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Marketing Trends to Follow in 2014

1) Mobile is Growing

  • Travelers are using mobile as the first contact with hotel’s websites increasingly. 50% of direct reservations will be through a mobile phone in 2017
  • 20% of reservations through mobile phone in 2013
  • 37% of consumers connected to Internet by smartphones
  • 63% of travel suppliers increased bookings by mobile phone from 2011 to 2013
  • 43.8% of travelers will book at the last moment with mobile phones  by the end of 2014

 

2) Videos that Transmit

  • Videos are the way to transmit experiences – the special feature that makes your hotel unique.
  • During 2013, 81% of bookings checked videos. Source: Eyefortravel “The 2013 Traveler”

 

3) From Organic Search to Hotel Finder

  • Google controls keywords in organic search. It is important to not only have SEM strategies but to also be tagged in Google Places, and appear in Google Hotel Finder Lists
  • Everything seems to indicate that Google is interested in tourism business and hoteliers

 

4) Retargeting

  • Over 96% of people that visit one website, leave without buying. Retargeting strategies allow you to attract visitors’ attention, even days after, and bring them back.

 

5 )OTA vs. Direct Bookings

  • OTA reservations have a cost of 15% or 25% for the hotel. A hotel, through its marketing strategies and brand resources can increase direct bookings without paying commissions
  • However, OTAs are an important platform and it will be important to be present on maximum of them
  • Combining it with a Channel Manager like SiteMinder that will make the optimization and multiple channel distribution easier

 

6) Google Carousel for Hotels

  • Carousel is a scroll with images under the Google search bar. It has already been implemented in Europe and the United States
  • Google is putting up a fight in the tourism market. You must be in Google Places, Google Maps, Hotel Finder and also in Carousel, of course

 

7) Key Facts

  • 42.7% of travelers start their plans in Google
  • 24% – Google believes that this is the increase in direct bookings that hotels will have in 2014
  • 68% is the growth in mobile bookings, according to Google
  • 180% bookings from tablets are going to increase, according to Google

 

8) Marketing on Social Media

  • Social Media is not just Facebook, neither is it all about constituting direct sales channels
  • Social Media is about making the most of these networks and using them as direct communication and one-one with potential guests and visitors
  • It requires planning publications, developing attractive content and achieving high levels of engagement

 

9) Key Facts

  • 7 hours a day is the time some people get to be on social networks
  • 8% of the people are already willing to book directly from Facebook
  • 90% of the OTAs have their version on FB

 

10) Responsive Multiscreen

  • Travelers search on their personal computers, smartphones and tablets, depending on the time of the day
  • Therefore hotel websites must be prepared to work on all kind of screens, fast and smoothly

 

11) Loyalty and CRM

  • Reward those who book rooms from your website, those who contribute with reviews on TripAdvisor, and those who return to your hotel
  • Develop loyalty strategies; to define your guests’ profile, to know their preferences, discover what they like and what they do not about your hotel

 

12) More and More Analytics

  • Analyzing visitors’ behavior on the hotel website allows you to optimize the information, make the content more attractive and understand the keys of conversion
  • It is not about having a web presence but to manage it properly!

 

13) Google Plus

  • Google Plus is consolidating as a wide social network that interacts with Google Maps and Google Now. You should also be there!

 

14) Geo Targeting

  • Applications that take into account the location of the traveler and allow you to attract them with direct promotions when they are nearby.
  • This is of utmost importance to increase last minute bookings

 

 

A Hotelier’s Guide to Attracting More Customers

 

Customer is King

  • Customer is the crux of every business and reaching out to them is the primary focus of every hotel
  • Whether you are a 7 star or a mid-sized hotel, you often go lengths to reach out to your customers 

 

Three Simple Strategies to Attract More Customers

  • Online Marketing and Social Media
  • Offline Marketing
  • Use of Technology in Hotel Operations

 

Online Marketing and Social Media

  • An updated Search Engine Friendly Website with Relevant Keywords
  • Target Customers through special discounts and offers through email and social media
  • Build a Strong Social media presence through all possible social media channels

Emphasize on Guest Experiences

  •   The ideal way to promote your brand is through rich media by posting your customer’s feedback, photos or comments

Keep Customers Engaged

  • Always respond to your customers’ posts as this is the best way to maintain a healthy relationship with them

Update Frequently

  • People always love to see new posts or pictures on your page. If you are not active on social media channels, then you do not even exist for them

 

Offline Marketing

Reward Loyalty

  • Acknowledge your customers by rewarding them. You can do this by providing them a percentage of discounts on their next stay

Remembering Special Occasions

  • Greeting your customer on their anniversaries or birthdays will make them feel special and wanted

Regular Notifications

  • Keep your customers abreast with your latest offerings by post or phone calls.

 

Use of Technology in Hotel Operations

Agile property management system

  • Opt for a modern, cloud-based property management system to integrate bookings and make your hotel available to your customers
  • Vanessa Hotel in Greece experienced 200% increase in online bookings after implementing cloud PMS.

 

Use of Technology in Hotel Operations

Global Distribution System

  • GDS providers like Expedia, Amadeus, Sabre, Orbitz or Travelocity can be powerful enough to expand your market’s reach

Online Travel Agents (OTA)

  • With the help of online travel agents, your property will become more visible and your entire management system will become more streamlined

Increasing Direct Bookings

  • You can also encourage guests to make direct bookings on your official website instead of going through OTAs

Hotels should have proper services for disabled too. Hospitality business should be enough hospitable to accommodate all kind of guests, even those who are differently able or disable. Hoteliers cannot ignore this segment of consumers for not having facilities that could make it easy for those customers who carry different disabilities. By not addressing this segment you might lose a good number of potential guests. It is so important to have an eye on different segment of the market to maximize the guests at your property.

Disabled-Friendly-Hotel

What could be done to attract disabled customers to stay at your property? Here is few suggestion or recommendations to make your property more valuable:

Wheelchair Accessible Rooms: Wheelchairs makes accessibility easy. By offering wheelchair to the disables guests you are providing an unhindered accessibility to different areas of your property. However, you need to create easy passages for a free movement; your corridors need to be well connected with rooms, lounges, seminar rooms and restaurants for a convenient access.

Spacious Rooms: Hotels that invite and accommodate disable guests create a disable friendly building which includes rooms. It becomes important to have spacious rooms for disable guests. The wheelchair users need more space to move inside the room with the wheelchair. There should be spacious bathroom, double and single bed and a good hall to provide optimum liberty and mobility to the disable guests.

Other Services: There are hotels that are offering special services to meet the demand of the disable guests. The hotels offer service animals and assistance to guests as required. Different amenities are installed to differently able folks like roll-in showers, light alerts for hearing impaired, lower shelving, multi-level door viewers and communication kits with strobe lights, visual door knocker, shaker alarm clock and TDD teletype are also there to make it friendlier to the disable guests.

Having facilities that makes accessibility easier attracts not only disable guests but also their friends and families. Additionally, you will be paid for providing better accessible property. Statistics estimated by American with Disabilities Act tells that by 2030, 71.5 million Baby Boomers will cross the age of 65 and will need amenities and services that address the age related physical changes. The hospitality industry must welcome people from all sphere of life and people who are disable on the board. Properties require having facilities that cater to their employees, too. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lays down the charter which says that employers should provide reasonable accommodation to its qualified employees with disabilities. Western Europe in this regard leads the world in accessible tourism and that needs to be replicated across the world.

There are numerous hotel establishments that are making amendments in their property for their guests, don’t be left out. You are required to build basic amenities to accommodate guests with disabilities. To streamline your hotel process and operation and to spend more time with guests try your our Cloud PMS services and offload it from your staff. Our Cloud PMS is easy, accessible and adoptable and it offers extremely simple hotel management solution that brings everything like FrontDesk, Housekeeping, Restaurant, Point of Sale etc at one centralized system.

Here is your chance to make your hotel go global. FIFA World Cup 2014 is just a week away and most of the hotels in Brazil are all geared up to witness a huge number of spectators thronging in the cities where matches are going to be played. This is the time of the year where you as a Brazilian hotelier expect huge bookings and this is the best time to promote your hotel by increasing your hotel review on TripAdvisor. But the question is how to increase the reviews on the hotel reviewing website – TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor-reviews-Brazil

Find out how you can increase your Hotel’s reviews on TripAdvisor

Manage your hotel listing: The first and foremost thing you can do is to go and ‘Manage your listings” section on the website by updating details of your hotel, such as, name, amenities, services and photos of travelers as images really work better than anything else. By doing this, optimizing the page, you are ensuring an increase on the Google ranking.

Set up email alerts: After you are done with the listing and updates, it is advisable to set up alarm or alert that will make you know of any review that gets posted.

Always respond to reviews: It is always fruitful to interact with your customers. As soon as you get a review respond to it and never ignore whether it is positive or negative. Welcome all kinds of feedback and reviews. For any negative review always respond in an apologetic tone to ensure your customer is heard and do not goes anywhere else.

Encourage guests to post reviews: The best way to get reviews on TripAdvisor is to request your guests to post there like and dislikes, reviews, on the website or on your social media links. This will not only increase your business but it will also develop a kind of trust among your guests.

