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HotelFAQS.com Helping Hotels Elevate Visibility on Google

Last month Google significantly changed its algorithm that determines search results. The new system interprets the “inferred meaning” of a search, rather than providing listings that contain exact keywords used in the query. Google’s rational is this: by requiring sites to deliver improved content that answers searchers specific questions, it will provide a more reliable resource, and in turn, improve the site’s visibility and viability. In an effort to help hoteliers improve booking conversions, Lodging Interactive launched a new service called HotelFAQs.com that provides comprehensive responses to these exact types of pressing and personalized questions.

“Content that travelers like, Google will like,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. “Google wants hoteliers to stop obsessing over keywords and instead answer the questions that travelers want to have answered to differentiate themselves from the competition. While this theory has its merits, it poses a lot of challenges to hoteliers. Trying to answer all of the questions that potential customers ask online not only is an exercise in futility, but operators could lose business because of it. This is where HotelFAQs.com comes in handy.

“Created by our team of hotel marketing experts, HotelFAQs.com is a service that provides a clean, interactive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page that resides on a hotel’s website,” he said. “Before lookers become bookers, they want to know: Is a lifeguard is on duty at the pool? If yes, during what hours? What time is the continental breakfast served, and is it free? Does the property offer a babysitting service? If yes, what are the age parameters? HotelFAQs.com customizes the web page specific to each hotel, differentiating it from all the others in the area. By allowing lookers to find out everything they need to know when they are considering booking, it leads to higher conversions.”

HotelFAQs.com by Lodging Interactive drills down and provides details on happenings in and around each hotel to provide richer content for travelers. A Check Out Our FAQs float button appears on every page of the hotel’s website. If information is not available on a specific topic, a Suggest a Category or Question button is provided that encourages travelers to submit a question so that Lodging Interactive can search and post the answer. This not only heightens customer service, but it is a great way to capture prospective guests’ email information for future marketing efforts.

“If a potential guest poses a question, Lodging Interactive will research it on the hotel’s behalf . . . find the answer . . . and respond to the customer to stop booking abandonment,” Vallauri said. “We’ll even update the FAQs on a hotel’s website to reflect the new information. But that’s not all. Lodging Interactive will also create and maintain a list of attractions and events local to each area to drive potential visitors to a hotel and close on more business. Not only does HotelFAQs.com help hotels to attract more bookings, but its a cool new way to provide phenomenal customer service and improve upon the hotel’s online reputation as the best place to stay in your area.”

HotelFAQs.com from Lodging Interactive provides an easy and affordable way to:

• Increase bookings online
• Improve two-way hotel-to-guest/guest-to-hotel communications
• Capture customer information for ongoing marketing efforts
• Boost organic SEO value for vanity websites
• Communicate product and service differentiation
• Leverage local events, attractions and exhibits to increase loyalty
• Documents hotel policies
• Build ongoing FAQ content
• Stay relevant in light of the new Google Hummingbird algorithm changes

HotelFAQs.com easily integrates into any hotel’s Facebook page and blog.  Fully mobile compatible, HotelFAQs.com enables smartphone users to also benefit from vital FAQ content, thereby supporting and increasing mobile booking conversion rates.

An informational video is now available by clicking here.

Top 5 Marketing Must Haves Any Hotel Can Afford

Just because a hotel may not have a $50,000+ marketing budget, it doesn't mean that its marketing department can't compete effectively and build a strategic plan that includes website updates, guest reviews, mobile marketing, social media monitoring and management, and reputation management. For a small investment, Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, can cost-effectively provide hoteliers with these "Top 5" digital marketing elements that are key to building online awareness and maintaining a competitive edge in 2014.

"You don't need a lot of money to have an effective digital marketing program," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Instead, hoteliers with limited budgets simply need a partner with proven and award-winning digital content and creative skills . . . an advisor that can easily extend its expertise from the Web to mobile and social media programs . . . and a hospitality  specialist that can provide initial consulting, supplemental assistance or a total outsourced program with pricing and program flexibility to make it successful. All that and much more — from building quarterly landing pages and Facebook widgets to creating online videos and email marketing campaigns — is available affordably today through Lodging Interactive."

Lodging Interactive has identified five elements as must-haves for hotels with limited budgets in 2014, and offers affordable programs for supporting each of these mission-critical items.

