#AskDJV Episode 30: 3 Tips on avoiding Negative Hotel Reviews

It’s inevitable.  Every hotel is going to have negative reviews at one time or another.  In Episode 30 of #AskDJV, we discuss what you can do to minimize negative hotel reviews.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #1

Be Pro-active.  There are many times a guest will be staying at your hotel and it takes 2-4 hours for someone from the property to even send an acknowledgement to them.  You want to prevent your guest from going to social media marketing channels such as Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor or another OTA and posting a negative comment or hotel review.  Speed is of the essence when it comes to avoiding hotel reviews.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #2

Own the problem or complaint – even if it isn’t your department.  Whether the complaint belongs to you or not, own it, take responsibility for it and try to turn a guest complaint into a positive hotel review.  Don’t blame someone else or look for the “easy” way out of the situation.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #3

Restore confidence and goodwill with your hotel guests.  Remember, to put yourself in your guests’ shoes.  If you were staying at a hotel and someone promptly attended to your issue with a positive attitude, wouldn’t you be more likely to write a positive review about your experience?

Sometimes, all it takes to avoid negative hotel reviews is to be attentive and caring when responding to guest complaints.  Learn more about what you can do to avoid negative hotel reviews today.

Thanks for watching. Until next week!

3 Things Hoteliers Must Budget for in 2015

What every hotelier should consider and budget for in 2015.

Hotelier Budget GraphicGiven recent trends, digital marketing is set to become a majority piece of the budget pie by 2019. In a world of increased mobile use and expectations of rapid online responses from properties and brands, hoteliers need to stay on trend with digital spending when planning their 2015 budget, making certain three areas of web-based marketing are well addressed next year.

3 Things Hoteliers Must Budget for in 2015

Complete Online Reputation Management

Managing your online reputation isn’t as simple as making sure you monitor what guests are saying on review sites. While monitoring and responding to reviews is still a vital part of maintaining a healthy online reputation, they go hand in hand with social media marketing and social customer care on sites like Twitter. Hotels need to budget for the ability to actively listen 24/7/365 and respond quickly to inquiries and issues in order to meet guest’s expectations and stop any problems from escalating and reaching review sites.

Tools to Capitalize on Website Visits

The research is clear, how your website looks and how responsive it is says a lot about how you regard your customers. Mobile and tablet use is increasing steadily and more and more consumers are purchasing from these devices and they want a seamless experience. Hoteliers need to consider budgeting for a responsive design website or converting a recently-built, non-responsive site so that your content is accessible across any platform or device. This budget essential might not be as large of a budget item as you may think.

A Strategy for Travelers to Find Your Site When Searching

The ABCs of a searchable web presence — SEO, SEM and PPC — should be key parts of your 2015 budget. Properties can have the best looking website out there, but if their content isn’t optimized and doesn’t keep search in mind or they don’t have effective PPC advertising in place to drive traffic, it is all for naught. Don’t get left behind in a sea of thousands of hotel and travel sites. Budget for these vital campaigns as well as content marketing services to make sure your property is a top search result.

“Hotels are turning to digital marketing more than ever to find leads, retain guests and engage with the masses,” says DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “As 2015 budgets are being drafted and debated, hoteliers must keep in mind how vital their online presence — be it their website, social media profiles or responsiveness to reviews or questions — is to their property’s success. These are key budget pieces no matter at what scale you are doing business online.”

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning digital marketing agency that provides a complete suite of creative website solutions, digital advertising strategies, and social media marketing exclusively to independent, boutique and brand hotel properties.

To learn more about our customized digital solutions or to partner with Lodging Interactive in 2015, please contact or call 877-291-4411 ext. 701.

Lodging Interactive Hosts Free Social Customer Care Webinar

Hoteliers can discuss the importance of social customer service on Twitter with industry experts.

Lodging Interactive, worldwide provider of innovative Internet marketing and online reputation management solutions exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, will present a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, August 12 to discuss the importance of social customer care and how your property can increase the level of social customer service it offers in-house guests.

