Latest News

  • PPC Revenue Management
    How to Generate More Revenue from your Paid Advertising Campaigns

    Although the online market for paid advertising for the hotel industry has become increasingly crowded and competitive over the last few years. PPC remains a cost effective and measurable way of driving targeted visits to your website and driving growth in online revenue. For some Tips on Maximising Revenue on Investment in PPC – Read More.

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

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  • BABY BOOMERS, MILLENNIALS AND HOTEL MARKETING

    HOW TO COMMUNICATE, GAIN TRUST AND ATTRACT A NEW GENERATION TO YOUR BRAND.When it comes to marketing to these diverse segments, do you as a hotelier stop to think about the different ways that these prospective customers are influenced about what they purchase or consume as a service? Many Baby Boomers remember a time when there were no mobile phones or even connected PCs, and when tablets were for aches and pains, whereas most Millennials have always been “connected – Read More

     

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  • In1 Solutions Expands Global Reach

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    In1 Solutions has seen significant growth in overseas markets over the past year, providing online marketing and technology solutions to hotels from the Maldives to Moscow and from Copenhagen to Cape Town. Our creative and dynamic solutions are designed to suit the specific needs of each client, delivering growth in direct bookings and effectively promoting the brand online. To find out more about what we can offer and the type of results we can deliver – Read More

     

    Monday, February 29, 2016

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  • SEO Tips 2016
    SEO Tips for 2016

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    There have been significant updates to SEO over the last year or so, which include Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon, frequent changes to algorithms means that SEO is an evolving science, requiring us to keep abreast of changes to ensure we get the most from organic searches. Some of the elements that will drive an effective SEO strategy for 2016 include – Read More

    Thursday, February 18, 2016

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  • Masimise RevPAR
    Using PPC and Brand Advocacy to maximise Net RevPAR

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    A thriving hotel economy relies on happy guests. And revenue. In fact, revenue is critical to a satisfied guest; it allows hotels to better serve their staff, and their staff to better serve their guests. Your guests, your team, and your hotel’s bottom line all win when you aspire to generate the most revenue. The hospitality industry however is unique and many of your prospective guests are hijacked by OTAs like Booking.com before they get a chance to book directly on your own website.  In1 Solutions offer a range of  online marketing services designed to grow direct bookings and maximise Net RevPAR. Read More.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015

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  • Responsive Website Design
    New Responsive Website for Oceana Hotels

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    In1  provides a full service solution to the Oceana Hotel group who represent four hotels in Bournemouth and one in Evian in France. Our services include responsive website design, our dynamic booking engine solutions, including our responsive group engine, and online marketing services that include SEO, PPC and social media marketing.

    To view their group site, click on – Oceana Hotels.

    Friday, August 28, 2015

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  • In1 Solutions’ Partnership with Flip.to delivers Direct Bookings and Strong ROI

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Read more about our Flip.to partnership which delivers hotels social media engagement tools that are delivering growth in direct bookings and increased brand awareness. Read More

    The brand advocacy tool is seamlessly integrated into out booking engine and allows you to harness the power of your existing customer base to grow awareness of your brand and generate bookings. This unique and highly effective marketing solution lets you tap into the social networks of your guests, turning them into active and engaged brand advocates. By simply incentivising your guests to share their stay with their social networks, we help you multiply your marketing reach. Read More about the Brand Advocacy offering or talk to us today about how this tool could be delivering real results for your hotel – Request More Information.

    Friday, July 3, 2015

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  • Digital Trends
    Digital Trends for 2015

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Read our latest review of some of the key trends that will play a role in online marketing and digital solutions during 2015.  Online Marketing and Digital trends

    They include Mobile, Content Marketing, Cross Channel Marketing and Personalisation and provide an insight into the roles each will play in developing strong marketing strategies that will deliver strong results and improve online conversion levels. Read More

     

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

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  • SEO Tips 2015
    SEO Tips for 2015

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    There have been significant updates to SEO over the last year or so, which include Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon,  with an overall shift to a focus on quality content and the need for any SEO strategy to incorporate a content management strategy.

    Some of the elements to focus on in the coming year to ensure a winning SEO strategy for your hotel include:

    1. Invest in Content – create quality content throughout the site, with a defined strategy for regularly updating and enhancing that content thtoughout the year and strengthening it with relative links.

    2. HTTPS Protocol – with Google sarting to place more focus on the secure HTTPS protocol over HTTP as part of their ranking criteria, it would  be worth considering a move to HTTPS from HTTP to support improved rankings if Google place any increased emphasis on this element of site structure.

    3. Mobile Keeps on Growing – it is predicted in 2015 that mobile searches will surpass other web traffic and with the sheer volume in mobile searches now online it is vital to have a well defined mobile content / SEO strategy in place. In1 Solutions offer both fully responsive websites as well as dedicated mobile websites and booking engines. All designed and structured to perform optimally on all devices.

    4. Brand Mentions – As part of an inbound link strategy Google focuses on brand mentions rather than mere keywords and implementing an effective brand advocacy program for your hotel will support your SEO initiative. It is important that the brand mentions are form a mix of sources and can be linked or non-linked. In1 Solutions’ Brand Advocacy product, can help to support brand awareness and references on social media. Use the power of social media to get people talking about and engaging with your brand.

    5. Fully utilise Imagery and Videos on you site – Having a selection of YouTube optimised videos on your site and a good selection of imagery with a site that is enabled for “Enhanced Image Search” will all support your Google rankings.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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  • Group Search & Sort
    Reponsive Group Search & Sort

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Effective group search and sort functionality can significantly increase the conversion rate for a hotel group. Allowing the customer to choose to view availability either for an individual hotel or to check the group as a whole. By simply reducing the frustration factor associated with having to individually check dates across a selection of hotels, can reduce the bounce rate away from the hotel site and the availability search stage and increase the level of completed bookings.

