Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Using Urgency To Increase Hotel Conversion

Using Urgency To Increase Hotel Conversion

Creating a sense of urgency and instilling that feeling in the minds of potential customers has long been a conversion tool in many markets outside of the hospitality industry. Within the hospitality industry, online travel agencies have used this technique for some time now. However hotels, whether chains or independents, have been slow to adopt the use of urgency in their marketing campaigns and booking engines. This reluctance may be due to the organizational inertia that results in a resistance to change or maybe a simple lack of knowledge regarding its implementation.

This is unfortunate because the use of urgency can be highly effective in leading potential guests to book their hotel stays sooner rather than later. Hotels who choose to adopt the technique of urgency, particularly in their booking engines, will benefit greatly from using this tactic. Travelers looking for a hotel will spend less time comparison shopping, resulting in longer lead times and shorter booking times for hoteliers.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews - More Best Practices and Tips

Don’t Make Return on Investment the Focus of Reputation Management
Return on investment should never be the focus of a hotel’s online reputation management efforts. The ROI for reputation management is difficult to measure at best and the direct rewards may not be seen for quite some time, maybe years in some cases. In the context of today’s online hotel reviews, reputation management is critical to the long-term success of the hotel property. However, short-term revenue gains cannot and should not be sought from managing the hotel’s online reputation.

Have an Active and Vibrant Social Media Presence
Opening business accounts for a hotel across a spectrum of social media networks is not where reputation management ends. Just merely being present on social channels is not enough to effectively manage a hotel’s reputation online. Be active by posting original quality content that is relevant to your audience on a consistent basis. Be vibrant by engaging your audience on every comment and post from followers.

Point Out Improvements
Hoteliers should never be reticent about pointing out areas of improvement made to the hotel property or services. Post a follow up with negative reviewers to show them, and others, how the review actually motivated the hotel to make positive changes and enhancements. Invite the reviewer to come back to the hotel to witness the improvements first hand and give the property a second chance. Nothing illustrates a hotel property that listens to their customers more than this approach.

Remain Professional
Always maintain a professional demeanor in both tone and language during all online customer interactions, especially with reviewers. Write in the voice you would use to speak with them, if they were physically present in your hotel. Never accuse a reviewer of writing a fake review or having a hidden agenda behind their comments. Proving your accusation will be difficult and can only put the hotel in a bad light in the end.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Don’t take on more social networks and review websites than you can effectively manage on a consistent basis. Setting up an online presence in a channel for which the hotel has neither the time nor resources to monitor for and respond to comments, while posting new content regularly, is a mistake. Nothing upsets the online community more than unresponsive websites, pages, or accounts. Doing so may cause irreparable harm to a hotels reputation.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews - Best Practices and Tips

With online hotel reviews now the most influential factor driving the hotel booking decisions of the traveling public, hotels need to stay ahead of the curve with effective online reputation management techniques.

Take a Deep Breath Before You Post
Think before you make a responsive statement regarding a negative hotel review. You will be stating a response in the name of the hotel, which will be heard by the public as the voice of the hotel. Remember, whatever you say will be permanently visible to online readers. Pause and take a deep breath before you post something you might regret later.

Respect Your Customer’s Time
Regardless of the opinion of any online hotel review, from the hotel’s perspective, their customers have taken the time to comment about their stay and that deserves a timely response. Timely means within a few hours, at most, from the time of the original post. A quick response will be remembered and shows the customer and others that the hotel is open to their comments, values their opinion and cares enough to really pay attention.

Respond to Each Review Individually
The customer took the time to write a review, the hotel needs to respond in kind. The use of templates and canned apologies or statements should be avoided. They can only show the customer a lack of concern and reinforce a feeling of impersonality. Remember again that the response to any hotel review appears to the public as if it is the voice of the hotel.

Ask Satisfied Hotel Guests For a Review
It never hurts to ask. Asking guests, particularly happy ones, at the hotel for a review can easily be accomplished by giving the guest a comment card at checkout and asking for a review either on the hotel website or TripAdviser. Providing an incentive or some form of reward will encourage participation and compensate for their time investment.

