hotels

Hotel Marketing Benefits With Foursquare

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October 29  |  Social Media Sites  |   Ryan Clark

 
For those hotels still wanting to get marketing on Foursquare, or those unsure if it’s worth it should quickly watch this short video. Taken at SMX West recently, Bhawna Sharma talks with Foursquare’s own Tristan Walker about the specific benefits. As you know, we do a lot of hotel marketing and Foursquare is a gold mine for regular business use, driving into their API for advance use or coming up with unique link bait that works from their platform. At the very least, get your hotel in their system and build that venue page because you’ll at least get a nice link and the attention of current users.

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Interview With Hotel Marketer Are Morch

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June 27  |  Interviews  |   Ryan Clark

I’d like to thank hotel marketing consultant Are Morch for making the time to take the interview, I know how busy this guy can be! I met Are through Linkedin.com and like to point out how that social network is great for not only making business connections, but leading to opportunities such as this interview. A large portion of our blog readers come from the hotel/travel industry and I thought Are would make a great interviewee for that target crowd.

 

Introduction:

My name is Are Morch, and I am the author of Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist. Born in the beautiful country of Norway, but live today in Tupelo, MS with my spouse. My background is from IT, public administration, customer service and hotels.

Been fascinated by social media since I first started with BBS (Bulletin Boards). Started my first online business in 2001. Got into blogging in 2008. That was also when I got active with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

I fell in love with hotels in 2004 when I started as a reservation specialist. You learn a lot then what people put into building their dream hotel experience. In 2010 I combined my passion for hotels and social media. And in 2011 I have specialised myself on how to leverage hotels with LinkedIn.

What Areas Of Social Media Has The Hotel Industry Taken To In The Past Couple Of Years

Social Media has really awakened as a sleeping beauty for the hotel family: customer relationships, customer care and customer service are all hot topics in social news.

Hotels started with a little ‘wait and see’ attitude. But some early adapters got on to it, and started the word-of-mouth effect within the industry. There are several gatekeepers within the hotel family. So this new trend had to pass several stages before it was widely accepted.

But when hotels discovered this they also had to be where the consumers where, they started to introduce social media in a larger scale. Hotels have traditionally focused on reputation management. Here your main focus is customer service through social media channels like TripAdvisor and Yelp.

Today where the main focus is consumer engagement, hotels have got more involved in real time social networks.

Many hotels today are true social media melting pots.

How Can A Hotel Best Manage All These Social Trends Without Losing Out

Involvement is the key for hotels today.

First off, all hotels need to identify employees that have large quality social media networks, and find new unique ways to embrace these as champion brand advocates.

Many small hotels indicate challenges with social media due to limited budgets. This is one reason for employees to be involved, and assist in building a strong network.

With employee involvement together they need to define social media guidelines, and a social media strategy.

When you have you build a network of champion brand advocates through your employee then you can start on groups that will help you manage trends.

Focus on your Hotels Key Performance Indicators (KPI);
- Listen
- Involve
- Engage
- Influence
- Action
- Response

What Can You Say To The Hotel Owners That Are Still On The Fence About Social Marketing

I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ person, many hotels will still do ok without social media.

We will at some point in time come to a tipping point where the majority of hotels will have to be on social media, but we are not there yet.

Scarcity is not good guideline to follow. This often results in that the hotel becomes more reluctant to social media. I will often advice the hotel to follow the approach I gave in my previous answer.

Do You Think This Levels The Playing Field For Smaller Hotels, Or Does It Make Life Harder

Challenges small hotels have with the economy is probably for many bigger then challenges with Social Media. In my opinion all challenges is just an opportunity in disguise.

Is There Any Advice You Give Your Clients On How NOT To Go About Social Media Marketing

The most common mistakes to avoid are;
- Not to listen
- Not involving your network and peers
- Not following the 80/20 rule
- Talk about your network and peers info show how this adds value. Give 80% and make yourself receivable. Then you receive your 20% back over and over again.
- Not be to self-promotional
- Not respond
- Not have put in place proper social media guidelines and social media strategies

Do Hotels Need To Create Different Content For Social Media Opposed to Their Website Content

Yes, the hotel website is their professional online billboard. Here the message need to be short and to the point. And provide quick answers for the consumers needs and wants. Plus have an visible booking machine on their website.

Social Media is the engagement and response channel. If you put consumer engagement first, then you will start handling customer relationship and customer care in open fora. This will again result in more effective and satisfying customer service experiences for all parts involved when issues arise.

What Are Your Thoughts On The Recent Sofitel “Press” – Good Or Bad?

It is often unfortunate when this happens. But it happens. This is why it is so important for the hotel itself to be visible on social media, and have proper listening outposts in place.

You have to be able to provide proper response, and since most social media is live you have to respond reasonably fast also. Others will talk about your brand either you like it or not. And if you don’t provide a proper response people will assume that the picture that is painted is the true picture.

How Can People Connect With You Online

They can find me at:

Blog: Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist Blog
LinkedIn: Are Morch
Twitter: @AreMorch
Facebook: Are Morch – Hotel Advisor and Social Media Strategist

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Luxury Hotel Marketing: Links & Social Media

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January 20  |  Niche Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

The Linkbuildr team works with a lot of hotels, in fact this niche is our personal favorite due to the amount of hotels we stay in. I don’t know what it is, but I love staying in hotels almost as much as I love doing their marketing. There are so many interesting marketing tactics that can come into play, so lets go over a few we take care of for our clients.

While link building for hotels is a daunting task, it is more time consuming than difficult. The social media aspect is nothing short of tons of fun! I’ll get into some unique link building opportunities you can jump on today, as well get your thinking about your social media and content strategy for 2011.

