Browsing Tag

hospitality

3 Fast, Fresh Lessons Hoteliers Can Learn From Dominos

March 14, 2017 • By

In a world of lightning-fast technology and constant industry disruption, one skill has risen as a top necessity for older companies to survive:

Innovation.

We’ll be the first to tell you that refusing to adapt and adhere to modern traveler tastes, behaviors and preferences will be the fastest road to failure.

We love seeing how some older companies in other industries own their responsibility to not only keep up with technology, but to embrace it as a product itself… and Dominos (yes, the pizza maker) is the perfect example of this.

How did this consumer-centric company “toss” aside their old ways, refuse to play it safe and innovate? A recent article in the Harvard Business Review talks about how Domino’s focused on innovation... and reveals a number of important lessons hoteliers can borrow:

1. Take Another Slice of Technology

Dominos in Action: Half of Dominos' headquarter office works on software and analytics. And, the company now proudly proclaims that they are just as much a technology company as a pizza company. This has transformed their customers’ ordering experience, giving them options to order by voice on the Domino app, by text or emoji and allowing them to track their delivery order.

Hotelier Lesson: Not only are your guests’ lives immersed in technology, but their guest experience with you is deeply affected by technology as well. And as millennials become the primary market audience, your ability to present a frictionless “technology experience” will affect your success. Can guests book easily on mobile? Can they order room service from an app or in-room iPad? Can they check in without standing in a line after a long flight?  What are you doing to use technology to remove friction from the booking and stay phases of customer interaction?

2. Your Ingredients Aren’t Tasty Enough

Dominos in Action: Instead of hiding behind inventive marketing, Dominos opted for transparency and some well-placed self-deprecation. When they engineered their comeback, their effort included ads that admitted their pizza wasn’t the best, even producing a commercial featuring customers comparing their pizza to cardboard.

This risky strategy worked in their favor, as it endeared customers and was the catalyst for the chain to reinvent all of their pizzas with better ingredients and an expanded menu that is now worthy of their customers' praise. They now credit their improved pizza product as the centerpiece for their successful rebound.

Hotelier Lesson: Here’s the universal truth: successful hotel marketing strategies start with a remarkable product. You can’t simply rely on marketing dollars to magically pull in more bookings. Too many hotels invest in clever, flashy campaigns, without making any significant improvements to their properties itself or investing in extraordinary experiences that will wow guests. Advertising should never receive blame for a hotel’s failure or credit for its success. No amount of marketing can overcome an inferior guest experience.

3. Refuse to Play it Safe

Dominos in Action: In order for Dominos to engineer such a triumphant comeback, it was essential to scrap their current marketing model and blaze into something totally different. They unleashed a series of innovative ways for customers to interact with the brand and order, including text- and emoji-enabled ordering, a new crowd-sourced delivery car design and an Uber-like pizza tracker that allows customers to track their pizza delivery. This positioned their 56-year-old company as a nimble, tech-enabled disruption machine, instead of the dinosaur they could have been if they had not taken any risks.

Hotelier Lesson: Most owners want to flip their assets reasonably quickly. Asset and management companies want to earn their fees and property-level folks want to keep their jobs... so many hotels are apathetic about innovation. They want to fly under the radar, quietly market their properties without fanfare and stay true to how things have always been done. These are prime examples of ‘omission bias’ (worrying more about the potential consequences of a bad move, rather than the dangers of apathy and inaction) and ‘loss aversion’ (playing to avoid losing, instead of playing to win).

Both of these principles do nothing but stifle your hotel’s creativity and innovation, which (as we stated earlier) is essential to survive in a world of increasing competition and non-stop disruption.

Lesson learned?

Doing nothing and continuing to market your property ‘as usual’ is the riskiest move of them all.


 About Tambourine

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

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

Stop Dangling the Wrong Carrots: How Revenue Incentive Plans Hurt Profits

March 7, 2017 • By

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Occupancy is high. You’re crushing your RevPar Index. And, you’re on pace to surpass your quarterly revenue targets as well as last year’s revenue.

From the look of things, your revenue team (this includes marketing and revenue management) is blazing to success and should be credited and applauded for driving huge profits to your property.

But, wait.

Look closer. It’s NOT increased profits your revenue team produced. It was increased revenue.

Right now, most revenue teams aren’t driven to optimize profitability at their properties. Instead, they are incentivized to boost revenue – profit margins and rising costs be damned.

The fault doesn’t lie entirely with your marketing and revenue team, however. Perhaps it’s time to critically examine your RM incentive plan structure instead?

