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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.


Vizergy Launches New Hard Rock Cafes Site

Vizergy ·23 April 2019
Hard Rock International came to Vizergy Digital Marketing with a distinct branding change in mind for the next generation of their Hard Rock Cafes, which Vizergy originally launched in 2015. The Hard Rock team was eager to update their brand identity online and retain the features of the Vizergy Marketing System and Vizergy Content Management System that had served the Hard Rock Cafe team globally for several years.After a full discovery session and research phase, the Vizergy creative team utilized the new branding direction from Hard Rock and developed a website concept using a lighter color scheme, more vibrant color highlights and a focus on music and the Hard Rock Cafe experience that's unlike any other restaurant chain in the world. The Vizergy team developed that concept using large, bold imagery with minimal text that gave the site a far more lifestyle and experiential tone than the previous version.Mostly Mobile: Dynamic, Easy-to-Use Navigation67% of Hard Rock Cafe website traffic is from mobile, so the mobile website experience was going to be crucial. The design team simplified the information architecture and navigation as well as improved the reservation process by incorporating an Open Table booking widget. This allowed the site to load more quickly and prioritize content for mobile devices.Location Sites with Info People NeedBrowser location technology was used to help online users find their nearest Hard Rock Cafe. Then, for each Cafe location, Vizergy's design team created a website with great scrollable content with priority items placed strategically based on heatmap analysis and conversion science to maximize interactions and conversion. The site utilizes Vizergy's event calendar feature to showcase live music and events at each location and help to drive website traffic for target markets at each location.More Enticing MenuAny restaurant website should focus on the menu and by using large pictures of the food and bright colors, the Hard Rock Cafe menu really pops off the screen. This facelift was intentional, to show the viewer exactly what Hard Rock Cafe serves and to place great food at the center of the Hard Rock Cafes experience.Leaders in Restaurant Website DesignRoss McAlpine, Vizergy's Client Services Director says, "I think the new Hard Rock Cafes website is a tremendous step forward for Hard Rock Cafe as a brand. Meeting with the Hard Rock leadership team at the start of this massive project we really got a sense of a new beginning and a desire to showcase the experience that's unlike any other restaurant. We were able to harness that new beginning and produce a website that we're proud to be a part of.I think the team at Hard Rock deserve a lot of credit for their leadership and creativity in how they've brought their new brand to life, with so many locations around the world that can't have been easy. I'm delighted that the Vizergy project team launched this site quickly, on time and on budget and we're looking forward to a new phase of partnership with Hard Rock International as we continue to work with the team on maximizing website traffic and conversions for their Cafes worldwide."View the full blog post here to see examples of the new website's features or explore the full Hard Rock Cafe website here.For more information about how website design can drive direct revenue for your property, contact the experts at Vizergy. To check out more stunning website designs by the Vizergy team, see examples in Vizergy's portfolio.

What Hoteliers Need to Know About Staying Relevant with Google Hotel Ads

Vizergy ·17 April 2019
It's no secret that Google has played a significant role in the hospitality industry when it comes to online searches and generating direct bookings vs indirect bookings via OTAs.Online travelers often turn to Google when researching hotels, resulting in millions of hotel search queries each day. With so many eyes on these search engine results, it's important for hoteliers to be aware of Google's new hotel advertising product.Looking to compete with other hotel booking sites, Google quietly released its own hotel booking site on March 8th. On Google Hotel Search, online travelers can search for hotels by price, location, ratings, view hotel details and photos, as well as book a room.For hoteliers looking to keep their share of direct bookings, Google Hotel Ads should be a priority sooner rather than later. Google Hotel Ads display your hotel availability and rates on Google Search, Maps, and the Assistant. Hotel properties can connect their existing system to show latest rates and availability or manually manage rates, room types, and availability to be shared on Google. These campaigns work similar to a typical paid search campaign.In order to use this tool you'll need to create a Google Hotel Center account to send and manage hotel rates and availability displayed across Google. From there you would connect prices and availability to your ads by linking your Hotel Center account to a Google Ads account. Advertising your hotel can then begin by setting campaign parameters such as budget and duration. Then, once the ads run, you are able to review reports in Google Ads.Not even a month after the release of their Hotel Search site, Google is already teasing an "engagement rewards" program. Although the program is still in the works, the idea is that the program will help companies to attract users, engage them, and increase conversions. The continued advances to Google Hotel Search are bound to shake things up for the hotel industry.For more on Google's new hotel updates, check out Vizergy's blog: Forget OTAs - Hotelier's Biggest Competitor for Direct Bookings is Google.
Article by Trish Leighton

