Belize Web Marketing 101: The importance of Title Tags

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by Lauren Showen

Title tags are extremely important when it comes to your website’s SEO and your Belize web marketing in general. Search engines use this information to quickly sort and categorize your website and its pages, so descriptive, relevant title tags can make a huge difference to the SEO rankings of your Belize web page.

What are title tags?
Title tags are the text that can be found in the top tab of your browser. They should be no more than 70 characters (including spaces) and include the general information for your website.

How should I use them?

  • Make sure that every page has a descriptive title tag equipped with relevant keywords that are frequently searched on. If your site is set up on Google Analytics (which it should be so that you can monitor the traffic to your site) you can use the keyword tool that is provided to help you find relevant keywords. If it isn’t, try the Wordtracker tool to help determine what keywords are best for your page.
  • Every title tag should include, at minimum:
    • Your resort’s name
    • Your resort’s location
    • “Belize Resort”

For example, the “Contact” page of your resort might look like this: 

Contact | Your Resort | Wherever, Belize | Belize Resort

What keywords have you found most successful in your title tags? Comment below. 

Belize Web Marketing 101: The Importance of Page Titles

Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lauren Showen

Page titles are extremely important when it comes to your website’s SEO and your resort marketing in general. Search engines use this information to quickly sort and categorize your website and its pages, so descriptive, relevant page titles can make a huge difference to the SEO rankings of your Belize web page.

What are page titles?

Page titles are the text that can be found in the top tab of your browser. They are typically between 130 and 150 characters and include the general information for your website.

How should I use them?

  • Make sure that every page has a descriptive page title equipped with relevant keywords that are frequently searched on. If your site is set up on Google Analytics (which it should be so that you can monitor the traffic to your site) you can use the keyword tool that is provided to help you find relevant keywords. If it isn’t, try the Wordtracker tool.
  • Every page title should include, at minimum:
    • Your resort’s name
    • Your resort’s location
    • “Belize Resort”

For example, the “Contact” page of your resort might look like this: 

Contact | Your Resort | Wherever, Belize | Belize Resort

What keywords have you found most successful in your page titles? Comment below. 

How Pinterest Place Pins Feature Drives Interest in Your Belize Hotel

Monday, January 13, 2014 by Lauren Showen

Pinterest has recently launched a "Place Pins" tool that allows users to pin their favorite locations (vacation destinations, restaurants, beaches, etc) to custom and public boards. Be aware that the tool currently loads locations from FourSquare, so it is important that you have a FourSquare account for your business if you wish to be listed on the Place Pins tool. Here are some great ways to incorporate this new tool into your Caribbean web marketing:

Place Pins | Pinterest

Make your own board
Make a board of your resort and include all the information that you can about it, especially your contact information and as many great pictures of the resort as possible. Most of Pinterest is simply image sharing, so high quality, unique pictures can really help to make you stand out. Also be sure to include all of the fun activities that are available in and around your resort. 

Make yourself known
Post your images onto other relevant public boards. If your resort boasts cave tubing, for example, you could post on a board about tropical adventures or water sports. If you've captured great shots of wild life on your resort grounds, you could post your images on a board about wildlife photos. Make your Social Marketing in Belize interesting and people will pay you back with attention and additional "pins" that spread your news even further.

Remember that the goal is to make viewers interested in your resort and have them click through to your website. Include images that you think best represent your unique resort and be sure to include links to your site wherever possible without sounding like you're out to sell something. As always, be careful not to make classic social media mistakes while using this platform.

Are you looking for help marketing your Belize resort or hotel? Guest Caye Resort Marketing offers leading online software, marketing services and expert consulting to help you reach your full potential. Send us an email at dan@guestcaye.com to discover how we help you build your business one guest at a time.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Belize Resort Social Media

Monday, January 6, 2014 by Lauren Showen

It's no secret that social media outlets are important to promoting your Caribbean web marketing plan, but are you using it to it's full potential? Belize hotel marketing should consider how social media can help reach travel shoppers and stimulate them to look more closely at your resort as their next vacation destination.

Facebook

To get the most out of Facebook, you should be posting new content no less than once a week, but ideally, you should be creating a decent Facebook post daily. Posts should be related to your resort or to the travel industry. Here's a great post from the Gumbo Limbo Jungle Resort in Belize:

Notice that the post uses hashtags (a new feature on Facebook) and includes links. Hashtags make posts searchable and including the link to the website makes it more likely that fans will visit. Keep a close eye on 'likes' and shares on your posts. These are great indicators as to what your fans want to see you post about on your page. Here are some helpful tips about Facebook Hashtags for Marketing your Belize hotel or resort.

