5 Best Survey & Feedback Platforms 2017

Customer feedback is a vital part of any business. With it a hotel can improve guest services, venues can create better events and sell more tickets, and restaurants can deliver the best tasting menus that keep tables full.

Historically it was difficult to collect and analyse this data, however with modern software and technologies, hospitality brands can now secure this information anytime, anywhere!

The following outlines five of the leading online survey and feedback software platforms, which in 2017 are helping businesses of all sizes satisfy their customers.

GetFeedback | getfeedback.com

Measure Customer Satisfaction In Real Time

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GetFeedback works with over 10,000 companies to gain actionable insights into their customers experiences. Whilst the platform offers some really excellent survey features, their core strength comes from a CRM integration with Salesforce. Feedback results are streamed directly into the CRM, enabling marketers and business professionals to spot trends and increase engagement opportunities instantly.

Pros: Perfect for Salesforce users. Easy to create beautiful drag-and-drop surveys.

Cons: Limited tech support. Designed to integrate only with Salesforce.

Price: Free for up to 20 survey responses per month. Paid plans start from $50/month (£39/mo), billed annually.

SurveyMonkey | surveymonkey.co.uk

Used By 99% Of The Fortune 500 [1]

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SurveyMonkey is the best known online survey software platform in 2017. With over 25 million global users to-date, SurveyMonkey provides features that benefit virtually all industries. As one example for hospitality, SurveyMonkey enables users to collect guest satisfaction data pre, post and during events. For more info, see ‘Why Are Venues Using Survey Software?’

Pros: Highly recommended, huge collection of features, various integrations

Cons: Some surveys can be more complex to create. Customisations only available on paid plans.

Price: Free basic package, limited to 10 questions per survey and 100 responses. Unlimited plan from £25/month billed annually.

SurveyGizmo | surveygizmo.com

Collaborate Across Multiple Survey Projects

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SurveyGizmo offers everything you could need in a survey software platform and more. Like its competitors, building and designing surveys is user friendly and you can collect any kind of data required. Reporting tools are more advanced, and third party integrations are available including social media and Google Analytics.

Pros: Various unique features including custom survey domains. Support resources and an active online community.

Cons: Short trial, one of the more expensive platforms, quite complex to use.

Price: Free for 3 active surveys limited to 100 responses. Basic plan available from $300 (£233) annually.

Survey Anyplace | surveyanyplace.com

Mobile Surveys That Adapt To Every Device

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If you’re looking to collect survey data using a mobile device, take a look at Survey Anyplace. It’s a chameleon – adapting to all devices and enabling you to make branded surveys and quizzes for any occasion. Results can even be collected off-line, so you’ll never be limited by a lack of internet access.

Pros: Mobile friendly, highly customisable, off line capabilities, cool mobile widgets

Cons: Some of the best features only available on the advanced plans. Limited reporting options.

Price: Free basic package, limited to 20 monthly responses. Paid plans from $29/monthly (£22.50/mo).

AskNicely | asknicely.com

One-Click Customer Feedback Integrations

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Ask Nicely has a targeted focus on improving ‘Net Promoter Score’ – the measure of how customers recommend products or services to others. NPS surveys help improve customer experience, and Ask Nicely is able to automate feedback collection, integrating smartly with platforms like Salesforce, Zendesk and Shopify.

Pros: Simple set-up, trusted by big brands, live reporting and real time insights.

Cons: No free plan, only a trial. Not as feature rich as alternatives.

Price: 14 day free trial. Start package from $49/monthly (£38/mo) paid annually.

Conclusion

Many of the survey platforms available offer capable design tools, but differ based on their specialisms – whether that be integrating with Salesforce, focusing on mobile or collaborating with other areas of the business. As with any software purchase it’s important to first consider your hospitality brands actual needs before deciding on only one tool.

LeadDigital are experts in software that benefits hospitality companies, with over 20 years experience and services ranging from digital marketing to customer relationship & experience management.

 

Would You Like to Discuss How Survey Software Can Help Your Business?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/mp/customers/

Best UK Wedding Venues On Instagram 2017

Instagram is home to stunning photography and social networking through a photographic medium. To-date over 40 billion photos & videos have been shared on Instagram! [1]

Wedding venues have a unique ability to take advantage of Instagram due to the very nature of their businesses.

Everyday 1,000’s of weddings take place across the UK, resulting in millions of photos that wedding venues can harness. With each wedding comes a unique new take on the location, providing an endless supply of ever-changing photographic content for venues to publish.

Below you’ll find 10 of the top wedding venues to follow on Instagram in 2017!

Aynhoe Park
1,024 Posts | 11,300+ Followers

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“A private family home embodying British eccentricity, just one hour from London.”

Got to be honest, I was won over by the silver tray croc, and that was before I saw the other incredible photos from this curious English wedding venue.

@AynhoePark

Calcot Manor
677 Posts | 2,400+ Followers

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“Celebrated country house hotel with world-class spa, restaurant, pub and meeting rooms set in 220 acres of Cotswolds meadowland.”

Calcot Manor are very active on social media, with beautiful promotional and ‘behind the scenes’ published posts.

@Calcot_Manor

Limewood Hotel
1,304 Posts | 19,500+ Followers

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“5 star luxury country house hotel and spa in the New Forest.”

Limewood Hotel is a fantastic country escape wedding venue that loves to celebrate their incredible culinary expertise. Lots of mouth watering imagery used in their posts.

@LimewoodHotel

Hedsor House
642 Posts | 8,700+ Followers

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“Tatler & Vogue’s dream wedding venue, filming & corporate retreat location.”

Weddings at Hedsor House are magnificent. With spectacular spaces both indoors and out, it’s easy to understand why it’s a dream wedding venue for so many brides.

@Hedsor

Woods’ Silver Fleet
695 Posts | 880+ Followers

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“Luxe river cruisers Silver Sturgeon, Silver Barracuda & Silver Darling.”

Ultimate luxury British wedding venue, a private yacht charter on the River Thames, Laurent-Perrier champagne in hand!

@Woods_Silver_Fleet

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
1,505 Posts | 10,100+ Followers

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“Steeped in history, it’s one of London’s most romantic wedding venues.”

This hotel venue is an icon for London luxury. Instagram posts are elegant and artistic, but still with a sense of fun and excitement for this historic wedding venue.

@StPancrasRen

Hotel Café Royal
1,392 Posts | 23,700+ Followers

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“A British institution in the heart of London.”

Continuing the London luxury venue theme, Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street presents Instagram followers with images of high-end luxury, quality, fine food and British elegance.

@HotelCafeRoyal

Tunnels Beaches
72 Posts | 347+ Followers

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“A uniquely designed coastal wedding venue – accessed via a hand carved tunnel through the cliff”

Whilst not the most followed Instagram wedding venue, Tunnels Beaches makes our list simply due to its awe-inspiring location and photographic content.

@TunnelsBeaches

Great Fosters
602 Posts | 2,400+ Followers

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“A luxury hotel with 2 restaurants in a Grade One listed building set in 50 acres of stunning gardens.”

Hugely romanticised, this historic wedding venue gardens provide an idyllic backdrop for Brides & Grooms, even including a Japanese bridge.

@GreatFosters

Blenheim Palace
326 Posts | 35,400+ Followers

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“The Palace is surrounded by over 90 acres of Formal Gardens including the Water Terraces, Rose Garden and the Duke’s Italian Garden, which provide a romantic and charming backdrop for your special occasion.”

Who wouldn’t want to get married in a palace! Much of this wedding venue’s Instagram posts depict the stunning grounds upon which Blenheim Palace is found.

@BlenheimPalace

This is just a handful of the fantastic UK wedding venues using Instagram in 2017. For information on more locations take a look at Instagram accounts like:

TheWeddingVenueGroupRusticBarnWeddingWedding_VenuesUKWeddingVenues & ElegantWeddingVenues – or search #WeddingVenueon Instagram (618,000+ public posts, May 2017).


Does your Wedding venue use Instagram or other social media platforms to engage with potential Brides? If not, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to be seen by young Brides & Grooms who are making their wedding location decisions online!

LeadDigital support wedding venues and hospitality brands with their digital marketing, across social and paid channels. We can help you devise the perfect strategy and support its implementation for maximum results!

 

Need Help Increasing Your Wedding Venue Bookings?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/139-facts-and-stats-about-instagram-you-should-be-aware-2017-infographic

Top 5 Landing Page Software 2017

What is a landing page? Any page on a website is technically a landing page in the literal sense, as it’s a page visitors ‘land’ on when arriving at your venue or hotels website. However, more commonly the phrase ‘landing page’ correlates with standalone web pages used for online marketing and advertising.

Landing pages give hospitality marketers the ability to remove distractions and tightly control the message presented to the visitor. For example, a person looking to book a winter event is more likely to make an enquiry when shown a webpage only about winter events, rather than having to review your whole website.

In 2017, online software platforms enable us to quickly create fantastic, highly custom and bespoke landing pages – perfect for long term marketing aims, as-well-as limited run promotions, such as for a ticketed event or seasonal booking special offer. Below LeadDigital review five of the top landing page software tools available today:-

Pagewiz | pagewiz.com

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Pagewiz is a platform created for marketers and business owners who want to get landing pages built and live fast. The WYSIWYG style drag and drop software means you don’t need to be a web designer to create basic landing pages, and there’s even a collection of pre-designed templates available. You won’t win any awards for incredible web design using Pagewiz, but it’s great for quick production.

Pros: Drag & drop designing, integrations with popular software like Salesforce and MailChimp, quick for everyone to get ‘up and running’.

Cons: Template designs aren’t overly inspiring, limit on number of page visitors and domains, simplified builder compared to alternatives.

Cost: Free 30 day trial, then from $25 (£19) per month for the basic package when paying annually. Four plans available, structured on the number of page visitors and custom domains.

Lander | landerapp.com

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Along the same lines as Pagewiz, Lander is another drag & drop, non-technical landing page builder, ideal for beginners. The editor is modern and easy to use, you are able to create great pages fast and A/B testing features help you test up to three different versions of your landing page at any time. You can also integrate closely with Facebook, adding tabs to your new landing pages in just four steps. Other integrations are available, but most are premium features.

Pros: No technical knowledge required, superb collection of integrations with other tools, templates built by designers to achieve conversions, powerful analytics included. Well rounded.

Cons: Some integrations only available as premium features, technical support only available on ‘Pro Plus’ package, limits on custom domains.

Cost: 14 day free trial. Then from $16 (£12) per month for the basic package when paying annually. ‘Professional’ package required to use integrations and for more than 3 custom domains.

Instapage | instapage.com

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Instapage are ranked highly, not just because of the software but also the customer support they provide. Whilst offering a simple and easy to use landing page builder similar to other, Instapage also have a huge collection of resources available to help optimize landing page results. They are also one of the only companies to give unlimited pages, visitors and domains on a basic price plan.

Pros: One of the only companies offering unlimited pages, visitors and domains on their basic package. User friendly interface, high quality selection of conversion tested templates.

Cons: No A/B testing on basic package and limits on integrations.

Cost: 14 day free trial. Then from $29 (£22) per month for the basic package when paying annually.

Leadpages | Leadpages.net

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Leadpages takes landing page creation to the next level. Built specifically with conversions in mind, everything about this platform is focused on converting traffic into buyers. You have next level landing page design tools, all the integrations you could want and an incredible collection of templates – plus lead capture forms and subscriber tools, powerful analytics and AB Testing features. All of this and the basic package offers unlimited traffic, leads and responsive pages!

Pros: All of the above, plus a huge library of resources including guides, certifications, tutorials and an active community of users.

Cons: This is a more complex, feature-rich software platform so may be overkill for some companies. A/B testing and advanced integrations only available on ‘Pro’ and ‘Advanced’ plans.

Cost: 30 day money back guarantee. From $25 (£19) per month for the basic package when paying annually.

Unbounce | Unbounce.com

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Last but not least is Unbounce. As with Leadpages this is an advanced landing page development tool, and whilst you don’t need to be a qualified designer to use it, the features are more complex. Yes they have all the landing page building abilities you’d expect, but Unbounce’s true strengths lie in the testing and optimization of each page to achieve industry leading conversion results. This is the most expensive of the software tools we’ve reviewed, however its next level features help make the investment worthwhile.

Pros: Advanced features but still easily usable without a technical background. Powerful optimization and testing capacities. Always releasing new services, including ‘Unbounce Convertables’, targeted overlays for any web page.

Cons: An expensive investment and less integrations than some alternatives.

Cost: 30 free trial. Then from $79 (£61) per month for the basic ‘Essentials’ package when paying annually.

Conclusion

As with any new software purchase your primary concern should be ‘what do I actually need’, rather than simply buying from the industry leaders. The landing page software tools reviewed above are just a handful of whats available today, but all provide those core functionalities needed to create web pages that look good and convert sales.

If you’re still not sure which landing page software best fits your venue or hotels needs then have a chat with us anytime. LeadDigital have over 20 years experience in hospitality marketing and have designed hundreds of landing pages, so can advise on the best fit for your hospitality business.

 

Interested in Landing Page Software for Your Company?

Contact Us Today

 

Why are Venues Using Survey Software?

It’s 7am Monday morning. You wake up, grab a coffee and read an email from your senior events planner telling you how Saturday’s event at your venue was an incredible success.

At this point it would be very easy to think “job done” and go about the rest of your day. Instead you pause and ask yourself – how does my team actually know the event was successful?

In our experience, most venues get event feedback from just one source, the event organiser. Of course they’re going to give good feedback, it was their event, they planned it and unless something went dramatically wrong, it was always going to be how they wanted it. However, let’s say this was a corporate event for 300 people, what did the other 299 guests think of the experience?

For all you know, the food could have been cold for half the guests and one of your waitresses could have been incredibly rude – but if this isn’t being fed back, it won’t be corrected.

So what’s the solution? Our recommendation is the use of online survey software, and our preferred solution is SurveyMonkey. Below I’ll explain why, and how it can benefit your venue.

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Guest feedback is vitally important. It’s the key to understanding your target market, their wants, needs and expectations, and it can provide insights that shape future business and marketing plans.

Typically for venues there are three stages of event survey: Planning, Real-Time & Post Event

Stage 1 – Event Planning

Survey software helps decision making become quick and (reasonably) painless. Rather than lots of back and forth questioning over email or phone, you can obtain all the event information you need in a single form. This can be as simple or complex as required, from just confirming headcount to gathering info on dietary restrictions or individual requests.

Event planning surveys give you a head start on guest expectations. Used as a research tool, surveys provide insights that enable you to plan the perfect occasion. Collected data can also be saved for future sales and marketing efforts, such as finding out where they originally saw your venue.

Stage 2 – Real-Time Surveys

Also known as “mid-event” or “during-event” surveys, this stage is about two things, encouraging engagement and gaining immediate feedback. Here are a few examples:

  • An event includes a meal. Between the starter and main course, have servers use a tablet to conduct a short and sweet survey. This way, you can immediately make corrections there and then before the meal’s second half begins.
  • You’re running a corporate conference. Between speakers, ask attendees to quickly complete a live survey on their mobiles about the event so-far. This feedback can then be shared with upcoming speakers who can adapt their talk accordingly.
  • Guests want to access your free wifi during an event. When they try to connect ask them first to complete a poll including their email address. This way you’ll get live feedback and a possible future sales lead!

More often than not, venues only ever have contact details for the event planner. We 100% recommend obtaining contact details for all attendees whenever possible, and real-time surveys provide the perfect opportunity to collect this info.

Stage 3 – Post Event Surveys

Of all the stages, post event surveys are the most important to action. This is because, using a well considered email strategy you can reach event goers just a day or two after the occasion, and get fresh feedback on their overall experience.

If you only did one survey, we’d recommend this option, as information collected will encompass the entire event from start to finish. It is also the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with each event guest individually, which if incentivised, could lead to future bookings.

Why SurveyMonkey?

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SurveyMonkey report over 25+ million business customers worldwide, with 99% of the Fortune 500 using this survey platform and over 3 million survey responses collected every day [1]. Their mission states:

“We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get at the knowledge you need to make smart, informed choices” [2]

There are five dominant reasons we love SurveyMonkey:

  1. Ease of use. SurveyMonkey is a very accessible and user friendly platform. Whilst it can be made more complex, it’s not overly complicated to get up and running with a new survey. Their survey builder is logically laid out and offers many design features, although you need a paid plan to take advantage of all options available.
  2. Templates. They provide over 200 expertly written surveys covering pretty much every subject you could imagine. So whether time is limited or imagination is lacking, there’s probably a template available to help get you started.
  3. Tips & Advice. SurveyMonkey offer a massive amount of online support, with tips and best practices on everything from the dos and don’ts of question writing, to help analysing survey results and next best steps.
  4. Integrations. In this digital world it’s becoming vital that software can talk to other platforms, and SurveyMonkey does this brilliantly. For example: Integrate with MailChimp for your email marketing, Eventbrite to contact event attendees, SalesForce for enriched CRM data or select one of the many other integrations available.
  5. Reporting. SurveyMonkey provide advanced but understandable analytics data for every survey you create; meaning that not only can you share stunning surveys, you can also discover exactly how to use data gathered wisely.

Conclusion

So why are venues using survey software? It’s because they can collect vital information about their venue and organised events otherwise unavailable, that can assist in decision making across all areas of a hospitality business. It also enables greater greater levels of guest satisfaction, which can lead to retention, referrals and brand loyalty.

At LeadDigital we can help with all your venues survey requirements. Starting with an initial consultation to develop a strategy plan, we support survey designs, implementation, integrations with other platforms and results reporting.

 

Want to Speak to us About Survey Software?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/event-planning-surveys/?ut_source=header
[2] https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/mp/aboutus/

Top Hospitality News Resources 2017

It’s not hard in 2017 to find information online about the hospitality industry. In fact, with content blogging sites such as WordPress quoting 84.3 million new content posts each month [1], we’re now entering an age of information overload!

With this being the case, finding reliable resources online that can provide the latest news related to hotels, restaurants, events venues and hospitality in general, can be difficult.

To help, LeadDigital have complied a list of eight news and learning resources that hospitality professionals should be using in 2017. Let us know your thoughts on these and any other resources in the comments section below.

BigHospitality

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“BigHospitality is an on-line resource for those working in, and interested in, the hospitality industry.” [2]

A great ‘all rounder’ website for UK hospitality news, they feature sector specific news, expert advice articles, interviews and much more. Check the website regularly, or sign up to their free newsletter.

www.bighospitality.co.uk

Event Magazine

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“Event is the UK’s leading brand for the event industry, focusing on brand experiences and the channel of experiential.” [3]

Event is a fantastic website for brand marketers and event professionals. It does provide news articles, but also has a large knowledge data base to help inspire memorable events and experiences for venues.

www.eventmagazine.co.uk

Event Industry News

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“Event Industry News (EIN) is an online event magazine that provides the latest news to the events industry.” [4]

With 49,000 unique readers viewing 683,000 pages each month, it’s no surprise EIN is considered a leader in news for the event industry. With guest blogs, Podcasts and even TV video pages, this is a website you could easily spend many hours exploring!

www.eventindustrynews.com

Event Manager Blog

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EventMB has become the go-to online resource for Trends, Technology, Innovation and Education for the event industry.” [5]

Compared to the above websites, EventMB is a much simpler, easy to navigate resource specifically for trends and technology. A great site for hospitality professionals interested in the rise of AI, virtual reality, drone videos and similar technological changes in the industry.

www.eventmanagerblog.com

Hospitality Net

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It’s massive. As resources go, Hospitality Net is huge and if you can’t find the information you need here, good luck finding it anywhere else. However, keep in mind it’s a global resource, and although you can do some filtering, finding information purely for the UK market is difficult. Londoners, check out their ‘London Hot Spot’ page here.

www.hospitalitynet.org

The Hotel Marketing Association

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“The Hotel Marketing Association is the leading professional body for hotel marketers and advocates for best marketing practices within the hospitality sector.” [6]

If you are a hotel owner or marketer, you’ve probably come across the HMA in your travels. Whilst their news section is normally only about HMA specific stories, their blog pages are particularly good sources of information for those interested in hotel marketing best practices.

www.hotelmarketingassociation.com

HotelMarketing.Com

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Where Hospitality Net mentioned above can be somewhat overwhelming, HotelMarketing.com is the polar opposite. Simple, clean, easily digestible news articles designed for hoteliers and marketing professionals. If this sounds like you, join 45,000+ subscribers in receiving their daily news roundup.

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The Caterer

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“We offer the most valuable content, the best jobs and the most sophisticated digital platform available to hotel, restaurant, foodservice and pub and bar operators across the country.” [7]

As you can probably guess from a name like ‘The Caterer’, whilst they discuss news from the whole hospitality industry, there is certainly a focus towards food and drink. This is most obvious when viewing the ‘Chef’ pages, with articles like “Best Chef of March 2017”, “Menuwatch” and “Chef Revelations”.

www.thecaterer.com


LeadDigital are a passionate team of digital marketing experts, specialising in best practices and marketing technologies for UK hotels, venues, restaurants and hospitality businesses. We help brands attract, convert and retain customers, looking to blur lines between the physical and digital worlds!

