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.

Flip.to on the road: property managers winning with OPMA

A big focus at Flip.to in 2017 has been better understanding the ins-and-outs of the vacation rental market. It’s a segment within our industry that faces all of the same, yet also entirely different challenges than other accommodations providers.

Issues range from regulations and split ownership, to homeowners’ associations and conflicting marketing messaging due to third parties. Navigating that space adds layers of complexity that any operator could easily do without.

When we learned about the Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA) and its efforts to advocate for property managers, we were immediately intrigued. Flip.to became members in short order and participated in our first OPMA summit in our hometown of Orlando this past November.

What we took away is that OPMA has made great strides for property managers—and are working hard on loads more to be done. Topics covered included recent legal victories, paving the way for a better guest experience, all the way to the importance of adopting a mobile-first approach, well, everything.

Our resident video-documentarian and fellow Flip.to contributor to the blogosphere, Hunter Garrett, joined me at the OPMA conference and put together these highlights of our 2-days at Reunion Resort. Enjoy!


Advocacy at work: Reunion Resort taps into inspiration with Flip.to

At Flip.to, we’ve made our careers in hospitality. A lot of our customers are industry folks who we have a long history with and we’ve developed a lot of friendships along the way.

Reunion Resort’s Carolina Ousley is one of those friends. She’s been a great leader in marketing since we’ve known her. Our own Richard Dunbar paid her a visit recently during OPMA’s Executive Summit. (More on that to come soon.)

Carolina had some kind words to say, and we’re just ecstatic to share them. Take a peek:


Feel free to give Carolina a follow here. And if you’re interested in how advocacy is a game-changer for hotels & resorts, let’s chat. 20 minutes is usually all it takes to kick-off.

(And since we know busy hoteliers don’t have too much time to spare, we do our best to make those minutes as fun as possible.)

Hotel Tybee strikes Gold at 2017 Adrian Awards with Flip.to

Customer success: we can’t stop talking about it. That’s because the results earned by travel brands on our platform are the biggest measure of our success.

So, when other people start talking about it too? Well—we can’t help but celebrate.

That’s what we’re doing today with Hotel Tybee, who we’re proud to be recognized alongside for taking home a 2017 HSMAI Gold Adrian Award in Digital Marketing! Hotel Tybee’s success on the platform stood out among a crowded field of more than 1,100 entries.

So what’s advocacy at work look like with Hotel Tybee? When you see the numbers, it’s clear why the judges took note. Take a peek below:

In 7 months and 898 advocates, the property earned:

Hotel Tybee Success

Hotel Tybee’s advocates drive incredibly warm traffic and high conversion for pennies on the dollar.

Brett L. Loehr, CHA and General Manager to Hotel Tybee had this to say about the platform:

“Today’s reality is that it’s more expensive and competitive to earn guests. Add to that other investments we’ve made in our hotel following three hurricanes just this year, and the importance of growing profits without sacrificing hospitality for our guests comes even more into focus.

We’ve got a strong marketing team who together with Flip.to have done both. For one thing, we’re getting in front of interested travelers in the best way—our existing guests—and the numbers tell the story for what follows.”

Advocacy is a potent marketing channel that properties like Hotel Tybee have unlocked. With trust built in, quality of the audience is a natural lead into great performance.

Stacia Miele, Online Marketing Director echoed Brett’s sentiment.

“Hotel digital marketing isn’t a matter of doing one thing really well—it’s doing a lot of things really well that come together into a strategy that works for your property. Flip.to has been a great add to our stack, with the value of this new marketing channel going beyond lower cost-of-acquisition.”

“All in all—we’ve been huge fans since the beginning,” Brett went on to add.

For a peek at just a handful of what Hotel Tybee’s storyteller’s are sharing, tune in below:


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.

Stories that inspire: my travel bucket list

I remember growing up it was nearly impossible to get our entire family to decide on a destination. That’s because we all had different ideas of the perfect getaway. In the end, my mom usually called the shots. Today though, I’m calling the shots (sorry, Mom.)

Working at Flip.to for two years now, I’ve seen countless guest stories that inspire me to travel. Below are just a few of my favorites that made my must-do bucket list.

Alyeska Resort – Girdwood, Alaska

“Ski day with a view! Beer apreś ski, who would say no?” — Marlene P.

Hit the slopes

I’ve only been skiing once, and it wasn’t pretty. However, when I took a peek at the stories from Alyeska Resort’s guests, I can’t help but want to give it another shot. Plus, Jeff, our CMO and seasoned skier, shared some of his pointers over so I’m feeling pretty confident about my new moves.

Turtle Bay Resort – Kahuku, Hawaii

“Where better to make family memories with our kids. If summer has to end, this was the way to end it.” — Christine B.

Catch a sunset

When I look at the guest stories from Turtle Bay Resort, I already begin to feel like I’m on vacation—they’re that inspiring.

Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters – Grand Marais, Minnesota

“I liked the fact that Gunflint took care of everything and provided first rate equipment.” — David B.

Canoe Gunflint

Gunflint is a place my entire family would enjoy (even my mom). I’d have to take a trip out to Judge C.R. Magney State Park and snag a few photos before taking these canoes out for a sunset ride.

Red Mountain Resort – Ivins, Utah

“I loved all the people we met, the staff and the variety of activities to choose from. My favorite day was the day we went canyoneering. It was so much fun!” — Lana F.

Explore Utah

If you asked me lately where I wanted to travel to the most, I probably said Utah. Its four national parks are a photographer’s dream and have been on my list to go since first taking up the hobby. This photo from Lana, a recent guest of Red Mountain Resort, is the exact view I want to capture.

Hotel El Ganzo – San José del Cabo, Mexico

“An amazing destination experience! Luxurious, sophisticated, quiet, calm and totally cool! Best view, sleep, breathing, dining, sunset ever! I cannot wait to go back – please hold a room for me.” — Jeanette G.

Relax in Mexico

Hotel El Ganzo is a creative and artistic getaway that looks right up my alley. The incredible views, pool, rooms, food and hospitality makes this an easy pick for me.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort – Kiawah Island, South Carolina

“We loved the family feel atmosphere, the service and personnel were fantastic. We will back again.” — Monica C.

Play a round

The perfect vacation wouldn’t be without a round at a pristine golf course. From what travelers share about their stay at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, I’m already looking up tee times.

Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort – Newport, Curaçao

““I went diving for the first time with my newly padi qualified 16-year-old daughter and I took this picture. It was a lovely day!” — James R.

Swim with dolphins

Topping off the list would have to be a scuba excursion at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. (I mean, what good is being scuba certified if I’m not diving with dolphins?)

While these stories have inspired my bucket list, they’re doing so much more than that each and every day for these hotels. They’re reaching warm audiences, and helping introduce entirely new audiences of travelers, (better than any stock photo could).

For more on our take on content, check out the video below:


Looking for more inspiration? Venture on to our last collection of stories that inspire. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to June’s stories

100 days of advocacy: massive, new audiences and travel stories shared worldwide for Thomas Beach Vacations

We love helping hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals get introduced around the world thanks to their travelers. Guests relive their favorite moments, their friends and family learn about their candid experiences in the best way possible, and the properties earn warm introductions to new folks along the way. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

Today, we’re highlighting one company that recently celebrated a special milestone—100 days shining on the Flip.to platform! 🕶

Growth — A natural result of advocacy

In just their first 100 days, Thomas Beach Vacations has seen the incredible impact of the advocacy platform for their vacation rentals.

244 of their visitors shared about their stay, personally introducing Thomas Beach Vacations to over 225,000 friends and family—like-minded travelers across the globe perfectly matched for their properties.

Thomas Beach Vacations

More than 23,000 of these travelers took the extra step of visiting Thomas Beach’s website, converting 1,700+ into warm leads with the help of Flip.to.

With over 350 vacation rentals in North Myrtle Beach, beautiful beaches, and warm ocean waters are just some of the experiences Thomas Beach Vacations provides guests at any of their oceanfront homes, luxury condos, and incredible villas.

Thomas Beach Vacations

The big picture?

For each advocate that shared about the high point of their stay, Thomas Beach Vacations were introduced to 923 new travelers in the best way possible and earned 6 warm leads.

On top of that, Thomas Beach Vacations earned the first chance to nurture these leads into future guests and capture more travelers booking direct. And the best part? With Flip.to the impact was tracked in real-time—so the team saw the growth each and every day.

Thomas Beach Vacations

It’s also worth mentioning that Myrtle Beach is South Carolina’s premier beach destination.

From renting boogie boards and playing in the surf, to catching an early morning sunrise or just soaking up some Vitamin D, the memories you make while staying at one of Thomas Beach Vacations hundreds of rental accommodations last a lifetime.

Don’t just take our word for it

Thomas Beach Vacations

Check out this story from Michael C., a recent guest of Thomas Beach Vacations.

Michael shared this genuine moment with 5,417 of his family and friends—and Thomas Beach Vacations was at the center.

Not only did Michael help Thomas Beach Vacations tell a richer narrative for their property, but 30 of those connections visited the Thomas website from these personal introductions, with several claiming an offer on a future stay.

Ever-growing impact

As you can see, the power of advocacy is unmatched.

In fact, according to Forbes, word of mouth marketing is “the one that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales to your company.” With Flip.to, Thomas Beach Vacations is harnessing this strength daily. And the best part? It never stops growing.

Stay tuned to learn how this story and hundreds more live on, continuing to help attract and convert future travelers.

In the meantime, if your vacation rental property is ready to switch on advocacy, let’s chat. We’d love to help you top your goals (and promise a fun conversation to kick-off and a simple process to launch!)

Stories that inspire: our favorite guest moments from June

Every guest story is an opportunity for a hotel to unveil something new. Stories reach and inspire—they’re truly memorable, sometimes magical, and a lot of times, a bit of fun.

In a way, we’ve fallen in love with guest stories, and every day see firsthand the impact they’re making for hotels. That’s why we’re sharing them with you! Check out a handful of our recent favorites below:

Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters —Top June 2017

Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters – Grand Marais, Minneapolis

“You guys were absolutely the best at guiding 3 rookies through the beauty of the Boundary Waters !” — Jaime R.

Explore Grand Marais

Jaime and his crew might be kayaking rookies, but the friendly, knowledgeable staff at Gunflint Lodge made all the difference. Plus, Jaime has joined over 70 fellow guests in Gunflint’s current photo contest, helping tell compelling travel stories to over 40,000 friends and family members worldwide.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba —Top June 2017

Banyan Tree Mayakoba – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

“While at Banyan Tree we spent a day with a Mayan family. They showed us ruins, we cooked a meal with them, and Amy showed them how to take pictures with her phone–much to the delight of the adorable children.” — Larry S.

Become a local

Larry and his family wanted the full local experience when they visited Banyan Tree Mayakoba. Not only did they get the rich culture of Playa del Carmen, they captured memories like this one that will be cherished for a lifetime.

As for the staff at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, this delightful story helps shape insight into the local side for future travelers.

Beach Street Inn and Suites —Top June 2017

Beach Street Inn and Suites – Santa Cruz, California

“Having a great trip! Last trip as of a family of 3 before this little guy becomes a big brother in August! We highly recommend Beach Street Inn. It was our first stay and will definitely not be the last! We loved it…the location, the beautiful room and great customer service!” — Monica B.

Enjoy Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz has something to offer for all ages. Monica, along with 18 of her friends and relatives, shared to 907 friends and lead to 128 warm leads.

The Carlton Hotel —Top June 2017

The Carlton Hotel – Atascadero, California

“Super bloom wildflowers above Soda Lake create a technicolor world at Carrizo Plain National Monument.” — Sylvia D.

Take in the view

A peaceful moment captured during Sylvia’s stay at The Carlton Hotel speaks volume to the natural beauty that surrounds the property. She and her friends brought over 100 unique visitors back to the hotel’s site–the perfect demographic looking to escape on their next vacation.

Tanque Verde Ranch —Top June 2017

Tanque Verde Ranch – Tucson, Arizona

“Absolutely the best family vacation we’ve taken! For a short time, we were all able to leave our daily duties and enjoy a relaxing but engaging time together.” — Janette L.

Visit Tuscon

Janette, a recent guest of Tanque Verde Ranch, shared her favorite travel memory to a warm audience of adventure-loving friends. Tanque Verde Ranch is now at the center of a single story that has reached over 340 friends and relatives the perfect demographic for their resort.

Hotel Tybee —Top June 2017

Hotel Tybee – Tybee Island, Georgia

“Our kids were so excited to be at Tybee! They were “jumping for joy”!” — Kacie M.

Visit Tybee

Vacationers have escaped to Hotel Tybee for over 126 years! Now, after tapping into the advocacy platform for hotels, they’re telling a richer narrative to a massive, new audience of travelers. So far, 62 guests have shared their favorite moments to friends and family, reaching over 100,000 in just 12 days!

WorldQuest Orlando Resort —Top June 2017

WorldQuest Orlando Resort – Orlando, Florida

“We had such a great family vacation in Orlando. The service was 5 star, our condo was perfect. I seriously cannot say one negative thing about the hotel, it exceeded our expectations. And thank you for the shuttle service to Disney !” — Michael F.

Soak it in

A trip to Disney and exceptional service along the way is every reason to celebrate. Plus, you’re never too young to enjoy soaking up the sun poolside.

The Reef Coco Beach —Top June 2017

The Reef Coco Beach – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

“Beautiful sunrise at the Reef Coco Beach, doesn’t get any better than this!” — Dani M.

Relax a bit

What a wonderful way to start the day in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Dani was able to bring 274 unique site visitors back the resort’s site, leading to 32 warm leads that can be nurtured into future guests. Plus, her story joined 53 other finalists, all with unique stories to tell.

Check back next month for even more. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to May’s stories

Stories that inspire: our favorite guest moments from May

Every guest story is an opportunity for a hotel to unveil something new. Stories reach & inspire—they’re truly memorable, sometimes magical, and a lot of times, a bit of fun.

In a way, we’ve fallen in love with guest stories, and every day see firsthand the impact they’re making for hotels. That’s why we’re sharing them with you! Check out a handful of our recent favorites below:

Crystal Lodge – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Crystal Lodge — Whistler, British Columbia

“A little birdy told me that the hike to Joffree Lake wouldn’t be that difficult in the snow! However, definitely worth the picture perfect view.. what an amazing day waking up in the village & going for a day hike to this unbelievable lake.” — Alexis N.

Explore Whistler

Alexis, a recent guest of Crystal Lodge, shared her favorite travel memory to a warm audience of adventure-loving friends. Crystal Lodge is now at the center of a single story that has reached over 860 friends and relatives the perfect demographic for their resort.

Jamaica Inn – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Lahaina Shores Beach Resort — Lahaina, Hawaii

“I stayed at Lahaina Shores last year and took a drive up the coast where I stumbled upon this labyrinth at the end of Dragon Tooth trail at Makaluapuna point. I wanted to get a shot of the sunset behind the maze when dozens of people suddenly showed up. Apparently, Deepak Chopra had a spiritual retreat up at the Ritz-Carlton, and mentioned the maze to the audience. There went my secluded location, but the moment ended up being even better with so much Aloha and appreciation shared by everyone.” — Andrew W.

Discover Lahaina

Lahaina Shores is inspiring future travelers to choose their brand when guests share the best parts of their trip. This captivating experience brought to you by Andrew is doing just that.

The Osthoff Resort – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

The Osthoff Resort — Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

“We took our entire family to breakfast with Saint Nick. It just so happened that we received the most beautiful snowfall the night before. As a typical mom, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get these kids outside in the snow for a picture. It was a real life snow globe. Such a magical day, with memories we will cherish forever.” — Amy E.

Show some love

Amy shared this magical memory of a real-life snow globe that her family will cherish for a lifetime. Amy and her fellow guests are helping to tell a richer story for Osthoff Resort. They’re also amplifying their brand, collectively helping introduce Osthoff to 18,000 new travelers since launching in March.

Westgate Park City Resort & Spa – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Westgate Park City Resort & Spa — Park City, Utah

“Captured at 6:30am I love this shot of the hotel!” — Jean L.

Take in the view

Jean’s highlight from her recent stay at Westgate Park City Resort is not just a dream-worthy moment. Together, she and fellow guests have helped the resort tap into thousands of authentic introductions in less than three months—the best way possible to get in front of new travelers.

Crown Reef Beach Resort & Water Park – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Crown Reef Beach Resort & Water Park — Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“First time on the beach! His face says it all 🙂 making memories.” — Michelle O.

Visit Myrtle Beach

Crown Reef Beach Resort & Waterpark is receiving seriously good, personal introductions from guests like Michelle. No stock image comes close to telling such an inspiring story for the resort. (Did we also mention that Michelle’s story alone has reached an audience of over 1,000 friends and relatives?)

Jamaica Inn – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Jamaica Inn — Ochos Rios, Jamaica

“A view of Jamaica Inn’s boat during a perfect morning walk on the private beach”! – Elissa L.

Enjoy the view

We recently shared how Caribbean hotels are shining on the platform—it’s no secret why thanks to guests like Elissa to Jamaica Inn. She shared the view from her morning walk, driving over 361 travelers back to a personal experience on Jamaica Inn’s site.

Hotel El Ganzo – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Hotel El Ganzo — Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

“I loved the rooftop pool views straight to the ocean and adore the artistic flair splashed throughout the entire hotel reminding you of the past creatives who stayed at El Ganzo. From writers, artists, and musicians that come to enjoy this special artist in Residence program, this hotel is hip and unique. I love how quiet it feels.” — Melissa C.

Soak it in

Melissa’s highlight from her stay at El Ganzo is traveling. It gives her friends & family a glimpse into the Hotel El Ganzo experience—and it’s stories like these that attract new audiences and capture the attention of new travelers worldwide.

Avista Resort – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Avista Resort — North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“This is my niece who just turned 3. And we’ve talked for months with her about going to the for beach for “vacashe” and she was so excited to get there. Once she saw the big sand box she was in love and it was all we could do to get her to leave! Since being home she has asked several times when she can go back to the hotel and the big sand box! Loved the hotel even though it was over taken by college students, and all the staff we encountered was very helpful (specifically Dennis in the checking parking garage). Thanks for some great memories and we hope to see you again!” — Brittany L.

Relive special moments

Need we say more? There’s no better way to learn about Avista Resort than guests like Ashley sharing moments like these.

Adrift Hotel – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Adrift Hotel — Long Beach, Washington

“Labor Day weekend we stayed at the adrift. This was one evening out on the beach, enjoying the sunset with our pup!” — Curtis B.

Admire more

We often get asked, “How do I inspire more travelers?” We could spell it out, but it’s easy to see when you look at Adrift Hotel. Curtis and Adrift’s guests are sharing moments like this each and every day—authentic stories shared to new travelers by someone they know, love and trust.

Curtis alone helped Adrift earn over 70 warm leads. What’ a warm lead you may ask? We’ll tell you!

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort — St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

“I had the 4 chairs picture (empty chairs) as my background on my computer for an entire year waiting for the 4 of us to sit in them. Our 30th anniversary and our friends 10th anniversary. BEST days of our lives spending it at Bolongo Bay & Iggies. LOVE the view and people, breathtaking. Thanks for the memories and allowing us to fill those chairs.” — Renee E.

Relax a bit

We know, we just can’t get enough of the Caribbean!

Bolongo Bay Resort is making memories. Renee’s special story of her anniversary trip is just one. She shared it with over 650 friends and family—76 of whom showed real interest in coming back.

Hotel Wailea – A favorite May guest story from Flip.to

Hotel Wailea — Kihei, Hawaii

“This was our first day in paradise after flying from Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate our honeymoon!” — Sarah M.


Your advocates are powerful—they’ll introduce people around the globe to your destinations and hotels.

Sarah is one of those advocates for Hotel Wailea. She and her fellow guests are not only giving Hotel Wailea incredibly targeted reach to travelers a degree away, it’s at the fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Her story alone has already traveled to 2,000+ friends and family and counting.

Check back next month for even more. See any stories that stand out? Let us know!

Adventure back to April’s stories

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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Hospitality headlines: the massive growth of Airbnb and what it means for hoteliers

Airbnb is big in media, sweeping the airwaves and grabbing a huge share of attention across the web. But one topic in particular is close to home for hoteliers—a new Morgan Stanley report on their incredible growth from 2016 into the new year. It’s hit every news outlet in the hospitality sector and beyond, from Skift, to Tnooz, to Bloomberg.

According to the new report, Airbnb currently holds about 18–19% market penetration in the accommodation sector (up from 12% last year,) and is expected to grow to 23-25% over the course of the year. It’s being felt in both leisure and corporate travel, with nearly a fifth of both types being hosted by an Airbnb member.

The bottom line, hoteliers are feeling the pressure. But what else? OTAs aren’t. Tnooz reports that according to Morgan Stanley, almost half of respondents shifted stays away from traditional hotels, with the same outlook on the horizon for 2017.

What’s interesting is that this is a decidedly different message than the same Morgan Stanley report on Airbnb a year prior stating that, “we don’t see Airbnb materially impacting the hotel industry,” and, “Airbnb’s threat to the OTAs is larger and multifaceted.”

So why is the demand for Airbnb coming out of the pockets of hotels and not online travel agencies? OTAs have the tech and capital to keep up.

OTAs have big marketing budgets to compete for travelers’ attention at the moment of booking.

Add to this the ability to grow and develop their own alternative accommodations, and the OTAs are ready.

Take Expedia. In 2015, Expedia paid $3.9 billion for HomeAway, an Airbnb-like home rental platform, and in the same year also purchased Orbitz. In all, Expedia reported revenue increasing 33% last quarter.

Hoteliers have a competitive edge

The good news is that hoteliers can compete with Airbnb and OTAs. Here are some tips hoteliers should consider for regaining the attention of travelers making the switch to alternative accommodations.

  • Be the local expert. Travel has always been deeply rooted in experiences. Who better to guide the local experience that your hotel is a part of than your team on the ground? Use your onsite employees for perspective when communicating with guests. Plus, develop close partnerships with local businesses to offer guests unique experiences that satisfy their curiosity to explore new places.
  • Make your communication personal. Travelers have been pelted with marketing jargon—so much so that many are tuning it out. Hospitality thrives because of the personal relationships hosts build with their guests. Bring your staff to light. Make the communication in your digital experience the same level of personalized service you provide on site.
  • Compete for travelers’ attention long before they’re ready to book. Travel decisions start well before a person is ready to buy, yet there’s a huge amount of advertising effort (and dollars) spent here. Use this as an opportunity to target inspiring content to travelers long before it’s time to purchase. The inspiration and discovery phases are a prime opportunity to make an impression and hook future travelers.

Airbnb is here to stay. But hotels still have their own competitive edge. It’s important for hoteliers to play up those strengths and build on the personal relationships that define hospitality.

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