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social media marketing

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

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

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

It’s not about you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Tambourine

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

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

Friday Freebie: Snag Last-Minute President’s Day Weekend Bookings

February 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: Use FOMO to entice last-minute President’s Day Weekend travelers from drive markets.

FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real phenomenon. Spawned by social media, FOMO describes the unease and angst people feel when missing out on something interesting or exciting.

You can add FOMO to your list of hotel marketing strategies and leverage it to convert your audience’s restlessness into last minute, drive-market bookings.

Even though today marks the start of the President’s Day Weekend, you still have a chance to attract last-minute weekend travelers using FOMO. 

Here are two types of FOMO you can deploy today:

  1. Fear of missing out on the last three-day weekend until Memorial Day.
  2. Fear of missing out on your last room available or an amazing weekend room rate.

Create marketing messages that focus on what your audience will miss out on and push them out using advertising targeted to your drive markets (EX: your hotel social media channels and targeted email list).

BONUS IDEA: Plus, if you normally charge for parking, consider creating a last-minute room rate that includes complimentary parking. This gives visitors driving in from nearby markets another good reason to book... and avoid FOMO.

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

Direct Bookings, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Advice, Uncategorized

10 Secrets of Luxury Hotel Websites (Part 1)

January 24, 2017 • By

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

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

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

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

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

Something special and aspirational.

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

2) Luxury Hotel Websites Celebrate F&B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week, check back for Part 2 of this article


About Tambourine

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

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

What Do Meeting Planners Actually Want? Here’s the Surprising Survey Results…

January 17, 2017 • By

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Looking for the ultimate tip to booking more group business this year?

Get inside the planner’s mind to find out what marketing they prefer, respond to, and act upon.

So, we decided to do just that. 

To help hotel sales managers win at various phases of the sourcing process, we partnered with EproDirect to collect insights from more than 83,000 meeting planners to find out what promos and incentives peak their interest, what marketing strategies actually influence them and what impacts their booking decisions.

After analyzing the data, we discovered some things you might expect along with some surprises. Use this data to shape your sales efforts, bring more value to your planner relationships and invest in the right marketing strategies to drive group business.

Click here to view the full report:

Survey Participants Profile:

31% - 3rd Party/Independent 29% - Association 25% - Corporate 5% - Government 10% - Other

Key Findings

What to Improve in 2017?

Meeting planners want to see quicker response times from hotels, an improvement in the quality of facilities and stronger customer service in 2017. While last year, planners said hotels could improve by offering better onsite technology, more competitive packages, along with quicker response times and stronger customer service.

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Double Down on Email Marketing

Despite all the attention given to social media today, 59% of the meeting planners surveyed said email marketing is still their preferred method of receiving information, special offers or updates. Trade shows/events trailed at 15% , while only 2% of planners surveyed preferred social media. One planner noted, “FAM tour opportunities and new hotels/venues and destinations are able to catch my eye.” While another planner said that he/she values emails that include unique ideas and articles.

Email still reigns as a meeting planner’s favorite method of contact. An overwhelming majority surveyed prefer to be solicited via email (87%), over phone calls (7%) and LinkedIn messages (2%).

Offer Relevant Venue Videos

Videos allow planners (especially part-time or non-traditional meeting planners, who carry out other responsibilities besides organizing events) to inspect a venue right from their office. When viewing videos, meeting planners consider facility views (72%) and self-guided virtual tours (69%) as being most helpful to their sourcing journey. Last year, planners also saw endorsements and ideas from meeting peers as most helpful (63%).

Provide the Right Tools on Your Website

Meeting planners rely on hotels to provide all the relevant sourcing tools directly on their website. The top five items that planners find the most valuable on your hotel’s meetings site include capacity charts, floor diagrams, room measurements, virtual/video venue tours and photos of actual events.

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Enhance Your Presence on eRFP Sites

When submitting RFPs, 33% of meeting planners preferred using RFP portals such as Cvent and Elite Meetings. A second preferred method, contacting the hotel sales rep directly, was liked by 29% of the meeting planners we surveyed.

