Interesting info-graphic on the impact of tourism on U.S. markets and the world.
Budget planning season is upon us. Instead of viewing it with dread, SkyTouch Technology, a cloud hotel PMS provider, has compiled tips to help hoteliers approach their budgeting as an opportunity to further ROI. That is, as long as next year’s budget addresses the following three critical areas of digital marketing, which we consider “must-have” line items to help hoteliers raise the profile of their respective brands in 2015:
Responsive website design (aka, easy access to your hotel brand). A user’s experience with your website will strongly dictate how positively or negatively they view your hotel brand. Is your site easy to navigate? Is the content up-to-date? Most importantly, can content be easily accessed across any platform or device? Today’s mobile customer researches and books on-the-go and they demand a seamless experience. Ensure you can deliver this by making responsive, mobile-optimized website design part of your 2015 budget. In addition, recognize that your customers are being bombarded with messages from competing brands. Allocate dollars toward optimized content and a searchable web presence that includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and Pay Per Click (PPC). These tools will help ensure that you are “heard” in a noisy online marketplace.
Online reputation management. Are you “listening” to what others are saying online about your brand? How often are you monitoring review sites such as TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and others? Are you promptly responding to comments posted about your hotel on review sites and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter? A strong online presence featuring quick response time is vital to maintaining your brand’s reputation… and preventing any issues “aired” online from quickly going viral or escalating into full-blown crises. Every hotelier’s 2015 budget should include increased resources toward online reputation management with the ability to actively listen and respond quickly to customer inquiries, issues, and feedback.
Integrated digital approach. We operate in a fast-paced marketplace with device-toting customers who expect instant access to our brand. Meeting their “real time” expectations is a must for survival within the highly competitive hospitality marketplace. Therefore, hoteliers must realize that digital marketing should work in concert with other business strategies, particularly real-time availability and pricing. By taking an integrated marketing/management approach, hotels can meet traveler’s demands for up-to-the-minute information and immediately respond to changing market conditions. As such, every hotel manager’s budget should allocate dollars toward a full-featured, cloud hotel PMS. The SkyTouch Technology Hotel OS®, for example, gives hotel managers easy access to dynamic price marketing, reports, and other centralized tools that enable them to manage “on-the-go” from anywhere with an internet connection.
By budgeting and addressing these key digital spending areas, hoteliers will equip themselves with a strong online presence that will enhance the vitality of their brand in 2015 and beyond.by
February 2 – Groundhog Day: What did Punxatawnee Phil predict for your local weather? If he says more winter is on the way, remind everyone of your special “snow rates”. If you are located in a milder climate, encourage your audience to escape those frosty predictions and come visit your sunny spot of the world.
February 14 – Valentine’s Day: Promote packages and help your property to maximize revenue. Promote offers from local vendors in the days/weeks leading up to the big day to build community relations. Tweet/post articles with low-cost or free ways to make the day special.
American Heart Month: Post your most creative heart healthy recipes from your restaurant or from your complimentary breakfast. Post images of actual dishes leaving the kitchen or plated from your breakfast buffet. We know you’ve found some creative ways to help your health conscious guests stay on track while they travel! Highlight your healthy amenities like your fitness center and pool.
Most importantly, keep trying new things until you find the message that resonates with your audience. If you need more ideas, feel free to reach out the Hospitality Social Media Experts at All Things Hospitality. We offer Social Media Evaluations for hotels and full-service Social Media Management solutions for the hospitality industry.by
December and the Holiday season are quickly approaching. This is a great time to feature your hotel’s special offers and promotions to drive room nights over the potentially lower occupancy holiday season. As buyers budget for gifts, they’re looking for great deals on travel to see loved ones. Here’s a list of promotional ideas to help get your creative juices flowing!
We’ve also included interesting content ideas to help you connect with your fans. Use these to get started on your hotel’s December social media content calendar.
Shopping Packages – Is your hotel near a mall or outlet center? Do you offer shuttle service? Promote these as a package paired with your breakfast and a great rate.
December 2 – Cyber Monday – offer a special web only rate to your social media connections.
Park and Cruise Packages – Are you near a cruise port? Holiday cruises are very popular. Check out which cruise lines are offering departures this month and target posts to passengers. Promote your Park and Cruise packages.
