Q4 Launch https://q4launch.com Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:05:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why You Need to Experience The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono https://q4launch.com/the-old-wailuku-inn-maui-hawaii/ Fri, 26 May 2017 18:48:08 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=6105 As a content writer for Q4Launch, my job is to increase bookings for our clients. I produce blogs, schedule social media posts, create eblasts, and more – all encouraging guests to book. And while it’s exciting to work with B&B’s all over the country, it’s truly serendipitous when the location is on your bucket list. … Continued

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As a content writer for Q4Launch, my job is to increase bookings for our clients. I produce blogs, schedule social media posts, create eblasts, and more – all encouraging guests to book. And while it’s exciting to work with B&B’s all over the country, it’s truly serendipitous when the location is on your bucket list. That’s why I decided to visit The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono in Maui, Hawaii.

After writing for the inn for about a year, I knew it was time to book my flight from Charleston. Innkeepers Tom and Janice Fairbanks had provided me with plenty of information about the area – but I felt that experiencing Hawaii’s unique culture for myself would truly help their business. So I packed my bags, and after a long 15-hour flight, I arrived on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

The drive to The Old Wailuku Inn is a treat in itself. It’s just 15 minutes from the airport, past giant banyan trees, secluded beaches, and the famous Maui Ocean Center. I made a right onto Kaho’okele Street and parked my rental car underneath a canopy of tropical trees. One of the first things I noticed about the property was the smell: it was earthy, floral, and refreshing, the kind of scent that makes you close your eyes and take a long, deep breath.

Tom greeted me right away with an Aloha and a hug.

“Would you like to join us for dinner tonight?” He asked as I opened the door to my room. I was staying in the Lokelani Room, a spacious retreat on the second floor with a modern bathroom, cozy sitting area, and a large bookshelf filled with novels. Of course, I said yes, and within a few hours I had the pleasure of dining at A Saigon Cafe – a local Vietnamese restaurant that Tom and Janice have been frequenting for over 20 years.

After a great meal and many laughs, we headed back to the inn where I drifted easily off to sleep. In the morning I awoke to a chorus of singing birds and headed into the sunny dining room for breakfast. The other guests were warm and welcoming, and we raved about the inn’s food while gearing up for our adventures on Maui.

Breakfast was fresh fruit from the garden and a homemade entrée each day. Yum!

The Old Wailuku Inn has everything you could possibly need for a fun day on the island. Beach towels, coolers, snacks, and pool noodles are all available to guests. Tom had mentioned that Ho’okipa Beach was a great place to snorkel, so I grabbed a few essentials and took a short, scenic drive to the ocean.

At dusk, I headed back to the inn and joined two other guests for some wine on the patio. I had become friends with the couple at breakfast, and we laughed and shared stories as the sun set behind the West Maui mountains. The patio overlooks a giant flower garden and is the perfect place to unwind after a long day in the sun.

Saying goodbye to the inn was hard, and saying goodbye to Tom and Janice was even harder. They had been such gracious hosts and made my trip to Hawaii unforgettable. I ended up traveling around the island for a few more days, exploring black sand beaches, hidden caves, and dense rainforests. But when it was time to board my flight home, I smiled at the thought of my stay at The Old Wailuku Inn. As soon as the plane lifted from the tarmac I knew I would be back.

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1 New Way to Get the Most Out of Your Google Local Hotel Listings https://q4launch.com/new-google-local-hotel-listings/ Tue, 23 May 2017 15:25:44 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=6223 I think we can all agree that how your business is displayed on Google is important. That’s especially true in the travel industry. In fact, we see about 40% of our customers traffic comes from Google Organic search, more than any other source. As of last week a mobile display change is going to put … Continued

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hotel search barI think we can all agree that how your business is displayed on Google is important.

That’s especially true in the travel industry. In fact, we see about 40% of our customers traffic comes from Google Organic search, more than any other source. As of last week a mobile display change is going to put more information than ever right on the search results page.

The information presented on mobile devices now matches what desktop users have been seeing. Within the search results, Google lists prices for one-night stays, amenities, reviews and contact details. Let’s take a look at how this can impact your business and how you can make the most of this new offering.

Amenities at Your Fingertips

In January, Google began testing price trends for local hotel listings. The SEM Post was the first to report on the change, with the assistance of an SEO specialist in Toronto.

Now, as of mid-May, it seems that the change has come to mobile. The new display shows the best prices for a one-night stay, as well as amenities. At first the two displays did not seem to be sharing information, but now the displays are almost identical. The key difference is mobile users have the ability to edit and submit changes to the amenities list, whereas desktop users cannot. These amenities range from free Wi-Fi to handicap accessibility.

The features list on mobile includes highlights, atmosphere, amenities and payments. Choices under each header can toggle on, off or left blank. There is no option to write in amenities as of now.

How to Break Into the Booking Display

Another change is the booking display. For the most part, ads in this section include the best prices from online travel agencies (OTAs). We are talking about the big boys here, for example:

  1. Hotels.com
  2. Priceline
  3. Expedia
  4. TripAdvisor
  5. Orbitz

These ads are not a part of Google AdWords, but instead Google Hotel Ads.

There are two ways to get your prices displayed on Google Hotel Ads. The first is a third-party, Authorized Integration Partner. A list of these providers can be found by visiting the Google Hotel Ads page and clicking  “Find A Partner” in the top left corner.

The other option is to integrate your display on your own. To learn more on setting this up, visit Google’s developer page and fill out a request form for consideration by Google.

The Importance of Reviews

Google’s end goal is always to serve up the best possible user experience. Besides amenities, pricing, and directions, Google also displays review summaries. This means that instead of showing three individual reviews, Google extracts the details. These review summaries appear after you have received at least 50 Google reviews. Three summary categories appear and provide information about your rooms, location and service/facilities.

It also looks as though reviews will play a part on amenities. Since writing them in isn’t an option, Google is pulling these details from info it gathers by crawling the website and your reviews. Earlier this month, Google experimented with a new “highly rated” annotation for hotels with a 4.5-star rating or higher. While it doesn’t look as though this has rolled out universally, the fact of the matter is it may be coming soon.

Reviews also play a major factor for searches of “best x” in a location. If people are searching for the best place to stay where you are, you need to have the stars to get in front of them. Google also began rolling out a new review format for hotels according to Search Engine Land. Looking for a smart way to increase your number of 5 Star Reviews? Check out our web-based app!

These changes are still in their infancy, and it’s likely there will be more tweaks in the coming weeks. Across the board, one thing remains the same: reviews are playing a part in how Google displays your business to users.

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Why the Inns of Ocean Grove Is a Satisfied Q4Launch Customer https://q4launch.com/inns-ocean-grove-nj/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:15:49 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=6096 Located in the quaint Victorian town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, The Ocean Plaza Hotel and The Ocean View Inn provide the perfect setting for family vacations, romantic getaways, and more. Both properties are a block from the Atlantic Ocean and offer gracious service and warm hospitality. But in a high-competition area like the Jersey … Continued

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The Inns of Ocean GroveLocated in the quaint Victorian town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, The Ocean Plaza Hotel and The Ocean View Inn provide the perfect setting for family vacations, romantic getaways, and more. Both properties are a block from the Atlantic Ocean and offer gracious service and warm hospitality. But in a high-competition area like the Jersey Shore, The Inns of Ocean Grove need to go the extra mile to attract guests. That’s why they chose Q4Launch as their hospitality marketing partner in February 2017.

“I’m very happy so far with Q4 and my team,” says Vicki Palmer of the Inns of Ocean Grove. “I love the new website, great blog articles, and detailed monthly reports. The customer service and response time provided by Victoria Jones is exceptional. Having Q4Launch take care of all of this for me has freed me up to focus on running the business.”

What Q4Launch Has Done for the Inns of Ocean Grove

Vicki happily went into detail about her new website, SEO, and customer service. Here are some key points she made about our progress so far.

Website

  • I love the layout. It has a current, up-to-date look and is very clean and easy to read. I also love the color palette and font choices.
  • It’s very easy to find links and navigation, and there are very clear calls to action.
  • The website portrays exactly who we are: beach resort, upscale, Jersey Shore, great restaurants, attractions, shows and nightlife, etc.
  • The backend is easy to use so we can make changes ourselves.

SEO

  • Q4 does their homework on researching keywords – I see them embedded everywhere on our website.
  • The blog articles are beautifully written, target appropriate points of interest, and use targeted keywords to improve SEO.

