Browsing Tag

hotels

The Official Gift Guide for Hotel Marketers

December 20, 2017 • By

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Forget the silly gadgets and fancy chocolates!

Listen up hotel owners and asset managers, we know what hotel marketers really want for the holidays…

Here’s our annual list of the things that hotel marketers tell us they crave the most:

1. They Want to Be Rewarded for Driving Measurable Revenue 

Hotel owners expect their marketing team to contribute to the hotel’s revenue targets in ways that can be tangibly measured.

And hotel marketers are responding!

By tracking their marketing cost-per-booking (MCPB) and return on ad spend, they are showcasing the marketing team’s direct ROI… this new breed of “revenue marketer” is moving away from the squishy, legacy metrics of hotel marketing into a new era of accountability (and hopefully increased compensation)!

2. They Want the Budget Correlated to Targets

Nothing would make hotel marketers happier this holiday season than a budget that was actually correlated to the targets being set for them (by segment)! Unfortunately, there are still many hotel owners who believe their sales and marketing teams can hit increasingly lofty revenue targets with less money and resources than the year before.

This year, hotel marketers are hoping to convince upper management that their ambitious revenue goals need to be supported with bigger budgets (and maybe even more staff). Let’s hope hotel owners realize that investing in marketing is one of the smartest moves they can make to boost revenue.

3. They Want Continued Investments for Direct Booking Campaigns

The launch of major campaigns by industry giants this year further reinforced the industry’s message on the benefits of purchasing directly through a hotel website rather than an OTA. But to rely solely on the AHLA, Marriott and Hilton to communicate these advantages to travelers is insufficient. Every property, regardless of size, affiliation or location, should be showcasing the benefits of booking direct and changing their message to expose the real weakness of OTAs.

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4. They Want Standardized Metrics That Really Matter

Instead of leaning on squishy metrics, most hotel marketers crave consensus on KPIs that will actually measure important things, including:

  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 generating more than 60 percent of your transient 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 BY SEGMENT: This metric showcases revenue goals versus actual results.
  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.

5. A Better Product… Please!

Successful hotel marketing depends on a great product.

Period. Full stop.

If you’re trying to sell a tired, flawed, aging or otherwise inferior hotel experience, no amount of marketing – no matter how innovative or brilliant – can avoid the inevitable downward spiral.

There are far too many hotels that continue to sink millions of marketing dollars to over-compensate for or to cover up an aging, lackluster, or grungy hotel product. Sadly, as long as owners delay investing in the appearance, service or amenities of the property, hotel marketers will continue to fight an uphill battle in attracting and retaining guests.

6. They Want to Celebrate Authentic Local Experiences

The vast majority of hotel marketers understand that today’s traveler cares as much or more about the EXPERIENCE than the thread count of the hotel’s sheets or the convenient parking. But not everyone is on board with converting the focus of a hotel’s marketing to focus on life-enriching experiences. Hotel marketers unanimously tell us they crave more time, resources and freedom to celebrate their properties’ connection to local experiences.

7. They Want Better Photography!

Like it or not, we’ve become a very visual society.

Just as important as a hotel’s service, extraordinary hotel digital marketing requires extraordinary photography because it plays such a strong role in consumers’ travel purchase process, from the inspiration phase to booking. Images define guest expectations and poor quality shots are the equivalent of telling potential guests that the hotel’s offerings are subpar, especially if the competitive set has better visual content on its website.

8. They Want to Decrease Their Dependence on OTAs

Yes, we know… statement of the obvious.

Everyone wants this, but rather than complaining, it’s time to change the overarching hotel industry strategy from emphasizing price parity to tapping into consumer fears of OTAs.

Instead of obsessing about Best Rate Guarantees, we all need to start focusing instead on how reservations, cancellations, changes, room selection and refunds are perceived by consumers when they book direct vs indirect.

