Welcome to the Guest Caye Resort Marketing Blog

The Internet has changed everything about Belize travel marketing in ways that can benefit the small, independent hotels, resorts and lodges in Belize and other Caribbean and Central American countries. Never before have operators of remarkable resort properties been in a better position to take advantge of new technology and tried-and-true online marketing principles to drive your business forward.Guest Caye Welcomes Hotel and Resort Owners Wanting Better Online Marketing

Starting with an outstanding and highly useful website, Belize hotel owners can attract, engage, convert and communicate with guests and potential guests using inexpensive and highly effective online technology, social media marketing and innovative email automation programs.

Remember when every guest had to call you with a question or to place a reservation? Today you can service a large percentage of your guests and sales leads automatically and book their visit online without your help or time. This is a revolutionary idea and every property manager needs to make sure you have all your online marketing working every day.

Guest Caye Resort Marketing was created to bring you the tools, technology and expert support to help progressive hotels and resorts put a complete online marketing strategy into place. Guest Caye provides online booking on your website, a visual reservation management tool, automated lead capture and email marketing, plus access to thousands of online shoppers looking to book travel. We have made the complex world of online travel marketing simple, easy and best of all, profitable for you.

Guest Caye will be available to a select group of Charter Clients in late 2011. If you are interested in participating, please email Dan Heimbrock at dan@guestcaye.com. Thanks!

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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!

Why the Belize Barrier Reef will blow your mind

Saturday, March 16, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

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 dan@guestcaye.com

Thanks to our friends and new clients from La Perla del Caribe Villas, Caribbean Villas Hotel and Playa Blanca. Special shout out to DESEO and Rob Ackerley.

More Amazing Videos from Discover Belize Now right here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoverBelizeNow

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. 

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.

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.