Avoid Openly Offering Discounts
Offering discounts or coupons openly to appease disgruntled online hotel reviewers is nothing more than an invitation for a flood of unwarranted, negative reviews. If a hotel feels it is necessary to offer an unhappy past guest a discount or coupon, it should be done offline, either through email or physical mail. If the public senses they can get something for nothing by simply writing a bad hotel review, the hotel will be inundated.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews - Responding

It is well established that online hotel reviews have become a powerful driving force behind the traveling public’s hotel booking decisions. Monitoring the ongoing conversations regarding their hotel properties is vital for hoteliers. But the most critical and sensitive step in maintaining any hotel’s online reputation is the response. A hotel’s responses to property reviews will come to represent, in the mind of many consumers, the brand’s voice. Therefore, responses must be carefully crafted and phrased diplomatically.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews - Strategies

The online hotel review has truly become a game changer for the hospitality industry. Reviews have become the single most influential factor determining the public’s travel decisions, even over price and rankings. A recent study conducted by SAS and The Pennsylvania State University shows that the traveling public won’t even consider staying at a hotel with negative reviews at any price. With so much at stake for hoteliers, it is critical for hotels to remain apprised of the conversations taking place regarding their properties and firmly in control of the responses to them.

Effectively managing a hotel’s online reputation requires implementing a set of clearly defined and ongoing strategies. The process begins with monitoring and listening to the various online channels where the conversations about the hotel brand are taking place, then responding appropriately as necessary.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews

In these days of social media connectivity, the online hotel review can be a blessing and a curse for hoteliers. The hotel review, once limited to word of mouth or the province of travel guidebook authors, is now available to anyone. Technology and social media have combined to give the online hotel review the highly influential place it now holds. In their 2013 TripBarometer Study, the hotel review website TripAdviser reports that the hotel booking decisions of 93 percent of travelers are influenced by these reviews.

Online reviews by hotel guests are not going away and hotels need to learn to effectively monitor them and properly respond to each one, particularly the unfavorable reviews. One aspect of negative reviews that should be encouraging for hoteliers is that research from Cornell University has shown reviews have a tendency to be more adverse in the beginning. Then as more reviews come in over time, the overall assessment of the hotel improves with a noticeably lower percentage of negative reviews as the guest evaluations become more numerous.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing social media website which offers tremendous opportunities for the hospitality industry. Being a highly visual business, hotels can leverage the maximum benefit for their hotel marketing efforts through videos shared via YouTube. There are nearly limitless topics that a hotel can create videos around. Everything from travel tips about your area, cooking videos from your chef, staff profiles and interviews to sightseeing around your destination or tours of your hotel’s features and amenities. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

Here are a few tips to get the most benefit from hotel marketing video sharing on YouTube:


1. Compelling and Relevant

In order for your video sharing marketing effort to gain any traction, you must create videos people will want to watch in the first place. Just like the other entire social networking sites, compelling content is required. A tour of your hotel restaurant is great, but may not inspire people to share it with others. Whereas a video of your head chef sharing some of their culinary secrets is extremely share-worthy. A little empathy with your hotel’s guests and potential customers is helpful as well. What videos would compel you into booking a hotel?


2. Keep Them Short

The majority of videos on YouTube, especially the ones that are likely to be shared, are less than 5 minutes in length. 2-5 minutes seems to be optimal. If your subject is going to require more time, break it up into smaller, bite sized pieces. Remember, many people have a very short attention span.


3. Should Reflect Your Brand

There are many different types of YouTube accounts available. Explore your options and choose    one that fits your hotel’s goals and agenda. When you sign up for a YouTube account, you need to spend some time being creative with your YouTube channel. The network generates this automatically when you sign up, but there are many options for customization. Make it reflect the unique character of your hotel.

It is just as important on YouTube to monitor and respond to comments left by your audience as it is on other social networks. Also, linkage between your YouTube account and other social media outlets is crucial to success as well. YouTube presents the hospitality industry with the perfect forum for marketing your hotel to the world

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Content Marketing for Hotels - Photo and Video Sharing

The hospitality industry is perfect for visually oriented content marketing. Its very nature lends itself to this type of hotel content sharing. The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” really holds true for hoteliers and their customers. The rise of image-oriented social media sites like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest has influenced a trend in all of social media toward visual content. Particularly for hotels, social media marketing has been transformed to visual hotel marketing. How can a hotel best leverage visual content? 


