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Joe Haydn

Tambourine Announces Two New Accounts: Hemingway Hotels & Resorts and the Nihiwatu Resort joining its Hotel Marketing Roster

November 7, 2014

Nihiwatu Resort: Tambourine's new luxury resort client in IndonesiaNew York, NY – Tambourine, a marketing technology company for hotels and tourism destinations, has announced two new accounts: Hemingway Hotels and Resorts and the Nihiwatu Resort. As experts in hotel internet marketing, the firm will implement integrated ecommerce, web, mobile, social media management, and digital media programs for both clients.

Hemingway Hotels and Resorts develops luxury hotels and resorts based on Ernest Hemingway’s life and adventure travel to exciting locations worldwide. 

Nihiwatu is an intimate, luxury island retreat located on Sumba, Indonesia, offering world-class surfing, the best sport-fishing in Indonesia, hiking through breath-taking waterfalls, ancient villages and once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

“We are looking forward to Tambourine delivering exceptional results for Nihiwatu in this critical space in today’s market,” according to James McBride, Nihiwatu’s managing partner / co owner. “Their track record is exceptional so I have no doubt that results will be plentiful.” 

Tambourine’s technology is designed to increase awareness, traffic and direct bookings. The firm will deploy the following for Hemingway and Nihiwatu: 

  1. Programmatic Advertising and Traffic Generation: using data analytics to identify relevant potential guests based on past purchase behavior, demographics and propensity to travel to specific locations
  2. Web/mobile conversion-optimization: utilizing Tambourine’s responsive web/mobile platform to monitor and maximize direct bookings
  3. Search marketing and retargeting: deep-rooted SEO architecture, retargeting and paid search campaigns across traditional and meta search channels.

“The digital marketplace for independent hotels and resorts continues to get more and more complex,” according to Dave Spector, Partner at Tambourine. “We deploy software and services to ensure that our hotel and resort clients gain a competitive advantage on their compset.”

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. For more information, visit

Halloween Hotel Marketing Mistakes: Don’t Let These Happen to You!

October 28, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyThere’s a monster under your bed.

There’s a ghost in your closet.

You can talk to them all with a Ouija board.


Ok, maybe you’re too old for all that… But after 25 years in hotel and tourism marketing, we’ve seen some scary mistakes that will have you shaking at your desk.

Scary Mistake #1: Hiding A Weak Product Behind Good Marketing

Online review sites and social media make marketing a two-way street. When you give phenomenal service, your customers will talk about it online.

However, when you promote better than you actually deliver, your guests will spread vitriol all over TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Instead of trying to hide your weaknesses, fix them! Or change your rates to reflect the reality your guests will experience.

Scary Mistake #2: Producing a Second-Rate Website

Your website is your guest’s first impression of your property. They arrive skeptical. They want to know ahead of time where they’re spending their money. Your website needs to give them answers. It must PROVE that you provide stellar hospitality. Check out this link for specific tips on how to fix your hotel website.

Scary Mistake #3: Winging Your Marketing

You’ll never get the most out of your marketing budget without understanding where you’ve been, who you are and what your goals are.

You need a PLAN that considers all of your target segments, from leisure travel to business groups. Your plan should detail obstacles and how you will overcome them.

Scary Mistake #4: Leaving Your Sales Force to Fend For Themselves

Your sales force might be sharp negotiators with an amazing property to sell. If you think that’s enough… you’re wrong.

Meeting planners speak with many smart sales people at fantastic properties. They easily forget which sales team said what. Provide your team with unforgettable marketing materials (including the web) that showcases your property’s unique value proposition, location and service qualities.

Scary Mistake #5: Thinking Social Media is Just for Fun

Don’t let the term social media fool you. Travelers turn to social media for much more than socializing. Six out of ten travel shoppers change their mind after reading comments on social media sites. Your property should actively court them by announcing news and offers, responding to guests’ comments and eliciting direct bookings.

