• What to Expect at HITEC Houston 2018: Elite Education, Exhibits, E20X and More

    HOUSTON: A booming cosmopolitan city that is home to more than 2 million Texans, NASA’s famous Johnson Space Center, and — in just two short months — the world’s largest hospitality exhibition HITEC®.

  • HFTP Report: Hospitality Data Security — Strategy for Data Protection and Regulation Compliance

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  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Privacy Policies for Hotels

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Employee Spotlight: Bram, Senior Account Executive Team Lead

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·23 May 2018
Get to know the team behind HEBS Digital’s award-winning products and services. This month, say hello to Senior Account Executive, Team Lead Bramjot Uberoi, and learn about his life at HEBS Digital as well as some of his favorite travel memories.

Watch Now: 10 Steps To Achieving Your Hotel's Best Content Strategy

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·23 May 2018
Why does a content strategy matter for hotels? With a solid content strategy, hotels can fuel the customer travel planning journey. Social media, blogs, and video are crucial to driving customer engagement throughout the booking funnel.

HEBS Digital's smartCMS Wins a Stevie Award for The Fifth Consecutive Year at the 2018 American Business Awards

HEBS Digital ·23 May 2018
For its 16th year, the American Business Awards accepted over 3,700 nominations to be judged by a panel of more than 200 industry professionals. HEBS Digital is excited to receive this honor and to continue bringing its cutting-edge products and services to its clients."At HEBS Digital, we constantly strive to bring our clients the best products in the industry," said HEBS Digital CTO Jaan Paljasma. "By listening to both client and internal feedback, we are able to create a user-friendly content management system that is created and optimized specifically for hoteliers."HEBS Digital's smartCMS was created to help hoteliers increase revenues from the direct online channel by enabling and empowering them to take ownership of their website content."Our dedicated team works tirelessly to ensure that we are providing a seamless online experience for our clients," said Eric Ruvio, HEBS Digital's Chief Software Engineer. "Every six weeks, our team completes 'sprints' aimed at improving our smartCMS website technology platform to provide a better user experience."Key accomplishments from the past year, include:A Spotlight Search functionality with fast, type-ahead search that allows users to effortlessly find relevant content on the website (See a live example - see search bar at bottom of page) Enhanced Geo Search widget with guided type-ahead for multi-property websites - including large nearby cities and airports (See a live example - see booking widget) Advanced search results with integrated Smart Rates - live real-time availability and rate information - for seamless booking experience with multiple booking engine providers and cross-sell opportunities (See a live example - choose a destination)Enhanced Versioning System, supporting drafts, and approval workflows for multiple users of the smartCMS Website Technology PlatformEnhanced smartCMS website platform performance capable of supporting more than 2,000 hotels and more than 50,000 unique content pages from single website stackAutomated Schema Coding (JSON-LD) where the smartCMS now automatically generates best practice schema code for properties, homepages, content pages, specials, events and rooms pagesAutomatically Publish and Unpublished Pages - as its now possible to set start and end dates for not just Special Offers and Promo Tiles, but for all content pages based on time and date preferences. This is another update that will hopefully not only create efficiencies, but also ensure that website content is fresh and relevant for website visitorsCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration to allow hoteliers the ability to manage their loyalty program through the CMS and create personalized messaging with hotel loyalty program membersLearn more about HEBS Digital's smartCMS website technology platform by visiting hebsdigital.com. Details about The American Business Awards and the list of 2018 Stevie winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA.

