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How Responsive Web Design Affects the Hotel Industry

As more people use their mobile devices to book hotel stays it becomes even more important that you choose the right type of web design to ensure your content is delivered seamlessly across the platforms your audience is using to access your site.

Responsive Web Designs are an excellent choice for Hotel Websites

Not all websites are created equal. There is real value in creating a responsive website that serves all of your content to your site visitors on all their devices (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet, etc.):

  • Lowers Overall Maintenance and Operational Costs – Make one change and see it across three platforms seamlessly.
  • Is Better for SEO – Google says the following regarding responsive web design:
    “Responsive design: serves the same HTML for one URL and uses CSS media queries to determine how the content is rendered on the client side. This removes the possible glitches of user-agent detection and frees users from redirects. This is Google’s recommended configuration.”
  • Measuring Results – Google Analytics has adapted to responsive designs, so analyzing the data and measuring results are already incorporated.
  • Improved Travel Experience – When visitors come to your website and see that you are prepared for them no matter what device they are using, they are more inclined to book a stay with you.
  • According to MCD’s 2014 Survey, the quality of your website impacts 70% of travelers.

MCD's 2014 Survey Graphic

Use of Smartphones Increasing

According to eMarketer, by 2017 Smartphones will be used by 69.4% of the population.

Mobile Phone Users Worldwide - eMarketer

Your website has to be designed to serve these customers more efficiently and effectively without putting a tremendous strain on your current budget. More travelers will begin to book their stays, see what amenities you offer, check in and out, interact with your maps & events, order room service, & utilize your concierge through their mobile devices.

Are you prepared today to serve this group of end users? If the answer is “NO” we can help. Visit our website – Lodging Interactive on your desktop, tablet or mobile device. We an award-winning responsive website design company — recently winning multiple 2014 IMA Outstanding Achievement Awards for excellence in hotel and resort website design.

Let us help you create a responsive website design for your hotel guests today. Contact us at 877-291-4411, or complete our Responsive Website Design form.

Image 1 Credit: MCD 2014 Survey / Image 2 Credit: eMarketer

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."

Lodging Interactive Awarded for Exceptional Website Design

Lodging Interactive continues its website design winning streak. This month the company earned two Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in website design. Presented by the Interactive Media Council Inc. (IMC), Lodging Interactive was recognized in the Hotel/Resort category for Green Mountain Inn and Lakeway Resort and Spa projects. This makes seven honors presented to Lodging Interactive by the IMC since 2011.

"Over the last three years, the Interactive Media Council has bestowed numerous awards to Lodging Interactive for our team's talent in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "This is a huge honor that we do not take for granted. As a full-service digital marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for more than a decade, we believe in maximizing results for our clients' sites; that includes managing website content, guest reviews, and our customers' overall online reputations. It is this comprehensive approach to e-marketing that makes our customers' websites stand out and achieve maximum optimization."

Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. Since 2001, Lodging Interactive 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. The Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. IMC serves as the primary sponsor and governing body of the award program.

Green Mountain Inn, located in Stowe, Vermont, and the Lakeway Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas, were selected by IMC as exceptional websites that increase the standards of excellence on the Internet. The sites are fresh, easy to navigate, use photos masterfully, are continually updated, and feature the latest seasonal promotions.

In addition to selecting Lodging Interactive for their Website designs, both properties are relying on the digital marketing agency for expanded SEO and pay-per-click services to enhance the efficiencies of each site. Green Mountain Inn also has tapped the talents of CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive, an outsourced social media marketing agency that works with hotels to grow and manage their use of social media channels, provide reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and more. Green Mountain's website and brand imaging also is mirrored via Lodging Interactive's eNewsletter service to send a consistent message from the hotel to its email list.

Website Design and So Much More . . .
Leveraging a team of more than 50 highly skilled online content experts, Lodging Interactive also offers a host of services to complement and support each hotel's site:

• 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.

• InnterACT Performance Portal — A website analytics and social service providing real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and the latest social media monitoring tools.

• Guest Review System — Collect guest reviews directly on the hotel website. The Guest Review System enables hoteliers to manage and reply to guest reviews from one easy system for one low fee. Real-time guest review alerts are provided. Online reports can be viewed and downloaded.

• eNewsletter Service  — A fully managed program that mirrors the hotel's website and brand imaging, and includes professional copywriting, creative design, email list management, distribution and analytics reporting. Distributed monthly, the eNewsletter service contains content and offers that past, present and prospective guests will find informative and inviting, helping to build loyalty and revenues and driving prospects to the hotel's website. Analytical data related to the campaign is provided.

• 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 a condensed version of their online website in a mobile format.

"There is so much more to Lodging Interactive than just website design," Vallauri said. "We offer a full suite of digital marketing and social media engagement services, exclusively tailored to the hospitality industry. Our ability to provide a customized approach for each client and superior customer service, really separates us from the pack.”

