Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

top 5 trends, factors, and events that will shape your business in 2012

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In my column last week I started looking at the top 10 trends, factors, and events that will shape your business in 2012. This week we are down to the Top 5.

Ask an Expert

By Steve Strauss

No. 5. Internet video takes center stage. Consider these statistics:

• According to Cisco, online video now makes up 50% of all consumer Internet traffic
• Last year, almost 200 million Americans watched online videos every month, and on any given day, 100 million people will watch videos online

What does this mean for your business? Plenty. People love video, and it turns out that video increases sales. Onlineshoes.com says that its conversion rate is up to 45% higher with video and Zappos.com says it sells up to 30% more when videos are used to display a shoe.

The upshot is that you need to strongly consider adding video to the mix, be it an online video brochure, a tour of your store, video newsletters, or just some instructional videos.

No. 4. Social media is becoming the land of the have and have nots: There seem to be two distinct camps when it comes to social media vis-à-vis small business: Those who get it and use it effectively and those that don’t give a whit about it (oh, and camp three — those that get it but dabble ineffectively in it).

According to the 2011 Impact of Social Business in Small and Medium Business Study, about 50% of small businesses use social media. Those that do, do so for the following reasons:

• 80% of online visitors use social media daily
• More than 50% of all social media users follow a brand
• Social media is growing exponentially — Facebook added over 200 million users in 2011

So for the small business that has figured out that social media must be a key element to their business model going forward, I say way to go. To the other 50% I say — what are you waiting for?

No. 3: The death of 9 to 5: Does anyone really work at a desk five days a week from 9 to 5 anymore? Of course I am being facetious . . . or am I? A myriad of things have combined to make it so that we can work anywhere, anytime (whether we want to or not): The Internet, laptops, tablets, smartphones, apps and software are the main culprits.

I say culprits because some of this work anywhere, anytime stuff is great (checking emails while waiting at the airport) and some of it stinks (checking emails while on the beach in Hawaii.)

As my sweet grandfather used to say: Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

No. 2. Are happy days here again?

First a caveat: I am not an economic prognosticator and no one here is saying that the economy is peachy because it is not. But that said, there are signs that the economic doldrums we have been in for too long may be lifting a bit:

• Consumer confidence continues to rise
• Unemployment claims continue to fall
• Fourth-quarter GDP growth is looking to be in the 3% to 4% range

And while lowered expectations seem to be the new normal, it is nice to be able to report something other than dour economic news for a change. If this trend continues, it will surely shape your business significantly in 2012, and happily for the better.

And the Top Trend for 2012 is:

No. 1: Mobile mania! With iPads flying off the shelf and laptops outselling desktops, with smartphones all the rage and more than a million apps in the App store, with more than 20% of all searches being done on a mobile device now, it is clear that the era of mobile work is at hand.

For the small business, this sea-change will have all sorts of ripples:

• Employees will increasingly expect to work when and where they want (see No. 3, above)
• Customers will want to be able to interact with your business via their mobile device
• Sooner rather than later, you will be using apps to run your business
• Geo-targeting mobile marketing offers is a good idea
• Your website needs to be mobile friendly
• Mobile ad campaigns should probably become part of your marketing mix

Trend Watch 2012

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Trend Watch 2012

Here’s what Editor-in-Chief Glenn Haussman sees as some of the most significant travel issues in the coming year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Glenn Haussman

The coming year is going to be a good one in the hotel universe, but in order to make it the best year possible, you need to leverage the trends. Here is how we see the trends shaking out in 2012.

Consumers Still In Charge?

For now it looks as if consumers are still in charge in the vast majority of markets. But that’s because hoteliers have ceded control. We’re not talking about you New York, San Francisco, et al. The market bifurcation between the haves and have nots will continue to become exacerbated as big market cities continue to pull in top ADRs while smaller markets will continue to lag.

Why? The problem is twofold for markets outside the leading 25. Yes, there is still some softness in demand, which is making mom and pop hoteliers still skittish about raising rates. However, that problem is as much a psychological hurdle as a tangible reality. Hoteliers need to be more aggressive in raising rates, even if it is just a couple of dollars at a time. If you have a quality product and are fully capable of communicating your value proposition than the difference between charging $84 and $89 should be a non-issue to the consumer.

Confidence is critical here and consumers will spend if given good reason. Anyone take a look at the malls this holiday season?

