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symphony

How Boutique Hotels Win vs. Big Box Brands

July 12, 2016 • By

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In today’s world, where travelers are willing to invest in whatever is remarkably authentic and local, boutique hotels are coming out on top.

Comfortable tried-and-true hotel experiences offered by the world’s largest brands aren’t as appealing as they once were. Nor is their generic décor (meant to appease all tastes), predictable amenities, or restaurant menu of American “favorites.” In fact, those familiar big brand experiences are now seen as mundane, and travelers (including business and “bleisure” travelers) are more than eager to break out of the boring.

Travelers want to be immersed in the destination. They want to do, see, savor and explore everything that makes your region amazing, unique and unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. This is what makes their travels meaningful, memorable and worth bragging about.

Now’s the time to get creative and get bold in how you connect your guests to your destination. Here are some of our suggestions to transform your hotel into a genuine destination experience focused on the people, food, and local culture that define your region:


1. Gather All the Local and Cool Experiences In One Place

Authentic experiences usually fall in these major categories:

  • Interacting and tasting the local food and drink, including farmer’s market visits, tastings, restaurant tours and cooking classes with local chefs.
  • One-on-one, personal interactions with local residents.
  • Visits to off-the-beaten path places or activities that usually only locals know about, instead of overcrowded and already-famous tourist attractions.

Take stock of all the offerings in your region, including those who you can partner with for experiential packages and promotions, such as a family-run vineyard or a mom-and-pop-owned niche tour company.

Promote these local experiences on your hotel website, instead of the major attractions that are already heavily advertised by every other hotel in your city. Write blog posts about each one, tout them on social media and educate your staff (not just the concierge team) about these. Stop over-promoting your property and start celebrating your destination.

2. Go Hyper Local: Focus on Small Amazing Moments Nearby

Whatever neighborhood your hotel is located in, own it. Too often we see hotel staff recommending whatever is the well-worn path and least likely to offer a bad experience – even if it requires a cab ride – instead of suggesting something within walking distance. We can see the virtue in only telling your guests about what’s most stable, but today’s travelers are bolder and more willing to get out there for the sake of adventure.

So, if a guest asks for a recommendation on where to grab some coffee, don’t simply usher them to Starbucks. Instead, point out your favorite locally owned coffee shop that serves your favorite concoction. Instead of suggesting the tried-and-true restaurant that offers commissions to your concierges, give guests the names of a couple hole-in-the-wall eateries that the locals swear by.

3. Invite Locals and Guests to Mix and Mingle

Don’t fret if your hotel doesn’t offer crystal chandeliers, premium Egyptian cotton sheets or custom-built furniture. A majority of today’s travelers look past these frills for something more appealing – community building. Guests want to feel as if they’re part of the local community and landscape. 

Some visionary boutique brands have already started capitalizing on this by turning their lobbies into gathering spaces for locals and guests alike, such as the Ace Portland and Ace New York. Instead of leaving their lobby simply as a place to pass through, they created opportunities for co-working via large community tables and lounge-like spaces for people to hang out for drawn-out discussions. Plus, they hold events that are open both to guests and the public. Other brands have created rooftop bars that locals flock to or playrooms, such as Hotel Zetta’s in San Francisco, where locals and guests can get together to play larger-than-life Plinko or Nintendo Wii.

4. Get Real About “Personal Service”

The term "personal service" used to be an overused cliché that hotels and every other customer-driven business would throw around, but not really commit to. Guests want a personal connection to your hotel, not just an empty suggestion to “ask anyone at the front desk and they should be able to help you!” Prior to visits, consider new marketing automation and hotel CRM tools that reach out to each guest via email, signed by an actual member of your staff with a direct email/telephone number to contact them in case of any questions.

Similar new tech tools enable you to text guests after check-in to make sure everything is okay and remind guests that they can text any requests personally to them at any time. Have staff update guest profiles as much as they can with personal preferences they catch on to. Greet guests by their first names (Mr. and Mrs. is much too formal, and sounds awkward and stiff). Remember, to your guests, YOU are the local, so make them feel like treasured friends with every opportunity. 


 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

 

Use Your Guests’ July 4th Social Media Posts to Expand Your Marketing Reach

July 1, 2016 • 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 direct bookings.

