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Hotels Looking to Heighten SEO and SMO Need to Engage with SoLoMo

Just when you thought you knew every possible acronym for hotel technology, a slew of new social media terms emerged, many of which are as important to learn as they are critical to implement for business success. Topping the list is SoLoMo, the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile strategies that is dramatically changing the way that businesses and consumers communicate. Lodging Interactive, and its outsourced social media marketing agency CoMMingle, are fluent in speaking the SoLoMo language, and together they are helping hotels improve conversations with global guests across the social, local and mobile channels to tap new revenue streams and target new customers.

"eMarketing today is an art, especially in a SoLoMo environment," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive founder and president. "The Internet, smartphones and social channels have made it possible for even the smallest hotel to share its messaging with the world with just a click or a touch. While the process sounds simple, the intricacies of SoLoMo marketing are quite complex. Which social media channels are the most effective to reach the right audience? When is the right time to push local offers and to whom? How do you manipulate web content for mobile devices and get users to engage with the offers being made? Who is monitoring the various SoLoMo conversations to protect the hotel's reputation? Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle have the time and the talent to address those questions and many more."

Lodging Interactive is an award winning full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The company provides ROI-driven online marketing services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. CoMMingle manages hotels' use of social media channels, provides reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.  

The SoLoMo Connection
According to "Technopedia," SoLoMo is defined as: A more mobile-centric version of the addition of local entries to search engine results. SoLoMo emerged as a result of the growing popularity of smartphones, and provides greater local precision to search engine results than what's available via a PC.

Consider this:

• More Internet access occurs through mobile devices than by laptop or desktop (Expedia)
• Two-thirds of Americans sleep with their mobile device in range (Expedia)
• Current number of bookings via mobile device is about 16 million, and it's expected to double by 2016 (Expedia)
• 97% of consumers now search for local businesses online (Eventility)
• 72% of consumers consider online reviews trustworthy (Eventility)
• 61% of Millennials reference social media when deciding where to go out (Eventility)
• 78% of small businesses now get at least a quarter of their new customers through social media (Eventility)

"Hoteliers can't turn their backs on these who are searching for the very services they offer," Vallauri said. "It's time to grab consumers' attention . . . and those consumers will tell their friends, and so on. The convergence of social, local, and mobile channels is key to how hoteliers can effectively communicate with guests, and how travelers willingly engage in return with hotels. Social addresses 'where' travelers share their hotel experience; Mobile is 'how' they send and receive information with the hotel; and Local speaks to the immediate environment or 'when' travelers can receive the best offers at the best rates for the best experience. When hotels harness the power of the SoLoMo initiative, it enables them to stay hyper-connected with their guests like never before."

Finding the expertise at the property level to launch a strong SoLoMo strategy is challenging, and being able to analyze its effectiveness once it goes live is equally as difficult. Next-generation hotels need to engage with guests socially via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. They must respond to online reviews . . . provide locally-meaningful content and offers . . . and manage that data to ensure that it is relevant to each audience on each channel. Having the staff and expertise to make all this happen is even more challenging. This where Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle can be a valuable resource.

"With SoLoMo 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," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will assist hotels by 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.

"We monitor content and keep conversations going," she said. "We become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting instant replies if desired. We also serve as an extension of a hotel's Public Relations and Marketing teams, and 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. The bottom line is that hotels need to tap into their customers, and having properly managed social, local and mobile profiles will keep them coming back and growing revenues while you are growing loyalty."

SoLoMo Portfolio
Leveraging a team of more than 50 highly skilled online content experts, Lodging Interactive offers the following services that work together or independently to support a hotel's SoLoMo campaign:

• Website design and management
• Hotel reservation services
• Social media marketing
• Reputation management
• Email newsletter marketing
• Guest review system
• Video production
• Strategic marketing
• Advertising agency services
• Measurement and accountability

"There is no time like the present to begin leveraging the power of SoLoMo," Vallauri said. "Hoteliers that don't know where or how to begin can tap the expertise of the Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle teams to receive a customized strategy for each property backed by superior customer service.”

Lodging Interactive Teams with InnLink to Offer Booking Engine, GDS/OTA Connectivity

Hotels using Lodging Interactive for online marketing services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management, can now benefit from the industry-leading InnLink Central Reservation System powered by Travlynx. Through this integration partnership, Lodging Interactive has added a booking engine and connectivity to the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Online Travel Agents (OTA) to its long list of award-winning, interactive and social media marketing services.