Make an even bigger effort to make your proposals remarkable and compelling when receiving an RFP from a site like Cvent, since it is likely the planner sent the RFP to several properties. Plus, make your hotel sales reps’ direct contact information (extra points for also including a headshot) easy to access on your website, instead of simply providing a generic 1-800 number that’s routed to a sales coordinator. Don’t make the meeting planner dig around to find out how to contact the proper person on your team.

Offer the Right Meeting Incentives and Promo Offers

While meeting incentives and promotional offers only moderately impact a meeting planner’s site selection, food and beverage discounts (53%) and complimentary meeting space promos (71%) are considered the most attractive types of promo offers. Last year, incentives and promo offers had more impact, with 57% of planner participants saying that these could largely influence their site decisions.

Mingle With the Right Social Channels

Out of all the social media platforms used regularly for planning meetings, 42% of planners use Facebook and 60% say they prefer LinkedIn. Provide value on both channels by sharing unique event-related ideas and resources, answering planner's questions and participating in groups.


About Tambourine

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

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

New Tool Helps Hotels Harvest Guest-Generated Content

December 5, 2016 • By

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We’re taking a rare break from our normal weekly thought-leadership series to announce an exciting new product here at Tambourine called Tout.

Tout enables hotels to find, capture and obtain usage rights for guest-generated content on social media. Tout has been tested at various hotels in recent months and is now available to all clients of Tambourine.

"Hotel shoppers don’t trust advertising anymore, they only trust each other," said Rafael Cardozo, President of Tambourine. "Guest-generated stories, photos and videos are pure marketing gold… and now we can mine it all at scale."

Here’s how Tout works:

  1. Content Discovery: Using the technology, Tambourine’s social media team can locate relevant photos and stories posted on social media by guests at the hotel and nearby attractions.
  2. Push-Button Outreach: Once a guest photo or story has been identified, Tout instantly contacts the guest (via social media), thanks them for their post and asks for one-click permission to use the content in the hotel’s marketing campaigns.
  3. Curation/Usage: Once the guest has given their permission, the content is stored in a private online portal and the hotel has full legal usage rights to use the content in its own social media and any other marketing campaigns, including traditional print collateral.

User-generated photography is diverse, visually arresting and authentic," says Thomas McDermott, Director of Social Media at Tambourine. "Tout puts a virtually endless supply of compelling photography at our fingertips."

Tout Case Study: Hotel Hugo New York City

“When we were engaged to handle Hotel Hugo’s social media channels, management was concerned about our ability to remotely generate authentic, real-time content,” according to McDermott. “We populated Tout with geotags and hashtags for all three of the property’s incredible F&B venues and were thrilled to see Tout instantly start to pull in hundreds of photos…”

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“Guests document every aspect of their stay, from artful shots of the lobby lamps and breakfast in bed, to sunsets captured in a wine-glass (See example of content harvested by Tout below). The photography we curate at Hotel Hugo, much like its guests, is always artful, stylish and fun. Not to mention plentiful. We never have to use the same photo twice.”

For more information about Tout and Tambourine, please contact Tom McDermott: Tom@Tambourine.com or call: 954-975-2220


About Tambourine

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

Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Marketing Advice, Hotel Marketing Tools, Instagram, social media

What Every Hotelier Should Be Doing Before 2016 Ends

September 13, 2016 • By

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Newsflash: There are just four months left of 2016!  

With Labor Day behind us, the dust has settled from your summer season and you’re just now beginning to think of the rest of the year ahead. Before you get swept up in end-of-year chaos and coming up with holiday hotel marketing campaigns, September is the opportune time to set the foundation for your success in 2017.   

Get smart about planning ahead.

Here are five must-do tasks to ramp up for your 2017 revenue goals:

1. Evaluate the True Needs of Your Hotel’s Business Mix

We often see hotels that invest too much of their marketing focus and resources on attracting leisure business. Meanwhile, their corporate sales and group sales teams are left having to hastily create disjointed lead campaigns on their own. The biggest irony of this common situation is that a single corporate or group business contract promises hundreds of bookings and larger ancillary spending, while leisure marketing campaigns drive reservations one-by-one. Don’t ignore the biggest spenders. Instead, look at what your corporate sales’ and group sales’ goals are and create an integrated marketing strategy that aims to help them achieve those numbers, in addition to your leisure campaigns.

