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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • Primary Club Metrics

    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

  • Introducing 'Your HFTP': An Updated Online Interface for HFTP Members

    HFTP is excited to announce the newly updated “Your HFTP” online account portal. “Your HFTP” allows you to successfully manage your HFTP membership online. This refreshed online interface looks and feels just like the HFTP website and (better yet) is mobile-responsive.

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Lodging Interactive Launches PULSE Reputation Management Platform for Hotels & Restaurants

Lodging Interactive · 2 April 2019
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of its PULSE Reputation Management Platform for hotels and restaurants. PULSE enables customers 24/7, real-time access to their guest review data and management responses."PULSE provides our commingle:engage reputation management customers with a modern and visually enticing way to monitor and view guest reviews along with the guest review responses we've written for them. Additionally, customers can easily review their sentiment analysis sorted by any custom keyword attribute combination," stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder & CEO.The PULSE platform enables brands and management companies to establish companywide roll-up reporting and regional property clusters to access their respective properties in one online dashboard. PULSE is a SAAS application and requires no software downloads and is completely mobile enabled.Guest Reviews DashboardSentiment AnalysisPULSE connects to all major OTA's as well as Google, Facebook and Yelp and captures all guest reviews in near real-time. "By using custom API connections, we have immediate access to guest reviews as they happen," said Mr. Vallauri. "This enables us to provide the fastest turn-around for guest reviews responses."PULSE is offered to all commingle:engage customers on a complimentary basis and can also be licensed on its own.For additional information on PULSE or the commingle:engage reputation management services, please visit commingleengage.com or call Lodging Interactive at 877-291-4411ext 704.
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What Just Happened in Social Media and what it Means for Hotels - March 15, 2019

Lodging Interactive ·15 March 2019
Facebook Releases New Management Tools Facebook has just released a flurry of new formatting updates and management tools for Page and group admins. These new changes include:The expansion of subscription groups, which allow businesses to create paid, subscription-only groupsSearching membership requests by name, so you can ensure certain audience members are granted fast access to your group.Page admins can respond to Instagram private messages through their Facebook inboxesWhat This Means for Hotels & Resorts: Improved ease of use for Page and group admins is an asset for hotels and resorts and any of the social media managers that work for them. Groups have become a strong marketing strategy, and having the ability to better manage branded groups that center your hotel or resort can provide a better experience for you and your guests.And take note of the Instagram messaging showing up in the inboxes of Facebook Pages. There are also rumors that Instagram is testing messaging on the desktop version of their site, and all of this lines up with their grand plan to integrate the messaging apps from Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp by early next year.Pinterest Expands Ad Access to Four New Countries Pinterest has released ad access to four new countries, including business accounts in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain, who previously didn't have this feature available to them yet, even though countries who did have the ads already were able to target audiences in those countries.What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: It's not uncommon for hotels or resorts to have businesses in multiple countries. If this applies to you, and one of your business accounts is located in Germany, Italy, Spain, or Austria, you now have the opportunity to run Promoted Pin campaigns. They can be an effective way to generate site traffic, especially if you target keywords like "dream vacation" or "mountain resort."Instagram Releases Follower-Sorting Feature Instagram is testing and slowly releasing a new follower-sorting feature on the mobile app. Business profiles can sort their follower list by who has been there the longest, and who was most recent to join.What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: While this feature may not seem too impressive at a first glance, it actually has huge potential for hotels and resorts.Your most long-term followers, for example, could be potential brand advocates. Your most recent followers, on the other hand, may benefit from some active relationship-building, like an effort to reach out through a private DM to welcome them to your channel or offer a special coupon code for booking.YouTube Updates Its Penalty SystemYouTube has updated and simplified their penalty system for creators and community members. Now, if users violate a rule, they'll be given a warning with no immediate penalty on their channel aside from the removal of the offending content. After the warnings, if violations are still made, YouTube will freeze the ability to upload new content twice, before terminating the channel on the third strike.What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: All brands on YouTube should be following their guidelines as is, and most hotels and resorts do that well. The majority of guidelines focus on things like language, inappropriate content, and scams or misleading information. As long as your external links are taking users exactly where you say they will, you'll pretty much be in the clear.YouTube Confirms Crackdown on Giveaways The YouTube community has recently noticed that videos featuring on-platform giveaways have been flagged more often, and YouTube has confirmed that while giveaways and contests aren't being banned, they're cracking down more on certain violations. Specifically, giveaways cannot be used to link to external websites that are solely designed to increase engagement metrics.What This Means for Hotels & Resorts: If you want to host giveaways or contests on YouTube to promote your hotel or resort, make sure that you're following all of their community rules. You can still use giveaways to increase brand awareness and generate engagement on-platform with on-platform videos.
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How to Get Your Resort & Travel Brochure PDFs To Google's Position Zero By Lodging Interactive

