As of late, we have all heard the stories of Goliath's buying up more and more real estate in the online marketing game. Most notably, the recent merging of Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz has caused huge ripples in the pond. Just when hotels thought they couldn't face more of an uphill battle in terms of fending off pricey acquisition costs from third-party sites, along comes this mega death star monopoly vying for precious marketing dollars and snapping up huge percentages in online revenue. And then just yesterday, industry giant Sabre unleashed another twist into the mix with the launch of its most recent product offering, SynXis InstaSite. It allows the notoriously "chain-focused" provider to hone-in on a target market of the previously untapped independent hotels and smaller-sized hotel chains. This is a space that we at Vizergy know all too well, as it has been the core focus of our business for many years. So what do we see for the future of the industry as these larger companies move with swift force into this specialized vertical? Quite simply, what seems to be too good to be true, often is. Yes, initially the idea of a three day turnaround time for a website has a "wow" factor. Who wouldn't be impressed at the sound of that, but… it is important to analyze exactly what you are getting for that low $399 price tag and hasty production time. We discussed this very topic in a recent blog post from one of Vizergy's dedicated project managers. The fact is, quality website design and strategy take time, thought and expertise to result in online successes…and for good reason. At Vizergy, we employ a team of expert professionals focused specifically on this market segment to deliver tailored results. We use unique data derived from your site analytics to drive decisions. Our experts take the time to craft specific content and messaging that ensures the most favorable SEO results. We craft, monitor and provide strategy for targeted PPC campaigns. We provide responsive websites to ensure that our client's sites are viable through mobile and tablet devices alike. We ensure that your sites are programmed for and plugged into the most robust reporting and analytics systems on the market. This names just a few of the bells and whistles that are inherently missing from the cheap and easy version of a website build or "quick and dirty" online marketing strategy. While $399/month may sound like an enticing price point and do-it-yourself tools a fast and easy solution, we urge hoteliers to take a moment to think about the importance of their online investment. With third-party sites taking such a huge piece of the pie and the online segment accounting for such a major part of your annual sales, it is crucial that your website is done incredibly well, not necessarily incredibly quickly, to combat the competition and to attract the largest share of revenue directly to your property. So when engaging with a digital marketing agency that offers a seemingly "too good to be true" solution, be cognizant of the details and ask yourself…does this shiny new offering provide these key attributes? Full Integration to your Operating Systems and Booking Engine – Your lifelines to your business are your data and purchase points. This includes your CMS, CRM, PMS or CRS. It is crucial that your website is fully integrated to such systems in order to gather and manage necessary and critical data that will allow you to dig deep into your results, as well as gain visibility and insight into customer behavior to tailor your overall marketing plans. A website that doesn't talk to these outlets is like having a bird without wings. Targeted, SEO Rich Content – Content is much more than slapping up a couple of bullet points and calling it a day. Good content takes strategy and yields incredible results for your organic search rankings. It is crucial that you make very pointed decisions about your content based on keywords, property features, local attractions and other key searchable terms that will bring guests to your site and raise your search visibility. Vizergy employs a team of Copywriters and Quality Assurance Managers to refine and perfect copy for clients to ensure the most mileage and returns from their online strategy. Customizable Template Design – Templates are a dime a dozen, but it is important to have some options to customize your look in the marketplace to stand out. Vizergy's templates options are filled with customizable design elements to differentiate you from the crowd. It is equally as important to have access to an intelligent CMS system that will maintain the integrity of the formatting on your site when updates are made, otherwise you may be left with a major programming headache for a simple change online, or worse, a broken site. Social Media Strategy – Social is a must for hotel properties these days, as it should be. In tandem with your content and SEO strategy, social is incredibly important for a number of reasons. First, it is an incredible tool for local marketing and promotions. Secondly, the major search engines place great weight on the consistency and relevancy of your content on social. They take it into great account when it comes to serving up results to those searching for your hotel criteria. So to tie those two points together, the more relevant your local marketing through social, the more apt the search engines are to recognize you as an authority on the area contained in your customers' search parameters. Social is also a key factor for reputation management, so it is critical that you have a strategy and processes in place for responding and posting to social media, across various outlets. Remember that simply creating a page can do more harm than good if you aren't monitoring and populating it with quality, relevant information. Vizergy provides full social strategy and posting packages to keep you on track and consistent in posting local, pertinent information. Dynamic Content Personalization – These days, everything is personalized and your site should follow suit. If you are a customer searching for a wedding venue, you don't necessarily want to be served up an ad touting golf packages. Vizergy provides the know-how and means to target your customers based on behavior and search terms to tailor their on-site experience to their specific needs and drive increased bookings. Customizable Design – If a template is not your speed, you should have the option to create a customized site that fits your needs and price point. As a full-service agency, Vizergy works with clients to ensure that this very important investment is completed properly. This means having the options available to get it absolutely right. Our team of designers and web marketing specialists are equipped to build a specialized program for you where desired, never trying to fit you into a cookie cutter mold lacking the value you require and deserve. Data Management Platform & Advanced Analytics – Last, but certainly not least, is your analytics platform. Vizergy implements Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture) as a best-in-class solution that allows you to obtain the most granular web results to guide your online marketing decisions. But, no matter the program, whether it be Adobe or Google based, it is crucial to implement some form of smart analytics to your page. BUT, more importantly, you must be ready to manage and read that wealth of data consistently to get the most from your marketing programs and website. Simply pasting and forgetting a tracking code on your site just won't do. Vizergy's client teams provide a range of packages that walk our clients through the data one-on-one, help them make sense of it, provide recommendations and use it to measure success and gain traction in a highly competitive marketplace. In short, if you are considering a package that does not contain these products and services, or a high touch approach, you may want to take a closer look at what you are paying for and what the end result will be. A strong program involves many factors that will greatly impact the growth of your bottom-line in the long run, so it is important to ensure that the impact is a positive one. These factors and tools all add up to major revenue drivers, so don't allow yourself to get too caught up in the shiny objects and miss out on the important realized revenue that a full-service agency such as Vizergy can deliver directly to your property. This is a benefit that is derived only from focused, consultative guidance combined with the crafting and execution of a proper strategy the first time around. Want to learn more about what Vizergy can do for you today? Allow us to provide a site assessment and demo of our products and methodology as you consider your options. Contact us at 904.389.1130 or visit us at www.vizergy.com