Category Archives: Hotels

7 Trends Shaping Social Media in 2014

Social media

Social media began as a way to network with other individuals across the world. When organizations become involved with these channels, social media became a giant megaphone for marketing messages, but now these same organizations are realizing that these channels can be used for so much more.

There are seven social media trends that are beginning to shape 2014, and Media Mosaic examined these trends in detail. Here are a few of these trends you may have observed through the first five months of the year:

1) Social Listening – Brands are now realizing that social media is a two-way communication channel, not just a one-way communication method for talking to consumers. 24% of marketers plan to use a social listening campaign in 2014, up 2% from last year.

Effect on Marketing: Brands will be able to interact directly with consumers.
Effect on Users: Brands will now listen, understand, and respond quickly and strategically to consumer queries and thoughts.

2) Social Advertising – Although ROI results are still mixed in most industries, marketers realize that people are on social media channels, and social advertising at the very least ensures viewership of ads. In 2013, 57% of marketers used social ads, and another 23% are expected to start using them in 2014.

Effect on Marketing: Brands will get a cost effective and clutter-free way of engaging customers.
Effect on Users: Users will now be able to see not just posts, but Facebook-sponsored stories or Twitter-sponsored tweets.

3) Images as Marketing Tools – People hardly have extra time to spare. Hence, they are being attracted more towards content that they can comprehend within a short time. If a picture is worth a thousand words, marketers can succinctly convey their message without a lot of words when using images on social media.

Effect on Marketing: Marketers will have to find newer ways to catch attention like graphic advertisements, catchy banners, images and infographics.
Effect on Users: More information in the shortest possible time.

To read the rest of the social media trends, head to the PR Daily website.

Turning Hotel Initiatives Into Social Media Contests

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Social media plays a critical role in the way hotels and unique properties around the world market their product online.  These channels can be used as a mobile/online concierge, as a forum to discuss positive or negative experiences, or as a means to communicate with travelers before, during, and after they stay.

Advertising deals is another way that social media channels are used, but properties must be careful not to be selling hard at all times through these channels, as it will likely turn of traveler engagement.  Here are a few examples of properties that have turned social engagement into great ways to sell their deals and packages. Continue reading

Digital Ad Spending in Travel Jumps

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While some experts ponder whether Google is ready to make an even bigger splash in the travel industry, a recent eMarketer study highlighted a big reason why the search engine giant is content with its current role.  Digital ad spending by the US travel industry will reach $4.15 billion in 2014, a sharp increase over 2013’s numbers ($3.42 billion) that reflects the improving health of the overall US economy and rising profits in the industry. Continue reading

Travel, Hospitality Brands Hop On Board with Google Glass

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The hospitality and travel industries have always been ahead of the game when incorporating new technology into their day-to-day operations, and now some of these brands appear to be ready to hop on board with Google Glass.

OpenTable, TripIt, and foursquare have all rolled out efforts for Google Glass, highlighting the role that utility plays for marketing developing wearable initiatives. All three companies have been added to MyGlass, which is a portal that houses all of the apps found on the Glass devices.

“Glass presents an exciting opportunity to think about how traveling should work,” said Amy Jackson, director of public relations at TripIt, San Francisco.

Jackson also discussed some predicaments during the travel experience – having to carry multiple bags, pulling out a boarding pass, and moving through line after line – where having something to guide travelers through their trip, without requiring them to reach into a pocket or bag would be incredibly helpful.

What Will These Apps do to Help Travelers?
Synching up a TripIt account to the device pushes travel information to Google Glasses so that consumers can view their travel information quickly. The app refreshes Google Now content as well so that a traveler’s information is all in one place. It is also able to pull in car rental, hotel and travel reservations once a consumer has landed.

The foursquare app leverages location to let consumers view a list of nearby places at which then can check in.

OpenTable is tapping Google Glass to trigger last-minute restaurant reservations. Via the app, consumers can view a list of nearby restaurants at which they can make a reservation. Making restaurant reservations and reading reviews continue to be some of the most popular features that consumers are accessing on smartphones, making the switch to Google Glass a logical choice for OpenTable.

To read the full article on Mobile Commerce Daily, click here.

