Browsing Tag

revenue

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

Friday Freebie: Nudge Your Happiest Guests to Leave a Review

May 19, 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: Convince more happy hotel guests to leave good reviews by reminding them at several touch points. 

See those guests who wrote a TripAdvisor review of your hotel?

They make up a teeny, tiny percentage of guests who actually stayed with you. They represent the few who either remembered to leave a review OR felt compelled to because of an extraordinary experience (or a horrible one). 

Now, imagine how much better your TripAdvisor rankings would be if more happy and satisfied guests wrote a review of their stay. The good news: It only takes a simple reminder. 

Stop leaving your guest reviews to chance. Here are a few ways to gently remind your guests to share their experience on TripAdvisor:

Post Stay Emails
Every hotel should have an automated process that emails every guest asking for feedback after the guest checks out. And don’t be afraid to put a link leading directly to your TripAdvisor profile. This will likely increase the overall number of reviews you accumulate and show your commitment to transparency! 

Approach Your Social Advocates
Turn to your hotel’s brand advocates – those who have posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter before.
Research shows that hotel properties that reach out to their loyal guests to build up reviews will see not only higher rankings, but increased online sentiment.

Remind Guests During Their Stay, Not Just At Check-Out

If your staff hears a guest complimenting the hotel in any way, have them encourage the guest to share that tidbit in a review.

Place Your TripAdvisor Link In Your Email Signature
Any email you send to guests or to whoever else, should have a link to your TripAdvisor profile.

Get more: Want Better TripAdvisor Rankings? Do These 3 Things


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

Do Hotel Sales Teams Have a New Secret Weapon?

May 16, 2017 • By

Smart hotel marketers are using new, affordable marketing automation tools to close more group and meetings business.

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Marketing automation technology is one of the biggest advancements in the marketing world over the last ten years.

And hotel marketers were among the early adopters.

The vast majority of hotels use basic forms of marketing automation to improve relationships with leisure segment guests: automatic booking confirms, post stay surveys and reservation recovery emails have been deployed by hotel marketing departments for many years.

But now, thanks to new, more affordable and simplified software, marketing automation could very well be your group sales department’s new best friend and the catalyst for driving more meetings and events to your property. 

Marketing automation can send the right message at the right time to the right meeting planner or group lead. And keep your sales team informed as your target prospects engage with your website and marketing materials!

First, here’s a simple explanation of how marketing automation works for hotel sales and marketing departments:

1. A small piece of code from your marketing automation vendor or agency is embedded in your hotel website’s code. This code allows your marketing automation platform to monitor every visitor who comes to your direct hotel website.

2.  Each visitor’s behavior, actions and referral source is now tracked, collected and viewable via your marketing automationplatform.

3. You can trigger automatic actions to occur when a visitor or lead meets a specific condition. This can be anything from an emailbeing sent, a retargeting ad being delivered or an alert being sent to a salesperson.

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Now, let’s take a quick look at a few of the specific things marketing automation can do to accelerate group revenue:

1. Engage New Group Prospects

Once you get a meeting planner’s email address (usually submitted via an RFP form), marketing automation can ensure that every new lead receives an instant personalized response. Surveys have shown that a surprising number of inbound leads are often ignored… simple marketing automation eliminates this risk by sending these new leads a welcome email that summarizes your hotel’s entire group experience, gives them easy links to see venue photos and images of past events, contact information and bios of sales managers, sample group itineraries, virtual venue tours, etc.

The purpose of this email is to give the meeting planner a reason to interact with your website. From there, marketing automation tools can track their behavior on your website and collect data to refine future campaigns.

2. Create a Steady Drumbeat of Awesomeness

Meeting planners love to book venues they trust. And one way to build trust is by communicating consistently in a selfless, helpful way. Hotel marketers can use marketing automation tools to establish a steady “drip” of stories, photos and content that helps prospects understand the destination better and do their job more effectively. But under no circumstances should the content be self-serving!

Your content “stream” does not have to be restricted to email or digital content. Direct mailing personal notes and helpful material often breaks through the clutter and differentiates you from the thousands of emails your prospects receive each week!

Creating this cadence of content will establish you and your property as a trusted resource and position you as THE leader in your destination!

