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Veteran hotel tech executive Jeff Hiscox joins Board at Tambourine

Tambourine 15 June 2017
As president and CEO of Newmarket, he led the firm to its eventual acquisition by Amadeus in 2014. Mr. Hiscox is currently CEO at UniGuest.As a Board member at Tambourine, he will utilize his sales and marketing expertise to help accelerate the firm's rapid growth. "I got to know the team at Tambourine during my time at Newmarket. They are a terrific group with some really innovative technology. I am looking forward to being a part of their Board of Advisors"Tambourine's unique managed service program (Symphony) has changed the game for hoteliers of all sizes, enabling them to counter OTA encroachment and outperform their compset. As a result, the firm has quickly attracted the attention of independent properties, hotel management and asset management firms seeking to improve bottom line profitability and decrease OTA-dependence."Jeff brings incredible experience and knowledge," said Dave Spector, partner at Tambourine. "We feel so fortunate to have him involved as we continue to ramp our growth." About TambourineTambourine drives direct revenue for hotels and resorts worldwide using advanced marketing technology. Symphony, the Firm's flagship product, helps hotels increase direct website traffic, create a comprehensive presence across all digital channels and decrease the overall cost of acquiring direct bookings. Symphony provides a complete set of fully managed tools and services including:Omni-channel traffic generation (search, PPC, email, social and meta-search)Custom-branded, responsive hotel website design and mobile sitesIntegrated booking engine and reservation recoveryCRS, GDS rate distribution and channel managementCross-channel ROI tracking dashboardThe firm is celebrating its 32nd year in business. For more information about Tambourine, visit www.Tambourine.com
Article by Dave Spector

