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Digital Marketing

The Walt Disney Company has announced plans to push the boundaries of hotel accommodation to a galaxy far, far away as it unveils plans to create a fully immersive resort in Orlando.

The Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Bob Chapek says the new hotel concept will be a “revolutionary vacation experience.” He outlined plans to disrupt the traditional hospitality marketing concept with a Star Wars-themed luxury, immersive accommodation option which the company says is unlike any hotel that currently exists.

The Chairman said, the hotel will function as a “dedicated multi-day adventure. He outlined starship transportation as one example of how the hotel’s amenities will differ from the norm, also saying characters, costumes, storylines, windows that show a view into space, and status as “an active citizen of the galaxy” will all be found at the resort.

He described the Star Wars hotel as, “…100 percent immersive and the story will touch every single minute of your stay with us. It culminates in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

Disney floated the idea of their immersive hotel back in April, with some guests at its Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando surveyed during their stay. Among other questions, they were asked if they would be interested in having a “continuous, story-driven entertainment experience” throughout a two night hotel stay.

skyscrapers

The concept is touted as being Disney’s most experimental ever. As part of its customer research earlier this year, features such as robot droids as butlers, story participation and themed activities were all touched upon.

Some industry experts believe Disney will turn to its own cruise ships for inspiration for some parts of the hotel – particularly its animated portholes. Other theories suggest that robots and droids will be used to check in guests rather than traditional front-of-house staff with characters from the Star Wars franchise present in multiple formats throughout the hotel.

While Disney hasn’t yet confirmed when it will break ground on the project or release anything other than intriguing artistic renderings of a space-themed lobby with guests mingling with characters and robots, the confirmation of the venture does mark an exciting new milestone for the hotel industry.

The level of immersion plays up a recent trend towards automation in accommodation but takes the concept of guest interaction further into a total experience. It’s clear that Disney will build on its extensive guest data and experience of film and theme parks in the creation of the resort and its unique guest experience.

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Booking Engine

Your hotel’s guest cancellation policy is one of the unsung weapons in winning over more direct bookings. This is a crucial tool in helping you to effectively and efficiently manage your room inventory but, finding the right balance between a suitable window for cancellation and being overly tight with that window or having too strict a policy can put guests off booking.

In some cases, the cancellation policy can be a deciding factor for guests choosing between two hotels of a similar price and amenities. In effect, this means those hotels that fail to strike the right balance could easily lose direct bookings to competitors.

This is something of a hot topic in the hotel industry currently as a number of the bigger chain hotel groups have recently taken moves to tighten up their cancellation rules. In the USA in particular, larger hotel brands have moved to invoke tighter policies with stricter terms for guest cancellation in recent months. The fuel behind this change in policy is the hope that less lenient cancellation terms will allow the accommodation to leverage better control over guestroom inventory.

Hotel brands including Marriot, Hilton, InterContinental and Hyatt have all changed their cancellation policies this year. The most common change has been to move from the standard 24-hour window to a 48-hour window.

Hilton says it made the move initially because of a huge increase in last minute cancellations. With last minute cancellations, especially at higher volumes, managing room inventory becomes more difficult and the costs get passed along the chain, until guests end up paying a higher price. The hotel group says requiring guests to notify them of a change in plans earlier has cost-saving benefits. In some areas, it is looking to increase the cancellation policy even further, to 72-hours.

hotel-room

Marriot took similar steps in June, and increased its cancellation policy to 48-hours at its hotels in the Americas and says consumer response has been largely positive.

In New York, cancellations average 30-40% in the height of the summer months, with these last minute changes having an impact on revenue, occupancy and other bookings. It’s a similar story elsewhere, but, independent hotel brands disagree with the moves by their larger rivals and, say that they prefer to maintain a more flexible policy.

Industry sources say that independent accommodation providers are more inclined to build flexibility into their cancellation policies. Some brands say that they take a property-by-property approach rather than having a blanket cancellation policy in place. This allows each accommodation to better serve the needs of its guests.

Some independent hotel managers say that they don’t want to follow in the footsteps of bigger brands and insist guests cancel 48- or 72-hours before their stay to avoid having to pay the cost of the room because they don’t want to upset guests or give them reasons to go elsewhere.

While some recognize that more stringent cancellation policies allow for better room management and business forecasting, guest communication is key. Each hotel’s policy needs to reflect its business model and the reasons guests choose that property over rivals. In some instances, it’s more beneficial to speak to the client and ascertain the reason for cancellation and move the booking if possible to retain that business.

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Digital Marketing

New occupancy figures show that Paris is bouncing back from the shadow of multiple terrorist attacks which hit its tourism and hotel occupancy figures hard.