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 Continues to Win Multiple Industry Awards for Website Design

On the heels of winning three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in website design by the Interactive Media Council Inc., Lodging Interactive is pleased to announce another series of distinctive honors. This month, the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry was recognized by Travel Weekly, the Web Marketing Association, and the International Academy of the Visual Arts for its website design and development work.

Since 2001, Lodging Interactive 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. Property sites designed by Lodging Interactive receiving top honors include:

          Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Beach in Florida:

• Silver Magellan Award / Travel Weekly
• 2012 Web Award / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence / Web Marketing Assn.
• 2012 Silver Award / Creative Excellence in Hotel and Lodging / International Academy of the Visual Arts
    
Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts:

• 2012 Web Award / Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence / Web Marketing Assn.

"Lodging Interactive is more than just a company that builds websites," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Our award-winning full-service agency is uniquely positioned within the hospitality industry to offer the latest website management tools to maximize results for our clients. Website design is just one piece of the puzzle. We combine our design expertise with a unique ability to manage website content, guest reviews, and our customers' overall online reputations. It is this full-service approach to online marketing that makes our customers' websites stand out and achieve maximum optimization.

"We would like to thank Travel Weekly, the Web Marketing Association, and the International Academy of the Visual Arts for recognizing these property websites as the 'best' in the travel industry," he said. "We proudly share these honors with Lodging Interactive's team of more than 50 highly skilled web experts."

Lodging Interactive also was recognized by the International Academy of the Visual Arts with a Silver Award for its Guest Review System. The online tool alerts hotel management in real time when reviews are posted to their web sites. The GRS 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, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to 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.

 

USA Today and ABC News Report Guest Satisfaction Lowest in Seven Years

A recent article in USA Today reports that hotel guest satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in seven years, noting that check-in and check-out, guestrooms, food, Internet/WiFi fees, and facilities such as pools and business centers top the list of travelers' dislikes. ABC News also reported that how a person books their hotel stay may also be related to their satisfaction. In Hotels with Highest, Lowest Guest Satisfaction, Travel & Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown wrote that "guests who book their hotel stay with online travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia and competitors) tend to be less satisfied with their stay then those who book directly with the hotel web site or over the phone. These travelers tend to be more price-sensitive, have lower levels of satisfaction with their stay, are less loyal to hotel brands and tend to report more problems."

The underlying message for hoteliers is twofold: 1) If you don't take direct control of your guest reviews NOW, chances are the comments they post will not only turn travelers off, it could keep them away.  2) It's time to refresh your websites because enticing travelers to book directly on your website will improve your chances of having satisfied customers, thereby increasing your chances of receiving positive reviews.

"It only takes one unhappy guest to post a bad review, then the company's reputation is damaged, which in turn effects their sales," said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive, an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. "Today travelers have no problem telling the world what they like — and more importantly, don't like — about their hotel experience. Knowing how easy the Web and social media has made it for consumers to find their voices, hoteliers should be fearful to create an atmosphere whereby a negative review can even occur. Those hotel companies that have been identified in recent reports by travelers as providing below average service need to act — and quickly — to salvage their reputations and restore faith in their patrons."

Lodging Interactive has established a Guest Review System for hotels that alerts management in real time when reviews are posted to their web sites. This 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, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to 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.

"Negative reviews will happen; no matter how stellar the hotel's reputation, someone will find something to complain about — even if it's a competitor posting a fraudulent review," Vallauri said. "The key to containment comes with responding immediately to the post and flipping the negative experience into a positive — preferably before the guest has even left the property. Equally important is responding in an appropriate manner. Be thankful, polite, and respectful of guests, even if the complaint is not warranted. Remain calm and always be courteous. Tell the guest how the situation will be addressed and what the next steps are. Tell the guest that you deem the complaint to be serious, and that there is a plan in place to resolve the matter. More importantly, give him or her a way to stay in touch with management, and invite further feedback."

Hotels can quickly and cost-effectively add Lodging Interactive's low-cost, turn-key Guest Review System in about 10 minutes. All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. In addition, the company is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf if staffing is an issue.

But wait, there's more . . .
Hotels needing to update their websites to provide fresh content and simplify the direct booking process can actually receive the Guest Review System absolutely FREE!

"Adding guest reviews to a hotel's website is critical for business success today, but if the website isn't fresh — featuring new, visually appealing photos and links to social media channels to ensure more chatter — owners and operators are just compounding the problem," Vallauri said. "Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program enables hoteliers to refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost, and we'll throw the Guest Review System in at no additional cost."

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package is:

• 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.

