Thursday, February 28, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 8 - YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing social media website that offers tremendous opportunities for the hospitality industry. Being a highly visual business, hotels can leverage the maximum benefit of marketing themselves through videos shared via YouTube. There are nearly limitless topics around which a hotel can create videos. Everything from travel tips about your area, cooking videos from your chef, staff profiles and interviews to sightseeing around your destination or tours of your hotel’s features and amenities. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.


Here are a few tips to get the most benefit from video sharing on YouTube:


1. Make Videos Compelling

In order for your video sharing marketing effort to gain any traction, you must create videos that people will want to watch. Just like all of the other social networking sites, compelling content is required.  A tour of your hotel restaurant is great, but may not inspire people to share it with others. Whereas a video of your head chef sharing some of their culinary secrets is extremely share-worthy.


2. Make Them Short

The majority of videos on YouTube, especially the ones that are likely to be shared, are less than 5 minutes in length. If your subject is going to require more time, break it up into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Remember, many people have a very short attention span.


3. Make It Your Own

There are many different types of YouTube accounts available. Explore your options and choose one that fits your hotel’s goals and agenda. When you sign up for a YouTube account, you need to spend some time being creative with your YouTube channel. The network generates this automatically when you sign up, but there are many options for customization. Make it reflect the unique character of your hotel.

It is just as important to monitor and respond to comments left by your audience on YouTube as it is on other social networks. Also, linkage between your YouTube account and other social media outlets is crucial to success. YouTube presents the hospitality industry with the perfect forum for showcasing your hotel with the world.

Written and produced in beautiful Naples, Florida by Visit today to get your free trial subscription to our Social Media Marketing Service.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 7 - Tumblr

Tumblr is a social blogging tool that has gained in popularity over more traditional blog hosting websites like Wordpress and Blogger. It is both a social media network and a blog hosting platform. The simplicity of Tumblr makes it a perfect choice for a hotel just starting out with blogging. However, Tumblr is not effective until a following has been built up. This is not a problem, because a hotel cans simply share or “re-blog” relevant content from other sources in the hospitality industry. Some blogs to follow and share content with may include travel and food blogs for example.

The idea behind a blog on Tumblr should be to share rich, longer form hospitality content, in addition to high quality images. You can showcase your hotel in the context of its location as a destination in travel blog, or start a blog about food in hotel restaurants, for example. You must start out following other blogs and sharing their content. Then they will follow you and re-blog your content. In this way, after establishing your hotel’s blog over time and building up your audience, you will reap the benefits of Tumblr’s viral nature.

Some advantages to using the Tumblr platform include:


  •  Tumblr is easy to use - The Tumblr interface is extremely simple and straightforward. Your page can be set up and you can be on your way within minutes.
  •  Tumblr is low cost - You can save money by not having to pay for a domain name. There are also a large variety of custom themes available for your page, most of them free or for very little cost.
  •  Tumblr has a viral element - Users can share your content by “re-blogging” it and each time your posts are re-blogged, your hotel will be cited as being the original source of the information. In this way Tumblr can really help your hotel’s expand your social presence.


Another factor to keep in mind about Tumblr is its visual nature with half of its content being images. The hospitality industry lends itself well to visual treatment and you have access to high quality images related to your hotel, so Tumblr could be an effective platform for your social marketing efforts. In the next part in this series, we will examine the potential role of the video social network, Youtube, in hospitality social media marketing efforts.

Written and produced in beautiful Naples, Florida by Visit today to get your free trial subscription to our Social Media Marketing Service.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 6 - Pinterest

The highly visual social network, Pinterest, is a natural for the hospitality industry. From a travel perspective, Pinterest is perfect for people to “pin” and share images of their favorite travel destinations and the hotels they stayed in while traveling. Conversely, hotels can share images to entice would-be travelers to come their locations and easily convert them into guests.

Pinterest has been growing at a record-breaking pace since its launch in 2010, becoming the fastest website ever to reach the 10 million user mark in early 2012. Pinterest users started off being predominantly woman but men have been catching on to what the network has to offer over and the demographic percentages have been steadily becoming more equal. Here are some tips for hotels to leverage Pinterest.


1. Share Beautiful Images

The very nature of Pinterest is its visual orientation, seemingly created for a hotel in a spectacular and desirable destination to promote itself. The images need to be of high resolution and as large as possible. Photos of the destination and hotel’s location should out-number images of hotel property, features, and amenities. This is in keeping with all social media’s aversion to blatant self-promotion.


