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Dave Spector

How Hotels are Using Art to Attract Experiential Guests

January 6, 2015

Tambourine: hotel and tourism marketing technology

Artwork inspires us in the most unlikely of places.

Incorporating distinctive pieces into a property’s design can enhance the décor, feel and ambiance of a hotel.

And the hotel world has discovered that incorporating distinctive pieces into a property’s design can enhance the décor, feel and ambiance of a hotel – no matter how large or small. In recent years, hotels across the United States – and the world — have started to feature artwork within their lobby design, pubic spaces and even in the guest rooms. One of the major hotel companies, Kimpton, is considered throughout the industry as a leader in showcasing local artwork throughout their diverse properties, and hiring cutting-edge designers who create unique lobbies, using unusual, one-of-a-kind pieces and found items. As a result, their brand has evolved into an innovative, creative entity, attracting guests who seek out interesting experiences and cool design elements while traveling.

Meanwhile, other hotels are also taking their commitment to art a step further, regularly hosting art and photography shows, focusing on local artists as well as visiting exhibitions. One such property in Los Angeles is the iconic Andaz, situated on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The management team frequently changes their art installations throughout the year, while hosting fun artist receptions for the guests as well as the local community, which also features live music. Also in Los Angeles, and down the street from the Andaz, the famed Sunset Marquis hotel is known for its rock and roll history and its vast array of artwork throughout the sprawling property. So much so, that the property has opened a photography gallery right in the main lobby, called, Morrison Hotel. Co-owned by Timothy White, a renowned photographer, the gallery shows fine art photos featuring A-list rock stars over the years.

Artsy hotels are not just limited to high-end properties.

But artsy hotels are not just limited to high-end properties. In fact, budget-friendly properties are jumping into the art scene in order to attract guests seeking unique experiences. In Denver, the Hampton Inn in downtown (near the convention center) features a soaring, “gallery-inspired” light-filled lobby with original, cool, modern artwork made with a variety of materials, fabrics, oil, acrylics and paper. The colorful pieces, created by local artists, not only provides exposure for the artist, but often enhances and elevates the overall atmosphere of the property. Hotels seeking to enhance their own space with art can look to other properties for inspiration. They will find that often the creativity can be found in their own local communities, at all price points…and that’s the real payoff for properties and guests everywhere.

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:

15 Surprising Stats that Will Change the Way You See Hotel Marketing in 2015

December 30, 2014

Tambourine: hotel and tourism marketing technology

Today we look at a few interesting facts about hotel marketing to guide our actions in 2015:

  1. Since 2011 mobile hotel advertising spending has quadrupled from 5% to 19% of all online ad spending. Experts expect that number to rise to a third of all advertising dollars by the end of 2015. (Source: PhocusWright, The U.S. Hotel Advertising Marketplace Industry Sizing and Trends 2015)
  2. Independent hotels rank SEM, (search engine marketing,) as the most effective online method of increasing brand awareness and generating leads. (Source: PhocusWright, The U.S. Hotel Advertising Marketplace Industry Sizing and Trends 2015)
  3. 64% of global hoteliers believe online reviews are important to booking. Meanwhile, 89% of global travelers consider online reviews important to booking. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  4. 39% of hotel marketers do not use attribution models or are unaware of them. (An attribution model monitors which advertising influences customers and by how much.) (Source: PhocusWright, The U.S. Hotel Advertising Marketplace Industry Sizing and Trends 2015)
  5. 41% of travel marketers cited tracking attributions of ad campaigns as a major challenge. Not surprisingly, 46% of travel marketers claimed allocating money across so many marketing channels as challenging. (Source: PhocusWright, Touch and Go: Travel Planning Across Channels)
  6. In 2012, US travel sales made on either a smartphone or tablet were $8 billion. Since then sales have increased to $26.14 billion. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  7. The largest segment (27%) of travelers using mobile devices to research travel makes over $100,000 per year. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  8. Online bookings grew +11.8% between Q3 of 2012-2013. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  9. In the US, the travel industry spent 2.4 billion in 2011 on digital advertising. Four years later, the industry spent 4.15 billion. That number is expected to rise to $4.77 billion in 2015. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  10. 39.6% of 25-34 year olds prefer search/social media to resolve a travel problem over working with customer service staff. (Source: Skift Travel, State of Travel 2014)
  11. 2 out of 3 travelers watch online videos when they’re considering taking a trip. (Source: Think With Google, Travel Content Takes Off on YouTube)
  12. 58% of Google travel searches are for specific brand or company names. Only 26% of travel searches are for destination names. 7% are for attractions and points of interest. The other 9% goes to products and general queries, such as family vacations. (Source: Think With Google, Travel Content Takes Off on YouTube)
  13. The average business traveler per diem for hotel is $158. The average per diem for food is $88. (Source: Statista)
  14. US Business travel spending has jumped from $250 billion in 2011 to $274 billion in 2013. In 2014, it is predicted to hit 292.3 billion. (Source: Statista)
  15. On average, U.S. based hotels spend about 1.5% of their domestic revenue on purchased media displayed or distributed in the U.S. (Source: PhocusWright, The U.S. Hotel Advertising Marketplace Industry Sizing and Trends 2015)

