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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.”

ECB highlights Marketing and PR excellence in County Cricket at 2012 BOCA …

England and Wales Cricket: (Oct. 19, 2012) – ECB today announced the winners of the ECBs annual Business of Cricket Awards (BOCA) which were held at The Cumberland Hotel in London last night.

The awards, which are designed to celebrate Marketing and PR excellence across domestic and international cricket, were attended by representatives of all 18 First Class Counties and MCC together with guests from the wider sports industry.

Essex and Kent were the biggest winners of the night collecting three awards each, with Essex collecting the Team of the Year award.

In making this award, the judges felt that Essex displayed creativity, initiative and astute commercial acumen to consistently deliver strong attendances across all formats of the game, in particular Friends Life t20.

Nottinghamshire collected awards in two separate categories with Hampshire, and Somerset also collecting individual awards.

ECBs Director of Marketing and Communications Steve Elworthy said: The weather has been challenging for cricket this year in England and Wales, affecting almost every club in the country. We have been extremely impressed by the way that the Counties have managed to respond and adapt to these issues as they continually seek to find new avenues to reach their fans.

The judges were hugely impressed by the successful use of online and digital marketing in this years applications, as the Counties continue to push the barriers of customer engagement. As always, picking the winners is no easy task but we congratulate those who came out on top and send a big thanks to the judging panel, plus all the entrants for their hard work and creativity over the past year.

ECB Business of Cricket Awards

The list of 2012 winners in full:
Best Friends Life t20 Campaign – Essex
Best Friends Life t20 Matchday Experience – Kent
Best Clydesdale Bank 40 Promotion – Kent
Best Promotion of an International Fixture – Hampshire/Ageas Bowl
Best Sponsorship Activation Nottinghamshire
Best Membership Campaign or Promotion – Somerset
Best Community Programme Nottinghamshire
Best Improvement in Customer Engagement – Essex
The Innovation Award – Kent
Team of the Year Essex

Buyer sought for W Fort Lauderdale Hotel & Residences – Sun

The W Fort Lauderdale Hotel Residences is for sale, three years after the $430 million condominium-hotel was built.

Real estate firm CBRE has emailed brokers a flyer marketing the two-building property on Fort Lauderdale beach. It features 346 hotel rooms and 171 condo-hotels, only 23 of which have sold since the project opened in 2009.

The hotel and condos are being sold separately or as a package. The project is owned by a South Florida group headed by John Yanopoulos. He could not be reached for comment this week.

While the region’s condo market is recuperating, the condo-hotel sector has cooled after peaking toward the end of the housing boom in 2005, analysts say.

Last December, MMD Realty announced that it was selling the condo-hotels at the W Fort Lauderdale, with prices ranging from about $500,000 to more than $1 million. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, an MMD investor, attended a launch party at the site.

But MMD founder Michelle Farber Ross said this week her firm no longer is selling at the W Fort Lauderdale.

The project probably wouldn’t be for sale in bulk if there was a better market for condo-hotels, said Peter Zalewski, a principal at CondoVultures, a consulting firm.

“This is the time to double down,” Zalewski said, noting the upcoming tourist season and the general optimism for real estate. “Condo-hotels are the exception to the overall improving South Florida condo market.” 

InterContinental Hotels Group named “Preferred Hotel Brand of the ECHL”


  • Press Releases
  • October 18, 2012


    PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that InterContinental Hotels Group will serve as the “Preferred Hotel Brand of the ECHL” for the 2012-13 season.

    InterContinental Hotels Group is an international hotel company whose goal is to create Great Hotels Guests Love. They have more guest rooms than any other hotel company in the world with rooms in more than 4,150 hotels across nearly 100 countries. Guests book over 160 million stays in IHG hotels every year. They also provide Priority Club Rewards – the world’s largest hotel loyalty program. InterContinental Hotels Group consists of InterContinental Hotels Resorts, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites and Hotel Indigo.

    “We are pleased to have InterContinental Hotels as the Preferred Hotel Brand of the ECHL,” said ECHL Vice President of Marketing and Licensing Tara Crane. “Their wide range of brands will provide quality and affordable alternatives for ECHL teams, officials and fans.”

    “We are really looking forward to this new relationship with the ECHL,” said Doug Dixon, marketing manager, U.S. Sales Marketing, IHG. “This partnership provides a terrific opportunity for IHG to showcase team travel accommodations for the ECHL’s players and officials.”

    About InterContinental Hotels Group

    IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with nine hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, as well as our two newest brands, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels Resorts. IHG also manages Priority Club® Rewards, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty program with over 67 million members worldwide.

    IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,500 hotels and more than 666,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years.

    InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

    Visit for hotel information and reservations and for more on Priority Club Rewards. For the latest news, visit,, or


    Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts 

    • Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.

    • The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

    • ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.

    • The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

    490 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.

    • The ECHL has had 298 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.

    • 234 ECHL players have played their first game in the last seven seasons for an average of more than 33 per year.

    • ECHL had a record 81 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2011-12, surpassing the 79 from 2010-11 and marking the ninth year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.

    • ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

    • 31 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.

    • 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.

    • ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.

    • ECHL was represented in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game by Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.  

    • Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    • Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.

    • ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2012-13 and for the past 23 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.

    • In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.

    • The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.

    • Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

    Hundreds attend Propel Marketing workshops

    A packed series of workshops held Thursday at the McKinley Grand Hotel reinforced Repository leadership’s excitement with their new venture with Propel Marketing.

    More than 300 area business professionals attended a series of free workshops on Thursday to learn more about the digital marketing product offered locally through The Repository and its partner, Propel Marketing.

    Propel is a division of GateHouse Media, which owns The Repository. The company offers a wide range of services, from website creation to online search optimization to reputation management.

    “I am very pleased with the turnout at our workshops and the very positive response we’ve had from the business community,” commented Repository Publisher Chris White.

    “This reinforces our belief in these services and speaks to the need with local businesses. We will meet that need, efficiently and effectively.”

    More information is available at Propel’s website, Contact The Repository’s marketing department at (330) 580-8541 or

    VFM Leonardo Hotel Marketing Webinar – Engage at Every Stage: What Hotel …

    VFM Leonardo
    45 Minute Webinar for Hotel Marketers on October 24th Will Explore Successful Online Retailing Tactics That Hoteliers Can Incorporate Into Their Marketing Strategies.

    The travel shopping journey is not much different than that of a consumer shopping for a new pair of shoes online. In fact, it is almost identical. Travelers are in search of informative, engaging, interactive experiences. And just like online retailers, hotels that meet these demands have the potential to compel shoppers to click the ‘book now’ button and drive sales. This webinar, Engage at Every Stage: What Hotel Marketers Can Learn From Successful Online Retailers, will explain how to attract travelers using online retailing strategies.

    Webinar Details

    Hosted by: Darlene Rondeau, VP, Online Merchandising, Best Practices, VFM Leonardo 
    Date: October 24th, 2012 
    Time: 11 am Eastern Time 
    Duration: 45 min + 15 min QA 
    Register Now!

    Register to learn: 

    • Latest trends in visual merchandising from a digital retailing perspective
    • How multi-device shopping and social media impacts consumer purchase decisions
    • Tips for successfully reaching and engaging travelers at every stage

    Meet the Speakers

    Richard E. Last is currently lecturing at the University of North Texas where he leads their Digital Retail major, a unique program among U.S. Universities. Mr. Last has over 20 years of experience in Digital Retailing. Under Mr. Last’s leadership, JCPenney began selling merchandise via the Web in October 1994, the first Department Store online, and by 2005, the first $1Billion Apparel and Home Furnishings website. Prior to, Mr. Last led various electronic retailing efforts for JCPenney including online services and interactive TV.

    Adele Gutman is VP of Sales and Marketing at the Library Hotel Collection (formerly HK Hotels). She is a natural sales and marketing leader in the innovative and much acclaimed Library Hotel Collection, including Hotel Giraffe; the book-lovers paradise, the Library Hotel; the French Style Hotel Elysee and the Moroccan motif Casablanca Hotel. She has the ability to listen to her customers, uncover their needs and most importantly she always delivers. With a background in sales and marketing, Adele was named 2011 Sales Marketing Executive of the Year by the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter. Follow Adele on twitter @hoteladele.

    Don’t miss the opportunity to have your online marketing questions answered by the speakers during the QA session. 
    Register Now!

    About VFM Leonardo

    VFM Leonardo is a technology and online media company for the global hospitality industry. We provide e-marketers at hotel brands, management companies and hotel properties with technology, sales conversion tools and a global travel media network that enables them to better visually merchandise their hotels to millions of in-market travel shoppers monthly. Our core products, the VScape® Digital Asset Management System and VBrochure™ Online Merchandising System, leverage the VNetwork™ – the largest media syndication network in the industry. It includes all major search engines, Global Distribution Systems, online travel agencies, travel research and supplier websites, search portals, review, travel editorial, local directories and major social media and video sharing sites. Taking advantage of VBrochure’s mobile and social media platforms, hotels can ensure that their rich visual presentations reach consumers on their mobile devices and through their social graphs. For more information about VFM Leonardo, visit

    Connect with VFM Leonardo. 

