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Friday Freebie: Why Siri Loves Hotel FAQ Pages

September 22, 2017 • By
image1 Welcome to the Friday Freebie! Each week we share one simple hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. This Week’s Freebie: Turn up the volume on organic traffic by creating an FAQ page on your hotel website. Just within a span of a few years, voice-driven search and virtual assistants like Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Siri and Google Home have made their way into millions of homes around the globe. In fact, out of the 11 billion searches made on Google every day, about 20 percent are conducted by voice. The future is clear – the number of people conducting voice search will only get larger. And hotels will have to adjust their hotel copy to meet this growing practice. Here’s something simple you can do now:  Create an FAQ (or policies) page addressing questions matching the typical voice queries guests use to find hotel info online. The FAQ’s should address the who, what, when, where and how. For example, “Which hotels offer valet or free parking?” or “When is the best time to visit Nashville?” Then, address these questions with clear, precise answers (no lengthy sales copy) and property and destination content that give guests the information they’re looking for. Make sure to write conversationally, answering typical voice search questions (“What hotel offers free breakfast in Boston?”) with relevant, direct language that is not overtly self-serving or filled with self-indulgent adjectives. Get More: Are Siri and Alexa Interrupting Hotel Search Marketing?

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

Business, Direct Bookings, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

We Need to Talk About Hotel Marketing Metrics

September 19, 2017 • By
Unfortunately for hotel marketers, our industry is drowning in metrics. image1 From “look-to-book,” to unique visitors, to sentiment scores, to clicks…the list of stats goes on and on. With so much to measure, it’s easy to get caught up in the wrong metrics. Don’t waste precious time and resources by analyzing metrics that don’t matter in the grand scheme. It’s time to get perspective. So we’ve outlined 5 popular marketing KPIs that are currently distracting you from what really matters – driving traffic into your direct booking environment and call center. (As a bonus, we’ve also included the metrics that we think hotel marketers SHOULD actually obsess over!) Approach With Caution:  1. Bounce Rate According to Google Analytics, a ‘bounce’ occurs when someone visits a single page on your hotel website, then leaves without visiting any other page. A high bounce rate can seem devastating. After all, that shows that visitors aren’t interested in pursuing you any further, right? Wrong. This is a quick, singular metric that depends on context. This implies that a guest could go to a page on your website (for example, meetings and events), consume everything on that page for 5 minutes, leave the page and still count as a bounce. Simply because the visitor didn’t click to any other page on your hotel website during that same session. But what if they end up emailing your sales team a few moments later? Or, return the next day to submit an RFP? That one visit will still be deemed unsuccessful since the visitor “bounced.” Bounce rates can also vary according to page content and whether someone is using their smartphone or desktop. Mobile traffic bounces at a higher rate than desktop traffic. Plus, if you sent traffic to a specific landing page, like a promotions page, the goal is for the audience to engage ONLY with that one page. In that case, a bounce would be a good thing. 2. Online Traffic/Page Views An overall increase in traffic to your website is a great thing. But, don’t let this metric mislead you to believe your hotel website is performing better than it actually is. Ultimately, success comes down to quality, not quantity. Is all that traffic resulting in booked rooms, submitted RFPs, dinner reservations? Traffic is worthless if it is irrelevant or doesn’t convert. Aim for action, not attention.

If you have to pick one thing to focus on to measure your hotel website’s performance, make it entrances into the booking engine AND calls driven by digital to the call center.