Scary Mistake #6: Forgetting All the Past Guest Gold You’ve Got Socked Away

Every guest who’s ever had a good experience at your property can now be a viral marketing evangelist. A robust PMS or CRM system can report which past guests are best targeted for your upcoming campaigns (by season and past purchase behavior).

Scary Mistake #7: Giving Up the Search Engine War to Your Competitors

A traveler wants to visit your city. What’s the traveler’s first action? An internet search. If your competitors appear on the first page and you’re stuck on page four, you’ll never exist to the traveler.

You may think you can’t control your ranking. Or you can’t afford to get help with your ranking. But here’s the truth: You can’t afford to be invisible to travelers. Somebody has to be on page one. It should be you.

Scary Mistake #8: Repeating The Same Old Thing Year after Year

You wouldn’t allow your staff to wear the same uniforms they wore in 1978. You’ve probably changed your décor since then as well. And your restaurants’ menu changes with the seasons.

Marketing success depends on the same eye for new trends and technologies. Luckily, there are blogs and trade magazines to help you keep up with the latest. By staying current and testing new marketing tactics and technology, you can reduce costs and increase bookings.

Scary Mistake #9: Mismanaging Your Revenue

You’d think having a fabulous property with a hospitable staff would be enough. But in the hotel business, getting the most money out of every room determines whether you’ll have long-lasting success.

A professional revenue management system and competent humans to manage it are vital. Setting room rates starts with supply and demand, but then variables such as historical data, booking pace and group volume come into play. New, affordable tools like Duetto and others are making revenue management more user-friendly than ever before.

Scary Mistake #10: Ignoring Your Marketing ROI

What’s the first thing you do when you buy anything electronic? Test it to see how it works. Whether it’s a $6 flashlight or a $300 blender, you bring it home and check it. While most hoteliers spend way more money on marketing than on flashlights, their massive marketing investment often goes unchecked!

Today’s digital/analytical tools make testing, tracking and reporting easier and faster than ever before. If you’re spending money on marketing, you should know how well it works. Check out this link for the six most important stats for hotels to track


You don’t need to be. Now that you know what scary mistakes are out there, you can avoid them. Save your colleagues… share this post now.

Fall or Fail: Travel Marketers Need These 3 Numbers to Fall…or Else!

October 21, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyWhether you’re a hotel marketer, a DMO or CVB, there are three numbers you want to fall. If these numbers don’t fall… occupancy and visitation may fall as a result:

1. Cost per Sale (Visitor or Guest):

Every Friday night, entrepreneurs step into the Shark Tank to ask a panel of millionaires to invest in their companies. If you’re a fan of the show, you know that the Sharks ask certain businesses the same question:

How many dollars do you need to put into your marketing to make one sale?

“What’s your cost per sale?” In other words, how many dollars do you need to put into your marketing to make one sale?

While DMOs and hotels may never make it into the startup-loving Shark Tank, they can learn something from the show. The Sharks ask this question primarily to businesses who, much like the travel industry, do most of their marketing and sales online.

What the Sharks fear is getting involved with a business that isn’t effectively strategizing and monitoring its marketing efforts. They understand that internet marketing can either be a goldmine or a mess. And they know that cost per sale can eat into profits just as easily as labor or maintenance costs.

2. TripAdvisor Negative Reviews:

Once upon a time, a traveler could roam your town armed with only a few glossy brochures and a sense of adventure. If they didn’t know anyone who’d ever been there before, they asked around town for recommendations.

Times have changed. Everyone has access to personal recommendations about your city, regardless of whether or not they know someone who’s been there.

Consider this: In Q2 of 2014, 128 million people had downloaded the TripAdvisor mobile app. There are over 170 million reviews on TripAdvisor.

You’d never ignore their complaint in person.

Yet many travel marketers still neglect to respond to negative reviews. This has to stop. When a guest complains in person, you work to accommodate them, so they will speak highly of you. You’d never ignore their complaint. Marketers must be as vigilant about keeping TripAdvisor reviewers happy online as they are about keeping the guest happy on-property.

