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.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 by Lauren Showen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which leads nicely into the next point...

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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