Many consumers (especially older ones) have preexisting concerns about third-party bookings and fear that one mishap with an OTA could unravel their travel plans in seconds.

9.  Can We Get a Little Acknowledgment Please?

It’s not about ego.

It’s about progress… Marketers aren’t looking for a pat on the back!

What they want is for executives, owners, and hotel asset managers to understand all that falls on the shoulders of marketing. Because, when management truly understands the resources required, the marketing department usually gets the resources and the budget required to keep up with their compset and meet the revenue requirements of ownership.

10. They Want an End to the Rising Cost of Guest Acquisition!

Owners can’t control many of their rising costs, particularly debt service, brand fees and credit card fees. That’s why hotel owners and asset managers are looking more closely than ever at marketing costs—particularly the cost of guest acquisition—which are also rising fast.

According to experts, acquisition costs commonly in the range of 5% to 10% less than a decade ago have jumped to between 15% and 25%. If a hotel cannot acquire guests at a tolerable, sustainable rate, then the property is worthless as a long-term asset.

And one of the reasons that marketing costs are rising so quickly is because hotel marketers are often unable to create perceived value in their product, which ends up being treated like a commodity instead. Part of the problem lies with the brands, many of which have become redundant, overdone and difficult to distinguish from one another, prompting travelers to book solely based on price.

Happy holidays!

We hope all your wishes come true this holiday season too! 


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: If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It: Showcase Your Best Reviews!

December 15, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie: Curate your best guest reviews to build social validation and encourage new bookings.

No matter how brilliant your marketing, how stunning your photography or witty your marketing copy, it’s the authentic, unvarnished opinions of past guests that hold a large sway over future bookings.

If you’re going above and beyond for your guests, you’re likely pulling in wonderful reviews that perfectly and poignantly sum up your hotel experience.

That’s good news!

The bad news: In just a few days, those 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor will get buried and forgotten once new reviews come in.

Instead of allowing those ultra-positive reviews to be pushed further and further down within the review sites, publish the best of them directly on your website.

Instead of using TripAdvisor’s automated widget on your website (which shows ALL reviews – both negative and positive), scour through your reviews and personally select 4-6 of the best to showcase on your website.

Here’s an example from Hotel Hugo in NYC

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The best reviews are the ones that are brief, yet thorough enough in describing why they enjoyed their stay so much. Skip the reviews that are generic, such as, “It was the best! I loved everything!” And try to identify reviews from the key segments that drive your business: romantic getaways, families or business travelers.

Posting several glowing reviews directly onto your homepage will not only build immediate trust with your online visitors (social proof), but it will also discourage those visitors from leaving your site entirely to check on TripAdvisor themselves.

For more social validation, showcase accolades or awards that your hotel or staff have won.

Highlight, don’t hide, the positive opinions that others have of you.

Get more: The 5 Dumbest Hotel Website Design Mistakes


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

SSL: The Latest Threat to Your Hotel Website

December 12, 2017 • By

Hotel digital marketers have yet another headache to deal with…. 

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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.

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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

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

Friday Freebie: Copy This Tactic From Luxury Hotels

December 8, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This week’s Freebie: Luxury hotels know how to focus on health and wellness-enhancing amenities… but now, hotels up and down the chain scale are taking this page out of the luxury segment playbook to drive bookings.

Behind every luxury hotel is a marketer who understands exactly what the affluent customer seeks in a travel experience.

Besides VIP treatment, exclusive amenities, remarkable cuisine and unfettered access to service staff, affluent guests expect luxury hotels to enhance their health and wellness, from arrival to departure.

Luxury properties continue to answer this call with complimentary outdoor yoga classes, farm-to-table organic meals, guided nature walks and sumptuous spa treatments.

But offering the benefit of wellness isn’t just for luxury properties with deep budgets or wealthy guests. Industry research reveals that just about EVERY traveler these days wants to stay healthy on the road and is drawn to hotels that offer unique ways to do that.

