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A Likely TripAdvisor Connect Scenario

Let’s cut through all the noise of the upcoming TripAdvisor Connect announcement with a real life example of a likely TripAdvisor Connect scenario. In last week’s post, Rolling Out TripAdvisor Connect, we dissected the FAQ posted by Trip Advisor and speculated a bit on what’s to come based on what industry insiders are discussing. What will it all mean for you?  Today, let’s dig into the details.ROI of TripAdvisor Connect

I was recently negotiating with one of TripAdvisor’s sale team while working on a client’s behalf. They kindly provided the past year’s data for the hotel. The scenario below is set-up using an approximation of that data for a feasibility study on implementing a TripAdvisor Connect campaign. So even though this article is speculative, it is based on actual data provided by TripAdvisor for a small independent hotel.

The TripAdvisor ROI Calculator reports this 10-room hotel had approximately 70,000 Pageviews annually on its Trip Advisor page and experienced an estimated click-through rate (CTR) of 5%, which is 3500. From the CTR, TripAdvisor derives the expected conversion rate (5% again) predicting the hotel will end up with 175 in annual bookings from their site. Sounds good, eh?

Each TripAdvisor Business Listing subscription is about $9-1,000 usd per year.

With the new TripAdvisor Connect program, the CPC to capitalize on all of these click-throughs, is estimated to be about $2-3 per click (industry estimate from Milespartnership.com). We’ll use $2.50 each for today’s calculation. But remember the OTAs are also competing for this position, so it may actually become quite a bit higher.

ROI TripAdvisor Connect

Based on the last year’s numbers the CPC campaign would use an annual budget of $8,750.00. The business listing and CPC come to an approximate total spend of $9,750.00 and would earn an annual gross total of $31,500 (based on a $90 per night room with 2 nights each on average) for the hotel.

The TripAdvisor take is roughly ONE-THIRD of gross sales ($9,750 is 30.95 percent of $31,500). Since a large part of the click-throughs last year went to OTAs and this new tool was invented to ‘even that playing field’ a shift could occur and that number may increase substantially. And remember, this cost does not factor in website upgrades, pass-along costs from your IBE provider, etc.

It’s important to note that this small hotel actually tracked their conversions from TripAdvisor and realized only 23 bookings, not 175, as projected by TripAdvisor. That equated to about $4140 in actual sales.

What are your TripAdvisor numbers? Is your system able to track where your leads come from?  If not, do you track them manually? How much would you be willing to pay for the new CPC campaign tool from TripAdvisor? Please share your anticipated results or thoughts on this trending subject below in the comment area.

This is the second of a four-part series on the expectations of Trip Advisor Connect brought to you by Social Energizer, Independent Hotel & Lodging Marketing and Operations Integration Advisors. There’s a lot to sort out in today’s online hotel world, let us help you plan your course!

Give us a call today!

Next week I will review and compare the various Internet Booking Engine offerings. If you’re not onboard with the new TA Connect service, our final post of the series will offer ideas on positioning your property to minimize the disadvantages this may bring to the lodging industry.

5 Stages of Choosing Travel

The travel outlook is positive, and with the rise of mobile, social and video behaviors, we are now seeing seeing travelers move through five key stages of travel. Here are some insights within each stage:
  • Dreaming: 68% of business travelers watch travel-related online videos. Among them, 68% are thinking about a trip.
  • Planning: The average traveler visits ~22 travel related sites during 9.5 research sessions prior to booking.
  • Booking: 37% of leisure travelers report that the internet prompted them to book, up from 28% two years ago.
  • Experiencing: 70% of business travelers check into their flights/hotel with their mobile device. Almost 1 in 4 hotel queries come from a mobile phone.
  • Sharing: About 1 in 3 business travelers have posted reviews online of places they’ve been.

Who Should Be Your Next ‘Go To’ Employee?

“So I have a website –now what?” That is the question I often get when a client is asking why the website they either made themselves or ‘had a friend’ design isn’t getting any results. And I mean it –ANY RESULTS. So many small business owners are not getting the point. A website is only one piece of the online marketing puzzle but its potential to help your business is the secret to solving that puzzle. Your website is not the place to CHEAP OUT.
INTERNETS: ON/OFFphoto © 2005 mikael altemark | more info (via: Wylio)

Many entrepreneurial business people consider a website an afterthought and as not really that important to the success of their company. They are quickly being proven wrong. Inbound marketing which starts with having a website, is the most affordable method of marketing your business and is most likely to get you the best results. Using a pull strategy in Inbound, a.k.a. Online Marketing, you interact with people through many social media networks, then pull them into your online business realm via a website or social media platform specific to your business.