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2. Prepare a Hotel Marketing Budget That Aligns to Your 2017 Revenue Goals

By now, your management or ownership team have met and begun to map out their revenue targetsfor 2017. If you haven’t already, ask them specifically what part of that revenue pie you and your hotel marketing team are responsible for. Don’t move forward on a budget without knowing exactly what goals your team is beholden to. Get as much clarification as you can, including how many room nights, booked meetings, corporate bookings, etc. should be attributed to your marketing efforts.

A common mistake hotel marketers make when creating a marketing budget is they simply just ask for the same amount as the current year. Here’s the problem: Your hotel owners will likely have an expectation for your team to do even better and to produce even more than this year. So, it makes no sense to ask for the same amount when now, you are being held accountable for achieving so much more!

3. Recruit New Salespeople to Replace Poor Performers

Now that we’re at the end of Q3 and heading into Q4, there’s less doubt as to which salespeople are your top players and which team members are not achieving their goals. If you’ve already invested in training and sales coaching but you're still not seeing any gains in the amount of groups booked by these poor performers, now’s the time to start looking at other potential sales people to take their place.

Competition for group business is fierce and you could possibly be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in group revenue if some of your precious salespeople are missing their numbers. You need an ambitious, creative and smart sales team to drive your goals. And, everyone has to carry his/her weight – period.

4. Gather Guest Reviews to Support Your Budget Requests for Hotel Upgrades

Even the most brilliant hotel marketers can’t get away with putting lipstick on a pig. Despite your consistent and creative marketing efforts, your insightful decisions and your perfectly executed marketing campaigns, you won’t ever be as successful as you deserve if your hotel is crumbling, aging, and showing signs of decay and disarray. Fresh, new properties are popping over everywhere and delivering the exact experience that modern guests are looking for. So, your hotel owners can’t sit back on their past investments and expect to drive the same business with the same ol’ product. Upgrades are necessary, you just have to prove it.

Leverage past guest reviews to convince ownership and management that investments are urgent and imperative to effectively compete. Comb through your guest reviews and highlight complaints that come up most often and will most likely drive potential guests away (mold in the bathrooms, shades aren’t dark enough, ratty carpets, aged décor, etc).

5. Have an Open Dialogue With All Stakeholders About What’s Worked and Not Worked YTD

Marketing success doesn’t occur in a vacuum or behind closed doors of your marketing meetings. You need to have open discussions with your other departments of the property team to analyze the year with you and review where you saw your biggest success, where you tanked, what was the best use of marketing funds and where you can save.

And, don’t overlook your own front desk staff as a key source of information about your customers. They often have insightful direct feedback that could impact your marketing campaigns for the future.


About Tambourine

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

Business, Direct Bookings, hospitality, hotel marketing, Hotel Revenue, Marketing Plan

Does Your Hotel Have A Story?

February 23, 2016 • By

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There’s nothing as captivating as a good story. A story that lures you in, gets you engaged and compels you to do something.

There’s a reason why "storytelling" has been one of the biggest buzzwords for hotel marketers the past few years. Travelers aren’t drawn to facts, promises of a wonderful stay or mentions of your recent industry awards. They want to be a part of something that intrigues them, connects with them and gives them something to brag about.

Consistently and creatively telling your story is what can truly attract travelers to you. However, it’s a common problem for many hoteliers to not know what their story is, much less how to convey it. So… we’re here to help.

Here’s our quick guide on determining your hotel’s story:

1. Know Who You Are

Who are you? Why does your property exist? It’s simple to get lost in the nitty gritty of marketing the facts about your hotel. But correctly telling your story means taking a step back and nailing down your identity first so that you can convey it poignantly across all your marketing channels.