7 Signs Your Hotel Marketing is Out of Control

Tambourine 28 February 2017
It's easy to see how things can go off course in hotel marketing.With an array of channels, disparate vendors and multiple audience segments to manage, it's inevitable that some things may fall through the cracks, questions will go unanswered and mistakes could quickly multiply.The good news is that even if your hotel marketing is out of control from time to time, it doesn't mean you've lost control.You are still at the helm and can turn things around whenever you decide to acknowledge the wrong turns you've made and the missing pieces you overlooked.Here are a few of the telltale signs that your hotel marketing might need a reality check... and how to turn things around:1) You're clueless about how much you pay OTAsSooner or later, your owners or managers will ask you, "How much are these OTA bookings really costing us?" It's a question that all hoteliers dread. Why? Because OTA commissions are often opaque. They generally pay a net rate to the hotel, after collecting their commission. Unfortunately, this means the fees being paid to OTAs will never show up as an expense on your P&L statements.Not only do these invisible marketing expenses cost significantly more than direct bookings, they also pose a threat to your other marketing assets as well. When owners look at budget to see which marketing costs to scale back on, the first thing on the chopping blocks are the expenses that are actually shown, even if they produce profitable bookings, such as your hotel website.So hidden OTA costs are allowed to continue, while your other marketing investments are reduced. You should specifically examine and document how much each OTA booking costs vs the actual cost per booking of alternative channels.2) Too many vendors, too much chaosThe more marketing vendors you work with, the more complications and chaos you can expect. Managing several, disconnected vendors to handle separate marketing functions, like advertising campaigns, hotel website design, email marketing or social media, can hurt you in several ways: First, you're most likely paying more for each vendor's separate services. You're wasting time by managing and relaying messages from vendor to vendor. And, worst of all, no single vendor is held accountable for overall success. Instead, they likely point fingers at each other.The key is to consolidate.Narrow down your marketing partners to those who you trust the most, who produce the best and those who can handle multiple critical functions.3) You can't measure your contributions Hotel owners and managers expect their marketing teams to contribute to their revenue targets IN MEASURABLE WAYS. However, many hotel marketers still shy away from being accountable for any revenue responsibilities. Instead, they lavishly tout their "rebranding initiatives," number of social media followers or new hotel photography.This continued disregard for numerical evaluation will put you in a difficult position next year, when you attempt to request a larger marketing budget. Without measuring your success, owners and managers will be more apt to cut back on marketing expenses and staff, believing that your intangible branding results can be achieved with less.To show how your marketing efforts are contributing to the hotel's revenue, calculate your marketing cost per booking (MCPB) and use this figure to prove your team's value and make sure you're given the proper correlated amount of marketing funds next year.4) You're unable (or afraid) to discuss property upgrades with owners For the past few years, major hotel brands have invested millions in revamping their current properties or launching new collections in response to the expectations of modern travelers. With so many of these new or freshly renovated/re-imagined properties vying for your guests' attention, it's more important than ever to keep up and stay competitive by offering remarkable experiences, aesthetics, and amenities.It's vital that your ownership is on board to invest in the necessary renovations, redesigns, and upgrades. Or, else don't be surprised when guests pass you over for the newer kid on the block. No amount of creativity and provocative marketing can mask an aging and tired property.Remind your ownership of that unavoidable reality in the nicest possible way.5) You fail at rate parityWe get it.Managing rates can get complicated. Setting rates every day, for every room, on every channel can easily get overwhelming and confusing. And, not just for you, but your customers, as well.Maintaining rate and market parity is vital to your bottom line. If you and your revenue managers fall asleep at the wheel, you can bet you'll quickly be surrendering revenue.This is about diligently staying on top of all the channels using the right automation tools and working with a conscientious revenue manager. Monitor your comp set's rate strategy weekly to ensure you have market parity.6) You are unable to increase meetings and events lead flow Meetings and events are often a hotel's game changer. And, you know that a single group's spend on event venues, F&B, guestrooms and other ancillary services can quickly help you meet budget.But, what if your group sales numbers remain stagnant, leads consistently go cold and sales calls fail to produce interest?Something is wrong, but it's nothing that you - a bold, brilliant and boundless hospitality leader - can't fix. There are numerous ways to get in front of meeting planners, earn their trust, and compete for and win their event contracts.If what you're doing isn't working, it's time to freshen up your sales approach with new tactics. Some of our favorites include:Reshuffling your sales team by keeping your top performers and attracting other great sales managers.Create a fresh new roadmap for sales success by outlining each market and goals for sales calls/visits, industry tradeshows, and marketing and sales campaigns, etc. Keep this visible and open to update often.Doing more of what actually impacts meeting planners' decisions and site selections (Discover the highlights of our recent meeting planner survey here).Consistently position your hotel as the epicenter of your destination's epic group experiences.Require each sales leader to remain active in LinkedIn groups and offer relevant commentary and participation everyday.7) Your guest sentiment is plummeting Every hotel has their share of negative reviews. But, this doesn't give you a hall pass to shrug them off. How a hotel decides to manage guest reviews will determine if that property shines or stumbles in the future.Notice your TripAdvisor score declining or stagnating? This means your owners and management staff have largely ignored the golden nuggets of feedback that guests leave for them. Do guests express their irritation with the noisy air conditioners in the rooms? Are there several complaints about the lackluster breakfast buffet? Do guests often mention a rude staff member?Frankly, if you receive the same complaint twice, that is already one time too many. Bad service, bad sleep, bad food options and a host of other things, can essentially ruin a guest's opinion of you and their decision whether or not to come back.Consider your guests as your eyes and ears to the problems that are holding your hotel back. When something is broken, actually fix it. Don't just promise to 'look into it,' then walk away.
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Tambourine Releases Dynamic Personalization Engine for Hotels

Tambourine 24 March 2016
Tambourine, a marketing technology company for hotels worldwide, has announced the release of its Dynamic Personalization Engine. The new technology personalizes the experience of hotel website visitors based on their previous booking behavior, their geo-location and the pages they visit on the hotel website.The Personalization Engine has been in testing for more than a year at independent hotels worldwide, enabling the properties to recognize, reward and convert visitors with a history of direct bookings."99% of hotels use different companies to manage their website and their booking engine... and the systems don't talk to each other," according to Dave Spector, Partner at Tambourine. "Our websites and booking engine are fully integrated and change messages, imagery and offers based on the specific user who is seeing them."Part of the Symphony 360o ProgramThe new technology is available to all clients using Tambourine's Symphony 360o program. Tambourine developed Symphony to help hotels increase direct website traffic, create a comprehensive presence across all digital channels and decrease the overall cost of acquiring direct bookings. Symphony provides a comprehensive set of fully managed tools and services including:Omni-channel traffic generation (search, PPC, email, social and meta-search)Custom-branded, responsive hotel website design and mobile sitesIntegrated booking engine and reservation recoveryCRS, GDS rate distribution and channel management toolsCross-channel ROI tracking dashboardThe full list of Symphony features can be found at www.tambourine.com/symphony "The best ecommerce retailers in the world, like Amazon, have the ability to change your web experience on the fly," Spector said. "Why can't hotels do the same?" About TambourineTambourine drives direct revenue for hotels and resorts worldwide using advanced marketing technology. The firm is celebrating its 32nd year in business. For more information about Tambourine, visit www.Tambourine.com
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Tambourine's Symphony Boosts Clients' Revenue by $63 Million in First Year

Tambourine 29 October 2015
Symphony, a new digital marketing, booking and distribution program from Tambourine, has been proven to maximize direct revenue for independent properties of all sizes. Symphony has been in testing for more than a year at more than 100 independent hotels worldwide, with the properties experiencing an average 8% reduction in OTA commissions and a 12% increase in direct bookings, generating an additional combined $63 million in direct bookings.Tambourine developed Symphony to help hotels increase direct website traffic, create a comprehensive presence across all digital channels and decrease the overall cost of acquiring direct bookings. Symphony provides a comprehensive set of fully managed tools and services including:Omni-channel traffic generation (search, PPC, email, social and meta-search)Custom-branded, responsive web and mobile sitesIntegrated booking engine and reservation recoveryCRS, GDS rate distribution and channel management toolsCross-channel ROI tracking dashboardThe full list of Symphony features can be found at www.tambourine.com/symphony"We deployed Symphony across our portfolio of properties more than one year ago," said Johanna Rojas, Corporate Director of Marketing at Trust Hospitality. "During that time, Symphony has helped our properties to shift share from the OTAs to the less expensive direct channels and has given us the ability to better track our marketing ROI. The solution has also reduced the stress of vendor fatigue that we experienced previously, as it allowed us to integrate all of our digital marketing, booking and distribution technology into a single solution offered by one highly accountable partner."As Tambourine knows how integral a highly effective digital marketing strategy is for independent properties that are searching for ways to stand out from the competition online, the company is offering Symphony for free to new clients. For a limited time, properties who would like to escape ineffective pre-existing vendor relationships can switch their marketing, website, booking engine, CRS or distribution to Symphony at no cost for the remainder of their current vendor contract*. To find out more about the limited-time promotion, visit www.tambourine.com/SWITCH."Hoteliers don't need more software, they need a highly skilled team to augment their limited internal resources," said Dave Spector, a Partner at Tambourine. "Symphony instantly gives hoteliers the people and systems required to out-perform their compset."For media who would like to find out more about Symphony, the company's limited-time offer for hotels to activate Symphony for free, or to arrange an interview, please contact Jennifer Nagy at jenn@jlnpr.com or +1.786.420.1160.
Article by Dave Spector

