Charts and analytical data on the tablet screen with a cup of coffee on a wooden vintage table.

The Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM

Want to hold the top spot on Google for everyone searching an accommodation in your area? I am sure that this is the dream of every hotelier on earth. Somehow, there would be a magic potion or genius company that could drive us to the top of the listings for both the lower funnel (branded terms) as well the top of funnel (broader travel terms). Deep down, though, we all know that this is pretty much impossible all the while Google (traded under its parent company’s name, Alphabet) is showing record profits and commensurate share prices. But does this all make sense? Why is it that our budgets for this activity are constantly growing yet we don’t seem to be making any real progress in this regard? Our industry spends billions of dollars, not just on these so-called ads but we also employ a cadre of internal experts both and …

lmaadminThe Downward Spiral of SEO and SEM
Simferopol, Russia - July 9, 2014: Google biggest Internet search engine. Google.com domain was registered September 15, 1997.

Does Page Two in Google Even Exist?

“Second place is the first loser.” –Dale Earnhardt, American Racing Legend (1951-2001) We all admire Google. Alphabet, its newfangled parent company, trades places with Apple as the world’s most valuable corporation, with a market value that exceeds half a trillion dollars. Google has its paws into literally everything. While much is made of their self-driving car, Google Glass and other audacious new devices or applications, Google is also hard at work refining its core business – internet search. And this refinement has but one primary goal. However much the company espouses its noble goal of helping people find just about anything on the web, it is accountable to its shareholders and they want to see revenues which in Google’s case means Adwords. Ever get unsolicited email guaranteeing your website to rank first or on the first page in a Google search? I am sure that we all have seen these …

lmaadminDoes Page Two in Google Even Exist?
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The Hunt for Book Now

Every marketing manager you employ will tell you a version of the same story: Your website needs to have a ‘Booking Bar’ prominently stapled onto the home page and every page thereafter – big, flashy and impossible to ignore. The central concept is that your site visitors will be compelled to immediately interact with the banner to see what spaces are available, compare guestrooms and even select value-added options to enhance their stays. Another assumption is that site visitors are just too naïve or blind to click a smaller button that says ‘Reservations’ and that revenues will be lost as a result. This mandatory element, espoused by most of the leading hospitality web design agencies, may in fact be a big mistake. My belief is that this is one of the key reasons why hotel property websites are losing ground to the OTAs and Airbnb. Before you call me a …

lmaadminThe Hunt for Book Now
Taste cup of coffee with roasted grains

Cinemagraphs: The Future of Food Menus

With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) currently underway in Las Vegas, it’s time for a tech talk. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to discuss once the convention wraps, but in the meantime I’d like to formally introduce a topic and word that has been on my mind for quite some time (and indeed if you’ve gotten me over the phone anytime recently then you’ve likely heard me blab about this!). For our purposes as hoteliers, cinemagraphs are essentially a form of animated GIF with a short, repetitive action to give the appearance of continuous movement. With smartphone cameras getting better and better with each year’s iteration in addition to improved animated GIF software features, cinemagraphs are no longer exclusive to the professionals. On the other end of the spectrum, tablets are becoming cheaper and more widespread, and both desktop and mobile browsers are now far more accommodating to such …

lmaadminCinemagraphs: The Future of Food Menus
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Building Your Hotelerati, or Promoting Your Hotel Personalities

People buy from other people, not from corporations. This mantra – or any other version of it – has existed for almost as long as the craft of salesmanship itself. And it makes sense, too. We build rapport far easier in person than over the phone or via the internet. Furthermore, human beings are genetically programmed to constantly read faces and facial expressions as a means of analyzing social cues or forming emotional bonds with the opposite party. We mentally connect with and remember faces much quicker than with objects, places, symbols or words. This makes it hard for companies, which are inherently faceless. It also explains why corporations spend billions of dollars each year in advertising to try to develop a ‘face’ that people will recognize. More recently, particularly with regard to the widespread adoption of social media, companies have started to promote select employees to publicly, and often …

lmaadminBuilding Your Hotelerati, or Promoting Your Hotel Personalities
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Speed is King with Mobile Websites

