Browsing Tag

hotel marketing budget

Budgets Are Coming: 7 Lessons from Game of Thrones

August 22, 2017 • By

Hotel marketers are sharpening their pencils for battle.

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Just as winter (and a terrifying army of the dead) descends on Westeros in Game of Thrones, budget season is looming in the real world and hotel marketers all across the kingdom are arming themselves for battle.

To help hoteliers prepare, we turn to the lessons, themes and quotes we’ve learned while watching the battle for the Iron Throne between power-hungry lords and ladies:

1. GoT QUOTE: “When you play the game of thrones, you live or die.” 

LESSON: Your budget is your armory. Ask for everything you need to survive.

Hoteliers usually only think dollar amounts when working on their budget. How much will this marketing technology cost? How much should we dedicate to advertising spend? How much will our hotel website design cost?

But, here’s the surprise: you are not restricted to only asking for marketing funds during budget time! If you need more marketing staff or outsourced vendors to help you achieve your hotel’s revenue goals, then ask for them!

If your hotel is in dire need of upgrades and updates in order to effectively compete with newer properties and win market share, then ask for them. If you depend on another department’s performance to help you reach your targets, then ask to oversee them.

Here’s an example of what that request could look like:

“For me to achieve the revenue targets set forth by ownership… I need $_______ in funding, specific hotel upgrades to be made, and _______ new staff (contractors). Plus, I would like the ________ department to report to me.”

The road to achieving your property’s revenue goals begins with your ability to ask for what you need. Show your management team that without these items, you won’t be able to deliver the results they’re looking for.

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2. GoT THEME: Three Dragons versus Everyone Else

LESSON: Focus on quality, not quantity.

Forget the mass of Lannister soldiers that Queen Cersei has under her belt or the thousands of eerie wights brought back to life by the White Walkers. All it takes are three massive, fire-breathing dragons to wipe them out completely.

This year, vow to keep your budget uncluttered and uncomplicated. Your 2018 hotel marketing plan should be built on a few powerful initiatives, not on a mess of disjointed marketing tactics that just produce small bursts of wins and revenue. Build a strong budget that includes only marketing tactics that will have a measurable impact on your audience and the bottom line.

3. GoT QUOTE: “Words are wind, my friend…”

LESSON: Getting what you want takes proof.

Asset managers, hotel management firms and GMs are under more pressure than ever to deliver real bottom line results. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography. This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.

So it’s important to have complete fluency in the KPIs that affect the bottom line. For example, if you know last year’s marketing cost-per-sale (CPS), you should be able to extrapolate that against future revenue targets to determine the budget required and make statements like this:

“Last year, we achieved a marketing CPS of X.
To achieve next year’s budget, I need $_______ .”

But remember, you will also be expected to reduce your CPS over time as you learn and tweak your programs.

4. GoT QUOTE: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” 

LESSON: You have data. Use it. 

This catchphrase, originally spoken by the red-haired Wildling Ygritte as she aggressively flirted with Jon Snow, has become one of the show’s most popular. But, don’t let it become your catchphrase. You should know everything about your marketing program results and not be guided by assumptions or gut feelings.

You should rely on data culled from the right sources to guide all future hotel marketing decisions.

And again, data is your ally when you need to ask for more marketing funds! Some data that you should always have on hand include key performance indicators, like DRR (direct revenue ratio), MCPB (marketing cost per booking) and your STR index versus the compset. All of these numbers will show you, and your hotel’s executive team, how much your marketing team is actually contributing to your hotel’s revenue.

5. GoT QUOTE: “Winter is coming.”

LESSON: Apathy about 3rd party costs is dangerous.

For a while, it seemed like winter would never come to GoT, despite numerous warnings with this ominous phrase. Yet, it was still on everyone’s minds. In hotel marketing, this means: Don’t ever be too comfortable in the here and now. For example, if more than 15-20% of your revenue is coming from OTAs, you need to prepare for the eventual downturn and start investing in programs, campaigns and assets that will deliver higher margin bookings.

When “winter comes” to the hotel industry and AOR goes from 75% to 50%, you don’t want to have the majority of your bookings incurring a 20% OTA commission!

