2023 Budget Season Buyer's Guide Waitlist is Now Open

TL;DR

  • What is it...Once a year limited availability sponsorship opportunity for a single vendor to be the exclusive sponsor in each category of HTR's official budget season buyer's guide
  • What's included...High quality turnkey co-branded content, exclusive native advertising placement in your category for a full year on Hotel Tech Report and 1-year content license to leverage the guide throughout your marketing to generate leads
  • When is it available...2023 Budget Season Buyer's Guides are open for sponsors to reserve beginning April 1st for Premium Members and May 1st for basic members.  Join the waitlist for early access
  • Limited availability...Since there is only one spot per year in each category, guides are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.  
  • A few reasons to become a sponsor...Buyer's guides are one of HTR's best value offerings because they not only include turnkey content production but sponsorship also includes year round exclusivity as well as targeted native advertising front and center to own your category for a full year on HTR.  

👉 JOIN THE WAITLIST FOR EARLY ACCESS 👈



Related article: Buyer's guide sponsorship FAQs

What is a buyer's guide?

The goal of the budget season buyer's guides is to create a living document that continues to evolve year over year becoming the ultimate primer for each category.  HTR partners with one sponsor per category each year to be the exclusive sponsor of that year's budget season buyer's guide.

While the design and production of each buyers guide is handled by HTR, sponsors are featured prominently throughout the guide and on Hotel Tech Report for a full year through the following year budget season and additionally are able to contribute ideas, insights and content to infuse the guide with their unique expert perspective on the category.

Key Dates & Deadlines

*Underlined = sponsor involvement

  • Jan 15 - April 1: HotelTechAward pre-sale early reservations access and waitlist open
  • April 1 -May 1: Premium Member early reservation period
  • May 1-June 1: Regular registration period
  • June 15-July 15: HTR designs and produces buyers guides drafts
  • July 15-July 30: Sponsor feedback and content collaboration period (Round 1)
  • August 1 - August 8: HTR implements round 1 feedback
  • August 8 - August 15: Sponsor review period and final revisions (Round 2)
  • August 15 - August 30: HTR implements final revisions
  • September 1: Guides go live as they finish production and begin being promoted on HotelTech Report and sponsors receive hard copy along with 1-year content license
  • Sept 1, 2022-Sept 1, 2023: 1-year buyers guide placement and promotion on Hotel Tech Report through 2023 budget season


Buyers guide sponsor FAQs

  1. What does it mean to be a sponsor?
  2. What are the benefits?
  3. What is the process once my company registers?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. Is there a performance marketing model available?

(CORRECTION) Awards Year in Review Email

Earlier this morning HTR sent out the annual year in review notification email to all HotelTechAwards participants recapping your annual campaigns.

In order to send this email HTR exports data from the frozen database as of the 12/15 5pm awards deadline and maps the 27 merge fields and data points via Zapier to populate and send the automated notifications.    

Shortly after sending the notification, we identified that one of the 27 fields was not mapped correctly and was fetching from the incorrect column which was the 'final score points value' (shown below).

Please note that this is the only of the 27 variables that was not mapped correctly and in no way impacts your ranking in the awards.  The data to audit in the email is all of the inputs of the raw points score which were all correct (eg. reviews, integrations, partner reccs, employee survey completions, etc). That said, if you would like to receive your corrected/true final points score from the frozen database please reach out via the live chat on site.

We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.



Winners Guide to the Final Week of the 2022 HotelTechAwards!

It's the final week of the 2022 HotelTechAwards and things are really heating up 🔥 with tons of close races!

By now you've had 13 weeks to collect as many reviews and bonus points as possible, but to help you into the final stretch we've put together a guide to help you pick up last minute bonus points and maximize your chances of winning with recommendations for each day of the final week.


🗓 Monday December 6: Launch Your Final Review Campaign!

The most successful review campaigns include at least one followup (check best practices) so with essentially a week left, if you're going to run a final campaign--today's the day! 

🧮  Review Volume Impact & Milestones

  • Minimum review threshold: Meet the minimum review threshold in your category to make sure you aren't penalized for being under the category average
  • Customer Advocates Bonus: Secure your position as one of the top 3 most reviewed products in your category to earn points or become the most reviewed to maximize the Customer Advocates Bonus
  • Geographic Reach bonus: Get 5 or more reviews from as many countries and regions as you can to maximize your geographic reach bonuses
  • Tie Breakers: In races where two companies have the same amount of points when data is exported, ties are broken based on the product with the most reviews

🚀  Resources to Boost Your Review Volume

  1. Review Campaign Best Practices
  2. Top Ways to Collect Reviews for Basic Members
  3. How to Setup Automated Review Campaigns
  4. Pre-written Copy/Paste Starter Templates
  5. How to Motivate Your Team with an Internal Contest


🗓 Tuesday December 7-8: Submit Verifications for Unverified Reviews

In most cases users verify their review simply and easily right away by clicking the verification link but in some cases a hotelier may just forget or accidentally not click the verification link.  On December 7-8th the Review Manager will be unlocked for all participants to be able to submit manual verifications for reviews that were rejected. Please make sure to carefully follow the requirements as stated on the verification upload modal to ensure that your uploads pass the verification criteria.

👉 Click here to learn how to get unverified reviews verified




🗓 Thursday December 10: Max Out Your Partner Recommendations & Integrations

Partners are a critical part of the hotel tech stack and ecosystem and you earn bonus points for the strength of your partner ecosystem via (1) verified integrations and (2) partner recommendations.

🧮  Impact & Milestones

  • Verified Integrations: Make sure to list and verify each of your integrations to maximize your connectivity score.
  • Partner Recommendations: Reach out to partners to request partner recommendations to maximize your partner recommendations bonus.

🚀  Resources to Maximize Your Partner Ecosystem Points

  1. What if a company won't verify our integration?
  2. Inviting an Unlisted Integration Partner
  3. Hotelier Reviews vs. Partner Recommendations
  4. How to get partner recommendations (copy/paste template inside)




🗓 Friday December 11: Make Sure Your Team Has to Completed the Company Culture Survey

Remember, the Company Culture bonus is awarded to companies who make the 10 Best Places to Work list and is added off-platform after data is exported.  While these bonus points are nominal, they can be MAKE OR BREAK IN CLOSE RACES!

  • If your company makes the list...you get bonus points for Company Culture
  • If your company doesn't make the list...NOTHING HAPPENS!

You have nothing to lose so its worth a chance and can be what makes or breaks close races!

👉 Click here to get the company culture survey to send to your team



🗓 Monday December 14: Final and Report Card Audit

Hopefully by now you've done everything in your power to maximize your points so today is a good day to just check your Reputation Report Card to see if there are any last minute bonus points you can still pick up for any of your products.

👉 Check Your Reputation Report Card




🗓 Tuesday December 15: Awards End, Data Freeze & Dark Period!

👉 Key Dates, Rules & Processes Leading into the Announcement of Winners

🤝 A New Way to Cross Promote Your Top Partners

Loving partner recommendations and showing love to your top partners on HTR?

Ever wish there was a way for your top partners to promote you to their customers and vice versa?

Well...now you can! Introducing the all new Favorite Partners Feature.

How it Works

  1. Step 1: Favorite up to 5 of your top integration partners
  2. Step 2: Upload a quick pitch about why you recommend their product and specifically why its a great fit for users of your product
  3. Step 3: They'll get notified when you favorite them and you'll get notified if they favorite you back
  4. Step 4: 24-hours after one of the partners who have favorited you leaves a review, a notification will go out recommending you as a popular product that is recommended for their company's users


Two Important Things to Keep in Mind

  • Default favorites.  Until you customize your favorites for each of your products, by default favorites will be generated based on your verified integration partners.
  • Favorites by product.  Each one of your products has its own favorites so make sure to customize relevant favorites for each product
  • Multi-product reviews.  If a user leaves a review about multiple of your products, the favorites email logic will select only one of those products to send the favorites email about (so the user doesn't receive multiple duplicative emails)

Hotel Tech Report Cyber Monday Limited Time Offers (2021)

It’s Cyber Monday time! And for the entire week, we’re dropping our prices like never before. 

