Four get-yourself-thinking tenets of marketing from travel pros

If there’s one thing we learned from Hacktoberfest, it’s that you really can’t go wrong with great product & brats.

A few special guests came by to leave their stamp on the creative process, and though the event has come to a close, here’s some of what’s stuck with us:


Jason Holic, VP of Digital Marketing at Experience Kissimmee

Understand your traveler’s intent

Jason got a firsthand look at the early stages of our creative process. A longtime destination marketer, he gave his take on the importance of understanding a traveler’s intent in order to connect with them.

“One of the challenges we have is recognizing what the intent of the visitor is on their customer journey.

Are they just looking for inspiration? Are they committed to the destination? Where do we fall on their journey? Do they already know they’re coming to Central Florida or are they in that in-between stage? Or do they just want to know what else there is to do or where to stay? That’s the challenge: figuring out where they are on that path.

As destination marketers, we really need to figure out their place in that journey and also what their level of intent is in order to serve up the content that is most likely going to resonate with them further down that path until they ultimately convert and visit us.”

 

Zach Stovall, Travel photographer, videographer & writer at Zach Stovall Photography

Tell a better brand story

Zach brought his 15+ years of experience in visual storytelling to the mix. On top of being unofficially awarded “Most Authentic Lederhosen,” he shared examples of compelling imagery that helps properties tell a better story.

“[Hotels] need to keep their own stories in mind so they can connect with the appropriate guest for them.

A good story is cohesive, has a solid start, weaves through the whole story process, keeps the reader or the viewer engaged, all the way to the end. It’s all about setting the scene and making it dramatic.

I think it’s important that resorts and hotels use that in all of their marketing.

When they use people to support their marketing, then they can speak more to their ideal guest and they can interact with your brand.”

 

Dr. Dan Spellman, Course Director – Digital Marketing & Personal Leadership at Full Sail University

Start with your “Why”

Dr. Dan shared a historical on how hospitality has changed digitally over the last two decades along with some real-world challenges hoteliers face—and tied all of it back to why. (It’s not his first rodeo here at Flip.to.)

“I was inspired by Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why.” I focused on this when talking to hoteliers about their business.

Why are you in the hospitality business? What drives you? What is your motivation when you come to work?

We also looked at our personal why. For me, it was digital media. Things are constantly changing and improving from a digital marketing standpoint.

We would discuss this approach with everyone from top level staff to services. We all wanted the same thing: to serve the guest. And the way each and every hotel does that is different.”

 

Christina Leake, Social Media Director at Westgate Resorts

Unveil experiences

Christina and the team chatted all things travel marketing, from guest storytelling to content marketing, and from the big picture down to the day-to-day application.

“When I first arrived, we were very real estate focused, using a lot of room and interior shots that weren’t resonating with the audience. Almost immediately, we decided to flip the switch to marketing around the experiential—what people are doing while they are on property, around the area, and in the city they are visiting.

By doing that, our audiences have grown exponentially. Our click through rate and revenue have increased as well. Being able to highlight the experiences helps us not only sell the place—it helps us sell the story.”

 


Behind really great product is a lot of collaboration, dynamic teamwork, and, of course, a bit of fun.

And this meeting of the minds was just the start. We’re excited to unveil more in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow us for the big reveal.

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Caribe Royale and Shephard’s Beach win big at Florida’s Flagler Awards

Last week was a big one for travel in the sunshine state at the 2018 Florida Governor’s Conference put on by VISIT FLORIDA. Since we call Orlando home, we didn’t have to travel too far to be a part of the event held at the world renowned Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate. (In fact, we’re pretty sure Ricky’s time there might qualify as his latest “staycation.”)

At the kick-off was the Chairman’s Dinner, including the 2018 Flagler Awards. It’s no secret: our customers are rockstars—and we’re not the only ones who think so! Caribe Royale and Shephard’s Beach Resort made waves and won big, all with help from their travelers.

Caribe Royale: A year of advocacy brings home silver

Last year alone, Caribe reached 1.2 million travelers in the most authentic way possible, helping inspire every new traveler’s journey to their hotel.

Caribe takes silver at 2018 Flagler Awards

That’s not all. This quality of this audience was unmatched, converting 2.5x higher than the average paid search campaign.

Shephard’s Beach gets bronze: Four decades of fun & four months of advocacy

Shephard’s Beach is turning trusted introductions to the friends & family of their guests into new visitors—with introductions to the tune of nearly three-quarters of a million as part of their ‘Four decades of fun’ campaign.

Shephard's Beach wins bronze at 2018 Flagler Awards

In fact, Shephard’s Beach Resort earned 15 traveler leads for every storyteller who shared, getting more for every dollar they invest in marketing thanks to Flip.to.


Congratulations to these two stunning properties on their well-deserved wins! We know they’re outstanding, so it’s great to see others in the industry recognize what their guests are sharing worldwide, especially in a state we call home.

So whether you’re in the Sunshine state or beyond, if you’re ready to switch on advocacy, let’s chat. We’ll share how advocacy is changing the game for the hospitality and tourism industries worldwide.

Mountain moments: storytellers winning over new travelers

Year round, the mountains make for incredible escapes. Travelers lose themselves in scenic beauty while finding that unforgettable experiences abound.

Visitors to the slopes make memories that last long past their stays, and these storytellers warmly introduce hotels, resorts and destinations to entirely new audiences of potential travelers, ready to make their own mountain memories.

Story from Rachel A., recent visitor to Scenic Washington State 365

Scenic Washington State 365

“Exploring Leavenworth in the fall is one of these most beautiful things to see. The colors are amazing.” — Rachel A.

Rachel and her fellow travelers are sharing incredible stories with massive impact for this breathtaking destination. In just the past six weeks, Scenic Washington’s advocates have reached over 50,000 potential travelers who are the perfect demographic just one degree away.

Story from Justin K., recent guest at Gunflint Lodge

Gunflint Lodge—Grand Marais, MN

“I proposed to my absolutely amazing (now wife) while hiking with our dogs on a dog lovers weekend. Everything about the stay was absolutely fantastic.” – Justin K.

Justin and his family began an entirely new chapter in the mountains—with Gunflint Lodge at the center of their story. Our hearts melted over this mountain memory that will last a lifetime. Justin shared his story to more than 1,000 of his friends and family, showing the unmatched impact of an authentic guest story.

Story from Shauna R., recent guest at Mountaineer Lodge

Mountaineer Lodge—Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

“Having a breakfast onsite is fantastic! Fast and easy and lots to choose from! Great front desk staff, quick checkin and love the fact that they remember us regulars!” – Shauna R.

Shauna and her family relished their quality time spent at Mountaineer Lodge during ski season. They felt a true connection to the resort staff and, even though it was cold on the slopes, they warmly introduced the lodge to their friends and family around the world—a win for everyone!

Story from Hilary T., recent guest at Grand View Lodge

Grand View Lodge—Brainerd, MN

“Two year old London Clare counting the reasons she loves Grand View Lodge!” – Hilary T.

Hilary and her family enjoyed unforgettable experiences at Grand View Lodge and captured priceless moments along the way. This sweet story, shared to hundreds of her friends and family, garnered over 2,000 site visitors for Grand View Lodge and led to 150 potential travelers claiming an offer for a future stay. Authentic storytelling wins every time.

Story from Caitlin M., recent visitor to Ski City

Ski City—Salt Lake, UT

“Skis, boots, coat, gloves, goggles, binky… check!” – Caitlin M.

Caitlin captured this memorable moment with her niece, who was strapped and ready to take Salt Lake’s snow-covered trails. Not only will this be a treasured memory for Caitlin and her family, but it helped Ski City reach a new audience hundreds of potential travelers strong—and she’s just one storyteller.

Story from Tabitha N., recent guest at Westgate Branson Lakes Resort

Westgate Branson Lakes Resort—Branson, MO

“We spent day 3 of our honeymoon at Westgate Branson Lakes Resort. Everyone was very friendly and congratulated us at every chance. We felt like VIP’s the entire stay. The room was beautiful and very clean we didn’t want to leave. Thanks again for having an awesome property.” – Tabitha N.

Tabitha had an unforgettable experience at Westgate Branson Lakes and shared her story to nearly 5,000 of her friends and family—and she’s just one advocate. Westgate’s advocates are a powerful extension of their marketing team, massively growing their reach to potential travelers around the world.

Story from Rebecca C., recent guest at Hotel Alyeska

Hotel Alyeska—Girdwood, AK

“My 6 year old daughter, Kelley, ready for her first snowboarding lesson. She says it’s more fun than gymnastics, snowmachining and swimming… combined!” – Rebecca C.

Hotel Alyeska will always be at the center of this memorable “first” for Rebecca and her family. Not only that, her story led to lasting impact for the resort, to the tune of more than 1,400 site visits and over 120 potential travelers interested in a future stay at Alyeska.

Story from Meredith B., recent guest at Red Mountain Resort

Red Mountain Resort—St. George, UT

“I loved getting outdoors and reconnecting with myself during my time there. All the staff was so friendly and generous!” – Meredith B.

Meredith’s time at Red Mountain Resort left her feeling centered and refreshed, not only because of her time in nature but also because of the resort’s amazing team. She shared her experience with over 1,200 of her friends, introducing Red Mountain to a large audience of potential travelers along the way.


These are just a few of the storytellers sharing their experiences to new audiences of travelers around the world, each and every day.

If you want to see the incredible impact of storytellers for your property or destination, let’s talk! We’ll share how advocacy powers new awareness, warmer relationships and a whole lot more.


2018 Hospitality Technology Study, uniting hotelier and vendor technology perspectives, now available worldwide

Fuel Travel, StayNTouch and Flip.to examine technology trends to better align suppliers with industry wants and needs

ORLANDO, FL — July 19, 2018 — Fuel Travel, StayNTouch and Flip.to have partnered to launch a new study that examines perspectives from hoteliers and suppliers on industry technology. First debuted exclusively for attendees of the HITEC Hospitality Technology Show in June, the results are now being distributed globally.

The study surveyed hoteliers and suppliers to learn how the industry can improve from a technology perspective, with key takeaways for readers from both groups:

  • For hospitality decision-makers, the results provide guidance on the latest technology trends, as well as opportunities to invest valuable resources for growth.
  • For suppliers, the study informs ideas on the most pressing technology issues facing the hotel industry today.

With data surveyed from 358 respondents—all responsible for purchasing or selling technology in hospitality—the study is unique from other research in that it goes beyond standard reporting to identify similarities and differences in priorities for where the industry and travel technology should be headed.

Overall, the results showed many positive indicators that hoteliers and suppliers are closely aligned.

Take, for instance, considerations for a new PMS. The factors which were “most important” for respondents from both groups fell in sync, with ease of use and seamless integration topping the list. In fact, the need for improved integration between existing products garnered a strong consensus from respondents. Guest experience was also a top priority.

Frewoini Golla, Director of Marketing for StayNTouch noted why findings like this are so critical for industry growth. “Better understanding where priorities lie helps vendors stay in tune with the challenges our customers are responsible for, and how we can serve their needs while topping their goals.”

Other areas where the study reported similarities and differences include factors influencing marketing spend, perspectives on new and emerging technology, and the process for considering new technology purchases.

Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer of Fuel Travel said of the results, “As vendors of this space, our eyes are fixed on the trajectory of travel technology and marketing, so having a better understanding of the wants and needs of those in the front-lines of hospitality really helps us all get better together.”

Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships at Flip.to echoed this sentiment. “It’s really important that we focus on helping our customers and all of the industry move the needle. The results of this survey have opened up a really compelling dialogue to grow the industry, today.”

To get your free copy of 2018 Hospitality Technology Study, download it here.

 

Stories that inspire: Team week

One of our core values: No minions here. We hire amazing people first, let them tell us what they’re good at, and then help them find their superpower. So as you may have guessed, team is important to us, and ours is made up of some pretty incredible people.

So, last month, our whole team stopped by HQ in Orlando for a week of creative collaboration, coffee brainstorms, and a bit of fun.

Here are some of our favorites moments from the week:

Wrapping up Thursday’s catered lunch after team updates and Founder’s Corner
Wrapping up Thursday’s catered lunch after team updates and Founder’s Corner
“Escaping” from the Great Escape Room in record time
Getting ready to race electric go-karts on Friday’s offsite at Andretti Indoor Karting
Getting ready to race electric go-karts on Friday’s offsite at Andretti Indoor Karting
Celebrating the wins (and crashes) after the checkered flag waves
Celebrating the wins (and crashes) after the checkered flag waves

An extra bonus of having the entire team in-house means we get the chance to take advantage of the creative talent of our design team. Any time they’re in town, we schedule a few hours to update the chalk wall in our lunch room.

This time, we set up a camera to capture the entire session:

 

To meet some of the Flip.to veterans along with some fresh faces, hop over to our about page. Plus, always feel free to say hello 👋 to us here—we’re always eager to chat with other movers and shakers in hospitality!

Introducing Invitations: Grow your largest team of storytellers yet

Advocates are powerful. They’re helping destinations, hotels, and rental properties compete from the point of inspiration—connecting with new & future travelers in a more meaningful way to win them over from the start.

(And we’ve shown you the impact: it’s that big.)

So how do you get even more? More advocates sharing their travel stories… more introductions… more wins!

Introducing: Invitations.

In just a matter of clicks, earn incredible impact when you widen your scope to even bigger audiences. Invite past travelers, their friends and family, your own audiences, and anyone else to share their experiences with your travel brand at the center.

And thanks to your growing team of travelers-turned-storytellers, you’ll spark new conversations with the warmest, most receptive audience yet—at a scale like never before.

Take a peek:

 

If you’re ready to put Invitations to work for your travel brand, reach out. We’ll share how you can power growth (plus warmer relationships and a whole lot more) with advocacy.

Flip.to joins OPMA, together sparking new conversations in travel marketing

Advocacy platform pairs with Onsite Rental Management Association to foster education and partnerships in the diverse vacation rental market

ORLANDO, FL — February 14, 2018 — Flip.to—the advocacy marketing platform that helps reach, inspire and convert travelers worldwide—announced its membership with the Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA), a nonprofit and advocate for the rental management and condo hotel sectors representing a select 53,000 resort accommodation units. Flip.to will work in tandem with a collection of minds together aimed at bettering the travel space.

Flip.to is thrilled to be joining the OPMA’s exclusive roster of 37 suppliers personally invited to share membership with management companies across the US and globally who are focused on shaping the landscape of hospitality marketing and growing the industry as a whole. OPMA provides a network of partnerships, educational opportunities and a forum for cooperative efforts to advance the rental market, emphasizing collective growth and mutual support.

“It’s easy to see where OPMA and Flip.to are aligned, with advocacy a cornerstone to both our identities,” said OPMA Chief Marketing Strategist John Dalton about Flip.to. “Likewise, they have a drive to constantly improve marketing as we know it today. The Flip.to team has a deep understanding of not only the travel industry, but also the specific marketing challenges rental managers face daily, so we’re glad to welcome them on board,” said Dalton.

The Flip.to platform empowers guests to share the high points of their stay throughout their traveler journey. Along the way, travelers introduce family and friends to resorts and vacation properties in an authentic and trusted way, reaching new audiences at an incredible scale—ahead of competitors and other dominant players. The platform earns and tracks new bookings while growing brand awareness, web traffic and warm leads.

Flip.to has made strides in enhancing the marketing efforts of hospitality providers across the travel industry, seeing incredible success in the vacation rental market. Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing, Maurice Arbelaez, of Millenium Management Corporation—founding member of OPMA and fellow customer of Flip.to—echoed this sentiment along with the value of membership for the advocacy platform.

“Flip.to is an example of an industry partner providing incredible value, promoting authentic perspectives on the resort from a trusted source—our travelers. This is key for professional management companies like Millenium who uphold the highest level of service, guest experience, and infrastructure,” said Arbelaez.

“Likewise, these are the values that define OPMA, which is why their organization is key in helping leaders in our industry maintain these standards. We’re excited to work together with partners who not only provide top-notch solutions that help highlight these clear differences, but also share a mutual interest in bettering the industry as a whole.”

Flip.to kicked off their participation with a speaking session at OPMA’s 2017 leadership summit late last year. On attending, Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships at Flip.to, said, “We saw firsthand the significant value of membership with OPMA, from learning even more about the challenges within the industry to forming new connections and partnerships with those who hold a shared vision for the rental market. As we look forward to seeing the strides OPMA continues to make for rental management companies around the world, we’re excited to now be a part of it!”

 

To learn more about OPMA membership and its efforts within the rental management and condo hotel industry, visit www.theopma.org or contact John Dalton at jdalton@theopma.org.

To learn how Flip.to is helping vacation rentals reach, inspire and convert travelers each and every day, see who we’re working with.

Infographic: Classic Resorts nets a new channel of travelers by launching advocacy

There are tons of reasons to switch on advocacy, and every story about getting started with Flip.to is unique. That’s because advocacy works for all types of hotels, and all types of travelers. By design, it helps your brand get introduced to the perfect audience in a big way.

We’re taking a peek at just what that looked like for Classic Resorts: two resorts out of the islands of Hawaii. Their team had their sights on achieving more in 2017, and paired up with Flip.to to help conquer their goals. The result? Big wins for their properties and their travelers!

Together with Flip.to, Classic Resorts is inspiring travelers around the world with authentic stories shared by their travelers. And while the ROI has proven to be off the charts, it adds up to something bigger than that:

Building relationships with their travelers with even more hospitality, widening their scope to their best audience yet, and diversifying their strategy to helping their resorts get better every day.

If you’re interested in how advocacy is changing the game for vacation rentals, hotels and destinations, let’s chat. We’ll share more on the impact, and make it a fun chat while we’re at it. (Not to mention, kicking off is incredibly easy.)

InnQuest Software and Flip.to partner to help hotels earn new guests through advocacy

Strategic partnership offers hoteliers ability to amplify booking potential and win more travelers

Tampa, FL – August 21, 2017InnQuest Software, a full-service technology company for hoteliers, is pleased to announce a partnership with Flip.to, the advocacy marketing platform for hotels that helps reach new audiences worldwide, inspiring more travelers to book direct.

This innovative partnership will help the 5,550+ hoteliers InnQuest serves to drive positive, authentic conversations about their property and guest experiences online. Hoteliers using InnQuest’s premier booking engine, WebBook, can now seamlessly integrate Flip.to into their current software to amplify their marketing efforts by empowering guests to share details about their upcoming trip at the point of booking.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Flip.to and add this powerful platform into roomMaster’s diverse portfolio of roomMaster integrations,” said Kent Howard, Director of Sales at InnQuest. “We’re always partnering with premier companies in the industry to deliver comprehensive technology solutions for our hoteliers, and Flip.to is a pioneer for advocacy in the travel space.”

With the design-driven Flip.to platform, hoteliers let their guests become advocates, turning trusted introductions to their friends and family worldwide into new guests for the hotel.

The platform earns and tracks new bookings while growing brand awareness, web traffic, and warm leads. Guests share the high points of their travel experiences, with the destination and hotels at the center of these stories.

“The partnership with InnQuest is one we’re very excited to share,” said Richard Dunbar, Flip.to’s Director of Partnerships. “Their impressive global reach lets us bring our entirely new approach to travel marketing to an even wider audience. The partnership offers a best-in-class technology stack with the confidence of a solution set their customers know and trust.”

For more information about InnQuest software and its property management software, visit www.innquest.com.

How to win guests at every step of the traveler journey in upcoming webinar

Collaboration offers a guide to exceeding evolving traveler demands in today’s digital economy

BETHESDA, MD — MARCH 14, 2017StayNTouch, innovators in mobile technology and Property Management Systems, have teamed up with travel industry and direct booking experts Fuel, and hotel advocacy platform pioneers Flip.to, for a joint webinar—‘The Evolution of Guest Expectations and How Hotels can Exceed the New Demand.’ The event will help hotels exceed their guests’ evolving expectations to build better guest relationships and drive more repeat business.

The trio of hospitality industry experts will reveal insight on navigating each phase of the purchasing decision, from inspiration and discovery until long after their stay.

Key topics include:

  • Your guests’ new demands—Understanding the evolution of traveler expectations
  • Planning travel—Knowing your guests and differentiating your property to gain maximum market share
  • On-property hospitality—Enhancing the experience with refined service elements
  • Rekindling your guests’ favorite moments—Staying in touch, building long term loyalty and repeat business

“Guests today are defining their own standards of service, thanks to the digitally driven world we now live in,” said Dante Sapp, Product Manager at StayNTouch. “Knowing how to adapt and exceed demands at every phase of the traveler journey is vital for attracting and retaining loyal customers. I’m excited for the opportunity to partner with Fuel and Flip.to and share these valuable insights with hoteliers.”

“Understanding your guest, knowing what factors matter when planning a trip, and digging into how travelers do their research is key for hotels to get more bookings,” added Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer at Fuel. “We’re excited to be able to deliver advice on these topics with leaders from StayNTouch and Flip.to. Hotels will better know how to compete and inspire greater conversions.”

Richard Dunbar, Director of Partnerships at Flip.to echoed the sentiment. “We’re thrilled to help guide this session with our friends at StayNTouch and Fuel. Attendees will walk away from this webinar with ideas they can immediately action. From there, hotels will know how to better enhance the guest experience in every part of the travel journey and build better relationships with their guests in the long term.”

The presentation will be hosted on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1 PM EST (10 AM PST, 6 PM GMT).

To save your seat for this free webinar, register here.

StayNTouch Hotel Software provides a fully-featured mobile Property Management System, a PMS-overlay and guest self-service capabilities. Visit http://www.StayNTouch.com to request a demo.

Fuel is a comprehensive digital marketing agency with an emphasis in travel and tourism; services include website development, SEO, PPC, email marketing and more. To get started, visit http://www.FuelTravel.com.