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RezOvation GT – Preview of the Next Generation

Our review of the current version of RezOvation GT was published January 24 (during the 2012 Innkeeping Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas). At the conference, RezOvation invited current users to see a preview of the upcoming release, and to provide feedback on some of the anticipated features. We attended that preview, spoke with some of the RezOvation staff, and have some notes to share here. At the outset, the staff stated that the goal with this release was to give it a feel that would be very familiar to existing RezOvation GT users, while making it much more intuitive and much easier to use. Overview The first, and most obvious, change is that the new version, expected to be out later this year (2012), is a web-based product. Before you begin thinking that your desktop version will be obsolete, wait until you hear some of the good choices that have been made, to continue to keep the desktop usable. We were told that this new release is seen as an upgrade, so there is not expected to be any additional cost to existing RezOvation GT users. The new version is based on Microsoft's Silverlight (if you're not familiar with Silverlight, it is similar to Flash in many respects). According to the RezOvation staff, Silverlight will allow the new version to be run on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms (Linux users will need the free "Moonlight" version of Silverlight - which, according to online discussions, seems to have some incompatibilities). In essence, you'll install a Silverlight plugin for your web browser, then when you log in to the RezOvation server, Silverlight will connect to the RezOvation database and provide a very familiar RezOvation GT look and feel. The existing desktop version of RezOvation GT is intended to continue to function normally,…

Google Analytics – Beyond the Basics

Following our recent posts on Google Analytics, How to Evaluate Your Paid Listings in Five Minutes or Less, and How to Take Charge of Your Online Marketing Statistics, we presented two sessions on Google Analytics at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in January, 2012. The slide deck below is from the first session, Google Analytics - Beyond the Basics. Our other presentation, Measuring the Success of Your Online Marketing, was posted yesterday. Below is the slide deck from the presentation. Below the deck is the link to the downloadable custom report (make sure you are logged in to your Google Analytics account, using the new GA, then click on the link and you should get the custom report in your list of Custom Reports. As mentioned at the presentation, the report assumes that your GA goal for Booking is Goal 1 (in Goalset 1) and your goal for Engagement is Goal 6 (the first goal in Goalset 2). You should modify the report to use your actual goals, if they are different. Google Analytics - Beyond the BasicsView more presentations from Scott Thomas. If you only wanted the link to the custom report, called the Source Efficiency Analysis report, you will find it at http://goo.gl/Cx0VG.

Measuring the Success of Online Marketing

As a follow-up to our recent posts on Evaluating Your Paid Listings and Taking Charge of Your Online Marketing, we presented two sessions on Google Analytics at the recent Innkeeping Conference for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) at its annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the conference, time made it necessary to hurry through some of the slides, near the end of the presentations, in particular. As a result, we are posting the slide decks here, so you can revisit them and copy down any necessary information, links, etc. The first of these is the session called "Measuring the Success of Your Online Marketing", and the slides are below. Measuring the Success of Online MarketingView more presentations from Scott Thomas.

Custom Button Icons for Apple’s iDevices

This is a guest post by Sarah Dolk of Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had some fun last night. I had read in a blog about how we can create a custom icon/button/logo for our business that Apple device users (iphone, ipad, and touch), can download to their desktop as an image bookmark, thus creating a simple link to our website for the device user. Wow. So I did it, and I'm going to tell you why and how. Now that Apple has been named the "Top Company in the US" (be it only for a few days this week), I would think that should spark more people to understand the importance of Apple's portion of the mobile market. Although a button can be created for any website on these idevices, the custom icon is more desirable, has a more "finished" appearance, and is much less likely to get accidentally deleted from the user's desktop, especially if it's attractive to the eye. The default icon created when there is no custom icon/button present on a website will be just a random square piece of the website's window. Here is a custom logo from the BBC and a default logo from the innkeeping.org website: How is this custom button good for an inn or b&b? Let me count the ways… 1 - Branding. Having people find your inn's website and download the visual image associated with your inn's website as a bookmark to their mobile desktop so they see it every time they are on that devise is priceless. It is a contestant reminder of your property. 2 - Saved for later. Even if you are not chosen right at that moment for a stay, you were saved for later and that may very well be…

Software Review: ResNexus Reservation System

Based on data from its sister company's directory (Destination Nexus) Reservation Nexus bills itself as the most popular and most used all-in-one reservation system for US bed and breakfasts and inns. With all due respect, data from a sister company (only), and excluding data from much larger directories, makes that conclusion just a little suspicious. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that ResNexus is one of the top reservation systems, both in popularity and in features. Because of its popularity, the apparently large set of features, and its effort to position itself as the top reservation system available, we were eager to give it a try at our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast. Since one of the claims made by ResNexus amounts to a claim that you will get more online bookings than with other systems, we decided to go ahead with a full month's trial, rather than just a brief demo of the product. That also allowed us to more fully explore its features, and to take advantage of its advertised "Red Carpet Service." Overview Like many modern reservation systems, ResNexus is a web-based system. Most of these fall short, either because they don't attempt to be a full-fledged property management system, or because they have not implemented a full-feature set as is found on more complete systems. That is not the case with ResNexus. Virtually every feature provided by the best systems has been implemented in ResNexus, and new features continue to be added. That said, there are still occasional perplexing design choices that make you wonder what the developers were thinking, and the pricing structure leaves something to be desired. User Interface Most of the user interface (web pages) seems to have a logical flow, and is relatively easy to navigate, so while the comments may seem negative,…

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