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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry.  The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020.  Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis.  The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts.  Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience.   But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables:  Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees.  In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech…     10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status.  Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it.  Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work.  This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths.  The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.”  If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder.  The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home.     10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last.  In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team.  Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%.  Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis.  “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report.  Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members.  During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates.     9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture.  Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees.  Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women.  PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation.  Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed.  One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.”     8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list!  If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own.  EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible.  An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy.  We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities.  If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions.      7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup.  Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination.  During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm.  Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order.     6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients.  Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program.  One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!”  If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon.     5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story.  Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world.  That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up.  Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow.  How would this impact you when you apply for a role there?  Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training.  Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny.  Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have.  During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays.  If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will.     4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it.  ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).  ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties.  During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal.  “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role.  Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues.  ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress.     3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place.  Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe.  hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker.  Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector.     2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins.  Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round.  Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.”  Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market.     1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm.  Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made.  Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before.  Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition.  Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal.  Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID).  It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume.  Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in.  Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.  

Cloudbeds, SiteMinder & Room Raccoon Top People’s Choice Awards in the 2021 HotelTechAwards

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated hotel software in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the Top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. The HotelTechAwards platform (by Hotel Tech Report) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products and companies that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to a single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards.  Cloudbeds had more than 550 hotelier customers come out to share overwhelmingly positive feedback about Cloudbeds products in the midst of a global pandemic.  To have that kind of support from clients during the most challenging market in hotel history says all you need to know about Cloudbeds’ commitment to their partner properties,” says Hotel Tech Report CEO Jordan Hollander. Here’s the Official 2021 People’s Choice List: Cloudbeds SiteMinder RoomRaccoon Bookassist OTA Insight ALICE IDeaS Avvio Hoteltime hotelkit The key factors used to determine the annual People’s Choice Award include total verified customer reviews, geographic reach of reviews, and overall review sentiment and ratings. The best companies know that the most effective way to communicate their value proposition is to empower and amplify the voices of their happy customers.  The People’s Choice Award recognizes companies whose customers really value the relationship and partnership. “Twenty years ago we lived in a world where hoteliers just used one of the three or four technology systems out there and typically just ended up using whatever system they had heard of before.  Today there are thousands of SaaS choices in the market and dozens of great options available for most use cases but the market is moving so quickly that it’s hard for hoteliers to identify and keep track of the best products and companies.  This award honors the companies whose hotel customers are the most vocal advocates of their products to make that process easy,” says Hollander.   About the 2021 People's Choice Award The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity.  Early on as a startup, it’s easier for companies to maintain strong customer relationships with a limited customer base. But as a company grows its install base and scales globally, maintaining high customer satisfaction becomes increasingly more challenging.  Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards acknowledging the achievements of top innovators across all categories who embody the values, transparency, and customer-centricity that lie at the core of truly great companies. View Ranking Methodology>>

Winners of the 2021 HotelTechAwards Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced winners in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews contributed by verified hoteliers during the competition.  Winners are selected based on key performance metrics including product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing 10,227 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite tech products to run and grow their businesses.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Winning a HotelTechAward is a huge feat with the 2021 competition being the most competitive year ever.  Every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” During the HotelTechAwards, hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. "The HotelTechAwards  are the only prize in the industry that is completely and transparently customer-driven — it's the hoteliers that decide who is best, and it's their opinion that matters most." Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. "We at SiteMinder believe strongly in the essence of openness; it is what underpins the very core of what we stand for, and the HotelTechAwards, through the program's data-driven and transparent process, aligns firmly with this value.” - Sankar Narayan, CEO at SiteMinder “This honor has deep, personal meaning as it is decided upon by our clients and represents our passion and focus for providing the most sophisticated revenue technology and comprehensive support.” Dr. Ravi Mehrotra Founder at IDeaS “The HotelTechAwards are a powerful stamp of approval for any company to possess and for hoteliers to trust. We value the HotelTechAwards process, which collects thousands of verified reviews from around the world each year.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder at ALICE “HotelTechReport is the leading platform for technology in the hotel industry, and its meticulous and impartial verification process makes this one of the most prestigious awards.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder at SuitePad The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations, and guest experience. 2021 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood, and thousands of independents. "We originally created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust and the scope of the competition this year is a testament to how far the industry has come in the last decade.  The HotelTechAwards rating process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data, and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands-on experience with each product.” The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 127 countries.   Best Hotel Software Companies List >>

2021 HotelTechAwards Finalists Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 weeks ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced finalists in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews from verified hoteliers during the competition.  Finalists are selected based on key performance metrics like product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing over 10,000 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite software products.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Finaling in the HotelTechAwards is a reflection of quality every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” Hotel Tech Report authenticates reviews through a strict verification process.  Further, companies are ranked based on pre-defined objective data variables to avoid the biases present in other human judged competitions. "Based on real and honest customer feedback, the HotelTechAwards really do provide the most transparent view on how technology is perceived and used across the industry,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO at OTA Insight. The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and finalists are selected from more than 1,000 of the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 120 countries.   -- Competition winners will be publicly announced on January 12th --   Best Guest Experience Technology Finalists Guest Messaging Software: Whistle, EasyWay, Monscierge Guest Room Tablets: SuitePad, INTELITY Guest Survey Software: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hospitality TV Providers: Monscierge (Apple TV) Mobile Key: ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, FLEXIPASS Mobile Ordering: Bbot, RoomOrders Hotel Guest Apps: ALICE, INTELITY, Wishbox   Best Operations Software Finalists Property Management Systems: Cloudbeds, Mews, Clock PMS+, HotelTime Staff Collaboration: hotelkit, Monscierge, ALICE Hotel Management Systems: RoomRaccoon, Cloudbeds Concierge Software: ALICE Cyber Security & Fraud Prevention: Canary Technologies, Sertifi Digital Signage: Monscierge Housekeeping Software: hotelkit, ALICE, Optii Marketplaces & Integrators: Hapi, Dailypoint Preventive Maintenance: hotelkit, ALICE, Transcendent Restaurant Management: HotelTime, Oracle MICROS POS Employee Engagement Software: hotelkit, Hotel Effectiveness, Beekeeper Contactless Check-in: EasyWay, Canary Technologies, Wishbox Spa Management: HotelTime   Best Revenue Management & Finance Software Finalists Revenue Management Systems: IDeaS, Duetto, Atomize Business Intelligence: OTA Insight, Duetto, ProfitSword Central Reservations Systems: Pegasus Channel Managers: SiteMinder, Cloudbeds, D-EDGE Parity Management: OTA Insight, RateGain Rate Shopping & Market Intelligence: OTA Insight, SiteMinder, RateGain Reporting & Accounting: M3, MyDigitalOffice Upselling Software: Oaky, GuestJoy, EasyWay   Best Marketing Tech Finalists Booking Engines: Cloudbeds, Bookassist, SiteMinder Hotel CRM & Email Marketing: Revinate, Profitroom, Dailypoint Digital Marketing Agencies: Bookassist, Avvio, Net Affinity Direct Booking Tools: Triptease, Hotelchamp Website Live Chat and Chatbot: Asksuite, Whistle Independent Loyalty Programs: The GuestBook Metasearch & Ad Tech: Bookassist, Avvio, Koddi Reputation Management: TrustYou, Guestrevu, Revinate Hotel Website Design: Bookassist, Avvio, Profitroom   Best Meetings & Events Tech Finalists Event Management Software: Event Temple Group Sourcing & RFP Software: MeetingPackage, Venuesuite Meetings Intelligence Software: Duetto, IDeaS Sales CRM: Event Temple, MeetingPackage  

The 30 Hottest Hotel Designs of 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Many of us are already anticipating 2021 with optimism – and a number of new hotel properties slated to open next year are only adding to that excitement. Design trends indicate that hotel architects are emphasizing the destination, creating spaces that illuminate the natural beauty and energy of a location. Property designs incorporate smart technology with eco-friendly elements, like living greenery and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions. Sustainability also plays a role in how a hotel property incorporates existing design elements in their renovation or new design: some hotels, for instance, are taking historic sites and blending vintage architectural elements with modern amenities. Our list is packed with everything from boutique hotels to global luxury brands with some rockstar interior designers and design firms featured.  Despite the pandemic, there's still nothing like staying at a luxury hotel arriving in the hotel room, and let go of the day-to-day stresses.  From Athens to Barcelona and Malaysia to Miami, there are incredible hotels in your backyard that you probably don't even know about.  Some of us prefer ultra-modern all-glass hotels with museum-quality art collections and others prefer rugged retreats.  Whatever your preferences, design inspiration is all about taking elements from a variety of the best hotels. From insane living rooms and hotel interiors to Infiniti edge swimming pools this list will give you a taste of the high life. These 30 hotels opening in 2021 exemplify some of the hottest design trends in the hospitality industry – here’s what we have to look forward to visiting next year.   Amanvari, East Cape Baja, Mexico  Amanvari in Baja’s Eastern Cape will offer 20 contemporary, private pavilions perched on stilts in a beachfront, tropical mangrove. These modern accommodations will each have two floors with living space, wrap-around decks, and a cantilevered private pool, plus fire pits and hammocks.  Rosewood São Paulo, Brazil  Rosewood São Paulo’s striking architecture houses 180 rooms and suites in a “vertical park.” The property is designed by world-renowned architect Jean Nouvel with interiors by Philippe Starck. This property includes natural Brazilian wood blended with Italian elements.  One&Only Resorts Kea Island, Greece One&Only Resorts is coming to Kea Island, Greece with resort-style rooms, suites, and villas. The design of this property integrates classic Hellenic architecture with modern amenities and seamless indoor/outdoor transitions.  Etéreo, Riviera Maya, Mexico  Etéreo is Auberge’s latest addition in Mexico. The resort is designed to look like a series of coral stone structures that reference Mayan culture. Floating above the tropical vegetation, areas of the resort are connected by a hidden network of boardwalks and pathways.  Stanly Ranch, Napa Valley  Stanly Ranch in Napa Valley, California is one of the most highly anticipated openings of 2021. The property will include 135 cottages nestled in the vineyard, with patios that open directly onto the vines overlooking the Mayacamas Mountains. We expect Stanly Ranch to incorporate lots of natural building materials, open spaces, and natural light.  Montage Big Sky, Montana Montage Big Sky is coming to Big Sky, Montana. The property is designed to provide ski-in, ski-out access to 5,800 skiable acres. In the summer, guests can enjoy an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. The hotel promises to be ultra-luxurious with five-star amenities just an hour’s drive from Yellowstone National Park.  Nobu Hotel Toronto, Canada  Nobu Hotel in Toronto is a striking addition to the city’s skyline. In line with the design trend of repurposing existing building materials, Nobu Toronto is designated as a heritage site and will retain the original brick façade from the Pilkington Glass Factory previously on the site – as well as Art Deco design elements from the early 1900s. Six Senses Ibiza, Spain Six Senses in Ibiza, Spain promises to offer townhouses, pool suites and “beach cave units” overlooking the blue waters of Cala Xarraca Bay. Initial mockups of the design show minimalist, natural elements blended with the rustic appeal of the Spanish island vibe.  W Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland Designed by architecture firm Jestico + Whiles, the W Hotel in Edinburgh will incorporate a winding steel ‘ribbon’ that recalls a spiral of paper – a nod to the neighborhood’s history as a home to Edinburgh’s printing presses. The design also considers the area’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its smaller footprint.  Costa Navarino, Greece Costa Navarino is another hotel opening in Greece and part of three new areas under development in Messinia. The resort puts the natural setting first with an earth-sheltered design. Accommodations are built into the hillside with planted roofs discreet private pools.  The Langham, Gold Coast, Australia Langham Hospitality Group is opening a new hotel in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia in one of the three landmark towers of the Jewel development project. This destination will feature 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, plus a sky terrace and bar, an indoor free-form pool (plus a second outdoor pool), and a 700-square-meter ballroom. The Langham, Jakarta, Indonesia Langham Hospitality Group is also opening a new property in Jakarta, Indonesia – designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart, one of the world’s top international architectural firms. The hotel will feature a 336 square meter Presidential Suite with its own outdoor terrace. Mondrian Cannes, France The Mondrian brand is slated to open a newly redesigned hotel on the city’s Promenade de la Croisette. Mondrian Cannes’ will feature custom-designed interiors by Monaco-based architects Christophe Poyet and Emil Humnert. Six Senses New York The Six Senses' new project in Manhattan will feature two twisting towers designed by architect Bjarke Ingels between the Hudson River and the High Line. The interiors are going to be designed by Parisian firm Gilles & Boissier and promise to be contemporary, modern, and full of natural ambiance.  Castello di Reschio, Italy Castello di Reschio is another great example of an existing building getting a modern facelift. Located in Umbria, the owner is also an architect, and personally supervised the renovation and redesign of this 10th-century castle to include upscale amenities and modern touches.  Krugar Shalati, South Africa Krugar Shalati is a totally unique hotel coming to South Africa in 2021; it’s built inside a restored vintage train floating on a bridge above the Sabie River. The permanently parked train includes local art and furnishings to evoke the area, plus access to the game park.  Xigera, Botswana  Xigera is opening in Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve and is designed to offer a unique safari experience – the lodge is positioned to sit over the water of the Okavango Delta so that guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of wildlife. You can also book a stay in the three-story steel baobab tree nearby. Chablé Sea of Cortez, Mexico   Chablé Sea of Cortez in Mexico uses architecture to blend with the natural environment while offering uninterrupted sea views from every room. The property will focus on wellness, with a huge spa, private beach, and ocean-front pool.  Aman New York, USA  Aman New York will take over the Crown Building, formerly the location of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The redesign retains much of the building’s historic charm paired with luxurious elements designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, a leader in hospitality design. Radisson Hotel Perm, Russia Radisson is opening its first property in Perm, Russia. The property is designed by Twelve Architects, an award-winning international architecture firm. The interior will be Scandanavian-style, while the exterior takes its inspiration from the folds of a ballerina’s skirt – a callback to when the Bolshoi ballet company was based in the city.    Casa Formentera, Spain Casa Formentera will open in Spain’s Balearic Islands in the style of beach-y, boho-chic luxury. With just 14 rooms available, this exclusive hotel will feature “neutral tones, polished concrete floors, lots of natural wood and linens, tropical plants and African style ceramics with rattan screens providing stylish touches,” according to the property’s press release. LXR Roku Kyoto, Japan LXR Roku Kyoto Resort in Japan will be set among the Takagamine Sanzan mountains, part of a 28.6-acre enclave that’s home to some of Kyoto's most notable gardens, historic architecture, and authentic tea houses. The resort was designed with the Japanese concept that “beautiful things are born from a beautiful environment” in mind. Kālesma Mykonos, Greece Kalesma will soon be the only property in the world to have pieces by designer Rick Owens – and that’s just the start. Kalesma’s look and feel is inspired by Mykonian history, with natural materials such as wood, marble, and stone giving a contemporary twist to classic Cycladic style. Four Seasons Chao Phraya River, Bangkok Four Seasons Chao Phraya River is the Four Season’s upcoming opening in Bangkok, Thailand. The interior of this prestigous hotel is designed by world-renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy; there’s also a collection of art installations curated by Gathy. Canopy by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur  Canopy by Hilton is opening a new location in the Malaysian metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. The architecture and interior design will be inspired and influenced by its local surroundings, positioning the hotel as a natural extension of the neighborhood.  Daxton Hotel, Michigan The Daxton Hotel in Michigan is scheduled to open in early 2021 – and already taking reservations! Guests can enjoy luxurious design touches and art curated by world-famous Saatchi Art.  Pendry West Hollywood, Los Angeles The Pendry’s design and decor reflects it’s stylish position on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip. The Pendry mixes Art Deco with contemporary, modern elements. The hotell will offer a rooftop pool, a members-only social club, live entertainment and a food and beverage menu by Wolfgang Puck. The Tasman, Australia The Tasman is Mariott’s newest project coming to Hobart, Tasmania. The hotel design echoes the building’s original heritage, maintaining Art Deco details with modern elements and luxurious amenities.   Raffles the Palm, UAE Raffles the Palm is on track to be the talles building on the UAE’s Palm Jumeirah, standing at almost 260 meters high. The hotel is set to offer 125 rooms and suites, as well as 359 branded residences – including 16 penthouses. Anantara Jinsha Chengdu Hotel, China Anantara Jinsha Chengdu is a planned urban oasis. The property will sit in front of a 47-hectare eco wetland park, one of the largest outdoor spaces in the middle of Chengdu.    If these stunning hotels are anything to go by, 2021 is shaping up to be a trend-setting year for designers and architects in the hospitality sector.   

