Tag: blla

StayBoutique© Twitter Chat Highlights

On Friday September 25th, BLLA (@BoutiqueLodging) hosted our first monthly #StayBoutique Twitter Chat and it was a rousing success! With over 300 tweets shared on the topic over the course of the hour we had participation from some fantastic tastemakers and hoteliers around the world.  The event was co-hosted by Niki Leondakis (@Niki_Leondakis) CEO of Commune Hotels. If you missed it this time, we plan to do it monthly, so join us next time. In the meantime, check out some of the highlights below.

First Question:

Our answer:

Some of our other favorite answers:

Second Question:

Our Answer:

Some of our other favorite answers:

Third Question:

Our Answer:

Some of our other favorite answers:

Fourth Question:

Our Answer:

Other favorite answers:

Fifth Question:

Our Answer:

Other favorite answers:

If you want to see all the tweets, just type the hashtag #StayBoutique in your search bar on Twitter and you will see the feed from the chat in your feed. If you’d like to join in on the next one feel free to email us at info@blla.org and we will send you the questions out a few days in advance. Until then – #stayboutique!

A Look into the Future of the Boutique Hotel Industry

A Report by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)  BLLA_White-HiResWEB

Boutique Hotel Sentiment Survey Results

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) strives to be aware of upcoming trends in the boutique and luxury hotel industry, so that they can understand the thoughts and future plans of their member hotels. Things change very quickly in the world of luxury hotels, so this information is valuable for knowing what to expect in the future.

This report “A Look Into the Future of the Boutique Hotel Industry” reveals the responses to a research project that surveyed 55 different high end boutique and lifestyle hotels. The hotels were asked a series of questions about their plans for the near future and their opinions of the industry.

The James NY JIMMY-1The hoteliers were asked what their perception was of the biggest threats facing their hotel, including competition from other hotels, from AirBnB and other factors. They were also asked about their innovations for the future and the confidence they had for tackling future challenges.

The survey also covered the major areas of cost stress, including payroll, distribution and other cost pressures. The hoteliers were asked about the main areas in which they are investing their attention. Social media marketing was a popular response, but other areas of focus were revealed.

The report also looks into the way these hoteliers view the attributes of their hotel and their competition. The responses regarding sources of bookings are quite interesting and offer some insight into how these types of hotels operate. Within this study there is also information about the use of loyalty programs by these hotels.

the james ny 4The responses to the survey reveal many insightful trends relevant to the future of the boutique hotel industry. This report will go into greater detail analysing these responses, complete with charts to illustrate the trends. These responses and the ideas that they reveal paint a very interesting picture for the future of the boutique hotel industry.

The full report is available to BLLA members and participants of the Survey.

Email:  survey@blla.org to request a copy of the survey.  JOIN US at our upcoming conferences:
– New York, June 3, Boutique Hotel Investment Conference – CLICK HERE
– Los Angeles, October 21-23, Boutique Lifestyle Leadership Symposium – CLICK HERE

Website marketing for boutique hotels

Website marketing for boutique hotels

Does my hotel website even need to run PPC? In short, yes.

Our cannibalization between SEO & PPC.

Blog contribution from BLLA Inner Circle Club member, VIZERGY (Written by Bill Jefferson)

When running a paid campaign (as in pay-per-click advertising, or PPC), Vizergy often bids on terms that we rank well for naturally (from our search engine optimization, or SEO, efforts), and we may lose some natural traffic to paid traffic.  This phenomenon is referred to as “cannibalization.”  Because of this, some of our clients feel strongly that bidding on brand terms and terms they already rank naturally for is unnecessary.  But we’d like to dispel this notion.

What We Wanted to Know

Assumption: We don’t need to bid on brand terms (my hotel name) because someone looking for my hotel will find me anyway.

Proposal: Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are bidding on your brand, so someone looking for your hotel may end up on the OTA website instead of your website. The best case scenario here would be that the shopper still books with your hotel, but it would be through the OTA, so you’re forced to pay a commission.  Worst case scenario, the shopper sees a better deal with another hotel on the OTA and doesn’t book with you at all.

70 % of people don’t know where they want to go when first looking into booking a trip. Source: Google/Ipsos MediaCT US, August 2013

Assumption: Bidding on terms that we already rank for in natural search is a waste of money.


  • Natural rankings can drop and fluctuate from time to time.  Then where will you be?
  • You aren’t the only hotel ranking in natural search, and paid search gives you more real estate on search engine results pages. The more real estate the better.

But instead of just telling you facts, we decided to test it.

What We Did

We picked a fairly new client, and with their permission, paused their paid campaign.  We didn’t look at any traffic data from before we paused the campaigns; we wanted to start fresh (and we didn’t want to get cold feet if/when we saw the traffic drop).

To prepare for the test, we allowed two weeks with no paid campaigns running while we built very specific campaigns.  The data collected in those two weeks provided a baseline – no paid traffic, all natural traffic.

We built one brand paid campaign and one non-brand paid campaign to run, and the non-brand campaign contained only high-traffic phrases (exact match) for which we ranked very high in natural search.

Part 1 – Running Non-Brand Terms Only in PPC

Running Non-Brand Terms Only in PPCAfter the two-week period of running no PPC ads to establish a baseline, we launched the non-brand campaign and let it run for two weeks.

We saw pretty much what we expected.  On average, the natural traffic went down a little over 3%, while the PPC campaign added almost 12% to our overall traffic.  Very impressive, considering the relatively low number of phrases for which we were bidding.

Part 2 – Running Brand Terms Only in PPC

Running Brand Terms Only in PPCWe then paused the non-brand campaign and waited a week to launch the brand campaign, to get back to the baseline. We then ran the brand campaign for two weeks. The results of Part 2 of the test surprised us greatly.  Any difference in natural traffic was negligible when compared to the baseline, but PPC added over 8% to the overall traffic.  After the two weeks, we paused the brand campaign for a week and then ran it again for a week, just to double check.  We saw the same results.

The Outcome

Google Carousel Search - Hotels in Atlanta Ga Bidding on brand appeared to take almost nothing away from natural search, while adding significant numbers to overall website traffic.  So we started digging into why this might be.

The culprit turned out to be a combination of the Google Carousel and OTAs.

What we found was, when a shopper does a non-brand search (like “hotels in Atlanta”), the hotel appears in the Google Carousel.  When the shopper clicks that listing, instead of being taken to the hotel website or Google+ listing, Google automatically does a SECOND SEARCH.  This second search automatically runs a brand search for the hotel and serves up another page of results where paid ads for the hotel are listed at the top of the page (the way paid ads are always displayed).  The result is Google has added an extra step in the natural search process that increases the likelihood that a user will click on a paid ad to get to your website, rather than a natural search result.

We knew this is how the Carousel has operated since day one, but what we didn’t realize was how many OTAs were bidding on our clients’ brand names.  Many even had ads that appeared, to the average searcher, to be an ad for the brand itself, not an OTA.  By not bidding on brand terms in Part 1 of the test, we were losing a lot of traffic that originated from a non-brand search.

Google Carousel - Second Search

Spending a few days spot-checking, we found this to be the case for all of our franchised (Marriott, Hyatt, etc.) clients and many of our independent clients.

What This Means for Hotels

Vizergy Pie Chart - Visits by Channel in 2014For hotels (especially franchise properties), bidding on brand terms and phrases is now doubly important because, thanks to the Carousel, brand searches can now originate (and often do) from non-brand shopping phrases. Your property brand terms have become one of the least expensive advertising channels, yet the most valuable. By not investing in paid search ads hotels can risk missing out on both natural and paid search traffic to their independent website. If an OTA has paid search advertisements on your brand name, and an online travel shopper clicks on the Google Carousel opposed to the search results, then that shopper is directed to the OTA instead of going to your property. The result is the shopper being more likely to book with the OTA and your property could potentially lose the entire booking. And with OTAs bidding on your brand… don’t you think you should too?

Passionate hotel owners

http://youtu.be/AtYu1UVjfeI (BLLA Video)

There is nothing like coming into contact with an independent hotel owner in the boutique, lifestyle or luxury category.

Their passion shows in their eyes, in their every movement and in just about everything they do online or off.

Why is that?

Basically, they are on their own, making decisions about everything including what/where/when & why. Their sounding board is either themselves, trusted friends and family or consultants and business associates they choose to work with.

They get into the business and some become passionate only after they’ve opened the hotel and see first-hand their vision come to life.  “It’s like birthing a baby,” says Tim Dixon, owner of the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.  The heart and soul of these properties mostly are tied into an owner, even if the hired designers and architects take a lead position.  They don’t have a rule-book with strict policies and procedures to follow.  They are the P&P’s at the end of the day.

On their own — reminds me of the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) tagline “Without a travel agent, you’re on your own!” In today’s world of traveling, it’s kind of nice to have someone backing you up in case you need help or advice or just a sounding board to help you make the right decision so you aren’t floating around out there without a safety net, wasting both time and money, and with so many choices online, this is not hard to do!

For boutique & lifestyle hotels, they also need that back-up, that sounding board, that one place to find experts and relevant information to help them through the thick and the thin of hospitality ownership in this special category.

That’s where BLLA comes in. The association’s mission is to raise the awareness of boutique & lifestyle properties everywhere on earth. Not an easy task. But one that is becoming more and more urgent and necessary. With new global property owners joining everyday, the larger number of members will mean that our voice gets louder and louder.

No matter who you are, if you believe in our mission, come join us today. http://www.blla.org/join-blla.htm