Forget OTAs - Hotelier's Biggest Competitor for Direct Bookings is Google

Vizergy ·16 April 2019
In October 2018, Google rolled out a desktop treatment for hotel booking that aligned with the mobile experience that had been live for several months. It allows the searcher to filter by location, dates, number of guests, budget, and preferred amenities. No one can argue that it isn't a great way to find what you're looking for. However, it's what happens after you narrow down your search results that is having an impact on direct bookings.Google provides a handful of ways to book that room, with the eye-catching photos, hotel information tabs, reduced rate messaging, reviews, and nearby competitor rates far more appealing than the little "Website" button that actually takes you to the hotel website. We've seen a distinct reduction in website traffic from Google in response to this approach already, and it appears Google has recently taken it a step further and integrated hotel results in their incredibly popular flight search tool.In a quiet non-announcement of sorts, Richard Holden, Google's VP of Product Management for Travel published a blog post in March highlighting the new features and capability of their new travel insights tool. With an impressive list of features, like the Deals filter that "uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of our partners offer rates that are significantly lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby" and a Packages tab to show flight and hotel bundle rates, and even non-hotel vacation rentals in the area of interest, the tool itself is a powerful search engine for travelers.The problem is that Google is keeping all of that browsing and booking traffic on Google, and away from hotel websites. Industry chatter regarding the tool is that Google is trying to compete with, and take business away from, OTAs. But for hotels already elbowing their way to the front of the room to capture direct bookings, this is another obstacle in the way of that valuable revenue channel.I was recently looking up flight and hotel options for a trip and wanted to see how Google's search experience on mobile has changed and if it would impact my own booking decisions. Since I was logged into my own Google account, I got the added bonus of rate reduction offers as a Google One member, with a lower rate shown than I could find elsewhere for the property.After browsing a few hotels, I noticed how difficult it was to get to the hotel website directly and how much effort was placed into directing clicks to the Hotel Ads. In the Prices tab, the ads are the only option for rates and more information, and if you go to any other tabs to get further location info or read reviews, there is a clear CTA to View Prices at the bottom of the screen that takes you back to - you guessed it - the ads. While Google's nudge toward ad clicks that bring them so much annual revenue is nothing new, this brazen and blatant push without organic options is surprising.I wanted to see what else I could do with the tool and checked out the Packages tab (previously labeled "Flights + Hotels"). It had the same great filters, map view, date and price range, and amenity selection. But what happened once I clicked on a hotel to see the package price is noteworthy - you can't actually book a package.The CTA at the bottom includes a bright button with the total price of the package, and you assume that clicking it will take you to where you can book everything together - as, you know, a package. But when you click it, you get a pop-up saying you have to book the hotel and flight separately, and the only option for each is via an ad with an OTA. The CTA was labelled as an ad, but I searched for other opportunities to make the booking directly, and none existed. It appears the entire Packages tab is one big ad for OTAs.So, after falling down the rabbit hole of Google's travel tool, the one thing I was getting further away from with every click was the hotel's website. Also, at no time did I consider checking organic results to see what came up in my searches. Considering the OTAs tend to dominate organic results, it's clear how Google is impacting their traffic with their entrance into the booking world. But after all the time and money hotels spend on being visible in organic results, it seems that Google's moves are making their own results pages obsolete for travel. Clicking on a hotel in the local pack brings you to a variety of ways to get you to click on an ad and keep that cash register ringing over at Google headquarters.How this will translate for your website is a reduction in organic traffic year over year, especially for non-branded searches, even as search trends for hotels in your city remain steady or grow. Google is investing a lot to develop ways to keep people searching and also converting on Google, with the lucrative travel industry becoming their bread and butter. It seems we've been ushered into a new era where the friend you relied upon has become the foe.For more information about how to keep your hotel website relevant & not lose out on direct booking traffic, contact the experts at Vizergy.

Vizergy Showcases AI Enhancement to TargetingHub Product

Vizergy ·10 April 2019
Vizergy, the hospitality industry's leading provider in digital marketing software solutions, continues to enhance their platform to drive hotel revenue and profit and stay competitive in an ever-changing digital marketplace.The latest enhancement, made to their TargetingHub data management platform, utilizes AI to analyze and segment the platform's data. TargetingHub, which is fully integrated with Vizergy's Marketing System (VMS), allows clients to use existing data assets to identify and attract new customers without the complexity of hard to manage CRM systems.By integrating a property's PMS data, TargetingHub identifies key insights and attributes of the property's most profitable customers and allows them to deploy smart campaigns to target more customers just like them. The new AI enhancement takes data insights much deeper and incorporates machine learning and BI to expand targeted marketing capabilities.These new capabilities ensure TargetingHub users are deploying advertising and marketing resources in a very targeted way, improving conversions by delivering relevant personalize content. Robert Arnold, Vizergy's President, states "todays marketers need to use data to easily identify patterns and trends with existing data assets to find new customers. By identifying things such as days most likely booked, average duration of stay, most popular seasons, along with customer attributes, clients can strategically deploy smart campaigns that speak to their target audiences to drive direct bookings."Arnold continues, "the platforms ease of use is unlike any other technology in the hospitality industry. When you run a targeted campaign, the platform reporting suite shows you not only overall campaign performance but exactly how many new customers were acquired from a given campaign, giving you a crystal-clear cost metric of new customer acquisition."With the connections built to the most frequently used hotel Property Management Systems and the option to export reporting and upload into the TargetingHub, this products capability allow it's use to virtually any hotel that has access to their reservation data.For more information about TargetingHub, visit Vizergy's website or click here to request a demo.