This week’s freebie: leverage your 4th of July guests’ social media posts to expand your marketing reach.

The barbecues. The fireworks. The high occupancy. Independence Day is a day of celebration – both for guests and hoteliers. This holiday weekend is prime time for travel across the nation, with guests joyfully filling up hotel rooms and reveling in summer and 4th of July fun. Of course, your guests will be taking photos. And, of course, they’ll be posting to their social media accounts. So, make sure that you are included, mentioned and properly tagged in all of those posts.

Promote a special 4th of July hashtag to be used by all of your guests this weekend, and remind them (via signage at the front desk, in the elevators, etc) to tag you in all of their posts. Incentivize them to do so by running a contest that will award two or three guests who post to social media a complimentary return stay to your hotel. Let them know that you will even count posts from those who are out and about in your city, just as long as they tag your property to show that they are staying with you.

In the end, these guests will be your weekend’s brand ambassadors and an unofficial extension of your marketing team. Plus, their social networks will get to see the full guest experience of visiting you and exploring your city by someone they trust.

Get More: 7 Hotel Marketing Tips for 4th of July


 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

What Would You Do With $5,000 Extra In Marketing Budget?

June 21, 2016 • By
shutterstock_137249807 Even after crafting a well-thought out marketing strategy, getting creative with resources and watching obsessively over every marketing dollar, it’s still common to wish your hotel marketing budget was more flush with cash.

So, just say, by the grace of the accounting gods, that your marketing department is granted an unexpected windfall of $5,000. How would you like to spend it? Or, rather, how should you spend it? Here’s what our team, with 30+ years of bringing in direct revenue for hotel clients across the country, recommends doing with that $5,000 to drive more bookings.


Put Your Money on Your Destination

Run a campaign that showcases your destination and aligns your hotel as the property that will give guests coveted front-row access to your city’s locally inspired and authentic moments. After all, modern travelers are not looking to stay in a hotel simply for the room and a bed. They want to immerse themselves in a sense of place and to experience things they won’t be able to replicate at home. The key is to focus your new marketing funds on answering this market need.

Here’s What We Would Do: 

1. Identify Slow Periods Start off by looking at your calendar and noting which months or weeks need the most boost in occupancy, group bookings and ancillary revenue. For most hotels, you will have several need periods all year-round. In this case, cast a wide net and try to capture a full continuous month – or even a season – rather than staggered dates that run at different times of the year.

2. Select an Attraction/Event Close to Your Property Now, comb through the attractions that are closest to your hotel, or a major local event that people are known to travel to. Whether it’s a landmark exhibit at your contemporary art museum or a new attraction, this will be the focus and star of your campaign, so gather as much information as you can for marketing. While it would be ideal (and give you the most visibility) to be an official partner as the host hotel, this is usually a pay-to-play transaction, and your funds can be better used elsewhere.

3. Create a Landing Page on Your Website That Focuses Exclusively on the Attraction/Event Many hotels make the mistake of creating campaigns solely in social media or email, linking them directly to the booking engine or to their homepage, hoping it's enough to usher the prospect to making a purchase. By doing so, these hotels leave a bulk of visitors floundering as they don’t know where to go next, or they start to question if the campaign is still running. Adding a landing page to your hotel website sustains the excitement of the event or attraction and its content can give the visitor even more reason to stay with your property if they want to join in the experience. And make sure to add a map on the landing page that shows distances form your hotel to the attraction/event!

4. Invest in Drawing Traffic to That Landing Page The bulk of your $5,000 budget should now be invested in reeling in online traffic to that landing page. Use targeted methods, such as a direct paid search and a Facebook ad campaign, using specific keywords in your advertising. Piggyback those efforts with emails to past guests who have stayed in that time period before.

Identify the market these travelers historically have come from in your PMS. If for example, most of the last few year’s mid-week July guests all came from local drive markets, export that guest data from your PMS, repeat guest email marketing and use those lists to build Custom and Look-alike Audience campaigns in Facebook. Start all of these marketing efforts a few months beforehand to build momentum and to garner as much exposure to the landing page and your hotel as possible. And finally, make sure your local CVB or tourism board knows that you’re investing in the campaign. They may be doing something as well, and may mention your property as a recommended place to stay for the event.


