Google Ads 101: A Hotelier’s Guide to Advertising with Google (Part 2)

In part 1 of this blog, we discussed how Google’s advertising service, Google Ads, works, and how to determine if it’s a platform you should be using. Part 2 will outline the steps required to begin marketing on this powerful platform.

Getting Started

Set up account >> To begin, navigate to the Google Ads site, and click the ‘Start Now’ call-to-action button. You’ll need to enter your email address and website URL. You can create a new Google account, or use one you already have.

Creating a Campaign

Identify a budget >> When starting a new Google Ads campaign, you’ll first need to identify how much you want to spend in the “Your budget” section. You’ll need to choose your currency and the average amount you wish to spend PER DAY. This value can always be adjusted later as you analyze the success of the campaign.

Select audience by location >> This feature allows you to choose to display your ads to customers from a specific location. You can identify your audience by country, region, city, or even neighborhood. For example, if a local airline just announced a direct flight to your city from somewhere else in the country, you might want to create a campaign that specifically targets that area.

Create custom audiences >> If you’re creating a display ad, you can create custom audiences based on affinity and intent. The feature allows you to enter keywords and URLs that correlate with your target demographic, allowing the system to display ads to users most likely to have an interest in your property.

Select a network >> This is where you identify what type of ad you want to create. For ads that appear in search results, choose Google Search Network. For advertisements that appear in web banners, within apps, or on YouTube, select Google Display Network.

Choose your keywords >> Next, you need to choose the terms that you want your ad to appear in the search results for. For phrases, you can choose to show up in searches containing those words in any order (called a modified broad match), containing those words in order (phrase match), or an exact match only. In addition to things like “Accommodation in X,” you should consider bidding on branded keywords as well (i.e. search terms containing your property name). This might seem unnecessary, but they’ll be cheap, and it will stop competitors from redirecting users looking for your hotel.

Place a bid >> When you’re setting up your maximum cost-per-click bid, you have two options. You can allow Google Ads to automatically manage your bid (by adjusting your CPC to get the maximum number of clicks while staying within your budget) or set the maximum manually.

Write your ad >> For the search network you’ll need to create a text ad. It should include a title and description that are closely related to your keywords. This will signal to the user that you’re offering exactly what they are looking for. You’ll need to enter the landing URL for the ad, which should take users to a landing page specific to their search query (linking to a generic homepage is not a good idea).

Use ad extensions >> There are a number of extensions available for your ad. Location extensions can be used to provide extra business details, call and message extensions enable guests to contact your business directly from your ad, site-link extensions can provide links to multiple different landing pages, call-out extensions offer you more space for text, and structured snippets let you create headers and lists within your ad.

Set up tracking >> Conversion tracking allows you to understand how people are interacting with your ad. You’ll want to set up tracking for your website, so you’ll know how many clicks are leading to a booking. This will require you to set up a conversion action in Google Ads and then copy the tracking tag onto the page of your website associated with a completed conversion (i.e. a ‘Thank you for booking’ page).

Set up billing >> Before you can start advertising, you’ll need to set up billing. Automatic billing will be taken every 30 days, or when you reach your designated budget. You may also make manual payments as desired.

Google Ads is a powerful service with the potential to offer huge ROI—if you’re using it appropriately. Make sure you’re always analyzing the performance of campaigns and adjusting them as necessary. Good luck!

Google Ads 101: A Hotelier’s Guide to Advertising with Google (Part 1)

If you’ve done any marketing at all, you’ll have heard of Google Ads. The advertising service provided by Google is used by millions of businesses worldwide. Which makes sense. Google handles billions of search queries every day, so it’s a platform with the potential to reach any target market you desire. And as the tech giant owns multiple popular platforms, Google Ads gives you access to customers using YouTube, Gmail, and other sites in its network—of course advertisers want to be on it. But it’s not something you can just sign-up for and expect good results. While there’s potential to see huge ROI with the service, a mismanaged account can quickly drain your marketing budget. So, it needs to be used wisely. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to the powerful service:

How does it work? 

Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertising service. Businesses bid on the search terms that they want their ads to appear for, and then pay each time a user clicks on it. For example, a bed and breakfast in San Francisco might bid on the phrase “accommodation in San Francisco” so their ad will appear at the top of those search results. If a user clicks on the ad, the B&B pays their bid amount, but if the ad isn’t clicked on, the B&B pays nothing.

There are different types of ads a business can create with Google Ads. Search ads are listings that appear in Google search results. Those are the most popular type of ads, but businesses can also choose to use display ads (banner advertisements that appear on Gmail and other websites within Google’s network), video-based ads (which appear on YouTube), and App Ads (which appear within Google applications).

How are ads ranked?

There’s a lot of competition on Google, and you certainly won’t be the only business bidding on your chosen keywords. Where your ad shows up in relation to other businesses bidding on the same search query is determined by your advertising rank. And your advertising rank is determined by both your maximum bid and quality score.

Your quality score is a value that expresses how optimized and relevant your ad is to the searcher. The click-through rate of the ad, the conversion rate of your landing page, and how specific the ad is in relation to the search query all factor into an ad’s quality score.

It’s important to note that because advertising rank is a function of both your bid value and quality score, you can improve your rank without continuing to throw money at it. Always work on optimizing your ads first, so you don’t end up with an unprofitable cost-per-click.

Should I be using it?

Google Ads is a powerful service for businesses. But like any marketing endeavor, you should assess your budget, availability, and the platform suitability to decide if it’s right for you. First, research the average cost-per-click for your industry. And, using your conversion rates, determine a rough estimate for your cost-per-conversion. Is this an acceptable number? If yes, you should next consider the time you’ll need to invest in managing your account. For Google Ads campaigns to be successful, you need to be regularly evaluating and adapting your bid maximums, search terms, ad types, and so on. If you don’t have an employee that can dedicate at least a couple of hours a week to this account, you may want to consider working with a consultant.

Google Ads is a robust marketing tool. If you’ve decided the service is right for you, read our next blog for a step-by-step guide to getting started.

5 Hospitality Trends to Look Out For in 2019

A new year is beginning, and it’s the perfect time to take stock of what’s working, what isn’t, and start making a plan for finding success and wowing customers in 2019. Need a change but lack inspiration? Here are a few hospitality trends that will dominate in the new year:

More Mobile

The transition to an all-mobile world continues. It seems like every year there are new steps hoteliers must take to stay mobile friendly. In the beginning, that just meant ensuring websites were optimized for mobile devices. Oh, how far we’ve come. Moving into 2019 and beyond, mobile will be an important part of all aspects of the guest experience. Many hotels will allow guests to make and manage bookings through hotel apps, check-in and out on their mobile devices, and access rooms with a mobile key. Rooms will be equipped with smart technology that allows lighting, temperature, and entertainment to be controlled via personal devices and room service orders and other requests will be made over text messaging. Mobile technology has found its way into every aspect of our lives, and that includes travel. So, consider ways to make your business more mobile friendly. This is a trend that isn’t going away.

Health and Well-Being

Moving into the new year, wellness tourism (travel with the intent to maintain or improve health) will be even bigger than it was in 2018. In fact, the industry is forecasted to reach $919 billion in revenue by 2022. With numbers like that, there’s good reason to incorporate health and wellness into your hospitality business. And there are a variety of options for accomplishing this: from installing fitness centers, health spas or saunas, to hosting retreats and serving healthy food options. If you don’t have the necessary facilities on-site, consider partnering with a local business. You could provide a health and wellness package that includes passes to a nearby studio.

Social, Social, Social

This will likely come as no surprise, but social media will continue to play a significant role in 2019. This year we will see a shift towards more ephemeral content, with live-streaming and social media stories gaining momentum across many popular platforms. And behind the scenes, social listening will become a more prevalent marketing practice—allowing businesses to monitor online chatter about their brand for more effective lead generation and reputation management.