Lodging Interactive ·12 March 2019
Now, there's a chance to have those PDFs featured prominently on Google in a way that can help you increase brand awareness and connect with new guests.Google has just announced that they'll be pulling content from online PDFs to use in their featured snippets section of position zero. This presents an enormous opportunity for hotels and resorts to maximize search visibility, which can directly lead to more traffic and an increase in reservations.Ready to take advantage of this for your business? We're going to show you exactly how to create and optimize content so it has a shot at snagging that prime placement.Google's Position Zero: What It Is And Why It Matters for Hotels & ResortsTo look for question-based keywords that generate a large number of traffic, and use headlines or subheads in the PDF using these same keywords. Asking the question in the PDF and then immediately answering it can help you get results.Publish that PDF OnlineDon't just feature a landing page with the actual PDF and require users to download it before accessing the content, because this will prevent it from being crawlable. And if Google can't access the information, they can't share it.You can have your PDFs available on your own site, giving them their own page, and still offering users the ability to download the content if they choose.PDF aggregators will also likely eventually find their way to you, featuring your content on their site. This increases the number of backlinks to your site (as long as they're linking to you and giving you permission), which can increase both your domain authority (which gives you a better shot at ranking higher in the SERPs) and site traffic, helping you get closer towards that goal.Tips to Maximize Guest Contact from Your PDFsTo maximize the amount of site traffic you get from your PDFs, consider the following for best results:Offer valuable information. This is what people are typically looking for and what shows up in featured snippets.Create PDF headlines that relate to the searches you want to appear in.Keep SEO and keywords in mind when creating and organizing your PDF; answer questions immediately instead of dragging out the answers.Add links! This is the most important step. Add links to your site including your homepage and resources like your blog so that readers can end up coming back to you. Without this, you're leaving a lot of potential on the table.ConclusionMany brands have everything from lead magnet ebooks to travel brochures online available to connect with guests and improve their experience along the way. Optimize your content moving forward with the featured snippet potential in mind, because the potential search visibility and resulting traffic could be an opportunity too good to pass up.
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What Just Happened in Social Media and What it Means for Hotels

Lodging Interactive ·27 February 2019
Facebook Releases "Unsend" Feature for MessengerFacebook has rolled out a that they're suspending follow-unfollow services, cutting off API access to this software. Follow-unfollow software goes against Twitter's terms of service, and is often used in attempt to quickly inflate someone's follower count. Apps being suspended include Crowdfire, ManageFlitter, and Statusbrew.What This Means for HotelsThis announcement closely aligns with the changes Twitter has been making recently to improve authenticity on the platform and the user experience along with it. Since follow-unfollow is more like an attempt at cheating the system instead of engaging with it, taking away from the user experience. If you're using this software, go ahead and remove it now and focus on other strategies to connect with new followers.Instagram Now Features IGTV Previews in FeedInstagram has announced that previews of videos from IGTV accounts users follow will now appear in their main Instagram feeds. Creators will be able to share up to a minute-long preview to Instagram, and users simply have to tap on the preview to watch the full-length content on IGTV.What This Means for HotelsIGTV is a standalone app that integrates with Instagram, and now it will be much easier to usher users from one to the other to see your long-form content. Consider using IGTV to share longer videos showcasing your resort, highlighting events, and even highlighting amenities or doing Q&As and use your built-in Instagram audience to get more viewers.LinkedIn Releases New Tools for Company PagesLinkedIn has rolled out a lot of new updates this month, the first of which includes new features for their Company Pages.The new changes include:* More in-depth analytics that include more audience demographic information* A Pages Toolkit that feature short, actionable guides about how to optimize advertising on-platform* Content Suggestions, which provide information on what your audience may be interested in seeingWhat This Means for HotelsCompany Pages historically haven't been as useful as business profiles on other platforms just because there weren't as many useful, actionable features for companies to use. LinkedIn is really trying to change that, and the new resources available for Pages could make them significantly more prominent for hotels and resorts looking to connect with B2B professionals.LinkedIn Rolls Out New Recruiting & Job Searching FeaturesLinkedIn has rolled out more recruiting and job hunting features in attempt to streamline the process for both parties involved. Job searchers will be able to learn more about the companies they're interested in working with, and even track them for future job openings. There are more developments in the works here, and hopefully we'll have more news soon.What This Means for HotelsSocial media isn't just for connecting with guests; it can help you find great employees for your hotels and resorts, too. If you're hiring, take a close look at LinkedIn. You could find some outstanding candidates and quickly review their job history and even testimonials from past colleagues or employers.LinkedIn Announced "LinkedIn Live"Live broadcasting is everywhere, and now LinkedIn has announced their own version. After partnering with a few third-party streaming services, they've created a native live feature. Right now it's in testing with a small group of users in the US, but this will likely roll out to wider audiences soon, allowing users to share broadcasts with select groups or to all of their followers.What This Means for HotelsLinkedIn is unique in that it's a business-oriented professional network, so your guests will be using it differently than Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Make sure that the live content you share is created with that in mind. You can focus on information sharing and value-based lives to appeal to your guests. Consider starting with videos that offer information about how to choose a resort for your conference, or places to visit in their off-time when guests are near your resort for work.Reddit Offers Advanced Features for AdvertisersReddit Ads have been around for a while, but they're now releasing a few new features to make the platform more appealing for advertisers. They've just rolled out App Install campaigns, which will be shown to users of Reddit's mobile app for the highest chance of users taking action. They've also improved their ad tracking and reporting capabilities with a conversion pixel, giving advertisers more concrete data about how their campaigns are performing.What This Means for HotelsFirst, if your hotel or resort has a mobile app, consider testing out Reddit's App Install campaigns to connect with new guests. And if you've used Reddit before but ended up unhappy with the lack of detailed reporting, consider taking another look. Reddit Ads has less competition than other social PPC platforms like Facebook and Instagram, so that could work in your favor.
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All-In-One Facebook Messaging & What It Means for the Hospitality Industry

