JAPEX 2017: tackling tough challenges in the Caribbean

At the moment I’m writing this article, I’ve just returned from the JAPEX conference in Jamaica. Now, I’ve traveled to the Caribbean islands a number of times, both for work and fun. The hospitality, the people, the energy are fantastic (as we’ve shared ourselves first hand.)

But this trip was different.

Javier Morales, Co-founder at Social Caddie, talks to the audience at JAPEX 2017.

Not in the way you’d think. The hospitality was still top notch. The people? As friendly and welcoming as ever. And the speakers and attendees at JAPEX were all incredibly insightful.

But it was also grounded.

What I took away from JAPEX went well beyond the usual micro-level discussions that typically embody an event like this. It was the broad spectrum: an impressive (and sometimes sobering) macro-level look at challenges in the Caribbean that took the stage—from competing on a global scale to the recent hurricanes and more.

Working together to compete globally

Over the last several years, the Caribbean has excelled at marketing itself as a highly accessible, dream destination. And this is a good thing. My fellow panelist at the event, and Co-founder at Social Caddie, Javier Morales chimed in nicely as to why:

“It’s important for the Caribbean to be identified as a region. Organizations like the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association have been created as a major resource for all the islands. By pooling their resources, coming together as region helps them all have access to information and programs to succeed as a whole.”

This has helped introduce more travelers to the region, raising awareness on the global level up against other warm climate destinations. But it poses a unique dichotomy: the need to make known that the Caribbean is more than the sum of its parts.

A recent example? Hurricanes Irma and Maria—both which have come and gone, leaving effects that will linger for years.

Not surprisingly, that poses a problem for the unaffected islands as well as the entire region. Some destinations in the region won’t be visitor-ready in the foreseeable future, and the perception is that the Caribbean isn’t quite as attractive for that dream vacation it’s known and loved for.

Except that it is.

The Caribbean is comprised of more than 30 destinations with thousands of islands totaling over 95k square miles, making it an eclectic mix of unique and independent travel locales. In fact, CHTA partners with 1,000 hotels and allied members plus 32 National Hotel Associations to help shape the future of tourism in the region.

You can’t minimize the devastation for some of the island nations. But it remains a small percentage of the total area—with tourism in many of the areas continuing to grow. (And the others working diligently to bounce back.)

Putting out in force that in spite of the storms, the nations of the Caribbean are open for business is a must. Javier had a few more adds on the steps every island nation can take:

“Nearly every island has a tourism board or association to help market their destination. Islands should showcase their unique features to stand out in the group. Destinations and their hotels can work together to highlight these features and compete against other global destinations.”

Diversifying your marketing—at the regional, destination, and hotel levels

Another challenge that surfaced is one that’s more relatable for us mainlanders: OTA dependency. The core of this issue is a tough one to overcome.

The United States is a key feeder market for the region as a whole, and in the US we love to drive. It’s as much a part of our culture as baseball and BBQs. So when we visit our friends in the South, there’s more to the travel planning process. This is an arena where OTAs excel, making it incredibly easy to book an entire trip in one sitting.

We know dependency on any one channel can be risky. And while OTAs help put heads in beds, they don’t help in the long term to build relationships with your travelers to keep them coming back again and again.

Diversifying where and how you’re winning business is the first step to becoming less dependant on any single channel. The goal? Reach new travelers, and reach them in a better way.

Javier offered a few tips to start:

“The online world has changed and small destinations and hotels can now compete with the big guys. A well-developed website, strong SEO plan and social media strategy can help brands of all sizes get their fair share of the market.”

Another way? Advocacy. Arguably one of the most compelling ways to make an introduction, advocacy lets travelers to your region or hotel deliver an authentic perspective to a like-minded audience—by the thousands.

Rather than relying on the consumer to discover your marketing (or vice versa), those who’ve lived the experience are sharing the most memorable aspects with people they know. Trust comes built in, so the message is delivered clearly and effectively.

Writing the stories of the Caribbean

Not only is advocacy a remarkable tool for telling the story, (rather the stories,) of every Caribbean destination, it piggybacks on what the market is doing as a whole: inspiring new travelers by giving those who visit an opportunity to share their dream vacation—and those best equipped to do just that are arriving on the islands by the hour.

Stories matter: what hotels can learn from content marketers at large

Forrester defines content marketing as:

“A marketing strategy where brands create interest, relevance and relationships with customers by producing, curating and sharing content that addresses specific customer needs and delivers visible value.”

Notice that it’s more than just creating content to put in front of your guests. It’s creating effective content with a purpose—to educate and inspire.

And when it comes to this strategy, in particular, hoteliers can take cues from brands across every industry. From the most extreme examples like Red Bull TV to the more subtle like Leadpages, they all have one thing is common: incredible content marketing and storytelling.

The case for better content

There’s no shortage of content out there on the internet. Just about everyone is creating it. But is it effective? It’s critical to measure if your content marketing is working. To do this, you need to define what success is from the start. What metrics are important to your hotel? What are the wins (both large and small) to get you there?

Without a clear plan in place, it’s easy to fall into a trap of creating more content rather than creating content that’s actually effective at meeting your goals. Remember the endgame here—create interest, relevance and relationships with your guests.

According to Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, there’s no one way to do just that. But she does offer a few suggestions to consider for your next piece:

  • Focus on empathy and experiences
  • Focus on relevant and inspiring stories
  • Focus on making it useful

Great content = Useful x Empathic x Inspirational

It’s important to note that all three factors are needed. Without one, the system (and it’s effectiveness) fails.

The case for storytelling

The medium you use to distribute your work and even what you define as useful or relevant is completely dependent on your brand, guests and business goals. For hoteliers, in particular, stories have an important role to play.

Stories help build powerful connections with guests, creating loyalty and trust that can make a hotel stand out from the competition. Let’s dig into why.

Stories are useful

For centuries, humans have told stories to share information and teach important lessons. Over time they shape our perceptions and beliefs, whether that’s about individuals, food, political views, or even your hotel.

As your story is cultivated, it develops into a powerful means for future travelers to learn about your hotel and the experiences your property has to offer in an authentic way. When all of these things come together, that’s when your guest is ready to book.

Stories are empathetic

Your guests are the core characters of your hotel’s story and they have relevance to the people they know—future travelers perfect for your hotel. It’s hard for these prospective guests to identify with a building. But your guests’ perspectives offer an authentic connection that resonates. They’ll breathe life into your hotel with messages that traditional advertising can’t touch.

Don’t just take my word for it. Robert McKee, regarded as one of the best brand storytellers, said in this interview, “When a story stars a consumer, there’s a kind of natural empathy. That character is a human being, just like me.”

Stories are inspirational

Stories engage consumers, pulling them in to participate in the conversation, rather than telling them what to think. Plus, stories evoke emotions, and emotions inspire us to take action.

Just remember that authenticity matters here. Travelers see right through content that’s not authentic and you’re running the risk of losing valuable credibility with your audience.


Brands across every industry recognize that storytelling is an effective avenue for marketing. It captures what today’s consumers want: useful, empathetic and inspirational content. For the hospitality industry, adapting this mindset while enlisting the help of your guests will be a win-win for your hotel.

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The Pines Resort hits major milestone as hotel is introduced to over 100,000 travelers with Flip.to

Advocacy platform drives revenue, marketing, and even off-season success for lakeside resort

ORLANDO, FL — August 08, 2016 — Flip.to, the advocacy platform for hotels has attracted a massive audience of over 100,000 travelers for The Pines Resort in just the first year, while boosting the resort’s brand with compelling, co-created stories from their guests.

 

A mountain lodge nestled the Sierra National Forest near Yosemite National Park, The Pines Resort launched Flip.to in August of 2015. The property has seen enormous success, reaching this major milestone in less than 12 months. Flip.to has driven over 5,000 unique site visitors back to The Pines Resort’s hotel website, converting 450 warm leads and over 130 booked room nights for the hotel—and growing.

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Lauri R., past guest at The Pines Resort.

“There’s no better way to learn about our scenic experiences at the resort than through a friend or family member—someone you know and trust,” noted Mark Choe, Director of Business Development at The Pines Resort. Choe went on to add, “Our guests are sharing everything from incredible mountain views and lakeside watersports, to exploring our area’s national parks. Flip.to lets us capture these amazing stories and use them to engage future travelers. The return on our investment far exceeded our initial expectations, even helping drive our most successful shoulder season to date.”

The Flip.to platform has thoughtful touch points throughout the entire guest journey, bettering the conversation hotels have with guests from well before they stay until long after they leave. Flip.to lets guests share everything from their excitement for an upcoming trip to the favorite moment of their stay, tracking the entire conversion funnel down to how many travelers convert. The result is a huge driver of traffic and warm leads—potential guests who fall into a pool of like-minded travelers with similar interests and purchasing habits as the advocates for the hotel.

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The Pines’s Photo Explorer turns memorable guest moments into highly engaging interactions with every type of site visitor.

“I’ve been amazed at the stories our guests capture, and it’s been even more exciting to see that when combined, they shape a candid story of our property,” emphasized Choe.

The Pines Resort inspires new audiences of travelers worldwide with Photo Explorer, a powerful digital experience by Flip.to that tells a rich story of the hotel through the compelling experiences shared by their guests. It showcases a library of authentic content that is an entirely new look at the hotel. Plus, with the recent launch of Vision AI—a new feature by Flip.to that uses artificial intelligence to let hotels better understand and curate content—hotels have insight on image attributes, colors and more, with the ability to filter and source content in seconds.

“With Flip.to, The Pines Resort collects authentic content from their guests detailing the highlight of their trip. Moments like these become introductions with worldwide reach when guests share to friends and family.” said Deborah Moses, Senior Director of Sales, Americas at Flip.to. “Not only do these warm introductions drive site traffic, they help convert warm leads for the hotel inspiring more travelers to book direct.”

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David M., past guest at The Pines Resort.

Tucked within towering pines alongside Bass Lake, the Pines Resort accommodations reflect a contemporary mountain décor inspired by the scenic, natural surroundings. Guests choose between 84 inviting mountain chalets, 20 deluxe lakefront suites or two private, fully-furnished houses that feature stunning forest or lakefront views and are within easy walking distance of the lake, the resort’s restaurants, recreational activities and retail shops. To reserve a stay, visit http://www.BassLake.com, or call 800-350-7463.

Hotels vs. OTAs: the issue isn’t what you think it is

At Flip.to, we’re constantly working with people in the industry that inspire us. Here’s a special post from our own team member, originally featured on LinkedIn Pulse. Looking to collaborate? Get in touch and let’s do something amazing together.

It’s virtually impossible to read hospitality headlines nowadays without seeing at least one piece on how hotels can “take back control” from OTAs. A noble pursuit indeed but do hotels know what sort of “control” it is they’re trying to take back? I would argue the answer to that is no in most cases.

Let’s look quickly at what OTAs are designed to do and why they’re good at it. OTAs are conversion machines. They bring in massive amounts of traffic and then excel at converting that traffic into room nights, car rentals, airline tickets, etc.

They’re able to do this because they’re better at getting consumer attention than hotels are and their websites are better at selling than hotel websites are.

Expedia spent, collectively across all of its brands, nearly $3 billion on marketing in 2014. If they’re willing to put that kind of money into the marketing aethers then it’s a sure bet they’re serious about converting that traffic when it lands on their sites.

Beyond that they’ve also invested heavily in keeping those customers coming back. They’ve accomplished this through a loyalty program, long-term nurturing, and a purchasing/discovery experience that favors the user. Not one of these three things is beyond the ability of any hotel reading this.

In most cases when I read these articles about wresting control from the OTAs the focus is on share of revenue and room nights. How can hotels shift more of that into their ecosystem? The issue with this “control” narrative is that it’s focused on symptoms and not the causal factors mentioned above.

Share of attention

As a hotel, it can be overwhelming trying to compete for the fleeting attention of travelers. Never before in human history have so many sources been competing for a person’s attention. OTAs are good at this because they have scale and budget. They can be in most places the consumer cares about, but not everywhere.

For hotels this means competing in spaces where OTAs are not yet part of the equation, and via means unavailable to them. To achieve this the hotel needs to be in front of the guest before that person is even in the travel-planning mindset. It’s better to stand out early than to be part of an arbitrary sorting algorithm on a third-party website.

On top of this, social media is so underutilized by hotels it’s hard to believe it’s actually 2016. This is a low-cost platform that can drive massive value for the guest both pre- and post-stay and yet more often than not I see hotels sending people there versus collecting traffic from those sites.

Experiences designed to sell

OTAs are good at selling. They’re really, really good. That’s because they don’t really care that much about which product someone buys, just that they buy any product while they’re on their site. That’s their advantage, money notwithstanding.

Conversely, for the average independent hotel, they have a single product to offer. Sure there are different rate plans, add-ons, packages, etc. In the end though the guest can only buy that single experience. That being the case, why is it that most hotel websites feel and function like digital billboards? It’s like, “hey, you’re in my shop but here’s an ad for my shop anyway.”

Bulleted amenity lists, professional photos of rooms, and canned descriptions of the product abound. It’s incumbent upon the hotel to nurture that visitor down the path to becoming a guest. Hotels can provide insight into the experience the guest can expect unlike any OTA possibly can.

Remember, the OTA is putting piles of hotels in front of the consumer. That person is there for options.

When a potential guest lands on a hotel’s website something has already grabbed her attention and she’s interested. Give her something worth her time, not a product spec sheet.

And on the subject of time, the importance of design cannot be overstated. Imagine if, instead of feeling like work, learning about a hotel was an experience in and of itself. An experience that’s just a taste of what the guest can expect during a stay.

That’s the sort of “control” that wins the day. Winning more share of attention and designing experiences that convert will ensure more business comes direct. But it has to be earned, not taken back.

Travel Trends that Matter: Insight from Flip.to and GCommerce

At HITEC we collaborated with Google and GCommerce to discuss up-and-coming travel marketing trends. Hosted at La Louisiane of New Orleans Hotel Collection French Quarter fame, it was an incredible opportunity to share what’s driving hospitality today. Guest experience, content marketing and personalization were the topics at hand. Explore more below from Chris Jackson, GCommerce President & Partner, and myself. Enjoy!

GCommerce & Flip.to at HITEC
Richard Dunbar and Chris Jackson give their presentations on emerging travel marketing trends.

Travel Trends that Matter By Richard Dunbar, Flip.to Director of Partnerships

Hotels are facing a set of competing interests in the market that enjoy the benefits of large budgets, ability to scale, and share of consumers’ attention. These competing interests have invested heavily in designing user experiences that keep consumers engaged throughout the planning process, ultimately converting more business.

OTAs and sharing sites such as AirBnB are spending massive amounts of money to capture and retain share of attention, driving interested shoppers into compelling experiences that are designed to convert.

To combat this, it’s imperative that hotels focus their efforts to be in the places where OTAs and sharing sites are not strong. These are the low-cost, high-reach channels where hotels have a competitive advantage. The tools of that game are:

  • Guest advocacy
  • Nurturing past guests
  • Content marketing

Content marketing uses a hotel’s intimate knowledge of the destination but combined with guest advocacy it can be massively amplified. Content can be crowdsourced, and the potential exposure can be exponentially magnified.

This also helps to address the precipitous decline in organic reach via social channels like Facebook. User-generated content, shared by the user, means hotels are able to reach an audience far beyond the typical means.

Combined, these strategies ensure hotels can reach and inspire guests at the right time and in the right way. Aspiration and experience are the key competitive advantages in today’s market.

Hospitality marketing trends that matter by Chris Jackson, GCommerce President & Partner

Rising Cost per Acquisition

Phenomenal growth won’t hide your rising cost per acquisition (CPA) any longer, so it is critical to understand and manage your CPA. How can you combat a rising CPA? Adjust your KPIs and the way you measure them:

  • Measure holistically
  • Measure on an attribution model
  • Measure from an online & offline perspective
  • Evaluate your data to see what works and what does not
  • Regain control of your inventory and pricing
  • Understand and determine your appropriate media mix

Predictive Analytics

Accurately predict customer behavior and buying patterns, and as a result, predict demand through Predictive Analytics.

Collective and shared data is far more powerful and useful than a single data report on a single hotel. Consider who you can partner with – airlines, golf clubs, spas, retail providers and your local tourism marketing board are all contenders.

Personalization

Connect with your audience! Focus less on selling your product and focus more on telling a story – sell the experience.

Micro-Moments

Billions of times per day, consumers turn to their search engine browser on their phone for “I want to know”, “I want to go”, “I want to do”, and “I want to buy” moments. Be prepared and targeted in your marketing efforts for when your product is presented during a micro-moment.


GCommerce is a digital marketing agency that works closely with hotel, resort, casino and restaurant clients to develop everything from website design to social media campaigns. Be sure to visit their site to learn more about their services and explore their work.

Flip.to sparks huge reach and return for SoHo’s Hotel Hugo

Advocacy platform inspires travelers worldwide, introducing hotel to a warm audience over 75,000

ORLANDO, FL — May 18, 2016 — Hotel Hugo, an independent, luxury hotel in New York City’s historic SoHo neighborhood, has tapped Flip.to to reach a massive network of global travelers perfect for their hotel. Since going live on the platform in January of 2015, the property has reached a warm audience of over 75,000 worldwide, and the advocacy platform has become a pivotal strategy in the hotel’s operations.

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Hotel Hugo Lobby

The long-term impact of Flip.to has been huge. In addition to helping the 122-room boutique property get introduced to entirely new audiences every day, they’ve seen a boost in unique site visitors and have started capturing warm leads through the personal recommendations of their guests at a scale never before possible.

“It’s simple, yet impactful,” noted Kelly Sanders, Director of Revenue for Hotel Hugo. “We’re building richer relationships with our guests while receiving introductions to their network of friends & family. There’s no better way to welcome a new guest than through these interactions.”

Flip.to taps into the massive reach of their guests, allowing Hotel Hugo to reach an enormous but highly targeted audience of potential future travelers in an authentic and trusted way. “Flip.to really is the total package for platform and service,” she went on to add, “it all just works, and they have a great team behind an outstanding product.”

The move to implement Flip.to has been part of a comprehensive technology approach by Hotel Hugo. Flip.to is seamlessly integrated with every part of their hotel, from marketing to revenue and even operations. Sanders attributes this to well thought-out touch points for both the guest and hotel.

“Our guests are at the forefront of all of our technology considerations, especially since our influence on the guest experience extends well beyond when visitors are on property. The design of Flip.to lets us engage guests and their friends & family in the best way possible. On site, we can easily track results, and even identify advocates when they’re on property, making for a better stay. It’s changed our approach to how we operate.”

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Bar Hugo Rooftop

For independents, unique experiences are key drivers to compete, with Hotel Hugo’s SoHo urban retreat being no different. “Hotels must distinguish themselves in the market. This can be an even bigger challenge with a small team,” said Raul Vega, Senior Director of Sales at Flip.to. “Flip.to offers huge value to disciplines across your hotel, really bolstering everything you’re doing today. Hotel Hugo is the perfect example, and continues to grow with the platform.”

Travelers seeking a stylish New York City neighborhood with timeless appeal can look no further than Hotel Hugo. A seamless blend of contemporary luxury and bohemian chic, the luxurious design pays tribute to the storied history of Lower Manhattan and enduring art-meets-industrial edge. Offering 122 guest rooms and suites, state-of-the-art meeting spaces, and a sleek rooftop bar for cocktails overlooking the stunning Hudson River, Hotel Hugo is SoHo’s most sophisticated urban retreat. To reserve a stay, visit www.HotelHugoNY.com or call 212-608-4848.

Winning at experiential travel: combining data and storytelling to compel your guests

At Flip.to, we’re constantly working with people in the industry that inspire us. Here’s a special post from our own team, originally featured by our partner and hospitality leader, NAVIS. Looking to collaborate? Get in touch and let’s do something amazing together.

Experiential travel has taken off. Guests are seeking travel that inspires, and are looking to buy into more than just a place to stay. For hotels, this is a good thing. NAVIS among others has shown that as the desire for the “experiential” grows, so grows the perceived economic value, revealing a big opportunity for increased revenue.

So how do hotels tap into this phenomenon? The key is in truly understanding the guest journey. The path to travel starts well before a guest is ready to book, and the inspiration and research phases are primed for influencing travel decisions.

Once you understand these key phases, you can immediately begin executing a more effective marketing strategy for your hotel. Two tools stand out as a powerful means to an end—stories and data.

Why? Numbers and data provide the unbiased and objective view of what’s going on. Stories on the other hand are real, authentic, and anecdotal experiences. As hotel marketers you have the ability to marry these two concepts for your most powerful hotel marketing yet.

The path to travel—inspiration with stories

An experience shared by a friend. An upcoming anniversary. A wow moment. These are the true triggers that spark interest in travel. From there, the search begins.

So how do you capture a potential traveler here? Inspire them from the beginning.

Not only is this possible, but it’s what future travelers expect—and are willing to pay more for. Reaching and inspiring guests at the right time is critical for hotel marketers who continue to want to generate the most revenue.

This holds even more true when you consider that research from Expedia shows users visit 38 sites before making a travel decision over the course of about 45 days before actually booking. In fact, according to Travel Weekly, travelers are spending 25% more time researching and booking hotels than flights.

This drives home the importance of getting in front of your guests in the beginning, and is the reason stories—especially those from your guests—are hugely powerful in inspiring and influencing future stays. They’re authentic and show real emotion. Stories are more compelling than any ad, both to the friends and family of your past guests and curious on-lookers to your site.

Studies have shown that stories are not only more persuasive, they’re also over 20 times more memorable than facts. The emotional component is not only compelling, but it triggers real curiosity, piquing a user’s interest to explore more.

Using data to determine context

The key for us as hotel marketers? Know what story to tell, and when. And here’s where data comes in.

Know each of your guests to personalize service, and send meaningful marketing communications that enhance the relationship over time. By capturing the right attributes and preferences, you’ll be able to deliver the best message. Choose the right channels based on your demographic, and even complement these efforts by tapping into your guests to distribute content and to introduce you to future travelers.

Let’s look at a quick example.

Google’s 2014 Road to the Traveler’s Decision reported that most families planning travel are undetermined when they begin thinking about their trip. In fact, over 50% were considering multiple destinations or were completely undecided.

What’s this mean? For one thing, family trip planners are a big opportunity for your hotel to inspire travel before the search begins. Start by using data to analyze trends in which your past and potential family travelers stay. Know what appeals to this segment for your hotel, learn preferences and behaviors, and lastly identify a group of potential leads.

Data provides context. You can easily identify and know what to share in order to have the best conversation with this demographic. Authentic stories provide the compelling content.


Together, stories and data will not only let you have the best conversation with your guests, they’ll also help you reach and convert travelers who are truly a fit for your hotel. You’ll build better brand affinity for a lifetime of stays, and will truly be connecting with your guests.

Adrift Hotel and Spa reaches over half a million through captivating guest stories captured with Flip.to

Advocacy platform bolsters marketing and revenue, builds affinity, and inspires new guests for Pacific Northwest property

ORLANDO, FL — April 13, 2016Adrift Hotel and Spa, an eclectic boutique hotel in the heart of Long Beach, Washington, has tapped the Flip.to advocacy platform to attract an enormous new audience of travelers, while enhancing their brand with compelling, authentic guest stories.

 

Since launching February of 2014, the property has seen tremendous success, and has since reached a new audience of over 500,000. This is in addition to converting over 4,000 warm leads for the hotel to nurture down the path to becoming a future guest, leading to thousands of booked room nights for the boutique hotel.

“The staff were all so friendly and welcoming. We loved the location and the proximity to the beach and trails. Our dog was spoiled with love and attention, can't wait to return.” — Sara A., past guest at Adrift Hotel and Spa
— Sara A., past guest at Adrift Hotel and Spa

“We’ve gained the attention of travelers worldwide,” noted Linh DePledge, Operations & Marketing Director for Adrift Hotel. “The Flip.to advocacy platform has been key in driving and converting new guests, especially in the competitive Long Beach area.”

Adrift’s success on the platform can in large part be attributed to the implementation of Photo Explorer, a digital experience built to captivate and inspire new audiences of global travelers worldwide, while letting the hotel tell a richer story full of authentic guest experiences. The platform not only drives traffic and leads, but also captures hugely captivating guest content for the hotel to infuse into their online and other marketing efforts.

Adrift Hotel’s Photo Explorer turns memorable guest moments into highly engaging interactions with every type of site visitor.
Adrift Hotel’s Photo Explorer turns memorable guest moments into highly engaging interactions with every type of site visitor.

“The guest stories we’ve captured using Flip.to have brought a genuine voice to our online presence, while boosting traffic from our ideal travelers,” DePledge went on to add. “Whether someone is looking for a dog-friendly property, a romantic getaway, or a place where they have the freedom to enjoy the outdoors, the Flip.to platform has unveiled some incredibly fun, personable, and even heartwarming experiences. The quality of this guest-created content is second-to-none.”

Adrift Hotel and Spa creates unique experiences that cater to the individual, giving visitors a true sense of place. The Flip.to platform uses advocacy to tap into these unique experiences, letting guests share everything from their excitement for an upcoming trip to the favorite moment of their stay with friends and family, tracking all traffic back to the hotel website. As guest networks are full of like-minded individuals often with similar tastes in travel, the platform is the perfect fit for independent and boutique properties like Adrift seeking to reach the right guest.

Content provided by guests is used in Adrift Hotel’s digital marketing initiatives, including their website.
Content provided by guests is used in Adrift Hotel’s digital marketing initiatives, including their website.

“Adrift Hotel have captured some of the most aesthetic and inspiring guest stories we’ve seen,” said Deborah Moses, Senior Director of Sales, Americas at Flip.to. “Most importantly, they’re real experiences from actual guests. They’re aspirational, but also attainable, which truly resonates with the audiences of future travelers they attract.”

Adrift Hotel is an eclectic, modern property with an urban-industrial vibe that borrows cues from the local peninsula landscape. The hotel offers a diverse range of packages, from clam digging, to beachside bonfires and even dog-friendly getaways. This is in addition to complimentary cruiser bikes to explore, locally sourced food and cocktails, and free live music nightly at their onsite restaurant, Pickled Fish. To reserve a stay, visit www.AdriftHotel.com, or call 800-561-2456.

Unlock our new e-course: Reignite your loyal base

Together, loyalty and advocacy spark huge return for repeat business. Enroll in our e-course to learn how to harness recognition and extend personal interactions with your guests.

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Turn loyal followers from simply point-redeemers into a marketing powerhouse.






With a new lesson sent to your inbox each week for 5 weeks, we’ll cover the industry shift towards aspirational marketing and what it means for hoteliers, plus how to attract, inspire and keep loyal guests.

As you’ll soon see, loyalty done right fosters advocacy, and the two are a more powerful than the sum of their parts. Each read takes only 5–8 minutes, so, you’ll be able to apply these lessons and lift your loyalty program to new heights in no time.

Join us as we explore more in-depth lessons with every installment.

Get enrolled


Meet the instructor

Profile Pic

Richard Dunbar

Director of Partnerships

Hi there—Richard here at Flip.to. I’ve been in the hospitality space for over 15 years, including several at one of the largest providers of independent loyalty reward programs worldwide. After picking up my fair share on loyalty, I’ve been able to put it all together with revenue management, e-commerce, and now advocacy. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you as you come aboard.

40 percent of guests become ambassadors for San Francisco’s newly minted Hotel Zephyr with Flip.to

Star of the revitalized Fisherman’s Wharf reaches 200,000 future travelers in first 6 months of operation

ORLANDO, FL — February 8, 2016 — Flip.to, the advocacy platform for hotels that captivates and inspires new audiences of travelers, has helped Hotel Zephyr amplify its reach to over 200,000 potential new guests in only six months. Hotel Zephyr is Davidson Hotels & Resorts’ first property within its new lifestyle & luxury collection, Pivot, and one of San Francisco’s newest boutique hotels.

The Yard at Hotel Zephyr
The Yard at Hotel Zephyr

The hotel has seen enormous guest engagement since partnering with Flip.to, which coincided with the hotel’s opening after a multi-million dollar renovation in the summer of 2015. Over 40% of guests have shared their travel experience with their network of family and friends, driving quality traffic back to the property’s website, and introducing Hotel Zephyr’s playful maritime concept to thousands of leads for future travelers.

“When launching a new brand, momentum is critical,” noted Harry Carr, director of Revenue Management for Hotel Zephyr. “Our guests have become ambassadors for our hotel, helping us connect with other travelers seeking Hotel Zephyr’s spirited atmosphere. Flip.to unveiled a completely new channel to identify and reach the right guests for our property. It’s been an outstanding complement to our revenue and marketing efforts.”

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The Lobby at Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr’s transformation, aimed at travelers seeking a fresh, lively and one-of-a-kind San Francisco experience, not only included a complete redesign and renovation of the hotel, but also consisted of a newly launched website and tech-forward approach to the property’s digital presence. Flip.to was a key component of this effort, increasing guest engagement, integrating social mediums and driving loyalty, while also shifting attention away from online travel agencies.

The advocacy platform has attracted thousands of new visitors back to Hotel Zephyr’s website through the warm introductions of their guests. Each guest is greeted by distinct, unique experiences designed to convert, taking these curious onlookers down the path to becoming future loyal guests.

“Thanks to connectivity in the digital world, your guests have more influence than ever before,” said Debi Moses, Senior Director of Sales for Flip.to. “Flip.to gives hotels the ability to tap into that influence by letting them share their travel experience with their personal connections—a like-minded network of travelers who are perfect for your hotel. Their combined reach truly gives you global exposure.”

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Guest Quarter at Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr features 361 stylishly appointed guest quarters and suites. The property’s artistic design brings a new dimension to the upscale vibe that defines San Francisco. The only waterfront hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, guests enjoy stunning panoramas of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge. For reservations, visit www.HotelZephyrSF.com, or contact Reservations at reservations@hotelzephyrsf.com.