2. Showcase Your Knowledge

Pinterest is the perfect platform for a hotel to show-off how knowledgeable they are of their surroundings by sharing travel tips and things to do in and around the travel destination. In this way, the hotel can provide a service by being a helpful host to their guests in advance.


3. Engage Followers

Pinterest provides a wonderful technique for a hotel to connect with their audience, called “re-pin”. In this way brands can comment on and share content which their audience shares with them. This is how engagement works on Pinterest. When a hotel’s guests share images from their wonderful stay at your hotel by pinning them to your board, the hotel can then comment and share them as well.

With its rich imagery, Pinterest is tailor-made for the hospitality industry. Few industries can benefit more from this social network. In the next part in this series, we will see what the social network Tumblr can offer the marketing efforts of hotels.

Written and produced in beautiful Naples, Florida by Visit today to get your free trial subscription to our Social Media Marketing Service.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 5 - Google+

Launched in June 2011 to compete with Facebook, Google , the ubiquitous search engine’s social network, has struggled to catch on with both the public and brands.  However, interest in and use of Google has grown recently and the search giant has also begun implementing new features. Features such as Google Communities are designed to make the network more useful to both individuals and businesses. Google ’s growth has now made having a presence there essential for hotels, while the SEO gains from being on Google’s social network will prove beneficial as well. Hotels can receive the most benefit from Google by following a few guidelines.

1. Set Up A Business Page
When Google was first launched, it was only for individuals but it soon allowed brands to set up their own business pages. The rules for pages are different from profiles, most significantly in that business pages cannot “Circle” and communicate with profiles until those individuals have chosen to circle the page. Circles on Google work in the same way as “liking” on Facebook or “following” on Twitter. This means it is vitally important for success on Google to include 1 buttons on your hotel’s website and ask to be included in their circles. An advantage of Google for hotels is the lack of an algorithm along the lines of Facebook’s Edgerank. This means anybody who has included your hotel in his or her circles will see everything you post.

2. Use Google For Longer Posts
Google is best utilized for longer posts that might be too long for Facebook and certainly too much for Twitter. Use the platform to give opinions which will drive engagement with the circles your hotel is in. Google is a true social blogging network, unlike Twitter or even Facebook. Encouraging interaction by asking questions and seeking opinions, while sharing lots of images, is what this network is really about.

3. The New Google Communities Feature
Similar to Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, Google Communities is a gathering place for people with similar interests to share information about their specific passions. Found via the left hand side bar and hosted through Google , existing Communities can be easily searched for new Communities can be created as well. This feature provides an excellent way to keep up with hospitality industry information and engage with industry leaders and peers.
The expanding Google social network offers hotels exciting opportunities for attracting new guests while interacting with its audience and industry. In the next part in this series, we will examine the up and coming Pinterest network.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 4 - Foursquare

The explosion of mobile technology has been closely followed by the popularity of Foursquare, a social media network uniquely designed for smart phone users. With this location based service, users can “check-in” or tag themselves at locations and establishments they frequent. Foursquare presents an opportunity for hotels, tailor-made for the nature of the hospitality industry. Businesses that offer promotions to customers who check-in at their location can reap the benefits of Foursquare users who prefer their establishment over another. Here are some things to help leverage Foursquare for your hotel.


1. Complete Your Business Profile and Property Information -

After claiming your hotel’s foursquare listing, make sure to complete your profile as thoroughly as possible. Include photos and descriptive information about your property. The more thorough the profile is the more likely people will check-in there. Anybody can create a listing, so there are likely multiple listings for your location. Foursquare’s website has information to help you weed out the other duplicate listings.


2. Offer Promotions to Foursquare Users

You need to give users incentives to “check-in” at your location. Be creative and use your imagination to offer something that entices Foursquare users. Whatever you come up with, the goal is to not only get them to stay at your hotel, but to tell others about it by “checking in” on Foursquare. Friends in their social networks will see where they are staying and potentially think favorably of your hotel when they are visiting your city.


3. Monitor Foursquare Activity About Your Hotel

Foursquare allows users to post short reviews and give tips and pointers. Monitoring this information is valuable for several reasons. First, it gives you a heads up on any negative comments being made about your hotel, giving you the opportunity to properly respond. Secondly, these reviews can provide you with marketing intelligence along the lines of a mystery shopper. There are tools available to assist with monitoring.

