What are you Grateful for in 2020?

Are you having a hard time being thankful this season? 2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. With shutdowns and depressing headlines hitting us left and right, it can be easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of our times. On the other hand, there have been some positive things that have come from our current state of affairs, too. From family connections to creative solutions to new challenges, there's one thing that's for sure; when faced with adversity we humans have more grit and determination than we give ourselves credit for!

This season, expressing gratitude is more essential than ever. While it can be easy to focus on the difficulties we're facing (and, heaven knows we all have hard things)  finding appreciation for what we do have is key to staying lifted up. What if we all took time to be grateful for the new world we have discovered as a part of our changing landscape?  What if we paused to appreciate the re-established old traditions, the opportunities that have arisen, and the gift of time to spend with our family?

That is just what we're doing here at Lure Agency.

We recently asked our team what they are grateful for this year. Here's what they had to say.

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No Demand For What You Sell?

Forget about it and do this instead.

Crazy times we live in right now, but we all need to remember this is temporary and it will soon pass.

If you’re in sales or marketing, chances are you’re reading this from your home with high anxiety on what the future holds in the chaotic time.

However, now is a time when you can shine. Now is the time to position yourself for a dramatic change when things do turn around.

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empathy marketing lure agency

Empathy Marketing: Here’s How to Serve, Survive and Thrive

It’s not easy being in the hospitality industry right now. Heck, it’s not easy being a human right now!  As a marketing agency specializing in the hospitality industry, we understand the fear and angst that is happening right now with our clients and industry peers. As fellow members of the human race, we also understand that these are scary times for everyone. 

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identity resolution for hotels

Forget Cookies – Here's Identity Resolution for Hotels

You can have the best marketing campaigns on the planet, but if they’re targeted towards the wrong audience or at the wrong step in your customer’s journey, your efforts will fall short. Up until the last few years marketers have only been able to target broad audiences based on things like location, interests, or salary. On a very basic level in the hospitality world, this meant targeting people who like to travel and have an expendable income. 

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social selling by lure agency

Prospecting Blues? Social Selling Can Turn Things Around – Here’s Why and How

As we explore the idea of social selling, we’ll dig deep into some key concepts. In our first post on this series, we covered the idea of building relationships by serving. In today’s post, we’re going to explore how to identify your ideal client and attract them to you by “speaking their language” to make for even more impactful relationship building. We will also share the importance of setting goals for yourself. 

Let’s Dive In!

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#HospitalityMarketingBuzz | Hotel Revenue Conference Gives Guests an Unfair Advantage

Ready to get a leg up on all your competitors and learn the key to kickstarting your ROI? Mark your calendars because on February 19-21, the Hotel Revenue Conference is coming to Seattle. This conference is about providing guests with intentional content that they can start utilizing once they walk out the door—no filler speeches or convoluted pep talks here. Plus, there will be plenty of Seattle coffee going around to keep the buzz going strong.

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social selling | lure agency | hospitality marketing

Want to Crush Your Sales Goals? You Must First Serve.

The concept is nothing new, but it's often overlooked when adopted online.

The not-so-secret sauce? How to transform a complete stranger into a loyal customer.

This is the first in a series of educational and informative posts with tips, tricks, and strategies to help hospitality B2B sales professionals utilize social selling and today’s technology to boost the bottom line. 

Your Linkedin profile claims you have been a member since 2005 and have 1,256 connections. Sounds impressive, right?  

What does that really mean and so what? Like many sales professionals, do you think it’s all been a waste of time as no real deals have come from this social media platform?

Nothing could be further from the truth if you really understood the power of combining Linkedin with social selling strategies.

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Want To Connect With Your Prospects? Here’s How To Get Personal, Without Being Creepy

As a hospitality brand, you may have noticed that in today’s digital world, it’s harder than ever to catch a prospect’s attention. With information so easily available to anyone searching for it, you may be wondering how you can make your content stand apart. How you can give your prospects what they want and when. Well, we’ve got the answer. Content personalization.

The Future of B2B Content Marketing … Personalization!

Personalized content is a relatively new method of digital marketing that has proven super effective, for not only grabbing your prospect’s attention but also building a stronger bond. If you’ve ever used Amazon or Netflix, you’ve experienced automated, personalized content. These sites offer you content based on what you’ve purchased or watched before. They use data about you to provide further content based on your taste and past behavior.

What Amazon and Netflix do is just one simple example of personalized content. There is a whole range of options available now for organizations that want to personalize their content.

Personalized content refers to using information you have on your target audience to create content tailored to their interests, preferences, or needs.

Why Personalization is Essential

In today’s world of information overload, personalization is essential for a number of reasons. First, customer attention is increasingly harder to attract. Today’s customer is constantly bombarded with content, so content creators need to make theirs stand out. Personalization does this by speaking directly to the user’s preferences, problems, and needs.

Personalizing your content allows you to create a stronger bond with your audience. They feel that you know them and you’re speaking directly to them. While everyone follows any number of content outlets online, your audience will read your content first if they feel they have a strong relationship with you.

Content personalization is driven by the data you have about your target market and their needs and behaviors. The more data you have about your audience, the more you can personalize your content to meet their needs. The foundation of your personalization is a clearly identified customer persona.

Getting Started with Personalization

The first step in personalizing your content is to develop a clear message and goal for each piece of content you produce. If you don’t have a strategic reason for the content in the first place, personalization won’t help you reach your objective. It’s a matter of deciding where each piece fits into your overall strategy.

There are five degrees of personalization that you can consider, and some are easier than others. The five areas are:

 

Segment Specific. Personalize your content by target market segments. Segments might include industry, particular interests, demographic differences, geographical location, or psychographic factors such as a specific need or problem.

Persona Specific. Personalize content by buyer types. Examples of buyer types include first-time visitors to your website, regular blog readers, prospects who expressed interest in a certain product or service, leads from a specific tradeshow, and so on.

Stage-Specific. Persona specific content is personalized for a type of buyer. The difference with stage-specific is that it identifies a certain step in the buying process. You might create content personalized for a first-time cold prospect, or aim content at a repeat buyer who you know is likely to make a purchase based on an upsell or cross-sell.

Account Specific. You might personalize your content for a particular prospect or organization.

Lead Specific. This type of personalization is for one specific individual.

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Automated Tools for Personalizing Content

Tools are often essential for personalizing content. You don’t have to do it all manually. There is a wide range of tools available and they include:

Quiz plugins – When a person visits your website, they’re presented with a short quiz asking about their interests. Based on their answers, it directs them to the content that would be most relevant to their stated interests.

Profiles plugins – Some sites now have a profile option for visitors. They ask the visitor to choose which profile most matches them. These profiles could be something like positions in a company, such as New Hire, Sales Staff, or Management. They choose the profile and then are taken to the most appropriate page.

Email autoresponders – An autoresponder is a program used for email marketing. It allows you to send messages to your subscribers and receive data about them. Autoresponders offer a wide range of personalization options. They can offer specific content based on the actions or preferences of subscribers.

Recommendination plugs – Another example is a WordPress plugin that presents specific posts or products based on where someone lands on your site or which content they consume.

Site visit plugins – Another example would be a plugin that uses the visitor’s name for a personalized message. When they land on the page, it says something like, “Hi, (name), welcome back! Here are the latest posts we think you’d like.”

Refining Content Personalization

Once you implement your content personalization strategy, you need to monitor it in order to understand what’s working and what’s not. You can then make any changes necessary and create a stronger personalization plan.

RELATED: Still Think Content Marketing is a Waste of Time? Here’s 5 Reasons to Change Your Mind

The Way of the Future for B2B Content Marketing

We predict that content personalization will be even more essential in the future. And, no matter if you’re marketing to the B2C segment or the B2B segment, personalization techniques will become increasingly important as people seek more personal experiences online. The more you can make a connection, the better your bottom line!

What You Can Do Today:Content personalization doesn’t have to be creepy. In fact, you probably have already gathered tons of data on your current and potential customers. Get started by segmenting your data into an Excel Workbook. Begin with the obvious differentiators, and add to the information as necessary. Next, determine how you can upgrade your email program to speak specifically to each of those segments. As you build and test your program you’ll be able to refine for even better results!


Heal Your Hotel Sales Pipeline! The Secret To Relieving RFP Fatigue

The original concept of the RFP was created with good intentions. It was originally developed as a standardized process for submitting clear and consistent information between the planner and the property.

Boost Efforts With This Hotel Sales Technique

Most recently, online platforms hit the market in a big way enabling companies to distribute dozens of RFPs with ease. This shift if enablement has increased submissions. The volume has spiked and the managing the process has become overwhelming, decreasing response time and ultimately conversion rates.

Can’t we all agree? Responding to RFPs can a daunting, but necessary, task that requires time and resources to execute effectively. Question is, how do you separate the serious inquiries from the “lookie loos”? The answer could save you countless hours of work and resources, allowing you to focus on meaningful RFPs that lead to a higher percentage of conversions.

Enter Inbound Marketing for Hotels

The inbound marketing philosophy is about reaching the right person with the right content at the right time. As you attract prospects to your website through compelling content, you can create an opportunity to gather their information through a lead capture program, then automation sends those leads to a contact database.

Once prospects have opted in, all website activity is tracked by utilizing a system which scores leads. Lead scoring allows you to monitor prospects online activity so you can deliver content when and where it makes the most sense and allow you to make a personal connection at the precise time.

Content can take form by way of blog posts, informative videos, social media posts, through triggered automation (email) or direct-to-lead emails.

With your newly gathered intel, you’ll spend less time organizing tasks, and more time having lucrative conversations with potential customers.

Here are four key benefits that inbound marketing strategies can deliver:

Accelerate the Sales Cycle

Highly relevant content can help address specific questions and attributes about your property. By providing solutions to specific challenges through content, your sales team can minimize touch points and help move the prospect through the sales cycle much faster.

Example: Planning a Meeting Event For Your Company or Client? Be Familiar With The 5 Types of Meeting Spaces

Build Trust and Authority

A well-executed inbound marketing strategy can help position your team as experts and set them apart from the other “me too” options. Positioning your property team as problem solvers will help instill confidence, trust, and authority.

Example: 3 Beautifully Simple Tips to Ensure Your Holiday Party is a Success

Position on Value vs. Price

Creating “the story” through engaging content is key when triggering an emotional attachment for prospects. Providing a visualization of what their event could “feel” like, provides a much more meaningful and deeper connection that can transcend the tightest budgets.

Example: It’s Your Biggest Day. Make it Unforgettable.

Increase Conversion Rates

The numbers are undeniable. Inbound marketing will improve the quality of your sales pipeline, allowing you to focus on converting prospects with the highest potential. Lead scoring is critical when determining how a potential customer has been nurtured and when the time is right to engage. The right response at the right time is the key to success.

Technology is changing the way we sell, so we must adapt or suffer the consequences.

There’s no question we’re all feeling the effects of techno overload. With so many apps, platforms, and strategies, how can anyone keep up with it all?

Despite the newest shiny object, it’s important to focus first on the concept and objective. There are literally dozens of ways to solve the same problem, but the facts remain the same: technology has made it much easier for us to perform some of the most daunting tasks -including the submission of dozens of RFPs- with ease. In order to keep your sanity and improve your bottom line, one must work smarter, not harder.

What You Can Do Today: It’s time to fight fire with fire. Put Inbound marketing and technology to work for you. The easiest way to begin utilizing these strategies is by developing a property blog and start with a basic automation. Start small, but start doing. Measure results, make adjustments that will improve performance. Avoid frustration by taking on too much at once. Once you’ve mastered the basics, increase functionality and expectations. Inbound marketing takes time. It’s no (sales) silver bullet, but those who stay the course will reap the rewards!


MOFU or MOFO? Why Understanding Your Hotel Buyer’s Journey is Critical to Conversion

The used car salesman lurking in the lot like a rabid great white shark.

Or the fast-talking telemarketer, who tries to release their pitch before you call end button.

Examples of painful experience which most avoid like the plague. Most damaging is the reputation and opportunity to build any meaningful relationship with those prospects.

Buyer’s Journey for Hotels

Thanks to advancements in technology, the consumer is much better informed and can easily vet a Shyster a mile away with online searches. Thanks to online reviews and social media, it’s even more difficult for these evildoers to prey on unsuspecting victims.

Conversely, most successful hotel salespeople aren’t focused on short-term wins, but building meaningful relationships that will pay dividends over the long haul.

Additionally, understanding their buyer’s journey can help personalize your process in an effort to help solve their problem, making you a hero and not a villain.

I love the band Journey, but what is a buyer’s journey?

The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service. The journey is a three-step process:

1. Awareness Phase: The prospect realizes they have a problem.

2. Consideration Phase: The prospect researches options to solve their problem.
Nearly 80% of this process starts online. And 72% of those will turn to Google.

3. Decision Stage: The buyer chooses a solution.

Seems logical, but how can I apply this?

very circumstance is different, so it’s important to first understand what your specific buyer’s journey looks like. Start by conducting a few interviews with customers, buyers, and other salespeople at your company.

Here are a few sample questions for kick things off for each phase:

Houston, we have a problem.

Awareness Phase:

Buyers define their problem or need they have and how important it is in the ever increasing, long list of tasks. To further refine the process, ask:

  • How do buyers describe their problem or need?
  • How do buyers educate themselves on these problems or need?
  • What is the downside from the prospect if nothing is done?
  • Are there any misconceptions about the process?
  • How do buyers rank this event in priority?

Let the search begin.

Consideration Phase:

Once the commitment from the prospect has been established, they begin to search options and solutions to help them address their problem or meet their need.

Some specific questions could include:

  • What types of product or service are buyers researching?
  • How are buyers educating themselves on these options?
  • How are buyers making decisions on which is best?
  • When is the right time to make a purchase?

Make YOU the only choice.

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Decision Phase:

Once the prospect has made a decision to purchase, it’s game on.
The evaluation process kicks in while the buyers carefully weigh the positives and negatives for each viable options. To drill deeper into this process, ask

    • What criteria do buyers use to evaluate the available options?
    • When prospects consider your hotels’ options, what do they like or dislike?
    • Are there any special circumstances or viable the prospect needs to consider if they book your hotel?

Defining or designing your hotel’s buyer’s journey can dramatically increase conversations and ultimately revenue across the board.

RELATED: Guest Persona Worksheet

Bringing it all home

The buyer’s journey can be frustrating, especially considering how emotional a prospect may be upon discovering a pain point or problem.

As a hotel sales professional, sticking by your prospect throughout the many stages of their journey, you’ll build a sense of trust within them that will ultimately transform into ambassadors for your hotel and beyond.