Browsing Tag

symphony hotel marketing

Does Your Hotel Suffer From Chronic Vendor Fatigue?

April 25, 2017 • By

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Key Takeaways:

  • Working with multiple hotel marketing vendors means none are accountable.
  • Hotel marketers waste a lot of time delivering messages from vendor-to-vendor, in a struggle to get everyone on the same page.
  • Vendor technology often will not work well with others, blocking real-time data from being shared amongst the entire team.

Every smart hotel marketer knows they can’t manage the rapid pace of change in the digital world with their limited on-property staff and resources.

So they turn to talented marketing experts to leverage their tools, resources, skills and specialized experience. Where many hotels go wrong is when they divvy up marketing assignments and outsource each piece, one-by-one. In the end, their marketing “team” often looks like this:

One vendor to manage the hotel website.

Another vendor to optimize the hotel’s distribution channels.

Another vendor to manage emails.

One vendor to tackle SEO and PPC.

Another vendor to oversee social media content.

And the list goes on and on…

While you may believe this robust team of marketing minds means your hotel can now operate as a marketing powerhouse, you’re in for a rude awakening.

The truth is, with an extended team of disconnected marketing vendors, you’ll face even bigger challenges.

Here are the dangers of hiring too many vendors to work on your hotel marketing:

1) No Accountability
Even if you can manage to keep up with each vendor’s specific performance metrics and milestones, they cannot be held responsible if their work depends on another vendor’s actions. And nothing will stop vendors from pointing fingers at each other when things go wrong.  For example: your email vendor runs a campaign for Mother’s Day that relies on your hotel’s web design firm to quickly produce a killer landing page. The campaign fails to produce the desired results… so who is at fault, the email vendor or the web firm?

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2) More Stress, Less Time

Face it. The more hotel marketing firms you work with, the more complications and chaos you’ll face with even the simplest of marketing tasks. Managing separate, disconnected vendors to handle single portions of your hotel’s marketing plan often means the bulk of your day will be spent managing several projects simultaneously, fielding numerous project calls and emails, hearing differing opinions, coordinating meetings and relaying information back and forth. Not to mention, trying to make sense of it all yourself. With less time to devote to each vendor to ensure you can get the most out of them, quality will slip, deadlines will be missed and you’ll have even more to deal with.

Welcome to the perfect headache. 

3) Truly Measuring ROI

While every vendor will proudly provide metrics to show you how they’re doing, getting down to the actual value their specific contribution brings to your property will be much more difficult, if not impossible. Especially, when multiple vendors will want to take credit for the same hotel bookings. This is especially true if you have multiple vendors who use the “Assisted Conversion” method of attributing revenue to their efforts. 

Bottom line, with so many marketing vendors you’ll never know who is truly impacting your bottom line.

4) Negative Impact On Your Career

When you spread your loyalty across several vendors, a few may not develop a sense of loyalty to you and fail to commit themselves to making you a star in your organization. And, that can have an adverse effect on your career. When vendors are lazy, slow or unmotivated you are ultimately to blame. And, your GM and hotel owners may see you as lacking oversight or control of your team.

In comparison, bringing on the hotel marketing vendors who are committed to YOU will boost your career and position you as an innovative champion at your hotel. The right partners will deliver the stats and the data you need to prove your value at the hotel and demonstrate your extraordinary leadership. The right partners will be driven to see you succeed and will be willing to work on weekends and through the night to deliver last-minute deadlines. 

The more vendors you work with, the less attention you will have to make sure you only have winning partners on your team. 

5) Integration Nightmares

Every vendor has their own technology and their own system of producing, reporting and measuring. Plus, they are all clueless as to what the other vendors are doing – unless you fully integrate them.

But, this is where you’ll face a major roadblock.

Most likely, each vendor’s proprietary software won’t seamlessly link to another vendor’s system. This means that what happens in one area of your marketing (such as lead generation campaigns), may not link seamlessly to any other portion (such as your website analytics).

Imagine that – each asset of marketing working separately in their small silos, oblivious to every other hotel marketing function, with no real-time intelligence shared between each. This means conflicting information multiplied many times over. Your marketing will be anything BUT seamless.