Twitter

Twitter is a great outlet for short, to the point posts. The lifespan of a tweet is much shorter than a Facebook post. In fact, studies say that the average lifespan of a tweet is 15 minutes. That being said, it's best to post at least once a day if possible. Here's a fun example of a great Twitter post by Black Orchid Resort in Belize:

The post is short and sweet and includes links to both the Facebook page and the YouTube channel.

Posting on your social media channels should be fun and easy. It's a great opportunity to show your resort's personality and features in an informal and FREE way. Just make sure that you aren't making any of these social media mistakes.

Have additional insights into these social media channels for resort marketing? Leave a comment below.

Black Orchid Resort -- Best Alternative to Belize City Hotels

Friday, November 15, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

 Black Orchid Resort 

For information and reservations, please call 1-866-437-1301

2 Dawson Lane, Burrell Boom Village,
P.O. Box 1864, Belize District,
BELIZE, Central America
phone: +1 866 437 1301 (Toll Free from USA and Canada)
phone: +501 - 225 9158 (Before number dial: 011 (US/CND) 00 (Europe))
fax: +501 - 225 9028 
info@blackorchidresort.com 

 

Choose Black Orchid Resort for:

  • Near airport, Belize City & major attractions
  • Pristine tropical riverside ambience
  • Fairly priced rooms and private cottages
  • Local & International cuisine at full service restaurant
  • Two fully stocked bars
  • Full service tours with expert guides
  • Package deals with tours, accommodation & meals
  • Freshwater swimming pool
  • Fully-equipped Conference Centre & banquet facilities
  • Belize Old River riverside Boat Dock & relaxation areas

Are You Losing Customers Because Of Your Website?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 by Lauren Showen
If you were to ask travelers who didn't book with you why they chose a different resort, what would you guess their response would be? Price? Location? Would you believe that over 36% of travelers said that they didn't choose a resort because of an issue on the website? It's true! Here are some common problems and solutions to website issues:
 
 
Problem: Technical issue - Your website has dead links, images that won't load, doesn't run in certain browsers, etc.
 
Solution: Make sure that your website is well tested. Every link, every button, every browser: it all should be checked regularly. An easy way to avoid issues like these from the get go is to have a reputable team build your site and internal programs and do a vigorous QA before launch, but if you already have your site up and running, consider consulting with experts on how to solve and avoid issues in the future.

Problem: Couldn't find what they were looking for on your Belize hotel site.
 
Solution: Make sure your website has a clear navigation with calls to action that make sense to the customer. Read more about what you resort site must have here.  
 
Problem: Hotel booking issue - Credit cards weren't excepted, error messages appeared, couldn't tell if the room was available.
 
Solution: Similar to the technical issues bit, make sure that your reservation system is well tested and easy to understand. For best results, accept all major credit cards. Click here for more tips and tricks on how to land more Belize hotel reservations.
 

Best Hotel Resorts in Belize

Sunday, October 20, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

Finding the Best Hotels and Resorts in Belize is Easy at www.BelizeHotels.org

Travel shoppers looking for great vacation deals in Belize are advised to check out the best online resource for researching hotels and resorts in Belize. Published and maintained by the Belize Hotel Association, this website allows consumers to shop for all types of Belize hotel accommodations, from budget hotels to the most luxurious private island resorts in Belize.

Hotels must qualify to be members of this prestigious business association and most Belize Hotels and Resorts; All-Inclusive Hotel Resortsof the very best resorts in Belize are longtime members. One of the key qualifications is meeting the tourist expectations of international travelers. Clean and secure rooms, full bathrooms, front desk personnel, and on-site meals and drinks cover the basics, but today's savvy traveler wants more than a room with a pillow. Reliable internet access for most travelers is an automatic expectation, for example.

Online consumer travel shoppers also have high expectation when it comes to hotel websites and their ability to understand full costs and available amenities. Nearly every resort has a website, but members of the Belize Hotel Association strive to provide their web visitors with all the information they need to make travel decisions. 

Another advantage of shopping on this Belize Hotel Search Portal is the ability to select the Belize destination you want to visit and your budget per night for your chosen place to stay.

  • Shoppers can choose Islands & Cayes if they are looking for sun and sand on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker or one of the many private islands with resort accommodations.
  • Hotels located in Belize City and Northern Belize as well as near the International Airport can be searched to find a resort for a base to explore Belize or just stay a few nights to and from other resorts across the country.
  • Adventure travelers will find a full range of eco-resorts and jungle lodges in the Western region in Cayo District. These resorts tend to offer thatched cabanas outfitted like modern hotel rooms with all the trimmings.
  • Southern Belize provides a nice mix of sandy beaches and mountain adventure from bases like Placencia, Maya Beach and Punta Gorda.