Five Tips to Improve Your Hotel's Marketing ROI

Tambourine 21 September 2015
Marketing is one of the most influential ways to improve a property's financial success but unfortunately, too many hoteliers are using ineffective tactics and negating the ROI that they could be earning from their marketing outreach. By implementing the following five tips, hotels can drastically increase the ROI earned on marketing activities, while minimizing the time and effort that it takes to implement them.Know Your Property's Unique Value Proposition (UVP) When establishing your property's UVP, consider which elements of your property (i.e. location, amenities, price/value, etc.) would be most desirable for your target audience and use that as the basis of your messaging.Consistency of messaging is an important part of developing a successful hotel marketing campaign. Only through repeating and reinforcing your property's key messages (including your UVP) in all aspects of your marketing outreach (including marketing, sales, public relations, content marketing, etc.), can you ensure that your property stands for something in the mind of your target consumer.Increase Traffic on Your Brand.com Website Today, "more than 76% of all online bookings come through the OTAs," showing a serious reliance on OTAs as the primary source of income for most properties. While the OTAs are helpful in bringing in business, the sky-high commission rates do not make the channel feasible as the primary revenue source. Instead of giving away up to 30% of each booking in commission, hoteliers should work to increase traffic to the direct channel, which is the most cost-effective and profitable way to secure online bookings and which should comprise the majority of a property's online business (approximately 70%).In order to increase traffic to the direct channel, hotels should use the same tools that the OTAs do to increase their online visibility: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) technology, combined with a sophisticated and easy-to-use booking engine and a strong online marketing campaign (including email, social media promotions, review management, etc.). As each of these online marketing tools require intense focus and resources, hotels should look for a service provider (shameless plug: like Tambourine's new all-inclusive marketing solution, Symphony!) that can manage all of these aspects of online marketing for the property.By increasing traffic to the direct channel (and thereby increasing the percentage of online bookings made through this channel), a property is able to decrease the cost of acquisition and drastically increase online revenue.Improve Your Direct Booking Conversion Rate Econsultancy said "the travel industry... suffers from 81% abandoned cart rates, compared to just 68% across other online retail sectors". One of the most common issues that causes potential customers to abandon their reservation through a hotel's brand.com website is a lack of functionality with the booking engine itself. By using a sophisticated, responsive booking engine, consumers are less likely to abandon the booking partway through.Other tips to increase your direct booking conversion rate:Use the KISS principle when designing your reservation process: Keep it simple, silly! It should never take more than three clicks to finalize or consumers may abandon the booking in frustration."25% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load. Almost 50% will abandon if the site takes more than 10 seconds to load." Therefore, it is imperative that your website - and especially your booking engine - loads immediately.It is also very important to attempt to recover any bookings that are abandoned during the booking process. In fact, 87% of consumers who abandoned a booking said that they would return if encouraged to do so, making this an important strategy for hotels to increase direct bookings conversion rates. Reservation recovery is most effective using retargeting ads and emails to deliver incentives (i.e. special discounts) to encourage customers to complete the booking.Reduce Vendor Fatigue One of the most time-consuming issues when using marketing/operational technology solutions is the lack of integration and accountability when marketing, booking and distribution systems are provided by multiple technology vendors.When systems are not integrated, with two-way updates being made automatically, a property risks overbooking (for example, if a property's inventory is not being updated automatically on all of the online channels as bookings are received by the PMS) or alternatively, missing out on potential bookings. Hoteliers can also greatly benefit by using a single technology provider that enables integration between all solutions, because it can save reservations and/or revenue management staff a great deal of time, as updates will no longer need to be entered manually.When a property's systems are not consolidated, there is often a lack of accountability for all of the solutions' functionality. For example, if a property's booking engine and PMS are offered through separate companies and the two-way updating of the bookings/inventory stops working, the property would have to work with both the PMS vendor and the booking engine vendor to solve the issue, but if either lack sufficient knowledge of the other system, they may not be able to offer proper troubleshooting advice.Set Goals & Measure Performance RegularlyTo ensure that your marketing efforts have the greatest ROI, it is important to establish quantifiable campaign goals before the project begins, and monitor your results in real-time against those goals at regular intervals during, and at the end of the project.An additional benefit to using a single technology vendor is the ability to use one centralized dashboard with all of your property's sales and marketing metrics in one place, updating in real-time. This makes it easy to see if your property is meeting your intended goals at a glance, and if the goals are not being met, having all of your metrics available on a single dashboard makes it easier to identify where the shortcomings were and what action should be taken to get back on track.So what are you waiting for? Implement these five steps at your property today to increase the ROI on your marketing activities. Your bank account will thank you!
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Tambourine Launches Symphony & Expands Florida Headquarters

Tambourine 14 September 2015
Tambourine, an innovative hotel marketing and technology company, has announced the public launch of Symphony, combining digital marketing, booking and distribution for maximum direct revenue impact. Symphony has been in testing for more than a year at more than 100 hotels worldwide, with properties experiencing an average 8% reduction in OTA commissions and 12% increase in direct bookings. Recently, Tambourine has also expanded its 8,000 sq ft Florida headquarters to meet the increasing demand for Symphony.Symphony was created to solve three major problems for revenue and marketing managers:Reduce OTA commissions by increasing direct traffic and bookings Ensure comprehensive presence across all digital channelsEliminate the need for multiple disconnected vendor solutions"It's impossible for hoteliers to keep up with all the latest digital marketing, booking and distribution technology," said Dave Spector, a Partner at Tambourine. "So we built a unified system that allows us to do it all for them... and we've spent the last year proving it works."Symphony provides a comprehensive set of fully managed tools and services including:Omni-channel traffic generation (search, PPC, email, social and meta-search)Custom-branded, responsive web and mobile sitesIntegrated booking engine and reservation recoveryCRS, GDS rate distribution and channel management toolsCross-channel ROI tracking dashboardThe full list of Symphony features can be found at www.tambourine.com/symphony"Hoteliers told us they didn't want more software; they wanted smart people to pilot software for them," said Rafael Cardozo, President of Tambourine. "Symphony's combination of technology and personalized service gives our clients a proven advantage over their compset."Switch For Free... No Contract RequiredTo celebrate the launch, Tambourine is offering Symphony for free to any hoteliers who are currently locked into other vendor contracts. Properties seeking to escape ineffective vendor relationships can switch their marketing, website, booking engine, CRS or distribution to Symphony at no cost for the remainder of their current vendor contract*.To find out more about the limited-time promotion, visit www.tambourine.com/SWITCH.For media who would like to find out more about Symphony, the company's limited-time offer to cover the cost of switching vendors or to arrange an interview, please contact Jennifer Nagy at jenn@jlnpr.com or +1.786.420.1160.

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