    Other enhancements include larger imagery, links to maps, vouchers and property information and packages available. As with our voucher engine, the group booking engine is also responsive. More enhancements will be added soon to Group Search & Sort to enable groups to more effectively cross sell amongst their hotels and to improve the overall conversion level through their group site. Click on the link to view an example of In1 Solutions’ Group Search & Sort.

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  • Responsive Gift Voucher Engine
    Responsive Voucher Engine

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Online Gift Vouchers are a popular gift choice throughout the year, though particularly so in the run-up to Christmas. Over the years In1 Solutions have enhanced their Gift Voucher engine to enable product vouchers to be divided into categories, such as Spa or Dining. Hoteliers can also link to one voucher item, rather than linking to a long selection of items in a generic voucher list, such as on the Shelbourne Voucher website, there is also fully editable text on monetary vouchers and editable terms and conditions, making the voucher engine fully dynamic and more productive.  The dynamic enhancements for the voucher engine has also included the ability to run discounted campaigns on a selection or all vouchers.

    A more recent enhancement has been the creation of a responsive voucher engine that works just as well on a mobile device as on a desktop.( View an example of a responsive voucher engine on your mobile). The enhanced functionality and updated display for the voucher engine has seen an increase in revenue generated through the voucher engine and when supported with a dedicated PPC campaign, can deliver bookings throughout the year.

     

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

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  • Content Marketing Strategies
    The Importance of Quality Content

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Quality content is key to both driving visitors to your website and once they are there ensuring that they engage with your product offering. At In1 Solutions we have been drawing attention to the growing relevance of content marketing strategies since 2012 and believe that having content at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy will help many elements of your strategy work better.

    This includes your website, SEO, PPC, Social Media and Email marketing initiatives. All of which will be more targeted, more appealing and more engaging with a content focus.

    Read more on Content Marketing and its importance to both your SEO strategy and online marketing activities on our Content Marketing page.

    Thursday, July 24, 2014

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  • Google Announce New AdWords Features

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Google recently announced a series of AdWords updates that will be applied to campaigns over the next few months. These include enhanced reporting, new application ads and tools to better manage scale and efficiency. Overall the aim is to ensure that Adwords works better across all devices and platforms. The new App ads will aim to increase the number of app installations for clients with greater customer targeting based on key data, such as past purchases and frequency of use. They will also enable users to link to specific pages within an app to increase interaction.

    To improve the quality of analytical data available to clients, Google launched their estimated total conversions last year, which provides data on conversions across all devices and soon they will release additional enhancements to reporting such as:

    -Expanded data for in-store transactions
    -Enhanced Reporting Tools – multi-dimensional analysis
    -Drag & drop functionality for report customisation
    -The ability to format data in spreadsheets extracted from AdWords

    Other enhancements will include the ability to manage bulk actions in Adwords and improvements to automated bidding and conversion optimisers. In general, the enhancements to Adwords look to increase the level of mobile advertising and its effectiveness, as the general growth in mobile usage continues to grow. However, the enterprise tools will allow for more effective management of bulk actions within the AdWords console and will carry out other activities more effectively, such as testing new campaigns and draft campaigns.

    Friday, April 25, 2014

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  • Do you have a Digital Marketing Strategy

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    We all start the year with great intentions, but often by this time of year, many of them have fallen to the wayside due to general day to day work pressures. However, to ensure your hotel makes the most of the online environment, you need to ensure that regular activities, updates to online platforms and websites are implemented and that the content is targeted, well-written and relevant. There are plenty of tools to help you in scheduling activities and supporting a digital marketing strategy, such as free online calendars and tools such as Google Insights & Trends, Trend Spotter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. All of these tools can make it easier to keep an eye on trends and stories that are capturing peoples imagination – some of which could be incorporated into promotional campaigns or used to identify when best to communicate a particular message or offer.

    With the continued growth in the relevance of content marketing and the latest up-dates to Google SEO algorithms, combined with the importance of social media and imagery in helping people make decisions, it is more important than ever to have a planned communication strategy. This strategy should cover all target markets across a mix of platforms and should be timed to give each campaign the greatest chance of success. In1 Solutions can create and manage the implementation of creative digital marketing strategies.
    If you would like to find out more about this service contact us at – support@in1solutions.com.

     

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  • How to grow Direct Bookings Online

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Over the last few years there has been a significant growth both in the number of third party options for booking a hotel room online and also in the level of competition to capture more of a hotel’s brand revenue in a cluttered online market.

    At the Hospitality Technology Show held in London earlier this year, a panel of experts discussed how hotels can capture more of their direct business online. The highlights of the discussion are included in  –http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Article/13157/How-to-capture-direct-bookings-guest-data.

    Although there is a level of competition online for a hotel’s brand and key terms, these can vary greatly depending on the type of hotel or the location. All hotels can benefit from paying attention to the basics when it comes to managing their brand online and growing direct revenue.

    Website:

    Ensure that your website is easy to navigate.
    Ensure there is relevant and fresh content, to inform and capture interest.
    Ensure there are strong visual elements – images, galleries, videos, clear calls-to-action and reasons to book.

    Customer Database:

    Use rewards & incentives to encourage customers to convert directly online when next booking. Implement personalisation of communication with customer databases and good data capture at check-in and include pre and post stay communications.

    Product:

    Ensure that the best rates and offers are always available on your own site. Any discounts or promotional campaigns running on third party channels should at the very least be matched on the hotel site. Clearly highlight the benefits of booking direct on both the website and in the booking engine and also include incentives or rewards for booking direct.

    Get Social:

    Use social platforms to encourage interaction and generate brand awareness and loyalty. These platforms will also create social and user-led content.

    Although third party channels will continue to deliver significant levels of bookings to hotels, the value of effectively managing direct bookings will pay dividends as they often come at a much cheaper rate. Managing direct bookings also ensures that the hotel can manage a direct relationship with each customer with future benefits with repeat business and shared recommendations.