3. The Price of Gas:

Few cities can rely solely on visitors from far off places. Car travel consists of 79% of all leisure trips in the U.S. Consumers are so sensitive about high gas prices, the mobile app GasBuddy, claims over 40 million downloads.

If your guests are worried about the price of gas (which also affects airfares), you need to be too. While you might not be able to move your city or deflate oil prices, you can create promos that take some of the sting out of high gas prices for drive-market guests: offer gas card promos or free parking…. Or offer bikes for guests to enjoy once they arrive.

As travel marketers, we all want the same things–lower costs, better reviews, and more guests. If you know a marketer that is ignoring one of our top three, share this post with them on social media.

Wake Up Call: 14 Interesting Stats About Hotel Sales & Marketing Compensation

October 14, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing Technology

How much do quality hotel sales and marketing pros cost?

High performing sales and marketing execs can make or break a hotel’s profitability. But keeping up with industry trends can be tough. As a hotel executive, your focus is on your property. You can hardly walk across the lobby without finding another item to add to your to-do list.

You have that big wedding checking in on Friday.

Your occupancy is unusually low next month.

And your best sales manager just put in a notice.

You’d like to look out the window to see what’s happening out there. But you don’t have time to gather market research.

We know how busy you are. So, we pulled together some statistics on current salary trends. Knowing what other hotels pay will help you keep your best employees, lower your turnover rates, and save you time.

  1. The average base salary for a Sales Manager in the U.S. is  $43,468.
  2. The average base compensation for a GM is $59,250 (up 6%+ over the last 12 months)
  3. In the UK, the average Marketing Manager makes £30,000 ($48,500) per year.
  4. The average sales manager makes up to $10,000 in bonuses and $14,600 in commissions.
  5. In New York, sales manager base salaries are about 44% higher.
  6. Other major cities, such as Houston, Washington D.C. and Boston, pay their sales managers 19%-25% more than the national average.
  7. For most Sales and Marketing managers, their next promotion is to Director of Sales and Marketing.
  8. The average Director of Sales and Marketing salary in the U.S. is $50,442.
  9. Bonuses for a Director are often $15,000 or more depending on performance.
  10. The most common career move for a Director of Sales and Marketing is to Hotel General Manager… about 34% take this step.
  11. In larger cities, we see a major increase in Director salaries. New York and San Francisco salaries are 81% and 73% (respectively) higher than the national average.
  12. Meanwhile, the average British Sales Manager salary ranges between £14,000 and £20,000. ($22,700-$32,500.)
  13. As in the United States, big city managers make more. London sales managers earn about £2,000 ($3250) more than their smaller city counterparts do.
  14. Finally, if you want to compare your numbers with the other side of the world, you can. An average Sales Manager in Shanghai makes ¥200,000-250,000 ($32,600-$40,725). While a Sales and Marketing Manager in Shanghai can make up to ¥500,000 ($81,450).

Do you know a hotelier who could use these statistics?

Help them out by sharing this on LinkedIn.

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:


Are you LinkedIn? 5 Ways Hotels & Destinations Can Use LinkedIn to Drive Group Revenues

October 9, 2014

Tambourine Hotel Marketing TechnologyEver watch the competition land a big event while you’re stuck at a 60% occupancy rate?

You know their rooms are full. Their restaurants are hoppin.’ And all you can do is scratch your head and hope that meeting planner calls you next time.

Fortunately, that’s not all you can do.

You can build a LinkedIn marketing plan that puts you in front of thousands of meeting planners.

In a moment, I’m going to give you some specific tips on building your LinkedIn plan, but first let’s get you in the LinkedIn mindset. Remember that it’s social media… not “sales media.” Professionals log on to gain business insight and connect. Everyone knows you have something to sell.

So, you can ease off the sales pitch and just be helpful. Work it like you would a networking event—not too pushy, friendly and professional.

Now, that you’ve got the LinkedIn mindset, let’s get to those 5 simple action steps…

1. Connect with Meeting Planners in Groups:

Imagine you could pull thousands of prospects into one room and talk shop. A nice dream, but tough to pull off, right? Luckily, there are LinkedIn groups that do just that.

