Browsing Tag

tourism

5 Things Hotel Marketers Are Celebrating This July 4th

July 3, 2017 • By

Hotel sales and marketing pros have a lot to be happy about this year.

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This Independence Day, hoteliers are not only celebrating a long weekend bustling with holiday travelers, but all the other indicators that prove there are more sunny skies ahead for the industry:

1) A Winning Trifecta: Thriving Group Business, Stable Economy & A Positive Hotel Market 

The hotel industry’s up cycle has exceeded expectations. Occupancy rose 1.5 percent, driven by an increase in demand of 3.4 percent. ADR increased 2 percent and RevPAR rose by 3.6 percent – making May 2017 the 87th month of consecutive RevPAR growth.

Even after two months with a declining pipeline of new rooms, the number of new room construction reached 192,000. This is a small increase (April 2017’s count was 189,000) and shows that the pipeline of new construction is flourishing, but at a slower pace.

Most of the new construction focuses on select-service hotels without substantial meeting space, which is a boon for hoteliers overseeing full-service properties who continue to see an uptick in their booking pace as large groups compete to lock in venues.

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2) Owners’ Investment in a Remarkable Product

You can be out-of-this-world creative. You can have the wittiest, most clever and memorable hotel marketing concept. You can even have a generous hotel marketing budget to pay for massive exposure in front of all the right audiences.

Yet, all of that means nothing without a truly differentiated hotel product.

If your property is providing a lackluster experience with frayed edges, outdated décor, and musty smells, no amount of brilliant marketing can save you from the downward spiral of lost revenue.

New hotels with bold concepts and fresh guest experiences are springing up in all directions, so hotel owners need to invest in their properties to keep up with modern expectations. Thankfully, more and more hotel owners are realizing that the best hotel marketing investment they can make is in enhancing their property, the experience and the service.

3) The Lowest Summer Gas Prices in Years

The start of summer is not normally a time for low gas prices, since so many people are taking to the road and creating demand. However, with the recent drop in oil costs, travelers are elated to find some of the lowest summer prices at the pumps for the first time in 12 years. In fact, this holiday weekend’s prices could be the lowest 4th of July gas prices since 2005. According to AAA, gas prices have been falling every day since June 2nd and are expected to keep dropping. Consider us pumped for all the road travelers ahead.

4) Expanding Awareness of Book Direct Benefits

Fueled by affordable digital marketing tools and increasing comfort in deploying them, hotel marketers are feeling more confident and emboldened to push for direct bookings instead of relying on OTAs to fill their rooms.

In April, Hyatt Hotels became the latest brand to offer a discount to guests who book directly from the Hyatt website, following similar programs by Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. These moves by the major chains are heightening public recognition of the benefits of booking direct and are chipping away at the myth that OTAs save money. With the stage set by industry titans and all the advanced marketing tools and metrics available to hoteliers, we expect this momentum to continue to swell.

5) Social Media Evangelists

Hotels now have small, private armies of unpaid marketing staff: guests who Instagram, Snap, Facebook and Tweet while eating breakfast in bed, lounging by the pool, and watching the sunset from their balconies. Each post boosts awareness for your hotel and bolsters your hotel’s reach… all without your staff lifting a finger or spending a dime. And, even after checking out, guests continue to post photo albums and videos of their vacations.

When guests gush about their travels, they’re creating content that is hotel marketing gold. You can even easily discover and collect Instagram photos posted by your guests using a tool like our new Tout.


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: Do This to Improve Organic Results

June 23, 2017 • By

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Welcome to the Friday Freebie!

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

This Week’s Freebie: Improve organic search results by positioning your hotel as the epicenter of your destination. 

Today’s travelers are investing in authentic, intimate experiences that immerse them in the local life and culture. They’re hungry for insider secrets and seeing parts of a city that travelers usually don’t get to see, not just the big-ticket attractions.  And, they’re looking for a hotel that will give them front-row seats to all of that.

When they start researching hotel options online, they don’t start with ‘your hotel name.’ Instead, they’ll use search terms such as:

“hotels near Santa Monica beach”

“Santa Monica pier hotels”

“hotels on third street promenade Santa Monica”

In short, travelers prioritize the destination first, and hotels second.

One smart way to capture more online views and come up in more search results is to boost the destination content on your website.

Here are some tips:

  • Don’t simply use your destination pages as a directory of major local attractions. Include lesser-known must-see local spots and write short relevant descriptions for each.
  • Share insider tips for exploring the city.
  • Target long tail search queries by including content that answers common travel questions. A hotel site is more likely to rank for long tail search terms that have less competition and will see a rise in user engagement.
  • Include distances from your hotel.
  • Showcase loved-by-local coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants located in your neighborhood.
  • Include seasonal suggestions, including ‘Holiday activities in Boston’ or ‘Summer activities in Breckenridge.’
  • Keep up a destination calendar of fun neighborhood events that can offer visitors a taste of local life.

