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.
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.
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.
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!
Trip Advisor is working hard to make their resort marketing site more user friendly for both the guest and the Belize resort owner.
Recent updates to their system make it even easier for your guests to redeem special offers that you have posted on your TripAdvisor page. Now customers will be able to email you directly from the website; a feature never available before.
For online travel shoppers, this means convenience. It means not having to search or call for any additional information. For you, the resort owner, this means another opportunity to engage and convert them to guests and the potential for additional email marketing (Click here to read more about successful email marketing).
Using this new TripAdvisor tool is easy:
1) Go into your "Management Center" of your Business Account.
2) Under the Business Listings status window, click the link next to Special Offer.
3) Select “Create a Special Offer” and fill in the details in Step 1.
4) In Step 2, select the email redemption option and provide an email address.
5) Set the dates for the offer then preview and post it.
It's that simple! You've now set up an email offer for your potential guests. Here are some additional suggestions from Trip Advisor to make the most out of email redemption and special offers:
- Make booking easy: Provide your travelers with as many redemption options as possible, including email.
- Provide a unique email address: To see how successful your offer is, use a dedicated address for each offer, then track the emails you receive to each one.
- Respond promptly: Travelers consider an average of seven Belize hotels before booking. To rise above the competition, respond as quickly as possibly to the traveler’s email. Also, include the original inquiry with your response.
Got more ideas on how to use this new tool to land more Belize hotel reservations or tips on resort marketing? Leave a comment below to share your expertise!
It is rare that a customer will choose their Belize travel destination in one day. Often guests will browse for days, weeks, or even months before making such a big decision. Hotel booking is a big deal! This is why this next step is so important. In fact, according to Google Travel Research the average online travel shopper will look at 17 different hotel websites before deciding which one to book.
Step 2: Courting the guest through email
When the customer is on your site (which should be fully optimized as we discussed in our last post), you should give them plenty of opportunities to give you their email address. Having a guest’s email address gives you an opportunity to remind them of you throughout their resort shopping.
There are many ways to collect a guest’s email address. The days of the just enter your email “newsletter signup” are numbered. As a consumer, I sign up for email when I get something in return only. You can capture more email addresses in more creative ways by offering an incentive to the guest: Things like 10% off, exclusive packages, more details about special savings or add-ons are all valid ideas that provide a good value exchange between your hotel and that consumer shopper. By personalizing these messages, the guest will be more likely to open your emails.
Once you’ve got an email list, what’s next? Here are a few simple rules to remember for this initial email activity:
- Don’t flood their inbox. It’s great to send a few emails to keep your resort fresh in the guest’s mind, but send to0 often and the guest will get annoyed. We suggest an immediate first email and then 2 or 3 more emails sent over a 30 day period.
- The most important part of an email is the subject line. Without an interesting subject line, your guest will not open the email.
- Don't ask for too much. Asking for too much information from a customer right off the bat will turn them off. Asking for simple information such as email address, travel plan date and name should be sufficient in the beginning.
- Give all of the options from inside the email. You never want your guest to have to look for anything. Give them the links to everything you think the customer might be interested in: your blog, your homepage, your rates page, and your booking page.
- Offer incentives. As I mentioned above, guests love a deal. If you can offer the guest an incentive, do. Maybe you offer it after a week or so of their initial site interaction, in hopes of winning them back, or maybe you provide a special discount code right off the bat. The goal is to get guests to book with you, so approach in whatever way you think will best reach that goal.
Ultimately, you'll have the best results if you can just put yourself in the guest's sandals: What information would be most valuable to you? How often would you want to be reached? What sets you apart from other Belize hotels?
Follow this rule of thumb and you're well on your way to wowing guests through email.
Guest Caye Resort Marketing helps hotels and resorts to improve online marketing and guest experiences to increase bookings and drive higher profitability. Give us a call or send us an email....we would be happy to show you how our proven system builds your business one booking at a time.
When American and Canadian travelers start planning their Belize vacation, the vast majority start by searching for Belize hotel website using Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. They visit hotel websites looking for the right place at the right price. According to research conducted by Google, the average online travel shopper will visit 17 different hotel websites trying to decide which one will get their online reservation business.
You can improve your odds of gaining this business by offering your web visitors with the option to request information from you by email. Your "Contact Us" form should be clear and easy to use asking for only basic contact information like Name, Email Address and perhaps when they expect to travel. Don't make them fill out a long form asking for every detail of their interests. Make it easy to fill out and provide a big button to submit their request.
In addition, many Guest Caye clients provide an email sign up form right on the home page offering to send information and perhaps special email savings offers in exchange for filling out the simple form. We call this granting email permission to the hotel and this behavior provides an outstanding opportunity to turn that hotel looker into a lucrative hotel booker for your business.
Client Table Rock Jungle Lodge in Cayo, Belize has been using this technique for a few years now with outstanding results. In fact, Table Rock captured an average of two website leads every day in 2012. 15% of these captured travel shoppers leads decided to book their vacation with the eco-resort located along the Macal River near San Ignacio. The result was hundreds of room nights sold generating significant incremental business for the resort.
Guest Caye Resort Marketing provides an automated way to capture traveler leads on your website and automatically send them informative emails to help set your resort apart from their many other choices. Hotels that communicate best win the most online business. If you want to make online lead capture and email nurturing part of your Belize Hote; Marketing program, contact Dan at Guest Caye for a free demonstration.
Great News for all of our friends and clients in San Pedro Belize on Ambergris Caye!
TripAdvisor has just posted the winners of the Inaugural Traveler's Choice Islands Award, and Ambergris Caye in Belize was top on the list of the Top 10 Islands in the World! The TripAdvisor Awards are based on the quality and quantity of the highly rated hotels, restaurants and attractions as determined by the traveler's opinions and reviews. What this says to the world is that the wonderful folks on Ambergris Caye take service and hospitality to a new level in delighting their guests. But we already knew that, as I've experienced first hand the joys of visiting Ambergris! Well done!
This honor will open the doors to thousands of new online travel shoppers taking a look at Ambergris Caye and its many Belize hotels and resorts. Be sure that your Belize resort marketing plan is in place to take full advantage of this honor. Consider working with Guest Caye Resort Marketing to ensure your Belize web site and hotel reservation system is ready to meet the expectation of American and Canadian online travel shoppers. Need help? Give us a call.
Every effective hotel website must engage online travel shoppers in about 7 seconds or less, so the quality of your Belize hotel website really matters. Each month, over 50 million people visit TripAdvisor to consider where to take their next trip and thousands every day could be considering your Belize resort hotel.
The question is: Is your website ready to engage travel shoppers and convince them to give you email permission or make their booking reservation immediately?
Here are 3 important requirements that your website should address to increase your odds of winning online bookings at a higher rate:
1. Summarize your location, unique appeal and visual hook at the top of your page. If you fail to pass the 7-second test, you fail to win the attention you need to convince the online travel shopper to put your hotel on their "short list." Crystalize what your hotel resort is about and don't try to be everything to everybody. Carve your niche and communicate it with flair as the most important impression on your home page.
2. Present all the details of your rooms and rates in the same section. Don't make people work to understand what your hotel can offer. Be clear and concise and use attractive photography to showcase the experience your rooms offer to skeptical travelers. Your pricing and booking requirements should be prominently displayed and clearly stated so the shoppers knows the deal with little effort.
3. Take direct online bookings with a modern online booking engine. Too many Belize Resort Hotels make their travel shoppers fill out long and intrusive forms just to find out if the hotel even has availability! STOP. Serve the shopper and she will reward you with booking your hotel directly without the expense of 20-30% commissions charged by the online travel agents.
Every hotel that delivers a remarkable experience can expect to grow their business better with a fully functional, well designed and online booking enabled website. The whole world is your market, so invest in your Internet front door and delight your guests every time. This is the strategy to build your business to higher profitability.
If your hotel or resort in Belize is looking to improve your Internet Marketing Results, contact Guest Caye Resort Marketing for a free consultation. We have helped resorts double their annual occupancy rates with smart Belize hotel marketing that increases revenue and profits.
Belize Hotels offer adventurous travelers with so many opportunities to interact with the natural beauty of the Belize Barrier Reef. Here you can scuba dive, snorkle, or try one of the new technologies available to let you experience the wonder of the reef.
No matter how you decide to experience the underwater world off the coast of Belize, you will never forget the amazing colors and sea life that dazzle your senses. If you want to book a hotel in Belize, check out the Belize Hotel Reservation opportunities you will find at www.BelizeHotels.org, the official site of the Belize Hotel Association. You can search hotel booking options and plan your Belize vacation with ease. Sign up for free emails too!