6. GoT Quote: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”

Lesson: Ask hotel owners exactly what they expect from you.

Before you determine what marketing resources you’ll need for 2018, you need to find out the exact amount your hotel owner (or hotel management company) expects your marketing team to contribute to the hotel’s revenue.

Don’t move forward on a budget without knowing exactly what goals your team is beholden to. Get as much clarification as you can, including how many room nights, booked meetings, corporate bookings, etc. should be attributed to your marketing efforts. Ask management/ownership early on in the budget process, because this one question will give you clarity and insight to build out any other projected expenses.

Don’t waste time or make costly guesses, nor should you allow your hotel owner to determine how much they want to give you. Don’t place your hotel marketing in a dangerous position of always being underfunded, but tasked with lofty goals. Instead, use your hotel owner’s revenue goals to correlate the assets you need to achieve them.

7. GoT QUOTE: “I may be small, but I won’t be knitting by the fire while others fight for me.” 

LESSON: Don’t surrender your property’s destiny to 3rd parties.

Spoken by everyone’s favorite young spitfire, Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island, this empowering quote hits at the heart of every hotelier. OTAs have had their moment, but now it’s time to take back control of your booking destiny. So, stop depending on third-party sites to fill the house. Instead of paying commission fees of 15-30 percent, invest in the right tools and technology for your hotel to pull in your own reservations. One place where hotels will see big ROI is by investing in their hotel’s mobile experience. Offer a mobile-compatible booking engine. Have a responsive website and hotel marketing emails. Offer immediate online chat. Investing in mobile is paramount to your success in 2018.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Make Your Hotel Website More Meeting Planner Friendly

July 7, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

Each week we share one impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue.

This Week’s Freebie: Make it easier for meeting planners to consider and choose your venue by providing the tools and data they expect.

Meeting planners are constantly on-the-go and juggling several projects at any given moment. Make their jobs easier (and make it easier for them to see your venue’s potential) by providing the valuable tools they need to select a site.

According to our recent meeting planner survey, these are the mandatory tools that meeting planners expect to access directly from your hotel website:

  • Capacity charts
  • Floor diagrams
  • Room measurements
  • Virtual/video venue tours
  • Photos of actual events

Get More: What Do Meeting Planners Actually Want? Here’s the Suprising Results


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Briefcases to Suitcases, Compel Business Travelers to Stretch Their Stays

June 30, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

Each week we share one impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue.

This Week’s Freebie: Compel corporate guests to extend their stay by creating a targeted ‘bleisure’ offer.

Out of a hotel’s three primary market segments, corporate clients often produce the steadiest stream of room nights AND add-on revenue throughout the year. And better yet…. free-spending corporate travelers alo tend to spend more on dining and other ancillary products (since they are reimbursed by their companies).

Amplify your revenue opportunities with corporate travelers by compelling them to add on leisure days to their stay.

Here’s One Way to Encourage Them to Stay Longer:

Create an exclusive offer only for corporate guests that extends the corporate rate a few days pre- and post-reservation. Add perks during those extra days, such as complimentary bike rentals, late check-out, discounted passes to a family-friendly attraction, free parking or complimentary breakfast. Include a link to a calendar of fun local events happening before, during, and after their original stay.

Share this offer with corporate guests a few times leading up to their stay. Include it in the pre-stay email, at check-in… or leave a note during their stay.

Get More: Turning Business Into Pleasure


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Are Siri and Alexa Interrupting Hotel Search Marketing?

June 27, 2017 • By

Hotel search engine marketing is changing… are you ready?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Voice search and voice assistants are gaining popularity with no signs of slowing down.
  • This fundamental shift in search behavior impacts your current SEO strategy and will influence conversions and content discovery.
  • People using voice search tend to ask questions using long-tail keyword phrases, driving the need for relevant content addressing those questions.

“Siri, what is the biggest marketing trend that impacts my hotel’s search rankings?”

Just within the past few years, voice-driven search and virtual assistants (also referred to as ‘digital assistants’) have experienced a meteoric rise as more and more people turn to Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Google Home or Amazon’s Echo to research information.