An Interactive & Sleek Site Launch : Hotel Yountville

VIZERGY Blog·29 March 2019
Vizergy’s most recent site launch was with Hotel Yountville in California. We think you’d agree that the perfect escape to wine country is at Hotel Yountville. This luxury boutique hotel inspired by a quintessential wine country home is perfect for those looking for a relaxing, luxurious escape. From world-class cuisine, upscale boutique shops, and some of the finest wine available in Napa County surrounding you, you will never find yourself bored. Experience a preview of the site below.
Article by Trish Leighton

SEO FAQ's for Hoteliers

Vizergy · 6 March 2019
How do I know that we are targeting the right keywords? Should there be variations of keywords on our website in order to rank for them all?Google is looking for a searcher's intent. If a searcher types "hotels near Disneyland" into their search bar and you have good content about being near Disneyland on your website and are near Disneyland, you don't need the exact phrase, "hotels near Disneyland", to rank for it. If you refer to the property as Disneyland hotel, it means to same to Google.Synonyms and word order do not have to match exactly. Don't get too hung up on exact keywords you are trying to rank for and instead, use them as an overall guide. You are likely to rank for their variations even if your site isn't specifically optimized for all variations.How long will it take to get my property's website to rank on page 1 for our keywords?There's no way to tell but we can make a guesstimate based on several factors. One of them is out of your control, and that's the age of your domain. If the website is brand new, you are starting from zero. The site has no visit history, probably no backlinks yet, meaning there's nothing to indicate to Google that the site is important. It will take a long time to receive solid rankings for a new website.Another factor is your target and competition level. If your property is in New York City and you're trying to rank on the first page for "hotels in New York City", that could take years. A piece of advice we give to our clients is to start small with more easily reachable targets to build trust and authority with Google. So, when you're wondering how long it will take for your property to rank on the first page of search results, remember it is all dependent on the keyword terms, the competition and location. SEO is a marathon, patience is key here.I manage my own Google business listing. Is there anything else I should be doing?Absolutely - stay active on it. Update your listing with nice imagery, videos, and monitor people's suggested changes. It's important to be diligent about this, as people can make changes to your amenities but you can review and approve any suggestions.Responding to online reviews, both good and bad, are important as well. It allows the opportunity to publicly respond to an unhappy customer in attempts to resolve an issue, or to recognize and thank someone for a nice review. There is also a questions and answers section where people can post questions on your listing for your property to respond to. You can also create your own questions and answers, if you have questions that are frequently asked, and post them there yourself.Is a blog good for a hotel's SEO?Having a blog is never a bad idea... unless you don't commit to maintaining it. Make sure there is time allotted to generate interesting content to post regularly. Follow the "tell don't sell" principle. If your blog content is always focused on the reasons the hotel is great, it will go stale quickly.Highlight nearby landmarks or attractions, feature employees or talk about the city. Mentioning local attractions and amenities is a good way to start ranking for those keywords. Educate your readers. Make it interesting even for people who aren't looking for hotel information and your property will be remembered when they do need a hotel in the area.How often should I make changes to my website?Whenever you need to. It's not necessary to rewrite your content every 6 months, but regular updates to content are fine. Many make changes to seasonal offers, editing images, and updates to local information and room features to ensure accuracy.For more tips on how to rank higher on Google, download our Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Guide here.
Article by Trish Leighton

Why Backlinks Are Important for Hotel SEO

Vizergy ·28 February 2019
Quality vs. Quantity of Backlinks:In the past, backlinks were a major factor for how well a website ranked. It was more of a numbers game: the more backlinks a site had, the better the search rankings were. As Google got smarter and updated their algorithms, it became more about the quality of backlinks over the quantity. Rather than rewarding sites that paid for a few thousand links from irrelevant, low-quality sites, Google started paying attention to the quality of sites linking back to your site.For example, say you want your property's website to rank for the convention center located down the street. Does the convention center have a list of nearby hotels? Is your property mentioned on that list with a link back to the website? If the convention center thinks you're important, then Google thinks your property is important for people looking for hotels near the convention center. This carries much more weight than 30 backlinks from sites that have nothing to do with travel or the property's location.Acquiring More Backlinks:Finding quality link targets takes a lot of time and research. Reaching out to quality targets and asking for inclusion doesn't always yield a link, but it's important to ask and reach out to make connections. If your property does get quality links from a nearby business, it's good practice to reciprocate and link to their site from yours as well if relevant.It's important not to get hung up on the number of links as a measure of a good backlink profile. A small bed and breakfast in Iowa won't have as many backlinks as a resort hotel in a big city. No backlink profile will look the same, it's unique to the business or property. There is no measurable quantity that equals success.Protecting Your Backlink Profile:Link management is more than just acquiring links from local businesses and travel directories. Unfortunately, you can't help who links to you, which means you could get useless low-quality backlinks.With clients in the past, we've seen shady tactics from their competitors who hired an SEO agency to send bad links to the client's website in hopes they'd get penalized or de-ranked. For reasons such as this, it's important to protect your backlink profile. If you notice poor quality or spammy links, disavow them and let Google know you do not want to be associated with those sites linking to you.Monitoring Quality Links:Along with monitoring unwanted links, it's also important to make sure the links that you do want are still working and making a difference. If you change a page's URL that other sites were linking to, all those links would be broken. If the page is redirected, majority of links will still carry over but it's best if the link goes directly to the intended destination page without sending the search engine through a redirect. Stay on top of your well-earned links to make sure they remain live and accurate.High-quality links will help the property's site domain authority. Think of the saying, 'you are judged by the company you keep'. The same applies with a site's backlink profile. If a website that search engines consider important and reputable links to the property's website, it passes some of that authority over to your site. The higher your domain authority, the better your rankings will be.For more tips on how to rank higher on Google, download our Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Guide here.