Mobile Mayhem

Ever wonder why no one looks you in the eye anymore? It’s because we’re all looking at teeny tiny screens and forgetting how to speak directly to people. Especially the under 30 set. Now, people are using their mobile devices – powerful pocket computers really- to do all sorts of things including things that are not Angry Birds. I won’t go anywhere new to eat without checking out Yelp, for example, and many won’t even consider a hotel unless it’s been approved by reviewers on TripAdvisor.

Now GPS technology is a standard mobile phone application and you can take advantage of this cool tool. It’s a powerful instrument that can alert people to your hotel and/or restaurant. So you have to realize the game is shifting to one the spot decision making so it’s now a matter of figuring out how you can appeal to the person who is making that decision after they have already left home. I love the idea of driving down I95 and deciding to stop for the night with all the information on where I should stay in my phone delivered in real time. It will help me find the right place to stay for the right price. Only question remaining is how is your multi-million dollar asset being portrayed in the mobile space?

Discounting to Disaster

The last year or so has seen the bursting forth of myriad new sites giving consumers deep discounts on hotel rooms. It’s OTAs 2.0 and hoteliers need to come to grips with how to handle these sites. But this issue portends a larger and more serious concern; the retraining of the customer to look elsewhere first for rooms. If that happens, expect it to be even more difficult to push those rates back up to 2007 levels.

Some hotel brands are starting to get the idea that their brand sites need to give customers a reason to come back time and time again. And maybe the answer has something that is not directly related to the act of booking hotel rooms. InterContinental Hotels, for example, has an app that features an array of recipes from its hotels around the world. And the program gets regular updates I am told. That is smart creative thinking that gets people engaged in a brand and creates critical top of mind awareness.

I am now wondering which brand is going to be smart enough to match the massive mobile gaming trend. Will someone partner with Zynga already and create a simple fun game? I can see it so clearly. How about a Frogger style game where a harried bellman must avoid bell-carts flying past him to reach a customer? Or a game that focuses on assembling meals for hungry customers in a hotel?

Renovations STILL Rule

I know I have been writing and speechifying on this topic for more than a year, but it’s still true. Those with the newest or most updated properties will continue to command the strongest rates in their neighborhood. If your hotel in not planning a renovation (and has not just completed one) you, my friend may find yourself as the least desirous property in your town. Truth is an aging property will leave you unable to raise your rates and effectively compete for business. If you can’t afford a full scale renovation you must do something and at least hit the most troubling areas. Then be sure to promote your renovation to customers so you can start training them to expect to pay more.

Look to the Ground

Unless you are in Hawaii focus more on drive-in business rather than fly-in business. The amount of seats in the sky keeps getting smaller – down two percent in Q4 2011 alone, says Morgan Stanley – and cuts will probably continue into 2012. That’s helping the airlines charge more, but it’s not going to help deliver guests to your porte-cochère.

You may want to believe people are traveling less, but they are not. They are traveling and more are doing it by car. And I am not talking about vacations. These days kids are setting the travel agenda with their participation in out of town sports competitions specifically, and other kid related events too. Even spelling bees are giving parents a reason to book rooms. You need to tap into those markets and find out what events are going to take place in your neighborhood in 2012 and give those parents a compelling value proposition to stay with you when they are on the road. How about creating a night time ice cream party for the team? That won’t cost too much but will give you an edge.

On a personal note I see many parents overspending on travel for the sake of their kids. They may be going broke doing it, but as long as Johnny is on that traveling soccer team they will spend, spend, spend. Therefore it might as well be you taking their money rather than your competition.

The Value Sensitive Guest Still Prevails

It’s going to be even more about adding value as you try to raise rates during 2012, but don’t confuse value with discounting. You can raise your rates while also giving guests what they want; the feeling they are paying a fair price for that hotel room and the amenities and services it comes with.

You must give customers real and convincing reasons to come to your hotel by offering real value. The hotel business has done a great job at training guests to look online for the best deals. And unless you want to commoditize the industry like the airlines have – which incidentally have never made money over the length of their existence – you better start getting creative.

That means creating exciting packages and deals that excite, inspire and motivate consumers to stay with your hotel. Stop doing what your competition is doing. They’re wrong. Take a chance in the New Year and try something new.

BnBFinder On the Go!

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

BnBFinder On the Go!

Smartphones are fast replacing the desktop computer. People are using them to plan every aspect of their vacations, from accommodations to scheduling pit stops. BnBFinder-Mobile gets your information to guests in a way that is faster and more convenient, and responds to the way that more and more people are searching for it. The site includes features never before seen on a bed and breakfast directory.