The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Marketing (2021)

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

How do you get the word out about your hotel in a hotel industry that's more complex and complicated by the day? Between online travel agencies, SEO, CRM, and more, it’s easy for hotel marketers to feel overwhelmed. But you know that without a solid hotel marketing strategy, your hotel will have significant difficulty reaching its revenue and occupancy goals. Wondering where to begin? The challenge that most local businesses face is driving foot traffic.  The old saying "location, location, location" helps them drive business but hotels need to be much more strategic in the way they market hotel rooms because the amount of passers by willing to purchase a room are far lower for a hotel than for other small businesses like a bakery or shoe store.  So how do hotels get strategic and take control - online marketing. In this article we’ll introduce a plethora of hotel marketing concepts and strategies. Even if you’re brand new to hotel marketing, you’ll have a good understanding of the various hotel marketing avenues once you’re finished reading. Whether you’re a student, a professional seeking a career change, or a seasoned hotelier, you’ll want to bookmark our Ultimate Guide to Hotel Marketing as a reference you’ll return to again and again.   Marketing on Third-Party Channels We all talk about the elusive guest experience but few understand that the guest experience starts long before check-in.  Hotel guests may even start their journey on a channel you can't control.  Perhaps they saw your property on an influencer's Instagram then searched Google and landed on an OTA.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, third-party channels are an essential part of the hotel marketing landscape. While some hoteliers begrudge third-party channels for charging commissions and eating away at potential direct bookings, there’s no denying that these channels bring massive marketing power and a global user base. It would be nearly impossible for an individual hotel to get the same reach alone, so mastering marketing on third-party channels, like the OTAs, metasearch, and the GDS, is a necessity.   OTAs If you’ve ever booked travel online, chances are you’ve used one of the big OTAs, or online travel agencies. Popular OTAs like Expedia and Booking.com are marketplaces, just like Amazon, which you can leverage to put your hotel in front of millions of potential guests. In addition to the big players, the web is home to dozens - if not hundreds - more hotel booking sites that range from broad to niche. Diversifying your distribution strategy to include multiple channels, especially regional sites, is a great way to gain more online visibility. Of course, no third-party channel is perfect, and dealing with the OTAs’ problems is part of daily life for many hoteliers. However, their marketing power is their redeeming quality, and many hoteliers continue to use OTAs despite their challenges.  The OTA market is changing rapidly especially with Airbnb's entry so it's critical that you keep up with the latest evolutionin this channel.   Metasearch & Paid Advertising Besides the OTAs, hoteliers can use various digital advertising strategies and channels, like metasearch, to attract potential guests and drive direct bookings. What is metasearch, anyway? Metasearch sites like Kayak and Trivago aggregate the search results of other OTAs so travelers can easily compare rates across Expedia, Booking.com, and direct sites. Potential guests click through dozens of windows on their path to purchase, which means having a strong retargeting strategy is essential to capturing direct bookings. If a traveler clicked on your website once, your retargeting ads can remind them to return to your site to complete the booking process.   GDS (Global Distribution System) While the OTAs, metasearch, and retargeting put your hotel directly in front of travelers, the GDS is one of the industry’s most popular B2B platforms. Travel agencies, airlines, and tour operators use the GDS to book rooms for their clients and partners, so hotels seeking to expand their reach or reduce reliance on the OTAs can find success by selling rooms on the GDS.   Reputation Management No matter where your reservations come from, guests need to trust that your hotel will deliver a good value and experience. Reputation management is the practice of actively building up that trust - whether by displaying your hotel star ratings or by responding to guest reviews on sites like Tripadvisor and Google.   Improving Performance of Owned Channels Though third-party channels play an important role in the hotel marketing space, let’s not forget about your own direct channels. Your hotel’s website and email communication are both excellent ways to spread brand awareness, gain loyalty, and potentially even raise your RevPAR by increasing direct bookings. What do you need to know to boost your hotel’s owned channels?   Hotel Website Design, SEO & Content Marketing Driving your hotel website’s performance is possible when you focus on four key categories: Website design: If your hotel’s website isn’t attractive and user-friendly, potential guests are going to click off your site quickly! We’ve gathered some resources to help you promote your property with a modern, competitive website. If you’re building your site for the first time or upgrading an old one, our inspiring list of hotel website designs is a great place to start. These eye-catching designs will get the creative juices flowing. No matter which stage of website design you’re at, you’ll want to read up on 6 hotel website design lessons from leading ecommerce companies like Amazon and Zappos. Tips include adding a FAQ section to the booking page and organizing your room types in a grid layout. For websites with a lot of content, a content management system can eliminate stress and disorganization related to uploading text, images, and videos. Many content management systems are also easy enough to use that hoteliers and marketers with limited technical know-how can use them - no expensive web developers needed! Conversion optimization: Once you’ve invested in a beautiful website, make sure your website is effectively and efficiently converting guests. Conversion measures the rate of website visitors who complete the booking process. One of the best ways to improve your conversion rate is to implement a streamlined, user-friendly booking engine. But booking engine selection is no easy task; you’ll want to consider whether it’s optimized for mobile devices, compatible with your PMS and other systems, and within your budget.  Hoteliers who want to grow their share of direct bookings must practice CRO. What is CRO? Add this one to your little book of hotel acronyms: conversion rate optimization. Simply put, it’s the act of making continuous improvements to your website with the goal of turning more “lookers” into bookers.  SEO: Many potential guests will find your hotel’s website through a search engine like Google or Bing. That’s why it’s a good idea to continuously work on your website’s SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO includes countless strategies for ranking higher in the search results, appearing in searches for popular keywords, and ensuring your website’s search results listing looks enticing. A key component of SEO involves the content and formatting of your own website. On-page SEO helps search engines “read” your website so that they know in which search results your site should appear. On-page SEO strategies include using headings, adding links, and eliminating glitches. Some hoteliers use paid advertising to snag website visitors, but you can certainly increase website traffic free of charge - if you put in a little extra effort. Publishing high-quality blog articles, posting on social media, and engaging with review sites are all great ways to get direct website traffic for free.   "Google has added a section in search engine results that appears above organic listings when consumers ask questions directly to Google. This feature is called a "Quick Answer,” and it takes a snippet of content from any page that is deemed to be the best answer to the question. To increase chances of appearing in Quick Answers, content should be structured and written in a conversational way that answers specific questions. Popular questions can also be included in sub-headings on the page, with answers below," NextGuest Digital   Content marketing: Content is one of your most powerful tools in the digital marketing ecosystem. Popular blog posts or informative local guides are great ways to showcase your property to potential guests. Have writers’ block? Check out some hotel blogging strategies that you can try today.   Email Marketing & Hotel CRM But your hotel website isn’t the only to engage with your guests; email marketing can deliver fantastic results, especially among your most loyal guests. Before diving into email marketing, you’ll want to have a hotel CRM (customer relationship management) system in place to store and track data about your guests. These systems help you gain insight into who your guests are and what matters to them so you can craft relevant email marketing strategies. Every email you send should contain an engaging update or offer, and it should always comply with the Data Protection Act. Before hitting “send,” make sure you understand the rules and regulations that apply to digital data and marketing. Email marketing for hotels can sound like a daunting task if your only tool is Gmail or Outlook. For more email functions, settings, and formatting options, you’ll want to use an email marketing tool like Mailchimp.   General Hotel Marketing Strategy Although hotel marketing has plenty of industry-specific nuances, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of general marking principles. Ready for some Marketing 101? Let’s go. The first step to any type of success is to set goals. But all goals are not created equal. SMART Goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, will add clarity to your marketing plan. Speaking of relevancy, your marketing goals and strategies should adapt based on the types of travelers you want to target. For example, if you’re targeting business travelers, families, or Generation Z, your marketing strategies for each group should be unique. A key component of your overall marketing strategy is your content marketing strategy, which includes your blog articles, social media posts, Youtube videos, Pinterest pins, and more. Employing some creative content strategies can transform your hotel’s online presence. As you’re setting up your strategies, you’ll want to form good hotel marketing habits. Like brushing your teeth, it’s a good idea to make researching market trends, collaborating with other hotel departments, and learning about local events part of your daily routine. Want to brush up on your marketer skills? That’s a trick question; you should be constantly sharpening your marketing skills, especially considering that the marketing space is evolving rapidly. One such example of timely marketing trends is the BookDirect movement, which promotes the practice of making reservations directly with the hotel. This movement has influenced software functionality, marketing strategy, and promotional offers that encourage guests to book direct. Struggling to get potential guests to click onto your website? Consider hotel marketing with visuals that catch the eyes of travelers coming to your destination. If you need some inspiration as you think about your overall marketing strategy, you can learn a lot by studying your competitors (and scrutinizing your own hotel!) through a SWOT analysis. Haven’t done one of these before? Check out our SWOT analysis example for small business. With so many facets of hotel marketing, it’s impossible to become an expert on all of them while maintaining your day job! Working closely with a hotel marketing agency can bring to the table the expertise you need. Read our tips on how to select a hospitality marketing agency to ensure you choose the right partner. Maybe you’ve already read all of our articles above. So you’ve got a great hotel website, now what? The marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so there’s always room for more improvement. Have you run out of ideas? Read through our hotel marketing ideas list, which contains more than 100 suggestions. -- Do you still have any burning questions about hotel marketing? Let us know what we missed so we can improve our guide!