Smart hoteliers would rather have 25 page views that resulted in 25 booking searches/calls, instead of 1000 page views without any action. 3. Email Open Rates Email is still one of the most efficient and persuasive hotel marketing channels out there. However, tracking your emails’ success isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. First off, open rates aren’t reliable. The biggest problem is the way your open rate is calculated. Most email marketing tools add a small, invisible image to every message sent. The email is only considered opened when that undetectable image is brought up from the server where it sits. But, because most email providers allow you to turn off images, this skews open rates dramatically and renders them difficult to track at best. And, even when someone opens your email, is it still considered successful if they read just one word, then delete it immediately? Just like your web traffic, ultimately you want your audience to perform an action, such as clicking through to the booking engine. 4. Social Media Followers It’s thrilling to see thousands of people excited enough about your hotel to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. This is purely a vanity metric. Yes, a large number of followers means a better reach. But, just slightly. Organic reach on social media channels has been declining for years. It’s standard now for hotels to invest in social media advertising just to consistently reach a small fraction of their followers. Which means your followers mean nothing until you actually reach them by paying to play. Plus, if your huge social media following isn’t translating into leads, traffic or conversions, then what’s the point? Instead of boosting ‘likes,’ focus on optimizing your channels for lead generation and on increasing on converting the followers you already have. 5. Display Ad Impressions When you are investing in digital advertising, it’s vital to know how many people actually see your hotel ads, right? Unfortunately, using impressions as a metric of advertising success doesn’t actually tell you how many people viewed your ad. It’s only a measure that shows how many times your hotel ad was displayed, whether or not it was clicked on. According to Google Research, about 56 percent of your hotel impressions weren’t actually viewed by anyone! Stop using impressions to measure the reach of your hotel advertising campaigns. Because impressions don’t measure action, they lack any real value. Instead, use conversions and actual clicks that lead to calls and entrances into the booking environment as a yardstick to measure the success of any display advertising. METRICS THAT MATTER Instead of leaning on metrics that only sound impressive on paper, pay attention to the numbers that will actually measure your contribution to hotel revenues. Every day, you should be checking the KPIs that actually matter to your hotel's owners and asset managers.
  1. MCPB (marketing cost per booking): Tracks the cost of each sales and marketing channel versus actual conversions. Try using this for OTA commissions as well… and see how that channel stacks up versus your other campaigns.
  2. DRR (direct revenue ratio): Measures percentage of online revenue from direct sources (your website) versus pricey third-party sources, like OTAs. If you’re not garnering 40 percent of your revenue from direct reservations, you still have work to do!
  3. Website conversion rate (from unique visitor to entrances into the booking environment): Converting a higher percentage of visitors into booking searches (or phone calls) is critical to reducing your cost of revenue and MCPB.
  4. Variance from revenue target: This metric showcases revenue goals versus actual results (by segment).
  5. TripAdvisor sentiment score: Using a reputation/sentiment monitoring tool allows hotels to measure guest satisfaction. This reflects whether your guests are enjoying your product, along with alerting you to hotel deficiencies. A bad hotel experience will outweigh any of your clever sales and marketing tactics.

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

advertising, Booking Engine, Business, Digital Marketing, Direct Bookings, Google, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Marketing Mistakes, Hotel Marketing Tools, Hotel Revenue, Hotel Sales, Market Research, Marketing Advice, Marketing Blog, Marketing Metrics, Marketing Mistakes, Marketing Tools, MCPB, Online Bookings, Online Marketing, OTA, Reputation Management, Revenue Managers, Revenue Variance, RFP (Request For Proposal), RFPs, ROI, SEO, social media, Social Media Management, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Creating Perceived Value to Stimulate Direct Bookings

September 15, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This week’s freebie: Use generic amenities and perks to create perceived direct booking benefits.

One of the more impactful, yet simplest, ways you can convince people to book direct is to create perceived value. OTAs have hundreds of thousands of properties on their websites, they cannot keep up in real time with the perks and inclusions at all of them.

By cleverly showcasing a few of your generic, everyday perks as special book-direct-only rewards (i.e. “Book direct and get free parking!”) you will create the perception that free parking is a special, direct-only benefit…. without jeopardizing your OTA relationships over promo parity issues.

Most hotels are savvy enough to offer these amenities to entice business away from OTAs, however, they bury these reasons several pages into their website. Or, only display them once the guests make it to the booking engine.

Your direct booking benefits need to be obvious and displayed in areas where online visitors can’t miss them. Right on your homepage, directly in your advertising (including PPC), in a prominent place on all of your marketing emails, in your employees’ email signature, retargeting ads, etc.

Here’s an example of one hotelier, Couples Resorts in Jamaica, creating perceived value in booking direct right on their home page:

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Bring out your direct booking benefits front and center to amplify your chances of guests booking direct.