Mobile Site

BnBFinder-Mobile is optimized to work with smartphone features.

  • Location based search allows iPhone and Android users can take advantage of the GPS on their phones to determine the exact location of bed and breakfasts nearest to them. Simply click “Find an Inn Near Me” to see a list of bed and breakfasts starting with the closest one.
  • Guests can now call you directly from your listing with the “tap to call” feature.
  • Pressing the “View on Map” button takes guests right from your listing to Google Maps where they can get turn-by-turn driving directions to your inn.
  • The “Email Inn” button integrates with the default e-mail account on the guest’s phone.

No extra steps.

  • You don’t have to do a thing, your BnBFinder listing has been automatically loaded onto BnBFinder-Mobile.
  • There is nothing for guests to do either, BnBFinder.com seamlessly detects that a guest is visiting via smartphone and presents the mobile version of the site, no download required.
  • IPhone users can add the website to their homepage, where it will appear and run like a native app.
  • From the mobile site, just like the full site, users can search the world for bed and breakfasts, view contact and location information, view pictures of your inn and information about it, and then share that information with a friend.

BnBFinder-Mobile is fast and lightweight, so it loads quickly and doesn’t use up too much of the guests monthly data limit. By 2015, we may no longer be using desktops at all, but whatever the future brings, you can be sure that BnBFinder will be there, showcasing your inn to potential guests.

Recent Media Pick Up

We’ve been busy bees this month and here’s some of the press we’ve garnered for both our site and our inns. There’s more to come. We have a lot of potential pick-up in the pipeline and we are always looking for more ways to spread the word about your inn, BnBFinder, and the industry. If your inn wasn’t featured this time, don’t feel left out! E-mail us about what’s newsworthy at your bed and breakfast. Or, we get a lot of our inspiration for pitch ideas from the specials and pacakges that you post, so make sure they are up to date. Click “read more” and check out the articles below to see what journalists thought was newsworthy this past month.

Chicago Tribune
News to Use

Lousiana Road Trips
Storybook Vacation

The Examiner – National
Serene love at BnB’s awaits couples in top-listed angry cities

National Pick-up of this article:
Dallas Morning News

Florida Today

FuseTV

India Times

Road Runner

World News

The Orlando Sentinel Blog
Bed and Breakfast for You and Your Pup

Media Kitty Newsletter
Civil War Sesquicentennial

Examiner.com
Spring is Blooming at Bed and Breakfasts!

Examiner.com
Exploring the Far Reaches with B&Bs

RecipeLion.com
Everyone PeCan in April!

RecipeLion.com
March Monthly Morsel Round-Up

RecipeLion.com
Baked French Toast That’s Berry Tempting!

RecipeLion.com
Fabulous Food Friday: April Blog Hop

Press Release
Bed and Breakfast Tour of the Civil War Sesquicentennial

Press Release
Maine Inns Raise Funds for Habitat for Humanity

Press Release
Celebrating Architecture at Bed and Breakfasts

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of VisitNebraska.gov Website

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of VisitNebraska.gov Website

New site gives mobile users the ability to search for events, attractions and more

Lincoln, Neb. — Oct. 20, 2010 — To make it easier for travelers to get information while they’re on the move, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Division of Travel and Tourism has developed a mobile version of the VisitNebraska.gov website. The new functionality allows users of mobile devices to search the Nebraska Tourism database of recreation, events and attractions. Travelers can also view podcasts of Nebraska’s Byways.

“Travelers are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi–enabled mobile devices or smartphones as a source of information as they travel,” said Christian Hornbaker, director of DED’s Division of Travel and Tourism. “By giving these travelers a mobile site that allows them to quickly find the events, attractions and recreational opportunities they’re looking for, we’re empowering them to be able to be flexible with their planning. And the ability to be flexible can be the difference between merely a good vacation and an absolutely unforgettable trip.”

VisitNebraska.gov visitors using mobile devices will be automatically routed to the new mobile site. It is also available through a link on the main VisitNebraska.gov home page. The site can be accessed by all types of mobile devices and smartphones including the iPhone and Android handsets. Specific support of the iPhone means the site contains no Flash or use of HTML5.

For more information or to view the new mobile site, go to VisitNebraska.gov and click on the Take Us With You icon.



«
» rss