Social Customer Care – Is Your Hotel Listening?
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT
Registration Link

With 72% of people expecting a response within an hour on Twitter when issuing a complaint, according to Lithium Technologies survey data, hoteliers need to find a way to provide personal, proactive customer care online.

Hosted by Lodging Interactive’s Founder and President, DJ Vallauri and Director of CoMMingle Social Media, Rosella Virdo, the hour-long webinar will cover the essentials for providing effective social customer care, how to best utilize social customer service to resolve potentially negative situations as well as how Social Voices, a 24/7/365 social listening service, can assist hoteliers in staying connected with guests throughout their stay.

“Properties need to position themselves to stay competitive in a consumer world that looks to social media to resolve customer service issues in real time,” says Vallauri. “Recognizing how your guests are trying to reach you and building a robust social customer care system to deliver superior service is essential.”

Register online to attend this complimentary social customer care webinar.

To learn more about Lodging Interactive’s Social Voices and how it can help hoteliers actively listen and rapidly respond to the online conversations regarding their properties, please visit our website.

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

Lodging Interactive Expands Reach to Australia

Regardless where in the world you own or operate a hotel, the challenge of maintaining control over the guest experience and the property or brand reputation is universal. That's why Lodging Interactive is taking its in-demand Guest Review System to Australia and New Zealand. Through a distribution partnership agreement with Australian-based Technology 4 Hotels, travelers visiting the Oceania region will be able to post their comments and reviews about hotel stays directly on each properties' website, removing Online Travel Agents (OTAs) completely from the equation.

"You can't be online today without reading something about the success hotels around the world are having with Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System," said Technology 4 Hotels Founder and Director Brendon Granger. "This product can easily be utilized in the Australian and New Zealand markets to solve a really big challenge — getting out from under the thumb of the OTAs and companies like TripAdvisor as reputation managers. Back in the late '90s, while everyone was sleeping, OTAs took a tremendous amount of business away from hotels; and TripAdvisor has the potential today to do the same. It's time the industry wakes up and takes back control of their business and their online reputations. Utilizing a tool that enables guests to post reviews directly on the hotel's website is a great first step in regaining that control. Add in the ability for managers to be alerted to comments and instantly respond, and hoteliers are back in the drivers' seat. We at Technology 4 Hotels believes that no company does this better than Lodging Interactive, and we are proud to take their GRS to market."

With customers such as Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Langham Hotels International, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Quest Serviced Apartments, Rydges Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Stamford Hotels and Resorts, Toga Hospitality and others, Granger said he believes adoption of the Lodging Interactive GRS will spread quickly.

"Hoteliers of the right mindset and who understand the importance of social media will quickly see the benefits of the Lodging Interactive GRS as a way to polish their online images, and use vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter to not only post reviews on their pages, but to quickly see those reviews shared among their network of friends," Granger said. "And because the GRS validates that each review is being posted by a legitimate guest and not an imposter, hoteliers can rest assured that reviews posted on these channels are valid."

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in more than 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. Today, the company has become the hospitality industry's leading provider of interactive Internet marketing services.

"We are delighted that Technology 4 Hotels has joined our distribution network," said D.J. Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "This hotel-based guest review system ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the guest leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. It's a tool that hoteliers around the world have come to depend on, and we look forward to adding new properties and new brands across Oceania to our portfolio of satisfied customers."

Hotels need to stop losing business and sending potential guests to third-party review sites. Click here for a You Tube video that shows how to keep guests where they belong — writing reviews on the hotel's own website.

Lodging Interactive More Than Doubles its Growth and Service Offering in 2012

The adage "You can never have too much of a good thing" is ringing true to hundreds of hoteliers worldwide who received extraordinary Internet marketing services from Lodging Interactive and its subsidiary CoMMingle this year. Over the last 12 months, the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry racked up an unprecedented list of accomplishments. 

"2012 was a very good year for Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle, but it was even more impactful for our customers," said Founder and President DJ Vallauri. "We planned to introduce a few new services and robust business models, but once we got rolling, ideas for even more breakthrough services were proposed. Thanks to the creativity and expertise of the Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle teams, we provided more new services to hotels in 2012 than in the last 10 years combined. From limited-time FREE audits to full-service website design and management, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and measurement and accountability services, 2012 was truly a banner year for Lodging Interactive."

