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ROI

Friday Freebie: Ignoring Your Hotel Website Heatmap Can Put You in Hot Water

August 18, 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: Find out what your hotel heatmap can reveal. Your hotel website is more than just pretty design and colorful photography. Every page is carefully constructed and arranged to achieve a specific goal, such as getting a visitors to sign up for your email list, to look at your hotel’s special offers, or, of course, to make a reservation. This requires constant testing and knowing exactly how people are interacting with your hotel site. One of the keenest tools to figure this out is called “heat mapping.” Despite what the name implies, a website heat map has nothing to do with weather patterns. Instead, it is a powerful tool that reveals some pretty useful, granular data. You can determine how people are using your hotel site, what content they’re consuming and what updates you can make to put your most profitable information where they are already looking. An infrared display uses color variations to show where on any web page there is high and low activity (based on mouse movement and scrolling behavior). Here’s what your hotel heatmap can reveal:  Where Visitors Are Looking While there are several types of heat mapping tools, they all share this common feature. In fact, the entire point of a heat map is to show the ‘hot areas’ of your hotel’s website that get the most attention. This intelligence is especially important if you have buttons, calls-to-action or forms that aren’t receiving the high amount of engagement you expected. By using a heat mapping tool, you’ll be able to see what is actually catching a visitor’s attention. If the low-performing features are located outside of these ‘hot areas’, you’ll know where to move them. Where Visitors Are Clicking You can track your web pages’ engagement based on where visitors are clicking. Similar to eye-tracking, you’ll find out if visitors are clicking where you actually want them to click on the hotel site. If not, you’ll determine where to place important elements to get the most interaction. Who’s Currently Visiting  Some heat mapping and tracking tools offer a real-time view that allows you to see how many visitors are currently on your hotel’s website. In some cases, you’ll also be able to see where the visitors are on the website and what they’re doing. Other tools use past data so you can see trends over a certain time period, according to a certain page, where they came from, and their type of visit. How Far They’re Scrolling You can also see how far visitors are making it down your hotel’s individual web pages. This is extremely helpful when your pages include an interactive element or a call-to-action below the fold. Using a heat map tracking tool, you can see where exactly visitors begin to drop out of the content, then leverage this insight to rearrange the page so it is more appealing. How They Navigate  Some heat mapping tools allow you to see the path visitors take throughout your site. This reveals if visitors are getting stuck on a certain part of your hotel’s website or if they’re having difficulty finding the information they need. Some tracking tools even allow you to record a user’s session, so you can watch how a visitor moves throughout your site.

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

Mobile Bookings Are Up. Why Aren’t Yours?

August 15, 2017 • By
Hotel booking engines need to look and feel more like apps. image1 Everybody is talking about the rise of mobile bookings. In fact, a study by eMarketer estimates that by 2021, half of all digital travel sales will be made from smartphones or tablets. Chris Bendtsen, an eMarketer forecasting analyst, told Travel Weekly that consumers are booking more travel plans on their smartphones and tablets for a variety of reasons:
  1. Easier methods of online payment.
  2. Larger smartphone screens.
  3. A desire to react quickly to last-minute travel deals. 
So why aren’t your mobile bookings growing as rapidly as the rest of the world? Too many hoteliers may think a mobile version of their website & booking engine will suffice. However, today’s consumers are not just looking for your website to ‘come up’ on their phones. Your mobile experience has to match today’s modern consumer habits and expectations. Mobile bookings are the present and the future of the hotel industry. Here are the three mobile booking tweaks you need to adjust to this new reality and outperform your compset: 1. Cut it Down Real estate on a mobile screen is limited. The first – and most important – step to maximizing the mobile guest experience is to cut out, not add, features. Examine your hotel’s mobile booking funnel and streamline it as much as possible. Strip your mobile site of any clutter, including links, ads, navigation elements, menu options etc. Pare down the booking process to 3 screens or less. Mobile is meant for the consumer-on-the-go… they have no patience for long-winded, self-indulgent purchase processes! Since mobile screens are smaller than desktops or laptops, minimize the amount of text on the screen. Trim content down to only what’s necessary to convey (like calls to action or clear next steps), then use a single big visual per page to guide guests through the process. Multiple photos, videos, and pages of copy will not only make your mobile hotel booking engine load slower, but possibly anger and turn away guests who are accustomed to faster uploads from other sites.  image2 2. Design for Thumbs Call it modern intuition: smartphone users navigate mobile sites using one hand. Most often with just their thumb. This is why the best mobile hotel ecommerce experiences are built like apps, which allow guests to tap, swipe, scroll, and click using just one hand or thumb. Stay clear of requiring guests to ‘pinch’ the screen to zoom in and out for content. This means your graphics and text are not optimized for mobile users and are too small. 3. Simplify Payment Options You pride yourself on giving consumers choices in room types, F&B venues, and other add-ons. Your flexibility should extend to the most important element in the customer-acquisition process: the checkout! Yet, sometimes the simple reason shoppers don’t complete a purchase is that their preferred credit card wasn’t accepted in your booking engine! 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. A complicated hotel booking engine process is often the reason guests abandon their reservations, so provide a simple and speedy credit card experience.