10 Things Every Hotel Website Must Have

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Your hotel website gives potential travelers a chance to view the most important aspects of your property.  People are not going to visit your property before they stay to ensure it meets all of their needs.  Your property website needs to be able to attract leads and eventually help sell the deal that this is where a traveler should stay.

In order to attract potential guests to your website, you need to know what these individuals are looking for.  Noise, a New York City-based creative agency, was tasked with creating a list of the most important things all hotel websites must have.  Here is what they came up with. Continue reading

TripAdvisor Falls Short of Q1 Projections

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One of TripAdvisor’s main priorities for 2014 was launching the direct booking of hotels in its mobile apps and mobile site – Instant Booking. However, the mobile platform not yet attracted the partner lineup the company was seeking.

During the company’s first quarter earnings call, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer said about 150,000 properties, or about one-third of those e-commerce-enabled, are now available for direct booking, or Instant Booking as TripAdvisor calls it. This can be done on its mobile site, as well as through iPhone and Android apps.

TripAdvisor’s Q1 Earnings
The news on the Instant Booking feature was overshadowed during TripAdvisor’s earnings call, mainly because the company failed to hit its Q1 projections. Sales for the travel review website climbed 32% to $281 million, shy of analysts’ consensus at $282.9 million.

TripAdvisor raised it’s 2014 growth forecast for referral revenue after reporting a nine percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by increased revenue from referrals and display advertisements. Because of this, TripAdvisor’s shares rose as much as 3.8 percent after it reported a 16% increase in referrals income, which makes up three-quarters of its revenue.

The company forecasts 2014 referral revenue growth in the high 20’s in terms of percentages, up from a previous forecast of growth in the low 20’s.

The company is benefiting from higher fees every time a user clicks through to a third-party booking site, after the company changed its display to show prices more prominently. The site now lists prices of hotel rooms from booking sites alongside its user reviews, allowing for easy comparison. This translates into fewer clicks for each booking site, but each click is more likely to lead to a booking.

TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking
Instant Booking enables travelers to book a hotel without leaving the company’s app or mobile site, but is currently only visible to about 10% of U.S. users.

The introduction of Instant Booking in TripAdvisor’s hotel-metasearch product on mobile is extremely important as TripAdvisor believes it will greatly increase monetization. That’s because users will not find themselves lost in the handoff to third-party hotel or online travel agency sites in order to book their stay.

The lack of take-up by bigger online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz, means TripAdvisor’s major rivals at this point are reluctant to further empower an already formidable competitor.

To read more about TripAdvisor’s Q1 earnings call, click here.

To read more about TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking, click here.

U.S. Hotels Courting Chinese Travelers

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Hoteliers and property managers should always be looking for segments of the travel market that are trending upwards.  Chinese travelers fit that bill which is why many U.S. hotels are beefing up on their knowledge of China’s culture so that they can improve the experience for these big-spending international travelers.

According to a recent NBC News article, the staff at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel recently got a crash course in how to welcome some of Amway China’s 1,500 guests who won incentive sales trips to New York City in April.

Subtle Changes to Help Promote a Positive Experience
In the case of the Marriott Marquis, in-room carafes were replaced so that guests could make tea each morning.  From the days when its only Chinese visitors were high government officials, the Marquis had already assigned names (Royal, Pinnacle, etc.) to presidential suites on the 44th and 45th floors, because the number four is considered unlucky in Chinese culture.

The number eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture, so standing out to a Chinese guest “can be as simple as what the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook did, which was to put eight chocolate coins and candy in a small mesh back with an attached welcome note,” said Seema Jain, director of Multicultural Markets and Alliances for Marriott International.

The Target Market is Big – and Getting Bigger
In 2013, an estimated 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the United States.  For 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries expects that number to rise by 21%, to more than 2.1 million, with increases of about 20% per year through 2018.

Los Angeles and New York City received the most Chinese tourists in 2012, according to the Department of Commerce.  In the New York region alone, Marriott has seen a 17% growth in 2013 over 2012 for the Chinese market, according to Robert Ambrozny, Marriott international sales director for the New York City region.

To read the full NBC News article, click here.