Cool Tech

The futuristic tech that we’ve blogged about in the past will begin to gain traction in the hospitality industry this year. It’s predicted that chatbots will be involved in more than 85% of customer service interactions by the year 2020—which isn’t surprising. AI can provide 24/7 service while significantly reducing cost. And there is little customer resistance as consumers adjust to the use of chatbots and other digital assistants in all aspects of their lives.

Though still in its infancy, the use of robots in hospitality will also continue to climb this year. What began as an exciting novelty, has become an essential piece of the customer service puzzle in a few larger hotels across North America and Asia. Like chatbots, they have the potential to maximize service while reducing staffing costs.

Other tech trends to look out for this year include the use of biometrics and virtual reality.

Adults-only

While many hotels invest in amenities that cater to the whole family, there is a growing subset of properties doing just the opposite. Adults-only properties (all guests must be 16 years or older to stay) are seeing an upswing in popularity recently that will likely continue into the new year. As more and more adults seek out the tranquility of a kid-free holiday, middle and budget properties are participating in what used to be the exclusive territory of luxury resorts in the Caribbean.

The hospitality industry is always evolving. It’s important to stay abreast of changes in design, operations, and technology, so you don’t get left behind. Keep these current and emerging trends in mind when looking to make changes this year.

Social Responsibility in the Hospitality Industry: What You Can Do and Why You Should

Among the many ways millennials are changing the hospitality industry, their commitment to socially conscious consumerism is a significant one. They consider it a business’s role to contribute to the well-being of the community (in addition to making profits), and they’re ready to put their money where their mouth is. 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on products and services from sustainable brands and nine out of ten would switch brands to one associated with a cause.

In addition to attracting and earning the loyalty of guests, socially responsible initiatives can help entice and retain employees as well. People want to work for a company with a positive impact. They’ll have higher job satisfaction, which means a lower employee turnover rate for you.

Here’s how you can become more socially responsible—and benefit your community and your brand at the same time.

Eco-friendly initiatives

To appeal to the socially conscious traveler, going green should be your first priority. Last year, 65% of global travelers expressed an intent to stay in eco-friendly accommodation. And you don’t want to miss out on those potential customers. So what can you do to show a commitment to the environment? Try things like swapping out lightbulbs for energy efficient alternatives, installing low-flow taps and toilets, and reducing plastic use.

 If you’ve already made those changes and are looking for a little more inspiration, check out El Nido Resorts in Indonesia. They’re a shining example of the steps a lodging operation can take to become eco-friendlier. The resorts were constructed using renewable materials, and their menu consists primarily of locally sourced ingredients. They also boast advanced water catchment systems, grey water recycling, desalination plants, and on-site composting and sewage treatment facilities. On top of all that, the resorts host on-going environmental programs that include beach clean-ups, ecosystem preservation and rehabilitation, and wildlife monitoring.

Community Service

Social responsibility means more than caring about the environment. It’s about caring for people and communities too. And that makes sense as a hotelier. Your community is what makes your locality great and entices travelers to visit—so you should be invested in its health and prosperity. Consider creating initiatives or programs that give back to the community you love.

Melia Zanzibar won a hospitality award for the implementation of their Global Corporate Social Responsibility Model. Their mission was to improve the overall quality of life of the locals living in the neighboring village of Kairo. They built a well for fresh water, rebuilt the village mosque, renovated homes, and taught basic agriculture and self-sufficiency to the community.

Charitable Contributions

Whether it’s to help the community or conserve the environment, setting up your own programs and initiatives can be a daunting task. If you’re not ready to do it on your own, consider partnering with a charity.

Omni Hotels and Resorts makes charitable donations to Feeding America with their Say Goodnight to Hunger campaign. And they use it as an incentive for guests to book direct. For every direct booking they receive, they commit to feeding a family of four for a week.

The chefs at Kimpton Hotels participate in the Chefs Cycle fundraising event for No Kid Hungry every year. And donations are made to the charity when featured items are purchased at participating restaurants.

 

Travelers today are more conscious about their impact on the world than ever before. They want to stay in accommodation and support businesses that are doing what they can to improve their local communities. So, consider implementing social responsibility initiatives at your property. It’ll be good for the world and great for your brand.