Coming Soon to Your Hotel: The Integrated Revenue Generation Team

HEBS Digital ·22 May 2018
Background:The hospitality industry is enjoying its longest expansion and healthiest growth in decades, yet there are some troubling trends beginning to surface that threaten profitability and overall performance.One of these trends is that net room revenue--i.e., revenue that remains with the hotel after accounting for distribution costs (OTA commissions, traditional agency commissions, and other distribution expenses)--has been declining steadily over the past several years. For example, U.S. hotels earned roughly $155.2 billion in guest-paid revenue in 2017 but paid an estimated $25.2 billion to acquire guests in the form of OTA commissions and other distribution costs, retaining significantly lower net room revenue of $130 billion (Kalibri Labs). Revenue capture--i.e., net room revenue that remained with the hotels--declined from 84.9% in 2015 to an estimated 83.5% in 2018 (Kalibri Labs).The overall growth in occupancy and RevPAR that many hoteliers have been enjoying for the past few years cannot possibly compensate for "the loss of wealth" in the form of steadily increasing distribution costs via the OTA. Hoteliers need to increase direct bookings, which come at a much lower cost, and improve overall direct vs OTA distribution ratio.Integrated Strategy: The Missing Piece of the PuzzleOne of the main reasons for the troubling trend of decreased revenue capture and profitability in spite of stellar economic performance is the lack of integration, coordination, and singular focus and purpose among the core revenue generation teams at the property or hotel management company: The Revenue Management (S&M), Marketing Team (MT) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) teams. Quite often these teams function in a rather disjointed fashion, leading to missed revenue opportunities, over dependency on the OTAs, alienated loyalty members, and worsened profitability.Many times, the property RM, S&M and CRM teams operate in isolation from one another, without close coordination. In some worst cases, they are even in competition with one another to sell the same rooms. In other words, the left hand-- one team--does not know what the right hand--the rest of the teams--is doing, to the detriment of marketing efficiency and price integrity and ultimately overall revenue generation, profit, and owner's ROI.Case Study 1:A luxury hotel in New York City launched a spring-related multi-channel campaign, including a value-add and a 15% off advance booking discount. The ad formats included a Limited-Time Offer interactive application, website promo, content marketing, SEO, SEM, online media and retargeting, social media, email marketing and PR. The budget for the campaign was well over $100,000, and the projected returns, based on results from the previous year, were for a minimum 12:1 return.A week into the Spring Campaign, the digital marketing agency of the hotel noticed a 30% off discounted offer for the hotel on the OTAs, valid for the same stay period and without the advance booking restriction. After the agency alerted the hotel, it was determined that the Spring Campaign promotion had not been communicated well internally to all revenue generation teams, which had led to the RM team launching a parallel OTA discount campaign.The result? Wasted precious advertising dollars and missed much-needed incremental revenues.Case Study 2:As part of the CRM marketing automation and loyalty marketing, the CRM team targeted members of the guest recognition program with a "10% come back" marketing campaign to fill in the upcoming slow season at the property. After the CRM team received complaints from a number of members of the recognition program that they were seeing a 25% discount for the property on the OTAs for the same period of stay, it was determined, after some internal back and forth, that both the CRM and RM teams had been working in silos and without alignment of their efforts, which had led each team to pursue different promotions for the same stay period to fill property's occupancy needs.The result? Seriously aggravated members of the guest recognition program, guest retention under serious jeopardy, and unrealized revenues from repeat, loyal guests.Sound familiar?Ed Watkins, a hospitality industry veteran, described the current situation in a recent LinkedIn post: "I think there are still too many GMs, owners and DOMs who don't appreciate the need for close coordination between revenue management and marketing functions. The tide is turning but not fast enough. More education is required."The Highly Fragmented Hospitality RealityTraditionally, RM, S&M and CRM operate as separate teams with their own goals, technology tools, databases, vendors, and more.One glaring example of this highly fragmented approach is keeping past guest engagement efforts (CRM) in a silo from new customer acquisition and marketing efforts. For example, looking at independent hotels, less than a third of hotel guests on any given night are repeat guests, while two-thirds are first-time guests. This means that the reality General Managers and DOSMs face every day is having to fill about 70% of their rooms on any given night with brand new guests that they know very little about while trying to ensure they have a pleasant and meaningful stay. Furthermore, once the property has acquired this new guest, when the guest walks out the door, if they're not engaged with marketing automation and guest retention initiatives, there is no guarantee this guest will ever stay at the property again. This results in a vicious cycle that affects the bottom line.Here are some stark examples of today's fragmented approach:Revenue Managers vs Marketing Managers: RM has been the science of analyzing the property's past, present, and future performance data, comp set pricing, plus past and projected macroeconomic data, citywide convention and major events calendar, etc. Revenue managers rarely have the tools and data access to take into consideration CRM data, including guest RFM values, website user behavioral data and digital marketing data, etc.As industry professionals, revenue managers and marketing managers are cut from a different cloth: Most revenue managers are data-driven and very analytical, whereas most marketing people are much more intuitive and creative. Based on their different decision-making types, more often than not, when looking at the same data, they do not arrive at the same conclusion, resulting in vastly different approach to the same situations. Since the traditional career paths for both positions are very different, this is an industrywide issue.Hotel Website: The property knows their guests intimately: their home address, credit card number, what they ate or how many drinks they had last night, and more. Yet, when these same guests visit the hotel website, in most cases they are treated as complete strangers. The property's revenue generation teams, including RM, S&M, and CRM teams rarely have the tools to align the website data with their day-to-day operations and decision-making process, and as a result rarely align their efforts with the website manager or outside vendor.Data Islands: The property customer data lives in multiple "data islands" that do not talk to each other: PMS, CRM, CRS, Social Media, Web Analytics, Marketing Data, BI, etc. Very few properties and hotel companies can boast a single view customer data with live data feeds from ALL touchpoints with the traveler.For example, in most instances, past guest data (CRM data) is not being utilized to engage and retain past guests, when making pricing decisions, or to target new guests and sharpen the focus and reach of the property's digital marketing campaigns, in order to acquire new guests that are similar to past "ideal" guests. Quite often different teams at the property use different sets of data in their day-to-day operations, creating a total "data integrity mess," which directly affects the property's guest acquisition and retention efforts.RFM: Practically non-existent capabilities to identify the property's "ideal" guests--those with high RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary Value)--and engage them throughout their hotel planning and booking journey, and throughout the customer lifetime, as well as use this knowledge to acquire new best guests.Technology & Digital Marketing Silos: The hotel uses a myriad of vendors that do not talk to each other, and in many cases do not even know each other: one for CRM, a second for the property website, a third for SEO, a fourth for SEM, a fifth for online media, and so on. Recently we encountered a boutique hotel brand that was using 28 different vendors for their digital marketing!Often, hotel marketers manage the property's digital marketing campaigns without taking into consideration past guests' CRM data, preferences, stay and booking behavior, which prevents the property campaigns from reaching the right guest. Revenue managers often fail to capitalize on these insights for key pricing decisions.CRM Data not talking to Intent Data: Knowledge from past "best" guests is not being used to identify marketing personas and target lookalike audiences, thus significantly expanding the marketing reach to acquire new guests that are similar to your best past guests and are in market, i.e., planning to travel to the property's destination.These are just a few examples of how data and digital silos are revenue blockers that hurt the bottom line, decrease customer engagement and retention, and increase OTA dependency.Dr. Cindy Heo, an associate professor of revenue management at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL), describes the current siloed approach in revenue management and the existing fragmented customer data situation in the industry: "Revenue management used to focus primarily on setting room prices and optimizing room inventory. Revenue managers should not just crunch RMS numbers but need to understand guests' selection behavior, consumer psychology, and their competitors' strategies by analyzing various pieces of information. RMS cannot, therefore, be the only toolkit for a revenue manager, because customer data reside in different hotel systems."Tying RM, S&M and CRM together with a 360-degree approach that engages, retains, and acquires guests throughout the customer journey is not only more efficient and more effective at driving direct bookings, but it is incomparable in growing the bond with your customers and their lifetime value.Obviously, There Is a Need to Break Down the SilosToday's travel consumer's hotel planning and booking journey has become increasingly complex in this multi-device, multi-channel, and multi-touchpoint digital landscape. In fact, according to Google, the average consumer engages in 38,983 digital micro-moments in just under two months. The average travel consumer journey takes about 17 days, and the average visitor goes through eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before making a hotel booking (Google Research).As consumers remain digitally connected throughout these micro-moments before making a booking, each touchpoint presents an opportunity for a