    Friday, February 28, 2014

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  • Some Thoughts on Mobile

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    There is no denying that the percentage of visits and bookings to hotels from mobile devices continues to grow and as relevance increases. In turn, so does the discussion on what constitutes best practice for mobile marketing. In1 Solutions has been providing both mobile websites and mobile booking engines to hotels for a number of years. We have included some of our findings below, together with some industry tips:

    • Minimal Mobile Design – Keep the colour schemes simple and the mobiles sites uncluttered. You can read more on minimal mobile design on the Econsultancy blog and read about how keeping it simple can often work best within the restricted space of a mobile environment.
    • When to be Responsive – Decide when a responsive solution is best for your property, and when to default to a mobile designed site for mobile devices. We have found that in some cases, defaulting to a mobile device can work best when the market is looking for a quick and easy way to book accommodation online, rather than looking to browse through multiple pages concerning various products and services on offer at a hotel. However, when promoting weddings or destination spas, it can be more suitable to provide the full website in a responsive format for mobile devices. An example of this is our responsive site for the Shelbourne Dublin wedding site.
    • Keep it Fresh – When offering a dedicated mobile website as opposed to a responsive site, it is just as important to keep the content relevant and interesting. Updating the information and offers on a regular basis will ensure that your mobile site delivers.
    • Mobile PPC – When devising your Pay Per Click campaign you need to ensure that you research your market and understand their online habits, with regard to the various devices they use – and which they are most likely to make online purchases on. You then need to ensure you have the right allocation of your monthly budget to mobile devices, keeping a close eye on the conversion rate, geo-targeting and particular objectives for each campaign.

    All companies who offer their product for sale online are operating in the mobile marketplace. Mobile acts as another device option for viewing or purchasing online, so should always be considered as a part of a success integrated online marketing strategy. That being said, there are two key elements that warrant paying particular attention to the mobile element of your strategy – size and data. With a well designed responsive website, there is no real difference between viewing a hotel site on a desktop, laptop or tablet. In general they are viewed using an internet connection. A responsive site can help to alleviate the issue of viewing a website on a smartphone. If the user is viewing without a WiFi connection, then the size of the content on a site can be an issue. Fully understanding your market and their online preferences, thus adapting your mobile strategy to best meet their expectations will ensure that you have an effective mobile strategy that delivers.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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  • Fully Realise the power of Imagery in 2014

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Two key elements running side-by-side will determine more than ever the success of online marketing campaigns. These are content and imagery. We have already highlighted the importance of content in a number of blogs over the last few months. Whilst relevant content is important for SEO, Social media and websites in attracting visitors and encouraging them to interact, the power of attractive imagery should never be underestimated.

    For both websites and social media platforms, the emphasis on strong visual content has increased over the last year with Facebook campaigns receiving more likes, comments and shares for those with strong and relevant imagery. On both Google + and Facebook, photo uploads have been the most popular activity over the last year. The increased use of mobiles and the growth of responsive technology has seen a shift toward adaptable sites; which rely predominantly on imagery to create an impression and in turn encourage engagement.

    Ensuring you have high quality, relevant and appropriate imagery will enhance your online marketing presence and increase visitor numbers and interaction, whether on websites or social media platforms.

     

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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  • Some SEO Predictions for 2014

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    During 2013, we saw a number of key updates to search engine optimisation (SEO) from Google, such as Hummingbird. Many of these changes and updates to algorithms will only  become apparent during 2014. These changes include some of the impacts discussed in this blog back in October 2013 – Google’s latest algorithim – “Hummingbird” – These impacts include semantic search and the increased relevance of content marketing.

    Reviewing some of the many predictions released in early January from online marketing companies and SEO specialists from around the world, we have provided a summary of what we feel will be key influencing factors for the coming months.

    • Content Marketing – compelling, quality content that is relevant and encourages the visitor to engage.
    • Semantic Search  –  search engines have become more intelligent. Searches based on a better understanding of the searcher’s intent increases the importance of relevant content, with less emphasis on individual keywords.
    • Mobile  – With almost half of all emails viewed on a mobile device and mobile search continuing to grow, it is more important to ensure that your mobile site is well optimised. What we mean by ‘well optimised’ is ensuring you have researched and implemented efficiency with regard to loading time, general speed and overall user experience.
    • Social Media – having a strong social presence continues to grow as an influencing factor. Social Media should be completely integrated into a cohesive online marketing strategy to work hand-in-hand with more traditional SEO activities and content marketing.
    • Relationship based Link Building – to be effective and avoid penalties, link building should be based on strategic relationships. This is a much slower way of creating a link strategy, but will certainly prove much more effective.
    • Long-Tail Keywords – As with the growth of semantic search and natural language queries, searches now better handle long-term keywords which are often less competitive and more relevant for particular searches. Although they have been around for a while, they have often been overlooked as a way of delivering more visitors.
    • Well structured websites, with relevant on-page SEO  – Although social media and content have grown in relevance, it is still important to ensure that a website is well structured with good navigation and on-page SEO, that is drawn from sound keyword and market research.
    • Google + – Predictions have been made for a while now as to how relevant Google + will be to search engine rankings. While at the moment the jury is still out, there is no denying that it continues to grow as a social platform, and has been further integrated across other platforms (and Google products) to ensure that it is a player in Google world! Elements such as Google + posts appearing in search result pages will continue to grow.

    The above are only a selection of factors which we believe will impact SEO for the coming year and whilst some will be more important that others, factoring them into SEO strategies for 2014 will enhance their prospect for success.

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  • Responsive Websites – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Back in April we wrote an article on whether To Be or not to Be Responsive, highlighting the benefits of an improved user experience across all devices. At the time responsive website design and build was still a new phenomenon, however, since then it has been widely adopted by small and large companies and with the number of people accessing the internet on multiple devices, it has become even more relevant.

    While there are many well documented benefits to using a responsive website, there is also the bad and the ugly of responsive website designs. These include;

    • a longer than normal development and build process – with a requirement to design and test the site according to a large variety of screen sizes and to ensure that each element will respond effectively on all devices and most importantly of all suits the user as well as the device.
    • a certain percentage of users will still have older browsers which offer limited support for responsive sites

    One of the main reasons to move to a responsive website design is to improve user friendliness and usability across all devices. The key is not to focus on a design that works across all devices, but to deliver a responsive site that not only works well across all devices, but that delivers content and a user experience that delivers on their expectations and thereby supports a higher conversion rate on whatever goals have been set for each section of a site.

    Friday, October 4, 2013

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  • Google’s latest algorithim – “Hummingbird”

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Google recently launched their latest algorithm for their search engine, “Hummingbird”. Although there have been up-dates over the last decade, such as Penguin and Panda, this is the first new algorithm since 2001. The question is what will it mean for hoteliers and their organic search listings.

    Initial feedback is that it is an up-date to some of the changes brought in in 2010, with a focus on fast and precise results and more relevance for intelligent search results, which could have a positive impact on long tail terms. Up until now search results were based on a combination of key words or terms included in a search request, whereas the Hummingbird update will mean that the search results delivered will reflect more the true meaning of the search request. Thereby reducing the frustration factor of needing to conduct multiple searches to find what you were actually looking for.

    Hummingbird is also designed to improve the voice search experience.

    The latest release brings Google closer to a move from keyword based searches to semantic search. The downside of this is that hoteliers will have less information on where exactly their web traffic comes from using basic analytics and may have to move to premium paid for products to receive keyword analysis.

    Although this is still early days for the Hummingbird updates and its potential impact is still unclear, there is a possible upside of a more fair search environment with “the long tail” search. However, there are also concerns about Google obtaining even more data giving it a greater competitive advantage and allowing it to more effectively target consumers with online advertising.

    In the short term, all recent Google updates have placed more focus on relevancy and because of that websites that maintain fresh, well-written and relevant content will have a better chance of ranking higher in search results. Also, rather than focusing on just driving more visitors to a website, many of which may have no interest in the product, relevancy based search results will deliver visitors that are actually looking for that product and should help deliver higher conversion rates.

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  • Expedia & Travelocity Merger

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    The recent strategic marketing agreement between two giants of the online travel industry, Expedia and Travelocity, are set to make an already competitive online marketplace even more competitive! For consumers this will mean a loss of competition. For hoteliers looking to manage online revenue, it will mean more competition in an already hyper-competitive online marketplace. More about the merger can be found on the Digital Marketing Works blog.

    Although this is mainly a USA market agreement, there is bound to be wider implications. For hoteliers, the consolidation may make negotiating on rates and terms more difficult with this larger entity. It will also mean that they will have a wider market reach by the combination of the two client databases. With Expedia having already increased their bid levels in the PPC market, going forward it will be a real battle of two giants with Booking.com and the combination of Expedia and Travelocity. This will make things even more costly for individual hotels to generate direct revenue through paid searches.

     

    Friday, August 30, 2013

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  • Some tips on what is currently working for Big Brands on Google

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    A recent KISSmetrics article highlighted some of the main elements that the top ranked sites on Google all have in common. Outlined below is how some of the key elements could improve rankings on Google for individual hotels and hotel groups.

    1. It’s good to be social, but where is the best place to be seen? Although activity on all the main social channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are tracked and can influence the social aspect of ranking, it seems that Google’s own, Google+, best supports ranking. So it is important to ensure that you have a well set-up Google+ page and aim to update it regularly.

    2. Why correctly structured source code still matters. It may seem old school, but Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Image Alt Tags, Headers and well structured linking strategies are the main components that the search engines read when evaluating your site. So it’s  important to ensure that these main elements are not overlooked in favour of social elements and design.

    3. Quality Content is King. There seems to be a move away from a focus on keywords and more emphasis on relevant and interesting content. Text on websites should be written to be read, perhaps enjoyed and hopefully shared by visitors to your site. Over the past few years, the emphasis for many sites was imagery – pretty pictures doing the main job of selling, and in some cases dominating the home page of the site with little or no allocation provided for content, or about the site and what it offers. Combined with this there was a tendency to write copy with the sole purpose of ensuring it contained the maximum numbers of keywords. As a result, content didn’t read well, and often failed to provide the necessary information. Going forward, some of the main elements which will determine how hard your site content works for you will be relevancy, quality and size (more is better) of the content. These combined with good quality links, imagery and videos and an easy ability to share are all essential.

    4. Site performance. Another key element which can determine how your site performs on the search engines is overall site speed. Ensuring that you have a good hosting package, such as cloud hosting, to ensure fast response times and of course security, will enhance your rankings.

    Monday, August 26, 2013

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  • Working with Google Adwords Enhanced Campaigns

    Emma Ratcliffe, PPC Client Manager

    As of July 22nd 2013, Google have been working to upgrade all current Google Adwords campaigns to the new Enhanced Campaigns platform. In preparation for the change, existing Adwords users were given the option to upgrade to Enhanced Campaigns some weeks before the launch date, to familiarise themselves with the new functionality – and over the coming weeks, everyone with an Adwords account will be working with the latest campaign adjustments.

    The mandatory change will provide advertisers with a number of new ‘enhanced’ features as the name suggests, but advertisers should be wary of Google’s latest offering which is really about enhancing Google’s falling mobile PPC (Pay Per Click) revenue in recent months. All advertisements are now promoted by default across all channels; which means that multiple campaigns need to be set up for each device type to allow more control on your desired spend for mobile. This means that more time and more money can be spent on managing campaigns and without any real “enhancement” to the overall campaign. There are some positives, such as more precise targeting across campaigns, in particular demographic and also improved tracking. However, now more than ever Adword campaigns need to be effectively managed to ensure that they are working to defend your brand effectively online and grow online revenue.

    In1 Solutions has expert experience in the management of Adwords campaigns across Ireland and internationally. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your PPC campaign, contact us today to discuss how we can increase your traffic and promote your brand.

     

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

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  • Hotel Parity Probe and what it could mean for Hotels

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    There have been some recent developments in the Rate Parity Probe with both two of the largest OTA’s Booking.com and Expedia agreeing to allow other agencies the right to offer reductions for hotel rates. More information on this can be read in the tnooz blog.

    Rate Parity and its impact on hotel online revenue has been discussed a lot on hotel industry blogs over the last year. In one of our recent blogs on Rate Parity Double Standards, we  looked at double standards practiced by the OTA’s. However, with more pressure being placed on OTA’s by the Office of Fair Trading and other bodies, and with the agreement from Booking.com and Expedia to allow freer pricing, this will mean that hotels will be able to promote discounts or promotional rates more freely on their own site. Hotels will be able to do this without the contractual hold placed on them by the main OTA’s.

    These changes don’t necessarily mean that OTA’s won’t continue to dominate the online hotel market, but it should allow more flexibility for hotels to sell the best price on their own site. It will also mean that the smaller OTA’s have room to become creative in how they promote, and perhaps gain some market share. However, a rate parity clause in a contract meant that the rates on the main OTA’s and on a hotel’s own site were the same. With the removal of those type of clauses, closer inspection will have to be made concerning what rates each online distribution company can offer for a hotel, including the level of discounts to ensure that hotel’s make the most of the opportunity to offer the best available rate on their own sites.

     

    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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  • Rate Parity – Double Standards?

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Back in 2012 HSMAI predicted the demise of Rate Parity for Hotels. Over a year later, rate parity requirements by the OTA’s still have a significant impact on hotels – in particular those who are not part of an international brand.

    In addition to placing restrictions on how you best manage your yield online, many of the OTA’s then contradict that requirement by encouraging hotels to run flash sales or smart deals that would in essence place the OTA at a cheaper rate than direct with the hotel. While many hotels ensure that they match the deal rate on their own site, many times this isn’t actioned – and only serves to increase the hotel’s dependence on third party bookings over direct bookings, with a higher cost of delivery.

    Nobody can deny the relevance of the online distribution channels and the value of the business they bring to the hotel industry. However, control over the price at which a business can sell their product at any given time is an important factor in effective yield management. There are indicators in the industry that the issue of rate parity is being tackled by a growing number of independent hoteliers. Earlier this year a number of hotel chains decided not to renew their OTA contracts over rate parity issues (Read more on EyeForTravel) and there is growing support for rate parity legislation, which could allow hotels to take back control of their pricing strategy and implement varying pricing levels depending on markets and demand levels.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

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  • Google Travel – Where next?

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Google have been increasing their presence in the travel market with the launch of Google Hotel Finder and Google Flight Search during 2012. Recently changes in the search display, with an emphasis on paid search have been implemented, in particular supporting the large buyers such as the OTA’s, means that the whole online search area for the travel industry is becoming increasingly focused on the big players and Google themselves.

    The impact of Google travel products to date has not been as big as initially expected. However, Google clearly have their sights on the travel industry and have planned to implement several enhancements to Google Maps to support their strategy.

    Google Maps attracts millions of visitors each month. By incorporating Google Hotel Finder and other travel options, this will enable it to become a significant travel portal.

    Currently there is still a conflict of interest between a hotel paying for Google Adwords to promote their property online, then having to compete with a Google sponsored option that favours the OTA’s. However, with Google’s focus on the travel industry and other big players such as Tripadvisor who have a huge presence in the hotel search market, the main outcome will be an increase in overall competitiveness and cost of delivering bookings online.

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  • TripAdvisor Price Comparison Search for Hotels

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Travel Reviews have become an integral part of the management of a hotel brand online. More recently, these reviews have extended to social media and search engines, which is creating more exposure than before through more traditional review websites, such as TripAdvisor. More information on how Facebook and their Graph Search will influence hotel reviews can be found in the Blog, Facebook Home and How it will Affect Hotels

    The recently launched price comparison search display means that the promotion of OTA rates for hotels are no longer only viewable through pop-ups – they will feature clearly and prominently on each of their pages. To date, the TripAdvisor site has not fully realised the online booking potential of its site, and remains primarily a review site. However, this move clearly demonstrates their move into the online booking market.

    TripAdvisor have been in operation since 2000 and have amassed an estimated 100 million user reviews. The fact that they have enhanced their hotel booking capabilities, highlights their intentions to take a cut from hotel sales online by actively promoting their booking engine partners on the hotel review pages. This will mean that an increasing number of visitors to the hotel review pages will result in visitors booking on the TripAdvisor page rather than clicking through to the hotel’s own site. This will create an increase in OTA bookings, and ultimately a higher cost of distribution. TripAdvisor will be supported by the individual hotels actively promoting the review badge on their own sites; which direct links from prominent locations with their various awards.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

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  • Facebook Home & How It Will Affect Hotels

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    The Facebook Home option allows users to replace their mobile screen with a Cover Feed from Facebook, with up-dates, photos and status up-dates from friends. Depending on the up-take of this option it means that hoteliers will have to ensure that they factor in a Facebook strategy as part of their mobile strategy and ensure that both elements work to increase conversions. Once Facebook have integrated other recent developments such as, Local Search and Graph Search with Facebook Home, then traditional review sites may be replaced by Graph Search, with friends influencing search decisions on a more local and personalised level. Whenever these elements are integrated and if Facebook Home is adapted by a large number of mobile users, then management of hotel reviews online will take on a more individual relevance, with each persons individual perception or views on a hotel influencing a potentially wide network of friends.Requiring hoteliers to adapt their online reputation management strategy. Read more about this topic at Revinate.

    Thursday, May 30, 2013

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  • To Be or not to Be Responsive?

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    The latest buzz in Website design has been Responsive sites and how they will enable companies to ensure that their sites display optimally regardless of the device or browser being used, without the hassle and cost of maintaining and up-dating different websites for different devices. In1 Solutions are already providing Responsive Websites for a number of clients.

    With the dramatic growth in the use of tablet and mobile devices, a solution needed to be found that ensured that websites were being effectively managed and marketed for all devices. In essence it is the automatic resizing and re-arranging of the layout of the site to ensure that the page is readable on all sizes and shapes of devices using a form of CSS.

    Because the website needs to be in essence “elastic” there can be limitations on the content and the size and placing of particular elements so that they can adapt to a mobile view from a 1024 x 768 typical desktop layout. Key elements, for example a Search Box, should be placed in particular locations and should not be too large to ensure that they appear in a prominent position and fully readable on the smallest mobile version. There can also be some limitations on various promotional plugins, however, this technology is being up-dated and adapted at a rapid rate and the pros outweigh the cons as an solutions for website design in a multi-device environment.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

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  • Recommendation for Hotels to use Integrated Technology

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    A recent Cornell study in the US urged hotels to strategically integrate technology – Cornell Technology Integration Review. The report highlights how, although hotels are making use of industry developments in IT and technology, there has been no significant implementation of strategic integrated solutions that would yield results with regard to greater efficiencies and effectiveness of both resources and revenue.

    In1 Solutions has developed a number of integrated solutions which, when implemented by hotels have delivered significant results.  They include integrations to support effective online distribution of rates and availability through our Channel and GDS integrated offerings and also effective management of bookings, availability, reporting etc with our integrated PMS offering. When they are combined in out “All In1” Solution it provides significant improvements in the management and growth of revenue online. In addition to providing integrated solutions for individual hotels and groups, In1 also provide integrated technology solutions combined with online marketing for a number of partners, including Sulcus Solutions in Spain.

    For more information on our Integrated Technology Solutions call us on T: +353 1 870 6350 or E: support@in1solutions.com.

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  • What impact is the emphasis on Encrypted Search having on SEO

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    In January Google up-dated their algorithms for SEO and in addition to the recent up-dates another element which has got search marketers talking is the emphasis placed on encrypted search and how that affects SEO. Part of the reason for Google changing the focus could be due to the growing emphasis they have placed on local or personalised search (Search Plus Your World – SPYW) and by taking users that are signed in to Google to a secure page they can protect their personalised search history.

    From a basic level for hoteliers and marketers it means that when evaluating organic search history in Google Analytics, you will not be able to see the entrance keyword that brought that user to the site and will instead see – “not provided”. So it will be harder to determine which campaign worked in organic terms and will instead have to to use paid search to test the effectiveness of specific keywords and campaigns with regards to conversions.

    Also as mentioned in a number of previous content marketing blogs, the importance of content marketing on SEO is starting to have a greater impact meaning for many that this has become another cost area and makes it easier for larger brands with bigger budgets to dominate.

    Between recent search algorithm up-dates, growing emphasis on content marketing and the increased use of encrypted search – Google is making it more costly and time consuming to manage your websites and with other developments, such as Hotel Finder, there is even less space on the page for organic search results with more space being given to paid advertising of one form or another. With Google the future is to some extent uncertain for basic search marketing, but one thing is certain it will definitely get more costly!

    Monday, February 18, 2013

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  • Google Adwords Enhanced Campaigns

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Recently Google announced changes to their Adwords product with Enhanced Campaigns, which allow marketeers to target campaigns by multi-device and context. The more cynically minded may query if this enhancement is in order to drive more spend in PPC budgets towards mobile devices, as you can no longer separate out your mobile PPC strategy. However, in essence the main additions include:

     1. The ability to refine campaigns according to device, location, time of day  – you will be able to target bids according to a greater number of parameters, providing greater control and more targeted campaigns. However, there are also downsides to these changes, for example you can no longer target specific devices or exclude mobile for the main campaign by running it as many did in a separate campaign. So for certain product offering which excluded mobile as the conversion rates were too low on these devices, they will now automatically included in the campaign and without careful management may have an overall negative impact on the campaign performance.

    2. Improved ads – such a sitelinks, differing ad text or extensions – i.e. appropriate extensions depending on the devices such as Call for mobile and website page link for desktop.

    3. Improved measurement of campaigns – ability to classify different interactions as conversions and also device, keyword and location based information in Analytics.

    The Enhanced Campaigns are being rolled out in a phased manner, however, PPC managers will need to ensure that they are up-to -date on the new additions to ensure effective campaigns going forward.Only time will tell how these changes impact on campaigns, but with mobile internet use growing dramatically, while PPC advertising as of yet not working as well on these devices, it will ultimately depend on whether the end-user sees a use for the ads and uses them for their mobile purchasing!

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

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  • Google Hotel Finder – Pros and Cons

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Back in November 2012 Google went live with their Google Hotel Finder product, with the impact on the whole search market immediately visible, initially on more generic terms and soon after on individual hotel names. The jury is out on just how dramatic the impact will be on the search market as a whole, but it cannot be denied that it is a game changer. In this article we will evaluate both the pros and cons of this new development for individual and group hotels for both paid advertising and organic listings.  In1 Google Hotel Finder

    In an already highly competitive paid advertising marketplace and with an objective for many hotels to grow their direct bookings and more effectively manage their yield and the actual cost of delivering each booking to the hotel, this is another element that weighs in the favour of the main OTA’s who already dominate.

