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Attention Hoteliers – Beware Of Virus Worms Spreading Through Free URL Shortening Services

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Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, today cautioned hoteliers to not use links generated from free URL shorting services in their marketing materials or their websites.

“Last year we cautioned hoteliers to not use links generated from free URL shortening services in their marketing as these links were increasingly being blocked and filtered out by companies as a result of the rampant abuse, rendering them ineffective,” stated Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President. “McAfee® LabsTM recently released their 2011 Threats Predictions report which support our views on why hoteliers should not use the free URL shortening services.”

 The McAfee Labs report states, “We see a growing number of these (free shortening URL services) used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes.” The report goes on to say, “The trouble and abuse follows because users do not know where these shortened links actually lead until the click them.”

Click here to download the free 2001 Threats Predictions report by McAfee Labs.

Free Link Shortening Services Provide No Support for Hotels

If the aforementioned security concerns don't convince you that free link shortening services are risky, maybe our next point will. What happens to all those free links your created if the free service is "down" or out of business? Who do you call…can you call anyone, or do you have to rely on emailing support? In the meantime, those free short links you created are in your printed ads, emails and in online Twitter, YouTube and Facebook posts! This has all happened before, and it's not pretty. Read: TinyURL Outage Illustrates the Service's Risk. Read: Bit.ly + TinyURL = Fail.

 

Other Reasons to Never Use Free Link Shortening Services

  • There is no branding. When you see a TinyURL your are clicking blindly. You have no idea what kind of website you're being taken to;
  • Links are forgettable! How do you remember a link like this: http://bit.ly/10HYCo;
  • No control over the URL shortening service. Do you trust TinyURL? How long might they be around? What happens if they have a massive data outage tomorrow and all your URLs go to 404 error?

The Right Way For Hotels to Create Short Links

Link2Brand.com enables hotels to effectively and safely create short marketing links and to build online brand equity. More specifically, Link2Brand.

  • is a paid service, thereby eliminating all spam or phishing activities;
  • offers unique branding opportunities with over 20 selectable relevant domain names that relate to hotels and every link created includes the hotel's name;
  • provides real-time click tracking on all links created, enabling link ROI analysis;
  • enables auto-expiring links, which automatically become disabled on a pre-set date managed by the hotel;
  • offers hoteliers an online dashboard to organize and manage all links created;
  • enables the creation of sub-users for each hotel account, allowing for multiple users to share one account;
  • is supported by Lodging Interactive, a multi-million dollar hospitality focused interactive agency.

"Hundreds of hotels worldwide are doing it right and leveraging the power of Link2brand.com in their marketing and communications," said Mr. DJ Vallauri. "Furthermore, Link2Brand.com is a great tool for hotels to use to promote loyalty amongst local businesses and organizations."

Hotel Sales & Marketing Directors can also use Link2Brand.com to create vanity URL links specifically for local corporate accounts to book reservations without having to remember booking codes or SRP codes.

Interested hoteliers can try Link2Brand for free by visiting Link2Brand.com.

Malicious Goo.gl Links Spreading on Twitter [WARNING]

"A large number of messages containing only the link “goo.gl/R7f68″ have appeared on Twitter today, redirecting the users to various malware-laden sites." read the whole article on www.mashable.com

Shortened url links are effective. Unfortunately there can be malicious problems that infiltrate the free services.  For a hotel, those problems can become your problem. Link2Brand offers your hotel a reliable, secure and effective way to shorten your URLs without the worry. 

Visit our website, www.Link2Brand.com, to learn more about the customized, trackable, secure URL shortening service and our 10 day free trial. 

Link2Brand Empowers Branded Hotels To Manage Their Own Marketing Campaigns – No Website Needed

Lodging Interactive, an award winning interactive and social media marketing agency servicing the hospitality industry, today announced Link2Brand an innovative marketing solution for branded hotels. With Link2Brand hotels can launch their own marketing campaigns without the need of a dedicated hotel website; Link2Brand links directly to the brand's website.

“Our innovative Link2Brand marketing tool solves a long standing issue for branded hotels – how to create short, personalized and descriptive promotional links that seamlessly pass through brand SRP booking codes,” said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder and President. “Link2Brand empowers hotels to provide their own local web marketing for events and groups such as soccer tournaments, military reunions and to offer local businesses their own branded links to easily make online reservations. Link2Brand enables hotels to deep link into the hotel brand’s booking engine.”

For example this SHORT link with the hotel’s name:

http://myhotelpackages.com/SheratonBirmingham/Midweek

Sends visitors to this LONG link, deep into the brand’s booking engine and passes through the SRP code “DAYBAR”:

 http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/search/pre_decider_all.html?propertyID=115&ratePlanName=DAYBAR&IM=SOP_TITLE_179WD_SI_115_ATL

Complete ROI Tracking – With Link2Brand every link counts. All clicks are recorded in real time, and the hotel can simply log into its online dashboard to view click results. Monthly brand website referral reports will detail the number of Link2Brand referrals and revenue.

“We’ve made using Link2Brand so easy to use, hotels and marketers can create their personalized links in less than 60 seconds. Link2Brand can be used on Twitter, Facebook and blogs or micro-sites to drive business,” added Richard Walsh, V.P. Business Development for Lodging Interactive. “Additionally each hotel account can have up to 10 sub-users who can create and track their own unique links.”