Choosing the right resort for your #BelizeVacation means doing some research to find hotels that not only meet your price point, but give you the kind of tropical vacation memories that will last a lifetime.

Instead of shopping at online travel sites like Expedia or Hotels.com, why not research your hotels directly by visiting their website and truly understanding what they can offer you. You will find hotel managers very appreciative and helpful in making your reservations directly with them.

What Guests Want: Must Haves For Your Belize Resort Website

Sunday, October 20, 2013 by Lauren Showen

Your website isn't just important to your Belize web marketing, it is the single most important thing in your business besides your Belize resort itself. You have an average of seven seconds to capture the Belize Hotel Reservation Websiteattention of the guest before they decide whether or not to pursue your resort for their next vacation. There are a few simple rules to ensuring that you capture their attention in that small window.

Guests want a clear understanding of how your resort is different.

What is it that sets your Belize resort apart from competition? Is it your unique location? Your luxurious rooms? Your special staff and personal service? Whatever your key selling point is for your resort, make sure that it is front and center for your guests to see visually and read simply.

Make it easy to use.

Guests want to be able to access all of your Belize resort information quickly and in an intuitive way. Make your website easy to navigate, and make your reservation system even easier (read more about why it is crucial to have a great reservation system here). Having an attractive, easy to use website also means that they'll be more likely to book directly through you instead of going through a dreaded third party site meaning increased profits for your resort.

Make it secure.

Make sure that your site is secure. If guests feel uncomfortable giving you personal information, they're not going to give it to you. Makes sense, right? Proudly display your security credentials. And if you don't have a secure online system for hotel booking, to collect deposits and guest payments, get one now. American travel shoppers expect to do business with you online - whether you are ready for that reality or not.

Keep it up to date!

Keep your site up to date with all of the latest information about your resort. Having a blog that hasn't been updated in two years or an out of date promotion on your homepage makes your resort look like a ghost town. Keep your site current with all of the fun activities that are happening at your Belize resort.

What must have items belong on every Belize Website? Share your ideas below!

If you need help navigating the confusing array of internet marketing issues for Belize hoteliers, contact Guest Caye at dan@guestcaye.com for a personal consultation.

There's No Such Thing As Bad Press: How To Deal With Public Complaints

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Lauren Showen

Somewhere down the line in your Caribbean web marketing, you're going to run into some negativity. While it certainly isn't easy for a hotel owners to hear/read a guest say negative things about their Belize hotels, and it's even more difficult when they are on a public forum such as Facebook or Twitter, keep in mind the old saying: "There's no such thing as bad press." If handled properly, you can use the negative commentary as a way to show your character as a resort.

**First and foremost, never, EVER delete a negative comment off of your social media channels unless it contains profanity or other unacceptable content. If it's just a sincere consumer complaint, do not under any circumstance delete the post. The repercussions of this will be far worse than just handling the complaint.**

 

Here are the best ways to handle public complaints:

Quickly
The quicker that you can get to the negative reviewer, the better. Word spreads fast on social media (for better or worse... read more here). Remember the last time that you were on the phone with a customer service rep and you were on hold for 15 minutes? How you were even angrier by the time someone listened to you? Imagine this, but magnified. Not only is the reviewer already fuming, but so are all of those who read the post who are on the consumer's side.

Publicly
On that same note, with complaints that are on social media or other public outlets such as TripAdvisor, you'll want to respond to the complaint publicly. Doing so shows that you're open to feedback, for better or worse, and that you genuinely care about your guest's experience. Better yet, your followers may get to see the problem get resolved right before their eyes.

Personally
In EVERY mode of communication, public or otherwise, every complaint should be handled individually. The more that you can personalize the situation, the better. Customers are more responsive to personalized feedback, so using their name and situation in their response and making your solution tailored to their complaint will yield much better results than sending a standard apology email/post/tweet to every guest.

Apologetically & Appreciatively
Apologize upfront for the guests dissatisfaction and communicate that you genuinely enjoy the feedback. Being able to put yourself in the customer's shoes will aide you greatly in dealing with negative feedback. 

Have any suggestions on how to best handle negative feedback on your Caribbean social media? Leave a comment below.

 

Still Not on TripAdvisor? What Your Belize Marketing Plan Is Missing.

Monday, September 23, 2013 by Lauren Showen

Are you still not advertising your resort on TripAdvisor? If not, your resort is missing out on a huge opportunity to get more Belize hotel reservations. TripAdvisor boasts over 200 million viewers a month who come looking to browse resorts, read consumer reviews, and ultimately decide where they're going to stay on their next vacation.