 

Ready to See What LeadDigital Can Do for You?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://wordpress.com/activity/
[2] http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Info/About-us
[3] http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/about-event
[4] https://www.eventindustrynews.com/event-magazine-event-management/
[5] http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/about-me
[6] http://www.hotelmarketingassociation.com/what-is-the-hma.html
[7] https://www.thecaterer.com/s/aboutus

Top 5 Marketing Automation Tools 2017

Marketing automation platforms are designed to manage and automate repetitive tasks for marketing professionals and organisations. As a hospitality business owner or marketing employee, we know that correctly structured marketing plans require forethought and a long term strategy. Much of this can be planned, scheduled and actioned using a marketing automation software tool.

Common capabilities include management of social media and scheduled posts, email marketing, digital adverts, lead generation tools and insightful analytical reporting systems.

Below are five of LeadDigital’s preferred marketing automation software platforms in 2017:

Pardot by Salesforce | Pardot.com

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Pardot is the popular B2B marketing platform brought to us from the huge CRM provider Salesforce. Pardot focuses on the lead generation side of marketing automation, and is structured towards creating more meaningful conversations with existing and new clients. Going beyond features, if you’re a Salesforce CRM user, this platform is ideal given its air-tight integration with the CRM.

Pro: All the features you could need. Tight integration with Salesforce.

Con: Doesn’t play well with others, few additional integrations. At the higher price end for a marketing automation platform (standard £800/mo).

ActiveCampaign | Activecampaign.com

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ActiveCampaign are a much more affordable marketing automation provider, perfect for small hotels or events venues. They may be less known than some other platforms, but it’s very hard to critique AC. They have a huge feature collection including the ability to create automated workflows and the various integration possibilities.

Pro: Cost effective, from around £15/mo for their basic package. Lots of features and a strong focus on email marketing.

Con: Some areas of the tool feel outdated, such as the email builder, when compared to alternatives available.

Act-On | Act-on.com

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Act-on believe their niche comes in the form of “outstanding experiences for customers“. Much of their marketing automation capabilities are around lead nurturing, and their support for clients is very highly rated. We would like to see some improvements to their reporting features, but otherwise this is a strong, easy to use contender.

Pro: Flexible platform, built for marketing teams not developers/engineers.

Con: Reporting is somewhat limited, some tools can be quite basic.

Marketo | uk.Marketo.com

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If you’re somewhere between the small hotel and enterprise-sized corporate events company, then Marketo could be the right tool for you. It’s not for the faint hearted, but is very intuitive and offers solutions that go much deeper than many of its competitors. We particularly like how current they are, regularly developing new services to match the digital landscape.

Pro: An industry leader, huge range of solutions, always updating services.

Con: In the higher price bracket, considered to have limited reporting & analytics abilities.

HubSpot | Hubspot.com/Marketing

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HubSpot is very features rich. It’s a platform that can do basically everything, and in our opinion, does it all to an incredibly high standard. Although they do offer HubSpot Marketing as a separate platform, when combined with their CRM and Sales tools this software becomes an all-in-one tool for complete business management.

Pro: Easy to use, designed for small businesses, lots of support and educational learning facilities available. Always trying to help clients get the most from the platform.

Con: Expensive compared to alternatives. Some features only available at additional costs, and often there are lower cost software options that provide the same functionality.

Conclusion

Whilst we only name five platforms here, there are various other tools available online today which can serve the same or similar marketing automation tasks. The important thing to consider is what your hospitality business actually needs, what you will actually use, and choosing a platform that fits.

At LeadDigital we have experience working with a wide range of marketing automation software tools for various clients, so understand the best ways to get more from the software.

 

Would You Like to Speak to LeadDigital About Marketing Automation?

Contact Us Today

 

 

Top 5 CRM Systems of 2017

Starting to use a CRM system for your hotel, bar, restaurant or venue, could be a decision that completely changes your business. A CRM system when correctly implemented, can help with business transparencyefficiencyorganisation, custom retention and importantly, it can help you to close more sales.

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Needless to say there are many CRM systems in the marketplace today, so in this blog post I’m going to give an overview of LeadDigital’s Top 5 recommended CRM systems of 2017.

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Salesforce

The World’s #1 CRM”

Founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff and Frank Dominguez, Salesforce is now the most used CRM Worldwide.

With around 4 million users and over 10,000 employees globally, Salesforce has the infrastructure to support hospitality businesses of any size. Salesforce is constantly being improved, with around $150m research & development budget per year. See our recent ‘Is SalesForce Right For You?’ article for more information.

Pros: Salesforce will support any company size. Their ‘AppExchange’ marketplace boasts thousands of add-on applications which cover a variety of different niches; everything from Event Management to Booking Engines and Surveys.

Cons: The basic versions can be very restrictive if you wish to do any customisation, such as to workflows or custom coding.

Cost: All versions are billed annually, per user. SalesforceIQ (small business CRM solution) starts at £20/user/month for the starter package, up to £240/user/month for unlimited with all features.