You’ll spend much of the day manually volleying information back and forth, from vendor-to-vendor, in a struggle to get everyone on the same page, much less the same marketing campaign.

The Solution
Now you see that too many vendors equal a flood of stress and chaos that could potentially sink all of your marketing intentions. So, where do you go from here? We recommending paring down your vendors to as few as possible. Look for hospitality marketing partners who have an expertise and proven success in several areas, not just one, so they can optimize multiple marketing functions.  Most importantly, ask them the necessary questions to find out if they have the chops and systems in place to drive bookings and deliver ROI
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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 Signs Your Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

February 28, 2017 • By

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It’s easy to see how things can go off course in hotel marketing.

With an array of channels, disparate vendors and multiple audience segments to manage, it’s inevitable that some things may fall through the cracks, questions will go unanswered and mistakes could quickly multiply.

The good news is that even if your hotel marketing is out of control from time to time, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost control.

You are still at the helm and can turn things around whenever you decide to acknowledge the wrong turns you’ve made and the missing pieces you overlooked.

Here are a few of the telltale signs that your hotel marketing might need a reality check… and how to turn things around:

1. You’re Clueless About How Much You Pay OTAs

Sooner or later, your owners or managers will ask you, “How much are these OTA bookings really costing us?” It’s a question that all hoteliers dread. Why? Because OTA commissions are often opaque. They generally pay a net rate to the hotel, after collecting their commission. Unfortunately, this means the fees being paid to OTAs will never show up as an expense on your P&L statements.

Not only do these invisible marketing expenses cost significantly more than direct bookings, they also pose a threat to your other marketing assets as well. When owners look at the budget to see which marketing costs to scale back on, the first thing on the chopping blocks are the expenses that are actually shown, even if they produce profitable bookings, such as your hotel website.

So hidden OTA costs are allowed to continue, while your other marketing investments are reduced. You should specifically examine and document how much each OTA booking costs vs the actual cost per booking of alternative channels.

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2.  Too Many Vendors, Too Much Chaos

The more marketing vendors you work with, the more complications and chaos you can expect. Managing several, disconnected vendors to handle separate marketing functions, like advertising campaigns, hotel website design, email marketing or social media, can hurt you in several ways: First, you’re most likely paying more for each vendor’s separate services. You’re wasting time by managing and relaying messages from vendor to vendor. And, worst of all, no single vendor is held accountable for overall success. Instead, they likely point fingers at each other.   

The key is to consolidate.

Narrow down your marketing partners to those who you trust the most, who produce the best and those who can handle multiple critical functions.

3. You Can’t Measure Your Contributions

Hotel owners and managers expect their marketing teams to contribute to their revenue targets IN MEASURABLE WAYS. 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.

To show how your marketing efforts are contributing to the hotel’s revenue, calculate your marketing cost per booking (MCPB). Use this figure to prove your team’s value and make sure you’re given the proper correlated amount of marketing funds next year.

4. You’re Unable (or Afraid) to Discuss Property Upgrades With Owners

For the past few years, major hotel brands have invested millions in revamping their current properties or launching new collections in response to the expectations of modern travelers. With so many of these new or freshly renovated/re-imagined properties vying for your guests’ attention, it’s more important than ever to keep up and stay competitive by offering remarkable experiences, aesthetics and amenities.

It’s vital that your ownership is on board to invest in the necessary renovations, redesigns and upgrades. Or else, don’t be surprised when guests pass you over for the newer kid on the block. No amount of creativity and provocative marketing can mask an aging and tired property.

Remind your ownership of that unavoidable reality in the nicest possible way.

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5. You Fail at Rate Parity

We get it.

Managing rates can get complicated. Setting rates every day, for every room, on every channel can easily get overwhelming and confusing. And, not just for you, but your customers, as well. 

Maintaining rate and market parity is vital to your bottom line. If you and your revenue managers fall asleep at the wheel, you can bet you’ll quickly be surrendering revenue.

This is about diligently staying on top of all the channels, using the right automation tools and working with a conscientious revenue manager. Monitor your comp set’s rate strategy weekly to ensure you have market parity.