 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: Use Your Past Guests To Outperform New Properties

June 17, 2016 • 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 direct bookings. This week’s freebie: one easy way to outperform new hotel properties in your market.

It’s never easy battling for bookings, especially when you’re surrounded in every direction by exciting, new properties that are stealing all the attention and all the dollars. New hotels are poised perfectly to steal your business with their sparkling technology, modern amenities, and exciting new guest experiences that travelers are clamoring for.

Don’t fall back on flash sales in a last-minute bid to entice bookings away from them. This will only hurt your reputation and your bottom line. Instead, leverage the one thing you have that they don’t: past guests.

While the new hotel must target new guests, create compelling reasons for past guests to plan a return stay. Formulate an exciting offer exclusively for them or your loyalty program members. Follow the developments of new properties, and time your marketing efforts to start months ahead of their opening and lasting well into their first year. This gives past guests an irresistible reason to ignore the hype surrounding the new kid on the block. 

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

Three Things Hotel Marketers Can Learn From Uber

June 6, 2016 • By

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Over the last 10 years, industry disruptors have rocked the business world in ways we’ve never seen before, and leading the charge is disruption’s poster child, Uber. 

Not only has it streamlined getting anywhere in the world’s major cities, Uber‘s visionary business model is a goldmine of lessons for hotel marketers. Their model nourishes their own growth, with their incredible way of combining a smooth payment system, customer-focused service delivery and smart and nimble use of mobile technology. This has left taxi companies reeling from a drastic loss in market share, customer loyalty and brand security with every passing day.


Uber is undeniably a case study in business brilliance. Here are their principles hotel marketers should consider replicating:

1. Simplicity

We’re going to wager that no one enjoyed calling a cab, hailing a cab, waiting for a cab or paying for a cab. Modern consumers value customer service and convenience more than ever before. They want what’s easy and Uber instinctively locked into that preference from the very beginning. They address all of those commonplace annoyances that come with taking a cab and took them out in a single shot using a stunningly simple interface. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said it best: “Uber doesn’t sell transportation. Uber sells time.” They understand how much easier it is to pay with your phone, without having to dig around your bag for your wallet. The app’s clean and uncluttered design allows you to request the nearest driver and pay for your ride with just one button. It’s as simple as you can get.   

What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s simplicity? Examine your booking experience and consider how you could simplify even the smallest of details. Minimize any hurdles to making a reservation. Are you cluttering your booking engine with too many options, text or fields to fill out? Consolidate as many fields as you can to get as close to a one-touch experience as possible. Pre-fill certain fields if they are a returning guest. Streamline your mobile booking site so a user can book a room with just one hand holding their smartphone.

2. The Importance of Technology 

It all comes down to making your customers’ lives easier with brilliant technology. Uber harnessed the technology we were already using, mobile phones and mobile apps, to address an antiquated necessity – transportation. Think about the aging technology you normally see in taxi cabs, including their mileage trackers and credit card readers that often are broken at the most inconvenient times. Uber allows you to pay without the awkwardness of counting out change or figuring out a tip. Plus, they email you a receipt, which makes it easier for business travelers to track their travel expenses.

Uber continues to be a leader in innovation. They recently launched UberEats, delivering lunch and dinner from popular restaurants to users in under ten minutes. With their new UberPool option, users can opt to share a ride with another user nearby who is traveling along the same route, transforming a solo ride into a social experience.

What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s tech-savviness? Be open to technology that will enhance your guest experience and help you reach guests in more places online. Consider mobile check-in apps, keyless entry, and offering live updates to the room bill that guests can check via their smartphones. Invite guests to ask questions via an online chat option on your Website. Automate marketing emails to past guests who stayed during slow seasons or to visitors who visited your website, but left before booking a room.

3. Deliver a Great Service/User Experience 

First and foremost, Uber focused on creating the best experience for their customer. It took taking a taxi, an act that many people dreaded, and made it fun and enjoyable from beginning to end. With the app, you know exactly where your driver is, what their name is, and how their car looks like. When they arrive, they greet you by name, have an impeccably clean car, and give you a free bottle of water (sometimes even candy!). Uber’s rating system, which allows both drivers and passengers to rate each other, keeps everyone accountable. It gives drivers the incentive to offer the best customer service and keep their vehicles pristine. It also gives passengers the incentive to not be rowdy, disrespectful, or uncontrollably drunk. These small details have made grand strides in delivering an experience that the taxi industry has yet to match.

