This Week in Hospitality Marketing Live Show 269 Transcripts (English U.S.)
[00:00:18.000] – Loren
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week in hospitality Marketing.
[00:00:22.710] – Loren
Show Two hundred and sixty nine, I’m Loren Gray.
[00:00:31.020] – Ed
Yeah, kill your video because your frozen .
[00:00:35.770] – Ed
OK, need to you may need to restart your computer, thereby turning it off an again. So everyone is watching. Happy Friday. This is the first we have problems.
[00:00:53.010] – Ed
Yeah, actually, I mean, we’re bringing it back old school style back when every episode launched with technical difficulties.
[00:01:01.760] – Ed
So with us today, we have Stuart Butler from Fuel Travel. I’m I’m Ed with Flip to. And we have the lovely Adele and Adele.
[00:01:16.220] – Ed
Let’s talk about your new thing, because I don’t think we’ve done that enough. Oh, yes.
[00:01:21.410] – Adele
Well, after 20 years at the library hotel collection, I you know, I left my office one Friday thinking I was going to come back on Monday.
[00:01:33.470] – Adele
And then all this craziness broke loose.
[00:01:36.110] – Adele
And suddenly I realized that maybe my plan for what I was going to do and what’s that?
[00:01:49.550] – Adele
Don’t work, keep going to plan for the future, suddenly got sped up. And and I got to do or launch what has been my dream for a long time. You know, for 15 years, people have been asking me, how do you get so many five star reviews? How do you stay on the top of TripAdvisor? We had the company had a ninety six point one guest satisfaction ranking, which, you know, outshines all of the luxury brands that are iconic that everybody knows.
[00:02:25.010] – Adele
How on earth did you do it? And you know what?
It wasn’t easy, but through trial and error and trial and error and trial and error, we developed a system that works like magic. And so now I’m having fun being able to tell the world about, you know, not only not only how to get great reviews and but how to lead a team that’s so happy and engaged and and feeling such a part of a bigger vision.
And I think that anybody can do this. So I’m so happy to be able to share it. And I’ve been lucky that, like the other day I was able to speak to the Qasimi New York chapter and I hope to speak to some other chapters and been on some podcasts. So it’s been a pleasure sharing all my tips for five star reviews.
It’s awesome. And you and, you know, you’re just full of change with the move and everything to you now.
Yes. To be relocated and green.
And the Yankees have moved down to South Carolina for the first couple of weeks. Stuart, I thought that everybody in South Carolina was from New Jersey, but we finally started meeting a few people from as well.
So, yeah, I mean, up until covid related migration, the popular thing to do would be to actually move from New York to South Florida first and then move halfway back. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I call that we call that a halfback.
My parents say they’re halfbacks. And she said, you’re just you’re just getting to the end because, you know, service in in Florida is challenging. And and there’s a lot of Southern hospitality here. And and that’s that’s actually where I came from. Not originally, but I moved to Texas for 10 years during my hospitality training years. And and so that’s always stayed in my heart. But, you know, for anybody listening who’s wondering if I could share some of the tips with you right now, if you let just do it.
Well, I think that the first most important thing, if you really want to expedite your recovery, is you you have to appreciate how important your reputation is, because if you are just selling a bed in a bath, you’re just a commodity.
You have to have an experience that exceeds the others in order to because this was just a very small marketplace.
Right now there’s a very limited amount of people who are traveling. So if you want to get more than your fair share and not wait until tourism is back to full, but actually want to go out and and and capture people’s.
Nations so that they stay at your hotel rather than somewhere else, you need to be sharing your vision with your customers, but also with your team, because what happens to live in hotel marketing is that we sit in the executive office and we have a vision for what our services and then they go to TripAdvisor after they see the ad or see the social media posts or get a sales call from your team. And there’s a gap between what you’re saying and what the guests actually say is happening.
So imagine what you want people saying on those reviews and be that hotel. I actually had as a very first step in the transformation for the library hotel collection.
I actually called together the GMs and the directors of Sales and Reservations Manager, etc, and had them write, you know, what do they want people saying in detail about the experience of being at the hotel.
And then we went and wrote out all of the journey touch points, like calling us on the phone and asking the question or sending us an email and how we respond, you know, making the reservation, coming to the front desk, the the room orientation, every single little touch point for that customer journey.
And and ask the team, since they are experts in in in guest satisfaction, what are the things that you say and do that really like people up whenever you say them. So it’s like when when when somebody comes to the hotel and says, welcome to the hotel. Oh, you are so excited to have you here. You’re you know, are you coming to celebrate something special? This is really making somebody feel so appreciated and cared for and respected.
And I’ll tell you what, I have walked into dozens and dozens of hotels where the front desk looks up and says yes or.
Checking in and no welcome, no enthusiasm, no excitement, and you have to remember that every day people are excited to travel and they they want to have a wonderful experience and you have to be excited for them. And that what I just said is what I call a best practice.
Well, and it’s important to point out, too, that, you know, the check in process, especially, you know, is the defining tone for the trip. When you look at and really pick through, you know, what what made someone unhappy check experience is such a potential friction point, but also a potential opportunity to set the tone. If you make someone mad or they feel dissatisfied or check in, they’re going to be more likely to look at everything else in their experience with you through a critical lens versus someone who has a really nice or even a quite honestly, there’s nothing wrong with a check in that isn’t out of the ordinary.
Like it was exactly what I wanted. It was efficient, friendly. I can move through. Those people are going to be less likely to look at everything else through a critical lens. They’re going to look at it through a lens of great, I’m on vacation or I’m here for work or whatever it is, and they’ll move on. But if you deconstruct a lot of reviews, you tend to find that there is an element of a problem at checking on negative ones.
I mean that to Stewart. Yeah.
And I mean, anecdotally for myself, I just imagine, especially when I’ve gone on family vacations, you’re probably at your highest stress point when you get to the hotel, are you? Especially if you’re traveling for long distance with kids in the car for hours and everyone’s tired and one’s angry? You know, you just you’re not in a good place. You probably having a few disagreements with the spouse. So going into that lobby, you need a little chance to reset, to refocus, like you said, change your lens, your perspective.
And that is going to be that that point at which your entire trajectory is going to go that way or that way. So you have it.
And and as as a traveler who depending on what my trip reason is, I have different expectations. Things I’ve seen that I really like are front desk team that don’t force me to go through everything. They give me choices on what I can consume. Those are my favorite because there are times I want to hear about absolutely everything. And then there are literally times I just want to go take a shower because I’ve been on a flight for eighteen hours and personalized.
Right. And yes, I think you’re teaching your team how to be sensitive to the individual and what they’re going through and what they need right now.
You know, I was at a restaurant the other day, I think it’s called Huls Chophouse, a very, very highly rated.
And, you know, they have an amazing guest experience. And the waiter said to me, you know, the steak is the best way to make a steak is the way the customer wants it. So you really have to listen.
And I will say for a customer who orders a filet mignon, well done that there is a there is a point where the customer’s not always right and customers who order filet mignon well done are wrong.
It’s their right to be wrong. Yeah. It makes them happy. That’s good luck to you.
Yeah. You know that. How’s that restaurant? That waiter said to me, you know, if somebody mentions that it’s somebody’s birthday and the person says she really likes this kind of ice cream, you just get an idea of what she likes. They actually ran across to the store across the street to get a pint of that ice cream to put on top of their cake, even though it wasn’t theirs. Or they’ll run across to the restaurant next door to get a key lime pie because they don’t have key lime pie in their menu, if that’s what they want.
And they think the smartest thing to me, it doesn’t matter what the guest spends, it matters that they come back. And I think that in this covid time, the the hotels, they have excellent five star reviews saying that the experience went really well. It was special. It was worth it. I’m glad I did. It will encourage more people to travel. On the other hand, it is. Going to hurt everybody if I saw I saw the chef, you know, in the kitchen making food without a mask.
Yeah, yeah, and well and so that’s the other thing I think would be valuable to talk about, because, you know, we don’t want to give away all your secret sauce on how to set the foundation. However, I think I think a lot of good places right now are one of the things they’re really wrestling with is how to handle the poor reviews that are completely out of their control. I’ve been hearing it a lot where hotels that generally are just super on point.
They’re getting dinged because people are annoyed with the things that are covered, related restrictions. And, you know, and I’m I’m less talking about the ones that, you know, the obvious is make sure your website sets the right expectation. Make sure your team sets the right expectation. I’m more talking about the and I apologize to any Kerans out there, but the carrots that are just mad that the world is different.
Do you have any thoughts on how to handle a situation where, you know what, you did everything right, but the person is just mad about covid, you know?
You know, you you have to just do the best that you can do, but you really should take this as an opportunity to flex your your satisfaction muscles and just say, hey, I’m going to do the very best I can. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep trying different ways of learning to deal with this situation. And if I find that I was able to get over a challenge effectively, I’m going to share that with my team.
Maybe they can use it as well. But one thing that I know for sure is we’ve had policies at hotels that are not always to the delight of every customer, but we may have reasons for them. For example, safety checks in the rooms after the was it MGM Grand?
You know, the issue that Las Vegas, the Las Vegas shooting, Las Vegas shooting, it was, you know, every most hotel said, OK, we can have real privacy, but we can we’re going to make a security check if we don’t see a guest after a day or two or the guest has asked for no housekeeping, no entry for a day or two, we’re going to make a security check and peek in the room to see if things are OK.
And and if you present that, what you’re doing is for there you really feel their pain really in your heart to see what you can do to get them from that mindset over the bridge and be their ambassador to happiness on the other side. Mentally, don’t be. You know, I’m the front desk and I have this Plexiglas and you’re on the other side of me mentally come around and be shoulder to shoulder with them and help bring them over here.
Look, I understand this is a difficult situation, but we’re all trying to work together to protect you and because and make sure everything is OK, because unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen. And we do this for the safety of our guests because we care about you. And if you just keep saying it and trying it in different ways, you’re going to hear you’re going to lower their defenses eventually. Leave me. I’ve turned around LATAPY.
So we’ve we’ve now been graced with the presence of one of Lili Muckerman from CRM and many other ventures.
Thanks for joining us. My pleasure. Lauren is having a bit of technical difficulty.
So we we are letting we are running the asylum now.
I’m the captain now and actually it’s perfect. Now, there’s a there is a quorum of more people. I did want to let you all know I am going to have to sign off soon because I could only do the first thirty minutes today. Stuart, what have you seen in your market that’s worked really well dealing with people disgruntled by covid strategy. Have you seen anyone like doing a good job on recovering from that?
Yeah, you know, it is all over the place and different folks are doing that expectations. It just wacky right now because you’ve got people that are totally understanding of the situation and you’ve got people that come in and expect things to be normal. So I will say, and you kind of touched on this, that setting expectations before arrival is the critical component. Like if you can do a better job of that. And if you look look at the sentiment studies we’ve been carrying out consistently, we asked people that have traveled what what was communicated to you and what would you like to be communicated to you next time you travel?
And this is such a misalignment between the two people want to know before they arrive what the protocols are, what’s open, what’s not. All the stuff. Most of the frustration is coming from people being blindsided. Most of the frustration is them arriving to find out that the pool is closed or local restaurant that they love is closed. That’s that’s it’s the unexpected that you want to try to avoid right now, because people need certainty, because there’s so much uncertainty going on.