35 Hotel Website Designs We Love

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months ago

A great hotel web design and seamless e-commerce experience can do a lot for the profit margin of any hotel business. Data shows that even small changes, like copy updates or a new color scheme, can lead to a double percentage point revenue increase. However, a design is only as good as how well your property’s website converts casual browsers to paying guests. Our list of the 35 best hotel website designs considers not only the look of a property’s home page, but navigational elements, load speed, and other functional characteristics that can significantly impact the user experience. It’s nice to have a beautifully-shot video of your property, but only it doesn’t affect the page loading speed – you must hold a viewer’s attention long enough for them to press play.  The list ranges from websites designed by creative studios to those designed by popular hotel website and technology firms like TravelClick. These hotel websites hit the right combination of form and function. They should be responsive and work on all types of popular mobile devices, search engine (SEO) friendly and draw website visitors into your booking engine to complete the booking process.  Beautiful design elements and imagery meet easy navigation, distinct calls to action, and quick load speeds in these 35 hotel website designs we love.  We've organized the article by type of hotel since different types of property require different digital experiences.   The Overall Best Hotel Websites Best Luxury Hotel Websites Best Motel Websites Best Resort Websites Best Boutique Hotel Websites Best Apart-Hotel Websites Best Bed and Breakfast Websites   The Overall Best Hotel Websites There are many beautifully-designed websites on this list, but these five stood out from the crowd.      One&Only Cape Town The One&Only is a stunning property in Cape Town, and the site does a great job of conveying the prestige, luxury, and elegance of this special hotel. It’s a simple design, yet visually striking. The usability is there too: a floating “book now” widget stays with the viewer as you scroll through the different site elements.     Hotel Particulier  Hotel Particulier is a hidden gem – the smallest hotel in Paris, according to them – and the website makes you feel like you’re discovering something special. Scrolling text and animations overlay stunning photos. Nothing feels out of place, or overwhelming, as you dive deeper into the site and hotel experience.      Casa Angelina Casa Angelina’s webpage looks more like a magazine cover than a hotel booking site. They have all the elements to encourage booking: a prominent call to action, beautiful visuals, and a scrolling menu. But, what Casa Angelina shows is that basic website design can be abandoned in favor of a “moving puzzle of pieces” that works with both web and mobile browsing.      Vesper Vesper utilizes simple copy with warm colors and trendy font to welcome you into its website. The’s lots of clean, white space paired with aspirational vacation pictures. Vesper leads with key selling points, like complimentary breakfast, a 100% rating on TripAdvisor, and colorful images of its amenities.     The Maritime Hotel The Maritime Hotel’s landing page is just that: one page. There’s no scrolling and no distractions from taking in the cozy scene of the Maritime Hotel lobby. A prominent book button draws the eye upward. Click into the menu, and detailed descriptions accompany galleries of each room type. It’s straightforward, chic, and powerful.   Best Motel Websites Motels are having a moment. Many motel properties are shaking off the dust and capitalizing on travelers’ nostalgia with revamped rooms, retro decor, and upgraded amenities. “The new generation of motels have co-opted the vintage aesthetics and mom-and-pop atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s originals but given them a glossy finish with artisanal interiors, fancy linens, and locally brewed kombucha, or the like, catering to the values of the millennial traveller,” reported The Guardian. To align with their new aesthetic, these motels have upgraded their website design in the process.      The Drifter The Drifter Motel in New Orleans is a former 1950s hotel that recently got upgraded with retro-tropical resort vibes. The website astutely takes the focus to the experiential portion of staying at The Drifter; while the rooms are relatively simple, the scene at this motel is what makes it a memorable stay. And, that’s exactly what this landing page communicates.        Amigo Motor Lodge The Amigo Motor Lodge isn’t your average motel stay, and the minimalist design and clean colors of the website convey that immediately. In addition to simple, modern rooms, the property has three renovated Airstreams that can be booked, a hot tub, and a teepee.        Austin Motel Austin Motel embraces its kitsch factor both in-person and on the website. The site leads with bright colors and crazy-looking wallpaper, giving off the vibe that staying in this upgraded motel is a whole experience.    Lincolnville Motel Lincolnville Motel in Maine comes from humble roots. It’s not a polished resort, but a cabin-style motel on the shores of Penobscot Bay. The simple branding and navigation of the website doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It’s easy to navigate, and the pictures show exactly what the property has to offer.      Tourists Tourists in North Adams, Massachusetts has fully embraced its retro vibe. The website mixes sepia-toned photos with illustrations and vibrant images to evoke the travel of generations past. The rustic decor of the property spills over into the font and other design elements of this user-friendly website.  Best Luxury Hotel Websites Luxury hotel guests are a discerning bunch. These travelers are increasingly tech-savvy and expect the digital experience to reflect the five-star service they receive at the hotel property. The design and user experience of a luxury hotel website must be top-notch, but these are the sites that stand out.      Gramercy Park Hotel Gramercy Park Hotel’s website reflects the experience of staying at this iconic location. The site welcomes you in with a scrolling slideshow teasing the luxurious amenities and small touches of the property; but, if you know you want to book, there’s a subtle booking link off to the side to convert guests quickly.     Le Mirabeau Le Mirabeau in Zermatt elevates the browsing experience by changing the cursor into a spotlight that flows over the screen as if a torch is shining a light on glassy water at night. It lends a sense of magic to exploring this luxury property’s spa, gourmet restaurant, packages, and rooms.      Samsara Ubud Samsara Ubud focuses on delivering a high-end retreat amidst the beautiful nature of Bali, and nowhere is that more apparent than in its website design. Like Le Mirabeau, Samsara Ubud also changes up the cursor icon into a minimalist circle, encouraging exploration of the site’s stunning video content shot by drone.     7132 The 7132 hotels in Switzerland marry minimalism and stunning images to entice visitors to explore more about their brand. There’s a good combination of easy navigation and rich storytelling in this five-star hotel’s website design.      Badrutt’s Palace Badrutt’s Palace site has won several web design awards for the combination of features like dedicated support pages and events feed with rich multimedia and storytelling. Badrutt’s Palace manages to communicate the legacy of this luxury destination without feeling stuffy.    Best Resort Websites Resorts have the unique challenge of trying to highlight so many things in one first-impression. It’s easy to source rich content from a resort’s many special offers, but harder to find a hook that will convince casual shoppers to dive deeper into the website. Do you highlight the spa offerings? The destination? The amenities and on-site restaurant? Here are a few websites that we think have nailed the first impression in their design.      Esperanza Resort Esperanza by the Auberge Resorts Collection is the only private beach resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. That makes their value proposition obvious: the beach immediately features in a series of slow-motion videos highlighting the resorts’ stunning location.    Bungalows Key Largo Bungalows’ all-inclusive, adults-only resort targets romantic honeymooners, and the slow-motion videos the site opens with makes this clear. Pop-up messages highlight the different amenities and activities available to adults on a vacation getaway.      Explora Lodge Explora is a resort in Patagonia, Chile that focuses on an “all-inclusive adventure” rather than an all-inclusive stay. The branding on the site emphasizes the hotel’s position in the Chilean wilds, attracting a specific type of traveler from the get-go.     Song Saa Resort Cambodia’s Song Saa Resort is an incredible destination, and they make sure that’s the first thing you see in the site’s hero video. Their booking CTA and COVID-19 updates don’t distract, with unobtrusive pop-ups that don’t detract from this visual feast.      Little Palm Island A hero video features prominently on the site for Little Palm Island in Florida. Rather than focus on the resort, the site focuses on the natural beauty of the area and the many activities guests can partake in: kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, and more.     Best Boutique Hotel Websites Many sites on this list are owned by boutique hotels, which have both the challenge and opportunity of communicating their unique offering in one sleek design. Boutique hotel properties benefit perhaps the most from direct bookings; with limited rooms, the margins matter more at these exclusive destinations. That’s why these well-designed websites stand out in the crowd.      Donkey Bay Inn Donkey Bay Inn wears its eclectic heart on its homepage. An award-winning boutique hotel in New Zealand, this property uses a minimal sidebar menu to offset the bright, tropical colors of the hotel’s design. Before you get to this homepage page, you are treated to a video of the property to tease the amenities and views of this stunning destination, priming guests to click book faster.      MeStyle Garage Hotel Bangkok This unique property in Bangkok is devoted to cars and motorcycles. The home page may seem overwhelming at first glance, but as you scroll, the menu backsplash appears, as well as a calendar of events, promotions, and a video telling the story behind this special destination. There’s a lot going on, but the CTA is clear and the design emulates the in-person experience perfectly.      18 Micon Street Athens’ 18 Micon Street uses valuable real estate on their site to highlight reviews from prominent review sites and news outlets, juxtaposed with images of their unique property. It’s an effective way to capture WOM and build trust with a casual viewer as they go through their booking journey.      El Fenn El Fenn makes use of their dominant, scrolling header to advertise all their product offerings: the restaurant, spa, rooms, bar, retail store, and events service. The bold colors and big fonts create a sense of urgency. There’s lots to explore on the site.        Hotel Bella Grace Architecture is the selling point at Hotel Bella Grace. This Charleston property highlights the traditional design of South Carolina and the modern amenities of a great stay. The clean lines of the image direct the viewer’s eye to the main menu, where everything one would need to convert to a guest is right there.     Best Apart-Hotel Websites With remote work on the rise, apart-hotels are becoming more and more popular. These websites cater to a slightly different traveler who is more interested in amenities like a kitchen, strong wifi, and living space. Here are some of the best-designed apart-hotel websites we’ve come across.      Stay in a City London Stay in a City London tells you right of the bat what they have to offer. It’s an easy site to navigate, and just in case, there’s a live chat option right on the homepage.       Zoku  Zoku, an Amsterdam-based property, introduces you to their property right away with a video of the literal customer journey. A man enters the apart-hotel, plays with the different formations the room can take, spends the day enjoying the other amenities of the hotel, and goes to bed at night in his own space. It’s a great way to introduce an entirely new concept.      La Reserve La Reserve apartments are for the one percent: and their website branding communicates this clearly. As CNN reports, “staying at La Réserve is like having your own Parisian pied-à-terre -- but better.” The chic, minimalist design belies a luxurious experience for the most discerning travelers.      Domio Domio caters to the next generation of travelers who want their stay to be unique and stylish. Its website is personable, with profiles of the company’s chief executives, and filled with colorful, light-filled images of their different apart-hotel rooms. It captures the brand’s essence perfectly.      Lyric Lyric’s target demographic is “creatives”. The brand is designed for professionals on the go who want a seamless travel experience, nice amenities, and different spaces for creative projects and meetings. The copy on their site reflects this offering, scrolling through different images and varied ways to make the most of a Lyric suite.    Best Bed and Breakfast Websites Bed and breakfasts, like motels, attract a nostalgia traveler. Before Airbnb, bed and breakfasts were a reliable way to travel and meet people. Your host would generally play a larger role in your travel itinerary than a front desk employee or concierge. Today, bed and breakfast properties are more niche. But, that makes the design of their website that much more critical. Here are a few of the best.    Nobnocket Inn Nobnocket Inn is a quaint bed and breakfast on Martha’s Vineyard, and its website reflects that vibe. They make smart use of their website real estate to highlight the various awards they’ve won as well as to encourage fans to vote for their property.      Kennebunkport Captains Collection This bed and breakfast also leans into the design elements of Kennebunkport, a charming Maine town, using natural colors and simple branding to make the architecture of the property stand out. The clean, simple menu makes it easy for viewers to find what they need.      Colette’s Bed and Breakfast Colette’s logo and font decisions look like what would happen if your grandma designed a website – and for this cozy property, it works. You’d rather stay at grandma’s house than some corporate hotel with no character, no?     Portland’s White House This historic property invites viewers in with images of the white house at different hours of the day, highlighting the natural beauty of the property – as well as its romantic qualities (perfect for a wedding venue!). As you scroll down the page, you learn more about the history of the bed and breakfast as well as attractions nearby.        The Black Walnut The Black Walnut Bed and Breakfast is doing a lot in the main menu of its website. One of the highlights is the free expertise the Black Walnut offers to Asheville and the many activities and attractions of this up-and-coming destination. It positions the bed and breakfast as a great landing pad for exploring everything in the region.   