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    Award for Meritus – eTravelBlackboard


    Mr Kurt Wehinger (left), General Manager of Marina Mandarin Singapore,
    pictured with Mr Chua Tian Chu (right), Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Meritus Hotels Resorts


    THE Meritus Hotels and Resorts group won three major awards for its Singapore hotels at the World Luxury Hotels Awards ceremony at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur last weekend.

    Australian marketing representative Randall Marketing said today that in the Global Awards the group was the luxury hotel brand winner whilst its Mandarin Orchard Singapore won the award for luxury hotel and the Marina Mandarin Singapore won the award for  luxury business hotel.

     The five-star Mandarin Orchard  is the company’s 1051-room flagship in the heart of Singapore’s business, shopping and entertainment area.

    The Marina Mandarin has 575 guest rooms and suites overlooking the financial district and Marina Bay with direct access to Marina Bay shopping complex.

    From amongst more than 1500 nominations received this year, the event saw hotels and resorts from 61 countries awarded in 29 categories. Winners are recognised on a country, continent, and global basis; and properties receiving the most votes are conferred the global awards being the overall luxury winner of a specific category.

    Marinique de Wet, Director of the World Luxury Hotel Awards, said: “Growing numbers of luxury travelers around the world seeking value, impeccable service, and the highest quality are now making a point of checking to see who has won a World Luxury Hotel Award before making their own holiday choice.”
    On winning the awards, Chua Tian Chu, Meritus Hotels Resorts’ Deputy Chief Executive Officer, commented: “As we grow the Meritus brand we are more committed than ever to operate hotels that reflect the best of who we are – world-class facilities delivered with our signature Asian hospitality.”

    Hotel Westport is Family Friendly Hotel of the Year

    Commenting on the Hotel Westport Award, Georgina said that “we look for the places that cater especially well for families by providing the range of services and activities for varying ages and interests that make for a stress-free break. This year, this category was made a priority, with a team of young families testing special breaks all over the country on behalf of the Guide. The results have been interesting and varied with some providing it to a very high standard like our winning hotel, Hotel Westport.”

    Georgina Campbell specifically mentioned the fact that Hotel Westport has long being associated with great Family Holidays with its famous Panda Club which is the children’s entertainment and activity club along with its excellent facilities, including the White Flag awarded leisure centre and other great activities.

    She said that “the best family-friendly hotels are a very good holiday option and Hotel Westport is a large, well-managed hotel that deserves its place as a favoured destination for families. It’s at the centre of an interesting tourist area and its convenient location – quiet, yet almost town centre situation (no need to keep taking out the car) – is a big plus, also the helpful ‘can-do’ attitude of friendly staff with great facilities”.

    Culinary excellence

    Georgina also commended the fact that constant refurbishment and upgrading is the norm for Hotel Westport, food is well above average for an hotel, which in itself was award winning this year also having scooped an A.A. Rosette for culinary excellence and an International C.I.E Award for the best hotel dinner in Ireland on the tour series, and it’s good value too – all of which will make it a happy choice for any family holidays according to Georgina.

    Cathal Hughes, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hotel Westport, said: “I am extremely pleased about this latest achievement and indeed the numerous great achievements at Hotel Westport recently, which include the Hotel Bar of the Year Award, an A.A. Rosette for Culinary Excellence, All-Ireland Cocktail Making Champion, The Primary Times Star Award for Top 10 Best Family Friendly Hotels in Ireland two years in a row and now of course the is much coveted Georgina Campbell Award, It’s a fantastic achievement. I’m delighted!”.

    Declan Heneghan, General Manager of the 4 Star Hotel said: “This latest National Award which is one of many this year is an outcome of the emphasis the hotel places on customer care and development of its people to deliver excellence to its guests.  We constantly listen to guests and refine our offering year on year; this process has yielded great outcomes for us and more importantly our guests.
    “We are committed to a process of continuous improvement in everything we do here at the Hotel. We are constantly innovating and introducing new things to our Family Holidays and this award is a testament to the team we have built up here at Hotel Westport over the years. The Award is just recognition of the massive energy that all the staff at the hotel bring to their everyday work’.

    Eithne Cosgrove Director of Sales and Marketing at the Hotel was especially delighted as she commented that this award is an excellent marketing tool going forward to promote Hotel Westport as a fun-filled family Holiday destination with high standards. Our partnership with external providers such as our near neighbours Westport House and The Adventure Islands has been very successfully incorporated into our family holiday offering, which is been enjoyed greatly by our guests.

    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.