Browsing Tag

digital hotel marketing

Why 70% of Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

June 20, 2017 • By
Flagged properties have surrendered control of their marketing. What happens if results are poor? image1 Key Takeaways:
  • 7 out of 10 hotels in the US are flagged, but the brand's national marketing team can’t reach specific target markets on a TIMELY basis, convey unique property experiences or synthesize authentic local culture.
  • Most flagged hotels are still relying on their brand’s standard marketing program, which is duplicated for every other sister hotel in the region.
  • Hotels need to augment their brand’s core program with timely campaigns and custom direct “vanity” websites that help fill periods of need.
Pop quiz… Imagine three hotel properties: A beachfront resort in Santa Monica. An urban high-rise in Atlanta steps from the convention center. A historic, mountain lodge in Vail. Would you: A. Market and drive bookings to these hotels using identical hotel websites, booking engines, marketing campaigns and marketing promotions? B. Or, custom tailor hotel marketing strategies based on each hotel’s unique target markets, amenities, travel seasons and destination? If you selected B, congratulations! You’re already making wiser decisions than thousands of flagged hotels who rely on the standardized, generic marketing (created by a remote marketing department) to drive ALL their business. Relying exclusively on your brand to completely market your unique property limits your ability to achieve the financial goals set forth by the owner/asset manager. Here’s Why:  You Are Not Differentiated Your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often several in the same city) and providing the same tools to all of you. Think about that–every hotel in the brand family is getting the same marketing and sales templates, the same loyalty database, the same hotel website design and hotel booking engine. You all receive the same assets, regardless of your amenities, your destination, or your target audience. A convention hotel in downtown Denver presents the same marketing material as their sister property in South Beach, Miami. Worse yet, when a visitor to your listing on brand.com enters the brand.com booking environment, they are often shown nearby properties flying the same flag… essentially making brand.com an OTA sending business to your co-branded regional neighbors!  image2 You’re Still Accountable If your property falls short of its revenue goals, do you think your brand’s marketing team will go to bat and be held accountable for missing the mark? Probably not. This is why it’s important to take marketing into your own hands and augment your brand’s core marketing assets with your own to  aggressively pursue direct bookings. When you rely on your brand’s marketing team, you relinquish control over vital revenue-drivers like:
  • Filling sudden periods of need.
  • Attracting regional groups and events.
  • Creating timely packages or special.
  • Posting and marketing special events.
  • Publishing user-generated social media content.
  • Creating retargeting ads to bring people back to your site.
Normally, this would require you to fill out a request form with your brand’s marketing team and wait days or weeks for ‘your turn,’ losing potential bookings in the meantime. Your remote brand team is simply unable to deploy effective campaigns capturing your hotel’s unique essence in a reasonable amount of time Your Direct Hotel Website is Generic Flagged hotels don’t actually have robust websites… they have listings on brand.com. When your hotel is simply plugged into a brand’s basic template website, there is nothing – besides photos and snippets of copy – that distinguishes your hotel’s individual story, destination, or personality. You cannot customize every element that conveys your hotel’s unique experience, F&B outlets, meeting and event space, surrounding neighborhood, local culture, etc. Imagine if the largest event in your destination is the Outdoor Summer Concert Series, which draws in thousands of visitors. Your brand.com’s basic website will not mention the concert series, nor convey how close you are to the event… leaving you to miss out on hundreds of potential room nights. When you manage your own hotel vanity site, you can showcase relevant events, speak directly to the right audiences and capture business with targeted campaigns. Your SEO Stinks Leaving hotel marketing to your brand will also place limits on your SEO and traffic generation campaigns. While your brand may conduct search engine marketing campaigns on your hotel’s behalf, they only scratch the surface. For instance, your brand’s efforts may help you rank for “Hyatts in Seattle.” But, it’s unlikely they are optimizing your page for more targeted search terms that would generate the highest return, such as “hotels near Capitol Hill” or “Space Needle hotels.” You’re Not Authentic Today, people are investing their travel dollars in authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and lifestyle. They’re hungry for local secrets, bold adventures and seeing parts of the city that most tourists don’t see. When your brand has control of your online marketing, they won’t be able to connect with your visitors or convey that local mindset. First off, because they’re not even there. They don’t know what makes your destination so special. They don’t understand the culture, the awesome mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that give your neighborhood character, or know the local secrets. Only you and your local marketing staff can tell a compelling story that will actually drive 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