6. You Are Unable to Increase Meetings and Events Lead Flow

Meetings and events are often a hotel’s game changer. And, you know that a single group’s spend on event venues, F&B, guest rooms and other ancillary services can quickly help you meet budget.

But, what if your group sales numbers remain stagnant, leads consistently go cold and sales calls fail to produce interest?

Something is wrong, but it’s nothing that you – a bold, brilliant and boundless hospitality leader – can’t fix. There are numerous ways to get in front of meeting planners, earn their trust and compete for and win their event contracts.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to freshen up your sales approach with new tactics. Some of our favorites include:

7. Your Guest Sentiment is Plummeting

Every hotel has their share of negative reviews. But, this doesn’t give you a hall pass to shrug them off. How a hotel decides to manage guest reviews will determine if that property shines or stumbles in the future.

Notice your TripAdvisor score declining or stagnating? This means your owners and management staff have largely ignored the golden nuggets of feedback that guests leave for them. Do guests express their irritation with the noisy air conditioners in the rooms? Are there several complaints about the lackluster breakfast buffet? Do guests often mention a rude staff member?

Frankly, if you receive the same complaint twice, that is already one time too many. Bad service, bad sleep, bad food options and a host of other things can essentially ruin a guest’s opinion of you and their decision whether or not to come back.

Consider your guests as your eyes and ears to the problems that are holding your hotel back. When something is broken, actually fix it. Don’t just promise to ‘look into it,’ then walk away.


 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 Hidden Chasm: Why Your Bookings Keep Falling into the Abyss

February 7, 2017 • By

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The guest’s road from your hotel marketing campaigns, to your website and finally to online booking is a delicate, razors’ edge journey filled with several opportunities for the customer to bounce, turn back, and never return.

However, many hoteliers assume a booking is guaranteed once a visitor is on the website and ready to buy. But, beware. There is a dangerous “chasm” between your hotel website and your booking engine, where potential guests can likely ‘fall off”  if you’re not cautious.

Here are the most common ways to lose potential guests transitioning from your Website to your booking engine:

1. Lack of Personalization

Personalization is a big industry buzz word right now. But cutting through all the hype, the one place where personalization can truly make an immediate impact is on your direct website.

How?

When your hotel website and booking engine are integrated by one provider, personalized web experiences can be created instantly and dynamically. You can show gated and loyalty rates to recognized members of any ‘closed group’ your hotel wants to create.

Here are a few more examples:

• When a guest from Argentina visits your website and moves into the booking engine, your website can automatically pass the user’s location and localize room rates in the booking engine to the guest’s native currency.

• A past guest (“Alex” in this case) revisits your website after checking dates a week before. You can now present dynamic rate promos only available to loyal past guests.  Check out this example from our client, Cassa Times Square NYC:

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• Your website tracks user behavior and auto-configures the booking engine with images and messages relevant to that demographic (family vs business traveler).

2. A Slow Loading Booking Engine

It takes mere seconds to kill a booking. Research shows that 25% of consumers will leave a website if it takes more than four seconds to load. That figure jumps beyond 50% if your booking engine takes up to 10 seconds to load.

In a world of instant gratification and lightening-fast internet speed, guests expect every part of your hotel’s online experience to load immediately. Every moment of delay gives the customer more and more reason to abandon you in search of something better and faster.

Slow page loads and annoying delays are common when a customer plugs in their dates or a discount rate code into the booking engine. Don’t lose a hard-earned booking because of something as simple as speed.

Test your load times on different browsers and from mobile devices, which is especially important since many guests are now relying on their own cellular connections (non high-speed wifi) to make online purchases.

3. Inconsistent Experiences Between Website to Booking Engine

The best booking engines are the ones that go unnoticed by the guest. Being transferred someplace that looks and feels different to complete a transaction can cause guests to feel uneasy. This is why user experience (UX) is vital for online transactions.

Even the smallest of changes, like different fonts or different colors, can be jarring to your guests and chip away at the delicate trust and reliability that you worked so hard to establish. So, keep guest confidence high with a seamless transition and a consistent appearance.

A continuous, seamless customer experience is one of the major benefits of using one company for both your website and your booking engine. Customers will move smoothly from examining your guestrooms, looking at property photos and reading up on your amenities, to taking out their credit card and making a reservation.