Location-based services such as Foursquare are a perfect fit for the hospitality industry and don’t require much interaction or engagement with users. In the next part in this series, we’ll look at what opportunities are available to hotels on the Google social network.

Written and produced in beautiful Naples, Florida by Visit today to get your free trial subscription to our Social Media Marketing Service.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 3 - Twitter

The shear volume of tweets on the social network Twitter and its resulting highly viral nature makes it vitally important for hotels to have an active Twitter presence. Twitter’s space limitations (140 character message limit) may make hoteliers wonder if it is worth their effort, but that would be a mistake. Since Twitter is all about people communicating in real-time and the hospitality industry is naturally operated in a time-sensitive manner, the two are a good fit.


Make It A Conversation

Begin by just listening, and then join in the conversation. This is where there is the biggest possibility for mistakes. Twitter is not the venue for stale marketing blurbs. Ask questions and answer those that come to you quickly. Re-tweet comments by audience segments that are important to you. Twitter search engines will help you find potential prospects based on terms they use in their profiles. Follow them, listen in for a while, and then join in their conversations where appropriate. Use hashtags (#) connected to important keywords in your tweets. Some people follow certain key hashtags of importance to them.


Complete Your Profile

Your Twitter profile needs to be visually appealing and grab the attention of your followers. First impressions count. Include an image that highlights your hotel, along with a Twitter background in tune with your brand. Make sure your bio is complete and keyword-rich within its 160 character limit. This is important to Twitter search engines. 


Monitor When You Are Mentioned

Keep track of everything said about your hotel as much as possible. You can use Twitter’s advanced search features to accomplish your monitoring. From there you can see all mentions of your hotel, both positive and negative, to stay on top of the conversation and head off any potential problems. Also, monitor Twitter for any mentions of terms related your hotel’s location, such as “Miami hotel” or “beach hotel” for example. Responding to these can be a great technique for bringing in guests.

If used properly, Twitter can be a surprisingly effective marketing tool for the hospitality industry. In the next part of this series, we will see what Foursquare can do to improve a hotel’s revenue.


Written and produced in beautiful Naples, Florida by Visit today to get your free trial subscription to our Social Media Marketing Service.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Social Media News For The Week Of 2/15/13

5 Dead Simple Ways to Track Social Media ROI

 Measuring a company’s return on their investment in social media can be difficult and elusive because of the nature of the medium. Social media marketing is just like an online billboard advertisement, there isn’t any way of measuring its success. Yet it can have a tremendous impact on a business’ bottom line. This article offers some very simplistic, yet effective, yardsticks to gauge your efforts. Full Story Here:


Female Entrepreneurs Say SEO and Social Media Are the Future of SMB Marketing

Women entrepreneurs feel highly optimistic and largely think social media will be a key element in their success. According to a survey by the Nation Association of Women Business Owners, 81 percent of female business owners feel good about the future of their companies. 44 percent of those surveyed think social media marketing and SEO are the future of small business marketing. Full Story Here:


Personal and Business “Bullying” in Social Media: Ways to Manage It

When a brand is attacked in social media, maintaining a calm demeanor is the only means to deal with the situation effectively. Do not sink to the attackers level and strike back; it will only make your company look bad. Instead, be polite, interject some light-hearted humor if possible, and remember the importance of proactively communicating with your audience. Full Story Here: 


Organizing the Social Conversation

Conducting a social media marketing campaign across multiple channels can become an extremely daunting task, especially for a small business owner. Keeping all facets of the campaign organized with a program, in one place, can help tremendously. Also make all interactions on social media more effective by being genuine and making your audience feel like they are dealing with a real person, rather than a company. This will help convert your audience into paying customers, improving the effectiveness of all your social media efforts. Full Story Here:


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 2 - Facebook

Facebook, with its more than 1 billion worldwide users, is at the top of the social media world. The world’s most popular social network not only provides hotels with the most exposure, but offers the opportunity for direct bookings as well.  A hotel’s Facebook presence must be both attractive and engaging, while also staying fresh and useful to its fans. Facebook apps specifically designed for hotels can highlight the best features and important information needed by potential guests.