1.  Website Updates:  So you have a website. Good. When was the last time you refreshed its content? Continually adding new photos makes the website more visually appealing. Is the site interactive? Updating content to include press releases and blogs that are linked to your hotel’s various social media channels will ensure more chatter and visibility. Are you reaching your intended audience? Someone needs to be accountability to ensure that the web page is meeting goals. If a limited budget includes limited human capital, seek the expertise and assistance of an outside digital marketing agency that specializes within the hospitality industry.

Through Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program, hotel marketers can refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost, PLUS they receive:

• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• Online analytical reporting
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting and Server Management
• Robust Content Management, and
• Guest Review System at no additional cost.

2.  Guest Reviews: A June 2013 Local Consumer Review Study reveals that 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If that's not a compelling enough reason as to why a review program should be part of the hotel's website, consider this: The latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, found that 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Nearly six-in-10 global online consumers (58 percent) trust messages found on company websites, and half trust email messages that they signed up to receive.

Lodging Interactive offers a turn-key Guest Review System that gives travelers a place to post reviews and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes. Hotel managers receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities. The GRS keeps guests on the hotel's website and away from the OTA’s. In addition, travelers can share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends, opening up avenues to new booking audiences, and again, more revenues. Lodging Interactive's Facebook Widget links comments from the hotel's website to its Facebook page in real time.

3.  Hotel FAQs: Does your hotel website answer "all" your guest's questions? If your web presence is limited to the brand site, the answer is probably "no." As a do-it-yourself or fully-managed service, Lodging Interactive will oversee a hotel's online FAQ listing, including developing questions people typically ask, sourcing the answers from the hotel, and allowing new questions to be asked by consumers online to help hotels increase conversion rates, maximize organic search and boost SEO rankings.
 
Through the HotelFAQs.info service, Lodging Interactive will add a "Check Out Our FAQs" float button for every page of the hotel's website. Standard FAQ categories are what you’d expect such as "Events & Attractions," "Accommodations," "Dining," "Meetings & Conventions," "Local Area Fun," etc., and each hotel can set up an unlimited amount of categories to meet their unique needs. When a traveler clicks on the category, he or she is navigated to the FAQ page that provides details about each topic. HotelFAQs.info easily integrates into any hotel’s Facebook page and blog.  Fully mobile compatible, HotelFAQs.info enables smartphone users to also benefit from vital FAQ content, thereby supporting and increasing mobile booking conversion rates.

4.  Social Media Monitoring & Management: Did you know that Google+ has taken over the No. 2 social media position from Twitter?  According to reports, it may even replace Facebook in the No. 1 spot in a few years. Hoteliers who are only familiar today with the top three social media channels will find themselves falling dramatically behind their competition in 2014 if they don't market themselves via Google+, Pinterest and other critical social media outlets.

If your hotel is having a tough time understanding the value of these important marketing channels, don’t ignore them.  Instead, partner with a social media engagement company that offers a turnkey service for creating and professionally managing Google+ Business Pages and boosting Search Engine Optimization positioning. One that acts as an extension of a hotel's marketing department, and takes a pro-active role in managing each property's online presence and communications to not only Google+, but to all social media networking communities.

5.  Reputation Management: Hotels of all sizes have begun to add social media technologies that monitor a hotel's or brand's online reputation, but unless those tools are being maximized, reputations and business practices can still suffer. Lodging Interactive believes that it takes people, in addition to technologies, to make reputation management effective. Lodging Interactive has teamed up with leading hospitality reputation-management companies to supplement their technology applications and provide the human resources necessary to answer guest reviews and manage guest responses on behalf of the hotel. Properties using solutions from outside reputation-management companies can outsource the social media monitoring and guest review response portion to Lodging Interactive.

"Independent hotel operators may think that they can't compete with the big boys because they lack the financial and human resources and support systems that a franchise provides — but that's a huge misconception," Vallauri said. "Through a trusted partner like Lodging Interactive, an independent hotel can benefit from the same and in many cases more comprehensive online marketing services offered by the brands, and with flexible pricing options.

"Our team of experts are tackling these issues daily for hoteliers with limited budgets. The end result is a sizeable return on owners' investments and a solid digital marketing strategy that is turning online lookers into bookers."