What do the numbers tell you? Are you still relying on your intuition or is it time to make some changes? Let us know what surprised you the most in the comments below.

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:

10 Things Hotel Marketers Want For Christmas

December 22, 2014

Hotel Marketers Christmas

30 years of holiday decorating. 30 Christmas trees in the Tambourine offices. 30 years of clinking eggnog-filled glasses. After all these years, We’ve developed our own Christmas tradition.

We like to gather ‘round and check the Christmas lists of our fellow hotel marketers.

While the items have changed immensely since 1984, (nobody wants a dot matix printer or box of floppies this year,) the sentiment behind the list stays the same… Hotel marketers want things that make their guests happy, their jobs easier and their hotels prosper.

This year is no different. We asked around to see what’s on this year’s hotel marketing Christmas list and this is what we found:

1. Acknowledgement for all the responsibilities of a hotel marketer:

It’s not about ego. It’s about progress. Marketers aren’t looking for a pat on the back. What they need this Christmas is for executives, owners and hotel asset managers to understand all that falls under the job of marketing. When management truly understands the resources required, the marketing department usually gets the team and the budget required to keep up with technology and move forward.

2. More direct bookings:

Hotel marketers are tired of putting in the work and watching OTAs profit. Yes, OTAs bring in an important stream of business, but at a high price. Direct bookings bring in more revenue and are more likely the product of loyal fans. Marketers want all the guest information that comes with a direct booking. So, it’s easier to encourage them to book directly the next time.

3. The continued decline of gas prices:

Not everyone can take a sleigh ride to your hotel. Whether your guests have a per diem set by the corporate accountant or by the family checkbook, the decline in gas prices is good news for hotel marketers! The drive-in trip to your hotel is less expensive than it’s been in years. Guests have more money to spend on your rooms and amenities. And they feel better doing it!

4. Global prosperity:

Global economies continue to prosper… and hotel marketers hope it stays that way! Bullish consumers and prosperous businesses take more trips and owners feel confident in reinvesting in property and product improvements.

5. A spike in your TripAdvisor ranking:

Whether you’re stuck on page six or hovering at number two, this year you want to see your TripAdvisor ranking go up. It’s time you were on page one. And if you’ve been on page one hoping to move up to that coveted number one spot, you’re asking yourself if this could be the year you make it to the top.

6. Automated everything:

Some days you feel like Rudolph, the elves, and Santa. You guide your team, build the campaigns and make guests happy. You do the job of an entire North Pole of workers! Since you can’t clone yourself to complete all of these tasks, (and Santa seems unwilling to share his elves), automation has become a necessity. From automated revenue management systems to automated content promotion, hotel marketers want systematic help this Christmas. There’s nothing like a trusted system to help get everything done.

