Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

The Value Of Pinterest to Hotel Sales & Marketing.

Saturday, April 28th, 2012
The Value Of Pinterest to Hotel Sales & Marketing.
By Carol Verret
Thursday, 19th April 2012

Is Pinterest just latest ‘shiny new toy’ or will it have staying power?

In February Pinterest drove more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn (LNKD), and YouTube combined. (HotelMarketing.com, 3/26/12).

Couple that statistic with the fact that 93% of its users are females, and you have a powerful tool for the leisure and social market.  It only took 9 months for Pinterest to go from 50,000 users to 17 million – it took Facebook 16 months.  (commsource)

Pinterest formerly told its users to not use the site for self promotion and pin stuff they found on other sites.  This lead to a potential copyright infringement issue as many photos are copyright protected to their photographers.   Pinterest changed its user agreement to encourage  ‘pinners’ to post their own photos and other ‘stuff’ thus opening the flood gates for business use.  (WSJ, 3/26/12)

In an article entitled Is Pinterest the New Facebook (Jessi Hemple, Fortune Magazine, 3/22/12) differentiated the two in the following manner. “People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you’re keeping a pinboard called “Spring handbags I’m considering,” there’s a good chance you’ll click through and make a purchase.”

What you pin on Pinterest should support and enhance your brand.   Pinterest is all about envisioning an experience and that dovetails nicely with the emphasis in hospitality on creating guest experiences rather just ‘selling’ them a room.   It also is purely visual which eliminates the marketers’ adjectives in copy that the customer has long since stopped believing.

Pinterest creates a sense of place and helps visitors to the site visualize experiences they may have at the hotel – they can put themselves in the pictures.

However, like all social media, a strategy for what the property wants to accomplish with the page needs to be in place prior to engaging and not just ‘pinning’ everything from the web site or Facebook.   Pinterest to be used well should also focus on the destination as well as the property.  “When it comes to pinning, the breakdown will be approximately 70% about the city and 30% about the hotel, (Kelli) Crean (ecommerce manager for the Roosevelt Hotel) said.”  (HotelNewsNow, 3/28/12)

Pinterest allows multiple pages and contests.  Use the multiple pages to focus on many different experiences at the property.

As Pinterest is so new it is hard to use the term Best Practices but the following can be a guide to a Pinterest strategy:

Leisure Travel

As Pinterest users are 93% female and it is females who normally gather information and pick destinations for summer travel, it is the perfect medium to stimulate web site traffic this summer.  Make sure that your page has interesting pictures not just pics of a bed in a room unless it is a great bedding package.  Include photos of experiences in your destination and don’t forget the kids — if you have a great kids offering and/or unique kids menu, take a picture and ‘pin’ it!

Weddings

Brides love Pinterest according to USA today “It’s changing the industry” for vendors, planners and magazines, says Anne Fulenwider, editor in chief of Brides. Since she took over the title in November, Pinterest has “exploded and really changed the conversation.” A majority of her readers are pinners. (USA Today,  4/13/12)  Don’t just pin a picture of the ballroom set for 250.  What do you remember about your wedding – wasn’t it the details, the little things?  Pin a picture of a beautiful place setting, a napkin fold, a centerpiece, etc. Do your pin-ing with a sense of style! Build a page where your brides can post pictures of the wedding they had at your property – this counts as a recommendation!

Meetings

Don’t just pin a banquet room set for 120 theatre style.  Pin a detail of a special break.   Pin a photo of a special lunch prepared by chef.   Pin a pic of the banquet menus for special breaks, a team building program you offer, meeting attendees taking off for  a quick 5k before the meeting – the only limit is your  imagination!  Run a contest for meeting planners!

Restaurant and Bar

What can I say but don’t take a pic of the peanuts or bar mix unless it is something really special!  Pinterest loves F&B!  Pin a pic of a special app or drink to promote ‘happy hour’.  Serve a spectacular burger?  Pin it! Take a detail from one of the chandeliers or if you are a historic hotel, pin your claim to fame or a detail from the original building.

Pinterest is perfect for all types of properties but it, like Facebook, levels the playing field between the boutique, lifestyle and independent hotels and the large chains.  If you don’t believe me, log onto Drury Inns’ page – you will find the most appetizing pic of a hot dog I have ever seen!