What can hotel marketers learn from Uber’s service experience? Put yourself in your guest’s place. What would make their experience so much more valuable or more brag-worthy? Consider waiving Wifi fees, offering a complimentary happy hour featuring local craft brews and food items, or delivering happiness to them, such as Four Seasons Chicago’s traveling Martini Man, Ice Cream Man and Hot Chocolate Doc. Another popular option is allowing guests to text customer service requests, instead of dialing 0 from their room phones and being put on hold.


 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

Speed Kills: Five Ways Your Hotel Website Slows Revenue

June 1, 2016 • By

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We live in a world of instant gratification. Where people grow impatient over anything that isn’t lightening fast. Where sluggishness is the cardinal sin of any business online. Where travelers ruthlessly abandon any hotel website that makes them wait more than three seconds to load.

That’s right, three seconds.

A slow website is not only inconvenient and annoying for your guests, it can cause you to lose massive amounts of revenue. While three seconds of waiting may seem quite trivial at first, in an instant those three seconds of waiting drastically lower your brand perception, damage your reputation and make you lose sales.  And with the growth in mobile web usage, the problem is exacerbated even further, as mobile users want instant access to website info.

With so much emphasis on social media, design and content, it’s common for hoteliers to overlook the significance of their hotel’s website speed performance.


There are five key things at risk if your hotel website is prone to slow load times, crashes or errors:

1. Your Bookings

For your guests, a fast loading hotel website isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Research shows that modern consumers expect websites to load in two seconds – max. Think about it. Your hotel isn’t the only property vying for room revenue. Travelers are researching travel options on-the-go. If they go to your hotel’s website and find it slowly struggling to upload, do you think they are willing to stick around?

No.

Once their waiting time hits three seconds, they’ve left and gone to your competitor (or OTA site) without looking back. Plus, research shows that 80 percent of those visitors will never come back to give you a second chance.

2. Your Search Ranking

Google’s search ranking formula depends on many things, including your hotel website’s load times and speed. Google has been known to downplay speed’s importance by paying more homage to relevant content. But your site speed can absolutely have an impact on your hotel’s search engine ranking. Having a faster site means Google can quickly crawl more of your pages. And, the more Google crawls, the more of your hotel content will be stored in their massive library. In other words: the more hotel content you have stored, the more chances you have to get found online.

3. Your Group Sales Revenue

Meeting planners are busy individuals. They’re not only sourcing venues, but a lengthy list of peripheral suppliers like transportation, event rentals, speakers, off-site activities, etc. This is where a slow-loading website can be a sore spot for your group sales department too.

Planners don’t have the time, nor the patience, to wait for your site to load or deal with website malfunctions. Dawdling websites can leave planners irritated and impatient, with the belief that your hotel staff will also lack in efficiency, speed and be just as idle when it comes to meeting execution. Ultimately, this can lead planners to sign a contract with another property, causing your hotel to lose out on thousands, even millions, of dollars in meeting and events revenue.

4. Your Bottom Line

No time is a good time for your hotel website to get sluggish, crash or produce the dreaded 404 error message. The worst moment is when a customer has already decided to stay with you, inside your booking engine environment, and they encounter slow load times. The relationship between conversions and website loading can be shocking. Amazon analyzed their website speed and purchases and found that every second of site idleness resulted in a loss of 10 percent of potential revenue. Loading time is one of the biggest reasons why travelers abandon their room reservations online. And, as stated before, once they leave, they usually won’t come back.

5. Your Hotel Owners

Your ownership is relying on you to trump your comp set in every and any way possible: in guest experience, in sales, in F&B quality, in customer service and in marketing. When reviewing your website’s performance, your owners are expecting their investment in the hotel’s site to drive as much direct bookings as possible. And, they’ll be holding you and your marketing team accountable for providing that ROI.  Your website is your profit center, so it needs to run at top-speed and optimal levels each and every time.


