Are you looking for something or someone to filter your digital world? Argo Travel News takes a look at another travel accommodation filtering channel, Lifestyle Hotels, with mentions of a few others. If ever there were a need for good suggestion engines, the travel space is in dire need. How do you decide where to go, where to stay, what to do? Or, maybe your hotel could use an extra €100,000 euro a year in bookings? Now that you are interested, read on.
Back when I was writing for the tech blogs, covering search engines emerging and etc., “filtering” the web was a big deal. Fast forward to the multiplicity effect of today’s web, and “suggestive content” may in fact be an even bigger deal. There is just too much chaff with the wheat, all of us are overloaded with information, a lot of it badly presented, just plain bad, or both. For those out there who do not believe in where search and filtering are headed, here is a post dealing with human powered suggestion. But assuming you are ready for better choices, look at travel.
Query: Life, style, Lifestyle
Lifestyle Hotels, and developments like them, do a good job of showing us not only some best choices – that not only saves time, but the end of the process elevates our enjoyment of the world – but a direct channel to regional traffic. Let’s look at how Lifestyle helps. It’s not all about luxury, but if it takes a luxury hotel environment to satisfy…
If you look at the image below of Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda, using this resort of an example, it is not difficult to imagine yourself and your loved ones immersed in the experience of the charming Riviera of Lemons, on an estate along the lemon coast. Maybe you are like I am, and did not know where that is? The Toscolano River delta, the town of Toscolano Maderno, nearby Lake Garda, have been touristic since day one, thousands of years of people enjoying what this valley has to offer, make it a place anyone should visit at least once. Not only is this spot on Earth beautiful, but it is an important historical and economic center as well. Don’t let the mention of “Riviera” get you off track, this part of Italy is inland, smack dab in between Milan, Verona, and Venice.
Now. Consider that the landing page you see above, the website for the resort beneath it, is surely a superb place to check out what this luxurious place has to offer. That is, if you ever run across the site, for only Italian visitors frequent it (watch later for the value here). For potential guests, and especially hotel owners, what I am pointing out is critically important. Online hospitality marketing experts will expound a lot about various tools to turn Internet users into hotel guests, and there are many. Think
Visibility … Engagement … Conversation … Conversion = Customer…
Ways of Skinning Cats – Visibility Cats That Is
The so called “Billboard Effect” (or people seeing you on the web as they surf by), direct marketing channels, Expedia and a world of commissioned OTAs, new indipendent OTAs like our own client Treovi, rich user experiences online and via mobile such as another client Stay.com, and a lot in between – all prove out as effective paths to booking conversions. All of them, afford some degree of “filtering” effect. Let’s look at what Lifestyle Hotels does.
The image above shows how efficient channels like Lifestyle Hotels can optimize for niche market or niche channel effect. As you can see (and will see if you visit) the company’s Facebook contingent shows off this resort very nicely, image wise at least. The image you see, on the Facebook pages, is over 2000 pixels. Bigger, more prevalent, and with more potential “wow” effect, than 90 percent of the ones you’ll find out there. Why is this important? You “bit into” this article as a hotel owner to find out how to get €100,000 euro more revenue. This is the first and foremost reason everything I am saying is crucial to you. If your guests spend €250 on average for each day they spend at your hotel, one more booking, each day, equals €100,375 euro, did you know that? One more room filled a day. Let’s move on.
For the same reason our friends over at WIHP Hotels, the marketing gurus of the industry, created their Convert platform. Fast loading, “wow” effect images, integrated into a bulletproof UI and booking platform – “slick” is the term for taking guests there online. More on this later, but what happens to many a hotel prospect, however lovely and refined? They drop the marketing ball.
Look at this! Lefay Resort & SPA has a Facebook profile as well. What would you think if I showed you a gripping website, complimented by a social media presence a Motel 6 can equal? Would you say somebody wasted their time and resource? Or, maybe the owners of the hotel really don’t take the Internet seriously enough? Of course, we cannot know either of these without asking. But everyone reading this should see my point. The hotelier posts to Facebook almost every day, obviously their is a “hope” that something will take place in social media. But interestingly, the only person in my network of Facebook contacts (a lot of travel peeps) who likes this resort is…. you guessed it, the owner and General Manager of Lifestyle Hotels, Thomas Holzleithner.
And here’s where deploying or employing expert “filters” is important. Lifestyle Hotels engages the public “for” hoteliers. Across their Twitter feed, via nearly 11,000 pals on Facebook (mostly targeted Germany?), and their booking portal, the company does in fact filter and suggest some of the very nicest accomodations in Europe and other regions. I would classify the portal a “regional key” – meaning the big German following is a good niche for any Italian or other European hotelier to go to. There are many such players out there, including another of our clients, Vinivi, where French travelers are concerned. And there is a reason for all this local/regional play too. But what does all this mean?
Lifestyle Hotels, Stay.com (to an extent – see their mobile at left), Vinivi, even marketing and booking channels like Treovi, afford more or less a highly filtered value set for travelers – and for hotels and other businesses, but that’s another story. If we think about Lifestyle Hotels, and these others, as simply digital TV channels, here’s what they provide:
- Visibility via the so called Billboard Effect
- Added marketing reach via social media and onsite SEO
- Enhanced branding effects
- Potential regional dominance B2B and B2C (look at E. Europe market reach for most OTAs)
- The aforesaid “filtering” effects which exceed bigger OTA variants (largely due to scale)
- Collective intelligence – WIHP Hotels meets regionally trusted players like Vinivi
- A potentially higher conversion rate (trust, meets personalization, meets visibility)
Synchronized Travel Channels
And there are other benefits too. Of course, this is a drastic oversimplification of what really happens online, but Lifestyle Hotels shows a selected filtering, further filtered to regional effectiveness, and then further enhancing visibility via social presence. Their engagement is not perfect, by any stretch, but it is a good example of a good start. Without being critical, not one of the booking portals we have seen, has lain out a fully integrated approach for hotels or guests. This is in part due to developmental constraints, and in part because of the economics. Whatever the reasons, the various selling channels out there simply do not always synchronize their efforts well. WIHP Hotels (for example)
Ideally, a development like Lifestyles would have a fully massive Twitter and Facebook engagement, extended localized portal presence, a PR and marketing core constituency something like WIHP Hotels plus Waggener Edstrom PR, and you see where that is going.
We talk a lot about “combined efforts” – the seamless integration of product, marketing, advertising, and PR efforts – but the final rub is, hardly anyone out there does this. We can only imagine if someone did. Perhaps the cost is just too high? McDonalds, P & G, some others, they have such resources. But wait! Look at these case studies by WE. Maybe a lot of hoteliers would be amazed at what is possible for some resource?
The point of this article is, the aim of all these potential channels is to get hotels one more booking a day, first. Then, the customer value of them is to show destinations and commodities as perfectly as possible. Once that is attempted at least, there’s still a lot of potential for regional “billboards” and for those players to go international – and take hoteliers and guest along for the ride.
Nice job Lifestyle, keep going. We leave you more imagery from Lifestyle Hotels Facebook (above), the artsy and luxurious Hotel Augarten. We hope you enjoyed the images from their Facebook, and from other booking portals we named. A last note, what any guest wants to do is trust. Trust that somebody cared, a business, even though they needed to make money, went the extra yard to provide value. The video below from Sofitel is the crowning marketing variable – showing Hollywood style “what you get” – quite simply, caring.
If you would like your hospitality service featured on Argophilia, please contact our editorial staff, or the editor direcly. phil@pamil-visions