Archive for September, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Linguini with Vegetables

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Linguini with Vegetables

Looking for a quick, healthy meal the whole family can enjoy? Try this delectable pasta dish infused with sweet peas, wild mushrooms, baby spinach and more.

Roasted Red Pepper Linguini with Sweet Peas, Wild Mushrooms, Baby Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Asiago by Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls – Hocking Hills, Logan, OH

Roasted Red Pepper Linguini Cedar Falls

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb Dried Rstd. Red Pepper Linguini
  • ½ Cup Frozen Sweet Peas
  • 1 lb Fresh Wild Mushrooms – cleaned and cut down if large
  • 12oz Baby Spinach
  • 20ea Cherry Tomatoes-cut in half
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to directions on the package.

2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of the oil to the pan. Place the mushroom in the pan to sauté and caramelize about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sweet peas and spinach and toss a couple of times, then adding the pasta when it is al-dente. Add another 2-3 tablespoons of oil at this point, season and serve with Asiago sprinkled on top.

From the Press Room

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

From the Press Room

The media loves the B&B story and the value and experience that inns offer. We continue to garner coverage in newspapers, newsletters, websites, and blogs for a variety of reasons. From Civil War reenacting to Pet-Friendly Getaways, BnBFinder inns repeatedly appear in the press. There are plenty of possibilities still in the pipeline, especially with the early outreach to magazines and other publications, so make sure to upload your packages and specials. We always reference these packages for media queries and stories to pitch to the press. Here’s what we’re focusing on next:

Seasons Change. We know many of you are or will be fully booked for Fall Foliage but the key to getting press pickup is to get the word out when the media is listening. Potential guests cut out articles and save links for future getaways, and there may still be opportunities for midweek or last-minute reservations during foliage season. Log in and update your packages under ‘Fall Specials’ because these articles always get saved and stored away!

Pink ribbon, Breast Cancer Awareness
Pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Think Pink. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we have created a new specials category called ‘Find a Cure: Survivors are Special’ to recognize your efforts in acknowledging those affected by this disease. Do you make a special donation to cancer research during the month of October, or maybe year round? Do you offer special pampering for survivors or those battling any form of cancer? Post your packages by logging in to your account and select the ‘Specials’ link. Click ‘add’ and add your package under ‘Find a Cure: Survivors are Special’ tab. These packages will be heavily promoted during the month of October and the rest of the year, so log in and let us know about your efforts.

A Haunted Hideway. If you’re planning a spooky special for your guests we want to know about it! Many media outlets are looking for inns offering packages meant to send chills up the spine. Log in and upload your specials under ‘Ghoulish Getaways’. Also, make sure your inn is listed as a ‘Haunted B&B’ by logging in, clicking on ‘Inn Information’ then ‘Accommodations’ and choosing ‘Haunted B&B’.

Remembering Those Who Protect and Serve. We’re already seeing media queries about Veteran’s Day and efforts to honor and recognize those who have served in uniform. Log in and upload your specials under ‘Saluting Our Heroes’. We’ll be including B&Bs for Vets in our media outreach, so if you’re participating in the Better Way to Stay B&Bs for Vets promotion add your offer here. Once you are booked you can easily remove it so you no longer receive calls.

Feeling Festive. Although we’re welcoming in fall, the media is thinking winter and the holidays. Leading a sleigh ride over the river and through the woods or roasting chestnuts by an open fire? How about dressing your inn up in its festive best? Log in to post these winter wonderland activities under ‘Holiday Bed & Breakfast Specials’ and ‘Holiday Bed & Breakfast Tours’, and don’t forget to add a ‘Winter Fun’ package too.

And remember, a picture speaks 1,000 words, especially one that is 300dpi or higher! We’re always looking for great photos of your inns, rooms and recipes so email high resolution photos, especially winter and holiday photos to press@bnbfinder.com.

Help us to promote your inn by taking a few minutes to utilize our extensive PR efforts. Need help? Call us at (888) 547-8226. The call and assistance are included in your listing.