Professionals join groups to share content, ask questions, and get answers. You’re allowed to be in 50 groups at a time. In one Event Planning & Event Management group, there are currently 211,894 members and 18 subgroups. You could be active in a group like this every day.

2. Content Publishing:

LinkedIn now allows you to publish your own helpful content directly on the site. This can be especially useful if you struggle to reach a business audience.

Use LinkedIn publisher to write directly for event planners. You could give tips on choosing the right room configurations or feeding a group in a tight time space. Or you can tell stories of past successes.

3. Company Pages:

Besides personal profiles, LinkedIn allows hotels to create company pages. Your company page is an important part of your branding. You can use it to promote blog posts, announce changes, and position your hotel as a leader in your area.

4. Seek Partnerships with Local Vendors:

LinkedIn has over 187 million users and 40% check it daily. Why limit yourself to direct connections with planners? Join local business groups. Send InMails and personalized connection requests to synergistic local vendors. Remember, it behooves them to connect with you, too. This can be one of the easiest ways to grow your network.

5. Keep an Eye on the Competition:

What if your competition got that big event because they’re already active on LinkedIn? If you’re not active, you’ll never know what the competition is doing. And they’ll continue to fill up while you continue to miss sales targets.

It’s time to get LinkedIn.

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to log on. Join a few groups. Think about what you could publish. Connect with other locals. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments or connect with us on social media. We’re happy to answer them for you.

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:

Does Hotel Internet Marketing Really Work? 3 Surprising Statistics From Recent Industry Reports

September 30, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyDoes hotel internet marketing really work?

That sounds like an odd question coming from a marketing firm, doesn’t it?

Aren’t we supposed to just tell you that you need internet marketing? End of story.

Well, no.

With all the commotion about the “most important” new hotel internet marketing tools (global distribution, social media, meta-search etc) you might feel compelled to just do lots of “marketing stuff” to keep up with your peers.

So we decided to put our biased feelings aside, ignore the status quo and look at numbers from recently published research about the effectiveness of hotel internet marketing.

This is what we found:

1. Internet Travel Booking has increased by 73% in the Last 5 Years

Our first finding comes to us from Statistic Brain Research Institute, and it might not come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been in the hotel business for more than five years.

But what does this stat tell us about online marketing? That it works. Marketers have been increasingly informing and engaging guests in ways that encourage them to book online. If they weren’t, phone sales would be up.

As the percentage of online bookings continues to rise—as we suspect it will—more and more guests will expect to make decisions without picking up the phone.

2. Almost 60% of Affluent Travelers Book Travel Plans Online

Resonance Consultancy recently released a study that showed almost 60% of travelers with household incomes over $150,000 book travel plans online. The study showed that younger travelers in this group were also more likely to book online.

Unfortunately, the younger group is also less loyal… and more apt to use an OTA instead of a hotel direct website. In other words, the future is definitely online. The question is will you spend your money on OTA commissions or your own direct marketing?

3. 87% of Travelers Use the Internet for the Bulk of their Travel Research

Even when a guest books over the phone or through an agent, it’s likely they’ve researched you online first. According to a global study done by the European Tour Operators Association, 87% of travelers do most of their research online.

A few years ago, you may have gotten away with a basic website and a Facebook page. You could give them just enough to motivate them to call you. Then, you could build a relationship over the phone. Today relationships are begun and built online. Guests expect to not only find answers online, but also get a deep understanding of your unique value proposition and how they will FEEL when they arrive at your property or destination.

You can’t wait for guests to call. Because they won’t.

Do you see the impact of internet marketing at your hotel?

Where have your greatest successes been?

The Map Gap: Is your hotel getting lost on the web?

September 23, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyPlease excuse this statement of the obvious:

If guests can’t find your property, they can’t stay with you.

These days, “finding you” starts long before they jump in a cab and affects more than their ability to make it to your front desk.

With Google’s recent updates and the growing importance of local search listings, ubiquitous map presence has become a critical component of hotel internet marketing.

