10 Free Places to add your Hotel or Hostel Website Online

Want to increase your exposure online? Visit these 10 free places to list your hostel online and get additional exposure on the Internet:

  1. World66.com
  2. Wikitravel.org
  3. Yelp.com (USA)
  4. Google Local
  5. Yahoo Local
  6. Yahoo Travel — either find your hostel in the listings and look for an edit link or go to the home page and look for the suggest a hotel link at the bottom of the page.
  7. HostelLinks.com
  8. HostelGuide.de
  9. Backpackers-planet.com
  10. HostelManagement.com

How to Build a Successful Hotel Website

Doing business in the 21st century will eventually require every hotel or bed and breakfast to have a website in one form or another. Whether your site is interactive or simply informational, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re on the right track to creating a successful web presence.

1. Perform a Business Analysis

What is a business analysis? Simply put, review your business requirements and your objectives. What do you want to accomplish? How does your website fit into your overall business plan?

2. Perform some research.

Research your competition and other hotel websites. See what kind of competition is out there. What kind of marketing does your competition engage in? Take a look at how the current market works; develop a list of pros and cons about your competition and then make your web presence work better.

3. Develop a concept and a design.

Finally time for the creative stuff! This involves the selection of specific content, the layout of the site structure and navigation and the overall “look and feel” of your website. Remember to pay special attention to your navigational structure. If visitors can’t navigate your website or feel lost when doing so, your “pretty” site will have been a waste of time; don’t go there, keep the navigation simple and for SEO purposes, make sure your navigation is text based. Many hotel websites today feature Flash-driven introductions. Don’t use these unless you fell it’s absolutely necessary. These flash introductions usually take some time to load in browsers. Guests will quickly become bored with this, and simply bypass your site.

4. Develop your website.

When considering which technology to develop your website, think cutting edge technology, not bleeding edge. Make sure the technology you use, such as ASP, PHP, HTML, CSS, will be useful for the next three to five years. An SEO friendly CMS will utilize real URLs, not strange looking query strings with lots of strange characters and question marks. Search engines despise query strings and rank these site accordingly.

5. Choose a host provider and implement your website.

When deciding on a host provider, make sure the host is not only reputable, but has been in business long enough that you can be sure they will be in business next year. Also, ask about site uptime. If your site is down for any reason, this will not only affect your potential and current customers, but the search engines as well. If the search engines decide on a given day to spider your site and it is unavailable, it could cost you your rank.

6. Promote and market your website.

Register your site with the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Initiate other marketing activities such as an email blasts to prospective customers. Consider “Pay per Click” advertising with the major search engines and don’t forget about a long term SEO campaign to drive targeted traffic to your site.

7. Finally, maintain your website.

Probably the most important long term step is continuing to provide current and relevant information on your website. Keep your site content current to encourage return visitors and give them something to return for! Related to SEO, search engines just LOVE sites which provide new content on a regular basis and rank such websites accordingly.

Overall, remember, your website is not just a marketing tool, it’s a business tool, and it should be generating a constant flow of reservations from guests, and therefore a revenue stream for your business.


New Feature – Add As Many Photos as you Want on the Web

Instant World Booking is working hard to continue to innovate and lead online booking technology around the globe. Our latest innovation is a simple one, but unmatched elsewhere for online reservation services.

Hotels and hostels who advertise on our network can now upload an unlimited number of photos to their listing. You heard right — Unlimited! This feature is free, and as always, maintaining a listing with the Instant World Booking is free.

So what does this mean exactly. We have a again pushed above the service level of competing booking services. Look at typical hotel pages on most services. You’ll see maybe 6 or 7 of a property’s best photos, in a small image barely larger than a thumbnail. This does very little to sell your rooms and beds.

If you’ve been advertising your hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast on the web for a while, you know that photos sell rooms! And, the more photos you have the better. Don’t include just photos of your guestrooms, but of all areas of your property. Give a real sense of what it’s like to stay in your hotel. And what about your environment? Include photos of the surrounding neighborhood and views from your property. This really sells rooms.