Get More: Three Ways to Overcome the Perception That OTAs are Cheaper


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

Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Marketing Advice

How Hotel Website Design Affects ADR

September 12, 2017 • By

Smart hotel websites can stimulate higher perceived value and ADRs

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Your hotel website is the first place virtually all of your future guests will engage with your property and set expectations. But more importantly, as hotels struggle to increase rates in the face of new supply and maxing occupancy… your hotel website can actually help you to sell guestrooms at higher rates (And possibly even higher than what is already posted on OTAs ;-) )

Today, savvy hotel marketers and their web designers are relying on psychology to guide their design decisions. Only then, can they build a website aimed at increasing revenue from the very start.  After all, the right psychological cues can influence guests to click where you want them to and book when you want them to. Conversely, the wrong cues can send them fleeing faster than a slow loading page.

Poor design, complicated navigation and cluttered pages can prevent your property from reaching its full revenue potential. And remember, the cost of fixing these mistakes is always higher than getting it right in the first place!

So let’s take a look at how hotel web design, tone and layout can strengthen your hotel’s appeal and justify higher room rates.

1. Clear and Compelling Value Proposition

Every hotel should have succinct, provocative and incisive message immediately obvious at first sight. These statements, done well, generate higher perceived value for your property.

Who are you and why should prospects care?

A mistake that many hotels make is using “me-too” cliché phrases that many of their neighbors can also claim, such as ‘located in the heart of downtown Nashville’ or ‘oceanfront dining.’

A good example of how to do it right is The Grafton on Sunset in LA, which immediately tells viewers what they should expect, where the property is and encourages further interaction without hyperbole:

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2. Social Proof

The influence of friends and family is another big factor in what people purchase. With 7 out of 10 Americans using social media sites, travelers will often pay a premium for properties their peers have praised.

One way to integrate social proof beautifully into your website design is through share-worthy user-generated content. There are a number of tools to seamlessly identify and collect guest images from Instagram and display them on your site, as well as other marketing assets. These visual “testimonials” compel customers to trust your brand even more and prove that you are worthy of their travel dollars.

3. Arresting Imagery

Have lackluster or outdated photos on your website?

People will automatically assume that your hotel is also lackluster and outdated and mentally price it accordingly. Studies show that hotel photography has the power to change a guest’s mind – making them consider a property that before was not in the running or to drop a hotel they were once interested in. Photos aren’t just pretty pictures, they matter to your bookings and your bottom line.

So, dump all the stock photography, delete your old images and establish higher standards for all new photography. Hire a photographer with an established portfolio of hotel or architecture work. Then, dip into your most valuable photographer pool – your own guests. Your guests are Instagramming their favorite moments from their trips, and some are pretty stunning!

4. Clutter Free Usability

The most profitable hotel websites follow the de facto mantra of luxury branding: Less is more.  Cluttered webpages will only confuse your audience and drive them away. Keep your site intuitive and user-friendly, two key design factors that influence conversion.

Usability is measured by how easy it is for online visitors to navigate your hotel website and find what they need, such as researching rates and reserving a room. Time is a precious commodity and smart hotel websites save their visitors time. Generally, a person can gauge your hotel website’s usability in the first few seconds and they will choose to move forward only if they deem it ‘easy’ enough.

Not only does a ‘clean’ layout make it easier for a guest to explore and book, it also generates better SEO results and faster download speeds. The best web design in the world can’t convince guests to stay and pay on a slow-loading hotel website.

Take a look at this site for Hotel Henri in NYC, an excellent example of uncluttered design that elevates perceived value:

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5. Accessible Communication

Giving people what they want quickly and easily amps up your value. Follow the example of luxury hotels and resorts, who offer instant access to reservations staff using online chat, phone or email.  Consumers are always more likely to pay a premium to properties that respond quickly to questions and establish high service expectations BEFORE the guest even arrives.

6. Dynamic Personalization

Personalization is a big industry buzz word right now. But cutting through all the hype, one place where personalization can truly make an immediate impact is on your direct website and booking engine, where personalized content can lead to more bookings at higher rates.

For example:

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

• You can prevent abandonment to OTAs by dynamically showing gated /loyalty rates to users who are automatically identified as past guests

• When a guest from London 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 (i.e. instead of charging $100 USD for a room, you could charge 100 British Pounds, which is worth $1.32)


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

ADR, Brand Story, Business, Digital Marketing, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice

Losing Focus: Six Things Hotel Marketers Should Avoid

September 6, 2017 • By

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Hotel marketers face endless daily distractions. As a hotel marketer, it’s fairly easy to lose focus.

