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Morticia

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I need help. I'm redoing my brochure and making it a rack card. I have no design talent at all. If you have suggestions for where I can find templates of rack cards so I can get an idea of what I like, let me know. Or, if you want to email me a copy of your rack card so I can see what it looks like (or post it here) that would be great.
I went to the tourist info and looked around and nothing caught my eye. Also, I don't want to copy what others in the neighborhood are doing.
Part 2 is- because I had a trifold brochure before I had lots of space. With a rack card, my real estate is cut by 2/3. What is absolutely imperative? What is not necessary and can be cut out completely?
 

IronGate

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Absolutely necessary:
  • Inn name WITH CITY and STATE
  • phone number (toll-free if you have it)
  • website
  • picture of the inn
Really helpful:
  • tagline to quickly give a feel of the "experience" a guest can expect
  • map of your location
  • local attractions (don't advertise them, but remind folks how convenient you are to them)
  • ideas for using you (babymoon, etc.)
 

Breakfast Diva

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I did my rack cards on vistaprint for free. I do a lot of post cards, etc from them and every time I order I get 50 more rack cards free. We don't go through many of them, so it works well for us. The great thing about doing it this way is it's no big deal to change design. I did 2 orders before I got it just right. They turned out beautiful! Like you, I went from a tri-fold brochure to the two sided rack card.
I made it simple, yet elegant and used 3 pictures on the front and 1 large one on back. Make sure your name is on the upper 3rd of the card so it can be seen when put in a rack with others. On the back, I put a paragraph of what our style is, location, amenities, address/phone and website info. The website info and "for current rates, room availability and more information, log on to our website at:xyz.com" I was able to fit one good sized picture on the back and still have all the other info.
It's tough to do, but it forces you to figure out what is the most important information you want to get to your customer.
 

Morticia

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I did my rack cards on vistaprint for free. I do a lot of post cards, etc from them and every time I order I get 50 more rack cards free. We don't go through many of them, so it works well for us. The great thing about doing it this way is it's no big deal to change design. I did 2 orders before I got it just right. They turned out beautiful! Like you, I went from a tri-fold brochure to the two sided rack card.
I made it simple, yet elegant and used 3 pictures on the front and 1 large one on back. Make sure your name is on the upper 3rd of the card so it can be seen when put in a rack with others. On the back, I put a paragraph of what our style is, location, amenities, address/phone and website info. The website info and "for current rates, room availability and more information, log on to our website at:xyz.com" I was able to fit one good sized picture on the back and still have all the other info.
It's tough to do, but it forces you to figure out what is the most important information you want to get to your customer..
OK, I feel like an idiot because I looked at VistaPrint first. Did you use one of their templates or just do the whole thing from scratch? If the template has a picture on it already are you stuck with that picture (like a palm tree or something)?
It's like I'm in some sort of box. I can't figure anything out anymore. If it's not blatantly obvious immediately, I can't think.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I did my rack cards on vistaprint for free. I do a lot of post cards, etc from them and every time I order I get 50 more rack cards free. We don't go through many of them, so it works well for us. The great thing about doing it this way is it's no big deal to change design. I did 2 orders before I got it just right. They turned out beautiful! Like you, I went from a tri-fold brochure to the two sided rack card.
I made it simple, yet elegant and used 3 pictures on the front and 1 large one on back. Make sure your name is on the upper 3rd of the card so it can be seen when put in a rack with others. On the back, I put a paragraph of what our style is, location, amenities, address/phone and website info. The website info and "for current rates, room availability and more information, log on to our website at:xyz.com" I was able to fit one good sized picture on the back and still have all the other info.
It's tough to do, but it forces you to figure out what is the most important information you want to get to your customer..
OK, I feel like an idiot because I looked at VistaPrint first. Did you use one of their templates or just do the whole thing from scratch? If the template has a picture on it already are you stuck with that picture (like a palm tree or something)?
It's like I'm in some sort of box. I can't figure anything out anymore. If it's not blatantly obvious immediately, I can't think.
.
Morticia said:
OK, I feel like an idiot because I looked at VistaPrint first. Did you use one of their templates or just do the whole thing from scratch? If the template has a picture on it already are you stuck with that picture (like a palm tree or something)?
It's like I'm in some sort of box. I can't figure anything out anymore. If it's not blatantly obvious immediately, I can't think.
Don't feel bad, I go through those periods myself!
I used a templet. You can just use your own pictures you've uploaded to Vistaprint and layer it on top of the picture that's on the templet. Sometimes it's a challenge to find just the right photo that looks good in the space where they have their picture.
 