Following terror attacks in 2015, the number of tourists visiting Paris dropped significantly however, new figures show that the capital has bounced back with a ten year high. Official occupancy rates confirm that a total of 16.4 million guests checked into Paris’ hotels between January and June, 2017. The guest numbers for the first six months of the year are the highest since 2007, indicating reasons for optimism for French hoteliers.

The Regional Tourist Committee for Paris also states that Paris has registered a 14.9% growth in the number of overseas visitors flocking to the city. The rise was helped by higher than usual numbers of American, Chinese and Japanese tourists.

Hotels in three key areas welcomed higher numbers of guests than had previously been the case in the wake of the 2015 attacks. The Foundation Louis Vuitton, the Arc de Triomphe and the Palace of Versailles all reported more visitors than in previous years.

conceirge-service

France relies heavily on tourism, with the sector accounting for 9% of the European country’s gross domestic product. This means that there is usually a healthy influx of travellers looking for short term accommodation but, a combination of external factors has meant a disappointing two years for hoteliers.

While France was the world’s top tourist destination in 2015, the two years since then have seen cities such as Paris post underwhelming visitor numbers, with lower hotel occupancy rates and fewer overseas tourists.

In 2016, tourist numbers dropped 7% between January and August, with travellers choosing to book trips elsewhere following terrorist attacks, poor weather and transport strikes which affected those flying into the country.

Between January and August 2016, there was a drop of 11.4% in the number of hotel nights booked and a €1bn loss in income as a result.

The latest Regional Tourist Committee figures paint a much brighter picture however, leading into the busy Christmas holiday season. The figures show that hoteliers in Paris registered 16 million guests in the first six months of the year – a record figure that tops any other first half period from the last decade. Overall, Paris and the wider Île-de-France region welcomed 14.6% more visitors, while there was a 6.4% increase on average in the rest of France.

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Digital Marketing
Negative reviews are an unfortunate fact of running a business with a digital dimension. Learning how to manage them effectively is a vital part of making your business a success.

Digital Hotelier specialises in online reputation management services, helping to keep your company image as positive as possible for anyone seeking out your hotel online.

Read on to find out how to drive your negative reviews further down the search results, giving customers a better – and more accurate – picture of your hotel.

Reviews

Manage Your Profiles Carefully
Managing your own profiles on review sites will give you a much greater ability to deal with negative reviews as and when they occur. Failing this, using a trusted ‘outsider’ who you are sure will respond proactively to any negative content is an alternative option. Particularly if you are unsure how some of review platforms work, bringing in expert online reputation management services could prove preferable as a way to save you lots of time and hassle.

Ask the Site Owners to Remove the Review
If you find a review which you feel doesn’t accurately reflect your business, there is no harm at all in asking the site owners to remove it. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will do so – but if the review is obviously slanderous or overly personal, there is a good chance it will violate their own review policies, and that once brought to their attention, the review will be taken down. There are a few risks involved in this route, including the chance that the negative reviewer could discover their review has been removed and develop an even greater vendetta against your company – but depending on the visibility and content of your negative review, this could be a chance you are willing to take.

Know When to Reply
There are times when you may feel compelled to respond to your online critics in public forums, but it is important to pick your battles wisely. Responding to reasonable reviews which cite a problem with your hotel will paint you in a positive light, as long as you are equally as reasonable in your response. Engaging in online dialogue with somewhat more ‘passionate’ critics of your business will do the opposite for your reputation. Customers generally have a good grasp of who has a legitimate complaint and who is simply out for blood – have some faith in their ability to recognise the difference.

Optimize Your Positive Content to Help Suppress Negative Results
Building a substantial quantity of positive content is a great way to help bury the negative content which is in an inevitable offshoot of your business success. You can’t please everyone – but you can try and ensure your content – and the guest experience – are as positive as possible so as to alleviate some of the impact of your critics. Great content is search engine friendly, and can help to push your negative reviews further down the search results, meaning fewer potential customers will see them.
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Digital Marketing
A great business blog can be a tremendously useful online marketing tool – yet done wrong, it can be actively detrimental.

Some of the key benefits of blogging include increased web traffic (as a result of enhanced Google visibility), lead generation without excess costs, and a chance to share your expertise with your fans or followers.

Business blogging is quite distinct from personal blogging, though this is unfortunately something which is often overlooked when hoteliers begin their content marketing efforts. Read on to discover the biggest blogging mistakes to avoid for optimum success.

Blog

Using the Wrong Tone of Voice
In the world of blogging, tone of voice and audience suitability is everything. The tone of voice you use for your posts will make or break that same audience’s ability to connect with what it is you are writing. Establishing clear content marketing guidelines at the outset of your blogging activities – and understanding that writing a blog is quite distinct from many other written forms of communication – is a key aspect for your success or failure in this area.

Focusing On Sales Speak
Blogging is not a space for directly advertising your hotel. The end goal of most marketing activity is of course increasing your revenue – but the hard sell approach is simply not appropriate or desirable in blogging and content marketing in general. Instead of trying to push sales with convoluted sales talk, focus on identifying the needs and wants of your target market. Tell them how you can help them achieve their goals and book the holiday of their dreams – without explicitly demanding anything of them.

Posting Irregularly
There’s no need to blog every day, but post as frequently as you are able. Once a week is better than nothing – doubly so if the content you are producing has veracity and substance rather than being all ‘fluff’. Don’t feel the need to pad out recycled posts for the sake of content marketing volume. Quality beats quantity when putting together your business blog – but so does consistency of posting. If you’ve decided on a schedule, be sure to stick to it. 

Failing to Promote Your Posts
Once you’ve got a blog post you’re happy with, why not tell the world? Promote it on your social media channels. Display it prominently on your webpage. Promote it in as many ways as you can through as many ‘shareable’ means at your disposal to help the news spread like wildfire.

Relying On Text Alone
Adding images to your posts gives them extra appeal, helping you to visualize key concepts and promote the unique benefits of your hotel without resorting to clunky sales text. Studies have found that images can increase engagement significantly versus plain text alternatives, so consider breaking up your posts with infographics (great for social sharing!) and images. This gives both visual flair and increased credibility to your blog.

Forgetting to Measure Your Results
Remember why it is you’re investing in content marketing in the first place and measure your progress and results against key performance indicators. Look carefully at what posts garner the best response, and which fall flat. Improve your efforts based on these metrics to help create a blog which generates more readers and ultimately, more hotel visits.
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Digital Marketing
Digital marketing, especially for hotels, is becoming increasingly complex. Hotels now have to consider exactly how that can compete for guests in new channels, at each and every stage of the booking journey.

The booking journey is comprised of five simple stages:

1. Dreaming: A total of 68% of business travellers watch travel-related online videos. They can view the guest rooms, and see what facilities are available, which is always a great help.

2. Planning: The average traveller visits around 22 travel-related sites over the course of an average of 10 research sessions before booking. They will end up choosing the option which is the most attractive prospect.

3. Booking: Around 37% of leisure travellers have reported that the internet prompted them to book, up from 28% two years ago. This just goes to show how much technology plays a part in persuading customers to book online.

4. Experiencing: 70% of leisure travellers check into their hotel or flights via their mobile phone. Almost a quarter of all hotel queries come from a mobile phone, as customers can use them on the go, regardless of location. Therefore, having a suitable app will stand you in good stead, giving you a distinct advantage over other similar guesthouses.

5. Sharing: Roughly a third of business travellers have posted reviews online of places they have visited. They also make recommendations via word of mouth, so that fellow travellers know where to book if they need to travel to attend a conference or meeting.

online-hotel-search

Make sure your site is compatible with a range of devices
A hotel’s content has to look eye-catching and attractive on any device, and this can be somewhat confusing. For example, if you have a hotel website which is composed in Flash, then you are automatically excluding iPad users who will not be able to view your property, as Flash sites are not visible on Apple products.

The single biggest tip which hotels should follow is to thoroughly research hotel digital marketing platforms and see which systems they should implement. They have been designed for ease of use, but also deliver capabilities which would have been beyond the reach of the majority of hotels just five years ago.

Cloud-based digital marketing systems are evolving and changing constantly, and are available on monthly subscriptions. Your content is optimised specifically for the device which is accessing it, be it through an app or via a desktop or mobile device, driving bookings through your most profitable and rewarding channel.

Within a period of 18 months, it is predicted that hoteliers will be able to manage their SEO, web presence, pay-per-click, reservations, analytics, channel management and CRM on one single cloud-based, easy-to-use app. And booking deliveries back into this system will be commission-free, saving valuable time and money.

The power of Social Media
Having a good presence across all social media channels is extremely important. Providing content and posts which are engaging to your customers will have a significant impact on your overall presence. Customers that are engaging directly with you can make suggestions to their network groups, and will ‘like’ and ‘share’ your page if it is well-presented and visually appealing.

Through popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, Facebook, you can also enhance your overall online presence. An active Google+ page will help your SEO presence on Google so that rankings will improve radically. This is because Google has the power to insert certain pages right at the top of search results if someone else in your Google+ circle has liked your Google+ page.

Consequently, a more active page with interesting and informative content will ensure your property reaches the highest rankings possible on Google’s search pages.

Conclusion
Though pay-per-click will not work for all hotels, it is extremely important to evaluate whether or not these campaigns could get you, even more, bookings, or secure reservations which would otherwise have gone through an OTA at a much higher cost. The next few years will see some brand-new cloud-based services which will allow hoteliers to communicate with their guests directly.

They should embrace this innovation, as it will decrease the dependency on OTAs, which has to be a positive thing. If things keep on going the way they have been, then a stronger online presence is required if you want to make your hotel stand out from the crowd and become a force to reckoned with in the industry.
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Digital Marketing
In the hotel industry, it is becoming more and more obvious that you will want your homepage to rank for the word ‘hotel’ as well as describe where you are situated. However, there are also a number of other options available to you which will also make a considerable difference. How can you use other hotel-related keywords which can be targeted by detailed, informative blog posts, internal pages and landing pages?

Content marketing begins with getting a general understanding of your target audience, and then tailoring the customer journey around these findings. Content has to engage, inspire and enhance the general user experience.

By empowering an audience with creative, concise content, including local attractions and activities, trending topics and eye-catching visuals you are already on the road to instant success. Your content has to be optimised for conversational and local search and saturate a diverse and wide ranging variety of channels-from your own webpages to blogs and then to Facebook.

seo

Look at different KPI indicators, for example time spent on a page, bounce and click-through rates and engagement patterns. This then enhances the content and encourages people to respond via mobile, and makes them more likely to make a reservation.

Keyword research comes in extremely handy, as you can use keyword tools such as Google Adwords in order to enter search ideas and terms which you think people may look for when they are planning a break away. They can really let their imagination run wild, and let Google come back to them with the end results. This information can then inform landing pages and blog posts as to how successful their research has been.

When researching keywords, it is important to remember that you have far more chance of ranking when it comes to including long tail keywords which are basically longer, more specific phrases. Long tail keywords are certainly easier to rank for, but they result in far less search traffic overall. That being said, the search traffic which they do generate is often of a superior standard.

You need to take everything into consideration when it comes to piecing together a detailed hotel SEO strategy and researching hotel-related keywords. It is safe to say that no-one is searching specifically for your own brand name (it is always good to use Keyword Tool to check this). Often when you surf the web, there will be a brand name placed right in front of a meta title. Meta titles are read by Google, and then are presented in their search results. The meta title is also seen at the very top of your web browser or in a tab if you have multiple windows open at once.

If your hotel website design uses an integrated content management system such as WordPress it can be relatively easy to customise your titles so that they relate to your brand as a whole. The specific field which you are looking for when editing a page or post is the meta title. Whilst meta keywords are normally seen as redundant in this day and age, the meta title and meta description fields are directly pulled in to Google, which is why you should still use them.

One thing which you do not hear people talk about that often is the heightened importance of a website’s internal link structure. Some individuals argue that an internal link structure is not that important in the general scheme of things, but it can hold more sway than links to your site from elsewhere.

For example, if your hotel website attracts a first-time visitor who then navigates their way to the room page, then what would the next step be? They could end up looking at available options for a single room; however what they are really after is more information regarding rates for double rooms instead.

If the user cannot easily navigate from the page providing information about single rooms to the double room page, are they likely to peruse a site trying to search for the link, or move away and book with another hotel instead? This is the practical side of having an organised internal link structure. You risk losing customers, and have a higher chance of converting visitors to your site.

With landing pages it is always a good idea to have a lot of links which direct you straight back to them. This is vital to effective hotel search engine optimisation. Your landing page is also a sales page; therefore you do not want to give users the chance to bid a swift and hasty exit. Some people will even go as far as to remove main navigational links in a concerted effort to assist visitors further down the sales process.

Both the Google Search Console and Google Analytics have specific functions and dimensions, but they both work together so as to guarantee maximum effectiveness and usability.

Google Search Console is the central hub for all information directly related to your hotel website. In Google Search Console check for signs which could be affecting your search rankings, and then get a general overview of the search terms and queries which people are using in order to find their way to your site.

Analytics is a completely different entity. Whilst Search Console is primarily known for controlling the management and indexation of your website, Analytics is used to gather insights, statistics and reports into the traffic that your site receives.

From sales tracking to goal and conversion management, Analytics offers a fantastic array of tools to keep up to date and record exactly what is happening with users on your website. Just like Search Console, Analytics is a technically-advanced and immense website. There are a lot of brilliant guides and resources which you can take advantage of which will help you get to grips with Analytics, and ensure that you know exactly how it works.

Google Places and Google Plus are very similar to Search Console and Analytics in the way in which they work together. If you have a business with an enhanced physical presence, then you really cannot to afford to ignore Google Places. And, if you want to increase your search engine ranking further, then you should not cast Google Places aside either.

Google Plus is Google’s very own answer to Facebook. The biggest advantage that it has is that you can build your very own community within Google’s social network. If people want extra data relating to your company then where are they going to look? They will definitely check their personal social network before looking on other pages and your website. Having a Google Plus page and making connections via this medium will really help you to get on the right side of the world’s largest and most dominant search engine.

Being registered for Google Places allows a small box to pop up on the right hand side of Google as soon as you start to search for a specific business or brand. It also makes your hotel visible on Google Maps. Normally, this information displays a mini Google map relating to the address of the business, and where it is located.

It also provides information regarding the phone number of a hotel as well as when you are allowed to check in and check out. Registering for Google Places helps search engines pull out individual phrases and optimises their listing, and will attract even more attention.
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Digital Marketing
In recent times, digital marketing for hotels has become increasingly complex and multifaceted. Hotel managers nowadays are required to look after rooms, service guests, and take care of availabilities and pricings, and they also have to compete for guests in digital communities and new channels. This is the reason why so many hotel owners are asking questions related to how they can expand their brand online and still make the time to run their own businesses efficiently.

The glaringly obvious choice has been to take on additional staff to cover shifts, but this tactic presents a temporary solution. Demand for digital marketing shows no signs of slowing down, and the problem will therefore continue to escalate steadily. The best way in which to tackle this underlying issue head-on is to invest in digital marketing tools and architecture which provides consistency when it comes to the entire multi-channel experience. This will then prepare hotels for future marketing-related demands and ensure that guests have a memorable and comfortable stay.

digital marketing

Your hotel’s own website is the very best opportunity that you have to sell your services to guests and make them want to book a room right away. If you want to grab their attention and keep making sure that they continue to browse your page then it has to look the part, and provide all the details they are looking for.

On average, guests spend around six minutes on hotel websites. This presents an ample chance to entice future guests with bold, striking pictures, detailed room descriptions and attractive seasonal offers which makes the general decision to book both simple and predictable, without any hidden agendas. One additional important item is to show them what guests will get when they arrive at your destination. If you choose to include videos (and this is advisable) then make sure that they are at the heart of your web strategy and then you will leave your guests wanting more.

But when was the last time that you updated your website? If you have not made any alterations in the last two years then it could probably do with a bit of renovation. 60% of customers are considered to be social travellers. These guests use one or more social networking platforms during the duration of their search, buy and shop process.

Hence the reason why it is essential to manage ratings accordingly, and have a professional-looking appearance on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages. You should also embrace the opportunity to engage over mediums such as Twitter and Facebook and answer any queries as soon as they are posted. In order to use social networks so that they amplify your message properly, ensure that every good experience that your guests describe is shared on the different digital communities.

For photos, the best results can be showcased using Flickr and for videos YouTube is the way forward. Also, do not forget how important emails can be. It is still the most widely used mechanism on the digital scene, and can be used to share itineraries and ideas of different trips.

Mobile traffic is by far the fastest growing category in digital marketing, especially when it comes to travel-related matters. Google research has indicated that 19% of all hotel searches are already executed on mobile devices. If you have deployed a mobile solution previously, then you will begin to realise that mobile-based consumers have much more single-minded behaviours.

All they want to do is search for the hotel’s phone number, address or even book a room for that night, or the day after. Whilst success can be discovered using mobile as a stand-alone media, it also provides the largest rewards when used as a multi-channel, integrated engagement platform. If you can also provide consistent, precise messages across mobile, social and the web, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the most relevant and suitable offers are prioritised then this is what the core function of digital marketing is all about.

When it comes to digital marketing for hotels, you need to diversify your channels and make them clearly visible to onlookers. Some sites remain dominant when it comes to online bookings, and this can pose a threat to guesthouses around the world. It can mean that they depend on single channels which already demand sizeable commission-based results. If you are the manager of a bijou boutique property then you could consider signing up with certain online sites so that more and more customers are aware of your existence. By having a strong digital presence you are already one step ahead of the competition.

Digital marketing is not merely a one-time, instantly forgettable project. It is an entirely new and interesting discipline which must be embraced by hotel managers if they want to make an impact. However, digital marketing does not necessarily mean that you have to get to grips with a number of new tools and resort to hiring even more employees in order to keep customers happy.

Using the appropriate equipment, hotel managers can then use their existing e-commerce knowledge and reservations staff in order to create interesting campaigns, follow-up and still reap the rewards of increased marketing exposure. Choose your tools wisely in order to minimise setup costs, and provide maximum ‘wiggle room’ when it comes to inventing new and appealing strategies.

A truly successful digital marketing plan has to provide consistent multi-channel experiences to hotel guests. This can easily be achieved by using a variety of tools, or an all-in-one hotel digital marketing platform. However, no matter what kinds of tool you opt for, there should be an in-built architecture which works effectively across all platforms.
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Digital Marketing
Today’s hoteliers have to make their choices wisely and think before they act, as any rash decisions could have potentially damaging consequences. Choosing a highly-regarded digital marketing agency should be viewed in exactly the same way that you would a prospective business partner, and done with the same scrutiny, inquisitiveness, honesty and proof of performance. You need to make sure that everything is taken into consideration and make an informed decision based on the information you collect along the way.

But where do you even begin? One of the first things that you need to do is ascertain which agencies are suitable, and then draw up a shortlist. Maybe call colleagues at other hotels and businesses and enquire as to who they have worked with in the past and ask for any recommendations. You could even elect to hire an agency search consultant who will delve deeper and help you source and select an agency that best befits your bespoke needs.

Digital Marketing

This might end up costing quite a lot of money, as the process can be somewhat long-winded and arduous, and therefore you could end up spending a fortune. Most specialists charge hefty fees for their services, so maybe it is worthwhile considering other options. You can always do the research yourself, and follow simple guidelines to select a worthy group of candidates. So what is it that you should be looking for, exactly?

You have to know what it is that you want for your business. Do not be the ‘yes man’ who smiles and lets people do what they please in order to achieve results. If there is something that you want changing then it’s important to inform the agency straightaway. On the flipside, if you really like a particular aspect then let them know that they are doing a good job.
If you cannot speak to them honestly and openly before you decide to secure their services then will you be able to do so once you hire them? Make sure that the size of the agency fits the size of your bank balance. Remember that we are all little fish living in a huge ocean, and so do not want to get out of our depth. You cannot run before you can walk, so it is perhaps prudent to take smaller steps before making a splash.

Larger agencies cannot afford to divert the crème de la crème of talent to smaller accounts, and should you need some extra attention it is far easier for a big shop to walk away from your business without giving any notice. Maybe it is better to plump for a little agency that really counts on your revenues as they are certain to do everything in their power to keep you happy.

Look for carefully-constructed strategies and creative thinking. A decent creative mind can be defined by what you feel entirely comfortable with. Far too many clients choose agencies because their ideas are different and original, but then are surprised when they come up with unusual business solutions rather than traditional, tried-and-tested methods.

Also, do not be afraid to ask about what they know regarding your business, or their own perceptions of your hotel and position in the marketplace. It will be a true test of how much thought and effort they have been putting into your business, and will give you a deeper insight into how they process information and think logically and strategically.

Never judge a book by its cover, but take a look at previous case studies and see if they fit the bill. Talent comes in different shapes and sizes, so arrange meetings with people who will be working on your account and ask relevant questions relating to your business so that you can then determine if they are the perfect agency for you.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to find professionals who you genuinely feel can help you grow and expand as a company. If they also prove to be the kind of people you will want to see on a regular basis then you know that you have made the right decision. Look at what these hotel digital marketing agencies have done for others, and see if this is something which you want for your hotel.

Make sure that their experience and skillset are directly relevant to your business solutions, and that they can translate these qualities to you and your individual needs. Their work needs to match with the promises they make, as so many places will promise so much, yet fail to deliver the goods. You are a far better judge of creative processes than you may think, so use your nous and tread with caution.

Ask clients how much they see of the people involved in these agencies, and even get references if needs be. What are the agencies like to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and do they listen to everything you have to say? Remember to ask for a list of past clients, as they will be able to give you an honest and genuine account of what they are really about without worrying about any future repercussions of saying anything slightly negative or being too blunt and forthright.

If you can help it, then it is wise to not ask about any speculative creative work. You have not got to know them properly yet, and they do not know you, so you cannot figure out any prospective solutions until you have built up a healthy working relationship. It is nigh on impossible to resolve all marketing-related issues within the space of a few days, or even a couple of weeks, as it takes a little bit of time and patience.

Make sure that the agency is truly integrated. Far too many companies still have different media offshoots and departments set up in order to amass even more profit, and they will all be fighting for a slice of the action rather than focusing on your overall brand. Today’s marketplace requires an agency to be flexible and take a more universal approach to digital marketing which embraces everything from direct sales and SEO services to advertising, e-marketing and social media platforms.

As you start to narrow down the search, take the time to meet with the agency several times, instead of placing all of your eggs in one basket and secure a deal after a brief one or two-hour discussion. Anyone can appear interesting and engaging after a couple of hours, but it is only after an extended period of time that you can really get to know an agency and be aware of any potential flaws or strengths. Also, take a look at how they run an office, as if the atmosphere is positive, productive and energetic then this is a huge positive.

Treating agencies as your business partner begins from the very second you invite them to participate in pitching an account, and you should be able to feel a relationship going from strength to strength throughout the selection process. If you have been paying close attention and setting enough time aside in order to determine what it is you want to get out of the experience then this will pay dividends.
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Digital Marketing
From the years of 2010 to 2015, the thriving hotel industry of China has been growing at a rate of around 9% per annum. The Chines hospitality market has been growing at a steady pace, and continues to develop and improve. A recent study stated that in 2013 there were an estimated 2.5 million hotel rooms dotted around China. In comparison to other, more mature markets in the USA or Europe, China has a relatively low hotel penetration, with around 4 rooms per 1,000 people.

By 2023, these figures are expected to reach 6.3 million rooms, with 8 rooms allocated per 1000 people. The hotel industry benefits significantly from foreign tourism, Chinese residents travelling to other cities and the 2010 Shanghai Expo. As for luxury hotels, they can be found in larger and mid-sized Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shenzen or Shanghai. Also, 6 out of 10 luxury hotels are geared towards those who prefer the finer things in life.

digital marketing

With more than 660 million internet users in the whole of China, having a decent online presence in order to attract potential guests is an absolute must. The easiest and most effective way in which to build an online presence is to have a well-thought out and structured website. However, you cannot just settle for a standard, run-of-the-mill page, as it should present particular elements which appeals to the typical Chinese high-end customer.

If a website has classy, stylish design and is pleasing to the eye then this is considered highly desirable. China ranks 47th out of 100 in the EF English Proficiency index, therefore it is important to be able to translate any site into Chinese for ease of reading. High-quality videos and pictures emphasise brand storytelling, and if you choose to write relevant, concise content about your services, including useful information and top tips for the Chinese visitor this will be a huge plus point.

A built-in online booking form is recommended in order to enable the Chinese visitor to directly book on your website. Testimonials and feedback from satisfied customers is also a fantastic way in which to get people talking, as China’s word-of-mouth is getting stronger by the day, so it is wise to dispel any fears straightaway.

You may also consider making your website responsive, as this is an extremely effective marketing tool. In actual fact, 88.9% of Chinese citizens use their mobile phone in order to successfully navigate the internet. So adapting your website in order to suit your device’s specifications and requirements will help in improving the online customer experience as a whole.

Along with a high quality, dedicate webpage you should also implement a solid SEO strategy which is tailored to meet all requirements. Successful SEO optimisation is essential to any business, and can really make a difference. If you manage to get to grips with complicated marketing techniques then this will ensure you remain one step ahead of your competitors and shows that you are always thinking ahead.

Presenting attractive and captivating visuals such as pictures and videos will ensure that your brand has a dominant theme, and really causes a stir. It is the perfect way in which to promote a hotel and makes sure that it represents luxury, comfort and opulence. And, if you take into consideration that more than 91% of people booked a room at a luxury brand online (around 32% was through a tablet or mobile phone), then it is important that you make sure you are completely different from your nearest rivals.

Chinese customers primarily use online travel agencies and official hotel websites. The OTA market is getting larger and larger every day, and shows no sign of slowing down. As demand increases, competition becomes even tougher, and many guesthouses can struggle in the quieter months especially.

The Chinese perceive image to be an extremely important factor when it comes to finding the perfect hotel which best befits their bespoke needs. And reputation is everything. If you want to make a name for yourself then you need to foster a positive reputation and avoid the risk of negative feedback and poor reviews online.

If you want to secure a reservation through a hotel booking engine then you need to make sure that it is easy to navigate, available in a multitude of languages and allows for quick access. The last thing that you want is a site which takes ages to load as slow service drives customers away and they may even start looking for viable alternatives which are not as time-consuming.

It is clear to see that keen Chinese travellers are extremely tech-savvy, and always have their finger on the pulse. Factor into the equation that they are also the world’s most populated country and you cannot deny the importance of trying to tap into this particular market. If you want to cater to this extremely powerful group, then you have to do something different and set yourself apart from other similar guesthouses.

Chinese tourists are much younger and more independent nowadays, and they know exactly what they want. The potential to generate consumer interest amongst this niche audience is huge, but it is always a good idea to do some research beforehand. You have to think about what it is they want, and how you can manage to get them to book a room directly with you rather than someone else.

There are a number of simple touches and tweaks you can make in order to appeal to the younger generation. In terms of cultural expectations, providing certain must-have amenities such as tea and coffee making facilities, dressing gowns and slippers and a range of toiletries will better serve Chinese guests and enhance their overall experience. If you avoid room numbers with a number ‘4’ in them (an old Chinese superstition) then this will also make people more inclined to book a suite.

Technology-wise, the little things make all the difference. If a hotel chooses to offer converters, adaptors and a variety of chargers then this will be highly appreciated by those who consider technology to have a major impact on their day-to-day life. On a larger scale, providing complimentary Wi-Fi is an absolute must, as over 75% of guests immediately ask if there is Wi-Fi access as soon as they get to reception. A good internet connection is something which hotels have to invest in as this will guarantee repeat custom.

You do not need to make any major alterations to the way in which you run your business, as it does not take a great deal of effort in order to see turnover increase and make sure that every individual thoroughly enjoys their stay. All you really have to do is think about what it is the customer is looking for, and then tailor your services around these particular preferences.

As far as hotel marketing solutions are concerned, it is important to keep up to date with ever-changing modes and trends. Outdated technology should always be replaced by more modern equipment, and you have to make sure that your SEO strategies are up to scratch, as this will prove to be extremely lucrative in the long run.
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Digital Marketing, Social Media
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It might still be viewed as one of the internet’s newer social media platforms, but Instagram has already been around for almost six years. In that time, it has reached the incredible goal of achieving more than 400 million users, meaning 30 per cent of people who go online are now on Instagram.

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Over 60 per cent of users log on daily, making it the second most engaged network after Facebook, and over 40 billion photos have been shared – that’s an average of 80 million a day. It isn’t just for teenage bloggers either: 48.8 per cent of brands are on Instagram, a figure that’s expected to rise to 70.7 per cent by 2017, Brand Watch reports. What’s more, engagement with brands is 58 times higher per follower on Instagram than on Facebook and 71 per cent of social media users are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow. With millions of potential guests at your fingertips, can your hotel social media strategy afford to be without Instagram?

However, with so many live accounts out there, it’s important to keep yours high on people’s agenda once you’ve launched it. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to increase your number of followers and hopefully your hotel’s bookings to boot.

1.   Always use high-quality images This might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people still upload images to the internet that are blurred, pixellated or have something else wrong with them that make them difficult to view. This can be really off-putting and will suggest to would-be guests that you aren’t putting much effort into your relationships with them – and therefore might not be putting much effort into your rooms or service. Don’t waste any opportunities to create photos that could be widely shared – always make them high-res and of something interesting, whether that’s the beautiful view from your beach or a snap of your smiling chef at work in the restaurant.

2.   Make the most of hashtags Instagram posts can be labelled with hyperlinked hashtags and that’s a great way of making yourself visible to more followers. Don’t just use the obvious ones though – ride on the back of things that are trending if you can. There are lots each day so you should be able to find at least one that’s suitable. Perhaps you could take a photo of your restaurant’s best dessert for chocolate pudding day, for example, or one of an ice cold drink for International Beer Day. Think creatively and benefit from the extra exposure that can arise when people look up trending topics and click on them curiously.

3. Come up with contests People love competitions and you can also achieve the advantage of getting more pictures for your hotel’s account if you task would-be guests with entering photographic contests every so often. All you need to do is come up with a theme and a hashtag and then invite entries and followers. You’ll have to provide a nice prize too, whether that’s a free night’s stay at your property or a branded goody bag, but the extra exposure is well worth that expenditure. You might find that some of the images (and your hotel’s name with them) are shared worldwide.

 4.   Add videos A relatively new addition to the Instagram portfolio is videos of 15 seconds, so consider uploading some once in a while. You could try a panoramic view around your property’s pool, for example, as it helps travellers to envisage being there and that in turn could increase bookings. Lots of situations might benefit from video, so have a think about what you could film around your hotel and try it out.

5.    Up the envy factor Instagram is very similar to the glossy magazines that arose in the 20th century in that it sells a lifestyle to those who dream of being like the people in its pictures. They feel as though they could achieve their dreams if they only own a particular product or could travel to a particular place. You can capitalise on this by ensuring that everything you post from your hotel’s account is truly enviable. This can be done with just a little creativity, so think about how you can make artistic photos from around your property to make them appeal that tiny bit cooler. It might be an idea to use trendy-looking models who can drape themselves appealingly across your snaps to attract that elusive hipster crowd, since more than 90 per cent of Instagram users are under 35 and therefore might be swayed by such things.

Adding an Instagram account to your hotel’s portfolio might mean a little more work in the marketing department, but the benefits are likely to well outweigh this and could help you stand out to a millennial audience that sees photo viewing and sharing as the norm.

 
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