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Are comments about your hotel falling on deaf ears?

May 1, 2018

Hotel social media monitoring needs to go way beyond Trip Advisor

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Hotels take reputation management seriously when it comes to guest feedback on TripAdvisor, but often underappreciate the need to closely monitor other social media channels.

This is a lost opportunity to gain short term insight and long-term goodwill.

Here are 3 reasons hotels need to prioritize social listening:

1. Instant karma

Social Media is a two-way communications channel; you can talk to guests, and guests can talk back. You can have a real conversation with an individual. Not so with TripAdvisor: By the time you respond, the damaging review may already have been posted.

Not to mention, social media trains consumers to expect an immediate response, and an already irritable customer can get more irritable if they don’t receive a response in an adequate amount of time. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. It can often exacerbate the situation.

Most negative posters on hotel social media channels are still on the property when they post.

And they aren’t doing it for their own enjoyment, either: 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour, according to a study by Lithium. By monitoring and responding ASAP, hoteliers can potentially engage these dissatisfied guests during their stay—and win them over—before they turn their vitriol into permanent TripAdvisor or OTA reviews.

Another instant benefit of social listening for hotels is the ability to glean insight on guest experience and product/service issues— both positive and negative.

If your hotel makes the mistake of ignoring positive comments about your property, you’ve just lost out on valuable testimonials you can utilize, as well as gaining useful feedback and a chance to strengthen relationships with users. And if you ignore negative comments, you’ll damage your brand and foster negative social proof.

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Further, by listening to social media channels and acting quickly, hotels are often able to delight guests with unexpected surprises that create long-term loyalty and evangelism. These opportunities—which are fleeting and must be capitalized on almost immediately—can offer significant branding value, at minimal cost.

One company making tremendous strides to this end is Marriott, which has tasked its M Live team with constant monitoring of social channels, for the sake of surprising guests with enhanced service touches, like a free bottle of champagne delivered on-site for guests who got engaged while staying at a property.

2. Complete strangers are talking about you…

It’s not just your fan base that you have to worry about.

Non-fans and non-followers are talking about your brand too. It’s crucial to listen to these potential influencers as well.

Surprisingly, 96% of the users who discuss brands online don’t actually follow those brands’ profiles, according to a Brandwatch report.

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You can be reactive and ONLY monitor people who directly comment or tag your hotel’s Instagram “handle” (your actual Instagram account name) in a picture. You’ll receive a notification and you can respond accordingly.

But there are more proactive ways of monitoring ALL relevant sentiment on Instagram. By typing the generic name of your hotel (see illustration above) or property specific hashtags in the search bar, you can discover additional content that guests have posted about your prop.

If you don’t have the time or resources to monitor your hashtags and geo-
tags, Tools like Tout allow you to find and license the content with ease.

3. Discover (and celebrate) the evangelists

Hotel social media monitoring isn’t just about catching people bashing your hotel: It’s equally valuable when guests are celebrating their experiences on channels such as Instagram.

Over the last few years, storytelling and other forms of user-generated content (UGC) have become some of the most popular and cost-effective methods for hotel marketers looking to harness digital and social media and put more heads in beds.

capturing guest-generated social proof from The St Regis in San Francisco

An example of capturing guest-generated social proof from The St Regis in San Francisco

This is driven by a decline in consumer trust in advertising; instead, consumers now look to one another for credibility. UGC such as photos, videos, and posts about hotel experiences are viewed as more authentic and less sales-focused, so using that content to your advantage can offer tremendous benefits.

By monitoring things closely, you can locate and celebrate those brand ambassadors who are taking pictures of their property experience, allowing you to benefit from what is essentially free positive publicity.


About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com

Friday Freebie: Solving the latest hotel website curveball from Google

April 20, 2018

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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: 

Google’s new security standards could threaten your hotel’s website traffic. Here’s how to solve the problem:

In hopes of fostering a safer internet, Google has moved toward new security standards for its Chrome browser, which requires a significant update to hotel websites in order to achieve compliance.

Under the new specifications, Google now requires all websites that collect any type of personal data (i.e. forms, email addresses, credit card info, etc.) to migrate websites to HTTPS and upgrade their security technology in the form of “SSL Certificates,” or suffer the consequences.