Copperhead

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Mort - Ask yourself what you use these rack cards for...tourist centers? handing out or mailing out? Using instead of business cards?
When you went to the tourist info do you remember what caught your eye on any of the brochures? Do you recall the style of the racks? If you do not, go back (if you can) and look as a tourist. Pick up the ones that you get your first attention. Those are the ones that you should use to design your own. With this hand full take notes as to what was it that pulled you to them. Was it the colors, the pictures, the style, etc. Each one may provide you with different reasons, then you can compile tthem to create your card.
If they are primarily used for tourist centers, the basic info is needed on the card, a lot of people do not have access to a web connection (yes getting better on this but still not quite there) if they are looking to stay with you right away. You still need a map (placed on the back), amenities - maybe not all but ones you think will put you in the running or to top others and pictures - some are now using a collage to capture the soul of the place.
Make sure that the card covers all the requirements by the state or community commission. Our state has a (small) list of requirements.
 

Morticia

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Mort - Ask yourself what you use these rack cards for...tourist centers? handing out or mailing out? Using instead of business cards?
When you went to the tourist info do you remember what caught your eye on any of the brochures? Do you recall the style of the racks? If you do not, go back (if you can) and look as a tourist. Pick up the ones that you get your first attention. Those are the ones that you should use to design your own. With this hand full take notes as to what was it that pulled you to them. Was it the colors, the pictures, the style, etc. Each one may provide you with different reasons, then you can compile tthem to create your card.
If they are primarily used for tourist centers, the basic info is needed on the card, a lot of people do not have access to a web connection (yes getting better on this but still not quite there) if they are looking to stay with you right away. You still need a map (placed on the back), amenities - maybe not all but ones you think will put you in the running or to top others and pictures - some are now using a collage to capture the soul of the place.
Make sure that the card covers all the requirements by the state or community commission. Our state has a (small) list of requirements..
Like what requirements does your state/locality have for your rack cards?
I use the rack cards for tourist info centers and handouts to guests who are leaving and want to remember where they stayed.
I didn't see anything that caught my eye. I found a designer, tho, so I may just go talk to him and see what he comes up with. He's done this for years so maybe he has some he can show to me and we can work with those. That's also where I'll get them printed.
 

seashanty

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i second vistaprint.
do the 'free' order to see what you like ... you know those specials they have all the time.
i had some designed and printed at big expense by a printing company and the card was just too busy and hard to read and NOT the way i thought it would be. i felt bad that i spent all that money when with the vistaprint cards i was able to play with the design for 'peanuts' til i got it right. lovely bold color and basic info on the 'front', all the info in black print on the back.
i used the 'blank' template and then for one i uploaded my own picture, for another i used a stock photo on their site, cropped, that guests insisted was of a boat in the harbor picture i had on our website. it was that close in appearance. you have a lot of freedom if you start with the blank. but i believe you can change the picture for another of theirs or your own if you choose a vistaprint template. i'd have to go on the site and start playing.
bright colors
full bleed - image that goes all the way to the edges of the card stock
easy to read - experiment with the font and be sure it's not too small
don't forget white space
name of your place
address
phone number! (because someone might call you from wherever they pick up your card)
website
i listed the room rate range
open year round if that applies
free wifi
breakfast included with room
cofee/tea any time (if you offer this)
mc/visa/whatever ... accepted
and something that makes your place great - slogan if you have one
something that helped me was to go to the places where the rack cards are and take a few pictures to see what stood out ... then i took my samples home. then i looked at the rack card display photos to see again ... it helped me remember (have to get a good shot to do this).
you just have to make sure you get the standard size rack card. if you get one that is too large, it won't fit in one of the slots. and not too small either. odd sized rack cards end up off to the side or behind other things and you don't want that. i think the size is like 3 3/4 x 8 1/4 inches but you can find out on any printing site the standard dimensions.
i don't have any of my old cards, but i might be able to log in and see the old account. not sure.
 