You can spend countless hours each day doing different things just because you think everyone else is doing it. Or, there’s FOMO, “fear of missing out,” driving some hotel marketing professionals to jump on every hot new bandwagon that rolls by, just in case it turns out to be next big thing. Some clarity and direction is sorely needed.

Here’s a few of the common pitfalls and distractions we recommend hotel marketers avoid:

1. Returning emails all day

The average American white collar professional spends an average of 4.1 hours each day checking email, for a total of 20.5 hours per week, according to a recent study. That’s roughly half of the standard 40-hour work week. Imagine what you could achieve if you spent even a portion of that time thinking about your hotel marketing campaigns and results, instead.

Helpful methods for cutting down on inbox time include scheduling specific times of day for mail purging, organizing messages by priority, making better use of templates and simply sending out less self-fulfilling email yourself (e.g. limiting the CCs and BCCs), which will reduce your hours spent on unnecessary responses.

2. Chasing shiny objects du jour

The hotel industry has long been a fertile market for new whiz-bang technologies and amenities, all purporting to revolutionize the guest experience and become the must-have asset you need to attract more guests. While this may sometimes be true, it’s easy to lose focus while perpetually chasing these dangling techno-carrots, so be sure any time and/or money invested to this end is truly in line with your marketing goals and guest profile. Sure, travel-related virtual reality content generally sparks high interest levels among survey respondents. And yes, Snapchat is tops among 12- to 24-year-olds. But if it’s not specifically bringing sales to your door, devote your attention elsewhere.

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3. Having a jumbled mix of disparate vendors

The more marketing systems/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.   

4. Failing to KNOW metrics

Many marketers remain ignorant as to what is truly working in their marketing mix and are unable to define their true marketing cost per booking (MCPB). To better understand ROI and cost of acquisition, devote more time and resources to enhancing your team’s reporting and analysis efforts, carefully exploring each channel in order to ultimately arrive at the optimal marketing mix

5. Not getting to know your customer.

Some marketers also suffer from a critical lack of understanding as to who is their most lucrative guest profile. Investing in the systems to help identify these “bread and butter” customers should be a top priority, including when and why they visit, where they come from, when they come and from which segment?  This plays into systems integration—specifically integrating your hotel’s PMS with a modern CRM system—as well as working to obtain as many direct bookings as possible. When your guests book through OTAs instead, crucial guest profile data is essentially lost.

6. Giving traffic and revenue to 3rd parties

Spending money driving traffic to any digital property other than your hotel’s own direct website is ultimately hurting your bottom line, and as mentioned above, limits the data you can gather on customers, which only perpetuates the problem. Sure, OTAs have become a vital business partner for many, but it’s important to be mindful of just how much effort is spent on selling through their engines. Develop systems and vendors to help you maximize your presence on OTAs, metasearch engines and other third-party sources as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Then devote the time and resources you just saved to building up your own online direct bookings.

About Tambourine

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

Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Three Ways to Keep Meeting Planners Away from New Competitors

September 1, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Three ideas to keep group business clients from moving to a new compset hotel. Meeting plannersThe opening of a new hotel sends shudders among hotel sales managers at surrounding properties because new venues are a magnet for meeting planners looking for fresh group experiences. How do you prevent your own steady group business clientele from running to the new kid on the block? Jeff Spaccio, DOSM-in-Residence at Tambourine (former regional director of sales for The Procaccianti Group and Pyramid Hotel Group) suggests three ideas to keep your meeting planner clients coming back: 1. Help Planners Give Back: Create a charity rebate and offer a 5-10 percent rebate on all group revenue. That total will then be donated to a charity of the organization’s choice. 2. Make the Planner Look Good: Offer spa certificates, complimentary room nights, or complimentary dining experiences that the meeting planner can pass along to the client company for employee giveaways and incentives. 3. Organize a Creative Night Out: Create a package offering a group night out (not at your own hotel) to a fun spot in town, including bus transportation. Get more: The New Supply Threat: How Hotel Sales Teams are Fighting Back

