Browsing Tag

seo

The Painful Truth About Hotel SEO (Part 2)

April 4, 2016 • By

This is the second and final installment in our two-part series on the massive upheaval in hotel SEO best practices. See Part 1 here:

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Problem 3: SEO Has Become Even More Technical and Code Heavy Than Ever Before!

The days of hiring a website vendor and an SEO vendor to work separately are over because there’s no accountability. The best SEO practices in 2016 are less focused on pumping out high volume, keyword stuffed content distributed to link wheels or article distribution services for backlinks and more focused on collaborating with the development and analytics teams to monitor the website user experience and SPEED!

Large images and other technical bolt-ons can slow a website down and prevent Google from crawling a page, causing low Google PageSpeed Insights scores that can harm rankings.  Sharing plug-ins can also leave a site vulnerable to spammy bot traffic, which can pollute referral and organic keyword reporting in tools like Google Analytics or Webmaster tools if not filtered properly. 

Ex: Google shows your page speed load time:

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Solutions:

    Keep your code lean. Audit the hotel’s website every six months to remove any outdated scripts or pieces of code that is no longer necessary

    Run speed tests. You typically want to get a score of 80 or higher. The Varvy Mobile Testing tool is really helpful too (See screenshot below)

    Google often overwrites meta descriptions in the results if they are too long. Put more emphasis on tags like titles, alt image tags and headers. Never use multiple H1 tags as that will only confuse the search engines.

    Implement canonical tags and language preference tags to ensure that you are not penalized for duplicate content between the desktop and mobile sites.

    Place no robots.txt on pages that you do not want indexed.

    Redirect URLs of outdated hotel offer pages.

    Don’t allow multiple versions of a page with various extensions like .html, .asp. cf. or .php to be created. This will only create a redirect nightmare if you ever rebuild the website.

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Problem 4: Ranking Reports Are Useless

Ranking well for high volume keywords doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue, and Google doesn’t always disclose which organic keywords lead to a hotel booking. With mobile and personalized local results gaining share, ranking software will show different position results to a user based on their device, location and even previous search history.  That’s too many variables for an SEO professional to control and consolidate in a single report.

Instead of requesting ranking reports from your hotel web design or SEO  provider, redefine your organization’s metrics for success.

Hotel SEO success should be gauged on the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

    Increase in engaged organic website traffic.

    Improved website conversion rate for traffic coming from organic sources.

    Total direct website revenue or phone revenue generated from organic   channels.

    Higher impression to click-through rates (CTR) from queries (use Webmaster tools to see this ratio).

SEO and Paid (PPC) search will remain a rapidly evolving space as Google continues to adapt to mobile and more personalized solutions for its users. Hotel marketing teams and SEO professionals will have to keep an open mind about ever changing roles, strategy, testing and analysis to keep up. 

Want to see how your technical SEO knowledge stacks up against the pros?  Try taking this quiz.


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 Painful Truth About Hotel Website SEO

March 28, 2016 • By

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You are a director of sales and marketing overseeing all day-to-day activities for your property, maybe several properties, from meeting/group sales to Trip Advisor reviews and website promos. It all falls on you.

Then one day, your GM calls and says, “I just did a Google search for 'Miami Hotels' and we don’t come up anywhere. What are we paying that hotel website company for?”

You immediately go online to do more searches and panic ensues. You start to think, what ARE you paying them for? Aren’t they supposed to be handling all of that Google stuff? Why isn’t your hotel on the first results page for all of those non-branded keywords?  Why is everything so different on Mobile?

The answer is that everything you’ve expected or known about search engine optimization for hotels up until the last year is now obsolete. Even if you’ve invested thousands of dollars into your SEO efforts to have your website successfully rank on page one of Google for “Miami Hotels,” you may never see your website show up on page one, let alone see a measurable ROI.

So how do you answer your GM and hold your Hotel SEO firm accountable? It’s time to redefine your KPIs when it comes to search, and face some of the harsh realities of SEO for the hotel industry.