So if you can do a better job of not just putting on your website, but making sure you’re pre-arrival messages are very comprehensive, now is probably a time to be sending two or three pre-arrival messages so that they’re really reinforcing that messaging. But Dell’s point wants to get on property and they’re unsatisfied. To me, the biggest thing is, one, you’ve got to treat everyone as an individual and understand that their unique situation is unique and special to them and that whatever their life has happened that day is is going to be the.
Spending a lot of how they respond, but we have a phrase that I love, it’s where we’re focused goals, energy flows, or if you’re a Star Wars fan, you can also use Quogue on GenZE. So your focus determines your reality. Which is basically what they’re saying, right, when you when you look at how she’s operationalised, how to create great customer experience, like a lot of people talk about it in this esoteric way, but not many people break it down into the physical components.
The reviews are a symptom of the experience. You’re not focused on the reviews necessarily, but you could start there by saying, like Dell just said, what do we want people to say about what do we want the perception to be? Then let’s break that down. What do we need to do with each of the touch points that breakdown the touch points to figure out what we want to do with each of these to affect the outcome? So I love the Adel’s really breaking it down because not many people tackle something like this and put the focus in to this that it needs.
They just say we need good customer experience and then they just go even better.
I’m unhappy with the reviews we’re getting.
Oh yeah, I like the process.
But you want your reviews to say, let’s start with that.
You know, focus on those specific tangible things and actionable things is will change. And having conversations with your whole team about why that’s important and why we’re focused on this will change where the energy goes. So that’s where the focus goes. Energy flows is exactly that. If you focus on something and you talk about it, naturally, people will put their energy towards improving the experience and talk about it.
Because if you’re not talking about kindness, compassion, sparkling sunshine on your guest, lighting people, making people happy, you know, if you’re not talking about it morning, noon and night, the people will get burdened with the day to day effort that they’re making. I just made a customer service call this morning. I company should remain nameless. She helped me, but when she answered the phone, she was just like very transactional. And I felt, you know, oh, this is going to be a terrible experience, another bad customer experience.
You were customer. Twenty seven that she’s dealt with today. You want do you have a unique problem which is in every conversation.
But you know what? Hospitality people a lot of times will light up if they have the person in front of you. But but they forget that on the phone, on the computer, on an email, on a text message. You still have to feel like you have to let that person up right from the hello. But what you said about talking about it all the time, you know, some people think that it’s a matter of having a training session, hiring people for a training session.
We never did that. We only did the stand up meetings, by the way. And if we can just put it out there right now, nothing in business is a check box.
This industry is obsessed with checking boxes like, hey, we got a website done.
Never again will we talk about whatever the issue is. It’s like, well, we’ll do a one day training session or two. Our training session, like so many people, like diversity and equity is a big thing and inclusion right right now. And everyone’s talking about it. And a lot of people are doing great stuff. But for a lot of people, it’s another checkbox. Oh, we’ll put our staff through diversity training on Friday. We don’t work that way.
No. Let’s continue the conversation. Let’s talk about what we’re doing that isn’t creating equity between people. What can we do to improve that? But it’s it’s a cultural thing. You’ve got to have it infiltrate every aspect of your business. Whatever the initiative is, it’s going to be a cultural thing on the training sessions. Do not create culture conversations create culture. You’ve got to make sure you’re talking about. Well, yeah, exactly right.
And, you know, the diversity thing enters into this conversation as well, because if you don’t work to light up and warmly, warmly sparkle sunshine and every single guest that you pass by and every guest that not just get check in, but any time you pass them in the hallway, people who have felt that they have been, you know, not treated on the same level as other people will. Blame that on on based on what their previous thinking was like sometimes in New York, I’ll stand with my arm out on the street way and five cabs with their lights on.
Pass me by. And if if if if my my Jewishness showed up on the color of my skin, I would blame it on me. Or sometimes you blame it. Oh, it’s because I’m a female traveler or it’s because I have children or it’s because we’re a mixed couple or whatever it is that you think that it is. And you’ll blame it on that, too. It’s really important that everybody, not just some people, not the people who are dressed right.
But everybody gets that one.
Yeah. So I also want to point out to you that one of the primary issues that we’ve had in hospitality for a long time is the blanket target strategy, like everyone is my target market. And that leads to some of these review issues as well, because you can’t deliver with excellence three different types of experiences. And frankly, we’re not that good about figuring out why people are there in the first place anyway. So you don’t even know which of those three experiences to deliver to that guest.
So I think it’s a great time for people to really narrow it down. Like what kind of hotel are we? Who is our target customer? How do we position ourselves in a way that, you know, that the target customer hears our message? How do we speak to their pain points? I know, like from my personal experience, right. I’m coming up on my third trip during covid and it doesn’t bother me to travel. Really. All of these have been essentially business related trips.
Right. So for me, I haven’t worried as much about what’s open. However, when we were discussing like, oh, personally, we’d really like to get away, the first thing that came to mind was, yeah, but what if nothing’s open? And those types of fears, I think, are playing into a lot of the experiences. So especially those properties that have activities on site, have a great opportunity to reach out and kind of talk with their customers, even the ones that don’t.
You know, being that source, Loren’s talked about this since day one, about being the source for the local area. And you don’t have to be comprehensive, but you need to be useful in telling people what is OK from what you can do. What you can’t just set expectation is critical. Otherwise, people don’t travel to spend time in a box, you know, in writing about travel for another reason.
So, yeah, you’re probably you some kind of thing to do with that part of that you’re communicating. It’s important, right.
And I forget where it was. But some article I read recently said, you know, how is travel going to change? And they said more in room experiences. And while it’s nice to have that option again, then you might as well just send them a package to use at home because it’s the virtual 360 VR experiences and sell them like Amazon is.
Right, exactly. It’s just not the same.
It’s not every year should be like the CVB of their block. They’re hyper local city as a whole.
Yeah. Yeah. I like to express. Yeah I agree 100 percent, you know, and I think there’s, there’s something to be said that for a short period people are more likely to. And we’ve seen this in the data right now, sentiment study. One of the things we asked was about restaurants and what would be your preference on your next trip. And we asked, you know, eating inside on property, outside in room and outside restaurant, we we we went through like what it was.
And there was definitely a trend towards people buying groceries and cooking in their room. If if they were staying at the type of hotel that had the ability to do that would blast a lot of our businesses and resort destination markets where there’s a lot of hotels. So they have kitchenette. So full kitchens and a lot of cases and people are really taken advantage of that the utilization of that has gone up tremendously. But I don’t see that being a permanent thing.
I think people will get back to some form of normalcy with travel. They don’t want to go out to restaurants more.
I mean, in some in the in some ways it might be because I think that people are maybe it’s just in my world cooking more and and and also caring about buying natural ingredients and knowing what goes into their food. So there may be saying, you know, I’d like to have a really nice brunch now or one meal a day out, but not three meals a day out the way that you and. So I think the ability to have a refrigerator in the room or some kind of cooktop or be able to prepare things or order a package in advance from the some some hotels are offering like groceries to your room so you can create what you want and you don’t have to bother finding it.
Yeah, I mean, honestly, even when I travel to I would occasionally reroute hello fresh blocks to where I was going because I knew that it would have everything I needed except for like oil, salt and pepper. Right. So we don’t have to put too much thought into it. But having I’m really surprised, honestly, that, like your typical residents and whatnot have not embraced that more, that they don’t have these types of kits available because grocery shopping service is great.
But now I need to figure out exactly what I need, go through the recipe, blah, blah, blah. So having these premade kits, I think is a huge thing. And I agree with you, Adele, and maybe it’s just for us millennials, but we are seeing a big trend towards more like cooking as a social activity almost. And so I think it’s yeah. I think it’s going to go back to your point, Stuart, to more restaurants, but I don’t think the cooking interim trend is necessarily going to end.
So I think hotel developers would be wise to kind of keep that in mind as they look at room design as well.
So I know a lot of technology trying to give myself a lot of hopefully you can hear me better, but I knew about wood floors or actually, I should say, you know, they’re not really wood.
What is it called? Laminate. And I feel great about a hotel that has it now, to be honest.
Yeah, I know we were I think still in some ways we’re looking at our toes and not looking a little farther up in the sense that we’re looking at the immediate interests. The people have the immediate concerns. And to thank you for saying that.
I had been mindful of this early on where people are looking for what can I do if I’m staying with you. And to your point, what are you doing about while I stay with you and then the other conversations about what to do if I’m with you. But there’s a there’s a second level report to this and you guys kind of talk to you, Pat. And that is really to your point.
We’ve gotten accustomed to cooking and some of us have realized how bad of a cook we are or how great a cook we are.
But but the but the we fall into patterns and ruts. And some of us have tried to be a little bit more creative successfully or not whatever. Being able now to talk about still to store your survey showing the aspirational traveler the penned up yet to be transitional traveler. That is more than interested. That is is more than willing, I guess I should say, but but has yet to pull the trigger on it. Airlines have ceded the interest with some crazy offers, hotels associated with crazy offers.
And we’re still not able to get them enticed out of the shadows yet as to take advantage of things. You know, they are as a mean to.
Your survey said 50 percent of people that are interested in traveling are beginning to travel. Really, to your point, there’s people want fifty three. Oh, wow. Wow.
So little you you have demand travel you’ve been having to do you’ve had to travel. So regardless of whether you had that wonderful preference of it’s like, well, if I’m going to do this, I got to do this.
But there’s a ripple, there’s a second level to this, our ability to communicate unique food in our area, unique things that are that are very specific to our market that people have come to represent. We’ve all got to stop and smell the roses for a few months.
And some of us have been frustrated because it’s been a little longer than we wanted. Some of us are ready to climb the walls because we’re seeing the same walls, but we really can amplify our value to them with all that stuff. You know, the little sandwich shop that would have been a you know, we’ve all been to those conferences that the conference organizer tries to find the unique things that, oh, we got this cool off a lot of shop around the corner or New Orleans, you know, and you’ve got to go catch it.
Well, now we can talk about that more because there’s more of an interest in that, you know, and while you’re here, go to do Jimmy Jobs, get a ride. You know, before was like ahead of the time, I was like, oh, heck, yeah.
And I want to if I want to go out and do this and be in someplace like New Orleans, I want to go over and get on your Bubbs Ghidorah, you know, so it’s a chance for us to really create those storylines that allow us to do a Dallas and so exceptionally well and make that magic pixie dust that lands that says we’re just not on a bed.
Room and we’re just not somebody is going to check you off his no desk number twenty seven. We’re going to make sure that you remember being here and you remember how well you enjoyed being here. And we were part of that. We were the reason we like to say so. But like good leaders, it’s not the leadership that did it. It’s the people that were inspired by the news that allowed them to succeed.
And so far, to be honest with all of these times I have traveled, I have yet to not need to call the hotel for more information. Like I am not a caller, I’m a researcher, but I can’t find the information that I need. It’s you know, we’re near the beach. Is the beach open? Am I allowed to go for a morning walk on the beach? Is X, Y, Z restaurant or attraction open? Nothing.
It’s about whether you need to wear masks in their lobby, which that’s helpful to know as well. But some of them aren’t even including things like that. And so you have to go hunting to figure out what should I expect. pre-Arrival emails, in my opinion, are like absolutely paramount right now, whether it’s three days prior or one day prior.
And I know that with two guests, but no one’s for you sending multiple pre-arrival messages if they’re helpful messages.
And so here’s what to expect.
Yeah, I thought a beautiful service called the Hotel Experience.
They’re based in Paris, but they have they they they serve the world in inhospitality and they have such a lovely pre registration form that you fill out that not only makes it quicker to check in, but they really get to understand who the customer is, what they need.
