61 – TMG OneView Feed 2.0

by | November 4, 2020

In this episode of the Suite Spot, we highlight the launch of Travel Media Group’s OneView® Feed 2.0. Jason Lee, VP of Product & Technology, joins host Ryan Embree to talk about this exciting update and what it means for TMG’s hotel partners.

Jason shares how social media and online reputation have evolved since the initial launch of TMG OneView® back in 2018. He showcases some of the feed’s newest features like improved sorting, expanded sentiment analytics, and new multi-property reporting. Ryan and Jason walk through some real-world examples of how both individuals and groups can take advantage of this innovative OneView® update.

If you are interested in learning more about Travel Media Group’s new OneView® Feed 2.0 or want to submit a question for future episodes, call or text 407-984-7455.

Ryan Embree:
Welcome to Suite Spot, where hoteliers check in and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree. Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of the Suite Spot. This is your host, Ryan Embree. Thank you for listening to the Suite Spot. We have an exciting update to announce, a great episode with a guest that has been with me quite a few times this year, but we’re here to invite him back. That is TMG’s Vice President of Product Development and Technology, Jason Lee. Jason, thanks again for being on the Suite Spot.

Jason Lee:
Thanks for having me once again, Ryan. Obviously, I did not offend you in previous episodes, so you’ve allowed me back. So I appreciate it.

Ryan Embree:
No, you’ve actually been given us some clues and been alluding to this episode’s topic, which is an exciting update with TMG’s OneView™ and that’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about today, so just recently we have launched TMG’s OneView Feed 2.0. So I know you and your team have been hard at work on this, I want to start by asking Jason, when did you and your team decide to kind of make this update to TMG’s OneView™ feed and why did you feel it necessary?

Jason Lee:
Well, you know, when we launched OneView™, as you know, you were there during the early days when we launched it. We launched it with sort of a different purpose than what it is today. We launched it to be kind of an autonomous feed. So you’d have reputation and social media for hoteliers to just be able to use. You know, so we kind of envisioned it as this like sort of additional tool that a hotelier could jump into, respond to reviews, respond to social media comments, and we didn’t see it in the early stages as something that could be a lot more in terms of driving backend engine to a lot of our other solutions. So the original structure of the feed and the original structure of OneView™ was really – I wouldn’t say one dimensional because it had quite a few little pieces to it – but it definitely didn’t fit the model that is what we’re doing today with reputation and social media.

Ryan Embree:
And it’s incredibly versatile now, and you’re right, we launched this back in 2018. So that’s two years ago and just the amount of change that has happened in the user generated content space, when it comes to how reputation sites are performing right now, how they’re trying to attract more travelers to their sites – like TripAdvisor, almost creating accounts and feeds like a social media platform – and then even Facebook, while they don’t necessarily call it reviews, they’ve changed it to recommendations, but now they have an intense focus on getting more and more recommendations. So just in the span of two years, there’s been kind of this evolution of those outside spaces, which OneView™ does such a great job of pulling in. So how was your team able to evolve this solution to kind of match what was happening in the industry?