 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 25 Most Important Features Of Your Hotel Website

May 2, 2016 • By
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Your hotel website is THE most important asset in your entire marketing arsenal. It's the least costly channel of revenue and most likely the first impression prospective guests have of your property, so it makes sense to invest in getting it right. Make sure you don't forget these 25 must-have features!

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 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

10 Things I’ve Learned In 25 Years Of Hotel Marketing

April 18, 2016 • By

shutterstock_234721312When Jim Zito started in hotel marketing, the internet was still a few years away, most marketing campaigns were printed and Milli Vanilli was up for a grammy. After 25 years in the industry, Jim has seen the rise and fall of many hotel marketing tactics, tools and techniques. So, we asked him for the ten most important lessons he’s learned over his impressive career. Here’s what he told us:


1. Collaborate With the Revenue Team, Don’t Just Work With Them

It may sound like common sense, but since the hospitality industry has embraced the discipline of revenue management, (formerly yield management, formerly stagnant seasonal rates created once a year by the reservations and sales team), there can be tension between sales and revenue personnel. That tension is a good thing if used creatively and collaboratively. 

Healthy debate and discussion between DOSMs and  DORMs are productive.  Before you bring a piece of business to a DORM, look at it from their perspective. If you look at a piece of business closely, you usually know if a piece of business does not make sense.  Sometimes, sales just wants to book and move onto the next piece without really thinking it through.  On the other side of the coin, taking a piece of business sometimes has some long-term strategic value that you need to champion, and it’s not only about the revenue from that one time event.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Continually Adjust Your Segment Mix

We start off each year with our defined goals by day, by week, by market segment, and sometimes… we get so caught up in achieving these goals that we don’t see the forest for the trees.   

“Markets change, and you need to adapt.” 

What we thought in September is often not true in May, (sometimes, it’s not true in January). There can be unanticipated market events like a sporting event or changes in market demand.  Make ongoing adjustments to your plan. Ongoing reviews can help you gain market share, increase revenue and lift ADR by making ongoing adjustments. 

Your market and the market segments will dictate the frequency of the need for adjustment.  Work with your DORM. You can find ways to adjust segmentation to mitigate potential shortfalls and to find opportunities to grow the business.

3. Use Web Analytics

One of the more under-utilized tools accessible to a DOSM is your hotel’s website analytics.  Your website is a source of one of the most cost effective form of distribution, but did you know it is also a source of potential group and corporate leads?

Once a month or quarter, take a look at your hotel’s referring domain report.  This is the report that tells you which websites are sending traffic to you when their users click on a link to go to your website. If tagged correctly, you can see revenue by each referring domain.  Not only can these reports help you measure success from PR efforts and digital advertising, but you may encounter additional direct sales channels you may not have been aware of.  Wedding planner websites who are referring customers, or local music, food & wine festivals that are linking to your hotel because of your proximity to an event.  They may not have negotiated a block, so reach out for a partnership or contract.  You may not always find something, but you may be surprised by what you do find!

4. Trust, But Verify

I cannot take credit for this catchy little phrase, but it is something I did long before I heard it.  In this increasingly digital age, we assume that everything is set up correctly to distribute our rates and inventory. 

“Random spot checks and scheduled audits can reveal many opportunities”

Also know that things can and will always go wrong, so something that was once working can “break” for many reasons, and ongoing audits can find these problems.  How do your rates and property appear on the GDS’s or corporate booking tools?  Set a reminder for quarterly screen shots and audits!

5. If You Can’t Measure It, Don’t Do It

Wherever you can,  find ways to quantify your efforts.  Just as you would evaluate a piece of business, (stay pattern, rate, ancillary services), find a way to quantify all your marketing initiatives. 

“Before you act, ask yourself, 'How do I measure success?'” 

Capturing ROI on your programs and having quantifiable results makes requesting resources and the budgeting process easier.  What did you generate from that ad? What did you book from that trip or trade show?

6. OTA as an Acquisition Tool

Some hotels can rely on the OTA channel as a panacea, but if you are practicing rate parity across all channels and can attract NEW guests who would otherwise not discover you, OTAs are a sensible and meaningful channel.  Treat the margin as a cost of doing business, and when that guest arrives to the hotel, create a proactive program to collect their personal information for remarketing post departure, incentivizing them to book direct on subsequent visits.

