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Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in All Matters SEO

Digital Marketing Glossary

With the digital marketing and search landscapes constantly changing, even the most digital savvy of us can get lost in the shuffle. Google is constantly updating algorithms and releasing new features, so it can start to feel like a full-time job to keep up. Luckily, that IS our full-time job at Digital Services by Marriott. We’ve compiled a list of our top search and digital marketing terms to get you up to speed. No promises that this entire list won’t change in the next couple of months though!

SERP– Search engine results page (SERP). This is the page that search engines show in response to a query by a searcher. This page will look different depending on the search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) but the main component is the list of websites or blue links that provide answers to the query.

SEO– Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic or natural search results on search engines. Primary search results are listed on the search engine results page based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.

Keyword– A word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Keywords help search engines match a page with an appropriate search query.

Local Search– A search to find something within a specific geographic area, such as “downtown hotel DC.” Local search results can appear in many different places on a SERP, but are typically accompanied by map pins. These results show the address and phone number of the company with a link to directions, if appropriate. Sometimes these listings are grouped into a “local pack.”

Local 3-pack– The top three results Google determines most geographically relevant to a local search. These three results will show at the top of the SERP in a special list accompanied by a map. Search terms that contain a geographic reference (“near me”) or services typically fulfilled by a local business like a hotel or bakery.Google SERP

(Image Source: Sang Froid Web)

Local Citation– Anywhere online that a business is mentioned by name. Business directories like Yell, Foursquare or Yelp are made of local citations. Being listed correctly on these sites is an important ranking factor for local search. They provide search engines with credible information about your business so the search engine understands the business exists, is legitimate and what you say about your business is true and accurate.

Incognito search– a setting that prevents the user’s browsing history and web cache from being used during a search. Since search engines take a user’s location and browsing history into account to deliver results, incognito search is a good way to search from a “blank slate.”

Incognito Search

(Image Source: Mary Cline)

Knowledge graph/panel– A system that Google launched to understand facts about people, places and things and how these entities are all connected. A knowledge graph displays on the SERP and is intended to provide answers, not just links to search queries so that users do not have to navigate to other sites to gather the information.

Knowledge graph

(Image Source, Mary Cline)

Google+– An interest-based social network that is owned and operated by Google. The platform was redesigned in November 2015, and currently focuses on Communities and Collections. Marriott owns all hotel Google+ listings under a bulk feed, and grants management access to stakeholders as needed. Please reach out to your MDS Client Services Manager for questions about your hotel’s Google+ listing.

Google My Business– a free tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing business information, the owner can help customers find their business or any relevant information about it.

UNAPURL (address of a world-wide web page), name of hotel, address and phone number (UNAP). This is an important ranking factor for search engine optimization.

OTA– Online travel agency (OTA) that allows users to book hotel rooms, flights, train tickets, etc. These sites may be focused on travel reviews, trip fares or both. Examples include Expedia and Booking.com.

API– Application program interface (API). A set of routines, protocols and tolls for building software applications. APIs specify how software components should interact.

CTA– A call to action (CTA) is a type of online content that drives the user to click-through to engage with a brand. This can be an image, button, link, etc. that encourages someone to book, download, register, call or act in any way.

PPC– Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of internet marketing where advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Search engine advertising is one of the most common forms of PPC. Advertisers bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when a user searches a keyword related to the business offering.

HTML– Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a computer language that is used to create websites. HyperText is the method by which you move around on the web by clicking on special text called hyperlinks which take the user to the next page. Hyper means it is not linear, so it is possible to go to any place on the internet and there is no set order. HTML is a language with a set of code-words and syntax just like other languages.

Alt Tag– An alt tag describes what is in an image on a website and its function on the page. Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired read out this text to make an image accessible. Alt tags and title tags strengthen the message towards search engine spiders to improve the visibility of the site within search engines. The alt and title attributes of an images are commonly referred to as alt tag or alt text and title tag.

UX– User Experience (UX), or a customer’s experience when interacting with a product (i.e. website). User experience design is the process of enhancing user satisfaction and loyalty by improving the ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product. The concept most commonly applies to digital fields today.

Rich snippets– Describes structured data markup that operators can add to existing HTML so that search engines can better understand the information that is contained on each web page. Major search engines use this markup to present richer search results, allowing users to more easily find the information they are looking for. In the example blow, the search result shows a star rating, the number of votes, the price and the platform supported because Rich snippets were employed.

Rich snippets

(Image Source: Positionly)

Title Tag– A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page and concisely describes the page’s content. Title tags are displayed as the clickable headlines on the search engine results page and are important for usability, SEO and social sharing. In addition to the SERP, they also appear in web browsers and social networks.

