2015 HeBS Digital Articles

Independent Hotelier’s Big Data vs. Real-Time Data Conundrum

3 Dec 2015

In the new environment of OTA consolidation and rate parity removal in Europe, the market share dominance of the OTAs can seem like a colossal problem with no real solution. However, independent properties have a wealth of digital technology and data tools already available to them that gives them the means to outsmart the OTAs and differentiate themselves from their competitors, all while generating serious direct revenues.

In hospitality, there has been a lot of hype about Big Data and why hoteliers should take full advantage of their customers’ Big Data. According to Gartner, Big Data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation. Confused? Big Data sounds intimidating, doesn’t it?

Read the full article

The Perils of Using an Open Source Content Management System (CMS) to Power the Hotel Website

17 Dec 2015

Hoteliers are managing multi-million dollar properties. They have fiduciary responsibility to maximize the property’s direct online channel presence, boost direct revenues, and lower the costs of online distribution. Utilizing an open source content management system (CMS) like WordPress is in stark breach of a hotelier’s fiduciary duties and exposes them to great security and vulnerability risks hotel managers and owners cannot afford.  Choosing an open source CMS to power a hotel website is extremely risky and limiting in terms of what you are going to be able to achieve. Here are some reasons why.

Read the full article

2016 Checklist to Maximize Revenues from Your SEM Campaigns

16 Nov 2015

Search Engine Marketing continues to be one of the highest revenue drivers for HeBS Digital’s clients, with more than 25% of direct online revenue coming as a direct result of SEM/paid search via the hotel website and voice channel. Add to that Google Display Network (GDN), Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), Gmail Ads targeting users with text and email ads, as well as YouTube TrueView video ads, and this contribution grows to beyond 30%-35% of direct online revenue.

Obviously advertisers agree with the above and more than 41% of every online advertising dollar in the U.S. is spent on search engine marketing (eMarketer 2015), further underlining the importance of SEM. No doubt, SEM is a crucial part of hotelier’s multi-channel digital marketing strategy. Here are the top ten ways to maximize revenues from SEM campaigns in 2016.

Read the full article

2016 Checklist to Maximize Revenues from Multi-Channel Campaigns

4 Nov 2015

It’s no secret that multi-channel campaigns are a great way to boost revenue during low seasons, target top customer segments, and fulfill ad hoc business needs. But is your hotel brand’s multi-channel campaign plan following industry best practices to achieve the highest return on investment? A successful multi-channel campaign reaches potential guests at every touchpoint of the travel planning process with one cohesive message across channels, capitalizing on key customer micro-moments across devices.  There are a number of key issues you must address to ensure you are maximizing revenues from multi-channel campaigns.

Read the full article

Et tu, Brute? Why “Book on Google” and “Book on TripAdvisor” Will Be a Nightmare for the Hospitality Industry

28 Sep 2015

Following the lead of Kayak.com, which has turned itself into a meta-OTA-type of a service for quite some time now, TripAdvisor rolled out their “Instant Book” feature over the past year or so (now called “Book on TripAdvisor”), which, at up to 15% commission, is a de facto OTA-like channel. Recently Google launched a copycat service -“Book on Google”, which is a similar OTA-like/commission-based option in their Hotel Price Ads (HPA) meta search program.  But what does this new type of OTA service mean for hoteliers.

Read the full article

Don’t Sleep on Google Penguin: Adopt a Solid Defensive SEO Strategy

23 Sep 2015

When Google Penguin originally rolled out more than four years ago, it impacted results for a staggering 12 percent of search queries. The update put into place stringent requirements on the quality of inbound links Google rewarded. After the initial Google Penguin update, websites could no longer build links inorganically or acquire spammy links in order to attain higher search engine rankings.

The bottom line: Google Penguin is still alive and kicking. Hoteliers and digital marketing professionals need to remain vigilant when assessing their sites’ inbound link portfolios. Acquiring inbound links is important, but playing defense and controlling your website’s inbound link resume is just as important.  So what is Google Penguin, and how can you adopt a defensive strategy?