Real simple Remote Revenue Management can drive your REVPAR this summer but summer is coming soon!    Don’t wait – ask us how we do it!  Click here for details http://tinyurl.com/3fuysft then call us at (303) 618-4065 or email carol@carolverret.com .  We’ll share success stories with you!

Travel Industry Responds to President Obama’s National Tourism Strategy Announcement

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Travel Industry Responds to President Obama’s National Tourism Strategy Announcement

by on January 20, 2012 in Marketing, This Just In, Tourism

Yesterday, in Orlando, FL, President Obama announced new initiatives that will significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. According to a White House statement, yesterday’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes – such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274% and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010.

The U.S. tourism and travel industry is a substantial component of U.S. GDP and employment, representing 2.7 percent of GDP and 7.5 million jobs in 2010 – with international travel to the United States supporting 1.2 million jobs alone. The travel and tourism industry projects that more than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the U.S. increased its share of the international travel market.

Key components of the President’s initiative include the creation of an interagency task force charged with developing a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, shortening visa wait times, expanding Global Entry, promoting our national parks and working to expand the visa waiver program.

Tourism advocates are touting this groundbreaking announcement as a major victory, and rightfully so, but the question remains, how will this strategy affect and assist American place marketers in the years to come?  We welcome your thoughts here.

Here are some snapshots at what some of your colleagues are saying about the announcement:

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:

LVCVA President/CEO Rossi Ralenkotter, who was in attendance for the announcement, commended the President’s actions. “Tourism is the No. 1 economic driver in Southern Nevada and one of the leading forces in our national economy, so to have a national effort to increase tourism supported by the White House is tremendous,” Ralenkotter said.

Visit California:

“International visitation remains an untapped pot of gold when people cannot get here,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California and Vice-Chair of Brand USA. “With an abundance of visitor experiences and a brand loved worldwide, California has a tremendous opportunity to benefit from efforts to improve the entry process for foreign visitors and remain the number one tourist destination in the United States.”

North Carolina Department of Commerce:

“Today’s announcement marks a turning point for our industry and provides us with unparalleled opportunity to work toward a national travel and tourism strategy,” said Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding in the N. C. Department of Commerce. Minges said. “These efforts to make it easier for international visitors to get here will have a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy because their spending supports jobs and adds to tax revenues in the state.”

The addition of Charlotte Douglas (CLT) to the Global Entry program, created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, makes the airport more inviting to international travelers. The airport, which ranks seventh in the world in takeoffs and landings, has nonstop direct service from more than 30 international cities.


About Brittani

Brittani Wood is a Senior Account Executive and Digital and Social Media Manager for Tourism. Since joining DCI in 2008, she has worked with destinations from Finger Lakes Wine Country to New Mexico to Tasmania, creating traditional and digital communications campaigns that increase awareness of travel destinations among media and consumers.

Running a Smarter Small Business

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Running a Smarter Small Business

It’s not necessary to work harder at your small business if you can just work smarter. It’s a well-known practice of the most successful entrepreneurs, tending to what’s important, ignoring what isn’t and knowing how to spot opportunities and problems before they arrive. Here are some simple tips to raise your small business’s IQ.

Tips

Build a business people will want to buy. No, this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to sell your business now or ever if you don’t choose to. But creating a saleable business also usually means creating a healthy and profitable business, and who doesn’t want that, right? It’s a pretty important yardstick for your business success. Is your business something people would want to buy? The Portfolio Partnership

Integrate social media effectively into your company. Are you using social media in your business today? This can involve much more than simply marketing. But if you already have other components of a more traditional marketing plan in place, you may definitely wish to combine them with your social media efforts. No matter what you are using social media for in your small business, you should integrate it into your other efforts too. ShopTalk

Planning

How to get things started. It’s important for more than just seeking investment or loans. A business plan should contain the information you will use to run and grow your small business. But where do you start when creating one? Creating a business plan takes thought and preparation, but it should never be a drudgery. Here are some steps to get you started on the business plan right for you. Expert Business Advice

Tips on the planing process. There are many concerns raised by small business people and entrepreneurs about the right way to create a business plan…or even if they need one. This example from one small business shows the benefits that having a business plan can truly give you. Realize the importance of a strategic approach to your small business when creating the best plan. Open For Business

Marketing

Keep blogging with these 20 tips for topics. Maintaining a blog for your business can potentially be a critical component of your marketing plan. But keeping a steady stream of original content flowing can be a challenge while running your business and serving customers. Not the least of these challenges is coming up with regular ideas you can transform into regular blog posts. This list of sources for inspiration should help. Riches Corner

Making your business show up on Google. Making your local small business visible on Google searches and on the Internet in general is more critical everyday if you plan on winning more business. Whether you happen to be interested in Tim’s service or not, his post and related videos including an entire online marketing blueprint for a local insurance company offer a wealth of information for any small businesses. timmcgarvey.com

Operations

15 ways to cut your small biz costs. There are a lot of ideas for cutting costs in your business without cutting productivity. Look for ways you can accomplish the same activities at lower costs and maybe even with better efficiency. Remember that many of your small business costs are based on decisions made over time. Re-evaluating these decisions over time may help you identify other options not considered previously. Angel Business Advisors

When financial insolvency may be near. Whether looking at your own business or the business of a competitor, customer or partner, it can be critical to see the signs. Could financial insolvency be ahead for your business or a company with whom you might have a strong business relationship? It’s important to know the signs and not be caught by surprise when financial difficulties appear. CorporateLifeOnline

Policy

Do we really need the SBA? Has the Small Business Administration finally outlived its usefulness? This issue has come up before with other calls to get rid of the agency whose main designated function is to loan money to small businesses. But if small business loans and even the demand for them are few and far between especially in a rocky economy, is the agency really worth the cost? WSJ

Changing roles for the self-employed. What could new pressure to re-evaluate the status of the self-employed mean for entrepreneurs and small business people? The stated aim of a “Freelancers Union” trying to get the Department of Labor to change the way it looks at “independent workers” is to improve working conditions for a major new segment of the economy. But the qualification could be so broad that it would apply to many small business owners too. Would this be a good thing or a bad thing for your business? Bloomberg Businessweek

5 tips on repeat business marketing for SMEs

Monday, May 30th, 2011

5 tips on repeat business marketing for SMEs

David Mercer, Site Prebuilder | May 18, 2011, 5:06 PM

Traditional small business generally has to rely on word of mouth to grow the customer base, but the rules have changed thanks to the Internet and Internet marketing. If you aren’t already generating revenue via your web presence, it’s time you adapted to take advantage.

The following tips and techniques are aimed at doing two things:

  • Build a community of customers and potential customers
  • Engage and lock customers into your company

By keeping everyone and anyone who has shown interest in your products or services within your reach, you drastically increase your ability to spread ideas and communicate – market. The Internet is vast, and all you have to do is grow a tiny fraction of that into your business following and you’re going to make big money.

Here are five powerful internet marketing tips that will help drive growth and profits for your small business through repeat business.

1. Integrate your traditional products & services with a website

Add an internet or online component to all your products and services – even if it is something as simple as support. Whatever it takes to get customers who have bought something to sign up to your website.

2. Add SEO enhanced, high quality content to your site on a regular basis

I know that writing content is a distraction from an already hard and full day’s work. However, online content is an investment in your business’ present and future marketing, and something that will start working for you as your online presence grows.

3. Offer incentives for customer to sign up to a newsletter

If you think that adding a newsletter is more trouble than it’s worth, ask yourself this:

If you could email every customer who has ever bought (or even thought about buying) something from you, whenever you had some exciting new product, deal, special or so on, how much would that be worth?

Offering a newsletter with interesting content and information is a great way to expose people to more products and services.

4. Offer an online forum, group or chat for registered users

Give your customers a place to vent, criticize or praise and engage with them through your website. This not only provides valuable market research and feedback for you, but also serves to build trust.

5. Integrate social networking facilities

Encourage customers to like and share your content. Get them to follow you on twitter. Get them to join your FaceBook group or connect with you on LinkedIn. In other words, keep them in orbit around your business.

In the current economic climate, when many small businesses are struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever to hold on to new and existing customers with both hands. If you look back over your accounts for the past year or so and find that a significant number of customers only completed a single transaction, then it is time to use these 5 internet marketing techniques to drive revenue and repeat business like never before.

Creating an Insider’s Guide

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Creating an Insider’s Guide

Without too much effort, you can help serve guests with custom guides.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Steve Pike
Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston
Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston

Opened in 1912, Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel is one of the great landmarks in a city filled with landmarks. But even landmarks need to stay up with the times. The Fairmont Copley Plaza has launched a weekly “insider’s guide to Boston” via a QR code for guests’ smartphones.

A QR (Quick Response) code basically is a two-dimensional bar code that can be encoded with information such as text and URL. The Fairmont Copley Plaza uses it to link guests to its newsletter. The newsletter features news and information about the 383-room hotel as well as the insider’s guide to some events and sites around the city.

“Guests can access the QR code check in,” said Suzanne Wenz, director of public relations for the Fairmont Copley Plaza. “It doesn’t replace any kind of concierge service or all the things that go with that service; it’s just something that a little bit fun.

“We’re a historic hotel. I think it’s always nice when a historic hotel incorporates something more ‘techy.’ We’re really having fun with it. It saves a little paper, too. Our restaurant went to a local event recently where we wanted people to have the menu. They got it off the QR code, which went right to the menu.”

Applying a QR code, Wenz said, is simple and free. A property can find a QR code generator online and plug in the URL it wants to track.

“It doesn’t take a lot of manpower,” Wenz said.

The “insider’s guide” inside the newsletter isn’t your typical city guide. That is, most visitors to the capital of Red Sox Nation know about Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market and the boutiques and restaurants on Newberry Street. What the Fairmont Copley Plaza wants to provide is short guide to the Boston the locals know and love.

“What we try to do pick things most people don’t think about,” said Wenz, who has lived in Boston for the past 20 years. “Everybody wants to check out the Freedom Trail – and they should – but what our little newsletter is meant to do is provide information on things off the beaten path that maybe people don’t know about .

“I work with our marketing coordinator and we work with our colleagues at the front desk and concierge desk because they have their ears to the ground to what’s cool and what’s fun to do in Boston. So between all of us we’re able to offer something for a lot of interests. It’s our way of saying, ‘here are some things we like to do and we thought you might like them, too.’”

eValueWeb: Evaluate, Update, Regulate – Is Your Web Site Working For, or Against You?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

HOLBROOK, NEB. (June 3, 2010)—Regular maintenance is a part of everyday living. Cars’ oil levels need to be regularly checked. Children need yearly physicals. Even chimneys, air conditioning units and furnaces need looking after. Well, guess what? The same holds true for web sites.

Web sites are one of the most advantageous marketing tools available to business owners, allowing them to not only be “open” 24/7, but to reach customers and clients around the world. However, web sites also require constant monitoring and updated information, graphics, and usability features or functions. A web site featuring old information or outdated graphics could negatively impact business.

To help Nebraska business owners avoid the pitfalls of bad or ineffective web sites, GROW Nebraska is offering the affordable eValueWeb critique. The cost is $30 for basic GROW members, or $15 for GROW bundle members. Non-members will pay just $205 for the critique (includes GROW Nebraska membership through December 31, 2011). Registration deadline is June 30 and completed critiques will be received by August 1.

A jury panel of web industry experts in e-business strategy, graphic design, marketing and usability testing will rate the web sites in audience/purpose, graphics, navigation, content, functionality and search engine optimization. This year’s panel professionals include:

· Jason Berry of Wildberry Production Group

· Kurt Guntner of Blue Collar Design Studio

· Ryan Cole of Three Pillars Media

· John Stappert of Power Computing, Inc.

· Angela Stueckrath of Angela Stueckrath Consulting

· Lance Hedquist of South Sioux City Economic Development

· Kelly Diekmann of Perfect 11 Solutions

· David Hefley of Meridian Consulting

· Doris Lux of Central Community College-Columbus

· Derek Bierman of Shockra Multimedia and Design

· Sara Brownwood of Impact! Media & Marketing

· Erik Miller of CleanSheep Design

· Melody Hansen of Sublime Artistry.

The juror’s biographical information and photos are available at grownebraska.org/webeval/.