Title Tag

(Image Source: Mary Cline)

Description Tag– A piece of HTML code that provides a short description of a web page and is included in the code, but is not visible on the page itself. If a web page has a description tag, Google shows it if there is semantic similarity between the description tag and the content of the web page, and there is similarity between the user’s search query and the content of the description tag. If a page does not have a description tag, Google typically shows sentence fragments on the page that contain the search query.

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in All Matters SEO

Haute Digital: Luxury Hotels and Digital Strategy of the Future

With Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels, the company will be adding three luxury and four upper upscale brands to its portfolio. St. Regis, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, Le Meridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio, Sheraton and Design Hotels will all be joining the Marriott family for a grand total of 30 brands. It’s no surprise that all parties involved with this acquisition have quite a workload ahead of them, and the rest of the industry is eagerly anticipating every move. All eyes will be on the digital aspect of the developments, as it is the most rapidly changing facet of the world today.

Luxury travel gone digital

The luxury segment is a big deal because global luxury travel is the fastest growing of all the tourism and travel sectors. It’s expected to reach $195.27 billion by 2021 as upscale hotels become a key focus in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and other regions. Historically, luxury brands have had a love hate relationship with digital marketing, so this will be a critical piece of the pie as the world’s largest hospitality company works these brands into their overall digital strategy. The thing is, it isn’t easy to recreate the luxury experience online. How can luxury hospitality brands keep up with the changing digital sphere while remaining true to brand values? And what digital trends should these haute brands explore moving forward?

Skift_Average Travel Budget_Luxury Travel

(Image Source: Skift)

Personalize the digital experience

Digital strategy must always reflect a brand’s offering, but how does one recreate the feeling of a concierge who treats you like royalty, or the ambiance of a swanky marble lobby through a few clicks on a screen? Luxury hotels have had personal customer service nailed down forever, and transferring that level of service to the digital user experience is the next step. Many fashion retailers have launched live online chat services for customers as they browse the website. Customers must initiate this service on their own, so it isn’t a nuisance. Luxury hotels could easily impress guests with online chat features similar to this. The booking confirmation is an ideal time to gather more information about the guest to prepare for their stay and ensure every detail is to their liking upon arrival. Adding a few more questions at the end of the booking path is an opportunity to personalize the stay, gathering information in exclusive offerings to foster loyalty later on.

Luxe Content

It seems like content marketing and luxury brands were made for each other. Luxury brands tell a story because they are founded on a rich legacy. Content marketing makes consumers stop, read, think and behave differently. So, when executed well, consumers actually look forward to content marketing. The travel and hospitality industries have it in the bag because so many people today look to travel blogs and magazines for enjoyment and inspiration. Traveler is a great example of an inspirational blog with marketing woven in so naturally that readers actively seek it out. AC Hotels features the “Unpacked Series” on its brand site, where trendy influencers who match the brand’s ethos share their stories and inspirations. Or what about the New York EDITION’s swanky video showcasing the brand’s version of new luxury at the hotel’s grand opening? Within 10 seconds of watching, viewers get a glimpse of the sweet life at The New York EDITION and want in on it. Another benefit of great content is search engine optimization. If your hotel is enrolled in Digital Services, you’ll know we conduct periodic content and keyword refreshes because search engines reward websites that publish quality, consistent content. To sum it up, luxury hotels have interesting stories to tell and they need to pique their target audience’s interest with creative content to stay relevant.

Luxury Travel Content

(Image Source: EDITION Hotels)

Luxe Social

It’s impossible to discuss content marketing without mentioning social media because it is a key component to any content strategy. Luxury hotels have done a tremendous job at embracing social platforms by leveraging their guests to produce personal content. Similarly to most travelers, the affluent traveler likes to feel as though they are part of the conversation, not as if they are being sold to. We’ve seen boutique hotels like Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, designate “selfie spots” for guests to pose with backdrops of beautiful city views. The Mandarin Oriental Paris offers the “Selfies in Paris” package with a Mercedes Classe E and a personal driver. The hotel also hosts competitions for guests to win a free stay by tagging it in selfies. All selfies aside, luxury hotels are using Twitter for concierge services, social geo-locating platforms for guests to unlock free gifts, Facebook for customer service and YouTube to showcase unique selling features- and this is just the beginning. We’ve already started seeing hotels using proximity beacons to communicate with customers as they walk by the property’s coffee shop or restaurant, for example. It will be exciting to see this technology creatively used by luxury brands for exclusive offers.