It gives you an opportunity for them to purchase things in advance. And I really love that they took it out of the booking process because I’ve always had that adding the breakfast or the wine or whatever in the booking process before. I really know what kind of a customer it is. So I’m not really personalizing which people are getting rich things. And also I think it interrupts the booking, wouldn’t you say? So, you know, don’t you just want to let them finish the booking first and let me deal with all of those special things later.
But I love all the personalization that comes with that.
I think it just makes such a stronger experience for everybody and it helps them achieve the kind of experience that they want to have.
Yeah, I have a question. I want to bounce an idea of you that I bounced off of a new client. Actually, they’re projecting roughly 50 percent occupancy and they’re right.
But I’ve trying to push that to trying to push them to doing all the traditional things we talk about exposure, brand awareness, location, interest amenities, value proposition in comparison to said also stuff. And I just threw it away today. And I’d love to see you guys think it’s just a wacky idea or not. Probably, as I said, why not reverse that conversation and say that you’re restricting your occupancy to fifty percent? You’re not going to allow more than that to allow the space for people to feel more comfortable and to allow them the opportunity to not feel like they’re being put into crowded common areas, that the food and beverage is available for them and it is based.
And just really, if you’re already not saying you’re going to get more than simply reverse it and say why not amplified the fact that you can only do half?
I think this is something that you have to think through. But the two biggest fears, and we’ve been asking this for 20 weeks straight now and consistently the two biggest fears, what do you most afraid of when you think of traveling right now, fear of other guests and fear of common spaces? Those are the two biggest negative dis incentivizes. So I think the messaging, how you portray that is great. You’ve got to think through, OK, what if I demand exceeds 50 percent and we’re going to cap it?
So I think you’ve got to be a little careful in the Galileo. But I think the message, the sentiment of is perfect, really good.
Also, you know that 50 percent occupancy comes from highs and lows.
So. Yeah, yeah, I know. I agree. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of semantics to this that have to be defined in a way that you’re not putting yourself in corners.
Maybe you can only do the same thing with limiting occupancy to reduce your exposure to other guests.
And in fact, it was just a pop up my head in the conversation this week. We’ve been trying to research about what what would motivate you? What would what would incentivize you to book right now. And we asked different questions related to cleanliness and hygiene. And we are putting the putting tape on the door once it’s been cleaned to show no one else is going in or putting the remote control in a Ziploc bag once it’s been sanitized. And we went through a list of these things and the one that resonated with people more than anything else was doing a deep cleaning between guests.
Which what does that mean? Right. That could mean what I think is deeply what you think is deeply and could be different as long as there’s something more than you were doing before using the terminology deep cleaning, the percentage of people that said that would have a positive impact on their booking decision versus keeping the room empty for twenty four hours or forty eight hours. But that doesn’t affect people’s psychology. But the saying there’s a deep cleaning between saying there’s fewer guests.
Those are things that really move the needle in terms of people that are teetering. And keep in mind that eighty five percent of people say they could be persuaded to travel right now in the next 60 days. What are those buttons you can push, levers you can pull to try to motivate them to pull the trigger?
The cleaning crew charged me an extra hundred dollars for my for a dog stay for one night when the room was seventy five dollars. And tell me it’s for deep cleaning when you have to deplane it anyway.
Well, and Adele, to your point, I have had this argument and literally an argument. I very rarely dig my heels in and get angry about stuff, but I’ve had this argument with my clients as to why you’re not that friendly, friendly based on your pet policy charges, your pet tolerant.
If you’re going to charge me a fat, big fee or fee per day, when when during this crisis, people got more pets and they didn’t get pets just to leave them at home. And certainly if they’re willing to take the risk of travel, they’re bringing their newfound pet with them. And you’re going to say to your point, you’re going to charge this much to have them with me as it is for me to be here when really there’s nothing different and to point to the fact that the liability of lease for a renter, quote unquote, of a room is just as obligated as of whether their dog to the best to the bedpost or they didn’t.
Because when you take that room on any damages to that room, you are liable for as the temporary renter.
So there is no difference. It’s exploitation of the fact that it is a crazy thing on that.
That was probably a testament to that fact. I mean, your child could be chewing on the bedpost for all we know, but nobody talks about that. But nobody told me about myself.
Now, I think the other thing that comes to mind, and I almost like hate to bring this up because of the correlation it has when you talk about what is deep cleaning, really that pet cleaning fee? Have you ever seen a housekeeping board that indicates this room had a pet do deep cleaning ever?
And would you even know if you stayed in a pet because you usually designate rooms that are pet related in your inventory that if you want to have something better, do you ever walk in the door and know that that you’re staying in? You know, when you’re in the room, obviously, you know where you. The pet room is like a bowl in the corner. It’s not getting used. Oh, you don’t know any room, right? Yeah, but, you know, I had some advice really for four regarding the pet rooms.
You don’t need pet friendly rooms. You need pet free will want the pet free rooms because it’s the only people who really care or the people who say, I have an allergy, I have a phobia. I need to know that my floor has never had a pet ever.
And and keep those few floors sacred, because if you pick three or four pet friendly floors, your team will, one by one by one, put pets on every single other floor in the hotel because that’s the room type wasn’t available. But you just have sacred pet free floors.
Yeah. And I have this thing in that for. Now, see, now the other thing, too, and this has been something one of my clients said that’s been very creeping them in on the idea and they’re actually enjoying this. If you are going to charge pet fees, then put a value proposition to it. Have you if you have a chef food beverage, I haven’t made custom snacks.
It is easy to do and usually requires most of the food in the restaurant that you wouldn’t necessarily be using in a general cycle. You use aspects of it, but not all of it. And it can create great biscuits and tons of cool stuff and little plastic bowls for those at the Biltmore. They know that I took this, but outside they had because it’s so hot in the desert, they had the plastic bowls with the logo on it and they’re all over the place.
And we had our dog with us and I’m like, wow, that’s pretty cool. Oh, I wish we had one of those. And we asked the service like, hey, can we get one of those? Just take that one bonus.
Every time somebody comes over, they’re like, Oh, Biltmore.
It’s like, you know, it literally it’s brand recognition. I remember we were there, over there, over there, that kind of stuff.
So this one of I have we start to the value proposition to first just by giving the pets bandannas. You know, you get your dog groomed stars through this, probably not even aware in Lane that you’re interested, but when you get your dog, they give him a little bandanna or a bow.
If it’s a girl, they give the pet something that they’re usually seasoned like Halloween. You get the little pumpkin bandanna, you get a little Santa or whatever cats include, they get the same thing. No, cats may not keep it on for very long.
But the idea was this way. The hotel little did most people know, knew whether the pet they were seeing around the property was properly checked in because they didn’t have the bandana.
Then it’d be like, Hey, hey, how are you? Oh, what?
You don’t know what we’re doing? I said, we’d like to set up a treat, you know? And then we go looking like you guys didn’t pay a pet fee, do we? You know, we’ll give you both this next a little bend in it. So it’s just it’s kind of over in terms of checking. But the value proposition of making a pet friendly we’re down the lobby, there’s food and snack. You know, there’s snacks and water and that they hand out snacks.
If you’re coming with the pet, they see a pet. And it also gives you a chance to talk about you can’t go in the pool area, can’t go in the food beverage outlets. It gives you a chance to dialogue about it all. But making the best way to get to a pet owners heart is treat their pet nice and you’re their friend, because if you’re with kids and the parents, right, to win over a mom is how you treat the kid really well.
Pet owners had left that on steroids.
Are you are you picking on our fur babies, Stuart? Are you beginning our babies?
Yeah, I have a reputation in my office for not being and I have nothing against animals at all. I love animals are just crazy pet owners. Just I don’t get it until.
Well, you probably shouldn’t go visit my house during all seven of my animals. Would be.
It’s like you are living the life. I told my husband I’m going to have any drugs one day I’ll leave my dogs in my case. But yes, yes.
If I had a prenup or I got married, the only thing on it would have been I’m never having a dog. And so about I don’t. Six months ago, finally, my my wife and kids wore me down to get guinea pigs and they literally lasted about two weeks. One of them got ringworm and I could get one out and one of them ended up they’re meant to be two girls. One ended up being a boy and the other girl.
And so stressed out my family so much that we came to another family to take care of. So we had we had pets for like a month or so after that.
And so I guess we missed some of the chat.
Tamara was asking for the steel drum band ringtone.
I my husband swore to me that he deactivated my phone before the truth is out.
Somebody loves the islands, mom.
So that’s our we actually listen to still do our music on Sunday afternoons just to chill and have it in the background.
I don’t know. It’s just pleasant and enjoyable, but it’s relax.
It makes you feel like you’re on holiday. Yeah, it does. It is. It is one of those music genres that is usually associated with the relaxation, enjoying something that is not just what your normal lifestyle is.
So, yes, by all means for that, it kind of goes to something I want to bring up. Brought up a great link that you alluded to to it as well, that Amazon is putting their toe into stuff.
I mean, obviously distressed with us, if you’d predicted how how Amazon was going to make its next entry into travel, because it would not have been this. This is not not what I would have been trying.
So I know I would have them, though. He called out in there that they’re actually buying the hotel to level it. If that’s the one you’re talking about now, which I know he like to live on.
I understand. But just still, it’s just interesting that they’re looking at opportunistic based on our industry. Who knows what and where and how. I mean, they’re looking at malls right now to change those into distribution hubs. You know, there’s so many different ways that these are misunderstood.
Sorry. OK, I thought you told them if they were doing.
Oh, no. I mean, I would like to get to that as well because. There’s a unique market, I think, that is not it’s not utilized as strongly as it could.
And I think what we have here is there is a lot of people in our culture that can’t have a variety of travel. They can’t go to the five places they want to go to. They can go to one maybe for to three physical limitations or age or whatever it is they can. Yeah, financial. Yeah. There is something interesting about VR and I haven’t read this article thoroughly. They may mention this, but I mean, I read a lot about neuroscience.
It just pessimist’s fascinates me. I’ve really been interested in reading about how the neurological structure is being altered by us being thrown for a loop through covid so that this was an opportunity actually for people to really try new things because people have been primed to try. But one of the things about neuroscience is really interesting is when you have a VR headset on, the memories it creates aren’t the same as when you’re looking at a screen. Like if you’re looking at a movie, watching a video game, something like that, it creates a certain type of memory.
But when you have a VR headset on, it creates the same type of memories in the brain that experiencing in real life does. It’s totally neat. Yeah, it’s still the same when I live in a matrix. So we nothing but a battery to somebody’s second degree possible.
But, you know, I’ve always thought, you know, when we open the Aria Hotel in Budapest or even in Prague that I would have loved to have had as a sales tool to take around with me something where they could feel like they’re on top of the rooftop, you know, looking over the city and just seeing the experience, not from a picture. I just think it would be I think that’s the most amazing sales tool I think becomes affordable where I kind of think I’m scratching my head a bit.
Is that charging money for experiences like as a replacement for actual travel and that like your point, I get like if I was a group sales manager and I wanted to show my facilities, VR would be the perfect way we could have someone walk through an event that was already set up and see see it with and without set up. But for me to say I’ve always wanted to go to Prague, I’m going to spend 80 bucks on a book on this virtual reality experience.
I don’t I don’t personally think I would ever do that.
And I don’t think you’re not the person I’m thinking about when I say that you’re actually right. I don’t think I would do any books just to see if I like it.