InnLink, powered by TravLynx CRS technology, has been delivering comprehensive reservations and revenue management solutions with award-winning customer service in the hospitality and travel industries for more than 20 years. The company powers more than 6,000 independent hotels, chain properties, resorts and destinations worldwide. 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 more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online marketing services.

"Lodging Interactive continues to go above and beyond its full-service web design and management services by partnering with the industry's best-of-breed solutions providers with whom we have uncanny synergies," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "InnLink was created for hoteliers, by hoteliers, as a way to deliver easy-to-use, intuitive management tools to hotels that have limited resources or that desire competitive support in their local market. Likewise, Lodging Interactive was formed to assist hotel operators who are struggling with finding the internal resources needed to implement online marketing strategies, manage social networks and establish effective social media marketing campaigns.

"Together, Lodging Interactive and TravLynx are leveraging their years of expertise to deliver the best possible results for our customers, including maximizing incremental net revenues and increasing visibility for mid-tier, limited-service hotel chains and independent properties," Vallauri said. "Our customers benefit by receiving an abundance of proven services, from seamless connectivity via InnLink to the GDSs and placement with the OTAs, to easy-to-use and understand analytics and a full-service call center based exclusively in the United States."

Kristin Intress, CEO of InnLink, said customers too will see immediate benefits from enlisting Lodging Interactive's expertise.

"Through this partnership, our customers have direct access to expert hotel marketing services that deliver results and win awards," Intress said. "Not only will Lodging Interactive's website design and management services be extended to TravLynx users, but customers will also benefit from expanded services, including website audits, website hosting and server management, a robust content management system, an optional Guest Review System, lead capture and reporting, social media analytics, social network engagement, mobile website development and more.

"Like Lodging Interactive, we only partner with the best," she said. "We are thrilled to be adding more services to drive net reservation revenue for our clients via Lodging Interactive; true leaders in their field and a good match for InnLink."

InnLink provides Lodging Interactive customers with access to:

• Seamless connectivity to the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs)
• Improved placement with the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
• Direct Connect, Net Rate and Merchant model programs
• Fully customizable booking engine with easy to use/understand analytics
• Complete integration of packages and up sells to increase ADR and RevPAR
• Mobile booking engine through smartphones and social media (Facebook)
• Personalized, full-service call center based exclusively in the U.S.
• Group and Tour Reservation Desk with no additional fees
• Independent and after hours/overflow answering
• 24/7/365 reservation services

Via Lodging Interactive, InnLink customers, and those using any of the InnLink solutions, can receive:

• Website Design and Management
• Social Media Marketing
• Reputation Management
• Guest Review System
• Email newsletter marketing
• Video production
• Hotel gift certificates marketing
• Full advertising agency services
• Measurement and accountability services

Are Web Crawlers Creeping Around Your Site? Find Out Via a FREE Website Structure Audit from Lodging Interactive

Are there web crawlers creeping around your site? You had better hope so. Web crawlers are computer programs that the search engines use to gather data and index information from a website. Today, Lodging Interactive is offering a FREE Website Structure Audit Report that provides insightful data about crawl statistics, crawl availability, content and structure crawl stats and more.

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. 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, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management.

"When it comes to website optimization, most hoteliers are cognizant of keeping content fresh — from updating specials and photos to adding blogs and social media links — or at least they should be," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "While each of these elements is vital to a successful web presence, there are far more 'structural' elements that need scrutinizing. Lodging Interactive has the resources and analytic tools in place to drill down and dissect all the critical components, from analyzing domain statistics and social activity, to examining search engine distribution and link status. Let's face it, a broken link could leave your customers hanging.

"In order to have a successful online marketing program, hotel marketers must know how to make website optimization work for them," Vallauri said. "Knowing how to attract the Internet's search engines isn't an easy task. Lodging Interactive has developed analytical tools that search a hotel's site for missing or empty title tags, duplicate page titles, duplicate code, empty meta description tags, conflicting character encoding, lengthy URLs, and the dreaded 'frame.' The fastest way to hamper an Internet site crawler is to build a website that contains 'frames' because most search engines can't penetrate them. Each of these details may seem tedious, but they determine the ranking of a webpage."

