Browsing Tag

GOOGLE

SSL: The Latest Threat to Your Hotel Website

December 12, 2017 • By
Hotel digital marketers have yet another headache to deal with….  image1-2 Here we go again…. In hopes of fostering a safer internet, Google has moved toward new security standards for its Chrome browser, which requires a significant update to hotel websites in order to achieve compliance. Under the new specifications, Google now requires all websites that collect any type of personal data (i.e. forms, email addresses, credit card info, etc.) to migrate websites to HTTPS and upgrade their security technology in the form of “SSL Certificates,” or suffer the consequences. Right now, that consequence is primarily a security alert, which Chrome users see when they reach a web page that Google has deemed a “Non-Secure environment” when the mandated SSL certificate isn’t present. Considering roughly 60% of web surfers currently use Chrome, this is no matter to take lightly; it’s best to make the required changes as soon as possible, to ensure your site traffic isn’t at risk and/or potential guests being scared away. Can Someone Please Explain Why This is Happening? The new Google security standards are intended to safeguard sensitive personal information exchanged over the internet, making it harder for hackers to steal this data. The data lockdown is achieved by migrating websites from the unsecure HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) platform to the safer HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) format. In order to make the switch to HTTPS, websites need an SSL/TSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security) in place. An SSL connection offers enhanced security because it encrypts data to hinder eavesdropping, protects data integrity to prevent corruption during transfer and enables authentication, ensuring users only communicate with the intended website. Some of the security risks that the HTTPS/SSL standard hopes to mitigate include:
  • Intruders attempting to exploit unprotected communications to trick your users into providing sensitive information or installing malware (“phishing”).
  • Hackers and/or legitimate companies attempting to insert their own advertisements into your website.
  • Intruders who passively listen to communications between your website and your users.
  • Hackers who look at the aggregate browsing activities of your website’s users, in order to make inferences about their behaviors and intentions, and to thereby de-anonymize their identities.
The new security standard is also becoming a prerequisite for a number of leading-edge technologies, which are increasingly requiring permissions obtained in a secure setting. SSL/HTTPS is considered the future for all web communication, so it pays to get on board now. The Penalties At the moment, Google is “motivating” hotel website owners to comply with the new standard by placing an information icon in the Chrome address bar that warns “Your connection is not secure” when site visitors arrive at a page not using HTTPS. image2 This may seem like a small detail, but it may have a huge impact on hotel website conversion rates. You don’t want to scare away customers with an unsecure website. Google has indicated that warnings may become even more pronounced in future browser updates. You also don’t want your customers’ data being compromised because you failed to provide a secure setting. As recent data breaches among numerous major hotel companies have proven, hacks can cause extensive damage to brands and they erode consumer trust, which can be disastrous to the bottom line. Given those risks, taking the steps to comply with the SSL/HTTPS standard is a no-brainer. The Solution The first step in meeting the standard is for hotel digital marketers to obtain an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). The certificate permits your website to communicate using encrypted, non-corruptible data, while also acting as a stamp of approval. Many providers offer free SSL/TSL certificates; (Shameless plug: Tambourine provides SSL certificates for all clients included in our monthly service package). With an approved certificate in place, the next steps are to conduct a full backup of your hotel website, change all your internal links, check code libraries, update external links and create a 301 redirect. It’s also important to claim all four versions of your site URLs (HTTPS, HTTP, www. and non-www.) on Google Search Console Analytics, AdWords and other paid ads, plus social profiles and business citations. Since there are multiple complex steps, you definitely want your digital marketing team or external hotel digital marketing firm to handle this.

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, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: It’s a Mobile Phone, Where’s Your Number?

October 20, 2017 • By
image1 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:  Don’t forget the importance of the PHONE component of mobile phones.    The number of people who own and depend on their smartphones continues to skyrocket, with no signs of slowing. Today, 75 percent of Americans own a smartphone, says The Pew Research Center. We all know travelers use their smartphones to research, text and post to social media. But, don’t forget a smartphone’s primary purpose: To make calls! Every hotel mobile site should include a telephone number that is embedded in a “click-to-call” button. Think about it: why make your website mobile user hunt for a phone number when the number can be embedded in a prominent “Call Now” feature? Further, sites with phone numbers are perceived as more trustworthy and transparent as well. Prominent number/calling features suggest that you WANT to talk to your guests! Best of all, calls initiated from your hotel mobile website are easily trackable… giving hotel marketers another way to quantify their contribution to bookings. And one more tip from almighty Google itself: “Always embed the phone number using the international dialing format: the plus sign (+), country code, area code, and number. While not absolutely necessary, it’s a good idea to separate each segment of the number with a hyphen (-) for easier reading and better auto-detection. Using a hyphenated international dialing format ensures that no matter where the user is calling from, whether a few hundred meters away or thousands of kilometers, their call will be connected.” Get More: Is the iPhone Killing Your Hotel Revenue?

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, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

Hotel Digital Talent: Why Is It so Hard to Find?

October 17, 2017 • By
Hotel digital marketing requires an increasingly hard-to-find skillset. image1 If you want to be successful in the hotel business, it's now mandatory that you outperform your compset in the digital world. So these days it’s more important than ever for hotel companies to attract and retain world-class digital talent. In most cases, the first place guests now interact with your hotel is not inside your lobby—it’s within the digital world—yet all too frequently, we aren’t fully prepared to greet that guest accordingly. Hotel websites, CRM systems, data analytics, email, social media and search marketing all require deep expertise to deliver real ROI. Sure… digital talent is in high demand everywhere, but beyond that, there are other reasons why skilled digital professionals are sorely needed in the hospitality industry. Here Are the Five Hiring Challenges We See… and What to Do about Them: 1. Many Digital Experts Have Gravitated to Other Industries And/Or Start-Ups There are seemingly endless opportunities right now in the digital space, and the required core skills are adaptable to various industries, so digital pros can literally work anywhere that a business has a digital presence. That may be a huge Silicon Valley mega-corporation or a basement startup and everything in between. And in many cases, the Googles and Facebooks of the world are offering the hip, informal vibe of a startup that millennials crave, with the stability of a steady paycheck and job security and the cool factor of working at the digital avant-garde. 2. Hotels Are (Unfairly) Viewed As Stagnant and Non-Innovative Like other components of the traditional business sector, hotel companies are frequently perceived as stalwart, non-evolving dinosaurs, dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. Brands, which have to carefully explore changes due to the sheer size of their operation, are perceived as being especially sterile places to work. While there are advantages to being dependable and maintaining steady growth, winning over top digital talent sadly isn’t one of them.  image2 3. OTAs Are Killing Innovation The online power of the OTAs—driven in part by their massive marketing budgets—has severely hampered most hotels companies’ ability to innovate and try new things, since the cost to compete against everything the OTAs do is just too high. With the price tag associated with competitive digital marketing efforts like pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns becoming simply too expensive, too few industry players are doing anything extraordinary, aside from just trying to keep up. 4.  Compensation and Turnover  True, there are perks from working in the travel industry, but the pay isn’t always one of them. Averages for industry compensation are not among the highest, because profit margins are increasingly compressed (those darn OTAs again!), causing hoteliers to focus on cutting expenses and controlling costs. That means the best hotel digital pros are often leaving to take higher paying jobs elsewhere, because they can. 5. Digital Skills Vs Business Skills  The millennial digital natives who are now in high demand by recruiters often have little to no experience yet delivering on the intense ROI expectations of an agency or corporate hotel marketing setting. This is especially true for recent graduates: Universities tend to focus on theory, and for many marketing majors, the specific skills used in online marketing are mostly learned on the job, through experience. So, for the young talent you do end up courting and successfully hiring, there will be a significant learning curve, provided they decide to stay. Look for These Three Things: For the hotel companies that can work through the issues listed above, the struggle isn’t over just yet. Once your company is successfully generating employment interest from digital mavens, it’s important to ensure those professionals have adapted their talents to the many nuances of the hotel industry. Therefore, it’s critical to find smart, capable digital pros who understand the following three essential things: 1. The Hotel Experience It is exceedingly difficult to understand how to market travel unless the marketer has traveled significantly themselves. This applies to digital marketing, too. The best professionals in digital travel marketing have personal travel miles to draw from, particularly when it pertains to the hotel experience and the digital booking process. 2. The Hotel/Travel Purchasing Funnel On the surface, it may appear as though there are only two stages of the hotel/travel purchasing funnel—researching and booking—but there are actually five distinct phases: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing. Properly targeting your audience with the right media and message during each of the five stages is an integral part of extending your company’s digital reach. 3. How to Turn the Funnel into Tangible Digital Action Lastly, and most importantly, digital professionals need to understand which digital media are relevant for each stage of the hotel/travel journey, and how to gauge the ROI for each. Wherever possible, seek to eliminate guesswork: quality hotel digital marketers need to fully embrace data reporting and analytics, in order to properly track results and develop actionable strategies for the future.