When it comes to a website’s mobile presentation, slow and steady does not win the race. You want your web pages to load as fast as possible with a fluid, oft-simple navigational flow that lets viewers easily bounce around to find exactly what they want. It’s a different behavior than someone surfing the web via a desktop or laptop. Some of the reasons for this may be obvious while others may not. It’s a given that we all despise the lag while our smart devices’ browsers fill our screens. An extension of this is cognitive drift – the point at which we’ve waited so long we just don’t care anymore. We move on to another site, which (in dire situations) might be an OTA or a direct competitor. While statistics vary by device, demographic and one’s state of mind at the time, a rule-of-thumb average for cognitive drift on mobile …

lmaadminSpeed is King with Mobile Websites
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Specific Tips to Attract Travelers from China

To many in the Western World, cracking the Chinese travel market is a frustrating enigma. There are over a billion souls living in this over-six-thousand-years-old nation with a voraciously widening middle class, and yet a combination of language, cultural and governmental barriers intimidate us away from launching full-fledged awareness campaigns in this market. But this shouldn’t be the case, and it’s why I’ve been ever curious these past few years, seeking out individuals who have insights as to how hotels can breach this gap. I had the chance recently to interview Evan Saunders, the CEO of Attract China, with regard to the expectations of Chinese outbound travelers as well as a few simple tips that hotels can implement to better accommodate members of this group. And to clue you in on the gravitas of this situation, it’s estimated that by 2018 China will be the number one nation in terms …

lmaadminSpecific Tips to Attract Travelers from China
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Search Engine Optimization – An Obituary

Just past his tenth birthday, we’re sad to announce the imminent death of unpaid (also known as organic) Search Engine Optimization. Born on September 4, 2004 with Google‘s NASDAQ public offering, SEO reached its zenith in the fledgling days of global web search as a ‘free’ means for internet users to find a website or browse for related information. In its heyday, SEO meant that the entire left hand side of the viewer’s screen was devoted to these free listings. These listings were derived from the website itself, rather than paid search – also known as Google Adwords for the masses who utilize this search engine juggernaut – which were relegated to the right hand side of the screen. And what a childhood it was! Everyone was determined to have their site found ‘on the first page’ for any important search term or browsed keyword. A whole cottage industry emerged …

Larry MogelonskySearch Engine Optimization – An Obituary
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Enhancing A Loyalty Program With Gamification

The Web and software world has embraced “gamification” during the past few years as websites and mobile apps find ever-craftier ways to incorporate gaming mechanics into their platforms. The goal is simple: heighten consumer interaction by making the platform more exciting. It’s something video games do especially well. By capitalizing upon our desire for instant gratification, these systems can go from amusing to addictive. When was the last time you heard a loyalty program described as addictive? Certainly, in the hotel industry, probably never. Most of the time, these programs are supplemental to emotional consumer drivers: Guests select a hotel brand with the loyalty program seldom acting as the primary reason for continued brand affinity. In this sense, they are afterthoughts and rarely take center stage with the product. Part of the problem is that the hotel landscape is saturated with loyalty programs; it’s almost mandatory that every property be …

Larry MogelonskyEnhancing A Loyalty Program With Gamification
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Four tips for today’s hotel websites

As a judge of the HSMAI Adrian Awards, I’ve had the pleasure of gazing at this year’s crop of the best in web design. I do not evaluate nor rank sites built by my own company, although it is refreshing to note that they share a healthy number of the winning traits described below. Judging the world’s finest hotel websites makes for a tough life. Each entry takes at least 15 to 20 minutes of time, reading the proposed communications statements, then exploring the sites themselves. I ended up reviewing more than 40 property sites. Based on the prices specified on the submitted briefs, that translates to well over US$2 million of creative programming. That’s a lot of development time. So, here is my top line takeaway from this investment. Think big This year’s crop is better than ever. For the most part, the frontrunners leveraged photography to maximum effect, …

Larry MogelonskyFour tips for today’s hotel websites