Beachfront Hotel Transforms Website With Vizergy

VIZERGY Blog·27 February 2019
“Three remarkable experiences. One unforgettable destination.” Our client, Dunes Manor, is a celebrated beachfront complex in Ocean City, Maryland. The most unique feature of the property is that there are 3 separate buildings that offer distinct experiences. The Dunes Manor Hotel and Dunes Suites buildings are situated on the beach with all rooms boasting oceanfront views, while the Dunes Court offers a retro motel experience one block behind.

Digital Marketing Firm Poised for Success in 2019 with focus on Data Marketing Platform: TargetingHub

Vizergy ·26 February 2019
Vizergy, the hospitality industry's leading provider in digital marketing software solutions, closed the books on their most successful calendar year ever in 2018. The company, based in Jacksonville, FL, boasts 1,300+ clients in 26 countries. The company grew its customer base and revenue significantly in 2018 with the acquisition of several new large client and multi property relationships. The company's all-time best results also corresponded with their 20th anniversary.Joe Hyman, Founder and CEO says "our achievements last year are a direct-results of listening to our client's needs, developing relevant and quality solutions, and focusing on execution. We serve some of the worlds most recognized brands and investment groups. We have to continually work toward improving our products, services and software to ensure that they stay ahead of their competition. Our team is passionate about helping our clients win!"Vizergy's team grew significantly over the course of the year, corresponding with its revenues and profits. A nearly 25% increase in headcount from January to December has added intellect, energy and higher production to its operation. The addition of a significant client partner, a premier management company and the continuation of an engagement with an International Restaurant partner has created opportunities for talented associates in Client Services, Design, Project Management and other areas of the business.2019 is shaping up to be another record breaker, due to 2018's year-end momentum and the client and revenue gains being driven by TargetingHub, Vizergy's Data Marketing Platform. TargetingHub is fully integrated with Vizergy's Marketing Platform and allows clients to use existing data assets to identify and attract new customers without the complexity and clumsiness of hard to manage CRM systems.Vizergy's President, Robert Arnold, states that the interest and energy around TargetingHub "really increased late in 2018, when hospitality marketers were evaluating their data marketing results and '18 and deciding where to invest in "19. CRM platforms are very heavy systems to manage and require a lot of resource to really see a great ROI. TargetingHub is a far more nimble and actionable platform that can make hotels money today."With the connections built to the most frequently used hotel Property Management Systems and the option to export reporting and upload into the TargetingHub, this products capability allow it's use to virtually any hotel that has access to their reservation data.For more information about TargetingHub, visit Vizergy's website or click here to request a demo.
Article by Trish Leighton

Importance of Local SEO Ranking for Hoteliers

Vizergy ·21 February 2019
Any business that has an actual physical location needs to put time into their local SEO. It is imperative, especially in the hospitality industry, for search engines to know where a property is located. There are several things you can do to ensure your property's location is known and that the information provided about it is reliable.1. Make sure the property address is displayed on the website.Is your property's address located in the header or footer of the website? Is there a contact page with the property's information, a map of the location and proximity to local attractions? If someone is searching for a hotel near a certain local attraction, the property's location itself will be the biggest influence for its ranking in the search results.2. Own and manage Google and Bing business listings.Google and Bing both show your business listing when someone searches for you. It's important to make sure that listing is owned and managed internally. These listings allow you to add photos, respond to reviews and edit information to keep it up-to-date. Vizergy allows its clients to manage Google My Business listings from their dashboard in the Vizergy Marketing System (VMS).3. Ensure UNAP is consistent across the Internet.UNAP stands for URL, Name, Address, and Phone Number. It's essentially a property's fingerprint or online identity. Search engines don't just look to your website and business listing for information about your location and services, they also scan hundreds of other sites and directory listings for information.If any of these listings are inconsistent, they don't trust the information and are less likely to show your property in search results. When running scans for clients, we often find incorrect information. It could be something as simple as one listing showing a local phone number and another showing a toll-free number or one listing having an address as Main Street and another as Main Blvd.The search engines have no way to know what is correct and wouldn't want to show searchers incorrect information, so they will just not rank you highly in search results. Keeping up with business listings and checking all online listings can be a full-time job.A good word of advice is to use a service like our Business Listing Lock to find a way to lock down your property's information across sites that search engines use for information. This way, if anything does change such as a domain name, phone number or address, you can change it in one place to push out across the web rather than manually finding and changing every listing.For more tips on how to rank higher on Google, download our Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Guide here.