3. Segment Messages By Group/Event Type

Based on where meeting planners are located and/or what they click on in your onboard/welcome email (and subsequent visits to your hotel website), marketing automation software can determine if they are planning a family reunion, a corporate retreat or a large customer conference. Were they looking at a virtual tour of the largest ballroom? Or, spending a lot of time on the activities pages?

Marketing automation can separate each prospect into smaller buckets and send more customized marketing campaigns with relevant images and copy that match their interests.

4. Perfect Timing…

Meetings and events often follow a pattern throughout the year. For example, many associations generally hold annual conferences in the fall or winter. Meanwhile, the more price-sensitive SMERF market (social, military, educational, religious, fraternal) tend to meet off-season (usually holiday months or summer) when there are more discounts to leverage. Marketing automation can schedule campaigns to be released at the right time, with season-specific images and copy, to target group planners way in advance leading up to their site selection.

Even better, marketing automation enables hotel marketers to send increasingly specific messages as each prospect’s behavior intensifies. For example: if one of your meeting planner leads spends 20 minutes on your website two days in a row, she probably should receive different (and more urgent) calls-to-action than the planner who has not visited in months!

5.  Retarget

Retargeting is another form of marketing automation used by many hotels to drive leisure business from consumers who have visited the hotel website before. Similarly, if a meeting planner’s visit to your hotel website doesn’t result in an RFP, you can set up retargeting advertising campaigns (typically through display ads) to follow them and remind them what makes your venue a viable option for their group. The idea is to stay top of mind and get them back onto your site, so that you’ll have a second chance of converting them. You can make your retargeting efforts even more effective by personalizing each with the information you have already collected, for example: dynamically populating your retargeting ads with the actual event dates provided by the prospect.

Have questions about using marketing automation for your hotel sales department? Ask us… we love to talk about this stuff!


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: Want More Weddings? Get Real…

May 12, 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: Attract more wedding business by sharing real-life wedding stories on your hotel website.

Modern brides, like today’s travelers, are obsessed with authenticity.

Today, they’re inspired by the genuine images, videos, and opinions of other brides and newlyweds, not photo shoots with models.

And smart hotel marketers have taken notice.

Instead of expensive staged photo shoots or using stock photos, many hotels are now showcasing more real-life past events, displaying the food, dresses, décor, etc. from successful weddings at the property.

Most previous brides will be thrilled to be featured in your materials, so follow-up with them or the wedding photographer for permission. Or, use one of the latest social media capture tools to locate, capture and license actual wedding photos shot on your property… these can provide you with a deep archive of authentic wedding photos for your hotel website and other event marketing collateral.

Get more: 7 Ways to Attract More Weddings To Your Hotel


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: How One Simple Email Can Reduce Abandoned Bookings

May 5, 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: Win back abandoned bookings with simple reservation recovery automation.

Every day, hotels ignore millions of relevant consumers at the very edge of converting to real revenue. Prospects who have already visited the website and searched the booking engine for their travel dates.

There is a massive opportunity to regain those lost visitors and reservations. After all, it’s always easier to win business from a previous visitor who has nearly purchased, than from a new consumer who has never heard of you before.

Here’s How to Do it:

After a visitor abandons your hotel’s booking engine, your booking engine should automatically send out a specific email with a personalized greeting that thanks them for visiting your website and a reminder to book. This is where you can offer a limited-time incentive and sell them even more on the experience of staying with you and booking with you directly.

But remember, in order to send these emails, your booking engine will need to capture email addresses as the first field in the booking process. That way, you now have the data necessary to email them if they abandon.

Get more: How to recapture abandoned 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

The Marketing Secrets of Great Hotel Management Companies

May 2, 2017 • By

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Most hotel management companies are created by proven hotel executives who have cut their teeth leading profitable properties and now want to monetize their expertise with hotel owners and asset managers.

But what truly distinguishes a top HMC from a mediocre one?

How are the best HMCs deploying marketing tactics to attract more hotel owners, asset managers and investors?

We spoke with two industry leaders to find out:

W. Chris Green, COO and Principal of Chesapeake Hospitality

Jeff Spaccio, former Regional Director of Sales for The Procaccianti Group and Pyramid Hotel Group (and currently our own DOSM-in-Residence at Tambourine)

Here’s what they had to say about the marketing practices of the most successful hotel management companies:

1. They Hold Their Marketing Teams Accountable

Asset managers and property owners no longer want to hear about “branding initiatives” or logo colors… they expect their hotel management firm’s marketing team to contribute to revenue in a measurable way, communicate in number-speak and be accountable for tangible results.

