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June 2008

Innkeeper Updates

Add a free* video link to your listing!  U.S. Internet users viewed 11.5 billion online videos during March 2008, a 64% gain over March 2007.

User Generated Video Market Size (total "views")
Year Views
2005 3.25 billion
2006 13.16 billion
2007 22.37 billion
2008 34 billion

Source: AccuStream iMedia Research, Jan. 2009

Adding a video to your listing allows travelers to really get a sense of your inn. Mail us a copy of your video on a CD or DVD, or use the free website MegaUpload to send us your video files.

Here are the requirements:

  • Size: Maximum 100 MB.
  • Video compression format: Video files from most digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones in the .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG file formats are OK.
  • Time: Three minutes is ideal; 10-minute maximum.

We will format your videos to the right compression and size. Here's a sample of inns that have video posted to their listing:

Two Meeting Street Inn, Charleston, SC
Hotel Fevery, Bruges, Belgium
Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati, Parma, Italy
High Hope Estate, Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica
Marcel's Creative Exchange Bed & Breakfast, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis, NC
Grace Manor Inn, Richmond, VA
Stone Hill Inn, Stowe, VT
The Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast, Ephrata, PA
Charles Street Inn, Boston, MA
Garth Woodside Mansion, Hannibal, MO
Inn & Spa At Cedar Falls, Logan, OH
Black Dog Inn, Estes Park, CO
Bed and Breakfast Afloat c/o Constitution Marina, Boston, MA

For more details, log in to your Home Base and click Video link. Questions? Contact
Support@BedandBreakfast.com, 1-800-GO-B-AND-B or 1-512-322-2700.
*Free for silver level members and up.

Travel Trends

Seven strategies for marketing in a downturn: Doing the same things in an uncertain economic environment and expecting the same results is, at worst, a definition of marketing insanity. At best it is a flawed strategy. In a challenging economy, you must find new ways to make marketing work more effectively, get more out of marketing investments, and measure and account for marketing decisions.

The following strategies will help you allocate marketing investments to better performing programs that will carry your company through the economic downturn and beyond.

  • Get targeted: Invest in those specific, targeted media where you know your customers and prospects will be exposed to your message.
  • Measure performance: While it's always the right time to purge marketing programs that don't perform, it may be time to scale back any marketing plans whose results you can't measure or are unsure about. Online programs -- which are built around delivering visibility, impressions, clicks, leads and customers -- are easy to measure.
  • Think integration: Take advantage of multiple media, resources and customer touchpoints to create a whole that's greater and more effective than the sum of its parts.
  • Maintain frequency and consistency: The benefits of regular visibility in the market tend to compound over time as more prospects recognize your company. A consistent online presence where your customers and prospects are looking for information -- including websites, directories, search engines and e-newsletters -- will help your company stay visible as well as provide measurable lead generation benefits via online contact.
  • Push and pull your way to success: Most marketing can be classified as either push or pull: companies push their message out through tactics such as direct mail, advertisements and e-newsletters; and they also establish a presence in online directories, websites and search engines to pull customers in real-time when prospects are searching for information, products and services like those your company offers.
  • Focus on quality over quantity: If marketing efforts focus solely on quantity over quality, fewer leads will convert, more sales resources will be wasted, and sales people will begin to distrust marketing's lead generation programs. Commit to programs in which quality is a key attribute: programs that can deliver interested prospects, provide prospect contact information and offer reports of program performance.
  • Seek assistance from media partners: The economy is likely forcing you to make harder and smarter decisions about allocating budgets. Ask media partners to demonstrate how their marketing solutions help your company achieve the strategies mentioned above.”


Tactics to drive business this summer:
“According to Travelocity, there are no big indicators of shrinking demand for travel. Travelers are looking for savings by booking packaged trips and looking for drive destinations. On the other side of the forecast spectrum is a recent study by TIA that reports that uncertainty in the economy puts stress on the travel industry; 62% of all survey participants feel the economy will worsen in the next year. This sort of self-fulfilling prophecy has a tendency to drive down consumer spending on big-ticket discretionary items such as travel.

“It’s a good strategy to be proactive and put plans in place, as it is certain that consumers will be more price sensitive but also looking to feel that they received value for their summer travel experience.

  • Dynamic packages. Put together leisure packages to increase the perceived value to the customer. This does not necessarily mean lower room rates as packages ‘disguise’ the rate.
  • Appeal to the local market. Travelers still want to treat themselves, even if it’s just a little bit. Chances are they have never sampled the rooms, pool, spa or other amenities of their hometown hotels. Make it easy – reach out to them!
  • The small meetings market. This market is hot! As many corporate and association meetings contract in size, this levels the playing field between smaller hotels and the large group houses, independents and franchises.
    The Social Group Market. Gain visibility on travel websites by positioning the hotel and the amenities, sometimes more important than rate, geared to those that are preferred by social group. Families will still have reunions and classmates will still have high school reunions this summer.
  • Mailings to past guests. Special offers to those guests that already know you and have used you in the past are cheaper and faster to execute than many other campaigns you could do. Postcards work well, as the offer is apparent on outside of the mail piece. Direct the guest to make their reservation on your website. This allows you to measure the effectiveness of a campaign in terms of website traffic, and a reservation made through your web site is one of the cheapest reservation channels.”


Boutique hotels outperform competitive peers: “While the early wave of boutique hotels turned off many business travelers because of their impractical guestrooms and spotty service, recent entries to the market are trying to offer better service and business-friendly amenities along with a lively social atmosphere. The new brands represent a movement away from the sameness that has long characterized hotel chains in favor of properties meant for a specific location or demographic. A lodging analyst with PriceWaterhouseCoopers said that with the exception of 2001 to 2003, boutique hotels have outperformed both in occupancy and average daily rate their competitive peers.”

Hotels using guests’ videos online as marketing tool: “It's a dramatic shift from traditional marketing, where communication flowed from hotels to customers. The new strategy aims to get customers to talk among themselves on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, promoting word-of-mouth advertising. Eager to capture the attention of Internet-savvy guests, hotels are becoming more serious about using online videos as a marketing tool. They’re encouraging and monitoring guests’ videos of their stays. They’re creating their own YouTube channels and other video content to showcase their properties and to launch new brands. The new marketing strategy aims to get customers to talk among themselves on sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, promoting word-of-mouth advertising.”

Proven dollar returns boost Michigan's marketing budget: “Accountability has permeated all types of marketing, including the state tourism sector. Case in point: the state of Michigan, which this year upped its tourism promotion budget by 33% to $17.5 million, in no small part as a result of an independent study that demonstrated the significant financial returns being realized from such marketing.

"The study, commissioned by Travel Michigan, the state's official tourism marketing office, was conducted by Longwoods International, a research firm specializing in tourism advertising ROI. After evaluating the impact of Travel Michigan's advertising campaigns between 2004 and 2007, Longwoods found that the $20 million in advertising spent during the four years in Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Ontario, Canada attracted more than 3.8 million visitors who would not otherwise have traveled to Michigan. These tourists spent more than $800 million statewide at Michigan businesses, resulting in an additional $56.4 million in new tax dollars for the state treasury.

"Bottom line: For each dollar spent on advertising in out-of-state markets, $2.82 came back to the state in the form of new tax revenue.

"Travel Michigan is already putting those extra bucks to good use, by expanding the peak summer-season market reach of its "Pure Michigan"-themed TV and radio commercials. The beefed-up seasonal push began with out-of-state advertising starting May 5 and in-state advertising starting May 12. Tourism contributes $18.8 billion annually to Michigan's economy. It accounts for 200,000 jobs and generates $1.1 billion in state tax revenues.”

How blog SEO helps your website’s SEO: “If you have a website, then the smart thing to do is to have a blog associated with your website. If you have a smart blog SEO program, the spinoff is that it can aid your website’s SEO program. Blogs have the characteristics that search engines love —fresh content, a site that appears to be growing at a steady rate, keywords that appear with a host of variations and, with appropriate blog SEO strategies, a lot of inbound links.

"For website owners, the benefits are invaluable. A boost in the website’s rankings can lead to an increase in organic traffic. A blog with the correct blog SEO program should also rank well and receive its fair share of organic traffic.
The biggest plus to website owners is the blog’s ability to connect with customers and potential customers along with other related websites and blogs. The dialog that can be established can lead to a real boost in brand or product awareness along with the development of an company’s reputation. Clever use of blog SEO along with social marketing and bookmarking can further that exposure.”

This Month's Sponsor

Gift Card Reseller Program

Could you use some extra cash? Sign up for the gift card reseller program, and make 15% on each sale! There is no cost to get started; click here for details. If you'd like to receive a free reseller kit, contact us at 800-462-2632 or Support@BedandBreakfast.com.


            

"I was looking at BedandBreakfast.com for my own vacation and then saw that you had gift cards! And here I needed a gift for a wedding next weekend. Thanks for solving that problem." -- Beverly S.

Referral Program

What’s better than three months' free membership? How about six months? Or a whole year? Refer fellow innkeepers to BedandBreakfast.com, and if they join at the Silver level or above, your membership will be extended by three months for each B&B that signs up. If four B&Bs sign up, your membership is free for a year!  For details, log in to your Home Base and click Referral Program under Free Member Benefits, or call 800-GO-B-AND-B (800-462-2632).
 

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