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: How Free Parking Can Reduce OTA Commissions

August 11, 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: Capture more DIRECT Labor Day bookings from drive markets by showcasing free parking on your hotel website.  Millions of travelers will be hitting the road this Labor Day weekend, looking to celebrate their last summer weekend. Your drive markets are your best audiences to promote a last-minute getaway for the holiday. Travelers are already enjoying the lowest gas prices in years. Sweeten the deal by including free parking in your Labor Day packages and specials ACROSS ALL CHANNELS…. But emphasize it on your direct hotel website. OTAs have hundreds of thousands of properties on their websites, they cannot keep up with the promotions at all of them! By prominently showcasing the free parking perk (“Book direct and get free parking!”) you will create the perception that free parking is a special, direct-only benefit, without jeopardizing your OTA relationships. Get more: 5 Ways to Attract Last Minute Labor Day Bookings from Your Drive Markets

About Tambourine

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

The Seven Traits of Great Hotel Digital Marketers

August 8, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing requires a quirky blend of skills. image1 Virtually every one of your future guests will discover and engage with your property in the online world before they ever walk through your doors. That’s why digital marketing has become such a prerequisite skill for hotels that want to outperform their compset. But this job isn’t just limited to running ads and managing channels; digital marketing managers are also responsible for launching their own programs, managing external vendors and many other activities. As one of those external vendors, we’ve worked with hundreds of hotel digital marketers over the years… and during that time we’ve seen that it takes a very special set of skills to be successful in such a demanding position. The most successful hotel digital marketers we’ve worked with have these 7 traits in common: 1. They Multitask On any given day, a digital marketing manager has to take care of a wide variety of tasks, ALL while overcoming sudden crisis drops in occupancy. To be successful in such a hectic environment, that person needs to be an excellent multitasker, with an uncanny sense of recall. This combination lets them pick up on where they left off on other tasks from previous days and make steady progress towards their goals – all while being pulled in multiple directions. 2. They are Caffeinated Digital marketing managers often need to help fill hundreds of rooms, every night, or face vanishing assets. But accomplishing that task, in a business that often sees many of its bookings occur in the last 48 hours before arrival, requires someone with a lot of energy and stamina (it’s not uncommon to see them go through 5 or 6 cups of coffee every single day). 3. They Should Be Well-Traveled You can’t market a product when you have no experience as a user/buyer. With this in mind, it’s only natural that successful hotel marketing managers should be able to use their own travel experiences to speak to prospects on a personal level.  image2 4. They Should Have Experience in Other Industries  For an industry like ours, one that’s been resistant to change on many occasions, attracting digital marketers with skills and knowledge from other industries is essential. Hotels have long depended on a few core channels for their revenue, while other industries (think software and tech) have to develop innovative ways to build audiences, users and market share. By borrowing best practices, tactics and tools from other industries, hotel digital marketers can turbocharge your property’s marketing strategies and give you a serious advantage on the compset. 5. They Should Speak Geek It’s cool to be part geek these days, especially in the hospitality marketing sector. That’s because everything is constantly evolving, so there’s always so much to learn. That’s why it’s a good indicator of success when you hear your digital marketing manager talking with their friends about things like; CRS, PMS, CRM, CMS, SEO, PPC or SEM. It shows their real interest in these subjects. 6. They Shouldn’t Be Scared of Data and Reporting  That’s the only way they know what’s working in their campaigns… and what’s not. Being comfortable with data and reporting also enables successful hotel digital marketers to make strong business cases to management and ownership for additional funds and marketing assets. 7. They Should Present Well Digital marketing managers need to be seen as leaders who are able to bridge ‘the departmental divide’ and bring revenue management, sales and GMs together. Presentation skills and confidence are the keys to building consensus and cooperation across departments. So, which one of these 7 skills is most important for your property?  How do you keep your competitive edge?  We’d love to hear more about this from your point of view in the comments below! 