Designated Selfie Spot

(Image Source: DOTW News)

The Future for Luxe Digital

Now that we’ve covered the digital initiatives cutting edge luxury brands are using and will be utilizing more of in the future, you may be asking “how can I step up our game at my property?” As with traditional marketing, hotel marketers should start with one new initiative at a time. The beauty of digital is that nothing is permanent, so test out some new strategies and see how your guests respond. Consider the cost and manpower involved and determine metrics to understand if it is worth continuing on a larger scale. Ultimately, whatever digital marketing initiatives your hotels choose should be authentic and natural to the brand and property. These are all considerations that Marriott’s brand teams will be making as they adapt the expanded luxury portfolio to the current digital trends and pave the way with the new.

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Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Social Media, Travel Industry News

Millennial Travelers & Social Media: #NoFOMO Here

A quick glance at any millennial’s social media feed will depict wanderlust inducing images of exotic locales, ranging from a sandy beach in the Caribbean to a faraway sunset cityscape. Almost every aspect of life for this demographic touches social media. They date, book appointments and order takeout via social media apps. It’s only natural that millennials use social media for travel purposes. This generation is willing to spend money on travel because they prefer experiences over material goods. They’re willing to budget more for trips than their more senior counterparts and are on track to spend $1.4 trillion on travel each year by 2020. Millennials are the largest generation to date (79 million), so brand marketers are chomping at the bit to be BFF’s with these consumers, and social media provides the ideal meet cute.

Booking
When it comes to booking, millennials do their research before clicking “book.” Social media plays a pivotal role in how this traveler makes decisions and 87% look at Facebook for travel inspiration. They might look through Instagram and Tumblr for preliminary ideas, then move on to Yelp and online travel agencies for reviews, then ask for travel recommendations from friends via Facebook status updates. 76% say that friends’ recommendations are top influencers for travel and 80% feel travel reviews have a strong influence on their decisions. It’s all about sharing for this group, so once that trip to San Fran is booked, would said millennial like to share their reservation on Facebook? Absolutely.

On the flipside, flexibility is crucial because these travelers like to be spontaneous too. This explains the rise in home sharing services like Airbnb and the new startup, Overnight. On demand bookings can be made quickly via mobile app when users decide they want to stay somewhere last minute. Similarly to dating apps, Overnight allows users to see if they have mutual Facebook friends with hosts. For traditional hotels, guest personalization is the best way to cater to millennial preferences. Engaging with guests via social channels is one way to do so. Hotels should embrace spontaneity by offering limited-time flash sale discounts and one night only offers.

Millennial Travel

(Image source: Virtuoso)

Stay

During the stay, it’s no surprise that millennials seek an authentic, local experience. They turn to apps like Opentable and Yelp to see where the locals dine. Another go-to is to crowd-source recommendations via social media. You will not find them confined to a hotel room- they want to do, see, hear, smell and taste the local flavors. Hotels should embrace local vibes as much as possible and position themselves as local experts to these guests. Social media is the ideal venue to showcase this local knowledge.

Like their older and younger counterparts, millennials post updates, photos and videos when they travel. To be exact, 75% update social media once a day while traveling. As the saying goes, “if you don’t Instagram it, did it ever really happen?” The most popular social apps used when traveling are Facebook (94%), followed by Instagram (71%) and Twitter (14%).

Brands benefit from all this user generated content because it’s free marketing, especially when a guest geo-tags the property or engages with the property’s social account. This is why influencer marketing has become integral to the travel industry. When the latest Insta-famous blogger posts about his or her recent trip to Positano, and their 15,000 followers see every detail, what follower wouldn’t get the travel bug?

Millennial Travelers Skift

(Image Source: Skift)

After

Happy millennials on social media are the gift that keeps on giving. They’ll post TBT’s, leave reviews and come back for more. Research has shown that 47% of millennials are more likely to engage with brands they have a previous history with, so now is the time to forge long-term relationships with this demographic. Millennials like to save money, just like everyone else, and hospitality.net reports that 68% will remain loyal to a program that offers them the most rewards. Hotels can capitalize on this loyalty by building lifelong customers early on. Tangible rewards like VIP experiences, upgrades and discounts are the way to this group’s heart.

Millennial Spend

(Image source: MDG Advertising)

What Now?

  • Hotels must maintain an active social media presence to be part of the conversation with millennials- embrace local identity and showcase expertise on the neighborhood.
  • Capitalize on user-generated content- repost, like and reply to content that guests post on social media.
  • Win millennial loyalty by offering tangible rewards programs- offer VIP experiences, upgrades and points.
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