In fact, the Echo and the Echo Dot were Amazon’s best selling products in 2016. Now, with Apple’s recently announced Apple HomePod (to be released December 2017), virtual assistants will be making their way into more homes and into our daily lives, routines and reality.

According to Google, 20% percent of searches are completed by voice. With 11 billion daily searches being conducted on Google, that equates to 2.75 million Google voice searches each day.  And, that number is expected to rise exponentially over the next few years.

Virtual assistants and voice searches are actively shaping the future of hotel SEO and changing how hotel marketers view their keywords and content. Plus, they are already poised to play a bigger role in driving conversions.

Voice Search Strategies to Implement Now 

This increasingly vocal world and continual evolution of search engine results will present challenges for hotels and will force hotel marketers to rewrite their content and SEO playbook.

Fortunately, changes have been gradual and we’re not seeing a full-blown disruption just yet. This buys hoteliers more time to prepare for changes in hotel search that are on the horizon.

Here’s what hotels can do right now to address this fundamental shift in how consumers are conducting hotel searches:

  1. Study Your Hotel’s Keyword Trends
    The fundamental rules of SEO still apply: hotels must understand how guests are finding them via voice search and the type of phrases they use. The clearest trend driven by voice search is the rise of long-tail keyword phrases. Unlike a typed Google search, people tend to ask virtual assistants questions (“What’s a good business hotel in the Gold Coast in Chicago?” vs “gold coast business hotel”). What are guests asking about hotels in your area and your hotel specifically? What are guests asking about travel to your destination? Optimize for these long-tail keyword phrases.
  2. Create a FAQ Page Addressing These Long-Tail Questions
    Hotels should set up FAQ pages on their websites that match the voice queries people use to find them online. Address these voice queries with mobile-friendly property and destination guides that give guests the information they are asking for. Hotel brands that address the ‘who, what, when, where and how’ questions and provide relevant answers will outrank their compset.
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  3. Extend FAQ Strategy to Other Content
    Build valuable content around your audience’s voice search keywords and build in answers to those phrases and questions in your hotel’s web pages, social media posts, and blog posts.
  4. Stay on Top of Evolving Search Trends
    Monitor and stay up-to-date on your hotel’s real-time search insights. Which search phrases are being asked more or less often? What is happening in your destination or hotel that impacts what people are asking? Frequent monitoring allows you to be nimble and often gives you an edge.
  5. Write Conversationally
    Not only will your guests enjoy your brand more with a natural voice, but this is the language spoken by voice search. Content won’t rate with Google Now or Siri if it’s not written in a natural voice. People are likely to ask Siri, ‘What hotel offers a free shuttle to the Miami airport?’ versus ‘free shuttle airport Miami.’ Google has been trying to minimize the relevance of keywords in search, with so many marketers over-optimizing and stuffing in keywords anywhere and everywhere they can. Voice search offers an opportunity to focus more on the language and tone we use naturally.
  6. Brace for Future Google Algorithm Updates
    Google has a history of driving SEO professionals crazy by constantly changing the set of rules that prioritize search rankings. While Google hasn’t announced any penalties for hotel websites that don’t cater to voice searches, there is always the possibility of that changing in the near future.
  7. Don’t Dismiss Traditional Search
    Consider voice search as a vital supplement to your SEO strategy, not a replacement. For now, despite the rise of voice assistants, the majority of search is conducted through typed queries on a mobile device or desktop. Both text searches and voice searches have a place in hotel marketing, so cater to talkers and typers alike.

Also see: The Painful Truth About Hotel SEO 


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Why 70% of Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

June 20, 2017 • By

Flagged properties have surrendered control of their marketing. What happens if results are poor?

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Key Takeaways:

  • 7 out of 10 hotels in the US are flagged, but the brand’s national marketing team can’t reach specific target markets on a TIMELY basis, convey unique property experiences or synthesize authentic local culture.
  • Most flagged hotels are still relying on their brand’s standard marketing program, which is duplicated for every other sister hotel in the region.
  • Hotels need to augment their brand’s core program with timely campaigns and custom direct “vanity” websites that help fill periods of need.