Customer Service

  • Our team leader, Victoria Jones, stays in touch with me on a regular basis to keep me up-to-date on everything Q4Launch is doing for us.
  • They always address any questions or concerns I have and usually within 24 hours.
  • We receive very detailed monthly reports that layout plans of action for the following month.

Get Instant Results with Q4Launch!

In less than a month from from the launch date, the Inns of Ocean Grove began to see improvements. Our first two emails sent out in March brought 770 visitors to their site. They also had 34 vacation guide downloads in the first 25 days of the website being launched. This success is a direct result of our integrated marketing strategy, which aims to increase bookings using tools like email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and blogging. We have greatly enjoyed getting to know Vicki and others at the Inns of Ocean Grove and are excited to see more progress in the future!

To learn more about what it’s like to work with Q4Launch, request a time to get in touch with one of our team members.

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Marketing to Business Travelers: the Ultimate Guide https://q4launch.com/marketing-to-business-travelers/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:36:19 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5890 While not common to every bed and breakfast or vacation rental, business travelers can be the bread and butter of your business if targeted properly. Many hospitality professionals feel marketing to business travelers is simply a matter of targeting them. The most important thing to focus on as a bed and breakfast or vacation rental … Continued

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corporate travelers need their needs met before you can start marketing to business travelers
Marketing to business travelers requires a fantastic operations and marketing strategy

While not common to every bed and breakfast or vacation rental, business travelers can be the bread and butter of your business if targeted properly.

Many hospitality professionals feel marketing to business travelers is simply a matter of targeting them.

The most important thing to focus on as a bed and breakfast or vacation rental owner is to keep the business travelers already staying with you.

The rest will follow.

Why Does the Lodging Industry Love Business Travelers?

Hosting business travelers is nice work, if you can keep it. Business travelers are:

1) Dependable

They consistently stay on your property. Their business is reliable year-round, and not dependent on the season or weather as is the case with leisure travelers. Besides, business travelers are often the only business on weekdays.

2) Loyal

Once a business traveler guest gets used to a place, they will become loyal to that business. There can be many reasons other than actual loyalty for a business traveler to stay at your property. That said, the behavior is the same no matter how they arrive there.

3) Easy to Please

Business travelers, to quote one bed and breakfast owner are, “in late, out early, and don’t spend a lot of time in the room, which cuts-down on wear-and-tear and use of facilities”. Especially if the price is right, business travelers are often more than willing to overlook an okay experience in exchange for a good deal or a reliable experience. Note that business travelers aren’t desperate, and a consistently okay experience is very different from a single bad experience.

4) Not Price Sensitive

In line with the above, companies are usually the ones footing the bill for stays at lodging establishments. As such, attempts to bargain-down the rate historically were rare.

The Business Travel Industry Continues to Grow

 

Since the Recession, the business travel industry is projected to continue to expand. According to the Global Business Travel Association, in 2015 $1.25 Trillion was spent on business travel globally. That was a 6.5% increase over 2014, and growth is projected to exceed 6% until 2018.

 

Other trends are also encouraging for marketing to business travelers: research shows that business travelers are staying longer in places when they travel. Travel costs increased 14% in 2015 versus 2014, largely because the average length of business trave stay increased to 3 days.

New and Old Challenges of Marketing to Business Travelers

A changing marketplace has provided both challenges and opportunities for attracting business traveler customers to independent properties like boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.

Historical Problems Attracting Business Traveler Customers

a corporate traveler checking in to their boring chain hotel before small businesses got smart in marketing to business travelers
The past included a lot of slouching into boring chain hotel rooms

In the past, the assumption (both in real life and in movies) of business travel was that these road warriors holed-up in sad, drab, chain hotels when they traveled.

 

This was largely due to the simple fact that it was easier all around to book at chain hotels:

  • They provided a consistent experience from beginning to end, regardless of where the guest was staying in town or in the country
  • They offered full-service amenities such as restaurants, gyms, spas, business and conference space
  • It was easier to book at them, as travel agents could simply find and call the nearest Marriott, Hyatt, or other chain hotel for Mr. Smith’s trip to Detroit and save Mr. Smith the trouble of researching himself

Remember how hard researching travel was to do before the Internet?

 

Today, independent lodging businesses enjoy fantastic new opportunities, but some new challenges to match.

 

Well, Guess It’s Time to Update Our SWOT Analysis

 

Booking business travel has become significantly easier, caused by:

  • Dominance of online travel agencies
  • Travelers (both business and leisure) using mobile devices to make travel arrangements
  • The explosion of the sharing economy, exemplified by new companies like Airbnb and Uber

 

Airbnb especially has done a fantastic job of shifting perceptions of bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals from beings solely for leisure travelers to also being options for business travelers.

One thing that has not worked well for Airbnb in their venture to crack the business travel market is their inability to provide a consistent experience at all their properties.

 

That’s where you come in!

 

So chain hotels have lost their almost monopolistic hold on business travelers. But more opportunities to attract business travelers away from chain hotels also means competitors can do the same to you. There are plenty of opportunities to lose business travelers to a competitor that’s more amenable to their specific needs. Follow the business mantra of working to put yourself out of business to save your company, and you’ll be ready to take-on this challenge.

To Catch the Business Traveler, One Must Become the Business Traveler

Not really.

 

But one does need to better understand and empathize with them and their experience while traveling.

 

So first, it’s important to understand differences between business travelers and leisure travelers.

What Do Leisure Travelers Want in a Hotel?

To some degree, leisure travelers want different things to business travelers. As such, marketing to these two groups is very different.

 

Leisure travelers are looking for an experience when they arrive at an independent lodging business like a bed and breakfast, boutique hotel, or vacation rental. They want to experience your unique location and show-off their experience to friends when they get back home, either via:

  • Instagram
  • SnapChat
  • Facebook
  • A good ol’ fashioned slideshow

Leisure travelers want an experience unique to them, be it:

  • Romantic
  • Adventurous
  • Family-friendly
  • A mix of the above, or others

And usually don’t care that you can host business retreats. As such, hospitality marketing services like email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and blogging are all effective ways of roping-in these guests.

 

What Do Business Travelers Want in a Hotel?

So the next (obvious, if you’re actually still reading this) question is: what do corporate travelers want when they travel?

 

The simplest answer? Control of their own environment.

 

corporate travel is stressful, marketing to business travelers needs to relieve stress for your target audience
Just looking at this picture is stressful

Think about it: Business travelers are usually forced to travel away from the homes they know and love (or at least, choose to be, as opposed to your hometown). While traveling for business once or twice can be fun and exciting, the 250th or so trip is not.

 

How do you as an independent hospitality business win brownie points with this cohort of overworked, red-eye traveling, zombified travelers? Give them collectively as much consistent control over their traveling experience as possible.

 

Sound overwhelming? You’re not the only one, hence the need for this super long article.

 

Continue on your literary journey to learn more, dear readers.

Understanding Business Travelers Needs and Wants, Course 101

 

Attracting business travelers to stay at your property will be a waste of your limited resources if you don’t provide the amenities they need and want when they stay.

 

Before diving into a list of best practices, first recommendation would be to do some market research.

WAIT, WHAT IS MARKET RESEARCH!?!?!

In this particular case, it’s asking business travelers what they’re looking for when they travel.

 

Do you not want to spend a fortune paying someone else to create a focus group to ask all kinds of questions? Yeah, that sounds like a waste of time.

 

But an easier thing to do is ask business travelers that already stay with you.

 

Most people love to talk about themselves. Asking them a couple pointed questions will make them like you more and provide some valuable information.

 

This will give you some perspective:

  • If you don’t have any current business travelers that regularly stay with you, it may be a sign that your business may not be suitable for business travelers. For example, you’re in a remote, rural location far away from any headquarters business travelers would be traveling to visit.
  • Getting a consistent list of reasons business travelers like staying with you will help keep you from killing the goose that laid the golden egg. In this case, getting rid of something they really like about your property, or ensuring that you highlight a major selling feature to future visitors to your property.

If your property isn’t ideal for business travelers, that is definitely not a cause for despair. You can adjust your bed and breakfast marketing strategy to target other portions of the travel industry, like leisure travelers.

Top Hotel Amenities for Business Travelers for You to Steal

Ready for an exhaustive list? Alright, then…

1) Location, Location, Location

This is one of the most important amenities (besides cleanliness) that your boutique hotel, vacation rental, or bed and breakfast needs to offer. Marketing to business travelers is pointless if there’s nothing near you that they want to be near, such as:

  • Places of business, such as headquarters of corporations that bring-in employees for trainings or in-office visits
  • Downtown of your city or town and everything that it entails, like restaurants and activities like bars

High-priced land in downtowns of cities is obviously not easily stolen from chain hotels. Usually, their parent company has much deeper pockets than you. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless.