The Hidden Risk of Current Revenue Management Incentives

To achieve a bonus today, most revenue managers are only tasked with exceeding top-line targets, like revenue variance to budget and variance to last year’s revenue. Plus, a favorite metric that hotels use is RevPar index, suggesting most owners want to see performance relative to the compset, instead of internal benchmarks. 

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“However, by incentivizing revenue managers to work on boosting revenues only, they’re essentially taking their eyes off of high expenses and any rising costs,” said Jeff Spaccio, Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing In Residence at Tambourine. “Revenue doesn’t equate to profit.”

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While revenue managers are ultimately responsible for delivering profits to their properties, current incentive programs motivate RM teams to prioritize driving up revenues over the bottom line.

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Take an Honest Look at Channel Costs

Revenue managers must be cognizant of, and accountable for, costs and how they impact the bottom line, Spaccio said.

One of the biggest missteps under current incentive plans is that revenue managers aren’t motivated to pay close attention to which channels are costing the hotel the most and on the other end, which channels offer the most value.

Hotels should champion all efforts to drive direct bookings from their lowest cost channel – their own brand website, Spaccio recommends. This also means investing in hotel social media marketing, hotel search engine marketing and hotel PPC campaigns to drive traffic to the site.

Plus, don’t be hypnotized by the seemingly high revenues that OTA bookings can deliver. With commissions of 15 – 30%, third party websites are by far a hotel’s most expensive distribution channel.

In the end, driving bookings through your own website will have the greatest impact on optimizing profits.

The Vital Bottomline: Revenue Managers Should Impact Profits, Not Just Revenue

It’s time for hotels to maximize their profits by restructuring their revenue management incentive plans.

“After all, owners can only take profits to the bank,” Spaccio said.

First, motivate revenue managers to get well-acquainted with costs and learn where to reduce wasteful spending. They should be well aware of the cost per booking and your hotel should establish how much those reservations should cost.

Then, at the minimum, a revenue manager should meet or exceed your gross operating profit projections BEFORE being paid a bonus off the top-line incentive.

Continue to reward revenue managers for generating revenues beyond the forecasted targets, but in the end, incentives should be driven by the ability to exceed profitability.

It’s only with the proper incentives in place that revenue managers will pay more attention to the true net of any booking and prioritize boosting your bottom line.

 

 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

7 Signs Your Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

February 28, 2017 • By

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It’s easy to see how things can go off course in hotel marketing.

With an array of channels, disparate vendors and multiple audience segments to manage, it’s inevitable that some things may fall through the cracks, questions will go unanswered and mistakes could quickly multiply.

The good news is that even if your hotel marketing is out of control from time to time, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost control.

You are still at the helm and can turn things around whenever you decide to acknowledge the wrong turns you’ve made and the missing pieces you overlooked.

Here are a few of the telltale signs that your hotel marketing might need a reality check… and how to turn things around:

1. You’re Clueless About How Much You Pay OTAs

Sooner or later, your owners or managers will ask you, “How much are these OTA bookings really costing us?” It’s a question that all hoteliers dread. Why? Because OTA commissions are often opaque. They generally pay a net rate to the hotel, after collecting their commission. Unfortunately, this means the fees being paid to OTAs will never show up as an expense on your P&L statements.

Not only do these invisible marketing expenses cost significantly more than direct bookings, they also pose a threat to your other marketing assets as well. When owners look at the budget to see which marketing costs to scale back on, the first thing on the chopping blocks are the expenses that are actually shown, even if they produce profitable bookings, such as your hotel website.

So hidden OTA costs are allowed to continue, while your other marketing investments are reduced. You should specifically examine and document how much each OTA booking costs vs the actual cost per booking of alternative channels.

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2.  Too Many Vendors, Too Much Chaos

The more marketing 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.   

The key is to consolidate.

Narrow down your marketing partners to those who you trust the most, who produce the best and those who can handle multiple critical functions.

3. You Can’t Measure Your Contributions

Hotel owners and managers expect their marketing teams to contribute to their revenue targets IN MEASURABLE WAYS. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography.

This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.

To show how your marketing efforts are contributing to the hotel’s revenue, calculate your marketing cost per booking (MCPB). Use this figure to prove your team’s value and make sure you’re given the proper correlated amount of marketing funds next year. 4. You’re Unable (or Afraid) to Discuss Property Upgrades With Owners

For the past few years, major hotel brands have invested millions in revamping their current properties or launching new collections in response to the expectations of modern travelers. With so many of these new or freshly renovated/re-imagined properties vying for your guests’ attention, it’s more important than ever to keep up and stay competitive by offering remarkable experiences, aesthetics and amenities.

