Achieving Brand Loyalty: Bringing Community to Your Web Site

By Maurice Martin President, COO & Founder, iRise Inc. | January 27, 2012

In the old days of the Internet (10 years ago), the first generation of hotel Web sites were a passive medium for presenting a colorful hotel brochure, hence were dubbed brochureware. Those Web sites were one-dimensional and provided your brand a destination on the World Wide Web -- but there was nothing meaningful your potential guests or existing customers could do there. They couldn't make, cancel or confirm reservations.

The second generation of hotel Web sites, now commonplace on the Web, was all about being able to conduct commerce online: searching a directory of hotels and making reservations, as well as extending, canceling and confirming reservations. These Web sites provided a full-blooded reservation system without a warm-blooded mammal to help with the process.

Now arrives the newest generation of hotel Web sites: interactive spaces that stand to replace paid advertising and public relations as the strongest means for hotels to drive brand loyalty and competitive differentiation.

Built upon Web 2.0 technology, this newly evolved Web site offers customized searches and posted guest reviews, and it might be the best way to make your hotel brand stand out as the hotel industry continues its current upward trend of growth and expansion.

Increase Brand Loyalty

In basic terms, Web 2.0 technology is the business revolution of harnessing the Internet to create an ongoing, multi-dimensional dialogue between companies and their customers.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.