Cool Tech Trends Changing Guest Experience and Expectations

Staying relevant and competitive in the hospitality industry is a constant race. You can’t find a winning formula and then sit back and expect to stay on top. Expectations and trends are continually changing, driven in large part by emerging innovations in technology. That’s why keeping your finger on the pulse of hospitality tech is critical to understanding the state of the industry. Even if you’re not ready to adopt them, tech trends tell you a lot about the typical consumer. With that in mind, here are some current tech trends that are currently changing the guest experience and will likely shape the expectations of the future.

Smart glass

Smart glass (or switchable glass) technology has been around for a while but is just beginning to pick up steam in hotel design. Notable adopters include the W San Francisco, Hilton Universal City in Los Angeles, and Eccleston Square Hotel in London.

There are different types of glass used (electrochromic, photochromic, thermo-chronic, suspended particles, micro-blind, and polymer-dispersed liquid crystal), but all adjust their opacity in response to changes in the environment and via commands from a mobile device.

For windows >> Installing smart windows is often done in the name of sustainability. The tint of the glass can be adjusted to account for the current use of the room, and the conditions outside—making guests and staff more comfortable and improving energy efficiency. In fact, Andersen Windows suggest they can reduce your energy expenditure by up to 25% (not to mention eliminating the need to buy blinds and curtains).

For bathrooms >> You have to fit a lot in a relatively small space when designing hotel rooms. But you still want it to feel spacious and comfortable for your guests. Glass-walled bathrooms are an excellent way of accomplishing just that. And by using smart glass technology, you don’t need to sacrifice privacy to make the room look bigger. When necessary, guests can simply press a button to make the walls instantly opaque.

Virtual assistants

Amazon recently announced a new virtual assistant specifically for lodging operators. Alexa for Hospitality has all the out-of-the-box features of a standard Amazon Echo with the potential to customize property-specific capabilities. For example, you can work with a third-party tech specialist so guest requests can be routed directly to your management systems and entertainment providers. That means, in addition to playing music and searching the internet, guests can also request housekeeping, find the WiFi password, ask about services and amenities and so on.

The biggest differences between personal Amazon Echos and the ones designed for hospitality have to do with security. For your guests’ privacy, hotels will never have access to search queries or answers and the history is wiped daily. For your own security, the devices cannot be factory reset and only connect to your property’s WiFi (to dissuade theft).

Facial recognition

The final tech trend we’re going to touch on, facial recognition software, is a technology that is definitely in the beginning stages for the hospitality industry. But given its ever-growing impact in our daily lives, facial recognition will only become more prevalent.

For check-in >> Marriott International just launched a pilot program at two of their properties, Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang and Sanya Marriott Hotel Dadonghai Bay, that uses facial recognition software to offer a faster and easier check-in experience for their guests. Self-check-in kiosks scan guest faces, verify their identity against existing ID and booking information, and dispense the appropriate room keys.

For a personalized experience >> Facial recognition software can also be used to help deliver a more personalized experience for your guests. When they walk into the lobby, the technology can recognize the guest and automatically display their profile to staff, allowing them to greet the guest by name.

As technology changes, so do the expectations of consumers. Make sure you’re keeping tabs on emerging trends, so you don’t get left behind. And click here to read about how VR, chatbots, and robots are being used in hospitality today.

15 Years (and Counting): WebRezPro Looks Back—and Forward—on the Cloud PMS Story

This year marks WebRezPro’s 15th year streamlining daily operations for lodging providers as an automated, cloud-based property management solution. As we look back on WebRezPro’s pioneering beginnings and ahead toward ongoing innovation, this milestone is an achievement that both fills our team with pride and encourages us to never stop striving for the best for our customers.

How It All Began

Way back in the mid ‘90s our company, World Web Technologies Inc. (WWT), was running an online travel agency. The internet was pretty novel back then, but our company president, Frank Verhagen, knew it wasn’t a passing fad. In the late ‘90s, WWT released an online room reservation system for independent hotels and inns. Today it would be considered pretty basic, but back then it was exciting, cutting-edge technology that opened up a whole new marketplace for our hotel clients. As people became more comfortable with making reservations online, hoteliers quickly began to see the potential of web-based technology.