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive has provided hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants in over 35 countries with proven ROI-driven online services, including: website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. In 2012 alone, the company achieved a 85% increase in growth, a 40% increase in staffing, and more than doubled the number of services it now offers to hotels — some of which are absolutely FREE of charge to its customers.

In 2012, Lodging Interactive earned the following for website design:

• Three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotels/Resorts category for its website design of the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts, the Denver Renaissance in Colorado and the Doubletree Oak Brook in Illinois by the Interactive Media Council Inc. This was the third consecutive year that Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle was recognized by the IMC for its aptitude in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites.

• The Silver Magellan Award from Travel Weekly for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Fla.

• Two Web Awards / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence from the Web Marketing Assn. for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach and the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts.

• The 2012 Silver Award / Creative Excellence in Hotel and Lodging from the International Academy of the Visual Arts for the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

Like its coveted website design service, Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System also was in high demand in 2012. The hotel-based guest comment system enables guests to post comments about their hotel experience and provides hotel management with the ability to respond in real time when reviews are received. The Guest Review System ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. Additionally, travelers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends.

The success of the Guest Review System spurred Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle to develop and introduced the following new Internet marketing services this year:

• HotelWebShows — A service enabling hotel marketers to add a personal touch to their websites by using crisp HD Video. All video produced through HotelWebShows by Lodging Interactive are 1080i quality and delivered in TV, Web and Mobile formats. Videos are available in 30 second, 60 second and 90 second lengths, and will include music and graphics.

• CoMMingle Social + — A service for hoteliers managing their own Facebook and Twitter accounts but who also want to get involved in the new, emerging social engagement channels such as Google+ Business Page and Pinterest, but do not have the resources in-house to handle it. CoMMingle Social+ adds weekly postings on Facebook and Twitter for hotels that have pages but find it hard to consistently post during the week.

• InnterACT Performance Portal — A website analytics and social service providing real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and the latest social media monitoring tools. The InnterACT online client portal was made available to existing customers at no cost.

• Hotel Website Solutions — A service offering online marketing services at a low, monthly fee with all upfront costs removed. The service includes 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.

• Mobile Website Development — A FREE service made available to all new customers contracting full agency services, including website design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and online reputation management. Through this service, hotels received up to 10 static pages of their online website in a mobile format, with an option to purchase more.

To help its customers stay competitive, Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle also offered the following FREE services:

• FREE Website Audit — Determines if a website is performing properly and achieving rankings
• FREE Social Media Analytics Reporting Tool — Delivers weekly analytics about a hotel's activity on the top social media networks, including: Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Google+ and blogs.
• FREE Content Management Systems + FREE Mobile Website.

"To say we were busy in 2012 is an understatement," Vallauri said. "In addition to creating a bevvy of new services to keep our customers performing successfully, we managed to show support to our brand partners and industry associations as well. In 2012, Lodging Interactive became a Best Western Preferred Vendor, and we support the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assn. International (HSMAI) and the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. We also participated in select industry conferences and events to network with our customers.

"While being visible is important to Lodging Interactive, it's far more important for us to ensure that our customers are visible via the various online and social media channels and that their online reputations are being properly scrutinized and managed," he said. "This new year, those who partner with Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle will be well positioned to socialize and engage with their target audiences. If your hotel needs to be seen in 2013, then it's time to call Lodging Interactive."

Lodging Interactive Offering Free Mobile Website to NEW Customers Signing Full Agency Services

Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency
exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, is offering FREE Mobile
Website Development
to all new customers contracting full agency
services. Any hotel company partnering with Lodging Interactive for website
design and development, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and
online reputation management beginning May 2 with the Asian American Hotel Owners Assn. (AAHOA) Convention through the Hotel Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) June 25-28 in Baltimore are eligible.