hotel to build a brand connection, influence intent, win the booking, and be there for every step of the journey.In light of this complex digital landscape, hotel marketers should engage online travel consumers throughout their complex digital journey and can no longer afford to have a fragmented customer engagement and acquisition approach.With the proliferation of the Internet and online commerce, and more recently of mobile devices, the travel planning process has become increasingly complex, forcing hoteliers to find an integrated strategy to engage, acquire, service, and retain travel consumers across multiple digital touch points and across all digital channels and devices. This new complex travel customer journey constitutes a singular planning, conversion, and retention lifecycle that requires a singular (read: seamlessly integrated) approach. It does not tolerate silos in technologies, services, and engagements.The mobile channel imposes new challenges to the property and demands coordinated, real-time pricing and marketing reaction to the volatility of the marketplace. And we already live in a mobile-first world. Mobile devices dominate the travel planning journey: 40% to 50% of desktop bookings worldwide are preceded by a click on a mobile device, and 94% of leisure travelers use multiple devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) when planning and booking travel (Criteo).Today over 59% of hotel web visitors, 51% of page views, and nearly 27% of bookings and 24% of room nights are generated from mobile devices, including smartphone and tablet.To summarize, here are the main reasons prompting the convergence of RM, SM and CRM into one cohesive team:The overwhelming shift to online distribution and online customer engagementsThe exploding mobile channel and the need for lightning-fast pricing and marketing decisionsThe ever-increasing complexity of the customer lifecycle and the emergence of the digitally-savvy travel consumer.The need to lessen overdependence on the OTAsThe Solution: An Integrated Revenue Generation TeamThere should be a single-minded team at the property: The Revenue Generation Team, consisting of the RM, S&M and CRM specialists, working together to acquire, engage, and retain guests; optimize performance; and increase revenue, especially direct bookings.Marcela Trujillo, VP of Revenue at Menin Hospitality in Florida, recently commented via a LinkedIn post: "At Menin Hospitality, revenue and marketing work hand in hand and always have. This must be done to drive direct bookings. It is incredibly effective and indeed crucial to the success of any asset."What should hoteliers do proactively to accelerate the change to an integrated Revenue Generation Team? Here are just a few of the organizational, financial, technological and philosophical changes and action steps needed:Hotel Management and Franchise ContractsHotel owners' management contracts with Hotel Management Companies and franchise contracts with major hotel chains should use "Total Gross Operating Profit" (after OTA commissions, traditional agency commissions, and other distribution expenses), and not "Gross Room Revenues" as the measure for calculating management and franchise fees. In this way, every revenue-generating employee and team at the property would be evaluated based on the net room revenues collected by the property (Gross Room Revenue minus Agency/OTA Commissions).Organizational ChangesA new role is needed at the property or hotel management company: Revenue Officer or Revenue Optimization Officer, overseeing the integrated Revenue Generation Department at the property, small or midsize chain, or hotel management company. The Revenue Optimization Officer is not an accounting or finance major position, but a role for a cross-functional leader, versed in all three disciplines: RM, S&M and CRM. The example of Menin Hospitality recited above is commendable and should be examined and followed by hoteliers across the globe.Education and Professional Development The whole hospitality educational and professional development system needs to be re-thought and adjusted to create cross-functional experts who are intimately familiar with all three disciplines: RM, S&M and CRM. Existing RM, S&M and CRM employees should be incentivized to get certifications and attend professional development courses in the other disciplines as a prerequisite for their career advancement. For example, existing Revenue Managers should be trained in digital marketing and CRM to better understand the complex customer journey; meanwhile, hotel marketers should study revenue management to better understand the revenue implications of everything they do.Technology InvestmentsThe hotel needs to invest in technology that allows alignment of and cooperation among the RM, S&M and CRM specialists from the Revenue Generation Team. This is call to action for the hotel tech community: New technology tools and platforms, especially platforms utilizing AI to crunch Big Data, are urgently needed to enable the cross-functional cross-data silo alignment among RM, S&M and CRM!The independent property, small or mid-size hotel brand can start small by working with their existing vendors on cross-functional connectivity, or when considering new technology solutions, to evaluate the cross-functional capabilities of the vendors. Hoteliers should ask themselves, "How can we incorporate our digital marketing and CRM data into our pricing decisions? How can we use revenue management analytics to sharpen the focus and ROI of our digital marketing campaigns? How can we utilize our knowledge from our RFM data into our new guest acquisition efforts?"Industry examples of such cross-functional technology applications include: NextGuest Technologies' Guest Engagement and Acquisition Technology and Marketing Platform, combining digital marketing, website, and CRM data into one cohesive marketing and personalization platform; and Duetto's Revenue Management System (RMS) that includes in its algorithms data from customers' spending habits, preferences, and lifetime value, as well as external data from the property website Review Data and sentiment analysis.Here is how Marco Benvenuti, Co-founder, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Duetto describes the company's cross-functional capabilities:"Duetto's analytics platform ingests data from all of the property's systems -- booking engine, PMS, CRS, CRM, property website and user pathing behavior and combines this "owned" data with third-party data such as social reviews and intent data to deliver accurate information to systems all along the booking path.Hotels can use this trove of guest data to form a more modern and tailored Ecommerce strategy, starting with a more user-friendly and personalized booking experience. This data helps hotels make more profitable pricing decisions, and a better booking experience will help capture demand on your least expensive channels."Revenue Optimization IdeationThe Revenue Generation Team and its RM, SM and CRM specialists, under the guidance of the Revenue Officer, should brainstorm and have an Annual Revenue Strategy, outlining major markets that need focus or improvement, sales, and marketing (seasonal, multichannel, ad hoc) campaigns needed to achieve the revenue goals, etc. Every quarter the team should brainstorm and come up with an updated Action Plan for the next three quarters. Every week the team should meet to discuss the current property performance--including occupancy, ADR, RevPAR, and revenue needs--and map out concrete tactics to optimize revenue.Optimization of the Marketing Mix An integrated Revenue Generation Team can finally achieve the elusive optimization of the property's marketing mix, i.e., the 4 P's of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place. Only by working together can the team devise the optimum pricing, product offering, and distribution channel strategy that can bring the best results. There should be collaboration when answering questions such as: Should we offer the spring multi-channel marketing promotion to the OTAs? How do we tackle next month's occupancy need due to group cancelation? How do we improve weekend occupancy? Through this collaboration, action plans can be implemented across all revenue-generating channels.PersonalizationPersonalization is not only proven to increase bookings and other key performance indicators; consumers now expect hotel offerings, pricing, and content (textual and visual) to be personalized to their concrete needs and preferences. A recent survey by eMarketer showed that 85% of Internet users expect personalization, and 75% of consumers get frustrated when it's clear that companies are not personalizing content (Janrain). Clients that introduce personalized content on their website see uplifts of 40%, 50%, and even doubling of conversion rates.The Revenue Generation Team can devise a robust personalization strategy for guest acquisition and retention that includes all aspects of the guest journey: from marketing and website engagements, pricing and channel management, personalized offering and pricing based on RFM and LTV values, to product offerings and CRM retention and loyalty marketing initiatives. Industry examples include: HEBS Digital's Smart Personalization Engine, which allows the property website to target visitors based on their demographics, feeder market, website pathing behavior, or affiliation to a particular customer segment or loyalty program, with unique promotions and relevant textual and visual content; and Duetto's Personalized Loyalty Pricing, which involves positioning and promoting room rates and offers to customers based on their spending habits, preferences, and lifetime value.Multi-channel Marketing The Revenue Generation Team should coordinate the marketing efforts of the property to be operated using the multi-channel marketing approach. With one cohesive marketing campaign, and the same cohesive marketing message (read: promotion) pushed across all potential touch points with online travel consumers (hotel website, SEO, SEM, GDN and online media, social media, PR and email marketing), hoteliers can build stickiness and traction across channels and devices and dramatically increase revenue.Today's complex multi-touch consumer behavior is what makes multi-channel marketing campaigns the most effective way to address concrete business needs, increase reach, and boost bookings and revenue for the slow season or need period.These campaigns can be structured around the property's seasonality as well as specific business-needs (i.e., need to fill weekdays vs. weekends, occupancy needs, group cancelations, seasonal slowdowns, etc.), and also target specific high-value segments.Conclusion: There is no doubt that today's complex travel customer journey requires an integrated strategy to engage, acquire, service, and retain travel consumers across multiple digital touch points and across all digital channels and devices. This necessitates a single-minded team at the property: The Revenue Generation Team, consisting of the RM, S&M and CRM specialists, working together to acquire, engage, and retain guests; optimize performance; and increase revenue, especially direct bookings.

Do It For The Gram: The Top 5 Hotels Photos Guaranteed To Get The Likes Rolling In

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·18 May 2018
It's becoming increasingly more common for people to first open up Instagram to look for a brand, destination, or other content before heading to a search engine to find this information. With changing consumer behaviors, it's more important than ever for hotel brands to have an Instagram and be producing content that people are looking for.

The Vanity Website - The Only Incremental Revenue Driver for Branded Hotels in 2018

HEBS Digital ·18 May 2018
The only viable option to achieve incremental revenues is for the branded hotel to engage and invest in solutions to achieve a better online presence. This can be achieved by a two-pronged approach:Launch a vanity property website. The website should have a mobile-first design, smart website technology, an advanced CMS, and deep relevant content (textual, visual and promotional).Launch property-specific digital marketing. Marketing efforts for the vanity website should target incremental market segments, which typically fall outside of the focus of the hotel chain and brand.com, as well as target domestic and foreign feeder markets and demographics.Download our e-book to learn more about how branded hotels can drive incremental revenues and acquire an action plan for building a property-specific digital presence.

The Vanity Website: The Only Incremental Revenue Driver for Branded Hotels in 2018

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·17 May 2018
The consolidation and oversaturation of the major metro markets with branded properties, coupled with abundant new room supply and threats from Airbnb have created fierce competition for branded hotels. What should branded hotels do in this environment of increased competition, rising distribution costs, and increased labor costs?