7. Bigger data with a simpler management system:

Like Santa, you want to give your customers what they want. Unlike Santa, you can’t know when they are sleeping and when they’re awake. Or can you? Big data wavers between exciting and daunting. You can now know more about your guests than ever before. You can target your marketing not only to their demographic, but also to individual guests. It feels foolproof, until you start to consider the immense possibilities. This year, hotel marketers want to reign in all of this information, so it is usable in a realistic way.

8. Accuracy and sanity on TripAdvisor and other review sites:

Whether it’s another hotel in your comp set or a misunderstood guest drunk on internet power, inaccurate reviews are frustrating. Once something is on the internet, it’s difficult to combat. One upside of the increased popularity of these sites is guests are becoming savvier when reading reviews. This year several stories of overly critical customers went viral much to the embarrassment of the guest. While no hotel wants to see a negative review of their hotel, this year marketers wish for even more public discernment when reading reviews.

9. To cash in on the authenticity trend:

The authenticity trend often lures in unexpected business, because travelers seek an out of the ordinary experience. The authentic traveler can fill gaps during slow periods. A small hotel in Maine might typically see a drop in business in winter. It’s the authentic traveler who wants to get to know the locals instead of other tourists that boosts winter revenue.

10. The steady cash drip of more corporate accounts:

You’d love to have Santa stay with you. It’d be even holly and jollier if he brought his whole corporation—Donner, Blitzen, and the elves. Corporate accounts are like a safety net for many hotels. You may not make as much per sale, but once a corporate account is in place they practically market themselves. Plus, you never pay OTA fees and they bring in year-round business.

Did you know Santa reads our hotel marketing blog? He’s a big fan. So let us know what’s on your Christmas list. And we’ll make sure he’s checkin’ it twice.

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:

5 Pro Writing Tips for RFP Responses that Sell

December 16, 2014

5 Pro Tips for RFP

Ever feel like all the work your putting into your RFP responses may not be paying off? Maybe it’s all a numbers game anyway. Maybe it’s time to start throwing out canned answers just to get more done. Before you do, consider this: In a Stanford University study, psychologists pitted two headlines against each other: “Crime is a beast ravaging city of Addison” and “Crime is a Virus Ravaging the City of Addison.”

Never write a sentence you couldn’t imagine saying to someone.

After reading the headlines, people responded to questions about solving the crime problem. Those who heard the word beast were significantly more likely to want stronger enforcement than those who heard virus. What does this have to do with hotel meeting planner RFPs? It reminds you that how we write often impacts our results!

If you were selling law enforcement in Addison, you’d write the word beast. 

If you’re selling meeting rooms in your city, you’d follow these tips:

1. Skip the Sales Talk, Buzzwords and Exclamation Points

Your restaurants serve agriculturally correct fusion feasts! The sun pours into your meeting rooms at ergonomically correct angles! Your sentences make people tired and skeptical!

As a writer, I’ve learned that when people write like this, it’s often because they are truly eager and excited about their property. So, if this tip sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It’s good to be proud of where you work.

However, you need to take a step back. Read your writing aloud. Never write a sentence you couldn’t imagine saying to someone.

2. Write as if You’re Actually Enjoying It

You may have nine RFPs to respond to today along with 37 voicemails. The only good part about answering RFPs is no one can see you sneer as you type, right?

Well, no… People can sense your mood when you write. The more rigid and stressed you feel the more uptight your response will sound.

And that’s a problem in today’s culture. While some of us remember learning how to write a “proper business letter” in school, the proper business letter went out of style when the internet came into being.

Most meetings take months or years to plan. If a planner can’t decide between your property and one in your comp set, the decision could come down to which salesperson they feel most comfortable with.

3. Use Their Language

Do a quick adjective scan of their RFP. Find words they use and use them back. You can find a planner’s values in their adjectives. If they’re looking for intimate meeting spaces, the word “intimate” resonates with them.

Don’t try to get creative. Try to make a connection.