A Note from Mary White

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

A Note from Mary White

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” The same is nearly true for any business today including bed and breakfasts. Guests choose inns based on the compliments and comments previous guests have made about their stays which is why, even though we are not a review site (we’re a marketing site), we give guests the chance to post reviews. You may be asking, “Why is a review on my listing important?” There are a couple of reasons. For instance, a potential guest may find your listing on BnBFinder and would like to know the reviews of past guests before making a decision. If they don’t see any reviews on your listing they may Google your inn and, in the process, find another B&B instead. Also, they could locate your inn on a site that may charge you a commission fee if the booking is confirmed.

With everything innkeepers are managing on a daily basis we understand getting reviews can become a cumbersome, time-consuming task. Our previous newsletter column ‘Reviews = Reservations‘ gave you some simple, free, organizational tips and ideas to easily and efficiently encourage guests to post reviews. Here are some additional ways we are helping you:

 

Guests’ Reviews By Phone. We know guests are spending as much, if not more, time on their smartphones than on their computers, so this month we’ll be adding a review feature to BnBFinder Mobile.

Guest Favorite Award. Positive reviews are a gift and we acknowledge your efforts with The Guest Favorite Award. This recognition salutes the inns that have inspired guests to take the time to leave great comments after their stay. Recipients of this award are promoted in a custom press release.

Free Guest Comment Cards. Simply request them by logging in to your account or hitting reply to this newsletter and letting us know to send you some.

c. These tools are customizable and can be found when you log in to your account.

$500 Gift Certificate Giveaways. Encourages and entices guests to write reviews.

One last note about reviews: Although we know they are good, we strongly believe reviews have their place and it’s not on the reservation page. If guests are in the process of making a reservation with your inn, reviews displayed on the page linking to other sites are potentially distracting to the guest and are not a good idea. Take a look at your reservation page. If you use Webervations or Rezovations are guests being asked to read other reviews after they have already decided to check availability or while they are making a reservation?

Labor Wines – A Labor Of Love

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Labor Wines – A Labor Of Love

Boutique Oregon Winery Launches Pinot Noir As First Vintage.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

 

Portland, Ore – Entrepreneurs Dick Oppenheimer and Corey T. Nyman have partnered to launch Labor Wines, a boutique Oregon winery.  As their first venture under Labor Wines, Oppenheimer and Nyman have announced a 2009 Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley to serve as the inaugural wine.
“We are thrilled to introduce everyone to Labor Wines and couldn’t be prouder of our 2009 Pinot Noir to be the first born in our venture into a wonderful partnership and entry into this industry we both have a deep passion for,” said Labor Wines Partner, Corey T. Nyman.

With grapes sourced from the Yamhill-Carlton District and Chehalem Mountains, the 100% Oregon Pinot Noir is robust with flavors of black cherry, a hint of smoke as well as light toast from first and second year oak barrels.  Best served with a slight chill to bring out the true flavor profile, Labor Wines Pinot Noir is a great complement to any meal or simply to enjoy by the glass.

Total production for the first vintage will be limited to 280 cases with initial distribution in Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida before expansion to additional states.  In Arizona, Labor Wines will be distributed by Valley of the Sun Fine Wines and available initially at acclaimed restaurants Cowboy Ciao, FnB and Beckett’s Table.  In Las Vegas, Nevada, Bird Dog Wine Broker will distribute Labor Wines where it will be readily available at a handful of establishments including NOVE Italiano, Herbs & Rye, Marche Bacchus and Vintner Grill.

Labor Wines was birthed from both Oppenheimer and Nyman having a sincere passion for wine and to turn this enthusiasm into their own product for friends and family to enjoy.  The name stems from their belief that hard work pays off and is embodied in the Labor Wines credo:  Everything takes Labor to accomplish.  Without Labor, there would be no end result and no satisfaction.  Labor is the driving force throughout history of how to get things done.  From Labor is the idea that hard work presents rewards and what better way to embrace that vision – from our hands to yours.

