Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Season Greetings

A sincere wish for a Happy and Prosperous Holiday Season !

Just a reminder, the TIANB office will be closed starting December 22 and will reopen January 5th, 2009 !

Take care
Drive carefully
Be silly
And even cry !

See you in 2009


PS if you see Santa, tell him I've been really really good this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The non-importance of content

So, I haven't blogged in a while, 2 weeks... I've been remiss.

And when I did pencil it into my schedule for today, I really had trouble coming up with content.

And then it hit me, blogs do not necessarily have to have exceptional content !

Readers just want to know you're out there and relatively current, within a month between postings in the off season.

So even though this is meant to be a mainly technical blog, if I rant on about my Christmas shopping woes, it will be amusing and timely content. People who read my blog will know that I have not dropped off the earth. That I do still care about their virtual experiences on my blog.

Even random comments about the weather, as Canadians are known for doing, is acceptable blog content during the winter - OK any time of year !

Blog on, and when you need a "cheater" post, talk about the weather or your grand kids.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bill Clinton

On Tuesday the entire staff went to hear President William Jefferson Clinton speak in Moncton (Thank you Management !).

While his talk mainly focusing on economics - you can be sure I found several relevant tourism technology references !

1. There were 5000 attendees, and since it was general admission seating we all arrived early. I couldn't help but notice how many of us were on the phone, or "blackberrying". In fact the person behind us was giving his colleague a lesson on his new Samsung Instinct. I wondered how many were surfing the internet ...perhaps looking for a place to have lunch after the speech.

2. President Clinton mentioned the recent election campaign several times. He eventually referred to the amount of money that both candidates raised over the internet. Perhaps this is the first time that large amounts of campaign funds have been raised over the internet - not sure. This year the internet did contribute to the change in voter demographic. US residents from all over America felt like they were a part of the election, even though they didn't live in an urban centre and were no where near a rally site. Blogs, websites, chat rooms, and internet sponsorship allows Joe Public to feel a sense of ownership in the process.

3. He focused mainly on the economic crisis in the US and the interdependent world we live in. Whether good or bad, this is how our world has evolved and we have to live in it. So my advice to you is to be positive, and start using the cheapest and broadest based advertising available to you - your website !

Friday, November 21, 2008

Clever thoughts

No, I didn't think of these BUT they did make me think ...

The old approach to websites where we leave them hangin' for more information so that the customer will pick up the phone and call you, no longer applies. The customer will simply move on.

Your website is your full time dedicated sales person. It talks to more potential customers then you do in a day and all night !

If a potential traveller is sending you an email you can bet that all your competitors got the same email. Who will respond first? Who will respond best? The location that resolves the inquiry quickly and accurately will end up with the sale.

Just like your voice on the phone when talking to a customer, your website needs to be fresh, easy to understand, and provide timely information.

If you have timely advice that you would like to share, drop me a line at beth@@tianb.com

There's another tip for you, faking out your email address on the Internet avoids spam crawlers

beth (@)tianb.com
beth [@] tianb.com
beth at tianb.com

Friday, November 14, 2008


What do Australia and Atlantic Canada have in common ?

Besides the obvious - coastal lands, culture, diversity, and a cloudy British heritage.

We are both desperately trying to educate our Tourism Operators about the benefits of being online !!

The National Online Strategy Committee funded by the the Australian State and Territory Tourism Office offers the same program as Tourism Technology.com funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

So ask yourself - Why am I not taking advantage of this program?

We're not on the leading edge of this issue, we're in the running with all the other nations of the world.

And so you say to me - Well I'm not trying to lure tourists from Australia?

Correct. You're not. But imagine I went to Australia, I live in Nova Scotia and I went to Australia. I booked my entire trip online. It was great, and easy.

Now I want to spend the Labour Day weekend in New Brunswick.

Since I could book Australia online - surely I can book my "backyard" online.

Only I can't. I can't even find your website. And when I do, I can tell it's outdated.

How do I feel about that? I feel the stereotype that Atlantic Canada is behind the times creeping up on me. I feel that whomever I do find on the Internet deserves my business.

How do you feel ??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's in a name?

What do the following have in common?

Road Runner

Probably the last one gave it away - they are all American internet providers.

There are thousands of internet providers out there, each with their own proprietary email domains.

When you receive an email from a prospective tourist, you don't need to know their email to reply to them, the computer does it for you. I bet you don't even glance at it.

However for them to send you that email, especially if they type it manually, there's plenty of room for errors.

Just because you know how to spell "sympatico" doesn't mean you're average tourist does.
Just because you know that "nb.aibn.ca" is a common extension for Aliant business clients doesn't mean they know that.