How to Use the Google Ecosystem to Get Your Hotel's Digital Strategy on Point

HEBS Digital ·17 May 2018
Below, we've outlined some of the latest developments from Google, including new products and enhancements to existing products, which can greatly impact the digital marketing results for hotels. We'll also take a closer look at how each product can be utilized and share success stories from clients that have taken advantage of the full Google suite.The Top 5 Google Trends of the Moment Keeping up with current trends can be challenging, but the below will jumpstart your knowledge of what you need to know now about the Google ecosystem. The latest developments from Google, which can assist in producing incremental revenue and aiding in digital marketing efforts, include the following:Google AMP Stories add a visual layer to search engine results pages.Google AMP Stories are making waves on search engine results pages (SERPs) by allowing users to view a quick snippet of content. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, hoteliers will be able to feature content within AMP Stories, which are going to be found across Google SERPs on both mobile and desktop. Though this hasn't been rolled out yet, Stories will have their advantages, including appearing via keyword search rather than a social network following, and being script-based which presents the opportunity for semi-automation.Progressive Web Apps create an app-like user experience.Users expect an app-like experience when they're on your mobile site. One of the newest Google products is its Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Through the implementation of this product, hotel websites will have the ability to serve fast-loading, app-like experiences. With instant loading speeds, the user experience is immersive, even in poor network conditions. Why is this so important? As mobile page load time increases from one second to five seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 90% (Google).Updates to Google My Business allow more control over listings.As a recent focus for Google, there are two updates to this product that can help hotels reach more guests with relevant information:Google My Business now allows businesses to post directly to Google Maps. While this feature is not yet available for hotel Google My Business listings, restaurants, spas, and other businesses will be able to publish timely content such as events, products, and offers.Google will soon be adding a feature to Google My Business that allows business owners to add a description that will show up in Google's local knowledge panel. These descriptions can be used to highlight key differentiators which will enhance the listing.Push notifications on Chrome can help deliver relevant content to audiences. While not directly tied to the Google ecosystem, the browser-based technology called Push Notifications will begin to be more and more important for marketers to incorporate into their overall digital strategy. Companies like Trivago are using Push and are reporting that Push Notification subscriptions have eclipsed email subscriptions. Hoteliers should look into implementing Push to allow followers to receive desktop and/or mobile notifications for timely content such as new offers and new blog content. Hoteliers can even use the technology to facilitate booking engine abandonment, and for sending messages to specific loyalty members. The possibilities are endless.Optimize your website for voice search.Termed "the next billion" by the Wall Street Journal, marketers should be proactively optimizing their websites for voice search. Voice search optimization is a combination of traditional SEO strategies and the study of patterns inherent in voice search. There are many limitations to voice search when it comes to a hotel website, like making a booking, but hotel websites with rich destination content, unique amenities and F&B outlets have the opportunity to benefit. For example, a hotel could optimize for, "What is the best hotel in Bali with an infinity pool?" Finding the balance between optimizing for keywords that users type into a search bar, compared to what people actually speak to their device, is a delicate one that marketers will have to watch closely.Which Google products should hotels utilize?Tried-and-true initiatives from the Google Ecosystem can help hotels get in front of potential guests across devices at meaningful moments.So exactly which products should hotels utilize?SEOSEMDisplay AdsGoogle Hotel AdsGoogle My BusinessGoogle AMPGmail AdsYouTube TrueViewHow can hotels leverage each product to get maximum revenues?While it's important to reach potential guests who are lower in the purchase funnel, it's equally important to focus on marketing efforts that reach them at every stage of the travel planning journey in order to influence and shape decisions that will ultimately lead to a booking. Leveraging each Google product, often times in tandem with another, can help hoteliers be there for every step of the travel planning journey. SEO + SEMSEO is a crucial part of any hotel digital marketing strategy. However, when combined with a multi-channel strategy that includes SEM, they can generate even greater revenue. By utilizing destination content on the website, hotels can increase visibility on search engine results pages. After a website visitor lands on your hotel website, they can then be retargeted with an SEM campaign, which ultimately leads to more website traffic and more direct bookings. Google Hotel Ads + Google My Business Participation in Google Hotel Ads has seen hotels generate three times higher conversions than traditional paid search. Google displays the room rate, room tax, and availability via a real-time inventory feed from the hotel CRS and directs traffic back to the hotel website. Information is pulled directly from your Google My Business page, ensuring that the ad is updated with the correct details and images, which is crucial to reaching more qualified leads. Gmail Ads + Display AdsAs two highly visual ad platforms, Gmail Ads and Display Ads can capture the attention of users online. For hotels looking to increase engagement on mobile devices, implementing Gmail Ads can be highly effective since 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices. It's been found that consumers exposed to a display ad show an average lift of 49% in site visitation and 40% in brand-name searches. After a user lands on your website or engages with search ads for your property, retargeting on the Google Display Network or through Gmail helps ensure more users will come back to the website to complete a booking.Google AMPAs a way to get in front of mobile users at faster speeds, hotels can utilize Google AMP and create content and promotional pages which advertise hotel amenities and services including dining options, spa services, maps and destination information which all appear in the Google AMP Teaser Section on the mobile SERPS. These pages load at faster speeds making the mobile user experience better than ever before. Creative examples and use cases.SEOPenn's View Increased Organic Revenue by 120% with Ongoing SEO: Looking for a way to stand out in the crowded search engine results pages for Philadelphia hotels, Penn's View applied optimizations on their website including updating schema and implementing redirects to mobile site links. In addition, they focused on keywords surrounding legendary attractions like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and more. In addition to seeing increases in organic revenue (120%) and organic bookings (111%) year-over-year, the property also saw increases in month-over-month organic metrics including an 85% increase in conversion rate.Display AdsTilden Hotel Follows Design Trends for GDN Banners: As users get hit with over 38,000 micro-moments over the course of two months (Google), hotels need to make sure that their creative stands out. Updating banners on an ongoing basis is important to make sure that the hotel's ads stay up to date with design trends.Google Hotel AdsHotel 48LEX Increased Revenue and Bookings with Google Hotel Ads: Hotel 48LEX was looking for a way to stand out in the crowded search engine results pages of New York City hotels. With both hotels and OTAs competing for placement, the hotel launched Google Hotel Ads which garnered over 800 clicks to the website and resulted in 101 nights booked.Google AMPGoogle AMP Improves a Denver Hotel's Mobile-First Strategy: The Maven, a new hotel brand in Denver's Dairy Block, needed greater visibility on the search engines and to keep users engaged on their site. After enabling Google AMP, there was a 36.8% increase in bookings initiated, a 17.3% increase in unique visitors, and a 1.4% decrease in bounce rate from mobile device natural search.For any questions or to learn more about how HEBS Digital can help your hotel's digital marketing strategy, email us at success@hebsdigital.com.

How to Use the Google Ecosystem to Get Your Hotel's Digital Strategy on Point

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·16 May 2018
With over 4 billion searches happening every day, the Google ecosystem continues to be one of the best suites of products available for hotels to drive online users to their website, and then convert those users into guests.

Coffee Chat: ADARA & HEBS Digital

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·14 May 2018
Our newest blog series, Coffee Chats, gives us the opportunity to sit down with our partners and other people in the travel industry to learn more about what they do and hear some tips for success.

What TripAdvisor's New Sponsored Placements Ad Format Means for Hoteliers

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·11 May 2018
Gaining visibility on websites such as Kayak, Expedia, and the largest travel website with over 570 million reviews and opinions across the globe, TripAdvisor, is a core component to any hotelier’s distribution strategy. Therefore, when TripAdvisor comes out with a new product, the industry is abuzz trying to understand implementation and determine if it’s a good fit for their property. Following the recent announcement of TripAdvisor’s new ad format called Sponsored Placements, we have outlined some of the top questions hoteliers may have and some tips for implementing this new offering.
Article by Max Starkov