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HubSpot CRM

“Grow and manage your pipeline for free”

HubSpot’s CRM solution is relatively new when compared to Salesforce, as the latest addition to HubSpot’s existing collection of inbound marketing services, which they’ve been developing since 2006!

By adding a CRM to the existing tools that HubSpot offers, users can capture the whole lifecycle of a lead, from the inbound marketing source, through into the CRM. Users can then track all results gathered, entirely within one system.

Pros: Free for up to 1 million contacts. Able to track the whole lifecycle of a lead from capture to completion, when using other HubSpot products, such as HubSpot Marketing.

Cons: Very limited when compared to a complete CRM, such as Salesforce or Zoho. Small list of third party applications, when compared to other platforms.

Cost: Free – however, you will need other modules such as HubSpot Marketing & Sales, which are at an additional cost.

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Zoho CRM

“Get ready to sell Smarter, Better, Faster.”

Zoho CRM was one of the first products in the ‘Zoho Suite’, introduced in 2005. Since then Zoho has grown in size, with 25 million [1] users across its whole product range in 2017.

Zoho have recently introduced AI into their CRM, in the form of ‘Zia’. The AI is able to learn how each person uses the CRM, and can master data intelligence to interpret how your business works, analyse what you’re trying to achieve and predict unexpected incidents before they even happen!

Pros: Long list of integrations and excellent customer support. Very competitive pricing for an enterprise CRM, highly customisable Cloud-based platform.

Cons: Zoho CRM can be very complex to customise and the user interface is not quite as intuitive as other platforms.

Cost: When billed annually, the standard package is $10/user/month, Professional $20/user/month, Enterprise, $35/user/month and Ultimate is $100/user/month.

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Microsoft Dynamics

“Drive your digital transformation with Dynamics 365”

Microsoft Dynamics is part of the Microsoft Business Solutions platform, which covers ERP and CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be run on-premise or online, via Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Microsoft Dynamics focusses on the industries of retail, service, manufacturing, financial services, and the public sector, but it can be adapted to work in any industry including hospitality, and for any size of company.

Microsoft Dynamics is a modular system, which means it’s possible to only use the modules required, which can make it very cost effective.

Pros: Microsoft Dynamics has the potential to be the only system you need, as it can be configured to cover CRM and ERP. Very configurable, with lots of integrations available. A ‘light’ version is offered for smaller teams.

Cons: The pricing structure is quite complicated, with lots of options on modules.

Cost: The most popular plan, is £86.70/user/month. Light edition starts at £7.50/user/month.

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Pipedrive

“Pipedrive gets your sales organised”

Pipedrive was founded in 2010 and has around 240 employees Worldwide. As of 2017, Pipedrive has around 50,000 customers [2] all around the world, with a focus on small to medium size businesses.

Pipedrive was built by sales people, for sales people, and aims to simplify the sales process and provide an intuitive user interface to do so.

Pros: Pipedrives ‘Pipeline’ view is perfect to see all the current opportunity deals and their progress. The intuitive user interface is great and simple to use.

Cons: As Pipedrive is aimed at small companies, it can be overly simple. The list of integrations is short compared to other platforms.

Cost: Pipedrive offer annual and monthly costs. When billed annually, the Silver package is $10/user/month, Gold $21/user/month and Platinum, $63/user/month.

In Summary

There is a huge range of CRM systems to choose from in 2017 and this list only scratches the surface, with other services like ‘Insightly’, ‘Nutshell’, ‘Freshsales’, ‘Freshdesk’ etc… equally deserving of mention.

So how do you choose? Think about these questions; what problems can a CRM system solve and what issues can it improve?

The right software is vital, but so is installing it for the right reasons. Moving to a CRM system will take time, so thought needs to be put into the process.

At this point you should talk to us at LeadDigital. We have over 20 years experience in Martech and have successfully implemented CRM systems for various UK hospitality businesses, which have proved vital and in turn have increased revenues!

 

Need Help Choosing Your CRM?

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] https://www.zoho.com/aboutus.html
[2] https://blog.pipedrive.com/2017/03/50000-customers-taught-us-sales/

Unique British Hotels to Follow on Twitter

Unique and unusual British hotels spark our imagination – offering fabulous luxury in locations that are simply astounding! However these hotels also need to fill rooms, grab attention and gain repeat custom, so are now turning to digital marketing & social media to increase sales.

Below are five of our favourite surprising, eccentric and quintessentially British hotels, that you need to be following on Twitter;

Burgh Island Hotel
1,460 Tweets | 1,985 Followers

@BURGH_ISLAND

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“The beauty and intrigue of an island visit has always drawn guests who are looking for something different” – With its celebration of Art Deco and iconic location, Burgh Island Hotel offers a true luxury escape on the Devonshire coast. Their Twitter account sings of seaside romance, taking advantage of the beautiful scenery.

Glazebrook House
2,286 Tweets | 1,692 Followers

@GLAZEBROOKHOUSE

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“A luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant with nine unique rooms and a surprise around every corner” – Staying at Glazebrook House is truly an experience in itself! From its sophisticated twist on an Alice In Wonderland theme, to the hidden away location and creative seasonal menus, this is a hotel that will blow you away. On Twitter they mainly promote upcoming events, the beautiful food available and booking special offers.