 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: Find Out What Your Compset Is Up To… Automatically

January 27, 2017 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine

Welcome to the Friday Freebie!  

Every Friday, we share one free impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. 

This Week’s Freebie: Use free web-based tools to get instant updates on your competitor’s moves and offers.

Today’s travelers are extremely fickle and can be easily swayed by the latest competitor promo. So, never lose track of what your comp set is doing. There are so many tools and tactics at your disposal, that you should never be taken by surprise when a competitor starts outperforming you.

One of the easiest and most revealing ways to keep tabs on other hotels is to find out what their own guests are saying about them. Check in on their latest guest reviews on TripAdvisor and make a special note of what annoys their guests, as well as what delights them. (Your own review analysis tools may even allow you to monitor compset properties as well).

Aside from monitoring compset Trip Advisor reviews, here are a few other free ways to stay on top of competitive intelligence:

Check out MOAT: an awesome free tool that displays ads served by other hotels across the web. You can view not only the actual creative unit, but also other details like what website it appeared on, dimensions of the ad, file size of the ad, and file type of the ad.

• Set up Google Alerts for each competitor.

• Subscribe/follow their social media feeds.

• Subscribe to their email list.

• Follow your top competitors automatically in your LinkedIn Sales Navigator dashboard.

These simple, smart practices will ensure you’re staying one step ahead of everyone else in your market.


Get More: 6 Ways for Hotel Marketers to Keep an Eye On their Comp Set


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

5 Hotel Sales Tactics to Jumpstart 2017

January 10, 2017 • By

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A fresh New Year brings a new opportunity to delight ownership with big results in group/event sales…but only if you start off with velocity.

Here are five proven tactics for jumpstarting your hotel sales performance in 2017 and establishing momentum for the next 12 months:

1. Have a Kick-Ass Kick-Off!

Seize this moment to fire up your group sales team and send them off hustling, motivated and inspired to hit their revenue goals each month. An epic sales kick-off is your one chance to launch with real velocity and energize your team on a grand scale. The key is to get your team pumped and primed to kill it in the year ahead. So, avoid a boring presentation of last year’s numbers (snore). Book an exciting outside speaker, hold interactive education sessions addressing the challenges they faced last year, get the team up and moving during breakouts, and sprinkle in some high-energy team building activities. And remember, all of this initial enthusiasm and education can wear off by the following month, so reinforce the main ideas throughout the year in your regular weekly meetings.

2. Have a Simple Roadmap.

Booking group business without a sensible business plan is like playing darts with a blindfold on and crossing your fingers that you’ll hit the bullseye.                                                                                                     image2

3. Hope is Not a Strategy.

Don’t leave your revenues to chance or expect your sales team to make up for your lack of organization. You should map out the primary underlying drivers that justify the sales targets you are projecting for ownership. How many trade shows, sales visits, planner events, marketing and sales campaigns are required? What are the main threats to achieving your sales goals? Your plan doesn’t need to be long and formal, but it should convey all the main waypoints on your road to sales success. It should also be a living tool, so don’t stick it up on a shelf to gather dust. Instead, review it every month to make sure you’re on track. And allow yourself the flexibility to adjust throughout the year if something isn’t working or if you want to try a clever new tactic.

4. Who’s Driving Leads?

This is one of the most significant components of your sales plan. It’s vital that your sales team sprints out in Q1 and pounds the pavement to build their sales pipeline, as that will set the pace for the rest of the year. Outline specific prospecting activities and lead generation quotas for each sales person. Make sure the proper folks have access to your prospecting tools, or invest in tools such as Knowland or Groups360 to capture business intelligence and identify new prospects.

5. Go Big…Early!

Shore up your pipeline and boost the year with a strong foundation by taking inventory of key group accounts. Which accounts brought in the most business last year? Which planners have the potential to add incremental business and multi-year contracts?

Call on these planners early on, remind them of the benefits of partnering with your hotel as their venue and offer even more value by incentivizing them to book early. Creating this foundation leaves room for better forecasting and revenue management yield strategies. Then, continue to nurture these existing clients throughout the year, recognize them for their loyalty and show a genuine interest in their success to strengthen the relationship.