Family Overflow – Tell us about your best available rate codes to offer for family overflow rates that we can promote on your social media channels. Consider a Social Media Only rate that we can promote on FB, Twitter and Google+.
Military and Active Duty Special Offers – Offer deeper than usual discounts to military and active duty and their families traveling this holiday season.
Offer a Snow Rate – As winter weather hits travel can become treacherous. Promote a snow rate to your social media followers and your local area. Encourage safe travel and fill potentially lower occupancy nights!
Marriott properties – Are you participating in the Workspace on Demand program? Let us know so we can help you promote it through social media. Make sure you’re listed properly on the WOD website here: http://www.workspaceondemand.marriott.com/
Sister Cities – Does your city have a sister city somewhere else on the globe? Send their citizens warm holiday wishes in their national language. Not sure if your city has one? http://wikipedia.org is a good resource to find out.
December 1 – World AIDS Day
December 10 – Human Rights Day Use the hashtag #VoiceCount
December 7 – Last day of Hannukah
December 21 – Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the onset of winter. Are there winter solstice celebrations planned in your area? Drive food and beverage outlet revenue by inviting your guests to celebrate with a free hot chocolate or latte.
December 24 – Christmas Eve
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – Does your area receive a lot of tourists from Australia or country that celebrates Boxing Day? Make them feel at home with a Happy Boxing Day post.
December 31 – New Year’s Eve – Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve event? If you are a select service property, tell us about events in your area where you may be referring guests in house.
DECEMBER MUSIC EVENTS & TOURS – These big name acts are on tour in the month of December. Are they coming to your city and will they potentially drive demand for your market?
These food holidays are good promotional opportunities to highlight items on your menu. Send us a snapshot from your iPhone and some details so we can promote your menu on the big day!
December 1 – National Pie Day
December 3 – National Apple Pie Day
December 4 – National Cookie Day
December 5 – National Repeal of Prohibition Day – Happy Hour, Yo!
December 6 – National Microwave Oven Day
December 8 – National Brownie Day
December 9 – National Pastry Day
December 10 – National Lager Day
December 12 – National Cocoa Day
December 13 – National Ice Cream Day
December 15 – National Cupcake Day
December 16 – National Chocolate-covered Anything Day
December 19 – National Oatmeal Muffin Day
December 21 – National Hamburger Day
December 25 – National Pumpkin Pie Day
December 27 – National Fruitcake Day
December 31 – National Champagne Day
Use these social media content ideas for hotels to develop your content strategies for December. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with your hotel’s social media management efforts, contact All Things Hospitality today for a social media evaluation and a quote for social media management for your hotel. We would love to assist!by
It’s time to think about November content for your hotel’s Facebook page, Twitter feeds and Google+ profile. Here are some ideas to help you find more to talk about than just Black Friday this November.
American Diabetes Month – Highlight healthy options from your complimentary continental breakfast and on your restaurant menus. Discuss your fitness center, indoor pool or outdoor heated pool. Discuss healthy options in your area such as free guest passes to local gyms or that your area is still warm enough to get out and enjoy trails or running on the beach.
National Novel Writing Month – Reach out to writers groups to plan their next retreat at your property. Connect with book clubs and offer to host their next event to gain exposure for your hotel for local social business.
Peanut Butter Lovers Month – Ask fans to share their most creative use for peanut butter in their kids lunches.
No Shave November for Charity/“Movember” – Ask fans to share photos of their no shave efforts. Ask local businesses that are letting their team members participate to share. Highlight businesses that are letting their team members participate. Register teams for “Movember”.
Last minute holiday parties – Dates still open in your event space? Post last minute holiday party special offers.
Holiday lead-ins: Post countdowns to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. These will work particularly well if you have special social-media only offers and promotions for these holidays.
Dates of Interest
Looking for more likes and comments on your hotel’s Facebook page? A quick, fun Facebook timeline contest could do the trick! Here are 10 fun Facebook timeline contest ideas to help you gain more likes and get more comments for your hotel page. Read on for the recipe for the ideal Facebook contest.
GUESSING GAMES – Guessing games can be a great way to get your fans involved and highlight some of your hotel’s amenities and services.
Contest Idea 1 – How many cups of our signature Special Roast coffee are consumed on average each morning at our complimentary breakfast? The first one to guess correctly wins 1,000 bonus rewards points! Winner will be announced at 3pm on Tuesday.
PRO TIP – Highlight your signature coffee brand to sneak in a marketing message.
Contest Idea 2 – How many dozens of eggs are consumed on our Piping Hot complimentary breakfast each week? The first one to guess correctly wins 1,000 bonus rewards points! Winner will be announced this Friday. PRO TIP – Highlight an enticing photo of your breakfast to sell your property’s prime amenities.
ATTRACTION-BASED QUIZ CONTESTS – Local attractions and businesses appreciate it when you highlight them on your page and help you make new connections with local pages in your community to extend the reach of your post.
Contest Idea 3 Feature a local business – How many Jelly Beans made at the local Jelly Bean Bonanza, just one block from our hotel, are in this jar? The first one to guess correctly wins the jar and a free night’s stay! Winner announced this Saturday! PRO TIP – Highlight quirky local attractions and businesses and your proximity to them.
Contest Idea 4 Feature local museums – Who was the first artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? And in what year? First person to guess correctly wins free tickets from our partners over at the Rock Hall, located just 2 miles away. Winner announced …. PRO-TIP – Make sure you’re tagging!
Contest Idea 5 Springboard off fun National Food Holidays – Today is National Waffle Day! Share your favorite waffle toppings for a chance to win a 1,000 Honors points. Most creative answer will be chosen Tuesday at 3pm. Stay tuned…
Contest Idea 6 – If you could order only one item from our menu for one year, what would it be? Share for a chance to win a gift card. Winner to be chosen Thursday.
Contest Idea 7 Most towns have spawned a celebrity… – What celebrity of 90’s TV fame calls _______ (your city) their hometown? All correct answers win 500 rewards points. Contest ends at 3pm Tuesday. PRO-TIP – Tag the celebrity’s Facebook page for additional reach on your post.
FAN INVOLVEMENT POSTS
Contest Idea 8 Let fans say what’s great about your city! – My favorite thing to do when I visit Columbus is _________. Most creative answer wins 1,000 rewards points. Winner selected at 3pm Thursday.
Contest Idea 9 – My favorite fall activity is __________. Comment below for a chance to win 1,000 rewards points and a gift card.
Contest Idea 10 – The Rolling Stones are in town this weekend! What’s your favorite song by the iconic group? 20th person to comment wins free tickets to the show! Contest ends at 3pm Friday.
Follow this recipe when creating your timeline post contest:
1. Call to action
2. Incentive – give them something fun, easy to redeem and that they can use
3. Clear ending time that you can stick to.
4. Simple rules that are clearly stated.
Follow this formula to get more likes and comments on your hotel Facebook page!
Back your contest with a small pay-per-click campaign to reach a whole new audience. A small amount can go a long way!by
Having trouble building your October Social Media content calendar for your hotel? Here are some ideas for interesting hotel social media content that will engage your fans, expand your social reach and sell some guest rooms, food and beverage and holiday catered events, too!
Bosses Day October 16 – Suggest your fans treat their boss for lunch at your restaurant. Send us snapshots to post.
Columbus Day October 14 – If this is a big one in your market, let’s post about it!
POST IDEAS TO DRIVE GROUP/CATERING/ROOM NIGHTS
Holiday Events – Do you have space available for holiday events? Send us your most popular holiday menu items and we’ll pair it with an eye-catching holiday image for an engaging post. (Don’t forget to include details about the menu item.)
Creative October Holiday blitz images – Do you have plans for creative blitzes over the Fall/Oktoberfest Holidays? Make sure you send us photos to post on your pages.
World Habitat Day October 7 – A day of grassroots action to advocate for universal housing. Is your property involved in Habitat for Humanity action?
Local heroes and news stories are great around the holidays. Send some for us to share. Are you supporting holiday toy drives? Now would be a good time to start getting the word out.
OBSCURE NATIONAL DAYS
National Golf Day October 4 – Are you near a golf course? Tell us about local courses and we’ll make sure we tag them in your post.
Physician Assistant Day October 6 – Could be a great post for properties in medical center areas! Let us know if this is relevant for you. Think of ways to recognize these special guests to extend the reach beyond social media.
NATIONAL FOOD DAYS – If these items are on your menu, send us a snapshot and we’ll highlight them on its ‘National’ holiday. Tell us a little about your menus item so we can make the post even more tantalizing!
National Dessert Day October 14 – Send us a snapshot of your most decadent dessert to post! Drive incremental revenue with a special Facebook only offer!
World Pasta Day October 25 – Send us a snapshot of your best selling pasta dish and a wine pairing to drive incremental revenue.by
Social networks power the digital relationships and communication between over a billion people on the Facebook network alone. Now more than ever, social networks play a critical role in powering relationships between hotels and customers.
It seems there are endless social media and reputation management sites out there, and new ones springing up every day. Chances are, if your hotel has been around for a while, there could be a page established for your property already. In fact, in some social media platforms, virtually anyone can create a page on your behalf.
It is imperative that you find and gain control of your profile on social media sites in order to ensure that your reputation isn’t at the mercy of your guests, the site or unscrupulous competitors. Use your favorite search engine and type in your hotel name and Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, etc. Keep track of your results and follow the site’s steps to claim your profile on each. Step 1 summary: Claim and control.
We’re shocked by the number of properties that cannot access their existing profiles due to loss of credentials. We recommend having two members of management at a property level, or one at the property and one at your corporate or ownership office with access to all credentials. Promotions or terminations can happen quickly, and this can lead to important information being lost in the process. Most sites have a recovery process, but some are easier to navigate than others. It’s best to avoid this and maintain continuous access with good records. Main point: Be a control freak when it comes to credentials.
Because there are so many sites, not all make sense for your property to be active on continuously. For example, if your hotel isn’t visually stimulating, maybe Pinterest isn’t the right fit. Consider focusing on the less image-centric platforms that will allow you to focus on the services/efforts that are displaying your hotel in the best possible light. Or use Pinterest to display images of your area, attractions and services. The key is to control the content.
Once you’re seeing customer interaction and published comments, don’t ignore them! Whether good or bad, we are firm believers in responding to ALL reviews. If you’re backtracking, a 30 or 60 day window is appropriate. Bringing up old issues that have receded into the background can backfire. Key point: consistently respond to show you care.
Once you figure out which sites you want to invest your time in, come up with a plan. Use your monthly sales action steps, convention calendars, brand scheduled promotions, and in-house events for guidance. Don’t forget to share any awards, honors, and community support efforts. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back. Your customers will appreciate it and want to do business with someone who is successful and shares positive messages. Takeaway: Make a plan but be ready to adjust.
Consult a third party with a robust reporting system, or look at the metrics each site provides. Tailor your approaches to address the bad, mention an action step, and offer praise for the good. Without measurement, you can’t prove your return on the time invested, that your plans are working or that, most importantly, guests are responding to your efforts. The pudding: the proof is in there somewhere, make sure you can show it.
Only about 32% of hotels are actively responding to reviews and comments made by their guests. Set yourself apart from the competition and take control of your social reputation. Knowing where to start is half the battle. All Things Hospitality has over 30 years combined experience in the hospitality industry. We follow these steps daily on behalf of our hotel and restaurant clients and believe they will work for you, too.by
So, you want more fans for your hotel’s Facebook page and other social media outlets? Budget is an issue? Welcome to the club. Here are some grassroots efforts you can implement to build your hotel’s social media fan base and help you reach your share of Facebook’s one million users. The great thing is, these efforts focus on communicating with your guests, which is the foundation of great guest service anyway.
Is someone on your team resisting the social media wave? If reaching one billion users spending over two hours per day on Facebook is not enticing, perhaps helping them recognize the value of free advertising will convert them. Using a basically free medium to publicly display your property’s personality, your commitment to guest service, and your special offers and promotions is invaluable. A Facebook page should be thought of as a mini-website you can update continuously at virtually no cost where you can actually have a conversation with a guest.
One thing has been proven: communicating with your guests in real time, publicly via the Internet is here to stay. So, let’s look at some ideas to build your audience, make the most of this medium and use it to find new guests. Some of these ideas are basics but, we often see properties going for the complicated stuff and overlooking the basic steps all the time. Here are some practical grassroots, no or low cost ways you can build your hotel’s social media fan base:
Include a link to your profiles on all property communications and invite guests to connect:
Direct your service personnel to invite your guests to connect at every interaction
Invite contacts to connect on all Sales and Catering communications:
Display signage in high-traffic and high guest-contact areas:
Hold team “signup” contests to get guests to visit and post on the property’s Facebook page. Have the guest include the team member’s name in the post.
Let Existing Fans Do the Work for You
Encourage fans to post candid images via Instagram using a #hashtag you designate. When you’re ready, share the image. This will help drive your Instagram following and drive fans to look for their images on your Facebook page.
Provide guests incentives to connect by liking your page or checking in. Simple ideas include:
I know this one has a cost involved, but, consider this part of your advertising budget. And, with each of these, you’re not spending money until you sell something, so you still win.
These last few are concepts hoteliers have not yet embraced fully. Last week I attended a Content Strategy meetup in Dallas. The presenter, industry expert Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, made a key point that I think hoteliers need to really get on board with in order to fully realize their social media potential: Let your guests do the talking. They’re in your building every day. They’re talking about your product. If you’re doing a great job (and we know you are), invite them to sell for you. Social media has put the power in their hands, now your task is to let them know you invite their participation, that you welcome it. Give them the tools to tie it all back to you so you can make the best use of all their images, links, discussions, check-ins and posts. If you aren’t actively participating and taking advantage of these tools, frankly, you’re missing a huge opportunity – approximately 1 billion of them.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by social media? Not sure how to manage it all? All Things Hospitality offers customized social media management packages to help hotels manage and get the most of their social media investment. Interested in the signage and print ideas for finding new fans? Discount signage and print materials are available for All Things Hospitality Social Media clients. Click here to contact ATH.by
Facebook is presenting your hotel with a PRIME opportunity to extend your reach, build your fan base and drive your return on investment with Graph Search. This dynamic new search tool is in limited beta testing in the US now, which is the perfect window of opportunity for hotels to gear up to take advantage of Graph Search’s full launch.
Graph Search is a way for Facebook users to search images, people and pages in a highly dynamic way. According to the Facebook site, Graph Search will help you “Find more of what you’re looking for through your friends and connections”. Results are completely individual and driven by users’ friends, location and interests. A sample search for “People who like cycling and live in Seattle, Washington” would return results like this:
Graph Search can also be used to discover pages, restaurants, hotels, businesses and services that you may like based on your friend’s interactions. A search for “Restaurants in London my friends have been to” returned these results:
This can be very valuable for hotels and restaurants since consumer buying decisions are heavily influenced by recommendations of friends and family. How can you increase your hotel’s chances of being included in Graph Search results?
Facebook currently uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine which posts are displayed in a user’s News Feed. There’s speculation Open Graph will use a similar method to rank search results based on page or app activity including:
This makes healthy fan activity on your page extremely important. It will increase your chances of being included in Graph Search results. Now is the time to optimize your page for the full public roll-out of Graph Search. This list of action steps will help your property prepare.
It’s crucial your “About” information is accurate so you’re returned in the correct results. You don’t want your San Antonio, Texas hotel returned in results for San Antonio, Venezuela and excluded from Texas because your address is not correct.
Images still receive the most interaction from fans as shown by numerous research studies. Here’s one simple graphic from Track Social that drives this point home.
Include images in as many posts as possible. Focus on images that will garner the highest fan engagement. Follow these guidelines:
Grab and be tagged in lots of great candid guest images and your property will show up in searches all over the place like this…free advertising!
From a hotel and restaurant perspective, the search of Check-ins within Graph Search could be one of its most promising features. This will allow users to identify services and places their friends have visited or liked.
Imagine a couple is planning a weekend getaway to the wine country. They may perform a search like “Hotels in the California wine country my friends have been to”. The more fans you’ve had check in to your California wine country property, the more likely you are to show in the results. Now is the time to drive check-ins. Here are some creative ideas you can implement to encourage fans to check-in to your hotel on Facebook:
With the existing EdgeRank algorithm, the more popular your page is, the more likely you are to appear in your fans’ News Feed. Graph Search will work in much the same way, with popularity of your page weighting the results. Focus on building your fan base through creative means. Check back next week for our post “Grass Roots Efforts to Build Your Hotel’s Social Media Fan Base”.
Your profile photo will appear in search, so ensure it:
Graph Search makes engagement more important than ever. Before the launch of Graph Search, encouraging users to interact with you in these key ways will increase the likelihood that you appear in search results for your services. Optimizing your page now will help ensure your success later.
Need help optimizing your page or preparing for the full launch of Graph Search? Need help managing social media in general? Contact All Things Hospitality for a free Facebook page analysis. We offer full service Social Media Management for hotels along with a full line of marketing services for hotels. We would love to help you get your social media house in order!by