Monday, September 26, 2011

Internet Resources for Bed and Breakfasts

While browsing through the internet I found this great listing of websites for B&B and Inn owners

Check out the original article for the full list and read the comments for some more great tips from readers

I've copied and pasted a few of them below:

There's the B&B Coach, Susan, who is sharing her B&B tips via her paid services and a free blog. Hmmm sounds familiar, like someone close to me does the same thing ... oh right that's me :)

The Quantum Hospitality group, which doesn't seem to be online at the moment but has a lot of great archives

Also don't forget, LinkedIn also has groups for B&B owners. LinkedIn is the more professional version of Facebook. You wouldn't sell your product here but can find others like you in the forums and groups and share problems and experiences.

I'm sure you'll find something educational in the above resources.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to combine social media and analytics and marketing

You should really read the whole article located HERE

But I really enjoyed the case studies. Use your trip adviser reviews and guest feedback to mold your marketing message - interesting concept that everyone can utilize.

It's about what THEY SEE AND DO and not about what YOU think they are seeing and doing.

Actual hotel case studies:

Case study
We recently worked with a client that was a historical monument. The hotel had been home of many historical celebrities that had written books, poems, symphonies there – even famous paintings worth millions were painted from the window at the hotel.
Logically this was a tremendous marketing advantage for the hotel. It was all over their brochures, site and advertising. But the hotel was failing despite all this marketing.
After a careful study of all the online reviews of the hotel, it was obvious that their potential future guests didn’t much care about what their other guests did in the past. They came to the hotel for the same reasons that the celebrities came to the hotel – a unique setting and view.
All marketing elements were re-done for the hotel. We scrapped absolutely everything and started from scratch. All of the focus was placed on the setting and view. The results were immediate.
Another example
Another hotel had just renovated their property with some of the most exquisite materials available. Each tile or piece of furniture was of the finest quality, and this was a luxury boutique hotel destined to be great success. Obviously everybody knew that “luxury” was going to be a unique selling point for the hotel. So the marketing efforts, press releases, and communications material were all focused on the fine materials and luxury offered.
Not so quick… we studied the hotel’s reviews to find out what people were saying about the hotel. To everyone’s surprise nobody mentioned any of these great products and fine brands but they were all commenting on the hotel’s close proximity to several monuments.
It surprised us because the hotel wasn’t that close to those monuments from a local viewpoint. But in the eyes of the consumer that was the hotel’s biggest advantage. So we changed the site, the marketing and everything to reflect what the guests were saying. The results were almost immediate, and sales through the hotel’s website took off in ways nobody had imagined.
And one more
Apex Hotels is one of the most successful urban hotel brands in the UK, and has made semantic analysis a fundamental part of determining their marketing strategy. “It enables us to instantly understand our unique selling propositions – from the guests’ perspective,” says ecommerce executive Amy Spark.
For example, the team realized their location is much more important to guests than their food offerings, so they played this aspect up in their collateral. The results were impressive. “Semantic analysis ensures we are connecting with our audience, and communicates what they are looking for.”
There is more to review analytics than reputation management. Review analytics are a vital tool for guiding marketing messages to reflect what guests appreciate most about your hotels, and avoid topics that guests don’t care about or aren’t interested in.
Make an effort to understand what your guests are saying about you, combine that with your marketing research, and you’ll have a formula for powerful promotions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Landing pages and Photos

Let's talk a bit about web design and layout

Starting with the "fold". In web design as in newsprint, the most important information should be above the "fold" or before the user has to scroll. Now in newsprint you know that this is a specific  number of inches but online it's not so cut and dry. So use your best judgement, have your web designer help you, and choose content, titles and images that are going to make people want to stay on your site and read more. FYI this is called "stickiness" - but who needs more jargon.

Don't be afraid to have multiple copies of important buttons or navigation items - above and below the fold.

Colour has a strong emotional impact and can affect moods and feelings of your viewers. In the age of online travel searching, it might be time to rethink your logo and entire marketing strategy for something that will translate online

It's important that all your marketing material match or coordinate. If I pick up your rack card and it's green and I go to your site and it's blue, I'm going to think I'm in the wrong place. (Super extreme colour examples but you get the drift)

Use a white background for text and do not use coloured text, unless it's a hyperlink.

Images can be a two edged sword, they can support your theme or they can be a major distraction.

Make sure they are all the same quality and resolution
That they relate to the content on the page and your marketing message
That they show real people enjoying your product

For SEO purposes make sure they have ALT text, and Captions - your developer can show you how to do this the first few times.

In some situations showing only the top of the image above the fold will encourage visitors to scroll and see the remaining content and messaging on your landing page.

So I hope these relatively generic tips help you get more stickiness - like flies on fly paper

Friday, September 9, 2011


Why is it that short weeks are sometimes not worth the holiday that caused the week to be short in the first place?

And when it's been a looong short week, don't bring salad for lunch on a Friday- that's just a waste of vegetables.

I had an interesting light bulb moment in our staff meeting this morning.

We were talking about whether emails were still relevant, and were people still reading attachments. By  people we are referring to busy hotel managers and restaurant employees and other types of employment where you don't spend eight hours in front of a computer.

Here at TIANB most of the staff are all online for eight hours of the day, either via blackberry or sitting in the office. And we sometimes find it difficult to contact operators because they are only online at 3 am or 5 am or 12:15 pm etc.

My expert opinion was solicited and I didn't really have a definite answer - I think it's case by case. Some younger managers may be on their iPhones more frequently during the day and some old schoolers are setting aside 30 minutes to handle email and snail mail and other office paperwork

So for the person who sets aside the same amount of time each day, it may take 3 days to have an email conversation.

And it so it seems slower then the Manager who replies from his blackberry

I'm sure this translates into the consumer market as well. What kind of consumer are you looking for?

Once you know that, find out what kinds of technology they are using?

Then use that medium to communicate with them.

Social media is about being Social - we're all looking for that one place where we walk in and someone shouts "Norm!". We're tired of 1-800 numbers with press options. In a world of 7 billion faces, we're striving to be seen. By anyone. For even just a minute.

As we conquer barriers and reach new heights and as the population soars, it's hard to have your 15 minutes of fame promised to us by Andy Warhol. We might have to get it one tweet at a time

Remember if you need help with your technology plan check out the program

Have a great day,