Make It Visually Appealing

Facebook’s relatively new Timeline format is perfect for showing off your hotel beautifully, creating a positive all-important first impression. The cover photo is the first thing people will see when they come to your page. Choose a high  resolution image that projects the message you want to display.  Remember, the cover photo can be changed at any time and it is a good idea to switch it out periodically.


Engage Your Audience

You need to give your fans compelling reasons to come back to your page. Respond to their comments and make them feel like you are listening; make it a conversation. Show them that you care about their opinions and don’t be afraid to give some of your own.  Keep your audience engaged and entertained with your hotel. A little light hearted humor can go a long way. Ask them questions in addition to answering theirs. For example, conduct polls of things they love about your locale. Make them think about what they enjoy when they stay with you. Promotions and giveaways will keep them coming back as well.


 Keep It Fresh

Providing your fans with fresh, new content will also bring them back again and again. This doesn’t have to necessarily be done every day, but once or twice a week at least. Include photos in all of your updates and encourage the fans to share theirs. This will keep the traffic and interest level up.


 It Should Be Useful

Your hotel Facebook page must have a booking engine and offer the audience an opportunity to see rooms, rates, and availability. This is essential to converting a fan into a paying guest. Hotel-specific Facebook apps are available to make this a smooth and easy transaction.

Facebook is the perfect social media venue for the hospitality industry and the best place to start for any hotel without a social media presence. There are other social network platforms to explore that present opportunity as well. In the next part in this series we will see what Twitter can offer the hotelier.


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Driving Hospitality Revenue With Social Media - Part 1 - Introduction

The global explosion of social media networks in the last five years has forever changed how many industries, including hospitality, conduct their business. Having a social media presence is crucial for hotels in the process of gaining and keeping the guest loyalty. Yet some hotels still are not capitalizing on the opportunities presented by this relatively new marketing tool. Many hotels go through the motions of establishing social media accounts and then do nothing with them, letting them slowly die in cyberspace.

 In addition to the missed opportunities, this also can be a dangerous practice. Hotels that ignore social media do so at their own peril. The public has shown its willingness to unleash their wrath on brands who have demonstrated or been perceived to be less than satisfactory to their customers. It is especially essential, given the nature of the hospitality industry, for hotels to stay ahead of the curve.

By the same token, the nature of social media can work extremely well for a hotel. Hotels have relied partially on favorable word-of-mouth advertising as long as they have existed. Social media is nothing more than word-of-mouth on a grander and higher technological scale. An ongoing and vibrant social media presence benefits any hotel in a variety of ways including:


  1. Higher level of brand recognition and visibility.
  2. Improved customer service.
  3. More direct and increased opportunity for guest interaction when they are not physically on the property.
  4. Building, managing, and repairing if necessary, the hotel’s reputation both online and offline.
  5. Leveraging new revenue opportunities through direct booking on social channels.


Across this multi-part series we will take a look at the various social media networks and their potential for increasing hotel revenue growth, taking into consideration the unique requirements of the hospitality industry.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Social Media News For The Week Of 2/8/13

How Social Media Put a Tiny Yarn Shop on the Map

This inspirational story tells of how a small business used social media to become a multi-million dollar company. Jimmy Beans Wool has annual revenue of over $7 million and started out as a small shop in Reno, Nevada. Focusing on customer service, the shop used sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube to built their brand. The small store successfully leveraged social media to stand out from more than 2,000 other competitors. Full Story Here:

Social media abuzz with Super Bowl commercials; GoDaddy tops list

The much anticipated Super Bowl commercials have now aired and their is a new yardstick to measure which ones were the most successful. Brands willing to invest in the costly air time are now trying to create social media sensations out of the commercial spots. Marketers are now gauging their success on the numbers of mentions across social media networks the ads receive. The winner appears to be GoDaddy Group Inc.‘s “Perfect Match” based on the numbers, drawing 255,121 mentions. Full Story Here:

CPAs Adding Social Media to Connect with Clients and Find New Ones

Many accounting firms are good examples of businesses that have successfully leveraged social media and moved beyond the use of e-mail, websites, and the telephone. CPA’s are now adding posts on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to their marketing efforts and to connecting with their clients. Full Story Here:

Impact Of Social Media On Society

Americans now spend 18% of their time using social media sites. The impact on our society of social media has been tremendous and its still growing. We now have highly effective and more convenient platforms for self-expression, communication, information gathering, and revenue generation, via social media networks, than ever before the phenomenon. Full Story Here:  