To add your photos, simply sign in to your listing at Instant World Booking, and proceed to the MANAGE PHOTOS page. You can upload an unlimited number of images. And, you can submit images as large as 8MB! No more re-sizing and touching up your photos. Our enhanced system will handle that for you. As a bonus, don’t worry about the format of your pictures, you can now submit JPEG/JPG, PNG, and GIF images.

So get online today, and add your photos. Remember, good photos increase reservations. If it’s been awhile since you’ve refreshed your pics, get your camera out, and start taking new photos.

As always, Instant World Booking looks forward to seeing you on the web. To get listed with our network, simply go to:

http://www.instantworldbooking.com/listings/add_listing.php


How To Increase Bookings with Online Advertising

If you list your hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast with Instant World Booking, or other online booking agencies, here is some advice for maximizing your reservation potential:

1) Ensure your listing is up to date and accurate. Include as much information as possible, not only about your property, but also about local attractions, restaurants, etc.

2) Make sure to spell-check your listing. Incorrect spelling signals to guests that the property is not professionally maintained.

3) Add photos. Listings with photos gain at least 4x more traffic than those without photos. Make sure your photos are large and complement your property and location.

4) Add a complete calendar of availability. Your calendar is important, since guests prefer instant booking over online requests. Make sure you have complete availability online, and at least 6-9 months of availability.

5) Include an accurate street address on your listing, as well as local directions. Guests will not book properties that they can’t easily find.

6) Use Instant World Booking’s low-cost options for accepting reservations on YOUR OWN website.

Remember, it can take several weeks to several months for Google and other leading search engines to effectively index your page on our network of sites. Instant World Booking has proven to be very successful in gaining top search engine rankings for its listed lodging partners. One last reason it is very important to use the instant booking method is that we use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to market your property on Google and other sites. Effectively use of a PPC campaign can cost you hundreds of US dollars. However, for our partners who use instant booking, we advertise your property in PPC campaigns for free.

One last note, persistence and patience is the key to success. Online marketing is “collective”. This means it is more effective to advertise your property on 2 services than 1. Persistent online presence is necessary to achieve online name (brand) recognition, and to gain higher search rankings for pages containing your property’s name. Advertising with Instant World Booking is an extremely valuable, and free, method of increasing your online presence.


Hotel Website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) For Beginners

At Instant World Booking, our goal is to enhance the business and profitability of our hotel and hostel lodging partners. There’s no question a hotel’s website is at the core of any marketing strategy in tourism.

As a small hotel or hostel owner, SEO, or search engine optimization, is the most important element in building a successful online presence. Most people online have heard the term SEO, but it remains a mysterious process to many. One of the reasons SEO is so mysterious is that it can be a complicated process and search engines are constantly changing the way they rank websites.

If you have limited time and resources to devote to marketing your website, you should at minimum concentrate on Google. Google has set the standard for technology in search engine algorithms that can track the relevancy of a website to its content and SEO efforts.

For beginners to SEO, many think the only SEO tool they need is keyword density. While keywords are important, they are not the only means to an end. Back linking is another important component. While back linking remains one of the most successful ways to get your site to rank high on the search engines, it also has evolved. The type of link is important, so that search engines do not penalize a site for bad incoming links.

The term “back link” refers to an external link on another site that points to yours. In the past any link from another site would have a positive impact on your site by the search engines. Because there were so many gimmicks developed in the last few years to aggregate large numbers of back links, such as link farms, and irrelevant reciprocal linking, Google began to develop a way to weed out links that were purchased, or had little meaning or relevancy.

Even though back linking is used to manipulate search engine popularity there are many very legitimate reasons for using the system of back linking. Finding web sites that have a common interest to your own who are willing to place your link on their site can get you extra exposure. So, look for websites of local tour operators, transportation companies, restaurants, tourist attractions, etc., and see if they will place a link to your website on their own. When their visitors come to their site they will see your link and likely visit your site as well. Search engines work in somewhat the same manner.

Google works so hard to be sure that back links are really quality links, and not manufactured links. Your hotel or hostel website will get higher ranking on a search engine for a number of truly appropriate back linking partnerships. However, if the sites linking to you do not share any common information services Google will penalize you for the link. Google may even devalue your website if the site that links to you is considered of bad quality. Bottom line, it is important who you choose to link to, and also who links to you.

Probably the best way to obtain a back link to your site is through anchor text. That is when you have another website with content that is relevant to your own including your site in the actual content of their site with a hyperlink inside the text. These back links are valued much higher than a simple banner link as long as they appear in the text in a way that has a meaningful association with the content of the article. There are several ways to get such back links.

Providing articles about your location, city, or area tourist attractions to content sites with your link built into the article is one method. Also, if you write compelling content on your website, there is a good chance someone else with a similar site may wish to point it out on their own. They may put a link on their site back to yours. You may not even realize they are doing it unless they tell you about it. This is one of the main reasons it is important to keep an eye on who is back linking to you. While the majority of those types of links are wonderful and you should thank the site owner for their inclusion, if you feel the site that is linking to you does not meet your standards, have similar information, or the content is not relevant to your site you should definitely ask them to remove your link.

Back linking is an extremely important aspect of SEO development, which in turn is very important to marketing your hotel or hostel on the internet. It is therefore something you need to understand well in order to implement properly. There are many secrets and mysteries in the SEO world that diligent study can clear up. Keeping your hotel website in a good position with the search engines will ensure a vital and profitable future for your hotel’s online business.


Top 10 Reasons InstantWorldBooking.com Outperforms other Online Booking Engines

Why is InstantWorldBooking.com better for online booking and marketing your property? The answer is simple. We bring more features, better technology, and lower costs than any competing provider.

It is widely known that a correctly executed online booking and marketing strategy can increase a lodging’s profit margin by at least 20% in the first year. Here are the top ways Instant World Booking helps you achieve your income goals.

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1) Lowest Cost

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Cost is always the primary concern when selecting online marketing services. You already know some of the big names in online booking for B&B’s, hostels, and hotels. One of the biggest online providers for budget properties charges 10% commission. Others charge even more. For example, in the bed and breakfast market one big provider charges 25% commission, plus an annual fee ranging from $99 up to over $500 annually. Stop overpaying for online booking and marketing.

Instant World Booking commissions start at only 8%. There are no membership fees.

What about costs for a booking engine on your website? Again, one of the biggest budget providers charges you 10% for one booking each day, and 2.5% thereafter. Your cost is therefore between 2.5% – 10%. Two other major players in this market charge 5% and 9% respectively. In the bed and breakfast market, the biggest provider charges as much as 30% commission, arguing that 70% of any booking is better than no booking at all. You already know who these players are. Stop overpaying for booking engines on your website.

Instant World Booking commissions start at only 1.9% for a fully integrated booking engine on your website.

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2) Accept Credit Cards Online

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Here’s a little know fact about online booking services. Of all the providers mentioned, only Instant World Booking can set you up to accept credit cards from your own website. Of course, we’re not naming names. If you think you have a better arrangement at a better price from another provider, just call us. We’ll be happy to discuss how our integrated booking and credit card collection service is not available anywhere else. And, our integrated booking engine will cost you less than if you try to acquire credit card services yourself. No matter what region or country your property is in, you can accept credit cards and online bookings from your own website today.

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3) Cancellation & No-show Protection for your Booking Engine

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In combination with a customized booking engine on you own website, Instant World Booking offers full no-show and cancellation protection for your reservations. This means, if a guest cancels or fails to arrive, you still receive payments according to a cancellation policy that you specify. This service is so advanced that no other provider dares to offer it. No more worries about no-shows or late cancellations.

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4) Pay-per-Click Advertising

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We understand that getting your property to the top of search engine rankings is a priority. Organic search rankings are not enough any more. You need pay-per-click advertising to really bring in guests on the internet. When you use our instant booking service, Instant World Booking advertises your specific property name in Google pay-per-click campaigns. To set up a Google pay-per-click campaign can cost you hundreds and even thousands of dollars each year.