However, if I am homebound or what have you and I can’t make that trip, you can only imagine to Adele’s point sitting in a VR world with that piano that they have in their place and sitting and listening to a wonderful, beautiful mini concert of it and being able to turn whatever I’d like to and look out the window over the city or look back at the piano player or look at the room itself not being there.
Understood. But to your point, Stewart, VR can augment my actual physical ability mentally to be there. Then that gives me the chance to say that I’ve experienced in some level of what it would be like had I been there, like the ship enterprise.
And you need to have a little break on early on to go into the room where you are always helpful.
Adele, thank you.
And now I understand it and I understand it now. Right, right, right.
I go to the holodeck and yes, it’s the second day. But but to a point with some of the things in the earlier conversation I had together with this as well, for all of us that are growing in our memory skills or newfound skills or whatever, they are being what we brought visually in front of someone I’ve enjoyed. And this is really weird to say there’s this this thing called a timebombs on Facebook, and they put the camera right in front of these very octogenarian women that have been doing this since they were itty bitty girls and just in awe of them making their past as the sources, the the whatever it is that they’re doing in your front row center, watching them do these things.
Can I do them? Not in a frickin million years. I mean, the way I’m picking the tomatoes and making the the tomatoes, I mean, just you’re sitting there going, oh, God, that looks good.
Yeah. Now I’ve got to go get canned tomato sauce. It’s the same thing. But, you know, but the idea of it is, is that you see this and you like, I want to go there. I want to. I want to. I want to do that. I want to learn it. But it’s just it’s kind of like connected to something that’s very much a part of our lives that it wasn’t before. A lot of us we’re going out grabbing a bite, going to our favorite restaurant, regular basis.
Eating at home was more of a percentage. Our dining experience is through the course of the week, then it was a mainstay of our dining experiences, as it has been. And so now there’s this new interest category of how do you make that, you know, which is kind of cool. So, I mean, categorically culinary or something like this is just as much for me as an interest in sitting in the hotel in Prague and watching the piano concerto and looking out over the lights across, you know.
And so I was just going to point out it’s a joke. It’s not even meaningful. But but you know how they say you say tomato, I say tomato, Laurine. And she says both because he transitioned, he said to tomato twice.
And then, well, I don’t really think I’m matters because it doesn’t do tomato. Right.
But tomatoes are wonderful little pointy little things that make tomato sauce that my mother may criticize. Well, it’s a it’s it’s living in Canada as a kid and growing up in the States as well. It is a hybrid combo thing going on.
I don’t know.
It’s like odds ends and it’s a little. But your relatives.
I was just going to say, though, that my brother and sister in law, whenever they travel, they always go to the hotels cooking lesson. You know, they always buy that experience because they love to be able to come home and say, well, yes, I learned to make this in Florence.
You know, it’s kind of a smack down to something in this case different. It was made to be from a little old lady in Florence. Is taste different because better than anything you’ve ever had compared to. Oh, yeah, it’s in a can from the outback.
Yeah, that’s the that’s what I was talking about earlier when I kind of briefly touched on this, when I was talking about the neuroscience of the ah one of the things they’re saying about as we age, once we hit about twenty five, the neuroplasticity in our brain begins to diminish. Right. We don’t do well at creating new new neural patterns, neurons and things like that.
So. Because we’re in a rut, we go through the routine and it’s the same thing that happens, like one of the things they’re saying it is because people’s routines have changed. They expect to see a decrease in dementia for a short period because a lot of times dementia starts to come on because people retire. They’re not taxing their brain. They’re not thinking new thoughts. They’re not creating new neural pathways. And so that brain deteriorates. Right. It’s like anything else, you’ve got to keep using it or you lose it.
So one of the things the same with covid is because we’ve all been rocked, all of us, and now learning new skills, doing new things to neuroplasticity is coming back a little bit for a lot of people. And so we’re trying to be more open to trying new things than we once were. So offering stuff like culinary training or new experiences is probably going to be more successful moving forward than it would have been without it, because people now are more willing to try stuff they’ve never tried before.
It’s interesting because if you dig into some of the other commercial areas to sales of like even big ticket items like your own pizza oven in your backyard. Right. Are skyrocketing right now because people are spending more time at home. And it’s going to be interesting to see when eventually travel is back open to a level where people feel like they can travel whenever they want to. Will those enriching experiences or in room the hotel speak in home experiences, you know, keep them from traveling because they’ve they’ve gained comfort with a new reality where they’re doing more entertaining at home?
Or will they desert? That’s high ticket item that they’ve bought. And it becomes like I was every time I looked at an apartment as a kid, you know, I want the one with a balcony. Do I ever go on the balcony? Never. But I paid more for it every time. So, you know, really kind of looking at how is that going to shift? Things like that are going to shift behaviour. But then you can tackle that, too, like, OK, well, let’s do some research.
If we have a pizza oven and people are buying pizza ovens, just using that as an example, like how can we engage with those people now? Can we do a virtual pizza cooking class or something like that sponsored by the hotel, which then you get to talk about other things at the hotel and reaching people in new and interesting ways. Yeah, and keep in mind, too, and so this is not a difference to your survey, but in this kind of goes, I’m going to make an analogy of something that is related in war has been passed.
We had a lot of fatalities because we didn’t have good medical facilities or the ability to bring those that were wounded to a place that they could be saved. And since that made the mortality very high, as the war progressed, we had a faster, faster means of getting people that were injured to medical facilities faster and faster. I mean, the military has all these calculations that they is for. And what we ended up with was a lot of people that survived, but they survived with injuries, loss of limbs, incapacitation and so forth and so on.
Also, too, is our medical systems where there are a lot of people that may have in times past been mortally lost because we didn’t have the facilities, the medications, the capabilities of keeping them alive, because whatever they had, we didn’t know and we weren’t able to treat. And they end up suffering for that. There’s a lot of people that just can’t travel. That’s what I’m trying to point out to. And if they do travel, they are very specific about what it is that they need to make that travel experience happen and not being tried by this.
That’s why the tour bus existed. OK, I can’t drive. I can do to an RV anymore. I can get on a bus and sit there and then get off the bus and stay there, get off the bus and look there and they go home on the bus and then go on a plane and go. That’s why tourism that’s why those things exist. That’s why they try to do 20 countries in seven days because they’re trying to shoehorn anything possible while that existed.
We’re now being given technology that’s allowing us to our other conversation to expose ourselves to things that we would not have been able to include into that older environment of being able to be on a bus and seeing these things that we can do now virtually is the same. Absolutely not. There’s nothing replacing the smells, the touch, the tactile, the hidden past that I didn’t know that was their thing and so forth and so on. I’m the that when I try and end the.
Yes, thank you.
And the people I’m the geek that carried the 360 camera all over the Netherlands.
When I was last there, I was the dork that had to stick with the camera. My family was 15 feet deep back on the moon.
And now I’m the one that’s going over and putting the video evidence together that I can look and pick and relive a little bit of that time when we were on the tour boat or when we went and saw that church, we went into the centrum and to the to the market and so forth for the pleasure of being able to replay it.
So it’s kind of a no, I can’t do that right now.
And but I know people that now they’re losing time. The older that they are, the less time that they have. And so they’re putting pools in the back of their houses because they can’t do the traveling that they used to do. And now physically, they’re having limitations to whatever they could do and the fear that they can’t expose themselves to what travel brings either. So this is a great accommodation to it. We can add to aspirational desires by adding more content that people can really take us if they’re going to travel.
And I think you’re hitting on something important. Right. I’ve had a few conversations about this week and folks are like, is this going to replace travel? I don’t think it is. I think it opens up travel to a new audience that you can’t travel. You don’t have the means to travel. So I don’t see it as a threat. I think if anything, it’s going to encourage people to find a way to travel again and maybe inspire more travel opportunities for much.
Well, I think we play that one out as much as we could for wins.
This shows the virtual reality, right? Well, you know, the way I got to say I’m impressed.
OK, go ahead. I’m sorry. Oh, no, I was just going to ask really a question and change the subject entirely, so please go ahead.
Did you see the article from Bonnie Bruckheimer who who is so great on on hotel news now? Because he was talking about, you know, the overload of data and how did you know what what kind of data they’re really zeroing in now. You want me to give you the link? One moment.
Sorry. Oh, no, that’s not it. This one. She was yeah, she was talking about, you know, what they found to be really practical now is looking at the search data and. Oh, no, that is not the link either. Y y uh. Oh, you know what, I’m going to have to come back, I’m going to have to find them again, I don’t know where I went with it.
But anyway, she did say that, you know, the search data is so important right now.
And she said and you know, what I find is I’ve never had really great search data. I’ve had search data sometimes in a very messed up, raw way that would take me hours to comb through.
And sometimes I suffered it because I really wanted to know what dates were people looking for? When did they know they were not able to complete the reservations? Let’s say why? Because we had a minimum stay. Why? Because we had a three person cap on the room and they had a family for things like this. I wanted to find out what was keeping people from completing the bookings on dates that I really needed the business. But I, I, I have never had a really good report.
I also had some data from the hotel network, which is a very good layer that goes over your website so that you can kind of you can identify a lot of great information that way. But I’ve never really had it in his quick, easy to understand. Let me get to the point of what I need. And I was just wondering if you knew of any tools that really give you good information in that regard.
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of tools that you could plug into your website. And frankly, if this is a tools question, I should probably let Lauren answer it because he has more than I do for this once and for all plugged into his website. I know, but it’s it’s really important. I mean, with I can speak from our personal website. Right. Like our Tisserand website, I think of Enterprisers website, we’re able to see what search terms people are using.
We’re even able to go into Google Analytics and kind of get an idea of what’s going on with others. And then there’s additional tools that you can plug in, like Lucky Orange or A or things like that, that you can really get in and start to analyze better. Some even have heat maps, right where you can see where people are hovering on the site, are interacting more within a page instead of just which pages are they on and how much time are they spending?
And I think that’s really key because that gives you a lot more data to exactly what you’re saying. Like, OK, the people who aren’t converting on dates that I need, what is causing them to not convert? But I love this topic because this is a great example of why revenue management and marketing need to be working together. My broken record. And, you know, since when have you been in a revenue meeting and looked at the dashboard that said, hey, here’s our need, let’s go through need dates, let’s look at the search data, let’s look at the pricing, let’s look at the competition.
Those two things never intermingle. And I think that that is the direction that we need to go. We started out the show, of course, talking about things that people just talk about, never do. And this is another one of those that we really need to jump on.
I think that the CRF is whoever is providing our booking engine should be able to give us much better information. And they’re really falling down on the deal.
You are preaching to the choir. The problem is most of the technology that’s out there is is antiquated and hasn’t been built with marketing in mind. The insight that you can get, half half of the people, at least half of the people that come to us don’t even have basic e commerce tracking set up either because they don’t know how to or it’s too cumbersome or it’s physically not capable with the booking engine that they’re using. So you have to get that visibility.
You have to be able to say, I know every dollar I’m spending, how it arrives at my website and what it what it ends up doing, whether it ends up in a conversion, how much this work will package it was, what dates it was when we when we rebuilt our booking engine not three years ago now at two primary goals. One was to make it as mobile friendly as possible. We bought it from the ground up to be mobile first and then build it out to work on desktop.
But the second pillar that we built it on was analytics, because we’ve been running into this problem for so long. When you cannot see through now through tag manager, we can when our booking engine, we can create any kind of report. And a lot of times we start by saying one of the questions you want to answer and then create reports to answer those questions. So we have reports that look at things like how the booking window is is changing over time and how the actual was being booked.
