All posts by Andrew Moran

Hotel How To – Content

The importance of content in the hospitality industry cannot be stressed enough. “Content is king,” as the saying goes is holding truer everyday. With that in mind, it is important to remember that while the look and feel of a hotel website grabs a viewers attention, it is the body, the content that leads them to making a yes or no decision when deciding if they are going to stay at your property. Rich, original and engaging content is the key factor in getting that traveler to book at your hotel.

A hotel website is crucial for providing information to potential guests, and for search engine optimization (SEO). Because search engine bots crawl and index content to provide in results pages, your content becomes that much more important. You can manipulate your content to attract certain guests based on their searches.

There are a handful of major no-no’s and a laundry-list of do’s when it comes to hotel website content – here are a couple.

Dont’s

1. Duplicate Website Content – Simply put, search engines hate duplicate content. During scans for information, search engines pick their proverbial brains to produce content that is unique to a search. If a website contains one or more pages of duplicate content, the search engine removes those pages from the list of search results. Be mindful of what is on each page of your website to avoid this from happening.

2. Official and Unofficial Page Content – A common pitfall of hotel websites is the separation between official and unofficial content. Official content is content that has been approved (and often times internally created) by the property for use across multiple platforms. Unofficial content is content such as a review post, Facebook mention or anything else that has been composed by someone not affiliated with the property – user generated content. The bigger the gap between these two categories, the less credible a property looks. It is critical to be on the same page as your guests…monitor what they are saying about you at all times and be sure that your content is saying the same thing.

Do’s

1. Keyword Research – Keywords are where it all begins. Quality research about keywords that define your demographic and traveler audience is the jump-off point to creating quality content that will let your travelers easily discover you in their searches.

2. Maintain a Consistent Voice – One of the more common errors in producing quality website content is the habit of jumping between voices – Past, present and future tense. To create the highest quality content means to stick to one voice. That voice is up to you and your team, just be certain that it remains the same across all platforms – website content, social media content, press releases, etc.

To read the full article and to get more useful information about generating quality content, click here.

Delivery Status: Unopened

As you have probably noticed, and as your subscriber list continues to grow, your email engagement is decreasing. Not as many people are reading through your newsletters or special offers…or even opening the email in the first place for that matter. As the number of subscribers on your list grows, so to does the number of recipients who may become un-interested in reading what you have to say. This growing number of unengaged readers causes your overall email metrics to drop. So what can you do about it?

As the old adage goes, the best way to solve a problem is to not have one in the first place. We all know the likelihood of that. With that being said, it is time to strap on the thinking caps and plot out a re-engagement strategy. The least you can do is compose a win back campaign after clients have not clicked or opened your emails for a certain amount of time (that amount of time is up to you).

Re-engagement is a tricky task. Tricky, but feasible. Your focus should be on one primary element: The Open.

The Open – The open is the most crucial element to any win back campaign. Once the email is opened, you at least can say that the reader is no longer disengaged. Because engagement is the goal, the headline becomes critical. Capture the reader in a headline that is both personal and irresistible. Try something like this: “We have missed you! Book today only and save 25%!” – Make the reader feel wanted and offer them something they will be interested in.

Certainly the headline of an email is important in any campaign, especially a win back attempt. But once the reader opens the email, then what? One thing is for sure, you do not want to put the same content in the email that made the reader disengage in the first place. So change it up…don’t be afraid to explore other avenues when it comes to your content. If you find yourself stuck, keep these simple tips in mind:

1. Recall Previous Subscriber Behavior – If something did not work in the past 10 emails…note that behavior and adapt the content accordingly.

2. Put Fresh Eyes on the Content – Share your content with your team. See what other people in the company have to say about it. Team efforts on content creation generally produce the best ideas.

3. Commit to Sending More Relevant Content – Instead of sending the same old information every week, broaden your horizons. Gather your team for a 30 minute think tank session to bounce ideas off of one another. Make it a priority to send content that your reader finds to be relevant and important.

To read more, click here.

SEO Gold

As web based marketing becomes more and more critical to the business playing field, SEO fires up its massive engine right along side. We have all heard that the authoritative link is pure gold in the SEO game, and frankly, it is the truth. As web guru Ed Dale explained a number of years ago, “Become an authority, because that is the only way to dominate your niche.”

So how do you go about getting an authoritative link to your website? There are a number of ways, however, one of the most powerful can be to get your content into the hands of experts. Think about it…by putting your content into the hands of experts (or already established authorities), you are setting yourself up to be seen by massive numbers of people. Once these experts have a hold of your content, they link to it, share it, post it, blog it, tag it, the list goes on and on. Already established authorities have the power to pass their authority onto you.

There are other ways to get links to your website. Here are 3 of the most popular:

1. Create a Blog: If you create unique content and embed sharing widgets (facebook, twitter, google+, etc.) people will be able to share these links across social media.  This is an excellent way to get people with authority linking back to you.  This is important as search becomes more social.

2. List With Other Authoritative Websites: Such as: Vertical Search Engines, Directories, Answer Sites (think Yahoo Answers), Travel Review Sites, etc.