Friday Freebie: Use FOMO to Create Urgency in the Booking Process

June 16, 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: Create a sense of urgency and “fear of missing out” (FOMO) to nudge people to book faster.  People feel more compelled to buy if they believe they are about to miss out on a limited-time offer or a good deal. This type of urgency is about creating “scarcity value,” a concept that OTAs have mastered and implemented systematically on their OTA websites to stimulate purchase behavior. One of the easiest ways to create a sense of urgency and make guests want to make quicker booking decisions is to program scarcity values into your hotel website and booking engine. Ask your hotel booking engine provider if they can tag certain room categories with urgency and FOMO messages when inventory reaches predefined levels. Use copy that creates perceived immediacy and stimulates guests to act now:
  • Only 2 days left
  • Only available to the first 50 reservations
  • 35 people viewing this room now
  • Only 7 rooms remain for this date
  • Or, incorporate a countdown clock to an expiration date
Get More: The Surprising Psychology Behind Successful Hotel Websites

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

Father Knows Best: Three Hotel Marketing Lessons From Dad

June 13, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing lessons from dear old dad… image1 While Mom gets a lot of the credit for imparting life lessons, it’s time for fathers to be acknowledged for their own wise insights. In honor of Father’s Day, every year we celebrate our favorite ‘dadisms.’ And, we found that pops has some serious hotel marketing wisdom! Here are hidden hotel marketing messages behind some of your father’s repeated quotes: 1. “Will You Kids Please Shut Up?” Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice: When marketing your hotel, resist the urge to drone on and on about your property’s physical features. Modern travelers are driven to book based on what lies outside your hotel walls, not just what’s inside. They want to experience your destination like a true local and crave front-row access to cool discoveries and remarkable experiences unlike anything they can find at home. So, your hotel website should not only focus on your property; It should share the spotlight with your destination. Your hotel website should position your property as the epicenter of your destination.  image2  2. “Hold Your Head Up...” Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice: Toughen up, kid. Sometimes you get dreadful guests. Sometimes you’re hit with awful reviews. Sometimes your creative marketing ideas fail miserably. Instead of crying over spilled milk, remember that the most successful and brilliant hotel marketers are those who take risks and try new ideas. If you’re not making any mistakes, that probably means you are simply repeating the same things year after year. Not taking risks or finding new ways to reach your guests will make your marketing stale and crummy. And, that’s something to cry about. 3. “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!”  Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice: Think carefully about how you spend the marketing dollars entrusted to you by ownership. And by all means… ask for the resources you need to accomplish the revenue goals assigned to you! 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 ________ 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.

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 New Supply Threat: How Hotel Sales Teams Are Fighting back…

June 6, 2017 • By
Hotel group sales teams have upped their game to counter a glut of new supply in many markets. image1 The opening of a shiny, new hotel in the market can make even the most successful hotel sales manager shudder with nervousness. After all, new hotels create buzz. Everyone wants a piece of them. Especially meeting planners who are hungry for something new and novel. Even if the hotel’s meeting capabilities and venue space don’t turn out to be as amazing as marketed, one thing is for certain – they have the upper hand and will be well-positioned to steal group business for at least a few years. That is, unless you get smart now. We asked a few hotel group sales experts for their advice on innovative ways to deal with new competitors for group business. image2 Our first three tips are from John Washko, a hotel sales expert with past leadership roles at Elite Meetings International, Atlantis and the Broadmoor: 1. You Never Forget Your First Hotel Sales Organizations should be continually monitoring new businesses entering the area. The key is to get the jump on the other hotels/resorts in your compset by reaching out first, inviting the top players to the hotel for a "get to know you" breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  This provides an opportunity for the leadership teams (as appropriate) to meet and foster a dialogue on what both organizations have to offer. This should be done in the spirit of achieving a win-win, by exploring how both organizations can help each other. This information exchange would include all the property has to offer, including the property's amazing meeting/banquet space and inventive F&B offerings. 2. Stay Ahead of the Curve on Local Events Many times when a special event, such as a concert or festival come to town, there are group and/or meeting opportunities that accompany these events. Establish a process for the sales team to research and reach out to affiliated organizations or clubs and offer a block of rooms at a group rate while the event is in town. An example would be the Bon Jovi Fan Club. There is a group of avid, 40 to 50 year olds, predominately women, that whenever possible travel to see Jon Bon Jovi perform. The property can also  provide additional value by offering to arrange discounted transportation to the show, based on a minimum number of rooms consumed. Car clubs for major car shows, races, or auctions is another example. Again, the key is being ahead of your competition by reaching out first. image3 3. Sales is Everyone’s Responsibility By creating an organizational culture that emphasizes the reality that all employees are in sales, hotels and resorts can grow meeting and group opportunities. This is accomplished first through educating all employees on what function space the property enjoys, highlighting unique venues such as rooftop pool decks, or an ocean-side ballroom. Next, create employee recognition plans that reward and celebrate any team member that generates new group or meeting opportunities. Some potential groups include social organizations board meetings, sweet 16 parties, bar & bat mitzvah's and special birthday/anniversary celebrations. This fosters an environment where every employee, no matter what position they hold, is given an additional opportunity (outside of their daily job requirements) to be instrumental in the properties success. image4 And here’s a few more from Jeff Spaccio, former Regional Director of Sales for The Procaccianti Group and Pyramid Hotel Group (and currently our own DOSM-in-Residence at Tambourine). 4. Celebrate the Old-School Sales Call Blitz While a sales call blitz may no longer be the norm for many in the hotel industry, they still work to rev up your sales team and can pay off handsomely if executed right. Here’s what to do: Collect all of your sales managers in a large conference room and start the morning off by treating them to breakfast. Organize all sales targets geographically to make it more efficient for sales managers to make calls. Offer generous incentives for various milestones, like ‘best call,’ ‘most calls,’ or ‘highest total revenue opportunity,’ for each group segment (meetings, catering, business). Invite the GM and other department heads along so they can witness the excitement, energy and determination it takes to book business. At the end of the day-long sales blitz, debrief and celebrate everyone’s wins over dinner. Then, make sure all those calls and determination don’t go to waste. Sales managers need to follow-up with each lead consistently. 5. Create Enticing Offers for Current Clients New business is essential, but it also makes sense to incentivize current clients to stay with you and keep them away from new compset offerings: Make the Planner Look Good: Offer complimentary room nights, spa certificates or free restaurant meals that the planner will pass along to the client’s or company’s HR department for employee incentives or giveaways. Help Planners Give Back: Create charitable rebate programs that offer a 5 or 10 percent rebate on all revenue generated by the group. The total will be donated to a charity of the organization’s choice. Sponsor a Night Out: Build a package where your hotel offers a night out (not at your own hotel) to a fun spot in town, along with transportation. 6. Create Employee Incentives for Lead Generation   Every employee has a family member that gets married at some point, a family reunion, belongs to a church or association that holds meetings, maybe their family member works for a corporation that has needs, their brother or sister has kids that travel to the area for amateur sporting events. Give each employee an incentive for referring that leads to the sales department.  Adhere to your hotel’s policy on employee giveaways – but try to be generous here!  Give employees really strong reasons to refer business.  Have fun with it and a make it part of your culture.

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: Market Specifically to This Affluent Niche: LGBT Travelers

June 2, 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 (in honor of LGBT Pride Month): Attract LGBT travelers, a lucrative market segment, with specific hotel marketing tactics.  Over the past few years, LGBT travelers have entered the mainstream for progressive hotel marketers everywhere. According to a survey by Community Marketing, Inc., which researches LGBT travelers and helps travel brands understand and reach out to this market, having a LGBT-friendly reputation is one of the top three factors gay or lesbian travelers consider when choosing a hotel. Marketing to a gay and lesbian audience doesn’t require a separate micro-site or obnoxiously proclaiming “We’re gay friendly! Book here!” Instead, the key is to be sophisticated and subtle. Include this market seamlessly into current marketing campaigns with these easy moves:
  • Include relevant images of same-sex couples in marketing materials.
  • Include same-sex couples images in your wedding section.
  • Include social proof: relevant testimonials or awards from relevant publications.
  • Create packages incorporating experiences from your destination’s LGBT neighborhoods like Seattle’s Capitol Hill, New York’s Chelsea, Miami’s South Beach, and San Diego’s Hillcrest.
  • Create June packages for LGBT Pride Month.
  • Partner with gay-friendly bars, restaurants and other establishments.
Get more: Hotels Rolling Out the Rainbow Carpet for LGBT Travelers