Problem 1: Google Has Commercialized Its Results Pages

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Summary: In 2015, Google reduced its Google Maps and Google Places results from displaying a “7-Pack” to a “3-Pack”, only showing three Hotels with a thumbnail image and Google’s own commercialized meta-tool. Hotel Ads may lead a consumer to book via Google or with one of their OTA advertising partners.

And recently, Google made further, MAJOR layout changes to its SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), especially for broad search queries like “Miami Hotels” or “Hotels in Times Square."  As a result, natural/organic search listings have now been pushed further down the pages and are seeing a reduction in organic click-throughs, and even less traffic on mobile devices.

Solutions: While you cannot control the search engine's giant layout or where your listing is displayed in the SERPs, you do have some control on what information is being populated:

Claim your property’s Name and Place (NAP) and make it consistent across all platforms from Google Plus to Yelp. Make sure your Google Plus page is verified and links directly back to your hotel’s website. Services like Yext or Moz Local can help you manage all of these in one simple platform. Other services like Whitespark can assist with citation cleanup or updating any listing on the web that has your property’s business name, physical address and phone number, in addition to helping build safe, credible backlinks.

  Control the images you display across the online universe with image parity software like ICE Portal or VFM Leonardo. This will help clean up images of your hotel across the web, including the OTAs.

Target answers not keywords. A recent study revealed that 15 percent of Google’s 3.5 Billion daily searches were questions or queries that the search engine has never seen before! Hotel websites need to target “long tail” search queries by adding content that answers a traveler’s questions and provides information about the destination or the experience guests will have. Don’t be afraid to promote local businesses or restaurants; not everything on the site can be self-serving. A hotel site is more likely to rank for long tail queries that have less competition and will see a rise in user engagement.  Quality website traffic over quantity!

Utilize a content mapping and interlinking strategy. What page does your website user visit most before they book?  Is there a pattern in the sequence of the pages they visit before entering the booking engine? Once you identify the most relevant pages on your hotel's website, analyze the typical user’s journey to complete a booking. This “path” report can be pulled from Google Analytics.  Content mapping ensures that the content on those pages, and the text links within the site copy, are interlinked properly, making it easier for the user to find the information they are looking for in addition to passing signals to Google about what content is most related and important.

Problem 2: Increased Competition for Your Own Hotel Name

Summary: Google’s Hotel Ads and Book on Google products have made it harder than ever for hotels to get traffic from their own brand name. TripAdvisor, big brands and the OTAs have always out-muscled individual hotel websites for popular non-branded keyword searches (ie: “Miami hotels”). But in 2015, new paid advertising products emerged, making the search engine marketing space even more competitive for individual properties.

Last year, Google introduced its Book on Google model alongside its Hotel Ads module. Online users now have the option to view rates from all OTAs or book with Google directly from the SERP page, without ever having to actually visit a hotel or OTA website! Properties connecting via a CRS are paying approximately 10-12 percent commission to Google for the Book on Google feature, and anywhere from $1.00-$4.00 cost per click (CPC) to have their rate listed alongside the OTAs on Google’s Hotel Ads module.

You can read more about how Google’s products work on their official websearch blogBut here is a simple visual breakdown of Google’s new page structure:

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Solutions:

  Dominate the SERP by combining PAID and Organic Search Efforts. Consider having your PPC and SEO teams working side by side to implement tactics like Review or Ad Extensions and Event Schemas to take up as much real estate as possible on a page for brand related search queries.

  If budget permits, participate in Meta Search Advertising or Hotel Ads, but be sure that the hotel rates are in parity!

    Add alternative tags to all of the property’s images and with the hotel’s name to influence branded image results.

    Invest in having unique content in other places that have direct links back to your website from authoritative places like Wikipedia, Youtube, etc.

• Refresh the website’s title tags and header tags if you notice click-through rates on your organic results are decreasing. Use strong language in your site’s title tags and meta descriptions like “book direct” or “official hotel website.”