The Inn at Leola Village: Why we Chose Vizergy

VIZERGY Blog·19 February 2019
Vizergy is excited to announce a partnership with The Inn at Leola Village in Lancaster, PA. The Inn at Leola Village’s VP, Randy Howat had the following to say about choosing to work with Vizergy: “The Inn at Leola Village has a story to tell, in fact we have many stories to tell. So when we decided to update, refresh and simplify our website, we sought a proven technology company with a strong focus on independent hotels to help us on our journey.
Article by Trish Leighton

Boosting Rankings with SEO On-Page Elements

Vizergy ·14 February 2019
There are hundreds of ranking factors Google considers when determining what should be shown in search results. Many of these factors are beyond the control of an SEO expert, such as the age of the domain name or where the site server is located. Throughout all of Google's recent updates and search ranking algorithms, basic on-page principles have remained important.The below are basic on-page elements that tell Google what each page is about and if it is a relevant result to a search query. Optimizing these elements will help to boost your property's ranking in search engine results. Page Title or Meta TitleThese titles are what appear in the tab of the browser when the page is open, and what is clickable in search results.Meta DescriptionA meta description doesn't necessarily impact your rankings much but can help with click-through-rates if descriptions are well written and enticing. The only place this description is seen is in the search results.Page Headers or H1sThese titles appear at the top of page content and provide an overview of what the page is about. Since search engine bots look for the H1 tags to help determine the page's subject matter, it's recommended to include keywords here if they sound natural. It's best practice to only have one H1 tag per page. Any subsequent content headers should be tagged H2, H3, and so on.Internal LinksInternal links serve a few purposes. They help with user experience by allowing site visitors to click on links to related pages for more specific information. Internal links can indicate to search engines what the subject matter is for the landing page as well as spreading page authority throughout the website.Since a property's home page and other top-level pages have the most visitors and most interaction, they have the most authority with the search engines and rank the most often in search results. Linking from these pages, especially the home page, to other related pages throughout the site indicates to Google that the pages being linked to are also important and helps them to rank in search results as well.Image Alt TagsLike meta descriptions, alt tags are not going to rank or un-rank a website page. They support the overall optimization of a page as being another element regarding the page's subject matter. They are also required for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for those site visitors using screen readers.Navigation StructureAnother important element is the site's navigation structure. Is it easy for the visitor to find information on your website? Do they find what they expect on the page? Are sub-pages placed accordingly? It would be irritating for a visitor searching for the hotel's pet policy to find it as a sub-page of the dining page. Website content should be laid out in a way that is easy to browse and find relevant information on sub-pages. The navigation bar should always be visible and main pages accessible within one click.Schema MarkupSchema markup is a language collaboratively created by Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex to help their search engine bots determine the subject matter of any web page and its content. The coding is placed on the back end of website pages and is scanned by search bots to gather page content for use in search results.It is useful for hotels and restaurants because schema markup can show star rating reviews in search results, which can really help a property stand out. It can also be used to display individual events. All content built on Vizergy hosted websites uses schema markup.For more tips on how to rank higher on Google, download our Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Guide here.

Product Spotlight: TargetingHub

VIZERGY Blog·13 February 2019
During the month of January, the client was interested in sending an email blast that was specifically segmented to advertise to guests living in Northern States and Canada. The idea was to draw guests away from the cold climate to sunny Florida.

Boosting Rankings with SEO On-Page Elements

VIZERGY Blog·11 February 2019
There are hundreds of ranking factors Google considers when determining what should be shown in search results. Many of these factors are beyond the control of an SEO expert, such as the age of the domain name or where the site server is located. Throughout all of Google’s recent updates and search ranking algorithms, basic on-page principles have remained important.

Escape to the Hotel Becket

VIZERGY Blog· 8 February 2019
In early meetings with Hotel Becket, they described their average guest as someone looking for an adventure—someone who hikes, bikes, and skis that wants to spend less time in their room and more time on a trail. We latched onto this idea and went with the theme of people finding their trail from the moment they came to the site. While the site feels high-end, mirroring Hotel Becket itself, it also has rustic elements that bring in the surroundings and nature, which is the real reason people visit the Lake Tahoe area.

The Truth About Voice Search

VIZERGY Blog·24 January 2019
With voice search being the latest innovation in the world of digital search, Vizergy has received several questions and concerns from clients about being optimized for voice search.
Article by Trish Leighton