Pop quiz… Imagine three hotel properties:

A beachfront resort in Santa Monica.

An urban high-rise in Atlanta steps from the convention center.

A historic, mountain lodge in Vail.

Would you:

A. Market and drive bookings to these hotels using identical hotel websites, booking engines, marketing campaigns and marketing promotions?

B. Or, custom tailor hotel marketing strategies based on each hotel’s unique target markets, amenities, travel seasons and destination?

If you selected B, congratulations! You’re already making wiser decisions than thousands of flagged hotels who rely on the standardized, generic marketing (created by a remote marketing department) to drive ALL their business.

Relying exclusively on your brand to completely market your unique property limits your ability to achieve the financial goals set forth by the owner/asset manager.

Here’s Why: 

You Are Not Differentiated

Your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often several in the same city) and providing the same tools to all of you. Think about that–every hotel in the brand family is getting the same marketing and sales templates, the same loyalty database, the same hotel website design and hotel booking engine. You all receive the same assets, regardless of your amenities, your destination, or your target audience. A convention hotel in downtown Denver presents the same marketing material as their sister property in South Beach, Miami.

Worse yet, when a visitor to your listing on brand.com enters the brand.com booking environment, they are often shown nearby properties flying the same flag… essentially making brand.com an OTA sending business to your co-branded regional neighbors!
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You’re Still Accountable

If your property falls short of its revenue goals, do you think your brand’s marketing team will go to bat and be held accountable for missing the mark? Probably not.

This is why it’s important to take marketing into your own hands and augment your brand’s core marketing assets with your own to  aggressively pursue direct bookings. When you rely on your brand’s marketing team, you relinquish control over vital revenue-drivers like:

  • Filling sudden periods of need.
  • Attracting regional groups and events.
  • Creating timely packages or special.
  • Posting and marketing special events.
  • Publishing user-generated social media content.
  • Creating retargeting ads to bring people back to your site.

Normally, this would require you to fill out a request form with your brand’s marketing team and wait days or weeks for ‘your turn,’ losing potential bookings in the meantime.

Your remote brand team is simply unable to deploy effective campaigns capturing your hotel’s unique essence in a reasonable amount of time

Your Direct Hotel Website is Generic

Flagged hotels don’t actually have robust websites… they have listings on brand.com.

When your hotel is simply plugged into a brand’s basic template website, there is nothing – besides photos and snippets of copy – that distinguishes your hotel’s individual story, destination, or personality.

You cannot customize every element that conveys your hotel’s unique experience, F&B outlets, meeting and event space, surrounding neighborhood, local culture, etc.

Imagine if the largest event in your destination is the Outdoor Summer Concert Series, which draws in thousands of visitors. Your brand.com’s basic website will not mention the concert series, nor convey how close you are to the event… leaving you to miss out on hundreds of potential room nights. When you manage your own hotel vanity site, you can showcase relevant events, speak directly to the right audiences and capture business with targeted campaigns.

Your SEO Stinks

Leaving hotel marketing to your brand will also place limits on your SEO and traffic generation campaigns. While your brand may conduct search engine marketing campaigns on your hotel’s behalf, they only scratch the surface.

For instance, your brand’s efforts may help you rank for “Hyatts in Seattle.” But, it’s unlikely they are optimizing your page for more targeted search terms that would generate the highest return, such as “hotels near Capitol Hill” or “Space Needle hotels.”

You’re Not Authentic

Today, people are investing their travel dollars in authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and lifestyle. They’re hungry for local secrets, bold adventures and seeing parts of the city that most tourists don’t see.

When your brand has control of your online marketing, they won’t be able to connect with your visitors or convey that local mindset. First off, because they’re not even there. They don’t know what makes your destination so special. They don’t understand the culture, the awesome mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that give your neighborhood character, or know the local secrets. Only you and your local marketing staff can tell a compelling story that will actually drive bookings.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Father Knows Best: Three Hotel Marketing Lessons From Dad

June 13, 2017 • By

Hotel marketing lessons from dear old dad…

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While Mom gets a lot of the credit for imparting life lessons, it’s time for fathers to be acknowledged for their own wise insights.