Recent changes to Google’s local search algorithms allow the omnipotent search engine giant to look more closely at location details. Now, Google searches are more accurate when it comes to distance and ranking. And if you want to compete, your map presence must be current and accurate across all major local search directories and mapping tools.

Fortunately, improving your map presence is relatively simple compared to other SEO tips:

Start with Creating a CONSISTENT Map Identity

Wherever you publish your property location, make sure your property name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed exactly as they are shown on your contact page of your website:

Your map identity should include:

  1. NAP: consistent name, address, phone across all mapping tools.
  2. Up-to-date contact information and operational hours. (Don’t assume operational hours for your hotel are listed as 24 hours. Somebody may be searching for your restaurant hours. This is the time to check.)
  3. Use location and product keywords in your title. (Instead of saying, The Clubhouse, call yourself, The Clubhouse Resort of Tampa.)
  4. Choose a few visually arresting photos that represent your property well.

2 Key Places to Update Your Map Identity

Now that you have a consistent, accurate identity, you only need to update it in two main places. Most online maps are controlled by HERE (formerly known as Navteq) or Google My Business.

  1. HERE is a mapping service that feeds information to Yahoo! Maps, Bing, and GPS services, including Garmin, Lowrance, and NDrive. To change information with HERE, go to their website. Go to Map Creator. Find your location and right click. Choose Report Map changes. Make your changes and send.
  2. Google My Business is the marriage of Google Places and Google+ dashboard. The combination makes updating your information even easier. It also makes having current information more important. Chances are you’re already on Google My Business. But now is the time to check your map identity on the site. While you’re on their page, double check the pictures that represent your property. Change old photos out for newer, better quality pictures.

Here are a couple of insider secrets to getting the most out of your Google My Business Listing:

  1. Be sure to get your Google My Business Listing verified. If there’s no check mark next to your page name, then it’s not verified, which means google has NOT recognized the page as the official listing. Sometimes it can be a bit of a process. The quickest way to get the page verified is to simply Call Google Places Support directly. You’ll get someone on the phone almost immediately. They’ll ask you some questions and make sure you are the official representative. While you’ve got them on the phone, have them search for any duplicate pages and merge them. They’ll do it happily, as it only benefits them to have real and accurate listings. This is also a great option if you’re having any trouble claiming and/or getting access to your page!
  2. Be sure to connect your Google My Business page to your website using these instructions so that your Google Plus/Google My Business listing turns up in google searches along with your website. If done correctly, your most recent Google Plus posts will start turning up in search results. It will also give your Pay Per Click advertising team some additional advertising options. Once you’ve connected the two, check back in a few days to make sure a second check mark shows up next to the url in your listing.

Automating your mapping and local listings

New services from Neustar and Moz make it easy to avoid falling into the map gap. These affordable services allow you to create and edit your listing in one place, then publish it to hundreds of sources simultaneously.

Now that you know how easy it is to give yourself the online map advantage, check your identity today!

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:


Three Ways Hotel Marketers Can Tap Into The Authenticity Trend

September 18, 2014

Tambourine Hotel Marketing TechnologyIt happens every day.

Bill and Britney, a couple in their 20s, decide to take their first vacation together. Britney opens her laptop and starts searching while Bill takes to his tablet to see what he can find.

Forget Mickey Mouse ears and mini-Eiffel Tower key chains, they plan to return home with a new understanding and appreciation of life!

Instead of going back to places they’ve already been… they seek unique, authentic new experiences. They want pictures for their Facebook accounts. They want real interaction with local culture. Forget Mickey Mouse ears and mini-Eiffel Tower key chains, they plan to return home with a new understanding and appreciation of life!

And they’re not alone. While the millennial generation seems to be driving the experience trend, it has also swept up the older, more affluent segments of the population as well.

According to a study commissioned by American Express last year, 72% of respondents said they choose to spend money on experience over things. While an impressive study from Resonance Consulting stated it eloquently: “…. experience is the thing and stories are clearly winning over stuff…. That’s good news for highly differentiated destinations and experience purveyors and curators of many kinds.”