The Truth About Voice Search

Vizergy ·24 January 2019
This statistic is likely a scare tactic used by the author, alluding to some secret formula they have to ensure you rank at the top of voice search results. We are here to set the record straight. For starters, statistics can be unreliable unless the source is verified, and this instance is no different.Don't Believe Everything You ReadLike a classic game of telephone, this statistic has been taken out of context, recycled, repeated and overused. Originally used in an interview with then-Chief Scientist of the search engine Baidu, Andrew Ng, in 2014 and then referenced again in this article from ComScore in 2016, only a portion of the context was taken into consideration.To clarify, Ng made a prediction about searches in China on their search engine Baidu and was speaking of voice AND image searches. At the time of his prediction, a mere 10% of searches were done on Baidu by voice, with an even smaller amount by an image. Image searches that he refers to are the kind where you take a picture with your phone and then search for a similar image to identify what it is.This was interesting to him at the time because he had been hired by Baidu to develop a deep learning system that improved their speech recognition, computer vision, and language processing. Ng was immersed in the voice and image search world and made an ambitious prediction as a wish for something major to happen that he would play a key role in.The problem is, it was taken out of context and cited in numerous places. Many digital marketers also assumed this was true and used it to leverage their knowledge in this new, mysterious world of voice search. Several Vizergy clients have mentioned concerns about being ready for voice search to make sure they can capture that 50 % of searches done via voice search.Setting the Record StraightLet's set the record straight and tell you what we know and how we know it. As we've pointed out, statistics can be unreliable unless the source is verified. When looking at a wide range of current data surrounding voice search, the range of usage doesn't even come close to 50%. The last time Google released any statistics around voice search was in 2016 when they declared that 20% of all searches made on the Google app or search widget on mobile phones were voice searches.What's lacking here is the definition of a voice search. Asking "what's the closest Chinese food restaurant?" or "navigate home" aren't exactly the type of voice searches that get SEO experts nervous. The nearest Chinese food place is based mainly on the searcher's location at the time, not the optimization of the Chinese restaurant's website.You could ask your fridge what the weather is like outside, but does that count as a voice search? It's splitting hairs over details about that 20% of searches done on a device that compromises 60% of overall searches. It does help to show that the 50% of all searches being conducted via voice search is far from reality for the hospitality industry.What also is lacking is information about industries most heavily impacted by voice search. Granted we can only make educated guesses here, it is unlikely that hotel booking behavior will shift dramatically. Travelers rely on images, room information, guest reviews, and specific amenities to influence their booking decision. Too much information would be missed if travelers asked Google Assistant to book a two-night stay at a hotel near the Magic Kingdom.Travelers will still need to shop, compare, and play an active role in their booking.This isn't meant to discourage hoteliers from making sure they have basic elements for voice search results. It is more so to let you know that if your property isn't voice search ready yet, it's okay.What does being "voice ready" entail? We've laid out five best practices any website should have.Best Practices for Voice Search1. ContentYour website pages should have at least a few hundred words on them and be in a logical order with headers. Search engine bots crawl the page's content for information and answers to questions people may be searching for. Pages full of images, pdf's and flashing lights won't be seen as valuable in either a voice or typed search.2. ContextEven if you have great website content, it's important the search engine bots really understand what your page is about. Schema markup is the best way to provide that valuable context.It is a specific language made up by the search engines to help them translate the content and show the right results for searches. You can use schema markup to let the search engines know what the page is about - there is a set of terms made specifically for hotels so you can markup room types, reviews, amenity features, and location information.The code is placed right where search engines go, and you better believe they will be relying on markup more heavily in the future.3. Stop Relying on KeywordsThis is a tough behavior to change, as all we've known and been telling clients for years is how important keywords are, including them everywhere you can, and tracking their movement religiously.While this is still somewhat important, search engine technology IS changing this a little bit. Location is probably the most important ranking factor for hotels - people need to go to a certain town, you need to show up for searches for hotels in that town.But placing "hotel in Orlando" or "hotel near Magic Kingdom" everywhere possible and thinking that will do the trick is not a viable approach anymore. Google knows exactly where your property is located and its proximity to Magic Kingdom. You can say it a million times on your website, but if Google doesn't think you're close enough to be relevant... you're not showing up on page 1 or 2 for search results for hotels near Magic Kingdom.4. Local Listing ConsistencyLocal businesses are most heavily impacted by voice search on mobile, and hotels really ARE local businesses to a person nearby. It's especially true when you have non-hotel amenities open to the public, like a spa or restaurant. Foot traffic matters and making sure you have consistent information out there about your location and what you offer is imperative.Your Google My Business profile should be owned and managed by you or someone on your property who can reply to reviews, upload current pictures, answer questions, and keep the information up-to-date. Google looks to a litany of local listing websites for address and business information, so every site that has your business listed needs to have accurate information. Since it could be a full-time job itself to manage that, using a local listing service is highly beneficial.Also, if you do have separate businesses on the property, each of them needs to have its own identity and presence. Your spa and restaurant shouldn't be just mentioned on your hotel's Google listing, they need their own listing.5. FAQ PageHaving an FAQ page is another way to stand out with voice search.If you think about the way people search via voice, it is more conversational, in longer sentences, and can be highly specific. This is where you capture searchers that are looking for something in particular that you might offer, and you can utilize an FAQ page as a way to integrate the content into your website.For hotels, just think about some of the questions your guests ask on a regular basis that you can address here. Questions such as do you offer late checkout? Early check-in? Do you have a rewards program? Is there late-night room service? Can I bring my pets? For a restaurant, do you have a keto friendly menu? Are there vegan options? Do you provide bottomless mimosas with brunch?These are things that would likely be searched with voice and can help your website's presence in the results. It's also just great information to have about your business and help your website get in front of people who are looking for something specific.In ConclusionSo, the truth is, there really is nothing you have to do to prepare just for voice search. These best practices are standard for any business to follow. They help to create a healthy digital presence, not just specific to voice search.Having a well-optimized website for an established business will do well on both typed and voice searches. Make sure your website has good content, is marked up with schema, contains an FAQ page, and that your business is represented correctly across the internet.Next time you get an email from an agency trying to scare you into doing business with them by saying that by next year 50% of searches will be done by voice, you can politely remind them that you'd rather be with a digital marketing agency that knows fact from fiction.