You can help your resort stand out by creating special offers on your resort page that feature a percentage off their stay or other incentives such as a free tour of the Belize jungle or other exciting amenity you offer. You can list your resort completely free of charge, or you can upgrade to a Business Account that includes additional features (such as adding your direct contact information) for a small monthly fee.

Best of all, TripAdvisor is an ever evolving tool. They are constantly creating additional features to help resort owners and customers get the most out of their program. Recently, TripAdvisor has launched even more great tools such as the direct email feature which allows your customers to email you directly with questions about your resort or their Belize hotel reservation from the site and the brand new GreenLeaders program that rewards resorts for their efforts in going green (read more about the program here). These new tools in conjunction with their great reporting tools, user friendly layout, and their reliable services means that this site is a must have tool in your resort marketing plan.

What are you waiting for? Register your resort on TripAdvisor today!

The Best Kept Secret of Belize Resort Marketing: Word of Mouth

Friday, August 23, 2013 by Lauren Showen

One of the most effective tools that you should be using in your Belize resort marketing is word of mouth. Did you know that word of mouth accounts for 54% of travel planning sources? That means over half your customers ask for recommendations from their friends, family, and colleagues when planning their next trip. To drive more Belize Hotel Reservations, you must drive more personal recommendations using Social Media or good old-fashioned word of mouth.

How should you go about starting a word of mouth campaign? There are three great ways to capture the power of word of mouth marketing:

Give your guests the trip of a lifetime! 

If your guests have enjoy their stay at your resort, they'll talk about it. Think about the last time you returned from vacation: you told your friends and family about your how great your trip was... or wasn't. Then they tell their friends and so forth. If you provide your guests with a fantastic trip, they'll do all of the marketing for you.

Have a social media presence.

Social media is essentially word of mouth on steroids. Social media platforms give your guests the opportunity to tell more than just their friends and family about their great vacation. Take advantage of this! Keep at least one strong social media platform up and running with great content and encourage the conversations. To learn more about belize social media marketing, click here.

Ask Guests to Recommend You.

Maybe this is obvious, but I am always surprised when resort owners (or other businesses) fail to ask me to "Tell a Friend" which is one of the easiest things any buyer can do to help a business they like. So make it a point, to simply ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS and TripAdvisor reviews. It really works!

Have any great word of mouth tips? Leave them in the comments below.

Need help marketing your Belize hotel or resort property? Call the experts at Guest Caye or email us at dan@guestcaye.com!

It's Easy Being Green: Making Your Belize Resort Eco-Friendly

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by Lauren Showen

As a resort that relies heavily on the natural beauty around it, taking steps towards going green should be a priority. Here are some strategies being used by Belize hotels to go green:

Going Green at Your Belize Resort

  • Reuse Linens - Many resorts and hotels leave a note on the bed that informs guest that, in an effort to conserve water and energy, they'd like to change the bed linens less frequently. Guests can opt out of this service if they so choose, but 9 times out of 10 the guest will oblige and even be impressed by your effort to take care of the Earth.
  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs - These bulbs not only conserve energy, but last 5-10 times longer than typical incandescent bulbs.
  • Strategic cabana placement - Table Rock Jungle Lodge thought ahead when building their resort. They strategically placed cabanas in areas of shade and indirect sunlight to keep them cool with limited use of air conditioning. Use the sun strategically as well. Lots of windows means plenty of natural light, which adds up to less need for additional lighting. While these tips aren't necessarily a practical solution for those resorts that are already established, keep them in mind for future projects.
  • Harness the power of nature - Gumbo Limbo Resort in Belize uses wind and solar energy to power the majority of their property. Investing in a long term solution such as solar panels, wind mills, and water capturing systems not only lowers your impact on the Earth, but can also save you money in the long run.
  • Provide guests with eco-friendly toiletries and use eco-friendly cleaners - Accent Amenities  provides a wide array of Earth friendly toiletries for resorts.

Have you heard about TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders program? It's a program that honors resorts and hotels that have made great strides in going green. It's a great addition to your resort marketing efforts. Read more about the program here.

This is just a short selection of an extensive list of ways to get your resort a little greener. Brag about your green progress below!

The Green Revolution: Taking Care of the Planet, Even on Vacation

Monday, August 5, 2013 by Lauren Showen

It is no secret that there is a green movement sweeping the nation. Consumers and business owners alike are becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and are taking steps to be kinder to the world around them. Eco-friendly Resort owners are now doing their part to go green by making changes both big and small throughout their properties, and TripAdvisor has taken notice.

TripAdvisor has launched the GreenLeaders program to celebrate and award resorts that have embraced the green movement. Since the program launched in April, the number of participating resorts has doubled (Read the entire article here). Ultimately, the recognition is less important than the positive impact your resort could have on the environment, but who doesn't like a little pat on the back for doing good?