Check back next week for Part 2 of Painful Truths about Hotel SEO


About Tambourine

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

Holiday gifts: 17 Free Tools That Make Hotel Marketing Easier

December 2, 2014 • By
Tambourine: hotel and tourism marketing technologyEvery day you learn about new software, emerging social media channels and burgeoning review sites, and every day you wonder how you will ever manage it all. Fortunately, new hotel marketing tools also inspire other tools to make utilization simpler. Many of these tools cost big bucks and need to be worked into next year’s budget. But some are free-- which means you can start using them today. Look down the list. Pick a few out to try today. Then, bookmark this list for easy reference later.

Get the Facts: SEO, Market Research, and Analytics

  1. Quicksprout: Quicksprout grades your website for SEO factors and load time. Gives you advice on improving your scores for speed and load.
  2. Google Alerts: Set alerts for your comp set, your neighborhood and local attractions. Google will send updates to your inbox.
  3. Google Analytics: Meet your website’s audience. Google analytics shows you the origin, keyword usage and behavioral profile (meeting planners vs. leisure tourists?) of all website visitors. It can segment out who visits your website and books. You can also set conversion goals.
  4. U.S. Department of Transportation: The more you know about who comes to your city the more precise you can target your marketing. Find out definitive information about which markets feed your region on the USDOT site.
  5. BuzzSumo: Analyze what articles get the most social media attention in your region or category. Go to the website and enter your city name+travel. You’ll see what people really want to read about when their researching a visit to your city.
  6. Track Maven:Track Maven provides a simpler way of keeping up with your comp set. The site follows up to ten competitors across content and social media channels. Then, it will email you the results.
  7. OpenCalais:OpenCalais searches content for relationships between persons, places and things. It can help you recognize untapped keywords in your content to empower your SEO efforts. Likewise, if a competing hotel’s content gets more attention than yours, copy and paste a few of their articles into OpenCalais to find which keywords they’re using.
  8. RevPar Calculator: Figure out your RevPar on your smartphone with RevPar Guru’s free app.
  9. Email campaign ROI calculator: Find the estimated ROI of your email or direct marketing campaign’s with Marketing Today’s ROI calculator.

Create Quality Content

  1. Hemingway app: While no online editor catches every error, the Hemingway app will make you see your copy differently. Hemingway points out grammar mistakes, long sentences and awkward phrases.
  2. The Content Idea Generator: Can’t think of anything to write about for your hotel blog? Feed a word into the Content Idea Generator and you’ll get a headline for your next post. I tested it out and this is what I got: Vacation: 14 Things Spock Would Say About Vacation Resorts: Doing Resorts the Right Way Meeting Planners: The Dummies Guide to Meeting Planners Of course, these ideas are just starters. You might want to change the last one to The Dummies Guide to Planning Awesome Meetings
  3. Tweriod: Tweriod analyzes your Twitter feed to tell you when most of your followers are online. So you receive maximum exposure for every Tweet.
  4. Twitter Analytics:Twitter Analytics breaks down link clicks, engagement rate, retweets, and favorites. Use it often and patterns will emerge.

Send Effective Emails:

  1. Lyris Content: The worst thing that can happen to your outgoing emails is they end up in your guests’ spam folders. The Lyris Content Checker scans your emails for words and phrases that often trigger email spam alerts.
  2. Send Forensics Email Deliverability Test: Compare your emails deliverability against local and industry benchmarks with Send Forensics. You can also set alerts to protect your reputation as someone who sends valuable emails.
  3. Contactually’s Email View: Nothing sells your hotel like a pretty picture. Ever wondered if the pictures you email load correctly across various servers?  Find out. Simply enter your outgoing email’s HTML code and Contactually will show you how it will look in Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, and Hotmail.
  4. Litmus Subject Line Checker: After you’ve ensured your emails avoid spam folders, your next task is to get travelers to open the email. Your subject line is key. This Litmus tool shows you how your subject line appears in different email servers.
Have you decided which tools can help you today? Bookmark this post for easy reference. Then share it on social media to help your fellow hotel marketers. 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

Surprise! 10 ways your hotel website is killing your business. Part 1

February 10, 2014 • By
 

Surprise! Your Hotel Website may be Killing Your BusinessThink your website is “good enough?” Think again…