Lodging Interactive ·13 February 2019
Last week, Facebook announced it is reportedly working to develop a single, unified messaging infrastructure and increasing the connection between several of their apps.The integration will allow users to communicate cross-platform even while using the individual apps of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram's messaging, combining the world's 3 largest messaging platforms. Thousands of Facebook employees are supposedly hard at work, with the goal being to make the integration complete by the end of 2019 or early 2020, though Zuckerberg has said that the functionality likely wouldn't be possible until sometime in 2020 at the latest.This is happening in the midst of questions about too much connectivity and user privacy concerns, which has garnered mixed reactions to the news at hand even though Facebook first started laying the groundwork for this as early as 2016.Right now, while users are deciding how they feel about this, businesses and marketers have gone straight into what it might mean for them and how it will impact their guest relationships. Some have argued that it will "strengthen Facebook's grip" on users, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg taking charge of platforms he'd previously said he wouldn't be heavily involved with.After a great deal of research, I believe this will be a powerful and very positive change for businesses in the hospitality industry, opening the door to the future of live chat.We already know that live chat is essential for businesses in the hospitality industry, where guests frequently have questions to be answered or special accommodations to be requested that an FAQ section just won't solve. One study even found that 79% of customers prefer live chat to other options because it was both immediate and convenient, which is a winning combination in our on-the-go world.We've already seen an increase in guests reaching out to hotels and resorts through social media direct messaging because it's easy and it's fast for them, but it's still convenient. They're able to send a message to a resort through Facebook Messenger, put down their phone, run their errands, and then come back later to see what was said. There's the immediacy of live chat without the inherent urgency; they won't be dropped from the chat if they don't reply quickly enough, so it's well-suited to busy consumers.I believe that this Facebook messaging integration, as a result, will become a live chat replacement, giving consumers the ultimate control in how and when they're getting in touch with hotels. Since there are more than 2.6 million users on the messaging apps combined as it is, this is a valuable opportunity for businesses in the hospitality industry to connect with their guests in a place they'll be happy to engage.Consumer control is almost always a good thing for any business that's willing to rise and meet the challenge, and I know we're getting our clients ready for the shift ahead. Are you getting ready?Lodging Interactive is an award-winning, full-service Hotel Marketing and Social Media Engagement Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. Since 2001, we have provided hundreds of hotels and resorts with proven, ROI driven online marketing services. For more information please visit call 877-291-4411 or visit https://lodginginteractive.com.

Facebook Announces Plans to Merge Messaging Apps

Lodging Interactive Blog·11 February 2019
In the past year, there’s been a lot of discussion and scandal around data breaches and platform manipulation from third parties. This newsletter, which is covering the last few weeks of news, shows that this is still front and center in the minds of many, including the platforms themselves. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at what’s new on social media and how it will impact hotels and resorts.

This Week in Hospitality Social Media Marketing News- November 13, 2018

Lodging Interactive Blog·13 November 2018
We’re nearing the end of the year and are getting ready for the big holiday rush, but now is no time to let your social media marketing slide. There have been a lot of new updates that have rolled out in the past week that are directly relevant to hotels and resorts, so let’s dive in and look at each one.
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Lodging Interactive Rolls Out Commingle:Engage Total Customer Engagement Services.

Lodging Interactive ·31 October 2018
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of commingle:engage, a total customer engagement solution for hotels and resorts. commingle:engage is a fully managed service that enables properties, of any size, to effectively build customer loyalty through personal, one-on-one, customer engagement with new and past guests."Since 2006 we've successfully established CoMMingle as the leading provider of guest reputation management and social media marketing services exclusively for hospitality," stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's, Founder and CEO. "We're excited to continue our path of helping properties build relationships with their potential and past guests through our commingle:engage services."commingle:engage provides fully managed customer engagement services in four key areas and creates the foundation for customer loyalty and advocacy."There is no other company in our industry that can match the customer engagement value we can deliver through our commingle:engage services," added Mr. Vallauri. "Customers don't want anything to do with 'big data' and 'technology stacks', they want real-time customer service and assistance on their time and their messaging platform of choice. commingle:engage brings customer service back as a property differentiator and competitive advantage."commingle:engage offers 24/7 guest review monitoring and hotel website engagement.According to HubSpot Research, consumers are impatient and 82% expect fast responses to their inquiries. Additionally 90% of consumers rate immediate responses as very important when having a sales question. commingle:engage provides hotels with 7 day a week website live chat services, staffed by USA based company employees. "The ability to engage with hotel website visitors 7 days a week, truly takes customer services to the highest level and presents a compelling competitive differentiator for any property," added Mr. Vallauri.commingle:engage is powered by proprietary technologies.Through the use of proprietary technologies that leverage social media platform API's and integration with IBM's Watson Supercomputer, commingle:engage uses the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze thousands of top performing social media posts to determine common engagement characteristics. This provides valuable insights which help to increase customer engagement levels.For more information please visit https://commingleengage.com or call 877-291-4411 extension 701.Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of commingle:engage, a total customer engagement solution for hotels and resorts. commingle:engage is a fully managed service that enables properties, of any size, to effectively build customer loyalty through personal, one-on-one, customer engagement with new and past guests."Since 2006 we've successfully established CoMMingle as the leading provider of guest reputation management and social media marketing services exclusively for hospitality," stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's, Founder and CEO. "We're excited to continue our path of helping properties build relationships with their potential and past guests through our commingle:engage services."commingle:engage provides fully managed customer engagement services in four key areas and creates the foundation for customer loyalty and advocacy."There is no other company in our industry that can match the customer engagement value we can deliver through our commingle:engage services," added Mr. Vallauri. "Customers don't want anything to do with 'big data' and 'technology stacks', they want real-time customer service and assistance on their time and their messaging platform of choice. commingle:engage brings customer service back as a property differentiator and competitive advantage."commingle:engage offers 24/7 guest review monitoring and hotel website engagement.According to HubSpot Research, consumers are impatient and 82% expect fast responses to their inquiries. Additionally 90% of consumers rate immediate responses as very important when having a sales question. commingle:engage provides hotels with 7 day a week website live chat services, staffed by USA based company employees. "The ability to engage with hotel website visitors 7 days a week, truly takes customer services to the highest level and presents a compelling competitive differentiator for any property," added Mr. Vallauri.commingle:engage is powered by proprietary technologies.Through the use of proprietary technologies that leverage social media platform API's and integration with IBM's Watson Supercomputer, commingle:engage uses the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyze thousands of top performing social media posts to determine common engagement characteristics. This provides valuable insights which help to increase customer engagement levels.For more information please visit https://commingleengage.com or call 877-291-4411 extension 701.
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Lodging Interactive Rolls Out Commingle:Engage Total Customer Engagement Services.

