Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

By

August 20, 2015

What Do Your Customers Really Know About You? – Thinks Out Loud Episode 134

August 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

What Do Your Customers Really Know About You? - Thinks Out Loud Episode 134

What Do Your Customers Really Know About You? – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 47s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

July 15, 2014

3 Reputation Management Secrets Every Hotel Marketer Should Know (Travel Tuesday)

July 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple reading reviews on tabletBright Local has new research highlighting what your guests think about the overall consumer review landscape. Fascinating reading and well-worth your time. But, since I know many of you don’t have what you’d call “copious free time” these days, here are the key points worth reviewing:

  1. Customers trust reviews significantly more than they did last year. There’s been a huge drop in the number of people who answer “No” to the question of whether they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, 13% this year down from 21% last year (and 33% in 2011). That’s huge. And further proof of how important reputation management is to your overall marketing.
  2. Quantity matters (and so does quality). Two-thirds of respondents trust user reviews more when there are 4 or more reviews to read. But equally important, the gap between 3-star ratings and 2-star ratings is huge. Only 27% of guests will use a business with a 2-star rating, while 72% will use a business with a 3-star rating, proving yet again that your customers have as much say in how others perceive your brand as you do.
  3. Guests remember how you made them feel, not what you said. This came up a fair bit at this year’s HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference (see item #3 on this list). According to Bright Local, guests value reliability, expertise, and professionalism above all else. Sure, they’ll remember what you said, but only if you actually deliver on that promise.

Again, the whole report is well-worth reading (and you can find it here). But, it’s striking to me how many of these points line up with the big items in this list of key resources for hotel marketers. It’s pretty clear the state of hotel reputation management continues to evolve as guests gain increasing familiarity with reading reviews when making a booking decision — to say nothing of their increasing comfort with creating reviews of their own while during and after their stay. That’s one of the reasons why Expedia is investing heavily in enabling real-time review creation tools for travelers.

For better or worse, reputation management — reading and responding to reviews, as well as taking action to address guest concerns — represents a key component of your hotel’s sales, marketing, and distribution activities. Treating it as anything less ignores your guest’s reality. And risks your hotel’s success today and in the future.

(H/T: Tnooz)

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, if you’re curious about other trends shaping travel marketing, take a look at my recent presentation, called, aptly enough, “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing”:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

December 13, 2013

The 2013 Thinks Holiday Gift Guide

December 13, 2013 | By | No Comments

Holiday gift guideHo, ho, ho, Big Thinkers! There are only a couple of weeks left to shop for Christmas goodies. And if you’re still unsure what to get your favorite business person, here are my favorite items from this past year. Each of the items on this list represents something I bought this past year and found incredibly useful in my work or personal life. I suspect your gift recipients will, too.

We’ve got three categories of gifts, featuring Business Books, Travel Accessories, and Software Tools, so check out all three for a variety of gift-giving ideas.

Full disclosure: I’m an Amazon affiliate, but otherwise receive no compensation for any of the products listed here; I’ve bought everything here with my own money over the last 12 months and highly recommend them.

Anyway, on with the list:

3 Business Books Worth Reading

“Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works” by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin is one of the best business books of the year. Lafley’s the CEO of Proctor & Gamble, while Martin’s the Dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Together they may have forgotten more about strategy than many will ever learn. The core of the book is a strategic framework that will work for almost any business. Solid, real-world examples help make this immediately applicable. It’s not the lightest read you’ll look at this holiday season. But it’s well worth the effort. Great stuff.
I wrote a full review of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s “Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy” right around when it first came out. So, I won’t repeat myself much here. But this is an excellent read and a worthwhile addition to anyone’s business bookshelf.
I reviewed Chip and Dan Heath’s “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” a few years ago and named their extraordinary Made to Stick one of the 12 most important business books of the last decade way back in 2007. (In fact, almost anything from that list would make a great gift, too). Their latest effort, “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” is a worthy successor to their earlier books and offers fantastic ideas for how to improve your decision-making process. Highly recommended.

3 Must-Have Travel Accessories

My favorite briefcase comes from Thule. Their EnRoute Strut Daypack carries both a 15″ laptop and a 10″ tablet computer (though I carry an iPad mini) in a comfortable, lightweight package that fits in any plane overhead or, when in a pinch, under the seat of you. Given that I’m fairly long-legged, I really appreciate a compact bag that still leaves room for my feet when tucked under the seat in front of me. A great buy.
Want to listen to music while in your hotel room or working out on your back deck? Try the JBL Flip Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. It connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android device and offers really great sound quality, with plenty of bass. I’m a big fan.
Have your loved ones ever had the battery go dead on their iPhone, iPad, or Android phone while traveling and not have access to a power outlet? Yes, I hate those people who monopolize the outlets, too. But, while we’re all waiting for airports and Starbuck’s to offer more outlets, the Anker® 2nd Gen Astro3 12000mAh Portable Charger Backup External Battery can recharge up to 3 devices simultaneously and carries enough juice to recharge a single device multiple times. And, it weighs less than two-thirds of a pound, so it’s easy to travel with. Very, very useful gift. In fact, I’d be happy to get another in my stocking this year.

3 Awesome Software Tools

EvernoteYes, Evernote is free. But you can buy a Premium edition of the software for only $5.00 monthly or $45.00 per year. Premium provides additional storage space, offline access to all notebooks on all devices, collaboration tools, and improved search features. I use Evernote for everything across my Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Nexus 4 (yes, I may need help on the gadget front), and love how productive the Premium edition makes me. Your favorite business-person will love this, too.
Mp3 cloudplayer logo600pxAmazon Cloud Player is another “freemium” service. The company will store any MP3 purchases you make at Amazon and up to 250 songs from other sources for free. But, for $24.99 per year, you can upload up to 250,000 songs (!). But that’s not the cool part. The cool part is that Amazon makes its player app available for, brace yourself: Macs, PC’s, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Android phones, set-top boxes from Sonos, Samsung, and Roku, and in cars from Ford, BMW, and Mini. Whew. So, you no longer have to worry about the amount of storage on whatever device(s) you prefer. Just connect to the cloud and listen for days. I am a huge fan.
Long-time readers of the blog (or those who’ve read my Guide to Small Business Blogging) know how big a fan I am of MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software. It’s a phenomenal tool for bloggers, regardless of your platform. It continually wins awards as the best blogging tool. And it ought to continue. No matter whether your favorite blogger uses WordPress, Squarespace, Tumblr, Blogger or about a dozen other platforms, MarsEdit works as an offline/online editor extraordinaire. And, yes, I wrote this very gift guide post using nothing but MarsEdit. Very, very cool tool. (Mac-only)

I hope these gift ideas give you some direction for your favorite folks this holiday season. And I hope you and your favorite folks have a happy, healthy, and wholly wonderful holiday!

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

September 24, 2013

The Single Most Effective Way to Improve Your Brand’s Digital Marketing (Updated: 2017/08)

September 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Want to drive more direct bookings to your hotel? Click here to learn more


Improve your brand's digital marketing: The e-commerce satisfaction cycleOK, Big Thinkers, it’s pop quiz time: If you’re a hotel, resort, restaurant, spa, retail store, or other service provider, what’s the simple, proven, and single most effective way you can improve your brand’s digital marketing? More to the point, what will absolutely kill your other marketing efforts if you don’t take care of it?

Now before those of you outside hosptiatlity run off— and before I answer the question— stick around for minute. For many industries, the same tactic matters just as much.

I’ll give you a few hints:

  • It’s not SEO.
  • It’s not paid search.
  • It’s not social media (at least not in the sense most people think of it).

So, what is this “magic” tactic?

It’s managing your brand’s online reviews.

Seriously.

Think about all the places your guests and customers encounter reviews and ratings for your business:

  • TripAdvisor
  • Yelp
  • Traditional search engines, like Google and Bing
  • Map sites like Google Maps, Mapquest, Waze, and Apple Maps (you can read more about the business implications of the integration of search and maps here)
  • Online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity, and Hipmunk
  • Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — with many customers using the cameras and connectivity on their mobile phones to post pictures, ratings, and reviews while they’re experiencing your product. The could be in the middle of their stay, in the middle of dinner, or in the middle of talking to you and start sharing with their friends and family and fans and followers how they feel about the service you provide
  • Travel and food blogs
  • Even brand websites for many hotel chains now feature ratings and reviews of their properties

In fact, just about every interaction a potential customer has with your brand online provides insights into what they can and should expect.

If you’re not a hotel, resort, or restaurant, don’t think you’re out of the woods. Plenty of dedicated sites exist across a variety of industries, while the non-industry specific sites (search engines, social networks, mapping tools and the like), often provide the same picture of your brand to customers.

So why are review sites such a big deal?

One word: Money.

Studies from Chris Anderson at the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research and Michael Luca at Harvard Business School [PDF link] show revenue gains of around 5% to 11% for each increase in star rating across popular review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp (this data supports the findings from my own research behind the P’s & Q’s model I talked about a couple of weeks ago).

Additionally, Pew says that “…82% of U.S. adults say they at least sometimes read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time, including 40% who say they always or almost always do so.” That’s, y’know, a pretty big number.

Now, review sites aren’t perfect. For one thing, Maritz Research posted research a few years back [PDF downloads of part 1 and part 2 here), that suggested only between 45%-60% of users trusted the data (it varied by site and demographic group) and that only a small percentage of users actually wrote any reviews at all. (H/T to Tnooz for the link to the study). But those numbers are changing. Recent research from BrightLocal shows that “84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation” and now “7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.” That’s a big shift.

False reviews still do pose some problems for consumers too. Some businesses either try to promote their own brand or, worse, downgrade their competition. Happily, states have begun to crack down, with New York recently charging some businesses with false advertising for trying to game review sites. And many of the review sites themselves have taken actions to eliminate false reviews from their pages. While not perfect, this undoubtably signals a positive direction for businesses overall.

Or at least those focused on improving their review scores.

Conclusion

Your brand is not some mystical, intangible thing; instead a brand is the sum of all the experiences your customers have with your business. Not just what you tell guests about yourselves, but what they experience, every step of the way. Your customers travel through myriad steps prior to making a purchase decision and each step informs them a bit more about who you are and what value you provide. And, increasingly, reviews communicate your brand more effectively and more efficiently than any other marketing activity you undertake—whether it’s the brand story you want your guests to hear or not.

Yes, fake reviews are a problem. But that’s beginning to work itself out.

And, yes, improving your ratings and reviews takes effort. But not working to improve your customers perception of your brand and business costs you money, every day. I didn’t say it’s the easiest way to improve your marketing’s value. I simply said that it’s the most effective way. So, before you start another marketing campaign, take a look at what your customers say about your business and your brand, then ask yourself, what can I do to improve what they say about me.

If you’re interested in learning more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

By

June 29, 2012

Social and mobile strategy tips to drive your business (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – June 29, 2012)

June 29, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

Social and mobile marketing tipsNot a lot of build-up this week, Big Thinkers. Just the best social and mobile marketing strategy tips I could find this week. Enjoy:

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. We’ll catch you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,