Posts Tagged ‘website’

2011 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

2011 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

OMAHA, NEB. (Oct. 20, 2011)—More than 150 tourism professionals were on hand to honor their peers at the annual travel awards banquet Thursday evening at the Ramada Plaza Omaha Hotel and Convention Center – CoCo Key Water Resort. The event capped the 36th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division and hosted by the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gov. Dave Heineman announced the following 2011 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.

The 2011 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to Jane and Randel Smith of Brownville. Between 1960 and 1980, this couple started the Brownville Village Theatre, served as presidents of the Brownville Historical Society, organized the town to promote tourism with the preservation of the historic buildings on Main Street, and started Outfitters Row, which brought many tourism businesses and shops to the community. The Smiths started offering riverboat tours in 1970 aboard the Belle of Brownville. They built a campground and facilities to accommodate travelers, and later brought another excursion boat to town, the Spirit of Brownville.

With their “build it and they will come” attitude, this couple pushed forward and opened the Lyceum, a bookstore/restaurant which has become Brownville’s primary meeting space and the heart of the community. In 2009, they opened the River Inn Resort on the banks of the Missouri River. This unique, full service meeting place and B&B is noted for being the only floating lodging facility in the state.

The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Cornhusker Motor Club Foundation. Over the years, this Omaha-based foundation has developed or supported a variety of tourism-related projects across the state, including complimentary roadside assistance to stranded motorists, funds for the construction of green cabins in Ponca State Park, and money for wheelchair-accessible fishing piers and walkways at Lake Cunningham and Ponca State Park.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 10,000 went to Swedish Days in Holdrege. What began 36 years ago as a small event honoring the town’s Swedish heritage, has turned into a fun-filled, two-day festival that attracts thousands of visitors to this town of 5,200 people. Hundreds of volunteers, organizations and residents dedicate countless hours to this festival, which includes a fun run, car show, downtown street festival, parade and vendors from across the state.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to North Platte’s NEBRASKAland Days. For more than 45 years, this western festival has drawn visitors from around the world to celebrate Nebraska’s frontier history and its connection to that most famous western entertainer, Buffalo Bill Cody. During this year’s festival, nearly $7 million dollars were pumped into the local economy by more than 120,000 visitors from 230 Nebraska cities and 34 U.S. states.

The Outstanding Tourism Association Award was won by Golf the North. This alliance of residents, businesses, golf courses, lodging properties, restaurants and local tourism attractions put together an outstanding golf tour of five nine-hole courses. The package gives visitors a relaxing golf outing and offers a fun and cost effective way to travel throughout northeast Nebraska.

The Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award went to the Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau for its “Be a Tourist in Your Own Home Town” summer passport program. The program has encouraged thousands of area residents to explore 25 of the Capital City’s tourism attractions, festivals and businesses. This year, a mascot, Trip, was introduced to promote the program. He even traveled across the state and visited the Interstate 80 welcome centers to spread the news about all the tourism opportunities in Lincoln.

The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by Cherry County Tourism. More than 20 years ago, the Valentine/Cherry County tourism guide was a black and white newsprint magazine. Today, it’s a full-color, glossy, magazine-size publication. The publication is full of interesting articles, photographs and advertisements all designed to entice visitors to the scenic region of north central Nebraska along the Niobrara River.

The Outstanding Website Award went to the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City. Since the website’s upgrade in April 2010, attendance at the museum has increased by 20 percent. The exceptional site ( has helped this one-of-a-kind museum become one of the top tourist destinations in Butler County.

The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to The Great Platte River Road Archway near Kearney. The nation’s only tourist attraction built over a federal interstate, the archway is an exceptional attraction visited by nearly 100,000 people last year. In the past two years, it has seen a marked upswing in attendance and has helped to increase the average tourist’s visit in Kearney from one hour to more than two hours, sometimes for the entire day. Seventy-five percent of the Archway’s annual visitors hail from other states or countries.