What a website isn’t

It should not be a static online brochure, a website that after you’ve given people your web address they can pull it up and… what? Gawk at it? Exclaim of its beauty? See all the ‘stuff’ you’re trying to sell? It should DO more than that.

So what should a website do for a business?

Kirt is beaming with new careerphoto © 2011 www.lancashire.gov.uk | more info (via: Wylio)

Every smart or lucky business has a ‘go to’ employee. Someone that takes on every challenge, is your best advocate, is the warehouse of much of your companys’ knowledge. That ‘go to’ employee, in this case, is your website and it’s vital that you prepare it for the challenge it is about to face. It will provide a foundation that you can use to venture into the social media network. This foundation should have SEO capabilities for every single thing that you publish. It should have reporting capabilities both short term and long term. It should nurture your leads or in other words help you convince consumers to buy or at least engage with your business. It should allow you to work the way you want to –either on a day-to-day basis or with scheduling far into the future. It should allow you and your business to grow.

What are the other pieces of this Internet puzzle?

“Build it and they will come” strategy may work for big brands like Disney, but if you have a small business, how are people going to find you? You need to chart out ‘how’ that is going to happen. Where are your potential customers now –online or off? What would make them visit you online –and keep them coming back? What would entice them into buying your offering?

Social Media sites

Sure, there is Facebook and it is not to be overlooked. But more specifically, there are social media sites that let you, as a small business owner, narrow your efforts to get closer to your niche. If you’re selling craft or gift items, then Esty.com may allow you the larger, targeted audience your business needs to sell successfully. For service companies, like automotive service or beauty salons, I like Yelp! Yelp! Is a review site for professional services offered in your area. Let your customers do the talking for you. That is far more powerful than tooting your own horn. For the travel industry, Trip Advisor is fast becoming the most respected of online travel sources because of the use of customer reviews.

Don’t forget email

internet explorerphoto © 2010 Sean MacEntee | more info (via: Wylio)

It’s not really glamorous, but small business owners should not forget email. Email offers a one-to-one relationship with your client and is of high value in the world of marketing, do not under-estimate its power. Plus, it’s affordable. Have you been collecting business cards for years and just use them to draw for a free dinner? It’s time to up the ante. Keep collecting those cards, but then start an email campaign that first gets them to ‘approve’ of you sending them these email messages from time to time. This would be called the ‘opt-in’. Then provides them periodic updates and offers to keep them interested and directly relating to your business over a period of time. Include links to your website that provides even more incentives and more info. An extra reason for keeping a solid email list is that it is an actual business asset. Think of it as an investment into your businesses future. –One more thing about email. Do you have your website address and social media handles at the bottom of your email signature? No? Do it today! It is a vital part of branding your business and should not be overlooked.

Integrate it!

With today’s popular mantra of “online marketing is where marketing is at”, one thing that seems to get overlooked, and is critical, is the integration of ALL your marketing efforts. On –AND Off line. Integration helps you get every bang for every buck. TV Advertising? Add in your web page. If you are planning on having a booth at a local farm market, be sure you have a brochure or business card that has your website on it –and maybe even add in how people may find extra value by looking your business up online.

Better yet, design a campaign that integrates some of the traditional advertising that you have done in the past and uses the website as a critical piece that drives excitement. Maybe it’s a TV campaign for a free prize that takes entries via your Facebook page, thus resulting in a large audience that ‘likes’ your site.

There are so many options and some, frankly, work better than others. Give us a call today, we’ll help you hone in on the audience you need and plan a strategy that will pull them to your business.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

In addition to building great dynamic websites, we do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

The Secret is in Breaking the Chicken and Egg Problem

I found this BNET blog article interesting. BNET interviewed Ceriac Roeding of Shopkick and he discussed the ‘Catch 22’ facing many entrepreneurs. How do you establish that first base of business? Credibility struggles with success. You have to make someone actually BELIEVE. He cited examples he learned through his startup, Shopkick. These examples are transferable to many small business situations. They will even help me as I continue to establish my first year’s ‘base of business clients’ and as I help some of my small business clients address this same issue. I think its good stuff and I hope you like it.