Would you buy three-year-old TVs for your rooms? How about cheap lobby furniture that no one wanted to sit on? If 1,000 people came into your store and 999 walked out without buying anything, would you rethink your merchandising? The answers to these questions are obvious. But as strange as it may seem, some hoteliers remain blissfully unaware of their website’s negative impact on revenue. And it’s a big problem: depending on the targeted ratio of group vs leisure bookings, the typical independent or boutique hotel website could represent more than 50% of the property’s expected revenue production. Yet, far too many hoteliers still serve up an inferior, antiquated experience to potential and repeat guests. Remember, virtually ALL of your website traffic INTENDS (they rarely stumble into it) to find your site through natural search, paid search or links from other related sites. Then, 99%+ of those highly relevant visitors leave without converting… what does this tell you about your hotel’s website as a vital business asset? Here’s a quick list of ten ways your hotel website may be insufficient and underperforming:
  1. You treat every website visitor the same:   Business travelers expect and need different treatment than couples seeking a romantic weekend getaway. You don’t treat them in the same way when they are on-property, why treat them the same way when they arrive at your site? Simple new technology allows you to personalize the arrival experience and engage with the most relevant message and offer.
  2.  You treat every booking engine visitor the same:   Once a website visitor performs an availability search and enters your booking environment, it’s even more important to customize their experience. Based on their previous clickstream behavior and demographics, the booking environment should adapt to their profile… preventing reservation abandonment, increasing your conversion and raising your actual ADR. Tambourine's booking engine making great strides in this area, check it out.
  3.  You’ve never actually watched a human test it:   Amazing things happen when you ask unbiased users (no, not your spouse!) to actually sit down and try using/booking on your site. Check out UserTesting.com for cheap, demographically-relevant testers.
  4. Your pricing is confusing:   Ever been in the checkout line when the cashier has to go verify a price? Or been told that the coupon you want to use is no longer available? Or worse yet, you actually buy a product only to learn that it was cheaper at another store. Visitors to your online booking environment expect fast, simple, smooth transactions. Travel consumers will surf away from your site at the smallest hint of pricing friction, lack of price parity or complexity. Your revenue management team can have a deeply profound impact on your web team’s results… make sure the booking environment is carefully monitored and frequently tested!
  5. You have no SEO foundation:   Competing with the OTAs and your compset for high Google rankings is hard enough without handicapping yourself from the get-go by failing to build the site on a best-practices SEO foundation. Your link structure, site map and microdata need to be carefully reviewed and crafted by real SEO practitioners.
Thanks for reading Part 1 of this 2 part series. We hope it was informative. Next week, we'll tackle the next five reasons your hotel website is killing your business.

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 Tambourine.com.

What Do Hotel Marketers Want for Christmas?

December 20, 2013 • By

TambourineWhatMarketersWantforChristmasWhat do hotel marketers want for Christmas?

