Hotel Marketing — Questions & Answers

We reviewed this A/B concept for an Inn during the webinar.

We reviewed this A/B concept for an Inn during the webinar. This is rough, but the B version shows elements used to persuade visitors to fill out the form.

[Editor’s Note:  You may also wish to watch our recent webinar on Smart Ways to Book More Rooms]

I always enjoy the webinars and online trainings we do because it pushes me, as an instructor, to come up on answers and solutions for questions students ask.  Keep those questions coming!

We had some good questions at the end of the webinar on Smart Ways To Book More Rooms” we did for PAII (we’re proud to be a member) — Professional Association of Innkeepers International — last week that I’m going to follow up on here: (more…)

Need More Leads? Marketer’s CRO Guide is out!

They’re here — our new book, The Marketer’s Concise Guide to CRO, is out and available on Amazon, and also direct from our publishing division — have a look at ordering options for corporate trainers and instructors here (plus… a publisher’s special discount!).

The Marketer’s Concise Guide to CRO offers a comprehensive review of CRO tools, tactics, and techniques to help marketers grow their businesses in a targeted and meaningful way. With an overview of different site tests and a comparison of online analytical tools, anyone from marketing students to career marketers will find something useful in this comprehensive guide.


Hotel Marketing Tip: Don’t Sell the Steak—Sell the Sizzle!

Sell the sizzle of your hotel's story

You have an opportunity to tell your story… and make it sizzle!

Born at the turn of the 20th century, Elmer Wheeler has long been lauded as the father of persuasion marketing. Known for coming up with ingenious ways to upsell everything from shaving cream to crude oil, Wheeler has also been credited with coming up with some of marketing’s most important adages, from “don’t ask if but which” to the concept we will be discussing today “don’t sell the steak—sell the sizzle!”

If Mr. Wheeler were alive today, he could surely give us countless examples of sizzle. A New Yorker profile on the marketing maven tells of how he would carry a square clothespin with him to illustrate the “sizzle” behind these everyday household objects. You see, back in the days of yore, way before clothes driers, clothespins were round and–consequently–more likely to roll under furniture and far out of reach. Then, in the 1920s, square clothespins entered the scene, and their “sizzle” (the fact that they don’t roll if you drop them) helped them take over their round counterparts within a matter of years. (more…)

Smart Ways To Book More Rooms

Online Education Webinar from Webdirexion

Below is a recent webinar we did for Hoteliers and Innkeepers on “Smart Ways To Book More Rooms” in conjunction with Checkfront* — an innovative cloud booking service with some
unique marketing features
(see also our post on Hotel Marketing Q & A)

*Webdirexion has a marketing agreement with Checkfront because they offered the best solution for our clients in our opinion. Do contact us for a comparison table of three popular booking companies.

Are Facebook Ads Even Worth My Time?

Facebook ads can take on many appearances depending on the ad type and the device used to view the ad.

Facebook ads can take on many appearances depending on the ad type and the device used to view the ad.

Are Facebook ads dead?

Short answer: no, they’re not. Not even close.

Long answer: Facebook ads are still very much alive and thriving. How alive you might ask? Looking ahead, KISSmetrics statistics indicate that Facebook is expected to generate at least $4 billion in revenue this year of 2015 from ads alone.

For that kind of money to be spent on ads alone, it’s apparent that this method of marketing is worthwhile and working for many businesses.

So why do certain ad managers swear that Facebook ads are a lost cause? This could depend on a number of factors, but most likely businesses that didn’t see any immediate results so they became discouraged and turned off their ad campaign prematurely. (more…)

Optimize Your Hotel’s Social Media Presence

In preparing for our PAII Webinar on Online Marketing Recommendations for Websites (Sept. 30th — register online, it’s free), we took a closer look at some Hotels & Inns we had reviewed recently to look for the strengths in their social media strategies.

Below, I’ll outline some things we know are strong for both the Balch Hotel and the Edenwild Inn with regards to their presence in the social venues.  First, let’s look at the Balch Hotel:

Balch Hotel has a strong social presence

The Balch Hotel covers a range of social sites including those above (Google+, Twitter, and Facebook) with a smart strategy to emphasize different advantages of staying with them


AirBnb vs. BnBs in Seattle

Join us for a webinar with PAIIProfessional Association of Innkeepers International— next week on Sept. 30th at 10:30am PST/1:30am EST on “Top 10 Online Marketing Recommendations for Inn Websites” – » Register online (it’s free)!