This includes revenue management execs, whose compensation programs prioritize gross revenues over profitability. Innovative hotel management firms are now motivating revenue managers to understand true channel costs and gravitate to lower cost sources of bookings.

“They should be well aware of the cost per booking,” Spaccio reiterated.

“Smart HMCs are rewarding revenue managers for generating revenues beyond the forecasted targets, but in the end, incentives are primarily driven by their ability to exceed profitability.”

But accountability also requires empowerment. Which is why Green believes you have to invest in the strength of the marketing team’s skills to optimize both profitability and performance.

“We over-index on sales/revenue management and e-commerce corporate support,” Green shared. “To be relentlessly granular you have to have the people and the time to dig deep.”

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2. They Know Their Products and Markets

The best hotel management teams shun the one-size-fits all mentality. Instead, they analyze each property and its market dynamics to come up with creative solutions tailored to address the unique challenges that the property faces.

“Here, (at Chesapeake Hospitality) we always question the norm. Why does a hotel have to perform a certain way in a certain segment?“ Green said.

Spaccio also stressed the importance of understanding the property’s position in the marketplace compared to its comp set.

He recommends leveraging advanced business intelligence tools that allow you to analyze your competition and future demand.

Truly understanding what your competition is doing at the ground level and focusing on your competitive advantages should remain a core mandatory.”

3. They Correlate Investments to Targets

The most successful HMCs take the time to get to know all of a hotel’s customer segments and provide innovative solutions to address each type of audience. Spaccio insists that smart hotel management firms always 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 top HMCs 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.

4. They Work With Proven Vendors

If you want to be a trustworthy partner that drives profitability, you have to surround yourself with quality marketing partners as well.

“Partner with the best of the best in the hotel industry and hold them to your standards,“ Spaccio suggested. “You’ll only be successful if you set a high bar during your vetting process, whether you’re looking for a PMS, CRM or a hotel website design firm.”

Smart hotel management firms only work with hospitality marketing vendors and partners who have smart systems in place, proven successful in yielding above-market returns and a relentless determination for ROI that matches their own. 

5. They Confront Owners About the Product

Profitable hotel ventures start with a good product. If a property is lacking in amenities, room quality or decor, smart HMCs are upfront with hotel owners about investing in improvements. 

Otherwise, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle against all the other hotels that are investing in their properties and their future. 

Plus, be prepared to fight for your share of that investment when hotel owners consider cutting costs in vital areas. 

Spaccio explained: “Understand how to manage owners and guest expectations. There are two ways to be profitable at a hotel: driving top line revenue and cutting expenses at the bottom line. The top hotel management have the ability to push back on owners and effectively manage them if an owner is looking to cut an expense that will ultimately hurt the property.”

6. They Hire the Right People

The most successful hotel management companies are made up of visionary and exemplary staff at all levels, from the marketing coordinator to the DOSM. Ultimately, the talent in all of your ranks is what can set you apart from other hotel management companies.

Hire the right energy,” Green recommended. “To differentiate among other hotel managers, you better have a very strong framework for success. This includes top talent – people who engage and inspire.”

“Then, consistently train them to win.”

There also needs to be a good balance of experience and innovation, Spaccio added. “Look for people who have the ability to multitask, analyze data and adopt ever-evolving new software platforms.”

“As hotel marketing moves more and more into the digital world, smart HMCs are hiring sophisticated hotel ecommerce managers and revenue managers to support their revenue projections,” Spaccio explained.


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: Why Consistency Matters…

April 28, 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: Staying consistent–in frequency and messaging–is an important contributor of hotel marketing success.

Frequency:

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.

Regular communication also builds trust with past guests and group clients… who will quickly see that you communicate with them year round, not just when you are desperate for a quick surge in bookings.

Messaging:

Smart hotel marketers know that their USP (unique selling proposition) has to be condensed into a succinct message that is extended 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 and causes erosion and attrition.

Take time to do an inventory of all your marketing touchpoints and sales collateral. Are your messages consistent? Do they all share a common family resemblance?

Get more: Top 10 Awesome Hotel Email Marketing Secrets Part II


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

How Can a WWII Scientist Help Your Hotel Survive?

April 18, 2017 • By

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In WWII, Allied planes would often return to their bases with hundreds of holes from enemy guns. This inspired crafty ground crews to bolt on metal plating over the holes to strengthen the planes and prevent future losses. They assumed that the evidence clearly indicated where they should place the extra protection.

