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A Hotel Marketing Thanksgiving: 10 things we're thankful for

November 25, 2013

TambourineThanksgivingAs we gather together here in the US for our annual Thanksgiving holiday, we give thanks for the many blessings we have in our personal lives. This year, we’re starting a new tradition, we’re also giving thanks for all the amazing things we have that enrich our professional lives as hotel marketers. So we asked our staff, client GMs, revenue managers, hotel owners and partners to contribute and help us serve up our inaugural dish… dig in!

  1. OTAs: In an interesting twist, many hotel marketers gave thanks (privately!) for their ongoing success and traction with OTAs. Yes, those pesky OTAs that we all love to complain about drive a significant amount of business for many, forming a solid baseline of revenue and exposing our properties to new, previously unreachable audiences every day.
  2. TripAdvisor: No one believes companies or marketing people anymore, consumers only listen to each other! Which explains TripAdvisor’s monumental success. Their agnostic, unbiased portal helps consumers validate hotels, while an increasingly friendly set of hotel marketing tools and programs allows hotel marketers to steer relevant consumers directly to the property website. Sure, negative reviews can hurt, but handled properly, they also demonstrate honesty and authenticity.
  3. Evangelical Customers: More than a few hotel marketers we surveyed gave high praise and thanks to their most evangelical customers, who spread their love of the property via social media and word of mouth. These repeat visitors Tweet, post, share and send photos of their favorite place to friends and relatives with absolutely no cost to the marketing budget.
  4. A great location: Easily forgotten in an age of high-tech marketing is the importance of location, location, location! More than a few hotel marketers are giving thanks this year for a competitively-advantageous location that puts them by the airport, near Times Square, next to the convention center or smack dab on a private Caribbean beach!
  5. Google’s recent updates: Huh? Blasphemy you say?! Surprisingly, many hotel marketers see opportunity deep in the heart of the problems created by almighty Google changing the search engine game every few months. These enlightened marketers were able to quickly adapt… implementing new best-practices assets (i.e. perfecting local search tactics) and eliminating old, lazy, spammy techniques that end up penalizing less astute competitors.
  6. Active retirees: Grandma and Grandpa like to hit the road. Retirees are more mobile, more healthy and more wealthy than ever before. This translates to more bookings… direct bookings to be exact, because older folks prefer to book (or call) directly. According to Resonance Consultancy: “Unstoppable Elders” travel 25% more than the average leisure traveler and prefer off-peak travel, which bolsters properties affected by seasonality.
  7. Resurgent economies: Hotel marketers are giving thanks this year for resurgent economies at home and abroad. Key industry metrics have surpassed pre-recession levels, business travel is back and consumer confidence is improving. Better yet, strong economic growth in key US-feeder markets like China and South America has elevated ADRs from free-spending FITs.
  8. The Mobile explosion: Tech-savvy hotel marketers will remember 2013 as the year they truly figured out how to benefit from the proliferation of mobile devices. The adoption of smartphones enables us to target new guests, streamline booking confirms, offer express check-in, communicate in-stay offers, enhance the guest experience and empower social sharing.
  9. A loyalty program: Whether it’s a flag/chain-related program, a credit card/airline partnership or third-party frequent guest club, many hotel marketers are giving thanks this year to their loyalty program and its captive audience of incentivized travelers.
  10. Digital Intelligence: The hotel marketer’s toolbox gets sharper every day: smarter websites, personalized email offers, advanced yield-management systems, guest-preference data, ROI tracking… the amount of digital intelligence at our fingertips is staggering. For those who know which nuggets to mine, glory and bonuses await!

What did we miss? Tell us what you’re thankful for this year and we’ll send you our favorite recipe for Green Bean Casserole!

Happy Thanksgiving! As stunning as the technological developments in travel marketing have been in the last 20 years, the next 20 promise to be equally incredible.

About Tambourine

Tambourine drives revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. For more information, visit

Hotels Limiting Their Potential in Mobile Commerce

September 4, 2012

Mobile traffic accounted for only 2.94% of web traffic in 2010.  Today mobile traffic accounts for nearly 10% of web traffic according to Stat Counter. Not only does mobile traffic continue to rise year by year, so does mobile commerce.  38% of the 90 million smart phone owners have made retail purchases on their phone. These numbers are especially staggering considering that it has taken less than 5 years to get here. I was surprised to find that even though the majority of mobile purchases were, as I suspected, digital purchases (music, movies, tv, ebooks), there is already quite a bit of life in the mobile travel industry. ComScore reported that hotel stays accounted for 29% of all mobile purchases, and airplane tickets accounted for 24%.

If so many consumers are using their mobile devices to book their vacations and travel experiences, why are so many hotel booking engines so slow to adapt to the new mobile landscape? Why are the majority of booking vendors still providing such cumbersome mobile user experience, or worse, none at all? Unfortunately, the experts that have been hired to steer the hotel industry into better online booking strategies are coming up short. Far too many booking engines are underestimating the mobile world.

For hoteliers that are in a position to select a new vendor for online booking, there are a few technical concerns that you may want to consider. Selecting a vendor that has a mobile platform not only secures your potential in the mobile market, but it also serves as an indicator to how quickly your vendor will adapt to growing trends in the future.

Additionally, just because a vendor claims to have a mobile platform does not mean that they are doing it well. You don’t need to be an industry expert to evaluate how difficult it is to make a reservation online. Walk through the process on your own mobile device and consider whether the experience will actually help generate business and increase bookings.

Another way to measure up a potential vendor is to evaluate how much custom work they will do for you. Hotel booking vendors will always generate reports for you, but you may not be able to measure the success of your own ad campaigns if you cannot tell the sources from which your conversions were made. Is your booking vendor willing to embed custom tracking code from Google or Bing on their order confirmation page so that you can evaluate the success of your own online ad campaigns?

At the end of the day, there are many factors that go into selecting a booking engine.  Know your options, and choose a booking vendor who is always adapting to growing trends in technology and embracing the potential of mobile commerce in the travel industry.

About Tambourine:

Tambourine is an ROI-obsessed marketing agency driving demand, revenue and brand awareness for travel and leisure clients since 1986. The Company creates inspiring digital experiences and engaging campaigns that produce measurable results. Based in South Florida and New York City, Tambourine recently received Gold and Platinum Adrian and Magellan awards, the largest and most prestigious travel marketing competitions, representing this year’s top marketing campaigns from across the global hospitality industry.

We are the instrument many of the world’s most advanced marketers use to create a steady beat of traffic and revenue growth. We provide a 360º integrated marketing program that delivers predictable ROI and a sustainable sales and marketing rhythm for your brand.

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