Now through January 1st, Lodging Interactive will provide hotels at no cost with their own individual Website Audit Report that scours their websites looking for structural breaches. The audit will test web pages and links for valid syntax and structure, monitor the site to see when its structure and contents change and more. To sign up for the FREE Website Structure Audit Report, click here.

It's Time to 'InnterACT '
Existing customers or those partnering with Lodging Interactive for full digital marketing services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management, also can benefit from the company's real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and social media monitoring tool, InnterACT. Using a digital dashboard, hoteliers can remotely access analytical production information about their website performance, search engine ranking performance, as well as the bounce rate and average time spent on the site. The system provides real-time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on Google, Yahoo and Bing, and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from. Because the dashboard can be customized, hoteliers can view these reports in such a way that is personal to them, so that when they log in, the information they need most is always present, such as website traffic analytics and landing page views.

"InnterACT is an online performance portal that contains the data necessary for hotels to access key metric reports to see how well their website is performing," Vallauri said. "This means Lodging Interactive customers don't have to go elsewhere to see how well their campaigns are running. They can log in and access real time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on the search engines and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from.

"The bottom line is this: Whether you need a one-time audit of your website structure or prefer to outsource the analytics process to us ongoing, hoteliers can rest comfortably knowing that their marketing messages and reputations are in extremely capable hands that deliver results," he added.

Lodging Interactive Launching Affordable ‘Hotel Website Solutions’

When it comes to website design and development, web hosting, maintenance, and search engine optimization, there are three key ingredients that today's mid-size and independent property owners are looking for: Price, Price, and Price. Therefore, Lodging Interactive is unveiling a new Hotel Website Solutions program designed to offer online marketing services at a low, month-to-month fee with all upfront costs removed. The service will include website design and management, reputation management, search engine marketing, real-time analytics and accountability, PLUS Lodging Interactive's Content Management System and its coveted Guest Review System.

Lodging Interactive is an award winning interactive agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, and its subsidiary, CoMMingle is an outsourced social media marketing agency that also develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas. Hotel Website Solutions will debut at the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association (AAHOA) Annual Convention in May in the Lodging Interactive Booth #124.

"It's time to make online marketing easier and more affordable for everyone," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "With social media channels making online marketing more critical than ever before, smaller hotels and independent properties need the same quality design and maintenance services as the big resorts but without the expense. Unlike some companies that try effortlessly to convince small- to mid-size property owners that they need a costly full-service web-management program, we have designed an alternative program with fairness and affordability at its core."

With Hotel Website Solutions, hoteliers can refresh their web site every two years, supporting up to 25 web pages, at no additional cost.

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package:
• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• InnterACT client reporting online portal
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting & Server Management
• Robust Content Management Solution (CMS)
• Optional Guest Review System Inclusion at no additional cost

InnterACT by Lodging Interactive provides real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and the latest social media monitoring tools. Using a digital dashboard, hoteliers can remotely access analytical production information about their website performance, search engine ranking performance, as well as the bounce rate and average time spent on the site. Owners and marketing managers can log in and access real-time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on Google, Yahoo and Bing, and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from. Because the dashboard can be customized, hoteliers can view these reports in such a way that is personal to them, so that when they log in, the information they need most is always present, such as website traffic analytics and landing page views.

Also part of the Hotel Website Solutions package is Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System. This web-based tool is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on their websites. By allowing management to respond to comments in real time, hotels are improving hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty. The GRS posts traveler's comments and scores 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.

"At Lodging Interactive, we understand the importance of a well-maintained and up-to-date website, as industry reports show direct bookings via the hotel's proprietary website are on the rise," Vallauri said. "Hotel Website Solutions will enable hoteliers, regardless of their hotel segmentation, to keep their websites fresh with relevant content that is recognized by the various search engines, and benefit from customized programs. "

Also at no additional cost, Lodging Interactive will include in its Hotel Website Solutions program: Initial SEO research and analysis, creation of strategy and implementation; InnterACT client portal real-time web analytics; Weekly website analytics; Monthly SEO ranking reports; and, Quarterly SEO refresh (review, analysis and implementation recommendations). Customers will also have access to Lodging Interactive's Content Management System (CMS), giving property managers the ability to modify page content and images.

Hotels interested in learning more about Hotel Website Solutions should call 877-291-4411 or visit www.LodgingInteractive.com. The company will also be exhibiting at the AAHOA Convention in May in Booth #124.

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."