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

Business, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

The Secret Weapon Page on Your Hotel Website

August 29, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing pros are amplifying their SEO power on this critical page. image1 It may be the most boring place on your hotel website today, but your policies (and/or FAQ) page represents a major magnet for SEO traffic. Why is that? Because Google pays serious attention to the content on this page. And, OTAs can’t. Expedia, Priceline and all the others simply can’t keep up on every hotel’s policies and can’t compete for searches for information on pet policies, cancellation policies, etc. Use this to your advantage and get more people to land on this page, while gaining an edge on the OTAs in the process. Too many hotels skimp on content on their hotel policies page. But, it’s one of the main anchors that Google uses to deem if your website is relevant or not for searches like: “dog-friendly hotels in Denver,” or “early check-in hotels in Boston.” Shannon DeFries, Director of Search & Analytics at Tambourine, shows us how to transform a typical and bland hotel policies page into a destination for valuable guest content, while also earning Google’s trust and boosting your search engine rankings. Here Are Shannon’s Top Tips:
  • Fill your policy page with relevant information that explains your policies, rather than just listing them.
  • Link back to your hotel policy page for specific marketing campaigns. For example, for #NationalDogDay (August 26), promote your hotel’s love for its four-legged guests on your social channels. Then, link back to the policy page where it outlines your pet program, instead of just pointing to the homepage or amenities page.image2
  • Write your policy page in a conversational tone, similar to an FAQ. Stay away from robotic jargon, like ‘covered parking – yes.’ By writing with a conversational voice, you are making it easier for mobile users to find you through voice search.
  • Use the policy page to target long tail keywords, such as ‘pet friendly hotels in Miami’ or ‘hotels in Nashville with free airport shuttle.’
  • Make sure your hotel policy page has unique content not written anywhere else. Lifting another hotel’s policy page content and slightly rewording is a big Google no-no. You can be penalized for publishing duplicate content. You can even double-check that your content is unique by using tools like Siteliner, SEO Review Tools and Copyscape.
  • Avoid being indexed by Google if your hotel is a part of a brand or collection that uses the same policy verbiage for every property. You can do this by placing a “No Index” code on the page.

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

Business, Direct Bookings, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, OTA, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Hotel Website Visitors Want To Talk… Are You Listening?

August 25, 2017 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600Welcome 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: Open up a simple new line of communication and watch direct bookings rise.

Today, people are busier than ever and are expect instant gratification in every aspect of their lives. From texting to Facebook messaging to Amazon Prime, speedy interaction is now the gold standard of modern business.

Live chat on your website and hotel booking engine puts your hotel back in the driver’s seat. Here are the many ways your hotel can win by incorporating live online chat to your hotel website experience:

Live Chat Is the Perfect Weapon to Outshine Your Comp Set (and OTAs) The hotel industry is fierce. And OTAs already use chat to engage with their traffic. So while your compset’s reservation teams are still plugging away call-by-call and their front desk staff are slowly answering emails from the day before, your team can be nimble with live chat and interact with more than one traveler at a time, in real-time.

Your Customers Will Love The Convenience

Face it. Modern consumers are multi-taskers. They often don’t have the time, nor the patience to call and talk with your hotel operator or front desk agent about a possible stay at your property. Nor do they want to send an email and get an answer hours later. Live chat is a direct link to their here and now.

Live Chat Provides a Serious Bump to Your Bookings Many people who visit your hotel’s site WILL have questions. By offering them instant answers and an open dialogue from the get go, you’re making them feel more confident in booking with you.

Most important of all, chat should also be available INSIDE THE BOOKING ENVIRONMENT. This is vital to reducing reservation abandonment. Statistics show that up to 95% of people searching for availability inside your booking engine will NOT BUY (for a number of reasons). For a few dollars a month, chat can reduce this attrition and help monetize your most valuable prospects… the ones that are ready to buy!

Read: Why people abandon your booking engine?

Live Chat Will Save Your Hotel Money Yes, that’s right. SAVES MONEY. Live chat software saves both your employee’s time and bottom line expenses. Your staff will spend less time on single-phone call interactions and can instead increase their efficiency by engaging and assisting more than one customer at a time. This also reduces your hotel’s need to hire more staff (or increase CRO outsource costs) to answer calls. But, most of all, by investing in live chat software, you’re lowering your average transaction cost.


