Travel Industry Marketing Conversations

by the folks at ITI Marketing, Inc.

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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Google’s New Mobile Ads Take Users From Search To Store

Posted by TeamITI on September 30, 2010

Earlier this summer Google rolled out Expandable Map Ads for mobile devices. These ads appear on the mobile web and in apps. To participate advertisers must enable location extensions and be opted in to the content network for mobile.

They begin as a banner that expands when clicked into a map with the option to get directions or call a business. Here’s what those ads look like:

This article is published by Search Engine Land, click here to read the full article.

Posted in Facts, Figures & Trends, Mobile Marketing, Products & Solutions, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Media: Top 10 Reasons Why Your Audience Doesn’t Like You

Posted by TeamITI on September 29, 2010

Are you struggling with social media engagement? Struggling with building your audience? You have thousands of Twitter followers, maybe even 50 or 100 people who have clicked “like” on your Facebook page.

However, even with this early success you’ve seen in social media, people just simply aren’t engaging with your brand? You are not feeling the social media love that others talk about.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Audience Doesn’t Like You

1. You are not engaging. You spend all day listening or retweeting. You are not genuinely engaging with your existing network. You are on the sidelines watching the game go on.
Tip: Engage. Have a conversation. Get in the game.

2. You are not providing value. Your website may lack content that resonates with your audience. Your tweets are well let’s say, tweets. They look, smell and act like everyone else.  There are more than 10 Billion Tweets sent  in a year.  Tweeting a simple tweet that looks and smells like every other tweeter will get you no where.
Tip: Provide value. Inspire and connect with your audience. Get in their head and learn who they are and what they need.  Provide content that helps them solve real business problems. Provide tips that help them move their business forward with new skills.

3. You are not following people back. If you have people following you and you are sitting on your arrogant Twitter mountain thinking you don’t have to follow them you might want to think again. This thinking drives me nuts. Show the love. Be a good friend.
Tip: Develop a follow-back strategy. There are different schools of thought on this. My personal recommendation is at minimum make an effort to follow people back. Don’t sit high on your Twitter mountain with the expectation everyone owes you something. They don’t.

4. You are not a good social media friend. You don’t retweet. You don’t thank people who show you love. You never follow back. You don’t comment on other blogs in a genuine way. You don’t thank people who comment on your blog.
Tip: Show the social love. Genuinely engage and make your audience and network know that you care about them. At minimum let them know you know they are there! Often times if I don’t have time to thank all of my retweeters or send a series of #FF follow friday recommendations on Twitter I will send a couple tweets during the day thanking my network.  I let them know I appreciate them and all the social love they gave me!

5. You are boring. Sorry folks but it could be you are just boring. I am seeing many people who have a boring profile picture, boring content. They are the same ones who sit all day and retweet news feeds of mortgage rates or market news. They are providing no value and not engaging.
Tip: Brand yourself.  Understand your audience. Who are they and what do they need. Who are you and what can you offer them. Give your business and brand a personality. Dare to stand above the norm.  If you shoot for status quo that is exactly what you will receive, if you’re lucky. It may be less.

6. Your website stinks. If you are boring, your content  is boring and your website stinks you have three strikes and you’re probably already out of the social media game.
Tip: Social media is about conversation. Engage in conversation with interesting content, design and brand.   Hire a web developer and freshen up your website.  If you don’t have the funds to do such then find a self-help site or teach yourself WordPress blog at minimum.

7. Your social profiles stink. If your Twitter background is the default and your Facebook Fan Page has no customization you once again are shooting for status quo.
Tip: Hire a consultant or an agency to spice up your profiles. If you don’t have the funds the leverage an off the shelf service. There are several Facebook Fan Page engines you can use yourself that are affordable.

8. Your Facebook Fan Page is all about you. What are you doing to engage your audience?
Tip: Engage your Facebook audience.  Have fun.  Ask them questions? Do some research. Ask them what they need, what they want.  Leverage the discussion tab to invite people to introduce themselves.

9. People don’t know the real you. You are hiding behind an avatar (social media profile photo). You are not sharing the real you. You are using corporate speak. You aren’t using video, no interesting blogs.
Tip: Let yourself shine. Try out video.  Come out behind the avatar and let people get to know you.  Don’t be afraid of video.  If you use video you will attract people who like you, people who want to business with you.

10. You are afraid. Because of what I said above you are afraid to come out and play in social media.  You have been intimidated by the mean blog posts that are surfacing the net on social media gurus, wannabe gurus etc.
Tip: Don’t let the bullies scare you! Be confident. Have fun. If you don’t you are never going to make it in social media, business or life.

This article is published by, click here to read the original article.

Posted in Articles & Research, Social Media, Tools & Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social media and your hotel – not just a marketing function

Posted by TeamITI on June 11, 2010

Social media is changing the face of hotel marketing. No matter how beautiful the images are on your Web site, one photo of a stained blanket posted to TripAdvisor can change anyone’s mind about booking a room at your hotel. Like it or not, your guests now play the largest role in determining your brand persona.

By now I hope that every marketing department is closely watching the hotel reviews on the various travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Yahoo!Travel, etc. Whether you use a social media monitoring service or comb through the sites manually, it’s critical that you know how your guests feel about their experience at your hotel and what they’re telling the public about their stay.

While properties might differ in how reviews are handled, most agree that it is important to acknowledge the review, when permitted by the site, whether it’s positive or negative. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to comment and assure him/her that the review will be shared with the appropriate team. The step that most marketers miss is they don’t follow through. Make sure you send the review to the right department for follow up or nothing will be learned from the experience. Often, when situations are corrected and an apology is extended, reviewers will follow up with an addendum.