"It's important for hoteliers to know that they can easily and affordably take control of their reputations by simply and affordably updating their Web sites and adding a Guest Review through Lodging Interactive," Vallauri said. "Hotel companies that have been ranked as providing below average satisfaction to guests can easily boost their credibility, restore consumer confidence, and regain lost business from third-party review sites."

Lodging Interactive has identified the following five ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of online marketing and social media channels for 2013 and beyond:

1. Keep Your Hotel’s Website "Fresh" by updating websites at least every two years
2. Take Control Of Your Hotel’s Guest Reviews by adding review functionality to your web site
3. Invest in Mobile Marketing
4. Enhance your presence on all social media channels
5. Manage our online reputation by monitoring chatter

 

Lodging Interactive’s Top 5 Budget Items for 2013

As the dreaded budget season draws near, hoteliers need to place a more strategic focus on digital marketing for 2013, especially when it comes to their social, local and mobile marketing efforts. Lodging Interactive and its subsidiary CoMMingle have identified five digital marketing must-haves to add to the budget in order to remain competitive in 2013, especially today's price-conscious mid-size and independent properties.

Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hospitality entities. Together, the companies have identified the following top five ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of online marketing and social media channels for 2013 and beyond:

1. Keep Your Hotel’s Website "Fresh":  Just because a hotel updates or makes corrections to its webpage doesn't automatically make it "fresh." Hotels need to continually add new photos to make the website more visually appealing. New content also needs to continually be added, such as press releases and blogs that also can be linked to the various social media channels to ensure more chatter and visibility. Finally, there needs to be accountability to ensure that the web page is meeting goals and reaching its attended audience.

All these things can be accomplished easily and affordably in 2013 via Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program. By adopting Hotel Website Solutions, hoteliers can refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost. Included in the package is:

• 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. Take Control Of Your Hotel’s Guest Reviews: It's a known fact that hotels are dependent on reviews and that travelers will seek online reviews just prior to making their online reservations. Knowing if a review is legitimate is confusing for travelers, but knowing how to best manage guest reviews is even more perplexing for managers. Lodging Interactive has designed a way to simplify the guest review process. The company's Guest Review System offers a turn-key system that enables a hotel's proprietary website with the ability for travelers 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.

In addition, Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System keeps guests on the hotel's website and turns lookers into bookers at higher hotel rates when compared to the OTA’s. Hotels risk losing website visitors if those potential bookers are forced to leave the website in search of guest reviews on third party websites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia or Hotels.com that sell rooms purchased from hotels on a net rate model. Once gone, they may never come back.

All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. This empowers hoteliers to interact personally with their most valued direct customers. When guests take the time to post their experiences, their time, effort and patronage should be recognized and rewarded with an immediate reply. The Guest Review System alerts management in real time when reviews are posted. This ensures that there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property.

3. Mobile Marketing: Industry analysts predict that the mobile web will be more far reaching 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 daily. With a mobile website, hotels can offer mobile users a dynamic and streamlined user experience regardless of mobile device.

Lodging Interactive provides 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 will receive a complimentary mobile webiste. Mobile 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.

4. Social Media Monitoring & Management: Today hoteliers are getting comfortable with social media giants Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube. But new sites are emerging, such as Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Wikipedia to name just a few that are making an equally big online marketing impact. It's critical that hotels are covered across all social media channels in order to be effective. The problem is finding the internal resources to manage social networks and establishing effective social media marketing campaigns. CoMMingle will 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.

Hotels that can't afford to have an internal, full-time social media watch dog can now cost-effectively budget the services of Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle in 2013 to become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting replies if desired. CoMMingle will work with hotels to initially establish, then manage on an ongoing basis, the following social networks & engagement channels:

• Google+ Business Page – CoMMingle will set up the page if needed and maintain weekly postings on the page. 
• Pinterest – CoMMingle will create a Pinterest hotel account, relevant pin boards, and then pin images weekly to the boards. CoMMingle will also monitor and engage with consumers as needed.
• Facebook – CoMMingle will create additional apps for the property, above and beyond what is presently being managed by the hotel.
• Ongoing Facebook & Twitter postings – CoMMingle will go a step further and assist hotels that don't have the time to post content consistently to Facebook and Twitter by posting content weekly on the hotel’s behalf.
• Wikipedia – CoMMingle will set up a Wikipedia listing if one does not exist and create social links. CoMMingle will also monitor the Wikipedia listing quarterly and check content for accuracy.

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. That's why Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle have teamed up with leading hospitality reputation-management companies to supplement their technology applications whereby CoMMingle provides the human resources necessary to answer guest reviews and manage guest responses on behalf of the hotel.

Hotels using solutions from companies such as Revinate can outsource the social media monitoring and guest review response portion to Lodging Interactive. Logging in as the hotel, the CoMMingle team will reply to guest reviews accordingly, always keeping the hotel apprised of comments and alerting it to concerns.