Amberley Castle
1,756 Tweets | 2,856 Followers

@AMBERLEYCASTLE

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“This magnificent 900-year-old castle is enclosed by a 60 foot high curtain wall and portcullis that remains open, behind which you will discover an enchanting hotel offering the highest standards of food and service” – Located in the picturesque village of Amberley, this luxurious castle hotel is steeped in history, perfect for those looking to escape the 9-to-5 and feel like royalty. Part of the Andrew Brownsword Hotels Collection, this uniquely British property mainly tweets about ‘real life’ goings-on around the castle using romanticised photography.

Penny Lane Hotel
191 Tweets | 1,850 Followers

@HOTELPENNYLANE

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“The Penny lane Hotel gives guests a front row view of some of the most historic landmarks relating to the band” – It doesn’t get much more British than The Beatles and Liverpool’s Penny Lane Hotel is a Beatles fan’s dream come true! Each room is designed around the band with original memorabilia, and the hotel even offers Beatles themed weekends. This hotel often retweets reviews from happy guests or uses Twitter to promote exclusive special rates.

Solent Forts
2,450 Tweets | 2,516 Followers

@SOLENT_FORTS

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“Drop anchor in the Solent and experience our genuinely unique award winning venues” – Solent Forts own three luxury island hotels off the coast of Portsmouth; Spitbank FortNo Man’s Fort and Horse Sand Fort. Each of these incredibly exclusive locations offers a remarkable getaway for guests, with a vast range of leisure facilities aboard these historic fortresses. Twitter for Solent Forts has a nautical approach, speaking about the forts, history and facilites provided.

For more insights into UK Hotels & Hospitality Digital Marketing Subscribe to the LeadDigital Blog (form at the top), or find us on Twitter @DELUXEVENUES

 

Need Help with Your Social Media Marketing?

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Top 5 Email Marketing Services in 2017

We are often asked about the various email software platforms available today and with so many options out there, how should you decide which is best for your hotel or venue? In this blog I’m going to give an overview of LeadDigital’s Top 5 recommended services for Email Marketing.

It’s easy to be tempted by all singing, all dancing services like Infusionsoft (discussed below), but these are often overcomplicated, and require a significant investment. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t try to run before you can walk”. In this case it’s better to start simple and select software based on your needs today. It’s easy to upgrade as your requirements become more sophisticated, but it’s very difficult to go backwards!

So without further ado, lets get started:

AWeber

“All The Tools You Need To Send Emails The Right Way.”

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Established back in ’98, AWeber is one of the original email marketing platforms and is considered a great starter option for people new to email. It’s very simple, offering most of the core features a small to medium hospitality business would need, without overloading you with too many tools.

Pros: All the basics are covered, simple reporting and functionality and it offers a useful WordPress plugin for quick website sign-up forms.

Cons: The subscriber importing capabilities are quite limited, no ability to build landing pages, overall it can be quite limiting for more established businesses.

Cost: Today you can get a 30-day free trial followed by $19 (£15) per month for up-to 500 subscribers. Standard pricing then peaks $149 (£120) per month for 10,000-25,000.


MailChimp

“Send Better Email. Sell More Stuff”

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If you want to design awesome looking emails without needing a web designer on-hand, MailChimp is the tool for you!

A fan favourite for many, MailChimp is a popular option for most email marketers given its powerful functionality and user friendly interface. Whether you’re adding new subscribers, creating new email campaigns or looking for advanced automated email options, MailChimp is a solid all rounder.

Pros: Integrates with hundreds of web services including e-commerce platforms, huge collection of templates to design from, quick to get started.

Cons: MailChimp use a unique language for features & processes, they only allow for one opt-in form per list, reporting whilst informative can be less comprehensive than competitors unless managed by a MailChimp expert.

Cost: Up-to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month you can sign up for free, however this only gives access to the most basic features. To access all functions including autoresponders, pricing starts from £8 per month for <500 subscribers, then £65/mo+ for over 10,000 subscribers.


Drip

“Quick And Easy Email Marketing Automation Software”

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Marketing automation is the ultimate dream of most email marketers. The ability to take insights you have on customers and turn them into personalised & automated outreach campaigns, makes for the perfect recipe to succeed in email marketing.

Drip take that one step further by building their entire platform around the premise of drip marketing. Intelligent workflows allow users to automate the entire customer journey, with sophisticated rules based on interactions helping you get the most engagement from each subscriber.

Pros: Specialists in drip marketing, advanced visual workflows & event triggers, automate everything, access to marketing automation normally reserved for only high end expensive email software.

Cons: Still quite a new software platform so constantly seeing changes, integrations are less available and can be complicated.

Cost: Free for 100 subscribers, or get 2 months free when buying an annual package. £39.50/mo for up-to 2,500 subscribers, £120/mo+ for 10,000 subscribers.


ConvertKit

“Email Marketing For Professional Bloggers”

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Like MailChimp, ConvertKit offer many of the essentials needed for hotels, venues, restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Its advantage over competitors however, is that it uses ‘tags’ rather than ‘lists’. List based systems store subscribers (email addresses) on a per list basis, such as ticket buyers or competition A entries. If one subscriber is in both lists (tickets & competition), you could get charged twice!

Alternatively a ‘tag’ based system like ConvertKit looks at all subscribers together as one. Using customisable event tags, segments are then created and personalised emails can be sent to a select audience only, without the risk of double charging!

Pros: Tag based software, easy to use, simple to create sign up forms, offers a basic landing page builder.