With a mobile website, hotels can offer mobile users a dynamic and streamlined user
experience regardless of mobile device. Up to 10 static pages will be provided
as part of the package, with an option to purchase more. Pages can detail the
property, including description of rooms, amenities, premise, packages,
restaurants, spas, recreation facilities, loyalty programs and online
reservations. Additional features may include mapping and directions,
click-to-call functionality, photo gallery, embedded video capability, convention
and/or meeting listings, social media links, guest reviews and more. Mobile
website management and hosting also is provided by Lodging Interactive.

"We understand just how important it is for hotels to have a mobile web strategy today," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Industry analysts predict that
the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015. Therefore
there's no time like the present to jump on the mobile bandwagon and start
reaching mobile savvy travelers via the channels and devices they depend on

Hotels interested in launching a new mobile website can visit Lodging Interactive at both the 2012 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show in Atlanta May 2 to 5 at the Omni Hotel and the
Georgia World Congress Center in Booth No. 124 or they can call 877-291-4411
ext. 701 to get started. Deadline for the FREE service is June 28, 2012.

The Wilshire Grand Hotel Raving about Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System

The Wilshire Grand Hotel is taking control of its online reputation by implementing the new, web-based Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive. This tool enables The Wilshire Grand Hotel to verify, review and display customer comments directly on its Website, and instantly post management responses to comments for better hotel-to-guest communications and heightened customer-relationship management.

Lodging Interactive is an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The company's Guest Review System 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.

"I'm a big believer in soliciting guest reviews, but unfortunately, due to the nature of the Web, there's no real way to validate whether or not a person claiming to be a guest with a bad experience actually stayed at your hotel," said General Manager Ed Reagoso. "The Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive puts a stop to fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds. This not only helps us to maintain our impeccable reputation, but it gives me an opportunity to interact personally with our guests. When travelers take the time to honestly talk about their experience, it should be recognized and rewarded with an immediate reply.

"Thanks to the automated GRS tool, I can personally post responses to comments quickly,"
he said. "Not every hotel review site makes that type of interaction possible. It's not only great customer service, but it gives me the chance to really sell our hotel. Almost daily our reservations agents hear from guests who say they read the reviews on our site and truly appreciate that we took the time to respond. We attribute it all to Lodging Interactive and the excellent training they provide to us as part of their service."

An added benefit of the Guest Review System is that it enables travelers to share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website.

"Lodging Interactive does an exceptional job for The Wilshire Grand Hotel of optimizing our web presence and providing us with the tools and training we need to truly enhance our guests' experiences and keep them coming back again and again," Reagoso said.




Hotels Collect Guest Reviews From Facebook

Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, announced today the integration of its Guest Review System with Facebook. The Facebook integration enables hotels to collect and share their guest reviews right from their hotel Facebook pages.

“Our Guest Review System continues to gain momentum with hotels, restaurants, and spas since our launch only 3 weeks ago,” said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President. “And now with the integration into Facebook hotel pages, hotels have an opportunity to collect and share their guest reviews to over 800 million Facebook users.”

The Guest Review System is an online service that enables hospitality companies to collect, manage and share guest reviews on their own websites. As a result, consumers no longer need to visit third-party review sites to read reviews or to leave their own reviews.

“The Guest Review System is integrated into our Facebook page and it’s a great way for consumers to have instant access to our guest reviews and ratings. Also past guests can share their own reviews via our Facebook page,” said Mr. Ed Reagoso, General Manager of The Grand Wilshire Hotel in West Orange, NJ. “The Guest Review Service allows me to validate all reviews for authenticity and I receive real-time alert messages every time a review is made.”


Another benefit of the Guest Review System is that it allows hotel management to respond to guest reviews, which often helps consumers make informed choices. “Nowadays, every hotel should routinely monitor online reviews closely,” added Mr. Vallauri. “This makes our Guest Review System increasingly valuable because it allows management to control online reviews and post responses as needed”.

The Guest Review System is a low cost, turnkey system for any hotel seeking the ability to control its own guest reviews. “There is no programming required and hotels can be up and running in just minutes,” said Mr. Vallauri. “It’s very easy to use and we even offer a free trial with no long-term agreements, hotels can cancel anytime.”

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