This is a value that cannot be matched elsewhere. You pay nothing to list with Instant World Booking. Instant World Booking then develops and maintains a Google pay-per-click advertising campaign for your property that would cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Even if you never received a booking, the public relations value of having your property advertised at the top of Google search pages has an intrinsic value that you could never achieve on your own without paying large sums. Again, no other competing provider offers this service.

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5) Affiliate Programs

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Instant World Booking offers a varied array of affiliate programs, arguably the most diverse set of affiliate options available today. For example, we offer affiliate programs for online booking directories, individual hotels, and other tourism websites. Our affiliate programs are fully customizable and can be fine-tuned to any online offering.

We lead in online innovation. We recently introduced our Auto-Affiliate Program, the first program capable of being automatically set up in seconds on your website, with virtually no requirement for sign-ups or registrations.

As an added benefit, our Auto-Affiliate Program pays an unprecedented 25% of earnings to the affiliate partner.

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6) Traveler Reviews

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InstantWorldBooking.com features one of the newest and most intuitive online review systems for guest travelers. Our ratings system includes a proprietary algorithm for weighting review components whether it be for location, guest services, dining options, etc. This results in a fairer basis for ranking properties based on guest satisfaction.

As an added bonus, if you use Instant World Booking as your booking engine for your website, you can also feature your guest reviews on your own website.

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7) Exposure and Traffic

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When you list your property for free with Instant World Booking, you get the benefit of simultaneously advertising on several of our highly targeted web portals. For hostels and budget lodging, HostelTraveler.com is a leading brand recognized worldwide. Similarly, for bed and breakfasts and inns, BedBreakfastTraveler.com is our premier B&B brand. We also include regional, country, and city sites in 6 continents, which span over 3 dozen web portals. We’re adding new websites every year.

Our unique blend of regional and global internet branding is a strategy which you cannot attain individually with you own website, or with any competing online provider.

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8 ) Customer Service

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Internet firms offer varying degrees of customer service for their hotel partners. At InstantWorldBooking.com, we support our partners through the listing process. Regardless of what assistance you need in getting set up, we can assist you through the whole process. For example, if you’ve never used instant booking before or worked with an online availability calendar, we’ll help you every step of the way in getting it set up. Other services leave you to contend with online help screens.

Another service we provide which no other online booking engine provides are periodic notifications that help you keep your calendar up to date. We even let you know what types of accommodation guests are looking for, so you may best customize your availability calendar to match guests’ needs.

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9) 2 Great Methods for Online Booking

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Instant World Booking has published a lot of information about the benefits of using true instant booking on your website or on marketing sites. In fact, instant booking is a must if you wish to maximize your online capability to attract guests. Nevertheless, there are properties who for various reasons wish to use “request-basis” reservations. For those who require online requests, and not instant confirmation, we offer one of the most efficient and automated processes for accepting request-basis reservations.

No competing service offers a highly automated process for offering both instant bookings and request-basis bookings.

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10) Free Online Marketing Strategy Consultation

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A well-executed online marketing strategy, including online booking capability, is now known to be able to increase a tourist accommodation’s profits by at least 20% in the first year. Instant World Booking is a recognized leader in online technology and strategy. Whether you are a novice just new to the internet, or you currently use a variety of online services to publicize your property, we can help you develop the right strategy. The correct approach for your accommodation can be a low cost, yet high impact strategy, carefully implemented.

We offer any tourist accommodation that is new to our services a free consultation by telephone to help you develop the right online marketing strategy for your property. If you’re considering switching from another service, or looking to try online marketing for the first time, a one-half hour consultation, without cost or obligation, can change the way you think about marketing permanently.

For your free strategy consultation, please call 1.941.866.0010 today, or send an email to info@instantworldbooking.com.

Even if you have no intention of changing your current provider or approach, why not call us to find out how we can beat your current economics.

Click Here to add your listing today.


Top 6 Questions to Ask Before Installing a Booking Engine on Your Website

1) Can you collect more than 10% deposit online, or as much as 100% of the entire reservation?

2) Are bookings confirmed automatically online, or is manual review or intervention required?

3) Do you have no-show and cancellation protection?

4) Can you avoid having to obtain your own costly merchant account, and having to contend with chargebacks?

5) Do you have free setup, no support costs, no monthly fees, and no software upgrades?

6) If yes for all the above, is your total cost no higher than 5% of total reservation value?

The answer to each of these questions should be YES.

There is a wide array of booking engines and online marketing tools available today for hotels and hostels. Educate yourself first, and be smart with your questions, and smart with your decisions. Remember that any service looking to install software on your desktop computers are vestiges of 1980’s-style travel industry technology. To succeed in the competitive tourism industry of the new millenium, you need to purchase 21st century technology, and make sure you’re only paying 21st century costs. Remember that there’s more to taking bookings online than making the sale. You need to be able to accept credit cards online, and also ward off fraudulent activity with no-show and cancellation protection.

Read more about the latest booking engines for your hotel or hostel website.


Should you Affiliate? – How Affiliate Programs Can Increase Profitability of your Hotel Website

Should you affiliate? The short answer is yes. But, let’s start by explaining what affiliating means. As a small hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast owner, you should not fear affiliation. No, it does not mean that you are becoming business partners with someone, or selling shares in your lodging business.

Affiliation in internet-parlance simply means that you join programs hosted by other web-based businesses to place links on your website. The links earn you money. Like advertising, these affiliate links direct your guests to pages where they can purchase products or services. The links track the clicks that you refer, and you earn a percentage of sales that you send to the affiliate company.

So, why should you affiliate? As a hotel or B&B owner, you can easily earn enough income through affiliate links to pay for the entire cost of hosting your online presence, your website, domain, email hosting, etc. Why not run your online marketing presence for free. But, more than just earning a residual income, affiliate links can increase the popularity and traffic to your website. This is the number one goal of online marketing. How does affiliation increase the popularity of your site? By adding affiliate program links to your website of complementary products and services, you increase the interest-level and content of your website. Visitors will be drawn increasingly to your website if they have more interesting content to read and valuable services or products to explore and purchase.

So, if you run a hotel or hostel website, add affiliate links offering car rentals in your city, rail passenger tickets, airline tickets, travel guide books, city tours, etc. See how it works? Your guests will not only return to your website to check out your rooms, accommodations, and services. They’ll return to your website, because they know they can find these other much-needed services there.

So how do you get started with affiliate programs? Select the online company you wish to affiliate with. You’ll most likely find a link on their homepage on “affiliate programs” or “how to work with us”. For example, if you wish to host affiliate links to sell travel guides for your city or country, check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble’s websites. Most out of town travelers to your city will be carrying a travel guide when they arrive. So, why not be the one who sold it to them?

Instant World Booking also offers an array of flexible affiliate programs. Their newest innovation, called the Auto-Affiliate Program, is new to the internet, and likely to cause a stir among company’s who affiliate. It’s called the Auto-Affiliate program because it’s the simplest affiliate program developed to date, and doesn’t require any lengthy sign-ups or online forms to complete in order to get started. You simply add some simple, pre-defined link code to your homepage, and your finished setting up. Instant World Booking then contacts you be email as you begin generating clicks and income. The other reason the Auto-Affiliate program is revolutionary is that you earn 25% of revenues on clicks you refer. This is the highest available today, which is astounding, considering how easy it is to set up. The vast majority of affiliate programs offered today earn just 5% – 15% of revenues produced.

On a slightly more controversial note, should you affiliate with companies that offer competing services to your own? I already said that you should affiliate with companies offering complementary services, but what about competing services? Well, you would certainly not want to affiliate in such a way that would lead guests directly to book at your neighboring competitors. But, affiliating with regional or global reservation services can actually enhance your business. Think of it this way. If a potential guest has already found your website, and is browsing your service offerings, they will still consider booking with you, even if they have the option of browsing alternative hotels or B&Bs across your region. Most travelers will appreciate your foresight in offering the ability to book lodging across your region, especially if they’re traveling from city to city during their trip. The key to clinching the booking is to offer instant booking capability right from your website, but that’s a topic for another blog article. Bottom line, offering affiliate links to online reservation services will not hurt your business, and marginally increase your profits.