gillumhouse

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I am getting my rack cards designed. I used to do my own ads and then the CVB ad to have a change made in one of my ads - it was so very minor but made a UGE (and better) difference! I have been getting them designed (ads - and now a racK card) for years. For te small fee I get charged, I would be foolish to do it myself.
Tomorrw is photo day for the room I rearranged!
 

muirford

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Although I'm comfortable with the online printing of business cards and postcards that I do myself, when we went from a trifold brochure to a rack card I had it designed. Our local printer offers free design service - so the printing costs a bit more (and honestly, a very little bit) and I get a professional design. I mailed off some photos and copy - got back an initial design that was more suited to a Tuscan villa B&B, then went from there. I'm really happy with our rack cards and when I need to reprint I fix up the rate info and go.
 

egoodell

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We use Vista Print - they were a LOT cheaper than our local print shop quotes.
I made my background purple and printed it in the shiny finish and they stand out in the racks.
It took me a bit to get used to their design software but I managed.
Riki
 

muirford

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We use Vista Print - they were a LOT cheaper than our local print shop quotes.
I made my background purple and printed it in the shiny finish and they stand out in the racks.
It took me a bit to get used to their design software but I managed.
Riki.
It's worth noting that most of the online print shops also have design services. If you are saving that much on the printing, but are uncomfortable with the design aspect, it might be worth a one-time investment to have them do a design for you.
 

Morticia

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Although I'm comfortable with the online printing of business cards and postcards that I do myself, when we went from a trifold brochure to a rack card I had it designed. Our local printer offers free design service - so the printing costs a bit more (and honestly, a very little bit) and I get a professional design. I mailed off some photos and copy - got back an initial design that was more suited to a Tuscan villa B&B, then went from there. I'm really happy with our rack cards and when I need to reprint I fix up the rate info and go..
I called the folks who did our initial trifold and on the phone he told me design services were 'seventeen fifty' and I nearly had a heart attack. So I clarified, 'Seventeen hundred fifty dollars?' He laughed, 'No, seventeen dollars and fifty cents.'
Phew! I just need to go down there with at least an idea.
 

muirford

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Although I'm comfortable with the online printing of business cards and postcards that I do myself, when we went from a trifold brochure to a rack card I had it designed. Our local printer offers free design service - so the printing costs a bit more (and honestly, a very little bit) and I get a professional design. I mailed off some photos and copy - got back an initial design that was more suited to a Tuscan villa B&B, then went from there. I'm really happy with our rack cards and when I need to reprint I fix up the rate info and go..
I called the folks who did our initial trifold and on the phone he told me design services were 'seventeen fifty' and I nearly had a heart attack. So I clarified, 'Seventeen hundred fifty dollars?' He laughed, 'No, seventeen dollars and fifty cents.'
Phew! I just need to go down there with at least an idea.
.
Morticia said:
So I clarified, 'Seventeen hundred fifty dollars?' He laughed, 'No, seventeen dollars and fifty cents.'
Haha! I believe that might be a worthwhile investment, then.
 