Cons: Reported information and email testing functions can be quite limited and the email composer is somewhat basic.

Cost: 0-1,000 subscribers is £23 per month, £64/mo for up-to 5,000 then custom price for above 5k subscribers.


Infusionsoft

“Build Better Connections With Leads And Customers”

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If your subscriber numbers are above 50,000, you’ve got everything you can out of platforms like MailChimp and need to step it up a notch, it’s probably time to look at Infusionsoft.

This is a marketing automation, CRM and sales platform all rolled into one, and is big, powerful and perfect for complete email marketing dominance! It has every feature you could imagine and more, but does also demand a significant investment in time and money so can’t be taken lightly. Its abilities extend way beyond just email marketing, so you’d likely see this service become part of every aspect of your hospitality company.

Pros: Ultimate tool for much more than just email.

Cons: Too expensive for most business owners, very complex.

Costs: £160/mo for 2,500 subscribers plus you have to buy a kickstart package from £804 up. Thats not including the cost of training and additional staffing this system would require.

In Summary

There is a huge range of email marketing services to choose from in 2017, and this list only scratches the surface, with other services like ‘ActiveCampaign’, ‘GetResponse’, ‘Constant Contact’, ‘Ontraport’ etc… equally deserving of mention.

So how do you choose? Stop. Down tools and just ask yourself one question – what do I actually want to achieve with email marketing? Be specific.

The right software is vital, but even more so is the right email marketing strategy. This is the point when you should talk to LeadDigital. We have over 20 years experience in email marketing and only serve businesses within the hospitality sector – with our team creating bespoke email strategies designed to increase bookings and sell more events!

 

Want to Speak with an Email Marketing Expert?

Contact Us Today

 

Best Luxury UK Hotels On Instagram 2017

With over 600 million people now using Instagram [1], it’s clear why hoteliers are flocking to the social platform. Its photo sharing focus allows hotels to ‘paint a picture’ of their brand, exposing unique aspects of their hotel with stunning, never before seen photography.

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Here is @Deluxevenues collection of the best Luxury UK Hotels taking advantage of Instagram in 2017!

Rosewood London
302 Posts | 34,500+ Followers

@ROSEWOODLONDON

“An ultra-luxury High Holborn hotel that combines English heritage & contemporary sophistication in a central location, near Covent Garden & the City” – We were impressed by the quality of photos being presented, as they simply scream luxurious!

The Dorchester
1,248 Posts | 41,900+ Followers

@THEDORCHESTER

“One of London’s most iconic hotels, overlooking Hyde Park in Mayfair” – The Dorchester cleverly balance art with real life, celebrating goings-on around them as much as the hotel, creating a sense of place.

The Savoy
813 Posts | 37,400+ Followers

@THESAVOYLONDON

“Perfectly placed on the north bank of the River Thames, The Savoy is the most celebrated and glamorous 5* luxury hotel in Central London” – Glamour is certainly the right word for The Savoy’s Instagram account, with a clear focus on promoting the finer things in life. Perfect branding for this renowned hotel.

The Pig
844 Posts | 41,200+ Followers

@THEPIG_HOTEL

“A restaurant with rooms; the focus is very much on the food, uncomplicated and simple British garden food” – The epitome of countryside luxury. The Pig’s niche of freshly grown produce is evident throughout their Instagram, whilst photo’s of the hotel show why Londoner’s often escape to the country!

Claridge’s
1,843 Posts | 122,000+ Followers

@CLARIDGESHOTEL

“Daily adventures from the art deco hotel in the heart of Mayfair, London” – Claridge’s approach is much more ‘behind the scenes’, granting Instagram followers a peek into this exclusive hotel with smart use of targeted hashtags for maximum exposure. No wonder they have over 100k followers!

The Ritz London
399 Posts | 31,500+ Followers

@THERITZLONDON

“Five star luxury hotel in the heart of London. Share your Ritz memories with us using #ritzreveals and we will choose our favourites” – Here we see a hotel thinking ahead, creating a custom hashtag for their brand. A fantastic method to gain insights on guests and their experiences.

The Connaught
1,352 Posts | 38,400+ Followers

@THECONNAUGHT

“The Connaught, is a luxury five star hotel on Mount Street in the heart of fashionable Mayfair” – A very British affair. Instagram for The Connaught tells the story of an exclusive hotel, proud of it’s London location.

Chewton Glen
799 Posts | 10,100+ Followers

@CHEWTONGLEN

“An English Original… A five star luxury country house hotel and spa on the edge of the New Forest” – Another hotel proud of it’s location is Chewton Glen, based in the New Forest. Like The Pig this is a luxury country hotel, but their approach to Instagram also presents real customers and their experiences.

The Goring
705 Posts | 31,000+ Followers

@THEGORING

“London’s impeccably English luxury hotel has entered a new era” – In this case The Goring twins beautiful photography with artistic illustrations, a brand also keen to present its classic British aesthetic.

Belmond Le Manoir
347 Posts | 10,600+ Followers

@BELMONDLEMANOIR

“Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is renowned as one of Britain’s finest gastronomic and hotel experiences” – For this hotel food is king. Their fine dining posts are mouth-wateringly delicious, matched by it’s subtle European inspiration.

For more insights into UK Hospitality and Digital Marketing Subscribe to the DeluxeVenues Blog above!

References

[1] 600 Million and Counting. Instagram. Dec 2016.