To recap, here are the do’s and don’ts of offering affiliate links on your hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast website:

  • Do affiliate with websites offering complementary services or products.
  • Do seek affiliate programs offering the highest share of revenues.
  • Do seek affiliate programs that offer easy set up and tracking.
  • Don’t affiliate with websites offering un-related services or products to your own. This will make your website appear disorganized.
  • Don’t consider affiliating with more complex methods than simple links, unless you’re using your website to provide a virtual storefront.

Email Do’s and Dont’s for Your Business – How Email Can Grow or Kill Your Online Marketing

As we begin this new blog, we’ve committed to bringing you the best advice on how to market your hotel, hostel, or B&B online. We thought it would be appropriate to start with a very basic tool that everyone knows about, almost everyone uses, but only some use properly. Introducing … EMAIL for your lodging business.

Email, or e-mail as some dictionaries prefer, is ubiquitous. After all, this is the 21st century, and we’re talking about last century’s technology. Think of the automobile, a late 19th century invention. Well, how many of us were driving a Model T Ford in the last ten years. This is the concept. Technologies advance, and like the automobile, so has Email.

For hotel and lodging technology, Email can practically make or break your business. But, Email is really simple technology, right? Well, in many aspects, yes. But knowing how to use Email to advance your business, especially your online marketing, is really key. If you follow the advice in this article when using Email, you will make surprisingly great strides in increasing your profitable use of online technology.

Here are some BIG Don’ts if you use Email for your small hotel, hostel or bed and breakfast:

  1. Never use challenge/response spam filters for email addresses you use to promote your business. This includes email addresses that you advertise on your website for guests or prospective customers to contact, as well as emails you submit for online services, like booking services. We’re not saying that spam is not a problem, or that you should ignore it. But, consider what a challenge/response spam filter does. Every time someone new emails you, they receive an automated message requiring them to go to a specific webpage and type a code on the page. Unless they successfully complete this step, you never receive their email. Now consider that guests are finding your website, and emailing you to make reservations (in other words, unsolicited people are contacting you with the voluntary intention to pay you money). Your system then sends them an automated message requiring them to complete some basic copying and typing exercise. You are guaranteed to lose interest from at least 50% of the people who are trying to contact you, and 25% never receive your automated message due to their own spam filters. Of those that receive your automated message, most will just ignore it and move on to book at your competitor’s lodging. So here’s the basic rule on spam filters: use simple spam fighting tools that will not discard your emails or require senders to complete challenge-responses. The best method is to have your filter send suspected spam to a separate folder which you can periodically scan for any important missed mail. This may only take minutes a week, but can save you a tremendous amount of lost business. Oh, and one final tip. Don’t use emails with challenge/response filters when you join online booking services or other online marketing services. The whole process will break down as soon as the service’s system tries to send you important notifications about your membership, including passwords, instructions, etc.
  1. Never use free email services (e.g., hotmail, yahoo, gmail, aol, msn, et. al.) for your business’ primary online identity. Nothing shouts “amateur” or “unprofessional” louder than when a guest or business partner receives an email from joes_BandB@aol.com or marys_hotel@hotmail.com. Most travelers searching for travel and tourism online have become quite savvy. When a guest or business partner emails you about how your payments work, or potentially sending you money as a deposit, they want to know that you have the credibility and expertise to handle the transaction. Guests will not want to send money to someone who identifies themself as joes_BandB@aol.com. They will also be questioning how professional or well-run your establishment is, if your email communication is not up to the most professional standards. Presumably, you have a website to advertise your property. It’s best if your website has a private domain (e.g., http://www.yourdomain dot com). If so, then the appropriate email to use will look something like info@yourdomain.com. The additional cost of hosting email on your private domain is minimal.
  2. Don’t send confidential personal information in email. This especially includes guest credit card information. While the risk of fraud from some hacker intercepting your emails is relatively low, your guests will appreciate your high security standards when dealing with their personal information. Again, your standards and courtesy when dealing with online communications will reflect your guests’ opinions of how well you run your hotel, hostel, or B&B. Ignoring guest privacy and security when sending or replying to emails, and you are likely to make some of your patrons very upset. As a tip, if you find yourself in the situation of absolutely needing to send a credit card number by email, simply split the number in two parts, and send two emails. This will provide an adequate level of security for your recipient.
  3. Don’t use autoresponders. Unless you have to direct senders of email to an alternate means of communication, or tell them that you will not be able to respond to their email in a timely fashion, autoresponders should not be used. This means don’t use autoresponders like the ones that tell your guests that you’ll get back to them soon, or will read their email within 24 hours. With the ubiquitous nature of email today, it is practically understood that, if you use email for your business, you will be reading it and responding soon. If you do not, the sender will be communicating sooner with your competitors, and you’ll lose their business anyway. Autoresponders are also likely to be eaten by the sender’s spam filter, and may even get your email address blocked by their email system. By removing your autoresponders, you will also help reduce the overabundance of unnecessary electronic transmissions around the globe, and likely contribute to a greener Earth. Think of it this way: if an emailer wants to absolutely know that you have read their email, then they will use the return-receipt option when they click send.
  4. Never use slang or crude language in an email. Like everyone else, you’re going to encounter some not so pleasant discourses on email. Just think of that disgruntled guest. The one who could never be satisfied. Some people just need to complain about everything. Remember to always maintain composure when writing emails, and pay attention to cultural diversity. Avoid responding to threats or profane communications. An email is a written record that can be stored indefinitely, and transmitted effortlessly to a multitude of recipients.