It’s vital that your ownership is on board to invest in the necessary renovations, redesigns and upgrades. Or else, don’t be surprised when guests pass you over for the newer kid on the block. No amount of creativity and provocative marketing can mask an aging and tired property.

Remind your ownership of that unavoidable reality in the nicest possible way.

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5. You Fail at Rate Parity

We get it.

Managing rates can get complicated. Setting rates every day, for every room, on every channel can easily get overwhelming and confusing. And, not just for you, but your customers, as well. 

Maintaining rate and market parity is vital to your bottom line. If you and your revenue managers fall asleep at the wheel, you can bet you’ll quickly be surrendering revenue.

This is about diligently staying on top of all the channels, using the right automation tools and working with a conscientious revenue manager. Monitor your comp set’s rate strategy weekly to ensure you have market parity.

6. You Are Unable to Increase Meetings and Events Lead Flow Meetings and events are often a hotel’s game changer. And, you know that a single group’s spend on event venues, F&B, guest rooms and other ancillary services can quickly help you meet budget.

But, what if your group sales numbers remain stagnant, leads consistently go cold and sales calls fail to produce interest?

Something is wrong, but it’s nothing that you – a bold, brilliant and boundless hospitality leader – can’t fix. There are numerous ways to get in front of meeting planners, earn their trust and compete for and win their event contracts.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to freshen up your sales approach with new tactics. Some of our favorites include:

7. Your Guest Sentiment is Plummeting

Every hotel has their share of negative reviews. But, this doesn’t give you a hall pass to shrug them off. How a hotel decides to manage guest reviews will determine if that property shines or stumbles in the future.

Notice your TripAdvisor score declining or stagnating? This means your owners and management staff have largely ignored the golden nuggets of feedback that guests leave for them. Do guests express their irritation with the noisy air conditioners in the rooms? Are there several complaints about the lackluster breakfast buffet? Do guests often mention a rude staff member?

Frankly, if you receive the same complaint twice, that is already one time too many. Bad service, bad sleep, bad food options and a host of other things can essentially ruin a guest’s opinion of you and their decision whether or not to come back.

Consider your guests as your eyes and ears to the problems that are holding your hotel back. When something is broken, actually fix it. Don’t just promise to ‘look into it,’ then walk away.


 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

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

Friday Freebie: Are You in the Hotel Business… Or the Experience Business?

February 24, 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: Realize that you are not in the hotel business, you’re in the experience business. 

Here’s a credo hotel marketers need to be reminded of every once in a while:

It’s not about you.

Oftentimes, hotel marketers lose sight of who their target audience is and instead produce self-serving marketing assets that simply tout the hotel’s amenities.

But, let’s be honest: Guests aren’t driven to book your hotel based on the thread count of your bed sheets, your premium TV channels or 24-hour room service.

The world’s greatest marketers realize that they have to touch emotions to tap wallets.  Nike doesn’t talk much about its advanced shoe materials, instead they celebrate the triumph of the athletic EXPERIENCE!  And Revlon famously said: “We make cosmetics… but we sell hope.”

Similarly, today’s hotel guests are also interested in experiences.

So, focus all of your hotel marketing strategies – from your website, to your hotel social media, to your hotel PPC ads – to showcase how your guests can uniquely experience the destination and how a stay at your property is more remarkable than they could experience anywhere else locally.

Look closely at your hotel's website: Does it promise the viewer an experience that will change their perspective on (insert your city here)? How have you integrated the culture, food, history and nature of your surroundings INTO your story?

Stop shilling the mundane of your property and start crafting a story about the guest experience that will forever change the way they perceive (insert your city here again).

Get more: The Top Five Myths in Hotel Marketing Right Now


About Tambourine

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

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

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

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

The Hidden Chasm: Why Your Bookings Keep Falling into the Abyss

February 7, 2017 • By

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The guest’s road from your hotel marketing campaigns, to your website and finally to online booking is a delicate, razors’ edge journey filled with several opportunities for the customer to bounce, turn back, and never return.

However, many hoteliers assume a booking is guaranteed once a visitor is on the website and ready to buy. But, beware. There is a dangerous “chasm” between your hotel website and your booking engine, where potential guests can likely ‘fall off”  if you’re not cautious.

Here are the most common ways to lose potential guests transitioning from your Website to your booking engine:

1. Lack of Personalization

Personalization is a big industry buzz word right now. But cutting through all the hype, the one place where personalization can truly make an immediate impact is on your direct website.

How?

When your hotel website and booking engine are integrated by one provider, personalized web experiences can be created instantly and dynamically. You can show gated and loyalty rates to recognized members of any ‘closed group’ your hotel wants to create.

Here are a few more examples:

• When a guest from Argentina visits your website and moves into the booking engine, your website can automatically pass the user’s location and localize room rates in the booking engine to the guest’s native currency.

• A past guest (“Alex” in this case) revisits your website after checking dates a week before. You can now present dynamic rate promos only available to loyal past guests.  Check out this example from our client, Cassa Times Square NYC:

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

2. A Slow Loading Booking Engine

It takes mere seconds to kill a booking. Research shows that 25% of consumers will leave a website if it takes more than four seconds to load. That figure jumps beyond 50% if your booking engine takes up to 10 seconds to load.

In a world of instant gratification and lightening-fast internet speed, guests expect every part of your hotel’s online experience to load immediately. Every moment of delay gives the customer more and more reason to abandon you in search of something better and faster.

Slow page loads and annoying delays are common when a customer plugs in their dates or a discount rate code into the booking engine. Don’t lose a hard-earned booking because of something as simple as speed.

Test your load times on different browsers and from mobile devices, which is especially important since many guests are now relying on their own cellular connections (non high-speed wifi) to make online purchases.

3. Inconsistent Experiences Between Website to Booking Engine

The best booking engines are the ones that go unnoticed by the guest. Being transferred someplace that looks and feels different to complete a transaction can cause guests to feel uneasy. This is why user experience (UX) is vital for online transactions.

Even the smallest of changes, like different fonts or different colors, can be jarring to your guests and chip away at the delicate trust and reliability that you worked so hard to establish. So, keep guest confidence high with a seamless transition and a consistent appearance.

A continuous, seamless customer experience is one of the major benefits of using one company for both your website and your booking engine. Customers will move smoothly from examining your guestrooms, looking at property photos and reading up on your amenities, to taking out their credit card and making a reservation.


 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


Booking Engine, Direct Booking, Direct Bookings, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing

Friday Freebie: Stop Being a Groundhog: Get Out From Under Your Desk

February 3, 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: Stop being a hotel marketing groundhog … Rekindle your hotel marketing creativity by getting out of the office to talk to guests.

It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of hotel marketing.

Tasks like creating marketing assets, engaging with your audience on social media and analyzing data pretty much guarantees that you’ll be fixated on your computer screen for most of the day.

However, marketing that has the most impact and produces the highest amount of conversion requires creativity and knowing your audience. The easiest way to achieve both is to step out of your office everyday and speak directly to members of your marketing audience. They’re lingering in the lobby, enjoying lunch in the restaurant and reading books on the terrace. Your current guests are your best springboards for brilliant marketing ideas.

Start a conversation and ask how their stay is going, what surprised them about the property, what they’re enjoying the most and what they would miss if your hotel closed? Making it a habit to speak directly with your marketing audience will uncover what your hotel experience lacks, trigger creative solutions and inspire fresh approaches to marketing campaigns – all benefits you could never achieve by hunkering down in your office.   

Get More: Are You a Hotel Marketing Groundhog?


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

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

10 Secrets of Luxury Hotel Websites (Part 2)

January 31, 2017 • By

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Last week we covered the first five secrets of luxury hotel websites … Here’s Part 2 and the final five tips for luxury hotels and resorts:

6) Luxury Hotel Websites Synthesize Design and E-Commerce

Clearly, luxury hotels need to be vigilant about their online presentation and perception, but the savviest upscale properties understand that e-commerce tactics and visually arresting design CAN coexist beautifully … and profitably.

A few elements to keep in mind:

• There is nothing inelegant about a clear and consistent call to action. A “Check Availability” button in a prominent location at all times can be designed in an understated manner and regardless of your booking engine partner, the front end booking widget experience can be custom designed in a refined manner rather than using the standard default widget.

• Templates and do-it-yourself content management systems can hinder your ability to extend your brand tone into the e-commerce realm. Make sure your website developer has the ability to implement all aspects of your branding including colors, patterns, textures, fonts and photographic and copywriting tone.

• Mapping the location of the hotel and its surrounding attractions are critical to e-commerce conversions. However, you don’t have to use canned/default map features and colors. Google Maps can be customized to display only the information relevant to your brand, as well as its brand colors and tones.

• The mantra of luxury branding is: “Less is more.” A more understated, “clean” layout not only harkens backs to luxury print design and branding campaigns of the past, but it also leads to faster page load speeds and better SEO results. Google is now indexing mobile site structures first. This means, fewer mobile pages and more succinct and efficient websites.

• With increases in Internet speeds and pervasive wifi, video (the ultimate branding and storytelling medium) has become a powerful inspirational tool for luxury hotel websites. A good inspirational video extends user engagement and increases entrances into the booking engine.

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7) Luxury Hotel Websites Welcome Global Visitors

Just within the past decade, the U.S. hotel industry has seen a significant uplift in wealthy international travelers. This growth in global guests and the ease of digital marketing across borders has given luxury hotels massive opportunities to expand into new markets and succeed internationally.

However, when it comes to your hotel going global, it doesn’t make sense to stick with a one-size-fits-all hotel web design or booking engine. Every culture has its own assumptions, ideals and values. What works in one country may flop in another. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

• Get a Real Translation

If international visitors go to your hotel’s website and just see English, it sends a message that their business isn’t important or that you don’t care to make their online experience an inviting one. And don’t make the lazy mistake of Google translating all of your website copy, then calling it a day. Reaching international travelers will take much more than a lazy word-for-word replacement. It requires taking into account the nuances, the cliché phrases and the style of language of your specific target.

Currency and Payment Options

Once you have overseas visitors hooked with a successfully localized hotel website, don’t lose them to an all-American, all-English booking engine that displays room rates only in U.S. dollars. The same principle goes for guest room and suite measurements. Most of the world uses the metric system, so don’t describe rooms with feet and inches.

  Dates and Times

Avoid confusion by displaying the times and dates in the preferred local format. This also guarantees a seamless user experience for international guests who are accustomed to different formats than what your American guests are acquainted with. Surprisingly, the format of MM/DD/YY is unique to the U.S. (and oftentimes used in Canada too, adding to the confusion). While Japan uses YY/MM/DD and most of Europe uses DD/MM/YY.

  Enable Language Toggle

We can’t always assume a guest’s native language based on where they live. So, it makes sense to enable guests to specify and easily toggle the language that suits them best. 

8) Luxury Hotel Websites Convey a Luxury Service Culture

Wealthy travelers expect VIP treatment and the highest caliber of hospitality from start to finish. Not only do luxury hotel brands invest heavily in service training and empowering their staff, they showcase that dedication to service and genuine hospitality directly on their website itself. Ritz Carlton's staff lives by their Gold Standard credo to “fulfill even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.”

This commitment must extend to the first touch many potential guests have with your hotel, through the phone and chat agents made available via your website. These operators must understand the details of your luxury service experience and be able to convey it via chat and phone.

9) Luxury Hotel Websites Enable Personalization

Shoppers who visit luxury stores expect and appreciate a personalized experience. Luxury hotel e-commerce is no different. Smart hoteliers in the upscale and luxury categories have built-in personalization features in their e-commerce experiences, including:

Detection of the website user’s search engine query or location and instant presentation of dynamic content (or offers) that match the user’s interest (ex: “adjoining rooms on the beach”).

• Smarter presentation of room categories that enables guests to select rooms based on their personal preferences (ex: “quiet, away from elevators, low-floor or ocean-view).

• Digital tracking of loyal past guests (and their past booking behavior) and instant dynamic presentation of offers, content and images that match their profile (ex: past guests can instantly be recognized and offered a “loyal guest” discount which creates kinship and reduces potential abandonment to OTAs).

10) Luxury Hotel Websites Respect Users’ Time

High-end guests often have more money than time … So they seek amenities and services that reduce friction and allow them to get what they want quickly. Smart luxury properties feature these capabilities right on their website, such as mobile check-in, 24/7 service butlers, on-site activities and rentals, service requests by SMS, children programs, or airport transfers. Further, high-end customers want to know they can reach a real person at any time. So, luxury properties lower the barriers to staff by making it simple to chat, call or email directly from their property's website and by promising quick response times (some even offer a convenient “call-back service”). The idea is to make their affluent customers feel like a part of an exclusive community and to give them multiple direct lines of communication to your staff.

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: Find Out What Your Compset Is Up To… Automatically

January 27, 2017 • By

FridayFreebie-Tambourine

Welcome to the Friday Freebie!  

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

This Week’s Freebie: Use free web-based tools to get instant updates on your competitor’s moves and offers.