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, Hotel Marketing Advice

Budgets Are Coming: 7 Lessons from Game of Thrones

August 22, 2017 • By
Hotel marketers are sharpening their pencils for battle. image1 Just as winter (and a terrifying army of the dead) descends on Westeros in Game of Thrones, budget season is looming in the real world and hotel marketers all across the kingdom are arming themselves for battle. To help hoteliers prepare, we turn to the lessons, themes and quotes we’ve learned while watching the battle for the Iron Throne between power-hungry lords and ladies: 1. GoT QUOTE: “When you play the game of thrones, you live or die.”  LESSON: Your budget is your armory. Ask for everything you need to survive. Hoteliers usually only think dollar amounts when working on their budget. How much will this marketing technology cost? How much should we dedicate to advertising spend? How much will our hotel website design cost? But, here’s the surprise: you are not restricted to only asking for marketing funds during budget time! If you need more marketing staff or outsourced vendors to help you achieve your hotel’s revenue goals, then ask for them! If your hotel is in dire need of upgrades and updates in order to effectively compete with newer properties and win market share, then ask for them. If you depend on another department’s performance to help you reach your targets, then ask to oversee them. Here’s an example of what that request could look like: “For me to achieve the revenue targets set forth by ownership… I need $_______ in funding, specific hotel upgrades to be made, and _______ new staff (contractors). Plus, I would like the ________ department to report to me.” The road to achieving your property’s revenue goals begins with your ability to ask for what you need. Show your management team that without these items, you won’t be able to deliver the results they’re looking for.  image2 2. GoT THEME: Three Dragons versus Everyone Else LESSON: Focus on quality, not quantity. Forget the mass of Lannister soldiers that Queen Cersei has under her belt or the thousands of eerie wights brought back to life by the White Walkers. All it takes are three massive, fire-breathing dragons to wipe them out completely. This year, vow to keep your budget uncluttered and uncomplicated. Your 2018 hotel marketing plan should be built on a few powerful initiatives, not on a mess of disjointed marketing tactics that just produce small bursts of wins and revenue. Build a strong budget that includes only marketing tactics that will have a measurable impact on your audience and the bottom line. 3. GoT QUOTE: “Words are wind, my friend…” LESSON: Getting what you want takes proof. Asset managers, hotel management firms and GMs are under more pressure than ever to deliver real bottom line results. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography. This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less. So it’s important to have complete fluency in the KPIs that affect the bottom line. For example, if you know last year’s marketing cost-per-sale (CPS), you should be able to extrapolate that against future revenue targets to determine the budget required and make statements like this: “Last year, we achieved a marketing CPS of X. To achieve next year’s budget, I need $_______ .” But remember, you will also be expected to reduce your CPS over time as you learn and tweak your programs. 4. GoT QUOTE: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”  LESSON: You have data. Use it.  This catchphrase, originally spoken by the red-haired Wildling Ygritte as she aggressively flirted with Jon Snow, has become one of the show’s most popular. But, don’t let it become your catchphrase. You should know everything about your marketing program results and not be guided by assumptions or gut feelings. You should rely on data culled from the right sources to guide all future hotel marketing decisions. And again, data is your ally when you need to ask for more marketing funds! Some data that you should always have on hand include key performance indicators, like DRR (direct revenue ratio), MCPB (marketing cost per booking) and your STR index versus the compset. All of these numbers will show you, and your hotel’s executive team, how much your marketing team is actually contributing to your hotel’s revenue. 5. GoT QUOTE: “Winter is coming.” LESSON: Apathy about 3rd party costs is dangerous. For a while, it seemed like winter would never come to GoT, despite numerous warnings with this ominous phrase. Yet, it was still on everyone’s minds. In hotel marketing, this means: Don’t ever be too comfortable in the here and now. For example, if more than 15-20% of your revenue is coming from OTAs, you need to prepare for the eventual downturn and start investing in programs, campaigns and assets that will deliver higher margin bookings. When “winter comes” to the hotel industry and AOR goes from 75% to 50%, you don’t want to have the majority of your bookings incurring a 20% OTA commission! 6. GoT Quote: “A Lannister always pays his debts.” Lesson: Ask hotel owners exactly what they expect from you. Before you determine what marketing resources you’ll need for 2018, you need to find out the exact amount your hotel owner (or hotel management company) expects your marketing team to contribute to the hotel’s revenue. Don’t move forward on a budget without knowing exactly what goals your team is beholden to. Get as much clarification as you can, including how many room nights, booked meetings, corporate bookings, etc. should be attributed to your marketing efforts. Ask management/ownership early on in the budget process, because this one question will give you clarity and insight to build out any other projected expenses. Don’t waste time or make costly guesses, nor should you allow your hotel owner to determine how much they want to give you. Don’t place your hotel marketing in a dangerous position of always being underfunded, but tasked with lofty goals. Instead, use your hotel owner’s revenue goals to correlate the assets you need to achieve them. 7. GoT QUOTE: “I may be small, but I won’t be knitting by the fire while others fight for me.”  LESSON: Don’t surrender your property’s destiny to 3rd parties. Spoken by everyone’s favorite young spitfire, Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island, this empowering quote hits at the heart of every hotelier. OTAs have had their moment, but now it’s time to take back control of your booking destiny. So, stop depending on third-party sites to fill the house. Instead of paying commission fees of 15-30 percent, invest in the right tools and technology for your hotel to pull in your own reservations. One place where hotels will see big ROI is by investing in their hotel’s mobile experience. Offer a mobile-compatible booking engine. Have a responsive website and hotel marketing emails. Offer immediate online chat. Investing in mobile is paramount to your success in 2018.

About Tambourine

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

Business, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, OTA, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Ignoring Your Hotel Website Heatmap Can Put You in Hot Water

August 18, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Find out what your hotel heatmap can reveal. Your hotel website is more than just pretty design and colorful photography. Every page is carefully constructed and arranged to achieve a specific goal, such as getting a visitors to sign up for your email list, to look at your hotel’s special offers, or, of course, to make a reservation. This requires constant testing and knowing exactly how people are interacting with your hotel site. One of the keenest tools to figure this out is called “heat mapping.” Despite what the name implies, a website heat map has nothing to do with weather patterns. Instead, it is a powerful tool that reveals some pretty useful, granular data. You can determine how people are using your hotel site, what content they’re consuming and what updates you can make to put your most profitable information where they are already looking. An infrared display uses color variations to show where on any web page there is high and low activity (based on mouse movement and scrolling behavior). Here’s what your hotel heatmap can reveal:  Where Visitors Are Looking While there are several types of heat mapping tools, they all share this common feature. In fact, the entire point of a heat map is to show the ‘hot areas’ of your hotel’s website that get the most attention. This intelligence is especially important if you have buttons, calls-to-action or forms that aren’t receiving the high amount of engagement you expected. By using a heat mapping tool, you’ll be able to see what is actually catching a visitor’s attention. If the low-performing features are located outside of these ‘hot areas’, you’ll know where to move them. Where Visitors Are Clicking You can track your web pages’ engagement based on where visitors are clicking. Similar to eye-tracking, you’ll find out if visitors are clicking where you actually want them to click on the hotel site. If not, you’ll determine where to place important elements to get the most interaction. Who’s Currently Visiting  Some heat mapping and tracking tools offer a real-time view that allows you to see how many visitors are currently on your hotel’s website. In some cases, you’ll also be able to see where the visitors are on the website and what they’re doing. Other tools use past data so you can see trends over a certain time period, according to a certain page, where they came from, and their type of visit. How Far They’re Scrolling You can also see how far visitors are making it down your hotel’s individual web pages. This is extremely helpful when your pages include an interactive element or a call-to-action below the fold. Using a heat map tracking tool, you can see where exactly visitors begin to drop out of the content, then leverage this insight to rearrange the page so it is more appealing. How They Navigate  Some heat mapping tools allow you to see the path visitors take throughout your site. This reveals if visitors are getting stuck on a certain part of your hotel’s website or if they’re having difficulty finding the information they need. Some tracking tools even allow you to record a user’s session, so you can watch how a visitor moves throughout your site.

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

Business, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized