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RoomKeyPMS Experiences Explosive Growth

2014 has been an exciting year so far for all of us at RoomKeyPMS. In April we moved our office North Vancouver to trendy Gastown.

Our new office location is:
#402 – 134 Abbott Street
Vancouver, BC V6K 2K4

We have added several new people to the team over the last 2 months, welcoming:

New Account Executive: Gaelle Vogt; she will be handling Eastern Canada and USA, along with the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.

3 new Trainers: Duane Vanner, David Brookfield, and William Tam. They will assist in the successful implementations for our new customers.

2 new Project Managers: Ashley Drummond and Rose-Ann Myrie. They will be the point people between the customer and development for successful installations of modules.

Marketing Manager: Navneet Nathoo; she will be responsible for branding and tradeshow activities.

Mark Karbowiak: Development Manager; he will be the driving force behind all new development of the RoomKeyPMS software.

But wait, we’re not done yet, check out the careers section of our website if you are interested in joining our dynamic and growing team. Please drop us a note and tell us what your passion is! http://www.roomkeypms.com/about-us/careers/

Tim

TripAdvisor’s TripConnect™ Now Available with RoomKey’s eResMOBILE Booking Engine

We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding our services to include TripConnect™ – a powerful new tool from TripAdvisor that can help you generate remarkable direct booking opportunities.

TripConnect, which is available now to TripAdvisor Business Listings subscribers, gives you an exciting new way to compete for bookings by sharing your direct rates and availability on the world’s largest travel site:

  • Drive travelers straight to your website’s booking page — and make direct booking fast and easy for potential guests
  • Increase revenues — travelers book directly on your website, where it’s easier to upsell to higher-priced rooms
  • Reduce costs — when you generate more direct bookings, you reduce your acquisition costs

How to Get Started

Step 1: Contact TripAdvisor to Setup Your Account

TripConnect works with RoomKey’s Booking Engine (eResMOBILE) to display pricing and availability information specific to each traveler’s inquiry.

TripConnect is available now: Sign-up with TripAdvisor

Step 2: Contact RoomKey to Complete Setup

If you have any questions about this process or have already signed up with TripAdvisor to start using TripConnect please contact our sales team at 1-800-234-5696 or at sales@roomkeypms.com to ensure your booking engine can be connected or upgraded.

TripAdvisor Resources & Related Links

Please find below a number of resources TripAdvisor has provided for hotels to learn about this new product:

  1. TripConnect Sign-Up Page: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripConnect
  2. TripConnect Guides: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripConnectAccommodations
  3. TripConnect Webinar: http://www.brainshark.com/tripadvisor/TCUS
  4. TripConnect Quick Start Guide: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripConnectAccommodations/maximizing-your-tripconnect-campaigns
  5. Trip Connect Overview: http://www.tripadvisor.com/TripConnectAccommodations/what-tripconnecttm

 

Tim

5 Simple Tips to Manage Your Online Reputation

Thanks to Sam Keninger for a great webinar this past Tuesday that covered tips and ideas for managing your reputation online.

This webinar kicked-off the launch of RoomKeyREPUTATION that ties RoomKeyPMS (our long time Property Management System) to Medallia's Launchpad platform.  This new software will provide your hotel with a very simple tool for understanding not only your reputation stats among your compset (using both social media statistics and guest feedback surveys) but also a tool to effectively manage customer feedback to stay on top of it.

Below we have embedded a video of the webinar in case you missed it.

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Tim

6 Reasons Your PMS Vendor is the Right Provider to Increase Awareness and Reservations for your Hotel

This post is the first in a series of 6 blogs that will discuss why a property management company may be in a unique position to help your hotel “Get Found” and “Drive Reservations”.

The Guest Life Cycle (GLC)

Few Property Management Systems empower hotel operators and owners to improve the guest experience at every stage of the life cycle. A good PMS should ensure that hotel guests “get what they want” – but can a PMS help bring the guests there in the first place? Can a PMS solve some of the problems hotels face with regards to online visibility and online reservations?

The First Two Stages: Getting Found and Driving Reservations

In the first two stages of the Guest Life Cycle (GLC), several problems emerge.