As a hotel marketer, you must ask yourself if your marketing truly grabs the attention of the experience-craving traveler? If not, we have some tips to help you create traction with this key market dynamic:

1. Take Inventory of the Unique Experiences All Around You

Your first instinct may be to lament the vast distance between your hotel and any famous landmark, but don’t. This can actually work to your advantage. Remember, Bill and Britney want a unique, authentic experience. Everyone goes to the Grand Canyon. But your region has quirky events they’ve never heard of (we’re looking at you Gilroy Garlic Festival)!

Start by making a list. Think of the off-the-beaten path places you and your staff take out of town guests. What do you recommend guests do? Are there food or bike tours in your area? An oddball museum? Unexpected historic landmarks?

2. Integrate with Your Local Community

Are you taking advantage of the experience seeking market?

Now that you have some ideas, it is time to go out and make them work for you. Partner with local tour guides and ambassadors for cross-promotional deals. Create packages around your areas unique experiences. Showcase your regional ambassadors doing what they love. Let Bill and Britney know you understand what they want out of their vacation.

One hotel in Berlin actually includes a unique local experience with every stay… enabling guests to choose (at time of booking) whether they want a guide to take them to the museum or a local foodie to accompany them on a street food sampling tour.

3. Celebrate Past Guest Experiences on Social Media

Travel consumers are heavily influenced by “social proof” (this is why TripAdvisor is so popular). By sharing past guest stories, reviews (and best of all videos) on their hotel’s social media channels, you can turn your past guests into a perpetual army of experience evangelists.

Leverage their good times.

Some innovative hoteliers have taken this tactic even further by installing “social hot spots” at various scenic locations on property. The hot spots are carefully choreographed vistas that highlight the uniqueness of the property and encourage guests to upload their photos “on the spot” to Facebook or Instagram. Here’s an example of how they did this in Toronto with great results!

Are you taking advantage of the experience seeking market?

What are you doing to get their attention? Let us know!

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:

Three Reasons This New Report is Scaring the ?#@*! Out of Hotel Owners

September 9, 2014

Tambourine: hotel marketing technologyHoteliers have always felt the pinch of paying third-party fees to attract and retain guests. Now – with the just released results of a multi-year hotel revenue study – that pinch has turned into a full-blown punch.

The study, conducted by Hospitality Asset Managers Association and its resulting whitepaper, The Rising Costs of Customer Acquisition, sums it up:

Costs associated with acquiring new hotel customers through distribution channels and marketing rose 2-3 times faster than hotel revenue growth.

Here’s what the terrifying details uncovered:


 More Players, Less Profits

In addition to OTAs, meeting planners and brand flags that collect from hotels, there are now hundreds of new players that are specializing in the hotel digital space. This massive dependence on third-party tools (and their associated costs) has resulted in hotels’ having direct control of less than 46% of their marketing spend.

 Costs Continue to Skyrocket

During the four years of the study (2009-2012), the costs associated with brand/flag rights, which include major promotions, advertising, marketing, loyalty programs, and national and global sales offices, grew by 37%. Meanwhile, other third-party commissions went up by 34% in that same period.

Franchised hotels had it even worse. They endured a 48% increase in commissions and 36% in brand allocations. In contrast, they saw only a 22% increase in room revenue. Independent hoteliers undoubtedly fared even worse… as they lack the volume negotiating power of the brands/franchisors!

 Hotel Management Isn’t Incentivized to Alleviate The Problem

Instead of working to slow the trajectory of those rising costs, hotel managers have been charging ahead and simply doing what it takes to fill rooms, even if those methods include using channels demanding the highest commissions.

While management teams have excelled at managing labor and operation costs, they haven’t yet taken a ruthless and systematic approach to cutting and managing customer-acquisition costs.

One reason for this is that most hoteliers only look at their sales and marketing line item, which may not have escalated dramatically. In reality, the exploding cost of guest acquisition is spread through multiple lines on profit-and-loss sheets.