Check out this beautiful Belize resort that's built right into the natural landscape. Better yet, the resort has gone green!

Becoming a TripAdvisor GreenLeader is easy, especially if you're already an environmentally conscious resort. First you must be a verified property business representative which is as simple as having a Trip Advisor page that is live and open for business.

Next is to have all of the required green practices in place:

  • Tracking energy use on a regular basis (at least quarterly)
  • Using at least 75% energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Having current and active towel and linen re-use plans in place
  • Recycling at least two types of waste
  • Staff training on green practices
  • Guest education on green practices

Finally, your resort must score higher than a 30% on the Green Practices survey. Scores above 30% are then ranked by Bronze (30-39%), Silver (40-49%), Gold (50-59%), and Platinum (60%+). Once you've successfully completed the three requirements, you can proudly display your GreenLeader widget on your resort's page.

Beyond the bragging rights (which you should absolutely brag about on your website and social media platforms), going green is a great resort marketing tool. TripAdvisor boasts that, to date, over 50,000 have searched for green hotels while considering hotel booking. Reaching this niche market could significantly increase your hotel booking.

The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program is currently only available in the continential United States, Hawaii, and Alaska, but as the program gathers steam, it will likely spread. Until then, work on getting your resort up to all of the green standards to do your part in protecting the environment that makes your Belize resort so beautiful!

For help marketing your eco-resort, contact Guest Caye Resort Marketing for a free consultation. Email dan@guestcaye.com or visit www.guestcaye.com.

Why Your Booking Site is Crucial To Your Belize Marketing Plan

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 by Lauren Showen

Your greatest asset outside of your resort property is your online presence. After your customers find you online through your strong SEO presence and great website, they're ready to visit your hotel booking site. Direct booking with your resort earns you 15 - 35% more profit than if your guests book through a third party booking site such as Expedia or Travelocity. Click here to read more about the pit falls of online travel agents. Having an easy to find, streamlined booking system is a win-win: you can ensure that you're getting the most profit from the booking process, and your customers feel more connected to your resort.

American customers have expectations of what online reservation systems should and should not have. First, the process should be streamlined. No confusing navigating or pop ups. Next, your booking site must accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, customers want to feel like their information is secure on your site. If your site is protected by a third party security program, wear their logo like a badge of honor. 

It is vital that your booking site be in completely bug free. When customers who failed to book were polled, it was found that 36% did not complete the booking process because of some sort of website issue, with 18% of those customers having issues with the booking process specifically. The investment of hiring a professional programming team to build your resort page and booking system will save you many a headache and many a lost customer.

Have any insider tips on building a better booking site? Great resort marketing advice? Share below!

6 Steps of Online Travel Shopping for Belize Resort Hotels

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

Millions of American and Canadian travelers decide where they will go on vacation by using the Internet to search for hotel websites, read online travel reviews, browse articles about exciting tropical vacation destinations and study what their friends are saying about travel on social media sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and increasingly, YouTube.Belize Travel Planning Search Engines Social Media to Plan Vacation

Belize Resort Marketing can greatly benefit by recognizing how very important your website is in not only attracting visitors to look, but in the art of engaging online travel shoppers to engage so your hotel will make the "short list" of hotels that the traveler will select from to make their Belize Hotel Reservation.

Consumers go through a very specific multi-step process to decide where they want to go and where they will stay once they get to their vacation destination.

At a recent Online Marketing Seminar for Belize Hotel Association members and invited guests, Guest Caye CEO Dan Heimbrock, introduced the idea of an online travel shopper journey which is almost completely focused on how consumer behave as they dream, plan, and ultimately book their dream vacation.

Consider that Internet Marketing Belize websites have been around for 15+ years, and still many hotel websites fail miserably at engaging and converting travel shopper visits into true engagement, captured leads and direct bookings. Dan explained the 6 steps online travel consumers work through to decide what hotel or resort to place their vacation reservation.

Belize Travel Shoppers Take An Online Journey to Discover Belize Resorts  Shoppers first start DREAMING about where they want to take their vacation. They will talk to friends and family, look at travel magazines or destination websites or increasingly watch videos on YouTube about Belize Travel, Belize Vacations, or other Belize Trip topics.

Once the travel shoppers knows where they want to go, they spend time online searching Google, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines to find hotel websites that match their dream vacation wants and needs. These savvy consumers SEEK a great hotel experience for a great value in their eyes. According to the research done by Google Think Travel, the average shopper will visit 18 hotel websites along with some non-hotel sites related to their vacation destination.

The SEEK behavior is closely followed by SELECT phase, where the travel shoppers sort through their choices to arrive at a "short list" of hotels that get more serious consideration. Each traveler has their own criteria for making their choices, but we know that well-built, complete and easy to navigate websites give certain resort or hotels a real advantage in making the choice cut. TripAdvisor can make a big difference at this phase since shoppers trust other travelers much more than they trust hotel websites alone.

The all-important BOOK phase is one where many Belize Hotels and Resorts fail badly in helping the online travel shopper to feel comfortable making a direct reservation with the hotel. Not only do many hotels in Belize not offer online booking, but those that do mostly use outdated software solutions that make American online shoppers uneasy. In this case, uneasy may mean your hotel loses the sale because it failed to meet the online booking expectations of modern plugged in consumers.

The visitor EXPERIENCE is where so many Caribbean resorts and Belize hotels get very high marks. Nearly all resorts at every level in Belize offer visitors an absolutely fabulous experience - though some do a much better job than others. Delighting your guests from the moment they book your resort is all about communications, and email marketing is the preferred method for North American travel consumers. In fact, 77% say that email is their most preferred communication method to get information from hotels they have booked.

Once the trip is coming to an end, the ability for your guests to SHARE their experience with friends, family and their online digital network begins. Asking every happy guest to write a review on TripAdvisor is obvious, so remember to do it everytime. At Guest Caye, we help resort clients to send automatic Thank You Emails and Social Media Sharing Emails that make it super easy for guests to tell their story both online (via easy links) and offline to their closest friends.  Making online friends and gaining email permission from every single guest increases your chances of gaining referral bookings from happy guests.

Guest Caye Resort Marketing provides an all-in-one social marketing belize solution that includes a built-in booking engine, automatic email marketing Belize and Belize Hotel Reservation system to help you take advantage of the Consumer Online Travel Buying Journey. Call Dan Heimbrock at 513.328.5617 for more information and a free demonstration of the new software.

Online Travel Booking Scam: Why You Should Book Belize Hotels Direct

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 by Lauren Showen

When going online to book a Belize hotel booking, it's likely that travel shoppers will browse discount sites to find the best deal. Sites like Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com that miraculously cut the advertised price of a room in Belize by half. But are these sites too good to be true? Are people really getting the deal they think they're getting? Here are a few dirty little secrets about discount Online Travel Agent or OTA sites which is important to Resort Marketing pros.

They'll get you in the fine print.
When booking my week long stay in Chicago, I found a great deal on a discount site. Somewhere near 65% off of the advertised room rate per night in a swanky downtown hotel. I was so excited to find such a steal that I immediately booked. When the bill arrived at the end of my stay, I was shocked to see that one of my seven nights was charged at the full price. When I asked the front desk about the different rate, I was told that it was standard procedure and that if I wanted to protest, I needed to talk to OTA site that I booked through. Ultimately, the fault was on me for not reading the fine print, but it still felt pretty slimy. 

You may be treated like a second class citizen; whether you're a guest or a resort owner.
The front desk can see how you booked your room through their system. There are many accounts from hotel insiders who say that those who book through a discount site are often given the short end of the stick: smaller rooms, fewer amenities, parking lot views, and complex cancelation procedures just to name a few. Think that's bad? Try being a resort owner. Click here to read the horror stories from a couple who owns a small resort off the coast of Mexico. There story is just one of many that can be found with the same general theme: Discount sites aren't on the side of the resort or the consumer, they're in it for themselves.

Why, you may ask, do resorts choose to put their Belize rooms on discount sites at all? They essentially have to. No, the OTA sites are not banging down their doors or forcing them to advertise on their sites, but it is becoming more and more standard to be listed on sites such as these. Small resorts often don't have a large budget for internet marketing, and because placing their hotels on these sites is typically free or very cheap, it makes sense for the amount of exposure they get initially

You may not be getting the best rate.
Certainly the most appealing part of using a discount site is, well, the discount. But the reality is, you can get that same advertised rate by booking the hotel directly. The best tactic is to do your shopping on OTA discount sites and then contact the hotel directly to discuss the rate. By doing this, you'll not only receive that same discounted rate, you'll also skip out on the fees associated with using the discount site.

Read about how Belize Resort Owners can better engage online travel shoppers with smarter marketing.

Which leads nicely into the next point...

You're cheating owners out of their cut.
Did you know that sites like Expedia and Travelocity charge commission for rooms booked through their site? The resort is often charged up to  25% of the cost of the room in commission off of an already discounted rate. While this may not be a huge concern for the Holiday Inns and Marriotts of the world, this is a significant loss for small resort owners. To ensure that the resort that you choose can continue to provide exceptional service, maintain the grounds, and pay the wages of the staff, call the resort directly and cut out the middle man. 