  • Hoteliers have little time for social media or Search Engine Optimization, but getting found via these  channels – and more specifically, driving online traffic to the hotel web site as opposed to OTAs – is a critical step towards increasing net return and controlling customer relationships and touch points.
  • Next, many hoteliers implement disorganized or sporadic online marketing efforts without first gathering data to indicate which online channels will be most effective.
  • Finally, while getting more web traffic is one way to drive reservations, when a hotel’s web site doesn’t reflect the brand or tell a clear story about the guest experience, or the booking engine is not well integrated, guests may choose different accommodations or book through an OTA. The opportunity cost of these lost reservations is expensive for the hotel.

 

How can a Property Management System Company Make the Difference?

For a hotel trying to improve occupancy rates by increasing visibility and attracting more reservations using online and social media marketing tactics, how can an end-to-end PMS vendor address the first two stages of the GLC and drive higher occupancy for hoteliers?

We know that hoteliers can use tactics like SEO and social media to increase online visibility. But many do it without much data to guide their strategy. An end-to-end PMS vendor can combine PMS data with online analytics to provide focused recommendations that help hotels get found by the right customers and send web traffic directly to the hotel web site.

Challenges Addressed in this Blog Series

Here are 6 reasons why working with your end-to-end PMS service provider to combine PMS data and online marketing principles to overcome the challenge of getting found online and increasing booking conversion will lead to higher occupancy rates and better customer relationships for your hotel.

  • Reason #1: PMS data helps you establish and market your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
  • Reason #2: Tracking from both your PMS and Booking Engine is a necessity to make good online marketing decisions and improve your web site’s functionality.
  • Reason #3: PMS vendors can help hotels understand what online content will improve SEO, drive social media engagement, and establish or control reputation.
  • Reason #4: Comparing PMS data to your most profitable booking sources can help you decide where to spend marketing dollars.
  • Reason #5: Social media doesn’t work without the foundation you can acquire from proper use of your PMS data.
  • Reason #6: With PMS data you can manage reputation proactively, not reactively.

 Credits

  1. http://www.theprismpartnership.com/assets/articles/Prism%20Article%20-%20Property%20Management%20Systems.pdf
Christopher

Make a lasting impression on your guests

There are so many discussions today about Internet Marketing, Social Media, Reputation Management, etc. All and more which are highly relevant, but what about getting back to the basics?

Do you and your team consistently make good 1st impressions with your guests?

  • When was the last time you rushed around the front desk to open the door for a guest?
  • When was the last time you stooped down to a 3 year old child level and handed them a colouring book and crayons with a genuine smile?
  • When was the last time you had breakfast with your guests, and took the time to ensure that they were having a pleasant stay?

Remember, 1st impressions can “make or break” you and it’s often what you’re remembered by. If your competitors are making similar efforts, then what can you do to be remembered by? Break yourself apart from them. If you represent a brand, don’t rely solely on the franchise and let it hide your personality. Allow your true colours to shine outside of that uniform. If you represent an independent hotel, then even more reason ensure that every 1st impression is immaculate.

1st Impressions don’t necessarily come natural to everyone, and it can’t really be trained, but there are some basic principles.

When you greet a guest, don’t just smile because your General Manager made it mandatory, smile because you really mean it.

Last impressions are just as important. When departing a hotel, would you prefer to have someone wish you a nice day? Or would you prefer them to wish you and your family a safe trip and say that they look forward to seeing you again?

Consult with your team, both executive and non-management, and develop and implement a “1st Impressions” strategy. Follow-through accordingly and ensure that positive impressions are made on every opportunity to connect with your guests.

Getting back to the basics will increase your repeat guests” & referral opportunities, and consequently reduce your reliance on GDS & OTA Bookings, and positive reviews on Trip Advisor will increase. Live by it, and the rewards in your efforts will have a positive ripple effect through your online marketing efforts overall.

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Brent

Magnuson names RSI exclusive PMS provider for 2000 hotels.

Magnuson Hotels, the world’s largest independent hotel group with 2000 North American hotels, today named RSI International as its exclusive provider of (PMS) hotel property management systems.

Beginning immediately, Magnuson Hotels will begin installation of Roomkey, the world's first fully web-based hotel property management system.

Magnuson reports that hoteliers will benefit from one consolidated operating system that unites front desk, reservation system and brand into one low cost and easy to use mobile and Internet dashboard.

All Magnuson Hotels GDS and OTA reservations will automatically download to the front desk, so remote and mobile devices can access rooms sold, occupancy, source of booking and ADR all in one place. The system supports over 500 interfaces including PBX, Keycard, POS and credit cards.

“Upon completion of a global search, is was amazingly clear there was no other choice for a PMS partner with the innovation and technological supremacy than the Roomkey team headed by Charles Ku,” stated Thomas Magnuson, CEO Magnuson Worldwide. “Hoteliers can count on many powerful and low cost advancements in the near future from our partnership.”

About Magnuson Worldwide.
Magnuson Worldwide, headquartered in London UK and Spokane, WA is the world's largest hotel services organisation. Magnuson Worldwide's holdings include Global Hotel Exchange, GDS1, PMS1, Magnuson Hotels, and Magnuson Marketplace. www.magnusonworldwide.com

About RSI International Systems Inc.
RSI International Systems Inc. is the world’s first provider of cloud-based Property Management System software and related marketing and online support products and services to the global hospitality industry. The Company’s guest-centric, integrated processes provide a unified data view enabling its customers to better leverage online customer acquisition, and better manage and retain guests once acquired. The Company’s headquarters are located in Vancouver, Canada and its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture (“TSXV”). For more information please visit www.welcometorsi.com

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Brent

Content Marketing. The future of Hotel Marketing, or already the present?

It’s called many different things depending on who you’re talking to, but what exactly is content marketing?

Content Marketing Defined:

Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we as businesses deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

Content Marketing is being used around the globe by some of the most creative, cutting-edge hotel brands and management groups.  Small and large independents alike are now creating and executing a content marketing strategy designed to drive revenue.  Why do they invest so much time into this?  Well, its seems to work.  Really well!

It’s become quite obvious to most marketers that they can’t reach their customers through the same mediums they used to.  DVR’s allow us to skip through TV commercials, print is more popular with recycling bins than any particular demographic, and consumers have become so good at surfing for information that they can simply filter out any banner or display ad they see.  This is where the influencers and leaders in this industry have seen an opportunity.  If it’s so easy for consumers to search and find information, why not help provide that information for them with the idea being that when they are ready to purchase, your brand loyalty is already established.

If you go back and read the definition above, there should be one piece that really resonates.  If you as a hotel “are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent” , you have instantly created credibility and separated your brand from the constant bombardment of direct selling or spamming the consumer receives on a daily basis.

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media or content in order to acquire customers. The basic idea is to provide information or entertainment that the consumer will find valuable but stops short of moving into any specific or direct sales pitch. The consumer will keep coming back as long as the content stays fresh and interesting to them without the feeling of a “hard sell pitch”.

To see the value of this approach, ask yourself a few simple questions.  What if your consumer actually looked forward to receiving your marketing material? What if they not only looked forward to your marketing material, but they spent 5 -20 minutes consuming it?  What if they found that information so valuable that they felt it was necessary to share with their friends or colleagues. And what if Google loved all that activity and rewarded you with more visibility?

Consumers will look forward to receiving your marketing materials if you take the time to develop a well thought out Content Marketing plan.  If you don’t already have a CM strategy, what are you waiting for?

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Michael

Increasing Hotel Occupancy from Today’s ‘Connected Consumer’

Shown at Googlepolitics.blogspot.ca

In my last post I talked about the rise of tablet-based search and the impact it was having on occupancy and how guests research and book rooms. This week I came across a great article that puts some more meat on the ‘guest-evolution’ bones.

Google (along with market-researchers Ipsos and Sterling Brand) did some research looking at the new multi-screen world that today’s consumers have created. Supporting the notion that businesses need to present a consistent experience across multiple touch points, they reported that “approximately  90% of our media consumption behavior,  4.4 hours each day, is spread across all four device types (smartphones, tablets, PC/Laptop and TV).  The average daily time spent on the respective devices is 17 minutes for Smartphones, 30 minutes for Tablets, 39 minutes for PC/Laptop  and TV is still king (but just) at 43 minutes.       

The point of the article was this; is your content providing a consistent user experience across all the digital delivery platforms that your prospective guest might try to access your content? Bear in mind that user expectations and objectives may be different from device to device. On their PC, they may do a deeper dive into your detailed site, offering, location images and activities etc. On a Tablet they may be surfing through looking generally at availability and pricing. On their Smartphone, they’re on the highway, now looking with intent for a room to book for tonight!