Vizergy Closes Out Record-Breaking Year With Numerous Platform Enhancements

Vizergy ·22 January 2019
Vizergy, the hospitality industry's leading provider in digital marketing software solutions, continues to invest in its best-in-class Vizergy Marketing System (VMS) platform.In 2018, Vizergy launched numerous upgrades to the functionality and connectivity of its marketing system, the VMS, to better position its client base for online success. The VMS is a robust client portal that allows a hotelier to access key data points and performance metrics to help them make better marketing decisions, understand competitive opportunities, and take timely action to capture more direct bookings. It is currently used by more than 1700 Vizergy clients and is the lifeblood of their digital marketing management efforts.The platform contains layered functionality that pulls together Vizergy's proprietary Content Management System with Adobe Analytics, Google My Business, IBM Watson, and several other platform integrations. The VMS platform allows a hospitality marketer to seamlessly access a variety of software solutions in one managerial environment, leveraging all of them to drive the very best online results.The Vizergy Marketing System makes it easy for its clients to outperform the competition and significantly improve direct bookings. Addams England, Vizergy's Vice President of IT says, "Our clients need reliable data and learnings to really understand their online performance. We have solicited feedback from dozens of users in 2018 and adjusted our VMS development roadmap to meet their needs. We've improved upon what was considered the first and best client portal in our competitive space and made it even better."Vizergy's Director of Client Marketing Services, Ross McAlpine, says, "having all of our client's information in one place, and having actionable insights to help them do what's most important: drive online bookings, is what sets Vizergy apart from its competitors. I have seen the VMS evolve and improve every year during my tenure here with Vizergy. It is a commitment to overall quality and our client's success."Each quarter, Vizergy has diligently worked to improve their platforms and technology to remain ahead of the competition and ensure they keep their title as the leading provider of digital marketing software for the hospitality industry. Take a look back at the platform improvements made over the last year.Q1Vizergy releases the TargetingHub data platformCampaign Detail - Lifetime ReportDistance from Location and Cookie Personalization RulesQ2TargetingHub Export Guest Feature EnhancementVMS - Reply to Google My Business ReviewsGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)Embedded Google MapsCustom 404 PageADA Compliance OptimizationQ3TargetingHub ROI ReportingCanonical Tags Now Use Absolute URLsTwo-Factor AuthenticationNew Modal Popup Premium WidgetPassword Reset Process ImprovementsColors & Styles Feature & Site Cloning EnhancementQ4New Site Templates: Cosmos & EquinoxBrowser Scan Feature to scan websitesCalendar Widget UpdatesGoogle My Business EnhancementLeading into 2019, Vizergy is projected to focus their efforts on data platforms. To view full details on the VMS enhancements made in the past year, request a copy at

CMS Calendar Widget: Filter ADA Updates

VIZERGY Blog·11 January 2019
Vizergy continues to stay on top of the latest ADA standards for digital products within the hospitality industry. The newest enhancement includes an update on our calendar widget allowing the user to filter ADA updates.

Data Drives New Online Presence for Napa Valley's Bardessono Hotel & Spa

Vizergy · 4 December 2018
Vizergy, the travel industry's leading provider in Digital Marketing, launched its most recent project with Napa Valley's Bardessono Hotel & Spa. For more than 20 years, Vizergy Digital Marketing has been the go-to digital marketing brand for the hospitality industry. Offering the best technology platforms, website design and digital marketing services to maximize online visibility and direct revenue.Speaking on this partnership with Vizergy, Stephanie Leavitt, Director of Sales & Marketing at Bardessono says, "We are excited for the new design and look of I believe, we were able to create an authentic Bardessono guest experience online. The images and video prominently portrayed really share our visual narrative."Recognized regularly as one of the top luxury hotels in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure while nestled in the heart of Yountville, Bardessono prides itself on offering a mindful approach to living the good life. "Deep green" with luxury, a subtle aesthetic, privacy, and graciousness, Bardessono models hospitality with enduring expressions of land and family that fostered and sustained the original Bardessono family farmstead. The hotel boasts Lucy Restaurant & Bar with its own on-site, CCOF (California Certified Organic Farming) culinary garden, and a full-service spa as well as personalized spa treatment areas in each of its guest rooms.Vizergy plans to heighten the property's online visibility with a robust search engine and data-driven marketing strategy, utilizing the company's proprietary Marketing System (VMS) and TargetingHub, a software that uses the hotel's customer data to identify and target their most valuable and profitable guests.Sean Dampier, Vizergy's Creative Director says, "The Bardessono guest experience is so rich, that it is challenging to describe within the confines of one website. The Accommodations, Spa and the incredible beauty of the location, are unique and have to be seen to be believed. We used powerful imagery and a clean browsing strategy to guide the potential guest to an equally rich online experience."