In honor of Father’s Day, every year we celebrate our favorite ‘dadisms.’ And, we found that pops has some serious hotel marketing wisdom!

Here are hidden hotel marketing messages behind some of your father’s repeated quotes:

1. “Will You Kids Please Shut Up?”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice:

When marketing your hotel, resist the urge to drone on and on about your property’s physical features. Modern travelers are driven to book based on what lies outside your hotel walls, not just what’s inside. They want to experience your destination like a true local and crave front-row access to cool discoveries and remarkable experiences unlike anything they can find at home.

So, your hotel website should not only focus on your property; It should share the spotlight with your destination. Your hotel website should position your property as the epicenter of your destination.

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 2. “Hold Your Head Up…”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice:

Toughen up, kid. Sometimes you get dreadful guests. Sometimes you’re hit with awful reviews. Sometimes your creative marketing ideas fail miserably. Instead of crying over spilled milk, remember that the most successful and brilliant hotel marketers are those who take risks and try new ideas. If you’re not making any mistakes, that probably means you are simply repeating the same things year after year. Not taking risks or finding new ways to reach your guests will make your marketing stale and crummy. And, that’s something to cry about.

3. “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” 

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice:

Think carefully about how you spend the marketing dollars entrusted to you by ownership. And by all means… ask for the resources you need to accomplish the revenue goals assigned to you! If you need more marketing staff or outsourced vendors to help you achieve your hotel’s revenue goals, then ask for them.

If your hotel is in dire need of upgrades and updates in order to effectively compete with newer properties and win market share, then ask for them.

If you depend on another department’s performance to help you reach your targets, then ask to oversee them.

Here’s an example of what that request could look like:

“For me to achieve the revenue targets set forth by ownership… I need $_______ in funding, specific hotel upgrades to be made, and _______ new staff (contractors). Plus, I would like ________ department to report to me.”

The road to achieving your property’s revenue goals begins with your ability to ask for what you need. Show your management team that without these items, you won’t be able to deliver the results they’re looking for.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Stop the Noise: The 10 Things That Matter to Hotel Marketers Right Now

May 23, 2017 • By

Hotel marketing has never been so cluttered and noisy.

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Every week it seems as if there is something new and important competing for your attention and causing FOMO (fear of missing out) stress.

With all this marketing overload, it’s easy to forget what is really important and which marketing assets actually have the biggest impact on results.

We’re here to help…

Of course every property has unique demands and market conditions, but we want to try and free your mind from all the nonsense, hype and clutter and review the 10 things that should TRULY matter (in our humble opinion) to the majority of hotel marketers right now:

1. Having a Remarkable Product

Boundless creativity, clever marketing concepts and even a robust marketing budget are essentially useless if your hotel is crap. Great marketing can only begin with a great product. If your hotel is showing its frayed edges and providing lackluster experiences (or no real experience at all), no amount of brilliant marketing will save you from a downward spiral. Scour your hotel reviews and find out what guests complain about the most. Then, present this to your owners and champion the improvements your hotel needs to turn the tide and rise above the comp set.

2. Telling a Compelling Story 

There is a reason why “storytelling” has become a hotel marketing buzzword over the last several years. Storytelling captivates your audience, draws them in emotionally and entices them to want more.

Travelers – both leisure and business – don’t need to be sold on your thread count, the hours of your fitness center or the square footage of your ballroom. When they research hotel options, they are really looking for how your hotel will impact their lives during and after their stay. Follow these steps to use storytelling to win over the hearts and wallets of your target hotel audience.

 

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3. Integrating Systems and Technology

Using different providers for each of your critical marketing technology needs (i.e. CRS, website, hotel booking engine, PMS, and CRM) is a recipe for disaster. Many hotels are missing out on countless reservations because of one simple reason: they don’t have integrated technology.

The key is to work with as few providers as possible to make sure each component of your marketing can seamlessly speak to each other and simplify reporting for stressed-out hotel revenue, marketing and sales execs who are tired of system incompatibility and reporting nightmares.

4. Measuring Cost-per-Booking 

Think you’re impressing your hotel owners with news about your social media followers, your cool new marketing videos or your rebranding initiatives?