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: Leverage Past Guests to Crush New Hotel Competition

August 4, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 Welcome to the Friday Freebie! Each week we share one FREE impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. This week’s freebie: Get a leg up on new hotel competition by maximizing the one thing they don’t have – past guests.  With their modern amenities, fresh technology, and remarkable experiences that travelers are clamoring for, new hotels are perfectly poised to steal a chunk of your market. It’s hard to battle for bookings when you’re surrounded by exciting new properties that are stealing all the attention and all the business. Don’t rely on slashing prices to take those bookings back. This will just hurt your bottom line and your reputation. Instead, turn to the one thing that they don’t have: past guests. You have an AUDIENCE… monetize it! While the new properties build up their profile and struggle to bring in new guests, create an exciting offer exclusively for your most lucrative past guests. Also, make sure you are using the positive reviews of past guests to create trust and validation among new prospective guests as well; your hotel website should prominently showcase testimonial reviews from leisure guests AND past meetings/groups! Finally, follow new compset hotel developments closely and time your marketing campaigns/promos to coincide with their opening and dampen the attrition of business due to their launch! Get more: Discover more ways to compete with new hotel properties.

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: Test Drive Your Booking Experience As a First-Time Guest Would

July 28, 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: Test and experience your website as a first-time guest would to spot what makes guests bounce. Your website is your digital front door. And, just like your physical front door, there are a number of blockades that could, and do, get in a guest’s way. Similar to an unwelcoming main entrance or a confusing front desk, hotel websites can have their own unsavory traits. These include slow load times, cluttered homepages, complicated booking procedures and a messy design. However, most hotel marketers don’t see these traits in their own hotel websites. So, it’s important to take a look and scrutinize your website experience with fresh eyes to make sure nothing is getting in the way of changing a potential guest’s mind or blocking someone from exploring your website or booking a room. To get some ideas, watch this video to see what real consumers think when they are booking a room on an OTA and directly on a hotel website. Test your experience and look out for things that are likely to make your guests bounce. Get More: 8 Ways Hotel Marketers Can Avoid Looking Foolish