The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates the state’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. This year’s winner was Arbor Day Farm. This Nebraska City attraction is a 260-acre living laboratory of environmental stewardship and conservation. Nearly 250,000 people visit Arbor Day Farm each year to explore its many nature-based tourism activities. Its greenhouse tours allow visitors to see firsthand where tens of thousands of tree seedlings get started.

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, 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


India Times

Road Runner

World News

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

Media Kitty Newsletter
Civil War Sesquicentennial
Spring is Blooming at Bed and Breakfasts!
Exploring the Far Reaches with B&Bs
Everyone PeCan in April!
March Monthly Morsel Round-Up
Baked French Toast That’s Berry Tempting!
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

A Note from Mary White

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

A Note from Mary White

Hotels have B&Bs beat when it comes to taking advantage of Internet marketing … or do they? True, they have infringed on our territory – brands from the Four Seasons to Hampton Inns are offering complimentary breakfast and an abundance of amenities, hallmark features of a bed & breakfast getaway – however, I believe there is still plenty of room to compete.

When I started BnBFinder in 1998 the Internet was about to become the great equalizer, the chance for B&Bs to be on a level playing field with hotels because of a cost effective advertising vehicle (a website) to get the word out about our properties. Our industry has changed a great deal because of the Internet and the benefits have not come to an end.

Our agility and individuality are some of the advantages that we should seize. As a small business owner you can make a decision right now and implement it immediately, you’ll never be held up by corporate bureaucracy. You can provide a truly personal experience for your guest, something even a 5 star hotel will have trouble rivaling. You frequently know ahead of time, or are the first to know, when couples become engaged and can add an extra touch such as champagne at breakfast or a mug from your inn as a remembrance of their engagement. You also have the advantage of deciding on the spot what to do, based on guests’ personalities, making the gesture more meaningful than a canned, corporate response. Beyond the special touches, guests would have to stay at a very high-end hotel to experience the type of concierge service offered at most B&Bs. Innkeepers are in the know about the best spots, restaurants, and local secrets.

As a result of your agility and individuality, I believe your “Internet message” should always convey the value and experience that your B&B offers. Your advertising should start with the premise that your B&B is more than just a place to sleep; that to stay at a B&B is to wakeup someplace special; that B&Bs are a better way to stay. This means something different for every inn, so how do you use the Internet to convey this?

Good photos are essential. We had wonderful feedback on Melissa Giannelli’s article on photos of your inn in last month’s newsletter. Does your marketing (website, blog, newsletter, directory listings, etc) show your breakfast, amenities, and area activities? Keep it simple and appealing and when it applies, flaunt it!

Video tells your story and conveys the experience far better than words. No longer do you have to be able to shoot and edit video clips or hire a high priced videographer to have great video for your website. Programs, such as Photo Story 3, make it easy to assemble photographs into high quality, engaging video. I created the video below in less than an hour after one webinar taught by Acorn Internet. (If you’re not an Acorn customer you can sign up for their webinar series by contacting The video class was originally offered as a “test” beta-class, and will be worked into the class schedule later this year.)

Don’t forget Social Media. At a recent HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International) panel discussion, revenue managers were asked how to judge the return on investment (ROI) of their social media efforts. I listened closely for this answer, as this is a question I am frequently asked by innkeepers. Interestingly, many chain hotels have not embraced social media as a format for engaging guests. It’s not that they don’t want to, but because of the priority of other corporate tech projects or because of the personal message necessary to engage in social media, they are unable to approach this medium with the agility that countless B&Bs have.

As an Innkeeper you can always be thinking about what makes your inn special and how to convey that in whatever form of Internet marketing you use. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to promote your inn and as always I value your feedback.

P.S.: I will be at the Northwest Innkeeping Trade Show & Conference April 4-6, in Portland Oregon. If you’re at the conference, make sure you stop by the booth and say hello!

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of Website

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Nebraska Tourism Launches Mobile Version of 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 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.” visitors using mobile devices will be automatically routed to the new mobile site. It is also available through a link on the main 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 and click on the Take Us With You icon.

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