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 5 Dumbest Hotel Website Design Mistakes

May 30, 2017 • By
Hotel website design is much more than pretty pictures… image1 Excuse us for stating the obvious: but of all the hotel marketing tools and tactics that exists today, nothing will ever be more vital and essential to your hotel’s success than your own direct booking website. Yet, despite its monumental importance, we still see hotels making these same five catastrophic website mistakes that end up costing them thousands in lost  revenue. 1. Letting it Stagnate Remember when websites used to be static online brochures? Those days are long gone, friends. Not only is your website the first impression of your hotel and your brand, it’s at the core of every hotel marketing strategy and direct booking effort. Almost every marketing campaign or tool flows from it or to it: your advertising and retargeting efforts, all of your inbound marketing leads, your SEO, your hotel PPC campaigns, your ROI reporting and more. Treat your hotel website as a software application, not a brochure.  Your amenities, browser standards, email capture forms, booking engine widget integrations and online plug-ins (like live chat) change all the time… and so must your website. If your hotel website is stagnant, chances are your direct booking flow will be as well! 2. Lack of Visually Arresting Imagery It takes mere seconds to make the wrong first impression. Have lackluster or outdated photos on your website? People will automatically assume that your hotel is also lackluster and outdated. 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! 3. Failure to Display Social Validation Guests will always trust other guests over you. So, you need to harvest the experiences of past guests to sell for you. This means displaying your property’s accolades, magazine awards and other recognizable trust marks prominently on your website, so that guests will immediately see that your hotel is a trusted, proven player. Also, be sure to showcase compelling guest reviews that sum up the best of your hotel experience. In marketing, this tactic is called social proof. It basically tells potential guests, “Other travelers stayed at this hotel and loved it. You will too.” You can also use social proof to validate your hotel’s value to meeting planners and win more group business. 4. Missing a Meaningful, Local Story Modern travelers are driven to book based on what lies outside your hotel walls, not just what’s inside. They want to experience your destination like a true local and crave front-row access to cool discoveries and remarkable experiences unlike anything they can find at home. So, your website should not only focus on your property; It should share the spotlight with your destination. Your hotel website should position your property as the epicenter of your destination. You need to show what experiences guests can look forward to and which are within reach. What cool wine bars or quirky, local coffee shops are within walking distance? What local secrets can your staff share? What should guests know about your immediate neighborhood? The best hotel websites promise to change the viewer’s perspective on the destination and enrich their lives. 5. Absence of Key Tech Tools As stated in Mistake #1, your hotel website should never be a stagnant marketing piece that sits still looking pretty. It is the dynamic centerpiece of all your hotel marketing efforts and should be powered with critical technology that amplifies its capabilities. Today, there are a number of technology plug-ins (more affordable then ever) that enable hotel marketers to maximize every click and visit and reap as much revenue as possible. Some of the tech add-ons we recommend are built-in reservation recovery, live online chat, meeting/group lead tracking technology, ROI tracking, schema integration for SEO, and call tracking.