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, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, OTA, Uncategorized

Friday Freebie: Hotel PPC, 7 Ways to Improve ROI

September 29, 2017 • By
image1 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: Seven expert tweaks for your hotel’s PPC. Managing hotel PPC campaigns can be a beast. From researching extensively for keywords, to monitoring which terms convert into traffic or bookings, to making adjustments depending on the season, weather, destination, special events…yikes. It’s a lengthy and thorough process that requires more time than most hoteliers realize. The good news: Hotels that take the time and effort to learn what really matters will see an uptick in their ROI and conversions. Today, Raisa McDonald, Search Engine Marketing Manager at Tambourine, gives us 7 ways hoteliers can boost profitability and improve their hotel PPC campaign performance. 1. Use Both Broad and Exact Match Keywords This is about quality over quantity. “Be sure to include exact match and broad match so your ads are displayed whenever someone does a search that is relevant to your keywords,“ Raisa points out. Many hoteliers waste money investing solely on broad match keywords, which is Google’s default option. However, this means you are spending money on irrelevant traffic that isn’t converting or qualified in the first place. Broad keywords will pull up in searches that include your key terms in any order and even with misspellings. For example, a broad search term of ‘Nashville hotels’ means your hotel will come up even for ‘Nashville Schools,’ ‘nashville gyms’, ‘san diego hotels’ or ‘hotels.’ Instead, turn to more restrictive match types, like exact match keywords. Your volume will decrease, however, your hotel ads will be shown to a more relevant audience, meaning more conversions and clicks. 2. Avoid Going Over Your Daily Budget Early in the Day It’s important to stay on top of your PPC spend. “Going over your budget too early can limit the amount of potential customers seeing your hotel’s ads, which can mean you may be missing out on conversions,” warns Raisa. To avoid this from happening, she suggests using an ad schedule to control when your ads are displayed. 3. Monitor and Track Conversions The foundation of any successful hotel PPC campaign is analytics and tracking results. After all, having a strategy in place for conversion tracking is key to knowing how well (or poorly) your campaigns are performing. “Not all conversions are the same nor are all conversions about immediate bookings,” Raisa explains. So, if your conversion goal is to get more calls from your ads, you should make sure your settings are properly configured to track when and where the calls are coming from, she suggests. Only with this insight will you know which placements, ads and key terms lead to conversions and are actually worth bidding on. 4. Max Out All Possible Extensions  Google AdWords extensions allow you to add more information to your hotel ad beyond the basic URL, ad copy and headline. The more space your ad takes up and the more details you include makes it more likely for your ad to stand out and get clicked on. And more clicks usually means you’ll pay less per click, as well as boost your conversions. “So, make sure your ads have all the extensions possible to get the most ad real estate on the Google search page,” Raisa advises. 5. Bonus Tip: Add in Information About Recent Hotel Promotions One of Google’s newest Adwords features is called the promotion extension, which can be used by advertisers to show a current promotion or sale going on at their property. This extension is displayed as a part of the search ad and can help to bring more customers to the site and increase bookings. 6. Test, Test, and Test Again Frequent adjustments are usually necessary throughout the lifetime of your PPC campaign. So, testing is the best way to optimize your PPC spend. “Implementing different ad copies to see which one performs better is a good way to see what works for your campaign and gets the most conversions,” Raisa explains. Alter just one variable at a time to get the test data you need. "Be sure to write quality ads and check for any grammatical errors," Raisa adds.  Also, don’t leave your test running for too long. A common mistake is allowing the ‘losing’ ad too much screen time which diminishes the visibility of the ‘winner.’ 7. Tap Income Levels One of Raisa’s advanced tactics includes household income targeting. “This is a good way to advertise to users within a certain geo-location based on their average household income,” Raisa explains. Data gathered from the IRS is used with this strategy to help your ads reach a more qualified audience.