Soon our clients began to ask us about the possibility of integrating front- and back-office functionality into their online reservation system, so that they could use the software to check guests in and out, and keep track of inventory and invoicing.

Working closely with our customers, we built the features they needed into the system, until it was no longer just a reservation system. And so, in 2003, WebRezPro was born, and it continues to evolve in the same way; guided and inspired by our clients—real lodging operators.

The Potential of the Cloud

When WebRezPro was launched in 2003, web-based (cloud) software was still a fledgling concept within the hotel industry, but it was hard for our clients to ignore the benefits of an online system.

The ability to accept reservations online boosted hotel revenue for no extra effort, and the automation of previously manual administrative tasks (such as tracking reservations and inventory and issuing invoices) saved hotel staff a lot of time that they could instead focus on guests.

System setup was a breeze (no software installation needed) and typically didn’t require any extra hardware beyond what our customers already had. Plus, we took care of system maintenance, upgrades and data security remotely, taking a huge weight off our clients’ minds. Basically, we offered lodging operators an automated system that greatly increased daily operational efficiency, kept data safe, didn’t demand technical know-how from hoteliers, and was affordable to even the smallest properties.

Even so, not all lodging operators were convinced. As always, there was some resistance to change; the idea of making reservations online made some hoteliers nervous. Is the internet safe? Wouldn’t guests rather talk to someone on the phone? Isn’t software expensive and hard to learn? (I’m doing fine with my big reservations book and a calculator!)…

But as the years passed, word got around. WebRezPro was improving the bottom line at our customers’ properties, and it was bringing advantages legacy systems couldn’t offer, beyond affordability. As a web-based system, WebRezPro allowed hotels to securely access their property management system from any computer with an internet connection—on or off property. Even before the world went mobile, this was recognized as a huge convenience, eliminating the need to install and pay for software on multiple workstations.

Unlike with their legacy systems, our clients had free access to software upgrades, and they could hand over system maintenance and data security to us. As more years passed, software vendors began to realize the increasing technical ease and benefits of integration partnerships, afforded by advances in cloud technology. Integrating their hotel systems allowed lodging operators to further streamline their workflow by automating cross-system processes, for example, applying long-distance call charges and ancillary sales to guest folios, and processing credit card payments.

Those early years were an exciting time for cloud hotel technology and the innovation hasn’t stopped. We love helping our customers’ properties reach their full potential with the latest real-world technological solutions.

The Secret to Our Success

Fifteen years in, WebRezPro is enjoying exponential growth, now used at over 1,200 properties in 40 countries. That’s great news not only for our company but for the hospitality industry as a whole. It’s proof that lodging operators are embracing cloud technology to optimize operations and the guest experience.

We think WebRezPro’s success stems from an unwavering commitment to our clients’ success. No matter how big or small the property, the needs of each and every one of our clients are important to us. Our dedicated Support Team know WebRezPro inside out, are fluent in the hospitality industry, and are consistently praised for quick, personalized customer care (just take a look at some of our reviews).

As part of our mission to see our clients succeed, WebRezPro offers a high level of flexibility. This is evident within core functionality (from flexible inventory and rate/package management to customizable reports), through optional modules tailored to different lodging types (for example, our Owner Payout Module for vacation rental operators and Centralized Administration Module for property groups), through integrations with numerous other hotel systems, and through software customizations.

Every property is unique. We believe that hotel technology should be adaptable to a property’s needs and facilitate their unique vision, not limit businesses with rigid functionality.

WebRezPro is a comprehensive PMS that is always improving. Software updates are driven by industry technology innovation and lodging operators’ needs, and are often a result of direct requests from our clients. Our clients are not just customers, they are our partners, and this relationship is a big part of WebRezPro’s success.

Looking Ahead

Our mission to support lodging operators with practical technological solutions that improve efficiency, the guest experience and revenue, in step with the latest hospitality trends and innovations is an eternal one. Technology is always evolving, and so must we all with it!

Vendor partnerships that contribute to the centralization and optimization of data through system integration are key to unlocking greater efficiency and innovation at every property. WebRezPro currently has partnerships with over 90 hospitality technology vendors, including channel managers and OTAs, payment gateways, POS systems, guest experience platforms, mobile keys and more. We are always forging relationships with vendors that help enhance our solution, and will continue to do so.

Solutions that optimize and mobilize data for greater personalization of the guest experience—such as guest messaging, mobile check-in and mobile key apps—are particularly exciting. Continuing advances in mobile technology within WebRezPro’s own feature set, along with third-party integrations, will ensure our customers stay ahead of the game.

“Our team is proud to reach this milestone with such a strong outlook. We believe in this product and the value it offers our clients, and are proud to be a trusted technology partner for all types of properties.” —Frank Verhagen, President at World Web Technologies, Inc.

Pillow Mints and Pumpkins: A Hotelier’s Guide to Halloween

The summer is ending here in the Northern Hemisphere. We hope it was a good (and profitable) one. But there isn’t any rest for a hotelier, so it’s time to turn your attention to the fall. With the busy season slowing down you should start thinking about new ways to boost occupancy and generate buzz for your property. And there’s a holiday around the corner that could help you do just that: Halloween! Just like Valentine’s Day and Easter, with a little imagination, this occasion can be a great marketing (and revenue-generating) opportunity for your business. Read on for ideas on how your lodging operation can make the most of this spooky holiday.

Throw a party

This one’s a no-brainer. Everyone loves a good Halloween party. And you can go as big (or as small) as makes sense for your property. Looking for a little bit of inspiration? The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver hosts a 6-ballroom party at their historic property. In the past, they’ve had haunted mazes, amusement park rides, illusions, and even a comedic conjuring of the hotel’s famous ghost—The Lady in Red. Ace Hotels Los Angeles has included Tarot card readings, aura photography and costume contests at their past events. And Hotel del Coronado in San Diego hosts an annual “Hallo-wine and Spirits” party. It’s a fun holiday with unlimited potential, so be creative!

Host a murder mystery

If you’d like to plan an event that’s a little smaller in scale, why not host a murder mystery dinner? The Stanley Hotel in Colorado (known for its role in the movie The Shining) did just that in 2017. Guests dressed up to compliment the 1920’s mafia theme of the event and partook in a 4-course dinner and murder mystery activity. It’s a great way to celebrate the spooky occasion. And if it’s a hit, you can always turn it into a weekend-long affair like these hotels.

Screen a spooky film

If you’re looking for another way to deliver a festive fright, consider screening a scary movie at your property. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. And depending on your space and location, you could set up the screen indoors or out. But whatever you choose, don’t forget the spooky decorations or Halloween-themed treats.

Decorate pumpkins

Pumpkin carving is an activity you can offer to your guests (and community members) that’s appealing to all ages. And you can make it as extravagant as you want. A few years ago W New York offered guests the chance to have their selfie carved into a pumpkin by the famous pumpkin-artist Hugh McManon. But if that seems like too much, you could also create a pumpkin carving competition on social media. Participants can submit photos of their best creations, and the winners can receive a free night stay at your hotel. It won’t provide the revenue of hosting an actual event, but it’ll create some good online buzz for your property.

Offer a themed package

If you are going to offer Halloween-related activities and amenities, be sure to create a themed package for the occasion. In addition to a night (or two) stay, you can include tickets to the events, meals, complimentary candy—anything that makes sense for your property. The Hay Adams in Washington DC offers a stay in their “Transylvania Suite” which comes decked out in cobwebs, skeletons and other creepy decorations. The package also includes a selection of horror movies to choose from and 3-course meal.

Halloween is an exciting holiday with a lot of potential. It’s the perfect opportunity to get your creative juices flowing, so take advantage of it! You’ll be rewarded with new revenue streams and great promotional material for your website and social media channels. Have fun!

