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.

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.

 

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.

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!

Capture Online Travel Lookers to Gain Online Travel Bookers

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

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.Belize online reservation system makes travel shopping and booking easier

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.

Online Form to Capture Travel Shopper Leads for Belize Hotels

Ambergris Caye in Belize Named Top Island Destination in the World!

Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Jennifer Hannah

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 Belize-Hotel-Marketing-Ambergris-Caye-Island-Destinationopinions 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.

 

 

 

Social Media Marketing Benefits from Cross Channel Coordination

Thursday, February 16, 2012 by Dan Heimbrock

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 Social Media Marketing for Belize Hotels and Resortsaddition 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 dan@guestcaye.com. 

Travel Trends 2012 for Belize Tourism and Online Marketing

Friday, December 2, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
Today TripAdvisor released the results of their annual 2012 Travel Trends Forecast research study with more than 2,700 respondents answering questions about their upcoming travel plans and ambitions.

Key Finding for Belize Resorts and Hotels: Despite the current economic climate, 31% of Beach breaks are Americans' top vacation choice for 2012, reveals TripAdvisor's annual travel trends survey.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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
“U.S. travelers will be spreading their wings far and wide in 2012, with 68 percent planning international trips,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Sun and sand remain an enduringly popular choice, but the coming year will also see a renewed interest in cultural trips, as Americans seek to combine precious downtime with enriching experiences.”

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.

Scuba Diving in Belize is Amazing; Belize Resort Marketing

Friday, December 2, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock


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.
Across the Caribbean there are diving destinations that can take your breath away with their natural beauty and sea life. But Belize must be counted among the best, so book a diving in Belize trip soon and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of the Caribbean Sea.

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.

Chaa Creek Lodge Uses Online PR to Drive Travel Leads and Online Reservations

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is perhaps one of the best known Belize Resort Hotels and that is not surprising when you consider how much effort Chaa Creek puts into online marketing for their hotel. The folks there do a great job at developing relevant content that helps keep thier website at the top of Google and other search engine rankings for Belize Web.

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

Chaa Creek Lodge Belize Content Marketing in Cayo

Caribbean Web Marketing Problem is an Opportunity for Small Hotels and Resorts

Saturday, October 15, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
According to Forrester Research on Travel Trends, over 60% of travel shoppers use a general search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo when planning travel. Globally, organic search is the most influential marketing channel for online resort marketing followed by paid search, then good old email marketing, social media, meta search and lastly mobile marketing. So what’s a resort or small hotel owner to do?
Internet Marketing Belize can use top search engines to drive web traffic with SEO
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 dan@guestcaye.com.

The Zero Moment of Truth for Internet Marketing Belize

Friday, October 7, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
Google has published a study and a series of insightful video presentations that makes a strong case for marketers to focus on what they call the "zero moment of truth."

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)

Reservation Systems for Belize Hotels Should Serve The Traveler First

Friday, October 7, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
What does a tourist interested in coming to Belize expect to find online? Success or Failure depends on internet marketing Belize

To begin, online tourists expect to find informative websites with lots of great pictures, plenty of detailed information, rooms and rates, and most of all, the ability to make a reservation. Recent research revealed that over 66% of US leisure travellers now use the internet to plan some aspect of their travel (versus 35% in 2000), while 56% now report making reservations online, according to a study by Ypartnership entitled National Travel MONITOR.

Unfortunately, many online consumers are disappointed by what they find at hotel and resort websites which generally look good but many fall short in providing the modern travel shopper what she expects most: a secure online booking engine with real-time pricing and availability.

Hotel booking for website reservations starts witih the book now buttonGuest Caye experts surfed dozens of Belize hotel websites to better understand the various reservation systems and online sales approaches used by hotel owners to win business directly from travel shoppers. We found a wide variety ranging from "Send Us An Email" to "Book and Pay Widgets."  While hiding the names to protect the innocent, here are several examples of how hotel booking is handled on Belize hotel websites.

The Good
Resort owners that understand what online travel shoppers want have added online technology and email communications to their website. This allows motivated site visitors to book directly with their credit card, recieve an instant and detailed reservation confirmation, and enable the choice of extras and add-on services such as transportation and tours. There are several good systems being used in Belize, though some have weaknesses that may cause some consumers to think twice before completing their online booking.
Easy online booking widget is best for most Belize websites

While many Belize hotels have online reservation systems, there is a lot of room for improvement in the way that online booking is presented to consumers. For example, one Online reservation system email marketing confirmation messagesite had only one button on their site that takes a visitor to the reservation widget.  Why not place "Book Now" buttons on the rates page and near content about making a reservation.

Once your website visitor actually books a reservation, what happens next? Sending an auto-generated email that is not customized to your business is a mistake. Nearly every online booker will anticipate, open and read your booking confirmation email. Have you taken the time to write an email that reflects your resort's personality? What opportunities for upselling tours or other services are you missing with this all-important guest email?


The Bad

Far too many resort marketing programs fail at the most important stage of the purchase Long Form Reservation Request - People Hate These Formscycle: actual booking of the reservation. Thousands of dollars are spent trying to bring potential guests to a website, but then when the customer is most ready to buy, they find they must fill out a long form or place an international call to a reservation service.