Today’s travelers are extremely fickle and can be easily swayed by the latest competitor promo. So, never lose track of what your comp set is doing. There are so many tools and tactics at your disposal, that you should never be taken by surprise when a competitor starts outperforming you.

One of the easiest and most revealing ways to keep tabs on other hotels is to find out what their own guests are saying about them. Check in on their latest guest reviews on TripAdvisor and make a special note of what annoys their guests, as well as what delights them. (Your own review analysis tools may even allow you to monitor compset properties as well).

Aside from monitoring compset Trip Advisor reviews, here are a few other free ways to stay on top of competitive intelligence:

Check out MOAT: an awesome free tool that displays ads served by other hotels across the web. You can view not only the actual creative unit, but also other details like what website it appeared on, dimensions of the ad, file size of the ad, and file type of the ad. • Set up Google Alerts for each competitor.

• Subscribe/follow their social media feeds.

• Subscribe to their email list.

• Follow your top competitors automatically in your LinkedIn Sales Navigator dashboard.

These simple, smart practices will ensure you’re staying one step ahead of everyone else in your market.

Get More: 6 Ways for Hotel Marketers to Keep an Eye On their Comp Set


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, Comp Set, Direct Bookings, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice

10 Secrets of Luxury Hotel Websites (Part 1)

January 24, 2017 • By

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Unique amenities, exclusive experiences and personalized service used to be the proprietary domain of luxury hotels … but now these offerings have become mainstream in hotels from midscale upwards.

This means that high-end hospitality brands have had to raise the bar even higher to convey an extraordinary guest experience and differentiate themselves in meaningful ways.

But this isn’t easy in the online world, where pixels alone can't create a luxury experience. Making a webpage feel luxurious is indeed a challenge for many hoteliers.

Whether they are appealing to young affluents or established wealthy travelers, here are the secrets that luxury properties use to engage and convert their direct hotel website visitors:

1) Luxury Hotel Websites Tell a Story When consumers buy luxury goods they are buying into a story. BMW’s story, for example, is crafting luxurious cars. For Rolex, it's a long history of fine Swiss watchmaking. Consumers want to be part of a something with cachet.

Something special and aspirational.

In the same way, affluent customers don’t just book rooms, they seek hotels that offer a story they want to be part of. Luxury hotel brands understand that booking a night on their property isn’t a functional or financial decision – it’s an emotional one. So, they know that their website has to craft a story that transcends the brick and mortar property itself.

2) Luxury Hotel Websites Celebrate F&B

Luxury consumers consider food to be a vital component of their travel experience. So, smart upscale hotel brands know how to showcase their unique food and beverage offerings, including the connection to local, sustainable, and organic markets and purveyors, their chef’s background and inspiration, as well as showing their hotel’s proximity to authentic foodie finds, like local restaurants, farmers markets, etc.

3) Luxury Hotel Websites Emphasize Health and Wellness Affluent guests are invested in keeping a healthy and active lifestyle both at home and on the road. Luxury hotels create experiences centered around their guests’ strive for wellness, including fitness programs like spin classes, outdoor yoga and meditation, nature walks, “bootcamp” classes and special menus focused on clean eating. Spas are also being reinvented as wellness retreats where guests not only get pampered with spa treatments, but indulge in therapies for their mind, body and soul. 4) Luxury Hotel Websites Offer Social Validation

Luxury brands understand the power of social proof. Known as one of the six weapons of influence, social proof is the idea that people are more apt to purchase things that are endorsed by people they trust.

Affluent guests are highly cynical about marketing fluff and hyperbole. But they do trust each other … so they will spend time carefully reading past guest reviews to see what other travelers have experienced before them. They want to know that you are what you say you are and that you’re worthy of their investment. The best way for you to establish trust and “social validation” directly from your website is to prominently showcase select TripAdvisor reviews, previous guests' Instagram photos, respected magazine awards and any major industry accolades.

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5) Luxury Hotel Websites Promise to Change the Viewers’ Perspective

While affluent consumers have the ability to buy whatever they want, they invest in the products and experiences that inspire them and promise to change their perspective on life. They don’t just want front-row access to the destination, they want to be a part of it. According to a TripAdvisor study, experiences and the promise of an enhanced perspective are what ultimately drive travelers to pull out their wallets.

Check out this chart from the TripAdvisor study, which shows the disparity between what travelers actually want vs. what hoteliers THINK travelers want:

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Luxury hotel brands respond to this desire by showcasing a culturally relevant experience that thrills and excites, rather than simply focusing on their plush beds or the premium coffee in the rooms.

Next week, check back for Part 2 of this article


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

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