Plan ahead for 2022 and save big on advertising, sponsored content, membership packages and more to educate buyers, build your brand and grow your install base in the year ahead via the HTR platform and our audience of 165k monthly hoteliers  🚀

Crazy deals on: 🤑 Premium Membership. 🤑 Lead Generation, 🤑 Sponsored Content and 🤑 Advertising.  Just make sure to place your request by next Friday (12/11/20) before these sweet deals expire.  

VIEW & CLAIM OFFERS

If you'd like to learn more about any of these offers please reach out to us via live chat from your vendor dashboard or request a copy of Hotel Tech Report's 2022 Media Kit detailing audience metrics, pricing, and marketing solutions.

Terms: Cyber Monday deal codes expire Friday 12/11/21 and may not be combined with any other promotions or discounts.  All offers are final sale.  Basic members who attempt to access premium member pricing will have their cards automatically charged for the difference.

Review Incentive Policy Community Memo & Updates

TL;DR

  • Several pay-per-review incident reports.  We have become aware of several vendors have been offering pay-per-review without knowing that this is against HTR’s incentive guidelines
  • This is against HTR’s guidelines and the rules of the awards.  While this is a level I infraction (least severe), it is still against HTR’s policies and therefore not permitted, in violation of the rules of the 2022 HotelTechAwards
  • Penalties for current HotelTechAwards competition. Vendors caught in breach of this policy will have the reviews from the trailing 30-days be unpublished and will not be counted towards the HotelTechAwards competition as it is against the rules
  • Several vendors have claimed not to be aware of this aspect of the incentive policy.  Several vendors have pointed out that the confusion lies in the fact that other review sites do permit this type of pay-per-review incentive
  • Implications for incentives on the community.  While these reviews are against the rules of the awards competition and HTR’s incentive guidelines, HTR will amend its policy effective January 15, 2021 to permit pay-per-review with fair disclosure in accordance with FTC guidelines.  Incentivized reviews will be clearly designated in the UI and ratings will not factor into overall averages.

HTR Vendor Community,

It has come to our attention that a handful of vendors were unaware of HTR’s policy not to allow direct incentive reviews on Hotel Tech Report so we wanted to reach out to all vendors and clarify HTR’s policies about incentivized reviews to make sure there is no confusion.

Overview of Current Policies & Perspectives on Incentivized Reviews

Since inception, HTR’s policies around incentivized reviews have remained the same which can be found in more detail via the help center.  In summary, HTR’s perspective and stance on incentivized reviews to date has been: 

  1. Reviewing B2B software is not the same as consumer goods.  When a guest is reviewing their hotel on TripAdvisor for example there are intrinsic motivations like scrap booking to catalogue their journeys, building online clout/credibility or sharing an experience with friends.  Reviewing B2B software is quite different in nature and carries lower intrinsic motivation which is why incentives are a helpful tool to gather more feedback and foster knowledge sharing.  Incentivizing a review of B2B software is similar to paying for a survey completion - compensating for a busy individual’s professional time without biasing the content of feedback.
  2. Incentives as a way to thank customers are encouraged.  Incentives are common in the B2B review space.  Companies are asking their users to take time out of a busy work day to help with their sales and marketing by advocating for their product. As such, offering an incentive is not only acceptable but we actually encourage it.  So much so that we even subsidize incentives for Premium Members and have an incentive matching program for basic members
  3. Outreach may never be phrased in a way that introduces bias.  While incentives are encouraged, there are obviously guidelines to follow to ensure that the way the incentive is phrased to the user does not introduce bias into their review.  Specifically, to date HTR has outlined several permitted and not permitted scenarios which vary in level of severity and of which examples can be found below:


Scenario

Explicit bias

Implicit bias

Policy

Infraction Level

1) Randomized giveaway

No

No

✅  Allowed

None

2) Limited giveaway

No

No

✅  Allowed

None

3) Pay-per-review

No

Yes

❌  Not allowed

Level I

4) Pay-per-POSITIVE review

Yes

Yes

❌  Not allowed

Level II


Vendor Infractions & Penalties for Pay-Per-Review

There have been three separate occurrences of vendors in the community being reported for pay-per-review (scenario 3) which is a level 1 infraction but none-the-less, an infraction and against the rules of the HotelTechAwards.  Since the inception of the annual HotelTechAwards four years ago, the rules have explicitly stated that direct pay-per-review is not permitted.  The reported incidents were Level I infractions (scenario 3) and were not found to introduce explicit bias.  Given that there have been several occurrences all claiming that the nuances of the permitted incentives were not clear--vendors identified will not be immediately disqualified from the competition however they will incur the following penalties:

  1. Vendor will have 72-hours to respond to the violation report and show that they have corrected their outreach messaging with screenshot evidence
  2. Reviews collected within 30-days of the correction will be unpublished and will not count towards the annual HotelTechAwards competition.
  3. Vendors who have been reported for breaching this guideline will be marked under close watch for up to 90-days where their account will be monitored closely and reviews will appear in a separate moderation queue where moderators will keep a closer eye on activity.
  4. Vendors in breach will only be permitted to collect reviews via the Review Manager in the dashboard for 45-days where HTR can more closely monitor their activity and outreach strategy
  5. Vendors will receive a strike meaning that any future incidents will incur more severe immediate level II penalties without option to cure


Future Amendments to HTR’s Incentive Policies

Vendors have shared 3 main reasons for the confusion around review compensation rules on the site: (a) HTR allows indirect incentives/giveaways (b) pay-per-review is permitted by other review websites and (c) pay-per-review is common in the B2B reviews space.  

Despite these points, HTR’s current (and historical) policies don’t permit pay-per-review (only randomized giveaways).  After discussing with hoteliers and vendors, we have found the consensus belief that pay-per-review should be permitted if certain conditions are met to disclose incentives to website visitors and hotel tech buyers.

The general governing body for online reviews and issues around consumer affairs is the FTC, which states the following:

  • “Knowing that reviewers got the product they reviewed for free would probably affect the weight your customers give to the reviews”
  • “reviewers given free products might give the products higher ratings on a scale like the number of stars than reviewers who bought the products.”
  • “If you've given these customers a reason to expect a benefit from providing their thoughts about your product, you should disclose that fact in your ads.”
  • “If you’re offering them something of value in return for these reviews, tell them in advance that they should disclose what they received from you.”

In light of community feedback and FTC guidelines, HTR will amend our policies after the current year awards competition to allow for direct incentives when there is fair disclosure (effective January 15th, 2022).  Disclosures will be incorporated into the hotel tech buyer user experience on the Hotel Tech Report platform.  So how will this work?

  • The write a review form will include a field for hoteliers to indicate whether direct compensation has been offered for their product feedback
  • Vendors will have a toggle in their dashboard indicating when they are running a pay per review campaign (on or off platform)
  • Vendors found to be running direct incentive campaigns without using the toggle will have all reviews within 6-months of the incident report immediately marked as ‘incentivized’
  • Directly incentivized reviews will NOT count towards the quantitative ratings averages.  Their volumes will count towards the average review thresholds and geographic targets, however, ratings like customer support, ease of use, etc. will not be included in overall ratings in order to ensure “apples to apples” comparisons amongst all vendors for buyers without the possibility of potential bias

Conclusion

Ultimately, incentives are a positive and encouraged mechanism to thank customers for their time, effort and expertise but all endorsements must reflect the honest opinions or experiences of the endorser (Source: FTC Endorsement Guides).  

Therefore while HTR will be expanding its incentive guidelines to permit direct incentive reviews, these reviews will carry a clear designation to consumers about the nature of the incentive.  Additionally, companies who have been in breach of this rule to date will receive penalties commensurate with their breach to ensure that (a) the behavior is immediately corrected and (b) reviews collected in this manner will not be counted towards the 2022 HotelTechAwards competition but will not be deleted fully from the site as they will be re-added after the competition is over with the new incentivized review designation.

Country Code Remapping Patch

HTR recently became aware of an edge case related to the mapping of country codes to regions that was introduced along with the deployment of the Poseidon Algorithm update that we are working on a patch for that will be deployed in the next couple of days (expected go live week of 11/22).

  • Impact: Minor.  Impacted only select countries and select reviews.  Some companies may have experienced slightly deflated region and country bonuses if they had reviews from select countries that had mapping issues when the user selected their location via the Google Places API.
  • Issue: Edge case identified where certain country codes were not mapped properly to their region and/or country as it pertains to the calculation in the HT Score algorithm related to global reach bonuses.