The Labor Wines portfolio will continue to grow in the coming years with a 2010 Pinot Noir already in production.  For the latest updates and to keep up with where you can enjoy Labor Wines, connect through Facebook and Twitter and by visiting www.LaborWines.com or by calling 855-503-WINE(9463).

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

It’s not too early to start planning for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mr. Larry Mogelonsky – CHA

Make no mistake, Black Friday is a beast. For those unfamiliar, I’m not referring to the stock market crash in 1929, but rather the busiest shopping day of the year occurring over the U.S. Thanksgiving long weekend. The day is hugely important for retailers with billions of dollars in sales, and I see no reason why your hotel can’t also capitalize come November 25, 2011. But first, let’s review some history and how it ties into present day consumer expectations.

The Thanksgiving weekend is the traditional time for people to start their Christmas gift purchases, something established long before the official naming of this grand sales event. Our current iteration of Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s when the combination of fans for the annual Army-Navy football game and shoppers drove the city into a bottleneck. It has since evolved to more generically reference the bedlam at malls nationwide and the point at which retailers go from red to black in the accounting books.

With most people taking time off work and its prime placement before the upcoming holiday season, Black Friday has always been destined for great things. In an effort to lure this blip of consumers and heighten impulse buys, a few select retailers started by offering Black Friday promotions. This in turn caused other vendors to compete with their own Thanksgiving specials and extended shopping hours. Soon, everyone had their own limited-time deals, all vying for customer dollars.

With the Internet, this behavior went haywire. Flashy websites and social media inform shoppers of Black Friday promotions well in advance of the day, as well as inundate those consumers with reminders of the event. Many companies offer Internet-only specials. The World Wide Web also lets people comparison shop to better locate the best deals.

It’s peer pressure on a massive scale. Those who aren’t involved may feel as though they’re missing out, while those already in the fray may be inclined to ramp up their deals to stay ahead of the pack. As such, Black Friday specials are now the norm, and in order to continually draw attention, many retailers have resorted to exorbitant discounts, often far exceeding anything else during the year. This has also perpetuated a “wait until Black Friday” mentality which puts even more focus on this day.

Purchasing hotel rooms, however, is quite different from retail purchases. But, who’s to say hotels can’t join this phenomenon? The best way to get the ball rolling is to use your website to promote your deal as well as provide the avenue for transactions via your online booking engine.

Alas, it’s not that simple. Black Friday is the most competitive shopping day of the year and everyone else has already slashed their prices. A regular deal will only be met with a ho-hum response. You’ll have to be aggressive and add a touch of creativity if you really want to stand out and profit.

For starters, map out an offer your guests can’t refuse. The easy way is with strong discounts on room rate. This tactic makes sense if you are offering rooms in a forecasted lower occupancy period, but it might also erode ADR to the point of putting you back in the red.

You can avoid this dip by limiting the number of rooms at this deep discount. Or, in lieu of a significant markdown, build a moderate price reduction into a leisure package which might also include transportation, meals or spa treatments – anything that will make the future experience streamlined and carefree. Lastly, to mitigate loss, consider adding criteria such as full pre-payment and a limited or no cancellation policy.

Next, create a standalone flash sale site to further differentiate your Black Friday specials from your other promotions. The goal is to market your deal explicitly and drive impulse buys. The design should be straightforward with the specs bolded in a list on the home page, social media icons populated correctly and a direct path to purchase. Emphasize the holiday spirit of gift giving and perhaps consider placing a countdown ticker, keeping in mind that web sales don’t have to abide by regular store hours.

But all your web efforts and RevPAR number crunching will be in vain if you don’t promote the endeavor. Again, your home base is your website. Add a tiny banner or javascript announcement to the corner of the screen that links to your dedicated sales page or flash site. Next, leverage your social media connections to build anticipation with a slow drip of the inside scoop. As an aside, these networks are very pervasive tools to coerce shoppers the day of and to answer questions about your deal.

