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
I've just paid for an air ticket 55% more because I didn't book it when I first saw it a few days ago. Why? Well, a phone rung and I left the reservation process to deal with an issue that seemed more urgent. Then something else happened that required my attention and so on... I've just also paid 130% more for my focus lenses as I run out of them and had to buy them from a local store instead of ordering them online from UK. Small examples that don't make a big difference at the end of the month.
But let's make an analogy. What if I can't work out a business deal or a strategy, because I'm too busy with day-to-day operations? I know it happens when I ask myself or John, my business partner, "how can we have not think of this before?â€ And this time the difference at the bottom line can be huge. I know of possible theoretic solutions for this common problem of entrepreneurs, but theories do not always work in the field, at least for me. So I prefer to look for real examples of entrepreneurs who manage to be as relaxed as it takes to make the right moves at the right times.
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)Â 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_RoomsÂ . 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.comÂ 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.comÂ . 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.
Green is definitely THE color of web 2.0. Let's find the hex codes of some web 2.0 sites:
Writely: #7D9408 and #94AF14
Wikispaces: #006600 and #DFF4CE
Riya: #5DA52F and #60D22D
Ma.gnolia: #9EB847 and #F3F3CC
Crazyegg: #8ABC00 and #9EC630
Script.aculo.us: #6D9040 and #91B85F
Inods: #04B100 and #EAFECE
Blummy: #3CB90B and #DDFFC9
Simpleticket: #7BD758 and #AFD14F
Ning: #339900 and #88CC55
Xufe: #BAEA26 and #9ECD32
Do you think their color will help them at all to start seeing green soon?
If you're looking to design a green website, you might also find these links helpful:
Netcocktail: Nice color combinations
Colorblender: Free online tool for color matching and palette design
Designmeltdown: All shades of green
Here is a chance to win a trip to Brussels and tell the Commission your experience when starting your company. EU Commission knows that something is wrong and is looking to listen to presentations based on actual experiences. That's why a workshop on "Business Start-up procedures" in Brussels on the 13th November 2006 is organized.
It's over 5 years since I started my first EU limited company in Greece. At the time, both me and my business partner we were university students and our legal advisor told us that the process to set up the company would take nearly a month and would cost around 3000 EUR (plus 18000 EUR required for capital). Luckily, university professors were on strike that period, so we decided to handle the red tape ourselves, as we badly wanted to get started asap. We finished everything in 7 days, running from one government office to another from early morning to closing time...
This is my last experience struggling to start a business, as for the next one a legal advisor did the work. So I don't think I can send a presentation to the Commission as my experience is out-of-date. They should definitely do something to simplify the process and lower the cost. They're supposed to be smart people, so I guess they can understand the importance of helping an entrepreneur at his first steps...
This is a nice day to start my personal blog! I count that it took me over 10 years since I was first online to write a personal blog. I guess this must be a record of some kind
My biz partner John also started his blog today.