Right now, that consequence is a security alert, which Chrome users see when they reach a web page that Google has deemed a “Non-Secure environment” when the mandated SSL certificate isn’t present. Considering roughly 60% of web surfers currently use Chrome, this is no matter to take lightly; it’s best to make the required changes as soon as possible, to ensure your site traffic isn’t at risk and/or potential guests being scared away.

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This may seem like a small detail, but it may have a huge impact on hotel website conversion rates. You don’t want to scare away customers with an unsecured website. Google has indicated that warnings may become even more pronounced in future browser updates.

You also don’t want your customers’ data being compromised because you failed to provide a secure setting. As recent data breaches among numerous major hotel companies have proven, hacks can cause extensive damage to brands and they erode consumer trust, which can be disastrous to the bottom line. Given those risks, taking the steps to comply with the SSL/HTTPS standard is a no-brainer.

The Solution:

The first step in meeting the standard is for hotel digital marketers to obtain an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). The certificate permits your website to communicate using encrypted, non-corruptible data, while also acting as a stamp of approval.

Many providers offer free SSL/TSL certificates; (Shameless plug: Tambourine provides SSL certificates for all clients included in our monthly service package).

With an approved certificate in place, the next steps are to conduct a full backup of your hotel website site, change all your internal links, check code libraries, update external links and create a 301 redirect. It’s also important to claim all four versions of your site URLs (HTTPS, HTTP, www. and non-www.) on Google Search Console Analytics, AdWords and other paid ads, plus social profiles and business citations. Since there are multiple complex steps, you definitely want your digital marketing team or external hotel digital marketing firm to handle this.


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

4 Things Every Branded Hotel Should Be Doing on Facebook Right Now

January 9, 2018

New hotel social media tools can help differentiate flagged properties….

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As a property flying under a global brand flag, you enjoy several key benefits:

Worldwide name recognition and consumer trust.

Access to millions of loyalty members.

Exposure on the Brand.com global website.

But unfortunately, due to scale and volume, remote, corporate brand marketing teams are often unable to tell your property’s unique story and differentiate you from sister properties in your region.

New advancements in hotel social media can help.

No longer just a means for ‘liking’ and holding goofy contests to attract more “followers,” Facebook is now an advertising powerhouse that allows you to target anyone in their global database with laser-sharp precision – even users who are not following your hotel!

But Facebook’s advertising platform can be overwhelming and complicated… so we spoke to Tambourine’s social media directors Thomas McDermott and Elle Andress to break down 4 key tactics for flagged properties to tap into the power of Facebook’s juggernaut advertising platform:

1. Targeting Loyalty Program Members

Facebook’s paid advertising platform enables hotel marketers to emplace unique content, inspirational images, promos and offers in the newsfeeds of highly targeted consumers with pinpoint precision. Ads can target by demographics, geography, interests, hobbies, and behaviors. For branded properties, this means you can target your social ads to folks who are interested in (or members of) your flag’s loyalty program (see screenshot below). This enables you to create awareness and preference for your property vs other similarly branded properties in the area.

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Elle Andress: Director of Social Media at Tambourine

 2. The 28-Day Pixel

Until recently, hotel marketers were unable to track the success of their paid Facebook campaigns unless a guest booked directly from Facebook in the same session.

But the relatively new 28-day pixel feature now allows flagged hotel marketers to track a user’s path for 28 days after they have either viewed or clicked on your hotel’s Facebook ad. This tracking tool gives you insight into how well your Facebook investments are moving potential guests down the sales funnel. “Most importantly, it allows for more revenue attribution to your Facebook ads,” said Elle. “You can gauge if your ad campaigns are contributing to conversions or not.”

3. Reach & Frequency

Facebook’s new Reach & Frequency tool allows branded properties to pre-purchase larger audiences at a lower cost and ensures those users see the ad a fixed amount of times. You can customize a message, pre-purchase a minimum of 200K users within your chosen market and ensure those Facebook users see your marketing message however many times you like… typically 5-6 times.

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Thomas McDermott: Director of Content Marketing at Tambourine

“This is also particularly useful for properties that are new to the market and want to introduce their product or have a very particular feeder market,” Tom explains.