7. PMS Data

Work with your front office team and go through the arrivals daily.  Do not just look for existing clients, look for the people you don’t know. Look at their email addresses; you may find opportunities to negotiate corporate accounts! Talk with the front desk, they will recognize the repeat customers who may be booking directly at the desk each time they depart or alternatively book through another channel.  Reviewing this data, talking with the front desk and asking the right questions can often create new leads. 

If you are fortunate enough to have a CRM system, work with the database administrator to look at customer profiles, especially their stay patterns. Incentivize referrals from your loyal (non-corporate) customers to create new business.

8. Selling Property Enhancements

We all love to see enhancements to our properties

Having something new to sell is exciting. It gives a DOSM something to talk about and enhances the story. But how do you champion these enhancements to asset managers and owners?   

Information and data are your best tools.  Collect feedback from customers on what they want. What business can you get by adding to or updating the existing product?  What business will you save by making updates?  Having this information at your fingertips can help you proactively support the operations team when requesting the resources to enhance or update your hotel(s).

9. Talk to Your Call Center

The voice channel is an amazing resource of information. Call center agents can be the first to hear when something is not working  (e.g. website). They also know when there are gaps in the information, (e.g. “people always ask how high the ballroom ceilings are.”) 

If they are not geographically close, schedule a trip, bring them food and make them feel part of the team. They are also motivated by incentives for things like up-sells, suite bookings and identifying new corporate leads.

10. Pick Up the Phone

I know your clients can choose how, if and when they want communication from you, but in this age of email and texting, some of your newer team members may rely a bit too much on electronic methods to prospect and communicate. More misunderstandings happen — and delays in resolution can be minimized — if you would just pick up the phone. If you have to go back and forth more than twice to come to a resolution or understand an issue,  pick up the phone.


About Jim Zito

Partner, Z2 Group

image1Jim Zito has been building and leading award-winning marketing and digital teams in the luxury and lifestyle hospitality industry throughout his 25-year career. He is a partner in Z2 Group, hospitality and technology consultants.

Before founding Z2 Group, he was Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer with Chelsea Hotels. Prior to that, he was the Corporate Vice President of Digital with Morgans Hotel Group and launched his career with Denihan Hospitality. He has been fortunate to work with iconic hotels both domestic and international including Hotel Chelsea and The Benjamin in New York, Delano and The Tides in South Beach, and the Hard Rock Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

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

April Fools: 8 Ways Hotel Marketers Can Avoid Looking Foolish

March 31, 2016 • By

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Even the most suspicious and perceptive people can fall for cleverly executed April Fools jokes. 

As hotel marketers, we have so many details, programs and tools to juggle and master. It’s easy to make foolish mistakes. You can fall victim to missed opportunities, budget shortcomings and your own competition stealing business from right under your nose. But we know you’re no fool! And, we want to make sure you are never mistaken for one. So, here are eight things that hotel marketers should always be on top of and never foolish about.


1. Remember the Four P's

We know it’s easy to get buried by all the new marketing apps, social networks and activities your hotel marketing team is investing in. Clear all of that clutter from your mind at least once a day by focusing on your property’s big four marketing pillars: price, product, promotion and placement. Quickly review each, determine which need attention and what you’re currently successful at.

2. Your Revenue Targets

Today’s hotel marketers are now responsible for more than just logos, branding strategies and slick copy. Hotel owners and GMs are holding you accountable for contributing to lead generation and bringing in revenue in a tangible way. This means setting a measurable revenue target and mapping out the marketing activities to get there. Get intimately familiar with your hotel’s sales goals and your KPIs, and be ready to present to your owners how your marketing efforts are contributing to those initiatives. 

3. Your Marketing Budget

One of the most foolish things a hotel marketer does is not asking for the resources they need to hit their revenue targets. Don’t shortchange your department when you’re asked to forecast a marketing budget for the upcoming year. Be true to yourself, your marketing team and their abilities. When management asks you how much to finance towards marketing activities, don’t spit out an arbitrary number or leave it open to negotiation, or else you’ll be struggling to get the results they’re expecting and DIYing marketing assets. Plus, don’t just think about dollars. Funding can come in the form of extra staff, improvements to be made to the hotel product and experience, etc.