As you well should know, the only way to build this anticipation is through diligent preparation. If you’re going to rake in the crowds like some of the current retail juggernauts, you have to form a plan by the end of September at the latest so that the marketing engine won’t have to resort to last-minute tactics. If you give this project your full attention, I see no reason why Black Friday can’t be green for your hotel.

Running a Smarter Small Business

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Running a Smarter Small Business

It’s not necessary to work harder at your small business if you can just work smarter. It’s a well-known practice of the most successful entrepreneurs, tending to what’s important, ignoring what isn’t and knowing how to spot opportunities and problems before they arrive. Here are some simple tips to raise your small business’s IQ.

Tips

Build a business people will want to buy. No, this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to sell your business now or ever if you don’t choose to. But creating a saleable business also usually means creating a healthy and profitable business, and who doesn’t want that, right? It’s a pretty important yardstick for your business success. Is your business something people would want to buy? The Portfolio Partnership

Integrate social media effectively into your company. Are you using social media in your business today? This can involve much more than simply marketing. But if you already have other components of a more traditional marketing plan in place, you may definitely wish to combine them with your social media efforts. No matter what you are using social media for in your small business, you should integrate it into your other efforts too. ShopTalk

Planning

How to get things started. It’s important for more than just seeking investment or loans. A business plan should contain the information you will use to run and grow your small business. But where do you start when creating one? Creating a business plan takes thought and preparation, but it should never be a drudgery. Here are some steps to get you started on the business plan right for you. Expert Business Advice

Tips on the planing process. There are many concerns raised by small business people and entrepreneurs about the right way to create a business plan…or even if they need one. This example from one small business shows the benefits that having a business plan can truly give you. Realize the importance of a strategic approach to your small business when creating the best plan. Open For Business

Marketing

Keep blogging with these 20 tips for topics. Maintaining a blog for your business can potentially be a critical component of your marketing plan. But keeping a steady stream of original content flowing can be a challenge while running your business and serving customers. Not the least of these challenges is coming up with regular ideas you can transform into regular blog posts. This list of sources for inspiration should help. Riches Corner

Making your business show up on Google. Making your local small business visible on Google searches and on the Internet in general is more critical everyday if you plan on winning more business. Whether you happen to be interested in Tim’s service or not, his post and related videos including an entire online marketing blueprint for a local insurance company offer a wealth of information for any small businesses. timmcgarvey.com

Operations

15 ways to cut your small biz costs. There are a lot of ideas for cutting costs in your business without cutting productivity. Look for ways you can accomplish the same activities at lower costs and maybe even with better efficiency. Remember that many of your small business costs are based on decisions made over time. Re-evaluating these decisions over time may help you identify other options not considered previously. Angel Business Advisors

When financial insolvency may be near. Whether looking at your own business or the business of a competitor, customer or partner, it can be critical to see the signs. Could financial insolvency be ahead for your business or a company with whom you might have a strong business relationship? It’s important to know the signs and not be caught by surprise when financial difficulties appear. CorporateLifeOnline

Policy

Do we really need the SBA? Has the Small Business Administration finally outlived its usefulness? This issue has come up before with other calls to get rid of the agency whose main designated function is to loan money to small businesses. But if small business loans and even the demand for them are few and far between especially in a rocky economy, is the agency really worth the cost? WSJ

Changing roles for the self-employed. What could new pressure to re-evaluate the status of the self-employed mean for entrepreneurs and small business people? The stated aim of a “Freelancers Union” trying to get the Department of Labor to change the way it looks at “independent workers” is to improve working conditions for a major new segment of the economy. But the qualification could be so broad that it would apply to many small business owners too. Would this be a good thing or a bad thing for your business? Bloomberg Businessweek

The Best Back Office Software for Running Your Business

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The Best Back Office Software for Running Your Business

Last month we told you the best options for front office software. This month we asked the experts to weigh in on back office software to improve your business operations.