Couples Resorts, a collection of luxury, all-inclusive and couples-only resorts in Jamaica, poignantly captures the allure of a romantic seaside getaway in the tropics. Its carefully curated photos of couples sharing remarkable moments to a backdrop of aqua-hued waters and cloudless skies will make people yearn for their own intimate escape to paradise. Meanwhile, its short and to-the-point marketing copy lays claim to their brand promise: "No kids. No singles. No hassles.”

2. Know Your Audience

Who stays at your property? What do they care about? Are they adventure seekers or business people… or both? Determine what’s relevant to these groups, what they want in travel experiences and what concerns them. In your marketing campaigns, highlight what is relevant to them, use language that they would use and showcase reviews and images that resonate with their personas.

3. Showcase the Awesome

Now, determine the most exciting and most interesting assets your hotel has to offer. After all, your guests aren’t booking a stay with you because you’re the most boring and blandest property on the block. What’s intriguing? Is it your location next to a landmark? Is it your history? Your architecture? Your fun family programs? Leave out the details that no one cares about, like all the awards you’ve won or your cliché guarantees for a great stay.

The Cliff House in Colorado thoughtfully immerses its audience in the awe-inspiring brilliance of its mountain surroundings and its Wild West history. This property draws upon its location between two of Colorado’s natural showpieces – the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak – to showcase a hotel experience that will brim of outdoor adventures and escapades. Plus the hotel’s impactful photos of their 1800’s architecture captures the property’s alluring history as a stagecoach stop, letting future guests know that their stay will be a remarkable one.

4. Get the Word Out

Now that you’ve nailed down your story, you have to tell the tale.

Your story should be woven into all of your sales and marketing materials. Give your prospects a consistent memorable handle on your property! Every marketing touchpoint — your hotel website design, your email, every social media post, every marketing photo — should convey and reinforce your hotel’s story.

5. Get in Touch With Your Feelings

The best stories go beyond mere recitation of facts and touch on people’s emotions. How will your property make them FEEL? Will business travelers and corporate warriors feel empowered by your property’s location and tech-savvy amenities? Will families be able to bond over the bonfire and hot chocolate each night? You want your audience to feel something from your marketing. This is what compels them to book.

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

Brand Story, Guest Experience, hospitality, hotel marketing, Marketing Plan, Mistakes to Avoid, Travel

2012 showed an increase in direct hotel website bookings.

June 7, 2013 • By
NumbersforNinjas-2Good news: According to PhocusWright's recent survey of US Travelers, consumer preference is growing for booking direct with your hotel vs an OTA or third party site! If your direct bookings are not growing in sync with this stat and your OTA revenues continue to outperform your direct online revenues, consider these three immediate steps:
  1. Rate parity: Make sure rates on your own hotel website are consistent with the rates you are publishing on the OTAs, then create value-added packages (free parking, free breakfast, etc) to incentivize shoppers to book direct and spare you the high cost of another OTA booking!
  2. Clean up your "store:" Website and ecommerce technology changes rapidly. If you want to increase your direct online sales, consider upgrading your site to ensure its compatible with the latest best practices. Take special care to ensure mobile/tablet compatibility. If users can't easily navigate your site on their phone or tablet, they can't book!
  3. Own your search results: OTAs often use Google's pay-per-click platform to advertise your hotel name and siphon off bookings from searches on your hotel name. As the actual property owner, its much cheaper for you to advertise on branded keywords and capture your rightful bookings than allow an OTA to grab it and pay them 20% plus!
Consumers are showing a growing preference for booking direct. And the future is looking bright for smart hoteliers who take action now.

OTA

Did you know that 55% of hotels still don't respond to online guest reviews?

February 22, 2013 • By
Thanks to web-based communities like TripAdvisor, travelers are sharing their experiences and affecting the subsequent purchase decisions of others. 70% of travelers actually change their mind about an intended hotel or destination after reading reviews of previous guests! If your past customers are talking about you online--whether it's good or bad--join the conversation! It shows transparency, honesty and appreciation... good qualities for your brand to represent.

Numbers For Ninjas