2013 Bonus Tips:
In addition to Lodging Interactive's top 5 budget recommendations, here are other items every hotelier should plan for in 2013:

1. Quarterly landing pages to promote seasonal activities through the website.  When properly keyword optimized landing pages provide fresh, relevant content for search engines and website visitors.
2. Facebook applications development to leverage a hotel’s website promotions on the largest social media engagement channel.
3. Create independent videos for the promotion of hotel meeting space and packages, weddings and other social events.  Once created, optimize them and host them on YouTube.
4. Consistent email marketing programs targeting travel agents and meeting planners.  Email marketing remains very effective and every hotel website should maintain it’s own email capture widget.

 

Is Your Hotel Website Ready for Summer?

With summer right around the corner and industry indexes projecting travel on the rise in the coming months, hoteliers need to have their websites looking and functioning their best in order to attract travelers and turn lookers into bookers. According to a May 2012 article titled: Forecast Optimistic For Upcoming Summer Travel, 92 percent of Americans will take a vacation this summer. To help hoteliers better plan their seasonal online marketing strategies, Lodging Interactive has developed a new Hotel Website Solutions program that delivers online marketing service and support at a low, month-to-month fee with all upfront costs removed.

Lodging Interactive is an award winning interactive agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The company's new Hotel Website Solutions 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. The program enables hoteliers to refresh their web site every two years at no additional cost.

"Website design and development, hosting, maintenance, and search engine optimization is more important today than ever before," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Our new Hotel Website Solutions program not only delivers those services, but it makes them far more affordable. This summer, travel is projected to return to pre-recession levels. Until that happens, hoteliers can't afford to buy into a costly, full-service web-management program to remain competitive, nor should they have to. Lodging Interactive is giving hoteliers the ability to refresh their websites with no red tape or going into the red to do it."

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package, hotels will receive:
• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting & Server Management
• Robust Content Management Solution
• Guest Review System
• Initial SEO research and analysis
• Creation of strategy and implementation
• InnterACT client portal real-time web analytics
• Weekly website analytics
• Monthly SEO ranking reports
• Quarterly SEO refresh (review, analysis and implementation recommendations).

Summer Survey Says:
In March, SpringHill Suites by Marriott commissioned independent research company TNS to conduct its 3rd Annual Vacation Attitude Study. The online summer survey (which polled 1,000 consumers between March 13 and March 18, 2012) indicates the following:
• 58 percent of Americans reported they will use at least one online travel site to read reviews, book accommodations, find deals or scan guidebooks.
• More than one-third of people (36 percent) expect to spend just two hours or less researching their summer vacation, with a national average of five hours’ planning.
• Travelers with children are most likely to plan their vacations quickly, with 48 percent making plans in one month or less, compared to those without kids, of whom 60 percent will take two months or more to prepare.

"At Lodging Interactive, we understand the importance of a well maintained and up-to-date website," Vallauri said. "With digital media making it possible for consumers to book travel quickly and with little advanced notice, it's critical that a hotel's website is up to date, showcasing the most relevant features that keep visitors captivated. Being able to read guest reviews directly on the hotel's website, for example, is having a positive impact on turning lookers into bookers. 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."

Hotels interested in learning more about Hotel Website Solutions should call 877-291-4411 or visit www.LodgingInteractive.com.

Lodging Interactive Wins Multiple Awards for Hotel Website Design

Lodging Interactive has been recognized by the Interactive Media Council Inc., winning three Interactive Media Awards™ for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotels/Resorts category for its website design services. This is the third consecutive year that the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry has been recognized by the IMC for its aptitude in designing, developing, managing, supporting and promoting hotel websites.

Property sites designed by Lodging Interactive and receiving top honors include the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts, the Denver Renaissance in Colorado and the Doubletree Oak Brook in Illinois. Nominations are accepted from web design firms, advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments, as well as individual web designers and graphic artists, among others, from around the world. It is the mission of the IMC to increase the standards of excellence on the Internet, and the group welcomes all who will join in the effort.

"The third time certainly is the charm," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Earning three awards, three years in a row, validates the outstanding talent of our website design and search engine optimization teams. This group knows how to work together to deliver an attractively designed site that is optimized specifically for the purpose of attracting the hotel shopper when they are using the major search engines and social media network sites. We commend them for yet another job well done."

Lodging Interactive also offers website maintenance services to hotels via a Website Content Management System (CMS) which enables hoteliers to keep their websites fresh and updated at all times with the latest seasonal promotions. In addition, to make online marketing easier and more affordable for all hotels across all segments, the company recently launched a new Hotel Website Solutions program designed to offer web-marketing services at a low, month-to-month 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.

"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. "Our team has the skill set necessary to design prized hotel websites — and keep those sites fresh with relevant content that is recognized by the various search engines, and benefit from customized programs."