Read the full article

Cyber Monday: Is Your Hotel Taking Advantage of the Largest Online Shopping Day of the Year?

15 Sep 2015

As hoteliers prepare for the Holiday Season and Q4 occupancy needs, there’s a one-day event that has become a holiday all on its own that hoteliers simply can no longer ignore: Cyber Monday. This year Cyber Monday falls on November 30, which is perfect for generating last-minute holiday bookings, but most importantly, secure business for the dreadful Q1 2016.

Is your Holiday Season strategy ready?

Read the full article

Is Hospitality Ready for the Post-Rate Parity Era?

8 Sep 2015

There has been a lot of talk in the press and discussion forums about the “fall” of rate parity in Europe and its implications.

Most of the new rules and proclamations in Europe thus far concern Most Favorite Nation (MFN) clauses in the hotel-OTA agreements. In the case of France, a new “rate parity” law was adopted in August, which directly affected the rate parity clauses in the hotel-OTA agreements in this country, and most probably will have Pan-European repercussions as well. So what actually happened in Europe?

Read the full article

HeBS Digital Launches New Website for a Denver Icon, The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa

11 Aug 2015

A Mile High City icon since 1892, The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa is a luxury destination situated in Downtown Denver. The hotel features 241 accommodations with upscale amenities like oversized spa bathtubs, pure artesian water from its own on-site well and twice-daily room service. Hotel offerings include a full-service spa, acclaimed in-house dining and nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Hotel tours can be arranged in advance, offering unique insights into the hotel’s legacy.

Read the full article

Escaping Obsolescence: The Fall of Flash in Hotel Digital Marketing

5 Aug 2015

The days of utilizing Flash as a desktop advertising tool are soon coming to an end. One underlying reason may be that Adobe Flash has a history of security issues and has become a favorite avenue for hackers who utilize its security vulnerability to dump malicious code to millions of users. All of the major browsers will begin phasing out Flash banner ads within the next six months, starting with Google Chrome’s landscape-shifting decision to begin forcing users to opt in to view individual Flash-generated ad animations. Hoteliers and digital marketers who choose to stick with Flash will be left in the dust, operating with a greatly reduced ability to reach audiences and drive revenues. 

Read the full article. 

The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2016 Digital Marketing Budget Planning

3 Aug 2015

For the tenth year in a row, HeBS Digital announces the launch of “The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2016 Digital Marketing Budget Planning,” to help hoteliers as we begin the 2016 budget planning season. Click here to download the full article whitepaper.

Read the full article

Hotelier’s Action Plan to Capitalize on the Mobile Channel Boom

8 Jul 2015

n the first half of 2015, the age-defining shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices continued its rigorous pace: more than 21% of online bookings and nearly 19% of roomnights are generated from non-desktop devices (smartphones + tablets), while 45% of web visitors and nearly 40% of page views come from tablets and mobile devices (HeBS Digital Research).

According to Google Research, nine out of ten people are “cross-device” Internet browsers and researchers, using multiple devices sequentially (moving from one device to another at different times). Smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity: 65% of users start their research on a smartphone and 60% continue on a desktop device. As an example, 55% of users use multiple screens sequentially when researching pricing information in travel.

Read the full article

HeBStrategy: The Q3 2015 Hospitality Digital Technology & Marketing Strategy Whitepaper Now Available for Download

29 Jun 2015

New York, NY (June 29, 2015) – Now available for download, the HeBStrategy Q3 2015 Edition serves as a guide to hospitality digital marketing, providing a comprehensive overview of what happened in Q2 and what’s about to happen in Q3 and beyond. With real-life use cases pulled directly from HeBS Digital’s client portfolio, a collection of forward-thinking ideas from industry leaders, and a recap of Q2 headlines, the whitepaper is a valuable resource for hoteliers looking to maximize direct online revenue.

Read the full article

Google Doorway Page Algorithm Update: Action Plan for Hotel Vanity Websites

14 May 2015

On March 16, Google announced the rollout of an algorithm change intended to minimize the visibility of spam content on search engine results pages. The update, known as the “Doorway Page Algorithm Update,” targets pages with thin, low-quality content and unnatural keyword usage.

Google wants to dissuade sites from creating shallow content pages that are designed primarily for search engines, rather than human beings. These pages attempt to rank for keyword terms without providing users any unique or useful information. This falls in line with the search engine’s goal of giving users the quickest route to the most comprehensive, rich, and fully formed information on any given topic.

Read the full article

The Whitehall Hotel Website Blends Industry-Leading Design with Innovative Technology

4 May 2015

The Whitehall Hotel combines modern amenities and a stately atmosphere in the heart of Chicago. The hotel’s rooms, amenities and public spaces evoke the aura of a classic European boutique, while its in-room amenities suit the hotel’s location in one of America’s most populous cities. The hotel’s refined feel and presence just steps from the Magnificent Mile demanded a site that supplied simple-yet-elegant design and a conversion-minded approach across the three screens (desktop, mobile and tablet).

Read the full article

The Meta Search Conundrum: HeBS Digital Joins the HSMAI’s New York Chapter Panel to Discuss Meta Search Best Practices

30 Apr 2015

Recently, HeBS Digital participated in the HSMAI’s New York chapter panel entitled “A Meta Conundrum” discussing the “ins and outs” and “ups and downs” of meta search. Patrick Merryman, who leads meta search at HeBS Digital, provided an in-depth industry perspective and insight on the topic including ways hoteliers can maximize returns on the platform.

Read the full article.

The Smart Hotelier’s Action Plan to Digital Content Marketing

20 Apr 2015

Digital Content Marketing involves the distribution of engaging information across digital marketing channels – from blogs and social media to the property website and email marketing. The sole objective of this type of marketing is to lure travel consumers to engage with the hotel property and brand, providing enough value in the form of useful content to ultimately result in a hotel booking. What are the most popular Digital Content Marketing initiatives in hospitality? How should hoteliers build Digital Content Marketing into their strategy in order to increase engagement and revenues?

Read the full article. 

Hotelier’s Guide to the Google Mobile-Friendliness Update

1 Apr 2015

Google is back in the news with another algorithm change – and this time it’s a big one. The search engine announced recently its plans to roll out the Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update on April 21st, 2015, a change expected to impact up to 40% of all mobile searches.

Read the full article.

Case Study from the Trenches: HeBS Digital Uses Dynamic Content Personalization to Double Revenues From Foreign Markets

31 Mar 2015

The following case study proves that any hotel property interested in targeting foreign feeder markets can effectively do so via Dynamic Content Personalization. This strategy allows the hotel to maximize website revenues and shift share from the OTAs through simple customization of content.

Read the full article.

Does Investing in Social Media Advertising Pay for Hoteliers? Five Tips for Navigating the Pay-to-Play Social Media Landscape

30 Mar 2015

Last week, I presented at the 2015 EyeForTravel Social and Mobile Strategies conference on “Navigating the Pay-to-Play Social Media Landscape.” In this talk I discussed how to invest wisely in social media advertising to ensure return on investment, and ways to use social media advertising to reach the right audience at the right time throughout every touch point of the travel planning journey.

Read the full article.

The Fourth-Screen: Providing the Right Digital Experience for On-Property Hotel and Resort Guests

26 Mar 2015

Over 42% of website visitors and nearly 16% of hotel bookings came from tablet and mobile devices in the first half of 2014. Hoteliers must embrace the mobile-connected traveler by offering relevant and practical content while on property and within a local radius. Commonly referred to as the fourth-screen, the hotel can turn the website meant for the general public into a customer service channel and a revenue generating opportunity accessible to on-property guests only. 

Read the full article.

Why Hoteliers Cannot Afford Free Analytics Tools

16 Mar 2015

There is a saying that goes, “I don’t have enough money to buy cheap things.” That statement also rings true for implementing free analytics: hoteliers simply cannot afford it. In this article, we outline the major reasons why free or cheap analytics tools are not an option for success in today’s complex hotel digital marketing landscape.

Read the Full Article.

Branded Hotel Guide to Generating Revenues Above-and-Beyond the Brand

11 Mar 2015

For the branded hotel, the main objective of the vanity website is to generate incremental revenues to what the brand.com provides. If developed as per industry’s best practices, the branded hotel’s vanity website would complement nicely the efforts of the major brand and generate up to 75% of incremental bookings and group leads above and beyond what the major brand generates for the property.

Read the Full Article.

Shortcuts that Kill Revenue: Using the “DIY” or “Build It Quick and Cheap” Approach for Hotel Websites

18 Feb 2015

Recently, a major player in the industry announced the launch of their new $399/month service for “DIY” hotel websites. A property website built using the “DIY” or “quick and cheap” approach cannot possibly serve as the “heart” of the property’s direct online channel efforts, as the main hub of the property’s multi-channel marketing campaigns across the three screens, or as the property’s main engagement platform with the uber-connected online travel consumer. What does a property website need, at the minimum?

Read the Full Article.

How Can Hoteliers Take Advantage of the Disruptive Shift from Desktop to Mobile?

26 Jan 2015

The 2014 device usage results are in! The massive shift from desktop to mobile and tablet devices continued its rigorous pace. In this multi-device world “inhabited” by always-connected travel consumers, hotel marketers face a major challenge: Creating and managing a digital presence across three distinct distribution and marketing channels (desktop, mobile, and tablet).

Read the full article.

Should Hoteliers Be Concerned with Amazon Becoming the Next Mega OTA?

20 Jan 2015

The industry press is full of articles about Amazon entering the travel retail space, opening travel industry-focused offices, and contacting hoteliers to strike merchant-model wholesale deals.  Industry “oracles” are predicting that Amazon will become the next Expedia or Booking.com.

Read the full article.

Smart Hotelier’s Action Plan 2015 – How to Monetize Your Digital Marketing Resolutions

19 Jan 2015

In early January, in this year’s Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions, presented by HeBS Digital for the 15th consecutive year, we provided an action plan to follow during 2015. We went a step further and last week we presented an interactive webinar “Action Plan 2015: The Smart Hotelier’s Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions”, where we covered how to increase your online revenues/ROIs, gain market share, and stay ahead of the competition and OTAs in the coming year.

Read the full article.

Smart Hotelier’s 2015 Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions

5 Jan 2015

Today’s hotelier has a world of opportunities available to help them increase direct online bookings and revenues. In this year’s Top 10 Digital Marketing Resolutions, presented by HeBS Digital for the 15th consecutive year, we provide an action plan to follow during 2015.

Read the full article.

The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2016 Digital Marketing Budget Planning

For the tenth year in a row, HeBS Digital announces the launch of “The Smart Hotelier’s Guide to 2016 Digital Marketing Budget Planning,” to help hoteliers as we begin the 2016 budget planning season. Click here to download the full article whitepaper.

Read the full article

2016 Checklist to Maximize Engagement and Revenues from Social Media

23 Nov 2015

Social media and travel go hand-in-hand. Sixty-five percent of adults now use social networking sites (Pew Research Center) and a growing portion of these users are utilizing social media before, during, and after traveling. As traffic and activity on these platforms continue to grow, hoteliers have even more opportunities to reach their customer segments and generate revenue.

The possibilities for hoteliers in the social media space are more exciting and accessible than ever before. From emerging social media platforms to robust ad targeting capabilities, the options are constantly expanding and evolving. Are you prepared to leverage these opportunities and maximize revenues from social media in 2016? Here is a checklist to help you on your journey.

Read the full article

Contact us