Tag: marketing

Home > Posts tagged "marketing" (Page 2)
A Consistent Marketing Message – How Often Should I …

Most innkeepers seem to have an awareness of a need to present a consistent marketing message. They want their website to appear uniform from page-to-page. They want their blog to look like their website - even if it is hosted separately. They want the style of their newsletters or their booking engine to match the style of their website. Going a bit farther, maybe they even want their Facebook page, Google+ page, or other social media pages to resemble their website theme. [pullquote]Think of it from the perspective of your guests...[/pullquote]If you have done all (or most) of these things, you have presented a consistent marketing message in one sense - a consistent appearance. Some refer to this as "branding". But today we will be looking at a different type of consistency in the marketing message - one which is not often mentioned in the B&B world - the frequency with which it is delivered. In doing so we'll step back a bit from the technical, and look into the murky uncertainty of the psychology of the guest, to consider the impact of our choices. When we build our website, we may update it with new photos, a new recipe from time-to-time, etc., but for the most part it remains static. Whether we like to think so or not, it is essentially an online brochure for our business (and yes, it is possible to feed changing content to the website from the blog, Facebook page, etc., to keep it current - but that is not our topic for today). Let's look, instead, at things that require repetitive publication: blogs, newsletters, and social media. In previous posts, we've discussed ways to automate posting of blog posts to social media - there are many tools for that (including plug-ins for your blogging…

Local Listings Critical Under New Google Maps

Search engine experts both within the lodging industry and outside it have already written on the previews of the new Google Maps, announced in May. Most have described the ways the appearance will change, some expressing concern, others joy. Few have taken a hard look at what the new Google Maps will mean about your Google+ Local Listing. [pullquote]If you're not actively using Google+ Local, you will have to change that, for your business to survive.[/pullquote]For the past several years those who deal with online marketing in our industry have stressed the importance of claiming your Google+ Local listing (or its predecessors), completing all the information, uploading photos and videos, etc. With the change to Google+ Pages for the listing, you can add posting regularly to the Page as another requirement. Despite this encouragement, many have failed to claim their listing, or have not updated it regularly. All that must change, if you want your business to survive - let alone prosper. Do you think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at your Google+ business page. You do have a Google+ business page, don't you? Hover your mouse over the top left where it says "Home", and select Dashboard from the pop-out menu. There is only one area of primary interest, for our purposes. Look at the chart called Insights. Near the bottom of that chart, click "View Insights". The boxes at the top tell the tale. The first box tells how many followers you have - need to work on that later. The second box, with the big number (we hope) tells how many people saw your Google+ page because it came up in their search results, even if you're not doing anything with it. Nice. Now the cold water to the face: the third box, with the much, much…

BBOnline Improving? Dubious for Most

Our recent posts wondering if our observed improvement in the number of referrals from BBOnline was a sign that the troubled directory was returning to its former status as one of the higher referring directories turns out not to have statistical support across the board. [pullquote]Far too many properties are seeing numbers that still appear to be in free-fall.[/pullquote]We asked other innkeepers to provide stats showing traffic changes for specific dates (just so we would all be looking at the same numbers). Quite a few innkeepers shared their numbers, and others were shared (anonymously) by consultants in the industry. To recap, our Bed & Breakfast in Freeport Maine had seen a drop of nearly 90% in traffic from BBOnline following their site redesign in the fall of 2011. Nearly all properties who responded to our posts at that time reported similar drops in referrals. Last month we reported that, in recent months, we had seen significant improvement in their numbers - not back to the former levels yet, but significant, all the same. We asked innkeepers to provide information to see if this was a universal improvement, or if the beleaguered directory was still in the doldrums. [pullquote]Fully half the properties responding found that their recent referrals from BBOnline had dropped to zero![/pullquote]The results we received provide a fascinating cross-section. Properties responding were from all over the USA (and, of course, some were anonymous, so we don't know anything about them). Nearly half the properties responding found that their recent referrals from BBOnline had dropped to zero! Still others had cancelled because of the declines, prior to the dates we examined. Of those still receiving traffic from BBOnline, slightly more than half are seeing increased traffic, while slightly less than half are still seeing significant declines. Overall, the average property…

BBOnline – Could Things Be Looking Up?

Is there any new information on the decline in traffic from directory BBOnline? We've been interested to see if traffic from BBOnline has improved over time, since the huge decline observed beginning in November, 2011, and lasting about a year. If you haven't see the earlier discussion of the lost traffic (up to 90% drops, in some cases), just click on the "Directories" tab at the top of the page. Recently another property owner emailed to ask if there was any new information on BBOnline. That's normal, of course, as seasonal properties whose busy season is summer begin to get ready for the new year, and want to be sure they are spending their marketing dollars effectively. Checking Google Analytics for our Freeport, Maine B&B we found a pleasant surprise! In our stats, looking at September 1, 2012 through April 15, 2013, and comparing it with the previous year, we found that BBOnline's traffic had increased over 200% (other directories declined during the same period). Before we get too excited about that, the traffic had declined almost 90% the year before, so a 200% increase after that drop does not bring it back to its former levels. It does, however, return it to being competitive with other directories, and to a more acceptable level. Certainly, if this increase continues, we could see traffic from BBOnline getting back to the old "normal" as time goes on. Have you seen increases (or decreases) in your traffic from BBOnline? If you would like to help us provide more comprehensive information, please send an email to scott at AboutTheInn.com. We'll keep your information anonymous, but if we get enough to provide useful information, will include it in a post that updates this information.

Year End Review: Cutting through the cobwebs

[Updated, December, 2014] In our previous posts, we've talked about organizing a year end review of your bookings and about the information that will help you identify guest booking trends and stronger or weaker performing rooms, providing an outline of the information you can track (or should start tracking) to prepare you for next year's review. In this concluding post we'll talk about a year end review of web analytics, specifically emphasizing paid listings. For the purposes of this post, we'll assume you have Google Analytics (or something similar - but we'll use GA for our examples and terminology) installed on your website. If not, you'll certainly want to have it installed soon, so you can track information for next year. [pullquote]Our Key Performance Indicators are Referrals and Bookings over time.[/pullquote]The primary things we want to look at (our Key Performance Indicators, or KPI's, if you will) are referral sources and bookings over time, and specifically bookings and participation in bookings from our paid listings. In plain English, how is our website doing at attracting traffic and converting it to bookings, and how are paid listings doing at getting us bookings. Referral Sources over Time For this piece of information, there are two things we want to examine. The first is quite simple - it is how did we do this past year, compared to the year before. To see this, in the Reporting section (top), we'll go to the left side menu, Acquisition -> All Referrals. Then go to the top right column where the date range is located, and put in the entire previous year (for 2014, that would be Jan 1, 2014 through Dec 31, 2014). Below that tick the box for Compare to Previous Period (or Previous Year) and click Apply. If you want to see…

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