4. Show Don’t Tell

This is every writing teacher’s favorite piece of advice for a reason. Showing creates a memory for your reader. It adds credibility. Anybody can tell, but if you can SHOW, you can sell.

Fortunately, technology has made showing easier than ever before. Instead of lists of amenities, include pictures of past productive meetings and happy guests. Create video testimonials and success stories from past meetings.

5. Ask Questions

Humans are conditioned to answer questions. Meeting planners, like hotel marketers, answer questions for a living. They can’t help it. If you ask a question, they’ll feel a need to answer it.

The trick is: don’t think too hard about which questions to ask. It’s likely you have questions. Ask them and make sure you use question form. Instead of saying, “It looks like you want a larger space for the second day.” Ask, “Do you need a larger space for the second day?” Question marks stand out as items that need closure.

Now it’s time to share.

If this post helped you, share it in your favorite LinkedIn group.

Or: Check out more ways to attract hotel meeting planners in 2015

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:

Holiday gifts: 17 Free Tools That Make Hotel Marketing Easier

December 2, 2014

Tambourine: hotel and tourism marketing technologyEvery day you learn about new software, emerging social media channels and burgeoning review sites, and every day you wonder how you will ever manage it all.

Fortunately, new hotel marketing tools also inspire other tools to make utilization simpler. Many of these tools cost big bucks and need to be worked into next year’s budget. But some are free– which means you can start using them today.

Look down the list. Pick a few out to try today. Then, bookmark this list for easy reference later.

Get the Facts: SEO, Market Research, and Analytics

  1. Quicksprout: Quicksprout grades your website for SEO factors and load time. Gives you advice on improving your scores for speed and load.
  2. Google Alerts: Set alerts for your comp set, your neighborhood and local attractions. Google will send updates to your inbox.
  3. Google Analytics: Meet your website’s audience. Google analytics shows you the origin, keyword usage and behavioral profile (meeting planners vs. leisure tourists?) of all website visitors. It can segment out who visits your website and books. You can also set conversion goals.
  4. U.S. Department of Transportation: The more you know about who comes to your city the more precise you can target your marketing. Find out definitive information about which markets feed your region on the USDOT site.
  5. BuzzSumo: Analyze what articles get the most social media attention in your region or category. Go to the website and enter your city name+travel. You’ll see what people really want to read about when their researching a visit to your city.
  6. Track Maven:Track Maven provides a simpler way of keeping up with your comp set. The site follows up to ten competitors across content and social media channels. Then, it will email you the results.
  7. OpenCalais:OpenCalais searches content for relationships between persons, places and things. It can help you recognize untapped keywords in your content to empower your SEO efforts. Likewise, if a competing hotel’s content gets more attention than yours, copy and paste a few of their articles into OpenCalais to find which keywords they’re using.
  8. RevPar Calculator: Figure out your RevPar on your smartphone with RevPar Guru’s free app.
  9. Email campaign ROI calculator: Find the estimated ROI of your email or direct marketing campaign’s with Marketing Today’s ROI calculator.

Create Quality Content

  1. Hemingway app: While no online editor catches every error, the Hemingway app will make you see your copy differently. Hemingway points out grammar mistakes, long sentences and awkward phrases.
  2. The Content Idea Generator: Can’t think of anything to write about for your hotel blog? Feed a word into the Content Idea Generator and you’ll get a headline for your next post. I tested it out and this is what I got:
    Vacation: 14 Things Spock Would Say About Vacation
    Resorts: Doing Resorts the Right Way
    Meeting Planners: The Dummies Guide to Meeting Planners
    Of course, these ideas are just starters. You might want to change the last one to The Dummies Guide to Planning Awesome Meetings
  3. Tweriod: Tweriod analyzes your Twitter feed to tell you when most of your followers are online. So you receive maximum exposure for every Tweet.
  4. Twitter Analytics:Twitter Analytics breaks down link clicks, engagement rate, retweets, and favorites. Use it often and patterns will emerge.

Send Effective Emails:

  1. Lyris Content: The worst thing that can happen to your outgoing emails is they end up in your guests’ spam folders. The Lyris Content Checker scans your emails for words and phrases that often trigger email spam alerts.
  2. Send Forensics Email Deliverability Test: Compare your emails deliverability against local and industry benchmarks with Send Forensics. You can also set alerts to protect your reputation as someone who sends valuable emails.
  3. Contactually’s Email View: Nothing sells your hotel like a pretty picture. Ever wondered if the pictures you email load correctly across various servers?  Find out. Simply enter your outgoing email’s HTML code and Contactually will show you how it will look in Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, and Hotmail.
  4. Litmus Subject Line Checker: After you’ve ensured your emails avoid spam folders, your next task is to get travelers to open the email. Your subject line is key. This Litmus tool shows you how your subject line appears in different email servers.

Have you decided which tools can help you today? Bookmark this post for easy reference. Then share it on social media to help your fellow hotel marketers.

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:

10 things successful hotel Sales and Marketing Directors do every day

November 18, 2014

Tambourine: Marketing Technology for Hotels and Tourism

1. Determine the Day’s Top Priorities and STICK to Them

As tempting as it may be, don’t flip open your computer and dive right into emailing clients, sales numbers, checking in on your team, etc. While well-intentioned, tackling your day without a plan leaves room for wandering thoughts, for conversations and projects to take longer than they should, and for frivolous activities to take over precious hours that should be dedicated to more pressing matters that impact your hotel’s revenue.

2. Evaluate Your Hotel Product

Dedicate five minutes to monitor your hotel’s review sentiment. Read through your most recent hotel guest reviews: What are meeting attendees commenting about the most? How did your management team respond? What needs improvement? Afterwards, walk the property – taking special attention to where your guests congregate the most. Have a discerning eye and try to see the property in the eyes of a meeting attendee visiting for the first time.

3. Monitor Your KPIs

From your direct revenue ratio (DRR) to marketing cost per booking (MCPB) to your Website conversion rate. Daily check-ups on these sales and marketing metrics are what will drive performance at your property. Don’t get lazy when you’re at full occupancy, or else you’ll be playing catch-up once the high-season ends.

Read more: 6 Sales and Marketing Metrics Every Hotel Owner Cares About

4. Speak With Revenue Managers

Forget about checking in weekly with your revenue management team. This must be done every day for the latest numbers, including: your pace reports, ADR index vs comp set, performance vs budget and upcoming periods of weakness.

5. Check Progress of Top 20 Sales Opportunities

Monitor what your team is doing to pursue and convert their top corporate and meeting planner prospects. Go over the competing properties for each event, review the planner’s pain points and hot button issues and what would push the decision in your favor.

6. Speak to Guests and Corporate Meeting Attendees

Walk the conference floor. Talk with meeting attendees. Mingle among the decision makers. These are the people that matter the most to planners, so start a conversation and see how things are going. Ask them what would make their meeting experience or overnight stay even better? Find out what matters to them and jot those notes down to help in procuring future group business.

7. Monitor Your Comp Set’s Activity

Always know what your competition is up to. Use tools like hotel reader boards, STR reports and Google alerts. Signing up for a hotel marketing intelligence service will show your comp set’s most active groups, annual repeat business and which companies are frequent users of your comp set’s event space in your market.

8. Learn: Read Up on Industry Trends and Upcoming Events

Designate a half-hour for industry education, an often overlooked task that most DOSMs feel like they’re too busy to do. Some of our favorite industry resources include Skift, Hotel News Now, and Hospitality Net.

9. Give Praise

Give your team the kudos they deserve. Don’t keep such a close eye on your property and sales prospects that you forget the most important people to your business – your staff! Handing out genuine praise and compliments for a job well done to your sales, marketing, banquet and catering staff goes a long way to boosting morale, customer satisfaction and job performance at your property.

10. Review Your Performance Against Targets and Goals

Keep track of where your hotel numbers are based on the goals you set earlier that quarter or year. Are you close to achieving the room nights you aimed for, or is there still plenty of work ahead? A daily check-in with your hotel sales goals and targets is paramount to reeling in meetings and events to your property.