Before we break for the holidays, we asked our staff, client GMs, revenue managers, hotel owners and partners to tell us what's at the top of their professional holiday wish list. The answers might surprise you!
  1. A sympathetic ear: Many of the hotel marketers we surveyed asked for something very simple and poignant: they asked to be heard. Too often, decisions are made by owners or more senior execs without asking the opinion of the sales and marketing team actually responsible for revenue goals. The most common complaint? Budget mandates being passed down with no say in the resources required to achieve the budget.
  2. More corporate accounts: Even though they get significantly discounted rates, businesses that send a steady flow of travelers are deeply desirable to hotel marketers. Their contracts and year-round arrivals form a healthy baseline for many of the folks who responded to our holiday wish list question.
  3. Lower OTA fees: We may solve world peace and find a cure to cancer before most hotel marketers find a way to significantly reduce their OTA commissions, but this item is a clear indication of the frustration hotel leaders have with their ongoing inability to shift share from OTAs to direct revenue.
  4. A #1 TripAdvisor ranking: Unfortunately, Santa's little elves' can only conjure up one of these for every market!
  5. Less fraud on TripAdvisor: Scoundrels who surreptitiously post false reviews on their comp set's page is dirty business, but apparently still all too common based on our survey results. TripAdvisor claims they are doing everything they can to resolve the issue.
  6. Automated revenue management software: Most properties we spoke to have various degrees of manual labor involved in their rate setting and distribution activity. Quite a few told us they would love a more intelligent solution that truly automated competitive analysis, rate updates and dynamic distribution across all channels.
  7. A simpler data dashboard: So many sources of data… so little time to analyze it all! A number of hotel marketers would be happy campers if they woke up on Christmas morning with a simple, plug-and-play dashboard with all their KPIs in one safe place.
  8. Better F&B: The desire for branded, upgraded F&B outlets was a common request in our informal survey. The explosive growth of "foodie" travelers and consumer demand for healthier food is surely driving this…
  9. Economic prosperity: Things are looking up for global economies… and hotel marketers hope it stays that way! Bullish consumers and prosperous businesses take more trips and owners feel confident in reinvesting in property and product improvements.
  10. Lower airfares: The cost of airfare is an intrinsic part of any hotel/vacation product. High airfares, reduced capacity, new taxes or municipal landing fees can wreak havoc on your P&L, especially if you are a resort far from your top feeder markets.
Tell us what's on your holiday wish list and we'll send you our favorite Egg Nog recipe (think 151 Rum)! Happy Holidays!

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 Tambourine.com.

Hotel Marketing and the Impact of Video SEO

December 7, 2012 • By
Tambourine: Hotel Marketing and the Impact of Video SEO Google has made a change to their algorithm that counts time watched on video as one of their ranking factors. This change brings with it an added importance on creating engaging video content and is just another indication by Google of how important video is and will continue to be in search. This also presents an opportunity for hotel marketers to use video SEO to drive organic rankings. The key here is the “time watched on video” and not the number of clicks. Create a video that keeps viewers watching and Google will see this as an indicator of quality content and push the video to the top of search rankings. According to Eric Meyerson, YouTube’s head of creator marketing communications, “YouTube viewers watch a lot of video -- over 4 billion hours a month at last count. But the average household also watches several hours of video per day on their TVs. So for YouTube to become the most important media in more people's lives, we've got a lot of growing to do,” he said. “Over the past few months we have made some changes to YouTube to encourage people to spend more time watching, interacting, and sharing with the community. To support this, we’ve updated what we call video discovery features, meaning how our viewers find videos to watch via search and suggested videos. These changes better surface the videos that viewers actually watch, over those that they click on and then abandon.” In addition, YouTube Analytics has released a new metric called Estimated minutes watched, which further supports the attention to this metric. Hotel marketers should focus on creating engaging video that highlights the details and amenities that make those hotels unique. Video has the highest engagement compared to images or text. Video can be used to better communicate details regarding a certain hotel. Also, video SEO is a key component of a vertical SEO search strategy.   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.

Real SEO and the Responsibility of Travel Search Engine Strategists

October 11, 2012 • By
Search Engine Optimization   Real SEO is about generating quality content that is unique. You’ve probably heard this before. But allow me to break it down for you. Search engine strategists have a responsibility to optimally utilize digital assets such as blogs, website copy, videos, pictures and other digital content that is created specifically for clients and spread it out over relevant websites, indexes and social media platforms so that people SEE IT, and they do this for two reasons: To drive online traffic. To acquire rankings. The constant flow of creative oozing out of travel, destination, and hotel marketing agencies is one of the biggest weapons that can be used in the war to acquire organic rankings. And it is a war. The majority of SEO companies in the industry promise rankings for $75 based on "black hat tactics" such as link farming. Link farming is bad. This is when a group of websites come together and each website links to all the other websites in the group. Google is on to this which makes link farming a short term game. And no SEO strategist worth his salt supports them. The only reason those SEO companies can offer SEO service on the cheap is because they aren't creating original content, and if they are, it certainly isn't quality content. What they are doing is generating garbage content, Content that has no real value, content that won't be used, cataloged or read EVER. Travel marketers and digital agencies are in a unique position to generate high quality, original work that could only be attained because of the relationship with the client. They do this through the creation of website content, pictures, video, and social media media content, and informative blogs. If the travel agency is doing a good job, this should translate to tangible, useful, compelling online content that cannot be produced anywhere else, with an end result of driving organic traffic. Bottom line is that all content created is more ammunition to engage with past and potential customers to drive rankings and traffic. SEO is really just traditional marketing tactics. Identifying a target market, creating compelling content for that market, and ensuring an awesome customer experience once they learn and use your product.  Sure there is a high degree of technical tactics that go in to describe the contents of webpages to search engines, but at the core it is identifying target markets and creating experiences that turn visitors into customers. 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. Learn more at https://www.Tambourine.com

