3 Steps to make your newsletters the most dynamic selling tool for your hotel!

Across the Internet, one can find several online services which help hoteliers create fascinating newsletters for keeping in touch with current and past guests or for finding a new clientele. Newsletters are the most direct channel for communicating with your audience, making your hotel more independent and more profitable than ever before.

But which are the important facts that a hotelier should keep in mind, in order to gain the optimum benefit from newsletters campaigns?
Step 1: Build your hotel database focusing on quality audience
The most important fact for an effective newsletter campaign is to have a quality mailing list, with recipients who are really interested in your hotel. It is important to have as much guest data as possible, in order to send effective targeted messages and trigger their interest. So, after defining the info you wish to know about your guests, select the channels through which you will get as more leads as possible.
  1. Your Hotel Guests: It is important to keep the correct data from all the travellers that have stayed at your hotel. These are the most loyal leads who are more possible to come again or send their friends to your hotel. Ask for their email address during check in and reward them by sending to their email a coupon for a free drink at your bar, thus establishing a good e-relationship! This is a good basis for repeaters.
  2. Your website visitors: It is a fact that thousands of travellers visit your hotel website every year. Think of a smart way to drive them to subscribe to your emails and attract their attention with discounts, offers or hidden content, getting as much new leads as possible and building a data base of potential hotel guests.
  3. New Audiences: The Internet makes the process of finding new audiences with characteristics that interest you very easy. Use social media to gather as much new leads as possible and make their subscription special by offering to them special benefits for staying in touch with your hotel.

Smart Tip: Do not forget to categorize your data base in a correct way, that will allow you to create more personalized messages that will easily raise the attention of your audience. Among the several data like name, country and age, do not forget to write down the source of the lead, so that you can be aware of the level of engagement with your hotel.


Step 2: Define a communication strategy based on the profile of each recipient
It is very important to have a standard plan in you newsletter communication strategy. Having in mind that an average person receives thousands of emails every year, make sure to create a plan that will be helpful and not annoying. Create a communication plan based on the important categories that better address the needs of your audience.
  1. Concierge emails: If the subscriber is a current guest, send to his or her email all the important information about your hotel, giving them tips that will enhance their stay even more. Do not forget to keep up the excitement and have in mind they are already on their holidays, so what they need is something pleasant and easy to read.
  2. Sales Emails: Offers are always welcome and travellers love them very much. Create valuable and extra engaging offers and build a different plan for each subscriber category (current guest, website visitor, new lead).
  3. Leisure emails: These emails make the travellers dream of staying at your hotel, presenting exciting facts & content about your property. Make sure that you have something really special to say, each time you decide to send one.

Smart tip: As most Newsletter tools allow you to build automated emails, create a ‘Welcome subscription email’ per recipient category, starting a good and direct communication from the very beginning! For example, if the person is a current guest give out some freebies or send special discounts to the new travellers you have reached through social media. If the subscription comes from your website, then send an immediate offer with extra limited time of redeem, so as to support your direct bookings.


Step 3: Pay attention to the interesting content and the impressive design
Whatever message you want to send, and no matter which is the audience, the aesthetics should be high and the content comprehensible, clear and interesting. Work on each newsletter separately and keep in mind that your Hotel Newsletters reflect your total hotel identity:
  1. Visual Design: Create a different design for each newsletter category you send. The visual needs of a Sales Newsletter are completely different from those of a Leisure one, and this is something that needs careful work to be done correctly.
  2. Texts: Do not use extensive and complicated texts, as it is very possible to loose the interest of your audience. Most newsletters are read on a mobile device, so they must be prompt and to the point.
  3. Offers: Give to your offers the credibility they need. Give a short deadline or include a voucher in the email, giving an added value to the communication. Of course, do not send poor offers and make sure to use them only if you are really generous.