 

Luck of the geographic draw may ensure that you’re closer than any of the hotels near Davidson College, for example. If that’s the case, make sure you highlight that you’re within walking distance of Davidson College in downtown Davidson, North Carolina. In this case, you are providing useful information to business travelers (or recruiters, vendors, or any other people with business at Davidson College). No shameless plugging of your company in that regard.

 

Providing useful, authoritative information is the foundation of hospitality content marketing, anyway.

corporate traveler use multiple devices, but especially their smartphones, don't forget when marketing to business travelers
Don’t forget when marketing to business travelers how important all their gadgetry is to them

2) Free, Fast, and Non-Frustrating WiFi

The need for WiFi is arguably more important to business travelers than location, though I have no statistical proof of that. I do have numbers on how important WiFi is to business travelers, however:

 

 

 

Even More Top Hotel Amenities for Business Travelers

Items and amenities that workers are expecting in their workplace are expected where they’re staying on business trips, too:

3) Readily Available Coffee

Some theorists argue our modern world was established with the abundant use of coffee to kick-start the Industrial Revolution. Coffee is necessary for many if not most in the business world. As such, business travelers want and need coffee in their lives, preferably all the time.

coffee is a necessity when marketing to business travelers
Seriously, don’t skimp on the coffee

4) Readily Available Food

In the past, guests expected a restaurant on-site when they arrived at their business travel destination. Now, business travelers work too much to have time for that. In fact, business travelers work for more than 240 hours per year than the average American worker. 39% of business travelers work more hours when they travel than they do when they’re at the office (Source is still Leonardo).

 

While 4-star dining is lovely (if you have it), business travelers may be content with grab-and-go options. Include healthy choices in your easy-access bistro and travelers looking to avoid the battle of the bulge commonly fought by road warriors will thank you.

5) Business and Creature Comforts

The rest of this list isn’t exactly going to make or break the decision on the part of a business traveler about whether she’ll stay with you. Having as many of them on your list of amenities as possible can only help you though, obviously.

6) Easy, Convenient Parking and Proximity to Mass-Transit and Transportation

This fits in with the location requirement. While neither of these things are exactly items to highlight on a billboard advertisement, they’re still important to business travelers (and likely leisure travelers, too).

 

When marketing to business travelers, make sure to highlight these important amenities when potential guests are comparing you to competitors. If your lodging establishment is the best choice of the downtown hotels near Greenwich Hospital and the Greenwich Train Station, make sure that your hospitality marketing strategy highlights these key points.

7) Tables and Chairs, Et Cetera

corporate traveler sitting at a comfortable desk planning hotel marketing to business travelers
We business travelers need comfortable spots to check Google Analytics!

You may not think of this on a regular basis, but business travelers will notice if you force them to go find basic business equipment. And losing them to go back to a chain hotel will be a major bummer if all you needed to save that relationship was a scanner.

 

Some more items important for meeting business travelers wants and needs include:

  • Computer
  • Fax machine
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • A good desk in the room
  • Ergonomic desk chairs in the room

 

8) Other Creature Comforts Not Unique to Business Travelers

Other things on this list are not special for business travelers, or necessarily unique things to use when marketing to business travelers. Most of these hotel amenities are good to have for leisure travelers as well. However, to provide their perspective, these amenities are necessary for business travelers to impress their colleagues they’re visiting.

  • Hair dryers
  • Ironing boards and irons
  • Full-length mirrors
  • High quality bedding
  • High quality toiletries (to save business travelers from stressing about what they packed)

And now a few additional suggestions for hotel amenities to use for targeting business travelers at your bed and breakfast, vacation rental, or boutique hotel. While not as common, these offerings feed further into the mental perception of business travelers at your place that they’re in control of their experience. Your level of attention to detail could blow them away and hook them as a long-term customer, to boot.

A pool is a great amenity to show off when marketing to business travelers
A pool can be a great amenity to show off to guests when marketing to business travelers
Wellness Options

It’s not unusual to see corporate travelers concerned about their waistlines. Between long stretches of sitting down on flights and cars and eating whatever is readily available, it’s an uphill battle.

 

But helping them out will certainly win you brownie points. Some ideas to wellness-centered travel:

  • Discount or complimentary access to a local gym
  • In-house wellness kits with enough to do a simple, easy, and quick workout: yoga mats, resistance bands, etc
Easy Bookkeeping

Make all aspects of planning and follow-up as easy as possible. Airbnb has bent-over backwards to make it easy for business travelers to plan their stay at one of their properties. It has also created an entire billing and invoice process for them. While an entire software solution isn’t necessary, offering itemized billing and invoices would certainly help.

Flexible Privacy

No idea what that means?

 

That’s because I just made it up. But it makes sense, let me explain.

 

Corporate travelers often spend all day interacting with people:

  • colleagues at the home office
  • flight attendants
  • Uber drivers
  • you name it

Being forcibly pleasant with your front desk or property management staff may be painful to them by the time they check-in that evening.

 

So why force them to?

 

A non-traditional check-in experience permits business travelers to avoid interacting with anyone if they want, or vice versa. But the important thing is that it doesn’t force the guest to do so for basic things like getting into their room or unit or basic information. While this is a common expectation for bed and breakfasts and to a lesser degree some VRs, it doesn’t match with business travelers’ needs and wants, especially Millennial business travelers.

 

What could a non-traditional check-in experience look like on your property?

 

Switching from physical keys and locks to a setup in which guests can get in and out of their rooms and units without interacting with the front desk, or even touching a keycard.

Flexible Check-in and Check-out

Speaking of letting business travelers maintain control over their experience at your boutique hotel, vacation rental unit, or bed and breakfast, having some flexibility with when a guest arrives and leaves can work wonders for customer loyalty.

 

When a business traveler has a few hours between check-out time and when their flight leaves (or arrives hours before their room is normally available for check-in), figuring-out those gaps can be difficult for them.

 

Removing that hurdle can go a long way in making those guests love you, and could be well-worth the logistical nightmares that causes.

Some Suggestions for Vacation Rental Companies Specifically

To some degree, bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels can more easily recreate the corporate travel experience than vacation rental companies with their current business strategy. Some easily copied amenities for vacation rentals companies marketing to business travelers include:

  • Concierge services
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Shop or cook for guests (as simple as having readily-available food delivery services, or an on-call cooking service)

Alright, NOW You Can Start Planning Your Strategy Marketing to Business Travelers

Once you know that you have a fantastic product for your target market, now is the time to start marketing to business travelers.

 

Not sure where to start targeting corporate travelers specifically?

 

A few hotel strategies to attract customers include:

  1. Get great reviews
  2. Loyalty scheme
  3. Mobile-optimized website & easy, immediate online bookings
  4. Targeted communications to business travelers
  5. Find business travelers where they go

While being strong on various aspects of hospitality marketing is important, important areas for marketing to business travelers include:

  • Search engine optimization
  • Search engine advertising
  • Website design
  • Email marketing
effective marketing to business travelers requires great reviews by previous corporate travelers
Enterprises marketing to business travelers need to make sure their reviews are on point.

Get Great Reviews of Your Property

Just like the leisure traveler, corporate travelers want to know in advance what their experience at your establishment will be like. That said, their need for good reviews of your property is to not deal with any surprises. A negative review will not necessarily translate to a deal breaker for them as it could a leisure traveler (that is, if all other things are equal).

Some important review sites that business travelers visit are national brands, such as:

Great reviews on these sites also provide benefits to your search engine optimization efforts. More on that later.

Offer a Loyalty Program for Business Travelers

Just because price is one element of a traveler’s decision to stay at your bed and breakfast, hotel, or vacation rental, doesn’t mean it should be the only one. While a discount is one option to offer in a loyalty program, the only real limit is your imagination (and what actually intrigues potential loyalty program members).

 

Scope out your competitors for ideas and what appears to already be working. To get your research going, try Googling for example, “(your location) hotels for business travelers”, for example, “downtown Denver lodging for business travelers“. Top results for that term are likely considered good answers to relevant searches, and therefore good places to start.

 

Visit those websites and see what they offer and then build something even better (rather than just copycatting):

  • Amenities for travelers
  • Free upgrades
  • Free night after a certain number of nights or stays
  • Free use of amenities

Keep in mind there is no perfect loyalty program. Experiment with your own and get feedback from customers on what’s working and what’s not.

booking a stay at your bed and breakfast, vacation rental, or independent hotel needs to be a pleasure when marketing to business travelers
Marketing to business travelers will be pointless if they get frustrated when booking a stay on their mobile phones.

Make your Browsing Experience Painless on Mobile Phones

The general public is using their phones more and more to surf the web, but business travelers are ahead of the curve. Think about smartphones to begin with: business travelers (and celebrities) were the first adopters of Blackberries before Apple rolled-out a solution better suited to casual users.

 

Nowadays, the average business traveler checks their smartphone 34 times per day. 59% of business travelers said they would feel disoriented, distraught, and lonely without smartphones for just a week (all statistics from the same Leonardo report).

 

Forcing business travelers to switch from their smartphones to a desktop to book (or worse, stop surfing and call you) takes control of their experience out of their hands and puts it in yours. Of course, some corporate travelers (or their assistants) may want to pick up the phone and call you to book. But if that seemingly small decision is a make or break for them (especially for Millennial corporate travelers), do you really want them to pan your business before they even get a full experience?

 

Ensure that the entire experience is a breeze on a mobile phone. That includes your booking engine, where bookers should be able to make easy and immediate online bookings.

 

As business travelers embrace mobile booking experiences (and shift back to booking direct), making that experience as painless as possible is a no brainer.

Targeted Communications to Business Travelers

Now that your property is optimized for business travelers to enjoy full control over their experience and you have business travelers already enjoying your place, it’s time to attract more!

 

The most important thing to remember is not to dilute your message. Business travelers don’t want to hear about a romantic or family-friendly experience at your property anymore than a couple looking for a romantic getaway wants to know that you’re a great place to conduct corporate meetings in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Business travelers usually travel during the week while family and romantic vacationers come on weekends. These groups likely won’t have to awkwardly interact on your property. Don’t force them to do that online. Target travelers differently, even down to having different pages on your website devoted to different target demographics.

 

In-person meeting of corporate travelers, why you should keep marketing to business travelers
The need for in-person meetings is what makes marketing to business travelers still worthwhile

As far as communication style goes, keep it straight-forward with a focus on descriptions, rather than emotion-provoking copywriting.

 

Don’t forget to highlight amenities important to business travelers:

  • Items in your rooms or units
  • Things they have access to (and especially anything available 24/7)
  • What attractions, offices, restaurants, etc your property is near

If you have other amenities that may be of interest to subsets of business travelers, be sure to highlight these as well.

How Does All of This Relate to Content Marketing?

While a full suite of hospitality marketing services is the best way to attract hotel guests, business travelers are generally a more direct bunch. Here’s the breakdown of hospitality marketing services as offered by Q4Launch, and which to focus on when targeting corporate travelers:

Blogging

As business travelers prefer descriptive language instead of emotional, this one’s not as useful. The majority of their experience at your property will be show up, sleep, get up, leave. Good luck painting an inviting picture of that experience in a well-written blog article.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is super useful. If you’re #1 in your area for terms that your target demographic searches, they’ll land on your website, get all the information they need, and book.

The simplest strategy would be to collect all relevant information for business travelers on one page. One great example is Sayre Mansion’s quick guide for corporate travelers in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at their boutique hotel.

Website Design

Re-read the section on the mobile booking experience if you’re not sure whether this matters for targeting this group.

Email Marketing

This one is highly effective for business travelers, as well. Don’t forget that communication must be targeted to them. Sending them an email about weddings risks being a major turn-off.

Social Media Management

This one… not so much.

 

While you need a strong social media game to catch corporate types when they’re avoiding work on Facebook and looking for their next weekend getaway, this wouldn’t be as effective for those planning a corporate trip. The one current possible exception could be LinkedIn, or Google+ depending on the industry (again, know your target demographic).

Pay-per-Click Advertising

This can provide quick turn-around, and is similar to SEO. That said, a poorly managed campaign can be a huge waste of money with little return on investment.

Brand and Logo Design

Spoken from experience, business travelers don’t care about this. But that’s no excuse for having a bad brand identity.

What About Other Paid Advertising Channels When Marketing to Business Travelers?

bed and breakfast marketing to business travelers
Frills and doilies may be okay, as long as your business traveler guests can get what they need and want at your property

This entirely depends on your location, so would be too broad to go in-depth. Look at where your competitors with a better business traveler targeting strategy are advertising. If they’re listed somewhere, you should research doing the same:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Convention Centers
  • Visitors Bureaus
  • Other relevant places

Alright, You’re Good to Go

And that’s everything you need to know to effectively market to business travelers.

 

Curious how Q4Launch could factor into your overall hospitality marketing strategy? Get in touch with us to get help planning-out your unique strategy.

The post Marketing to Business Travelers: the Ultimate Guide appeared first on Q4 Launch.

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The Residences Seven Mile Beach Has Launched https://q4launch.com/the-residences-seven-mile-beach-has-launched/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 20:34:40 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5877 The team at Q4Launch has recently launched a brand new website for The Residences Seven Mile Beach, located within The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. The beautiful new site is fully responsive and is completely integrated with HomeAway’s V12.NET property management software. Once you take a look through The Residences’ new website, you can click here to request … Continued

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The team at Q4Launch has recently launched a brand new website for The Residences Seven Mile Beach, located within The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. The beautiful new site is fully responsive and is completely integrated with HomeAway’s V12.NET property management software.

Once you take a look through The Residences’ new website, you can click here to request a website demo to see how we can help provide you with a brand new solution, as well.

“We appreciate Q4Launch working with us, and we are very happy with the final product. The website operates smoothly, and I believe it will do a great job at driving direct bookings for us.”

Louise Craig
The Residences

The Residences Seven Mile Beach | Screenshots

Home Page

Property Display

Individual Property Page


Once again, if you’d like to request your free website demo today with one of our experts, all you have to do is click here and fill out a simple form.

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3 of the Best Reasons to Use Creative Blog Titles for Travel Websites https://q4launch.com/creative-blog-titles-travel-websites/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 17:40:29 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5937 Plus, 6 ways to improve your blog titles and subject lines for email marketing today! If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s this: blogging is hard! Getting started, and sticking with it, is often the most challenging part. You’ve already: done your keyword research crafted a great blog that answers the questions … Continued

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Plus, 6 ways to improve your blog titles and subject lines for email marketing today!

Woman using creative blog titles for travel websites

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s this: blogging is hard! Getting started, and sticking with it, is often the most challenging part.

You’ve already:

  • done your keyword research
  • crafted a great blog that answers the questions your guests ask
  • shared your work with the world in an email and online

You’ve taken the first big step, but face a pretty severe problem: no one’s reading your content.

Sound familiar?

If so, listen up! Creative blog titles for travel websites and subject lines for email marketing campaigns are critical to the success of your written work. You can boost your readership and attract more people to your website, and eventually to your property, with one small change. Your bed and breakfast marketing strategy will improve when you write better, more creative blog titles and subject lines. It’s as simple as that.

Do you want even more help crafting great subject lines and blog titles? If so, request a free 30-minute consultation with us! We can tell you more about this process, plus other great things you can do to strengthen your online presence today!

3 Reasons Why You Need to Use Creative Blog Titles for Travel

So, you’re probably thinking that we are coming on a little strong, but hear us out. A headline that garners a reader’s attention is more important than you think. We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But, in reality, we know first impressions matter. And, your headline is the first introduction potential readers have to your content, website, and your business. You need to captivate your audience from the beginning of your blog or email if you want them to hear what you have to say. 

1. Your Business Will Stand Out 

Take a second to think about how many emails you get in a day. Now, consider how many of them you actually open before hitting “delete.” The same goes for social media. When you scroll through your newsfeed, how many posts from businesses do you encounter? Just like you, your customers are bombarded with online content all day, every day.

If you want to be heard, you have to earn your readers’ attention from the moment they lay eyes on your work. You can stand out in an inbox full of emails when you create subject lines for your email marketing campaigns that are too good to ignore. And, creative blog titles that will entice your readers to know more. Strong headlines are the first step to capturing a reader’s attention. Craft good ones and your business will stand out and you will be heard.

2. More Readers Will Visit Your Website

Step one of successful bed and breakfast marketing campaigns is to get potential guests to open your emails or pause their absent-minded scroll long enough to notice you on social media.

Step two is getting these potential guests to be intrigued enough to visit your website.

The best way to do this is with creative blog titles that make potential readers want to know more.  Just like email subject lines can make or break who reads your email, blog titles can determine how many people visit your website to read your blog. You can captivate your audience and draw them to your website and ultimately to your property.

3. Research Shows Strong Headlines Matter

It isn’t just our instinct that tells us strong headlines matter. Studies show that the vast majority of people who encounter your blog, email, or webpage may not bother to read it if the headline or subject line isn’t enticing enough. In fact, one-third of your email recipients open an email based solely on the subject line.

A good, bad, or great headline can be the difference between content that gains some readership and content that goes viral. For example, one company found that minor changes to its headlines could garner 20% to 500% more traffic to a given piece of content. Basically, if your headline is not engaging, intriguing, and enticing in some way, it may not attract the readership that the content deserves.

Our Quick and Easy Tips for Improving Your Blog Titles and Email Subject Lines

Instead of wasting your time searching for “blog name inspiration” or the “best email marketing subject lines,” learn how to create these headlines yourself. You can dramatically improve your headlines by following these creative blog title and email marketing subject line tips:

1. Don’t Mislead Your Readers

Our first tip is plain and simple. If your article is about butterflies in your area, the headline should make mention of butterflies in your area. While you always want your headline to be interesting and engaging, you also want it to be relevant to the blog it accompanies. You never want to create click-bait headlines that captivate your reader, only to disappoint them later. Your headline should be intriguing, but always accurate, and give readers a preview of what they’ll be seeing on your website.

2. Use Emotional Words

Make sure you use a combination of words that elicit various emotions. Common words are necessary to make the headline readable. For example:

  • about
  • it
  • buy
  • can

But, be sure to use words that elicit an emotional or powerful response in a reader without a lot of context. Use your imagination and memory of words in advertising that led you to respond in a certain way in the past. Some examples include:

  • epic
  • treasure
  • expert
  • colossal
  • best

3. Let Your Title Reflect Your Content

When you decide what type of content your blog post or email will contain, use that in the title. Will your blog or email include a list? A descriptive how-to? Is it meant to answer a common question guests ask you? You’ll have an easier time garnering traffic with a subject line that includes lists, how-tos, and questions. They work much better than generic titles. For example, which blog would you rather read: “Spend a Day Outdoors in Massachusetts” or “How to Spend a Day Outdoors in Massachusetts”

4. Accent Your Content with Great Photographs

One of the best ways to generate clicks is to include a captivating image with your blog. In fact, most people will take note of the image that accompanies your blog before they ever read your headline. On social media, all potential readers see is your image and title. Both of these things need to be appealing to readers to ensure that your blog or email message gets noticed and read.

5. Pay Attention to the Length

You should always consider the length of your headlines. Google displays the entirety of headlines that are between 50 and 60 characters. Tests reveal 55 characters is the ideal length for click-throughs to an article, webpage, or blog post. However, when it comes to email subject lines, you have fewer characters to work with, which makes your task even harder. You will have to be a little more clever when converting your blog title to an email subject line. When using a subject line in an email, only 20 characters will show up in a reader’s inbox, so try to get the keyword of your title in the first 20 characters.

6. Word Balance, Keywords, and Sentiment

Ensuring that your headline performs well and is SEO-optimal is, of course, important. There are three more things that you should keep in mind when writing your blog titles and subject lines:

  • word balance
  • keywords
  • sentiment

Word Balance

The words you use can often be divided into these categories: common, uncommon, emotional, and power words. And, the best headlines have a proper balance of these types of words. When creating headlines, you must master your word balance and make sure to include those great emotional and power words!

Keywords and Sentiment

When creating headlines, make sure they include your keywords and convey the appropriate sentiment. Keywords are undoubtedly important to your headline success, because they ensure that your title contains the information people are looking for online. And for the sentiment, keep in mind that your headline should convey some emotion to your readers. Headlines that convey a positive emotion tend to perform the best. So, you will most likely be opting for uplifting, encouraging, happy sentiment!

You’ve Got This

If you are still a little unsure how to tackle writing your next blog title or email subject line, there are resources you can use online. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer and SEOPressor Blog Generator are two great resources for crafting the perfect blog titles.

If you’re wondering why a destination marketing firm like Q4Launch would be handing out free marketing tools. Or, why we’ve offered up so many insider tips and tricks in blog posts like this one, check out our Core Values. As an organization, we follow 12 core principles that guide every decision we make. In addition to others, these principles encourage every Q4Launch team member to:

  • Share Knowledge
  • Get Better Every Day
  • Enhance Lives

At Q4Launch, we believe that sharing helpful information on our blog is one great way to live out our Core Values. We recognize that we have the power to help others by crafting easily accessible, informative content and providing it to readers like you.

With the proper tools and strategies, you will be creating subject lines and creative blog titles for travel in no time! Just keep at it until you find those award-winning word combinations. We guarantee you will have to try several different titles, but at the end, your future click-throughs will be worth it!

Do You Want More Help?

If you would like our help crafting some of the best subject lines and blog titles you’ve ever seen, feel free to reach out to request a free 30-minute consultation with us. We can tell you more about this process, how strong content can boost your website, and what you can do to strengthen your online presence!

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Why Every Innkeeper Needs to Know About the AIHP Conference https://q4launch.com/aihp-conference/ Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:16:58 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5794 Do you want to be on the cutting edge of the independent hospitality industry? Is your bed and breakfast or boutique hotel keeping up with current trends and technology? Would you like to meet innkeepers from across the country to build relationships and find new ways to improve your own business? If so, you need … Continued

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Do you want to be on the cutting edge of the independent hospitality industry? Is your bed and breakfast or boutique hotel keeping up with current trends and technology? Would you like to meet innkeepers from across the country to build relationships and find new ways to improve your own business? If so, you need to attend the annual AIHP Conference.

AIHP Conference expert panelWe went to the inaugural AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace in 2016 and then again in 2017. This exciting event has quickly become a highlight for us each year because it allows us to visit with our bed and breakfast customers who attend and form new connections with other innkeepers that we meet.

But, time out. Let us back up. You might be thinking:

  • “What is AIHP again?”
  • “Why I haven’t I heard of that conference?”
  • “Should I be attending the next one?”

If so, we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. Let us properly introduce you to the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP). This fantastic organization is an outstanding resource that current, and aspiring, innkeepers need to know.

What Is the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals?

If you haven’t ever heard of AIHP, that’s okay. The non-profit trade group is still pretty new. In 2015, a group of experienced professionals in the hospitality industry teamed up to form a new organization. We were proud to be a Founding Member and Platinum Level Supporter of AIHP and continue to support their efforts for innkeepers through:

  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Professional development
  • Progressive business practice

AIHP is a champion for the independent hospitality industry and is committed to enhancing the innkeeping community. AIHP encourages the exchange of knowledge between members and company partners at the conference and through ongoing initiatives throughout the year.

The 2017 AIHP Conference was held in Long Beach, CA, on the Queen Mary.
The 2017 AIHP Conference was held in Long Beach, CA, on the Queen Mary.

Why Should Innkeepers Join AIHP?

You’ll find plenty of reasons to join AIHP online, but the main reason we are such advocates is our mutual belief that it’s important to share industry knowledge, which is one of our 12 Core Values.

As an innkeeper, you can gain a wealth of knowledge about the industry by joining AIHP. In addition, AIHP membership is an excellent way to boost your hospitality professional resume, connect with industry leaders, and to stay informed about the latest trends. You’ll also join a strong community of like-minded business owners who will provide support and encouragement throughout your innkeeping journey.

Past AIHP Conferences 

In 2016, AIHP held its first conference, the AIHP Knowledge Sharing Summit and Marketplace, which we attended as an allied partner. Everything was top-notch, and the energy level was contagious. As its name suggests, the conference was a great place for hospitality industry professionals and innkeepers to get together, build relationships, share information, and to learn new things. There were networking opportunities, workshops and educational opportunities, think tanks, learning labs, and more.

In 2017, AIHP joined forces with Select Registry and the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns (CABBI) to form a fantastic partnership. The three groups hosted their first joint event in February. The InnSpire Conference and Knowledge Sharing Summit & Marketplace was held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

We always enjoy catching up with our customers, like Susan and Don from the Farmers Guest House, at AIHP Conferences!
Visiting with customers like Susan and Don from the Farmers Guest House is always a conference highlight!

This incredible conference was an exciting time for us to engage with innkeepers. We always love meeting new people who are passionate about what they do and looking for ways to grow, such as the innkeepers at Oak Lodge and Captain Farris House. We also look forward having some fun and seeing familiar faces during our customer dinner. Visiting one-on-one with clients and industry partners is always a highlight for us.

Why AIHP Conferences Are a Big Deal

As we mentioned earlier, the AIHP Conference is an important event for bed and breakfast owners to attend because it’s where the movers and shakers in the industry make big announcements. Being at the conference is the best way for you to stay on the cutting edge. You’ll be the first to know about new and exciting industry trends, products, and more!

For example, the 2017 AIHP Conference introduced us to other new technologies and solutions within the industry. ThinkReservations unveiled a new Marketplace that allows users to add in third-party apps to enhance their booking engine. One app that got a lot of attention was a program called CartStack, which will enable automatic “abandoned cart” emails to go out to people who start the booking process but don’t complete it.

We also enjoyed an excellent presentation from Tim Piper at InnPartners about the value of having packages on your website. He pointed out that not only are they a way to upsell, but they’re also a way to re-market to existing customers. The idea is that after someone has booked, they may want to add more/improve their stay by adding a package.

For us, announcing our responsive, stand-alone boutique hotel or bed and breakfast website solution to the industry was another exciting moment of the 2017 conference. Now, in addition to our destination marketing services, Q4Launch is proud to offer premier website design services without a marketing contract.

We love our customers (like Buzz and Mark from Topside Inn) and are glad they love us, too!

Attend the Next AIHP Conference

It’s time to start making plans to attend the next AIHP conference yourself! If you are interested in starting an independent bed and breakfast or boutique hotel, you’ll learn useful information about the industry. You’ll find an informative aspiring innkeepers seminar and can learn from other innkeepers you will meet at the conference.

Are you already a bed and breakfast or boutique hotel owner? You’ll benefit from the AIHP conference, too! Sign up now and prepare to learn about new trends in the industry, tap into resources that can help make your business successful, and more.

Other Great Conferences and Resources for Innkeepers

Did you miss the AIHP conference this year? If so, not to worry! There are plenty of other hospitality professional associations, conferences and educational opportunities available. The Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) is another organization with over 25 years in the industry. The annual PAII conference, America’s Innkeeping Conference and Trade Show, is a gathering of industry experts and influencers.

In addition, there are a variety of workshops, programs, and resources at your disposal online. You can advance your knowledge of the hospitality industry with help from:

Q4Launch and AIHP: A Perfect Match

As AIHP founding contributors, we have been dedicated to the success of the organization since it began in 2015. Then, in 2017, we became a Platinum Level Supporter for AIHP. We strengthened our partnership because AIHP wholeheartedly supports our customers, a majority of which are bed and breakfast owners. We also applaud AIHP’s efforts to help enhance the lives of their members, which is in line with another one of our core values.

In a press release announcing this partnership, our founder Matt Bare says, “We’re excited to announce our Platinum Level Partnership with AIHP as we continue to align our organizations further and work together for mutually beneficial growth that benefits us both and most importantly innkeepers we serve!”

The press release also quotes Rob Fulton, CEO of Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals. Fulton said, “This partnership will also provide us an opportunity to showcase Q4Launch’s team, talent, and expertise to our innkeeping members. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.”

We can’t wait to see what is next for AIHP! In the meantime, consider joining the organization and attending the next AIHP conference. We’ll see you there!

Now, Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves!

We’ve been so busy singing AIHP’s praises that we haven’t had the chance to tell you very much about Q4Launch! Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are an inbound marketing company that helps businesses get found online and convert online traffic into leads and sales.

Look for us at the next AIHP conference or check us out online. Either way, you can learn more about the website design and destination marketing services we provide to bed and breakfast owners across the country! If you’d like more info, get in touch. We’d love to provide you with a complimentary 30-minute marketing consultation, answer your questions, and help you build your business’s online presence!

Photo credit: Getty Images- monkeybusinessimageslittleny | Matt Bare

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How to Have a Great Property Listing on Select Registry https://q4launch.com/select-registry/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:39:16 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5304 When travelers are on vacation, they want more in an accommodation than just an overnight stay. They want a unique experience with warm ambiance, exceptional service, and genuine hospitality. That is why thousands of travelers search for their perfect getaway on Select Registry. This online portfolio acts as a guidebook to over 300 of North … Continued

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Select Registry When travelers are on vacation, they want more in an accommodation than just an overnight stay.

They want a unique experience with warm ambiance, exceptional service, and genuine hospitality.

That is why thousands of travelers search for their perfect getaway on Select Registry.

This online portfolio acts as a guidebook to over 300 of North America’s best bed and breakfasts, inns, and boutique hotels. In addition, Select Registry holds the lodgings they list on their website to high standards. As such, Select Registry customers can expect to stay at only the best-of-the-best accommodations in locations across the country. They can search for properties using criteria such as location, price, and specific amenities, all the while knowing their options meet Select Registry’s caliber.

If you are a Select Registry member or are thinking about becoming one, there are important things to know about creating an effective business listing on their website. Following a few rules will make your accommodation look better in the eyes of your audience. It will also help you achieve your hospitality marketing strategy goals.

Tips for a Fantastic Select Registry Listing

Being a member of the Select Registry community is a great way to showcase your inn or bed and breakfast. But if your listing is missing key elements, you aren’t likely to receive the bookings you want. In other words, if you don’t feed your visitors well-thought-out reasons why they should stay with you, they won’t. Take these easy-to-follow tips into consideration when you create your listing. They will help you get travelers to click on the “Visit Our Website” button and lead them even closer to booking a stay with you.

Write Great Content

This part is crucial for visitor retention and SEO purposes. According to TripAdvisor, the world’s leading online booking website, 92% of travelers will choose an accommodation with detailed property descriptions. Something as simple as including well-written content in your listing significantly boosts the chances of a booking! What kind of content is going to keep visitors on your page? It’s easier than you think!

First, great content shouldn’t sound like a sales pitch. If you are using copy that sounds like it oozed its way out of a clichéd advertisement, you’ll send potential customers running the other way. Instead, try using a natural tone that describes the key features and benefits of your hotel. Emphasize the things that make you stand out from other accommodations in your area. Also, don’t be afraid to add other features outside of your accommodation such as nearby activities and attractions.

DO NOT Copy and Paste

Hear us out! Do not copy and paste any content describing your property directly from your website to the Select Registry listing. Your potential guests won’t like reading the same content twice, and more importantly, neither will Google. When Google detects two sites containing the same content, it immediately suspects that one has stolen from the other. As a penalty, Google will rank both sites lower in search engines which will only drag you further away from your original goal to increase website traffic.

It is perfectly safe to reinvent the content on your website for your Select Registry listing. However, we highly recommend creating brand new content that will give your visitors something fresh to read. Even writing your property’s benefits with different wording can be enough. If you’re not much of a writer or need a little help creating compelling copy, take a look at Q4Launch’s services.

Insert Keywords Throughout Your Copy

To help your Select Registry listing rank higher on Google, consider placing relevant keywords in your content. Tools such as Google Adwords will help you uncover what your potential customers are typing into their search engines. You can use this to your advantage by strategically inserting those words and phrases on your page. Be sure to be strategic when using this tip. Overstuffing your listing with keywords makes it difficult to read and even decreases your chances of ranking.

Select Registry Use High-Quality Photos

Today’s audience is visually-driven. Besides, few travelers want to stay in an accommodation without seeing it first. Therefore, it is important to add high-quality photos of your property to your listing. Since you can’t post an entire photo album on Select Registry, make sure you are choosing images that showcase your location, lobby, rooms, etc. Avoid cheesy photos of rose petals on beds or couples looking dreamily into each other’s eyes. As sweet as those are, they have nothing to do with your property and will hardly drive any interest toward your website.

Also, make sure your photos match the content. You don’t want to post a picture of a guest room underneath the dining tab or vice versa.

Keep Your Information Up-to-Date

Did you change your phone number, address, or any other relevant details about your accommodation? Don’t forget to update that information on your Select Registry page! A recent investigation by Search Engine Journal reports that $10.3 billion worth of potential sales is lost each year due to innkeepers making this mistake.

One of the basic parts of SEO is ensuring that your accommodation name, address, and phone number are the same across the web. That, of course, includes your listing on Select Registry.

Make a note to yourself every time you change information so you don’t forget, or even better, log in and fix it immediately.

Benefits of Select Registry Membership

Select Registry offers many marketing and branding advantages to its members. To begin with, Select Registry helps thousands of travelers find you through unique platforms. You will also have the opportunity to attend member-exclusive events and learn more about marketing for your business! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a membership with Select Registry:

  • Presence in Select Registry’s annual Guidebook, which reaches more than 200,000 travelers a year.
  • Search Engine Optimization through a listing on a high-quality website.
  • Marketing webinars and newsletters that help you strengthen your online bed and breakfast marketing strategy.
  • Participation in the Select Rewards loyalty program, which exposes you to over 24,000 Select Registry visitors.
  • Increased traffic to your website through partnerships with other travel associations and companies.
  • Property exposure through Select Registry’s email campaigns, content-rich blogs, social media platforms, and more.
  • Opportunity for bookings from international travelers through Vacations to America.
  • Annual Member Value Worksheet that documents your listing’s progress.

For more Select Registry Membership benefits, be sure to check their Benefits of Membership page.

Select Registry Select Registry Membership Criteria

Select Registry is a community of success-minded innkeepers and hoteliers. Each member is expected to offer guests a consistent and exceptional level of quality, excellent customer service, and one-of-a-kind lodging. To ensure each member meets these standards, they must undergo a two-step process.

First, they must meet all the listed criteria:

  • The property must be fully licensed according to national, regional, and local government requirements.
  • Breakfast must be offered to guests who book a room at the accommodation.
  • Each guestroom/suite must have a private bathroom.
  • Fine dining must be available in the nearby area if an evening meal is not offered on the property.

The following criteria are not required, but is considered a plus to Select Registry:

  • The accommodation owner/operator must have at least three years of documented lodging management experience.
  • The inn/hotel has been in operation for at least two years to the time of application.
  • At least two secured endorsements from SR properties in good standing.

If a property meets the above specifications, the second step is the Select Registry Quality Assurance Program. Each applicant must pass this inspection before becoming an official member.

During this examination, an undercover Select Registry inspector will make a visit to your accommodation. During their stay, they will be evaluating important aspects of your hotel or bed and breakfast such as quality, cleanliness, comfort, and hospitality. It is only after checkout that the inspector will reveal his or her identity and request a meeting with you to discuss their impressions. After the visit, a report will be sent to the accommodation containing your final score. A score of 175 out of 200 is required to pass the exam and become a member of Select Registry.

The goal of the Quality Assurance Program is to ensure that the standards of Select Registry are being met at all times. An extra benefit is that it gives unbiased feedback to the innkeeper about the quality of the accommodation and services.

Need Help Creating the Perfect Select Registry Listing? Q4Launch Can Help!

Select Registry We are bed and breakfast marketing experts.

We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and making data-driven decisions. If you need help building an attractive and effective Select Registry listing, you can count on our talented Content Creators to make you stand out from your competition.

If you aren’t a Q4Launch customer or you are thinking about becoming one, now is an excellent opportunity to see what we can do for you! We’ll optimize your Select Registry listing for a small fee. If you are already a client of ours, we will optimize your Select Registry listing at a special rate.

Take a look at our services or contact us today to let us know what we can do for you!

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How to Create a Killer One-Page Marketing Strategy for Hotels and B&Bs https://q4launch.com/one-page-marketing-strategy-hotels-bbs/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:51:55 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5714 Are you exhausted from searching for a one-size-fits-all marketing plan for the hotel industry? Are you finding that most of the plans out there aren’t exactly what your B&B or boutique hotel needs? If so, let us help you create a one-page marketing strategy for your hotel or bed and breakfast today. We’ve broken down the … Continued

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We can help you createone-page marketing strategy for hotels and bed and breakfasts!

Are you exhausted from searching for a one-size-fits-all marketing plan for the hotel industry? Are you finding that most of the plans out there aren’t exactly what your B&B or boutique hotel needs? If so, let us help you create a one-page marketing strategy for your hotel or bed and breakfast today. We’ve broken down the process into four easy steps that you can follow to kick-start your marketing efforts. Let’s get started.

How to Create a Killer One-Page Marketing Strategy for Hotels and B&Bs

1. Revise Last Year’s Strategy (If You Have One)

Forgive us for being cliché, but we’re opening with an overused quote from Albert Einstein. He said (allegedly), “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

While the authenticity of Einstein’s quote is often up for debate, its sentiment remains the same. And in the marketing world, this quote could not ring truer. Our industry shifts and changes so rapidly that we, as a destination marketing firm, have to keep pace and change with it. In your own business, you, too, will need to adjust your marketing strategy to keep pace.

Not only does the marketing environment around you change from month to month or year to year, but your goals are also likely to change. Adjust your marketing plan to accommodate new goals as they arise.

How often should you make changes to your marketing strategy?

We’re glad you asked. We recommend reviewing and revising your plans at least once a year. A successful marketing strategy takes time, consistency, energy, and momentum. But, to do that, you have to start changing, and doing something different today than you’ve done before. Try something new, take a new step, and start creating your 2017 one-page marketing strategy today. We’re here to help and we’ve got your back.

2. Start By Asking Yourself Good Questions

So, maybe you don’t have a marketing strategy from last year to review. If so, that’s great! You can start with a clean slate. The first step to creating your marketing strategy is to pause and ask yourself a few good questions. Your answers will help you come up with a plan of attack that is guaranteed to help you wage war in the fight for consumer attention online. Think about these things:

  • Are you happy with your current results?
  • What are your goals and objectives for the year?
  • How will you measure your return on investment?
  • What marketing methods are right for you?

It is important to know where you want to go so you can map out a course that will get you there. However, if you don’t know where to start or how to answer these questions, don’t fret. We can help you unpack them.

3. Then, Dive In and Create Your Killer one-page Marketing Strategy for Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts

Once you know what your marketing goals are for the year, you’re ready to dive in. Creating a killer one-page marketing strategy for bed and breakfasts or hotels will take some dedication and focus, but the time and energy it will save you later down the road will make it worth the effort, we promise! A great one-page marketing strategy will cover five key components:

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Blogging
  3. Social Media
  4. Referring Websites
  5. Website Health and Lead Generation

If you would like to dig even deeper, check out our blog for even more focused information about specific pieces of the destination marketing puzzle. But, for now, let’s review these five key components one-by-one together.

Email Marketing

Are you sending email campaigns at least once a month? If not, you aren’t alone. But, that isn’t a good thing. Email marketing is an area that the hospitality industry is investing the least amount of time. However, study after study shows that email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing medium out there. Why? Because according to HubSpot:

  • There are 3.6 billion active email accounts worldwide, as of 2013.
  • 91% of consumers check their email daily.
  • Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%.

If you don’t get anything else out of this blog, get this: Be intentional with your email marketing. While email marketing, like every other channel, can be overused, there is a huge opportunity for you to make a big impact on the success of your business with email marketing. To do so, ensure that your email marketing campaigns are useful to the end user. Your emails should provide relevant, targeted information that excites your customers and makes them want to read your message.

When crafting emails, keep in mind that campaigns serve two purposes:
1. To stay relevant with previous guests and
2. to stay at the top of their minds.
Email marketing helps turn past guests into repeat guests and provides potential customers with the encouragement they might need to book a stay.

We recommend sending out two email campaigns every month if you have enough content to always send something fresh, new, and unique. In these messages, you can push special promotions and packages, plus relevant content from your blog, reasons to visit your area, and why guests should stay at your inn.

Blogging

When creating your bed and breakfast one-page marketing strategy, spend plenty of time developing a great blog. Creating blog content that is well-received will help you get found online by people who are planning a trip to your destination. Google has quickly become everyone’s favorite travel agent and the go-to place to ask travel questions. You can answer those questions and bring people to your website through a well-written blog.

Keep in mind that blogs are the fuel to your marketing fire. Everything else in your marketing plan, especially email marketing and social media management, will stem from great content creation. Your blogging strategy is the foundation for everything else. Make sure you have a solid one.

Like other forms of marketing, consistency is the key to successful blogging. Aim to publish a blog at least twice a month. However, blogging each week provides even better results. This is especially important because Google looks for consistency when choosing who will rank for search terms.

Also, remember that blogging is a long-term strategy. It can take up to 6 to 12 months to start seeing results from regular blogging efforts. But, don’t give up before then! For the first 6 months, Google won’t rank your blogs, and you’ll see very little results. At the 6-month mark, when your gut says “I should quit,” don’t! From the 7th to 12th month, that’s when you’ll start seeing results and start gaining website traffic. You just have to stick with it. It will be worth the effort.

With the right strategy, you could see around 750-5,000 visits per month to your website from blogging, but that number can skyrocket. Some of our customers now get up to 10,000 visitors to their site each month from the blog. And remember, website visitors equals potential customers!

A catalog of well-written, engaging blogs that feature relevant content will keep visitors on your site longer. The website visitors who stumble upon 6-12 months of blogs on your site, will find a goldmine of useful information. You can use your blog to paint a picture for travelers of all the exciting must-do activities your destination provides. They’ll know just what to do, where to eat and shop, and more importantly, where to stay. With you!

Social Media

We know that you probably have a Facebook account for your inn or hotel. But, are you monitoring that account? Are you posting engaging content that drives visitors to your website with regularity? Is the number of likes on your page growing between 5% to 10% per month?