3. Be an Authority Yourself: Once your content is in the hands of your readers, they will share it, post it, link to it etc. Now you are an authority to that content. That is the goal. Become the authority to your niche.

To learn more about the impact of authoritative links, click here.

Now Showing on Screen 1

It is no secret that the days of multi-screen use are upon us. The big challenge facing marketers is how to address the reality that consumers are viewing products on multiple screens (smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, etc.) multiple times per day. How do you send the same message across an iPad screen that someone is also looking at on their 20″ monitor at the office?

A recent study conducted by Microsoft called Cross-Screen Engagement, lends a helping hand to help answer this daunting question. The study aims to help marketers understand how to engage consumers “in their moment” when they are viewing across multiple platforms. The two-phase study resulted in 4 separate kinds of consumer behavior:

1. Content Grazing

2. Investigative Spider Webbing

3. Quantum Journey

4. Social Spider-Webbing

To understand the meaning of these consumer categories, read the full article, here.

Social Media and Bookings

The prominent rise of social media has had an impact on the way consumers learn about, research, and even buy a good or service. That holds true in the hospitality industry as well. The evolution of bookings, from a primarily search engine based system, to the newly adopted uses of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, have left hotel marketers with plenty to keep them occupied to keep pace with the changing times.

Why Social Media Works

While users may not be entering their online profiles with travel on their mind, it is the advertising power of Facebook and others like it that has the greatest impact. Facebook, for example, allows advertisers to target in 3 primary ways:

1. News Feed Advertising – Usually located in the center of the News Feed page, these advertisements are not only easy to use and simple, they also appear on one of the most widely viewed web-pages in the world. With over 680 Million views per month, the News Feed page also holds the crown of being the only page that is mobile-friendly to advertisements. According to the 2012 Q4 Reports released by Facebook, users are spending 11 hours and 28 minutes (per user) on the mobile app each month.

2. Right Side Advertising – Simple and easy to use, the Right Hand Side advertisement was the first kind of ad to grace the pages of Facebook. While still popular and greatly useful, Right Side advertisements are more limited and restricted in terms of creative potential.

3. Log Out Advertising – More powerful than one might think, the Log Out advertisement on the Facebook desktop site sees 40% of U.S. traffic on a daily basis. In other words, 40% of active Facebook users are logging out of their profile everyday.

Don’t sleep on social media. With its popularity and possibilities growing everyday, the potential for growth and expansion is limitless.

Email Bookings Climb

ResortsandLodges.com, a leader in leisure destination travel, released its final major product update of 2012 on December 31, with the goal of enhancing user experience via content discovery and property profile updates. ResortsandLodges.com is now releasing the initial findings nearly two months after the update.

“We have been very pleased with the initial data from the update. We’ve seen an increase of over 2,700% in email booking inquiries alone since the release nearly 2 months ago. Clearly the feedback from our advertisers has been positive, as many have seen incremental bookings over the same period last year. We expect a strong 2013 in the leisure segment and look forward to continued growth from this channel on ResortsandLodges.com,” said Ryan Bailey, President.

While phone and online bookings comprise the majority of transactions, email inquiries are gaining popularity with consumers when communicating directly with resorts, hotels and vacation rentals in top leisure destinations. ResortsandLodges.com has long been a leader in social group inquiries, and is planning continued innovation in this space in 2013.

The Perfect Hotel Website

On route to creating the perfect hotel website, roadblocks are inevitable. The fast paced, do everything on the go marketplace  that has become customary makes it increasingly difficult to find, target and execute a marketing plan that truly reaches into the world of the traveler. More important than ever therfore is the optimization of your hotel website.

Maxymiser, a global firm specializing in website testing and personalization, has released a set of E-Books, highlighting the key points of creating the perfect hotel homepage, search experience and booking funnel. These books cover things from keeping consistency on your web-pages all the way to designing pages that flow easily and provide the customer with an easy, hassle free experience.

Article Found on HotelMarketing.com, To read the E-Books, download the PDF’s here.

Brand – Tell Them Who You Are

Often times, companies get caught up in the branding of themselves, their products and their services. It is important to remember what exactly branding is, and where we actually want to focus our branding efforts. As a visitor destination, how do you brand yourself? For some, the answer might include things like logos, websites, and slogans. But is that really the brand of your destination?

When you tackle the branding or re-branding of your property this year, consider the customer. The brand should be the feelings, connections and emotions that the customer experiences  when they look at your website, visit your property or hear your slogan. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you take on the brand of your destination in 2013:

1. Look Out the Window – Your brand is your chance to separate yourself from the crowd. Own this opportunity. Look all around you and record what you see…oceans, beaches, forests, whatever it is, use it to your advantage. Take the elements available to you and flip them to impact the emotions of your customer.

2. Don’t Hold Onto the Past – Consider how you view your destination versus how your customer does. Are they the same? Perhaps they are, but if not, do not be afraid to change. Just because you were a beach resort last year does not mean you have to be known for that this year.

3. Use Your Brand Everywhere – Once you have a brand that us uniquely your own, use it. Use it everywhere, across all platforms: websites, mail pieces, slogans, logos, telephone calls, etc. You get the idea. Consistency is the key.

Original Article found on MediaPost. To read the full article, click here.