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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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Marketing Outside the Box 2017

11/18/2016

Hospitality marketing has made waves in the revenue stream in the last few years and lately we are seeing more and more ad campaigns, banners, articles and webinars on the importance of proactive marketing. It is all very effective and has definitely spread quickly among hospitality professionals trying to fit into today’s trends, but there are many unsung heroes, marketing must haves that seem to get swept under the carpet. The not-so-common marketing tips need to be revisited. Here is a small list of marketing ideas that are geared to bring in online customers that are visiting your site, and are either passing by because there was not enough visual appeal, or because you were not showcasing your property as well as you could be. These marketing tips are designed to give you a more proactive connection with your guests; past, present and future.

Video Interviews
I know, it sounds like a great deal of work that sounds good on paper but never gets done. It’s one thing to read reviews on TripAdvisor and social media blogs, but it’s a whole other thing to visit a hotel website and see a video of a guest who raves about the experience. I think it’s a great marketing strategy and can be as simple as your front desk agent or general manager using his cellphone to interview guests. No high-tech equipment is needed. It lets guests share with other potential guests what a wonderful hotel you have and why it’s worth staying there.

Guest Messaging
Have you made calls to companies like AT&T or TXU, companies that have long phone holds and 10 options to get to the eventual wrong department. I personally have started using the web chat options. I was skeptical at first, especially since I’m always calling or chatting about something that has to do with my money. But it works! It’s fast, efficient and gets information right away. So why don’t hotels offer this for guests? Imagine a potential guest that goes to your hotel website for information, and sees a “chat with live agent now” option. The ability to book fast without having to call, or to get up to the minute information about events in town, hotel amenities, or pricing information; all from a cell phone, or tablet would be priceless. As a former GM of a busy Wyndham property, I had regulars text me all the time. No more online booking or calling the front desk, they would just text me directly. Fast, efficient service, and the guests feel special as if someone who cares is personally taking care of their needs.

Appeal Directly to the Millennials
I am talking about social media. We can’t escape it and we shouldn’t. By now, you should already know to have your website linked with all outlets. That’s a given. Now you need to train your staff on working it! I’m a Facebook junkie; every movie, every restaurant, every nice hotel I’ve stay at – you better believe I am checking in and most likely taking a picture to post. Encourage your guests at check-in, when you see them in the lobby during stays, or outside walking to the parking lot; encourage them to check-in and post a picture directly on your hotel website. Offer them a candy basket, or snack basket, or a $10 meal at a local fast food restaurant. Anything. That money will be well paid for when customers see the many check-ins and the pictures from happy customers.

The point is you may not always need high-priced marketing to appeal to customers. Sometimes, the best kept secrets are right in front of you. Train your staff to implement these three tips, call your Web designer to add the “chat live now” option, and reconnect personally with your guests.
 
I promise you, it makes all the difference in the world to have that extra personal attention; and who doesn’t love attention!

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai
President
Websrefresh


Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

 
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