“Most recently, we’ve leveraged this tool for one of our Caribbean clients. We conducted a winter campaign to saturate northern markets. Plus, we’re currently working on a campaign to introduce a new property to the Florida market.”

Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) drops significantly compared to traditional performance ads, and ads achieve higher impact through repetition.

4. Canvas Ads

While not entirely a new marketing tool, Facebook’s Canvas Ad is a great way for flagged properties to differentiate themselves in the absence of a custom-designed experiential “vanity” website.

Canvas allows you to create a custom mobile web experience that lives inside of Facebook, doesn’t require IT or coding, but still delivers a custom experience that’s in line with brand standards.

“This is an ideal avenue to really go in depth and highlight the unique attributions of the property,” Tom explained. “From there, you can send them to the brand channel to book.”

Bonus: What Facebook tactics should you stay away from? 

Tom and Elle also suggested which tired practices to avoid:

“I think a lot of properties are still using too much hard sales language for their organic posts on Facebook, which is a big turnoff to the consumer. The place to do the sales style pitch is in the paid ads platform. For organic content, hotels should keep the copy light and relatable and show a human voice to the brand.”

– Elle

“I think there is still too much hype on fan growth. Yes, it is still worthwhile to build a network of relevant users. However, the audience builder tools really help you identify users who have expressed an interest in the property or who show relevant or valuable behaviors. You have access to those users whether they are fans or not.”

– Tom


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

Hotel Marketers and Accidental Narcissists

December 5, 2017

Always-on, empowered consumers require a new digital strategy.
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The rise of digital and mobile and its impact on commerce has given consumers more information, and consequently more power, than ever before, as well as an ever-increasing expectation for instant gratification.

Marketing experts have dubbed this mass-consumer evolution happening right before our eyes “The Age of Assistance,” and adapting to it is currently one of the greatest challenges marketers face, in virtually all commercial industries.

The hotel business is no exception, and in some ways, is at the forefront of this metamorphosis.

In the past, consumers undertook greater effort to research expensive and/or important purchases, like homes, cars, major appliances, etc. But nowadays, experts say all kinds of purchases are being researched online, regardless of size, making online authority crucial for companies, as customers move through each stage of the sales funnel without salespeople (or human travel agents) involved.

The hotel business is particularly entrenched in this revolution, since traveling has always been a research/planning-heavy purchase, and there are more resources than ever at your guest’s fingertips.

In a recent article in Forbes, well-known author, Brian Solis points out that: “In the age of assistance, consumers are now relying on what they find in mobile-first “micro-moments” to help them take the next step. They’re seeking utility, information, direction and not classical marketing.”

“I refer to this new generation of mobile, connected customers as “accidental narcissists.” It’s a term of endearment. Everything they want, they can have, in any moment. Literally, there’s an app for just about everything, consumers are plugged into an on-demand economy that delivers products, services, experiences, validation, gratification, et al., in the moment. This presents an opportunity (and a need) for marketers to become truly customer-, not marketing- or technology-, centric.”

So how do hotel marketers deal with this new age marketing scramble? How do we provide these “accidental narcissists” what they need to engage with our properties?

1. Know Their profile 

You can’t assist potential guests unless you understand them first. You should have a fairly detailed “profile” of your ideal guest (or meeting planner or corporate buyer).

You should know:

– Where they live
– How often they visit
– When they visit
– Which guests are most lucrative
– What they like (and don’t like) about your property

2. Know Their Media Habits

Starting with mobile, you need to learn about the discovery process used by your customers, starting with where they go to find their information, what they are searching for, where those searches take them, what engages or converts them from there and where they visit next.

For more insight, try using Google’s insightful micro-moments playbook.

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3. Think Like a Publisher

Armed with greater knowledge of your customer, their journey and research process, you can then begin tailoring content that engages them.

Your content should offer solutions, versus selling rooms. And promise to change the viewer’s perspective on the destination and enrich their lives.

Modern travelers are driven to book based on what lies outside your hotel walls, not just what’s inside. They want to experience your destination like a true local and crave front-row access to cool discoveries and remarkable experiences, unlike anything they can find at home.

So, your website and marketing content should not only focus on your property; It should share the spotlight with your destination. Your hotel website should position your property as the epicenter of your destination.

You need to show what experiences guests can look forward to and which are within reach. What cool wine bars or quirky, local coffee shops are within walking distance? What local secrets can your staff share? What should guests know about your immediate neighborhood?

4. Know What Your Guests Want

This next directive pertains to embracing data and listening to what your guests (and your compset’s guests) are saying in public spaces. By paying attention to keyword searches, social media posts, Trip Advisor reviews, CVB data and responses to your post-stay surveys, savvy hotel marketers can see threats and trends that will define how guests want to “be assisted.”

– Are your guests complaining about certain aspects of your property?
– Are travelers to your destination talking about the new museum?
– Is there a rapid spike in keyword volume for hotels near a certain hot neighborhood?
– What are the top attractions near you (and how are you partnered with them)?

These are priceless digital breadcrumbs for you in building a consumer path to your door!

5. Assist During the Transaction

Consumers also expect their transaction experience to be seamless. Hotels are expected to simplify life, not confuse it… especially at the most critical point in their purchase journey! So make sure your hotel website booking experience is flawless, by avoiding these pitfalls:

•  Accessible Communication
Giving people what they want quickly and easily amps up your value. Follow the example of luxury hotels and resorts, who offer instant access to reservations staff using online chat, phone or email.  Consumers are always more likely to pay a premium to properties that respond quickly to questions and establish high service expectations BEFORE the guest even arrives.

• Hidden Costs and Sticker Shock
Studies show that nothing kills a sale – and trust – like unexpected costs. Mostly surprise hidden costs that many hotels like to sneak into the transaction right before asking for credit card information. Today’s travelers have no patience with additional charges and will be ruthless in abandoning any property that tries to spring on pesky fees.

•  Your Mobile Experience is Poor
Google studies show that 36% of business travelers and 40% of leisure travelers book hotel rooms on their mobile phones. And, bookings originating from users on iPads and other tablet-sized devices are growing fast.

•  It’s Too Frustrating to Make a Reservation
It’s a lesson hoteliers rarely hear, but should immediately heed: Your booking engine must be a simple process. Visitors are already uncomfortable giving out their information online, if your forms are cumbersome, consumers will exit before a purchase is completed. Yet, thousands of hotels are still cluttering their booking engines with too much text, too many pages and endless steps.

•  Slow Means No
25% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. Almost 50% will abandon if the site takes more than 10 seconds to load. In our fast-paced, instant-gratification culture—fueled by high-speed internet—consumers expect your web pages to load immediately!

•  You’re Not Speaking Their Language
This seems painfully obvious, but far too many hotels treat everyone as an English-speaking American. Imagine the frustration of your overseas website visitors when they enter a booking environment that is not automatically defaulted to their native language or currency.

•  Limited Payment Options
Smart hotels offer multiple payment options, going beyond Amex, Visa and Mastercard to include as many forms of payment as possible, including third-party online payment services like PayPal. Some even take it a step further like Couples Resorts, who offer a “loveaway” payment plan.


About Tambourine

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

Friday Freebie: Hotel PPC, 7 Ways to Improve ROI

September 29, 2017

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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: Seven expert tweaks for your hotel’s PPC.

Managing hotel PPC campaigns can be a beast.

From researching extensively for keywords, to monitoring which terms convert into traffic or bookings, to making adjustments depending on the season, weather, destination, special events…yikes.

It’s a lengthy and thorough process that requires more time than most hoteliers realize.

The good news: Hotels that take the time and effort to learn what really matters will see an uptick in their ROI and conversions.

Today, Raisa McDonald, Search Engine Marketing Manager at Tambourine, gives us 7 ways hoteliers can boost profitability and improve their hotel PPC campaign performance.

1. Use Both Broad and Exact Match Keywords
This is about quality over quantity. “Be sure to include exact match and broad match so your ads are displayed whenever someone does a search that is relevant to your keywords,“ Raisa points out. Many hoteliers waste money investing solely on broad match keywords, which is Google’s default option. However, this means you are spending money on irrelevant traffic that isn’t converting or qualified in the first place. Broad keywords will pull up in searches that include your key terms in any order and even with misspellings. For example, a broad search term of ‘Nashville hotels’ means your hotel will come up even for ‘Nashville Schools,’ ‘nashville gyms’, ‘san diego hotels’ or ‘hotels.’

Instead, turn to more restrictive match types, like exact match keywords. Your volume will decrease, however, your hotel ads will be shown to a more relevant audience, meaning more conversions and clicks.

2. Avoid Going Over Your Daily Budget Early in the Day
It’s important to stay on top of your PPC spend. “Going over your budget too early can limit the amount of potential customers seeing your hotel’s ads, which can mean you may be missing out on conversions,” warns Raisa. To avoid this from happening, she suggests using an ad schedule to control when your ads are displayed.

3. Monitor and Track Conversions
The foundation of any successful hotel PPC campaign is analytics and tracking results. After all, having a strategy in place for conversion tracking is key to knowing how well (or poorly) your campaigns are performing. “Not all conversions are the same nor are all conversions about immediate bookings,” Raisa explains.

So, if your conversion goal is to get more calls from your ads, you should make sure your settings are properly configured to track when and where the calls are coming from, she suggests. Only with this insight will you know which placements, ads and key terms lead to conversions and are actually worth bidding on.

4. Max Out All Possible Extensions 

Google AdWords extensions allow you to add more information to your hotel ad beyond the basic URL, ad copy and headline. The more space your ad takes up and the more details you include makes it more likely for your ad to stand out and get clicked on. And more clicks usually means you’ll pay less per click, as well as boost your conversions. “So, make sure your ads have all the extensions possible to get the most ad real estate on the Google search page,” Raisa advises.

5. Bonus Tip: Add in Information About Recent Hotel Promotions
One of Google’s newest Adwords features is called the promotion extension, which can be used by advertisers to show a current promotion or sale going on at their property. This extension is displayed as a part of the search ad and can help to bring more customers to the site and increase bookings.

6. Test, Test, and Test Again

Frequent adjustments are usually necessary throughout the lifetime of your PPC campaign. So, testing is the best way to optimize your PPC spend. “Implementing different ad copies to see which one performs better is a good way to see what works for your campaign and gets the most conversions,” Raisa explains.

Alter just one variable at a time to get the test data you need. “Be sure to write quality ads and check for any grammatical errors,” Raisa adds.  Also, don’t leave your test running for too long. A common mistake is allowing the ‘losing’ ad too much screen time which diminishes the visibility of the ‘winner.’

7. Tap Income Levels

One of Raisa’s advanced tactics includes household income targeting. “This is a good way to advertise to users within a certain geo-location based on their average household income,” Raisa explains. Data gathered from the IRS is used with this strategy to help your ads reach a more qualified audience.


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: Why Siri Loves Hotel FAQ Pages

September 22, 2017

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

Each week we share one simple hotel marketing tactic that you can implement immediately to drive more conversions and more revenue.

This Week’s Freebie: Turn up the volume on organic traffic by creating an FAQ page on your hotel website.

Just within a span of a few years, voice-driven search and virtual assistants like Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Siri and Google Home have made their way into millions of homes around the globe.

In fact, out of the 11 billion searches made on Google every day, about 20 percent are conducted by voice. The future is clear – the number of people conducting voice search will only get larger. And hotels will have to adjust their hotel copy to meet this growing practice.

Here’s something simple you can do now: 

Create an FAQ (or policies) page addressing questions matching the typical voice queries guests use to find hotel info online. The FAQ’s should address the who, what, when, where and how. For example, “Which hotels offer valet or free parking?” or “When is the best time to visit Nashville?”

Then, address these questions with clear, precise answers (no lengthy sales copy) and property and destination content that give guests the information they’re looking for.

Make sure to write conversationally, answering typical voice search questions (“What hotel offers free breakfast in Boston?”) with relevant, direct language that is not overtly self-serving or filled with self-indulgent adjectives.

Get More: Are Siri and Alexa Interrupting Hotel Search Marketing?


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 Secret Weapon Page on Your Hotel Website

August 29, 2017

Hotel marketing pros are amplifying their SEO power on this critical page.

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It may be the most boring place on your hotel website today, but your policies (and/or FAQ) page represents a major magnet for SEO traffic.

Why is that?

Because Google pays serious attention to the content on this page.

And, OTAs can’t.

Expedia, Priceline and all the others simply can’t keep up on every hotel’s policies and can’t compete for searches for information on pet policies, cancellation policies, etc. Use this to your advantage and get more people to land on this page, while gaining an edge on the OTAs in the process.

Too many hotels skimp on content on their hotel policies page. But, it’s one of the main anchors that Google uses to deem if your website is relevant or not for searches like: “dog-friendly hotels in Denver,” or “early check-in hotels in Boston.”

Shannon DeFries, Director of Search & Analytics at Tambourine, shows us how to transform a typical and bland hotel policies page into a destination for valuable guest content, while also earning Google’s trust and boosting your search engine rankings.

Here Are Shannon’s Top Tips:

  • Fill your policy page with relevant information that explains your policies, rather than just listing them.
  • Link back to your hotel policy page for specific marketing campaigns. For example, for #NationalDogDay (August 26), promote your hotel’s love for its four-legged guests on your social channels. Then, link back to the policy page where it outlines your pet program, instead of just pointing to the homepage or amenities page.image2
  • Write your policy page in a conversational tone, similar to an FAQ. Stay away from robotic jargon, like ‘covered parking – yes.’ By writing with a conversational voice, you are making it easier for mobile users to find you through voice search.
  • Use the policy page to target long tail keywords, such as ‘pet friendly hotels in Miami’ or ‘hotels in Nashville with free airport shuttle.’
  • Make sure your hotel policy page has unique content not written anywhere else. Lifting another hotel’s policy page content and slightly rewording is a big Google no-no. You can be penalized for publishing duplicate content. You can even double-check that your content is unique by using tools like Siteliner, SEO Review Tools and Copyscape.
  • Avoid being indexed by Google if your hotel is a part of a brand or collection that uses the same policy verbiage for every property. You can do this by placing a “No Index” code on the page.

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

Budgets Are Coming: 7 Lessons from Game of Thrones

August 22, 2017

Hotel marketers are sharpening their pencils for battle.

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Just as winter (and a terrifying army of the dead) descends on Westeros in Game of Thrones, budget season is looming in the real world and hotel marketers all across the kingdom are arming themselves for battle.

To help hoteliers prepare, we turn to the lessons, themes and quotes we’ve learned while watching the battle for the Iron Throne between power-hungry lords and ladies:

1. GoT QUOTE: “When you play the game of thrones, you live or die.” 

LESSON: Your budget is your armory. Ask for everything you need to survive.

Hoteliers usually only think dollar amounts when working on their budget. How much will this marketing technology cost? How much should we dedicate to advertising spend? How much will our hotel website design cost?

But, here’s the surprise: you are not restricted to only asking for marketing funds during budget time! If you need more marketing staff or outsourced vendors to help you achieve your hotel’s revenue goals, then ask for them!

If your hotel is in dire need of upgrades and updates in order to effectively compete with newer properties and win market share, then ask for them. If you depend on another department’s performance to help you reach your targets, then ask to oversee them.

Here’s an example of what that request could look like:

“For me to achieve the revenue targets set forth by ownership… I need $_______ in funding, specific hotel upgrades to be made, and _______ new staff (contractors). Plus, I would like the ________ department to report to me.”

The road to achieving your property’s revenue goals begins with your ability to ask for what you need. Show your management team that without these items, you won’t be able to deliver the results they’re looking for.

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2. GoT THEME: Three Dragons versus Everyone Else

LESSON: Focus on quality, not quantity.

Forget the mass of Lannister soldiers that Queen Cersei has under her belt or the thousands of eerie wights brought back to life by the White Walkers. All it takes are three massive, fire-breathing dragons to wipe them out completely.

This year, vow to keep your budget uncluttered and uncomplicated. Your 2018 hotel marketing plan should be built on a few powerful initiatives, not on a mess of disjointed marketing tactics that just produce small bursts of wins and revenue. Build a strong budget that includes only marketing tactics that will have a measurable impact on your audience and the bottom line.

3. GoT QUOTE: “Words are wind, my friend…”

LESSON: Getting what you want takes proof.

Asset managers, hotel management firms and GMs are under more pressure than ever to deliver real bottom line results. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their “rebranding initiatives,” number of social media followers or new hotel photography. This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.

So it’s important to have complete fluency in the KPIs that affect the bottom line. For example, if you know last year’s marketing cost-per-sale (CPS), you should be able to extrapolate that against future revenue targets to determine the budget required and make statements like this:

“Last year, we achieved a marketing CPS of X.
To achieve next year’s budget, I need $_______ .”

But remember, you will also be expected to reduce your CPS over time as you learn and tweak your programs.

4. GoT QUOTE: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” 

LESSON: You have data. Use it. 

This catchphrase, originally spoken by the red-haired Wildling Ygritte as she aggressively flirted with Jon Snow, has become one of the show’s most popular. But, don’t let it become your catchphrase. You should know everything about your marketing program results and not be guided by assumptions or gut feelings.

You should rely on data culled from the right sources to guide all future hotel marketing decisions.

And again, data is your ally when you need to ask for more marketing funds! Some data that you should always have on hand include key performance indicators, like DRR (direct revenue ratio), MCPB (marketing cost per booking) and your STR index versus the compset. All of these numbers will show you, and your hotel’s executive team, how much your marketing team is actually contributing to your hotel’s revenue.

5. GoT QUOTE: “Winter is coming.”

LESSON: Apathy about 3rd party costs is dangerous.

For a while, it seemed like winter would never come to GoT, despite numerous warnings with this ominous phrase. Yet, it was still on everyone’s minds. In hotel marketing, this means: Don’t ever be too comfortable in the here and now. For example, if more than 15-20% of your revenue is coming from OTAs, you need to prepare for the eventual downturn and start investing in programs, campaigns and assets that will deliver higher margin bookings.

When “winter comes” to the hotel industry and AOR goes from 75% to 50%, you don’t want to have the majority of your bookings incurring a 20% OTA commission!

6. GoT Quote: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”

Lesson: Ask hotel owners exactly what they expect from you.

Before you determine what marketing resources you’ll need for 2018, you need to find out the exact amount your hotel owner (or hotel management company) expects your marketing team to contribute to the hotel’s revenue.

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. Ask management/ownership early on in the budget process, because this one question will give you clarity and insight to build out any other projected expenses.

Don’t waste time or make costly guesses, nor should you allow your hotel owner to determine how much they want to give you. Don’t place your hotel marketing in a dangerous position of always being underfunded, but tasked with lofty goals. Instead, use your hotel owner’s revenue goals to correlate the assets you need to achieve them.

7. GoT QUOTE: “I may be small, but I won’t be knitting by the fire while others fight for me.” 

LESSON: Don’t surrender your property’s destiny to 3rd parties.

Spoken by everyone’s favorite young spitfire, Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island, this empowering quote hits at the heart of every hotelier. OTAs have had their moment, but now it’s time to take back control of your booking destiny. So, stop depending on third-party sites to fill the house. Instead of paying commission fees of 15-30 percent, invest in the right tools and technology for your hotel to pull in your own reservations. One place where hotels will see big ROI is by investing in their hotel’s mobile experience. Offer a mobile-compatible booking engine. Have a responsive website and hotel marketing emails. Offer immediate online chat. Investing in mobile is paramount to your success in 2018.


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

August 18, 2017

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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: Find out what your hotel heatmap can reveal.

Your hotel website is more than just pretty design and colorful photography.

Every page is carefully constructed and arranged to achieve a specific goal, such as getting a visitors to sign up for your email list, to look at your hotel’s special offers, or, of course, to make a reservation.

This requires constant testing and knowing exactly how people are interacting with your hotel site. One of the keenest tools to figure this out is called “heat mapping.”

Despite what the name implies, a website heat map has nothing to do with weather patterns. Instead, it is a powerful tool that reveals some pretty useful, granular data. You can determine how people are using your hotel site, what content they’re consuming and what updates you can make to put your most profitable information where they are already looking. An infrared display uses color variations to show where on any web page there is high and low activity (based on mouse movement and scrolling behavior).

Here’s what your hotel heatmap can reveal: 

Where Visitors Are Looking

While there are several types of heat mapping tools, they all share this common feature. In fact, the entire point of a heat map is to show the ‘hot areas’ of your hotel’s website that get the most attention.

This intelligence is especially important if you have buttons, calls-to-action or forms that aren’t receiving the high amount of engagement you expected. By using a heat mapping tool, you’ll be able to see what is actually catching a visitor’s attention. If the low-performing features are located outside of these ‘hot areas’, you’ll know where to move them.