By Christina DesMarais |  @salubriousdish   | Aug 17, 2011

Never have there been more software choices for the small business. Considering all the information you need to manage, which ones do the best job? Should you use separate solutions for different functions, or should you buy an integrated suite that can manage many aspects of your business? It depends, say the experts we talked to about back office software on the market today for SMBs. In this guide we present what we hope is a good start for SMBs investigating the best back office software.

What is the difference between front-office and back-office software?

First, though, a bit of clarification. The definition of what constitutes back-office versus front-office software is open for debate.

“There’s a lot of bleed between what used to be distinct categories, and that trend is being driven by organizations having [fewer] people doing more functions, and not wanting to purchase four apps when one or two can cover all bases,” says Andrew Baker, director of service operations for SWN Communications and expert on the Focus network.

To be clear, when we say “back office” software, we’re referring to the platforms and applications that don’t interface with customers but help you manage core functions such as accounting, human resources, or manufacturing. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a term that includes many back-office functions.

“Front office” software, which we covered in July as part of our focus on the best software for SMBs, is often related to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and is useful for managing sales, marketing, and other customer-facing data. We also include things like innovative social media tools, customer service solutions, and more as part of the “front office.”

So, without further ado, we present what we hope is a good start for SMBs investigating their best back office software options.

Accounting/Finance
It almost goes without saying that Intuit’s QuickBooks and Sage Peachtree should be on this list. In fact, according to the Massachusetts-based research group IDC Industry Insights, more than half of all small businesses use Intuit software. While Peachtree captures a smaller share of the SMB accounting market, it offers similar features and pricing—both range from around $200 at the entry level to $3,000 for an enterprise solution. QuickBooks also has an online version from $13 to $63 a month that stores all your financial data safely on the cloud.

They’re not the only players in the numbers game, however. For estimating taxes, try Outright. Mint is free and as such, very popular with businesses on a tight budget. Expensify is great at—you guessed it—expense tracking, as is Coupa.

FinancialForce is an immensely-popular SaaS tool because of its integration with Salesforce, a CRM tool we discussed in our front-office software story. It starts at $175 per user per month and like many of these apps, it’s available on the iPhone and iPad.

Intacct, which also works with Salesforce, is a full-featured accounting solution good for businesses that have outgrown QuickBooks or Peachtree. It’s often sold by CPAs as part of their accounting services for as little as $100 a month and also includes things like purchasing, inventory and multi-currency management—something SMBs need to think about since even the smallest firms might have agents representing them in other countries.

“Companies like Intacct and NetSuite are very big on being allied with accounting firms,” says Brian Sommer, president of Illinois-based research group Vital Analysis. “The CPA only needs to log into the [cloud solution] and they can have access to all their customers’ books at once. It’s all secure and all the accountant needs is an internet connection and valid credentials to get into the system. It works really well.”

Learn More: How to Choose Business Accounting Software

Human Resources
“There are literally hundreds of human resource-related products on the marketplace, many of which are available on the cloud,” says Sommer. “Buying your payroll and HR software separately from [an ERP suite] is quite acceptable. When a smaller company tries to add employees in other jurisdictions, states or local municipalities, knowledge of the tax and filing requirements is actually a highly-specialized capability that big payroll service providers like Paychex or Ceridian are really well-suited to deliver.”

Why the belle has no clothes at the rental marketplace ball

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Why the belle has no clothes at the rental marketplace ball

Posted by Special Nodes USA on 16 August 2011

NB: This is a guest article by Jay Karen, president and CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

Airbnb and the fast-growing number of rental marketplaces seem like the belles of the ball among travel-related web sites this year.

Some have grabbed the support of big hitters like Ashton Kutcher and there is clearly a lot of money kicking about with nine-figure cash investments.

But let’s take a moment and turn the lights on in the ballroom and take a closer look at some of these belles. After all, if we’re going to dance with the belle, we better know what we’re dealing with.

mask

Propagating illegal activity

I’m not sure why the internet police haven’t been blaring the sirens on this one.