Here is the BNET article below, visit BNET for more depth on this article:

“Too many entrepreneurs get caught in the age-old chicken and egg problem.”

“If you had consumers using your app, then you could get the first retail partner. If you had retail partners, Cyriac Rodeing of Shopkickthen you could get consumers to use your app. If you had funding, you could build a team and breakthrough technology. If you had a team and breakthrough technology, then you could get funding.  And so on, and so on forever, at every critical moment. The art of the entrepreneur is to break through that – to find ways to “crack” the chicken and egg problem.

Never believe someone who says one depends on the other. As an entrepreneur, you have to believe so fully in your vision that you can convince others to agree. Find a way through, get the first hook, find a few consumers or find a way to the top of a partner and convince them the world is changing, and you can help them change with it.

Seem like too much, too quickly? Select the one piece that would set off the domino effect in the fastest and most furious way, and focus on that.  Even if it is the hardest piece to get.

With Shopkick, that was getting the first retail partner. With a large retailer, funding from a top VC would follow, and from that, a team, and from that, technology. How to get that first piece? Find ways to get to the very top of the partner quickly, and explain how your idea can address their major challenges. It must be so compelling, have so little downside, and so much upside that there is no other option but to say yes.

And then you go in parallel and try that at 10 potential partners, not one, and create a “rush” effect. And then hold on, because things go big very quickly once you crack that problem.”

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

In addition to building great active websites, we do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Dynamic Websites and What They Mean For Your Small Business

There are a lot of people out there suggesting that a small business owner can create their website overnight. And you can. But will it do what you want it to do?
A is for Accessphoto © 2007 Ben Zvan | more info (via: Wylio)

What exactly do you want it to do? Are you happy with a simple online brochure, one that can be visited by existing customers to find what you offer and where you are located? What do your customers expect?

Or do you want it to open doors? Maybe to attract new customers with a site that gets attention and keeps it? Get customers to visit it regularly? Should they understand your business, in part, because they have interacted with your website and have struck up a bond of familiarity? That is the difference between basic brochure websites and today’s dynamic websites. Dynamic websites can do a lot of the customer acquisition steps for you …and at about the same cost!

Dynamic Website Structure

A dynamic website requires an integrated strategy and platform. One which may include blogging, lead generation, SEO (search engine optimization), social media, web-blog-CMS integration, analytics, plus may add in some key traditional marketing techniques that can really optimize your reach. What’s behind the site is as important as what is seen by its viewers. When done well, this package helps drive customers to your business and allows you to successfully reach your goals. The first step is to create a dynamic website that supports and is integrated with some of the tactics listed above.  Does your site do this? Can it do this?

Have I scared you? That’s a lot to take in and it takes a different approach than was used to create websites of days gone by. Dynamic websites should be thought of more as a process (that you, the business owner, are a part of) than a project that you can check off your to do list. Today’s websites should be the center of your marketing activities and should support those activities. The benefit? Less guesswork, better measurement, better realization of where your marketing efforts and monies are going; all getting you to your goal faster.

Scalability to Fit Your Needs

Scalability is important to small business owners. A 3-5 page website is fine for some, where a 20 page website is needed for others. For some, blogging is the way to go, and for others maybe an online service that produces the same results is the answer. A dynamic website can offer many integrated features no matter the scale. Choice is the key. It can be scaled to fit the small business owners’ goals, and by implementing the right choices, also fit into their busy time schedules. Do you only have an hour a week to spend? There are many options to support the time crunch, which will also get you great results.

I can help you make the choices that make the most sense for you and your business. Call today for a free consultation. You really won’t know the possibilities until you check out your options, will you?

Couponland, here I come!

I’m heading down to Chicago tomorrow for a quick lunch with my daughter and a side trip to IKEA (I HAVE to visit IKEA whenever I get near one and I’m not necessarily the world’s biggest shopper). Winter Shopping Therapy, here I come. It promises something special.Magiano's coupon

What I just heard though is that Chicago is quickly becoming known as Couponland. Brandchannel just recently featured a story on how the Windy City hosts 43 daily-deal groupbuying site headquarters. Two of the oldest are FatWallet and MrRebates and two of the largest, Groupon and CouponCabin.com. Who knew?