Coronavirus: Survival of the Fittest for Hotels

by
Jordan Hollander
5 months ago

In the face of a global pandemic and hotel industry meltdown we are sailing deep into uncharted waters.  No hotel (or any business for that matter) can stay alive without revenue. The U.S. hotel industry (and airline) came back strong after 9/11 when travelers were afraid of terrorism.  Regions affected by the SARS and MERS outbreaks were followed by similar bounce-backs.  But somehow this time feels different. “Without government intervention, there will be no service industry whatsoever. There’s so many people that work for me whom I am incredibly concerned about. Where are they going to get their next meal? Do they have health care coverage? How are they going to pay their bills? It’s as if aliens came from outer space and decided to totally destroy restaurants,” said famed restaurateur David Chang. The good news is that this pandemic may be over sooner than you anticipate and the mortality rate may actually be much lower than we initially thought (due to undocumented cases).  The tricky part about virality is that the models have wild swings based on even miniscule changes to the assumptions of those models (which are changing dramatically each day).  The same scientist whose very report jolted the US and UK into action has since changed his model assumptions which massively changed the forecasts. “It will recede in a converging exponential; in other words, the coronavirus can be expected to disappear from this region with the same dizzying speed with which it entered our lives,” Dr. Dan Yamin. It’s not only virologists suffering from inaccurate and quickly outdated predictions, hotel industry forecasters like Jan Freitag are facing the same dilemma.     There’s more good news.  The world is uniting against a common enemy and we’re collaborating as a species like never before.  While the media likes to portray drama and political posturing, the reality is that this crisis has helped humanity put aside our cultural differences because a virus doesn’t care where you’re from. On a Facebook live with TED, Bill Gates mentioned some of the collaboration that’s happening in the scientific community.     Even ordinary people are collaborating, as evidenced by Google Sheet of volunteer opportunities created by thousands of individuals from around the world. We’re also seeing collaboration like never before in the hotel community.  Competitive walls were broken down when major hotel chain CEOs addressed U.S. President Donald Trump in their pleas for an industry bailout.  Similarly, major hotel tech companies have banded together in an initiative spearheaded by Cloudbeds to convert excess hotel capacity into lodging for those in need like healthcare workers.  Hotel owners are listing their beds in droves at HospitalityHelps.org. It’s not all good news though.  Never before in our lifetimes has business come to a screeching halt like this...and hopefully it won’t happen again. Most hotel businesses maintain around 2x payroll as working capital (cash to run their day to day operations).  As hotels get closer to the 60-day mark we’ll see more and more layoffs because they simply can’t foot the staffing bills.  The only way to help these hotels is through government bailouts and improved payment terms on mortgages. Here in the U.S., the government has put together an incredible program to offer fully forgiven SBA loans of 2.5x monthly payroll to any hotel business under 500 employees. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we are always looking to understand how technology can help improve hotel business performance but sadly there isn’t a ton that you as a hotelier can do with new technology right now.  Revenue management systems don’t add much value when you’re at 2% occupancy, upsell software can only do so much with a couple of heads in beds and so on. We’d be lying if we said “we’re all going to get through this together.”  We’re not all going to get through this. Poorly capitalized hotels like those described in this great article by The Real Deal will go under even with government intervention.  Overextended technology companies will face the unfortunate same truths.  Even the previously untouchable venture funded alternatives like Sonder and Lyric have faced hard truths faster than we anticipated. We are a strong and resilient industry like many have pointed out.  The Darwinian reality is that these crises make all industries more antifragile.  The bad actors die out (along with many good ones) and only the fittest survive.  Ask your finance friends what major bank balance sheets look like today in comparison to 2008/2009.  The companies that come out of times like these are the leanest and smartest - and they get even leaner and smarter through the pain. We don’t say the above in a good or a bad way - it’s just the truth.  Many hotels have or will cancel software contracts while others will go out of business.  This is really unfortunate and painful for their suppliers in the short term but new owners will purchase those properties and those owners will understand more than anyone the power of running an efficient organization. They’ll be more entrepreneurial in aggregate and eager to surround themselves with the best technology partners around.  For software companies this means there will be more whitespace than ever before in history to pick up new market share - in the 12-18 months after this crisis fades we will see the defining hotel technology companies of the future separate from the pack.  COVID has been a great equalizer and while painful we believe that it will accelerate digital transformation in hospitality (like many industries) by 10-15 years.   As we said before, technology can’t save you RIGHT NOW but great software is the key to running an efficient and consistent business.  Market intelligence software helps you stay ahead of trends, revenue management software can help you price rooms automatically without relying on a revenue manager who’s basing forecasts on last year’s irrelevant results, operations tools can keep consistency of SOPs and so on. TCV’s David Yuan shared an awesome initiative from Toast POS to get consumers buying restaurant gift cards to support their favorite local businesses.  The same way that a restaurant can’t serve you when they’re shut down, tech companies can’t do all that much for hotels that aren’t open. Software is key to how you anticipate, react and recover from a recession.  It makes you better at acquiring guests, running an efficient operation and maximizing every dollar. During the Bill Gates interview with TED he was asked what he would do if he was President right now and his answer was basically “It’s too late, the time to act was 3 years ago.  All we can do now is ramp up testing, pray for a cure and promote social distancing”. Similarly, the only thing hoteliers can really do now is negotiate with lenders, stay current on local bailout opportunities, make prudent layoffs, focus on helping their employees as much as they can and pray that this ends soon.  Once we’ve sorted out all of those issues and have some downtime while our businesses are closed, the best thing we can do is prepare for the next downturn and improve our operational capabilities. Never again will you have this much time to try different technologies and lots of vendors are even offering concessions and free tools that we encourage every hotelier to take advantage of for this limited and unprecedented period before we get back to the new normal. Do everything you can afford to support the technology companies pushing our industry forward because when this is all over you’re going to need them more than ever.     The biggest barriers to adopting technology are broken down right now in ways they will never be again - take advantage of that to optimize your business before it's too late. #1 Contract Lock-in: Most can be broken with force majeure.  If you don't like a vendor, now is an opportune time to upgrade your stack. #2 Switching Risk: Especially when it comes to mission critical systems it can be scary trying to migrate while your hotel is at full occupancy.  This is the perfect time to make the move while your hotel is closed. #3 Time: Learning new software takes time no matter how easy to use the system is.  You'll never have this much time to try and learn once the market picks back up. #4 Cost: Lots of vendors are extending free trials during closures from 30-days to 90-days.  You'll never have an opportunity like this to try software and see if you like it over extended periods of time.  Having said that, your vendors are hurting as much as you are - support them don't strain their businesses unless you absolutely need payment delays etc. Use the golden rule and treat them as you hope guests treat you. #5 Integrations: This barrier is already broken down.  Simply avoid vendors who charge high integration fees or don't integrate with your critical systems.  There are plenty of great vendors who have open APIs...it's 2020 after all. Focus on ensuring your hotel business survives this crisis financially then get proactive, get creative and learn how to optimize your business to accelerate the recovery and you'll be outperforming the compset in no time.  Remember that the best defense is a good offense.  Everybody looks like a genius in a bull market, it's times of crisis that separate the average hotel businesses from the truly great ones. -- Put the proverbial oxygen mask on yourself first.  Once you've got your finances sorted out - here are some ways that you can optimize your hotel business and support the technology vendors working hard to keep the industry running smoothly.   WHISTLE GUEST MESSAGING. Extended free messaging (guest and team) for new signups. A few reasons how Whistle will help your hotel during the crisis: - Social Distancing: No need for in-person interactions between gueststaff and staffstaff - Efficiency: Hotels can manage more inquiries and help more guests, now that they are operating with even more limited staff - Remote Operations: Respond to guest inquiries remotely. Unlock offer → Offer terms: Extended free trial available until June 1, 2020 for new clients.  No CC required unless hotel is continuing after trial and cancel at any time, even after trial period, no penalties   LIFE HOUSE (HOTEL MANAGEMENT):  Life House is an VC-backed institutional management company that uses software & process innovation to increase low cost direct bookings & materially reduce the operating costs of a hotel, which is ever-more relevant with depressed revenues. To support owners who need help navigating these difficult times, Life House is offering waived management fees until 2021 and a complimentary management transition for independent hotel owners. Whether a 200-room luxury boutique hotel or a 25 room bed & breakfast, Life House's white-labeled management platform can help. Learn more about the offer →   ATOMIZE: You can now get Atomize Revenue Management Software, free of charge, up until you have realized 50% of your average occupancy. This offer comes with no setup fee, free training, and including support. This limited offer is valid until April 30. Learn more about Atomize →   TRUSTYOU'S TRAVEL HEALTH INDEX. Due to widespread limitations on travel, there is currently an unprecedented drop in hotel stays. To help hoteliers from all over the world to assess the global and regional situation, we are now introducing the Travel Health Index! This exclusive KPI is only available from the world's largest guest review database and it benchmarks current #review activity with the normal levels of 2019. Access it here and keep an eye on the Index for weekly updates.  Learn more about the Travel Health Index →   ALICE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST. Hoteliers know how to run a property, but shutting one down is a different story.  That’s why ALICE created a free checklist tool within their software that hotels can use to keep their property safe and clean with a skeleton crew that is available for free to any and all hotels looking for help. A few reasons how ALICE will help your hotel during the crisis: - Preventative Maintenance: Understand what needs to be done to keep your property safe and clean with a skeleton crew to avoid property damage and maintenance issues during downtime. - Crisis mgmt: Hotels are not meant to operate at low occupancy, or with a lean staff, yet that is the trend for so many hotels right now. ALICE Checklist helps hotels take rooms, floor and whole buildings out of service, while maintaining a record of tasks to bring a hotel back up to full occupancy quickly and easily. Get the free toolkit → Offer terms: ALICE Checklist is available to any and all hotels that are using (or not using) the ALICE platform with no strings attached. It is a free product, there are no obligations, and it can be cancelled at any time.   REVINATE'S COVID RESOURCE CENTER. Revinate ran a survey and found that 70% of hotel professionals are looking for projections on how this unfolds, and 71% are looking for planning ideas. That’s exactly what this new site aims to provide.  This resource center will aim to be a centralized source of info and resources to help hoteliers in these uncertain times. Browse the resource center →   JONAS CHORUM PMS. Save on your PMS with 90-days free of Jonas Chorum for new clients. A few reasons how Jonas will help your hotel during the crisis: - Remote work: Cloud functionality, allowing hotels to remain connected and conduct business remotely, while also specializing in remote training to avoid any face-to-face contact. - Financial relief: Provide hotels with financial relief to help them ride out the storm. Learn more about Jonas Chorum → Offer terms: This particular offer is only for new clients and is only being offered for a limited time as we are essentially getting companies up and running on our software free of charge. We would also be willing to honor this offer for a period of time whenever the impact of the pandemic starts to lessen.    ALLIANTS GUEST MESSAGING. A few ways Alliants can help your hotel during the crisis: - Easily outbound message with impacted guests across all the key channels, including, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE, etc - Allow your teams to stay connected with guests, staff, and vendors while helping keep social distance. - No setup fees/onboarding costs - All training & installation can be done remotely. -Get your property up and running in less than 2 days. See Alliants in action → Offer terms: We are offering our Alliants Messaging platform at no charge till the end of 2020. You can cancel at any time. No credit card is required and we can have your property live in less than 2 days. Oaky Pre-Arrival Templates. Pre-arrival communication + translations templates to ensure effective communication so your guests feel safe. Get the templates →   RATEGAIN FREE STRATEGY SESSIONS. Complimentary, one-to-one session with RateGain experts. A few reasons how RateGain can help your hotel during the crisis: - access 200+ years of combined experience across all fields - Revenue Management, Distribution, Social Media and even HR - RateGain has its own data, both current and historical. As such we possess the knowledge and insights to guide our prospects in a way that no other can. Schedule a free session → Offer terms: We are running it for three weeks starting coming Monday. We are only doing it for our prospects i.e. companies which are not a customer of RateGain. We are doing it for our customers anyhow. This is a 100% free service. Basis the request we receive we can extend it for a longer duration as well.   Want to list your company's offer? Reach out to our editorial team via live chat   BEEKEEPER INTERNAL TEAM COMMUNICATION. How are you keeping your employees up-to-date on the coronavirus? Reach every employee across shifts, locations, and languages with one easy-to-use mobile-first communication app.  A few ways Beekeeper can help your hotel: - provide instant communication between all employees - allow for real-time updates on Coronavirus as it affects your company - Allow for shift schedules to be accessed away from the hotel Learn more about Beekeeper → Offer terms: This offer is available until June 2020 and is for new clients. Cancel anytime.   UMI DIGITAL’S FREE EXPERIENCE PRE-PAYMENTS TOOL. Simple pop-up website overlay to showcase closure messages while selling future experiences. Works with existing voucher systems via outbound links. Learn more about the offer → Offer terms: FREE set up for hotels on Wordpress and FREE license for 3 months during the pandemic. We have a simple proposal that requires acceptance but do not require payment details.   HELLOSHIFT MESSAGING & WEBSITE LIVECHAT. Hotels can use Guest Messaging and Website Chat to keep the line of communication open and accessible to all guests (and future guests.) With Staff Collaboration, hotels can keep running with smaller operational footprints and more staff working remotely. Use Covid-19 specific checklists, populate a knowledge base with Covid-19 specific information, and keep in communication with laid-off employees. Learn more about the offer → Offer terms: To help hotels deal with Covid-19, HelloShift is offering free service to all sign ups till July 1, 2020.   HOTELCHAMP DEMAND TRACKER. Demand Tracker shows you real time demand based on your website date searches. Conversion Rate (CVR) helps you to contextualise performance of different dates. Change of search behaviour keeps you informed of shifting demand. A few reasons how HotelChamp will help your hotel during the crisis: - understand demand in the current market is key to steer pricing decisions - see real time demand from your website for up to 365 days in the future - create alerts for changes in demand so you can proactively act on what is changing in the market Learn more about HotelChamp → Offer terms: New and existing clients. Completely free, no subscription to be set up. Automatically ends after 90 days.   BOOKBOOST UNIFIED INBOX & WEB MESSENGER. During this difficult time, we want to stand with the hotel industry. Our Unified Inbox and Web Messenger are now available for FREE to all hotels worldwide. Bookboost Unified Inbox enables you to manage all guest inquiries from your website, email, Facebook Messenger, in one inbox. Give clear and consistent COVID-19 communications and Save your team answering repetitive questions, improve efficiency and provide service day and night with chat automation. Learn more about Bookboost   ASKSUITE HOTEL CHATBOT: We are offering our award-winning AI chatbot for free to hotels located in North America and Europe. The bot can answer questions about hotel operations during the pandemic (as we included in the AI) and has all the other functionalities like integration with booking engines. Asksuite believes that helping each other is the way to overcome this crisis. Even if the hotel is temporarily closed, it can keep providing customer assistance to future guests, answering their queries, and facilitating the booking process. - helps decrease the workload, especially now when many hotels needed to downsize; - with the addition of the COVID-19 topic in the chatbot, it helps answer all queries about the COVID-19 and its impacts on the hotel's operations, the local status, and so on.  Learn more about the offer → Offer terms: Only available to hotels in North America and Europe; - only for new clients - valid until December 2020 - if pandemic ends it will continue for free cause hotels will need help with their cash flow - no credit required   ROOMPRICEGENIE AUTOMATED REVENUE MANAGEMENT: Fully automated dynamic pricing solution in place helps you know when business is coming back and help you react immediately. Continuously track how your market behaves and understand when business is coming back. Learn more about RoomPriceGenie → Offer terms: The offer is for new clients and it is valid until further notice (as long as the tough times last). After the regular trial period, clients need to sign up and will receive a 100% discount until they see business coming back. Our monthly cancellation policy stays the same - so they can cancel at any time.   AVVIO DIGITAL ACADEMY: With so many amazing hoteliers out of work Avvio is turning their time and resources to helping out with important skills development to help out during this period of downtime. Their Hotel Digital Academy is available for free registration and the first hotel digital marketing course will be starting next week. Hospitality will have to “do more with less” as the industry recovers and we think upskilling will be more important than ever as training budgets will inevitably suffer. If you know of anyone in our industry that you feel might benefit from this can I ask you to consider please sharing. Learn more about Avvio →   EXPERIENCE HOTEL EMAIL MARKETING. Hotels can get their Free access to our CRM's Emailing tool and send up to 3 custom Email campaigns to all their customers, valid for 3 months to keep guests informed as the situation evolves via email. Learn more about Experience Hotel → Offer terms: No cost, no commitment. In order to access this free service, they must register with a professional email corresponding to their hotel; a manual check of each account is made to avoid abuse.   SAVETHEHOTELS.COM BY BOOK VISIT. Last Friday we started a marketplace called savethehotels.com which is completely free of charge. The idea is to make it easy for consumers to see all the great deals the hotels are offering right now in order to survive.  Set up unique promotions that are easy for guests to book. Learn more about Book Visit → Offer terms: Right now we have the page as long as there is a need. We have no plans for this to be an OTA in the future. Right now we just want the hotels to survive otherwise we will also go down.   HOTEL RUNNER PULSE UPDATES CENTER. With HotelRunner Pulse, our goal is to support the travel industry using the ‘big data’ from the HotelRunner platform, which performs tens of millions of transactions per day, and to give our partners a snapshot of what is happening in the industry during these extremely challenging times. HotelRunner Pulse will be updated weekly, and you will be able to access detailed data from the previous week, data-points include travel agencies that bring the most bookings, confirmed and canceled booking volumes, average stay durations! Learn more about HotelRunner → Offer terms: Starting this week, through the special panel we developed, we are providing free access to real data based on bookings made through HotelRunner in the previous week.   MYSTAY EMAIL TEMPLATES. MyStay Freemium automates the way properties can inform guests about the situation in the region and hotel's health and safety protocol using pre-defined email templates and semi-automated rebooking. It also allows automating selling extra services to the fewer guests to come in the next months through pre-arrival communication, email templates covering COVID-19 related health and safety protocols, flexible rebooking or loyalty points policy.  Special guest web as a WiFi landing page with stay-related information focusing on COVID-19 related aspects. Learn more about MyStay → Offer terms: The offer and MyStay Freemium package is and will remain available forever unless canceled by the hotel. It is available to new clients, no contract or credit card required. The product is not going to disappear once the pandemic is over, hotels will be free to continue using it for free or choose to upgrade to any of the paid profiles.   HOTEL DIRECT BOOSTER WEBSITE LIVE CHAT. Livechat software for 1 month to keep contact and convert its visitors into direct bookings on the hotel's website.  Many hoteliers closed their hotels but they shouldn't close their direct bookings. Keep contact with website visitors during the pandemic on the hotel website and helps hoteliers prepare the resumption of bookings and support travelers. Learn more about HDB → Offer terms: 1 month free offer only for new clients.  Available until April 30th 2020. Non-binding offer.  No credit card required   GO MOMENT WEBSITE LIVE CHAT. Use Go Moment’s website live chat tool to inform potential hotel guests of the steps your hotel is taking to keep guests and staff safe, suggest rescheduling instead of canceling  and collect leads for future groups.  Learn more about Go Moment → Offer terms: Offer available through June 30th, 2020. After June 30th, rate will change to $250 per month.   QUORE AID PROGRAM. The Quore Aid Program was designed to help any hotel converting its property into a COVID-19 isolation ward or temporary medical facility.  The Quore platform enables hotel management and staff to limit face-to-face interactions, implement mobile communications with guests and access modifiable templates that guide staff through recommended and/or mandated procedures that are updated in real time. These include isolation room set-up and turnover, hand and hygiene protocol, trash collection, sanitation requirements, signage placement and other actions to ensure the highest level of health and safety compliance throughout the property. Learn more about Quore