In one case, we called the reservation number only to hear "We are sorry but the number you are trying to reach has been disconnected." Ouch! Even if the reservation service had answered and taken my booking, how much commission do they get for doing something most consumers would rather do directly with you. Don't give your profit margin away to third parties if you don't have to.

We saw many sites displaying large BOOK NOW buttons on their home pages. This is good, but what happens after you click is button is bad in most cases. Instead of seeing the rooms a visitor might book or a calendar to select dates, instead its a big ugly form to fill out. Yuck! These visitors must be thinking, "I wanted to book now like the button said and now I have to do work. I am out of here!" Guide your web visitors to a booking process that includes NO PAIN, NO HASSLE, NO WAITING and NO CONFUSING DEADENDS.

The Ugly
Some resorts seem to think that the World Wide Web is just a fad. They must have decided that the 114,000,000 Americans that go online to plan travel each year are not good prospects. These resort owners have failed to keep their website current which may cause visitors to click to see empty pages or worse, incorrect information. To be competitive, every resort website must have all of the basics covered with a good looking and complete presentation of the property, rooms and prices.

We hear from many hotel owners that it takes a personal touch by phone or email to convince travel shoppers to book at their resort. "People want to ask questions and negotiate for a better deal," one owner told us. That may be true for some guests. However, giving people the tools and information they need to put your resort on the short list should NOT involve needing to contact you by phone or through your contact form. Here is a clip from one unfortunate website....this literally drives online buyers away.

Phone reservations required is no way to serve Belize tourists wishing to book online
Resorts that take reservations by phone or email only are missing a huge segment of the travel market that prefers the convenience and flexibility of shopping online.

Guest Caye is an innovative online marketing and booking platform that enables small independent resorts, hotels and lodges to gain increased bookings and higher income per guest through web reservations, automated email marketing and superior guest communications.


Interactive Marketing Success is About Knowing What's Working and What is Not Working for Your Hotel or Resort

Sunday, October 2, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
Interactive marketing technology has come a very long way in the last few years bringing it within reach for small businesses, including Belize hotels, resorts and other Caribbean destinations wanting to improve business results using the Internet.

This video presented by ExactTarget.com, the world's leading email marketing platform, features Guest Caye founder, Dan Heimbrock discussing how ExactTarget technology enables clients to grow sales, attract more new customers, and stay in contact with people to boost word of mouth referrals.




Key points to take away and apply to your resort marketing program.
  1. Smart businesses can craft a one-to-one relationship with their customers.
  2. It can be difficult for business owners to grasp what is working and not working in thier interactive marketing campaigns. You need to see and understand your data in real time.
  3. The best thing you can do to improve email and social media results is to know your winners and losers and adjust accordingly.
  4. Everything about online marketing can be improved, if you know what is working.
  5. Hotels and resorts can create game changing results by applying knowledge and online marketing tools based on ExactTarget technology.
Caribbean web marketing including social media, email marketing, hotel reservation systems and website booking engines are just a few of the important online marketing tools you need to be a successful Belize hotel or resort.

Guest Caye is an innovative online marketing and booking platform that enables small independent resorts, hotels and lodges to gain increased bookings and higher income per guest through web reservations, automated email marketing and superior guest communications.

Email Design Matters if You Care About Email Marketing Results

Friday, September 30, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
You've got your contacts list and you have decided on your communication strategy, but before you start creating your emails consider these tips for designing a more effective email marketing campaign for your Belize hotel or resort:Email Marketing in Travel and Tourism Causes Travelers to take action
  1. Create Brand Synergy. Utilize your current brand elements to create a cohesive online brand experience. You should reflect the look and feel of your website.
  2. Watch your Image and Text ratio. Images may look really good, but too many divert attention from your message and may cause your email to be too large for and blocked from some email inboxes. Images should balance and complement your text content. And every image should contain alt-text because some email clients default to NOT showing your images unless the reader clicks to display them.
  3. Use Tables. For consistent display and better control of your email layout, use tables when writing your HTML or when formatting your content within Guest Caye's Email Editor. Check out these resources on Coding HTML for email vs. websites.
  4. Format Your Images Well. Use photo editing programs to edit images to proper size and save the edited images in your email images portfolio. For best rendering results use JPEG or GIF file types.  Most images should not be larger than 300 pixels by 500 pixels....the ideal size may be 250x250.
  5. Use Plain Text and Web-Safe Fonts. Text from websites or word processors include formatting that cause rendering issues when pasted into your email. Copy your text into a Plain Text Editor such as Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) and format your text using web-safe fonts.
  6. Send Clear Messages. Before you begin writing, think about what goal you have for the reader's behavior. Use a Call-to-Action to encourage a response from your subscribers.
  7. Optimize Your Content. Adding background colors to images and including styled "alt" tags will allow your subscribers to experience your content when images are blocked.
  8. Design for the Subscriber Experience. Organize your content so readers can grasp your message and take action. If your copy doesn't add to building strong reasons for taking action, cut it and write it again.
  9. Be CAN-SPAM Compliant. Laws are in effect in the United States and Canada that govern what you can and cannot do with email marketing. Read up on these important rules here.
  10. Test Every Email Before You Click Send. Errors can reduce your message's effectiveness and your brand's credibility. Here's a testing checklist.
BONUS TIP: Get Social. Integrate social media into your email design.

Thank you to our business partners at ExactTarget for this excellent information.