Jason Lee:
So where we started with OneView™ and where we’re at today, I think a lot of the evolution has to do with the environment, as you said, a lot of changes with the sites, but I think a lot of what we changed has to do with the changing workflow. So when you look at what a hotel is doing today, or even I think the emphasis that is placed on reviews, specifically negative reviews, but I think at the same time also comments and tweets – all of these things that are coming in simultaneously – that workflow I think has really changed. So having everything together in one spot is obviously this great thing, but you have to have a workflow and that workflow is different for reputation, than it is for social media, that it would be for internal feedback. So taking all those things into account, we took a bunch of these pieces, put them together and made it a better, modern workflow for what hoteliers are doing today. And a lot of the stuff ww got – and I know we’re gonna talk about this later – but a lot of the input that we got came from our enterprise clients, came from management companies, came from our individual hoteliers that are using this tool.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, you make a great point. You know, a perfect example of that would be the stress over the past couple of years on the priority of responding to reviews. Brands have made a big emphasis on that, putting in SOPs and standards that need to be met, which could even incur fines for certain franchises. So you’re right, I think the industry as a whole is starting to recognize that and it’s starting to shift the way that operations are run. You’ve been in the industry where you were on the operation side, a day in the life of a hotelier is very different, I would argue even five years ago versus something like a decade ago. So these are now priorities, handling this type of communication where you might’ve been at the front desk answering phone calls all day. Maybe that phone is not ringing as much as it used to, but you are getting notified on places like Facebook, other social media channels, review response. That is the new way that travelers are reaching out to a hotel to get information. So let’s kind of dive into the nuts and bolts of this upgrade. Talk about some of the new features that hoteliers are going to start to appreciate from this update on their TMG OneView™.

Jason Lee:
The first thing that a hotelier is going to notice right away is that when you log in, you’re going to be in a feed that looks very similar to what maybe you’ve expected in the past. However, you’re going to have these additional tabs, and it depends on the products or solutions that you have purchased from Travel Media Group, but it also depends on what tiles are available, as well. So if you have reputation, you click on the reputation tab, now you have everything that you pulled in for reputation, but if you don’t have Yelp connected, for example, you’re not going to see any Yelp tiles, but basically what you’re getting into is a single workflow. So now I’m in reputation, right? So I’ve got all tiles, like our entire feed, is what you drop in on. Then I switched to reputation and I also have social media, Ive got internal feedback. So what this does is it sets us up for adding additional tile types in the future, but what it does initially, especially for reputation and social media, is it allows you a workspace. So now I go into reputation and I have some brand new sort features. One of the new sort features, which is really important is, has a response. You know, so whether or not a review is responded to or not is important. So I could go in, for example, like you said, we have hotels that are being fined for not responding to reviews in a certain timeline. So I can go in, I look for reviews that have one and two stars – so I can select that as a source – and then I can look for reviews that do not have a response. I pull that, it immediately pulls it’s defaulted to the last 30 days and I can have a workspace for that. So, and you can go back as far as you want to go back in that, but now you have this like really nice, easy place to see and respond to reviews. But this could also be a place where if you’re using our response service, for example, this could be a place where you go in and approve reviews. This could be a place where you go in and look through your responses or even go in and assign tiles to different members of your team. So it’s really about putting all of these things into one spot and allowing that workspace to exist, and the same thing with social media, y go into social media, you can sort by site, if you want to go and just look at your instant messages, you could do that. You have other sorts of options that really gets you into working in the social media environment, where it’s a lot more immediate commenting, liking, those kinds of things, which are very different than responding to a full review. And then the internal feedback survey tab. This is a place where, if you’re part of our program, where we solicit feedback from guests in post-stay. This is where you can go in, you can dig right in, respond to those guests, you can also see if they have a response or don’t have a response. So putting all those pieces, siloing them in their own little space, it creates these workspace needs. And what’s amazing about this, I think right now, obviously everybody needs this, but what’s cool about this is that it allows us to evolve as these different attributes evolve. So like you had talked about TripAdvisor changing over to more social media stuff. Let’s say they offer a new type of attribute for guests to interact with a hotel. We would have now the ability to then create a new tile type, like TripAdvisor instant message, for example, be able to like modularly, add something in and have that workflow not interrupted and not have to reinvent the wheel because before we were sorting everything from a base, so everything was sorted from all tiles jumbled together. Now we have these very specific tile categories.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, it really is an incredible tool. If you’re listening to this and you been signing into multiple accounts, just trying to get a handle on all of the guest feedback or even when people are just talking about your hotel, you want to be a part of that conversation. If they are mentioning your hotel on social media, reviews, this is the space that is going to give you that in a condensed, organized fashion so that you can just log in and you can see everything and be a part of that conversation. So it’s an absolutely incredible tool that you and your team have built. You know, you mentioned that a lot of the ideas and inspiration that we got for this solution came from feedback from hoteliers that listened to this podcast. So I’m curious, were any ideas in this update that were inspired by some of that feedback that you were getting from hotels or even management groups?