Smart tip: Maximize the personalization level by sending personal text emails that address each recipient with their name (your Newsletter service will have this option). Personal text newsletters have an increased potential to be read, as they do not look advertising or spam. Send a personalized email according to each recipient category, and get the maximum attention and success of your newsletter campaign.

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How To Post Like A Social Media Magnate

Who doesn’t feel like the king of the universe when they scroll down their Twitter or Facebook feed and see tons of likes, shares, and comments? 

Social media is an effective way to engage with potential guests and has cemented itself as an important marketing channel, but far too many businesses, hotels included, either hand off their account to some young relative or ignore it altogether. In this post, we’ll cover best practices and creative tips to help you drive engagement on your social media channels like a pro.

 

Best Practices
1. Images, stats and quotes engage best
Statistics overwhelmingly show that people interact with visuals on social media more than plain text updates. Sharing photos is an easy way to engage with your audience, especially high-resolution, high-quality pictures of your property. Booking.com does an excellent job of using photos of its partners’ properties to drive engagement. After visuals, stats and quotes collect the most eyeballs on social media. Stats get 10 percent more retweets than those without while including a quote in your tweets makes it 19 percent more likely to get retweeted than non-quotes.

My weekend actually starts in sweatpants on my couch, but I wish it started here.

 

2. Shorten URLs
While this may seem like a small detail, shortening your URLs with services like bitly will save you characters, which is important for optimal social media performance (the ideal length for tweets is 100 characters, while the ideal Facebook post is 40 characters). Plus, you can track your link statistics.

 

3. Post at the right time of day
The jury is still out on the right times to post on social media. Common practice says downtimes such as before office hours, during lunch breaks, and after work are the best times to post, but studies present conflicting data. The best way to find out what is best is to test different times with your audience. Every audience is unique–maybe most of your audience is in a different time zone or maybe they have atypical schedules. Try testing different post times to determine what works best for you.

 

4. Respond to customers—the good and the bad
Engaging with your customers is essential to a good social media presence. Encouraging conversation by responding to customers builds engagement and fosters good sentiment from your audience. While this is easy to do with customers who sing your praises, it is more difficult and even more important to respond to negative customer feedback. Sometimes a simple, “I’m sorry you feel this way. What can we do to improve your experience next time?” goes a long way.

Think of a negative customer review or comment as an opportunity. But, whatever you do—respond. The world of social media a very demanding, fast-paced space with 42% of customers expecting a response within an hour. If the comment goes unanswered, you have no chance to remedy the situation, but by responding to the customer graciously, you have the chance to mitigate the negativity and earn respect from the customer.

Mishandle one of these situations or leave it unattended, however, and the negative sentiment can spread. Be sure to avoid automated messages at all costs, as being impersonal is just about the quickest way to make the customer feel even worse.

Who knew Flo was so insensitive?

 

An interesting scenario arises when dealing with people who poke fun at brands on social media—affectionately known as “trolls.” While there is no protocol for dealing with these situations, avoid responding negatively. Responding earnestly, like poor Xbox Support below, may feed into the joke, but will avoid potential conflict. In certain situations, replying to jokes with jokes can be both appropriate and a unique way to handle the situation while gaining brownie points from your audience.

You don’t want to know what happens in Grand Theft Auto, Xbox—trust us.

Keeping our fingers crossed for McCheese/Hamburglar 2016.

 

Spammy posts are best left ignored, and usually fairly easy to identify. Be wary, as social media is as good a platform as any for spam and phishing.

 

5. Think before you post
While this may seem like common sense, you would be surprised at how many big-name brands forget this simple rule. Just type in “social media fails” on Google, and you’ll see how many mistakes brands have committed, garnering negative PR and customer sentiment. Your hotel should not post about hot-button issues and should generally stay away from public tragedies unless they directly affect your local area. And, of course, be genuine in these scenarios—try not to offer condolences where they are not welcome. Insincerity never results in a positive outcome.