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: Do This to Turn up the Heat on Summer Bookings…

May 26, 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: Rake in more summer bookings by building a tiered minimum stay promotion leveraging your onsite amenities, instead of simply handing out summer discounts.  The good news: Today launches the unofficial start of summer. Even better news: Millions of travelers are pulling out their credit cards and packing their bags for summer vacays. But, don’t rejoice just yet. The competition for summer travelers is fierce and hotels will be pumping out summer discounts in every direction to get their attention. Our advice? Hold back from joining the pack and giving out those standard 10-15 percent discounts. They’re boring and your compset is probably doing the same thing. To get the most revenue out of this summer season, you need to stand out in the sea of summer sameness. Here’s how to do it: Create tiered minimum stay promotions using your onsite amenities as incentives for longer stays. Start off with small, no-cost add-ons, like free late checkouts or early check-ins. Then, increase your offerings with each day added onto the reservation. These can include room upgrades, free parking, free bike rentals, dining credits, spa credits, tickets to local attractions, etc. The best part is, unlike straight price discounts, these value-ads strategically help you drive incremental revenue by enticing guests to stay longer and spend more money at the restaurant or spa, which they may not normally do. Get more: Put Some Sizzle In Your Summer ADRs 

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

Stop the Noise: The 10 Things That Matter to Hotel Marketers Right Now

May 23, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing has never been so cluttered and noisy. image1 Every week it seems as if there is something new and important competing for your attention and causing FOMO (fear of missing out) stress. With all this marketing overload, it’s easy to forget what is really important and which marketing assets actually have the biggest impact on results. We’re here to help... Of course every property has unique demands and market conditions, but we want to try and free your mind from all the nonsense, hype and clutter and review the 10 things that should TRULY matter (in our humble opinion) to the majority of hotel marketers right now: 1. Having a Remarkable Product Boundless creativity, clever marketing concepts and even a robust marketing budget are essentially useless if your hotel is crap. Great marketing can only begin with a great product. If your hotel is showing its frayed edges and providing lackluster experiences (or no real experience at all), no amount of brilliant marketing will save you from a downward spiral. Scour your hotel reviews and find out what guests complain about the most. Then, present this to your owners and champion the improvements your hotel needs to turn the tide and rise above the comp set. 2. Telling a Compelling Story  There is a reason why “storytelling” has become a hotel marketing buzzword over the last several years. Storytelling captivates your audience, draws them in emotionally and entices them to want more. Travelers – both leisure and business – don’t need to be sold on your thread count, the hours of your fitness center or the square footage of your ballroom. When they research hotel options, they are really looking for how your hotel will impact their lives during and after their stay. Follow these steps to use storytelling to win over the hearts and wallets of your target hotel audience.   image2 3. Integrating Systems and Technology Using different providers for each of your critical marketing technology needs (i.e. CRS, website, hotel booking engine, PMS, and CRM) is a recipe for disaster. Many hotels are missing out on countless reservations because of one simple reason: they don’t have integrated technology. The key is to work with as few providers as possible to make sure each component of your marketing can seamlessly speak to each other and simplify reporting for stressed-out hotel revenue, marketing and sales execs who are tired of system incompatibility and reporting nightmares. 4. Measuring Cost-per-Booking  Think you’re impressing your hotel owners with news about your social media followers, your cool new marketing videos or your rebranding initiatives? Think again. Today, hotel owners expect their hotel marketing departments to contribute to the hotel’s revenue targets in ways that can be measured. Without tracking and showing numerical evaluation of your marketing efforts, you’re going to face a difficult time later in the year when you need to request next year’s marketing dollars. To prove how your marketing efforts are adding to the hotel’s revenue, you’ll need to calculate your marketing cost-per-booking (MCPB). Use this number to show your marketing team’s value and to ensure you’re given the proper amount of marketing dollars to continue bringing in business for the hotel. Be especially vigilant to know your cost-per-booking from OTAs as well. Avoid the trap of viewing OTA bookings as purely revenue with no cost of acquisition. 5. Consolidating Vendors The more hotel marketing vendors you work with, the more chaos and confusion you should expect.  Hiring multiple, disconnected vendors to handle separate hotel marketing tasks, like hotel website design, hotel email marketing, hotel social media and hotel PPC campaigns, will halt your property’s success in so many ways. First, you’re paying way too much for vendors handling only one function. Second, you’ll spend most of your day relaying messages from one vendor to the next. And, lastly, no one vendor can ever be held accountable for your marketing success or failure, since they can easily point fingers at each other. Smart hotel marketers avoid juggling vendors… thereby reducing stress and gaining time to spend on proactive campaigns. 6. Sticking to a Plan Marketing to everyone will get you nowhere fast. Smart hotel marketers 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 best hotel marketers 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. This will allow you to delegate the proper amount of investments to market to group, corporate, leisure/transient or F&B business. Every marketing activity you craft should be built with the intention of pulling in direct business from one or more of your target guest segments. 7. Consistency Across All Channels  Sure, setting rates and keeping content consistent across the vast array of digital channels can get overwhelming. But maintaining rate, image and promo parity is vital to your hotel’s bottom line. Smart hotel marketers also know that their USP (unique selling proposition) has to be consistent across all brand touchpoints and channels. If consumers see your property described as “urban chic” in one place and “a traditional business hotel” in another… dissonance occurs, causing erosion and attrition. Consistency matters. Whether it’s sending out email offers on a steady cadence, updating your hotel’s social media accounts or communicating with your group clients, it’s critical to set schedules and maintain consistency regardless of season or current results. Your core marketing activities need to be sacred and deserve to be given the attention, resources and budget required. 8. Stunning Photography  Awe-inspiring photos are worth a thousand bookings. Evocative images provoke an emotional response and directly contribute to booking decisions. Your images prepare potential guests for what’s to come. Along with your hotel's website design, they convey your experience with a single glance. So, be ruthless and replace all bland property images, including those that are old, grainy, dark or fail to convey a remarkable guest experience. Hire a hotel photographer trained in shooting real estate or architecture. Even better, complement those professional images with authentic and free photos taken by your hotel’s best photographers – your own guests. 9.  Simultaneous Promotions Across All Channels  Filling periods of need is not easy… which is why smart hotel marketers launch promotions across all channels simultaneously. (See #7: Consistency, above.) Imagine you are the general of all your forces, you’d want them to coordinate operations and move in unison! Launching the promo on every channel AT THE SAME TIME gives consumers comfort and avoids confusion. If guests see different special offers for your hotel on a 3rd party channel than what is shown on your own direct hotel website, they will get uncomfortable with the inconsistency and find another hotel that gives them greater mental comfort. 10. Continuing to Boost Online Guest Sentiment Guests will always trust other guests more than you. This is why past guest reviews are one of the most influential factors impacting your hotel’s future success. Whether glowing or scathing, every review is an opportunity to stumble or shine. Get rid of the canned corporate responses and strive to always answer genuinely and authentically. Graciously own up to any mistakes and correct mistaken guests with grace. Even offer solutions for problems you can’t control, like the noisy nightclub across the street or the construction next door. Keep all of your responses thoughtful and they’ll have a greater chance of turning negative reviews into shining moments that make your hotel even more likable and worthy of a visit.