Sign up for a hotmail.com email and forward it to your Outlook client.
Get a gmail.com account too.
Get a yahoo.ca and a yahoo.com

They are all free, and all easier to remember then the one you have now.

Even my mom knows Gmail :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday is a great time for ...

Every person has their favorite time of the week...we also have our least favorite times (Monday mornings !).

Friday is a great time for website updates, or just plain internet surfing. Strategic internet surfing.

For example, starting with the Travel Mole newsletter has lead me to

What I'll do with the information gleened from those sites, I haven't decided. But I've made some notes, and organized them in my favorites.

Perhaps they will have their own blog post, perhaps they will go out in a Tourism Technology participants update...perhaps I will just sit on them for a while.

The point is today was a great day for doing that kind of stuff.

Pick a time of the week that is great for you and do your own internet browsing.

*Google your industry
*Wikipedia is another great starting point
*Haul out all those e-newsletters and start clicking

And take a journey of bits and bytes!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Good coming from tragedy...

Thursday, October 23 there was a tragic fire at a famous NB attraction. The restaurant and theatre at Pays de la Sagouine burned to the ground.

To set the scene - the fire took place at night, just a couple of hours before midnight if that long.

Before midnight Thursday - someone had posted a video of the fire on You Tube.


You can tell by the posted date, it was the SAME DAY as the fire. Most likely if you knew about the posting, you could have watched this video of the fire while the firemen were still fighting the fire.

What's the good that can come of this?

Harsh realization that the internet is quick and fast and sometimes dirty.
Someone is out there right now - blogging about your operation, chatting about your operation, posting a review of your operation, facebooking about your operation.

Right now.

And again.

And again.

You need to have a strong online presence. You need to google, you tube, twitter and flickr your operation periodically to see what's being written about you out there.

You need to have a comment section on your website so people will use your site to air their views. Manage your comments and I don't mean screen them. Post the negative comments, and then right after post what you are going to do about it ! Show new clients that you take comments seriously.

NOW is the time to get a professional looking website, and online reservation or ticketing service.

Don't wait any longer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shift your spending to your website

Check out this great article from ISL in Halifax.


Next week, October 6-9, I'll be at Atlantic Canada Showcase in Moncton. If you're there stop in and meet the whole Tourism Technology crew at the Connection Centre.


And if I don't see you there,

Happy Thanksgiving


Monday, September 22, 2008

Selling yourself on the Web !

In order to “sell” someone on coming to your B&B or cottage, tours, or even just a location, you have to make them think about what the experience could be if they were there. There are a few simple ways of doing this with your website and the internet.

Photos. Take photos of your operation every chance you get. Even if you aren’t a great photographer – and most people aren’t – hopefully you will be able to get a few nice photos every so often. With digital cameras, you can take as many photos as you please and then select the best ones for your website. You can crop them to get the sections of the photos that you want, and the best part is that photos only need to be 25% of the size that a newer digital camera produces. If you have a digital camcorder, you can select frames right out of the video. Remember to make sure someone is in that picture of the beach. If all we saw were photos of a property with no one there, we would wonder if anyone even visits that place! Take photos of people and families enjoying themselves and involved in the activities that you have to offer. These will sell them on you and your operation! If you feel that you still cannot acquire any quality photos, ask a friend or a professional to come and take some photos during the season. Either way, get some great photos and post them on your website.

Inviting Text. Write the text for your website so that it invites or describes what your cottage is like when they are there. Use the text to spur on their imagination. You want them to picture themselves sitting there on the deck of that cottage, overlooking the view of the beach and their children playing horseshoes in the yard in front of them. If you have a B&B, talk to them about the evenings that you and your guests sat down to a dinner, shared a bottle of local wine, and talked about your past experiences as if they were the neighbor that lives down the road. If you run a tour or experiential tourism product, sell them on the must see or must experience details of the tour or experience.

Talk about your property. Start a Blog, or a Facebook page. Send out emails or e-newsletters to past guests describing the new improvements to the property or if you have a local event or special that you think they might be interested in. Send out Christmas e-cards thanking them for their business that past year and that you hope to see them next year. Stay in contact with them (within reason and respect their privacy, of course) and they might consider you when they travel again, or better yet, refer you to their friends or families.

Get others to talk about you. Blogs, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Travbuddy, and other social media avenues create great exposure for you and your business. Encourage people to share their experiences of their stay with you. Word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family are one of the most influential factors in someone determining where to visit or stay when planning a vacation. Be remarkable! That not only goes back to you and your operation, but it also has to carry through to your website because even if your operation is remarkable, and your website isn’t, then you will never get the chance to show them.

