Let’s go! – by Stefanos Vasdekis A blog about entrepreneurship, the web2.0 world, and life.


Next time think twice

On one hand there is this super event that happens once a year at the city you love and you don't want to miss it for any reason. On the other hand the last months you're travelling very often for business and your girlfriend is not very happy as she stays alone at your apartment for long periods. You think of a solution that looks perfect: you'll go to the event and take your girlfriend with you. Of course, she is not interested at all in the event you'll join, but you think she can go shopping and sightseeing in the morning until the afternoon and spend the rest of the day together.

What sounded like a perfect plan turns out to be a disaster. Why? Well, at the event you met people with common interests with whom you had a lot to share. And the best time and place for networking was at the bar while drinking a beer with your new friends. You also got invitations for meetups that took place during the event and you also needed some time for meetings to discuss possible business opportunities. You had to say "no" a lot, so that you could spend time with your girlfriend as you had planned and like. But there were some networking opportunities that you just couldn't reject, so you did not spent all afternoons and nights with your girlfriend. You're also a cool guy, so your new friends want more of your time. You explained her and she said she understood. That doesn't mean that she was happy with it. And there is more. She also asked you not to attend the event from early morning so that you could have normal breakfast together or go together to a shop to give her your opinion on whatever she was thinking to buy. You're as passionate with your girlfriend as you are with your business and there is a morning you don't want to wake up and you are late to a meeting you had. Again you have to explain.

As an entrepreneur, you're by nature a creative guy. This time, no matter how much energy you had spent to figure out how to get the most out of your trip, you returned home unfulfilled. You feel that you have missed a lot from the event, at least you didn't enjoy it as much as the previous years, when you were fully living the event. Your girlfriend tells you this monument was full of couples and you know she is indirectly complaining for being neglected. And you didn't even think to write to your blog or run a people search for your new friends when you were returning to your hotel at night. So, you brought extra work home and the worst of all is that you learn from other blogs what happened at the event and you're wondering: where was I? You also find your relationship strangely is worse than before the trip.
After some thinking you conclude: "Next time I'll go alone! And when I'm back, or before, I'll travel somewhere else with my girl."

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2 very unique hotels in Berlin

This 5 star Radisson SAS Hotel in Berlin Mitte has in the lobby the world's largest cylindrical aquarium! It's 25 metres high with 2,500 tropical fish. Except for being interesting from an engineering view, it's also very relaxing to have an ocean view at the heart of Europe, and it's also very funny to see divers cleaning the aquarium while you're having breakfast. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Berlin. At the time I visited, the best deal was an offer they had at their own website: http://berlin.radissonsas.com/

Propeller Island City Lodge is an extraordinary hotel with 30 different rooms! All rooms and objects were created by the German artist Lars Stroschen. Much more appropriate than "hotel" is the designation "living in a work of art". "Unique" is meant literally, for the entirety of all furnishings and other objects are custom-made. When I visit I'd like to stay at room no15: http://www.propeller-island.de/rooms_neu/room_detail/15/index.php

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Smart online marketing for hotel websites

You know that internet is the right place to get more visitors to your hotel, but you don't know where to start from or you are not sure you're doing everything you can. Here is a checklist:

1) Search engine traffic
It's so difficult to rank in the top spots of free search engine results that many hotel owners don't even try. Well, at least you should consult a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist or invest some time reading to understand the basic principles of SEO and follow them. If free traffic comes, consider it as a bonus. In the meantime pay for search engine traffic (pay per click advertising - PPC) through Google's Adwords and Yahoo's Search Marketing programs. If you're short on time to learn about PPC, it will be cheaper for you to consult an Adwords professional to set up and run your campaign.

2) Big travel websites
You have already heard the big names of internet travel, like expedia and travelocity. You might also have booked your holidays with them. But have you tried to include your hotel in these websites? You need to spend some time to make sure that your hotel is listed in all well known travel websites, as they already have tons of traffic. Sometimes you will be able to submit your site directly to them and other times you will submit to another service that feeds the travel website. Here is a list:

3) Web 2.0 world
There is so much buzz about social networking websites that no hotel owner can afford to ignore this new world. First of all there are blogs and social bookmarking websites. If your hotel has something unique and bloggers find it, then enormous buzz is generated. See for example this hotel that was featured on the first page of digg.com, http://digg.com/design/Extraordinary_Hotel_with_30_Different_Rooms . Note that most likely your server will not be able to serve the traffic if your website is featured on the first page of digg (here is where the phrase "dugg to death" comes from), but this is not a reason to avoid buzz... People also use social bookmarking sites like http://del.icio.us for search, replacing search engines, so it's important to be listed under relative keywords ("tags" in web 2.0 world).

Then there are all these community websites, where people share experiences, ratings, photos, wishes regarding online travel. Check:
The good news about web 2.0 world is that it's free to get in. The bad news is that you cannot pay to get in... That means that you must have or do something worth mentioning. An average hotel with average service will never get web 2.0 buzz as there is no interesting story associated with it.

Then there are mashups, websites that search for best deals in many booking engines and combine the results with maps and reviews they get from other websites. An example is www.mobissimo.com and here is the list of hotel booking engines that it searches simultaneously:

Active Hotels, AsiaRooms, Bookings.net, Candlewood Suites, ChinaHotelz.com, Circus Circus, Conference Centers by Marriott, Country Inns, Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Select, Hotel Indigo, HotelClub, HotelPronto, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, LastMinuteTravel, LasVegas.com, Lodging.com, Marriott, Marriott Vacation Club, Mirage, OctopusTravel.com, Onetravel, OnlineHotels.com, Orbitz, Park Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson, RatesToGo, Renaissance Hotels, ReserveTravel, Residence Inn by Marriott, Skoosh, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Staybridge Suites, The Venetian, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, Travelguru, TravelWorm, venere.com.

Another service similar to mobissimo is www.kayak.com . These websites make it so much easier and faster to find the best deal that is no surprise they're getting more and more popular.

To sum up, the 3 smart moves to promote your hotel website online are:
a) Pay for clicks from search engines.
b) Make sure you're included in as many big directories as possible.
c) Explore the web 2.0 world's opportunities.

Good luck!


Filed under: Travel, Web 2.0 1 Comment