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: Nudge Your Happiest Guests to Leave a Review

May 19, 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: Convince more happy hotel guests to leave good reviews by reminding them at several touch points. 

See those guests who wrote a TripAdvisor review of your hotel?

They make up a teeny, tiny percentage of guests who actually stayed with you. They represent the few who either remembered to leave a review OR felt compelled to because of an extraordinary experience (or a horrible one). 

Now, imagine how much better your TripAdvisor rankings would be if more happy and satisfied guests wrote a review of their stay. The good news: It only takes a simple reminder. 

Stop leaving your guest reviews to chance. Here are a few ways to gently remind your guests to share their experience on TripAdvisor:

Post Stay Emails Every hotel should have an automated process that emails every guest asking for feedback after the guest checks out. And don’t be afraid to put a link leading directly to your TripAdvisor profile. This will likely increase the overall number of reviews you accumulate and show your commitment to transparency! 

Approach Your Social Advocates Turn to your hotel’s brand advocates – those who have posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter before. Research shows that hotel properties that reach out to their loyal guests to build up reviews will see not only higher rankings, but increased online sentiment. Remind Guests During Their Stay, Not Just At Check-Out If your staff hears a guest complimenting the hotel in any way, have them encourage the guest to share that tidbit in a review.

Place Your TripAdvisor Link In Your Email Signature Any email you send to guests or to whoever else, should have a link to your TripAdvisor profile.

Get more: Want Better TripAdvisor Rankings? Do These 3 Things


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.

image1

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.

image2

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