Here are some image-oriented hotel content tips for the hospitality industry:


  1. Show off your hotel and its surroundings at its best, in circumstances under your control. Let your followers feel your excitement about the amenities and comforts offered by your hotel. Make your passion for the hotel’s setting and location shine through in beautiful images and videos. Create a travelogue of the best your area and region have to offer the traveler.
  2. Ensure the quality of your images and video. Boring, badly framed or poorly lit pictures will not grab anyone’s attention. Neither will shaky, poorly edited videos. Don’t be intimidated. There are many photo-editing tools that are designed to be easily used by everyone. Instagram can be particularly helpful in the area of photo enhancement. Focus on your main subject and make sure it is framed large enough in the picture. Remember that the photo needs to inspire people to click on the thumbnail. Also, if your budget allows, you can always hand off the job to a professional.
  3. Be personable and highlight the people who make your hotel a pleasant place to spend some time. People forget names all the time, but usually remember a face. Show your audience that warm and friendly faces staff your hotel. This may help remind past guests of favorable memories that can inspire repeat hotel bookings.

The highly visual character of the hospitality industry can work heavily in a hotel’s favor. Compelling images and video can bring guests back to make hotel reservations again and again, while attracting new travelers to come and stay for a while.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Hotel Marketing and Technology - Content Marketing for Hotels - SEO

Changes over time, particularly recently, to Google’s search algorithms have made search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for hotels much more difficult. No longer can hotel websites just stuff themselves full of industry keywords and hope to get by. Google is now penalizing sites that appear to be over-optimized. The intentions behind Google’s changes to their search rankings are actually noble. Google wants to reward websites that actually give their audience’s quality content, rather than robotic, useless hotel content without any merit for the user.

Yet high rankings in organic searches are vital for hotels. Research by has indicated that 53 percent of clicks from any organic search go to the first result listing. Number two only garners 15 percent, the third place only receives a dismal 9 percent, and it only gets worse from there. However, there is a strategy for good SEO that hotels can follow.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hotel Marketing and Technology - Social Media

In social media, content marketing is the norm, anything less is considered unacceptable. Any brand that engages in the hard sell without attempting to engage with their audience and communicate with them is doomed to failure in this medium. Since people are naturally interested in travel related items, providing an audience on social channels with compelling hotel marketing content should not be difficult.

Here are some content ideas for hotel marketing on social media:


Monday, July 7, 2014

Hotel Marketing With Coupons

Hotel Coupons

The last promotional type to be examined in this series is the hotel coupon, more specifically online coupons offered by hotels. These are best offered around some form of hotel service, rather than discounted rates. This is so as to reduce downward pressure on a hotel’s rate structure. Hotel coupons can be an effective tool to reward past guests and encourage them to book again, as well as entice new customers to come stay at your hotel.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hotel Marketing and Technology - Mobile Devices And Hotel Booking


The expansion and adoption of mobile technology around the globe has offered the hospitality industry an opportunity to truly serve their guests and potential customers, who are increasingly spending their time on mobile devices. There are many ways hotels can leverage mobile to transform the guest experience, while improving efficiency in the day-to-day operations of hotels.




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hotel Marketing and Technology - Content Marketing for Hotels ? Using Blogs

Content marketing does not depend on a particular format, platform, or channel to get its message across to an audience, but rather is more like a marketing philosophy. It involves the communication of information to a valuable audience, instead of trying to sell them something. The goal of the content marketer is to stir up conversation about and engagement with an audience around the company’s specialty niche. That specialty can involve the products and/or services the business offers, but should never be about selling. Content marketing can utilize a variety platforms or formats, including blogs, social media, or video and photo sharing, but communication is always at the core of content marketing. In this and the next few parts in this series we will look at some content marketing ideas for hotel marketing within specific formats, starting with blogs.


Blog Content for Hotel Marketing

There is much fertile content that can be shared in a hotel marketing blog, without trying to directly sell the hotel to its audience. Just providing information about the area around the hotel’s location, presented in interesting ways, could fill up a hotel blog.

Here are some compelling content ideas for a hotel marketing blog:

  1. Travel tips and advice featuring local cuisine, sightseeing, transportation, customs, etc.
  2. Showcase the lifestyle offered by a stay at the hotel.
  3. Recount the local history and significant events from the region nearby.
  4. Activities available locally such as skiing, surfing, swimming, diving or snorkeling and more. Provide detailed information including directions and contact information.
  5. Money saving travel ideas for cost-conscious guests.
  6. Invite guests to share their travel stories and advice, humorous or otherwise.


These are just a few ideas of many. Use your imagination and be creative. What type of traveler frequents your hotel? Is it the business traveler, vacationer, young or retired? Hone in on the needs of your guests and the hotel marketing blog will be a success and become a revenue generator without beating people over the head with a sales pitch.

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