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News Release

 

 

Webinar

How to better merchandise your hotel online

Recorded on: August 31, 2010

Marriott endorses VFM Leonardo's VBrochure™ Online Merchandising System as the preferred method for Marriott properties to enhance their online presence with rich media like virtual tours and video.

Introduction by: Clint Davis
Senior Manager, eDistribution Development & Operations, Marriott International | eCommerce

Presenters: Darlene Rondeau and Elana Palmer from VFM Leonardo explain how Marriott and VFM Leonardo are working together to offer you a valuable opportunity to better merchandise your hotel online.


Recorded on: Aug 31, 2010. Courtesy: Marriott International

Webinar Q&A

Q: Can hotels access VScape directly?
A: Only if you have direct agreement with VFML. VBrochure comes with a subscription to the VScape digital asset management software. The intent of this license is for the management of "in-viewer" media and rich media that is syndicated to certain channels not in viewer (Expedia for example). Photos that are part of direct feeds should be managed through Marriott's VScape license. Some hotels and management companies have legacy VScape agreements that allow for access to the management and distribution of photos without having rich media or VBrochure agreements.

Q: We currently have an agreement with all our hotels which include Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Carlson, & Choice Brands. We are able to access all hotels in vscape with an admin login, and give the hotels individual access to their photos. We are about to renew our contract and are wondering if we need to include the Marriott hotels in light of this relationship?
A: If your agreement is for distribution of still property-specific photos only, then you should not have to.  You will, however, only have access within VScape for those hotels you have direct agreements for otherwise you will have to ask Marriott to manage your photos for you within their license.

Q: How come sometimes TripAdvisor will show the VFM tour, and then all of a sudden change to a hotels.com gallery, or orbitz, etc.?
A:
From time to time TripAdvisor will sell the rich media link to other booking engines - most notably Expedia. Links provide by VFM Leonardo will be listed as “Virtual Tour: VFM Interactive” and paid links will be listed as “Virtual Tour”.  This is what is happening - if you would like to use the VPowered Multi-Media viewer that comes with your VBrochure you will need to contact TripAdvisor directly.

All images and rich media on TripAdvisor from VFM Leonardo are displayed within the VPowered Multi-Media viewer. Most thumbnail images are owner submitted and when TripAdvisor does not have images from the owner they will pull an image from their commerce partners such as Expedia.com or booking.com

Q: Will virtual tours be able to be viewed iPhones & iPads
A: Currently” in-viewer” media is displayed in a flash based viewer. Flash is not available on IPad or IPod devices.  

Q: How do you make changes with this system; and how long before the changes will occur on websites
A: It depends on what you are changing:

  • If you are a VBrochure customer and your viewer is already being displayed on a channel, then all changes to media and text content within the viewer are done in real time.
  • If you are not a VBrochure customer and your hotel does not have a viewer, for photos you will need to go through the Marriott process to submit photos/changes.  Then once someone at Marriott makes the change/addition in VScape it will be submitted to channels based on the feed schedule. Each channel takes direct media feeds from VFML on a different frequency - some are daily,weekly, monthly, and even quarterly. Once the feed is sent the channel then needs to consume the feed and deliver the sub-feed to any affiliates. All told the process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Q: What is the cost of the VBrochure?
Cost varies depending on the version of VBrochure you purchase and the amount of media you are syndicating through the VBrochure license. For example a hotel that wishes to subscribe to VBrochure Ultra Premium and syndicate 15 photos, 10 (360°) virtual tours and one 60 second video costs would be:

  • VBrochure Annual License: $400
  • Media Units package required 200: $$2,040 per year ($170/month)

Media Unit packages are available in a multitude of amounts so each hotel will really only purchase the number of media units they need. A full list of recommended or suggested products can be found on the Marriott micro site at www.marriott.vfmleonardo.com

Q: Is there preferred pricing for Marriott?
On the Marriott microsite all Marriott preferred pricing is shown – www.marriott.vfmleonardo.com  

Q: Did I see that B.F. Saul had a wedding themed page in their VBrochure?
Yes they do. There are a number of VBrochure customers that have done this – here are a few more examples:

The BROADMOOR - http://www.frommers.com/destinations/coloradosprings/H37442-media.html
70 Park Avenue - http://www.frommers.com/destinations/newyorkcity/H51261-media.html

And I am sure one of our Hotel Sales Consultants can find you many more that you can look at.

Q: Can you explain what the relationship is with Marriott at this point? Our systems are integrated...but the individual hotels need to pay for the merchandising that you showed us?
A:
Marriott International has subscribed to VScape Basic – which allows them to store, manage and distribute an unlimited number of photos for 3,500 hotels to all of the electronic distribution channels in the VNetwork. If a hotel wishes to distribute richer forms of media like video and virtual tours, Marriott International endorses VFM Leonardo’s VBrochure Online Merchandising System as the preferred method of distribution. VBrochure allows a hotel to access their own instance of VScape, upload additional photos and rich media (like video, flash presentations and virtual tours) build and populate multi-media viewers with their visual and text content and syndicate this viewer to all the channels in the VNetwork.

Q: Will a cost sheet for services be supplied on MGS?
A: Approximate costs and suggested packages can be found at http://www.marriott.vfmleonardo.com/recomm.php. Specific costs can be obtained from a VFM Leonardo Online Merchandising Consultant – Marriott@vfmleonardo.com.

Q: Is there an extra cost for us to have access to Vscape?
Marriott International has a VScape Basic license that provides for 10 registered corporate users. If you wish to access VScape directly you would require a VBrochure license or a legacy VScape license at the property or management company level.

Q: How can I get my hotel to show on Google Maps/MapQuest?
A: Google Map photos must be uploaded by the hotel through the Google Local Business Center.

Q: We have had a couple of instances where the photos we have loaded into VScape are not pushed out to the OTAs. We were told this had something to do with our images being on an outdated VScape server (pre-acquisition). Will this issue still exist with the Marriott corporate interface/photos?
A:
Not sure the details of what you were told and I do not know what an “outdated VScape” server is, but photos not being displayed on an OTA that are in VScape can arise from a number of different reasons. If you are a current direct customer of VFM Leonardo you can access VCommunity (http://support.vfmleonardo.com/forums) that has a number of FAQs as it relates to both photo/image management and rich media management.  

Q: What is the investment for this kind of service? Do we have to take new sets of pictures or can we use our actual photos since we are a new property?
A:
The investment ranges depending on the version of VBrochure you wish to purchase (Premium or Ultra Premium) and the amount of media you wish to distribute through with your VBrochure. You can find some recommended packages at http://www.marriott.vfmleonardo.com/recomm.php

As for content production – as long as you hold the rights to your content (which is common) we can syndicate anything that you already have produced. You do not need to produce new content.

Q: How can we find out about pricing?
A:
Question answered above

Q: Is the branded pop-up viewer free to us with the new Marriott partnership?
A: With the purchase of VBrochure you receive a branded viewer. This viewer is available to subscribers as both a “pop-up” and “embedded” version.  

Q: We purchased photography through TravelCLICK using VFM to distribute.  We haven't paid for any links to route the user to any eChannels on TripAdvisier either.  One day it disappeared and routes to an eChannel now.  Can an eChannel pay for the hotel tour links to direct to their site?
A: I would suspect that you have a legacy rich media distribution product. If you would like a VBrochure subscription please contact your TC representative as you most likely qualify for a free upgrade. What you have experienced on TripAdvisor is answered in a previous question about this e-channel.

Q: How can we update the hotel pictures without the vBrochure? Just to make sure that you guys are delivering the right photos to 3rd party websites?
A:  The photos that are on Marriott.com are the ones that are distributed by VFML to all 3rd-party sites in their VNetwork.  Ensure those are up-to-date and the others will follow.

Q: What cost is the hotel property responsible for?
A:
The hotel is only responsible for costs if they wish to distribute and syndicate rich media to traditional travel websites and social media sites using VBrochure.

Q: Is this process different for Franchise Hotels versus Managed Hotels?
A: There is no difference in the way the still property-specific images are captured and distributed by VFML. There is no difference in the VBrochure product that franchise or managed hotels purchase.

Q: Is there a listing of when updates are made? When my boss asks, "When will that be updated?" I would like to have a ballpark idea to tell them.
A: This all depends on what is being updated. Please refer to the previous question about “in-viewer” and media item updates.

Q: How often are 3rd party sites updated?
A:  We are in the process of gathering that information for the eChannels which Marriott has relationships with and will post it on MGS as soon as we have it all.

Q: How do you track ROI?
A: The Return on investment (ROI) on online merchandising using VFM Leonardo’s VBrochure is calculated based on studies of the lift in hotel bookings on brand.com, third-party sites and offline channels influenced by video and virtual tour views on third-party sites. Please visit http://www.vfmleonardo.com/roi/ to calculate your ROI.

Q: Which Marriott hotels have already particpated?
A: Currently over 200 Marriott branded hotels subscribe to VBrochure or our legacy Rich Media Distribution product. All legacy customers have the opportunity to upgrade to VBrochure at any time and often without additional costs.  

Q: Do you have a list of where the VBrochure can be viewed?
A:  Yes; www.vfmleonardo.com/distribution-channels.

Q: Do you offer multi-property discounts? For example, if we sign up over 6 hotels at once, will you waive set-up fees, etc.?
A: You may qualify for a discount please speak with one of our Online Merchandising Sales Consultants -  Marriott@vfmleonardo.com.

Q: Do we have to now create our own stand alone sites in order to use these systems?
A:  No; the multi-media viewer with the VBrochure is distributed to existing third-party online travel sites and social media sites.

Q: Will this be something all Marriott hotels be requied to use in the future?
A: There are no current plans to require hotels to purchase rich media services for distribution online.

Q: Is any of this information pulled from EPIC?
A:  No; Marriott.com photography is stored in a separate system.

Q: The Hilton Garden Inn Orlando Airport is one example of a hotel where the pics in VScape don't match the OTAs?
A: The pics in VScape should match what is on Marriott.com.  If they don’t, please contact GDS-InternetHelp@marriott.com for assistance.

Q: Can I get a copy of the slide that spelled out the distribution network?
A: 
The entire presentation will be posted on MGS as well as on www.marriott.vfmleonardo.com/index.php, however the list can also be found here: http://www.vfmleonardo.com/distribution-channels.