5 Hotel Marketing Lessons from the World Cup

July 8, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel and Tourism Marketing TechnologyAdmit it.

You’ve imagined yourself a World Cup superstar.

Who hasn’t?

Soccer fans are hopelessly devoted. They freely spend money to travel to matches. Then, they praise their favorite teams on social media like it’s their job. They do for soccer players what every hotel marketer wishes their guests would do for them.

If you’re like me, you’re watching every match looking for the key to this kind of extreme brand loyalty.

Hotel Marketing Lessons from the World Cup:

      1. Every goal (or sale) is a team effort. The soccer pitch is long, and it takes the entire team to get the ball to the goal. In fact, fans love to watch a well-executed assist. Every piece of your marketing works towards your bookings. While it might be a package deal or a new offer that finalizes your guests’ decision to book, your website, social media postings, photography all guide the traveler towards your hotel’s direct booking engine.
      2. It’s a long game. Soccer games are 90 minutes, split into two parts. Soccer fans understand they will not be given a commercial break every fifteen minutes. The sport teaches fans to pay attention or risk missing out. Marketing can’t be an intermittent effort… Make sure you are consistently engaging your audience across all channels with content and promotions that bring past guests back and compel new guests to book.
      3. Respect the referees (even when you disagree with them.) In soccer, referees throw down yellow or red cards for fouls. A player is ejected from the game when they receive two yellow cards or one red card. While the cards are often controversial and occasionally nonsensical, fans and players never forget referees hold the cards. Nobody ignores a card. In hotel marketing, anyone with an internet connection holds the yellow and red cards. While the occasional foul is inevitable, the hotel that responds to online complaints wins. You may not agree with everything said about you online, but you must respect the complainant (and their followers) enough to reply.
      4. Analytics are the key to regain control of the hotel booking competition.

        Use your head: You might think that in a game where players can’t use their arms, players would miss lots of opportunities. But the smart soccer player doesn’t feel limited, instead he uses his head to regain control of the ball. Likewise, as hotel bookings becomes an increasingly online endeavor and fewer calls come into the hotel, you could feel inhibited by your inability to speak and hear from guests before they choose a hotel. However, when the smart hotelier loses the opportunity to hear directly from guests’ mouths, they use their heads and analyze the data. A guest that stays and books on your website says you’re doing something right. The guests that clicks away from to a third-party tells you something is wrong. Analytics are the key to regain control of the hotel booking competition.

      5. It’s a big world: Millions of experience-seeking travelers descended on Brazil for the big event bringing billions of dollars to the country’s tourism economy. This should remind all of us that there’s a big world of eager potential guests out there… Overseas economies are thriving… and there’s never been a better time to increase your share of non-domestic guests.

Are you learning from the World Cup?

Has it given you any hotel marketing ideas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 30th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Get out of your comfort zone and copy these 3 OTA secrets

July 1, 2014


It’s so frustrating.

It makes hotel marketers want to rip up all their OTA agreements.

But it wouldn’t help.

The OTAs charge you big fees. And you never feel good about how they represent you. But you can’t seem to break free. You know guests flip back and forth from their websites to yours. Yet when it comes time to book they head back to the OTA to complete the purchase.

Why do guests go back to the OTA to book?

Because OTAs do something that is so against every hotelier’s nature, I’m almost afraid to tell you. You will rebel against this idea. You won’t want to do it. But hear me out. This is important.

Unlike you, OTAs love making guests uncomfortable. And to compete, you must make them uncomfortable too.

Wait! I know the words “uncomfortable guest” causes a little indigestion. Of course, you want them to have comfortable stays. However, while they’re booking, they should be uncomfortable with their own indecision. That is where OTAs excel, and hoteliers often fail. When you spend your life focusing on comfort, this mind shift is difficult. You know direct booking is best for you and your guest. So, think of it as the little discomfort you cause them upfront that helps them in the end.