3 Examples of SMART Goals in the Hospitality Industry

by
Hotel Tech Report
6 months ago

Some goals are so squishy and ill-defined that they are effectively meaningless -- and often raise more questions than answers. SMART Goals are the cure to these unfocused strategies.  We’ve all had bosses setup goals that are impossible to reach because they’re so vague: ‘do right by the guest.’ (How? What’s “right?”). Be the best hotel in Miami (How? For which guest segment? Compared to whom?). Drive more revenue. (How? How much?) Ill-defined goals are also hard to measure, making them perfect shields for laziness, incompetence, and/or a general lack of accountability. Vague and general ideas can be powerful when applied to your company’s mission statement as guiding rules but when it comes to goal setting - they can kill your business. One strategy to build actionable goals that successfully motivate staff to make measurable progress is with SMART goals. Here's what you need to know about using SMART goals in hospitality, from creating the goals to some SMART goals examples in the hospitality industry that illustrate how effective they can be. Once you experience the impact that planning SMART can have on your hotel’s productivity and success, you’ll wonder how you ever did without!   What are SMART Goals? The concept of SMART goals was introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran, a consultant and former corporate planner, in a paper called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” Doran’s thesis was that achieving success requires goals to be clear and attainable, with enough specificity and measurement to actually track progress. A SMART goal is: Specific. Goals must be as specific and focused; never vague or derivative. To get precise, follow a Six Sigma principle and answer the “6 Ws:” Who needs to be involved in this goal? What are you trying to accomplish?  When does this goal need to be accomplished? Where does this goal apply? Especially useful if this is related to a time-bound event or a particular department/promotion/campaign/season. Which are the essential skills needed to achieve this goal as well as any obstacles to overcome? Why is this goal important?  Measurable. You've got to be able to accurately measure performance so you know unequivocally whether or not you’ve completed the goal. Achievable. Goals should be challenging but never out of reach. If a goal isn’t realistically attainable, then it may be discouraging and bad for morale. You should have enough levers/tactics to take action and realistically achieve the goal Relevant. Goals should never be a distraction from your property’s overarching objectives. If a particular goal is irrelevant to current priorities, it will not only fail to influence outcomes but it will struggle with ownership and adoption team-wide. Time-bound. For the greatest chance of success, goals must be bound by a specific timeframe. Otherwise, goals can limp on forever, without a defined end -- and thus no way to evaluate performance. SMART goals have a magical way of focusing your efforts by eliminating distractions and unproductive tangents. With a SMART goal, it's much easier to know what's working in service of your business and what's not.   How to Write SMART (Goals) Now that you know all about SMART goals, let’s talk about execution. Taking the SMART approach to goal planning requires a new way of thinking about how to write goals. The defining feature of writing SMART is in the preparation: it all starts with questions. The answers will shape your goals, so you want to ask yourself and your team members as many questions as it takes to get to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely goals. These questions should be approached with a positive attitude; there are no right answers and the point is simply to get closer to actionable goals that unite teams and deliver results. For each goal, start by writing down your initial goal. Then, methodically go through each part of the S.M.A.R.T acronym to further refine your goal. Finally, review your initial goal and adjust based on the results of each section to come up with your final SMART goal. Specific: What specifically do you want to achieve? Who needs to be included to make this happen? Who is ultimately responsible for achieving the goal? What steps will you take to achieve it? Measurable: How will you know when you have successfully accomplished the goal? Achievable: Given current budget and staffing, can your team realistically achieve this goal? Which tactics will you use to achieve the goal?  Relevant: Why now? How does this go help us achieve our broader business objectives? Time-bound: What's the timeframe and is it realistic to accomplish this goal in that time?   A few other guidelines to write SMART: Align individual, departmental and property goals. If goals are at odds with each other, there will be conflict between competing priorities. Be sure that goals align across the entire operation to keep everyone moving together in the same direction towards the same overarching business objectives. Stay focused. Distractions are the enemy of SMART. The point is to focus your energy around achievable goals, so if you find focus drifting from your core objectives then your goals are still too broad.  Begin with the end in mind. Popularized by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this mindset is a critical part of writing SMART. Before diving into the writing phase, look ahead at your outcomes and work backwards. Clarity around what you want to achieve will focus your attention on only what matters most.  Decision driver. Each goal should provide clarity and focus by helping staff decide whether or not to pursue a project. All they have to do is ask themselves whether or not a potential project, tool, initiative or campaign contributes to a relevant SMART goal. If it does, then it should be considered and if it doesn't then there's no reason to continue consideration. Set regular check-ins. Don’t just write your goals down and return to them at the end of each quarter. To track progress, set regular check-ins with relevant stakeholders and adjust your approach on the fly as needed. Then you can celebrate wins and keep everything on track. You also may want to consider creating team and individual goals. That way, individual team members understand the larger goals and their role in achieving them. This increases ownership and engagement by motivating staff towards a common purpose -- and keeps everyone moving in the same direction.    SMART Goals: Examples in the Hotel Industry Whether you're a hotel management company or on property general manager, setting SMART Goals can completely bring focus to your team and transform your hospitality business. Before we look at a few SMART goals examples in hospitality, let’s define what’s not SMART. Avoid goals that are: Too general: “Surprise and delight guests” doesn’t give staff clarity. Immeasurable: “Streamline operations” doesn’t provide a means of measurement. Not actionable: “Improve the guest experience” doesn’t provide   Irrelevant: “Be better stewards in the community” is not necessarily directly relevant to your core business. Not time bound: “Be the best hotel in our market” doesn’t set a timeframe for measuring progress towards the goal. The pitfalls of murky, ill-defined goals are many: they confuse employees; they can cause tension because team members working against each other; lack of accountability; too broad that people don’t know where to start and become paralyzed, which ultimately leads to doing nothing; dilute your brand proposition in the eyes of employees; makes management look “out of touch” and thus reduces trust. In these ways, poor planning can actually be more detrimental to a hotel’s operations than no planning at all! SMART GOAL EXAMPLE #1: Increase % of direct bookings by 10% in Q2 Instead of “be less reliant on OTAs,” a SMART goal would specify a measurable outcome that achieves the overarching goal of becoming less reliant on OTAs. Specific: In addition to the specific goal, you want to further refine the goal by defining the specific tactics required to achieve the goal, as well as who will need to be involved to implement those tactics. Answer questions like: What needs to be accomplished?  Who is responsible for it?  What steps will you take to achieve it? Measurable: There's a clear target of a 10% increase in direct bookings. Achievable: The goal is attainable because there are many ways to influence success:  Improve rate parity with OTAs with a rate shopping tool. Adjust availability on OTAs through your channel manager. Renegotiate contracts with OTAs to get better terms. Optimize your hotel’s booking engine for conversion with a leading provider like Bookassist Spend more on digital marketing (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Google, Tripadvisor, Kayak) to acquire direct traffic. Use CRM and email marketing to capture business from loyal guests. Implement direct booking tools that allow you to personalize the booking experience for stronger conversions.  Relevant: This goal could align with an overall objective to reduce commission costs and improve profitability. It could also be relevant in the broader context of rising commissions from third parties. Time-bound: It's limited to a single quarter so performance can be measured by comparing direct booking  percentage at the start of the quarter to the end of the quarter.   SMART GOAL EXAMPLE #2: Grow average non-rooms revenue per guest by $37 by end of Q4 Rather than an ill-defined objective of “increase guests’ on-property spending,” this goal specifies an exact amount of guest spending increase. Specific: In addition to the specific goal, you want to further refine by answering key questions like: What needs to be accomplished? Who is responsible for it? What steps will you take to achieve it? Measurable: There's a target of increasing guest revenue of $37 per guest. Achievable: The goal is attainable, with clear tactics to drive success: Add guest messaging software or upsell tool Sell more room packages and bundled offers Improve the F&B offerings on property Retrain staff at on-property outlets to upsell verbally. Incentivize front desk staff to sell more packages at check-in Relevant: The goal may align with broader objectives to increase overall revenues, to better leverage on site amenities, and/or to improve profitability per guest. Time-bound: The goal is set to be achieved by the end of Q4, giving everyone a target time frame to achieve the goal.   SMART GOAL EXAMPLE #3: Increase website conversion rate by 25% in Q2 Specific: You want to further refine the goal by defining the specific tactics required to achieve the goal, as well as who will need to be involved to implement those tactics. Be clear about: What needs to be accomplished Who is responsible for the goal What steps will you take to achieve the goal Measurable: Success measured by increase in website conversion rate Achievable: The goal can be achieved by trying different tactics: Build a new website for your hotel Add a chatbot to your website Get a faster and more mobile-friendly hotel booking engine Build conversion-optimized direct booking campaigns with a digital marketing agency such as Bookassist Relevant: The goal aligns with broader property objectives to increase direct bookings, provide a better guest experience, and/or upsell more packages and room upgrades on the website. Time-bound: Progress will be measured over a single quarter.   Here are a few more examples of SMART goals for hotels to get your creative juices flowing: Grow mobile revenue by 60% (Chateau Golf & SPA d’Augerville) Increase direct bookings by 150% (Ambassador Hotel) Increase average order value by 43% (Hotel Teatro Pace) Increase metasearch reservations by 40% (The K Boutique Hotel) As you fine-tune your goals, maintain a positive attitude, motivate staff with specific goals oriented toward 1-2 property-wide objectives, and share progress so everyone can have visibility into performance and ownership of results. With SMART goals, your team can move more quickly and be much more successful at achieving desired outcomes. Don't know where to get started with SMART Goals? Perhaps you should partner with a hospitality consultant who can bring an outside perspective to your business.  

105 Hotel Marketing Ideas That You Can Try Right Now

by
Hotel Tech Report
4 months ago

A successful hotel business today needs more than a brick-and-mortar storefront. A strong digital presence is crucial to business growth, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of small business marketing tools and digital marketing strategies available to the hotel industry and beyond.  Our 100 hotel marketing tips and tools can help you make your online footprint a strategic (and revenue-generating!) facet of your business. Soon you’ll be on your way to a beautiful, engaging hotel website that converts visitors into loyal customers - all while avoiding that “I’m lost!” feeling that can happen when navigating the online marketing space. Every hotel business is at a different point in their digital marketing journey, so we’ve broken down our list of tools from the essentials (for digital marketing beginners) to advanced platforms that help more experienced marketers dive into analytics and technical tweaks. We also understand that your business can’t be successful with digital marketing alone, so we’ve added a bonus category that consists of general business tools that can assist with overall operations. In short, this guide will help you: Get set up for success online with Digital Marketing Basics Craft your digital image with Graphic Design and Content Generate traffic through SEO and Digital PR Build customer loyalty and repeat business with Customer Relationship Management Understand customer behavior through Analytics Streamline your daily operations with General Business Tools These tools are not industry-specific, which means they’re suitable for not only hoteliers, but any type of small business owner, from restaurateurs to retailers. If your business wants to drive website traffic, build loyalty, and increase revenue, then it’s important to optimize your digital marketing strategy - whether your goal is to book more rooms, sell more items, or grow a subscriber list.   What kinds of hotel marketing ideas are this guide? 1. Basic Digital Marketing Tools: Website Builders, Online Shops, Marketplace Selling, Local Optimization 2. Graphic Design and Content: Graphic Design Tools, Photography, Video Marketing, Content Strategy, Content Organization 3. Traffic Generation Tools: Social Media Management, Digital PR, SEO & Keyword Planning, Pay-Per-Click Strategy, Clicks & Conversion, Lead Capture, Referral Programs 4. Customer Relationship Management Tools: CRM Software, Marketing Automation, Website Live Chat, Email Marketing, Loyalty Programs 5. Analytics & Insights Tools: Website Visitor Insights, Market Research, Audience Profiles 6. General Business Tools: Collaboration & Organization, Copy Editing, Budgeting, Offline Optimization This list will introduce you to the basics of online marketing.  If you're already advanced and looking for hotel industry specific marketing solutions and ideas - start with these: 1. Hotel CRM 2. Hotel Chatbots 3. Metasearch Software 4. Hotel website builders 5. Direct booking tools   Hotel Marketing Basics First things first! You can’t dive into keyword planners and website visitor insights if you don’t have a website. Let’s kick off your online marketing success with the essentials: website builders, online shop platforms, digital marketplaces, and tools that help customers find your physical storefront online. Whether your hotel is a local landmark or a new kid on the block, it’s always a good idea to add fresh, new strategies to your hotel marketing plan. You may think that innovative ideas for hotels need months of planning and a budget that’s out of your reach, so let us assure you that you can implement creative marketing strategies in a short time frame and with little or no financial resources. In this article, we’ll start with creative marketing strategies for hotels and resorts that will attract new guests, drive direct bookings, and even strengthen guest loyalty. We'll then dive into our list of 100+ tech driven marketing ideas that anybody can execute to grow their businesses. Best of all, these strategies are low cost and don’t require much planning. In fact, we recommend that you try one today! Which of our hotel marketing ideas will you try right now?   Target repeat guests with personalized offers With so much attention given to acquiring new guests, it can be easy to forget about a valuable segment of traveler: your repeat guests. Why are repeat guests so valuable, you ask? Studies show that the acquisition cost for new guests can be between 5 and 7 times that of existing guests. Furthermore, “the probability of selling to a new customer hovers around a mere 5 to 20 percent. Meanwhile, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is between 60 to 70 percent.” Essentially, guests who have stayed at your hotel are more likely than new guests to book, and a repeat guest’s booking costs less than that of a new guest. Give your loyal guests a little TLC with a personalized email that recognizes their loyalty. In the email, you want to make the guest feel special, so craft the message for your VIPs in a tone that sounds exclusive and appreciative. As the cherry on top, offer a special promo code or freebie that rewards the guest for their loyalty. Besides, your loyal guests can be your best salespeople, so treat them to a special offer that they’ll want to tell all their friends about.   Give your employees a shout-out on social media Social media is a great way for hotels to stay connected with repeat guests and build brand awareness. But in addition to flattering shots of your pool, restaurant, and bathrooms, social media is also a fantastic channel for bragging about your hotel’s most valuable asset: your employees. After all, a memorable interaction with your staff is more likely to inspire a guest to return than your furniture is. For example, Hilton recently shared a video on Instagram about an employee’s journey from a refugee to an apprentice at Hilton Frankfurt City Centre. Besides just celebrating the employee’s story, the post received more views than any of Hilton’s other video content and over 28 times the average comment volume. Video content is certainly engaging, but you don’t need to produce a film like Hilton’s to get similar results. Grab your smartphone, walk into the lobby, and snap a photo of your front desk agents in action. Or start an “employee of the week (or month)” campaign that publicly recognizes team members for their hard work and dedication to your guests. Once potential guests learn about the exceptional service your staff provides, they’ll want to stay at your hotel.   Partner with local businesses Google's algorithm spits out completely different recommendations for local searches.  If you search for a global term like "red shoes" you'll likely see ecommerce results to buy online but if you search for a local term like "hospitality jobs" you'll see results like "Los Angeles Hospitality Jobs" because Google knows that you are looking for something local. No, we're not going to jump into SEO in this article.  The point is that Google is the best marketer in the world and they deeply understand the power of local.  Connecting with a local ecosystem of hospitality industry and retail businesses can have powerful effects on your business. Wondering how to promote hotel sales among new segments of guests? Thinking outside of the box (in this case, your hotel is the box) can lead to some exciting and creative marketing ideas. If your hotel marketing plan seems stale, consider partnering with local businesses to host events, offer unique amenities, or collaborate on promotional offers that can reach new audiences. Joining forces with nearby businesses can allow your hotel to offer unique amenities that aren’t in-house. Do guests wish your hotel had a restaurant, a gym, or a spa? Rather than investing thousands of dollars in renovations, try investing a few hours in building a partnership with a restaurant, gym, or spa next door. For instance, the historic Lenox Hotel in Boston didn’t have the space for an on-site spa, so the property partnered with G20 Spa + Salon across the street. With the ability to offer spa services to its guests, the hotel is now a stronger competitor among luxury hotels in the area. Though the partnership might not materialize immediately, you can start brainstorming potentially local business partners and start the conversation today. Start by mapping out your current customer personas as well as your target audience of potential customers.  If you are targeting millennial influencers you'd likely want "Instagrammable" spots and if you're targeting business travelers you will likely want to introduce great happy hour spots and business lunch experiences. Next, gather a list of all your favorite local businesses using sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.  You'll want to make sure that they all have stellar online reviews because if you recommend somewhere or sell an experience that has bad reviews your guests may lose trust in you.  Start with a light partnership like a guest blog post (content marketing) on their website or a mutual social media marketing campaign where you use each other's hashtags on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to cross promote each business.  Once you've got trust that your guests will love the experience consider bringing them more into the fold on your hotel marketing strategies like email marketing and loyalty.  Figure out ways to package their offers into your room promotions or even integrate them into your loyalty program.  Starwood (now Marriott) was famous for doing this with SPG Moments where their hotel industry loyalty members could redeem points for experiences like concerts and fine dining. Whether you're a boutique hotel, major brand or even an AirBnB host you need to connect your guests to the local environment and make them feel at home - that's what hospitality is all about.   Answer guest questions or comments with a personal touch Responding to guest reviews and social media comments can sometimes feel like a chore, but it’s important to remember that these responses provide an excellent opportunity to market your hotel. Rather than using canned responses or templates, answer each one individually, speaking to any specific questions or situations the guest mentioned - both positive and negative. Did a guest mention they loved the shampoo in the shower? Great! You can talk up your organic eucalyptus-scented toiletries that are thoughtfully presented in eco-friendly dispensers. Or was the guest disappointed in the food at your restaurant? Then you have the perfect opportunity to mention that your hotel has just hired a new chef who will be completely revamping the menu options (only if that’s true, of course). In addition to reviews, social media comments deserve personal treatment. RIU Hotels and Resort does an excellent job of responding to each and every comment personally. Even if the comment doesn’t have a question, the RIU team will say something like “thanks for your comment” or “we’d love to have you.” Their responses come across as genuine and thoughtful, which is probably exactly the impression that the brand wants to make. Another example of going above and beyond to respond to guest inquiries is when a child forgot their stuffed animal at a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The hotel found the lost toy, but instead of simply mailing it back to its rightful owner, the hotel took photos of the stuffed animal receiving the royal treatment at the hotel and included some Ritz-branded souvenirs in the box. The hotel also posted about the situation on social media, and the post went viral. As these examples show, innovative ideas for hotels to build online marketing power doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Try taking a few extra minutes to respond to guest comments today.   Ask real people to test your website When was the last time you asked to watch someone book a room on your own website? If you answered, “never,” then today is a great day to perform an impromptu website audit. Ensuring your website is user-friendly and glitch-free is one of the most important pieces of your hotel marketing plan, because if your website has errors and guests can’t book easily, then all of your great marketing ideas are for nothing.  This is why major hotel booking sites like Expedia run hundreds of tests per year. To conduct these mini usability tests, go into your local coffee shop (or even ask your friends or family at home) and kindly ask patrons to book a room while you watch over their shoulders. As a hotelier, you might think the booking process is simple, but to someone who might only book a hotel room once per year, your website could be confusing. To get the most out of these tests, take detailed notes about your findings so you can make improvements to your site later. As your testers navigate through your site, you might notice their body language - do they tense up or show stress during any part of the booking process? - and whether they ask any questions. These are important observations that reveal pain points on your website. If you have some computer programming experience, perhaps you can resolve the issues on your own, but if not, then you’ll want to turn to an expert. Partnering with a digital marketing agency like D-Edge ensures your website is always in perfect working order. A digital marketing agency can help you not only maintain an intuitive, seamless website, but also source content and optimize your site for search engines. With a strong website, you can make progress toward your direct booking goals.     Optimize Your eCommerce Using a Hotel Website Builder Use these tools to create beautiful websites with minimal time and technical know-how required. Wix: A platform that gives you the freedom to create, design, manage and develop your web presence exactly the way you want. Pick a template and customize anything, or answer a few questions and get a free website designed just for you. You can also get a personalized SEO plan so it's easier for customers to find your website.     WordPress: WordPress allows you to build a website that meets your unique needs. Start a blog, business site, portfolio, online store, or anything else you can imagine. They give you everything you would ever need to start your own website. They have built‑in optimization and responsive, mobile‑ready themes, plus free hosting, your own domain, and a bunch of other cool stuff. Divi Builder: Divi is more than just a WordPress theme, it's a completely new website building platform that replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a vastly superior visual editor. Add, delete, and move elements around on the front end of your website. No coding and no confusing back-end options.   Spin Up an Online Shop to Sell Local Craft Goods and Souvenirs Does your business sell a product or a service? Allow customers to purchase items or make reservations online from anywhere in the world at any time. Simplify your online sales process with an intuitive, easy-to-use ecommerce platform.  Your marketing efforts will go to waste if you don’t have an online presence to drive shoppers to. Shopify: Whether your business is online, in retail or on the go, Shopify offers an all-in-one commerce platform to start, run, and grow a business. One platform with all the ecommerce and point of sale features you need to start, run, and grow your business. You can buy a domain, sell anywhere anytime, market using built-in tools, and analyze data to gain key insights about your customers.    Retailer Taylor Stitch is built on the Shopify platform   Squarespace: Squarespace provides software as a service for website building and hosting. It's easy enough to use for beginners and advanced enough for experienced website builders. Use pre-built website templates and drag and drop elements to create webpages.   Leverage Online Marketplaces to Drive New Business Direct sales through your own website are great, but why settle for just one sales channel? These online marketplaces put your product or service in front of a larger global audience. Etsy: The global marketplace for unique and creative goods. Etsy is home to a universe of extraordinary items, from handcrafted custom pieces to vintage treasures. Etsy helps their community of sellers turn their ideas into successful businesses. Their platform connects sellers with millions of buyers looking for special items made with human touch. Groupon: Groupon offers a vast mobile and online marketplace where people shop for and save on things to do, see, eat, and buy. By enabling real-time commerce across local businesses, travel destinations, consumer products, and live events, shoppers can find the best a city has to offer. Groupon is redefining how small businesses attract and retain customers by providing them with customizable and scalable marketing tools and services to profitably grow their businesses.     Travelzoo: Travelzoo publishes offers from more than 2000 travel, entertainment, and tour companies. Travelzoo's deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value. While companies do pay to list their deals on Travelzoo, no amount of money can ensure that a deal will get published since Travelzoo verifies each listing. Peek: A one-stop shop to discover and book amazing experiences for both travelers and locals. Peek’s team of travel experts handpicks the best activities to provide a personalized selection of experiences that match a variety of travel preferences. Airbnb: An online marketplace not only for apartments and homes, but also for hotel rooms, tours, and activities. Airbnb verifies personal profiles and listings, maintains a smart messaging system so hosts and guests can communicate with certainty, and manages a trusted platform to collect and transfer payments.   Optimize Your SEO for Local Searches Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages; use these tools to ensure your physical business is accurately and attractively represented online. Yext: Yext syncs your location data across hundreds of websites from TripAdvisor to small niche players. This tool drives more foot traffic to your business by distributing accurate information (phone number, address, etc.) for brick-and-mortar businesses and allowing them to run real-time promotions.     