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media - Part 4

The Effects of Social Media on SEO - Recommended Techniques


Social media networks are but one facet of the overall picture that determines the search engine ranking of your company’s website. Here are a few things you can do as part of your social media campaign to help boost your search ranking:


  •  Create relevant and valuable content that your audience will find compelling.
  •  Share valuable content from other sources and give credit where it is due.
  •  Interact and engage with not only your followers, but relevant industry groups as well.
  •  Make all of your content easily shareable with social sharing buttons prominently placed.
  •  Encourage commentary from your audience.
  •  Build and nurture relationship with your followers.
  •  Create and maintain a company profile on Google .
  •  Keep track of your social media campaigns by adding tracking into all URLs.


None of these suggestions are meant to be a guarantee of higher search engine ranking for your company’s website, but they may help.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media - Part 3

The internet search giant, Google, is putting so much emphasis on social media that last year they created their own network called Google+. The search engine has also added as part of its Google Analytics software, a social network reporting tool. This tool illustrates for brands how active their site is across all networks, while measuring the level of engagement, trends in traffic patterns and keeps track of conversational interaction.

Google is showcasing the all-important human element in social media for companies, pointing out the fact that search goes beyond simply content. The benefits to a brand not only measures the investment in time and energy, but quantifies the return on that investment provided by social media engagement as well. Armed with such data, a company can determine where the best returns in social media are. Adjustments can thus be made, leading to better SEO placement.

An added benefit provided by the utilization of Google Analytics to brands is that by creating the necessary Google account, the company will naturally appear higher in Google’s search rankings. The social network Google , after a somewhat slow start, is beginning to really take off. Google’s network now has over 100 million users and growing, not an inconsiderable potential audience for a company.

The last segment, part 4 of this series, will offer some recommendations and techniques for maximizing the effect of social media on your company’s SEO.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media - Part 2

The Effects of Social Media on SEO - Personalized Search Results

Increased sharing of links on social media networks has had a tremendous effect on SEO and how search engines rank websites in their keyword and phrase results. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, have acknowledged the importance of social media and incorporate its impact into the search results.

Many people and companies do not understand how search engines personalize their search results. Individuals can search for anything on the web and find results tailored to them based on their location and other factors, such as the recommendations of their contacts across all social networks. If a user has a Google account, their search results are weighed with how their connections have engaged with the search topic. A Bing user who is signed into a Facebook account will see their results impacted by what their friends have previously liked or commented upon. Search results are affected this way because the various search engines understand how people trust and will follow the lead of their social network connections, many of whom are their closest friends and members of their family. This makes the results more personally relevant for users.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Relationship Between SEO and Social Media - Part 1

From the perspective of a small business attempting to market itself online, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media should always be interconnected and dependent upon each other. Search engines have changed their ranking parameters drastically to better reflect the importance of the public’s adoption of social media networks. In this four part series, we will look at just how social media impacts a brand’s SEO ranking and some techniques for improving your business’ standing in search engines.

The Effects of Social Media on SEO - Social Media Signals

It has become imperative for every brand to have a presence on multiple social media networks. The exposure benefits for businesses are well documented, but it is not enough to just be present. Companies must create compelling content and actively engage their audience in order to reap the full rewards of social media on their SEO. The more likes, comments, shares, or tweets generated by a post, the higher the value placed by search engines on its content.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Social Media News For The Week Of 2/1/13

Social Media Marketing Edges Closer to a Lion’s Share of Small Business Ad Dollars

Small businesses are steadily increasing the amount of money they devote to social media marketing campaigns, according to research by the business media consulting and analysis firm BIA/Kelsey. The firm forecasts that $9.8 billion dollars will be spent during the next four years by small to medium sized businesses. The increases come as smaller businesses learn how social media works and refine their techniques. The study goes on to state that two thirds of small business owners are spending at least a few hours every week on Facebook, while half of them Tweet several times a week.
Full Story Here:

Twitter now fastest growing social media site

The number of active users on Twitter rose by an amazing 40% between the second and fourth quarters of 2012, according to new data by the GlobalWebIndex. Twitter ended 2012 with 288 million monthly active users in 31 markets. This amounts to a 714% growth rate over the course of the last three and a half years. In July of 2009 Twitter had only 35.5 million monthly active users. Full Story Here: