Beginning with the End in Mind
Happy New Year! I am really excited about 2013. It is going to be a great year for the hospitality industry - I just have that feeling.
With this quarterly newsletter, the first of many to come, we wish to establish an additional communication channel to our valued clients. We will strive to inform, educate and entertain you by sharing our insights with you on the interplay between independent lodging operators, business tools and the internet. Of course, we will also continue our conversations with you via personal visits, telephone, webinars, email and reports.
Let me introduce myself. I am Christian Holmsen, new partner and CEO of RezStream as of May 2012. I am honored to join Bill Mitchell and the caring and professional staff at RezStream to contribute my business and hospitality background for the benefit of RezStream and our clients. I invite you to look me up on our website, join my network on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. Perhaps I will meet some of you at the PAII trade show in Las Vegas in a few weeks.
So why the title above? As a business person I face many of the same challenges and struggles as you do. On a daily basis we need to manage our revenue and expenses, protect and invest in our infrastructure, enhance our product offerings, ensure smooth and consistent execution in our operations and motivate, train and support our staff. It is easy to get lost in daily work and lose sight of the big picture. So at the end/beginning of each year, I find it particularly helpful to take a deep breath, step back, and plan for the future. And for me, planning starts with the “end in mind.”
So what’s in store for 2013 and beyond? Here are my predictions. A year from now the economy will be better, people will be traveling more, and properties like yours will benefit. Business on the web will continue to grow, driving online reservations to new heights. At the same time, the internet will change dramatically and online marketing won’t be the same. “What got you here won’t get you there.”
So I encourage you to plan your internet business with the “end in mind”.
- What is your long term vision for your business?
- How does that translate to your 5 year strategy and your 2013 tactical plan?
- In that context, what should your overall internet marketing strategy look like this year?
- What budgets will you have at your disposal and how will you investment them?
- How will you navigate the changing seas of mobile, local and social web traffic?
- What internet marketing and website focuses will yield the greatest payoffs for you?
- How and who should dissect, analyze and execute your marketing initiatives?
As a new partner in RezStream I face these same questions for our company. As a partner with you in leveraging the internet, we look forward to guide you to do the same for your business. We hope our featured article “Mobile Anxiety” will be a catalyst to educate, inspire and help you plan for the year ahead.
All the best,
Christian Holmsen, CEO
Bill Mitchell, President & Founder
Featured Article - Do You Have Mobile Anxiety?
Mobile anxiety is something we’ve all experienced at one time or another. With the quickly changing world of mobilization, how can you not stress out about keeping up with the latest trends or identifying key opportunities that will bring you revenue? A recent study by PhoCusWright found that 75 percent of business travelers access the Internet via mobile phones. Furthermore, 58 percent of business travelers report using mobile phones to accomplish the same tasks that they would typically complete on a computer. Traveler expectations and behaviors are constantly evolving. Business owners must adapt or they will be left behind. What many people don’t understand is that anxiety brought on by these mobile innovations is extremely easy to address. If you recognize the symptoms and make the right diagnosis, there is a cure to stay on top of the mobile revolution in 2013.
Are you overwhelmed with the mobile revolution? Do you find yourself losing sleep fearing you’re not doing enough to market your business? Are you confused on how to leverage these innovations? It seems like stress, but could it be something more?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the questions listed above, you have suffered from mobile anxiety. For people experiencing mobile anxiety, this overwhelming feeling is constant.
Anxiety caused by the mobile revolution is common among independent hotel operators, but why? The mobile revolution is something we’ve all heard about, but many have questioned the true impact it can have on their business. Well, enough is enough! Google reports that by 2013 more people will be using mobile devices than desktops to access web information. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for business owners to get control of their anxieties and ensure their businesses have a mobile presence to stay ahead of the curve. However, how can you determine if you lack the mobile presence which causes your anxiety?
Many owners believe if they simply can view their website on their mobile device, they have a mobile presence. Wrong! The first thing you need to do is understand how visitors are viewing your website and booking engine. First, conduct a test by finding a website page on your site that is easy to view on a desktop. Second, attempt to view that same page on a tablet device or Smartphone. If you have difficulty viewing or interacting with your own website on a mobile device, you don’t have a mobile-friendly presence.
Other questions to ask yourself when viewing your website on a mobile device include:
- Does your website take forever to load on a Smartphone?
- Do you see broken images or missing content?
- Is it impossible to read the text without zooming?
- Is it hard to click a link and/or button using a thumb?
- Is it difficult to make an online reservation using a mobile device?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you don’t have good mobile visibility. You may have some mobilization implemented, but it is far from optimal. So what’s the big deal?
U.S. mobile leisure/unmanaged business travel gross bookings reached nearly $2.6 billion in 2011, representing 2.4 percent of the U.S. online travel market. A few years ago it was non-existent! By 2013, that share is projected to nearly triple to $7.0 billion or 6.5 percent according to PhoCusWright’s report “Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Business and Leisure Traveler Trends”. Developing and implementing a mobile-friendly website, a mobile booking engine and taking advantage of mobile marketing, are key for hotels in today’s market. Chances are a mobile presence can be the very thing that sets you apart from the competition.
Treatment & Cure
The mobile revolution provides the opportunity for hotels to drive more direct bookings and reduce third party fees. In aaddition, it allows properties to cross sell and up sell rooms and packages. When it comes to developing your own mobile strategy, do the research, chances are it will be cost effective and improve your bottom line! Most companies offer affordable mobile solutions, including websites and booking engines, and marketing. By establishing a mobile presence, which includes promoting a mobile website, a thumb-friendly booking engine and some form of mobile marketing to reach these users, you will cure your anxiety. Instead you will provide the guest with a convenient, positive experience which assists in developing brand loyalty and repeat business for years to come. Like all good things in business, you reap what you sow.
Google reported 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service. - Google
Approximately 40% of all mobile searches on Google have local intent, and that number is only growing. - Google
According to a global study of 28,000 consumers in 56 countries conducted by Nielsen, online consumer recommendations are the second most trusted source of brand advertising, second only to “recommendations from people I know”. This means that consumers are looking for information from their peers in evaluating and choosing between options while making purchase decisions. - Google
Employee Spotlight - Kinnick Wheaton
What do you do here at RezStream?
I am an Internet marketing account manager here at RezStream. I work on a team of two where I provide support on the analysis side of things.
What do you expect to be a 2013 trend for Digital Marketing?
I see the concept of convergence being a huge trend in 2013. We have already seen many different aspects and tactics within Digital Marketing begin to overlap and the lines of separation blur (ex: Social & SEO). I expect to see more overlap between all tactics as we shift to a more holistic view of internet marketing as a program not individual tactics. I also see this occurring more as offline and online marketing begin to merge.
Are you a dog or cat person?
I’m an animal person. I have plenty of love for all types.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Not tell a soul and book a month long trip to Europe.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I have always wanted to be a wedding planner. I have had a huge fascination with weddings and all the details that go into planning one since I was a little girl.