VFM Leonardo Launches Online Merchandising Best Practices Group

Toronto, ON, Canada – January 11, 2010 – VFM Leonardo today announced that they have expanded their Marketing Group to include a function focused on fostering best practices and educating lodging industry marketing professionals on online visual merchandising for hotels. This new group will work with marketing and e-marketing executives at VFM Leonardo’s major hotel brand clients to share best practices for creating rich visual experiences and syndicating them for display on the sites travel shoppers use when planning their trips online.

Research conducted by VFM Leonardo has showed a growing interest in using video and rich visual experiences to increase online sales conversions among hotel brand marketers. Today, very little effort is put toward optimizing conversions online. In fact, research indicates that for every $92 spent online to acquire traffic, only $1 is spent to proactively convert this traffic. The result is high traffic and minimal conversions. For hotels, making rich visual content available to travel shoppers across the web is one tactic that boosts conversions. As such, the VFM Leonardo’s Best Practices Online Merchandising group will be educating hotel marketers on how to increase conversions with rich visual content.

Darlene Rondeau will be leading this group at VFM Leonardo. As Vice President of Best Practices, reporting directly to VFM Leonardo’s Chief Marketing Officer, John McAuliffe, Rondeau will lead initiatives that heighten the awareness of online visual merchandising best practices in the industry. Prior to taking on this new opportunity, Rondeau held the position of Vice President, Hotels, The Americas at VFM Leonardo and previously held executive marketing positions at numerous travel technology and marketing organizations including G2 SwitchWorks, Sabre Travel Network and Agresso Travel Industry Solutions.

“Activities that drive conversion are critical to online hotel marketing at the brand and individual hotel levels. We have noticed that many hotel brands are focused on driving traffic to their sites at the expense of conversion tactics. Our goal is to share visual merchandising best practices with hotel industry leaders and help them lead the way for their hotel property members. We expect that more hotels will begin to engage and convert more consumers with rich visuals on the sites they use to shop, compare, buy and share online,” said Darlene Rondeau, Vice President, Best Practices.   

“Research continues to prove that rich visuals boost booking conversion rates. Our VBrochure product is the best way to display and syndicate videos and virtual tours – providing online travel shoppers globally with rich visuals on OTAs, Facebook, YouTube and all the sites in between. Our Online Merchandising group will play an integral part in helping brands help their hotels get up and running with visual experiences that convert,” said Paolo Boni, President & CEO.

About VFM Leonardo

VFM Leonardo is a technology and online media company for the global hospitality industry. We provide e-marketers at hotel brands, management companies and hotel properties with technology, sales conversion tools and a global travel media network that enables them to better visually merchandise their hotels to millions of in-market travel shoppers monthly. Our core products, the VScape® Digital Asset Management System and VBrochure™ Online Merchandising System, leverage the VNetwork™ – the largest media syndication network in the industry. It includes all major search engines, Global Distribution Systems, online travel agencies, travel research and supplier websites, search portals, review, travel editorial, local directories and major social media and video sharing sites. Taking advantage of VBrochure’s mobile and social media platforms, hotels can ensure that their rich visual presentations reach consumers on their mobile devices and through their social graphs. For more information about VFM Leonardo, visit www.vfmleonardo.com.

Media Contact:
Julie Vieth, VFM Leonardo Inc.
Toll free: 1-877-593-6634
Phone: 416-263-5446
Fax: 416-593-7572
Email: press@vfmleonardo.com