Booking window compares to the search windows. Because sometimes you might run into people bailing out and then most importantly, why are people bailing out? Are they running into no inventory or the rates off of OTUS, their parody issue, things like that? So I think you’re right. I don’t know that there’s an easy solution for people because the big guys, the big crisis and certainly the PMS is that have their own booking engines, do a shockingly bad job of tracking through the entire phone.
You know, the problem is not going to improve unless everyone switches to fuels. Booking engine is not going to improve any time soon.
All right, let’s do it. You can handle about five hundred thousand more hotels this week. Figure it out.
We’re scrapping what who what are some of the hotels that have the fuel booking engine so I can look at them. I’d love to see it.
Yeah, I mean, go to break this dot com. That would be the first one that they use our booking engine. The thing about ours is it’s it’s it’s different in a couple of ways. One, you don’t have to do across the main tracking issues because it’s embedded in the website. So rather than like if you look at the Nexus or travel click or as a job server who name it. Right. Typically you go to hotel dot com and then you click on the booking engine.
It opens a new tab, which which if you just stop doing that, you’re going to see at least a 10 percent increase in conversion rate on mobile just by not opening a new tab, keeping it in the same window. Then it goes to a bad facsimile of the website. So it goes from a beautiful website. To me, this looks kind of like it, but not quite like the navigations font, slightly different or something wonky or in some cases travel.
Click Doesn’t this a lot where they take the navigation out completely, which which again takes the conversion rate they take. They try to take this Amazon approach to the shopping cart. Right. Which if you look now, when you get to Amazon’s shopping cart, they make it hard for you to get back out because because they see that that leads to more conversions. But that’s a linear transaction you’ve gone through. You’ve done your research. You’ve added your product to the cart.
You go into a closed hotel. Research isn’t like that. If you look at the data, people will come, they’ll go into the booking engine, they’ll search for rates, then they’ll come back and they’ll look at the amenities. So they’ll look at the area information on that look, drill down into the room and understand a little more of the configuration. It’s not a linear path. So when you when you open a new tab and you lose the navigation and it’s on another domain and you’re not tracking it, you have all kinds of wonky issues.
So keep keep your booking engine in the same domain as your website. Keep it keep it so that the guest doesn’t change the experience. They keep it so they can jump back and forward. But remember what they search for. You will see tremendous increase in conversion rate, especially on mobile, which is where so many people say, well, mobile traffic is over 50 percent, but bookings are still under 50 percent. Well, that’s because you’re doing it wrong, because in any hotel that’s doing it right has more than 50 percent of their bookings in Maryland.
Yeah. And has been for about two years now. We hit the tipping point. Oh, that’s interesting.
So so your forecast is it comes with the website.
So we don’t have a serious we’re not we’re not we’re not a central reservation system. We are booking engine that integrates directly with the PMS. So we actually have the advantage over most crisis in that we can pull every rape you have. So a lot of stresses are using without getting too technical. Most PMS systems. And keep in mind, there’s over seven hundred PMS systems on the market right now. It’s the most fragmented portion of that industry. And why we’re in have a lot of the technical challenges we have.
Most of them have a direct API where you can pull anything you want and then they have what they call a Ottey API, which is where they pull specific rates and there’s limitations on what what restrictions and things like that you can do, which is why a lot of people need ACARS. 90 percent of our clients don’t use the stairs anymore because the booking engine and channel manager do everything they need it to do.
So they they do it through a channel manager. Well, our booking engine is separate from the channel management. It directly communicates in real time. We’re making the bookings. And pulling the right restrictions real time from the PM’s, and we have layers like a series of configuration to override that depending on the PM’s, but then you know that the the stresses gave me a lot more robust opportunities to create things the way I envision that rate going.
And so I never really was trying to set it up.
You know, just in the the PM’s would only say this is the this is the bar. Right. But in the system, I would set up all my rules.
And what’s an independent rate or a rate with a with a with a with a change upon a change, if you know what I mean, because I couldn’t really get what I wanted to do in the.
It depends how complex you get with the rates. I mean, we have that level too. So what we do, we try to encourage people to look at rates as a got a rate throughout the year and it can change and you can have restrictions and you can have a building and you can have length of stay discounts and things like that. But it’s really one set of rates throughout the year which has all those calculations and then you merchandise on that.
So you could come up with the back to school special or this package or whatever by adding on. But it’s really we try to simplify the rate code. So you don’t have we used to have clients that will come to us and they have 70 different rate codes. And it’s like, how do you manage that one? How do you manage that and update that in real time, in yield based on occupancy? But to how does a reservationist know what should I be selling to these people?
So we really try to simplify it down for a lot of folks that have to do it.
I’m sorry, but you just turn to die, Candy, on the brains of the operation of showed up. Melissa, I had one.
What do you think about the booking engines, Melissa? I’m not allowed to say on this show.
I can tell you we have an episode of podcast that was literally could get the actual title of something about booking engines, the stuff. And we talk about what we thought. Yeah.
Well, also, keep in mind, too, and this goes to some of your earliest thing to say, even if the booking engines, the big ones, wanted to do even half of what Stewart just pointed out, they got empty cabins. They have so many people go during this past process that even if should they get back the brain trust that they lost the scaling up and handling the things that broke while they were gone. We’ll take the first of it.
And then the things that they need to improve upon will take the second of it long before they start getting into the visionary of what they should be doing more about. So and there’s a long road for them.
So as you said, when we built this booking engine, this is not a plug for a booking engine. But I just want to make people understand that it’s not a plug, it’s not a one sided thing. It’s not just the software side. So let’s pretend that there’s another awesome booking engine out there that actually makes available all the data that we have. So like Stewart said, we’re tracking arrival departure dates. We’re tracking the packages that are search.
We’re checking the packages that are booked. We’re tracking booking when all that length of stay, all that stuff. Let’s pretend that there’s another engine that does that out of the box for their clients. Somebody on the client side needs to do something with this data. They need to know how to set up their analytics to actually report on this data and then what to do with the data. So it’s not just your booking engine, it sucks and it doesn’t have the data.
You still need to be able to put all the puzzle pieces together to digest the data.
And that’s where providers have that that offering right. Then not adding that service layer. So one of the advantages we have and why we’re successful is because we were we grew up as an agency that had software and then we flipped to become a software company that still had an agency. Regardless, we don’t sell you a product. We don’t sell your widget. We sell you a strategy. It’s the same same approach. The flip to take. Right. They sell their advocacy product.
You get an account manager that’s going to handhold you through you how to maximise that product. And that’s that’s been our secret sauce this whole time. If the big guys figured that out, they’d crush it. You just need to make a couple of changes to how they structured it. But, yeah, it’s worked out really well for us. Those are my two cents. You know, maybe it was forces on valuable to us and I would also go part of this part of space in relationship to how you guys are approaching it versus other booking agents.
They’re still looking at the traditional. OK, we got to go through this funnel of engagement. What are you looking for in particular? This is all we have to offer. Do you like it? There’s no progressive commerce, an amazingly excellent job of not just featuring the fact that they can book it. That’s their choice of call to action. At that moment, when you relate the call to action, to the content that you have connected, that particular call to action to.
I’ve seen it on the side. So you guys do that. If you’re talking about a particular event or you’re talking about a particular opportunity to come stay, the call to action is tailored to that. It’s built for that particular call to that particular content. And compared to just now, I have to reset myself and go back and not define what I’m interested in doing. Yeah. So it kind of goes a little bit to give you a couple of examples, because that booking engine, you can you can jump in any point in the process and they can remember what you said.
So if I’m looking on a calendar event and there’s an event in my destination that is spanning these dates and then someone says, OK, yeah, you got me, I want to search right now, why would you not follow the dates to the same? Is that why would you make them manually put them in or if they’re looking at a specific think that common sense would be right?
Or the other one that kills me is the accommodation’s page. Like someone has an accommodation’s people looking through the room times, they find the three bedroom ocean that is really good. And then they said book now and it takes them to the starting page of the booking engine. So I want to preselect that. Let that ruin this one, because if you preselect the room type that date, those rooms may not be available. So you want to give them up.
How we do don’t have nothing available.
But you sold that by showing on the room type page the availability calendar for that specific room. So when they enter the booking engine, they’re picking dates that get rooms available. And if they happen to want other dates, they can see a full availability calendar for the whole property.
And they can also do an Amazon style. Right. They defaulted to the Ocean View Suite or whatever. But underneath that, they have people like you also booked like to other room types to increase the chances of showing a media availability if they can’t fill in the availability calendar for some reason, that it’s always like teeny little nudges through the funnel friction.
And just using psychology like what you just said, that that social proof side of someone else has already done, this makes someone else a lot more likely to do it.
All right. And left. You better hurry up. You’re going to miss out at phone is going to get you.
So, yeah, those are the little things that make a massive difference when you when you aggregate each one might only make a half percentage elevation and conversion rate, but when you accumulate. Right. So once you add them all together, I mean, we see people’s direct booking conversion rate jump 20, 30, 40 percent just by switching booking engine and doing things the right way and having a good picture.
But I’m going to go back to my cooking my cooking conversation earlier on. As we have all become the cook, we cook more and do more frequently. A lot of us have painfully realized that some kitchens are not laid out for efficiency. Having been in the food and beverage side of things for a very long time, it’s really created and it’s called what’s called the Golden Triangle.
Your food storage, food preparation and food cooking are in this this very short nested three prong area so that as you turn to the refrigerator, you can turn back to the cutting table and turn to the stove or what have you, not walking across the space or going from one end to another and having designed restaurants for many years, building that in where just you just shove stuff in. We look at so many houses because we’re looking to buy a house to move from our condo and look at the kitchens that have these galley kitchens and, oh, look at all great appliances and stuff.
Yeah, but the refrigerator is done on that end. Stoves down on that end, the countertops in the middle over there.
So everything you’re doing is you’re going between a lot of different places. Why I bring this up. The booking engine process should be one of an integrated combination of things. What brought you there, what you’re interested in, what your availability is and how you’re going to be able to convert that to a purchase should be connected to each other. Not having to go back to the top of the tier, to go back into the process, not have to go outside of the pattern that you found it in to come back to the process, but rather it’s in the process as you’ve discovered it, so that you can make that choice without having to go.
And unfortunately, we’re all shiny Skrull people like, oh, oh yeah, this is great. Click and you go back up too far and you found something else and then you have analysis paralysis. You painted yourself in a corner, you’ve given yourself too many choices. And then you come off the you know what? I don’t know what I want. Maybe I’ll just calm down. Or had they just been able to continue with their first thought process, you probably would have gone to booking and then expanded upon the value proposition of the booking afterwards.
So I think there’s a couple of principles you touched on. One is definitely always give people a finite choice. Right. And a clear path forward. Don’t overwhelm them with data. But the other side of that is always give them some way forward, like a lot of booking engines you can run into. We did a whole episode on this, like the running into dead ends, like a lot of people say, I’ll do a search, you know, just say no availability.
So, well, what do I do now?
Where’s my next step is that it was a minimum, let’s say is available. Just not that.
Now tell them why it’s nothing’s available. It’s is it there’s no inventory or show them the calendar with all the other thirty. Show them the rates for other a lot of people, they don’t realize this. Most people’s dates are flexible depending on why they’re traveling. But certainly leisure for the most part is flexible so they can save fifty bucks by shifting a week. Why wouldn’t you let them do that? They’re happy you’re now selling less demand inventory and then the peak inventory is available.
It’s better is when you know.
So, yeah. You have to really like if you’re going to have a lower rate on a weekday to attract more demand, right.
How are you doing that if people naturally are going to say, OK, well, I want to travel on a weekend and search for that, and they never see that you have a lower rate on weekday mornings like this, you know, because so often people said, oh, Adele, why don’t you have that thing where you put in the dates and press search right on your home page instead of instead of book. Now it takes you to the calendar because I said I’m not selling.
I’m not. I’m just order taking. Oh, I don’t have that. You know what? I’m five hundred dollars a night on that day.
And then they run because they are not they don’t know that it’s two hundred and fifty dollars two days later because the I have tons of availability and they only have three rooms left on that date. I feel like I’m selling when I give them the calendar and I’m trying to drive traffic to the dates that I’m young.
I have a question that they’re asking to say.
The other thing we’ve been experimenting with, and this is through flip to they have this plot plug in that sits on top of our booking engine now who discovery. And it’s a different introduction to the booking process. So rather than doing like you’re saying it, they’ll just search on the homepage. What it does is it creates a relationship with the guests by having a conversation. It shows a person, usually someone from the property says, hey, my name is Lauren, and what’s bringing you to our property or what are you interested in?
And they might pick like an upcoming event. It’s dynamic. It might be a season that they’re interested. But then we’re actually experimenting with collecting an email address at that point in the funnel and seeing what impact it has in the results have been phenomenal.
We have a couple of properties that have collected an additional fifty thousand emails in the last twelve months, and it doesn’t interest an end and it doesn’t have a negative impact on the ultimate conversion rate.
You see a drop off with the people getting into the booking engine, but the net of people coming to the website and getting to the end of the funnel is about the same. But now you’re collecting a lot of people’s contact information you can remarket to them. You can do a shopping cart, bannermen, all kinds of stuff. It’s millions of dollars in additional revenue in this year during covid-19 for a lot of these properties that have been doing well.
You should you should submit that for an entry in a way that makes a good point.
Yeah, that’s that’s the most of look. But we’ll take the credit, so we’ll see. Perfect.
So so have you and team those included looked at comparing because APIs are available for flights now or have been actually it’s just not d’albert flights, flight rates, so forth from feeder markets.
And I know that there’s a granularity to your marketing structure as to geo targeting your marketing campaigns. And from that you can determine what it would cost via the APIs of the flights that go to the destination airports that you have your product in, that you can correlate the great opportunities of flights and dates and you have available. And can you offer dynamically potential? I’m not saying you do not offer from a targeted ad campaign or a dynamic page development. If they come to it that says, hey, this is our rates and this is flights, because as you talk about it, there’s a flexibility of opportunity.
You really can show the value proposition of the flights are what they have to do, because if anybody coming from that market, they’re looking at what it’s going to cost to them to get to your market flight is at that moment that’s going to drive exceptional distance, which right now might not be as applicable, but the fact that they can look more comprehensively, stay with you a little bit longer to look at the well, you know, you’re charging this and the flights are can go and look at this or this is what the average ranges of carriers or something is that of any value interest at all.
So so it’s just too complex and worrisome when we do that, when we can let in to do it for us and then just give them all of our inventory. We’re very good.
You know, you’re right. You’re right, Selimi. Dum dum da.
Twenty years ago when I started with the company, when I was a program and one of the first products I worked on was that a package engine. So at the time we were just launching what we call intelli raise, which was we would pull in real time flight booking, flight price data in packages. We also had rental car in there and stuff. But what we’ve learned and this is where I think you and I differ a little bit, Lauren, like you love to go on the fringe cases, whatever your ideas are, they tend to be brilliant, but niche or fringe.
And what we’re really being successful over the last.
Twenty years is let’s find a problem, a specific problem that has a big audience in solving that problem and so we talk about stuff like that. But honestly, it would be a distraction for for us at this point. Most of our clients don’t be in high flight destinations. Most of them are, you know, Daytona or Panama City or Myrtle Beach, these drive markets. So I would spend a development time candidly improving the conversion rate on mobile, the booking engine, then trying to cater to this small section of audience.
It’s just a philosophical difference.
See, we we had we had you have weather triggers for ads. We always did them for Florida properties that when we had that real cold snap in November up north markets and it stuck, that was our trigger for certain ad campaigns to roll. And we did that in reverse from New York when we had the properties up there that when certain thresholds dropped on the carriers to the three airports that were in market triggered are our offers for the hotel, because as people did their own discovery, they realized that it was an affordable trip and we didn’t put the two together, which was what I was mentioning.
But it was a trigger that from a campaign perspective to it that was helpful to the feeder markets. We certainly that a to point and attention to the marketing mix, you know it in anything that has an influence on behavior and flight prices is a massive one in some markets. You’ve got to you’ve got to understand its impact and and monitor it so you know when to react for sure.
When did you put it there, though?
I’m sorry. I put from Stephanie’s company. I think it’s from I think it’s from Godwill.
We were talking before about how there are things that we know that we should be doing and for some reason nobody is doing it.
Maybe it’s because they have the sales marketing team back or one person is trying to do five jobs or whatever, but they don’t.
It’s not that’s not the reason. You’re right.
Because I have always been obsessed with, you know, how does the host show up everywhere else on the Internet, not just on the website, but review, you know, review every page of your website at least once a month, every single page, because some stories are just old.
But this says, you know, why are you not updating your stuff on TripAdvisor and talking about what’s current and covid? Why aren’t you doing it in Expedia? There are so many opportunities for two to be really descriptive online. And and and I just think that that article was such a such a strong and good reminder. And please pay attention to the details. Now, get somebody on. It’s not hard.
It seems people most people make the mistake, you know, especially going to doing a website redesign. They all spend all their time focused on the home page. They’ll go over, analyze every pixel on the home page and then they’ll finish there. And it’s beautiful. It’s perfect how they want it. And then they’ll just slap the lower level pages together. But if you look at the entry point, the introduction of your brand to most audience members, it isn’t the home page of your website anymore.
It’s it’s TripAdvisor. It’s Expedia. It’s a landing page on your website where you wrote an article about the local area and they landed on it. You know, it used to be back in the day that the first point, the entry point to your website for the majority of people was the home page. It’s still the number one, but it’s not the majority of people anymore. People are coming in from everywhere. So you really got to identify every single first impression point that exists and make sure you give it the same attention you used to give your home page, the same attention you give to your lobby as well.
So that initial emotional reaction is going to determine whether or not that person’s likely to book with you or not.
That is emotional by, you know, the moment they they come on the website, it has to have that wonderful feeling and it has to convey what the experience is really like. Because if you at this point, if you’re if you’re presenting something that you’re not if you don’t know who am I as a hotel, what makes me different? Who is my real customer? If you’re putting that out, you’re going to attract the wrong audience and they’re going to complain when they get there, because that was not the experience that you projected, you know, to be real, you know, be fearlessly authentic and and every single detail, you know, I mean, some people say to be really simple on your website, and that’s great if you can.
But I’d rather be, you know, richly descriptive with pictures and and three 360 tours and and links to the the room configurations and detail. What makes the difference between this room in this room?
And I even showed a picture of a window looking out to a brick wall and a fire escape to say if you’re looking for a view, not the room for you.
But it is one of the quietest rooms in the hotel because it faces into the courtyard. So you don’t have all that noise from Times Square. Yeah, yeah.
I really look forward to the day when everybody uses 360 hotel views in a specially what’s our room types? Because there’s always let’s be honest, you could be the best photographer in the world, but some rooms are not conducive to photography because you just can’t get the right angle without having a nice little reflection in the mirror. If you taking a picture, which is also not professional in case anybody was thinking that I’m not. But, you know, having that 360 view where you can really, like, take a look around and see for yourself what the room experience is going to be like is probably the number one up sell to old any hotelier could put on their website.
And my theory is that like the Arawa from doing that in the amount of upgrades that you would actually sell would quickly take care of any cost involved with producing that type of imagery.
And if you’re not quite ready to bite the bullet on that, because, I mean, it doesn’t have to be expensive, you can get cheap equipment and do it yourself now or pay per. But the other thing that we see have an impact, 360 videos have a massive impact, but the other thing is just having a good old plan, like showing the floor plan going in and out of the floor plan in the booking engine, went on.
The rampage in the booking engine has a massive impact, especially on just like one room, you know, box hotel, if you even if you are has an impact. But if you have, like two bedrooms and three bedrooms and four bedroom units, showing the individual layout is critical test.
A couple of years ago for a client where we had noticed that their virtual tours, like on their individual room pages, were getting a ton of use and the conversion rate of people who were using those for those virtual tours was really high. So we decided to try putting those virtual tours on the home page to get it more visibility. And we had a huge increase in conversion rates. Now, really one of my favorite guests yet because we weren’t sure, was it a causation or correlation?
Right. Because you could make the inference people that are willing to dig more and find the virtual tool are more they’re more likely to go in the book anyway. So we didn’t know if it was actually influencing. But, yeah, when we put the vegetables on the home page and made them accessible and findable, it had an improvement in how how was you had to scroll down to a content block that had the virtual tours or did you use them in the header?
How would you.
It was just a section of content lower down on the page where we just talked about the accommodations in general.
So and just sending people to the virtual tours, pulling it out, you know, it’s there’s a balance and there’s a science and an art to this where when you’re designing a website, you’ve got to think about, OK, what are the big things that are going to have the most influence and how do I prioritize those? Because you’ve got finite real estate and the last thing you want is your website to look like a NASCAR, where you just slapped everything on it and it’s just busy and you get that overwhelming feel and you get the paralysis through analysis kind of, well, what am I doing here?
But one of the things and this is another block and tackle thing, when you said earlier that why I don’t understand why hotels don’t do the basics sometimes. In addition to a routine search, having a keyword search on your hotel website can have a massive impact. Not not only can it help people find what they’re looking for, the content they’re looking for, what matters to them, but it gives you insight into what matters to people. And you can find what are the glaring misses if I’m seeing a lot of people search for.
Jim, for example, the gym is what people care about. I need to bring that to the forefront or I need to talk about it more. I know now that more people are interested in. I need to invest in that. Is it the men anymore? So just having a simple keyword search at the very top of the website can have massive implications on how you how you lay out your website, what content you create and how you run your business as well.
No, I think that’s really good.
I highly recommend it, even if it’s sporadic, it is. It is. It is such an attraction.
But most people say the fitness things is one of the most requested but least used items where we all have intention, right when we go on a trip from I’m going to work out every day and then Lauren gets here at the bar and you don’t leave until 1:00 a.m. and you’re like, I’m not getting up in the morning doing that.
So true. But it seems like people also want to spend more time outdoors again in contrast to the interim experience. So, for example, I stayed at Sedona earlier this year and they really highlighted that the entrance to a popular hiking trail was like at their doorstep. So I packed appropriately for that. And I went hiking rather than trying to seek out there in room fitness. So having like in location fitness activities, I think is almost more of a draw and less of an expense.
Honestly, like, you market it a little bit and that’s really all you have to do, maybe like provide some hiking gear for people who didn’t think to bring it or something like that using the hiking example. But if you can say, hey, there’s this me walking past, are you a fitness enthusiast? Let’s oh, hey, pre-arrival emails, you could say, do you have a fitness routine that we can support? How do you like to work out?
