximum value for our clients' investment dollars.

Through its partnership with Masterminds, Lodging Interactive has the comprehensive resources to offer upgraded services to customers who require branding consultation, integrated advertising plans, award winning creative and full service media planning and management. The company’s ability to provide a single point of contact ensures a truly integrated marketing solution delivering proven results for hospitality customers.

"Today Lodging Interactive is a complete, one-stop-shop for everything marketing and advertising related that hotels, spa’s and restaurants need to stay competitive," he said. "By expanding our product offering to now include services typically offered only by large-scale ad agencies, Lodging Interactive is creating even more value for our customers."

Lodging Interactive remains focused on delivering comprehensive interactive marketing services exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, while its CoMMingle division continues to provide outsourced social media marketing services and reputation management.  New agency services, powered by Masterminds, now include:

• Integrated Marketing Plans
• New Product Introductions
• Branding Campaigns
• Logo Development
• Television Production
• Radio Production
• Media Planning & Placement
• Interactive Advertising
• Promotional Development & Sweepstakes
• Customer Loyalty Programs
• Direct Mail Programs
• E-blasts & Newsletters
• Photography & Videography
• Market Research
• Sales Kits
• Brochures
• Mobile Marketing

From Nancy Smith, CEO Masterminds: “Masterminds is pleased to partner with Lodging Interactive and looks forward to working together to provide truly integrated marketing and advertising solutions to a broad range of hospitality and leisure clients. To often, clients are forced deal with a variety of agencies in order to get interactive, social and traditional advertising services. Our unique partnership provides best in class services through a single agency relationship. We are especially pleased with this partnership because both companies share a unwavering commitment to client service and client satisfaction.”

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."

Online Guest Reviews Gaining Momentum; Good News for Independent Hoteliers

Think guest reviews aren't that important to your ongoing web strategy? Think again. In a recent USA Today article titled "Hotel giants embracing guest reviews — good or bad," author Barbara DeLollis reports that some of the world's biggest hotel companies are adding customer reviews of their hotels to their own websites "betting that their best customers will put more faith in reviews that are on their websites because they — unlike TripAdvisor — have the ability to confirm whether a review writer really checked into that particular hotel." The good news for independent hoteliers is that an easy-to-use and extremely affordable Guest Review System is available from Lodging Interactive that enables them to mirror — and even surpass — these brand initiatives.

In the article, DeLollis reports that Starwood, Marriott and Four Seasons already have their own customer review-posting portals, and Hilton, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Radisson are in the processes of evaluating or launching programs later this year. IHG Marketing Vice President Michael Menis was referenced as saying . . . "reviews are important because they play 'an important role in helping a customer make their ultimate booking decision.'" Likewise, Hilton Senior VP of Global Online Services Chuck Sullivan, was quoted as saying: "Consumer reviews are a very positive thing. They help provide customers with a real understanding of a property. We believe that direct channels — specifically, our Web brand hotel pages — have to be seen by the guest as the ultimate source of truth."

Truth in Advertising
With so many brands either leaning towards a proprietary web-based guest review program, or already implementing one, Vallauri said consumers will soon expect it to be a standard part of every hotel's website. Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System is leveling the playing field for independent hotels by giving them a tool that is quick to implement today and enables them to compete with the big boys while also enhancing their web strategy.

"Recent studies confirm that more than 60 percent of online shoppers and travel planners visit and seriously consider peer-written reviews prior to making their online purchase," Vallauri said. "Being able to monitor what people are saying about their individual property 24/7 is important, but enabling guest reviews to reside on your website gives hoteliers the opportunity to respond in real time to posted reviews — good or bad — thereby keeping potential problems in check.

"Through the Lodging interactive Guest Review System, any independent hotel that wants to validate and respond to reviews today can do so on their own website, and with no capital investment," he said. "Our Guest Review System makes it easy for travelers to share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends. It's a tool that independent hoteliers need for their properties, but without the cost of development."

Making customer satisfaction pay in the hotel industry

"In recent years, reports in the business press have questioned the value
of measuring customer satisfaction, suggesting that such research does
not explain or predict financial performance. A new Cornell University
research paper demonstrates now the contrary.

In this report, Cornell University demonstrates that customer
satisfaction research, when designed and executed with the prerequisite
psychometric and statistical rigor, does in fact yield actionable
insights and show clear linkages to actual financial outcomes"

Read more via www.hotelmarketing.com