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Friday Fuel: Google Updates, Mobile Apps, & More

Happy Friday! We have tons of exciting industry news to cover this week, including not one but TWO Google updates, news on a hotel that is promoting their new mobile booking app, and tips on how to increase guest satisfaction.

Let’s get to it!


Mobile Apps Are All The Rage

Mobile this, mobile that, yada yada yada…. Right? Well, today we are talking mobile apps, so get over it. Peninsula Hotels is the latest hotel group to launch a mobile booking app, behind giants like Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. To promote the new technology, Peninsula Hotels is offering exclusive discounts, upgraded rooms, and other goodies to guests who book their room through the new app. Does your hotel have a mobile booking app? If so, how do you generate awareness and increase engagement?

Mobile App For Hotels

Ritz Carlton Leads Guest Satisfaction Pack

According to a new survey, guest satisfaction is at an all time high. In fact, the number of guests reporting a problem with their hotel stay dropped 20% overall, the lowest occurrence since 2006. Several factors are at play here, including several hospitality and psychology principles. Making small changes across the board has proven to have a huge impact on both bottom lines and guest perceptions. For example, greeting guests with a smile 100% of the time has been proven over the past few years to result in a 50% reduction in the average number of problems guests note during their stay. In the luxury sector, Ritz Carlton leads the way with guest satisfaction. How does your hotel maintain stellar customer service?


Hey Girl… Can I Get Yo Email?

Hey, just because it isn’t exactly sexy doesn’t mean it doesn’t sell! Email marketing is one of the highest converting sales funnel for hotels and if your property does not have a rock solid email marketing strategy you could be missing out big. Aside from just collecting a large (and, ideally, highly qualified) database, segmenting those lists accordingly and continually testing different aspects of your email campaign are just a few ways that your hotel can get an upper hand when it comes to reaching the right consumers at the right time and turning them into customers.


New Hotel Finder Interface

Did you blink? Whoops, you missed a Google update! This time, Google rolled out a brand new Google Hotel Finder user interface for the local search portion of the platform. The new interface features a whole new window that will pop up when a user clicks on a hotel versus the old version that directed you to a new page. Do you like the new version?


PANDA ALERT 

No, we aren’t talking the cute fluffy kind but rather a Google algorithm update (did you blink again?!). This time, Google implemented a “refresh” (note: not an update) to the Google Panda update that has been dubbed Panda 4.2. This is the first refresh in 10 months since the last update in September 2014. The refresh began to roll out last weekend and is expected to affect about 2%-3% of English language search queries. In case you need a refresher, the Panda update was implemented to weed out thin / low quality sites. What does this mean for your hotel website? CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT. And not just any content… high-quality, genuinely helpful content.

Google Panda Update

Hotel SEO > OTAs?

The recent onslaught of consolidation in the online travel industry should be concerning for hotels, to say the least. As OTAs continue to grow their online footprint continues to grow, thus increasing the amount of bookings they have the potential to grasp. OTAs are also launching new features, like loyalty programs and instant booking features to put them on a more even playing field with hotels. While there is no fail-safe way to completely block out these revenue-mongers, implementing a well thought out search engine optimization strategy could be a savvy way for many hotels to fight back against the OTAs and get some of their bookings back.


WHY U NO USE UGC?!

Bad meme titles aside, let’s talk a little UGC – user generated content, that is. People are sharers – over-sharers in many cases – and have no qualms about expressing their thoughts and opinions on just about anything, including their experiences during travel. Popular forms of user generated content for hotels include reviews and the use of social media. Instead of letting this goldmine of useful content pass by the wayside, hotels and destinations should embrace UGC with open arms and take full advantage, particularly because user generated content is seen as a trustworthy source compared to other options and social media is a top travel research tool. How does your hotel incorporate UGC into the marketing mix?

User Generated Content

Movers & Shakers of Online Travel Booking

This week, travel industry expert Frederic Gonzalo posed a thought provoking question – is 2015 the year when we reach a tipping point for online travel distribution? Four crucial events have taken place this year that have thrown an interesting wrench into the travel mix. Google, as we all know, has wasted no time with the launch of their Flight Search and Hotel Finder products while online travel agents have gone head to head with consolidations and acquisitions. Additionally, TripAdvisor launched an instant booking feature and rate parity abroad is a thing of the past. What impact do you think these big booking changes will have on the travel landscape?


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Meisha BochicchioFriday Fuel: Google Updates, Mobile Apps, & More
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