    In evaluating the overall impact of Google Hotel Finder on hotels, the balance would seem to be tipped against the hotels and in favour of the main OTA’s and of course Google themselves. In addition, it raises the question of anti-competition and fairness (or lack thereof) in taking payment from PPC campaigns from individual hotels on the one hand and then also making it easier for competitors of a hotel to dominate the paid advertising marketplace. Another impact is that is pushes organic search results further down the page – with more results below the fold, taking Google further away from a supposed impartial display of results for a search based on fair and equal criteria, to a search engine that works more as an advertising platform – which for the search engine user leads to biased results and for the company that provides a service that matches the search term organically – another layer and higher costs for that business.

    Currently there is no option for individual hotels to integrate with the Google API for Hotel Price Ads, so that once a user has started to interact with the Google Hotel In1 Google Hotel Finder 2Finder, they only see OTA’s with prices listed for each hotel featured. Hotels can have their rates included either through their feed to one of the OTA’s or some of the GDS’s. In the future there will be opportunities to integrate into this feed for individual hotels, but at a cost. Also there is the question of how listings are ranked and this seems to be driven by yet more Google products such as Google Reviews. So hotels will need to ensure that they effectively manage their  Google Local listing and encourage and manage their Google reviews. Currently OTA’s can bid for prominence on the listing with Google similar to on the paid search engines and when hotels’ are able to feed their prices and bid it will only encourage ever increasing costs for hotels to manage their own brand name and hotel content.

    So in essence Google Hotel Finder provides a comprehensive listing of hotels for a given area with rates for multiple OTA’s included and a free link to the hotel’s own website. By effectively managing information on your Google Local page and encouraging and managing Google reviews, you can enhance your ranking in the Hotel Finder. Down the line hotels should be able to engage in bids and display rates.

    In the short term this new addition is probably already impacting on a hotel’s performance for both paid and organic search traffic and will continue to impact all aspects of search marketing going forward.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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  • Content Marketing – Do you have your strategy in place?

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Back in April I wrote a piece in our Industry Trends Blog category which highlighted the growing relevance of content marketing for overall site performance – Content Marketing Blog.

    The focus is on content relevancy, frequency, timing and sharing and the impact that this has on both the user experience and on search engine rankings. Between the Panda and the Penguin changes to the Google algorithms for SEO have placed more emphasis on a number of factors such as site performance, trust worthiness and content. Research from a recent Econsultancy Content Marketing Survey Report shows that “with 90% of respondents believing that it will become more important over the next 12 months, just 38% currently have a defined strategy in place.” 

    It would appear that marketers are becoming publishers and as indicated in the report above content marketing is becoming a discipline in its own right. So what do you need to do to ensure that you do not miss out on this important area:

    1. Evaluate the current content on your site and also review competitors or similar colleagues in the marketplace
    2. Define a content marketing strategy – evaluating your existing and target markets – to ensure that the content you will provide will be relevant and of sufficient quality.
    3. Ensure that you factor in sharing options for key areas
    4. Adapt the tone, timing and the message for different channels – Blog, main site, Twitter etc.
    5. Regularly review the content and the performance and adapt when necessary to ensure that your content is displayed and delivered in the correct format, with all the required sharing options and above all is relevant

    Remember Content is King as outlined by Bill Gates in an article back in 1996!

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

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  • Does Cloud Hosting Enhance more than just the Response Time?

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Website performance has become increasingly important, not only for the visitor to the site, who does not want to be frustrated with slow download times and missing links, but in how your site is ranked by search engines. Cloud Hosting and the benefits it brings with quicker response times are being evaluated with regard to its overall impact on site performance.

    In general, for clients which we have moved to cloud hosting, we are seeing massive improvements in the speed and general performance of their websites. Also now there is almost no limit on the amount and size of imagery and other media elements which can be featured on a website, which means that we can deliver sites that have a strong visual impact that are not hampered by slow response times.

    With the speed and reliability provided by cloud hosting, hotel websites will be more responsive, strong impact sites with higher conversion rates – but how does that impact on website rankings. Between the Panda and the Penguin – Google downgrades sites with a poor “user experience” – the shift in emphasis has been to quality of content, quality of user experience and quality of site performance. In essence emphasis is being placed on the overall trust worthiness of a site – i.e. the level of unique and relevant content and supporting that a site that performs in an optimal manner. Cloud hosting supports the overall site performance in terms of response time with sites performing on average 70% – 80% faster, moving from an average of 7 to 8 seconds to sites loading in between 1 and 2 seconds and some sites loading in under 1 second. Another positive aspect of cloud hosting is in geo-location, with sites on the cloud being served locally depending on the visitor’s IP address.

    So although there are a number of important elements that can impact on a websites rankings, the speed of delivery and the local attributes of cloud hosted site will support higher rankings.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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  • Why It is More Important to be Interesting than Liked

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Everyone wants to be liked, but sometimes it is more important that what you have to say is interesting. With Facebook there has been a lot of focus on how to grow your likes to support your brand’s social media strategy, however, going back to basics and focusing instead on what your brand has to say, will result in a more successful campaign. Shifting the focus from  getting people to “Like” you through competitions, or to maintain the interest of friends of friends, the emphasis is on organically growing connections based on their interest in what you are saying. So rather than growing your presence on a social media channel through connections with tenuous links, your connections are based on shared interests – Read more on the “Interest Graph” in Dan Weingrod’s article on Econsultancy.

    Previous articles on this Blog on Sharing Content and on Content Marketing for SEO –  identified the importance of content both for SEO and for an effective social media campaign, highlighting the need to pay attention to what you are saying and ensuring that it will be of interest to your existing or target audience. Focusing on what is good or unique about your product or brand will ensure a more organic and overall more effective online marketing campaign.

    So to boost your “interest graph” remember that Content is King and as Mark Twain said – “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop”.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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  • Get the Best Yield from each Available Room

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Hoteliers are increasingly aware of the need to ensure that they have full control of their yield strategy and are able to manage their rates in such a was as to ensure that they obtain the best rate for each room for a particular period. In addition the ability to add value with additional services, enhancements to a stay and stay extensions, ensures that you are maximising your yield from each stay. Getting the mix right will ensure that you achieve the maximum revenue possible for your property in the current environment.