Confessions of a Hotel Marketing Firm: Top Ten Most Dangerous Mistakes in Hotel Marketing – Part 1

September 24, 2012 • By
After 25 years of working with hoteliers around the world, we’ve made every mistake in the book. Strangely enough, that’s why most of our clients hire us… Because we’ve made mistakes at someone else’s expense in the past, we’re less likely to make costly mistakes on their account in the future! Here’s a list of the top ten mistakes we’ve made (and corrected) that inhibited client revenue, how many are you still making?   Mistake No. 1 Believing You Can Market a Product That is Fundamentally Bad We used to think great marketing could outshine a bad product (also known as “Putting lipstick on a pig"). The truth is that a bad product will always kill great marketing. The product IS the most important component of your marketing. If your rooms, your amenities or your location are bad, you can’t hide behind fluffy ad copy. No matter what you say, no matter how hard you sell, you're in for trouble with the guests you do attract. And they'll trash you… big time, on the spot and online. They'll be waiting for you at the front desk. They'll be complaining out loud in the lobby. And they'll be bashing you all over the Internet. Even before they leave the property. So if you do have an inferior product, whatever you do, don't over hype it. Fix it instead. The higher you raise the expectations of your guests, the greater their disappointment. And their anger. The truth is, you only have two choices when your product isn't what it needs to be. You can fix it. Or you can adjust your rates so your clientele can live with it. If you decide to improve your product, start by raising your level of service. That's usually the easiest area of improvement to address (and least capital intensive). Get rid of bad apple employees. Raise the bar for the rest. And stick to your new standards. You can also improve your product offering by creating special packages that put the emphasis on the best of your features and amenities. In other words, sell what you deliver best. Mistake No. 2 Tolerating Anything Less Than A+ Performance From Your Website Not so long ago, killer websites were a luxury, not necessity. Now, before today’s travelers go anywhere, they go to the Web. They research. They investigate. They compare you to your competition. And all they have to judge YOU on is YOUR website. It’s up to you to make the very most of that prospective guest’s initial visit. The longer they stay, the greater the possibility of a booking. In fact, the most critical job of your website is to get them to book directly with you. Here are some absolute musts for your site to be the most forceful weapon in your arsenal:
  1. Make certain you greet your visitors with a clear, simple statement of exactly why they should stay with you.
  2. Tell them what makes you uniquely different in the most concise, most memorable way possible. This is called your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
  3. Use quality imagery, both stills and video, to illustrate your property in the best possible light
  4. Call your visitors to action. Give them incentives. Give them a sense of urgency. Offer them deals they won’t want to miss out on and let them know the clock is ticking on the offer
  5. Make sure your booking engine is world class. If it’s unfriendly and just plain clunky, you’ll actually lose business in the booking process
  6. Some hotels now get more traffic and bookings from mobile devices, so make sure your online presence is compatible with iPads and mobile devices, which account for a steadily increasing amount of traffic for all hotels and a fortune in bookings.
  7. Welcome meeting and group travel decision makers. Make them feel special. Speak their language. Invite them to visit and encourage them to see for themselves
  8. Enrich your site with all that your location and surrounding area has to offer. Give your visitors details and let them go as deep as they’d like in exploring the area
  9. Equip your site with the latest technological tracking and retargeting tools you need to continually hone in on your target audience.