6. Rethink Your Sales Materials.

The needs of modern meeting planners are constantly changing. Review your sales and marketing materials to make sure they are speaking to the concerns of today’s planners, not just generically touting your venue space. Meeting planners have challenges…so make sure you’re marketing messages crafted to offer event “solutions.” Do you need separate materials and messaging for corporate planners vs associations? Does your value proposition resonate with current customers? (You might be surprised if you simply ask a few of your best customers their opinion of what makes your property unique.)When meeting planners source venues, they often collect sales and marketing collateral from several venues, then review later. Make sure your marketing materials stand out from your comp set.A lot can happen in a year. So, if you are re-using sales materials from last year, it’s already time for a second look. Planners today appreciate authenticity, so update your materials with guest-sourced photos, videos and testimonials.

No matter how inspiring or charismatic your sales team is, they must be armed with stunning sales materials to make an impression on planners and to help differentiate your property.


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: Can You Describe Your Typical Guest?

January 6, 2017 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine

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: Sharpen your marketing’s effectiveness by first determining exactly who your target audiences are.

Surprising fact: Most hoteliers don’t know who their target market is. It’s all too easy to say you want to market to “everyone” including business travelers, couples, families, golfers, city explorers, foodies, outdoor adventurers…you get the picture.

But, brilliant hotel marketing doesn’t happen by mistake.

If you want to bring in more revenues to your hotel, you’ll have to face the truth: Your property is not everything, to everyone. 

Only a few types of people are consistently attracted to your hotel. First, determine who books your property the most. Who are they? How old? What do they like/dislike? Why do they book with you? What’s their personality and lifestyle like?

Outline the characteristics of your top guests and you’ll be better equipped to find others like them.

This is called building guest personas, which entails creating a fictitious guest profile based on information and characteristics of real-life past guests. You can build personas for your typical guests, meeting planners, or travel planners.

A typical guest profile/persona might look like this:

  • 35-54 professional couples looking for a romantic “staycation” within one hour drive of their home.
  • They have kids, jobs and busy lives.
  • They enjoy cocktails in the bar and discovering neighborhood “hidden gems.”
  • They book with you because you provide free bikes and curated neighborhood maps.

Getting a deep understanding of who your property’s customers really are will help you tailor your marketing messages and create offers that will truly resonate the most with those audiences.

Get more: Hotel Marketing Lessons from Mom


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

10 Gifts Hotel Marketers Want For The Holidays

December 20, 2016 • By

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‘Tis the season to create your holiday wish list.

However, a hotel marketer’s wish list is unlike any other. Instead of asking for a new car or the latest tech toy, what you secretly hope Santa brings are all the assets you need to hit budget in 2017.

So… deck the halls with these top wishes from every hotel marketer’s holiday wish list:

1. Presidential Policies That Maintain Current Demand and Today’s Steady Economy

After two years of presidential election anxiety and uncertainty, hotel marketers are crossing their fingers that President Elect Trump and his policies will work in the hotel industry’s favor. Despite the controversial rhetoric during campaign season, we hope Trump’s long-standing and famed career in real estate will serve us well during his time in office, with issues like immigration reforms that positively impact our employees, foreign trade agreements that benefit our supply chain, or promised tax relief.

2. More Legal Injunctions Against Airbnb

Earlier this month, Airbnb officially backed off a lawsuit they had against New York City and the city’s new strict regulations targeting certain Airbnb hosts. The new rules impose fines up to $7,500 for hosts illegally renting out multiple units. This settlement comes after Airbnb walked away from another lawsuit earlier this year, attempting to block San Francisco’s law that required hosts to register with the city. Other cities had kept a close eye on these cases, since the outcome would potentially shape their own battles against Airbnb. Plus, AHLA created model legislation for local governments to use in their own short-term rental measurements. These events leave us with renewed hope for more rulings against Airbnb in the future.