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

6 Ways Hotel Marketing Can Generate More Leads for the Sales Team

July 18, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing teams need to improve their support of group sales. image1 Achieving group and meetings revenue targets can make or break your property’s annual performance. But incredibly, most hotel group sales departments lack consistent, effective marketing support and are forced to generate their own leads. Hotel marketers often ignore the need to boost their hotel’s revenue by accelerating the number of incoming sales leads. As a result, hotel marketing departments usually stick to what they know: marketing only to leisure travelers. Let’s change that.  There are several smart ways for hotel marketers to generate more group business for their hotel and champion the sales teams’ efforts. It simply takes using the hotel marketing strategies you already know and use… and finessing them for the meetings market: 1. Be Accountable: Carry a Quota What?! Marketing people carrying a quota? While this may be a strange and radical concept among hotel marketers, other industries (i.e. Silicon Valley software companies) have been assigning lead generation quotas to marketing teams for many years. Asset managers and property owners no longer want to hear about “branding initiatives” or logo colors… they expect their hotel management firm’s marketing team to contribute to revenue in a measurable way, communicate in number-speak and be accountable for tangible results. Quotas for marketing teams can be memorialized in terms of leads or actual closed deals generated by leads driven by the marketing team. And marketers often receive bonuses based on their performance against their quota. Hotel marketers need to remember that having a quota is not only a burden, but also an opportunity: if they hit their assigned lead generation targets, they increase their value in a demonstrably important way to their management and can ask for compensation increases as a result! 2. Consistently Communicate with “HVTs” Every hotel should have a Top 100 list of “high value targets.” Most hotel sales teams already work with a company like Knowland to access groups market intelligence to identify the most relevant group opportunities for their location and venue size. But the hotel marketing team should ensure these HVTs are loaded into a simple CRM platform in order to send out a steady stream of entertaining, engaging and useful stories, photos and videos that will help meeting planners do their jobs when planning a meeting in your destination and beyond. Meeting planners love to book venues they trust. And one way to build trust is by communicating consistently in a selfless, helpful way. Hotel marketers should deploy a steady “drip” of stories, photos and content that helps prospects understand the destination better and do their job more effectively. But under no circumstances should the content be self-serving! Your content “stream” does not have to be restricted to email or digital content. Direct mailing personal notes and helpful material often breaks through the clutter and differentiates you from the thousands of emails your prospects receive each week! Creating this cadence of content will establish you and your property as a trusted resource and position you as THE leader in your destination!  image2 3. Empower Sales with Marketing Automation You’ve already been using marketing automation to boost leisure business for several years, from post stay surveys to reservation recovery emails. Now, you can use the same principle to be a catalyst for driving meetings and events to your hotel. By placing a piece of code (provided from your marketing automation vendor or hotel marketing agency) into your website, you can monitor whenever one of your sales team’s key group business targets visits and explores your meeting pages. Plus, your marketing automation software will be able to determine what the planner’s interests are by following their clicks. Did the planner spend more time looking at breakfast catering menus? The section on government meetings and per diem pricing? Or, watch a virtual tour of your largest ballroom? You can then provide this data to the sales team and enable them to craft relevant messages and offers to match planners’ exact event needs. 4. Stay Top of Mind with Retargeting Keep your hotel top-of-mind with meeting planners who visit, then leave your hotel website’s meeting pages. If a meeting planner goes to your website, clicks around and leaves without submitting an RFP, set up retargeting display ad campaigns to follow them online and remind them what makes your venue a remarkable option for their group. 5. Create Compelling Destination Content Establish your hotel and its sales team as meeting industry thought leaders in your city by creating helpful, info-tainment content. This will position your hotel as being the most experienced property to host meetings and events in your destination. For Example: 5 Distilleries For Groups To Experience True Louisville Bourbon, 10 Waterfront Teambuilding Activities in Long Beach, or Most Unique Group Tours in Philadelphia. You can also take content you’ve already written for the leisure audience and customize for the groups market by giving it a meeting and events ‘spin.’ Then, pay to publish these into the LinkedIn newsfeeds of meeting professionals. Post these onto your hotel’s own meetings and events blog or repurpose this as content for upcoming sales newsletters (See #2 & 3 above). 6. Optimize Your Website for Meeting Planners This is your main marketing vehicle, so don’t solely cater to leisure guests here. Pack your meetings and events section with all the resources that meeting planners need. Our latest meeting planner survey revealed that planners wanted relevant sourcing tools that could be downloaded directly from hotel websites, including photos of past events, floor diagrams, room measurements, capacity charts, testimonials, and 360-degree venue tours.

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: Hotel Website Copy That Sells

July 14, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 Welcome to the Friday Freebie! Each week we share one FREE impactful hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue. This Week’s Freebie: Convert more lookers into bookers by tweaking your hotel website copy. Today, no one has the attention span to read anymore. Studies show that people online only have an attention span of 8 SECONDS. This puts a lot of pressure on hotel marketers to entice, engage and convince all within that tiny timeframe. So, what’s a hotel marketer to do to maximize mere seconds when someone is on your website–your ultimate marketing asset? How can you quickly push someone closer to booking? The Main Secret: Write for scanners, not readers.  So, write less, make every word count, and make it easy to read. Here Are Some Tips:
  • Cut the fluff, get to the point. Adjectives are the sign of a weak writer!
  • Don’t feel the pressure to write in full, complete sentences all the time. It’s okay now to write how you speak. Say what you mean and mean what you say!
  • Break up content in at-a-glance, “snackable” chunks, instead of writing lengthy paragraphs.
  • Use subheads and headlines to break-up distinct topic changes. This makes it easier to digest important points.
  • Replace some copy with a fitting image or video instead.
Get More Here: Want People to Actually Read Your Hotel Website? Here’s How.