The OTA's Attempt at Discrediting the Value of the Hotel's Direct Channel

HEBS Digital ·11 May 2018
Earlier this week, the European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA) released a report called "Hotel Distribution Costs," examining the costs associated with direct and indirect distribution channels for hotels, together with the impact of channel shift.ETTSA is an organization "representing and promoting the interests of global distribution systems (GDSs) and travel distributors (read: OTAs), towards the industry, policy-makers, opinion formers, consumer groups and all other relevant European stakeholders."The report, prepared by a consultancy called Infrata, concluded that hotels that attempt to boost direct bookings at the expense of agencies and OTAs risk having lower occupancy rates with "no measurable" savings on costs, and suggested the main reason for hoteliers to push direct sales is to "reduce transparency for consumers."The ETTSA report uses "a magic wand" to convince the naive or whoever is listening that hoteliers would be much better if they abandon their useless direct distribution efforts and rely on the OTAs for their distribution. The report's highly selective "analysis":Dramatically overstates the effect of the much discredited "OTA Billboard Effect"-- remember the unfortunate Cornell University "study," financed by the OTAs? This study, disproved many times over, tried to convince hoteliers that they should use OTAs in order to generate more bookings from the property's own website, due to the so-called "Billboard Effect."Underestimates the complexity of the online travel consumer journey: Today's travel consumer engages in 38,983 digital micro-moments in just under two months, and the average travel consumer journey takes about 17 days, eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before making a hotel booking (Google Research).Tends to over-estimate the hotel's direct distribution costs and undervalue OTA distribution costs, which go beyond the OTA commissions, and include costs associated with revenue management, APIs, GDS, CRS and channel management systems, etc. OTA channel management alone occupies an increasing share of the revenue manager's bandwidth, which means rising payroll and benefit expenses. Does not account for the fact that direct booking costs are fixed, while OTA distribution costs are percentage of room revenue and grow with higher ADRs or longer length of stay (LOS).Makes the rather offensive claim that hoteliers' direct booking campaigns are motivated by the hotelier's desire to "decrease customer transparency."How much does a direct booking cost?Direct distribution costs vary by type of property (branded vs. independent), hotel category (luxury vs. budget), complexity of hotel product (spa resort vs. limited service), even across geographies (well established online travel marketplace like North America vs. emerging market), and so on.Here at HEBS Digital, the average direct distribution cost is 4.5% across our client portfolio, consisting of thousands of 4- and 5-star independent and "soft branded" hotels, resorts and casinos, small and mid-size luxury and boutique hotel brands. This direct cost includes all of the direct channel expenses, comprising of direct channel strategy, virtual team account manager and website revenue optimization consulting; mobile-first website design and development, amortized over 36 months; smartCMS website technology platform; ongoing cloud hosting and CDN, Adobe Analytics and reporting; professional SEO (technical SEO and on-page) with BrightEdge; SEM/paid search on Google and Bing; online media and GDN retargeting; smart data marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and more.Compare this to the 15%-25% OTA distribution cost.Direct bookings are more than distribution cost savings, they are about targeting new "best" guests, about generating incremental revenues, about lasting customer engagement and retention.Hilton's CEO Christopher Nassetta said recently in a Skift interview: "We've been working very hard on strategies to have more direct relationships with customers. Direct bookings and loyalty are inextricably intertwined with one another, and they have a direct impact on Hilton's ability to offer a superior guest experience."Why do direct bookings matter?Distribution costs are rising:Distribution Costs: have been rising steadily over the last seven years due to OTAs increasing market share versus hotel direct bookings. A study by Kalibri Labs "Demystifying the Digital Marketplace" provided concrete evidence that this dramatic shift exceeded 40%.Except for distribution costs, hoteliers have limited control over the other main cost drivers in hotel operations:Labor Costs: creeping up due to unionized labor contract and mandated minimum wage/living wage increases in many municipalitiesDebt Service: at best, interest rates on commercial loans are staying flatFranchise Fees (Rewards, Marketing, Royalty, Reservation, etc.) are creeping up, as usualUtilities: normally 5% of gross. Water, Sewage, Gas & Electric are all creeping up; Water & Sewage are growing pretty fast latelyReal Estate Taxes: always creeping up at the whim of local municipalitiesRevenue capture is declining:In spite of a record-breaking performance in Q1, 2018 and the very optimistic forecasts for the rest of the year (STR), hospitality industry profitability is declining. U.S. hotels earned roughly $155.2 billion in guest-paid revenue in 2017, but paid an estimated $25.2 billion to acquire guests in the form of OTA commissions and other distribution costs, retaining significantly lower net room revenue of $130 billion (Kalibri Labs).Revenue capture--i.e., net room revenue that remained with the hotels after accounting for distribution costs (OTA commissions, traditional agency commissions, and other distribution expenses)--declined from 84.9% in 2015 to an estimated 83.5% in 2018 (Kalibri Labs).Guest engagement and retention is in jeopardy:Have you looked recently into what type of guest data the OTAs provide hotels, especially independent hotels? First Name, Last Name, OTA-credit card and OTA-email for communications. This is it!The OTA guest comes, stays, and leaves, and the hotel is left holding a bag of meaningless guest data. There is no CRM possible with this data, no in-stay upselling emails and messaging, no post-stay "Thank you" emails, no OTA guest satisfaction surveys, and no marketing automation or drip campaigns.Very few hotels train their front desk to even try getting additional information from the OTA guests and completing the guest profile data in the PMS.At the minimum, hoteliers, especially independents, should create internal processes and systems to: a) complete the OTA guest profiles in the PMS, b) create a "Next Time Book Direct" program and promote it to the OTA guests, and c) adopt full CRM capabilities at the property, including a Guest Appreciation Program/Reward Program, and include all OTA guests in it.Conclusion:Contrary to the findings of the pseudo-scientific ETTSA report, direct bookings (4.5% or lower distribution cost) are cheaper than OTA bookings that carry commissions of 15-25%, plus other fees.More importantly, direct bookings provide more than just distribution cost savings--they are about acquiring new "best" guests, generating incremental revenues, and creating lasting customer engagement and retention.

The OTA's Attempt at Discrediting the Value of the Hotel's Direct Channel

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·10 May 2018
Earlier this week, the European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA) released a report called “Hotel Distribution Costs,” examining the costs associated with direct and indirect distribution channels for hotels, together with the impact of channel shift.

The Gilded Iguana's Website Receives a Full, Contemporary Makeover

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog· 9 May 2018
As the original surfer spot in Nosara, Costa Rica since 1988, The Gilded Iguana reopened in April 2018, unveiling its year-long renovations designed by, and for outdoor lovers. Along with its renovations, the property needed an enticing website design to portray its new, modern accommodations, as well as its variety of activities. In partnership with the hotel, HEBS Digital revamped the website by creating a seamless and engaging experience through various key modules and custom pages.

Now Available for Download: HEBS Digital's GDPR Whitepaper

HEBS Digital · 8 May 2018
Download the GDPR Whitepaper: What Hotels Need to Know and How to Prepare to learn about:What the GDPR is: Get familiar with the new data protection and privacy regulation affecting EU citizens.The Most Important Changes that Come with the GDPR: Discover the most important changes that will be affecting hotels.How the GDPR Applies to Hotel Data Policies: There are six main ways that this new regulation will affect data policies.How Your Hotel Can Prepare: Learn the steps you will need to take to ensure compliance throughout your website and digital marketing.Plus, other valuable information regarding the GDPR.Gain access to these insights when you download the GDPR whitepaper today.

GDPR Tools for Hoteliers

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog· 7 May 2018
With the European Union’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), beginning on May 25th, many changes will affect hotels across the globe. In order to help hoteliers navigate these new regulations, HEBS Digital has prepared a suite of tools including a checklist and terms to know.