3. More Awareness of the Benefits of Booking Direct

We all have Marriott and Hilton to thank for setting up a strong foundation for the rest of the hotel industry in our battle to regain bookings from OTAs. Their high-profile marketing campaigns, like Hilton’s “Stop Clicking Around,” intrigued audiences and raised awareness about the benefits of booking direct. Now that the stage has been set, our hope is more and more hotels will follow in their footsteps and start their own clever campaigns (no matter how small) to regain market share, plus offer more creative perks to entice guests to book direct.

Read more: 3 Ways to Overcome the Perception that OTAs are Cheaper

4. Simpler Data Collection and Personalization

Just like Santa, you want to deliver exactly what guests want when they want it. And, there’s just one way to achieve that – data. Luckily, 2016 was a big year for data, giving us more tools to amass more timely information about guests than ever before. However, gathering and analyzing data can be time-consuming and complicated. So this year, hotel marketers are hoping for simpler methods and tools to collect that data and actually put it to good use. 

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5. To See Authentic Travel Marketing Pay Off

Today’s hotel guests are all about extraordinary experiences and remarkable moments they can’t achieve at home. So, for the past several years, hotels have been reimagining what defines their typical guest experience and giving guests front-row access to the local flavor and culture. From chef-led farmers market tours to lobby art shows featuring local upcoming artists, hoteliers are hoping their curated local experiences will prove to drive more bookings and boost their bottom line.

6. A Bigger Marketing Budget

You know all too well that successful hotel marketing campaigns take talent and money. And, nothing would make you happier this holiday season than a larger 2017 marketing budget to pay for the resources you know you’ll need. Unfortunately, there are still many hotel owners who believe you can hit your revenue targets with less money and  cheap marketing methods. This year, hotel marketers are hoping to convince hotel execs that their lofty revenue goals need to be supported with loftier budgets (and maybe even more staff). Let’s hope hotel owners realize that investing in marketing is one of the smartest moves they can make to boost revenue.

7. Property Upgrades to Remain Competitive

Major hotel brands have invested millions in creating new hotel collections or revamping current properties to align with the tastes and expectations of modern travelers. With so many new and noteworthy properties vying for guests’ attention, it’s more important than ever to keep up with contemporary amenities, experiences and aesthetics. No amount of brilliant marketing can hide an aging and outdated hotel property.   Unless your hotel owners invest in the necessary upgrades, renovations and redesigns, marketing your behind-the-times hotel will be a fruitless endeavor.

8. Less Reliance on OTAs

We get it.

Sometimes you feel as if your hotel can’t survive without OTAs. They bring bookings seemingly out of nowhere and consistently fill your rooms with a minimal amount of effort. However, the fact remains that those rooms are booked at rock-bottom prices. On top of that, OTAs still pocket 15-30% on top of the already reduced room rate. Driving your own reservations and relying less on OTAs IS possible. ROI-obsessed hotel marketers like many of our clients have created tools and perfected marketing techniques to take back bookings, such as booking engines that decrease bounces, copywriting that drives conversions, and pricing psychology that convinces guests to purchase. All of these smart tools and tactics already exist and are here for the taking, so consider this holiday wish ‘granted.’

9. Consistent Glowing Guest Reviews

From TripAdvisor reviews to Instagram images to Facebook photos, today’s travelers rely on each other’s experiences to help drive and validate their own booking decisions. No matter how brilliant your marketing campaigns are, guest reviews will always have the upper hand. So, it’s important to deliver an outstanding guest experience each and every time. The more positive opinions guests share about your hotel, the more others will trust you with their travel funds as well.

10. Better benchmarking

Virtually every hotel marketer we speak to asks the same question: “how am I doing compared to other properties ,like mine?” While many common benchmarks (like STR’s indexes) exist, KPIs like website conversion rate and direct vs 3rd party revenue ratio vary by property-type and market. Help apparently is on the way, as smart analytics companies like Snapshot Analytics in Europe and others are trying to help hotel marketers evaluate their performance vs relevant peers worldwide.

Friday Freebie: Get Ahead Of Common Problems and Boost TripAdvisor Reviews

December 16, 2016 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine

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: Boost your hotel’s TripAdvisor ratings by offering creative and simple solutions to common, repetitive guest gripes, even for situations you don’t control.

The noisy construction across the street.

The loud bar next door.

The lack of parking in your bustling neighborhood.