Data Drives New Online Presence for Napa Valley's Bardessono Hotel & Spa

VIZERGY Blog· 4 December 2018
Vizergy, the travel industry’s leading provider in Digital Marketing, launched its most recent project with Napa Valley’s Bardessono Hotel & Spa. For more than 20 years, Vizergy Digital Marketing has been the go-to digital marketing brand for the hospitality industry. Offering the best technology platforms, website design and digital marketing services to maximize online visibility and direct revenue.

Vizergy Gives Back

VIZERGY Blog·29 November 2018
The holiday season, an often-difficult time of year for many, is an optimal time to give back to those in need. Vizergy Digital Marketing has once again partnered with Bright Holidays, a public charity based in Jacksonville, FL to help underprivileged students and families during the holidays.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Promotional Campaigns for Hotels

VIZERGY Blog· 9 November 2018
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just a few weeks away, many hotels are offering travelers promotional pricing for direct bookings starting the Friday after Thanksgiving until Cyber Monday, Nov. 23.

7 Website Design Tips to Enhance User Experience

Vizergy ·17 October 2018
1. Simple NavigationWebsite visitors should be able to navigate easily throughout the site using the top navigation bar. Not all website pages need to be featured on the top. A best practice for navigation bars is to only feature most visited pages and nesting the less-visited pages.2. Functional Animations with a PurposeEveryone has visited a website that had entirely too much going on. Don't be that site.A property's website is often the first impression before their stay. Hotel websites should emulate a clean, high-end feel - just as they should maintain a clean, high-end feel throughout a customer's stay.A great trend to implement on-site pages are small, user-initiated animations to make a page fresh, interactive and vibrant. Use high-quality animations that help tell your property's story.3. Cut Down the ClutterDon't over-crowd a homepage with text and unnecessary graphics. Keep the homepage content concise, with only necessary information.4. Create a Narrative through Photos & VideosHelp visitors' picture what it's like to spend a day at your hotel. Use high quality photos and videos to guide visitors on a tour of the property and featured amenities to incentivize them to book direct.The better the hotel is showcased on the website; the more excited visitors will feel about clicking the book button.5. Give Hotel/Brand PersonalityMore young demographics are looking for an experience when booking a stay at a hotel. Tell the hotel's story using some pizzazz to show personality and set the hotel apart from competing, cookie-cutter hotels.6. PersonalizationLeverage available customer data from email lists and check-in data to display relevant messages to the most relevant customer.Personalization aspects help guide users through the website, making it easier to use overall.7. Show Differentiation from CompetitionWhat sets this hotel apart? Why is it better than competing hotels in the area?Showcase what makes the property unique, using above techniques to appeal to site visitors and convincing them there's no better place to stay.Interested in other design related content? Click here to see how Vizergy's design team designed and launched Pine Barn Inn's new website with mobile in mind.

7 Website Design Tips: User Experience Trends

VIZERGY Blog·17 October 2018
Website visitors should be able to navigate easily throughout the site using the top navigation bar. Not all website pages need to be featured on the top. A best practice for navigation bars is to only feature most visited pages and nesting the less-visited pages.

Vizergy Digital Marketing Named 10 Fastest Growing Google Solution Provider of 2018

Vizergy ·16 October 2018
Vizergy, the hospitality industry's leading provider of digital marketing software and services, has been named one of the 10 Fastest Growing Google Solution Providers of 2018, according to Silicon Valley Review. This recognition not only reaffirms Vizergy's success in strategic vision and product development but also solidifies its market position as the best technology platform for the hospitality industry. The announcement of this prestigious award follows CIO Review naming Vizergy one of the 20 Most Promising Web Development & Marketing Platforms in 2017.The company, based in Jacksonville, FL, attributes its success to a number of different factors. Vizergy's CEO, Joe Hyman, says, "Vizergy has always put technology at the heart of our value proposition. We have invested heavily in our platform, a SaaS system for many years and that investment is paying off. Having an updated, state of the art technology platform is the foundation for great online results. Hoteliers today need to use many systems to help them make better data-based decisions, reach better customers, and drive better profits. The Vizergy Marketing System (VMS) brings this all together."As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, so does Vizergy. They are constantly enhancing and upgrading their technology platforms to keep clients ahead of the competitive market. In addition to recent upgrades of their platform, the Vizergy Marketing System (VMS), features several new enhancements, including integration with the Google Ads platform, they have also introduced additional integrations with Google My Business (GMB). The new GMB integration allows clients to see performance data and reviews and respond from the VMS directly to GMB.In March, Vizergy released a new platform called TargetingHub. The data marketing and workflow platform helps clients understand existing data assets to find more customers by interfacing with PMS systems to set a direction for marketing campaigns. TargetingHub helps marketers understand when and where to spend their marketing dollars to convert at a higher rate.Vizergy's Vice President of Information Technology, Addams England, says, "Our achievements this year are a direct result of our listening to our clients. We've built great tools and continued to provide the great service and creativity serving some of the most recognizable brands in the industry. Our continued investment in the VMS and our momentum around the TargetingHub is strong as clients look for smarter ways to deploy advertising resources to capture new guests in today's hyper-competitive business environment."


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