Like really getting personal and hospitality and less transactional because you can’t do a like they’ll just set a time say OK, six a.m. every morning we’ll have a running group that meets you and you just one staff member to be there. Just you know, but usually you’ll have enough depending on, you know, occupancy. You have two or three people to go and do a three mile run in the morning.
Yeah, but I can’t tell you, like, how many times I’ve gone because I also enjoy yoga, as many people do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to a hotel and then found out that they have eight a.m. yoga now. And I didn’t bring any yoga clothes or anything like that. Exactly. Exactly. Like hotels in general, coronaviruses or no coronavirus like hotels in general do a poor job of letting people know what the experience will be like before arrival.
Yeah, very true.
I was going to point out a tool that was that is on the market where you can. Create your own execution. But I didn’t want to get all geeky truly about it, but there is a plug in that you can put as a WordPress stock that as people search for stuff, it’ll find it on your site. So it provides a little bit of what you talk about, Stewart, but then it will also allow you to pull in from outside your website the most relevant content of your market questions or information and create a fake queue data set that’s specific to it that if you want to use it, you can bet it will generate that kind of content available for you.
So for those who might have not the bandwidth to be able to do the deep research for this, it gives them a little bit of a jumpstart to it.
So it’s those on the show now, like you literally within an hour of looking at your Google Analytics search data, talking to your reservationist, and you find this stuff you can compile is the key.
That’s the key. Three hundred frequently asked questions and then all you need to do is say, I’m going to knock out one tweet. No, I’m and some of them a paragraph. And you’ve answered the question, but like you said, every hotel you stayed at recently because you can’t find the information you’ve been calling them, it cost them time and it’s inconvenient for you and for every one of you. There’s probably a dozen people that didn’t book because they didn’t have that question answered.
So if they know that they’re getting these questions and they’re not answering them proactively in the appropriate place on their website, they’re just missing a massive opportunity.
And I think we’re savvy travelers. Yeah, and that’s a Lillemor. They changed hotels.
It was a mixture because I find it very difficult to get robust information from a chain hotel website that is just very simplistic. And it’s just I don’t know. I think that the hotel feels disengaged somehow from the website that they’re having to do.
Yeah, there’s a limit to what you can do with the brand. But I don’t think and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think any brand says you’re not allowed to send a personal email to your guests. Them and also social support pre-arrival emails, literally just like get a list of arrivals in three days and manually send them that email with, you know, you can create a template, have a night auditor, Franchesco, do it like you have people sitting around with not enough to do because your occupancy is below 50 percent, probably below 20 in some cases.
You have no excuse not to use some of that time to improve it because that’s what’s going to change you from being 20 percent. Yeah, no, it’s true, and and going back to something earlier in our conversations about providing a different experience, putting the pieces to a jigsaw puzzle together, we know that come Christmas, internal exercise equipment for homes is going to be of interest for people cooking appliances, things, because that is augmenting what our lifestyle has become for right now, even through the transition process of the future will be those are of interest right now, know indoor grilling, air fires and things like this.
But exercise equipment like Taylortown and things like this, there’s a lot of exercise equipment that allows you to put stuff, plug it in. I don’t know whether you’ve noticed this, but we watch these purely for the joy of seeing the scenery.
But you can go on YouTube and ride a bike through Florence, through Venice, Tour de France.
You do the two of us, and and it’s amazing because they do it in the way they do if you want to, but I’m not even going to go that far. I’m just saying that they have this and you can put it like this into your systems and and literally watch it and pedal with them. They tell you the pace. They tell you speed. You’re supposed to go and you can kind of have a visual way of doing your exercise.
Well, if and I know this from first excuse, when we’re over in the Netherlands, we’re staying in a really cool little hotel.
And it was a branded hotel.
It was near a lot of the canals that were there and so forth. And in the morning time, there was a nice foggy mist and so forth. And we made it a point after getting up in the morning with coffee, just go take a walk along one of the canals that were nearby the hotel. And it was beautiful because it was peaceful. It was there was it was very vocal. And a lot of our hotels have that affordability, that capability that if you have somebody on your team that can do this, it doesn’t take a 360 camera.
It takes just a video camera to take it phone and just ride the bike with the camera forward or walk the walk with it. So somebody on their own treadmill or something and give them that visual experience, not because they’re going to stay with you in the hopes that they eventually will. And that day comes, they’ll remember how much enjoyment it is that they could do that if they were to stay with you. You’re really investing in the future tense of a lot of things.
So just taking the pieces of current market as to what people are buying, what they’re doing, what they’re restricted to, what they wish to do, aspirational and so forth. You can do these things. You know, you can walk right now, especially with the diminished traffic that a lot of the areas walking the I mean, every city has a downtown. Obviously, the most cities have a downtown development area that had the cool restaurants, the cool retail, and it’s quiet right now.
Maybe some of those things may not even still be open, but a chance to quietly walk through and give them a chance to see those things is an exposure that is different than just having it in a bullet point list that says we’re point to seven miles from the X, Y, Z shopping center or what the hell’s that? You know, instead show them, you know, show them what that is.
So I from from the check in desk, how far going to the to the Eiffel Tower or to see the Empire State Building or Times Square or whatever it is, you know, just walk them to it and see one minute. One minute.
We would do that in a hyper lefse for some local restaurants in Vancouver property where we literally walk them out of the front door but not make them wait the five minute walk to the restaurant we hyperlexia. So they went there. They said, hey, it’s a to what we have, learn how to get there in front of the restaurant. And there’s two years ago about New York. There’s so many amazing restaurants that are there. They may not be currently open, but there’s unique menus.
There’s secret menus. There is. How do you orders? We went to a dim sum place that you sat in a little booth, so and the wall was afraid to open up a little thing and they slide little stuff out. We never knew that they existed. We stumbled across it.
And, you know, and then, yeah, the one that we went to do it, we would go crazy and show them the things that they could order, should order what’s really good to order when you’re there, just give them a little flavor of what to expect or hope, what to expect when they finally do make it to make it back with you. We had we blew up on something nice.
We did at the at the at the marketing at Aitchison Mangi Marketing Strategy Conference in January, which I wasn’t at.
But you can now view on the Aitchison my website, which is by the way, a wonderful thing, and everybody should do it at TripAdvisor, was saying that in the past ten years, obviously this is January, so before the catastrophe, but in the last ten years, how massively, massively leisure travel has escalated in in just that one decade.
And I think that this is certainly beyond the blip. But I think that all the social media, all those dreamy visuals, all those little videos on Instagram and YouTube and and and and TripAdvisor, all the reviews, all the Facebook sharing of all the magical places that people go to, I think has really just spurred the the the, you know, the wanderlust of the world. And people want to be in those places more than ever. And if you want to be a part of it, you have to be contributing to feeding the beast.
And, you know, I will go to the when I know I’m going to go to a place or if I’m thinking about whether I’m the. To go to a place, even when I was thinking about moving, where should I move to? That’s going to be nearer to my parents.
I went to YouTube and I just took tours of of of Charleston and the and the area.
And of course, the first thing that we did before we actually started looking for an apartment is we called the realtor who took us around with the video and said, this is this neighborhood, this is this neighborhood. This is what I love about this neighborhood. The honest truth about this neighborhood. So, of course, he’s the person I called and I’m sure that he’ll be the person that I buy with after I finished my first year when a rental.
But that’s the way to get to make those connections.
Or this is this is not hospitality related, but this epitomizes what you’re talking. It’s about being helpful in connecting with the person and building trust and stuff like that. So I recently moved because apparently everyone decided to move during a pandemic because we’re all crazy. Right.
But one of the things at some point someone figured out the rich history or whatever that I was moving. So there was a local company called Miracle Movies. I guess it’s a franchise. I’m not sure. But I kept it every day. I’d get three or four YouTube ads from this moving company saying, hey, we’re a locally owned and operated. Company, we take out your moving needs all up like it was a great commercial, really sold me on it and I was like, OK, these are the kind of people that I want.
I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet. I’m still shuffling around my schedule. Meantime, one of my co-workers, Pete, he’s on the podcast, also move. And he said, I do if you need a move. I got this guy, local guy he’s been doing for 30 years. But super good price, really good experience. Here’s his business card. So these are the two people infiltrating me. So I have one touch point from the business card.
And then I was getting advertised to 20 times a day. It felt like it was just and then I got a direct mail from the same company that was hitting me up on YouTube. So finally, the day came when my wife and I figured out our schedules and said, OK, we need to call someone and come back. And I’m like, well, I’ve got that business card somewhere and I’ll look at it later. But then I was on the Internet.
I get the ad again from these miracle movies guys. I’m like, Oh, there’s the phone number. I write it down, let me go and give them a call. I call them. No one answers the phone. It goes to voice, goes to voicemail, the voicemail boxes full. I’m like, I need to make a decision today because I wanted the schedule. So then I found the business card that pulled them down on straight away and I ended up using that.
OK, so one of them had had a great experience. Word of mouth had gotten to me. The other guy spent a ton of money trying to target me.
They got me, but then they didn’t execute properly. And I wasted all that money because they didn’t execute properly. They didn’t deliver on what they promised. So.
Well, that goes back to where you first started the show with fullfillment. Based on the personal interaction here, you created this person of interest to come stag. You’ve highlighted all the reasons to stay. You shared all the things that they want. They need to know they’re really to act on it.
And the perfect engagement with the product that they come across is, hi, welcome. Number twenty seven. Good to talk to you. You know, it’s like, wow, I just turned into a no, you know what it. Yeah. What again. And that’s the part you putting in and the delivery. Yeah.
And that’s what you, you’re preaching about is like you have to make sure that that matches and excels even what they see it and everything else that, that personalization that how can we make your experience everything that you wanted it more and so forth or your expectations were to exceed all the things that you do is the critical part, regardless of the point of conversion that you had.
Stewart is like that, that also it because if they came in with high expectations based on whatever advertising brought them there, you promised the moon, the sun, the stars. And if they didn’t get it fulfilled from the people in first hand experience, we all know there’s a tipping point with our travel. We have to travel. We share to travel experiences. The one that we aspiration we share like, boy, do we do this amazing thing. And then there’s the real travel.
What really happened to us, the stinky cab? Well, we didn’t talk about it because, you know, what that took was really cool.
We didn’t talk about the stinky cab, but if everything went over the tipping point where everything was, cab comes back and the song smell like, yes, but the idea of this is that then everything that you were ignoring gets added into the hopper to amplify your bad experience where it would normally get ignored had the experience been good. But because you reached a tipping point that there was too much bad, now everything bad, even if it was moderately bad or inconsequential, now gets added to this hopper up.
I’m going to absolutely talk about the travel from hell and this hotel and what they didn’t do with it. There was paint chips off the wall. You know what? If you had an amazing experience, the paint chips meant little nothing. Yes. Maybe you grew.
It was really rustic. Yeah.
You know, no, I know it’s absolutely true because the hotels at the top are not necessarily the most opulent hotels. I mean, very often they’re not because the opulent hotels are resting on their laurels and and they’re not there. They’re not really working for that continuous improvement. But the the guys who are really working hard every day just to make people happy, you know, it may be a hotel that’s one hundred years old or more.
It may be you know, it may have it may have certain quirks, quarks, you know, but it’s how you struggle.
There was a case that I forget the property, but I remember reading this. This is several years ago now. But there was a property that was struggling because it was in in my being in New York. And it had very small rooms. And so a lot of the criticism. Social media was the rooms were too small, so they flipped it and they started talking about cozy rooms on the website and we might not be as large as others, but here’s where we we so that they set expectations and they turned a negative into a positive.