Even if your hotel can only offer complimentary bike rentals or cucumber water in the lobby, emphasize any and all of your healthy offerings on your hotel website to stimulate consideration.

Here are some ideas:

  • Provide maps and photos of where guests can explore the area on bike or by foot
  • Emphasize any local ingredients and where they are sourced from in your menus
  • Do your rooms have air purifiers or organic bathroom amenities?
  • Create partnerships and packages with local yoga, pilates, barre and other fitness studios
  • Have specialized equipment in your fitness center? Highlight what they are instead of loosely describing it as ‘state-of-the-art equipment.”
  • Create an online list of vendors offering ways guests can stay active, including bike tours, paddle board lessons, snowshoe rentals, etc.

Get more: 10 Secrets of Luxury 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


Hotel Marketers and Accidental Narcissists

December 5, 2017 • By

Always-on, empowered consumers require a new digital strategy.
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The rise of digital and mobile and its impact on commerce has given consumers more information, and consequently more power, than ever before, as well as an ever-increasing expectation for instant gratification.

Marketing experts have dubbed this mass-consumer evolution happening right before our eyes “The Age of Assistance,” and adapting to it is currently one of the greatest challenges marketers face, in virtually all commercial industries.

The hotel business is no exception, and in some ways, is at the forefront of this metamorphosis.

In the past, consumers undertook greater effort to research expensive and/or important purchases, like homes, cars, major appliances, etc. But nowadays, experts say all kinds of purchases are being researched online, regardless of size, making online authority crucial for companies, as customers move through each stage of the sales funnel without salespeople (or human travel agents) involved.

The hotel business is particularly entrenched in this revolution, since traveling has always been a research/planning-heavy purchase, and there are more resources than ever at your guest’s fingertips.

In a recent article in Forbes, well-known author, Brian Solis points out that: “In the age of assistance, consumers are now relying on what they find in mobile-first “micro-moments” to help them take the next step. They’re seeking utility, information, direction and not classical marketing.”

“I refer to this new generation of mobile, connected customers as “accidental narcissists.” It’s a term of endearment. Everything they want, they can have, in any moment. Literally, there’s an app for just about everything, consumers are plugged into an on-demand economy that delivers products, services, experiences, validation, gratification, et al., in the moment. This presents an opportunity (and a need) for marketers to become truly customer-, not marketing- or technology-, centric.”

So how do hotel marketers deal with this new age marketing scramble? How do we provide these “accidental narcissists” what they need to engage with our properties?

1. Know Their profile 

You can’t assist potential guests unless you understand them first. You should have a fairly detailed “profile” of your ideal guest (or meeting planner or corporate buyer).

You should know:

– Where they live
– How often they visit
– When they visit
– Which guests are most lucrative
– What they like (and don’t like) about your property

2. Know Their Media Habits

Starting with mobile, you need to learn about the discovery process used by your customers, starting with where they go to find their information, what they are searching for, where those searches take them, what engages or converts them from there and where they visit next.

For more insight, try using Google’s insightful micro-moments playbook.

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3. Think Like a Publisher

Armed with greater knowledge of your customer, their journey and research process, you can then begin tailoring content that engages them.

Your content should offer solutions, versus selling rooms. And promise to change the viewer’s perspective on the destination and enrich their lives.

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 and marketing content 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?

4. Know What Your Guests Want

This next directive pertains to embracing data and listening to what your guests (and your compset’s guests) are saying in public spaces. By paying attention to keyword searches, social media posts, Trip Advisor reviews, CVB data and responses to your post-stay surveys, savvy hotel marketers can see threats and trends that will define how guests want to “be assisted.”

– Are your guests complaining about certain aspects of your property?
– Are travelers to your destination talking about the new museum?
– Is there a rapid spike in keyword volume for hotels near a certain hot neighborhood?
– What are the top attractions near you (and how are you partnered with them)?

These are priceless digital breadcrumbs for you in building a consumer path to your door!