Parntership Opportunities:

The main thing we stress when it comes to quality link building is building partnerships within your industry. The hospitality industry has so many unique opportunities to exploit that you could literally hire someone full time to tackle it…and some of our clients do after they see what we put on the table. Let’s look at three choice opportunities here, and hopefully this gets your brain going. If not, give us a ring and we’d be more than happy to light a fire under your marketing bush(editor note…Ryan is never allowed to use that phrase again).

Hotel Bloggers – There are many travel bloggers out there and inviting one out to stay with your hotel can be more than worth it. This gives your hotel the opportunity to have a hotelier come and literally document your hotel from a different angle. From our experience we’ve seen not only links come in from this, but social media traffic which equaled in more followers on the hotels end. We saw a boost in Foursquare checkin-ins, Yelp reviews and bookings increased almost every single time by over 30%.

Local Businesses – There are plenty of local businesses you already are partnered with in some respect. Since you’re a luxury service provider, look into connecting with local luxury car rentals companies, high end restaurants and spas. You can look into luxury tours, golf courses and real estate agents. They all have websites, social media accounts and both parties can really benefit from an exchange of shout-outs.

Mobile Travel Apps – There are thousands of mobile travel apps out there, are you on any of them? I’d get in touch with app owners if your hotel isn’t included and see what you can do. A lot of the apps are also built on affiliate feeds from the likes of Travelocity, Hotels.com and others. So get into a well know affiliate program and benefit from mass of users out there who will market for you. If you run a boutique luxury hotel, check out the Small Luxury Hotels iPhone App.

Your Content Strategy:

Having great content is the key to attracting links, a better on page time from the user end and just makes you look good in general. You’d be surprised by the number of luxury hotels we work with that have minimal visual stimuli. I imagine your hotel has decadently designed lobbies, lounges and rooms….so show them off damnit!

Hire a local photographer to come in and just go to town all over the hotel. High resolution pictures are great use in your own blogging, filling your Flickr account up, letting your affiliates use the content and use on your other social media accounts. Plus, then next magazine or news print your  hotel gets into, they have a plethora of pictures to choose from.

Video marketing is key, you should fire your marketing team if they haven’t been doing this already. There are dozens of video sites out there that get your best assets in front of the eyes of millions of travelers. Having a large range of videos is also more fodder travel bloggers to embed in their writeup of your place. It gives that newly married couple something to show off on their Facebook page. Videos are also easy to rank, so how awesome would it be to have your hotel video ranking top 10 for say “Manhattan luxury hotel” ?

Create your own iPad/iPhone app for your guests. I can guarantee that most luxury hotels will have an iPad (or something similar) replacing the in-room guest book. Your content can be showcased in high resolution from these along with all the guest information needed. If you really want to showoff, you can tell them how you’re going green and reducing the need for paper.

Video Courtesy: Sofitel Luxury Hotels

Link Building:

The link building opportunities are plentiful, and there are some easily obtained options right at your fingertips. I won’t give away all our secrets now, but I’ll give you a few scraps to get your mouth watering. Link Building for hotels can be a pain, but again it’s all about the relationships so keep at it and it’ll pay off in the end.

Luxury Hotel Directories – While I’m not a huge fan of directories, I’m more inclined in the niche ones that are retaining quality. The reason they’re still thriving is because they don’t allow everyone in, and that keeps their high standards up front and center. Here are a few luxury hotel directories you should look into;

Mr & Mrs Smith – This directory is hard to get into but can open your hotel up to a whole new audience of luxury travelers. They have a suggestion form, so that’s about all I can say about getting your hotel hooked up here.

Elegant Small Hotels – This site is not only on my pleasure reading list, it is a well maintained site for the smaller luxury hotels around the world. You get a link if you’re listed here, as well the exposure and branding is beyond most expectations.

Drake & Cavendish – This is one of the largest luxury hotel directories in the world and you best be listed here. There is a fee to be listed here, but you know all the visitors coming to the site are 100% targeted to your hotel.

Social Media Marketing:

Since Google and Bing both count social participation into their algorithms, then 2011 is the year of social participation. Almost every luxury hotel has a Twitter and Facebook account which is great. Building the followers should be high are your goals list this year, so lets look at a few tactics to handle this aspect.

Contests – We try and get every hotel we work with to run a contest which involves both Twitter and Facebook participation. Make sure you set a blog post up on the hotel blog talking about the contest, but funnel your users both new and old into your Facebook Page from this point. More people are staying on Facebook, so the key here is to nab as many followers as possible. Once they’re a fan on Facebook, you can get at them at almost a daily basis. Do the same for Twitter, run the contest for those followers as well by making them ReTweet to be included. This makes sure you cover all your basis and gets as much social media exposure as possible.

Conferences – Hosting a business conference can be a great boost for business. You’ll not only get links from the conference host site, you will get a flurry of on site Tweets, Foursquare check-ins and other media. How many people are going to be taking photos and video from their smart-phones? How many of those people will be uploading those to their Youtube accounts, Facebook profiles and other social media accounts? If you can’t find a conference right now, go check out local Meetup.com groups and offer to host some of their events.

Social Travel Sites – There are a lot of awesome social travel sites, and hotels are encouraged to sign up and participate. This can be enough work for a full time employee, so keep that in mind. We compiled a list of Travel social networks last year, so take a look at those before going around on your own. These are great ways to target your market audience for almost free. Remember all that cool content I told you to make? This is another great way to utilize it.

Need Help Marketing Your Luxury Hotel?:

We know a lot of hotels don’t have the resources on staff to tackle the bulk of these marketing tasks. I’d like to extend our expertise with a whole range of strategies and tactics we can implement for your hotel. We can even send our lead hotel marketer to your location to handle everything from content creation to kick starting a top notch marketing plan. If you mention this post, we’ll even give you 10% off our services for as long as you’re a client.

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