Now Available for Download: HEBS Digital's GDPR Whitepaper

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog· 4 May 2018
At HEBS Digital, we make it our job to keep hoteliers in the know about the latest developments in the industry that could affect their online strategies. The European Union’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), begins on May 25th and will affect hotels across the globe. We’ve prepared some tools to help you navigate this change.

Case Study: Cheeca Lodge & Spa Drove Bookings with a Reopening Limited Time Offer

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog· 2 May 2018
Cheeca Lodge & Spa in the Florida Keys suffered structural damage from Hurricane Irma and had to close for several months for repairs. While renovations were near being complete, the hotel was looking for a way to gain a high volume of bookings for its first few weeks following the grand reopening.

Now Available for Download: HEBStrategy Q2 2018 Hotel Digital Marketing, Technology, and Trends Whitepaper

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·26 April 2018
HEBS Digital’s second installment in 2018 of the HEBStrategy—our whitepaper series covering the latest news and trends in hotel digital marketing and technology—is now available for download! The HEBStrategy Q2 takes a look at the full Google Ecosystem and offers strategies for hoteliers to reach potential guests throughout the travel planning journey.

How Hoteliers Can Foster Loyalty and Show Exclusive Rates That Even the OTAs Don't Have

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·24 April 2018
In today’s digital landscape, hoteliers struggle to attract the attention of shoppers, as well as maintain that engagement throughout the travel planning journey. With only 9% of U.S. travelers knowing what brand they want to book with prior to traveling (Think With Google), everyone is internet savvy and knows how to shop around for the best deals. Usually, a sticking point or motivator to book is to receive or redeem points, but this is troubling for the single-property boutiques that are not supported by a multi-million-dollar loyalty program like Marriott Rewards, or even upper-upscale/luxury single-properties who have enough funds to invest in their own CRM technology.

Top Concerns Hotels Need to Know About the GDPR and How to Prepare Your Action Plan