Jason Lee:
Yeah, absolutely. A lot of it came from workflow and specifically in multi-property. So when the workflow – what we had before is we had our primary feed that you could do some light sorting and then you had an advanced feed where you could do a lot more – but every time you went into the advanced feed, you were kind of like leaving one workspace for another workspace and setting date ranges and other things. It just added additional steps into the workflow. So one of the things that we had heard quite often was why we have to do that. Why can’t you have the advanced feed on one side? Other feedback that we got had to do specifically working in things like social media, where it’s like, because I get so many reviews, I don’t have as many social media tiles just locating social media, locating what is newest, right? It can be difficult. So having a simple and easy way to do that, but what’s interesting about it is that what we were finding on the development side in the platform was the more customization we added to the advanced feed – so the more features and ways to sort that we added to the advanced feed – the larger, the query got to even create the feed on the advanced feed side. So we got ourselves to a place where that advanced feed, it took a while to load at times and if you had a hotel with a lot of reviews, that thing got really overloaded. So there was other, there were speed considerations that came in there as well. But I tell you, almost every aspect of what we’d done in terms of the sort, in terms of the way we’ve split it out, came from either single property use or multi-property use ideas directly from our hoteliers.

Ryan Embree:
Absolutely and that’s the stem from a lot of our upgrades and updates that you have integrated into not just the OneView™ solution, but all of our solutions, custom social media, for example, review response was something that we were hearing that was a big need out there for hoteliers, that our team kind on jumped on right away. You kind of talked through a real world use case for this new feed, but I’ll go ahead and I’ll play hotelier. And then you kind of walk me through how OneView™ could help me with this. So if I’m having an issue and I’m seeing a slew of one to two star negative reviews come in for the past month, let’s say, tell me how a single hotel could really diagnose that and use OneView™ to do so.

Jason Lee:
We have two really great sorts for that, so the one sort is the rating sort. So this is a five point rating system, for Booking.com, we just make the conversion – so let’s say you’re, you know, you mentioned one and two star reviews. So you go in, you set your rating to one and two star reviews that immediately will sort the feed to only show those, but then additionally you have a sentiment dropdown, and in the sentiment dropdown, you have some categories. So you have the facility category, you have room amenities category or room category, and then you have service. So you could select room for example and it would automatically select every piece of sentiment about a hotel room. So that includes cleanliness, bed, odor bathroom, all of it. And it would automatically select all of those things and you could actually then look at one and two star reviews with those sentiment tags and roll down and see, is it because of my in-room? You could pull those back off and you could add service to that and see where your service gaps are. You could go in, you know, same thing for facility. So it’s about kind of diagnosing that, but, you know, sometimes it’s like I could read through a thousand review, I’m not going to get to where I need to go. You know, and we have other sentiment reports that give you these bigger overviews, but if you wanted something that’s a little more granular that you could just actually sort through yourself, read the last 10 or 15 reviews of a certain type. That’s what this feed was made for, it was made to actually work in that space.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah and you think about that as a benefit for a GM of a single property, being able to stop that negative feedback at the source. So if you’re able to identify something, if you’re noticing a trend on your review sites, based on your feed that you’re seeing in OneView™, and you’re seeing, I’m getting slammed with negative reviews. Without this tool, that might go unnoticed and that could go on for, let’s say a couple of weeks and a couple of weeks of one and two star reviews can be absolutely devastating to a single hotel’s reputation. We know how much reputation sites weigh a negative review versus a positive review. So if you can stop that at the source, identify it, and implement something at the property operational to fix that issue, you’re going to be miles ahead of the competition in kind of stopping an issue before it becomes a problem. So I’ll give you another scenario here, Jason. So I’m a sales and marketing director for a group of three hotels in almost kind of the same area. Let’s go on the opposite side. So not negative. My hotels have been performing pretty well, but I want to kind of do a winter marketing campaign. So I want to figure out what people love best about my hotels. How could OneView™ essentially give me a path strategy in order to market and advertise these three hotels?