The moral of the story here is that just because it's not the most convenient or technologically advanced way of doing things, calling the hotel and making a human connection can really outweigh the perceived benefits of using a discount site. All in all, when booking your Belize vacation, go old school so that you and the resort can reap all of the benefits.

Had a discount site nightmare? Share it in the comments below.

Is Your Belize Resort Guilty Of These Social Media Mistakes?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Lauren Showen

Social media marketing for Belize hotels isn't always easy. With dozens of sites to choose from and advice coming from all directions on how best to market yourself, the options can be overwhelming. We've compiled a list of common mistakes made when doing resort marketing so that you can evaluate if you're getting the most out of your social media outlets.

Recycling Content
Do not misunderstand, good content deserves to be read. The issue is when Belize resorts write a blog post or find a great article to share then immediately broadcast it on their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. This is a huge no-no. For example, if a guest feels as though they can soak up all of your content by going to your Facebook page, they won't bother following you on Twitter. If you absolutely MUST share that article amongst all of your channels, wait a few days between shares on your various social networks. You can also change up the content somewhat to format best for other social networks. For a good example of an effective Facebook page, see the Guest Caye Facebook page.

Having Too Many Channels
This is difficult concept for some resort owners who have been told that they must have a presence on all channels, but the reality is, it's better to have a few strong channels than several weak ones. A social media channel is wasted if it has no content, no engagement, and generally no benefit to your resort. If you're tweeting to no one or pinning to boards that are never seen, then consider narrowing your outlets to those that are most successful.

Focusing On More Over Better
There is a lot of focus put on numbers in social media. "How many 'likes' does your page have?" "How many 'followers' do you have?" But the reality is, these questions are irrelevant. Numbers are a very poor indicator of how successful your social media efforts are. A better metric is engagement. Do people like your posts? Do they comment and ask questions? Better to have a smaller number of fans that are highly engaged than a large number of fans who never check your page. Click here for some great tips on how to make the most out of your social media channels.

Ignoring People's Comments
On the same note of engagement, it is important that you too are engaged in your networks. Responding promptly to questions and comments on your page makes the traveler feel as though their concerns and opinions are important (because they are!). Again, the point of social media is to have conversations, so be sure to be involved however you can. If someone compliments your resort, at least say "Thank You!"

Overreacting to the Negative
No resort owner wants to hear that a guest had a negative experience, especially when they voice that dissatisfaction on a social network. One of the biggest mistakes that resorts make is hiding or deleting these comments. These comments are actually a great opportunity for you to show that you are invested in each one of your guests and potential customers and that you want to resolve the issue. Start a conversation, ask for more details about the issue, and do your best to resolve it. Your followers will respect that you went our of your way to take care of the guest. This is especially true for Trip Advisor Reviews of Belize Hotels.

Are you committing any of these resort marketing sins? Know of some other mistakes being made in Caribbean social marketing? Let us know below!

Social Media Incentives for Belize Travel Marketing: Give a Little, Get a Lot

Saturday, May 25, 2013 by Lauren Showen

There is no doubt that consumers love a great deal. If you can create an offer that involves points, loyalty rewards, or free gifts, travel shoppers will line up to snatch them up. Incentives are a great way to not only create buzz about your resort, but also help put your social media presence to work making sales.

Your social media presence is a huge part of your Belize internet marketing program. But it can sometimes be difficult to get social media users to engage with your tweets, Facebook posts or Pinterest board. Incentives are a great way to bridge the gap between your need for bookings and the consumer's want for a great deal. Here are some easy ideas for helping travel shoppers on social media to dream about, plan, shop and ultimately BUY a vacation at your resort: 

Social Media for Travel Hotels Resorts is about great deals and smart marketingDuring Travel Shopping Phase

Create strong "Book Me Now" offers that you can promote on social media plus create back links to your web page where your current deal can be well presented. Be clear and simple with your offer and make sure everyone understands the great value at a glance. No one needs to think too hard to know that Book 4 Nights, Get 1 Night Free, so look for Belize Travel Deals that people instantly understand and strongly consider because its so compelling.

Before Your Guests Stay

Consider offering your upcoming guests an incentive for sharing the details of their Belize trip with friends through social media. Offer 10% off of a special tour or a free breakfast for sharing or tagging your resort on Facebook or for using a relevant hashtag on Twitter. Word of mouth marketing in by far your most powerful marketing weapon, so great incentives are a great way to get conversations started. When friends of your future guest click through from their post and see how great your website looks (click here to see how to make that happen), they'll most certainly ask for a full report about the trip when they get home. 

