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Mark Heymann

Mobile technology has pervaded virtually every aspect of our lives, and travel is no exception. As people turn to their mobile devices for assistance with an increasing number of daily activities, the hotel industry has responded with apps designed to streamline processes from checking in to accessing one's room. Starwood Hotels & Resorts pioneered mobile room keys with its SPG Keyless product in 2014 and since then several other major brands have followed suit. There are also apps today that enable SMS two-way communications between guests and hotel staff, facilitating a wide range of interactions, including late check-out requests, room service orders, and restaurant recommendations. Read on...

Allison Ferguson

Travel today is a highly aspirational, emotional, and educational experience. However, today's experience is largely a digital one, which is evolving our roles as hoteliers and marketers at the very pace of innovation. In many cases, travelers completely self-manage their stay from end to end with some 69 percent of travelers start their search online. The best customer strategy for today's hotelier lies at the intersection of digital experience, loyalty program experience, and the end-to-end travel journey. Here's some very effective tips... Read on...

Matt Schvimmer

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tried and true method of connecting with guests and customers across a number of platforms including websites, social media, apps, live chat, email and phone. Selecting a CRM software solution is notoriously laborious and the software itself has the reputation of being expensive and hard to implement. Hotels and hospitality organizations who operate at a local level, and thrive on the relationships they have in the community, need a nimble, real-time CRM solution to engage with their guests and be responsive to their service needs. Read on...

DJ Vallauri

The hotels that will win over the next 24 months will be those that introduce the human elements of real-time engagement via the technology. By leveraging the technologies available they will better engage and build relationships with their guests via human connections. Recently Benedict Cummins from HotelExecutive connected with DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder and President, to discuss his vision on human powered websites and why he believes they are the future for the hospitality industry. Read on...

Jeff Navach

Hotels find themselves in an uphill battle as they seek to increase loyalty to their own brands and recapture market share from OTAs. Many hotels are increasingly embracing digital advertising, recognizing it as a critical channel to acquire consumers directly and compete more effectively with OTAs. But as hotels expand their digital marketing presence and ramp up advertising budgets, they would do well to consider some creative approaches that can help level the playing field and turn the tide in their favor. Read on...

Michael Coughlin

Since its infancy in the late 90s and early 2000s, paid search has been a highly effective tactic for capturing would-be travelers that are actively exploring travel options. There's seemingly no better way to attain a new hotel guest than by delivering an ad promoting your hotel when someone is searching for "hotels" in your market area. For instance, if you are promoting hotel rooms in Las Vegas, you would likely deliver relevant ads to people searching for keywords such as "Las Vegas hotel," "Las Vegas hotels," and "Vegas hotel reviews. "According to Prognosis Digital, 79% of people that book hotels online search for that particular hotel on a search engine before buying. Thus, having a presence on search engines is essential for any hotel. Read on...

Katarina Puckett

In the drive to increase bookings, hotel owners sometimes overlook a key component that can have a dramatic impact on their online visibility: local SEO. Search engines rely on a variety of signals when determining your hotel website's position and visibility in search results. Local SEO strategies cover three of the top web ranking signals that Google and the other search engines consider: on-page signals, citations from well-established, respected local directories, and reputable backlinks. When you correctly and proactively apply these local SEO strategies, you strengthen your hotel's business profile and help establish your website domain authority. Read on...

Katarina Puckett

Hotels now face stiff competition from the OTAs as well as from other hotels. To succeed in this challenging environment, hoteliers need to develop an effective hotel website that blends the latest design trends and online marketing strategies to appeal to prospective guests. By incorporating essential hotel design, functionality, and reservation features such as SEO strategies, incentivizing pricing strategies, and web analytics, hotels can use their websites to gain the competitive edge. Discover everything you need to know to create a highly effective hotel website design, so you can successfully increase direct bookings and regain control of your hotel brand. Read on...

Michael Coughlin

With rapid advancements in technology, video content is taking over the internet. Whether it's through social media platforms, apps, or news publications, companies can miss out on valuable branding opportunities without a high quality video narrative to leverage on these networks. In an industry where building human relationships is of utmost importance, hotels must adapt to this growing medium. Well-produced videos help brands connect with consumers emotionally thus creating genuine brand loyalty. In the offline history of advertising, we've seen media consumers migrate in large droves from reading newspapers in dull black and white text, to reading magazines and newspapers in full and vibrant color, to consuming radio and TV advertising that bring brands to life. Read on...

Bernard Ellis

After cautiously testing the cloud computing waters for almost twenty years, the hospitality industry has been diving in head first lately, and for the most part, made nice, controlled entries with minimal splash. And for the majority, the dive was followed by a graceful, controlled float to the top. Others, however, found themselves disoriented, bumping into other swimmers, and gasping for breath. The cloud is indeed like a community pool in many ways, but after reading this article, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to quickly find your lane and swim faster laps than ever. Read on...

Tammy Farley

Data is more plentiful and available than at any time in history, yet some of the most crucial information for hotel operators has been accessible only to large organizations with deep pockets. Today, however, new technologies are disrupting established markets with analytical solutions that are more affordable and flexible, offering excellent capabilities to hoteliers who could previously only access such tools through their parent brands. This article takes a look at key qualities of some of the data and analytics tools that make the technology more approachable than ever. Read on...

Rahul Razdan

Big Data will provide a complete "digital profile" of current and prospective guests, enabling hotel executives to create more effective marketing and communications campaigns. This opportunity, available for all and affordable to all, will transform the way hoteliers interact with travelers; it will revolutionize this relationship for the better by making outreach more direct, personal and relevant. Thus, these benefits are too important to ignore - they are too substantial to dismiss - since the result will be a more intimate and gracious expression of loyalty from hotel executives on behalf of their most loyal supporters. Welcome to the big dividends of Big Data. Read on...

Matt Naeger

Travel industry marketers are setting their sites on the customer, following in the steps of other industries such as retail and using digital platforms to strategically target and message across the customer journey. The advances in customer experience we see today are the result of platform and technology availability. Knowing customers like to be treated as individuals is not a new concept in customer service. Not long ago personalized treatment was reserved for face-to-face conversations and luxury experiences. Digital has evolved, but the concept remains the same. To both the traveler and the marketer, customer experience is differentiation, timing, relevancy. Read on...

Peter Torbet

In hotel rooms guests are using the smart TV screen for so many different reasons- from practicing presentations, streaming Netflix and listening to favorite music. The trick to keeping all your guests happy relies on having the technology that seamlessly allows all of their screens to talk to each other. Read on...

Scott Morrison

From guest services and operations to conference space and poolside dining, the need for a complex, connected and dependable network is critical to the success of any hotel. But without the proper planning, installation and maintenance, your network may be underperforming and not capable of handling the demand that is increasing exponentially by the day. In this article we explain why hiring a managed network services provider with certified project managers for your technology installation can help control costs, mitigate future risk and alleviate the burden of managing multiple vendors so you can open with confidence. Read on...

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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.