5. Assist During the Transaction

Consumers also expect their transaction experience to be seamless. Hotels are expected to simplify life, not confuse it… especially at the most critical point in their purchase journey! So make sure your hotel website booking experience is flawless, by avoiding these pitfalls:

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

• Hidden Costs and Sticker Shock
Studies show that nothing kills a sale – and trust – like unexpected costs. Mostly surprise hidden costs that many hotels like to sneak into the transaction right before asking for credit card information. Today’s travelers have no patience with additional charges and will be ruthless in abandoning any property that tries to spring on pesky fees.

•  Your Mobile Experience is Poor
Google studies show that 36% of business travelers and 40% of leisure travelers book hotel rooms on their mobile phones. And, bookings originating from users on iPads and other tablet-sized devices are growing fast.

•  It’s Too Frustrating to Make a Reservation
It’s a lesson hoteliers rarely hear, but should immediately heed: Your booking engine must be a simple process. Visitors are already uncomfortable giving out their information online, if your forms are cumbersome, consumers will exit before a purchase is completed. Yet, thousands of hotels are still cluttering their booking engines with too much text, too many pages and endless steps.

•  Slow Means No
25% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. Almost 50% will abandon if the site takes more than 10 seconds to load. In our fast-paced, instant-gratification culture—fueled by high-speed internet—consumers expect your web pages to load immediately!

•  You’re Not Speaking Their Language
This seems painfully obvious, but far too many hotels treat everyone as an English-speaking American. Imagine the frustration of your overseas website visitors when they enter a booking environment that is not automatically defaulted to their native language or currency.

•  Limited Payment Options
Smart hotels offer multiple payment options, going beyond Amex, Visa and Mastercard to include as many forms of payment as possible, including third-party online payment services like PayPal. Some even take it a step further like Couples Resorts, who offer a “loveaway” payment plan.


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: “Bridge the Chasm” To Improve Your Website Conversion Rate

December 1, 2017 • By

 

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie: A jarring transition from your website to booking engine environment is one of the biggest causes of online booking abandonment. 

The “chasm” between your hotel website and your booking engine needs to be seamless and frictionless!

Even the smallest details can derail a booking in progress.

The best hotel booking engines are the ones that load quickly and give the viewer no indication that they have been sent to another environment (usually managed by another vendor entirely as well). They are seamless: with the same look and feel as your hotel website – down to color, to font size, to photos.

Consistent user experience (UX) is vital to eCommerce transactions, especially for a marketplace as competitive as the online hotel marketplace.

If your booking engine loads slowly, projects a different look from your website experience or fails to present the expected promo/package/rates…. you will create dissonance and customers will feel uneasy and doubtful about their purchase decision.

Don’t give guests a reason to abandon their reservations.

Keep their confidence high by delivering a smooth and uninterrupted transition once they decide to book.

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


About Tambourine

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

5 Things Hotel Marketers Are Thankful for This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2017 • By

Hotel marketing pros are counting their blessings…
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For most, Thanksgiving is a time for football, traveling to see relatives and diet-busting feasts.

It’s also the time of year we ask clients, colleagues and industry experts what they are feeling good about. And once again, we heard that the economy, industry dynamics and hotel consumer behavior are working in our favor like never before.

Based on our informal survey, here are 5 things hoteliers are feeling thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. Evidence That Direct Booking Campaigns Are Working 

In 2016, major hotel brands and smaller hotels went after OTAs with a fervor and pushed aggressive campaigns to convince travelers that booking direct was best. Now, we finally have proof that the preaching paid off. Kalibri Labs compiled data from more than 12,000 U.S. hotels and 52 million transactions during the run of these highly publicized campaigns.

In their recent report “Book Direct Campaigns: The Cost & Benefits of Loyalty,” Kalibri measured a significant net revenue benefit due to a shift in bookings from OTAs to Brand.com. While this certainly calls for a massive celebration, the momentum shouldn’t stop here. Experts agree that discounting to create loyalty can’t be the end-all, be-all of your book direct strategy; creating online and on-property experiences that the OTAs cannot must be the neverending quest for hotel marketers seeking to reduce OTA dependence and improve bottom line profitability.

2. Owners’ Willingness to Invest in the Product

Hotel marketers know this best: No amount of brilliant marketing, guest data, or up-to-the-minute technology can compensate for an aging and run-down hotel property. Now, with property values on the rise and an overall healthy real estate market, hotel owners have the renewed confidence in investing in upgrades, redesigns and renovations that will help hotel sales and marketing teams compete with the new supply entrants in their market.

And with so many major hotel brands launching new or re-imagined brands, it’s more vital than ever to keep up and hold onto your market share by offering compelling amenities, aesthetics and experiences. 

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3. Demand and RevPar Still Going Strong

Despite the threat of Airbnb’s climbing success (especially with their new focus on offering a complete travel experience, both in and outside of their hosts’ homes) and a ballooning hotel supply, RevPAR and demand are still holding steady.

Based on a strong economy, hotel occupancies are still at an all-time high and the hotel industry is still experiencing an unprecedented string of record results. To date, RevPAR has increased year-over-year consecutively for 92 months, according to STR.

4. Social Evangelism

Over the last few years, storytelling and “content marketing” has become one of the most popular (and cost-effective) ways for hotel marketers to win guests’ hearts and wallets.

Why?

Because consumers no longer trust advertising… they trust each other. As an article in Ad Age so aptly put it: “Your brand is defined by the interactions people have with it.”

User-generated content (UGC), especially photos, videos and posts about on-property experiences are more authentic, less sales focused… and let’s face it, more creative than anything you could ever dream up yourself.

Hotel marketers are feeling blessed to have guests who gush and brag about their stay on Facebook and post foodie pics to Instagram. Not only have they made marketing travel engagingly personal and authentic, they come at no cost to the hotelier.

5. Metasearch: An Attractive and Less Expensive Option

It’s easy to see why travelers love metasearch, such as Google and TripAdvisor: They receive all the key details needed to research and book their stays all in one place, like real-time pricing, availability, hotel information, guest reviews and location.

But, hotel marketers are loving metasearch too.

They are using these sites to boost direct bookings instead of relying on OTAs and paying high commissions. You can pay-per-click or pay booking commissions (still less expensive than traditional OTA fees) – all while getting brand exposure and access to travelers who are just entering the consideration and booking funnel.


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: A Creative Way to Offset Shorter Booking Windows

November 17, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie:  Counteract shrinking booking windows with a smart (and simple) reservation recovery campaign. 

Smartphones, deal-hungry consumers, last-minute booking apps and penalty-free reservations.

These are just some of the reasons why people are now booking hotels closer and closer to their check-in date. In fact, according to most experts, booking lead times have shortened dramatically, with last-minute U.S. travel consumers making up 13% of all bookings in their recent study.

If your hotel constantly leans on these last-minute bookings, especially those booked on OTAs, you’re sacrificing revenue and losing even more (fast!) by paying expensive third-party commissions.

Here’s one way to deal with this new reality of the rapidly shrinking booking window:

Put Intelligent Reservation Recovery to Work…

Rather than fretting about shrinking booking windows, focus on converting your best prospects SOONER with a dynamic reservation recovery campaign.

Every day, hotels ignore millions of consumers WITH LONG BOOKING WINDOWS at the very edge of converting to real revenue. Prospects who have already visited your website and searched the booking engine for travel dates that coincide with your traditional periods of weakness.

There is a massive opportunity to re-engage those lost visitors, convert them to bookings and ameliorate the periods that suffer from extremely short booking windows!