MomentFeed: This tool transforms your physical business locations into a massive mobile marketing advantage and drives more sales to every location. MomentFeed manages digital ads, reviews, and social media required to make each of your properties a guest’s top choice. Google My Business: This free tool allows you to optimize and promote your Business Profile and business website in the Google search results and on Google Maps. Google My Business enables you to connect with your guests or customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how guests or customers interact with your business on Google.   Marketing Idea: Beat Your Compset on Graphic Design & Social Media If your website doesn’t contain eye-catching graphics and compelling content, potential customers will skip to a competitor. Grab their attention with images, video, and text that conveys your brand’s value proposition and reflects your brand’s values. These graphic design and content tools will help you craft attractive and high-quality media for any digital marketing channel - and keep it all organized. Graphic Design Allow your digital image to accurately reflect your brand and business with high-quality graphic design. From logos to infographics to color palettes, your brand image is a crucial part of your digital footprint - and a streamlined image can make your brand more recognizable and memorable to current and potential customers. Plus, it’s not always necessary to spend the big bucks on graphic design; these online graphic design tools can create beautiful results at a low (or no) cost. Visually: If you don't have an in-house graphic design team - this is a great way to still get custom graphics. You can tap into their collection of finished infographics and templates or use their talented team of designers to get something completely custom. Fill out a simple creative brief and they will pair you with the best talent for the job.  Envato: Envato Market is a collection of marketplaces for creative digital assets. Buy anything from Photoshop actions and video footage to advanced WordPress themes and plugins. Get unlimited downloads of themes, plugins, graphics, photos, fonts and more with a monthly subscription. Canva: Canva is a simplified graphic design tool used by both non designers as well as professionals. Its subscription service is perfect for people who need web design to be easy but may not have a budget for a full time graphic designer. You can create everything from logos, charts, graphs, shapes and presentations in custom font and design. It has drag and drop features that make design easy for newbies.      Dribble: The go-to resource for discovering and connecting with designers and creative talent around the globe. It is a community of designers sharing screenshots of their work, process, and projects to help you hire expert creatives that are perfect for your project. Design Pickle:  This company is a flat-rate graphic design subscription service offering unlimited requests, unlimited revisions, a dedicated designer, native source files.  In a few clicks you’ll have access to a professional designer ready to jump into your creative ecosystem. Get matched with a Design Pickle graphic designer who knows you by name and understands your brand and changing business needs. Their intuitive platform makes it easy to request and manage your designs and scale up as you grow. Stencil: Share As Image can transform any image into a custom piece of content. Easily create social media graphics, compelling ads, or beautiful blog headers in a fraction of the time. Download the app or use the Chrome plugin, then it’s as simple as clicking “share as image” and adding the text or filters you want.   Photography Stock photography can quickly (and inexpensively) add some extra pizazz to your website, social media, or marketing materials. Death To Stock Photo: Death to Stock is an artist-owned co-op that provides you with the most authentic stock photos and videos; with unlimited downloads and new work added every month. Death to Stock sends you a free bundle of high-quality images each month via email. You can also sign up as a premium user and get access to its entire library. Getty Images: Find the perfect royalty-free image for your next project from the world's best photo library of creative stock photos, vector art illustrations, and stock photography.   Video Marketing As we’ve seen through the growth of YouTube, consumers aren’t satisfied with simple photos anymore - they want video. Bring your brand to life with these video marketing tools. Promo.com: Create stand-out video ads, social media videos, product videos, explainer videos and more - all optimized for online results. Customize more than 2,500 top performing video templates or create your own. Choose from over 15M premium HD videos and photos from Getty, Shutterstock, and other top-rated partners in our visual library. Wistia: This software helps you present captivating video experiences on your site that turn viewers into brand advocates. It offers analytics, automation and a place to host your videos.   Content Marketing Strategy High-quality content is key to building an online brand. Create and share memorable, engaging content that your customers or followers will want to tell their friends about. Clear Voice: This content creation platform and integrated Talent Network can scale content for all your marketing channels faster than ever — to save time and money while building ROI. Their marketing platform is like a playground for content people, where brands and agencies can connect with freelancers to create great content. Followerwonk: If Twitter is one of your strongest platforms, this is a tool for you. Develop a strategic posting and content approach, and figure out key demos about your followers' so you can deliver quality content that resonates with them. This tool will mine your Twitter Analytics in order to help you find relevant Twitter accounts that are worth targeting.  Buzzsumo: If you want to be successful in content marketing, you have to do your research, which is where Buzzsumo comes in, with a quick click, get a look at what’s trending on social media and analyze the returned results to find out why they're trending. This will help inspire you to write content that resonates with consumers. You can also look at your own content to see what's performing and who's engaging with it. Buzzsumo shows content that is trending across social media based on searched topics. Following your search, you can analyze the results that are returned to see what’s so appealing about them and to get ideas of subjects to write about.     Trello: This tool is ideal for content strategists that want to plan out their editorial calendar. It's perfect for content brainstorming and its calendar service allows you to collaboratively create and share ideas across multiple individuals and teams. It operates more as a content planner than content scheduler -- you can create notecards for article topics, marketing campaigns, or other subjects your team may focus on. On each card, users can take notes, record instructions, update the project status, and assign cards to certain people. Hemingway App: If you want solid content, run it through this tool to check its quality and make sure its complexity is appropriate to your audience. The app highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.   Content Organization Use these content organization tools to plan your content strategy in advance so you’re never faced with writer’s block. Pocket: This app and web service is ideal for managing a reading list of articles and videos from the Internet. Save articles, videos and stories from any publication, page or app. Curate your own space filled with everything you can’t wait to learn. CoSchedule: CoSchedule Marketing Suite is a family of agile marketing products that will help you organize your content, social, work, and assets in one place. Save time, publish consistently, and grow your audience. Editorial Calendar plans help you organize your blog and social media to build and share your brand.   Traffic Generation for Small Businesses in the Hospitality Industry If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Brand awareness is key in all marketing and advertising.  A great marketing plan drums up interest in your brand and then delivers attractive offers for prospective customers.  Does your website even exist if nobody looks at it? You’ve invested time, energy, and money into building a great website, but how do you generate traffic? With a strong social media presence, creative social media marketing, a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), and referral programs, you don’t need to dedicate lots of money and effort to get eyes on your site. These tools will help your website become more visible and make your marketing efforts more effective, then keep visitors engaged all the way through the purchase process.   Social Media Management Maximizing your social media activity isn’t as simple as creating a profile. Use these social media management tools to understand your followers, build relationships with influencers, and grow your brand. Drum Up: DrumUp discovers and helps you share great content to your social media accounts so you can start meaningful conversations with your followers. This site mines through tons of content across the web in real time, and uses sophisticated algorithms to recommend fresh stories most relevant to your audience. Social Mention: This is a free tool that provides a real-time analysis of social media. It organizes social media mentions of your brand into a single stream and includes hashtags, top keywords, and sites. Traackr: Traackr is an influencer relationship management platform that allows businesses to find, vet, manage, and measure their influencer marketing programs. It is designed for companies that already have an established influencer program. Traackr provides influencer discovery, vetting, campaign organization, measurement, and the industry’s only influencer market performance benchmark. Sprout Social: Build and grow stronger relationships on social. Understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection. Buffer: Plan, collaborate, and publish click-stopping content that drives meaningful engagement and growth for your brand. Buffer is a really simple way to automate and optimize your marketing strategy. Plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn from one simple dashboard.     Hootsuite: This is the central management platform for all your social media channels. In one session, you can schedule posts in advance so that your content is prepped for the coming weeks or months. You can also identify key influencers and hashtags.This one-stop-shop helps you not only manage your social posts, but also track ROI and brand mentions. It will allow you to see which of your social posts are generating the most buzz. Sniply: Sniply adds your custom call to action to any page on the web, allowing you to engage your followers through every link you share. For example, you can attach a button to the page that links to your own website, so that people can discover you while they read. Sniply generates unique links for you to share. Anyone clicking on your links will see the content along with your call-to-action inside.   Digital PR A strong SEO strategy doesn’t stop with your own search results performance. Leverage these digital PR tools to build backlinks, snag placement in news articles, and get in touch with influencers. BuzzStream: This software will help you research influencers, manage your relationships, and conduct outreach that’s personalized and efficient. Through one centralized database, BuzzStream discovers contact information, social profiles, and site metrics for you. It’s easy to prioritize the most important, influential contacts. Their customizable reports provide deep insight into your outreach campaigns, team performance and link placements - so you know what works and what doesn't.  Just Reach Out: PR software and guidance to get the exposure you need to grow your business. Their software allows you to find the most relevant journalists, publications, press opportunities, podcasts and broken links so you can pitch with confidence.     Pitchbox: Find bloggers, publishers, and influencers in record time. With multiple prospecting profiles and intuitive keyword search, Pitchbox allows you to find influencers in your niche in a matter of seconds. Save hundreds of hours each month while being in total control of your messaging. Customize each outreach email to your target opportunities, without manual input, and automatically follow up with prospects who haven’t responded, boosting response rates ~62% on average.   SEO: Keyword Planning Search engine optimization is important for generating traffic, but how do you know which keywords to target? These keyword planning tools will help you decide where to start. If you have a general idea of a few keywords to target, use a keyword research tool to find more relevant keywords that can put your website in front of more viewers.  SEO keyword planning starts with understanding your target market. What questions or queries do your customers search for that your product and content can answer? KWFinder: A good key word finder like KWFinder is essential. You may have great content, but you also need great keywords in order to get a better ranking and more visibility. This tool is ideal for small businesses because it offers more functionality than the free tools in an easy-to-use format, for an affordable monthly fee. All you have to do is put in a seed keyword and the tool will come back with hundreds of suggestions, search volume data, trends, and a ranking difficulty score for each word or phrase. Keyword Planner: This Google Ads tool is perfect for new or experienced advertisers. You can use Keyword Planner to search for keywords and see how a list of keywords might perform. It can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use with your campaigns. Reach new customers and grow your business with Google Ads, Google's online advertising program.This platform is set up like a workshop so you can learn as you go. Neil Patel Ubersuggest: You no longer will waste time writing content that people don’t want to read. Insight into the keywords your audience uses is likely to spark ideas for new content pieces or product features or even new products that actually resonate with your consumer. Ubersuggest is a free keyword tool that gives you tons of suggestions based on your topic. It’s like an enhanced version of Google’s suggestions. Its new feature even lets you type in a competitor's domain name to get better keyword ideas. SpyFu: This self-serve competitive intelligence tool specializes primarily in keyword research. They provide unlimited searches for domains, keywords, and backlinks as well as unlimited exports, which other services usually don’t offer.     Screaming Frog: This is an easy way to analyze the technical components of your website to make sure you’re well-optimized for search engines. This website crawler will help you identify your SEO issues like broken links or duplicate content. Any site issues your having will be flagged so won't miss a beat.  Ahrefs: Audit your website, explore competitors, research keywords & backlinks - all in one place. Powered by seriously big data & trusted by top SEOs. Unlike old school SEO which was focused on backlink quantity, this new practice is all about building relevant and organic backlinks. Search engines will know how trustworthy your site is based on how many quality links leads to your content. SEMRush: Offers online visibility and marketing analytics software subscriptions.   Pay-Per-Click Strategy A big portion of website traffic starts in the search results. As search results marketing gets more and more competitive, hone your pay-per-click strategy to get the best cash-to-click ratio. WordStream: Turn browsers into buyers with tools designed to drive new purchasers to your site and kickstart your shopping campaign ROAS. WordStream Advisor for Ecommerce gives advertisers the tools you need to set up & manage your shopping campaigns on platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook. Turn more shoppers into customers, faster. Kite: Kite is a tool for digital advertising professionals, to help get both better performances and the most out of their budget. Kite’s main objective is to improve your conversations and ROI without increasing spend. The platform will analyze your existing campaigns and create a report that is built of recommendations based on 40+ industry tested best practices. The reports come with insights that are each uniquely formulated to give you the best strategies when moving forward with your campaigns. Squared.io: This optimization platform analyzes your Google Ads account daily for opportunities and issues.They analyze your settings for anomalies and give you the opportunity to fix them from the interface so you can maximize the traffic and conversions for your account. Optmyzr: Do optimizations and reporting in a fraction of the time so you can handle more accounts more effectively, and grow your bottom line. Optmyzr connects with your advertising accounts and analyzes data in real-time, making suggestions about how to optimize the performance of your accounts.   Clicks and Conversion Use these tools to turn casual shoppers into paying customers. Picreel: Picreel is an on-site retargeting and conversion rate optimization platform that will help you send the right message to the right person at the right time. It will help you capture email addresses and put a call to action in front of your website visitors. Picreel optimizes offers on your website by tracking visitors' digital footprints and click behavior in real-time, then it serves up the most relevant offer as they navigate around your site.  Convert: Convert is an A/B testing tool used to improve the conversion rate of your website. This will allow you to improve and attract more users to your website and essentially increase revenue. Anyone on your team can start experimenting. Switch out text, images, calls to action, or HTML/CSS elements without adding a single line of code. Proof: Proof is designed to help you display your social proof so that you can create FOMO (fear of missing out) and convert more visitors into leads. The platform is designed to help you save on acquisition costs and increase brand perception. It's very easy to download: all you have to do is copy and paste their pixel onto your site page.   