Nevertheless, there is no question many (if not most) of the lodging options that can be found on such websites are not complying with local laws.

Towns and cities across the country and around the world have local laws that prohibit homeowners – especially in residential areas – from using their properties as transient lodging for travelers of less than, say, 30 days.

In other words, it is permissible to be a landlord to a longer-term tenant, but it’s not okay to rent your house, apartment or room to folks night after night after night.

In many cases, such nightly tourism activity can disrupt the culture and atmosphere of a residential area or building (in the case of a condo building, where most of the occupants are homeowners).

It’s no secret that all kinds of questionable activity happens across the web, and the web companies do not bear full responsibility for the activity that happens on or on account of their sites.

In the US, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 does a good job holding websites harmless from the content that gets posted on their sites by site visitors or customers (look at Section 230).

But even a site like Craigslist came around to remove a section of their classifieds that was conspicuously advertising illegal activity. That only happened, though, after much public and legal pressure from a lot of powerful people around the country.

Getting back to rental marketplaces, why isn’t anyone crying foul on this one? Should a homeowner be required to show proof of compliance with the law before being allowed to list a room for rent (it might be happening on Oahu)?

Sure, but the inventory on such sites would likely fall to less than one-tenth of its current inventory. Who would pour hundreds of millions into a site with little inventory?

Licenses, inspections and taxation – oh my

Local authorities everywhere are in the business of ensuring the public’s safety. Regardless of your position on the “government-is-good or government-is-bad” spectrum, few will argue against making sure places of business that are open to the public deserve some kind of inspection or review process.

  • Do you like the fact that restaurants must be inspected? I do!
  • Do you like to know that hotels and B&Bs must follow local fire safety rules? I do!

But…

  • How many of the properties on marketplace rental sites, which mostly appear to be in residential situations, have been inspected by fire officials?
  • How many have the proper business licenses to be offering over-night accommodations to the traveling public?

Many online reviews indicate hosts are offering food to their travelers too, as part of the overnight stay. Do you think the local health inspector checked out their kitchen or sanitary food-handling skills?

Now, let’s talk taxes for a moment. Some rental marketplaces are not collecting taxes on behalf of their hosts, and the host is not likely collecting taxes either.

I know some readers are thinking the following:

“Does Uncle Sam need to grab something from EVERYTHING people earn? So what if some guy is making a little coin on the side by renting a spare room and not collecting taxes?”

Short-term lodging is usually subject to both a sales tax and occupancy tax. Oftentimes, the occupancy tax is levied to help support all kinds of initiatives to stimulate more travel to the area. Is it fair that a host gets to benefit from the traveler’s dollars, but not put in his fair share?

Safety

I already addressed the safety risks involved in not being inspected by local health or fire inspectors.

But ever since the likes of Airbnb and others materialised a couple of years ago, I’ve been telling people that I am just waiting for a tragedy to happen at one of the places rented on their site.

Some creep is going to rent his apartment to an unwitting young lady, and something terrible will happen. It happened with Couchsurfing.

Little did I know it would be the other way around!  The traveler, in this case, recently vandalized an Airbnb property, triggering reams of publicity.

Now, I do not think it is fair to hold Airbnb, in this case, fully culpable for such a transgression. Crimes occur at hotels all the time, but should the hotel always be blamed, let alone the online booking engine where a perpetrator might have booked a room?

No. But, reasonable measures, policies and the law of large numbers exist to try and minimize the likelihood of crimes taking place.

I get the allure of these rental marketplaces from many angles. To the traveler, “staying at an Airbnb”, for example, might be seen as something different and exciting.

The photos on the various homepages are nothing short of amazing, so it is quite seductive. Hosts see it as a cool way to make money and meet interesting people, although this Slate writer certainly differs.

Investors see a new product in the pretty traditional market of lodging. Heck, I represent an industry that perfected the “stay in someone’s home” experience!