Where Visitors Are Clicking

You can track your web pages’ engagement based on where visitors are clicking. Similar to eye-tracking, you’ll find out if visitors are clicking where you actually want them to click on the hotel site. If not, you’ll determine where to place important elements to get the most interaction.

Who’s Currently Visiting 

Some heat mapping and tracking tools offer a real-time view that allows you to see how many visitors are currently on your hotel’s website. In some cases, you’ll also be able to see where the visitors are on the website and what they’re doing. Other tools use past data so you can see trends over a certain time period, according to a certain page, where they came from, and their type of visit.

How Far They’re Scrolling

You can also see how far visitors are making it down your hotel’s individual web pages. This is extremely helpful when your pages include an interactive element or a call-to-action below the fold. Using a heat map tracking tool, you can see where exactly visitors begin to drop out of the content, then leverage this insight to rearrange the page so it is more appealing.

How They Navigate 

Some heat mapping tools allow you to see the path visitors take throughout your site. This reveals if visitors are getting stuck on a certain part of your hotel’s website or if they’re having difficulty finding the information they need. Some tracking tools even allow you to record a user’s session, so you can watch how a visitor moves throughout your site.


About Tambourine

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

Mobile Bookings Are Up. Why Aren’t Yours?

August 15, 2017

Hotel booking engines need to look and feel more like apps.

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Everybody is talking about the rise of mobile bookings.

In fact, a study by eMarketer estimates that by 2021, half of all digital travel sales will be made from smartphones or tablets.

Chris Bendtsen, an eMarketer forecasting analyst, told Travel Weekly that consumers are booking more travel plans on their smartphones and tablets for a variety of reasons:

  1. Easier methods of online payment.
  2. Larger smartphone screens.
  3. A desire to react quickly to last-minute travel deals. 

So why aren’t your mobile bookings growing as rapidly as the rest of the world?

Too many hoteliers may think a mobile version of their website & booking engine will suffice. However, today’s consumers are not just looking for your website to ‘come up’ on their phones. Your mobile experience has to match today’s modern consumer habits and expectations.

Mobile bookings are the present and the future of the hotel industry. Here are the three mobile booking tweaks you need to adjust to this new reality and outperform your compset:

1. Cut it Down

Real estate on a mobile screen is limited.

The first – and most important – step to maximizing the mobile guest experience is to cut out, not add, features. Examine your hotel’s mobile booking funnel and streamline it as much as possible. Strip your mobile site of any clutter, including links, ads, navigation elements, menu options etc. Pare down the booking process to 3 screens or less.

Mobile is meant for the consumer-on-the-go… they have no patience for long-winded, self-indulgent purchase processes! Since mobile screens are smaller than desktops or laptops, minimize the amount of text on the screen. Trim content down to only what’s necessary to convey (like calls to action or clear next steps), then use a single big visual per page to guide guests through the process.

Multiple photos, videos, and pages of copy will not only make your mobile hotel booking engine load slower, but possibly anger and turn away guests who are accustomed to faster uploads from other sites.

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2. Design for Thumbs

Call it modern intuition: smartphone users navigate mobile sites using one hand. Most often with just their thumb. This is why the best mobile hotel ecommerce experiences are built like apps, which allow guests to tap, swipe, scroll, and click using just one hand or thumb. Stay clear of requiring guests to ‘pinch’ the screen to zoom in and out for content. This means your graphics and text are not optimized for mobile users and are too small.

3. Simplify Payment Options

You pride yourself on giving consumers choices in room types, F&B venues, and other add-ons. Your flexibility should extend to the most important element in the customer-acquisition process: the checkout!

Yet, sometimes the simple reason shoppers don’t complete a purchase is that their preferred credit card wasn’t accepted in your booking engine!

Smart hotels offer multiple payment options, going beyond Amex, Visa and Mastercard to include as many forms of payment as possible, including third-party online payment services like PayPal. Some even take it a step further like Couples Resorts, who offer a “loveaway” payment plan. A complicated hotel booking engine process is often the reason guests abandon their reservations, so provide a simple and speedy credit card experience.


About Tambourine

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

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