What happened?

HTR typically pulls country data from the popular Google Places API (excluding mainland China reviews); however, a select group of countries and regions were found to be “unmatched” in the lookup function causing some vendors to experience artificially deflated country counts in their HTScore indexes.

Which countries were identified to have potential mapping issues?

Below is a list of countries that had anomalous entries in the database and were updated in the lookup function.  One such example is that 517 reviews in the database were classified as originating in ‘Czechia’ while the HTScore algorithm lookup function was searching for the term “Czech Republic” as defined by the Google Places API.

Please note that only a fraction of cases were impacted by these mapping issues in these countries so just because a country is listed does not mean all reviews from that country were not mapped correctly.

List of impacted regions:

  • 'Virgin Islands
  •  'United States of America'
  •  'United Kingdom'
  •  'Turks and Caicos Islands'
  •  'Tanzania'
  •  'Spain'
  •  'Seychelles'
  •  'Saint Martin (French part)'
  •  'Saint Barthélemy'
  •  'Russian Federation'
  •  'Poland'
  •  'Norway'
  •  'Netherlands'
  •  'Netherlands Antilles'
  •  'Myanmar'
  •  'Morocco'
  •  'Maldives'
  •  'Macedonia'
  •  'Luxembourg'
  •  'Korea
  •  'Italy'
  •  'Ireland'
  •  'Greece'
  •  'Germany'
  •  'Gambia'
  •  'France'
  •  'Finland'
  •  'Czech Republic'
  •  'Congo (Kinshasa)'
  •  'China'
  •  'Belgium'
  •  'Bahamas'
  •  'Australia'
  •  'Austria'
  •  'Switzerland'
  •  'Brunei Darussalam'
  •  'Hungary'
  •  'United Arab Emirates'
  •  'Estonia'
  •  'Fiji'
  •  'Indonesia'
  •  'Sweden'
  •  'Cyprus'

Who was impacted and what was the impact?

Most vendors will not notice any difference in their scores or the scores of other products in their categories.  That said, vendors with reviews from the following countries MAY have been impacted; however, not necessarily as these were anomalies and in many cases the review countries were properly classified.  Impacted vendors may have experienced an increase in countries and regions served which would in many cases increase HTScores from understated scores previously visible on the platform.  These changes are extremely rare and likely unnoticeable but some vendors may notice a several point increase in scores as the algorithm begins detecting their accurate country and region counts once the mapping patch goes live.

Likelihood to Recommend Rating Into Focus

 Previously the review form used to capture an overall rating and a likelihood to recommend rating.  Since both were essentially two versions of an overall user rating they were duplicative which is why likelihood to recommend was (and always has) been the 'overall rating' factored into the HT Score to avoid duplicative counting of similar ratings.

In order to simplify the review form and show the more important variable front and center, the overall rating (/5) has been deprecated fully to reduce form fields and avoid capturing ratings that didn't count towards scoring and likelihood to recommend now shows in the UI in areas where the overall rating showed previously.  Likelihood to recommend has always been the most important rating in the HT Score and therefore it is being moved front and center in the UI to better reflect its significance.

FAQS

  1. Does this change impact scoring? No, this DOES NOT impact scoring in any way.  It just changes the primary variable that shows in view in notifications, the review form and review manager as the focus variable
  2. Was likelihood to recommend rating captured before? Yes, this variable has always been collected and has always been the most important of the ratings.  The only change is that it used to be on page 2 of the review form, now it is the first question on the first page.

As a result, there are three areas you will see the likelihood to recommend rating surfaced as the focused variable:


1. Moved from Page 2 to Page 1 of the Review Form


2. Moved into Focus in New Review Notifications

3. Moved Into Focus in the Review Manager


♻️ Subsidiary Dashboard Switcher

Managing multiple subsidiary companies and need an easier way to switch between company dashboards? 

Introducing the new subsidiary dashboard switcher 🙌

If you have access to multiple companies' vendor dashboards the company switcher will appear across your dashboards so you can more easily and quickly switch between your subsidiaries' dashboards.

Related update: Discounted membership for subsidiaries Interested in discounted subsidiary membership?

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