Remarketing: How It Works and Why You Should Do It

Of all the people that visit a hotel’s site, only 2% (on average) end up making a booking. So, while it might feel like getting traffic to your website is good enough, the job doesn’t end there. A huge percentage of people who show interest in a property don’t follow through. That’s a lot of missed opportunity. So, how can you mitigate the effects of website abandonment? Answer: remarketing.

What it is

Remarketing is when a brand attempts to re-engage with consumers who have already shown an interest in their product. If, for example, a user visits a website for a hotel and then leaves without making a booking, remarketing allows ads for that hotel to appear on other sites that user visits. The idea is that they’ll be reminded of their original interest and return to complete the booking. And it works. Website visitors that are retargeted are 70% more likely to complete a booking.

How it works

A small piece of code (called a pixel) on your website is used to install cookies on browsers that visit it. The cookie then “follows” that user around the internet and displays ads to them. Targeted ads can be displayed online, by email, or on social media channels. Depending on where in the booking funnel they were before abandonment, those ads can be simple logos to maintain awareness or specific offers for rooms and rates.

Why it’s a good idea

Remarketing is a cost-effective way to spend your marketing dollars. The money is being directed at consumers that have already shown an interest in your product, so ROI is high. It also allows you to offer differentiated offers. If someone has abandoned a booking, you can target them with a discounted rate without making it available to the general public. And for that reason, you won’t have to worry about rate parity issues with OTAs. It’s a great way to incentivize potential guests and win more direct bookings.

Tips for success

Choose pages carefully >> When you’re choosing pages of your website to put pixels on, pick ones that are relevant to the booking process (at least in the beginning), so you can target the customers that are the most serious. This can be landing pages for special offers, the availability calendar, booking engine, etc. And then target them with ads that make sense for where they are in the marketing funnel.

Use frequency caps >> When remarketing to potential guests, you want them to be subtly reminded of your property, not feel inundated by it. So use frequency caps to control how often your ad appears to a guest.

Personalize the emails >> Email ads feel a lot more invasive than those displayed on websites, and social media feeds. So when you send them, they need to be valuable to the guest. This can be achieved by making the emails personalized. If a guest abandons a booking after selecting a room and dates, the email can include the relevant information. For example, you might send an email that says “we noticed you were interested in a [UNIT] for [DATES]” with a “Continue Booking” call-to-action button. It’ll make the email useful to the recipient and feel less like spam.

Send them soon >> If you are using email retargeting, send the first one within three hours of booking abandonment. Emails sent in this time frame average a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate.

 

Remarketing is a powerful strategy to increase customer engagement and drive bookings. Consider giving it a try, so you don’t miss out on any potential guests. Good luck!

A Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Effective Video Content

When creating digital content for your website and social media channels, video cannot be overlooked. It has become the key to online engagement. In fact, video is expected to account for more than 80% of all web traffic by next year. So, if you want to stay competitive, you need to hop on board. Here’s a quick guide to creating compelling video content:

Content

For marketing collateral to be effective today, it can’t look like it did in the past. People no longer trust overt advertisement, and video content is no exception. So steer clear of anything too “sales-y.” It’s not going to land, and users will simply scroll by or click away. If you want people to watch your video, it needs to be valuable for them not just promotional for you. That means making it entertaining, moving, or educational. Curious what that looks like? This video for La Sirenuse and this one for Bugatti Hotels and Resorts, are both excellent examples of the kind of content that works in today’s climate.

Length

There’s some debate about how long a marketing video should be. And it’ll vary depending on the type of video you’re producing and the platform you plan to publish it on. Instagram videos, for example, should stay around 30 seconds as it’s the channel that users scroll through the fastest. Content made for YouTube, however, can be longer. But try and keep it under two minutes as a rule of thumb. Attention spans are short these days and videos longer than that generally see large viewership drop-off.