Jason Lee:
Yeah, so one thing we haven’t talked about is the multi-property function and there’s a lot to the multi-property function in the feed. So this is something that’s brand new. So you could sort and look at sentiment in the other feed, it just was a little more difficult to get to, but what you couldn’t do was combine information together between hotels. And so what’s really cool about this is that now you have, in the feed option, you have these three hotels, you can choose between of the three, as a direct drop down on the feed, or you can select all hotels. And if you select all of your hotels that are connected to your user, now you have basically all of the data for all three hotels sitting right on top of one another inside of a feed. So now you could go into that same sentiment search, if you wanted to, and you could search for happy sentiment about your room or your facility or your service. And you could pull out information directly about all of your hotels. So, you know, I think what’s really cool about that as well – and this is not answering your question directly – but what’s cool about getting into the multi-property function, I think is the workflow options for the hotel owner that has, let’s say this hotel owner has maybe five to ten hotels. Sometimes just getting your arms around the daily flow of reputation, you might not ever see that. So you might see little hints here and there, alerts, a brand representative calls you and says, “They got a negative review, what about this?” But for you to just be able to open up a workspace, go into reputation and see all of your hotels in one spot and be able to see just basic flow of reviews for everybody, just kind of scroll through. That’s really one of the biggest benefits of the new feed is being able to combine that information and give a hotel a really easy place to work. And if you’re a management company and you have somebody that’s already responding to reviews, you can put your whole management company inside of it. We’re working with a brand right now where they have 2000 locations that they’re currently using it as a response workspace. So you can use that as a place where you could just literally go in, grab every review that’s coming in, is coming in a multi-feed function. And you just start responding and looking at reviews, assigning, you can assign reviews across your whole organization rather than just at a single property. So there’s a lot that goes into it.

Ryan Embree:
Yeah, if you’re working with a management group, if you own multiple properties, manage multiple properties, think of this tool as a magnifying glass that you’ve never had before to really get into the nitty-gritty of your property, when it comes to social media and reviews. You really can see everything that’s going on on a daily basis, a weekly basis, monthly basis, and the best part about it is it doesn’t need to be something where you individualize each property. You can actually see it portfolio wide. So there’s so many different views and perspectives. Now that these multi-property groups are seeing that, they’ve really never been to exposed before and that’s exciting because that’s, when you can start implementing marketing strategies that are specific to one property that might be a completely different need from another property. So we’re getting a lot more granular right now, which these groups are excited about, because this is again, a view that they’ve never seen before. One of the major impacts of the pandemic that we’re kind of going through has been on hotel staffing. Unfortunately, it’s kind of been devastating with hospitality employment, with the number of employees at a hotel shrinking, you talked about streamlining operations, can you talk about how this tool could help that?

Jason Lee:
Yeah, so again, being able to have people in charge of certain things. So let’s say I’ve had to get rid of my DOS, but I have a front desk supervisor that could help me out, being able to put them in and have them be able to use this tool in a way where it’s like simply go in and go into reputation, hit unresponded and start responding to reviews, if you want it to go down that road. But I also think it becomes something where you’re passing this information between – so maybe you don’t have the same staff you had before – and I think in a lot of cases you have intermittent staff, people that are kind of coming in and out. I think there’s a lot of utility in the feed to be able to show them what’s gone on in the past, where we’re at now, there’s a lot you can do inside that can economize time, for sure. And I think that’s creating that workflow, and a workflow, in my perspective, is you have a tool that gives you all the data, but you still have to have your own way of doing it, you know? So it’s you sit down and I’m going to respond to reviews or I’m gonna respond to social media, whatever you have to do during that timeframe to, you know, you set the time aside to do it, and you get yourself into a head space where you’re ready to like respond to guests, but then finding your way to a workflow. It can be difficult, especially if you, you know, if you weren’t using a tool, you would have to go into each site individually and check it out. Where this really can refine what it is that needs to get done and have you be able to not spend a lot of time searching around for stuff because everything’s going to be in one spot, but it’s really about then how do I get in respond to reviews, move through a work process, so that everything gets handled.

Ryan Embree:
So you’re saying no more post-it notes being left on the front desk saying, “Hey, I need you to look into this.” This is going to kind of replace that or that telephone game that we play with front desk agents or even our housekeeping staff. That’s all going to be gone now?

Jason Lee:
As it pertains to reputation, yeah.

Ryan Embree:
And that’s awesome, it’s all about streamlining that stuff and making sure that that stuff is taken care of, because right now, when you might be working with the limited staff, having that continuity of information, especially online is going to be crucial when it comes to the guests and the hotel experience. Sentiment analysis, so you mentioned this before, this is honestly my favorite part of this upgrade is how easy it is to again, diagnose problems, but also find out the things that people are loving about your property, because we’ve seen them before, we’ve been behind that front desk and seen a novel of a review and saying, “Wow, that was about 600 words, but only about 20 words of substance in there.” So how can I – but this, so this tool goes in and actually figures out what travelers are actually saying, what’s important to you. Why was this important to kind of implement into this update?

Jason Lee:
Well, you know, I think – so we had sentiment in the other feed – the thing that was difficult about it, I think is that when we designed the feed and we added sentiment, we added it way after the fact. So it was sort of like an afterthought and not to say that it’s a bad thing. It was something that was needed and we added it, but it wasn’t something that was built into, like I was saying before, like the workflow of going through and analyzing reviews. So the importance of having this with the rest of the sorts for reputation specifically, it has to do within inside of this workflow. Was this an add on or is this part of a workflow? And so when you look at all of the ways you can sort the feed, you can see that this is very built into the nuts and bolts of the base feed and that’s the difference. So the technical side of it is that this is something that we’re not kind of like calling to a service and bringing that service into a second service, and that’s what we were doing before. This is now part of the DNA of the reputation feed.

Ryan Embree:
Which is so awesome. Again, I would encourage you if you’re working with us with respond and resolve, get into that OneView™ feed and definitely check out that sentiment analysis. We’re hearing from a lot of hoteliers that they’re, first of all, appreciating this information, but it’s also a lot of surprises that they didn’t know or they thought one thing about their property, what they were going to focus on, fixing Q4 even into 2021 and now all of a sudden, after looking at these reports and this data that we’ve pulled, they’ve kind of shifted their mindset and say, “Hey, maybe this is a little bit more important right now. This is going to improve the guest experience at my property.” So let’s get to what’s on everyone’s minds, how much are these new features and OneView™ feed upgrade is going to cost to hoteliers out there?