Reviews can also be handy for determining where to spend ad dollars. If you’re purchasing display ads on travel review sites, look at your average rating and review frequency. You are much better off buying media on sites where you have many people reviewing your property and have a lot of positive reviews. Your conversion rate will be much higher than on a site with just a couple of stale reviews.

Social Media Marketing
Once your organization is comfortable with the idea that the public plays a large role in your brand reputation, the next lesson you must learn is to embrace user-generated content. ‘Elf Yourself’, ‘Star Trek Yourself’ and other insanely popular social applications have taught us that people are vane and love to see their names and faces associated with brands they care about. Let your brand advocates tell your story in a personal way. Create an RSS of your positive reviews and share them on your Web site. On your Facebook page, ask friends to tell you about their most memorable stay or to submit their pictures taken at your property. Better yet, ask fans to post a review on a site that might not be getting a lot of reviews. On your corporate site, prominently display information on how to find your property on social networks and how to follow you on Twitter.

Human Resources
HR should make it a regular practice to read reviews to get a sense of staff performance. Many reviewers will single out people who made their stay memorable.

Reward employees that are called out in reviews for making someone’s stay great and work with employees who were unfavorably mentioned. People will often put in writing what they would never say to your face so make sure you treat this feedback seriously.

While social media gave the power of your reputation to the people, it also gave brands the opportunity to easily reach customers and rectify situations that might otherwise fester and hurt your sales. Everyone in your organization can and should play a role in this new era. Let the adventure continue.

This article is published by , please read the original article here.

Posted in Social Media, Travel Industry News & Trends, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

9 Ways to Successfully Manage Customer Feedback

Posted by TeamITI on May 12, 2010

Feedback can improve your business — if you know how to listen.

The secret to understanding customers’ needs, wants and concerns is making the most of customer feedback. That means not only collecting feedback, but managing and acting upon that feedback to improve your products and services.

Customer feedback comes from a growing number of channels, including in-person, phone, comment cards, surveys, email, Web, social networking, mobile devices, and more. In addition, a number of individuals and departments within your company are collecting customer feedback, and in a variety of formats. For example, marketing may be conducting Web-based surveys, product development may be conducting focus groups, the contact center may be collecting customer feedback from the support line.

The challenge this creates is you do not always know what feedback is being captured, who is capturing it, where it is being stored and who is responsible for following up on it. This also makes it difficult to use this information to improve customer relationships.

Thus, to ensure your own company’s success in setting up and managing an effective Voice-of-the-Customer feedback program, here are nine ways to help you succeed at managing customer feedback.

1. Have well-defined goals and objectives: Before starting, know what business objectives are at stake, why you are collecting the data and how your company is will use it to make decisions. Also, consider the reports you will need and who within your organization needs access to that information.

2. Get executive buy-in and internal support: Work with your executive team to communicate and share customer feedback and VOC program goals and objectives with all employees. Keep VOC programs top-of-mind with executives and employees by including metrics in executive dashboards and sharing positive customer feedback during company meetings.

3. Develop a formal VOC program: Establish a formal VOC program that encourages two-way communication between your company and customers. Once customer communications channels are established, help your company implement formal processes to support feedback data collection and management efforts, including implementing technologies to support a unified VOC program.

4. Collect and manage customer feedback in a centralized system: Having multiple feedback systems in separate databases is cumbersome and leads to duplication of effort. Companies now have access to technology-driven, real-time Voice of the Customer (VOC) feedback programs. These solutions allow businesses to continually collect customer and employee feedback through multiple channels into a central database for analysis and immediate action.

5. Become a customer advocate throughout the feedback process: Be in a position to rapidly respond to customer feedback. Keep customers informed about the ongoing status of their issues and requests. Let customers know when your company uses one of their suggestions. Help your organization resolve chronic customer complaints and concerns. Track, measure and monitor customer feedback response times and continually work to improve them.

6. Communicate and share customer feedback with others: Quickly distribute real-time customer feedback and share reports and survey data findings with others in your organization — from the c-suite to managers and employees. Openly share actionable insights with employees and conduct post-mortem meetings to discuss what did and did not work as well as what is needed to improve your VOC program in the future.

7. Collect real-time, ongoing feedback: To build strong, lasting and engaging relationships with customers, gather and respond to feedback in real-time. To accomplish this, make it easy for customers to submit feedback at every interaction point and regularly monitor customer needs and concerns.

8. Integrate customer feedback into the business: Be sure to work with other departments to ensure that their customer feedback is incorporated into the company’s strategic goals. For example, sort through open-ended comments to see whether a customer has complimented an individual employee. Then, make sure that the employee is recognized for providing positive customer service.

9. Tie customer feedback programs to business outcomes: Measure and monitor customer-related metrics such as customer retention, number of products purchased, likelihood to recommend the company’s products or services, likelihood to purchase again, etc. You can also benchmark your program against other industry leaders. These measurements will demonstrate how your feedback program is positively impacting the organization.

Gathering customer feedback isn’t just about finding out and addressing customer concerns — it’s about gaining a solid understanding of customer needs, wants and issues. By consolidating all feedback data into a single centralized system and using that system across the organization, you can gain valuable insights into what customers need, want and value most, as well as identify important trends and patterns in the data that contributes to business success.

This article is published by, please read the original article here.

Posted in Facts, Figures & Trends, Tools & Tutorials, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »