Three Items Every Hotel Budget Should Address in 2015

Sky Touch TechnologyBudget 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.

Reputation ManagementOnline 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.

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6 Critical Steps for Hotel Social Media Success

Best Practices for Hotel Social Media Success

Six Critical Steps to Social Media Success for HotelsSocial 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.

Not sure what to do next? Follow these steps to get on the path to awareness and control of your hotel’s social media presence.

STEP 1 – IDENTIFY AND GAIN CONTROL:

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.

STEP 2 – PROTECT YOUR CREDENTIALS:

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.

STEP 3 – DETERMINE WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA SITES TO INVEST IN LONG TERM:

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.

STEP 4 – CONSISTENTLY RESPOND:

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.

STEP 5 – HAVE A PLAN:

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.

STEP 6 – MEASURE YOUR RESULTS:

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.

Contact All Things Hospitality for help with crafting your Social Media Hotel Success plan.

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