You can’t control all the elements that guests will inevitably complain about in their TripAdvisor reviews. 

However, just because you don’t have power to add new parking spots or tell the bar patrons to quiet down, doesn’t mean that you can’t empathize with your guests and offer some respite from the annoyance.

The worst thing a hotel can do is tell a guest, “There’s nothing we can do.” Even if that’s the case, the guest will only feel as though your hotel doesn’t want to help them, or worse, simply doesn’t care what they’re going through.

Instead, pre-empt these common gripes by preparing solutions to smooth the grumbling. Offer guests parking secrets in the neighborhood, a map of nearby parking lots and their fees, average Uber and Lyft fees to different areas of town, information on Car2Go or ReachNow (BMW’s car sharing service) options, etc.

Better yet, put all of this information in one place, an FAQ page on your hotel website or extra page in your in-room guest packet. Don’t wait until the guest is shaking with rage and ready to scream at one of your front desk staff before you scramble for quick fixes.

By acknowledging your unavoidable weak points and offering solutions upfront, guests will feel validated, taken care of and confident that your hotel is committed to providing a remarkable experience, no matter the outside circumstances that threaten to put a damper on their stay and their guest review afterwards. 


Get More: The Six Golden Rules to Responding to Guest Reviews


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

Hotel Marketing: 10 Things That Worked in 2016

December 13, 2016 • By

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Marketing can often seem like a bottomless pit of possibilities.

The days of investing in only a few marketing channels are long gone. Now, there are endless ways to reach potential guests and drive direct bookings, leaving some hotel marketers paralyzed or flustered over the overwhelming task of choosing what to focus on.

So, we’re here to narrow down the field.

We’ve compiled a list of the strategies that have actually worked for us and our clients this past year.

Call it our secret sauce, if you will.

We fully recognize that there are no magic bullets that work for every property and market, but these are some of the consistently effective tactics that have proven to drive revenue, expand reach and boost direct bookings in 2016.

Let’s get started: 

1) Crafting an Authentic and Unique Story
There’s a reason why storytelling became one of the top buzzwords of practically every industry. People are drawn to emotions, stories and engaging narratives rather than facts, figures or hyperboles. Creating stories that both educate and delight are the foundation for authentic conversations with guests. Before telling your own story, think about your hotel’s main demographics and what drives them. Determine what makes you more unique than your comp set. Then, tell the story only you can tell… and tell it consistently with rich visuals across all of your marketing channels.

2) Harvesting Guest Generated Content
It’s one of the universal truths of marketing: consumers will always trust their family and friends over you. Smart hoteliers are using the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing and leveraging it to their advantage. By encouraging and incentivizing current guests to post images and videos onto social media while they are staying with you, effectively makes your guests a potent extension of your marketing team. Recognizing this, we recently launched Tout, which makes it easy to discover, capture and obtain rights to content created by your own guests. Guest generated content holds multiple benefits: They’re more authentic, more trustworthy, and more creative than anything your marketing could have produced. Best of all, you won’t have to invest any marketing dollars to obtain new images and videos for your future marketing campaigns.  

3) Positioning Your Hotel as the Epicenter of Your Destination
Today’s travelers are increasingly drawn to the life-changing experiences that lie within reach of your hotel’s front doors. They want to experience a destination like a local and crave front-row access to unique discoveries and immersive experiences that are unlike anything they can find at home. Forward-thinking hoteliers have caught on to this shift in traveler sentiment and are now touting their properties as the center of the destination experience.  Share what’s immediately within walking distance, including quirky coffee shops and cool wine bars, as opposed to lazily pointing to your lobby’s Starbucks and restaurant wine list. Clue guests in on local secrets and involve all front-line staff (not just concierges) in learning as much as they can about your immediate neighborhood and destination.   

4) Reducing Vendor Fatigue
Let’s face it. The more marketing vendors you work with, the more chaos and complications you’ll face with even the simplest of tasks. Managing separate, disconnected vendors to handle your booking engine, advertising campaigns, digital marketing, email marketing and your brand website means you’re paying more, holding less vendors accountable for producing ROI and wasting time managing and relaying messages to multiple vendors. Pare down your marketing team to as few vendors as possible so your marketing campaigns can have more impact on your bottom line.