And hence the link to occupancy improvement. Allowing the guest to pull up and do what’s required of your site on any device they choose may be the difference between them competing the final booking with your hotel, versus on that’s more… accommodating  (sorry, pun intended).  Estimates say that the average booking cycle involves 17.5 travel sites and 10 hotel website visits over an average of 6 days, 18 hours before a new guest completes a final booking . There’s much more likelihood of not increasing your occupancy if you’re not accessible and easy to convert with when your prospect is finally ready.

We know that the modern consumer has changed. Unless we’re of the wired generation, or we read a lot, we may not realize just how much they’ve changed. The quote from author William Gibson may capture it best:

“The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.”

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Michael

Tablet Adoption Changing How Guests Search (and Book)!

I’ve written previously about the increasing impact of social and mobile on consumer behaviour in general, and of course in the travel space in particular. More data came out last week with a report in Mobile Marketer on the effects of the continued rapid adoption of tablets.

The headline that caught my eye was “Tablet Paid Search Overtakes Smartphones in Q4”. Originally authored by Marin Software, the report stated that

“During the fourth-quarter of 2012, paid search spend on tablets eclipsed smartphones for the first time.”

Specifically, what they saw was that “advertisers significantly increased their investment in paid search on tablets last year, with spend share growing from 4.8 percent to 10 percent in 2012.”

I know; you’re asking yourself why should I care about online advertising spend moving around a bit? The answer is that it’s just one more indication of consumer (‘guest’) behavior shift. As referenced in an earlier post, it’s not the tech itself, it’s what people are doing with it that impacts your occupancy (positively or negatively).

(more…)

Graeme

Facebook Conversion Tracking for Hotels

facebook-advertisingYesterday (Jan 22nd, 2013) Facebook announced a new super power for marketers. Within their Ad Platform, you can now track and optimize your Facebook campaigns based on ‘conversions’. Until now, this functionality was only available to advertisers with deep pockets, or those using a 3rd party system.

We are excited about this for a few reasons: 

  1. Native tracking in Facebook removes the need for work-arounds,
  2. It adds an extra data source to validate your results against web analytics,
  3. You can now use impression-based optimized Cost per Impression (OCPM) to deliver ads to people who are most likely to convert.

Conversion measurement of Beta tests using optimized CPM have shown that these ads reduced the cost per conversion by 40 percent compared to CPC ads using the same budget. ~ source

How Facebook Conversion Tracking Works

Using the Conversion Tracking Pixel Tool, Facebook advertisers can generate a snippet of javascript code to place on your booking confirmation page. Whenever a guest who has seen or clicked through from your Facebook ad books a stay at your hotel, it registers the conversion in the system.

Static vs Dynamic Goal Values

Facebook allows you to assign your conversion goals with a dollar value. That value can either be pre-set when you create the tracking pixel, or dynamically entered based on the reservation dollar value.

Static Goal Values - These are pre-set when you create your tracking code and are useful for secondary conversion events like email sign ups or if you use a lead generation form for Conference or Wedding Events.

Dynamic Goal Values – While it takes more work to implement, with dynamic goal tracking you pull the actual booking total into your tracking code so you know exactly how much the guest has spent with your hotel.

Knowing the actual dollar value your hotel campaigns generate is huge in determining the ROI of your program.

3rd Party Booking Engines

To set up Facebook conversion tracking you are going to need to work with your booking engine to fully implement the code. Of course you should already have web analytics in your booking engine to truly understand the booking funnel, so this should not be a difficult request.

Facebook Optimized CPM (OCPM)

When you add in conversion tracking to your Facebook campaigns, it gives you an option to switch from cost per click (CPC), to cost per impression (CPM), with the goal of Facebook optimizing your campaign based on a cost per acquisition number. They are touting the stat that this will reduce your cost per conversion by up to 40% compared to conventional Facebook ads running CPC.

  1. We don’t have access to a whole lot of data as yet to really prove whether this is true for all marketers, or if this is an outlier stat.
  2. Facebook is also tracking conversions on a View Thru basis. So while your ad may be displayed to a user, did they truly see it?

Facebook is not short of inventory when it comes to pageviews. My concern here is that they can blast your ads to a wide audience and attribute any conversions to your campaign. While no attribution model is perfect, this is a fuzzy logic when viewed from a Facebook perspective.

It’s still early days and we will keep you all updated with results & tips for improved campaign performance as we use the tool.

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