Lead Capture A strong email list will give you powerful email marketing opportunities. Use these tools to encourage visitors to subscribe to your email updates. OptinMonster: OptinMonster’s beautiful, attention-grabbing opt-in forms are proven to convert visitors into subscribers. OptinMonster helps you showcase the right offer to the right people at the right time to build your email list, get more leads, and increase bookings. Unbounce: Get more leads, sales, and customers with landing pages built just how you want. Create and optimize dedicated landing pages that prompt your visitors with one focused goal instead of leaving them to wander a site full of distractions. Create custom landing pages with no code required. Get built-in conversion power and the ability to A/B test your pages to see exactly what’s working. Experiment with messaging, design, and forms to validate what makes more visitors convert more often.     Referral Programs If your website visitors love what you offer, these tools make it easy for them to refer friends or family - one of the best ways to spread the word about your business and acquire new customers. Mention Me: Mention Me encourages, measures, and rewards customers who love your product enough to recommend it to others and keep coming back themselves. This SaaS platform enables companies to supercharge word-of-mouth for fast and effective new customer acquisition. Extole: Extole is a referral marketing program that helps companies acquire customers through their refer-a-friend program. You can choose from rewards like discount codes or gift cards. When one of your current customers buys something using a code, they get a reward for sharing it with a friend or family member. The friend or family member will also receive a reward and most likely become a new customer of your brand - so everybody wins! Viral-Loops: A viral and referral marketing platform to launch ranking competitions, sweepstakes, pre-launch offers, and referral programs. When you run an ongoing referral marketing campaign, people earn bigger prizes for the more friends they refer.     Pay With A Tweet: Pay with a Tweet is a social media referral tool that drives reach through social shares. Publishers can incentivize their users by offering products or content in exchange for a social post. It is easily implemented on your website and the user experience is quick, simple and safe. PWT will verify that your customers have really shared your brand with their friends and make sure that they get the promised reward for it.   Customer Relationship Management in Small Business Marketing Digital tools aren’t only helpful in driving sales on your website; they can benefit your physical business too. Use these tools to better manage relationships with your customers and build brand loyalty. If your website allows customers to order products or guests to book rooms, then these tools can help you increase your sales performance. By building strong relationships with your guests or consumers, you can keep them coming back for more.   CRM Software Customers are the core of your business. Investing in a customer relationship management system can assist in increasing sales and understanding customer behavior. KWI: A cloud-based platform and team of tech experts that help retailers sell more, streamline processes, and create holistic customer experiences - online and offline. This omni-channel POS tool supports in-store and online purchases, fulfillment, returns, and exchanges. You can see sales and inventory in real time and get real time data collection, segmenting, and targeting capabilities to better understand your customers. Pipedrive: This is a comprehensive CRM solution that helps with all aspects of your sales cycle. Pipedrive provides you with everything you need, including detailed reports, email automation, and AI-powered tools. HubSpot: When you're running a few different campaigns across multiple channels, it can be hard to manage them and even harder to get a pulse on what's working. HubSpot program offers a full stack of software for marketing, sales, and customer service, with a completely free CRM at its core. Hubspot provides everything you need to organize, track, and build better relationships with leads and customers.     Zoho: Zoho enables users to reach out to prospects at the right moment and engage them across every channel. Give your sales team the perfect set of apps to help close more business deals in less time.   Marketing Automation If your sales team performs the same tasks over and over again, an automation tool can do the work for them and let them spend time more strategically. Hatchbuck: Hatchbuck is an all-in-one CRM and marketing automation tool created specifically for small businesses. Keep tabs on every contact with their easy-to-learn, simple-to-use CRM. Hatchbuck lets you know who your hot prospects are so you can focus on selling. Keap: Keap is a comprehensive CRM, sales, and marketing automation software to help you consistently win more business. Create a repeatable sales process that makes it easy for you to set up appointments, track leads, and get quotes accepted all from your CRM. Constant Contact: Constant Contact can help you compose attractive emails, build a website with ease, create a logo for your brand, run Google Ads to get more website traffic, or find new customers on social media. Their software will take care of all of your list management needs. You get access to a whole suite of campaign types available to help reach and engage with your customers.   Website Live Chat If website visitors have a question, make it as easy as possible for them to get answers with the option to chat in real-time with a bot or a customer service representative. Intercom: This messaging platform allows businesses to communicate with prospective and existing customers within their app, on their website, through social media, or via email. Use bots and live chat to automatically qualify, route, and convert more leads - and faster. Send targeted email, in-app, and push messages to turn more visitors into customers.     Tawk.to: Provides your business with all of the features you would find in common live messaging platforms, but for free. You can customize the chat widget, converse via mobile (even by using predefined shortcuts), analyze visitors in real-time, and trigger actions to proactively interact with them. LiveChat: This tool includes most of the features already available within Intercom but plus message sneak peaks, agent ratings, chat routing, and integrations for the chat widget. It's not free, but it's worth the price for the bells and whistles. LiveChat is perfect for beginners who want to utilize a customizable and ready-to-use chat widget. but also for developers who want to change and build on the standard offering.  LiveChat also has a couple other products in their arsenal such as HelpDesk, which is an email management software and ticketing system and ChatBot, an intuitive chatbot solution that's great for automating customer support. HelpCrunch: HelpCrunch supports multi-channel messaging and combines all messages from a single user under one roof – including email, the chat widget, or social media. The platform automatically gathers all personal or behavioral customer data, coupled with their chat history to date, then provides actionable insights. You can follow up on queries with emails or instant solutions. LiveAgent: This platform offers live chat functionality, but also includes ticket management, social messages, and customer care support (including phone call functionality) in one integrated platform. The LiveAgent chat widget first searches for answers, then connects customers to a live representative.    Email Marketing Send targeted email updates, newsletters, and offers to your subscribers. Mailchimp: This service will enable you to capture emails, manage your lists, send out emails automatically or on a schedule, and analyze engagement. It simplifies all the services you need and remains free until your list hits 2,000 subscribers.   Loyalty Programs Offer incentives to keep customers coming back for more with these loyalty program platforms. Belly: Collect customer info after their first visit to keep them engaged and coming back. Send email marketing and mobile campaigns without lifting a finger. Belly also helps you grow your social channels and attract new customers. Fivestars: Ditch the old school punch card and go digital, with a loyalty card that customers won't accidently leave at home. The Fivestars Customer Touchscreen integrates with your point-of-sale. Your customers enter their phone number every time they make a purchase. You decide the rewards they can redeem, like a free coffee.     CandyBar: Customers get rewards, cashiers get 3-tap checkout, and store owners get to see top customers and KPIs. No POS integration required; CandyBar runs on any browser and only takes three minutes to set up.  Loyalzoo: A digital loyalty system for brick-and-mortar stores and eateries. Loyalzoo offers a practical way of helping consumers support their local shops and restoring pride to their areas. Sign customers up for your loyalty program directly on your point-of-sale system or online using their phone number or email address. Once your customers are signed up to your program and collect points, you can send messages or promotions and push sales during slow periods. There is also an option for customers to pay to be part of a loyalty or membership program for added perks.   Use Analytics to Fuel Your Hotel Marketing Strategies What are your guests or customers thinking? What’s their path to purchase on your website? And why do they love your product - or not? Diving into your ideal consumer’s preferences, needs, and wants will help you tailor your marketing messages to be most relevant for your audience. Website Visitor Insights What do guests or customers actually do on your hotel or business’s website? What links do they click? How long do they stay on each page? Or do they run into an error and jump to a competitor’s website? Understanding the behavior of the people using your website is an important first step to reach your digital marketing goals. Without a smooth website experience, you can’t expect guests to book more rooms or for customers to purchase more products. Google Analytics: Discover who is visiting your site and what they're up to when they arrive. The platform looks at the number of visitors, where they come from, and the keywords they used to get to your site. All of these actionable insights help you better understand your potential guests and how to speak to them.     Kissmetrics: Map your guest or customer’s journey on your website from looker to booker. With this platform, you will find out exactly where your website visitors are coming from and can map their journey to purchase. You will get the crucial data you need to optimize your marketing channels, attract more guests, and get them to convert once they reach your website. Send automated behavioral engagements at the perfect time to get people happily headed in the right direction. Pendo: Access to the analytics you need to understand what users are doing across their product journey. Product teams can understand product usage, collect feedback, measure sentiment, onboard users, and announce new features in-app, without requiring engineering resources. Crazy Egg: This data collection tool is ideal for gaining insights into how your customers use your website. Through click reports, heat maps, and A/B testing tools, you will be able to identify areas of friction that represent conversion opportunities. Hot Jar: Gain insight into the behavior of your website visitors - perfect for conversion optimization. A simple script is the only thing you need to set up all the features for your website.    Heap: Heap automatically captures web and mobile app behavioral data. Retroactively analyze behavioral data without writing code. Their infrastructure is built to automatically capture customer interactions, make sense of them, and make them actionable.   Market Research What’s the easiest way to know what your potential or current customers want? Ask them! These survey tools make questionnaires effortless and engaging. Turn customer preferences into actionable insights that can shape your strategy and convert more sales. Survey Anyplace: This tool streamlines the survey creation experience by allowing you to build your own surveys and tailor them to your brand's unique needs. They are optimized for mobile with a heavy visual emphasis if desired. They analyze your settings for anomalies and give you the opportunity to fix them from the interface so you can maximize the traffic and conversions for your account. SurveyMonkey: This survey software is intuitive and quick. SurveyMonkey is a global leader in survey software. With a few minutes, you can design, create & publish a survey that will give you access to key consumer insights and trends.     Pollfish: Survey Pollfish’s global network of over 550 million consumers to gain insights into consumer preferences for any industry. The information you glean from these studies can help you hone your product-market fit and reach potential customers more effectively. Google Forms: As part of the Google G Suite, this tool lets you intuitively build surveys, forms, and quizzes, then export the answers or results to a Google Sheet. Easily add collaborators, make edits, and analyze the results within your personal or business Google account.   Audience Profiles What do your guests or customers really think about your brand or product? Tap into their opinions to find opportunities to better your business. Qzzr: Businesses can make fun and engaging quizzes with Qzzr to better understand their audiences and generate new leads. Build richer customer profiles, improve engagement, and generate more revenue by asking the right questions. Finished quizzes can be embedded on your website or socials.  Reddit: This is a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.  Joining the Reddit community is a great way to gain consumer insights about your target audience on a much deeper level - it's like going undercover. Members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, and images, which are then voted up or down by other members. Brands can use this information to gain insights into how their customers are talking about their products or services. Quora: This platform allows you to ask questions and get answers from experts in the Quora community. Members ask questions about just about every topic you can imagine, including product reviews, travel recommendation, and even digital marketing strategies! Small businesses can respond to questions related to their product or service and include a link to their website.   Productivity Tools for Small Business Marketing Stay focused, submit deliverables on time, and organize information with these product management tools. Whether your business is a hotel, a restaurant, or a store, it’s important to keep projects moving in the right direction. These handy tools can help you save time and stay organized so you can focus on other things.. Collaboration & Organization Platforms Working with colleagues and business partners can be challenging - especially when your team members work different shifts or are based in other parts of the world. Stay in sync with these collaboration tools. Slack: This cloud-based collaboration hub makes it easy for you to follow conversations or easily find information in searchable archives. Slack integrates with all major project management, office management, sales, productivity, design, and developer tools, which makes communication even more seamless. Instead of a single overstuffed inbox, conversations in Slack happen in dedicated spaces called channels. Asana: Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. Plan and structure work in a way that’s best for you. Set priorities and deadlines, share details, and assign tasks.  Trello: No matter where you are, Trello stays in sync across all of your devices. Collaborate with your team anywhere, from sitting on the bus to sitting on the beach. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way.     Evernote: Share ideas with anyone and find information faster. Evernote helps you capture ideas, inspiration, and trends, while storing it in one easily accessible location. You can access your files on your phone, laptop, or tablet, making it the perfect tool for finding and storing content ideas, market research, brainstorming, and competitive analyses. Basecamp: Unlike email, where you have to constantly manage the chaos, Basecamp keeps projects organized. Each project section contains everything related to the work at hand: all the people involved, every discussion, every document, file, task, important dates, and more.   Copy Editing Even the most beautiful website or well-intentioned email can see conversion slip because of typos. Use a copy editing tool to write professional text all the time. Grammarly: Just because you can't afford to hire a copy editor doesn't mean you can afford mistakes. Grammarly can make corrections while you write on Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your other favorite sites. Use it in combination with your spell checker and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many typos you avoid. If you opt for the paid premium version, Grammarly also offers a plagiarism checker.   Budgeting While you work hard to increase website traffic and sales, don’t forget to keep your finances in check. Due: This affordable solution is for business owners to pay and get paid faster. Due helps your business seamlessly process credit cards, eCash and eCheck payments.   Offline Optimization Spread the word online about events happening in real life and make the checkout process as frictionless as possible with these helpful hints. Bosstab: Bosstab sells tablet stands, POS equipment, and accessories. The company focuses on using tablets in a business setting - perfect for hospitality venues, shops, showrooms, and general businesses. Get the perfect stand to house your tablets or accessories. Eventbrite: Create a beautiful event listing page with built-in payment processing, analytics, and support. Manage and track your sales with real-time reporting and analytics from any device. Give your event-goers a great experience with simple, secure checkout and rapid check-in through Eventbrite’s mobile apps and full suite of on-site equipment, staffing, and logistics. -- Now that you’re armed with 100 small business marketing tools, growth is within reach. Use these tools to spread the world about your product, increase your sales or bookings, and stay organized behind the scenes. When you can spend less time and effort on the intricacies of marketing, you can focus on what really matters: delivering a great product.