Browsing Tag

travel and tourism

The Seven Traits of Great Hotel Digital Marketers

August 8, 2017 • By
Hotel marketing requires a quirky blend of skills. image1 Virtually every one of your future guests will discover and engage with your property in the online world before they ever walk through your doors. That’s why digital marketing has become such a prerequisite skill for hotels that want to outperform their compset. But this job isn’t just limited to running ads and managing channels; digital marketing managers are also responsible for launching their own programs, managing external vendors and many other activities. As one of those external vendors, we’ve worked with hundreds of hotel digital marketers over the years… and during that time we’ve seen that it takes a very special set of skills to be successful in such a demanding position. The most successful hotel digital marketers we’ve worked with have these 7 traits in common: 1. They Multitask On any given day, a digital marketing manager has to take care of a wide variety of tasks, ALL while overcoming sudden crisis drops in occupancy. To be successful in such a hectic environment, that person needs to be an excellent multitasker, with an uncanny sense of recall. This combination lets them pick up on where they left off on other tasks from previous days and make steady progress towards their goals – all while being pulled in multiple directions. 2. They are Caffeinated Digital marketing managers often need to help fill hundreds of rooms, every night, or face vanishing assets. But accomplishing that task, in a business that often sees many of its bookings occur in the last 48 hours before arrival, requires someone with a lot of energy and stamina (it’s not uncommon to see them go through 5 or 6 cups of coffee every single day). 3. They Should Be Well-Traveled You can’t market a product when you have no experience as a user/buyer. With this in mind, it’s only natural that successful hotel marketing managers should be able to use their own travel experiences to speak to prospects on a personal level.  image2 4. They Should Have Experience in Other Industries  For an industry like ours, one that’s been resistant to change on many occasions, attracting digital marketers with skills and knowledge from other industries is essential. Hotels have long depended on a few core channels for their revenue, while other industries (think software and tech) have to develop innovative ways to build audiences, users and market share. By borrowing best practices, tactics and tools from other industries, hotel digital marketers can turbocharge your property’s marketing strategies and give you a serious advantage on the compset. 5. They Should Speak Geek It’s cool to be part geek these days, especially in the hospitality marketing sector. That’s because everything is constantly evolving, so there’s always so much to learn. That’s why it’s a good indicator of success when you hear your digital marketing manager talking with their friends about things like; CRS, PMS, CRM, CMS, SEO, PPC or SEM. It shows their real interest in these subjects. 6. They Shouldn’t Be Scared of Data and Reporting  That’s the only way they know what’s working in their campaigns… and what’s not. Being comfortable with data and reporting also enables successful hotel digital marketers to make strong business cases to management and ownership for additional funds and marketing assets. 7. They Should Present Well Digital marketing managers need to be seen as leaders who are able to bridge ‘the departmental divide’ and bring revenue management, sales and GMs together. Presentation skills and confidence are the keys to building consensus and cooperation across departments. So, which one of these 7 skills is most important for your property?  How do you keep your competitive edge?  We’d love to hear more about this from your point of view in the comments below! 

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: Leverage Past Guests to Crush New Hotel Competition

August 4, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Get a leg up on new hotel competition by maximizing the one thing they don’t have – past guests.  With their modern amenities, fresh technology, and remarkable experiences that travelers are clamoring for, new hotels are perfectly poised to steal a chunk of your market. It’s hard to battle for bookings when you’re surrounded by exciting new properties that are stealing all the attention and all the business. Don’t rely on slashing prices to take those bookings back. This will just hurt your bottom line and your reputation. Instead, turn to the one thing that they don’t have: past guests. You have an AUDIENCE… monetize it! While the new properties build up their profile and struggle to bring in new guests, create an exciting offer exclusively for your most lucrative past guests. Also, make sure you are using the positive reviews of past guests to create trust and validation among new prospective guests as well; your hotel website should prominently showcase testimonial reviews from leisure guests AND past meetings/groups! Finally, follow new compset hotel developments closely and time your marketing campaigns/promos to coincide with their opening and dampen the attrition of business due to their launch! 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

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. image1 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.  image2 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: Briefcases to Suitcases, Compel Business Travelers to Stretch Their Stays

June 30, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Compel corporate guests to extend their stay by creating a targeted ‘bleisure’ offer. Out of a hotel’s three primary market segments, corporate clients often produce the steadiest stream of room nights AND add-on revenue throughout the year. And better yet…. free-spending corporate travelers alo tend to spend more on dining and other ancillary products (since they are reimbursed by their companies). Amplify your revenue opportunities with corporate travelers by compelling them to add on leisure days to their stay. Here’s One Way to Encourage Them to Stay Longer: Create an exclusive offer only for corporate guests that extends the corporate rate a few days pre- and post-reservation. Add perks during those extra days, such as complimentary bike rentals, late check-out, discounted passes to a family-friendly attraction, free parking or complimentary breakfast. Include a link to a calendar of fun local events happening before, during, and after their original stay. Share this offer with corporate guests a few times leading up to their stay. Include it in the pre-stay email, at check-in… or leave a note during their stay. Get More: Turning Business Into Pleasure

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
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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

Why 70% of Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

June 20, 2017 • By
Flagged properties have surrendered control of their marketing. What happens if results are poor? image1 Key Takeaways:
  • 7 out of 10 hotels in the US are flagged, but the brand's national marketing team can’t reach specific target markets on a TIMELY basis, convey unique property experiences or synthesize authentic local culture.
  • Most flagged hotels are still relying on their brand’s standard marketing program, which is duplicated for every other sister hotel in the region.
  • Hotels need to augment their brand’s core program with timely campaigns and custom direct “vanity” websites that help fill periods of need.
Pop quiz… Imagine three hotel properties: A beachfront resort in Santa Monica. An urban high-rise in Atlanta steps from the convention center. A historic, mountain lodge in Vail. Would you: A. Market and drive bookings to these hotels using identical hotel websites, booking engines, marketing campaigns and marketing promotions? B. Or, custom tailor hotel marketing strategies based on each hotel’s unique target markets, amenities, travel seasons and destination? If you selected B, congratulations! You’re already making wiser decisions than thousands of flagged hotels who rely on the standardized, generic marketing (created by a remote marketing department) to drive ALL their business. Relying exclusively on your brand to completely market your unique property limits your ability to achieve the financial goals set forth by the owner/asset manager. Here’s Why:  You Are Not Differentiated Your brand’s marketing team is servicing hundreds of hotels (often several in the same city) and providing the same tools to all of you. Think about that–every hotel in the brand family is getting the same marketing and sales templates, the same loyalty database, the same hotel website design and hotel booking engine. You all receive the same assets, regardless of your amenities, your destination, or your target audience. A convention hotel in downtown Denver presents the same marketing material as their sister property in South Beach, Miami. Worse yet, when a visitor to your listing on brand.com enters the brand.com booking environment, they are often shown nearby properties flying the same flag… essentially making brand.com an OTA sending business to your co-branded regional neighbors!  image2 You’re Still Accountable If your property falls short of its revenue goals, do you think your brand’s marketing team will go to bat and be held accountable for missing the mark? Probably not. This is why it’s important to take marketing into your own hands and augment your brand’s core marketing assets with your own to  aggressively pursue direct bookings. When you rely on your brand’s marketing team, you relinquish control over vital revenue-drivers like:
  • Filling sudden periods of need.
  • Attracting regional groups and events.
  • Creating timely packages or special.
  • Posting and marketing special events.
  • Publishing user-generated social media content.
  • Creating retargeting ads to bring people back to your site.
Normally, this would require you to fill out a request form with your brand’s marketing team and wait days or weeks for ‘your turn,’ losing potential bookings in the meantime. Your remote brand team is simply unable to deploy effective campaigns capturing your hotel’s unique essence in a reasonable amount of time Your Direct Hotel Website is Generic Flagged hotels don’t actually have robust websites… they have listings on brand.com. When your hotel is simply plugged into a brand’s basic template website, there is nothing – besides photos and snippets of copy – that distinguishes your hotel’s individual story, destination, or personality. You cannot customize every element that conveys your hotel’s unique experience, F&B outlets, meeting and event space, surrounding neighborhood, local culture, etc. Imagine if the largest event in your destination is the Outdoor Summer Concert Series, which draws in thousands of visitors. Your brand.com’s basic website will not mention the concert series, nor convey how close you are to the event… leaving you to miss out on hundreds of potential room nights. When you manage your own hotel vanity site, you can showcase relevant events, speak directly to the right audiences and capture business with targeted campaigns. Your SEO Stinks Leaving hotel marketing to your brand will also place limits on your SEO and traffic generation campaigns. While your brand may conduct search engine marketing campaigns on your hotel’s behalf, they only scratch the surface. For instance, your brand’s efforts may help you rank for “Hyatts in Seattle.” But, it’s unlikely they are optimizing your page for more targeted search terms that would generate the highest return, such as “hotels near Capitol Hill” or “Space Needle hotels.” You’re Not Authentic Today, people are investing their travel dollars in authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and lifestyle. They’re hungry for local secrets, bold adventures and seeing parts of the city that most tourists don’t see. When your brand has control of your online marketing, they won’t be able to connect with your visitors or convey that local mindset. First off, because they’re not even there. They don’t know what makes your destination so special. They don’t understand the culture, the awesome mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that give your neighborhood character, or know the local secrets. Only you and your local marketing staff can tell a compelling story that will actually drive bookings.

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: Start Tracking Phone Calls to Optimize Your Marketing

June 9, 2017 • By
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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: Start using simple phone tracking tech to optimize your campaigns and reservation/call center performance.  We all know how important it is to monitor data from digital marketing campaigns. However, usually those analytics only track online activity and engagement. One of the best ways to bridge the gap between your online and offline marketing activities is by tracking inbound phone calls using simple new digital tracking technology. Travelers often want to know more about the experience they’re about to embark on. And, they want to interact with someone on your hotel staff or reservation center to get the answers. This is especially true at resorts or destination properties, where it is extremely common for guests to call and want to speak with someone personally before pulling out a credit card to make a long range reservation. Most phone tracking tools now enable management to “listen in” to recordings of any/all calls. What makes this feature so impactful is that you are hearing from the guest firsthand, using their own voice and words to express their concerns and wants. Also, by “listening-in” to recorded phone calls, you can see how well your guest service team deals with guests and whether their “pitch” needs improvement. How is your guest services team handling simple and complex inquiries? How are they conveying your hotel’s unique experience over the phone? Are they up-selling properly and easing the guest along towards booking a reservation? If you’re only measuring your digital results, you’re missing a significant KPI of success: start tracking phone calls to get a complete picture!

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
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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… image1 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
FridayFreebie-Tambourine-600x600 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