Posts

2015 Social Media Resolutions for Hoteliers

Happy New Year!

2015 Social Media Resolutions

The start of a new year ushers in the feeling of a fresh start with plenty of potential and often an equally plentiful list of resolutions to uphold. This year, we think making a few Social Media Resolutions for 2015 is the perfect way to outline the social media expectations for your property and to ensure efforts across your social channels align with your hotel’s sales, marketing and customer service goals for the year.

We took the liberty of doing a bit of the heavy lifting (getting back to the gym is on our list). Here are a few suggestions of social media resolutions for hoteliers:

Shift your focus.

It is safe to say that social media is not going away, but it is changing. Make 2015 the year of the social conversation — reply to the influx of inbound messages with improved response rates and times. The travel industry is experiencing some of the largest increases in messages, but engaged only 19 percent of the tweets received at a rate of 11.6 hours after receiving a message, according to Sprout Social. Target Millennial travelers by making social media the epicenter of you property’s customer service efforts. Make a plan to determine how to not only develop content, but respond to and engage the people talking to you and about you on social media.

Embrace video.

Video will make up 79 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017, according to Cisco. This means adding video posts or creating that YouTube channel you’ve been meaning to put together should be a priority. Video sharing is a popular way to engage audiences on social media. Show off your hotel in video posts this year.

Take ownership of your online reputation.

Never got around to responding to those online reviews last year? According to a recent TripAdvisor study, properties responding to over 50 percent of their reviews increase their likelihood of receiving booking inquiries by 24 percent in comparison to hotels that do not post review responses. Not only does it hurt your property’s bookings, but with Facebook reviews and guests quick to share their experiences on social, you put your ever-valuable online reputation in the balance by not responding. Don’t have time to answer them? Consider outsourcing it.

Make posting fresh content easy.

Does your property have a blog? It is a proven way for guests to find your property via search, but it also provides a wealth of content to post across your social channels which means potential for increased engagement. The key to a successful blog is consistent content, so make sure to develop a posting schedule before getting started.

Best wishes on achieving your property’s goals and developing an even greater social media presence in the new year. Contact us for more social media best practices or to learn more about how our social media marketing services can help you reach your 2015 goals.

Do you have any social media resolutions this year?

 

Season’s Greetings from Lodging Interactive to You and Yours!

Warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year from the entire Lodging Interactive family!

Annual MeetingLodging Interactive recently rounded out a wonderful year that featured exciting announcements, new services, design awards and much more at our annual company meeting held at The Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, New Jersey.

The LI team took a look back at 2014 and discussed our goals and ideas for 2015. We also shared plenty of delicious food, great conversation, laughs and of course — hashtag cookies!

Thank you to our valued clients for a terrific 2014!

We are excited about the opportunities that await us in the New Year and wish you all a prosperous 2015!

Covenant House 2014 Sleep Out – Executive Edition

Last week, our own DJ Vallauri — Founder and President of Lodging Interactive — joined more than 750 executives in 14 cities throughout North America as part of the Covenant House 2014 Sleep Out to bring awareness and raise funds for homeless youth.

DJ was one of over 250 executives supporting the efforts of the Covenant House NY to assist the millions of homeless youth in the United States by sleeping out on the streets of NYC on November 20th. Participants were provided sleeping bags (or could bring their own) and slept on the ground using cardboard as a barrier from the cold. Temperatures sat in the 20’s throughout the night, making it difficult to sleep, but the night proved to be a life changing one for many involved.

My gloves are starting to fail me. Fingers frozen. No joke. 2:50am

My gloves are starting to fail me. Fingers frozen. No joke. 2:50am

“The experience was truly one I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Vallauri. “The stories I heard from some of the homeless youth were heartbreaking and tough to listen to. Makes you appreciate all you have and inspires you to support causes that work so hard to help others.”

Tweeting and sharing photos during the experience on Instagram, DJ admitted that he found it challenging throughout the night — even when armed with more layers and heavier outerwear than most homeless teens and youth that have to persevere these conditions night after night. The small glimpse of what homeless youth go through should be a wake up call for all to lend a hand.

The 2014 Covenant House Sleep Out raised over $5 million to “bring food, shelter, home, and hope to homeless youth across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America,” according to the Covenant House website.

The Lodging Interactive team is proud of DJ for supporting such a worthy cause as the Covenant House and hopes his involvement, and the involvement of thousands, will bring to light the needs of our homeless youth.

For over 40 years, Covenant House has been helping homeless youth across the US, Canada & Latin America. They provide more than food, clothing and shelter, they provide hope.  Their programs include helping teenagers (including unwed parents with children) find a permanent residence, jobs and health insurance, giving them the ability to stand on their own two feet.

