Blog Archives

New marketing service launching

Marketing has changed in recent years, requiring new digital tools, said a nationally recognized speaker at a Thursday seminar introducing Propel Marketing to central Illinois businesses.

Ken Mauser, publisher of the Journal Star, introduced the session before more than 120 people at the Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, one of two such gatherings.

“It’s important to note that Propel is not a third party but part of GateHouse Media, part of the Journal Star. Propel will help people drive more people to Facebook sites with print advertising, helping you to grow your business,” he said.

Growing that business is different now than it was 30 or 40 years ago, said Shannon Kinney, founder of Rockland, Maine-based Dreamlocal Digital.

“Media use is changing. Seventy-three percent of Americans now have smartphones. Seventy percent also feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they’re getting now,” she said.

That means ad pitches need to be more conversational than in the past, said Kinney.

“When you reach people in this way, you win.” she said.

With 1 billion users, Facebook is one way to start a conversation with customers, Kinney said. “Social media is word-of-mouth on steroids.”

But using Facebook requires a professionally designed page, Kinney said.

A business using Facebook also should adopt a thoughtful plan, Kinney said. Because business owners are busy running their business, Propel’s expertise can be tapped for social media management, now available through the Journal Star, she said.

Kinney also outlined how businesses could benefit from using other social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest and Google+.

She also advised companies to post videos of their business on YouTube.

“It’s now the second-largest search engine,” said Kinney, who stressed the need for businesses to consider tailoring marketing efforts to mobile devices. “By 2013, half of all the Internet searches will be done on mobile devices.”

Another benefit provided by Propel is a Web marketing dashboard where customers can track programs to see how they are working, said Kinney.

“I think it’s very brave of a newspaper to provide a service like Propel that offers services at a fraction of the cost of some alternatives,” she said. “But it’s not print that advertisers will cut back on as much as the Yellow Pages or TV.”


Steve Tarter can be reached at 686-3260 or

First of its Kind Hotel Web Management Platform receives rave reviews


First of its Kind Hotel Web Management Platform receives rave reviews

Tatiana Rokou – 19 October 2012, 14:39

Hotel management companies discover the power of complete, integrated platform.


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JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – Vizergy released its Hotel Web Management Platform in early August. The company deployed the industry first platform that allows hoteliers to manage their entire online presence in a manner that’s easier, more efficient and more productive than ever before. During the platform’s first two months live, hoteliers from both independent properties and large hotel management companies have boasted about the benefits.

Vizergy’s Hotel Web Management Platform offers a faster and smarter way for hoteliers to manage their online presence. It takes a holistic approach, integrating all online activities in one spot, including, but not limited to:

  • Marketing Planning – keep your property-level teams on track
  • Social Monitoring – monitor and respond to social media posts and reviews
  • Call Tracking – record and listen to travel shoppers’ calls
  • Content Management System (CMS) – quickly modify website and mobile website design and SEO
  • Integrated Reporting – benchmark against Vizergy portfolio; measure success for one property or entire portfolios.

The platform can be used in conjunction with Vizergy’s marketing programs -which include search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, display ads, social, mobile, local and more- or used as a standalone software if marketing is done in-house. It’s the ideal solution for both individual properties and hotel management companies with multiple properties, as they can use the platform as an enterprise management system.

Brandon Harper, eCommerce Manager at Winegardner Hammons, Inc., and a longstanding Vizergy marketing client, quickly realized the benefits of the new platform.

“Vizergy’s people and their expertise have always set them apart. Now, with the new management platform, they provide everything our portfolio needs from an online marketing partner. The platform allows our team to gather competitive intelligence, analyze metrics and better understand our social presence. Each and every component helps us refine our marketing strategies and reach goals for both individual hotels and our entire portfolio.”

Robert Arnold, Vizergy’s Vice President of Sales, says the ultimate goal of the platform is to provide hoteliers from all types of management companies and properties a better way to manage their online presence and drive revenue.

“Integrating and managing online marketing is a difficult task -from social media, to review responses, to seasonal messaging on websites and mobile websites. The last thing our clients want to do is log into multiple locations to oversee their activities. Our new platform allows hoteliers to manage their entire online presence quicker and focus on other daily activities. It also helps pinpoint opportunities to better reach targeted shoppers, so that hoteliers can make their marketing more efficient and productive.”

Lee County tries new face in German market – The News

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A local hotel leader said she looks forward to working with the Frankfurt-based marketing and public relations agency Lee County has hired to promote German visits.

“I met the owner and her PR rep last week: Out of the gate, they had some brilliant ideas,” said Jeanne Bigos. She’s sales and marketing director for The Outrigger resort on Fort Myers Beach, which long has been a magnet for European visitors.

Lee County Visitor and Convention on Wednesday announced that Global Communications Experts has become the bureau’s representative in Germany.

The agency has more than 25 clients including the Canary Island Tenerife, the Caribbean Island Barbados, Spiekeroog island in the North Sea, luxury hotel St. Regis Bora-Bora, Travel Charme Hotels and Resorts.

Its duties for Lee County will include maintaining and expanding the local visitor bureau’s contacts with tour operators, travel agencies, airline partners and consumers. It will manage all marketing and PR activities in Germany for the bureau.

The agency replaces Vera Sommer of Vera Sommer Touristik Marketing, which had worked for the bureau since 1995. An evaluation committee in August ranked Global Communications Experts’ proposal above two others, including Sommer’s. County commissioners endorsed the committee action on Sept. 25.

Germany is the top international feeder market for Lee County tourism. Survey-based estimates for the visitor bureau show that nearly 118,000 German-origin visitors used local paid accommodations between Oct. 11, 2011, and July 12 of this year.

Sofitel sees Delhi as priority market for hotel development


Category: Latest Updates
Published on Friday, 12 October 2012 18:35


With an aim to ensure that Sofitel Luxury Hotels is well positioned among wholesale distributors and are readily bookable, the company recently held its first ‘Sofitel Sales Mission 2012’ presentation workshop at Sofitel Mumbai BKC. The primary objective of the mission was to showcase their hotel offerings to the travel trade in India. For the same, sales representatives from Sofitel Sukhmvit, Sofitel Krabi, Sofitel So Bangkok, Sofitel Dubai Jumeriah Beach, Sofitel Mauritius and Sofitel Cambodia were present.

Talking to Express Hospitality on the sidelines of the mission about the company’s expansion plans for the India market, Anthony Slewka-Armfelt, regional director of sales, Sofitel South East Asia and India, director of sales and marketing, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhmvit said, “We are definitely looking at expanding the brand in India. Our basic strategy is to ensure that we have a Sofitel in all primary cities in Asia-Pacific. In India, for example, this would mean New Delhi, which would be a logical priority as would be some additional locations.  From a sales perspective we see India as a very important and strategic growth market – with such a young population and such a diverse growth economy we are certain that the sales footprint needs to grow.” As part of its planned marketing strategies to further promote the brand in the country, the company is looking at increased PR activities and direct sales events.

When asked about how is the company looking at working closely with the travel trade, Armfelt added, “We look at a three pronged approach. The first is to make sure we are well positioned with the wholesale distributors and are readily bookable. The second is to ensure that we are in key markets for the Indian traveller, and that we have solid relationships with the key inbound operators who service the Indian client, and thirdly and most importantly we need to visit the retail trade in India on a more frequent basis – the travel agents – in order to develop synergy to push bookings into our hotels.”

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Aston to operate 23 budget hotels in 2013

International chain hotel operator Aston International will launch its new budget brand, Neo, by 2013 to tap into the growing business and leisure market in the country.

According to Aston vice president sales and marketing Norbert Vas, 23, Neo hotels are being constructed in 10 major cities across the country.

“Next month we will open our first hotel in Legian, Bali. The rest are expected to operate next year,” he said in Jakarta recently.

Not only will Aston operate the hotels in the leading Meeting, Incentives, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) cities of Jakarta, Denpasar, Bali and Medan, North Sumatra, the operator will also open budget hotels in Bandung, West Java, Surabaya, East Java, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan and Makassar, South Sulawesi.

“The middle class is growing and the market is huge so we plan to enter the second and third tier cities in the future,” he added.

