🤝 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.

Phase III: Share of Voice Update is Live

Continued from Phase II: HT Score Poseidon Update is now live

The 3rd and final Phase of the Poseidon algorithm update is now live and can be seen in the Reputation Report Card.

Rollout notes: 

  1. Please note that more than 90% of companies on Hotel Tech Report will not be impacted by this update.  Only companies with lots of reviews from very few hotels are likely to notice any impact.
  2. Please note that while Share of Voice will now display in the Reputation Report card for companies to see their current standings, it will not impact scoring for the 2022 HotelTechAwards and its weighting will be officially rolled out into the algorithm in January 2022 after winners are announced


What is the Share of Voice client bias update?

We’ll use two hypothetical vendors to illustrate the importance of this algorithm patch: Vendor A and Vendor B. Vendor A has 30 reviews from 30 hotels, Vendor B has 30 reviews from 1 hotel client. 

In this example, you can see that while both vendors have the same # of reviews, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to credibility and install base since Vendor A has 30 verified hotel clients and Vendor B has only 1. 

The Share of Voice variable will help identify potential client selection bias (aka. cherry picking) that can arise if a vendor is strategically only asking for feedback from a select number of clients versus reaching out to their full install base.

Who will be impacted by the client bias update?

Most companies will not be impacted by this update.  The only companies that will be impacted will be ones who have selectively sought to only seek feedback from lots of users at a small sample of client hotels.

*Note: You can still get a handful of reviews from a single property; however, if all of your reviews are coming from a small amount of properties the algorithm will identify this as potential cherry picking/gaming and your score will be impacted as a result

What can we do to maximize our score for the client bias update?

Just make sure you are reaching out organically for feedback to your client base instead of cherry picking select clients.  Also, take note that while you may certainly collect a handful of reviews from different users at a given hotel--if your strategy has been to try to game the system and collect tons of reviews from a single hotel (or small number of hotels) this will be identified by the algorithm update and your score will be impacted.  Hopefully it goes without saying but...make sure you're review collection is organic, representative and diverse and you are not trying to game the system by gathering lots of a reviews from only a few select clients.


Related updates: 


New PPC Performance Marketing Campaigns

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Well...now you can! 


TL;DR

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HITEC Innovation Showcase Call for Submissions

Want us to feature Company name in Hotel Tech Report's HITEC Innovation Report?

Despite this report being themed around HITEC, we know many buyers and sellers in the industry will not be in attendance this year and are therefore accepting applications from all companies regardless of trade show attendance.  

The submission deadline is Friday September 24th at 5:00 P.M. PST to get featured.

Submit your innovation to get featured


Update: HITEC Innovation Showcase is Now Live Read the recap

TIP: Add New Data Fields to Your Lead Followup Automation

One of the additions to the New Lead Inbox is additional data fields that were commonly requested by vendors including: 

  • PMS data
  • Phone #
  • Multi-property intel
  • Estimated deal size

These fields have been added to the CRM Forwarding feature so if you have Lead Followup Automation setup (highly recommended) then make sure to add these new fields to your parser to make sure they get mapped into your CRM and other tools.

* Please note that while recommended, this is optional and your integration will continue to work regardless of whether you add these new fields or not.

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