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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

The Seven Traits of Great Hotel Digital Marketers

August 8, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing requires a quirky blend of skills. image1 Virtually every one of your future guests will discover and engage with your property in the online world before they ever walk through your doors. That’s why digital marketing has become such a prerequisite skill for hotels that want to outperform their compset. But this job isn’t just limited to running ads and managing channels; digital marketing managers are also responsible for launching their own programs, managing external vendors and many other activities. As one of those external vendors, we’ve worked with hundreds of hotel digital marketers over the years… and during that time we’ve seen that it takes a very special set of skills to be successful in such a demanding position. The most successful hotel digital marketers we’ve worked with have these 7 traits in common: 1. They Multitask On any given day, a digital marketing manager has to take care of a wide variety of tasks, ALL while overcoming sudden crisis drops in occupancy. To be successful in such a hectic environment, that person needs to be an excellent multitasker, with an uncanny sense of recall. This combination lets them pick up on where they left off on other tasks from previous days and make steady progress towards their goals – all while being pulled in multiple directions. 2. They are Caffeinated Digital marketing managers often need to help fill hundreds of rooms, every night, or face vanishing assets. But accomplishing that task, in a business that often sees many of its bookings occur in the last 48 hours before arrival, requires someone with a lot of energy and stamina (it’s not uncommon to see them go through 5 or 6 cups of coffee every single day). 3. They Should Be Well-Traveled You can’t market a product when you have no experience as a user/buyer. With this in mind, it’s only natural that successful hotel marketing managers should be able to use their own travel experiences to speak to prospects on a personal level.  image2 4. They Should Have Experience in Other Industries  For an industry like ours, one that’s been resistant to change on many occasions, attracting digital marketers with skills and knowledge from other industries is essential. Hotels have long depended on a few core channels for their revenue, while other industries (think software and tech) have to develop innovative ways to build audiences, users and market share. By borrowing best practices, tactics and tools from other industries, hotel digital marketers can turbocharge your property’s marketing strategies and give you a serious advantage on the compset. 5. They Should Speak Geek It’s cool to be part geek these days, especially in the hospitality marketing sector. That’s because everything is constantly evolving, so there’s always so much to learn. That’s why it’s a good indicator of success when you hear your digital marketing manager talking with their friends about things like; CRS, PMS, CRM, CMS, SEO, PPC or SEM. It shows their real interest in these subjects. 6. They Shouldn’t Be Scared of Data and Reporting  That’s the only way they know what’s working in their campaigns… and what’s not. Being comfortable with data and reporting also enables successful hotel digital marketers to make strong business cases to management and ownership for additional funds and marketing assets. 7. They Should Present Well Digital marketing managers need to be seen as leaders who are able to bridge ‘the departmental divide’ and bring revenue management, sales and GMs together. Presentation skills and confidence are the keys to building consensus and cooperation across departments. So, which one of these 7 skills is most important for your property?  How do you keep your competitive edge?  We’d love to hear more about this from your point of view 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: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Use the “Rule of 9” to Capture More Bookings

July 21, 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: Change ONE number to make your room rates more appealing.

Normally, establishing your hotel’s room rates is a rational practice, based on current market conditions, prior trends, weather, current occupancy and other hard data.

However, many hoteliers overlook a vital element when establishing prices:

The PSYCHOLOGY of what makes a hotel guest choose one price over another.

This is known to marketers as price psychology.  And, one of the best tried and true price psychology practices is using “The Rule of 9” in your room rates.

Here’s how it works:

People read numbers left to right… and since they tend to scan numbers very quickly, they associate the price with the very first number they see. For example, $99 seems closer to $90, even though it is just a dollar away from $100. This is why travelers consider room rates ending in 9 or 99 or 95  as better values overall.

Even luxury brands such as Apple and Coach use this practice.