Neo will be Aston’s second two-star hotel operation after the Favehotel brand.

The differences between the two brands are the facilities and design, Vas said.

Neo offers DVD players, mini bars, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer as well as vanity mirrors in each room and the basic traveling needs, including hot and cold water shower, LCD television, internet connection and toiletries.

Each hotel will also have swimming pools and medium meeting rooms to accommodate the MICE market.

According to Aston marketing communication manager Febry Anindita, they plan to operate up to 50 Neo hotels across the archipelago over the next three years.

“We will further expand this brand as the undeniable demand for economy hotels with five star facilities in Indonesia develops due to economic growth,” Febry said.

As of today, Aston operates 54 hotels and villas in Indonesia under the brand such as Royal Kamuela, Grand Aston, Aston and Favehotels. (lfr


CARLSON COMPANIES INC. : Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group appoints Gwenn … – 4

Carlson Rezidor
Hotel Group
, one of the world’s largest and most
dynamic hotel groups, today announced the appointment of
Gwenn Feliciano as director of sales and marketing for the
Radisson Blu
Resort, Marina Spa, St. Martin
.  Feliciano will
oversee all sales, marketing and public relations functions
for the 252-room beachfront property, including the
oversight of European-based sales managers.

“Gwenn’s leadership in developing and executing sales and
marketing initiatives for resorts globally demonstrates her
incredible value to the property,” said Jean-marc Jalbert,
general manager of the Radisson Blu Resort, Marina Spa,
St. Martin. “Her extensive experience will contribute to
strengthening the resort’s position as a top Caribbean

Feliciano has worked in sales and marketing across the
Americas and Caribbean for Our Lucaya Beach and Golf
Resort, SuperClubs All-Inclusive Resorts and Certified
Vacations. She most recently served as director of sales
and marketing for Elite Island Resorts where she led
efforts for a new property acquisition, developed revenue
management strategies and global promotions, and managed
global sales teams. She is a graduate of Hofstra University
and holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business.

The Radisson Blu Resort, Marina Spa, St. Martin is the
leading upper-upscale resort on the French side of the
island and reopened in December 2011 after undergoing
renovations in excess of USD 10 million. The resort is a
premier 18-acre property, offering guests 1,600 feet of
beachfront in Anse Marcel with 63 suites and 189
guestrooms. It features a 7,000 square foot ballroom;
full-service spa (Le Spa) and fitness center; and exclusive
water taxi service from the airport to the resort marina.
With two on-site dining venues, guests enjoy a
complimentary full breakfast buffet at Le Marché and
world-class French-Caribbean cuisine with panoramic views
of the Caribbean Sea at C Le Restaurant. The resort is a
2012 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice® award winner and recent
recipient of the prestigious Certificate of Excellence for
consistently outstanding traveler reviews.

About Radisson Blu Resort, Marina Spa, St. Martin
The Radisson Blu Resort, Marina Spa, St. Martin is a
luxury resort nestled in the picturesque cove of Anse
Marcel, on the Northwest coast of the French side of St.
Martin. Located 25 minutes from Princess Juliana
International Airport via the resort’s exclusive water
shuttle service, the full-service hotel is spread over 18
acres and comprised of 63 suites and 189 guestrooms. The
hotel features C Le Restaurant, which offers gourmet French
and Caribbean cuisine, as well as outdoor massages and
state-of-the-art spa treatments at Le Spa. A TripAdvisor
2012 Travelers’ Choice® award winner, the property is also
the recipient of the prestigious Certificate of Excellence
for consistently outstanding traveler reviews.

About Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Carlson Rezidor
Hotel Group
– born in early 2012 – is one of the
world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups. The
portfolio of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group includes more
than 1,300 hotels, a global footprint spanning 81 countries
and territories, a powerful set of global brands (Radisson
Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, Country
Inns Suites By CarlsonSM and Hotel Missoni). In most of
the group’s hotels, guests can benefit from the loyalty
program Club CarlsonSM, one of the most rewarding loyalty
programs in the world. Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its
brands employ more than 80,000 people.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is headquartered in
Minneapolis, Minn., and Brussels, Belgium.

Ben Gardeen, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group | +1 (763)
212-8129 |