Add a widget to your website: The easiest way to get review from a customer is to add widget on your website that reads “Recommend on TripAdvisor”. Be polite in your request to your to the guests to post review and rate you on TripAdvisor.

There is an expected rise in tourism during the FIFA World Cup 2014 so be prepared to welcome guests from across the planet. Ensure that your guests have the most enjoyable experience during their stay at your property.

Remember, happy guests keep the hospitality business afloat.And to make hotel guest happy with your services enjoy our Cloud PMS Software with 15 days free trial.

 

Change in customer behavior is evident with the choices and demand they make. The specifics are now more important in the luxury hospitality business. This change appears to be an influence of the better living standards and spending power of the customers with the advantage of easy availability via internet. A few decades ago who would have thought of a hotel specifically catering those customers who likes to have amusement for their kids? At present there are hotels that are offering kids-friendly programs like Kid’s spa, club and water parks. The new trend is still in its early stage but it is growing faster among hoteliers.

A child-friendly stay

A lot of people go out exploring different places on the pretext of their kid’s vacations. This is a timely business initiative from many hoteliers to offer family packages which includes many kids’ related amusement and entertainment stuffs to the families to have a better vacation. In a fast paced and growing industry targeting a highly important group makes for a great opportunity for the hospitality business. From oldest to the youngest, all are for better times on vacations. Be it a tropical spot or ski destination, everyone goes with the idea of a fruitful vacation, especially kids.

In this context Heather Beasley, senior VP of the Americas region for the Holiday Inn Brand Family tells, “We know that both families traveling on vacation as well as individuals who when they travel on business are looking for opportunities to spend time with their families is a huge segment of the market.”

Since there is internet for easy accessibility to the hotel properties and facilities to the customers, it makes a good choice for the hotels to spread their services through booking sites. There are numerous hotels which are selling a number of rooms based on reviews on travel and booking websites and being a child-friendly hotel it really makes thing easier for the hotels to reach out to its prospective customers. More and more families are looking forward to see child friendly facilities. It is an important factor found in research that more parents are looking for properties that not only offers comfortable stay for the family, but also gives special amenities that attracts the kids. As a result of this, child-friendly hotels are making a booking appearance, with some going all out to appeal children.

Balsley further adds, “As a parent myself, when you’re making a booking decision and thinking about vacation, the most important things for these families are that their kids feel cared for, that they’re finding experiences for their kids to learn and experience new things.”

Therefore, it is evident that offering amenities and packages where it has child-friendly environment attracts customers with families. The trend is catching up and many hotels are developing their properties in a way to delight the little ones. Here are some ways through which hotels can make it countable:

Creating a Unique Experience: It comes to the hotels to create an environment that ensures unique experience for the kids by developing facilities that offers a great deal of joy. From check-in to check-out, few hotels are making sure that the trip remains memorable for the kids. To understand it better we can take the example of Marco Island Marriot Beach Resort which offers the families with a baby butler service that includes crib in the room, diaper delivery, complimentary meals and gifts for infant along with discounts on purchase of baby items.

In another example, Inn of Anasazi, a luxury hotel in Santa Fe which gives kitchen access to the kids and let them enjoy cooking with professional chefs. The chefs then make children to create the signature dishes of the hotel which later gets served beautifully with the kid’s name on the plate. Not just this, the kids are allowed to decorate cookies that are delivered to their rooms at night. These gives kids a sense of belonging with the hotels that is good for the hotels to develop a long term relation with their customers.

Amenities: Many hotels offer nannies, crèches and babysitting services. Others in the hotel business who took initiative to streamline their business on the kids-friendly model are creating a home-like environment, filling rooms with toys, books, puzzles, bright bedding and healthy snacks. Spa treatment especially for kids is also catching up to attract families. From on-site games to indoor swimming pools, to lessons on golf, there are a wide range of amenities to attract kids and their parents alike. Many hotels keep special space for kids that allow parents to have free time while their children play and make new friends.

Entertainment & Activities: Fiesta Hotel Group has launched a different initiative, Pirates of the Caribbean themed kid’s club offering entertaining activities for kids of 1 to 12 years of age. The activities in the large playground includes game area, pool, video game center, nap zone and craft center, the hotel has taken specifics into consideration and made its staff to wear the themed dress. Indoor cinema, bowling alley and video game zone are few other entertainment ideas are incorporated by the hotel. Outdoor activities are also offered to children in form of biking, horse riding, trekking, treasure hunt and nature walks.