Get More: Want More Hotel Revenue? Start Selling Your Destination


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: Market Specifically to This Affluent Niche: LGBT Travelers

June 2, 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 (in honor of LGBT Pride Month): Attract LGBT travelers, a lucrative market segment, with specific hotel marketing tactics. 

Over the past few years, LGBT travelers have entered the mainstream for progressive hotel marketers everywhere. According to a survey by Community Marketing, Inc., which researches LGBT travelers and helps travel brands understand and reach out to this market, having a LGBT-friendly reputation is one of the top three factors gay or lesbian travelers consider when choosing a hotel.

Marketing to a gay and lesbian audience doesn’t require a separate micro-site or obnoxiously proclaiming “We’re gay friendly! Book here!”

Instead, the key is to be sophisticated and subtle. Include this market seamlessly into current marketing campaigns with these easy moves:

  • Include relevant images of same-sex couples in marketing materials.
  • Include same-sex couples images in your wedding section.
  • Include social proof: relevant testimonials or awards from relevant publications.
  • Create packages incorporating experiences from your destination’s LGBT neighborhoods like Seattle’s Capitol Hill, New York’s Chelsea, Miami’s South Beach, and San Diego’s Hillcrest.
  • Create June packages for LGBT Pride Month.
  • Partner with gay-friendly bars, restaurants and other establishments.

Get more: Hotels Rolling Out the Rainbow Carpet for LGBT Travelers


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 5 Dumbest Hotel Website Design Mistakes

May 30, 2017 • By

Hotel website design is much more than pretty pictures…

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Excuse us for stating the obvious: but of all the hotel marketing tools and tactics that exists today, nothing will ever be more vital and essential to your hotel’s success than your own direct booking website.

Yet, despite its monumental importance, we still see hotels making these same five catastrophic website mistakes that end up costing them thousands in lost  revenue.

1. Letting it Stagnate

Remember when websites used to be static online brochures?

Those days are long gone, friends.

Not only is your website the first impression of your hotel and your brand, it’s at the core of every hotel marketing strategy and direct booking effort. Almost every marketing campaign or tool flows from it or to it: your advertising and retargeting efforts, all of your inbound marketing leads, your SEO, your hotel PPC campaigns, your ROI reporting and more.

Treat your hotel website as a software application, not a brochure. 

Your amenities, browser standards, email capture forms, booking engine widget integrations and online plug-ins (like live chat) change all the time… and so must your website. If your hotel website is stagnant, chances are your direct booking flow will be as well!

2. Lack of Visually Arresting Imagery

It takes mere seconds to make the wrong first impression.

Have lackluster or outdated photos on your website?

People will automatically assume that your hotel is also lackluster and outdated. Studies show that hotel photography has the power to change a guest’s mind – making them consider a property that before was not in the running or to drop a hotel they were once interested in. Photos aren’t just pretty pictures, they matter to your bookings and your bottom line.

So, dump all the stock photography, delete your old images and establish higher standards for all new photography. Hire a photographer with an established portfolio of hotel or architecture work. Then, dip into your most valuable photographer pool – your own guests. Your guests are Instagramming their favorite moments from their trips, and some are pretty stunning!

3. Failure to Display Social Validation

Guests will always trust other guests over you.

So, you need to harvest the experiences of past guests to sell for you. This means displaying your property’s accolades, magazine awards and other recognizable trust marks prominently on your website, so that guests will immediately see that your hotel is a trusted, proven player. Also, be sure to showcase compelling guest reviews that sum up the best of your hotel experience.

In marketing, this tactic is called social proof. It basically tells potential guests, “Other travelers stayed at this hotel and loved it. You will too.” You can also use social proof to validate your hotel’s value to meeting planners and win more group business.

4. Missing a Meaningful, Local Story

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 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?

The best hotel websites promise to change the viewer’s perspective on the destination and enrich their lives.

5. Absence of Key Tech Tools

As stated in Mistake #1, your hotel website should never be a stagnant marketing piece that sits still looking pretty. It is the dynamic centerpiece of all your hotel marketing efforts and should be powered with critical technology that amplifies its capabilities. Today, there are a number of technology plug-ins (more affordable then ever) that enable hotel marketers to maximize every click and visit and reap as much revenue as possible.

Some of the tech add-ons we recommend are built-in reservation recovery, live online chat, meeting/group lead tracking technology, ROI tracking, schema integration for SEO, and call tracking.


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: Do This to Turn up the Heat on Summer Bookings…

May 26, 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: Rake in more summer bookings by building a tiered minimum stay promotion leveraging your onsite amenities, instead of simply handing out summer discounts. 

The good news: Today launches the unofficial start of summer.

Even better news: Millions of travelers are pulling out their credit cards and packing their bags for summer vacays.

But, don’t rejoice just yet.

The competition for summer travelers is fierce and hotels will be pumping out summer discounts in every direction to get their attention.

Our advice?

Hold back from joining the pack and giving out those standard 10-15 percent discounts. They’re boring and your compset is probably doing the same thing. To get the most revenue out of this summer season, you need to stand out in the sea of summer sameness.

Here’s how to do it:

Create tiered minimum stay promotions using your onsite amenities as incentives for longer stays. Start off with small, no-cost add-ons, like free late checkouts or early check-ins. Then, increase your offerings with each day added onto the reservation. These can include room upgrades, free parking, free bike rentals, dining credits, spa credits, tickets to local attractions, etc.

The best part is, unlike straight price discounts, these value-ads strategically help you drive incremental revenue by enticing guests to stay longer and spend more money at the restaurant or spa, which they may not normally do.

Get more: Put Some Sizzle In Your Summer ADRs 


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: Nudge Your Happiest Guests to Leave a Review

May 19, 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: Convince more happy hotel guests to leave good reviews by reminding them at several touch points. 

See those guests who wrote a TripAdvisor review of your hotel?

They make up a teeny, tiny percentage of guests who actually stayed with you. They represent the few who either remembered to leave a review OR felt compelled to because of an extraordinary experience (or a horrible one). 

Now, imagine how much better your TripAdvisor rankings would be if more happy and satisfied guests wrote a review of their stay. The good news: It only takes a simple reminder. 

Stop leaving your guest reviews to chance. Here are a few ways to gently remind your guests to share their experience on TripAdvisor:

Post Stay Emails
Every hotel should have an automated process that emails every guest asking for feedback after the guest checks out. And don’t be afraid to put a link leading directly to your TripAdvisor profile. This will likely increase the overall number of reviews you accumulate and show your commitment to transparency! 

Approach Your Social Advocates
Turn to your hotel’s brand advocates – those who have posted to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter before.
Research shows that hotel properties that reach out to their loyal guests to build up reviews will see not only higher rankings, but increased online sentiment.

Remind Guests During Their Stay, Not Just At Check-Out

If your staff hears a guest complimenting the hotel in any way, have them encourage the guest to share that tidbit in a review.

Place Your TripAdvisor Link In Your Email Signature
Any email you send to guests or to whoever else, should have a link to your TripAdvisor profile.

Get more: Want Better TripAdvisor Rankings? Do These 3 Things


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: Want More Weddings? Get Real…

May 12, 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: Attract more wedding business by sharing real-life wedding stories on your hotel website.

Modern brides, like today’s travelers, are obsessed with authenticity.

Today, they’re inspired by the genuine images, videos, and opinions of other brides and newlyweds, not photo shoots with models.

And smart hotel marketers have taken notice.

Instead of expensive staged photo shoots or using stock photos, many hotels are now showcasing more real-life past events, displaying the food, dresses, décor, etc. from successful weddings at the property.

Most previous brides will be thrilled to be featured in your materials, so follow-up with them or the wedding photographer for permission. Or, use one of the latest social media capture tools to locate, capture and license actual wedding photos shot on your property… these can provide you with a deep archive of authentic wedding photos for your hotel website and other event marketing collateral.

Get more: 7 Ways to Attract More Weddings To Your Hotel


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

7 Lessons Your Mom Taught You about Hotel Marketing

May 10, 2017 • By

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Every year, in honor of Mother’s Day, we share advice from the original CMOs (chief mother officers) – our mothers!

And when we dove into these motherly pearls of wisdom, we found pretty sage hospitality marketing advice. So, sit up straight. Mind your manners. And, for heaven sakes, listen to your mom.

1. Mom: “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

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.

2. Mom: “Just be yourself.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

In today’s world, it is more important than ever for brands to be transparent and authentic. Social media has changed everything and consumers are demanding that brands be more engaging and less overtly commercial. More personable, less corporate. Hospitality is no longer a B2C industry – it’s P2P, people to people. Every piece of your marketing should reflect that you are a host – first and foremost, and not a business that is gunning for your customers’ wallets. 

