Tag Archives: Marketing

3 Websites Hotel Pros Should Check Daily

Sites a hotel's director of sales and marketing should check daily
Don’t open Pandora’s box with this search term, read our list instead!

Searching the web is a great way to stay caught up with the news and trends of your industry, but sometimes  frequently it can be overwhelming. Like anyone else, hoteliers need to be able to find great online sources that cut through the clutter.  Here are three  sites hospitality professionals should be checking daily to stay informed!

Hotel Chatter.com

Hotel Chatter’s main strength is it’s quantity of content. It has a ton of stories and is updated frequently by its army of content creators. You will find no shortage of news and information on this site. Hotel Chatter is an exceptional tool for trying to determined the overall pulse of the industry. It’s a great resource for hard news, which includes a master list of hotel openings, as well as the occasional  exclusive look inside of a new property.

HC also offers plenty of editorial content like Where to Buy your Own Hotel Bed and 5 Things Everyone Should do before Checking out of a Hotel. 

Hotel Chatter is our go-to for industry news and is perfect for anyone who wants to become  an instant expert on what’s happening in the world of hospitality

Hotel Marketing.com 

Hotel Marketing.com, as its name implies, gives a much more marketing centered approach to hotel news. Unlike Hotel Chatter this site doesn’t create content but rather curates information from a variety of sources.

The nice thing about Hotel Marketing is that while it does supply news, like Trends that could Shape Hotel Distribution in 2014. It also has plenty of practical information that a hotel marketer or GM could actually apply. The Benefits of Configuring part of your Hotel as ‘Third Space’ and How Hotels can be less Dependent on OTAs in 2014 are a few examples.

Hotel Marketing is a great way to stay up-to-date with marketing specific news and information.

Google Alerts

Okay, while not a website per-se, Google Alerts is too useful to leave off a list like this.

Google Alerts allows users to set up alerts for whenever specific search terms come up in new online content. It’s a great way to monitor what people are saying about your brand or property online.

An especially nice feature of Google Alerts is its high level of customization. Users are able to adjust variables like type of content, from blog posts to news articles, as well as number of results Google gives you.

Google Alerts can be set up to automatically send notifications to an email address on daily, weekly and monthly basis,

Hotel professionals of the world, what sites do you use to stay informed?  Let us know in our comment section below! 


Why Honoring a 100-Year-Old Coupon is Marketing Genius

Marketing Genius

Have you ever thought about the expiration dates on coupons? Are they really necessary? It’s not like someone is going to save a coupon and use it years later right…



Actually, a McConnell Marketing associate’s Grandmother was recently featured on General Mills’ blog by taking advantage of a coupon that was more than a few years past its intended use!


The Story

In 1984 Laurine Williams found an interesting piece of her mother’s old book collection, an original 1910 Gold Medal Flour Cookbook. On the last page of the book was a coupon for another free copy of the book, presumably so you could share with a friend. Williams wrote a letter to General Mills asking if she could redeem the coupon pointing out that it had no expiration date. Unfortunately, Williams didn’t send the letter immediately and it ended up lost.

Fast forward to 2012. Williams rediscovered her old letter and decided to send it in; at this point the offer for a free copy of the cookbook was over 100 years old! General Mills honored their original offer and sent Laurine a reprinted edition of the 1910 book. The company had actually begun reprinting the book because of situations like Laurine’s.

There is one significant change to the reprinted version of the book however, the word VOID is very clearly marked over the coupons in the back!


Old Coupons and Brand Equity

From a marketing perspective, the way General Mills handled this scenario is interesting.

They could have easily brushed the whole situation under the rug and no one, besides William’s would have noticed. Even then it’s hard to imagine that she would have been too upset with the company for not honoring a century’s old offer.

Really this story isn’t about General Mills honoring a coupon. It’s about the company going the extra-mile for a customer.

By putting in the time and effort to make sure that situations like Williams’ were handled appropriately, General Mills showed that they cared, something that can go a long way for a brand. Establishing trust with a customer base takes a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it. Which is why General Mills did what they did.