Quantify The Value of Each Channel

Examine each channels’ real ROI, dump the ones that aren’t producing and focus your time on those that are. Optimize your channel mix, regain control of your inventory and be judicious who you pay fees to so you won’t be vulnerable to every new hotel booking tool that comes along.

Explore, Test, and Measure Less Expensive Direct Booking Methods

Dedicate more efforts to direct marketing channels that require slimmer amounts of spending, such as your hotel’s direct website, SEO strategies, social media, email marketing and a direct sales forces that will build undiluted, personal relationships between your hotel brand and potential group or corporate guests.

Incentivize Management to Look at ROI, not just Volume

Hold your managers accountable to properly scrutinize all channel partners based on overall margin and ROI, instead of simplistic top-line revenue or total room nights.

From now on, by keeping an eagle eye zoomed in on your margins, the tides will turn and your dependency on third-parties as a costly, primary source of revenue will wane.

How Hotel Marketers Can Attract More Business Conferences

September 2, 2014

Tambourine: Hotel Marketing TechnologyBooking business conferences is one of the quickest ways to fill your rooms. While groups usually get a discounted price, you pay no OTA commissions and they’re likely to pay for meeting rooms and other amenities.

Unfortunately, many hotel marketers become so accustomed to marketing to leisure groups and corporate accounts, they miss big opportunities in the business sector.

The good news is that marketing for business conferences can be easier than the leisure market. While leisure guests want you to be close to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, business groups are interested in what’s inside your hotel under your control. According to a 2013 Destination MAP Survey done by STR, meeting planners are least concerned with fun activities outside of your hotel—and outside of your control. Instead, they want to keep their attendees happy with practical solutions within your grasp.

The survey named experience and attendee feedback as the top two reasons for choosing a hotel. In other words, once you learn how to please business conference attendees you’re likely to enjoy repeat business for years to come.

But what if you have very few business conferences to build upon?

Bring in Qualified Leads:

Your first step may be to employ a reader board service to help you find leads from hotels in your comp set. These services give you leads, and they show you how businesses schedule their conferences. When you reach out to these businesses, you can ask what went well and what didn’t at their last conference? Did their attendees have enough time to get from one room to the next? Were the rooms adequate.

Respond Quickly to RFPs:

When it comes time to get sign-offs on guest counts and other meeting details, you love working with a punctual planner. Planners feel the same about prompt hotel management. Your response to an RFP is the first piece of direct communication a planner receives from you. When you respond quickly, you set the tone for how you work. You exhibit a respect for their time. Furthermore, you keep your hotel in the running. If a planner sends out twenty requests and already has twelve back, they may feel they have enough to choose from. Yours could end up never opened!

Create an Attendee Survey:

Most hotel sales managers follow up with the conference event planner, but few give attendees a voice. Not only could your survey alleviate the need for attendees to complain to their planner, but it gives you good information to build upon. Fix any repeated negative results. Post positive survey statistics on your website and on social media.

Alleviate Their Fears with Straightforward Marketing

The survey also reported on factors that caused planners to reject a hotel. Your marketing should work against these fears.

Market Your Maintenance:

The most intolerable complaint in the survey was “Unsanitary Conditions”. It’s tough to convince a discerning planner that you keep a clean hotel. The best way to show off your cleanliness in your marketing materials is through maintenance updates. Good hotel maintenance speaks to cleanliness. If you’ve updated your carpets, repainted, or replaced furniture, mention what you’ve done in all of your marketing.

Prove You Can Provide for Attendees:

“No concessions” caused 66% of planners to reject a hotel. Business conference schedules are tight. Planners need to know how their attendees will grab lunch or a snack. If your hotel restaurant isn’t ready for a group, planners will not come back. Can you set up a buffet for attendees? Can you provide snacks outside the meeting rooms?

Answer the Wi-Fi Question:

Wi-Fi is now a requirement according to 94% of the meeting planners. Make it easy on planners by clearly explain your Wi-Fi policies for groups in your marketing.

Know a hotel marketer that could use more business conferences? Help them out by sharing 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 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit:

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