To learn more about the Covenant House or to support their efforts to help youth homelessness, please visit their official website. You can also Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.

Lodging Interactive Wins Davey Awards for Hotel Website Design

The NJ-based digital marketing firm adds to its 2014 accolades with two Davey Awards, a major award honoring the best in web, design and advertising from firms throughout the world.

davey_gold_bugLodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, recently received two International Davey Awards. The firm earned a Gold Davey Award, their highest honor, for the design of The Manhattan Club website and a Silver Davey Award for the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group website.

These awards are the latest industry accolades earned by Lodging Interactive in 2014 for outstanding website design, making the websites for  The Manhattan Club and the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group multiple award winners. The Manhattan Club’s new site design has been awarded a W3 Award, Magellan Silver Award from Travel Weekly and 2014 WebAward, while the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group site also received a 2014 WebAward as well as an Interactive Media Awards™.

The Davey Awards, according to their website, “honors the achievements of the “Creative Davids” who derive their strength from big ideas, rather than stratospheric budgets.” Voted on by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, the Davey Awards are considered “the first major awards competition specifically for smaller firms.”

“Our entire team is extremely proud of winning these awards,” says DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “We’re thankful that the Davey Awards have been established to recognize something that drives all of us at Lodging Interactive to do big things — that ingenuity and creativity are recognized by our peers on a global level.”

To learn more about Lodging Interactive’s website design services available to hotels, visit our website.

 

Back to Basics: Hotel Search Engine Marketing – Part 3

Lodging Interactive’s Senior Analytics & PPC Manager, Gouri Karode, is sharing the essential best practices for hotel search engine marketing in our Back to Basics three-part series.

Read Part 1: Optimizing Your Site and Part 2: Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy.

Part 3: Stay Agile!

The tips for getting started and optimizing your landing pages and adwords strategies from Part 1 and 2 were just the beginning. The key to successful search engine marketing for hotels is to continue to optimize, monitor and adjust.

Here are 4 tips for maintaining an effective Search Engine Marketing Campaign.

  1. Everyday Monitoring: Check your campaign 4-5 times a week to monitor performance. Add keywords; update ad copy with latest offers and promotions.
  2. Manage Complex Campaigns: Some campaigns have very large budgets and dozens of ad groups and will need high level of expertise to manage them correctly.
  3. Make the Right Partnership: Good SEM/PPC requires working with a qualified partner. You’ll save time and most importantly money in the long term. You should have right type of talent, with the right level of experience to manage your campaigns.
  4. Remember Your Overall Marketing Strategies: An efficient SEM/PPC strategy needs to be developed in coordination with your overall marketing strategy. For example, if you want to target new markets, you can buy keywords through PPC campaign that will avoid waiting months to be well positioned in organic search results.

Search Engine Marketing and PPC Advertising have become basic Internet marketing tools that very few hotels can afford to ignore it. There are plenty of helpful tips and tricks for how hotels can carry out a successful SEM campaign, but many of them are ineffective if properties do not have a global vision for their marketing strategy and clear objectives of how SEM/PPC fits.

At Lodging Interactive we are search engine marketing specialists exclusively serving the hotel industry. Just as you know how to manage a hotel and how to welcome your guests, our professional team knows how to bring visitors and bookings on your website.

Contact us to find out more about how we can manage your SEM.

Lodging Interactive Adds to 2014 Design Accolades with W3 Awards

The Manhattan Club and Residence Inn Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf websites, designed by Lodging Interactive, were selected to receive design awards by The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, continues its 2014 award streak by adding W3 Silver Awards to its industry accolades.

The 9th annual awards, which were recently announced, recognized The Manhattan Club and Residence Inn Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf sites for distinction in web design. According to the W3 Awards website, “The W3 Awards honors creative excellence on the web, and recognizes the creative and marketing professionals behind award winning sites, videos and marketing programs.”2014 W3 Silver Award Winner

Lodging Interactive’s W3 Silver award-winning websites:

– The Manhattan Club
– Residence Inn Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf

These accolades are the latest industry awards Lodging Interactive has won in past weeks, totaling eight in 2014. The W3 Silver Award is the third design award for The Manhattan Club’s new responsive design website. Other awards for the site include a Magellan Silver Award from Travel Weekly and 2014 Web Award. This is the second award for Residence Inn Marriott Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf’s website which also received an Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement earlier this year.