3 Tips to Make Guests Uncomfortable

(Bet you never thought you’d see that line on a hotel marketing blog)

  1. Limit their booking page options: Once a traveler reaches your initial booking page, you should start eliminating choice. Remove your menu bar from these pages. Make going through with the booking process the only option. They’ve already made their decision. Encourage them to stick to it (Tambourine CRS, a fast-growing CRS/hotel booking engine, does this well). Expedia uses a popup. After hitting ‘Book’, you have two options: Pay now or Pay at hotel.  Orbitz gives you one option: ‘Continue booking’.
  2. Make it cutthroat: Travelers are doing more than booking rooms on OTAs. They compete with other guests. tells the guest who else is looking at the room. Orbitz has a bubble that tells you ‘Two Rooms Left’. This isn’t booking. This is a battle and your hotel website is the frontline. Even if you can’t imagine inundating your guests with pop-ups and brightly colored buttons, add a line to the top of your booking page that states, “While you’re online booking travel plans, it’s likely someone else is too. Our rooms book up quickly. We’d hate for someone else to get your room. Book now to guarantee your spot.”
  3. Push them to checkout: You advise your guests to checkout on time, so they don’t incur a fee. Consider doing the same when they checkout of your website. Although they may pay the same wherever they book, remind them that they will enjoy more flexibility and better customer service when they book direct. Include the word, ‘Now’ on your booking page. Explain the benefits of booking immediately. Expedia warns guests to “Hurry! Prices and inventory are limited.” You may want to tone it down to match your brand. However, you need to create urgency. Remind your guests that it behooves them to book now.

Are you ready to celebrate your independence?

If so, share this post on social media. Let them know you ready to stand up and fight for your guests—even when it’s a bit uncomfortable.

 About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 30th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

5 Simple Ways Your Hotel Marketing Can Attract More Corporate Accounts

June 23, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing Blog
How much of $289.8 billion would you like?

A big chunk or a little one?

I’m going to guess you want a big chunk. You’re eager to know what money I am talking about and how you can get your hands on it.

It is in the pockets of the business traveler. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts business travel spending will hit $289.8 billion in 2014.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts business travel spending will hit $289.8 billion in 2014.

The GBTA also reports that 91% of corporate travel managers claim their company uses a preferred hotel program. In other words, if you don’t have a business traveler program or are not marketing your current plan, you are missing out on big money.

Before you deploy these valuable marketing tips to attract more corporate accounts, you may need to switch your mindset. Many of you spend most of your focus on marketing to the consumer. To attract the business traveler, you must think like a B2B marketer. Your business buyer is less likely to be swayed by pretty pictures of your hotel and more interested in practical, direct information.

As you go through these tips, think of the most straightforward ways to implement each task.

  1. Specify your target market: Corporate travel managers and booking agents need to know you are ready to accommodate their business travelers. Likewise, smaller to mid-size businesses may not know whether they qualify for your program or they may not see the need for your Business Traveler Plan. Get their attention by clearly stating who your plan can help and why?
  2. Market the benefits to the travel team: Your B2B marketing must convince a team of people that your hotel is right for the company. Even when the person staying in your hotel feels loyal to your brand, you may never see them again. Behind every business traveler, there is an accountant paying the bills, a corporate travel planner making arrangements and co-workers traveling to the same hotel. Update your website and other marketing collateral to explain how each member of the team benefits from your program.
  3. Partner and cross-promote with other businesses: Your hotel wants its chunk of the $289.8 billion and so do the rental car companies, airlines, area restaurants, and credit card companies. When you collaborate and partner with these companies, negotiate a cross-promotional marketing campaign that allows you to get your hotel name out to their loyal customers.
  4. Go mobile: Business travelers prioritize efficiency. Ask any business traveler how much of the city they’ve seen and they will tell you “not much.” They run from meeting to meeting relying on their smartphones to keep them organized. Show them you understand how they work by optimizing your mobile website experience. Prominent directions, click-to-call phone numbers, recommended “staff-picks” nearby are easy practices to adopt to please your business audience.
  5. Validation: Remember the old saying: “no one ever got fired for buying from IBM?” B2B buyers need to trust you before they will buy from you. They care a lot about who else buys from you. So tell them… ask your clients for their permission to use their company logo on your B2B/corporate marketing materials. This validation is critical to attracting more corporate accounts to your hotel. Are you gearing your hotel marketing toward getting your chunk of the $289.8 billion? If you are, show business travelers you’re thinking about them and share this post on social media.