Give this tactic a try and experiment by changing your $305/night suite to $295 or $299. Get More: 3 Things Revenue Managers Can Learn From Psychologists

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

6 Ways Hotel Marketing Can Generate More Leads for the Sales Team

July 18, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing teams need to improve their support of group sales. image1 Achieving group and meetings revenue targets can make or break your property’s annual performance. But incredibly, most hotel group sales departments lack consistent, effective marketing support and are forced to generate their own leads. Hotel marketers often ignore the need to boost their hotel’s revenue by accelerating the number of incoming sales leads. As a result, hotel marketing departments usually stick to what they know: marketing only to leisure travelers. Let’s change that.  There are several smart ways for hotel marketers to generate more group business for their hotel and champion the sales teams’ efforts. It simply takes using the hotel marketing strategies you already know and use… and finessing them for the meetings market: 1. Be Accountable: Carry a Quota What?! Marketing people carrying a quota? While this may be a strange and radical concept among hotel marketers, other industries (i.e. Silicon Valley software companies) have been assigning lead generation quotas to marketing teams for many years. Asset managers and property owners no longer want to hear about “branding initiatives” or logo colors… they expect their hotel management firm’s marketing team to contribute to revenue in a measurable way, communicate in number-speak and be accountable for tangible results. Quotas for marketing teams can be memorialized in terms of leads or actual closed deals generated by leads driven by the marketing team. And marketers often receive bonuses based on their performance against their quota. Hotel marketers need to remember that having a quota is not only a burden, but also an opportunity: if they hit their assigned lead generation targets, they increase their value in a demonstrably important way to their management and can ask for compensation increases as a result! 2. Consistently Communicate with “HVTs” Every hotel should have a Top 100 list of “high value targets.” Most hotel sales teams already work with a company like Knowland to access groups market intelligence to identify the most relevant group opportunities for their location and venue size. But the hotel marketing team should ensure these HVTs are loaded into a simple CRM platform in order to send out a steady stream of entertaining, engaging and useful stories, photos and videos that will help meeting planners do their jobs when planning a meeting in your destination and beyond. Meeting planners love to book venues they trust. And one way to build trust is by communicating consistently in a selfless, helpful way. Hotel marketers should deploy a steady “drip” of stories, photos and content that helps prospects understand the destination better and do their job more effectively. But under no circumstances should the content be self-serving! Your content “stream” does not have to be restricted to email or digital content. Direct mailing personal notes and helpful material often breaks through the clutter and differentiates you from the thousands of emails your prospects receive each week! Creating this cadence of content will establish you and your property as a trusted resource and position you as THE leader in your destination!  image2 3. Empower Sales with Marketing Automation You’ve already been using marketing automation to boost leisure business for several years, from post stay surveys to reservation recovery emails. Now, you can use the same principle to be a catalyst for driving meetings and events to your hotel. By placing a piece of code (provided from your marketing automation vendor or hotel marketing agency) into your website, you can monitor whenever one of your sales team’s key group business targets visits and explores your meeting pages. Plus, your marketing automation software will be able to determine what the planner’s interests are by following their clicks. Did the planner spend more time looking at breakfast catering menus? The section on government meetings and per diem pricing? Or, watch a virtual tour of your largest ballroom? You can then provide this data to the sales team and enable them to craft relevant messages and offers to match planners’ exact event needs. 4. Stay Top of Mind with Retargeting Keep your hotel top-of-mind with meeting planners who visit, then leave your hotel website’s meeting pages. If a meeting planner goes to your website, clicks around and leaves without submitting an RFP, set up retargeting display ad campaigns to follow them online and remind them what makes your venue a remarkable option for their group. 5. Create Compelling Destination Content Establish your hotel and its sales team as meeting industry thought leaders in your city by creating helpful, info-tainment content. This will position your hotel as being the most experienced property to host meetings and events in your destination. For Example: 5 Distilleries For Groups To Experience True Louisville Bourbon, 10 Waterfront Teambuilding Activities in Long Beach, or Most Unique Group Tours in Philadelphia. You can also take content you’ve already written for the leisure audience and customize for the groups market by giving it a meeting and events ‘spin.’ Then, pay to publish these into the LinkedIn newsfeeds of meeting professionals. Post these onto your hotel’s own meetings and events blog or repurpose this as content for upcoming sales newsletters (See #2 & 3 above). 6. Optimize Your Website for Meeting Planners This is your main marketing vehicle, so don’t solely cater to leisure guests here. Pack your meetings and events section with all the resources that meeting planners need. Our latest meeting planner survey revealed that planners wanted relevant sourcing tools that could be downloaded directly from hotel websites, including photos of past events, floor diagrams, room measurements, capacity charts, testimonials, and 360-degree venue tours.

