Organized in response to Hurricane Sandy, New York-based Art Production Fund and the Standard Hotel have teamed up to present “Global Rainbow.” It is an outdoor laser installation over the skies of New York City by American Artist Yvette Mattern. Located on the the rooftop of the standard high line hotel, seven beams of high power laser light are projected over communities heavily affected by the natural distaster.

The visual exhibit of light aims to symbolize hope and act as a call to action to support the communities that were devastated by the hurricane. Visible for up to 35 miles depending on atmospheric conditions, the rainbow-like laser beams illuminated the night skies from November 27 – 29, 2012. despite its significant range, the lasers used a minimal amount of power, approximately 24 amps or the equivalent of two hairdryers.

“Global Rainbow” Standard Hotel & Art Production Fund – Yvette Mattern

 

 

Going beyond fan counts and offers to create conversations

eMarketer notes: Social media provides an unprecedented platform to collect meaningful customer feedback on a mass scale. It also provides a space where marketers can humanize business-to-consumer relationships. However, there’s a catch: Consumers want to interact with brands through social media, but they want to be the ones to start the conversation.

“Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all social media marketing strategy for engaging these conversation-ready consumers, especially for travel companies,” said Dan Marcec, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “Social Media for Travel Marketers: Cultivating Conversation to Capture Customer Sentiment.”

Travel consumer behavior is undergoing what looks to be a permanent shift. Though the economy may be normalizing according to cyclical trends, the way consumers react to and interact with businesses may never be the same. Social media is the central hub of this new relationship. As a result, travel marketers are looking to be more social in 2012.

According to Frommer’s and Tnooz’s “2011 Digital Marketing and Content Survey,” 65% of travel professionals polled worldwide planned to increase their social media marketing budget in 2012, a higher percentage than for any other digital marketing tactic.

Expected Change in Digital Marketing Budget in 2012 According to Travel Professionals Worldwide, by Tactic (% of respondents)

According to ROI Research’s April 2011 survey “S-Net: A Study in Social Media Usage & Behavior,” more than half of US fans of travel brands and companies “like” or “follow” such brands and companies because they want something in return—specifically deals or information about deals.

Reasons that US Social Network Users* Decided to "Like"/Follow a Travel Brand/Company on a Social Network, April 2011 (% of respondents)

“Offering incentives like coupons and discounts certainly works to build a fan base,” said Marcec. “But while a high number of ‘fans’ and followers was widely considered the measure of success in the early days of social media, simply seeking to gain them for numbers’ sake may not be the best strategy in 2012, as the economy continues to limp back from recession.”

 

 

LuxuryDaily notes: Small Luxury Hotels of the World is stimulating travel to its hotels through a new digital magazine available for the iPad called “Be Inspired.”

The recently-launched app works as a digital magazine, letting consumers download individual issues at a time. The SLH magazine includes advertisements, editorial and multimedia touchpoints.

“With this new app, SLH is aiming to expand readership of and interaction with its Be Inspired publication,” said Taylor Rains, account coordinator at Rawle Murdy Associates Inc., Charleston, SC. “By transitioning the publication to a digital app platform, SLH is leveraging the direct delivery capabilities available with mobile and tablet apps.

“Value comes with controlled exposure,” he said. “SLH’s magazine provides the brand with an outlet to reach the digital affluent consumer while minimizing the risk associated with digital outreach.

“The platform is mobile and progressive but the content remains in SLH’s control and, as a result, SLH benefits from all brand-building value of heightened digital interaction without sacrificing its luxury identity.”

Mr. Rains is not affiliated with SLH , but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

SLH did not respond before press deadline.

Good things in small packages
The inaugural issue of Be Inspired features shopping and dining tips, ski locations, sailing vacations and what gives hotels the “It” factor.

Each of the sections points to a specific SLH-brand hotel as a choice destination.

Article in the issue

Tapping on a story on the content page takes readers to that article, or consumers can manually scroll through the magazine page by page.

There are multiple images, content and ads from brands including Ettinger, Dom Perignon and Molton Brown.

Other articles have videos. For example, consumers can watch a video of the Hotel San Regis in Paris or a message from the SLH executives.

Video of the Hotel San Regis

The SLH app also makes it easy for consumers to book reservations at the hotels.

The entire back section of the app includes the continent, country, number of rooms and contact information for each SLH hotel.