Here’s How You Can Use Reservation Recovery to Mitigate the Effects of Short Booking Windows: 

1. Know the Booking Window for Every Day of the Year

Your booking engine, CRS or PMS provider can easily provide you with book-to-arrival data for every day of the year. Armed with this, you can identify the days/weeks that cause internal panic and low ADRs

2. Use Reservation Recovery Tech That Immediately Captures Email Addresses

Once an online visitor searches for their dates and chooses a room type, smart reservation recovery technology will require their email address as the first field in the booking process. That way, you now have the contact info necessary to retarget them if they abandon their booking.

3. Create a Custom Campaign for the Periods with the Shortest Booking Window (and Lowest ADR)

After a visitor abandons a booking that falls in your target low period, your reservation recovery system should send out a specific email with a personalized greeting that thanks them for considering your property and offers a limited-time incentive for booking with you directly. Sure, these incentives eat into net room revenue, but they are still far less than the commissions on OTA bookings or other sources of last minute bookings.

By Incentivizing the Visitors Who Have Already:

  1. Demonstrated their willingness to book farther out
  2. Nearly completed a booking in a target period

You can close more bookings sooner… alleviating “short-booking window anxiety” for everyone on the revenue management and marketing teams! Studies have proven that reservation recovery systems can recapture millions of dollars in lost revenue… in some cases, up to 30% of abandoned bookings were reactivated!


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

Why Hotel Sales Teams Need to Up Their Digital Game

November 7, 2017 • By

Hotel group sales teams need better digital skills to capture more deals.

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Advances in digital have dramatically altered the ways group planners/buyers do business.

Today, B2B customers are doing 80% of their pre-purchase research in the digital world. Meeting planners/buyers are relying far less on hotel salespeople for information, instead choosing to educate themselves on potential venues via the web and peer referrals.

These clients no longer want cold calls, or even emails; 90% of C-level executives claim to never respond to these tactics, according to Salesforce.

Quite simply, hotel salespeople have to adapt… and quickly.

Traditionally, hotel sales teams use classic old-school textbook techniques, relying heavily on relationship selling and cold calls to book business. At branded hotels, sales teams often receive very little digital help or “air cover” from their corporate parents (other than lead flow). While Independents tend to be a bit more resourceful, since they’re wholly responsible for leads. But both hotel types need to enhance their digital skills, to keep up with the latest evolution of B2B buyers.

Here are the three most effective ways hotel salespeople can elevate their digital game:

1. Get Data

The first step of a digital sales effort starts with conducting digital research, to obtain key information about both your customers and competition. Discovering where to go on the web and various databases to research potential clients and do your homework on prospects’ needs should be done before you engage with those prospects. Take some time to read their blogs, LinkedIn pages, website and other “digital footprints.”

You can also employ affordable, easy-to-use tools to better understand prospects’ profiles and behavior. Helpful tools include:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator LinkedIn’s subscription-based sales tool helps sales reps target buyers and companies, with features to save leads and create various contact lists. The system contains an algorithm that helps find the best potential leads for each user, while sales research and insight tools help reps study their prospective clients. Communication tools are also built into the software, and it seamlessly logs and imports sales activity to and from CRM systems.
  • Knowland Group DataKnowland Group’s market intelligence products help sales reps find targets that meet their group revenue maximization goals, understand trends in the market and tap into undiscovered opportunities. Their data includes planner buying behavior, group booking patterns and market benchmarking, as well as actionable leads, educational resources and an archive of lead contact data.

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2. Get in Sync with the Marketing Team

Hotel sales leaders need to work closely with their marketing and IT colleagues to create an ideal digital workflow and lead flow. A proven method is to implement a CRM system to track activity, append clean targeting data and track lead behavior. There’s a huge payoff from the approach: An App Data Room and Marketo study found that sales and marketing alignment can improve sales efforts at closing deals by 67%.