Word Travels Fast 

Laurine Williams is likely to be a loyal General Mills customer as a result of what happened, but in today’s world of social media and viral information spread she’s not the only one who will have a changed opinion of the brand.

General Mills didn’t just gain one loyal customer; they likely increased trust and brand equity with everyone reading this story!

The takeaway from this for businesses shouldn’t be, “Hmmm that’s a quirky thing that company did”. It should be how can we go the extra mile for a customer, How can we gain trust through care! What is our 100-year-old coupon!?

So think about it. Has a company honored a 100-year-old coupon for you? Has your company done something unexpected for a customer?

Give us your examples in the comments below!

Content Marketing—a Common Marketing Tool in 2013

Original Source: The Wishpond Blog

Content is fire, social media is gasoline. –Jay Baer

Interesting fact: Companies that blog have 55% more traffic to their websites. According to The Wishpond Blog, “Content marketing is fast becoming a regular marketing tool (marketers now spend 25% of their marketing budget on content marketing.”

Take a look at Wishpond’s Infographic—you’ll quickly realize that content marketing has a huge impact on how consumers view and interact with the companies they follow. Other findings include: brands that blog generate 67% more leads per month; 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in; 90% of consumers find custom content useful.

Check out the full State of Content Marketing 2013 Infographic here:



Do the brands you follow have good content marketing? How do they use it? Let us know!

Four Trends That Can Benefit You, Our Client

McConnell Marketing’s Megan Sovik blogs about the hospitality trends she and Katie picked up from the IHMRS/BDNY Tradeshow in New York City.

Katie Williams and I recently attended to the IHMRS/BDNY Tradeshow at Javits Center in New York City. The goal was to see what’s trending in hospitality design and to also make sure that we, at McConnell Marketing, are marketing our clients in the best possible way. The show was broken up into two sides: one that was interiors (i.e. furniture, décor—basically, all the pretty stuff). The other side was more operational (i.e. soaps, room amenities, etc.). They also had many informational sessions and speakers.

To be honest, the show was very overwhelming, and we walked the floor multiple times to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We wanted to get everything out of it that we could. After taking a lot of time to process and go through every piece from every vendor we talked to, there are four trends we came away with that we think could benefit our clients:

Square collateral pieces are in—they actually have been for quite a while (and we’ve done quite a few pieces for our clients). What I didn’t expect to see was that so many pieces were small. It used to be that larger 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pieces were the norm. Now we’re seeing printed pieces that are 4 x 4 or so, with tons of photos and little text. Nowadays, everyone’s trying to be environmentally friendly—and using less paper is a way to reduce your carbon footprint. At McConnell Marketing, we work with waterless printers and know quite a bit about recycled papers to take that idea even further.

Printing on Aluminum
One thing I didn’t expect to see is printing on aluminum. It may sound odd, but it’s a great for display materials. When I saw this, the first thing I thought of was posters and displays throughout a hotel. Rather than printing on a regular poster and coating it with a UV-resistant varnish or protectant, printing on aluminum is a great way to make these materials last longer. Images and sizes can be customized to whatever is needed. We’ve found a lot of vendors who do this. Let us know if you’re interested in seeing pricing!

Gone are the days of neutrals! Accent colors are everywhere! If this wasn’t evident by the choice of the last two Pantone colors of the year (tangerine and emerald green), it was very evident at the show. Katie and I saw lots of purples, royal blues, yellows and greens. Obviously you don’t want to go too far with too many colors, but McConnell Marketing will be happy to assist with picking out a color palette that works for you.

One of the coolest technologies I saw was for the bathroom (odd—I know). We first saw it working with The St. Regis Washington, D.C. years ago when they added TV’s to their mirrors. Well now it’s being taken a step further. Mirrors are now able to hook up to smart phones through blue tooth. They can play music, check your e-mail and play movies. We at McConnell Marketing are happy to provide you with ideas and collateral to instruct guests on how to use the technology.