If you are a resort owner wanting to grow your business, contact Dan at Guest Caye Resort Marketing at email@example.com.
More Amazing Videos from Discover Belize Now right here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoverBelizeNow
Did you know that Pinterest is the fastest growing website of all time?
Pinterest is still relatively new but over 20 million people now have accounts and the number of active participants is growing everyday. So what is Pinterest and how can you leverage it to build more interest in your hotel or resort?
Pinterest is a social photo sharing website that allows users to create collections (essentially photos and videos) of the things they like. The site’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” People using the site find images on websites that they like and they add them to their "collection."
This means that your website's photos have the potential to be "pinned" to your guests, friends, and just people that love traveling to Belize Pinterest boards which then allows their friends and followers to see and share these images AND the associated link back to your website. You can improve you internet marketing with social media tools like Pinterest.
That is a powerful idea on a lot of levels. Awareness, Discovery, Post-Visit Social Sharing, Search Engine Link Backs, and New Guests for your hotel. Here is a definitive guide to Pinterest Social Media marketing that can help any Belize resort marketing plan achieve results.
If you don't have a Pinterest account for yourself, I strongly suggest you set one up right away. This will cause you to look at the images you have on your website and which images are on which pages to try to make your site as appealing as you can for Pinners to pin you to their accounts.
Contact Guest Caye for help with your entire online marketing strategy. We love helping smart resort owners to build your business one guest at a time.
Another way to boost your Belize hotel marketing results is to hire Guest Caye Resort Marketing to assist you in driving higher return on investment for your marketing dollars. Don't leave you success to chance!
Seth Godin, author of many fantastic marketing books, recently spoke with our friend at CyberPR - Ariel Hyatt about the music industry and how artists can make money in the new model which is vastly different than the major label dominated past.
Lessons for travel marketers abound in this interview:
- Standing up for what you love and believe in (as a resort hotel owner) helps you deliver the amazing experiences that your guests crave.
- Bravery in marketing means standing for something special (something weird, as Seth says) and attracting people that love that special thing.
- Marketing today is complicated, but if you are genuine and can "touch" people that experience your property, they will tell "people like themselves."
- Creating a "tribe" of people that truly love what you do or what you have created is powerful. You can attract a list of people that will not only buy from you again, but actually SELL you to their friends and family, if you make it easy for them to do so.
- If you want to be great, you have to be willing to fail. You can't appeal to everybody, so appeal to 'your fans' -- the people that love you and talk about you.
There is a lot that independent resort hotel owners in Belize can learn from the new way that music is marketed online and through word of mouth from fans. Paying very close attention to your most enthusiastic guests and empowering them to tell your story when they get back home can earn you a lot of future business. So help people KNOW YOUR STORY and encourage them to share it with everyone. Look closely at your internet marketing program, your online reservation system and how you are using the free tools available on social media. Find ways of doing things better, or call Guest Caye Resort Marketing for help.
Every great hotel or resort has by now discovered the real importance of www.TripAdvisor.com for engaging online travel shoppers and helping them make hotel choices based on the experiences of "people just like themselves."
That is a very powerful idea. Imagine if your best friend just returned from a trip to Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize and tells you it was an amazing trip -- beautiful ocean front hotel, affordable rates, friendly atmosphere, easy to get there and best of all, its perfect for you! Might you think about taking your own vacation to Belize based on her recommendation? Absolutely!
TripAdvisor has become the world's most important travel website and most used resource by online travel shoppers. People simply trust each other more than they trust a hotel they have never visited before. Makes sense, doesn't it?
But How Do Travelers Interpret Your Hotel Reviews?
According to a recent article from TripAdvisor for Business, today's online travel shoppers put a lot of trust into independent customer reviews. In fact, 81% of travelers say reviews were important when deciding which hotel to book, and almost half said they would not book a hotel unless they could read reviews first.
Once someone has used TripAdvisor in the past, the likliehood they will search additional hotels and reviews is remarkably high. 98% of survey respondents found TripAdvisor reviews to be accurate of their actual experience at a hotel.
TripAdvisor can literally make, or break your hotel business, so pay attention.
Management responses to reviews, both positive and negative, tell people that are looking at your reviews that you care about and are involved with the reviews people are posting about their experience at your hotel. Stay involved and comment back when people post reviews.
Asking your happy guests to post a review on TripAdvisor is just good business. So start insisting on it from your staff at check out time, it can win you more bookings in the future.
Every Belize hotel and resort should upgrade your online marketing program to capture leads and convert them to booked guests. Are you doing all you can with Internet Marketing in Belize? If not, give us a shout at Guest Caye Resort Marketing. We can help!
Smart hotel and resort marketers in Belize and other developing tourism markets have discovered how powerful adding Social Marketing, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be to increasing hotel bookings, driving higher revenue per guest, and prompting higher levels of word of mouth recommendations.
According to a recent industry survey by eMarketer, online travel shoppers who are exposed to messages across multiple channels such as online advertising, email, and social media SPEND MORE on average than travel shoppers only exposed to one communication channel.
To quote the article, "The study found that when consumers were exposed to social media in addition to other online ad formats or marketing channels, such as search, email and display, the average revenue per order for US advertisers was $280.71—more than double the order size compared to the average of all digital channels.
This has important implications for Caribbean travel and tourism marketers. Aligning messages in social media with campaigns running on search engines, travel portal websites or email marketing campaigns can be made more effective by lining up all messages to reinforce one another. The one-two punch of cross channel marketing gives consumers added reasons to choose your hotel and to spend more money once they do so.
Have you coordinated your web marketing and social media marketing so that all messages are reinforcing one another? If not, there is good opportunity to improve the results from your online marketing by doing just that.
Contact us at Guest Caye Resort Marketing in Belize or at our home office in Loveland, Ohio USA and we would be happy to assist you making your Hotel Marketing Strategy work harder to build your sales and profits. Call us at +513 444 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Finding for Belize Resorts and Hotels: Despite the current economic climate, 31% of Travel Shoppers anticipate they will spend more on leisure travel next year, while 49 percent expect to spend the same amount as they did in 2011.
- Beach Travel is planned by 44%, while 42% want travel with Cultural Experiences. (This fits in well with Belize Tourism as more Americans discover the great beaches and amazing cultural, historic and adventure travel options in Belize.
- Americans are planning more international travel in 2012. 68% say they will travel outside the U.S. with 52% of those saying they will travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean and Central America region. (Great news for Belize as one of the only English-speaking countries in the North American tropics.)
- More people are planning to stay at B&Bs/Inns, Vacation Rentals and All-Inclusive Resorts with fewer choosing standard hotels. (People want something more than a room with a bathroom these days, so your property must deliver that remarkable experience that makes people talk when they get back home.)
- 12 percent select their accomodations based on how "eco-friendly" a hotel or resort is overall. Green credentials are becoming more and more important to an upscale segment of the American travel market. Most eco-concerned travelers are not that impressed by merely putting a card in the bathroom about reusing the towels. They seek substantitive evidence that the hotel, Inn or Resort is really environmentally friendly and focused on sustainability.
To read the full report, visit Trip Advisor Travel Trends Report here.
Guest Caye Resort Marketing provides the industry leading marketing and online reservation solution for independent hotels, resorts and B+Bs in Belize and Caribbean web marketing.
There are a number of great hotels and resorts in Belize with easy access to scuba diving and snorkeling at fair prices and amazing experiences. Here are a few recommendations from Guest Caye Marketing:
- Cayo Espano is an upscale island resort that is out of this world.
- Huracan Diving is located very near the world famous Blue Hole on their private island, Long Caye with only 4 rooms. Perfect for small groups of experienced divers.
- Caye Casa on the beach in San Pedro offers laid back luxury at a very good price. Perfect for divers traveling with non-divers, close to town and other tour offerings.
If you own or operate a resort hotel or diving operation and need help with online marketing, web design and booking more guests, check out Guest Caye Resort Marketing. We can help.
One example of the good work Chaa Creek does is the use of press releases sent via PR Web that contain keywords that many consumer online travel shoppers may be using while looking for vacation or honeymoon destinations. This is a wise strategy because not only will these press releases be indexed by search engines, but the resulting traffic back to the hotel's website will drive leads, many of whom will end up booking their trip at Chaa Creek. Smart.