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

Marketing vs Revenue Management: 4 Ways to Bridge the Gap

July 11, 2017 • By
It's time to improve cooperation between hotel marketers and revenue managers. image1 Is there an unspoken divide in your hotel? Revenue managers and hotel marketers are often at odds, one department focused on balancing ADR and occupancy, while the other focuses on awareness, demand and “branding.” In this post, Noelani Berkholtz, Tambourine’s Director of Distribution Strategy and former long-time hotel revenue manager, explains these differences and outlines what revenue managers can do to assist and champion their hotel marketing teams to help both departments achieve mutual success: 1. Understand Mutual Metrics According to Noelani, one of the major sources of dissonance between revenue managers and hotel marketers are the goals and responsibilities allocated to the individual departments. “DOSMs are driven to work towards bonuses based on metrics that differ from a revenue manager’s metrics,” she explained. “This skews what marketing initiatives should actually be focused on.” image2 2. Share Results Regularly Hotel marketers and revenue managers are on the same side, yet revenue managers tend to keep crucial metrics, such as pacing, market mix, actualized occupancy, revenue, and ADR closely guarded. This type of unwarranted secrecy leaves hotel marketers flying blind. “When we withhold this kind of data, we are making the marketing team work in a smoke screen,” Noelani said. “If they can’t see the landscape of what is going on, they can’t proactively respond, or retroactively learn.” Noelani also advises avoiding getting defensive over the numbers. Revenue managers are aware of the shrinking booking window, but at the same time don’t want to be held accountable for it. Above all, communicate. Noelani advises to not let your lack of modern marketing knowledge hinder you from engaging with your marketing team. “Educate your marketing team on what has and has not worked in the past,” she recommends. “And, keep them in the know with any initiatives you are pushing out with the OTAs, even if you are simply mirroring the discount on your site.” Share your STR report and other relevant reports, so the marketing staff can keep a pulse of the market. Plus, let them know what your goals are and keep them abreast on how the hotel is pacing towards those goals so they can alter their marketing initiatives to achieve them. “Consistent communication will reduce the gap between initiatives and goals, and produce a rockstar revenue-generating team.” 3. Talk About Other Channels  It turns out that revenue managers are already working successfully with other marketing departments – OTAs! Revenue managers often run certain promotions targeting certain demographics or need periods that end up producing a ton of business for the OTAs. Start sharing how the OTAs have been successful in marketing your hotel to help your own marketing department! 4. Be Brutally Honest The marketing department wants to hear from you. For instance, revenue managers often wish hotel marketers made things easier.“If a hotel’s marketing department or outside agency made the process of launching initiatives as simple as OTAs did, they would want to engage the marketing department more,” she said. “When there are 8 different people to contact each time a need period is identified, revenue managers are too busy to round them all up. They are more likely to just reduce the rate and hope that helps their conversion on the different channels.”

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: Make Your Hotel Website More Meeting Planner Friendly

July 7, 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: Make it easier for meeting planners to consider and choose your venue by providing the tools and data they expect. Meeting planners are constantly on-the-go and juggling several projects at any given moment. Make their jobs easier (and make it easier for them to see your venue’s potential) by providing the valuable tools they need to select a site. According to our recent meeting planner survey, these are the mandatory tools that meeting planners expect to access directly from your hotel website:
  • Capacity charts
  • Floor diagrams
  • Room measurements
  • Virtual/video venue tours
  • Photos of actual events
Get More: What Do Meeting Planners Actually Want? Here’s the Suprising Results

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