Both sales and marketing departments should also cooperate on marketing automation, which can send the right message, at the right time, to the right meeting planner or group lead, while keeping teams informed as target prospects engage with company websites and marketing materials. In addition, sales teams should provide marketing with guidance and feedback on which digital channels, social media, etc., that sales prospects are currently using.

3. Get Social

Embracing digital doesn’t mean the longstanding practice of relationship-based selling no longer applies; it’s just moved into a different medium. According to LinkedIn, three out of four B2B buyers now rely on social media to engage with peers about buying decisions. More than three-quarters (82%) of B2B buyers say vendor content shared on social channels (like LinkedIn) has a significant impact on their buying decision, while B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with a sales rep who provides new insights about their business or industry, according to LinkedIn research.

With that in mind, today’s sales teams should be using digital to enable “social selling,” which essentially means building relationships and nudging leads along through the sales process via savvy, helpful, UNSELFISH social media interaction, rather than outdated and ineffective methods like phone calls and email.

This is primarily done by providing content that solves the problems and answers the questions of customers, as well as by interacting one-on-one with leads through social media. It’s different from wide-swath “shotgun marketing” on social, where branding-related content is shared everywhere in hopes of going viral and building awareness; social selling, rather, makes the customer the key dictator of the type of content shared, based on their specific wants and needs.

And remember, social interaction doesn’t end with that sale, either.

Social platforms are also employed post-sale to retain and upsell customers, especially by creating a channel for customers to share feedback and vent frustration. Referrals are now essential to lead generation, with 84% of B2B buyers beginning the buying process with a referral and more than 90% of purchase decisions influenced by peer recommendations, according to a 2016 Harvard Business Review article.

So now, more than ever, the time you spend on digital sales efforts—especially building and maintaining your social media network and reputation—will have a direct and meaningful impact on your sales pipeline. This is one game you want to be sure you’re playing to win.


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: The First Thing DOSMs Should Do Every Morning

November 3, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie: DOSMs need to stay focused on what really matters… we suggest doing these three critical things EVERY DAY. 

Hotel DOSMs run hectic, crazy schedules.

From managing sales teams, executing marketing campaigns and pulling endless reports from multiple systems.

With all of this riding on your shoulders, it’s easy to succumb to a day that pulls you in all different directions. That’s why we suggest DOSMs start each morning only focused on these three most significant tasks that impact the hotel’s and the department’s bottom line:

1. Review Your Top 20 Sales Opportunities

The most successful hotel DOSMs never take their eyes off projected room nights. The best way to accomplish this is to assess your top pieces of business each and every day. Most hotels rely on irregular meetings to review each sales manager’s goals and progress. Instead, we suggest you keep a handy list of your Top 20 most lucrative and important prospective group targets.

Ask for no BS updates from each salesperson about their top opportunities. Find out how they plan to assist the prospective meeting planner that day and move them closer to a decision. Which hotels are still in the running? How can you get an edge? What else could turn the tide in your favor?

2. Pow Wow With Your Revenue Manager

The days of keeping sales/marketing and revenue management separated in silos is over. Just as with your top sales opportunities, DOSMs must stay on top of upcoming low periods, pace reports and budget vs. performance by segment.

Plus, revenue managers should know about upcoming contract negotiations, rates the meeting planners are seeking and possible concessions to offset the room rates. Set a standing meeting with your revenue manager to discuss these updates and to brainstorm how to drive more revenue from ancillary means.

3. Obsess About the Metrics Hotel Owners Care About the Most

Today’s hotel marketers are drowning in metrics.

And, most are irrelevant to your hotel owners. Skip trying to impress owners with your website views and hotel social media likes. There are certain key performance indicators that hotel owners and asset managers truly care about, simply because they prove how well your marketing team is contributing to the property’s revenue targets.

You should ALWAYS know your DRR (direct revenue ratio), which compares the revenue from direct bookings versus third-party bookings;  MCPB (marketing cost per booking), which tracks the costs of each marketing channel and the variance of actual results versus revenue goals by segment.


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