People look forward to being in these cozy spaces.
And the reviews went through the roof, you know, 20 years ago when the library hotel opened, before it was open. And I was going around to all the travel agencies and corporate accounts that I knew of and telling them, yeah, we have three types of rooms. We have tea rooms, the deluxe rooms and the junior suites. And and I remember having people say to me, Attell, you are a very bad marketer because people are not going to book a room if you call it party.
And I said, but they’re smart. So I’m going to tell them that because they’re going to be surprised and unhappy they get there. But if I tell them, look, this is the honest to God truth of this room, but it’s got high ceilings, it’s got beautiful windows, it has everything you need. And we have this huge club room to use is your living room and the lobby and the writers stand and the the poetry garden and all of those are your living room spaces and you know what I mean.
They were the hottest ticket. The the petite rooms were a blessing to us revenue wise because it is a lower rate as a little entry point to attract people to try us. And then they would switch up and it.
Super, I even we have a guy that had very small rooms as well, and we would be honest with people, is like this is our smallest room. And I said, and they would actually go over and say, look, at the end of the bed is the beginning of the of the of the bonsoir. You know, it’s you know, the door is going to bump the bed and they’re like, well, that’s awful. Really small.
It’s like first up, a New York get over to did you come here just to stay in the hotel room?
No. So it wouldn’t be that rude about it over just like our bedrooms.
And it was a little better than that, but it was a little bit better. But actually, what I bring it up is because one of the coolest restaurants I was working with, dirt floors, peanut shells, it’s like when I was in my restaurant days and everybody tried to compete with us, everybody tried to take our clientele away from us.
And our slogan was warm beer, lousy food. And our servers were top notch because the thing of it is, is, you know, they give a beer and be like, hey, hey, this little warmth is like the waitress. We kind of fun. Like, you know, some of these restaurants is like this. It’s like, hey, we’re looking, you got one. And as a joke, obviously, you swap it off. It was warm, but it never was warm.
It was just a way of dialoguing back and forth. But it person never ran out of beer. They always knew what they wanted when they we always knew what they wanted. When they came in, we had so many regulars. The TVs were on so other restaurants would try to open up.
And they had the little sound speakers in the middle of the table. They had the super polished floors with the pseudo local stuff on the walls to act like they’ve been there since the beginning. But they didn’t. They just bought stuff. People know that stuff. I mean, I’m talking about the Applebee’s of the world, really. And we were that really local place.
And the other restaurants always try to take our clients away from us and they wouldn’t be coming back and the TV’s on for football. And if anybody wanted to hear what was being said, they said they shut up, you know, but they wanted that camaraderie, that local feel and flavor the people made, that the staff made, that the people made, that the food was good.
Was it great? It was. It was food. But you got it when you ordered it. We knew what you wanted when we came in with it and we always knew who you were. We did was like the norms of cheers and all that kind of stuff compared to the other bars that were food might have been better. There might have been colder. The you may have been better on the TV’s might even have better TV’s for, but it was all checkbook’s hi, welcome to blah blah blah.
It just, it was very functional, not very personable. So yeah that helps a lot.
We are going through our time over. Yeah.
And thank you very much because I’ve had massive technical issues but doing this from home today and I apologize for all those, we will be rebroadcasting this better than probably it has been simulcasting today on all the channels. Again, just because I think we started stumbling at the beginning where we had audio issues, I think we still have a lot of issues and a couple of the channels. So we’ll do a rebroadcast of this tomorrow or next Monday. And then, of course, we’ll do our standard broadcast for the new friends on Wednesday, set their time slot times and so forth.
But thank you for keeping me company today and adding much more to the to the conversation than I did by far. So I note with Melissa, you are the brains of the operation capsule travel. Stuart is the eye candy. He’s the sexy beast.
So, Melissa, if people wanna know about fuel travel and your award winning podcasts and all the Super Bowl things with you, with your super cool deluxe booking engine that allows you to go over and do keyless entry and all this stuff, just what we need to call it, lot like super duper overused in the hotel industry.
Oh, it’s not at all. I say super spiffy is a better choice. Just go superspeed.
Not on the I’m on the software side. I’m really hard at you.
So we could lean into the irony of being used so it didn’t do super duper deluxe too.
Super duper deluxe. So Melissa, people want to know more about you and feel travel.
Where can they go if you travel back home where all the things are? Melisa’s no salesmen’s. Melissa is a duo. That’s it. Yes. Yeah. I need this house. OK, today she doesn’t ask about the painkillers. She wants to know what the framing is.
Well, I’ll leave it to Stuart and Stuart. All things feel travel and you’re working and you feel tired. Now you get out. That is exactly what if you want to go to a deluxe booking engine or a super cool mobile app with contactless check in or state of the eye powered CRM, we got you covered. We also do marketing services. We’ve been getting a lot of new SEO clients recently.
I think a lot of folks really the items that the CEO, the CRM in the mobile app, people refocusing their efforts and it’s about time would be preciseness for years. How how do I maximize my own assets, so instead of having to pay rent space on Google with paid ads, how do I get people to come organically to my website? How do I leverage my email database to maximize direct bookings, reduce my reliance on those pesky OTAs? That seems to be where the growth is right now.
So if you’re interested in any of that or if you just want to listen to us cut up about cool stuff and make marketing sound fun like we do here on the fuel podcast, you can do that fuel travel dot com.
And I will say, sorry, I just lost my audio. We can still hear you, but you have to close everybody else up because I can. OK, I’ll close that one out anyway. But we’re going to be watching with you and doing a watch along with the the social dilemma on Netflix. So if anyone wants to watch that and then come listen to the podcast that’s going to be coming out next week or so and they should do it.
But if you haven’t seen the social dilemma, go watch it, because it’s scary as heck and it makes you think what you do.
I’m super excited about this episode.
Yeah. So Lauren said he couldn’t hear anyone. So, Lily, you want to tell us what you got going on and where they can find you?
Sure. So we are at t CRM services, dot com, also known as total customized for every. You go ahead.
Excellent. We got you. And also I think of enterprises, dot com where we do revenue management, consulting, sales, marketing and revenue convergence and all things profitability. And also where you can find the Revenue Management podcast, which we have a new episode coming out about how revenue management and the operations affect each other with Antoun Burberry next week. Wow.
Synergies between different departments in Adell. I’m back. Yes, you please link in with me.
Adele Guttmann Milne, as I am known on LinkedIn and visit my website, which is Aspire Reputation Marketing dot com. You can sign up for a free reputation assessment and a initial consultation. I’ve been spending the last 20 years consulting and coaching hoteliers to have unbelievable five star reviews, really transforming the culture of the hotel so that everybody is performing at their best and that social proof, that reputation is really what drives traffic to your website conversions ADR and it is really the foundation of any sales and marketing plan.
It is not a footnote for the end of your sales and marketing. It is what everything else relies on. So if you need help, I am going to be so happy to help you. So I hope to hear from you soon.
And there’s no one better in the business than about this. You were in a very competitive market in New York and you didn’t just have the number one spot. You want to know what kind of results. Number one.
Number two, number three. And number four in a row. And then 10 years later, still number one. Number two and number three. So it’s and that’s with so many opulent new hotels opening. And we just stay right on top because it’s that a system that works.
Yeah, that’s I think that’s the difference. There’s a lot of common talk about doing things, but you actually operationalize it. You give people tangible, real things a step by step on how to how to accomplish it. This is a great thing to do it. Lily, already. And I missed it. Or we get lately.
Yeah. So it’s just you laugh. Lauren, tell us what you’ve got going on.
But I was born a small child now. OK, so for this episode and our previous two and sixty eight, you can go to hospitality, digital marketing dot com for a live look for episode number nine. As I mentioned, we will read some of this on Monday to make up for my technical deficiencies today. And also we will simulcast it as usual on Wednesdays. Eleven thirty a.m. Sydney time for the APEC group and also eleven thirty a London time for the EU Youth Group.
We do translate this in 11 languages now in the closed captioning. So if you feel like you can help with that, it helps you understand a little bit of the psychobabble that we have some time to time that help. I do want to make an announcement that I’m a little bit behind on.
There is a platform that we are rolling out that’s called Hospitality Marketing Club. It’s a closed membership for resources that is a layer in between. I don’t want to spend too much time talking, but other than to say that if you’re interested in a little bit of meeting. Authoritative, advanced help, true, advanced help, not general basic training, not general basic, this is PPC or this is social or this is how Facebook can teach a Facebook. You know, Google could teach you Google ads.
We are talking about advanced understanding of how to use these platforms in a strategic way, specifically and only for hospitality. How do these things work? It’s more of an advanced conversation we see on the live show. It’s a more how to then what you’re seeing here on the lecture, we’re we talk about things. It’s going to be more specific. It is a membership group that is going to be closed. Content can be closed. And if you’re interested, you can go to hospitality marketing book club there.
You can just give us your email so that we can get back to you. Once we open, you get first dibs on the initial offer that we’re putting to people to get signed up. If you cannot pay, if you are unemployed or you’re just looking to make sure that you have access to this. Also use that email and let me know that you’re in a position. This is something you can’t pay for. We’re going to include you. Sorry, we’re never, ever going to exclude anybody, but we’ll make sure that if you feel like the resources are valuable to you and you’re in a position that you can’t afford it, don’t worry about it.
Join us. We really will look forward to the chance to be able to help anybody and everybody in the hospitality industry, of course, if you can. And that makes it all the better for me to entice people like Dell and Lily that I can give them money.
So Stuart’s too busy, Stuart. I just I’m going to try to bribe them now.
There’s a good reason. So I’m not invited.
Yeah. So I just can’t get them in the loop. I know. I just can’t teach them enough with the ideas I have the blackmail which I’m working on.
I’m working on some blackmail stuff, so I don’t want those photos. So I won’t use them.
Well now, now, now I’m calling the chips in anyway. So thank you everyone for joining the show today. Thank you very much for for for the dialogue and information. Of course. Obviously the show number two and seventy. Next week we will have a guest co-host, Peter Russell from Russell Associates out of London. He has a new forecasting tool that is pretty darn cool. And it’s very much a sign of the times as to what can be used for.
So love for everybody to come back into the conversation. That would be eleven thirty, sir. Rechange. Well, it’s better than you from the beginning, I guess, but, you know, we’ll take all the language, you know, that I was practicing my Britishisms this week. I literally won one yesterday. Yeah, yesterday morning. I literally had tea and crumpets with breakfast.
So get out.
Oh, wow. And with Mr.
Is Stewart that you can send out for other people to make tea and crumpets.
Yeah. And we missed our we missed our Scottish contingency of Tristan and Ben. I mean, you know True-Blue Scott please keep going. I love that. Right. Not this year. Although they this speaking of me.
So they’re going to chase me down for me. I do have to let you know that I will unfortunately miss probably the rest of October. But I will be back just in time to discuss the results of the election.
Should we choose to make that stop, because it’s so quick to.
Yes, yes. Yes. But you can always get in touch with me on LinkedIn.
Yes. I mean, and we’ll be getting touch with you person personal stuff. But yes. Thank you again. I will most. Thanks for joining with us, as always. You. You definitely brighten the conversation as well as Adele and Lily, too, OK?
Yes. Anyway, so Columbiana Eastern Time next Friday. Thank you, everyone. We look forward to seeing you next week. Bye, everybody. I’m.
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