Tapping on a hotel’s Web site brings up an optimized page where consumers can book reservations wherever they are reading their tablets.

In addition to property pushes, the app includes lifestyle tips such as activities, shopping and dining around each of its hotels.

Testimonies in the app

“Magazines have always been a means of strengthening a brand,” Mr. Rains said. “With luxury hotel brands, magazines serve to tell a property’s story and paint a picture for the consumer.

“Digital magazines allow for a similar benefit while also increasing the reach of each publication,” he said.

Travel season
Many luxury hotels are dipping into social media and mobile to push new products, most specifically through branded magazines or apps.

For example, hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is positioning itself as an expert on luxury wedding planning with a new tablet magazine application and dedicated social media handles (see story).

The hotel brand established a magazine that is available to brides on-the-go via a tablet app, a blog and a glossy magazine distributed at Four Seasons properties.

Four Seasons weddings app

There are now wedding-only Twitter and Pinterest accounts dedicated to sharing expert tips from the hotel’s staff and stories from real Four Seasons brides.

Affluent consumers enjoy being the first ones to have the newest and best technology such as smartphones and tablets.

Moreover, they are the consumer group that has the most means to buy tablets and smartphones.

Therefore, luxury travel brands in tune with mobile marketing are likely hitting the right market.

“Apps are proving to be a far more effective way for a luxury brand to engage with its target consumer than previously anticipated,” Mr. Rains said. “Apps allow consumers to engage with far more frequency than other touchpoints.

“When used appropriately, apps have the potential to enhance the consumer experience and relationship with a brand,” he said. “Luxury hotel brands have been progressive in their willingness to explore digital platforms and enter into the conversation with consumers.

“SLH’s move into the magazine app arena demonstrates the brand’s willingness to evolve while maintaining the core of its identity intact.

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LuxDaily notes: Hotel brands have a variety of location-based marketing options available to draw guests to properties including push notifications, banner advertisements, branded applications and foursquare.

Luxury hotels including Four Seasons, St. Regis and the Luxury Collection have used location-based services to bring consumers to specific properties and reward loyalists. Since there are a variety of location-based marketing options available, hotel brands should choose what works best for their brand rather than just copying another strategy.

“Location-based marketing is important to many retailers, service providers and well as those in the hospitality industry,” said Walt Doyle, Boston-based general manager of Where, a PayPal service. “Location-based marketing can help hotels target a message or offer to individuals in a specific geographic area based on room availability [and other aspects].

“It can also reach them at the desired time and place to more effectively generate an actual response from the consumer,” he said.

Banner act
One way to use location-based services is to serve mobile banner ads.

Hotels can use flight cancellation data and geo-fenced-impacted airports to drive reservations to specific properties, according to Mr. Doyle.

Marketers can also use these services to draw foot traffic to restaurants and bars, targeting both travelers and consumers who live in those cities.

Another option is push notifications.

Consumers who opt-in to an SMS dialogue with a hotel brand can benefit from exclusives from the marketer.

Hotels could use SMS to engage with consumers who are frequent travelers to the area and remind them to stop by the hotel for a drink or to visit the spa.

Push notifications are also useful if consumers are in an area to visit for the first time.

In addition to inviting consumers to the hotel, it could point out shopping, dining and sight-seeing activities.

This is especially useful when consumers have downloaded a hotel’s app. Since the majority of luxury hotel chains have apps, push notifications can be easily employed.

For example, Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ personalized “My Stay” interface in its Starwood Preferred Guests app allows fully-integrated booking, member information, hotel searches, travel details, FaceTime customer service and social media.

Starting 48 hours before a guest’s stay, a push notification is sent and rearranges the interface to become reflective of the specific brand and property (see story).

Location-based interface in app

Location, location, location
In addition to branded apps, hotel marketers are using third-party apps to engage consumers via location-based mobile services.

For example, Four Seasons used the former Gowalla platform to curate experiences for customers at locations in California last year (see story).

Courtesy of the Four Seasons

The hotels’ concierges created experiences at venues surrounding the hotel and encouraged customers to visit.

If participants went to enough places, they had a chance to win a $100 gift card to the Four Seasons spa at the location.

In addition, Starwood’s St. Regis and Luxury Collection properties are rewarding loyalists by offering free points and free-night awards for those who check in to properties worldwide via foursquare (see story).

The company is extending a line of communication to its guests by leveraging Starpoints as “social currency” and other prizes.

Also, hotel chain Ritz-Carlton is stepping up its customer service strategy by introducing World Concierge foursquare to worldwide consumers (see story).

Consumers will receive traveling and city tips from Ritz-Carlton employees for destinations such as Dubai, Miami, Toronto and Berlin by following the company on foursquare.

“Leveraging location and context helps target prospective guests,” Mr. Doyle said. “As a hotel brand, you want to be able to reach that guest as quickly as possible, at the right moment and location.”

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MobileMarketer notes: Luxury hotel and casino Wynn Las Vegas is driving awareness via a mobile advertising campaign in taxis that serves geo-targeted content about popular destinations around town.

The ads are appearing on Samsung Galaxy tablets that have been placed inside 1,000 Las Vegas taxi cabs for a year. Through the use of GPS technology, the effort delivers geo-targeted audio and video tours of Wynn Las Vegas, local attractions and as well as shopping and nightlife spots to visit based on their point of embarkation.

“Wynn is a luxury hotel brand, so we are concerned with the way that our brand is represented, and the quality of the screen in the cabs is quite good,” said Michael Weaver, senior vice president of marketing at Wynn Las Vegas.

“The goal with these videos was to make the content more informational and less of a sales pitch,” he said. “We wanted to create more of a conversation.”

“In Las Vegas, there are not many opportunities for a one-on-one conversation with a consumer. But the majority of people reach Las Vegas through a cab from the airport.”

QR code-enabled reservations
The campaign gives Wynn an opportunity to communicate directly with visitors based on their location in Las Vegas while offering a fun, interactive way for travelers to plan their activities. The goal is to entertain and engage passengers while also showcasing the hotel.

Taxi riders can also scan a QR code that appears at the end of videos to make a reservation at the hotel or for one of its shows.

Wynn Las Vegas worked with Show Media to load the taxis with the tablets and equipment.

The hotel has created custom content specific to the Las Vegas Strip and the downtown area to offer visitors real-time, relevant information. Using geo-fencing technology, Wynn is able to deliver relevant messaging to taxi riders who are within a 300-foot radius of an attraction.

There are 16 different personalized video messages that play depending on where a user is in Las Vegas.

The videos also show the resort’s restaurants, shows, nightclubs and shopping facilities.

Various phone numbers for the resort are also displayed so that riders can use their mobile phones to call to make a reservation or find out more information.

Show Media picked an Android tablet for this strategy because it is an open platform and offers high-speed 4G mobile network access.

The ads are running in taxis in Las Vegas for the next year.

Show Media sells back-lit displays for taxis in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

“The concept is to have a screen in front of a passenger when they use a taxi cab in Las Vegas to make the media engaging,” said Laurence Hallier, CEO of Show Media.

“Digital gives you so much more engagement with a taxi passenger,” he said.

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Mashable notes: See what the biggest names in hospitality are doing on TwitterFacebookFoursquare and YouTube — and who’s dominating on each platform. Based on their activity on social channels, it looks like Wyndham, Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood have come out on top, but they have some competition, which we expect to increase as social travel really takes off. Have a gander, take your pick and then hop on over to our list of top travel tools to help plan your entire vacation.


 

I’m staying in Las Vegas for a work event this week, and as I checked in to the Cosmopolitan hotel on the Strip today, I noticed something interesting: the check-in counter has iPads embedded in the countertop. You can see a few more shots of the units below — you can’t remove or hold the iPads (obviously), but you can hit the home button, which then takes you to a homescreen with a folder full of “Blocked Apps,” and the standard Guest Services app. The Guest Services app is basically a placeholder of the Cosmo’s web page, but the other apps work — someone had written “Hello Vegas!!” into the notes app.

And they’re not just for show — after I gave my ID and credit card to the concierge, he pulled up a screen on the iPad and had me “sign” and approve the purchase with my finger. It was pretty slick.

You can check out a few more quick shots of the console units below. We’re seeing iPads in all sorts of places lately — as a cheap and very customizable touchscreen installation, Apple’s tablet can’t be beaten.

 

via iPads in the Cosmopolitan’s check-in counter | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

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By Rachel Lamb

August 8, 2011
Hotel chain Ritz-Carlton is teaming up with American Express to provide affluent consumers special perks when they book stays using the credit card and is marketing this partnership via digital marketing.