Think again.

Today, hotel owners expect their hotel marketing departments to contribute to the hotel’s revenue targets in ways that can be measured. Without tracking and showing numerical evaluation of your marketing efforts, you’re going to face a difficult time later in the year when you need to request next year’s marketing dollars.

To prove how your marketing efforts are adding to the hotel’s revenue, you’ll need to calculate your marketing cost-per-booking (MCPB). Use this number to show your marketing team’s value and to ensure you’re given the proper amount of marketing dollars to continue bringing in business for the hotel. Be especially vigilant to know your cost-per-booking from OTAs as well. Avoid the trap of viewing OTA bookings as purely revenue with no cost of acquisition.

5. Consolidating Vendors

The more hotel marketing vendors you work with, the more chaos and confusion you should expect.  Hiring multiple, disconnected vendors to handle separate hotel marketing tasks, like hotel website design, hotel email marketing, hotel social media and hotel PPC campaigns, will halt your property’s success in so many ways. First, you’re paying way too much for vendors handling only one function. Second, you’ll spend most of your day relaying messages from one vendor to the next. And, lastly, no one vendor can ever be held accountable for your marketing success or failure, since they can easily point fingers at each other.

Smart hotel marketers avoid juggling vendors… thereby reducing stress and gaining time to spend on proactive campaigns.

6. Sticking to a Plan

Marketing to everyone will get you nowhere fast.

Smart hotel marketers have a roadmap with a breakdown of exactly how much revenue they expect from each segment of the hotel’s business. This enables the firm to correlate its separate investments in marketing for leisure/transient, group, corporate and F&B.

The best hotel marketers understand that generic, aimless and ‘pretty’ marketing won’t cut it. Every marketing activity they create is built with the intention of drawing direct business from one or more of a hotel’s pre-defined guest segments.

This will allow you to delegate the proper amount of investments to market to group, corporate, leisure/transient or F&B business. Every marketing activity you craft should be built with the intention of pulling in direct business from one or more of your target guest segments.

7. Consistency Across All Channels 

Sure, setting rates and keeping content consistent across the vast array of digital channels can get overwhelming. But maintaining rate, image and promo parity is vital to your hotel’s bottom line.

Smart hotel marketers also know that their USP (unique selling proposition) has to be consistent across all brand touchpoints and channels. If consumers see your property described as “urban chic” in one place and “a traditional business hotel” in another… dissonance occurs, causing erosion and attrition.

Consistency matters.

Whether it’s sending out email offers on a steady cadence, updating your hotel’s social media accounts or communicating with your group clients, it’s critical to set schedules and maintain consistency regardless of season or current results.

Your core marketing activities need to be sacred and deserve to be given the attention, resources and budget required.

8. Stunning Photography 

Awe-inspiring photos are worth a thousand bookings. Evocative images provoke an emotional response and directly contribute to booking decisions. Your images prepare potential guests for what’s to come. Along with your hotel’s website design, they convey your experience with a single glance.

So, be ruthless and replace all bland property images, including those that are old, grainy, dark or fail to convey a remarkable guest experience. Hire a hotel photographer trained in shooting real estate or architecture. Even better, complement those professional images with authentic and free photos taken by your hotel’s best photographers – your own guests.

9.  Simultaneous Promotions Across All Channels 

Filling periods of need is not easy… which is why smart hotel marketers launch promotions across all channels simultaneously. (See #7: Consistency, above.) Imagine you are the general of all your forces, you’d want them to coordinate operations and move in unison!

Launching the promo on every channel AT THE SAME TIME gives consumers comfort and avoids confusion. If guests see different special offers for your hotel on a 3rd party channel than what is shown on your own direct hotel website, they will get uncomfortable with the inconsistency and find another hotel that gives them greater mental comfort.

10. Continuing to Boost Online Guest Sentiment

Guests will always trust other guests more than you. This is why past guest reviews are one of the most influential factors impacting your hotel’s future success. Whether glowing or scathing, every review is an opportunity to stumble or shine. Get rid of the canned corporate responses and strive to always answer genuinely and authentically. Graciously own up to any mistakes and correct mistaken guests with grace. Even offer solutions for problems you can’t control, like the noisy nightclub across the street or the construction next door.

Keep all of your responses thoughtful and they’ll have a greater chance of turning negative reviews into shining moments that make your hotel even more likable and worthy of a visit.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

7 Lessons Your Mom Taught You about Hotel Marketing

May 10, 2017 • By

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Every year, in honor of Mother’s Day, we share advice from the original CMOs (chief mother officers) – our mothers!

And when we dove into these motherly pearls of wisdom, we found pretty sage hospitality marketing advice. So, sit up straight. Mind your manners. And, for heaven sakes, listen to your mom.

1. Mom: “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Asset managers, hotel management firms and GMs are under more pressure than ever to deliver real bottom line results. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography. This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.

2. Mom: “Just be yourself.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

In today’s world, it is more important than ever for brands to be transparent and authentic. Social media has changed everything and consumers are demanding that brands be more engaging and less overtly commercial. More personable, less corporate. Hospitality is no longer a B2C industry – it’s P2P, people to people. Every piece of your marketing should reflect that you are a host – first and foremost, and not a business that is gunning for your customers’ wallets. 

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3. Mom: “Finish what you started.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. You won’t be ranked #1 on Google anytime soon. Your email list won’t balloon in just a month. Your hotel social media followers won’t triple with just a few posts. And, you won’t see an explosion of direct bookings with one campaign. Don’t expect immediate results in any of your marketing efforts. Successful marketing comes from being consistent. Each marketing component is part of the larger picture, so don’t give up if things don’t blossom right away.

4. Mom: “I brought you into this world. I can take you out of it.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Your success ultimately comes down to how well you serve your guests with an amazing experience. And, your marketing should also reflect the guests’ desires, emotions, and the benefits they’ll receive from staying with you.

After all, they’re the reason you are in business and they can easily put you out of it! So, don’t use hotel marketing campaigns to simply brag about your property, your accolades and all the ways you are awesome. Instead, show how guests’ lives and perspectives will be changed by an experience with you.

5. Mom: “Look both ways before you cross the street.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Don’t put blinders on to the rest of the world when creating marketing assets or evaluating campaigns, get real user feedback! For example, you can pay $79 to usertesting.com for unbiased reviewers to test and record their experience on your website. You will be amazed what you can learn by talking to real prospects about their experience with your sales and marketing process.

6. Mom: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” 

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

It’s a reality for all hotel marketers: despite your best efforts, sometimes a marketing campaign will fall flat or short of your revenue goals. This can happen even after investing a ton of marketing dollars, talent and time in marketing research and implementation.

You win some, you lose some.

Instead of obsessing over it and berating yourself (or worse, your marketing team), brush off your disappointment and get up again. Review what went wrong, determine what mistakes to avoid in the future, then keep moving forward. 

7. Mom: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Marketing trends move fast and furious. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all and have the urge to jump in without a sense of direction or without thinking if this is the best fit for your hotel and your current hotel marketing strategies. Listen to your mom – resist the urge. Instead, be selective which marketing tools and tactics you invest in. Does it genuinely align to your target business mix by segment? Do you have the budget and manpower to execute it well? Do you have a plan in place?


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Remember The 4Ps Every Day

March 31, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

Each week we share one impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. 

This Week’s Freebie: Stay on top of your hotel’s success each day by reviewing your hotel’s four marketing pillars: price, product, promotion and placement (distribution).

It’s easy to forget what marketing is really all about.

With all the new hotel marketing technology, apps, social networks and fancy lingo we deal with, it’s inevitable that you will be pulled away from the big picture to focus on all the minor details.

If you don’t make an effort to clear that clutter from your mind each day, you’ll lose sight of the CORE FOUR marketing pillars that drive the success of every successful company’s marketing:

1. Price

This is a critical component of hotel marketing. Does your room rate make sense for the value of your guest experience? How do you compare to your comp set? Are you implementing the rules of hotel pricing psychology to reach guests? Are you allowing OTAs to price your hotel too cheaply?