5) Better Mobile Booking Experiences
Guests rely on their smartphones throughout their entire travel journey, from research, to booking, to sharing experiences post-stay. In fact, up to 21% of hotel bookings are made on mobile devices. Hotels got serious about their mobile experiences in 2016, investing and making improvements to mobile-compatible booking engines, responsive websites and marketing emails. By providing improved mobile experiences, hotels can streamline direct bookings, encourage social media sharing, communicate promos and offers, and reach potential guests any time of the day. Plus, today’s travelers expect mobile-enabled experiences, like digital check-in and communication with hotel staff via text. Investing in mobile is paramount to your success in 2017.  

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6) Metasearch
Metasearch’s value to hotel guests is undeniable: Travel consumers are provided with all the details they need to research and book a stay, including customer reviews, hotel information, location and real-time pricing and availability. Smart hoteliers leveraged metasearch to garner more direct bookings through their brand sites, rather than through OTAs. Whether they paid per click or via commission on bookings (such as on TripAdvisor or Google), these metasearch portals were attractively cheaper than traditional OTAs and gave hotels access to travel shoppers who were further down into the booking funnel.

7) Trip Advisor Commission Program
TripAdvisor has always been one of the most trusted travel resources around the globe. Their TripConnect Instant Booking program allows you to connect your hotel’s inventory and rates to your TripAdvisor business listing, giving your hotel a direct conduit to the huge global audience trolling TripAdvisor every day. And by charging lower commissions than OTAs and allowing hotels to ‘own the guest,’ (i.e. contact info) TripConnect Instant Booking has proven to be one of the more attractive new alternative marketing channels to enter the mainstream in 2016.

8) Social Advertising on Facebook
There are many reasons why Facebook advertising is one of the best advertising channels around, but our favorite is this: They are amazing at reaching target audiences. No other social channel has the intelligence that Facebook has on its users, including age, gender, location, demographic, interests, behavior and the names of family and friends. And, advertisers can use this to their advantage. Not only can you target your audience with laser-sharp focus, but you can also receive real-time analytics and enjoy some of the lowest ad pricing around. Plus, Facebook is still the king of social media channels, with more than 1 billion users across the globe, so your potential audience is vast.  

9) Listening to Your Guests
Your guests and meeting attendees are the direct window to your hotel experience and your future success. Whether its reading and responding to guest reviews or simply engaging them in the lobby, talking to the actual real humans that consume your product continued to be a winning idea in 2016.

Take 30 minutes to converse with guests staying at your property and the meeting delegates lingering around your conference space. Ask them about their stay and what you can do better. All of this intelligence can be used to lock in future group business and to improve your hotel experience.

10) Applauding Your Team
Your success rides on the skills and energy of your team, so smart DOSMs made time to give them the praise and recognition they deserve. Genuinely giving kudos to your marketing, catering, banquet and sales staff will boost morale and job performance. In other words, happy internal employees equals better (and more) external business. So, don’t hold back when dishing out the applause.


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: Engage Meeting Planners In LinkedIn Groups

December 9, 2016 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine

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: Get prime exposure in front of meeting planners by being a relevant and regular participant in meeting industry LinkedIn groups.

Boosting your hotel’s group business revenues comes down to one thing: Relationships. The more (and higher quality) relationships your sales team builds and maintains with meeting and event planners, the more group business you’ll book and the higher likelihood for repeat business.

Luckily, industry LinkedIn groups allow group sales managers to connect daily with thousands of meeting planners who are seeking feedback, advice and resources.

There are 200+ LinkedIn groups focused on meeting and event planning. Some of the more active groups include:

Event Planning and Event Management

Event Planning Professionals

Events and Hospitality Network By Cvent

BizBash – Event Planners Gather

Every sales manager should visit these groups to offer useful posts and relevant responses to planners’ questions And remember, this is social media, not “selling media.” The key is to position your team as a trusted and knowledgeable resource, not as sales-minded spammers. 


Get More: Are You on LinkedIn? 5 Ways Hotels and Destinations Use LinkedIn to Drive Group Revenues


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