So you have been blogging, have you? Great! Blogging any where, about whatever suits you, is the first step. But now that you have the hang of it, it is time to venture down the block all on your own – the training wheels need to come off!
We were thrilled to launch a new site for the very large Antlers at Vail Condominiums and Conference Center. With over 90 condos and ample facilities for Vail Weddings or business retreats, this was an exciting site for us to work on. We made individual pages for each of their different lodging options, as well as 4 pages of custom Google maps. The different ski parks, driving directions, Lionshead village and Vail attractions maps are all outlined clearly.
It is a very large site, and is also built completely in WordPress. This allows the owners to change almost all aspects of the site with minimal assistance from us. If they want to add pages or change photos, the WordPress interface makes it quite easy.Â With some training, they are underway!
Another great things about having a site in WordPress: backup copies of your pages are clearly saved, so you can always feel confident when changing pages that nothing has to be permanent if you don’t want it to be. It is easy to add items into the main navigation of the site, as well as create Menu labels for those items so that a long title can still fit into a narrow navigation structure.
We look forward to see great results from this new Vail lodging site. Maybe we can come for a vacation sometime as well!
We recently got a disturbing email from one of our clients about her disdain of blogs. She expressed her frustration with the “stupid story that never ends”, and that they are often mindless bits of news that are not important for anyone’s real life.
She makes some good points. The vast majority of blogs have a readership of one, the writer. That is because their blog is filled with dribble about mundane aspects of daily life. This is not the content you want in your blog. However, I would like to highlight some real-life examples where blogging with relevant content has been beneficial for our clients.
On Oct. 20 and 21 Katie Pate attended a two-day seminar on advanced Adwords marketing. Lead by Google-approved Adwords Seminar Leader Brad Geddes of bg Theory, the seminar focused on advanced Adword use. Some subjects covered included Setting Goals and tracking conversions, getting in-depth information on ROI and profit tracking, effective bidding strategies and account organization.
Working with the diverse state of Kentucky on their new Association web site was a pleasure. They were looking forward to utilizing some of the great tools we have developed for Bed and Breakfast Association web sites, such as an interactive map, our varied means for searching for lodging, and a special rotating “featured inns” section in the footer.Â They are also the first association to use our new reviews feature.Â This allows an association to show reviews from TripAdvisor, Bedandbreakfast.com, BnbFinder.com and Yelp.com right on a members listing.
Our goal, like with most Association sites, was to create a tool that would benefit the members. The first week of statistics have been great, with an extremely low bounce rate of 13.37%, 10.20 pages per visit, and 8:14 minutes average time on site!
Our interactive map is colorful and engaging, allowing the user to click on the region they are interested in, as well as on the title of that region from the map key. This click brings them directly to the page with the B&B listings for that region. These listings are not organized alphabetically, but rotate randomly so that each inn has a chance to be the #1 listing for their region. However, the user does have the ability to organize them by alpha should they prefer.
The regions map is not the only way a user can search for a Kentucky Bed and Breakfast. The member’s listings are also available by city, alphabetically, search field or even specials and packages.
There is also an extensive section on interests and destinations in Kentucky for users to explore and browse in conjunction with the Kentucky Tourism web site.
We are so glad to have worked with the Bed and Breakfast Association of Kentucky, and look forward to seeing the site pay off for their members!
We here at InsideOut just got an exciting email from Jay Karen, the president of PAII, announcing he has been working as a lobbyist for our industry in DC.
He has been speaking with lawmakers about House Resolution 2935, a.k.a. the Travel Promotion Act. The goal of the bill is to create America’s first “destination marketing organization”. This group would be a non-profit organization called the “Corporation for Travel Promotion”, and would manage the tourism promotion of the United States to international travelers.
If you didn’t know, international travel to the United States is down significantly in the last 8 years. We have fewer tourists today than in 2001. As far as keeping up with the competition, we are the only nation in our “competitive set” that does not have a budget for promoting our nation as a travel destination. It seems, with all of our breathtaking National parks and natural beauty, we would encourage an income that allowed us to keep these spaces open and wild. Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are just some of the wonders of our continent that have drawn visitors for years, and can continue to do so.Â The average international tourist spends $4500 during a visit to the US. These are important numbers to a struggling economy.
The bill is also set-up to allow the Corporation to pay for itself. It includes a $10 entry fee for visitors that would fund the Corporations’ efforts.
There are things you can do to support this bill, and help to bolster travel from our neighbors and friends abroad. Contact your House of Representatives Official via the US Travel Association. Let them know that this bill effects you. After all, we know how much international visitors enjoy the bed and breakfast experience!
We had a wonderful time in Granbury Texas for the Texas Bed and Breakfast Association Convention. Steven Dunston gave a “kick-off” keynote session to a packed, standing-room only audience, covering the success we had seen with the last year on the new TBBA web site. He also covered some important metrics for innkeepers to be able to evaluate where they actually need to focus their marketing efforts, like shoulder versus primary seasons. “15-minute Marketing Boot Camp” gave innkeepers effective tools to capture more of the travel market in their area.
On Monday, Katie Pate presented on “Internet Marketing with Facebook”. It was wonderful to see such interest in this new marketing platform, and we had another full audience. There were lots of good questions, like from our client Grover McMains, who owns a North Texas Bed and Breakfast in Fort Worth. He asked us about the important steps to having a modern web site before starting to focus time and energy into Facebook Marketing.