News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Susan Deluzain Barry
If you’ve been living in the boiler room, you may have missed the tons of press Room 77 has been getting. Billed as the first search engine for individual hotel rooms, Room 77 provides granular detail about each and every sleeping room in your hotel. This detail includes how close it is to the elevator, what the view looks like, and whether there’s a connecting door.
This is great for travelers, who can find never-before-available information about their favorite hotels, but it also gives hotels a new way to interact with guests. While they don’t yet offer direct booking, you have to believe that’s just around the corner. Meanwhile, what they do offer is a chance for travelers to review their favorite hotel rooms and submit photos.
Wait, what? Yep, you heard me – yet another online review site to pay attention to, and this one goes room by room.
Here are my top tips for making Room 77 work for your hotel.
1. Become a verified partner. Hotels that verify the accuracy of their information get a “Hotel Verified” badge, which Room 77 says is an important distinction for the travelers who use the site.
2. Submit your floor plans. If you aren’t listed yet, send in your information. Each hotel profile includes a direct booking link, so you’ll increase your distribution without giving away margin to a third party.
3. Use your listing to help guests. For example, an undecided wedding block might like to see that there are plenty of connecting rooms in your hotel, or a TripAdvisor reviewer complaining of a small room might be helped by perusing the larger room types you offer. Make the tool work as hard for you as it does for your guests.
4. Help your team get it. I’ve gotten resistance from some of the hotels I work with because of nervousness about privacy, both the hotel’s and that of guests. I am confident in saying that this is silly. Calm down.
a. Welcome to 2011. Your hotel has no privacy online, and you are better off having all of this information in one place where you can verify and see it than trying to track down every unflattering photo of your guestrooms on Facebook and Flickr.
b. Your guests are not at risk. The site has doesn’t track room numbers booked. The only way to connect an individual guest to a stay in a particular room is after the fact, and then only if the guest submits photos that can somehow be tracked back.5. Go the extra mile. Room 77 expects to broaden their service offering over time. By working with Room 77 now, hotels will have advantages over other properties as the site expands. As VP of Partner Relations, Melissa Beauchamp, said, "We're currently exploring several pilot programs with hotels and see some great ways to help our partners increase loyalty and incremental revenue." You could, for instance, submit a photo of the view from every room (before your guests do it for you).
Susan Deluzain Barry led hotel sales and marketing efforts for ten years, opening two hotels in three years before starting Hive Marketing in May 2009. Hive provides creative marketing strategy and tactical implementation for hotels and other businesses. You can follow Susan on Twitter @hivesusan or email her directly at email@example.com.
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