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, Uncategorized

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

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

5 Things Hotel Marketers Are Celebrating This July 4th

July 3, 2017 • By
Hotel sales and marketing pros have a lot to be happy about this year. image1 This Independence Day, hoteliers are not only celebrating a long weekend bustling with holiday travelers, but all the other indicators that prove there are more sunny skies ahead for the industry: 1) A Winning Trifecta: Thriving Group Business, Stable Economy & A Positive Hotel Market  The hotel industry’s up cycle has exceeded expectations. Occupancy rose 1.5 percent, driven by an increase in demand of 3.4 percent. ADR increased 2 percent and RevPAR rose by 3.6 percent – making May 2017 the 87th month of consecutive RevPAR growth. Even after two months with a declining pipeline of new rooms, the number of new room construction reached 192,000. This is a small increase (April 2017’s count was 189,000) and shows that the pipeline of new construction is flourishing, but at a slower pace. Most of the new construction focuses on select-service hotels without substantial meeting space, which is a boon for hoteliers overseeing full-service properties who continue to see an uptick in their booking pace as large groups compete to lock in venues.  image2 2) Owners’ Investment in a Remarkable Product You can be out-of-this-world creative. You can have the wittiest, most clever and memorable hotel marketing concept. You can even have a generous hotel marketing budget to pay for massive exposure in front of all the right audiences. Yet, all of that means nothing without a truly differentiated hotel product. If your property is providing a lackluster experience with frayed edges, outdated décor, and musty smells, no amount of brilliant marketing can save you from the downward spiral of lost revenue. New hotels with bold concepts and fresh guest experiences are springing up in all directions, so hotel owners need to invest in their properties to keep up with modern expectations. Thankfully, more and more hotel owners are realizing that the best hotel marketing investment they can make is in enhancing their property, the experience and the service. 3) The Lowest Summer Gas Prices in Years The start of summer is not normally a time for low gas prices, since so many people are taking to the road and creating demand. However, with the recent drop in oil costs, travelers are elated to find some of the lowest summer prices at the pumps for the first time in 12 years. In fact, this holiday weekend’s prices could be the lowest 4th of July gas prices since 2005. According to AAA, gas prices have been falling every day since June 2nd and are expected to keep dropping. Consider us pumped for all the road travelers ahead. 4) Expanding Awareness of Book Direct Benefits Fueled by affordable digital marketing tools and increasing comfort in deploying them, hotel marketers are feeling more confident and emboldened to push for direct bookings instead of relying on OTAs to fill their rooms. In April, Hyatt Hotels became the latest brand to offer a discount to guests who book directly from the Hyatt website, following similar programs by Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. These moves by the major chains are heightening public recognition of the benefits of booking direct and are chipping away at the myth that OTAs save money. With the stage set by industry titans and all the advanced marketing tools and metrics available to hoteliers, we expect this momentum to continue to swell. 5) Social Media Evangelists Hotels now have small, private armies of unpaid marketing staff: guests who Instagram, Snap, Facebook and Tweet while eating breakfast in bed, lounging by the pool, and watching the sunset from their balconies. Each post boosts awareness for your hotel and bolsters your hotel’s reach… all without your staff lifting a finger or spending a dime. And, even after checking out, guests continue to post photo albums and videos of their vacations. When guests gush about their travels, they’re creating content that is hotel marketing gold. You can even easily discover and collect Instagram photos posted by your guests using a tool like our new Tout.

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

Are Siri and Alexa Interrupting Hotel Search Marketing?

