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Safe Travels – Madigan Pratt

What happens when you don’t use a double opt-in process? Presidential candidate Barack Obama sure found out the hard way.  Pranksters signed up prominent anti-spammers to Mr. Obama’s email list and included derogatory first names.

Personalized emails that included these rather rude first names were then sent by the Obama campaign to these unfortunate individuals.

When setting up an email marketing program for small luxury hotels we always recommend using a double opt-in process for capturing email addresses.  This follows industry best practices.

Double opt-in increases the quality of your database and building relationships with customers and prospects for small luxury hotels is more about quality than it is about quantity.

Share your thoughts on double opt-in.   Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

The Nielsen Ratings are in.  After bashing television advertising and the Oscars in recent posts it seems only fair to report on how last Sunday’s event fared.  

According to an article in today’s edition of Advertising Age viewership for the Oscars this year was the lowest in 30 years! 

Although small luxury hotels can’t afford television, they needn’t worry.  Continue focusing on romancing your customers, inviting them back, having them spread your message through word-of-mouth and building brand advocates.  It is infinitely more effective than television.  Keep it up!

What do you think?   Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

In the previous post I showed how television viewership of the Oscars has plummeted over the decades and suggested the Internet was somehow involved.

Wham!  Today I received The eMarketer Daily newsletter and low an behold – there it was…research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) showing the average time spent per week watching TV vs. on the Internet vs. reading newspapers.

If you want to know where people are – it’s on the Internet.  In fact, folks 15+ years of age spend twice as much time on the Internet then they do watching TV.  A whopping 32.7 hours/week for Internet vs. only 16.4 hours for TV.

Let the global brands waste their money on TV.  As a small luxury hotelier, you’ll do better fishing where the fish are.  Good luck! 

What do you think?  Do you believe these numbers?  Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

TV vs. Internet Time

Last month I wrote a short article on The Death of Advertising.  Although I wasn’t planning on writing a sequel an article in yesterday’s New York Times prompted me to do so.

The article was about The Oscars and included television ratings back to 1960.   In 1960 when Ben-Hur won The Oscars the program had a rating of 45.8!  That means that 45.8% of all households with television sets (virtually every one) tuned in to watch the show.  An amazing figure.

The average rating for the show over the past five years however has been  a measly 23.7 – almost half of what it was in 1960.  Guess people have more interesting things to do today than watch television.  On the Internet maybe?

This is good news for small luxury hotels that can’t afford TV.  Let the chains waste their money chasing after the elusive (and increasingly downscale) television viewer.  Stick to personalizing your quest experience before, during and after their stay.

That’s the way to build brand advocates and positive word-of-mouth advertising.  Do this and you’ll succeed where chains oftentimes fail even without TV advertsing!

Let me know what you think.  Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

Forrester Research in a recent study among 5,000 online consumers reports on what web content and functionality people want most.

Here are the top four items mentioned:

  1. User ratings/reviews – 64%
  2. Special offers/coupons – 61%
  3. Product or price comparison tools – 59%
  4. Customer testimonials – 49%

How can small luxury hotels take advantage of this research. Even with a small marketing budget – the truth is you can.

Every small luxury hotel should be putting special offers up on the web. So #2 above should be taken care of – no sweat.

So let’s take a look at numbers 1, 3 and 4. All three of these consumer desires can be easily taken care of by including a TripAdvisor RSS feed somewhere on your site. One hotel that has done this very effectively is Nisbet Plantation on Nevis in the Caribbean. This is the only hotel we know of to place TripAdvisor reviews right on it’s home page.

In one simple step it is offering consumers user ratings/reviews, a pricing comparison and customer testimonials. Audacious? Maybe. But while many hotels shy away from TripAdvisor, Nisbet has embraced it and at the same time offers potential guests what they want most ina web experience.

The result? In TripAdvisor’s 2008 Traveler’s Choice Awards, Nisbet was ranked as the best luxury hotel in all the Caribbean and Latin America and the 6th best luxury hotel in the world.

If you have a TripAdvisor story you’d like to share, add a comment. Need help managing Travel 2.0 let me know. Safe travels – Madigan Pratt

Many general managers of small luxury hotels I have spoken with are still uncomfortable with Trip Advisor. Nobody likes to be criticized, especially so publicly, but it happens to even the very finest hotels.

With a solid understanding and comprehensive Trip Advisor strategy the service can provide a wealth of information for more effective marketing. Without giving away all our secrets, here’s one thing you can and should be doing – Competitive checks.

Potential guests are researching your competitors – you should be too. In guest reviews, how do you stack up against competitors? Is there a service another hotel is offering that gets consistently positive comments on Trip Advisor? Can you offer something better? Let your creative juices flow.

You need to offer a better product than competition and analysis of Trip Advisor reviews of other hotels can help. Don’t just look at hotels in your area, especially if local properties don’t have a history of being innovative. Branch out and see what similar properties in other markets are doing.

You’ll be amazed at how many good ideas are there waiting for you to discover them. You should know what guests think about you and your competition. Potential guests do.

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