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.

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.

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock


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

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

3 Keys to Higher Occupancy Rates on Your Website

Saturday, March 16, 2013 by Dan Heimbrock

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.

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

Pinterest Adds to Social Media Marketing in Belize

Thursday, October 11, 2012 by Dan Heimbrock

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 Social Media Marketing Belize Hotel 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.

Belize travel marketing Pinterest social media marketing

Google Organic Search Boosted with Paid Clicks for Belize Hotel Marketing

Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Dan Heimbrock


Everyone understands how important gaining high page ranks for organic Google search results for hotel marketing success in Belize and Caribbean resorts. But did you realize that investing in Pay Per Click Google Advertising can boost your clicks dramatically?
When marketers have scrutinized Google’s research on how organic and paid search results work together the search giant concluded that nixing the paid ads would result in a 89% drop in clicks.
This means that you can INCREASE your online leads by adding paid search ads for your most important keywords...even if you already rank in the top 3 positions for your search terms. This is a very important research finding that can help you improve online marketing results.
According to research conducted by GOOGLE, the search giant found that paid search ads give you a 89% incremental lift in site visitors – above and beyond traffic you would normally expect from your organic listings.
So if you want to drive higher traffic to your hotel website to capture more interested online travel shoppers, you should add paid search text ads to your campaign!

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!Google search improvements from paid clicks for belize hotel marketing results

Seth Godin on Music Marketing; Travel Lessons Too

Thursday, March 15, 2012 by Dan Heimbrock

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:

  1. Standing up for what you love and believe in (as a resort hotel owner) helps you deliver the amazing experiences that your guests crave.
  2. Bravery in marketing means standing for something special (something weird, as Seth says) and attracting people that love that special thing.
  3. Marketing today is complicated, but if you are genuine and can "touch" people that experience your property, they will tell "people like themselves."
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Belize Tourism Marketing Can Leverage TripAdvisor Better

Monday, March 5, 2012 by Dan Heimbrock

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.

As the world's largest travel website, TripAdvisor attracts 50 million unique travel shoppers EVERY TripAdvisor is the World's Biggest Travel Website, even in Belize and CaribbeanMONTH.

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!

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

Online Travel Shoppers for Belize Resorts Look at 10-15 Hotel Websites Before Choosing Their Vacation Destination

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
According to research conducted by online search giant Google, people looking for a travel destination and hotel will spend about 2 weeks searching and look at an average of 15 hotel websites to decide what to book. Once this decision is made, travel shoppers prefer booking their reservation online at the hotel's website or via an OTA (online travel agent, like Expedia.com).

For Belize Hotels and Resorts to be competitive, they need an excellent website that is built Google travel shopper looks online for Belize hotels and resortswith SEO in mind, in other words, a website built to be found by the search engines based on keyword searches made by online travel shoppers. Your keyword strategy is very important as it forms the foundation of how the search engines will classify your site and display it to online travel shoppers. Think carefully about what words people would use to find a hotel like yours and try to get specific rather than general. For example, a search for "nice hotel" is too general whereas a search for "value hotel for family" may be more appropriate. Line up what your hotel is about with the search keywords that best describe your unique positioning.

Realize that today's travel shopper has evolved to expect a lot from your online resources. She wants to examine and understand your property versus other properties you compete with. She wants to see pictures and read detailed room descriptions. And importantly, she wants to check availability, pricing and any available deals or specials right online on her terms, not yours.

Think About Search Engines Like Online Travel Shoppers Do

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Dan Heimbrock
Put yourself into the shoes of your target travel shopper -- think like they do about what words to use to find your hotel, or your competititors' hotel. By thinking like a travel shopper, you can discover the most important search keywords for your Belize Hotel or Resort.

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
Basic keywords like "hotel" "resort" or "deals" are modified by adding a location word to the search. On Google, this will bring up a map in most situations with various choices shown in the location context.

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 Belize Web Marketing for Internet Search Enginesmust 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.

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.