This method of gaining more web traffic is relatively easy to do. Start with a good story idea and develop a list of target keywords around that topic. See Chaa Creek's Release about Romantic Travel to Belize as a good example. Next, write your press release using the target keywords and put some effort into making the story interesting, easy to read and with some good pictures to support your story. Now you are ready to release the news to the Internet. PR Web is one of many available services that will distribute your press release for a small fee. Don't try to do an online release on your own, there is simply too much competition for you to show up anywhere. You are much better off paying the small fee to a service so that your news actually reaches the global audience you wish to stimulate. Try it for your Belize Resort Hotel, you may be surprised at how well this works.
Internet Marketing Belize :: Caribbean Marketing Ideas :: Social Media Marketing
Internet Marketing starts with understanding how the online travel shopper finds you. Location is often an important modifier to the basic keywords a travel shopper may use to seek hotel choices. For example, a shopper thinking about a beach vacation in Belize might use keywords such as:
- San Pedro Belize hotel
- Ambergris resort hotel
- Caye Caulker room deals
- Belize beach resorts
It's easy to forget that, unlike you, potential guests that have never traveled to your destination may not know the best words to describe the location, so you need to cover your bases by learning what terms shoppers use to find you and your competitors. To be successful with internet marketing in Belize or other Caribbean resort destinations, you must carefully develop your Target Keywords with geography in mind.
Try to hit your "bullseye" target traveler by using keywords that are most relevant to your destination, class of accomodations and features you offer that travelers are seeking. Don't shoot too broadly, rather concentrate your target keywords on search results where you can appear in the top 10 (first page results). This is the idea of the "golden triangle" for search results pages. Studies show most online travel shoppers choose to click those results that appear inside this triangle.
Download our new eBook, "10 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing Results" so you can gain a competitive advantage through smart online marketing programs.
The Internet was used by approximately 90 million American adults to plan travel during the past year with 76 percent of online travelers planning leisure trips online. Most online travel planners are somewhat or extremely satisfied with their experiences in using the Internet to plan their trips. Importantly, most see the Internet as a very useful or essential tool for planning most aspects of a trip including where to stay overnight, planning travel routes, potential places to visit, attractions to visit, as well as learning about what to do.
Is your hotel software reservation system set up to handle incoming search traffic to maximize booking conversions?
The primary tools online travel shoppers use for travel planning are online travel agency websites (like Expedia and Hotels.com), search engines, hotel websites and destination area websites. Airline tickets, overnight lodging accommodations and car rentals are the dominant travel products and services purchased online by travel planners. (Source: Travelers’ Use of the Internet, 2009)
Google recently reported that 64% of leisure travellers and 65% of business travellers use search engines to begin their travel planning, exemplifying just how key search marketing is. (tnooz - talking travel tech, September 2010)
To be found on the Internet, every independent belize hotel and small resort must define the precise keywords that identify it to the search engines, then make sure your website and inbound links use these keywords, sometimes called “metatags.” Search Engine Optimization has become a billion dollar business, but the core ideas for effective search engine marketing are simple and easy to implement. Don’t fall into the trap of paying thousands of dollars for SEO services that promise top search ranks and can rarely deliver the hype.
Instead, know who you are and what keywords people will use to find YOU. To discover the right keywords for your business, you must begin by thinking like your guest and what they care about most. What words or phrases would they enter into a search engine to find “exactly your hotel?” How would you start a web search to find a similar property to yours located on a different continent?
Need help driving more guests to your website and converting them into newly registered guests? Contact Guest Caye for a free initial consultation at email@example.com.
For travel marketers, this idea is a very important one that recognizes that most consumers use Google and other search engines to seek out travel destinations and hotel options. They go through a process of discovery, making choices, and narrowing down to the options they most prefer. How marketers help these travel shoppers with pre-choice online research can dramatically impact booking results.
The way we shop for travel has changed forever and most resort marketing strategies are simply not keeping pace. Whether we're shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Belize, the Internet has changed how people decide what to buy.
Today we're all digital explorers, seeking out online ratings on TripAdvisor, social peer reviews and photos on Facebook, reading tweeted blog posts by travel writers, or exploring Belize videos on YouTube. People look all over the web as they seek in-depth details about their destination choice. Gathering information as they move down the path to purchase. Marketing has evolved and resort marketing strategies have to evolve with the changing shape of online travel shopping. (Paraphrased from information on http://www.zeromomentoftruth.com)