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Industry News - August 2nd 2014



Google+ to Surpass Facebook by 2016

Google+ has taken over the No. 2 social media position from Twitter, according to reports, and from all indications it may even be a contender for the no. 1 spot in a few years, replacing Facebook. What does this mean for hotel companies? Hoteliers must embrace Google+ as a critical social media outlet if they want to remain competitive. Lodging Interactive, an award winning full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, and its subsidiary CoMMingle, a social media consultancy, is offering a turnkey service for creating and professionally managing Google+ Business Pages and boosting Search Engine Optimization positioning.
Google+ Business Pages are socially enabled and allow members (hotels) to organize people (guests) into social groups referred to as "Circles." Then, hoteliers engage with their own circles of potential guests and build larger circles through social networking and marketing. Today, Google+ Business Pages has approximately 359 million users and growing. Not only has there been increased traffic on this site, but Mashable reports that the amount of time consumers are spending on G+ has doubled since February.
According to a recent study, by February 2016, Google+ will surpass sharing by Facebook users, at which time G+ users will generate more than 1,096 billion +1s ("likes") per month, while Facebook users will generate just 849 billion shares per month. People who use Facebook are sharing 10 percent more each month, in aggregate, while Google+ shares (aka +1s) are growing by 19 percent per month.

Coldwater Creek Targets High-Value Customers with Loyalty Solution

Coldwater Creek will combine a new private label credit card with targeted marketing integrated with the women's apparel and accessories retailer's loyalty program. As part of the launch of its new Coldwater Creek Rewards platform, the retailer has signed a long-term agreement with Alliance Data Retail Services that includes the use of tools and technologies allowing unique communications aimed at Coldwater Creek's most valued customers.

"Expanding our loyalty program is a key priority for our company," said Coldwater Creek president and CEO Jill Dean in a statement. "We believe that the best way to strengthen brand loyalty and provide an improved shopping experience across all of our channels is to offer our customers a choice of credit card options, both of which will be fully integrated with our rewards program."

Coldwater Creek will also use the data assets of Epsilon, another Alliance Data company, to support its prospect marketing efforts to drive customer acquisition. Alliance Data will provide the proprietary credit card services and plans to acquire the retailer's existing co-brand credit card portfolio at a future date from the current issuers.

New Service Automates Frequently Asked Front Desk Questions

Lodging Interactivehas announced an innovative new service for the hospitality industry, www.HotelFAQs.info. Powered by proprietary technology developed by Lodging Interactive and enhanced by professional copywriting services of its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing division, HotelFAQs.info enables hotel websites to offer comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) pages.  The results are increased booking conversion rates, reduced customer calls to the front desk and exceptional online customer service.
Developed to leverage the value of social media networking, HotelFAQs.info easily integrates into any hotel’s Facebook page and blog.  Fully mobile compatible, HotelFAQs.info enables smartphone users to also benefit from vital FAQ content, thereby supporting and increasing mobile booking conversion rates.
The HotelFAQs.info service is fully managed for the hotel. It develops the questions people typically ask the front desk or reservations department, sources the answers from the hotel and even allows new questions to be asked by consumers online. It also optimizes all content to maximize its organic search engine value so the hotel can benefit from a lift in search engine rankings.

Target Trials iPad Kiosks within Departments

Target Corp. is testing a baby section with trained staff and informational kiosks at 10 of its Illinois locations in a push to gain a bigger share of the shrinking, but competitive market for baby gear. While the product assortment is unchanged, the baby department is redesigned to offer a more 'specialty store' feeling.
Knowledgeable staff is on hand to assist shoppers and answer product questions. Several iPads loaded with content from Johnson & Johnson's BabyCenter have also been added to provide shoppers easy access to relevant information while in-store.
For Target, trying to do a better job at satisfying new parents could lead to higher sales over time. According to a Reuters report, "we kind of are a store for families, and particularly young families, and we just think there is further opportunity to capture a larger share of their wallet," said Trish Adams, Target's senior vice president of merchandising.
Target previously piloted its Beauty Concierge program, which included the addition of trained beauty and skincare experts and iPads, in Chicago before rolling the concept out to more stores this year.

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