    So in short the emphasis should be on getting the most for each bed in each room, ensuring you sell right up to the last available room at the best rate and add value by making it easy for a guest to purchase additional products or services in advance of arrival or during their stay. In1 Solutions’s online booking technology enables you to maximise occupancy for each room type with our ability to pool room types, to sell enhancements and additional services with our add-on services functionality and our fully integrated PMS, GDS and channel management solutions mean that you are able to sell the last available room at the best rate. For more information on how to get the most from your yield management strategy contact us at – support@in1solutions.com

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

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  • Predictions for the Demise of Hotel Rate Parity

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    HSMAI reports suggest that in many markets Rate Parity has become a thing of the past in many markets and in those countries which whose economy is still suffering, they predict that it may only survive one more round of OTA contracting. This move away from the restrictions of Rate Parity will enable hoteliers to strategically manage their rates on different channels –returning control of their product and how they choose to sell it. You can read more about this story on –

    Read more on – HotelNewsNow.com

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

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  • Protect Your Hotel Brand and Grow Direct Bookings

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    In the same way that your Hotel Brand is an important element of your offline activities and is protected as a valuable asset, your Online Hotel Brand is also a key driver of success and should be valued as such and protected from abuse.

    There is a need for much stricter brand guidelines to OTA’s, affiliates and online partners or channels to protect your hotel brand and reduce misuse. A study by MarkMonitor estimated that the hotel industry in the United States is losing around $1.9 billion each year in online bookings.

    There is growing awareness of the pitfalls in online marketing associated with “hotel brandjacking”, where the hotel brand is to all intents and purposes hijacked by OTA’s, many of whom claim that they are only implementing PPC on your brand name to bring in incremental business. If that was the case surely they would only need to implement campaigns on destination searches and more general terms instead. Any OTA or industry partner that is claiming to bring your hotel extra business through implementing PPC on your own hotel brand is actually taking away direct bookings from your hotel and overall increasing costs and competitiveness on your brand name. Running PPC campaigns on your hotel brand name allows other companies to leverage on the consumer recognition of your brand. Taking away business that could have been generated as a result of word-of-mouth recommendations, offline advertising that your are running, repeat business etc and diverting them to a third party website and then charging you a higher commission level for  business that should have come to you directly.

    If a consumer is searching for your brand online surely they should come direct to your own website?

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

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  • Email Marketing in 2012

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    Email marketing was once a key player in any marketing strategy and a relatively low-cost CRM tool, however, with the buzz surrounding social media over the last few years, many predicted its demise. However, the popularity and effectiveness of email marketing has enjoyed a resurgence in 2012 with many realising that it is an important element of an integrated digital marketing strategy.

    To ensure that email marketing works for your business, you need to have a relevant and compelling message. To utilise customer analysis to provide targeted campaigns or offers to ensure that the right message goes to the correct inbox. Whereas before timing was considered a determinant for success,  increasingly sorting emails by perceived relevance will be more important. As with other elements of the digital mix, emails and social media need to work in an integrated fashion to increase effectiveness – in essence social media enhances emails rather than killing them off!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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  • Sharing Content – SEO & Social Media In1!

    Lorna McNamara, Marketing Director

    In a previous article we discussed the growing importance of Content Marketing and how it supports your SEO. In fact many elements of an online marketing strategy can work together to support the overall objective of driving growth in online revenue and strengthening the online brand and a common element across the diverse online marketing tools is content. In essence keeping it fresh and enabling it to be shared across a selection of platforms.

    However, to ensure that your “content” works for you in supporting SEO and increasing  awareness of your brand online – the content needs to be both worthy of being shared as well as using tools to enable sharing of the content. It is not enough just to put a share option on the footer of a website, beside an offer or on a blog, the content needs to be relevant, interesting, new or enticing. You need to know your market and write for them.

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

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  • Content Marketing – Growth in Relevance

    Content marketing has increased dramatically in relevance recently and has become more widely used. With more and more websites having rich content sites, it makes it more difficult to differentiate from the crowd.

    This means that all downloadable content and clickable pieces will have to be checked for relevance and authenticity, nurturing leads and supporting and promoting sharing across wider communities. Ensuring that you reward sharing and that you utilise all available markets with cross-promoting of content.

    For hotel websites this means that content should always be relevant, fresh, authentic and engaging. That the content on your site should naturally encourage people to link to it and support sharing across the wide spectrum of social mediums. Try to encourage engagement and layers within the content so that a visitor is encouraged to delve deeper. Rather than the out-dated purchasing of links to enhance your SERP’s, there will be more emphasis on content sharing between different brands, products and publishers.However, the important factor will be not to treat your content as a commodity, with each property reflecting the common denominator of “2 B&B 1D” within their general content, but to ensure that your content stands out and differentiates your brand.

    Monday, April 30, 2012

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  • Mobile is the Future

    IABI announced recently that by the end of 2012 around 75% of Irish people will have a Smart Phone! Which is a large proportion of any companies target market, highlighting the need to ensure you have a mobile platform and strategy for your property.

    According to a research report from Cowen and Company, Google earned $2.5 Billion in
    mobile revenue in 2011 and mobile websites will soon account for 25% of all paid clicks. The fast pace of adoption of this smart technology and the implication to the world of search marketing, means that all companies need to have included mobile as part of the overall marketing campaign.

    Friday, April 27, 2012

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  • Latest News From In1 Solutions

    In1 Solutions Offers Facebook Booking Engine Apps
    In 1 Solutions offer fully integrated Online Booking Engine apps for Facebook. They include booking engine, special offer engine and gift voucher engine – all of which are fully integrated into your Facebook page. They pull rates and availability direct…

    Friday, April 13, 2012

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