Mistake No. 3 Not Having a Plan Trying to market a property without a comprehensive/consensus Sales & Marketing plan is like trying to start a relationship without understanding your partner’s values. Success depends on knowing where you’ve been, who you are and what your goals are. Your plan needs to have the endorsement of ALL your stakeholders and itemize the steps required to increase revenue. You need a strategy for each feeder market and core target segment (leisure, group, travel/trade, etc). You also need to identify the specific obstacles to achieving your sales projections and the tactics necessary to overcome them. ADR, AOR and RevPar data must be documented and projections need to be made. A campaign specifically aimed at meeting planners may also be required. And if you are a flag hotel, the role corporate marketing will play in meeting your projections needs to be included. Also, an assessment of F&B competitiveness may be required, with plans for making specific improvements. Critical aspects of the property itself may need to be evaluated and areas of improvement need to be identified and budgeted for. Factors beyond the gates of your property and beyond your control must be also documented and dealt with. Are there changes on the horizon of the competitive landscape? What will the effects be of pending shifts in airline schedules? How long will the bad press from a recent natural disaster linger? Finally, every bit of guest feedback available must be taken into consideration in planning where you put your emphasis in the year ahead. But is all this work really necessary? Wouldn’t all that time be better spent doing, rather than planning? Not when you’re your property’s success depends on it! Mistake No. 4 Failing to Properly Arm Your Group Sales Force No matter how appealing your property, no matter what your competitive edge, if your key sales people don’t have compelling tools, sales won’t happen. Group and meeting planners expect exciting “infotainment” material at their fingertips. Provide collateral that speaks directly to meeting planners. Educate them. Inspire them. Put special packages together for their groups. Prepare an annual calendar of local events. Provide a menu of transportation options from the airports that serve your location. Include pictures and videos of previous meetings you’ve hosted… these can be very powerful motivators for new clients. Your sales material and web content must convey the unique ambiance of your property, instantly communicating how your property can deliver a flawless, memorable experience that will make the Planner look like a star! And in today’s world, your sales collateral cannot be confined to ink on paper. You have to tell your story equally well in all electronic formats, whether presented on a large-screen laptop, a crystal-clear iPad or a smartphone/iPhone. Mistake No. 5 Not Taking Social Media Seriously According to a recent study, six out of ten travel shoppers change their mind after reading reviews from previous guests on social media sites.  Why is social media such a critical new component to your property's marketing success? Social media has transformed consumer behavior from simply searching and reading to actively sharing, reviewing and participating. Travelers now post reviews, photos and itineraries…which impact how potential guests make purchase decisions. Because travel is seen as a luxury, travelers are much more prudent with their vacation dollars and are investing more time educating themselves before booking their destination or hotel. Social media allows them to validate their options by reviewing previous travelers' experiences. Once you connect with past guests on Facebook for example, you are able to communicate an ongoing stream of promos and messaging to your audience with no incremental marketing cost. And then, every past guest who befriends you via social media becomes a free word-of-mouth evangelist for your property! Social media creates an unlimited digital accelerator for word of mouth advocacy. This virtual evangelism by your guests can have a tremendous impact on your hotel’s revenue... and reputation!  Social Media also gives properties the opportunities to engage guests in two-way communication at every point of the vacation experience, whether it’s someone shopping for a hotel, a dissatisfied past (or current) guest or delivering cost-effective messages to your past guest fan base. Here's a few more ways smart hotel marketers use social media to increase revenue:
  1. Show your customer care and transparency by responding to ALL reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp and other sites.
  2.  Add new Facebook apps like Flip.to which enable bookers to spread news of their booking using Facebook’s intrinsic sharing platform.
  3. Utilize the “voice” of the hotel across the social sphere to clearly define the hotel brand and shape the demographic of the hotel’s following. By actively engaging with guests (pre, during and post stay), properties are in greater control of their online reputation and will see more frequent, positive reviews as a result. 
Hope you enjoyed Part 1 of Confessions of a Hotel Marketing Firm. We'll have part 2 up shortly.

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. Learn more at https://www.Tambourine.com

Hotels Limiting Their Potential in Mobile Commerce

September 4, 2012 • By
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. Learn more at https://www.Tambourine.com