2. Product

The most important of the 4Ps! Consider both the hotel’s physical product (rooms, meeting space, restaurant, spa, amenities, etc.), as well as the service experience. What truly differentiates your guest experience compared to your comp set? Are your hotel’s USPs still relevant to today’s travelers? What needs improvement?

3. Promotion (i.e. Advertising)

This translates to hotel advertising. Are you synchronizing your limited budget to correlate to your targeted business mix? Are you being smart about retargeting abandoned reservations? Have you invested some ad dollars into reaching audiences on social media platforms?

4. Placement

This refers to your distribution channels. Are you allocating too much inventory and relying too heavily on OTAs? Or, are you thoughtfully optimizing your own hotel website and booking engine to attract more profitable, direct bookings?

Each day commit an hour to review each of these pillars. Determine the areas that need more attention and where your team is currently succeeding. Pivot and finesse as needed. Staying on top of these four major areas will assure that you’re headed towards success each and every day.

Get more: April Fools – 8 Ways Hotel Marketers Can Avoid Looking Foolish


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Stop Dangling the Wrong Carrots: How Revenue Incentive Plans Hurt Profits

March 7, 2017 • By

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Occupancy is high. You’re crushing your RevPar Index. And, you’re on pace to surpass your quarterly revenue targets as well as last year’s revenue.

From the look of things, your revenue team (this includes marketing and revenue management) is blazing to success and should be credited and applauded for driving huge profits to your property.

But, wait.

Look closer. It’s NOT increased profits your revenue team produced. It was increased revenue.

Right now, most revenue teams aren’t driven to optimize profitability at their properties. Instead, they are incentivized to boost revenue – profit margins and rising costs be damned.

The fault doesn’t lie entirely with your marketing and revenue team, however. Perhaps it’s time to critically examine your RM incentive plan structure instead?

The Hidden Risk of Current Revenue Management Incentives

To achieve a bonus today, most revenue managers are only tasked with exceeding top-line targets, like revenue variance to budget and variance to last year’s revenue. Plus, a favorite metric that hotels use is RevPar index, suggesting most owners want to see performance relative to the compset, instead of internal benchmarks. 

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“However, by incentivizing revenue managers to work on boosting revenues only, they’re essentially taking their eyes off of high expenses and any rising costs,” said Jeff Spaccio, Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing In Residence at Tambourine. “Revenue doesn’t equate to profit.”

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While revenue managers are ultimately responsible for delivering profits to their properties, current incentive programs motivate RM teams to prioritize driving up revenues over the bottom line.

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Take an Honest Look at Channel Costs

Revenue managers must be cognizant of, and accountable for, costs and how they impact the bottom line, Spaccio said.

One of the biggest missteps under current incentive plans is that revenue managers aren’t motivated to pay close attention to which channels are costing the hotel the most and on the other end, which channels offer the most value.

Hotels should champion all efforts to drive direct bookings from their lowest cost channel – their own brand website, Spaccio recommends. This also means investing in hotel social media marketing, hotel search engine marketing and hotel PPC campaigns to drive traffic to the site.

Plus, don’t be hypnotized by the seemingly high revenues that OTA bookings can deliver. With commissions of 15 – 30%, third party websites are by far a hotel’s most expensive distribution channel.

In the end, driving bookings through your own website will have the greatest impact on optimizing profits.

The Vital Bottomline: Revenue Managers Should Impact Profits, Not Just Revenue

It’s time for hotels to maximize their profits by restructuring their revenue management incentive plans.

“After all, owners can only take profits to the bank,” Spaccio said.

First, motivate revenue managers to get well-acquainted with costs and learn where to reduce wasteful spending. They should be well aware of the cost per booking and your hotel should establish how much those reservations should cost.

Then, at the minimum, a revenue manager should meet or exceed your gross operating profit projections BEFORE being paid a bonus off the top-line incentive.

Continue to reward revenue managers for generating revenues beyond the forecasted targets, but in the end, incentives should be driven by the ability to exceed profitability.

It’s only with the proper incentives in place that revenue managers will pay more attention to the true net of any booking and prioritize boosting your bottom line.

 


 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com