 

6. Be useful
Offer help. Answer questions and concerns. Provide content your audience wants to see. This is the main objective of social media as a marketing channel. While page likes and follower counts certainly aren’t bad and can make you feel good, meaningful engagement is much better.

Social media has received so much attention as a new marketing channel because it provides an avenue for companies and organizations to connect with customers directly in a meaningful, conversational way. The old school advertising tactics of “talking-at” customers is over. Be someone who people actually want in their news feeds by providing quality content that creates value for them. Some consumers come to social media to find deals, so posting promotions that your hotel is running on Facebook is certainly a good idea, but be sure to keep a healthy balance between promotional and informational.

 

7. Tailor your post to the specific channel
Remember, every social channel works differently and what may make a great post on Twitter might fall flat on Pinterest. You should tailor your posts according to the intended purpose and limitations of each channel. Check out this awesome infographic that Hubspot created to show the components of a quality post on each of the major social media outlets.

Facebook’s recipe for success.

 

Creative Counsel
Now that we’ve covered some best practices for your posts, you may be wondering how to amp up your voice to engage the socks off your followers.

 

1. Write catchy calls-to-action
Grab your audiences’ attention in 90 to 150 characters. An effective CTA increases the likelihood that will click the quality content that you provide your audience. Check out this post on our blog for a rundown on how to write effective CTAs.

 

2. Borrow from what inspires you
During his Ziggy Stardust days, David Bowie was asked by a reporter, “Are you original?” He replied: “The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”

Newsflash: Nothing is original.

Content demigod Janet knows this. Identify sources of content that are useful to your audience and check them for regularly for shareables and inspiration. For example, Janet regularly reads local magazines and websites for events to share with her hotel’s audience. Check your sources on the regular and keep a running list of potential things to share in case you content drought later.

Be like Janet—and David Bowie.

 

3. Be timely
The name of the game on social media is keepin’ it fresh. Tailoring your content to seasonality, holidays, special events, etc. is good source of fodder for when nothing else is going on. Is autumn coming to in your area? Share a photo of the colorful leaves around your property and nearby autumn activities. Is there a convention coming to your town? Post about your available lodging nearby. Hotel Tonight has done a good job recently of utilizing temporality in their posts by targeting empty-nesters at the start of the school year.

You deserve a vacation, parents, and this pool looks awfully nice.

 

Be sure that your content is relevant to the timeliness of your post. Luckily for hotels, there are many timely things to post about, but try to avoid forcing your way into events for the sole purpose of earning likes. Make sure the event or time is relevant to what your audience wants to read. Don’t be like OxiClean …

Bit of a stretch, Oxi Clean.

 

4. Have a sense of humor

Studies consistently show that people prefer to share humorous and positive content on Facebook and other social media, so keep it light and don’t be afraid to crack a joke from time to time. People want to buy from humans—not marketing drones. There’s one thing big companies with lots of money can never compete with, and that’s your personality. It’s like Eve says: “I do what they can’t do, I just do me.”

 

5. Don’t be condescending with “like-bait”
Using like-bait photos and statuses—which often beg users to like the post, like the Oxi Clean photo above—does little to benefit anyone other than your social media agency. While they may win some likes and comments, you are not creating value for the consumer or building trust in your brand. Avoid the temptation to boost vanity metrics and instead focus on creating value and trust using the rest of the steps above. For anOnion-like take on engagement-bait posts, aka examples of what not to do, check out the Condescending Corporate Brand Page.

Who do you think I am, DelMonte, Jack Bauer?

How to use Instagram to promote your hotel and attract guests

Posted May 18th, 2016

9 interesting things we learned about TripAdvisor’s new method for ranking hotels

9 interesting things we learned about TripAdvisor’s new method for ranking hotels

Posted June 8th, 2016

If you have a profile on Facebook or Instagram, the order in which you see updates from your friends, family, and the brands you follow, is decided by what’s known as an algorithm.

For the most part, your Facebook newsfeed will show you the most recent status updates – but the social platform often makes headlines when it changes the algorithm to display updates in a different way.

