Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’
The time has come – we’re stepping out on the limb and going public with Better Way to Stay with our “B&Bs Kick Gas” promotion. While this is not the point of my column, I will now insert my short pitch to participate…come up with your most creative promotion/special/package that plays off the rising gas price phenomenon, and upload it at www.betterwaytostay.com. The campaign team will subsequently broadcast the campaign to tons of travel media, with the hopes of attracting much-deserved attention to B&Bs from coast-to-coast. Now, onto the real purpose of my column this month…
When Brand Pandemic showed us their first mock-up of the BWTS web site, which spotlights the “Kick Gas” promo, my immediate response was, “I love it!” They used text message shorthand to make fun of how high the gas prices are getting. Seeing “WTF” in a B&B-related promotion got me excited! But I have to admit, my immediate follow-up thought was, “Uh oh…innkeepers aren’t going to like that.” I showed the image to a few friends and colleagues, and they all thought it was funny and really creative. Those to whom I showed it were all under the age of 50, so my comfort level about the average PAII member’s potential response wasn’t necessarily changing.
Then I fly out to Des Moines, Iowa, to speak at the Iowa Bed and Breakfast Guild conference in Panora. I had about 60 minutes to talk about Better Way to Stay, why we’re doing it, what’s happening, etc. I thought I’d give a sneak peek of the web site and the gas price image – just to see what kind of reaction it would elicit among a group of innkeepers that I figured would probably be the most likely to not appreciate the humor. To my surprise, when I showed the mock-up, there was ample laughter and head-nodding in the audience (as well as a fair share of puzzled expressions on the faces of those not familiar with text lingo). I breathed a sigh of relief.
Tags: Better Way to Stay, Marketing
Posted in Better Way to Stay | 1 Comment »
On Facebook, is what I mean. I encountered an example of how an inn is simply not “with it” when it comes to social media. They’re missing the boat, and I wanted to share with PAII members about the missed opportunity at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Recently I attended the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia meeting in Charlottesville. I arrived by train and took a cab to the Boar’s Head Inn – a classic inn up the road a couple of miles from the UVA campus. I worked and lived almost across the street from the inn about 15 years ago, so I was excited to be back in the area. As I waited for the cab driver to run my credit card at the entrance of the Boar’s Head, I thought that I would “check in” to the inn on Facebook. The relatively new Facebook Places feature allows Facebookers to “check in” at various places, i.e. restaurants, parks, stadiums, hotels, attractions, etc. One uses his or her cell phone’s Facebook application to let their friends know where they are at that moment. It’s just a way of sharing news with your friends. Click here to learn more: http://www.facebook.com/places/
When I attempted to find the Boar’s Head Inn on Facebook on my cell phone, I couldn’t find them! I was hoping to tell the 700+ friends of mine that I was checking in, and maybe some of my local buddies might see that I was in town. But, because it appears no one at the Boar’s Head is on top of the social media side of marketing, they missed a golden opportunity for me to tell hundreds of people that I was staying there. To confirm my suspicion that someone is asleep at the social media wheel, I went to their web site and could not find a Facebook logo anywhere. No invitation to become a fan or “check us out” on Facebook.
When I searched Facebook for “Boar’s Head Inn” this is what appeared:
Tags: Facebook, Marketing
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Improvement to Tourism Pages on TripAdvisor Helpful for B&Bs, Add Value to Business Listings for InnkeepersWritten by Jay Karen on April 22, 2010 – 2:34 pm
Recently some changes were being tested on TripAdvisor’s “Tourism Pages” and it seemed there was a threat that B&Bs would be obscured on these all-important pages. Tourism Pages (or city pages, as I like to call them) are where many travelers go to learn about a destination – many times before even thinking about where they’re going to stay. I had a recent fantasy of taking my wife to Cinque Terre, Italy, (after a great recommendation to go there from the fantastic innkeeper at Akwaaba DC, Kristin Singleton), and I started my homework on Cinque Terre on TripAdvisor. The Tourism Page is where I started my homework. I imagine a lot of travelers do the same, although I’m sure many already know about your inn and go directly to TripAdvisor to read reviews. Nevertheless, exposure for B&Bs on the Tourism Pages is very important, which is why some innkeepers reported concern that “Top-Rated B&Bs” were disappearing from some Tourism Pages. Only “Top-Rated Hotels” were showing. This was all during what appeared to be some beta testing by TripAdvisor, because it was happening in some cities, but not others.
TripAdvisor started to hear the complaints right away from innkeepers. Our Innkeeping Forum was buzzing with discussion, and some innkeepers were encouraging folks to start a campaign to get as many innkeepers as possible to submit grievances. And this was all happening at the same time TripAdvisor was offering a 50% off deal to innkeepers on their relatively new Business Listings program. You can read all about that here, but the gist is – pay an annual fee and have your phone, email and web link added to your TripAdvisor property page. Innkeepers on the fence about Business Listings were scratching their heads – why pay for Business Listings if B&Bs can’t be readily found on the Tourism Pages like they had been for years?
I give credit to TripAdvisor. They have some senior staff who are involved with PAII. Brian Payea, their Trade Relations Manager, pops in from time-to-time on our forum to offer innkeepers advice, clear up misunderstandings and to announce things like the changes made earlier this week to the Tourism Pages. They listen to what innkeepers have to say. I’ve been meeting with them regularly for nearly two years, and they’ve always been willing to listen – and have made some improvements to their site based on our ongoing dialogue. So, what changes were made this week? First of all, “Top-Rated B&Bs” are back on the pages. Thank you, TripAdvisor! Furthermore, if you go to a Tourism Page that has more B&Bs than hotels, you’ll notice that “Top-Rated B&B”s are shown above “Top-Rated Hotels.” This makes good sense for the web site visitor, because if they’re checking out a town with more B&Bs than hotels, they’re probably more interested in B&Bs. This is TripAdvisor’s way of improving the experience for the web site visitor. When doing homework on Cape May, New Jersey, it makes good sense to showcase the B&Bs first.
Tags: Marketing, Online Reviews, TripAdvisor
Posted in Online Review Sites, Online Reviews, TripAdvisor, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
I’ll admit it. My family has recently been patronizing the Golden Arches more than we probably should. When you are in my situation (two kids under 4, a kitchen that is operational, but still a construction zone, and a financial ground that has shifted under me), sometimes the path of least resistance is taken. Of course, being the fiscal conservative I am, the concept of cheap food can also be appealing. But it just occurred to me on our last trip that a trip to Mickey-D’s costs me upwards of $16. Wait a second! I thought you could feed a family at McDonald’s for something like eight bucks. How is this happening, and what the heck does this have to do with innkeeping?
Caught red-handed eating McDonald’s at Midway Airport on my way home
from the Heartland Innkeepers Conference. Shhh. Don’t tell my wife.
I’m a consumer and my antenna is now officially up. While my antenna was down, the price of fast food crept up. Peter Yesawich, a noted authority on travel trends and speaker at the upcoming Innkeeping Show, recently observed that affluent travelers (defined by household incomes greater than or equal to $75,000) will be comparison shopping MORE than their less affluent counterparts. Antennas are up. People are paying close attention to how they are spending their hard-earned, and seemingly less valuable, dollars. Isn’t it counterintuitive to think that the more affluent will be comparison shopping MORE than the less affluent? Yesawich also just released an interesting stat yesterday – his Traveler Sentiment Index is showing its first signs of upward momentum since January 2008, meaning travelers are feeling more positive about near-term travel possibilities than a year ago.
Tags: Economy, Marketing
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »