We started our Inn2Wit Cartoons for a “Bit of Wit for Innkeepers” in 2016. Marketing changes so quickly in today’s online world, and many Innkeepers struggle to keep up. These cartoons are designed to create awareness on various marketing topics, through a bit of humor. If you do find any to be particularly helpful, you are welcome to pass them on to others in our industry, with the appropriate credit noted for them coming from Acorn Internet Services, as you find then appropriate.
Are you or your marketing firm monitoring your reviews and online reputation? If not, people could be writing reviews that, whether true or not, could be harming your business. Scammers and/or just not nice guests could attempt to blackmail you.
Innkeeper’s Myth and Legends: “All my guests tell me they LOVE my site!”
But the real question is, do your Future and New First-Time-Ever Guests Love your Website?
If you are being hounded to spend your money on a company you don’t want to deal with, it’s ok to just say “no-thank-you” and hang up the phone. Take just a moment and consider this: If a company’s product and services are of a proven quality, do you really think it would be necessary for that company to relentlessly solicit your business?
Who owns your Domain Name? You? Your Webmaster? Your Hosting Company? When is your Renewal Date? You do not want to lose your Domain Name by forgetting to pay the renewal fees on time. Once it’s made available for purchase, anyone out there can buy it.
Do you have the skeletons of old business entities in your inn’s closet?
Find Out Where Guests REALLY Find YOU!!
Not sure if your Google Analytics is configured correctly? We offer consulting services to make sure your revenue tracking data is setup correctly. Confused? We Guarantee we can Help!
OTA Availability is now impacting Google’s 3-Pack and Local Listings on both Desktop and Mobile. Innkeepers that DO NOT participate in an OTA, but have competitors that DO participate in an OTA (where both Inns have verified GMB Local Listings with comparable quality) are typically seeing the Inns with OTA availability appearing ahead of the ones who don’t have OTA availability. We’ve also seen Inns who have enjoyed 3-Pack placement for years falling out of the 3-Pack in lieu of other properties in their area who do provide OTA availability.
Want to learn more about what this change is going to mean to your business?
Do you have plan in place to be notified when a Review is written ANYWHERE online? If not, people could be writing Reviews that, whether true or not, could be harming your business.
To quote Mark Twain “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable!” If you are a numbers person, statistics can be a lot of fun to play with, but if you are not a numbers person, statistics can be misleading.
Be very, very careful when a company is offering you a FREE Website. The promise of a FREE Website should raise a RED Flag, as that it indeed is clearly a mirage.
Do not become a statistic. Sales people are good at exactly that: Selling. Don’t be rushed. Take enough time to complete your Due Diligence on any Web Design, Hosting and/or Marketing company you are looking to hire.
Are you checking your OTA Rates Regularly? Don’t Pay Your Guests to Stay With You!
Your Web Presence is SO MUCH MORE than just your Website alone. Other factors such as Local, Maps, Mobile, Blogging, Social Media, On-Page SEO, E-Newsletters, Google Analytics, E-Commerce Tracking, Yield Management, OTAs, Google Console and the list goes on and on. I encourage you to read through “Your Website is NOT ENOUGH” to learn about the differences between your Website and your Web Presence.
Often times Innkeepers tend to forget about their Online Content, which easily falls into the category of “Out of Sight – Out of Mind”. Online Content is just another way to say “wording or text”. This Online Content is displayed on your Website and should be unique only to your Website, and not be copied verbatim anywhere else online.
I cannot begin to tell you how many Innkeepers I’ve met at conferences, or have had calls from Innkeepers that are not our clients asking us to “HELP” them because they’ve been hacked. There are multiple levels of hacking, but the worst is when Google figures out that you’ve been hacked, and then they tell your Guests in their search results that “This site may be hacked”. You quickly find out your guests are very afraid of clicking on a web site with that message. No Clicks? No Online Reservations!
So! You have decided to choose a Marketing Firm to help you with your On-Going Marketing. Good Job! The next question is: How do you determine if the Marketing tasks they are doing for you are actually “Working”? Before you can make any determinations, you must first determine what “Working” really means! We here at Acorn Internet Services consider any effort we do for you to be “Working” if it brings you, the Innkeeper, additional or sustained revenue. Of course we use tools like Google Analytics, E-Commerce Tracking and other Booking Tracking products, but when it comes right down to it, it’s about your bottom line. We don’t make our determinations on whether our services are working properly based on if you have more TRAFFIC or LESS TRAFFIC, as long as you are making $$$.
As a retired Innkeeper, I know how very tempting it is to want to just hand off parts of the business “Lock, Stock and Barrel” to another paid professional in the industry in order to lighten the load. But the reality is, the costly One-Size-Fits-All Marketing plans simply do not work. Choosing a Marketing firm who is willing to take on the brunt of your marketing work, customized to your Inn’s particular needs, but keep you involved in the decision making process is imperative. Monthly phone calls with your Marketing Rep is really the best way to proceed with an ongoing Marketing program. No one can answer the questions about your business better than you! So, please, as delightful as it may sound to just want to hand over the Keys to your Marketing Castle, don’t do it. A successful Marketing Program needs you to stay involved, whether you choose to do the actual marketing tasks or not! You need to know what is going on when it comes to your Inn’s Marketing reputation. On a side note, Acorn Internet Services IS NOT just about teaching you how to do your own marketing, though I do have to say our Acorn University is a one-of-a-kind in our Industry for DIY Innkeepers. But setting that aside, we also have customized Marketing programs where our team members will do the marketing tasks FOR YOU. Check out our Market Watch Program. We have years of experience, and real live Innkeepers you can talk to as references, proving that we know how to grow your business through a customized Marketing plan.
Have you looked at your Website on a Mobile phone? Don’t have a Mobile phone? You can use the Mobile simulator in the Chrome browser to test Mobile results on your PC. Are you getting comments from your Guests they can’t see information on your Website from their Mobile phone that you swear is there? Is only your home page Mobile friendly? Or do all the pages of your Website pass Google’s mobile friendly test?
On-going marketing is NOT an easy task! Is revenue up? If it is, then why is it up? If not, then why is it down? Understanding the WHY often reverts back to something that has recently changed on the internet that you were, or were not prepared for.