Lodging Interactive Blog·31 October 2018
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of commingle:engage, a total customer engagement solution for hotels and resorts. commingle:engage is a fully managed service that enables properties, of any size, to effectively build customer loyalty through personal, one-on-one, customer engagement with new and past guests.
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Lodging Interactive Launches Reputation Management for Restaurants

Lodging Interactive · 1 August 2018
PARSIPPANY, NJ -- Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has expanded its CoMMingle reputation management services into the restaurant industry. During the last 10 years CoMMingle has established itself as the hospitality industry's leading provider of guest review management services and has partnered with hundreds of hotels worldwide."Providing our CoMMingle reputation management services to restaurants is a natural extension of our very mature and proven hospitality services," stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder and CEO. "As Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor restaurant review volumes continue to grow, it is critical for restaurant owners to provide timely management responses."According to ReviewTrackers, 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check reviews on Google before visiting a business -- more than any other review site. Additionally, according to Illumen's Top 50 Digital Marketing Stats for The Restaurant Business:Over 1 billion restaurant visits by consumers are influenced by online marketing (Monetate).Out of all industries, consumers read restaurant reviews more than any other industry (Bright Local).Since 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations for dining decisions, it's key you have a bunch of positive reviews (Bright Local).A half-star difference on a Yelp review rating can swing restaurant business by a whopping 27% (Foodbeast).Restaurants who respond to customers on social media will win as 71% say they're more likely to recommend a company that responds quickly to them on social media (Forbes).Please click for more information or contact us on 877-291-4411 extension 704 or email info@lodginginteractive.com.
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Restaurant Reputation Management Services

Lodging Interactive Blog· 1 August 2018
Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced it has expanded its CoMMingle reputation management services into the restaurant industry. During the last 10 years CoMMingle has established itself as the hospitality industry’s leading provider of guest review management services and has partnered with hundreds of hotels worldwide.
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Latest Hotel Social Media Changes

Lodging Interactive Blog·24 July 2018
We’re in the middle of summer’s busy season, but that means it’s more important than ever to stay up to date on all the latest social changes. This month we’ve got new updates that will allow us to continue making more engaging content with a little less hassle. Let’s take a look.
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Lodging Interactive Announces LinkedIn Marketing Services for Hotels

Lodging Interactive ·17 July 2018
"LinkedIn presents enormous branding and business opportunities for hotels and has been mostly ignored by property marketing teams. With over 560 million LinkedIn monthly users, hoteliers must maintain a presence and aggressively build and engage with their LinkedIn community as they have done for years on traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder & CEO. "Our CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing service is fully managed for the hotel. While we manage the hotel's entire presence on LinkedIn, the property approves every post and our teams work with the property in a collaborative manner to establish a monthly LinkedIn content calendar." Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion and continues to enhance the platform as LinkedIn continues to be the leading business-2-business networking platform. LinkedIn's Q3 2016 revenue was $960 million with 17% generated ($162 million) generated from premium account subscriptions; 18% ($175 million) from marketing solutions, and staggering 65% ($623 million) from talent solutions."While traditionally known as thesocial network for job seekers and employers, LinkedIn offers an impressive treasure trove of new business opportunities for hotels that only needs to be mined. For example, when you consider that meeting planner executives can be directly reached through LinkedIn, it becomes very interesting for hoteliers," added Mr. Vallauri. "Our service ensures hotels have a professionally managed presence on LinkedIn and positions the property to capture new business opportunities."CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing services include:Establishing an effective Company LinkedIn Page for your hotel.We will define your audience and goals.Create a LinkedIn content marketing calendar.Pre-approved content and content planning.Write and post LinkedIn content.Leverage rich media video content.Research appropriate #hashtags to use in posts.Manage job postings.Create and manage LinkedIn advertising campaigns.Cross market your LinkedIn profile with your social media accounts.Engage with posted comments.Comprehensive monthly reporting.For more information on CoMMingle LinkedIn Marketing please contact us at: https://lodginginteractive.com/contact/or call 877-291-4411 extension 704.
Article by DJ Vallauri

Social Media Trend: Race for Creative Tools to Make Dynamic On-site Content

Lodging Interactive ·13 July 2018
As social media has evolved, we've seen each platform racing to make on-site content more dynamic. GIFs can be added to comments on Facebook, there are interactive stickers for stories, and video is booming everywhere. The last two weeks' worth of social media updates largely reflect this trend, granting hotels and resorts new creative tools to better connect with our audiences.Let's take a look at what's new in social media...Facebook Releases New Video-Focused FeaturesFacebook has released a handful of new features designed improve its video platform and make it more community-oriented.These features include:* New interactive abilities like polling during Live Streaming* Bringing videos from Pages into the Watch tab* A new video template that will put videos at the forefront of a brand's Page (though this is still in testing)* The Android version of the Facebook Creator AppFacebook is also testing out a new Brand Collabs Manager. This tool will allow businesses to discover and connect with creators and influencers who they can establish deals or partnerships.What This Means for Hotels & ResortsVideo isn't going anywhere, so new features to help hotels and resorts get the most out of it are welcome. Take advantage of all video features that are available to you to increase engagement and make your content more dynamic and interactive.You can apply for access to the Brand Collabs Manager now (though it may take awhile to be accepted). Once admitted into the program, you can connect with influencers who can help you promote your hotel or resort by coming to stay, attending an event at your venue, or even just eating at your on-site restaurant.Facebook Introduces Info and Ads on Pages In an effort to improve transparency further, Facebook has launched a new Info and Ads section to Pages. This section will allow any Facebook user to view all the active ads that Page is running through Facebook Ads (including Instagram and audience Network). Users will be able to click on the interactive elements of an ad, like the CTA button, but not see engagement.Users will also now be able to see any name changes your Page has undergone, along with its date of creation.What This Means for Hotels & ResortsYour guests having the ability to see your ads and past business information likely won't affect most hotels and resorts. You will want to be careful when you're running special offers that are targeted to exclusive groups, even if it's because they're part of a rewards program or first-time guests. One guest won't like to see that you're offering 10% off to another for reasons they can't discern, so keep an eye on this.Twitter Rolls Out In-Stream Video Ads to More Advertisers Twitter has been testing in-stream video ads, and now they're now rolling out the feature to advertisers in 12 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, France, India, Japan, and Australia. These are pre-roll ads, meaning they'll show before the video that your guests are interested in watching.What This Means for Hotels & ResortsFacebook's mid-stream video ads have gotten lukewarm reception, but pre-roll ads have distinct advantages. With many users being willing to watch a quick ad to get to the content they really want to see, you have a captive audience. Now imagine being able to show that relevant captive audience a quick intro video about your resort or hotel, selling them the adventure of travel or the relaxation of a weekend away.YouTube is Testing New Creative Suite YouTube is currently working with select brands to test out a series of new tools that will offer new analytics and testing tools for creators on the platform.These new tools include:* Video Experiments, which is a testing tool in Adwords that makes it easier to evaluate the effective of creative aspects of a video ad on its results.* Video Creative Analytics that evaluates video performance within different audience segments.* Video Ad Sequencing, which will allow you to tell your brand story in snippets through different ads. The videos will be shown to individual users in a specified sequence to improve storytelling.* YouTube Director Mix, which is a tool that allows you to create a base version of an ad that can have different text, image, sound, and even video swapped out based on the audience seeing it.What This Means for Hotels & ResortsMost hotels and resorts won't have these tools for a little while, but they'll be great to have once they're available to everyone. Being able to more effectively test video ads and understand why they are or aren't working will be essential to improved success moving forward.The ad sequencing will also be a huge development for brands, as the shorter snippets of video shown in sequence will improve consistency in brand storytelling and make the ads significantly more effective as a result. You'll be able to slowly introduce guests to your hotel piece by piece, building brand recognition and increasing the odds that they click over time.Instagram Launches Music in Stories Instagram users in select countries can now add music to their Stories. They can choose a song by selecting the Music icon that's found in the stickers section.Music for stories is only available in 51 countries (though Instagram didn't specify which) and on iOS. Support for Android will be coming soon.What This Means for Hotels & ResortsInstagram Stories are already fun and can be interactive thanks to features like polling and shoppable stickers. Music takes that one step further. Music is a great way to help your Story stand out from the rest, and it can help you better portray a feeling. A whimsical melody can up the romance of a video of your on-site wedding venue, and a tropical beat could make your sparkling pool that much more irresistible.
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Social Media Trend: Race for Creative Tools to Make Dynamic On-site Content

Lodging Interactive Blog·12 July 2018
As social media has evolved, we’ve seen each platform racing to make on-site content more dynamic. GIFs can be added to comments on Facebook, there are interactive stickers for stories, and video is booming everywhere. The last two weeks’ worth of social media updates largely reflect this trend, granting hotels and resorts new creative tools to better connect with our audiences.
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Instagram IGTV Launch, Facebook A/B Testing for Organic Posts and more....

Lodging Interactive Blog·27 June 2018
We’re almost halfway through the year, and the world of social media has changed drastically– even in the last two weeks. Let’s take a look at the most recent social media updates and how they’ll affect hotels and resorts.
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Hotel Live Chat Instant Gratification Wins Every Time

Lodging Interactive ·20 June 2018
Should we be using more automation? More resources in house? More outsourcing?There are a number of different services and solutions out there-- not all of which are created equal-- but there's one thing that everyone agrees on: Answering customer messages quickly and thoroughly is essential. And by fast, we mean lightningfast.Chief of Marketing of Booking.com Pepijn Rijvers put it perfectly when he recently stated that a slow response or no response to a private message "basically means 'I don't count'" from a guest's perspective.He's absolutely right. It's trivial and it's maybe a little impulsive, but we live in a world where instant gratification is expected. Getting a response in ten seconds or less is no longer a sign of exceptional customer care; it's a requirementof decent customer service, period. This puts more strain on businesses, especially those heavy in one-on-one customer interaction like hotels or resorts.So what can we do about it?Live Chat Expectations: The SolutionsWhen it comes to managing the demands of live chat messaging, there are a few common approaches.Some prefer to hire multi-person, in-house teams to handle the messages. These teams become expensive to staff, train, and maintain. You either have to worry about increased pay rates for holidays and graveyard shifts, or not offer that availability to guests who may need urgent attention during those times.Others, like Booking.com, opt to utilize chatbots and automate more of the process. While chatbots can help to cut down on costs and improve automation, they also lack a personal touch and are incapable of resolving guest concerns or questions in a personalized way that can provide exceptional service. For some industries that may be ok, but not for those with the high level of personalized assistance that guests need while interacting with hotels, resorts, or other businesses in the hospitality industry.I agree with Rijvers earlier assessment about the importance of not only live chat but exceptionally fast live chat. I also agree with the statements that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are becoming even more important platforms for customer service. That being said, I disagree with the fact that it's too difficult or impossible to provide fast and thorough responses without the use of chatbots, especially for hotels at a larger scale.Here's what he had to say:"If you're a hotel with 100 rooms you're not going to manually respond to every message 24/7 even though you may have 150 check-ins a day that are all asking questions. You already have two staff on board that are going to do this. So you need to both enhance the customer experience and deliver services, faster and cheaper. This can be done though automation and it is better to start investing now."Automation is great. It's convenient, and sure, it's relatively cheap. But it's not always the most effective, especially when you have large numbers of unique and personalized requests from guests that truly do require one-on-one personalization.Why Human-to-Human Interaction Will Always Be BestGuests would much rather know that a real person who cares about them and understands their problem in a way a robot never could is going to get that answer to their question or resolve their problem. If they don't feel like you can offer that, they might turn to your competition who can.Human-to-human interaction is always the right choice when it comes to investing in your guests, because they won't care about you if you don't care about them. An actual, trained customer service representative will be able to assess situations and address customer concerns with a personalized solution based on the guest and their specific needs.One guest who asks for a room with a kitchen, for example, might just want a mini-fridge and a microwave; others might expect a stove, counter space, and pots and pans. The former might not be willing to pay for a full-on kitchen, while the latter may have medically-required dietary restraints that necessitates the stove and preparation ability, so they can make their own food.Similarly, not all guest complaints are equal, so solutions can't just be automated. Someone who had a light flickering isn't going to need the same level of compensation as a guest whose AC went out in the Bahamas in July and gave Grandma heatstroke. Robots might offer the same solution for each of these guests, which is a disservice to both of them and to your business.It's also worth noting that guests can tell when they're talking to a chatbot and they may not be happy about it. Chatbots have that painful association of long navigation menus you get while calling your insurance company; you get ten options in, and you're still asked to hold for an operator because the system couldn't figure out what you wanted. This doesn't exactly bode well for guests who are demanding instant gratification and outstanding customer support.So Is an In-House Team My Only OptionWhile some hotels and resorts opt to hire staff, whose sole purpose is to answer guest live chat messages, this isn't the most practical option. We recommend outsourcing.CoMMingle offers a live chat service designed specifically to help hotels and resorts handle the flood of live messages coming from multiple platforms online. All of our U.S. agents are trained in customer service excellence, and we'll be able to answer all of your incoming messages in real-time. We'll keep costs down and profits up, giving you the solution you need so you can keep running your business and keep guests happy.Chatbots, after all, can be a big investment. We'd rather you invest in your guests instead, prioritizing people over automation and giving every guest the best experience possible with personalized attention and care.
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Hotel Live Chat Instant Gratification Wins Every Time

Lodging Interactive Blog·19 June 2018
There’s a lot of debate about the best way to handle the huge influx of guest messages happening through private message and live chat platforms.
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June 12, 2018 - Hospitality Social Media News

Lodging Interactive Blog·13 June 2018
A lot of social media changes have happened in the past two weeks, giving us features ranging from Instagram Ad updates to new ways to connect with guests on Yelp. This edition of our biweekly newsletter takes an in-depth look at all of them and how they will affect your hotels and resorts moving forward. Let’s get started.
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Big Changes from Facebook and Instagram

Lodging Interactive Blog·10 June 2018
GDPR has everyone scrambling to make big changes, and in the midst of all of it, there’s a handful of big social media changes that have slipped through unnoticed, coming from both Facebook and Instagram. In this latest edition of our biweekly newsletter, we’ll take a close look at the ones that will directly impact hotels and resorts.
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Lodging Interactive Launches Next Generation ADA Conforming Websites for Hotels