It all starts, according to Brandchannel, because of our Midwestern values and frugality. Okay, I’ll buy that, too. But 43, separate sites? I’ll report back and let you know what I find. Coupon anyone?

How Small Businesses Get the Most from Social Media

Just how are small businesses using social media? What level of online presence should you have? One way to start is to review what other small business owners are doing and model it after them.

Once again our friends at Mashable! have provided some insights in their latest Infographics report.

In a nutshell, here’s what they have found.

What social networks are small businesses using?

Twitter: 78%

Facebook: 75%

LinkedIn: 30%

WordPress: 22%

Flickr: 13%

Tumblr: 11%

Blogger: 10%

How many small businesses have multiple profiles on the major social networks?

Facebook: 31%

Twitter: 10%

Does engagement drive traffic?

Yes! On average Twitter got 117 clicks, while Facebook received 250.

Which platforms should small businesses be using?

Both! The Twitter platform engages customers and there is more interaction, while Facebook will drive more traffic to your site.

One thing that ‘the numbers’ do not show is that these social media tools are not necessarily in competition with each other. When comparing the latest social media tools, it often looks like a race is taking place, when in fact their true power comes from working in harmony. Twitter drives people to Facebook and vice versa. It’s like Twitter is the fisherman using a large net, while Facebook is using a Musky Rod.

From the data above, it is obvious that social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are vital to promoting small businesses. Understanding the ins and outs and leveraging their benefits are the key to your success! Give us a call today to make sure you’re making the most of it.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’s current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Dispatches from Blogistan, A Book Review

Described in the subtitle as “a travel guide for the modern blogger,” Suzanne Stefanac’s book, Dispatches from Blogistan, is worth reading whether you are a blogger or not. This is not so much a how-to book as it is a why-to-blog book.

The first two chapters offer a new take on the history of communications. And the book really begins with the introduction of the internet as radicalizing the way communications occur. Instead of pushing messages (from advertising to propaganda), the shift is to pull the audience to the message. Instead of one-to-many or one-to-one channels of communication, the shift is toward many-to-many channels. The blogosphere is the heart of the many-to-many messages.

Stefanac provides a layout of the landscape in her explanation of the blogosphere. Even though the book was published in 2007(by New Riders in Berkeley) and some things have changed, her insights into the culture still ring true. Technorati is no longer the only major search engine for blogs, for example. Google, Yahoo, Bing and most others now include blogs in their search engine results. Such changes confirm how spot-on Stefanac is about the democratization of media.

With a common sensical approach she addresses issues of trust, privacy, security, and legal safeguards. Yet its reading about the power of collaborative discourse — many-to-many conversations — that gets to the heart of blogging.

There are so many basics to blogging covered in this book I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand this new social media phenomena. People all over the world upload more than a million new blog posts every day. Every day.

News blogs are written by citizen journalists and professional reporters. Food blogs by farmers, grocery stores, chefs, home cooks, foodies, gardeners, and upscale food magazines, food manufacturers, product advertisers, etc.

Blogs as diaries. Blogs as clubhouses. Blogs as news feeds.  Blogs as soapboxes.

Stefanac takes the blogger on a road tour. She gives the reader driving instructions but most importantly takes them under the hood of the car to explain how the search engines work. And how to check our own fluids, tire pressure and lights. It’s a handy desk reference for a seasoned blogger and a wonderful place to start for someone who is new to blogging.

Blogging has never been easier. WordPress makes it the easiest.

Help to Parents -A Social Media Solution

Four Parenting Taboos

Click on link, not image for video

Without a doubt my favorite online nourishment comes from TED Talks. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. It grows larger and more worthwhile everyday.

For this Saturday Morning’s Post on Social Energizer, I have found a video that I would have loved to have seen years ago, when we were raising our children. I am posting this today to help several of my friends that have small children. They seem to struggle with raising these precious things called children, all without an instructions manual.

If you are a parent with small kids, you will find this priceless. If you have grown children, you will experience an A-Ha! moment. If you do not have kids and/or are thinking of having kids, you’ll want to watch this. It will either solidify what you were already thinking or it might change your mind.

So here is your instructions manual, just click on the link below to view the video. Enjoy!
Lets talk parenting taboos: Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman

Was this useful? I’d love to hear your comments.