GROW Nebraska member Ann Wooledge of Wingsets in Lincoln was glad she participated in a past critique. “I can say the money was certainly well spent. Their comments were very constructive and helpful.”

eValueWeb and membership applications are available on the GROW Nebraska web site at www.grownebraska.org. To find out more about eValueWeb, call GROW Nebraska at 888.GROW.NEB (476.9632), or e-mail info@grownebraska.org.

GROW Nebraska’s mission is to maximize the state’s entrepreneurial and small business spirit, create an economically viable and sustainable environment for entrepreneurs, and generate social awareness through promotion, marketing and education.

Summer Tourism Ideas

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

TOURISM & MORE “TOURISM TIDBITS” for July 2010

Summer Tourism Ideas

Many tourism locales see the summer months as high season. Prices rise, at times the service is a bit less, and many tourism attractions, hotels, restaurants or transportation systems know that the summer’s receipts will determine the success or failure of the entire year. Furthermore, many locales take the position that once spring has passed, marketing may be a waste of time, as summer vacation plans have already been made. Certainly some areas of the world are heavily dependent on the summer traffic patterns. For example, many beach communities (especially those located in cooler climates) may receive up to 90% of their gross revenues from summer sales. Even non-beach resort locations see the summer as a time of great opportunity. For example, urban areas may view the summer as a time when local residents flee to cooler climates, but may also benefit from visitors seeking a cultural experience (especially with their children) at a time when big city life may be a bit less scary. This summer may also be a challenging one for many locales. The economy is still shaky in many parts of the world, and some people may simply put off a summer vacation or skip this year’s vacation. To help you prepare for summer and turn the year into a great season here are a several ideas;
Tout Being Affordable. No matter where you are realize that people will be looking for bargains this summer. Push everything from summer coupon books to places where one can spend a bit less. Be careful not to push too hard, as that can drive down prices to the point that local tourism agencies cannot afford to stay in business. The trick is to give value mixed with good service. In fact in a down economy service becomes an all-important aspect. Our guests, many of whom are struggling to afford a vacation, do not want to feel that they are anything but honored guests.

Teach all front line people to smile! Closely related to good service is a sense of caring and an open friendly attitude. This is the year to remind all front line people that no job is ever guaranteed. We have to earn our jobs with each guest. All too often the tourism experience has been anything but joyous. There is no better advertising or marketing campaign than a friendly smile.

Do not be afraid of visitors from another country. Follow currency exchange rates, for example, if the euro is expensive against the dollar than Europeans tend to flock to the USA. If however, there is a rise in the value of the dollar, Americans may return to Europe. Remember foreign travelers tend to spend a lot more money in a locale than does the local population. The trick is to make their travel as easy as possible. Offer easy locations in which they can exchange money, print multi-lingual maps and guides and encourage restaurants to have menus in more than one language.

Do not be afraid to promote the long weekend. Not everyone may be able to afford in both time and money a two -four week vacation. These people may be looking for weekend get-aways that start on Friday and end on Monday evening. The other alternative is to have creative midweek special. A may prefer to sell its rooms at 50% or the rack rate than not at all. If the economy is shaky, then focus on attracting people from nearby states.

-Be creative in offering not only stress-free summer vacations but also de-stressing vacations. The current economic situation has placed a great deal of stress on lots of people. Think through how you can facilitate hotel check-in and out, help people to locate locations around the community, and not get lost. One of the reasons that people are often stressed out after a vacation is that travel is no longer fun; be it in a car, airplane, boat or railroad car. Develop ways to make your transportation terminals feel more “homey” and less stress inducing. Do not forget to watch gas prices. While gas prices traditionally rise in the summer months, watch for trends and if they become too expensive use this expense as a creative marketing device.

Market even in the summer months. Not everyone has made summer plans, and there are always those people who are seeking a last minute get-away. Remember that creative marketing this summer may provide you with a list of potential new customers for next summer. Remember that good service is the best form of marketing. Seek the time when media prices are lowest and then blitz selected markets that may become new niche marketing zones.
Create a summer marketing web campaign. The web is a great took especially for last minute travelers. Consider such things as:
– Special summer itineraries
– Special summer web specials
– Divide your attractions by style, location and price
– Directions from any place to any point in your locale
– Lists of what is near-by each attraction, from hotels to restaurants to clean rest rooms



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