Your website needs to be remarkable, and it has to sell that fact to the consumer the first time that they see your website. If not, the opposite is, well, forgettable, and that is not what you want to be!
If you would like to read the article I was referring to, please visit http://www.tipsfromthetlist.com/2008/03/marketing-your-small-tourism-business-in-the-21th-century-1-be-remarkable.html

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Scheduling your website mentoring session


As September hits us and we reflect on the summer past, perhaps now is the time to think about refreshing your website.

Just a little note to let you know that I am still available to do sessions, in fact they will be ongoing until April 2009

Drop me an email or give me a call to see when I can make the trip to your area.

I will review your current site and give you some pointers. I try to point out items that can be done right away and items that will need a bigger budget or are part of a long term technology plan.

I will also go over current trends in the tourism online market, and leave you with a manual so that you can either show your developer or review it while you are talking to your developer.

All for $125

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Monday, August 11, 2008

Choosing an SEO provider

I found this great article on tips for choosing an Search Engine Optimization provider.

Since I always recommend that SEO be done by a professional, here are the tips for choosing the best one for your needs.

Click here to read the article

Website Magazine is a great resource for articles and helpful tips, check out their other articles.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Google Tools

You owe it to yourself and your business to check out the assortment of FREE Google Tools.

Trade up from your old NB Tel email with it's limitations and sign up for a free GMAIL email account. Lots of storage, ability to receive and send lots of attachments. Lots of valuable user names left.

Which do you imagine is easier for a consumer to remember "nb.nbnet.com" or "gmail.com", or even "hotmail.com"? Especially if they are coming from outside New Brunswick! And that goes double for "nb.aibn.com" - lots of opportunity for typos with that one.

Embed a GOOGLE CALENDAR into your site. If your operation depends on the tides or a certain departure time, enter that data into a Google Calendar - a benefit of your new Gmail email account - and then publish it to your website. Or have your developer help you embed the code into your website. Google provides the code!

Setup GOOGLE ANALYTICS on your website. The easiest and most informative website statistics package out there - and it's free! Google provides the code and you get your developer to insert it on your website. You can configure it to send you weekly reports to your email account - and since you're now using Gmail you can keep weeks worth of reports.

And that's not all.

There is plenty of freeware out there that can make you more efficient and put more information about your tourism operation into the hands of the online consumer.

Check it out at http://www.google.ca/intl/en/options/


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Paperless Hotel

Given that I work in the technology field I thought this article from a recent travle mole newsletter was very interesting...

Fontainebleau announces first (almost) paperless hotel

When it opens this fall, the famous Fontainebleau Resort’s $1 billion makeover will include what it is calling the first paperless hotel room -- with one exception.
With an Apple iFB system, guests at the famed Miami hotel that has deteriorated in recent years are given a personalized introduction screen with their names and the weather and other information. From there, they can access local information, dining and entertainment options, recreation and relaxation suggestions and, of course, the Internet.
This new in-room computer system allows for Fontainebleau to cut back on half a million newspapers every year, according to the company.
One paper product remains, however. That is what you usually find in the bathrooms.
The new technology will debut later this year at the grand re-opening of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and in the forthcoming Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a $2.9 billion, 63-story destination resort and entertainment complex set for opening in 2009. Report by David Wilkening

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bay of Fundy Blog gets national attention

In case you haven't heard the Bay of Fundy blog is a hot one.

Manged by Terri McCulloch, it is written honestly and sincerely and brings national attention to the Bay of Fundy region.

Check out the latest news paper article at http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1059317.html

This proves that any business can establish a successful online presence for free !


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Google Maps - get on there!


During the sessions that I conducted in 2007 there were several companies who remarked that when they searched Google Maps for their location, the results were not correct.

The source of Google maps is a company called NAVTEQ


On the NAVTEQ website is a feature called Map Reporter, it lets you submit what may be errors in the map (either street names or postal codes etc).

I gather that if we all get together and start submitting errors that will result in review of the entire provincal map, which benefits us all.

On a separate note if you go to the start page for Google Maps, in the bottom left corner is a link to "Add or Edit your business". It only takes a minute to set up a google business account and that will definitely aid in getting better google map results.

I hope that you find this information useful, and please feel free to pass it along to others who may benefit.


Friday, May 23, 2008

My first post


I've created this blog to show you just how easy it is.

And like my Technicial Resource counterparts in the four other Atlantic provinces, I'll be posting online facts and figures, tips and tricks, and general overall web knowledge.

Like the title says "We specialize in helping tourism operators" understand the need for an internet presence. We demystify the process. We show you what can be done this year, and what you should plan to do next year as well. We fill you in on how to measure the success of your online investment. And hopefully we have a little fun too!

See you out there,