TripAdvisor has recently announced some changes to its ranking algorithm and the way it displays popular hotels – and it appears to be good news for hoteliers.

Here are 9 interesting things we learned about the new method for ranking popular hotels:

  1. Travellers and guests are sharing experiences faster than ever before
    Back in 2006, there were six million reviews on the TripAdvisor website. Today that figure stands at more than 350 million – and travellers are adding 200 new reviews and photos to the website every minute.
  2. …and the record number of reviews resulted in ‘fast-risers’
    There were instances of newly-listed hotels skyrocketing to the top of rankings after securing their first few 5-bubble reviews – also known as ‘fast-risers’. Eventually, as more travellers submit reviews, the rankings would level out. But of course that’s less than ideal because fast-risers would temporarily enjoy higher positions, and other hotels would appear lower than they would have otherwise.
  3. Hundreds of millions of reviews were analysed to fix it
    When designing the change of algorithm, TripAdvisor analysed hundreds of millions of reviews covering the past 15 years. They researched how the rankings of properties were impacted over time. The result was an enhanced popularity ranking algorithm placing more emphasis on quantity and consistency, as TripAdvisor explains: “Doing so helps stabilise the ranking for all businesses, reduces fast-riser behaviour and creates a more accurate overall ranking for our travellers. We’ve tested the enhanced algorithm extensively – both internally and by analysing how travellers interacted with the site as we’ve gradually rolled it out.” For hotels, this change happened between February and April 2016.
  4. Ranking continues to be based on quality, recency, and quantity
    TripAdvisor’s method for ranking properties continues to be based on quality, recency, and quantity. But how does the site define these?Quality
    If all other things between two properties are equal, then the one with the most 4- and 5-bubble ratings will rank higher than a business with lower bubble ratings.

    Recency
    TripAdvisor says that recent reviews are more valuable to travellers than older ones, therefore, more consideration is given to newer reviews.

    Quantity
    Multiple reviews help travellers make a more balanced and informed decision. TripAdvisor says that a hotel doesn’t have to have more reviews than others – just enough for your guests to make a comparison that is statistically accurate and meaningful.

  5. You’ll be rewarded for your consistently good guest experience
    The new algorithm does a better job of rewarding your great customer service – so the more you deliver outstanding guest experiences, the more you’ll benefit. As TripAdvisor explains: “A property that has many consistently good reviews will rank higher than one that has many reviews, some of which are good and some of which are poor, all other things being equal. That’s because we can have more confidence in our ranking if a large number of travellers are reporting consistent experiences at that property.”
  6. It’s all about your current guest experience
    If you’re relying on those excellent reviews circa 2010, then sadly the new algorithm isn’t going to pay off for you and your hotel. Lots of recent reviews are more highly-valued by TripAdvisor because they give the site confidence in the current experience at the property. If your reviews predate most of your hotel’s staff, then work on getting some fresh reviews posted online.
  7. Smaller properties can compete with larger ones
    TripAdvisor says that smaller properties can compete with larger ones. While the website found that smaller properties tend to have fewer reviews (due to fewer customers), the more personalised guest experience and service results in more guests willing to give feedback and write positive reviews.
  8. Management responses don’t count…
    Replying to reviews and acknowledging both positive and negative feedback is crucial to building loyalty and future bookings. Management responses are not a consideration for the popularity ranking algorithm. However, TripAdvisor says responses still make a big impact on your prospective guests: “Our surveys show that 85% of travellers say that a thoughtful response to a review improves their impression of a hotel, and 65% are more likely to book a hotel that responds to reviews versus a comparable hotel that doesn’t.”
  9. Your commercial relationship with TripAdvisor doesn’t matter
    If you have a commercial relationship with TripAdvisor – including hotels that use metasearch, Instant Booking, and business listings – it has no impact on your property’s ranking, which is re-calculated on a daily basis.