Production

Thanks to social media, effective marketing material has a much more personal and casual tone. So, you can forgo a stiff, corporate feel but it still needs to be professional. And that professionalism comes from production quality. When making video content, you need to pay attention to things like lighting, audio, and editing (to name a few). If not done well, viewers aren’t going to take your brand seriously. All things considered, it’s likely you’ll want to hire outside help. But if you choose to do it yourself, make sure to use the right equipment and follow these product tips.

Publishing

Video content can be used on all your marketing channels. The length and content might need to vary a bit (as mentioned earlier), but Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all platforms where video thrives. So, take advantage of them. And be sure to embed it in your property’s website to encourage users to stay longer (making a conversion more likely). You should also consider including video content in your email campaigns and on your landing pages—which has been shown to significantly improve click-through and conversion rates, respectively.

Optimization

You invest a lot of time and money into making video content, so it’s imperative you do everything you can to optimize its impact online. For YouTube, this means creating a punchy title that grabs users attention, including a short but informative description, and choosing appropriate tags to help users find your videos in searches. If you’re embedding video on your website, you’ll need to create a video sitemap. This provides search engines with the necessary information they need (such as video title, description, URL, etc.) to index your videos appropriately.

 

Video is a powerful medium that has become an integral part of digital marketing across all industries. If you want to maximize engagement online, it’s something will have to invest in. But make sure you do it right. Poorly produced content that undermines credibility could be worse than no videos at all.

Selling the Experience: How to Market Effectively to Today’s Travelers

A recent study conducted by Expedia and The Center for Generational Kinetics, found that 74% of Americans value experiences over things. That’s great news for the hospitality industry as most of those people are planning to travel in pursuit of those experiences.

So how can you capitalize on the emerging “experience economy”? For these travelers, the memory is the product. You need to adapt your marketing material to reflect that. It’s not enough to simply advertise a luxurious bed or first-rate amenities. You need to showcase the unique travel experiences that guests will have at your property. Here’s how:

Create video content

Video has become a powerful marketing medium across all industries. It improves SEO and boosts conversions—one study even suggests that including video content in a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. It’s also an ideal tool for showcasing experiences. If used correctly, the dynamic medium can inspire viewers and help them imagine what a stay at your property would be like.

Create videos that portray people experiencing everything your property has to offer (with #travelinspo footage of events and other highlights) and post them across your digital channels. Once viewers start picturing themselves laughing with friends over a drink on the patio, or kayaking peacefully on the lake out front, for example, they won’t want to book anywhere else.

Promote your destination

For most travelers, the destination is the draw. They’re looking to explore and experience the local culture. So, you should promote your locality as well as your property. Sharing helpful information about things to do and see in your area shows a commitment to experiential travel that guests will appreciate. And demonstrating your local expertise will earn their trust. Guests want to stay somewhere connected to the community with insider tips for getting the most out of their holiday.

Share UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is a big deal in today’s marketing landscape. And for good reason. Consumers are much more trusting of their peer’s reviews than traditional marketing material. And, as it’s the real-life experience of your guests, UGC is particularly well-suited for marketing in the experience economy. So, when a guest posts about their stay at your property, use it. It’s the most authentic promotional material you could hope for.

Considering the value of UGC, you should do what you can to encourage guests to post online. This can be done by creating a strong social media presence, hosting contests, and including calls-to-action on other marketing collateral.

Partner with influencers

For high-impact UGC, consider partnering with social media influencers. These are people with a significant number of followers whose content generates considerable engagement. Unlike traditional UGC, these posts will cost you (either in fees or free stays at your property). But if you choose the right influencer, it’ll likely be well worth the investment. 81% of marketers that have tried influencer marketing considered it effective.

Be authentic online

Part of selling the experience at your property is showing off your unique personality. Travelers today aren’t interested in generic accommodation. And if your digital content is uninspired and formulaic, they’ll assume your property is the same way. So make sure you’re being authentic on your website and social media channels. Avoid an overly formal tone and steer clear of canned responses to guest posts.

 

Today’s travelers are seeking exciting experiences they’ll remember forever (and can share on their social media pages). Make sure you’re creating effective marketing material so you can capture their imaginations and ultimately win their bookings.