And, now some Do’s to consider to enhance your business with Email:

  1. Do use automatic signatures. An email signature is an automatic footer that will be used on all email you send. When you reply to guests and business partners, you can include your name, address, phone numbers, and some alternate means of communications. This is an unbelievably simple yet effective way to save time, and give your patrons alternate means of communicating with you. As a tip, consider including a link in your email signatures to your online booking page. This will maximize your opportunities for new reservations.
  2. Do use private domain emails. After reading point #2 under Email Don’ts, you know that your email identity goes a long way in establishing your professional credibility. Always use private domains to host your email (e.g., like info@yourdomain.com). This will speak volumes to your email recipients, that you had the foresight and knowledge to spend the $50.00 or so per year that it might cost to host private domain email for your business.
  3. Do use spam filtering tools, but, use them wisely. As we already said, spam is a problem no one can ignore. But, if you’re going to use spam fighting technology, make sure you understand how it works. Otherwise, you’re better off turning it off altogether. Your goal is to use Email wisely to enhance and grow your business online. This means you don’t want to miss out on 50% of the prospective business that comes your way through email. Use spam filters blindly, and your will lose that 50%. We recommend using a decent spam filter on a “medium” setting. This means that you will block out most of the obvious spam, while not blocking too much desired email. Also make sure your spam filter simply transfers suspected spam into a special folder, and doesn’t delete it. This way you can spend a few minutes each week scanning your spam folder, and pulling out the important emails you missed, while discarding the rest. Again, don’t obsess over every email you receive or lose as spam. Email is supposed to make your life easier, not more difficult.
  4. Do advertise your email address on your website, but not in simple anchor tags. What does this mean? We’re not trying to get too technical on you. After all, advertising an email address on your website is basic Marketing 101. But, consult your webmaster about the smartest way to display your email address. Simple anchor tags (in HTML parlance) can attract just as much spam as legitimate business enquiries. There are some simple ways to publish your email address on your website (e.g., using simple javascript code), that will make your email much more invisible to spammers.

Whether you operate a hotel, youth hostel, or bed and breakfast, if you practise these simple tips when using Email for your business, you are likely to experience a growth in your online marketing efforts. This translates to an easy increase in profits from a relatively simple and low-cost technology.

For more tips and services for your online marketing effort, check out www.InstantWorldBooking.com.

Want to make sure you’re able to receive emails from important senders? Check out how to add email addresses to your Safe Senders List.