Friday, September 11, 2009

Proof is in the numbers

Content stolen/borrowed from but I don't think Tom will mind :)

Two of Cape Breton’s favorite fall festivals are Hike the Highlands, Sept. 11-20 and Celtic Colours – October 9-17. What makes them unique is they are the forefront with Online marketing and social media. They are starting small and learning along the way..

Dan Coffin, Marketing Co-ordinator, for Celtic Colours, has seen a change in demographics and found social media, e-mail newletter and new media have helped increased visits (20% plus) this year to their website.

Celtic Colours now has over 400 twitter followers, 1100 plus fans on facebook, a promotional video on youtube, a great venue google map and an e-mail marketing newsletter with a goal of 1,500 subscribers.

Coffin states online tickets sales are at 58%, up 4% from last year.

Last year, Hike the Highlands Festival had over 40% of hikers register online and expects this number will increase in 2009.

Facebook ads, Google adwords and e-mail newsletter along with online press releases & regular posts on our blog have keep us busy with new content on the web and attracting hikers to this annual September hiking festival.

“Our website visits in August are up 29% from last year,” says Tom Wilson, Chair, Hike the Highlands Festival. Wilson states we have hikers already registered from British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and USA.

Both Wilson and Coffin agree that online marketing and social media has helped their festivals grow each year with more communication, online marketing, and user generated content.

Online booking and payment system has made it easier for people to purchase tickets and festival passes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Linked IN

Are you on Link IN? If you are you should friend me, if you're not you should consider it. Linked IN has been around longer then Facebook (I think). It's the business version of Facebook. I've joined up with collegues from work, from past works, and from conferences. I've also joined in some tourism groups and social media groups. Each week Linked In emails me snippets of postings from each group I've joined and I can click to read more or save the email for later. I can also login direct and check out my groups, join new ones, find new business connections.

I recently came across this nice post from the Hotel & Technologies Software group in Linked IN, and thought I would share some of it with you today. If you're doing one new technology thing a month, consider joining Linked In as a business resource.


Why do hotels have Standard Rooms?

I am surprised by the number of hotels that are still trying to market themselves selling standard rooms. What is so special about that ‘Standard Room’ that it will persuade potential guests to buy? How is one standard room different from a standard room in another hotel? Where has our creativity gone? Have we forgotten that we have to differentiate ourselves from the competition?

I am sure we all agree that asking someone to pay €100 to €200 for something ‘STANDARD’ is not very convincing. It is probably a legacy from hotel GDS systems we are dealing with. Room names are deviated from the GDS room type coding like C2T, B1D or D2C. And how about that double or triple room, doesn’t it sound exciting? How come we are putting occupancy into the name? Doesn’t this get filtered when you put the number of people into the hotel reservation system?

Funny enough hotel meeting and conference rooms have been give some more creative attention. The have been given names of painters like Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso or Rembrandt. Or city names like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin are being used. But why oh why aren’t we trying to do a better job at positioning our hotel rooms? Don’t we want to sell them and put heads in beds?

You have 30 characters at your disposal in the GDS and about 40 on most hotel booking engines. Use this space! We have been preaching this issue at many of more than 200 hotel training courses over the last 3 years and are happy we have seen some results.

The Hotel de Roode Leeuw in Amsterdam has uses names like ‘Comfort Room and ‘Budget Room’. The Berns Hotel in Stockholm has the following original room types: extra small, small, medium, large, large with balcony and extra large. Qbic Hotels calls their rooms a ‘Cubi’ after their cubicle shape furniture unit.

Most chains start simply at Classic or Deluxe and go up from there. W Hotels uses creative names like ‘Cozy’, ‘Wonderful’, ‘Mega’, ‘Fabulous’, ‘Fantastic’, ‘Cool’, ‘Spectacular’, ‘Marvelous’, ‘Wow’, and ‘Extreme’. I would like to sleep in one for those rooms...

It seems design hotels and boutique hotels have been much more original. Maybe other hotels should simply follow their example. Be different, be daring. Sell experience! A great word by the way. Why not call a room for a hotel in London the Chelsea or Piccadilly Experience? Simple, right? And why not call multiple occupancy rooms, Family Room? In the end that is the target market, right? Remember if you stand out, you will more likely to be chosen.

Differentiate yourself, not only on your hotel website, but also on OTA’s and GDS. Hopefully in a few weeks we will see those standard rooms replaced by some more appetizing and exciting names.

For more ideas and tips from Xotels visit our blog:

Cheers, Patrick Landman - Xotels

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top Tourism Websites

Today we provide you with a link to Vandelay Designs, and what they consider the top travel websites.

Some are government, some are hotels, but they are all excellent examples of what a travel/tourism site should look like.

You'll notice about halfway through, Signature Attractions, Explore the best of Atlantic Canada!

Congrats guys on making the list.

Another Tourism Technology mentoring success story.