These are all important things to evaluate when putting together a marketing plan for a guest house, inn, or boutique hotel. Social media can account for 150 additional website visits each month, so it’s important to engage with your audience by posting:

  • Convincing reasons to visit your inn.
  • Great photos of your area and property.
  • Helpful and interesting blog content.
  • Important information about last-minute openings.
  • Exciting specials and promotions.

Aim for 3-5 posts per week. Any more and you may overwhelm or bother your audience. Any less, and you won’t stay relevant or on their mind.

That being said, you shouldn’t spend too much time on social media. We’ve found that people often invest the most time in the marketing medium that has the lowest ROI. Even though email marketing and blogging usually bring more visitors to a website than social media does, people often make the mistake of devoting more time to Facebook than the other marketing options. Ensure that your marketing plan reallocates resources (time or money) away from lowest ROI (in this case, potentially social media) and invests that time or money into something with higher ROI (email marketing and blogging).

Referring Websites

If you’re blogging, posting to social media, and sending email campaigns, how do you determine which marketing channels provide the largest ROI in your business? Data analytics is the answer. Measuring the traffic on your website is a great indicator of your marketing success. When you think “website visitor,” think “potential customer.” Increasing traffic to your website increases your opportunity to capture potential customers and to drive bookings.

One important way to improve the number of potential customers who visit your site is by finding and reaching out to excellent referring partners in your area. When credible local businesses, CVBs, and state associations link to your website, you are likely to receive new website visitors from those sources. Make it your goal to find four new potential referring websites each quarter. Then, monitor how much traffic these sources generate to your website. You should aim for a 1-3% conversion rate for each partner site.

Website Health and Lead Generation

So, you’ve teamed up with excellent referring website partners. That’s great! But, you’re not done. When potential customers click on the link those partners provide, it is crucial that they arrive at a clean, professional, and easy-to-use website. Otherwise, they won’t stick around (or make a reservation) on your website.

While totally revamping your website could be the key to your online success, we know that is an ambitious project to tackle. There are, however, 6 key aspects to successful bed and breakfast website design you should be aware of and work towards including in your website.

In addition to having a website that looks great and functions well, you also need to have a website that produces a high conversion rate. This means you want a high number of those visitors to turn into leads or bookings. A highly converting website is important because it shows that your website effectively “converts” visitors into customers or potential customers.

A great way to improve your conversation rate is with a great lead generation tool like a newsletter subscription, ebook, or special offer. This lead generation tool should contain valuable content that makes them want to give their email address to you. Website visitors will engage with your business by submitting a brief form and providing you with their email address. In return, they get that awesome content. With a lead generation tool like this, you can capture information about potential customers. This data will come in handy when you market to them later in email campaigns and will ultimately help increase your bookings!

4. Track Your Success

After you’ve created a fantastic one-page marketing strategy for your hotel or bed and breakfast, you’re ready to put it to use. But, don’t think that means you’re done! After implementing your B&B or hotel sales and marketing action plan, you’ve got one last step: tracking your success.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) changes rapidly, so it’s crucial that you know your highest value keywords and how you rank. Make sure you are monitoring your SEO performance at least monthly. You can do so without spending a lot of money, or even for free when you use Google Analytics.

You should also look at the data on your social media accounts each month. See which posts and blogs were shared, commented on, and liked the most. Then, find ways to replicate this success next month. If something didn’t provide great engagement, try to find out why and how you might be able to improve.

Each month, reserve one hour or so to sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and look into these results. See how your content and email campaigns are performing. Understand where your website traffic and bookings are coming from. Look for “red flags” like a decrease in traffic from a reliable source. When you review your website analytics monthly, you can see where the numbers are down and address problems before they hurt your business.

If you’re working with a marketing partner, they should be leading this discussion. They should be sending you monthly reports, and talking with you about your results so you know and understand what is working and what’s not. At Q4Launch, we call this monthly report a Partnership Impact Report (PIR). If your marketing firm is open and willing to give you a PIR, or something similar, that is a good thing. If your hospitality marketing firm is having a conversation with you, it’s because they want you to be connected.

However, if getting analytics and data about your online performance is a struggle, ask yourself why. Like a child who is hesitant to show his report card to his parent, a destination marketing firm that is reluctant to show you how they are performing for you might suggest they have something to hide or don’t want you to know what is going on.

Do You Have Questions? We Can Help!

We know we just threw a ton of info at you all at once. As destination marketing professionals, we hope you’ll forgive us for getting a little bit carried away. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start with this whole marketing strategy thing, that’s okay. Figuring out how to best market your business won’t happen overnight. But, it’s important to start chipping away at it piece by piece.

If you have questions or would like more help from us, there are great ways to get in touch. We offer a complimentary Marketing Grader Report that can help you develop a one-page marketing strategy for hotels or bed and breakfasts. This report is a quick and easy way for you to find out how your current marketing efforts compare to your peers within the industry. We evaluate a variety of factors like blogging, social media, and SEO standings. Then, after you receive your report, we’ll hop on the phone and review it piece by piece with you. We’ll help you find areas of improvement, make suggestions, and answer any questions you may have. Request your Marketing Grader Report today!

Ready to Cut to the Chase?

If you already know where you need help improving your marketing strategy and don’t need a Marketing Grader Report from us, we can still help you! Request a 30-minute consultation with us. We’ll answer any of your questions about trending bed and breakfast marketing ideas and will help you find solutions to the marketing challenges your inn is facing. We hope to hear from you soon! In the meantime, you can find out more about us and what we do online!

Photo credit: Getty Images / littlehenrabikennykiernanJacob Ammentorp LundRawpixel Ltd

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Why the Orchard Inn in Saluda, NC, is One of the Best Autumn Getaways https://q4launch.com/orchard-inn-saluda-north-carolina/ Wed, 01 Feb 2017 14:42:09 +0000 https://q4launch.com/?p=5695 Vibrant autumn leaves, mountain views, and cool, crisp air greeted my husband and I as we made the scenic journey from Charleston to Saluda, North Carolina, to stay in the Orchard Inn. As we drove farther and farther north, whizzing past the cheerful “Welcome to North Carolina!” sign, the traffic steadily thinned while the roads … Continued

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orchard innVibrant autumn leaves, mountain views, and cool, crisp air greeted my husband and I as we made the scenic journey from Charleston to Saluda, North Carolina, to stay in the Orchard Inn. As we drove farther and farther north, whizzing past the cheerful “Welcome to North Carolina!” sign, the traffic steadily thinned while the roads became more winding and uphill. Thrilled by the beautiful views and inviting weather, we arrived at the Orchard Inn, a cozy haven tucked away in the heart of the western North Carolina mountains.

I recently started writing for the Orchard Inn a few months prior to visiting their property. Saluda, North Carolina, has been a favorite destination of mine for several years, so I was excited to be awarded this opportunity to promote such a wonderful place. I’ve always admired how this area is so quiet and peaceful, yet offers endless things to do. You feel as though you’re in your own little world when exploring the great outdoors of Saluda, NC; it’s a refreshing escape from busy, everyday life!

orchard inn

orchard inn

orchard inn

Upon arriving at the Orchard Inn, we were granted a tour of the property. I was immediately impressed by the many activities the inn had to offer. There was a small library equipped with well-stocked bookshelves and comfy chairs, numerous board games, and even a downstairs bonus room that included a pool table, a large television set, a wide DVD selection, and plenty of seating. Our room was lovely as well- we instantly fell in love with the handmade soaps in the bathroom! Their deluxe restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, providing picturesque views of their garden as well as the surrounding North Carolina mountains.

orchard inn

We started each day of our stay at the Orchard Inn with a hearty breakfast from Newman’s Restaurant. Each delectable course they prepared was made with all organic ingredients, most of which they had procured from their own garden! Marc, one of the owners, was even kind enough to show us his beehive in the garden that provides the inn with fresh, organic honey. We spent the rest of our time exploring the local attractions, like the nearby hikes to Little Bradley Falls and Pearson Falls, and dining in Asheville, NC, just a forty-minute drive away from the inn. We greatly enjoyed being able to simply unwind at the inn as well; their quiet and relaxing atmosphere sets the perfect scene for spending time with a loved one.

little bradley falls

Our trip to Saluda, NC, to stay at the Orchard Inn was a memorable experience we’ll never forget! The owners, Marc and Marianne, and each of the staff members were all warm and friendly towards us, and the food was some of the best we’ve ever had. We left the Orchard Inn feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, with plenty of pictures and memories of our time spent there! We will definitely be planning a return trip as soon as we can!

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