But one American scientist wasn’t so sure…  Abraham Wald, a brilliant mathematician and statistician, intervened and pointed out that while the surviving planes had been hit severely, they were still able to fly safely home.

He urged the military commanders to add more armor to the parts of the plane where there was NO DAMAGE. Wald theorized that the planes that didn’t make it back must have been hit in different places than the planes that did make it back.

In other words, it was the other parts of the plane that needed reinforcements – not the parts with obvious holes.

Enlightened commanders adopted Wald’s recommendation and his brilliant intervention would end up saving the lives of thousands of Allied airmen.

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Survivorship Bias: A Universal Human Error

Wald’s mind-blowing theory about the bombers’ weak spots is a classic example of survivorship bias. This is actually a common human error that leads us to pay more attention to survivors and “winners” instead of trying to understand the failures.

Almost everyone has survivorship bias without realizing it. Our entire global culture is about celebrating winners and forgetting the losers.

As author David McRaney writes in his amazing article on Survivorship Bias: If you are thinking about opening a restaurant because there are so many successful restaurants in your hometown, you are ignoring the fact that only successful restaurants survive to become examples. Maybe on average 90 percent of restaurants in your city fail in the first year. You can’t see all those failures because when they fail they also disappear from view.” As Nassim Taleb writes in his book The Black Swan, “The cemetery of failed restaurants is very silent.”

Think about these other examples of how you (and millions of others) focus solely on “survivors:”

Celebrities

Many children grow up wanting to be famous. After all, the rock stars and TV stars they see everyday are all famous. So, there is plenty of opportunity, right? The truth is that famous actors, musicians, comedians, etc. are only the ones who ‘made it.’ They survived the auditions, the competition and let’s face it – had some good luck or God-given talent. But, what about the millions of others who tried and failed to win the audition, to get that starring role in a sitcom, to even make it past a casting agent? This is a prime example of how we tend to obsess on and worship the winners, rather than the losers. If you understand survivorship bias and you truly want to be a rock star, then you would be better off interviewing failed musicians to understand how they veered off the road to success.

Senior Citizens

The most common question that people who live past their 90’s receive: “How did you do it?” One senior citizen could say they never smoked or drank one drop of alcohol in their life. Another might answer that they drank often, smoked everyday and ate whatever they wanted.

Whatever the answer, it doesn’t matter.

Because, we really should be looking at the millions of other senior citizens who DIDN’T make it past 90. What did they do that prevented them from reaching 90? What could you learn from them to stretch your own lifespan?

Fitness Gurus/Products

The fitness and health industry is notorious for profiting from people’s survivorship bias’. Consider how many weight loss success stories you see promoting a certain workout, diet, or even the advice of a fitness guru. It’s easy to fall for these testimonials and believe that these extraordinary claims produce consistent results.

Reality Check: These commercials not only show the survivors, but the super-survivors. The extreme and rare positive outcomes, like the person who lost 50 lbs in just a month. At the same time, they hide the failures and even the normal results, like the participant who lost a more stable 5 lbs in a month.

Survivorship Bias is Also Rampant in the Hotel Industry

Think about it.

We have survivorship bias thinking about our own guests and our own hospitality marketing efforts. Most, if not all, of your present data come from the guests or group business clients that successfully made a reservation.

But, what about the people who didn’t?

What about the people who visited your hotel’s website, clicked on a couple of pages, then decided to stop looking and left?

Here’s the truth: The guest intelligence you have right now is most likely misleading, over-optimistic data that only focuses on the people who actually made it to your hotel PMS. Most hotel’s guest data leaves out those people who didn’t ‘survive’ the buying journey. You’re overly focused on your known audience, instead of studying the business you lose.

To thoroughly optimize your hotel’s most successful conversion paths, you need to consider the entire audience, not just those who actually converted. In other words, you need to consider not just what’s working, but what’s not working, to drive bookings.

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7 Ways to Prevent Survivorship Bias from Hurting Your Hotel’s Revenue:

1. Stop Copying Successful Hotels
It’s easy to look at successful hotels and think their strategy can be replicated in your market. But also take time to consider the other properties that failed in that same location, especially within the same chain scale level. Find out what went wrong, instead of only focusing on what went right for the survivors.

2. Conduct Loss Analysis on Failed Group Business Bids
Hotels often focus their sales efforts on seeking repeat business from specific groups, their “best customers.” Then, they proudly proclaim their venue is a ‘favorite’ of medical meeting planners, for example. Or, that their business is made up of mostly annual tech conferences. Instead, ask why other groups haven’t booked your hotel? What other industries are you missing out on?

Whenever you lose a piece of group business, the sales person needs to ask the meeting planner, “What went wrong? Why didn’t our hotel win your event?” This simple move could dramatically alter your sales efforts, sending your sales numbers skyrocketing in the future.

3. Discover Which Companies are Visiting Your Hotel Site
You can find out if meeting planners are visiting your website, even if they don’t send a message or fill out an RFP. We at Tambourine (and many other firms) have the ability to identify inbound website visitors by company, enabling our clients’ sales teams to find out which companies are visiting your meetings and event pages. For example, you can find out if someone from Ford or Microsoft started clicking around on your site.

This now-warm lead can act like a trigger for the sales person on your team (in this case, the sales person who is in charge of the Pacific Northwest market since Microsoft is headquartered near Seattle) to reach out to the meeting planning department at that company.

4. Conduct User Testing
Don’t fall in the trap of assuming what customers think about your hotel website. The only way to know how potential guests are interacting with your website and booking engine is to engage random, unbiased users to test it. (Shameless Plug: As part of our hotel marketing services, we implement random user testing for clients, and even provide videotape footage of tester’s live feedback.)

5. Monitor Points of Abandonment
Use your analytics to find out where you start losing potential guests on your website. Do you lose them right on the homepage? Or, when they encounter inconsistency moving from your website to the booking engine? Fixing whatever the problem is means you’re helping more visitors ‘survive’ the purchase journey to book a room.

6. Add More Languages
Your hotel is a global product. Or, at least it could be if you allowed your website to ‘speak’ to global audiences. Right now, too many American hotels only use English on their website. So, what if a family from Spain wanted to book a stay? Or, a group of business people from Dubai? You may think your hotel only attracts American travelers (or that virtually everyone speaks English), but that is survivorship bias at work… you only see English-speaking guests! If your website is only written in English, then only English-speaking travelers book your hotel, which leads you to assume that only English speakers want to stay with you. Consider what adding other language translations could do to attract global travelers.

7. Don’t Put Your Marketing on Repeat
It may seem like a smart strategy to repeat what worked for you last year, but again, this is survivorship bias at work. It’s even smarter to figure out why certain marketing tactics and campaigns failed. Did you have enough resources? Did the campaigns have enough time to flourish? Or, did you back down and just grab the lowest hanging fruit (relying on OTAs)?

It’s vital to know about ALL of your hotel’s online visitors and potential customers – not just those who successfully booked. This gives you more insight into how potential guests and group business clients engage with your hotel in their research phase. Plus, it will help you identify what to fix and where to make improvements. Examining your losses and avoiding survivorship bias can be the pivotal move that will lead to quicker buying cycles and higher conversion rates.


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: Build Alliances to Create Irresistible Destination Experiences

April 14, 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: Partner with cool, local purveyors to create remarkable experiences for your guests.

Today’s travelers crave experiences that are local, impactful and unlike anything they can find back home. In fact, a recent American Express survey reported that 72% of participants said they would rather spend money on experiences over things.

What does this mean for hoteliers?

That guests aren’t just booking a hotel room for a place to sleep. They want to have front-row access to adventures and activities that are quintessential to your city and your neighborhood.

Most hotels aren’t in the position to create and execute remarkable experiences on their own. So, one of the smartest and most efficient ways to meet this need head-on is to build partnerships with local experience curators and purveyors.

For instance, partner with a company that takes guests on a tasting tour of local eateries, street food vendors, or the popular farmers market. Work with a family-owned company that offers fun and exciting scavenger hunts in your city. Offer a package with a local art gallery, sailing company, or a trail hiking outfitter.

For example: The French Quarter Inn in Charleston partners with private yachts, carriages, and a helicopter tour company for the “Charleston Perspective” package. While the Collector in St Augustine has a “Girls Gone Mild” Girl’s Getaway package that includes transport, cocktails and local tours.

Create locally inspired, cross-promotional deals to catch the attention of experience-hungry guests.

Get more: Three Ways Hotel Marketers Can Tap Into The Authenticity Trend


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