HEBS Digital ·23 April 2018
What is the GDPR?The GDPR is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and regulates how companies manage, use, and share personal data. The GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR applies to natural persons, whatever their nationality or place of residence, whose personal data is processed and whose behavior is monitored while within the EU. This change in legislation means that nearly every online service is affected, and the regulation has already resulted in significant changes for US users as companies begin to adapt.The foundation of the GDPR builds on rules set by earlier EU privacy measures like the Privacy Shield and Data Protection Directive, and expands on these privacy measures in two critical ways. The definition of and requirements around personal data have been expanded. First, the GDPR defines personal data as any information that can be used to identify directly or indirectly a data subject, such as an online identifier like an IP address. The GDPR sets a higher standard for collecting personal data than ever before. By default, any time a company obtains personal data on an EU resident, it will need a legal basis for collecting that data, such as explicit and informed consent from that person. Even more importantly, users also need a way to revoke that consent, and they can request all the data a company has collected on them as a way to verify that consent. These strong regulations explicitly extends to companies based outside the EU. The penalties are more severe. The GDPR's penalties are severe and have two tiers of fines. The maximum fines per violation are set at up to four percent of a company's annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is larger. The lower level fines are up to two percent of a company's annual global revenue or 10 million Euros, whichever is larger. These penalties far exceed fines allowed by the Data Protection Directive, and it signals how serious the EU is taking data privacy.Get to know the facts. Avoid misconceptions regarding the GDPR: The GDPR affects hotels across the globe: The GDPR applies to all properties that target EU residents as customers no matter where they are located. This means that the GDPR affects all hotels in the US and locations around the world, not just Europe. Hotels are liable for the GDPR: Regardless of your partners or solutions provider, the hotel (who according to the GDPR would be considered the data controller) is ultimately responsible for using tools that are in compliance with the GDPR. One price point for all of the EU: Commonly overlooked regarding the GDPR, it's important to note that hotels cannot use profiling to set prices based on an EU visitor's location.How does the GDPR apply to your hotel's online data policy?The GDPR affects your hotel's data policy regarding EU website visitors in six main ways: Getting consent: Visitors to your website must understand exactly how you are planning on using their data, and the legal basis for why you are collecting the data. Unambiguous and affirmative consent is a key part of GDPR legislation and it is important for any hotel website that collects personal data to obtain specific permission to use it in the course of their business. If you are requesting consent from the customer, the user must agree to each specific purpose. That means if you have someone's email address who booked with your hotel, you are only allowed to market to them if they have explicitly agreed to this. Similarly, privacy notices may require rewriting to be in line with the GDPR rules. Privacy Policies and Terms of Service must be simple to understand and free of jargon (a good rule of thumb here is that a 16-year-old should be able to understand the Terms of Service). Accessing data: A main component of the GDPR is being fully aware of who has access to personal data that is logged and stored on your hotel website's content management system or database. The first step is to understand exactly who has access to this data and compile a list. Next, examine the list and ask whether all of these people require access to this data. If the answer is no, permission should be revoked and measures must be implemented to control future access.There must also be a robust process in place for deleting data that is no longer relevant or required, as companies are not allowed to hold on to this for any longer than is absolutely necessary. Data accountability: Regardless of your solutions provider, hotels are ultimately responsible for using tools in compliance with the GDPR. In light of this, hotels should audit any external agencies they use that might have access to their data to ensure that their procedures are compliant. As the data owner (controller) you are ultimately responsible for this, even if you have outsourced elements of the process, so keep a record of measures you have taken to ensure all partners are acting in line with the GDPR regulations. All of your partners should be able to clearly explain what measures they have taken to maintain maximum security of the data you provide. Data accuracy: All personal data must be accurate and kept up-to-date. Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data is correct in regard to the purposes for which data is processed, and that personal data is erased or rectified without delay if inaccurate. Data minimization: Websites should collect only the minimum amount of customer data to do the job, as well as adhere to the "storage limitation principle" which mandates that personal data must be stored for no longer than is required and that individuals must be informed about the planned use of personal data. Data portability and the "Right to be Forgotten": All website users have the right to receive their personal data that was previously collected in a readable format, as well as own the "Right to be Forgotten" which grants consumers the ability to easily have all of their data deleted from the hotel database.How can your hotel prepare for the GDPR?The GDPR affects your hotel website, data strategy, digital marketing, and online merchandising. Below are the top ways you can prepare for GDPR:Preparing Your Hotel WebsiteIt's important to ensure that all web forms and website cookie usage are in line with the GDPR. Your website's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions should also reflect the GDPR to ensure that everything is in compliance. Update your Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. First and foremost, your hotel website's Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions should be updated to reference GDPR rules and regulations. In particular, you will need to be transparent with what you will do with personal information once you've collected it, and how long you will retain this information on your website and in any other databases. Ensure your website is secure. Your hotel website should have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate to ensure that all data processing through the website is secure. If your website has an SSL Certificate, the domain will begin with "https," rather than "http." SSL Certificates secure all of your data as it is passed from your browser to the website's server. Ensure cookie consent. Website visitors from the EU must provide consent for your hotel website to enable cookies that are used to identify an individual. Like all other consent under the GDPR, consenting to cookies needs to be a clear affirmative action. Hotel websites should present clear terms of service regarding cookie usage with an opt-in box. Do not include pre-ticked boxes on the consent form, as this is against the GDPR regulations. It is important to note that the hotel website should not constrict users to accept cookies in exchange for information, and the hotel must also have a legal basis under the GDPR to use an EU visitor's IP address to personalize content or identify a user's device. Ensure the ability for people to opt out or erase their personal data. The GDPR clearly states that a data subject should be able to withdraw consent as easily as they gave it under the "Right to be Forgotten" clause. Controllers must inform data subjects of the right to withdraw before consent is given. Update email opt-in to default to "No" and include specific check boxes for every opt-in. Forms that invite users to subscribe to newsletters or indicate contact preferences must default to "no" or be an un-checked opt-in box. You should also ensure that users provide consent for all ways your hotel will be utilizing their data. For instance, if a user is opting in for email newsletters, this does not mean they are opting in for that email to be used for look-a-like audience marketing. Ultimately, hotels must set up a specific checkbox or form of consent for each separate use of guests' data. And finally, to ensure that you are in complete GDPR compliance, it's important to implement a double opt-in process. All web forms must clearly identify named parties. Your web forms must clearly identify each party for which the consent is being granted. It is important to note it isn't enough to say specifically defined categories of third-party organizations, they must be named in full. For example, your consent form cannot simply say third-party ad networks, it needs to specifically name the ad networks where ads will appear.Preparing Your Data StrategyOnce you've collected user data from EU residents or anyone living within the EU, it's important to follow key protocols regarding the use and removal of this data. It is also extremely important that everyone covered by the GDPR has an easy way to access and download any of their personal data collected. Here are some key considerations regarding your data strategy: Provide EU visitors with easy access to download personal data. Your hotel website should provide a request form where EU website visitors can request personal data. Do not keep data for longer than required. While the GDPR does not state a specified timeframe that limits data storage, it's a good idea to scrub customer data once or twice a year to ensure that all data is accurate and up-to-date. Any inaccurate or incomplete information should be deleted and the hotel is responsible for clearly stating how long the information will be stored within the privacy policy. Allow easy consent opt-out to address the "Right to be Forgotten" and grant EU website visitors the ability to delete their personal data. Your data strategy must allow for website visitors who previously consented to any use of their personal data to easily opt out or "erase" their data, as well as update their opt-in preferences. This user experience should be just as seamless as opting in and be easy to navigate on the hotel website.Preparing Your Marketing StrategyThe GDPR impacts your email marketing strategy, display remarketing strategy, and any display that utilizes owned customer data for targeting. Make it clear which third-party vendors will be utilizing EU customers' personal data. When prompting users to opt in to cookie consent or to access their customer profile data for marketing purposes, be sure to clearly list the name of the ad networks and third parties that will be utilizing these cookies and accessing this data for retargeting and building look-a-like audiences. Ensure that all third parties and ad networks are in compliance with GDPR. Have your marketing agency or internal marketing department reach out to any third-party vendors or ad networks to ensure that they are GDPR compliant and have taken appropriate measures. Only use data for the intent in which the EU user opted in. When an EU user grants permission to use cookies or opt in to an email marketing list, only use the data for the marketing for which the user opted in. This means if the user only opted in for remarketing, you cannot use the data to build look-a-like audience targeting. Or, if an EU user opted in to a monthly email newsletter, the user's email address should not be used for other marketing purposes. Overall, it's not only important to familiarize yourself and your hotel staff with the GDPR, it's important to ensure that all of your bases are covered. To be ready for what's next on the official launch of the GDPR on May 25, 2018, check out additional resources on The UK Information Commissioner's Office and review your policies with a data privacy consultant and your legal team.

The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing: April Edition

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·20 April 2018
This month, the latest digital innovations include new publishing features on Google My Business listings, the new Google Outstream Video Ad format, and new Instagram profile bio features. The industry is also abuzz with the fast-approaching launch of the GDPR. From SEO to design, read on to learn the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing, and stay informed.

Top Concerns Hotels Need to Know About the GDPR and How to Prepare Your Action Plan

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·19 April 2018
By now you’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and should have started considering the effects of this regulation on your hotel website, data strategy, and hotel digital marketing. With the GDPR just around the corner, we’ve put together an overview that includes an explanation of the GDPR, the top misconceptions, and the most important considerations that will need to be implemented on your hotel website and included in your digital strategy

Product Spotlight: Google Hotel Ads

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·16 April 2018
There is stiff competition from OTAs in the Google search engine results pages. As potential guests begin the research phase of their travel planning journey, Google is often a starting point. Hotels are finding it hard to combat the OTAs and stack up against their competitors, all while staying within budget and generating higher conversion rates.

Why the Flash Sale Model is Dead in Hospitality

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·12 April 2018
Groupon and other flash sales sites appeared as a recessionary phenomenon rather than a new, emerging distribution channel that was here to stay. Since the recession, as the economy improved, many of these flash sales sites went out of business, including Amazon Local and SniqueAway. Groupon, as one of the only remaining players in the flash sales arena, has a severely diminished role in hospitality.

Voice Search and Digital Voice Assistants: The Next Big Thing in Hotel Distribution and Marketing

Max Starkov | The HeBS blog·10 April 2018
As one of the most exciting trends in hotel marketing and distribution strategy, voice search has galvanized the hospitality industry, both in preparation for evolving consumer behaviors and technology advancements. Termed “the next billion” by the Wall Street Journal, voice search through digital assistants is here and the possibilities for the technology are endless.


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