About Tambourine

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

Friday Freebie: Start Tracking Phone Calls to Optimize Your Marketing

June 9, 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: Start using simple phone tracking tech to optimize your campaigns and reservation/call center performance.  We all know how important it is to monitor data from digital marketing campaigns. However, usually those analytics only track online activity and engagement. One of the best ways to bridge the gap between your online and offline marketing activities is by tracking inbound phone calls using simple new digital tracking technology. Travelers often want to know more about the experience they’re about to embark on. And, they want to interact with someone on your hotel staff or reservation center to get the answers. This is especially true at resorts or destination properties, where it is extremely common for guests to call and want to speak with someone personally before pulling out a credit card to make a long range reservation. Most phone tracking tools now enable management to “listen in” to recordings of any/all calls. What makes this feature so impactful is that you are hearing from the guest firsthand, using their own voice and words to express their concerns and wants. Also, by “listening-in” to recorded phone calls, you can see how well your guest service team deals with guests and whether their “pitch” needs improvement. How is your guest services team handling simple and complex inquiries? How are they conveying your hotel’s unique experience over the phone? Are they up-selling properly and easing the guest along towards booking a reservation? If you’re only measuring your digital results, you’re missing a significant KPI of success: start tracking phone calls to get a complete picture!

About Tambourine

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

Do Hotel Sales Teams Have a New Secret Weapon?

May 16, 2017 • By

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

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

And hotel marketers were among the early adopters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Engage New Group Prospects

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

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

2. Create a Steady Drumbeat of Awesomeness

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

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

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

3. Segment Messages By Group/Event Type

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

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

4. Perfect Timing…

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

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

5.  Retarget

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

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


About Tambourine

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

The Marketing Secrets of Great Hotel Management Companies

May 2, 2017 • By

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

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

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

We spoke with two industry leaders to find out:

W. Chris Green, COO and Principal of Chesapeake Hospitality

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

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

1. They Hold Their Marketing Teams Accountable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2. They Know Their Products and Markets

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

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

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

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

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

3. They Correlate Investments to Targets

The most successful HMCs take the time to get to know all of a hotel’s customer segments and provide innovative solutions to address each type of audience. Spaccio insists that smart hotel management firms always have a roadmap with a breakdown of exactly how much revenue they expect from each segment of the hotel’s business. This enables the firm to correlate its separate investments in marketing for leisure/transient, group, corporate and F&B.

The top HMCs understand that generic, aimless and ‘pretty’ marketing won’t cut it. Every marketing activity they create is built with the intention of drawing direct business from one or more of a hotel’s pre-defined guest segments.

4. They Work With Proven Vendors

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

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

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

5. They Confront Owners About the Product

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

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

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

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

6. They Hire the Right People

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

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

“Then, consistently train them to win.”

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

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


About Tambourine

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

Friday Freebie: Want More Bookings? Watch the Bouncing.

April 21, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie: Check your hotel’s bounce rate to determine if your website is capturing and holding your visitor’s attention.

Your hotel’s bounce rate is an essential website metric to keep an eye on.

Simply put, your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit just one page on your website (most likely your hotel’s homepage), then leave or “bounce.”

This means that once they land on the homepage, they’re not enticed or interested enough to check out any other content on your website.

Not your accommodations. Not your F&B.

Nada.

This is the equivalent of someone walking by a store, peeking in the window, then walking away without entering.

The lower the bounce rate, the better. Any number above 50% is sub-optimal and can mean:

  1. You’re not arresting your audience with a unique message that is relevant or meaningful.
  2. You’re not attracting enough of your ideal guest persona.
  3. You’re attracting too many “tire-kickers” from visitors who are not serious about staying with you (this often happens when hotels run flash sales) and are simply seeking a deal.

Whatever the case, keeping an eye on your bounce rate will signal that it may be time to test new messages on your highest bounce rate pages. And after you’ve done that, also check out the bounce or “abandonment” rate inside your booking engine. Here’s a brief article on why visitors abandon their reservations and the proper steps to fix it. 

Get more: 90% of Marketers Ignore Basic Data That Could Easily Increase Revenue (Part 2)


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

Is the iPhone Killing Your Hotel Revenue?

February 21, 2017 • By

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Here’s what we all know by now:

The explosion of smartphone usage over the past few years has been staggering. And not just iPhones, but smartphones of other brands as well…

The Pew Research Center reports that 75% of Americans now own a smartphone and half the population own a tablet. Not only is usage increasing and technology getting more sophisticated, consumers are more reliant on their mobile devices. In fact, 9 out of 10 American consumers keep their smartphones within reach 24 hours a day.

This round-the-clock usage has also redefined the way people book travel. A recent Google report revealed that 77% of luxury travelers turn to their mobile devices for trip inspiration. And a whopping 55% then use their smartphones to book their stay!

As mobile usage propels forward, so should your response as a hotel marketer. Mobile updates, and the world’s response to them, mean that you can’t simply recycle and reuse last year’s mobile strategy. 2017 is a clean slate to keep pace with mobile’s rapid growth.

Here are 5 things you need to know to ride the mobile wave and amplify your mobile revenue this year:

1. Your Search Engine Results Depend on Mobile

For the first time ever, Google is now using your hotel’s mobile site as the primary source to rank your hotel’s website content and user experience, with your desktop version as a secondary site. This means your mobile hotel site is the first factor that goes into determining how well you rank in search engines. While you may have regarded your mobile experience as important in 2016, hotel search engine marketing via mobile is now downright vital to your hotel’s presence and profitability. Plus, as mobile search rises, so does the use of local search terms. This places more emphasis on local SEO and the need for your marketing team to create optimized content with tailored metadata that includes location.

2. Use Mobile PPC to Fill Last Minute Rooms

On-the-go travelers rely on their mobile devices to book last-minute hotel reservations (especially at urban/city hotels). Studies show that 58% of last-minute bookings were made from tablets and smartphones. In fact, the less time a traveler has to book a room, the more likely the reservation will be made on a smartphone. Capture this audience with targeted mobile PPC ad campaigns that tout promos and deals for last-minute travelers or those who are already on the road. Create enticing weekend offers targeting spontaneous travelers from your drive markets. Are you located near the airport? Then, create ads that promote specials for travelers stranded by cancelled or delayed flights. image23. It’s Still a Phone… It’s surprising how many businesses neglect to publish a phone number on their mobile sites, essentially blocking smartphone users from clicking to call and losing out on potential revenue. The first proof of your hotel’s guest service is being available and accessible when guests need you. Take a hint from the few successful travel apps out there, including Expedia and Hilton, and make it easy for smartphone users to find and utilize your phone number.  Even better, craft your hotel’s mobile experience to be more app-like, with a one-touch ‘click to call’ button – both on your mobile website and mobile booking engine. Just as with your desktop hotel website, there are potential hurdles and friction that could easily derail a direct booking in progress via a mobile device. If a guest has a question (which they all do), make it simple for them to reach out to your staff. If not, the visitor may lose patience and seek a room someplace else. 

4. Your Mobile Booking Engine is as Important as Your Mobile Website There is a dangerous “chasm” between your hotel’s mobile website and your booking engine, where potential guests can likely ‘fall off” if you’re not cautious. Slow load times and inconsistent colors/layouts between the mobile website and your mobile booking engine will increase abandonment. Worse yet, if your mobile booking engine fails to recognize the inherent limitations of small screens (and short attention spans) and fails to shorten and simplify the mobile booking process, attrition will surely grow.

5. Optimize for Various Screen Resolution Sizes 

Today, there are seemingly endless smartphone choices, with different designs, features and vitally important (but less obvious) to marketers – different screen resolutions. An iPhone 7 user will have a different experience than the Samsung Galaxy user.

If you notice high traffic to your mobile site, but low conversions and a high number of bounces, consider using a browser tool, such as Chrome’s INSPECT feature that allows you to preview how your hotel’s website appears using various screen resolutions sizes and multiple devices.

 About Tambourine

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

5 Things Hotel Marketers Are Loving This Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2017 • By

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There is so much to love about the lodging industry.

Meeting people from around the world. Creating remarkable experiences for our guests. And, using our creativity to grow brand awareness, engage guests and grow our properties’ revenue.

This year, we asked our clients what was making them warm and fuzzy on Valentine’s Day and here’s what they had to say:

1) A Robust Economy RevPar and ADR are still running at a healthy pace, despite growing hotel supply and Airbnb’s rapid growth in driving leisure and corporate travel. STR predicts demand to stay strong throughout 2017, based on a solid labor market, stronger consumer spending and low inflation rates. Corporate travel also appears to be on the rebound, following a rocky 2016 when corporations tightened their travel budgets in response to a high-profile election, massive corporate mergers, and international issues such as Brexit and the spread of the Zika virus. It appears that corporate travel is poised for its comeback in 2017, with all-time high stock market rates and President Trump’s commitment to slashing corporate tax rates, loosening up regulations, and building more transportation infrastructure. 2) Robust Career Opportunities The industry is ripe for innovation and continuous improvement. That’s why, with new hotel openings and the growth of new hospitality start-ups, we’re seeing more opportunities for marketers in the lodging industry than in many other sectors. This growth has drawn in a lot of millennial talent, bringing in even more fresh ideas and perspectives.  The excitement of the industry and the fast-tracked promotional opportunities make hotel/technology/digital jobs some of the most coveted in the country.

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3) Elevated Consumer Awareness of Direct Booking Benefits Thanks to the massive media outreach by Hilton and Marriott’s direct booking campaigns, we’re seeing heightened public recognition of the benefits of booking direct. The idea is to educate travelers and chip away at the myth that OTAs save guests money. With the stage set, more and more hotels are following in Hilton and Marriott’s footsteps with their own hotel marketing campaigns enticing audiences to book direct.

Plus, hotel marketers at properties of all sizes are now armed with new digital hotel marketing tools and previously unaffordable technology that can help them drive direct room revenue, instead of settling for costly OTA bookings. The momentum of the “book direct movement” is growing and we’re excited to see where this is headed. 4) The Free Evangelist Army of Social Media Advocates Here’s a not-so-secret secret: You have thousands of unpaid hotel social media and marketing staff. They are your guests who Tweet from their hotel balcony, Instagram their room service breakfast, and Facebook Live their rides on the hotel’s complimentary bikes. Then, even after checking out, they post photo albums of their dream vacation online. When guests gush about their travel adventures, they’re taking you along for the ride. This user-generated content is pure gold for a hotel marketer. Now, smart hotels can even seamlessly collect these authentic photos and videos and leverage them as marketing assets using affordable social capture tools.

5) New Simplified Analytics Tools As you know, even small hotels can be buried in a mountain of customer data and need the right tools to help make sense of it all, make better financial decisions for the future and reshape or pivot their hotel marketing strategies. Now, simple analytics tools, like cloud-based SnapShot allows you to see exactly how your hotel is running, aggregating data from your PMS system, TripAdvisor, Google Analytics and social media. This type of data puts you in the best position to craft hotel marketing campaigns tailored with the right message, for the right audience at the right time.


 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