Safety: There are many hotel establishments that are pitching on child-proofing kits to ease the parent minds of the young kids. It is difficult for the parent to travel with all the safety kits. Few beach resorts have initiated the idea of providing baby watch while parents enjoy swimming. Hotels now seem committed to provide safety. The hotels take care of rooms before you arrive. Most hotels put note in their property management system about customization – child proofing, before you reach the property.

Marketing: Hotels are now targeting families with their marketing strategies. Strategically they are trying to reach out to the audience to get a good response.

Sales and marketing consultant, Brenda Fields of Fields & Company says, “Marketing should be directed to families and adults with kids and supported by the appropriate product offerings such as swimming pool, games, sports room, video games and children’s foods.”

To ensure better return in terms of customers, your marketing strategy should be attractive to children. It means the marketing plan should have a kid-friendly, listing all the packages. Some hotels are also offering customizing packages for different age group of children – infant, toddler, kids, teens, to provide joyous experience for parents too. To make your hotel all child-friendly, begin it in small way, because every step counts.

To have a systematic approach to child-friendly hotel you should use property management system (PMS), by this you can streamline and control room bookings. The point of sales (POS) module of system helps you to add more child-centric amenities while having a better management of the resources. This prominent feature can definitely work better in the hotel industry. Try and reap the benefits!

The evident question with the implementation of a new PMS (Property management system) is about its adaptability among the various people attached to the hotel business – staff, customers, visitors and etc. Since any kind of change in an existing establishment brings disruption and stress, it is very important to ensure seamless running at the very implementation stage of the system.

hotel-housekeeping-software

Any change in a well-established system often brings disruption and stress in the working methodology of the establishment. It is a natural process where new things take time before people get used to it. In the case of property management system which is installed for the first time in a hotel establishment calls for disruption into its day-to-day routine. This is not just with a new installation but also happens when a property management system is upgraded with existing PMS. This not only affects the staff but also the guests as well. But the disruption is for a limited period until the business process don’t get familiarize and also depends upon the quality of the system that you are planning to install for your property.

These disruptions arising from the change or up-gradation of a certain property management system can be tamed with a prepared team which is organizationally and mentally strong to ensure that the switch is less stressful for everyone involved with the process. One important thing here is that at the beginning of the installation process, make sure that everyone is excited about the coming change, and carry on with evaluation and implementation during the training phase of the new system.

Some interesting factors that may possibly affect the installation of the new system:

  • Replacement of present system which is obsolete
  • End of the franchise agreement or hotel plans to go on its own way where it needs a new property management system.
  • When you are opening of a new hotel/restaurant then you need a hospitality management system to administer the new property.

Once the decision is made about the purchasing of the property management system then the vendor or software provider will help you in planning, evaluation and implementation of the PMS.

Although there are numerous PMS available in the market but it will be a worthy investment to look at Hotelogix property management system, which is one of the easiest to go with starters for it allows better administration and offers a seamless management of housekeeping, multiple POS, regional offices, restaurants, front desk, reservation and booking and also brings hotel’s website on an unified platform.

IT professionals have become an integral part of the hospitality industry since a lot of business in hotel sector comes through internet. Creating and developing websites, applications and booking platform for hotels, it is playing a bigger role in reviving the industry post 9/11.

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After the 9/11 attack on America the travel industry suffered the most. It is understandable that the apprehension of travelers grow with such incident. If the industry had to stand at its old self it had to reinvent itself and take few serious steps to revive it. Many organizations took some innovative approaches to curb the slowdown in the wake of unfortunate incident by making required changes for better management of internal operations, with thought of increasing revenues.

The hotel business without any doubt suffered badly and profits of the hoteliers went down to a great extent, the situation was a little better for hotel industry in comparison to the airline sector. However, despite this an effort was required to revive the hotel industry and looking at the situation big hotel chains started making serious investment in their websites and online marketing and worked to streamline the advertising and promotion related activities.

In this, information technology played a vital role in pulling out a tremendous show for the hotel industry in the past decade. IT professionals and web developers of hotel technology platforms playing a significant role in the revival of the hotel business, behind the scene their role is to ensure smooth IT operation throughout the hospitality sector. While these professionals work from various locations in case of different small hotels, large scale hotel chains have their own IT departments to look after the needs. The on-site IT teams are normally on the payment roll of the hotel establishment and form integral part of the hotel staff. Here, nearly all the professionals come from the hospitality background along with IT qualification, thereby ensuring the right platform for the hotel business.

Since online hotel bookings and reservations play a key role in the modern day hotel business, IT will continue to play an integral part in the growth of hotel industry in the times to arrive. Hotelogix is one of the most trusted web based property management system that a number of IT managers in hotels are turning to for a smoother operation of their property.

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