During Their Stay

The Hotel Bellevue in Washington State offers guests a complimentary bottle of wine for "checking in" to their hotel on Foursquare. This lavish reward makes the guest feel important and appreciated. Think about it and discover the best incentive for your Belize hotel. Maybe you'll find that offering perks such a discount off of a Belize tourist attraction will be more successful. If you run a Belize hotel or resort and can make a personal connection with your guest on social media, you've hit the jackpot. Express your thanks for their kind words and take the opportunity to say thank you in some way. If they tweet, get their twitter handle. If they prefer Facebook, become FB friends with them and get them to like your Belize Hotel Facebook Page.

After Their Stay

Your guests are already back home and unpacked, but that doesn't mean that the incentives should stop. Now is the time to earn the online review! Offer guests a percent or dollars off their next trip or some other type of relevant reward for posting to Facebook or Twitter. But don't offer incentives for writing a review on TripAdvisor. That could get you in big trouble with them that might risk your listing on this most powerful Travel Review Website (#1 travel site in the world!). Making the connection with your past guests is the key to driving word of mouth and personal referrals to your unique resort. Send Thank You Emails within a few days of checkout....people really appreciate being appreciated.

Have a great idea for a social media incentive? Seen an incentive flop? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and ideas.

Opportunity to Use Google+ Social Network to Engage Online Travel Shoppers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

 

According to a recent survey by TripAdvisor called the “TripBarometer,” 40% of online travel shoppers that visited social media sites to research and plan their last trip used Google+. Very few eco-resorts are taking full advantage of the 2nd most popular social network for online  travel research. Of Internet Marketing Belize, Email Helps Travel Shoppers Book Onlinecourse, Facebook remains the most important social network for reaching online travel shoppers seeking hotels and resorts to visit on vacation.
 
3 out 4 social media travel planners used Facebook as part of their vacation research experience. Publishing fresh information, creating well described photo albums, and sharing the every day happenings with Facebook can help small resorts and exotic location hotels to engage likely bookers. Linking frequently in your posts to your "Rooms and Rates" pages and your online booking solution making it super easy for people to choose you instead of your competition. 
 
Social media marketing for Belize travel certainly extends beyond having a presence on the key social tools people are using to discover travel opportunities. An effective program needs to engage with your audience giving them content that is interesting, cool, funny or poignant. This is not nearly as hard as it sounds if your place is an amazing destination. Look all around you and share your special world with social media...it only takes about 15 minutes a day.
 
Belize Family Vacation Web Marketing
 
Guest Caye Resort Marketing helps independent hotels and resorts to connect with online travel shoppers increasing your odds of winning a vacation booking by serving the needs and expectations of American online travel shoppers.
 
Contact us at dan@guestcaye.com for more information about Internet Marketing in Belize and Caribbean nations.

Tips and Tricks to Getting the Most Out of Trip Advisor

Monday, May 13, 2013 by Lauren Showen

There is so much emphasis on social networking and email marketing in Caribbean web marketing that one of the most important tools is often left out of the picture: Trip Advisor. This user friendly tool has come to play a pivotal role in a guest's choice of Belize hotel reservation that those who aren't using the tool, or aren't using the tool properly, are missing out on potential customers. Here are some simple tips and tricks to using Trip Advisor.

Use it!
This likely seems silly, but there are still resorts that aren't using Trip Advisor to help promote themselves. Guests take other traveler's reviews and opinions very seriously, and you want to have as many channels open as possible to support that feedback, both good and bad. Trip Advisor is a great way to respond to those guests who had some sort of negative experience with your resort and show that you genuinely care about your guests.

Be Honest
Put yourself in the shoes of the guest. You read a resort description that said "Olympic sized swimming pool and breathtaking views." Upon arrival, you are shocked to see that the "Olympic sized pool" is actually no bigger than your bathtub and the "breathtaking view" is of the hotel parking lot. No one likes to be lied to, especially when there's money involved. 

A beautiful REAL picture from the Gumbo Limbo Resort in Belize.

Be Unique
In the description for your Belize resort, focus on what sets you apart. Do you offer special tours? Packages for wedding parties or newlyweds? Have a great restaurant? Focus on these unique assets. Guests will be much more interested in these perks than the fact that your room comes with an AM/FM alarm clock.

Keep it Up
As your resort grows and changes, so should your Trip Advisor page. This is not a tool that you should create and then forget about; it should get as much attention as your social networking sites (which we hope are getting lots of attention). Post pictures of new features, update rates, and respond to comments on a regular basis to get the most from your page. On that same note, Trip Advisor is constantly coming out with new tools and features to improve their site (click here to read about their new direct email tool), so make sure you are staying up to date on all that is available to you through your business account.

What's your best kept secret about Trip Advisor? Share a comment below and help your fellow resort owners!