Two Responsive Websites for New Clients Launched

October 30th, 2015 by

InsideOut Solutions is proud to announce the launch of two new custom responsive websites for incoming bed and breakfast inn clients during October.

These new web design and managed hosting clients include an historic inn at the Antietam National Battlefiel and a secluded bed & breakfast with southwestern hospitality and flair near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Each has its own remarkable story.

Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpburg, Maryland)

Chris and Amy Vincent became the new owners of Jacob Rohrbach Inn in May of this year.  The incoming innkeepers were ready to begin establishing their marketing plans for their historic B&B located at Antietam National Battlefield Civil War site and reached out to Pat McCauley at InsideOut Solutions.  Pat reviewed their needs, gave them an initial proposal for a new website and put them in touch with Niles Deneen to get their new logo designed. The new Jacob Rohrbach Inn website launched on October 15

Casa Escondida Bed and Breakfast (Chimayo, New Mexico)

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Blog Writing Tips on Publishing with Authenticity

October 26th, 2015 by

One of the most difficult aspects of blogging for many marketing writers is writing in an authentic voice. This is especially true for busy B&B innkeepers, who have a hard enough time sticking to a consistent publishing schedule without worrying about how to craft their blog posts to come off as “the real deal.” Explore these “do and don’t” blog writing tips to discover how your improve your writing for readers, make it ring true to them, and earn more conversions.

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Google Hotel Ads Opens to More Partners…and Kills Google Hotel Finder

September 29th, 2015 by

On September 22, the search engine giant announced that Google Hotel Ads has expanded its partnership with online booking Global Distribution System (GDS) providers, opened up Book on Google their users on all devices, and retired their Google Hotel Finder metasearch by rolling hotel search directly into Google Search results.

Google Hotel Ads

This follows last month’s changes to Google Hotel Finder, which included more prominent use of Google Maps and an expansion of the Book on Google direct booking feature.  Discover what B&B inn and other distinctive lodging providers need to know as the search engine takes its initial steps into becoming an Online Travel Agency (OTA) to compete with the likes of TripAdvisor.

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Responsive Website Conversion Roundup

September 28th, 2015 by

This past year was a busy season for our web design staff.  In addition to all the new website designs and redesigns going on, there were also a large number of clients looking to improve the internet marketing efforts of their current site with a responsive website conversion.  This upgrade to responsive web design ensures that their websites will stay on the cutting edge of website development.

responsive website conversion by InsideOut SolutionsInsideOut Solutions clients with WordPress websites that are less than five years old are eligible for this service.  Responsive website conversion projects in the last year included several bed and breakfast inns, three B&B associations, a tour operator, a boutique hotel, and two luxury cabin resorts.

The following clients used our responsive website conversion service to refresh their web presence, make it more useful for today’s internet-enabled devices and extend the useful life of their existing websites:

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Google Hotel Finder Changes and What They Mean to B&B Inns

August 30th, 2015 by

Recent updates to Google Hotel Finder metasearch change the way its users will find lodging. This article will explore the three major changes and how our bed & breakfast inn, boutique hotel and other distinctive lodging clients can stay competitive as Google makes Hotel Finder metasearch more sophisticated and begins to enter the Online Travel Agency (OTA) market.

Google Hotel Finder

Last month, I reported on the testing of direct online booking by Google Hotel Finder.  Since then, Google has rolled out other major changes to its hotel metasearch – namely more map-driven data, mobile surveys for crowd-sourcing data and a new Hotel Ads commission that expands upon the online booking tests it performed earlier this summer.

Google Hotel Finder Increases Importance of Google Maps

Google aims to improve the user experience with their Google Maps results in the Hotel Finder metasearch. This change gives the “location-location-location”-minded traveler exactly the kind of information they need to make decisions.  For lodging providers this essentially means there’s no more hiding behind vague “we’re close to” such-and such statements in Google Hotel Finder.  By looking at the integral map, Google Hotel Finder users will know exactly where you, and your competitors, are situated relative to whatever attractions interest them.

Google Hotel Finder - map view of Washington DC

It’s very important that your Google My Business listing has an accurate map location.  A correct street address won’t always do this for you, so check your business’ location on the map.  If it isn’t in the right place report the incorrect map marker location to Google.

The List View

In the list view, the default order for results is “By Relevance,” but what does that mean in terms of rank position?  Like organic search results in Google, it’s a lot of factors, but primary among these is the availability to book via at least one OTA such as,, Expedia or Priceline.  Have a look at this admittedly anecdotal sample (click on it for a larger view):

Google Hotel Finder - list view of Warren, Vermont

Each of the top 3 offer online booking via OTA. The #1 listing has no description, no ratings, no amenities list, and a photo.  It is not closest to the geographic center of town.  The story was the same for other locations I reviewed: online booking options equal higher rank compared to other listing components.

Google Hotel Finder Surveys for Mobile Users

As with directory and review sites that are venturing into the OTA market, such as TripAdvisor, Google will use user opinion as a way of crowd-sourcing data and apply it to their ranking of lodging businesses in Hotel Finder.  The survey component currently applies to users of mobile devices currently, which indicates Google is testing it in a limited market to determine if it will become a useful source of user interaction and data.

Google has a long uphill battle for relevance in the user opinion market when going up against the likes of TripAdvisor.

New Google Hotel Finder Ads Commission Program Includes Direct Booking

Google Hotel Finder direct bookingUntil recently, Google Hotel Finder only offered booking though paid Google advertising by OTAs such as and Expedia or select Central Reservations System (CRS) provides on their exclusive Google Hotel Price Ads program.  Now, Google is partnering with Sabre Global Distribution Systems to handle reservations and payment processing directly via the Google Hotel Finder interface using Google Payments. Hotels participating in this program pay commissions to both Google and the participating Global Distributions System (GDS) booking partner.  Sabre is currently the only known GDS participating in the program.

It is important to note that this hotel direct booking program is currently only available to users of mobile devices, who tend to be convenience-minded, but that is likely just the testing ground.

For B&B, boutique hotel and other distinctive lodging providers, this is yet another area where you need to evaluate and monitor your competition before making the decision to add a test of the Sabre GDS to your the existing internet marketing efforts you’re making via your website, OTAs, Cost-Per-Click (CPC) advertising, online directories and link partners.

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A Custom Responsive WordPress Website for the New Owners of Knickerbocker Mansion

August 27th, 2015 by

We are pleased to announce the August 20 launch of the custom responsive WordPress website for Knickerbocker Mansion at Big Bear Lake, California. custom responsive WordPress website

The custom responsive WordPress website design for Knickerbocker Mansion ensures a great user experience no matter what device is used to view it.

Vickie & Ed Harris, the new owner-innkeepers Knickerbocker Mansion, a longtime web client of InsideOut Solutions, knew it was time to redesign the inn’s website and contacted Pat McCauley to request a proposal.  Pat reviewed the current website for this luxury Big Bear Lake B&B and put together a proposal that included a complete redesign in WordPress using a custom responsive theme that would ensure the website would look its best on whatever device was used to view it.

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Google Hotel Finder Direct Booking Is Being Tested

July 28th, 2015 by

Google began initial testing of its hotel room reservation system in early July. There has been no official announcement from the search engine about this new service or when it will begin wider testing, but when, not if, it rolls out, the presence of a Google Hotel Finder direct booking engine is serious business for anyone marketing their lodging property online.

Google Hotel Finder direct booking

When testing is complete and the feature rolls out, Google Hotel Finder direct booking will be a game-changer for the online marketing of lodging providers.

Earlier this month, travel news website Tnooz broke the story about their discovery of direct booking showing up on Google Hotel Finder, noting in the article that this is similar to TripAdvisor Instant Booking feature.  Shortly after this article was published it appeared that the testing was removed from public view, but here is what we know thanks to Tnooz and others:

What Is Google Hotel Finder Direct Booking?

Simply stated, the Google Hotel Finder will have a room reservation system that allows users of the search engine to book rooms without ever having to leave Google.  This is yet another sign that Google intends to keep users of its Hotel Finder metasearch engine on-site, rather than sending them off to book via the lodging provider’s website or an Online Travel Agent (OTA) such as or Expedia.

How Does Google Hotel Finder Direct Booking Work?

Google Hotel Finder currently presents booking options for a property via ads.  These ads include participating properties and OTAs.  If the user selects to book through the hotel, the link takes them to that hotel’s website.

The new direct booking system being tested keeps the user within Google Hotel Finder when they choose reserve their stay with the hotel directly.  Here are the steps once a user selects this booking option:

Google Hotel Finder direct booking step 1

STEP 1: Rather than being sent to the hotel’s website, the user stays within Google Hotel Finder and it begins with selecting the preferred room type.

Google Hotel Finder direct booking step 2

STEP 2: Guest information is collected and default Google account user information is entered automatically.

Google Hotel Finder direct booking step 3

STEP 3: Payment is made either via credit card already in the user’s Google Wallet or by another card.

Google Hotel Finder direct booking step 4

STEP 4: Confirmation of reservation provides the user a confirmation number, the hotel’s phone number and a link to manage the reservation.

All of this is done with Google’s typical no-frills, minimalist interface, making it attractive to regular users of Google who use the search engine for other purchases.

At the time the testing was publicly available, the only reservation system confirmed to be working with Google in direct booking was Sabre Hospitality Solutions, which serves as the booking engine provider of over 20,000 independently owned hotels.  It is not known if any other providers are working with Google on direct booking, but you can bet they will take notice now that Google’s testing has been discovered.

Why Should B&B Innkeepers Be Concerned with Google Hotel Finder Direct Booking?

Like TripAdvisor, it appears Google Hotel Finder is seeking to become an OTA in order to keep users on Google.  It will do this by making the reservation system seamlessly integrated in the user experience which will likely keep regular Google users from visiting other OTAs or individual lodging websites.  This creates more competition for those bed & breakfast inns who do not (or cannot if there reservation engine isn’t participating) have a direct booking option.

InsideOut Solutions will continue to monitor this story and report developments, including and official announcements from Google, as they emerge.

The next article on Google Hotel Finder will cover the new user interface that has been released.


How to Fix Your Apple Maps Business Location

June 29th, 2015 by

With all the focus on local search on Google it is easy to forget about Apple, but keep in mind that Apples iOS operating system and it’s default Apple Maps application remains a close second to Android’s Google-based operating system and maps.  In this article I will provide the information on how to fix problems your business may face with Apple Maps.

First a little history: I was contacted recently by a client who asked, “Why can’t Siri find my bed & breakfast in our town?”  Siri, for those who don’t know, is the Apple iOS voice-activated personal assistant and knowledge navigator on iPhone and iPad.  With it you can send messages, make calls, set reminders and…search for things.

Apple Maps Connect: The Business Owners Portal to Claiming & Managing Their Listing & Location

Apple Maps Connect login pageJust as it is with Google and Google Maps, Apple relies on businesses to claim their business and report any issues they have.  This is done via Apple Maps Connect and these are the steps to follow:

  1. Go to and log in with your Apple ID and password. If you don’t already have an Apple ID then you will need to create one at
  2. Once logged into Apple Maps Connect, click on “View My Businesses”
  3. Click the “+Add” button in the top right and you’ll see the next screen below.
  4. Enter your business name and location then click the search button.
    • If your business isn’t found then you should click on the “Add New Business” link and follow the instructions from there.
    • If your business is found then you should click on the blue “Claim This Business” button and and follow the steps there. This may automatically initiate the verify by phone pop up to display, but you can simply click on “Not Now” come back to that in a few minutes.
  5. Next fill inn all necessary business information, correct the location of your map marker and select up to three appropriate categories.  Be sure your correct hours of operation are displaying and also make sure your company website along with your other social media and other listings are entered.
  6. When you’ve finished with all your entries, Apple Maps will give a chance to review all the details.  Make sure everything is how you want it to be and click “Submit to Apple” to initiate the phone verification process.  You’ll receive a call at the phone number on your Apple Maps listing, so be ready for it.
  7. Once verified, it will take some time for Apple to review and approve any edits.

Apple Maps Connect has a helpful FAQ to help you through this process, so be sure to to look it over if you have any difficulty.

Contact us if you are interested in a local search marketing review.

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A Responsive Dude Ranch Web Design Launched for a New Client

June 25th, 2015 by

We are proud to announce the June 2 launch of the new custom dude ranch web design for Blacktail Ranch, a premier guest ranch in Montana.

Sandra Renner, co-owner of this Montana dude ranch, stopped by our vendor booth at the 2014 Dude Ranch Association convention and chatted with Pat McCauley about redesigning the Blacktail Ranch website.  She formally submitted her request for proposal following the convention.  Things got busy for the ranch shortly thereafter when their booking season got into full gear, but we circled back around to the website this year.

Custom Responsive Dude Ranch Web Design for Blacktail Ranch (Wolf Creek, Montana)

The new Blacktail Ranch website looks its best on all devices due to the responsive dude ranch web design.

The Blacktail Ranch Story

This working dude ranch, which has welcomed guests for over 40 years, encompasses 8000 acres of prime Big Sky country at the foot of the Continental Divide and is conveniently located between Yellowstone & Glacier National Parks and Great Falls & Helena, Montana.

Blacktail Ranch (Wolf Creek, Montana)

An unforgettable setting is just the beginning of your Montana dude ranch adventure at Blacktail Ranch.

The all-inclusive getaways at Blacktail Ranch offer opportunities for world class horseback riding & fishing, an on-site cave tour, a museum of ranch & prehistoric artifacts, white water rafting, bird watching and horseback camping.  They even have a massage service and yoga classes.  A wide variety of lodging, from the original lodge, to comfortable cabins and rustic wall tents, is available at the ranch.   Owners John “Tag” Rittel and Sandra and the ranch staff provide hospitality and personalized attention to their guests.

Blacktail Ranch logo before redesign

BEFORE: The Blacktail Ranch logo had served the owners well, but it was time for an update to fit with their new marketing “voice.” Blacktail Ranch logo after redesign by InsideOut Solutions AFTER: The new Blacktail Ranch logo is emblematic of the many upgrades the ranch has made to their facilities, lodging and services in recent years and suits the new website perfectly.

New Branding as a First Step – The Logo Redesign

Sandra knew that this project was nothing less than a “marketing makeover” for Blacktail Ranch and requested that our graphic design department create a new logo.

Jim McCauley, our print and graphic design department manager, worked with Sandra to design a new logo that would symbolize the new marketing message for this Montana guest ranch.  The result of this collaboration is more contemporary and stylized, but retains a rustic charm to match both the ranch itself and the website design that was to come.

That design had to wait until Blacktail Ranch got through its busy 2014 season, but this first important piece was ready and waiting.

About the Previous Blacktail Ranch Website dude ranch web design before redesign by InsideOut Solutions

BEFORE: The wide open spaces of the previous design grew larger as monitor resolutions increased and web standards changed.

The previous website for Blacktail Ranch was launched over five years ago. It had an open, western feel to it, but the coding and design standards were already “behind the times” in many ways and this only worsened as time went on.  No “mobile friendly” version of the website was available to users with smartphones and other devices, which meant that the website was in danger of losing mobile search visibility in the wake of the Google Mobile Friendly algorithm update that rolled out on April 21.

Making Better Use of Wide Open Spaces – The Layout dude ranch web design after redesign by InsideOut Solutions

AFTER: There’s still plenty of eye-appealing open space in the new Blacktail Ranch web design, but it adapts the layout and content to fit whatever browser or device is viewing it, from the smallest smartphone screens to the largest monitors.

A busy season at the ranch and some “life happens” challenges meant that the new website was on hold until Sandra contacted us in January to resume discussing her needs.  By mid-February she was ready to commit to the new design.

The new Blacktail Ranch web design began with Beth, our lead web designer, contacting Sandra with a detailed questionnaire to gather the information and materials to create a brand new “look and feel” for the website.  This extensive questionnaire assisted Sandra in making decisions 0n the most important basic elements of the new website’s design and gave her a list of needed materials to provide so that Beth could take her concept and make a layout proof.

Blacktail Ranch Web Design Gets Responsive – The Development

WordPressBeth then handed this layout off to Taylor to develop the website as a responsive WordPress theme which includes:

  • WordPress content management system comes with a powerful blog platform for growing the ranch’s internet marketing efforts and offers effortless updating of page text & photographs
  • Responsive web design automatically adapts design elements to web browser resolution for the specific device is being used
  • CSS 3icon-website-development-html-5Cutting-edge HTML 5 code and CSS 3 styling that conform to the standards of Google Developers and the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Sticky navigation menu and social sharing bars are always in view as a website visitor scrolls down the page
  • Custom WordPress Rooms post type, developed by InsideOut Solutions specifically for clients that offer lodging, provide easily managed room description, accommodation type, amenities available, a photo gallery, rate information and more

Corralling the Content – The Fill-in dude ranch web design custom post type for rooms by InsideOut Solutions

Creation and management of listings for the ranch’s lodging options was made easier thanks to the Rooms manager custom post type developed by InsideOut Solutions.

New photographs of Blacktail Ranch were essential to the redesigned website and these came from no less than four sources, including Sandra herself, David Fonda of Fonda Photographic, John Ansotegui of 900 Yards Photography and Video, and ranch guest Heather Tiddens.

Sandra recognized that their website text also needed extensive rewriting.  Beth worked with her to make sure the text content of the new website’s pages took full advantage of the responsive WordPress design.

Before launch, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services were applied to each page of the website’s code and content and scored by the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.  Redirects for previous URLs were set up in order to eliminate any “page not found” errors once the new site went online.

Upon seeing the finalized proof, Sandra’s emailed response to Beth was:

“Oh my gosh. I love it…I think it looks great…Your extra attention is very evident and shines through!”

She also emailed Pat the following message:

“I think Beth has done a great job and I am more than happy, and we are very excited to get [the website] live as well. Thank you again for working with me.”

Following the launch, additional SEO was applied to the website by optimizing the settings of their Google Analytics account and creating a Google Webmaster Tools account to submit both the new website and the new sitemap so that everything would be quickly indexed.

Free training in WordPress was included so that Sandra could quickly learn how to use their website to grow their internet marketing effectiveness.  Our WordPress install also includes WordPress video manuals, an e-book user manual, and our monthly Blogging for Beginners Webinar is available to all our WordPress website clients as well.

Get Your Own Responsive Dude Ranch Web Design from InsideOut Solutions

insideout web design servicesDude ranch websites developed by InsideOut Solutions that are over four years old will generally require a full responsive redesign.  If you have a dude ranch web design we created that’s four or less years old we can provide you with a cost-saving responsive upgrade.  Don’t have a WordPress website?  We’ll build you one with a responsive dude ranch web design.  Contact us today for a quote to keep your dude ranch’s website ahead of the competition.

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How to Change a Google Business Summary

May 31st, 2015 by

In this blog post you will learn how to work directly with Google to fix your Google business summary, the brief editorial text seen in various places on Google.

Google My BusinessIf you already know the who, what, where, when and why of Google’s editorial summaries, you can go directly to learn how you can request an edit of your Google business summary.

What Is a Google Business Summary?

A Google business summary, also known as a Google editorial summary or business description, is the brief synopsis of a business that shows up in various places on Google.

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