“Once again, we are honored to receive recognition from AIVA, The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, and proudly add these two awards to the recent industry acknowledgements Lodging Interactive websites have earned,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “The W3 Awards showcase our ongoing commitment to providing the best in innovative website design to the hotel industry. This is a win for our talented in-house team and the clients that have put their trust in Lodging Interactive to provide them engaging, eye-catching sites.”

To learn more about Lodging Interactive’s web design solutions for hotels, resorts, branded properties and independent or boutique hotels, please visit our website.

Back to Basics: Hotel Search Engine Marketing – Part 2

Lodging Interactive’s Senior Analytics & PPC Manager, Gouri Karode, is sharing the essential best practices for hotel search engine marketing in our Back to Basics three-part series.

Read Part 1: Optimizing Your Site.

Part 2: Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy.

As with any campaign, it is key to establish benchmarks and create goals in order to stay focused and to continue to refine your strategies.

As you are reading this, you are probably asking yourself, what is my end goal? What do I want to accomplish by running this campaign? Is it for branding purposes? Last minute vacancies? What are my property’s PPC strategies for converting website visitors to guests?

Once you answer these questions you can begin to define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as CTR, impressions, click thrus to booking engine and booked revenue so you are ready to monitor, measure and test your results.

Creating a plan and setting goals is only the beginning of a paid search campaign. Once you’ve established clearly defined objectives you can get started by utilizing our tips for optimizing your adwords strategy.

Top Tips for Optimizing Your Adwords Strategy

  1. Target Right Audience: Opportunity to share your hotel packages and/or services with the right travelers when they are search for services like yours is the key for a successful PPC campaign.
  2. Budget Optimization: Allocate the bulk of your budget in response to the conversions you receive. Limited budget? No problem. Just spend the money you’re investing into PPC wisely by continuously refining the campaigns and customizing the account.
  3. Seasonality: Plan your hotel PPC budget accordingly based on peak demand months and slower months.  During your slow months or seasons you can promote business by creating special offers and promotions which are then promoted through your ads.
  4. Deliver the Right PPC Ads: Have a strong call-to-action within your ad copy. If you are running a special or offering a discount make sure it is mentioned in the ad copy. Give people a reason to book at your hotel with the message of urgency like “Buy Now”, “Book Today”!
  5. Device Targeting & Bid Adjustments: Bid adjustments are used to increase or decrease bids for mobile devices, however, there is no way to increase or decrease bids for tablets. All ads running on all devices enhances your ads and is necessary with the rise in mobile use.
  6. Track Everything & Monitor Results: Measure your ROI in real time by defining and monitoring metrics that include, Cost per Click (CPC), Conversion Ratios (CTR), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Cost per Action (CPA), Key Performance Indicators (KPI), etc…

Lodging Interactive provides hoteliers with complete Search Engine Marketing solutions. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve your SEM goals.

Don’t miss the final installment of Gouri’s series –  Part 3: Stay Agile!

Responsive Web Design for Hotels

Ever since Google announced that it recommends responsive web designs, hoteliers have been looking to update their sites. The need is obvious – reach many people with one website, instead of building separate websites for desktop and mobile users. As we move into 2015, more site visitors are going to be checking in and out of hotels with their mobile phones in addition to booking their hotel rooms. With the onset of Social Media, more people will be leaving reviews and asking questions – you guessed it – from their mobile devices.

What every hotel should know about responsive web designs

Now is a great time to revamp your website.  If you have been putting off redesigning your website, this should now become a top priority for you. Industry-wide occupancy levels are expected to reach 64.8 percent in 2015, the highest since 1995. (Source: PwC)

Will your hotel website be ready to grow with the changes? Do you have social media marketing solutions in place to handle the new volume of reviews? How are you positioned in your current marketplace?

These are all questions you should consider. In addition, you should consider the following:

  1. Budget – You should consider this a primary investment in your company. It is your “brand ambassador” to the world.  Do not skimp on this because everything else you do online will focus around your website.
  2. Usability – Make sure your new website is user friendly. Can visitors book a room, get directions, and subscribe to your newsletter easily? Do they have access to your blog, social media and other areas of your hotel’s branding?
  3. Blog – Blogs are a great way to increase your branding awareness, while sharing upcoming events & area information. Make sure your visitors can find your blog and that you update it regularly – giving them a reason to come back, even if their hotel stay has ended.
  4. SEO – Make sure your new website will have proper SEO in the code. This will help you get indexed and ranked properly by the Search Engines.  After all, you not only want to have an amazing website, you want people to find it, too.

If you implement the above suggestions into your new responsive website, then you will be able to reach more people at the exact time they need and want your services. Don’t lose bookings because you are cautious about updating your website. Do it now, so you can capture the larger audience expected in 2015.