June 27, 2017 • By
Hotel search engine marketing is changing… are you ready?  image1 Key Takeaways:
  • Voice search and voice assistants are gaining popularity with no signs of slowing down.
  • This fundamental shift in search behavior impacts your current SEO strategy and will influence conversions and content discovery.
  • People using voice search tend to ask questions using long-tail keyword phrases, driving the need for relevant content addressing those questions.
“Siri, what is the biggest marketing trend that impacts my hotel’s search rankings?” Just within the past few years, voice-driven search and virtual assistants (also referred to as ‘digital assistants’) have experienced a meteoric rise as more and more people turn to Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Google Home or Amazon’s Echo to research information. In fact, the Echo and the Echo Dot were Amazon’s best selling products in 2016. Now, with Apple’s recently announced Apple HomePod (to be released December 2017), virtual assistants will be making their way into more homes and into our daily lives, routines and reality. According to Google, 20% percent of searches are completed by voice. With 11 billion daily searches being conducted on Google, that equates to 2.75 million Google voice searches each day.  And, that number is expected to rise exponentially over the next few years. Virtual assistants and voice searches are actively shaping the future of hotel SEO and changing how hotel marketers view their keywords and content. Plus, they are already poised to play a bigger role in driving conversions. Voice Search Strategies to Implement Now  This increasingly vocal world and continual evolution of search engine results will present challenges for hotels and will force hotel marketers to rewrite their content and SEO playbook. Fortunately, changes have been gradual and we’re not seeing a full-blown disruption just yet. This buys hoteliers more time to prepare for changes in hotel search that are on the horizon. Here’s what hotels can do right now to address this fundamental shift in how consumers are conducting hotel searches:
  1. Study Your Hotel’s Keyword Trends The fundamental rules of SEO still apply: hotels must understand how guests are finding them via voice search and the type of phrases they use. The clearest trend driven by voice search is the rise of long-tail keyword phrases. Unlike a typed Google search, people tend to ask virtual assistants questions (“What’s a good business hotel in the Gold Coast in Chicago?” vs “gold coast business hotel”). What are guests asking about hotels in your area and your hotel specifically? What are guests asking about travel to your destination? Optimize for these long-tail keyword phrases.
  2. Create a FAQ Page Addressing These Long-Tail Questions Hotels should set up FAQ pages on their websites that match the voice queries people use to find them online. Address these voice queries with mobile-friendly property and destination guides that give guests the information they are asking for. Hotel brands that address the ‘who, what, when, where and how’ questions and provide relevant answers will outrank their compset. image2
  3. Extend FAQ Strategy to Other Content Build valuable content around your audience’s voice search keywords and build in answers to those phrases and questions in your hotel’s web pages, social media posts, and blog posts.
  4. Stay on Top of Evolving Search Trends Monitor and stay up-to-date on your hotel’s real-time search insights. Which search phrases are being asked more or less often? What is happening in your destination or hotel that impacts what people are asking? Frequent monitoring allows you to be nimble and often gives you an edge.
  5. Write Conversationally Not only will your guests enjoy your brand more with a natural voice, but this is the language spoken by voice search. Content won’t rate with Google Now or Siri if it's not written in a natural voice. People are likely to ask Siri, ‘What hotel offers a free shuttle to the Miami airport?’ versus ‘free shuttle airport Miami.’ Google has been trying to minimize the relevance of keywords in search, with so many marketers over-optimizing and stuffing in keywords anywhere and everywhere they can. Voice search offers an opportunity to focus more on the language and tone we use naturally.
  6. Brace for Future Google Algorithm Updates Google has a history of driving SEO professionals crazy by constantly changing the set of rules that prioritize search rankings. While Google hasn’t announced any penalties for hotel websites that don’t cater to voice searches, there is always the possibility of that changing in the near future.
  7. Don’t Dismiss Traditional Search Consider voice search as a vital supplement to your SEO strategy, not a replacement. For now, despite the rise of voice assistants, the majority of search is conducted through typed queries on a mobile device or desktop. Both text searches and voice searches have a place in hotel marketing, so cater to talkers and typers alike.
Also see: The Painful Truth About Hotel SEO 

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: Do This to Improve Organic Results

June 23, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Improve organic search results by positioning your hotel as the epicenter of your destination.  Today’s travelers are investing in authentic, intimate experiences that immerse them in the local life and culture. They’re hungry for insider secrets and seeing parts of a city that travelers usually don’t get to see, not just the big-ticket attractions.  And, they’re looking for a hotel that will give them front-row seats to all of that. When they start researching hotel options online, they don’t start with ‘your hotel name.’ Instead, they’ll use search terms such as: “hotels near Santa Monica beach” “Santa Monica pier hotels” “hotels on third street promenade Santa Monica” In short, travelers prioritize the destination first, and hotels second. One smart way to capture more online views and come up in more search results is to boost the destination content on your website. Here are some tips:
  • Don’t simply use your destination pages as a directory of major local attractions. Include lesser-known must-see local spots and write short relevant descriptions for each.
  • Share insider tips for exploring the city.
  • Target long tail search queries by including content that answers common travel questions. A hotel site is more likely to rank for long tail search terms that have less competition and will see a rise in user engagement.
  • Include distances from your hotel.
  • Showcase loved-by-local coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants located in your neighborhood.
  • Include seasonal suggestions, including ‘Holiday activities in Boston’ or ‘Summer activities in Breckenridge.’
  • Keep up a destination calendar of fun neighborhood events that can offer visitors a taste of local life.
Get More: Want More Hotel Revenue? Start Selling Your Destination

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