4. Your Guests’ Opinions of You

Your hotel is only as good as your guests say it is. In a time when reviews are the most trusted content out there, this is one area you do not want to be ignorant about. Your guests’ experience will directly impact your hotel’s future success. Read your past guest reviews daily, know what people love and hate about their stay, which staff members are offering the best/worst service, and what is dragging down your hotel experience.

5. Your Biggest Group Business Prospects

Group business is big business. Your comp set wouldn’t dare get lazy when it comes to pursuing meetings and event bookings, so you shouldn’t either. In fact, you and your team should be making DAILY progress in wooing your top prospects. Sit down with each sales person, review their room night goals and their top sales opportunities, and go over what the sales person will do that day to push the meeting planner’s decision further in your favor.

6. Your Revenue Management Team and Activities

Your revenue managers are the epicenter of your property’s ability to fly or flounder. They are the ones who will determine not only next week’s revenue, but if your hotel will succeed for the rest of the year. Just as with your sales team, stay on top of your numbers — your hotel’s pace reports, REVPAR & ADR index vs your comp set, and upcoming low periods — with daily (not weekly) meetings with your revenue managers.

7. Your Competition

Today’s travelers are extremely fickle and can be easily swayed by the latest competitor promo. So, never lose track of what your comp set is doing. There are so many tools and tactics at your disposal that there is never a good reason to be taken by surprise when a competitor starts outperforming you. Subscribe to Google Alerts, leverage STR reports, read their reviews, follow their social media feeds and subscribe to their email offers list.

8. Your Online Presence

Think of your hotel website design as having the same impact as your hotel’s exterior. If it appears unwelcoming, messy and confusing, then you shouldn’t be surprised that only a few people are willing to move past all the unsavory blockades. In the same vein, many hotel marketers are completely unaware of all the booking blockades that live on their own website and booking engines. From cluttered homepages, to slow load times, to messy design, to complicated booking procedures, your website could be deterring visitors and killing revenue with one glance. Test your website user experience, review your analytics, find out what is converting guests and where they are likely to bounce.


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

Are Freebies The Key to Repeat Guests?

March 17, 2015 • By
Tambourine Hotel and Tourism Marketing Technology   In recent years, a number of hotels have introduced some extra and new amenities that help guests feel more at home. From free mini bar items, to hair care accessories, to complimentary high speed wifi and welcome beverages upon check in, a number of properties are offering their guests these value added items…and they certainly all go a long way to make a favorable impression.
Even the hotel marketers at mid-level brands attract a loyal following with an array of free amenities for guests.
The Kimpton hotel brand leads the pack with an array of generous amenity options -- and the brand goes well beyond lending hair dryers and toothpaste to forgetful guests. Free welcome cocktails, a $10 minibar credit and daily wine receptions in the lobby are all part of the cool and friendly experience of staying at a Kimpton. Frequent guests have come to appreciate these “little” extras. Kimpton hotels are ready to help, too: with cell phone (and other device) chargers, pet supplies and toiletries available at all times. Especially for women travelers, Kimpton is super-accommodating, as they have curling irons, straightening irons and more. For those wishing to squeeze in some in-room exercise, you can also request a yoga mat for some peaceful “me time” as well.
A little kindness means a lot, especially when it comes to repeat guests.
The Andaz brand is another cutting edge hotel company that is becoming a fast favorite among the discerning “Millennial” crowd, with a hip lobby area featuring a selection of free snacks and beverages offered to guests 24/7. From water bottles and soft drinks to apples, cookies and other treats, the hotel encourages socializing, and their stylish lobby feels more like a fun living room at a friend’s cool apartment instead of a business. Andaz also offers a free minibar, (alcohol excluded,) that actually gets replenished, too, so guests always have sweet or savory treat available in their room. Even the hotel marketers at mid-level brands attract a loyal following with an array of free amenities for guests. Two major companies who have succeeded in building a friendly reputation are Courtyard by Marriot and Hampton Inn, who offer free wifi and a hot complimentary buffet breakfast – a big plus for business and family travelers alike. In addition, with free coffee and tea all day long, it’s another added bonus for road warriors who prefer to grab a cup of java and head to their room instead of pounding the pavement in search of the nearest Starbucks coffee. After all, a little kindness means a lot, especially when it comes to repeat guests.  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