Jason Lee:
You know, like a lot of the upgrades that we’ve done recently to OneView™, there is no additional charge. And all of the things that we do really are to make what we do better. And, you know, the evolution of OneView™, since you mentioned, since we rolled this out in 2018, it doesn’t seem like it’s very long ago, but when you think about, you know, in terms of technological time, a couple of years is a long time to live with something, you know, and you think about how many iPhone updates you get or operating system updates you get for your computer. All of those things I think are designed to like fix security bugs and blah, blah, blah, but in our world, the stuff that we do really is designed to evolve with the state of reputation, with the state of things going on at the local level, at a hotel, and what it is that the kind of information that does move the needle and the kind of workflow that could help. And that’s what we’re after. And we’re trying to stay at the edge of that to a point where we’re anticipating the next need. So a lot of what we’ve done, so obviously as usual, Ryan, my long answer to your question, what’s cool about what has happened is that, like I said, when I talking about the sentiment being part of the DNA of the feed, the additional tabs and feeds that we can add to OneView™ that is what’s next. That’s why we built – we built this out, obviously for the current workflow and to handle current need, but also because we’re anticipating shift and the shifts that are coming, I believe, and I think 2021 is really going to be an interesting year. As we see what happens with corporate travel recovery, what that actually ends up being. We don’t know, we don’t know how much zoom and virtual meetings have changed that travel scape. We don’t know what conventions are going to look like next year. So we don’t know, we really don’t. These are all the things that are going to uncover, but as we start to see those first glimpses of occupancy inside those segments, I think they will bring their own unique challenges and they’re going to need their own unique solutions. And that’s really what we’re looking at. Like how do we help a hotel stay right on the edge of what guests are saying about them, about their experience at the hotel, but even more importantly, how do we help hotels to get in front of their own message and push their own idea and their own message out to guests, as they’re looking for a place to stay. All of these things start to come together, so it’s about that reactive proactive, where that conjoins. And I think this is where OneView™ is headed and the 2.0 feed is really the core that is going to then build out the rest of OneView™ 2.0, which will be coming in the months to come. And that is where brand new reputation solution pieces, brand new post-stay solutions, brand new social media solutions, all of these things coming through to really match what’s happening right now. And we feel for our hotel partners because we know there’s a challenge. And when we feel like we’re going to put the platform together. And so all these hotels that are with us right now that have been going through this that have been using our tool, have been using our services to help them in various ways, I think what’s to come, we’re going to be there partnering with you in this space and evolving. So we’re not going to be that partner that has a platform that doesn’t really match what’s going on today.

Ryan Embree:
That’s so exciting, Jason, and you’re totally right. The fact that we’ve done so many of these OneView™, launches, and update episodes is just a testament to the hard work that you and your team are putting on behind the scenes. And you’re right, putting hoteliers in a place where we don’t know what’s next. We’ve talked about on this podcast before how some of the solutions actually align really, really well with what’s going on right now, trying to figure out what travelers are saying and how we can be strategic in these times where occupancy is not what it used to be. So we appreciate everything you and your team are doing. I think you wrapped up the episode nicely. Again, this is just a call to action to everyone out there that’s listening to this podcast. If you haven’t seen TMG’s OneView™ or the feed 2.0, the new update that just launched, check us out. You can either contact us (407) 984-7455 or visit our website at travelmediagroup.com. We have a whole team willing and able to walk you through what your property’s feed looks like, and really get a handle going into the new year. So we can be prepared, like you said, Jason, for whatever’s next on the horizon. So Jason, any final thoughts before we close up today?

Jason Lee:
The only thing I would say is that if you’re a current customer listening to this and you have ideas, you’re working in this, and you have something that you’d like to share you, like, “I would love it, if it could do this.” Feel free to, you know, in that same contact, drop us a line. You can contact me directly, jason.lee@travelmediagroup.com. This is what we want to do. We want to help hotels to make all this stuff work. I talk to hoteliers all the time. We’ve got a couple of big enterprise clients that have lots of hotels and hearing these stories and hearing what’s going on. And obviously this is just one small piece of the puzzle, but if this small piece of the puzzle helps you free up time, so you can go out and build occupancy in other ways, that’s what we want to do. We want to find ways to help you. So I know I’m kind of reiterating myself, but if you have ideas and you have ways that you feel like you would like to use this function in a different way, please let us know, cause we’re open to ideas we have, as Ryan said, we have a very robust development schedule and we’re always open to new ways of looking at stuff.

Ryan Embree:
Sounds great, Jason. Well, I’m sure I will have you on again, with the promise of all these new, exciting innovations that are coming down the pike. So thank you again, Jason, for joining me today and thank you all for listening, we’ll talk to you next time on the Suite Spot. To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five-star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group, our editor is Anne Sandoval, with cover art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.

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