Increase Booking Conversions with One Simple Step – Add FAQs to Your Website

Your hotel has a restaurant . . . does it serve menu items that are gluten free? The Titanic Exhibit is in town . . . what does it cost to get in and how long is the exhibit open? The resort offers three pools . . . are there lifeguards on duty and are pool floats permitted? These are just a few detailed questions that are on travelers' minds before booking at a hotel, but chances are the answers don't reside on the hotel's website or mobile web . . . until now. HotelFAQs.info is a new service available to hotels from Lodging Interactive that provides comprehensive responses on the hotel's own website to travelers' pressing  — and personalized — questions. The do-it-yourself (DIY) or fully-managed service takes the asked-and-answered task of posting content to Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) pages off hoteliers' shoulders by placing it in the hands of professional online copywriters.

"HotelFAQs.info is designed to increase hotel's conversion rates by giving consumers the information they need to book a reservation," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Questions posed by a business traveler are far different from those questions posed for a family of four on vacation or an international traveler with language limitations. Hotels boasting 'personalized' service need to take a good look at their online FAQ structure. If potential guests have to dig through a website to get the answers they need, chances are likely that they won't make a reservation.

"We knew there had to be a better way to provide instant online information to the masses that also offered a consistent approach to answering important questions," Vallauri said. "HotelFAQs.info is an ideal service in many ways. While it solves the immediate need to increase bookings online, it also provides a forum where guests can ask their own questions and receive reassurances at the time of booking that the hotel will meet their every need. HotelFAQs provides organic SEO value for hotel websites . . . it communicates product and service differentiation . . . it presents opportunities to leverage local events, attractions and exhibits . . .  it documents hotel policies, and . . . it builds ongoing FAQ content."

Elevating Service Differentiation
For years hotels have been going to great lengths to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Social media is helping by enabling hotels to promote services and descriptions across the various social channels, but is it enough?  Guests already know what to expect from the brands and sub-brands they frequent. But what really makes Hilton A different from Hilton B in the same market? Travelers really want to know.  One may cater to the leisure market while the other caters to groups and conventions; one may offer babysitting services while the other offers a 24 hour manned business center. HotelFAQs is the ideal way to highlight the differing service options provided by hotels among the same brand or all hotels in the same market.

As part of its fully-managed service, Lodging Interactive will develop the questions people typically ask the front desk or reservations department, source the answers from the hotel and even allow new questions to be asked by consumers online. All content is optimized to maximize its organic search engine value so the hotel can benefit from a lift in search engine rankings.

"One of the best ways to provide exceptional customer service is to remove any undue stress for employees," Vallauri said. "Having front office staff answer calls with questions from prospective guests not only about hotel services but also about the local area can be frustrating, especially if arriving guests are waiting to check in. Outsourcing the hotel FAQ process is an easy way to give hotel staff the tools they need to do their jobs better. We understand the time constraints that hotel marketers are faced with as they struggle with keeping web content fresh and monitoring the growing number of social media channels. Outsourcing is the ideal solution. HotelFAQs.info will reduce employee stress, cut down on customer calls to the front desk, lessen the delay for customers waiting to get information, and diminish the likelihood that the traveler will book elsewhere."

FAQ pages are dynamic. As such, Lodging Interactive will add a "Check Out Our FAQs" float button for every page of the hotel's website. Standard FAQ categories are what you’d expect such as "Events & Attractions," "Accommodations," "Dining," "Meetings & Conventions," "Local Area Fun," etc., and each hotel can set up an unlimited amount of categories to meet their unique needs. When a traveler clicks on the category, he or she is navigated to the FAQ page that provides details about each topic.

Developed to leverage the value of social media networking, HotelFAQs.info easily integrates into any hotel’s Facebook page and blog.  Fully mobile compatible, HotelFAQs.info enables smartphone users to also benefit from vital FAQ content, thereby supporting and increasing mobile booking conversion rates.

HotelFAQs.info is easy to set up and easy to manage. The tool enables hoteliers to:

• Create unlimited FAQs categories
• Create unlimited FAQs in each category
• Upload images in FAQs
• Embed Google Maps in FAQs
• Develop a powerful on-page FAQs Search Engine
• Add unique links to the FAQ page
• Embed iFrame and Float Button code for hotel website
• Receive customer questions and comments
• Enjoy multi-property dashboard management
• Include Google Analytics integration
• Support custom graphic icons

For more information, please visit www.HotelFAQs.info.