The debate rages on about AirBnB versus some hotel industry trade associations and city governments.  A lot of innkeepers and hoteliers we talk to continue to resent AirBnB.  That’s understood.  But it still looks like this “disruptive” technology play is here to stay, so what can we learn when we take a look at the big picture?  Are there opportunities for smart, progressive BnB owners?

Let’s focus on Seattle inside the city.  In future posts we’ll consider smaller rural areas, but a review of three different map sources of data for Seattle is quite revealing in this major metropolitan area, to start with:


Look at the pure density of rooms and homes being rented out in the emerald city. AirDNA produces this map and counts 3200+ AirBnB properties available in Sept. 2015 for Seattle, WA.


Million $ FAIL: When Office Depot & Microsoft Forgot to Test

Forgetting to test means game over

Remember in the iconic Sci-Fi flick, Aliens, when the marine (played by Bill Paxson) said “Game Over”? That’s exactly what happened to Office Depot and Microsoft when they forgot to test.

I’ve got a book coming out about CRO — Conversion Rate Optimization — which involves testing your websites and landing pages as an essential tactic, so I thought I’d tell you a story about two well known brands who failed to test, and lost millions because of it.

It was the year 2000 and the two big brands looked around them and realized things were going to change.  Microsoft realized that software in a box was going to move into the cloud.  Office Depot saw the same writing on the wall and realized that it would mean aisles of software in boxes, representing significant revenue, drying up and vanishing.  What to do?  Bingo.  Start selling software as a service in the stores.  So, they created something called bCentral (yep, the official press release is still out there) — a package of website creation, scheduling, and ecommerce tools — then hired a cadre of sales and ecommerce consultants in 20 different major US cities to sell the services and consult with clients. (more…)

What’s the Right OTA Play for Inns & Hotels?

OTAplaySmaller properties of 6-20 rooms can be reluctant to maintain a presence and room inventory on OTAs like Expedia and TripAdvisor.  But are they shooting themselves in the foot?  Both the “Billboard Effect” and the “Pay to Play Effect” do indicate that you’re leaving money at the table.

The Billboard Effect:  Did you know that industry studies show using OTAs increases room reservations — at your own site?  According to an article on Hotel Business Review, “…Cornell Professor Chris Anderson found that a hotel’s direct bookings increased from 7.5 to 26% when listed on Expedia, perfectly illustrating the impact that the billboard effect has on a property’s direct bookings.”

It works like this… a prospective guest sees the generic site they create for you on Expedia or or TripAdvisor (your “billboard” on that platform), then leaves the OTA site to book at your own site, assuming you are set up for smart on-site booking and mobile ready.   (more…)

10 Marketing Tips to Boost Profitability at Your Inn

Innkeepers and hoteliers wear so many hats, that it can be hard to concentrate on lifting your marketing game. Fortunately we live in an era with a wealth of online marketing resources and technologies plus research for boosting results.  But the the best solutions go beyond tactics and technology to the core of persuasion psychology. I’ve learned a lot about all this in close to 35 years in the trenches, so I’m pleased to share my own top 10 list to help you win the quest for heads in beds:

1) Tri-Leverage your blog content:  Make your blog do triple duty.  First, write each blog post with highly relevant content to increase your rankings.  Second, use an automation tool (we like Hootsuite, or to automatically push posts to social media — set it and forget it.  Third, set your blog RSS feed to go out monthly with excerpts from your posts and a special or two using a smart email service like MailChimp (great pricing — send to 2,000 subscribers monthly for free).

Use of photos showing human emotions is essential in hotel marketing

Which of the three images are essential to engage prospective guests? Answer:  The people shot (bottom right) — folks buy on emotion. But which pictures do innkeepers show more of on their websites?

2) Sell the sizzle, not the steak:  Should a sailboard manufacturer sell the composition of the board, or the experience of sailing across the water?  Should a restaurant show it’s store front and food only, or sell the social experience the venue affords?  Should an Inn show only its rooms (the steak); or show guests enjoying breakfasts and heading off to local adventures (the sizzle)?  You get it.  Sure, it’s easier to settle just for room and building photos, but you’ll sell more when you present the sizzle of the vacation. (more…)