 About Tambourine
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 30th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

Hotel Marketing Lessons for Father’s Day

June 10, 2014

Tambo_BlogFathersDayDear old dad.

We wore him out. We depleted his bank accounts.

We admired and feared him, and made his hair go grey. And while Mothers get all the credit for life lessons, it’s time for fathers to be acknowledged for their own wise and witty insights.

In honor of Father’s Day, we looked back over our favorite ‘dad-isms’ and discovered that dad knew a thing or two about hotel marketing.

Turns out pops has bona fide marketing chops! Here are hidden hotel marketing messages behind some of Dad’s favorite phrases:

Dad: ”Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
Think carefully about how you spend the marketing dollars entrusted to you by ownership. Getting your desired marketing ROI doesn’t come easily, or without effort and investment. Determine what marketing goals are important to you and focus your marketing budget and staff hours there. Using another favorite dad-ism, “You’ve got to work for it.”

Dad: “Because I Said So!”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
Do what you need to do, even if you don’t like it. Go where your guests and meeting planner clients go, even if that means deviating from your hotel’s original marketing plan. For example, if you find out more and more of your meeting planner clients are connecting on LinkedIn, then make sure your staff is also spending a lot of time building relationships there as well and that your hotel’s LinkedIn company page is accurately filled out, optimized and updated regularly. Realize your leisure guests love using Instagram? Then, you need to be on Instagram, too. While it’s not necessary to be everywhere and spreading yourself too thin across all the social media channels, be aware where the bulk of your guests hang out online and follow them.

Dad: “Why are you crying? You’re not bleeding!”

Sometimes your brilliant marketing idea falls flat on its face.

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
Toughen up, kid. Sometimes you get nightmare guests. Sometimes you get dreadful TripAdvisor reviews. Sometimes your brilliant marketing idea falls flat on its face. Instead of feeling crummy and bemoaning your wasted time and efforts, remember that smart marketers are always trying new things and looking for new ways of doing things.  If you’re not making mistakes or failing, then that likely means you’re not staying up-to-date on hotel marketing trends and that your marketing campaigns are growing old and stale. And, that’s something worth feeling crummy about.

Dad: ”Who Cares What Those Other Kids Think?”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
You can’t be everything to everyone. Your hotel draws in a certain type of visitor from specific feeder markets. So, why are you squandering precious dollars trying to attract trivial micro-segments? Narrow down your audience and tailor your messages just for them. If your guests tend to be experience-hungry millennials, then build marketing campaigns around your F&B offerings and local experiences they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Start off by building buyer profiles so that you and the rest of your marketing team are always aware who you should be conversing with.

Dad: Will You Kids Please Shut Up?

Gone are the days of ‘me, me, me’ marketing.

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
Stop talking so much.  When it comes to marketing your hotel, resist the temptation to fill your marketing campaigns with offers and content that only focus on your property. Gone are the days of ‘me, me, me’ marketing. Stop dominating the conversation and use your marketing channels as a way to connect with travelers and help them plan their journey. Ask your guests what they need when they stay with you? Find out what they’re looking forward to most when they visit your destination. And, be there for them when they ask questions. Focus on your guests’ needs first, then use your marketing programs to address those.

Dad: Don’t make me come up there!

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice
Owners want marketing folks who are comfortable being accountable for a measurable impact on revenue. So make sure you have complete fluency with your key metrics. The last thing you want is an unhappy owner or manger telling you they are coming up for a visit!

 About Tambourine
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 30th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:


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