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3. Mom: “Finish what you started.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Marketing success doesn’t happen overnight. You won’t be ranked #1 on Google anytime soon. Your email list won’t balloon in just a month. Your hotel social media followers won’t triple with just a few posts. And, you won’t see an explosion of direct bookings with one campaign. Don’t expect immediate results in any of your marketing efforts. Successful marketing comes from being consistent. Each marketing component is part of the larger picture, so don’t give up if things don’t blossom right away.

4. Mom: “I brought you into this world. I can take you out of it.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Your success ultimately comes down to how well you serve your guests with an amazing experience. And, your marketing should also reflect the guests’ desires, emotions, and the benefits they’ll receive from staying with you.

After all, they’re the reason you are in business and they can easily put you out of it! So, don’t use hotel marketing campaigns to simply brag about your property, your accolades and all the ways you are awesome. Instead, show how guests’ lives and perspectives will be changed by an experience with you.

5. Mom: “Look both ways before you cross the street.”

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Don’t put blinders on to the rest of the world when creating marketing assets or evaluating campaigns, get real user feedback! For example, you can pay $79 to usertesting.com for unbiased reviewers to test and record their experience on your website. You will be amazed what you can learn by talking to real prospects about their experience with your sales and marketing process.

6. Mom: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” 

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

It’s a reality for all hotel marketers: despite your best efforts, sometimes a marketing campaign will fall flat or short of your revenue goals. This can happen even after investing a ton of marketing dollars, talent and time in marketing research and implementation.

You win some, you lose some.

Instead of obsessing over it and berating yourself (or worse, your marketing team), brush off your disappointment and get up again. Review what went wrong, determine what mistakes to avoid in the future, then keep moving forward. 

7. Mom: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Hidden Hotel Marketing Advice

Marketing trends move fast and furious. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all and have the urge to jump in without a sense of direction or without thinking if this is the best fit for your hotel and your current hotel marketing strategies. Listen to your mom – resist the urge. Instead, be selective which marketing tools and tactics you invest in. Does it genuinely align to your target business mix by segment? Do you have the budget and manpower to execute it well? Do you have a plan in place?


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: Build Alliances to Create Irresistible Destination Experiences

April 14, 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: Partner with cool, local purveyors to create remarkable experiences for your guests.

Today’s travelers crave experiences that are local, impactful and unlike anything they can find back home. In fact, a recent American Express survey reported that 72% of participants said they would rather spend money on experiences over things.

What does this mean for hoteliers?

That guests aren’t just booking a hotel room for a place to sleep. They want to have front-row access to adventures and activities that are quintessential to your city and your neighborhood.

Most hotels aren’t in the position to create and execute remarkable experiences on their own. So, one of the smartest and most efficient ways to meet this need head-on is to build partnerships with local experience curators and purveyors.

For instance, partner with a company that takes guests on a tasting tour of local eateries, street food vendors, or the popular farmers market. Work with a family-owned company that offers fun and exciting scavenger hunts in your city. Offer a package with a local art gallery, sailing company, or a trail hiking outfitter.

For example: The French Quarter Inn in Charleston partners with private yachts, carriages, and a helicopter tour company for the “Charleston Perspective” package. While the Collector in St Augustine has a “Girls Gone Mild” Girl’s Getaway package that includes transport, cocktails and local tours.

Create locally inspired, cross-promotional deals to catch the attention of experience-hungry guests.

Get more: Three Ways Hotel Marketers Can Tap Into The Authenticity Trend


About Tambourine

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

 

Friday Freebie: How to Use the World’s Best (Free) Hotel Photographers

April 7, 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: Infuse your hotel marketing with a big dose of authenticity and stunning imagery with Instagram photos from your actual guests.

Modern travelers no longer trust blatant advertising or anything that looks forced, contrived or fake coming from hotel brands.

This is especially true for your hotel photography.

Gone are the days with fake ‘guests’ smiling awkwardly in lobby photos or hiring models to glam up your pool images.

Today, the most trusted source of travel photography are Instagram users, not your hotel itself.

The good news: Many of your guests are shooting and posting beautiful images onto Instagram right now as you read this.

Even better news: You can leverage their genuine images and add them to your own hotel marketing campaigns, whether that’s posting to your website, hotel social media accounts or marketing emails.

Using Instagram images is a smart way to implement ‘social proof,’ the idea that people buy into what others are buying.

Here’s How to Do it:

Search for your hotel’s geotag on Instagram and it will pull up all the Instagram images that users have posted from your property. Select which images you’d like to keep for marketing purposes and message each user individually to ask for their permission.

(NOTE: shameless plug.) This process can be time consuming and tedious… if you want a quicker way, you can use our new tool, Tout, and we’ll take care of all of these steps for you.

Click here for details: New Tool Helps Hotels Harvest Guest Generated Content


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