Lead Program Guidelines Enforcement

Please note that beginning September 1st, in order for a lead to be eligible for the HTR Money Back Guarantee--your company must abide follow HTR's Lead Program Guidelines to ensure that all leads are followed up with in a timely fashion and in accordance with defined best practices:

Migration From Add-Ons 👉 Product Suites & Modules

UPDATE: This change went live on May 6, 2022 Learn more

Historically the way HTR has been structured is that in order to become discoverable in a category and generate leads, you needed to have a product listing/dedicated profile in that category

If the product could be purchased as a standalone product then you would list is as such, and if it was a module/add-on for another core product--then you would list it as an add-on profile.

The problem with this is that in many cases it doesn't make sense to have to create (and manage) an entirely new profile for add-ons since in reality, many times these are just modules with premium capabilities and functionality of another core product suite.

That's why as of next month, HTR will be transitioning from add-ons -> Modules, here's how it works...

If you currently have add-on profiles your reviews will be migrated to the core product and your modules will be created automatically so there is nothing that you need to do, it will all be handled for you.

Added Visibility for Premium Members

The new sub-category pages signal a shift in perspective where there is no longer an emphasis on a 'one size fits all' approach.

Instead the UX of the site is built around buyer persona segmentation and filtering tools to help buyers find the best fit for them based on their property/ies characteristics including: hotel size, property type, location and even PMS.

By putting the power in the hands of users to find their perfect fit based on data in the platform with similar property characteristics to theirs, there is no longer an attempt to make a one size fits all recommendations and as such--the default sort is no longer entirely rankings based (until a user applies their property attribute filters) and now serves as a way for Premium Members to gain added visibility on the site.

The default sort gives all members (any plan/tier) preferred placement and boosted visibility via the default sort and then sorts by HT Score.  

These new placements in the default sort are just one more way, beyond the already existing boosted visibility placements, to give members even more visibility and benefits to drive more leads.

Members will also now receive preferred priority visibility via collections product tiles in organic content produced by HTR (or guest posts submitted by our contributor network) that relate to your category or categories to drive you even more visibility in high intent content to make sure that your brand and products surface as many times as possible throughout the buying journey for your related topics and categories on the site.  View example contributor post with related member inclusion.


Special Thank You to Premium Members

By supporting the HTR platform as members you share in our vision and enable us to continue to develop educational content, tools and campaigns that strive towards our mission of empowering hoteliers to leverage their greatest asset, technology.  Together we help raise awareness that great technology is essential to staying competitive and running a modern hospitality business.  

While we are a community and an industry organization of sorts, we are also a marketing platform and place strong emphasis on performance and value for our members which is why membership is priced to ensure that if our members get even just a single lead each year that they wouldn't have otherwise, it will not only justify their investment but it will guarantee a positive ROI with additional leads, awareness and benefits all generating exponential ROI making sure that HTR is your marketing team's best investment.

With this change, users still have the opportunity to sort and filter by key attributes including the HT Score--but this default sort aims to add even more value and visibility for members at no additional cost to generate an even stronger ROI out of your membership.

(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)

Review Incentive Policy Community Memo & Updates

UPDATE (3/15/21): Please note that after surveying the community for feedback, pay-per-review will continue not to be permitted on HTR (details below)

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

UPDATE (3/15/22) After surveying the community (both hoteliers and vendors) we have concluded that HTR will not be changing review guidelines and will continue not to permit pay-per-review.  While this is allowed on some review websites with disclosure, ultimately as a verticalized portal for the hotel industry the rankings and ratings are more critical to maintain accuracy and more importantly elimination of bias to ensure a fair platform that upholds the highest standards of integrity.  Additionally, pay-per-review not only skews/biases consumer ratings, but it also gives larger companies with more resources an unfair advantage.  As a result of these findings and feedback from the community, pay-per-review will continue not to be permitted on HTR under any circumstances as it always has been historically.

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 may (or may not) in the future expand its incentive guidelines to permit direct incentive reviews, these reviews would need to 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.

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


Improving Relevancy of Multi-Product Reviews

Context: We have received several complaints from members of the community who believe that review syndication is allowing certain companies to collect reviews for lots of their products through review syndication and link pre-filling where in many cases hoteliers are selecting several products but in reality the review and content only pertain to a single product.

The Problem: The problem is that on the one hand, a hotelier who uses multiple products from a single vendor should be able to leave one review.  On the other hand, this makes reviews less relevant and in some cases where >3 products are selected the user will only write relevant content for some of the products.  

The Solution: Ultimately there are two sides to the argument and there is no right answer but rather its about balancing a seamless and easy experience for hoteliers to review products while also implementing constraints to maintain content relevancy.  Therefore we have implemented two key changes: 

  • Keyword tagging: The review form now will display keyword inspiration to users based on the categories they select and prompt users to use at least one keyword per product category to guide the user to provide more relevant and helpful content.
  • 3-product maximum: While hoteliers can still review multiple products, they cannot review more than 3 products to keep their review focused and ensure that they include relevant feedback and content for each of the products they choose to review.

These changes serve to make reviews more reliable, accurate, relevant and helpful for hoteliers.


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