But, the tens of thousands of hardworking innkeepers over the years worked WITH local authorities to gain proper recognition as legitimate businesses, have paid our taxes, have gone through inspections, etc.

This isn’t sour grapes about an imposter trying to co-opt our bed-and-breakfast brand (can you see the furrow on my forehead?). It’s bigger than that.

The bottom line, for me, can be explained in an analogy: do you think it would be ok for any one person or any family to start inviting random travelers and locals into their homes for a homemade supper…charge for it…not collect any taxes…and never get inspected by the health department?

Sure, you could just say “Caveat Emptor!”, let the online reviews handle the inspection process and not care about safety or a level playing field.

Would you feel the same way if a friend or loved one bought into this and got incredibly (or deathly) ill from an unfortunate event?

There is not much any of us can do to prevent bad or ignorant people from committing awful acts, but we can support reasonable policies and practices to try and minimize it.  Allowing such sites to propagate possibly illegal and potentially unsafe situations is nothing short of enablement.

Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at internet law and start holding web sites more responsible for what gets posted or what kinds of transactions take place on their sites.

Holding sites completely harmless has in turn caused a great deal of harm to many others (anyone want to talk about the proliferation of libel within online reviews, but the absence of any recourse for justice?), but no one in the travel industry really seems to be talking about that.

Maybe rental marketplace sites that actually collect the room revenue should be required to ensure the legality of their host properties.

Short of that, the rental marketplaces is not much more than pimps for illegal lodging.  Anyone want to propose a new Communications GREATER Decency Act of 2012?

NB: Airbnb, for example, has consistently stated it complies with local laws in the areas in which it operates.

NB2: This is a guest article by Jay Karen, president and CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

Getting on the Radar: Positioning Your Destination on GPS Devices

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Getting on the Radar:

Positioning Your Destination on GPS Devices

 

One of the most fun and user-friendly features about today’s GPS devices is the ability to look up restaurants, hotels, attractions, and more that are near your location. It makes life easier for the GPS user and more profitable for listed destinations.

 

But not every destination is listed.

 

That means while listed destinations can expect a stream of GPS-driven traffic, those who don’t show up on the increasingly ubiquitous devices are missing out. So what can you do to increase your odds of showing up on GPS devices? It’s easy . . . get a D-U-N-S number. It’s a free, simple way you can help ensure maximum traffic.

 

What’s a D-U-N-S number?

It’s a unique nine-digit identification number assigned to businesses that register with Dun & Bradstreet. Created in 1962, the Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) number allows D&B to identify businesses based on location. More than 100 million businesses worldwide have D-U-N-S numbers.

How do GPS devices get a D-U-N-S Numbers?

A lot of GPS device manufacturers (such as Garmin) obtain their mapping information from NavTeq, an international company that physically scouts locations. The information that you supply about your business while applying for a D-U-N-S number is passed on to NavTeq and determines whether and under which category your business shows up on GPS searches.

 

Here’s how to register for D-U-N-S number:

 

  1. Go to www.dnb.com.
  2. Click the “D&B D-U-N-S Number” tab.
  3. Follow prompts to submit your registration.
  4. While you’re going through the process, you’ll be able to choose categories for your business (restaurant, tourist attraction, etc.). Be sure to choose as many accurate categories as possible. This will help your business show up under a number of different GPS searches.

 

You can also call 866-785-0428 to register your destination.

 

Anything else?

Yes. You’ll also want to make sure your business is listed with InfoUSA. They provide information to Tele Atlas, another scouting and mapping company (like NavTeq) that provides mapping data to GPS manufacturer Tom Tom. Registering with InfoUSA is free, so there’s no reason not to do it. Here’s how to register with InfoUSA.

 

  1. Go to www.InfoUSA.com
  2. Click the “FAQ” link at the top of the page
  3. Click “How can I add my business to your database?” to find out how InfoUSA adds businesses to its database.


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