Lodging Interactive ·31 May 2018
Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced its next generation, ADA conforming websites for hotels. Lodging Interactive's "next-gen" websites include a unique mix of technology and management services designed to drive maximum direct bookings for hotels while staying in compliance with ADA guidelines as they continue to evolve."Our next-gen hotel websites leverage the latest website design and development technologies combined with our full-service website management model," stated DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive's Founder & CEO. "Today's hotel website needs to tell the property's visual story while being technologically advanced to ensure a mobile-first user experience and conform to all ADA WCAG 2.0 Guidelines; in addition, it needs to load very quickly for users."While many digital marketing agencies provide hotel website design services, only Lodging Interactive can offer a fully managed hotel website, digital & social media marketing to support the website and fully managed human live chat services 7 days a week.Success Factors for The Modern Hotel Website.Open Source Development and No Proprietary Content Management System (CMS).Lodging Interactive designs and develops visually stunning hotel websites using Internet Open Source technologies. This enables the highest level of design flexibility while maximizing the hotel website's search engine optimization (SEO) and the fastest page loading speeds. "Most digital agencies insist hotel websites be developed and managed through their proprietary CMS. While this ensures the hotel is "locked-up" with the agency for many years (good for the agency), it 'handicaps' the property in other areas such as page loading speed, design constraints, ADA conformity and SEO," added Mr. Vallauri.Fully Managed, Professional Webmaster Services.Being able to 'manage' your hotel's website changes yourself, sounds really good during the agency sales process and offers the illusion of the property being in total control of its website. Yet reality has shown quite the opposite is true. Being able to manage your own website changes, means your website will have a CMS (see point above). Sure, with the proper training you'll be able to change simple text images and in some cases the images on a page, but adding pages, modifying menu items, managing SEO components and maintaining ADA conformance won't be possible. For that you'll need to budget additional development dollars.ADA Conforming Website Design.Ensuring your hotel website is ADA conforming and meets all WCAG guidelines is not only good business practice it will avoid legal demand letters and potential lawsuits. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, often abbreviated to WCAG, are a series of guidelines for improving web accessibility. Produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the WCAG are the best means of making your website useful to all of your users. Every new website Lodging Interactive designs and builds meets all WCAG 2.0 guidelines and positions our hotel clients with a path towards compliance with the ADA laws governing websites.Ongoing ADA Conformance Checking & Maintenance.The modern hotel website is always changing, new content is added weekly and at times new content will present ADA conforming issues that will need to be addressed. An example of this, is the uploading of a non-conforming PDF document. In order to safeguard our customers, Lodging Interactive runs monthly ADA conforming checks to ensure the hotel website remains within the ADA conforming guidelines. Should any issues arise, our team will fix the issues and continue to monitor for potential future issues. "ADA legal action against hotel websites that are not in compliance with the current WCAG 2.0 guidelines continues to increase and hoteliers should understand that adhering to future ADA website laws will be necessary and should budget accordingly," said Mr. Vallauri.Human Powered Website Live Chat Provided 7 Days a Week.Customer service is the 'new marketing' and hotel websites can differentiate themselves by offering their website visitors real-time, human powered, live chat services. Not only is live chat a great customer service differentiator it provides real value to potential guests visiting your website and has proven to increase group and wedding RFP submissions. "Conversational commerce happens when you move your hotel's website experience from a 'self-service' model and start to provide real-time support," stated DJ Vallauri.For more information on Lodging Interactive's next generation ADA conforming websites for hotels, please call 877-291-4411 ext. 704 or visit LodgingInteractive.com.
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Hospitality Social Media Marketing News - May 16, 2018

Lodging Interactive Blog·29 May 2018
Social media normally evolves quickly, but the past few weeks have been a flurry of new updates that seem to be coming at us faster than ever. In this bi-weekly edition of our newsletter, we’ve got big updates from Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Keep reading to see how they affect you and your hotel.
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Lodging Interactive Launches Next Generation ADA Conforming Websites for Hotels

Lodging Interactive Blog·20 May 2018
Lodging Interactive, an award winning digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry, today announced its next generation, ADA conforming websites for hotels. Lodging Interactive’s “next-gen” websites include a unique mix of technology and management services designed to drive maximum direct bookings for hotels while staying in compliance with ADA guidelines as they continue to evolve.
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Messaging Apps as Ubiquitous as Booking Engines for Hotel Websites

Lodging Interactive Blog·15 May 2018
Technology has made us more dependent on its abilities to plan better vacations and business trips. In recent times hotel websites have come a long way from simply being online static e-brochures to becoming more experiential. Online hotel website experiences sell rooms and create loyal guests. Yet, for the majority of hotel websites, the experience remains mediocre and “ok” at best. Think about it, when you visit a hotel website you are basically on your own without any human connections or the ability to engage and ask questions that you are sure to have when you consider booking a hotel online. Why is that? It’s 2018 after all, so it can’t be a technology issue or is it?
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Messaging Apps as Ubiquitous as Booking Engines for Hotel Websites

Lodging Interactive ·15 May 2018
Personal technologies over the last 10 years have changed our lives and the world we live in. When you consider how far we have come and how comfortable we have become in being interconnected through mobile devices, it's no wonder that we crave immediate responses to our hotel questions. And mobile technology is the enabler as nearly every human on the planet carries computing power that can fit in one hand what once took large data centers, and millions of dollars, to equal the same power. Do you realize that Apple's iPad was introduced to the world only 8 years ago? That Uber launched in 2009 and Snapchat was launched in 2011?There is no turning back, we are all online and we are all connected. As a result, we have the ability and, many times, we demand immediate gratification. This is where I believe most hoteliers are missing tremendous opportunities to book more business and build loyalty. By leveraging the power of website live chat and guest messaging, hoteliers can really gain market share. We constantly read about hoteliers wanting to drive more direct business to their websites with the intent of lowering their OTA and third party booking costs.Website live chat has been around for many years and, as consumers, we have become comfortable when a live chat window pops up while we're shopping for a pair of shoes online. After all we can decide to engage, or not, and we control the conversation. Live chat agents are not applying hard sales tactics, they are supporting us as we navigate through the online purchasing process.Let's not forget that the hospitality industry is all about being hospitable and providing service to guests when they are in-house but in my experience, hospitality and service needs to start on the hotel's website before a potential guest books a room. This is where live chat engagement can make a huge difference. Live chat leverages the same technologies we have all become so dependent upon and it provides that immediate guest gratification we want while supporting the online sales process.The smart hoteliers understand that the overall hotel guest experience begins at the website level when the guest first experiences the hotel. This is evidenced by the abundance of personalization technologies promising to deliver a "unique experience" for every website visitor. Yet most hotel websites are cold and impersonal. They provide the potential guest with a self-service browsing environment and the only option is to figure it out for themselves. Why? It doesn't have to be this way when the technology is here today and with zero learning curve from the consumer's perspective. Clearly every hotelier I speak to about online customer service agrees that having a live chat channel available on their website makes perfect sense. I have yet to come across any hotelier who disagrees.The clear recurring comment I receive from hoteliers is that budgets and appropriate staffing is the issue preventing their website from becoming more useful to visitors and more effective at driving direct business: Two things they most desperately want by the way. While I agree that on-property staffing specifically for website live chat doesn't make sense for the majority of properties, all properties can benefit from partnering with a company that provides fully managed live chat services for hotels. Our agency provides USA based fully managed live chat services to hotels, 7 days a week year-round. And while other agencies provide similar services, hoteliers should keep in mind that quality really matters with live chat. The worst possible situation that can happen is for a hotel to partner with a live chat service overseas who has live chat agents that don't have a good understanding of "American" English and its nuances.I'm a firm believer that just as hotels post telephone numbers on their websites, so too will live chat widgets become as ubiquitous as booking engines have become. Staffing issues aside, there is no downside when you're trying to help your potential customers do business with you.Messaging services are also becoming increasingly widespread within the hospitality industry. Much of this has to do with the amount of venture capital chasing new technology platforms in an attempt to disrupt the hospitality market. Live chat has not experienced the same level of fervor due to live chat technologies not being the shiny new technology du jour. After all live chat has been in existence for over a decade in other industries.I believe messaging platforms work well at the property. It makes perfect sense to provide streamlined communications for in-house guests. While it is easy for a guest to pick up the phone in their room to request more towels be sent up to their room, it is not always the case where the hotel answers the phone fast enough. We've all be there I'm sure, calling the front desk or operator during check in and check out time only to have the phone ring 15 to 20 times before we hang up in frustration. On site guest messaging certainly helps with this, but only if the hotel staff...yes a human is on the other end ready, willing and able to respond in a timely manner. Perhaps when it all plays out with on-property messaging, the same "staffing" issue will become evident. Only time will tell on this one.While I'm on the topic of having "humans" on the other end of live chat and messaging technology platforms, lets discuss the chatbot and its relevance for the hospitality industry. Going back to the beginning of this article, we're in the hospitality business and in a business where customer service always wins. All the technology in the world won't help your hotel if you are not able to meet or exceed customer service expectations.Having engaged with (uhm, tested) many chatbots I can say that I'm not very impressed with the level of understanding they have or the engagement opportunities they offer. Going beyond asking a chatbot "what time is check in" or "does your hotel have onsite parking", chatbots are useless other than to aggravate customers and potentially hurt business opportunities for a property. I believe chatbots for the hospitality industry is simply not ready for prime time. Why would any hotelier risk his property's reputation and customer service to a chatbot who can't complete the conversation with a human? Smart hoteliers will want to wait until the artificial intelligence technology improves, which experts say is 10 years away. Customer service and building guest loyalty is so important and still requires humans after all.Oh, one more thing. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back for hotels when it comes to providing website visitors with live chat engagement services. Research confirms this.Live chat is the natural way we, as consumers, have been conditioned to interact online. The successful hotelier is the one who understands this and uses live chat as a true differentiator for his or her property. Our own research indicates that less than 5% of hotel websites in North America offer live chat and real time human engagement services. This presents a huge business opportunity for the smart hotelier.
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Hospitality Social Media News May 2, 2018

Lodging Interactive Blog· 5 May 2018
The last few months have been a whirlwind of social media updates coming from every direction, many of which have been fueled by the Facebook controversy. In the midst of all the news, it’s been difficult for many of our clients to sort out which changes are most relevant to them. Take a close look at all the updates below and see how they’ll affect hotels and resorts.

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