Ritz-Carlton sent out an email describing incentives to book with the American Express card. The hotel is also detailing the partnership on its Web site and providing additional offers to get customers to spend more while at the property.

“A working relationship between these two titans is a natural and it benefits both brands,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami.

“We can make the assumption that usage of the American Express card is proportionately higher at the Ritz-Carlton due to its more affluent consumers,” he said. “This program works because it enhances the relationship for both brands’ customers.”

Ritzy decisions
Ritz-Carlton sent an email that promoted the partnership with American Express.

ritz-carlton-amex-email

Email from Ritz-Carlton

American Express consumers who book reservations at a Ritz-Carlton property before Sept. 15 are offered perks in resorts or city properties.

Guests who stay in the resorts receive a daily American breakfast for two, resort credit and a free upgrade.

Customers who stay in the city properties receive deluxe accommodations, hotel credit per stay and a room upgrade.

The room credits for a two-night stay are $50-$100 and a three-night stay for $100-$200 credit.

If guests choose to stay in a suite for two nights, they will receive a $100-$200 credit and extending to three nights will receive a $200-$400 credit.

ritz-carlton-amex-site

Ritz-Carlton Web site

Since consumers will have extra resort credit, they are probably likely to spend more money on hotel events and dining.

This is probably why Ritz-Carlton included its new spa offers in the same email as the American Express incentives.

The hotel has new spa offers focusing on balance, energy and vitality.

Guests can choose from two spa offers and will receive spa credit, dollars toward lunch and discounts on retail items.

Members only
American Express customers are getting a deal at many luxury hotel chains.

For instance, American Express is teaming with Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Hawaiian locations to introduce a bar code in print publications that leads consumers to an optimized site with travel deals at the properties (see story).

Rather than using print and mobile marketing, Ritz-Carlton has opted to share the new incentives and spa offers via email marketing and on its Web site.

“A program with The Ritz-Carlton elevates the collaborating brand,” Mr. Ramey said. “In this case, the beneficiary is American Express.

“American Express has credit policies and a clientele that benefits those to whom they choose to partner,” he said. “In this case, the beneficiary is the Ritz-Carlton.”

It makes sense that luxury hotels would try to partner with a company that shares its clientele.

Consumers may decide to use their American Express cards at the spa or at restaurants and bars in the hotel because they see a connection with the two. This only benefits both parties.

“Hotel rooms are perishable,” Mr. Ramey said. “Every hotelier, even the best of the best, desires to fill their properties with guests that have credit – they spend more money.

“The best luxury marketers know to how to leverage relationships with brands that their best or most desired clients are comfortable with,” he said.

 

US hotel room demand and rates are on the rise

On August 5, 2011, in Travel, by rmurray

Data from the July 2011 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review, detailing hotel bookings currently reserved during the period, June 31, 2011 through June 31, 2012, revealed that revenue per available room has shown consistent improvement for the past 18 months.

The overall industry average daily rate (ADR) for the same period was up 3.7 percent. The data also revealed that demand for the midscale hotel market is increasing, up 16.8 percent, for the next 12 months. This represents one of the largest and most consistent increases in demand for this market segment since the recession.

TravelClick’s North American Hospitality Review also revealed that 3.3 percent more hotel rooms were sold during June 2011 as compared to June 2010. Transient sales – individual business and leisure travel – continued to lead industry growth, as demand and ADR were both up 4.9 percent year-over-year for the future 12 months. Group sales remained soft, improving only 1.5 percent.

The data was compiled by TravelClick, a provider of profitable revenue generating solutions for hoteliers worldwide. TravelClick’s business intelligence division provides comprehensive, forward-looking market intelligence to the global travel industry.

Larry Kutscher, chief executive officer for TravelClick, said, “The data revealed by TravelClick’s North American Hospitality Review shows that individuals are traveling more thereby increasing demand at hotels and allowing them to raise rates. This in turn represents a significant shift in the industry – hotels are not only seeing an increase in occupancy, but in ADR, RevPAR and profitability as well.”

 

We discusses something like this for our weekday efforts. This is a good example of how it could be done.

 

Also should note that they are already selling out. People look at the deal more than they look at the logistics (black out days, expiration dates, flight options etc.). Something to keep in mind.

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