Forfeng

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Vistaprint is great, also printingforless.com (just for printing) and for smaller quantities, I have a discount code for a first order if anyone ever wants to use them, I use them alot for rack cards and business cards when customers don't want huge print runs.
The #1 thing in order to get your rack cards picked up in the tourist centers, (sorry if someone here mentioned this already and I missed skimming), the top 1/3 of your card is the most important catch area, because thats all the card anyone will be able to see in most tourist kiosks.
Put your info at the top (name and location) with an attractive eye catching image if possible, The rest of the rack card is less important overall once you have gotten them to snag it in the first place. And I agree with copperhead's reco about looking for ones and locations. I do it when I travel anywhere just to get ideas for myself.
 

rpwiki

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I used Vistaprint for our print needs too (we are rural and don't have easy access to an offset printer). I design our branding materials (including website - from misspent law schhol days sharing a house with folks at Design School), but I would highly recommend to anyone to check out freelance design services on www.elance.com - depending on the size of the project you can get very reasonable design services from any number of freelancers.
The advice here is great - most important information in the top third and if you REALLY want to get creative, rather than have your normal website address on the card, set up a special landing page on your website (e.g. www.yoursite.com/specialpage) with relevant information so you can track how many people are actually visting you based on the card.
 

JBloggs

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I used Vistaprint for our print needs too (we are rural and don't have easy access to an offset printer). I design our branding materials (including website - from misspent law schhol days sharing a house with folks at Design School), but I would highly recommend to anyone to check out freelance design services on www.elance.com - depending on the size of the project you can get very reasonable design services from any number of freelancers.
The advice here is great - most important information in the top third and if you REALLY want to get creative, rather than have your normal website address on the card, set up a special landing page on your website (e.g. www.yoursite.com/specialpage) with relevant information so you can track how many people are actually visting you based on the card..
rpwiki said:
I used Vistaprint for our print needs too (we are rural and don't have easy access to an offset printer). I design our branding materials (including website - from misspent law schhol days sharing a house with folks at Design School), but I would highly recommend to anyone to check out freelance design services on www.elance.com - depending on the size of the project you can get very reasonable design services from any number of freelancers.
The advice here is great - most important information in the top third and if you REALLY want to get creative, rather than have your normal website address on the card, set up a special landing page on your website (e.g. www.yoursite.com/specialpage) with relevant information so you can track how many people are actually visting you based on the card.
or have a special that has a code only on the rack card. I do this with all marketing. (If you offer a discount)
 

rpwiki

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I used Vistaprint for our print needs too (we are rural and don't have easy access to an offset printer). I design our branding materials (including website - from misspent law schhol days sharing a house with folks at Design School), but I would highly recommend to anyone to check out freelance design services on www.elance.com - depending on the size of the project you can get very reasonable design services from any number of freelancers.
The advice here is great - most important information in the top third and if you REALLY want to get creative, rather than have your normal website address on the card, set up a special landing page on your website (e.g. www.yoursite.com/specialpage) with relevant information so you can track how many people are actually visting you based on the card..
rpwiki said:
I used Vistaprint for our print needs too (we are rural and don't have easy access to an offset printer). I design our branding materials (including website - from misspent law schhol days sharing a house with folks at Design School), but I would highly recommend to anyone to check out freelance design services on www.elance.com - depending on the size of the project you can get very reasonable design services from any number of freelancers.
The advice here is great - most important information in the top third and if you REALLY want to get creative, rather than have your normal website address on the card, set up a special landing page on your website (e.g. www.yoursite.com/specialpage) with relevant information so you can track how many people are actually visting you based on the card.
or have a special that has a code only on the rack card. I do this with all marketing. (If you offer a discount)
.
Agreed! Google Places has a new "barcode" feature that allows users to scan the barcode with their iPhone (and/or Android) and it brings up your Google business info. I haven't looked at how you can transfer the bardcode to external marketing materials (right now it looks like you can only print it on a google branded poster) - but that would be useful for more tech-savy consumers.
 

Arks

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It occurs to me that we should also consider what NOT to put on a rack card or other printed matter.
For instance, if you're purchasing in quantity and are likely to have a stack of cards that takes some time to use up, you surely wouldn't want to print things that are likely to change, like your rates or special offers.
I also wouldn't get into details like minimum length of stay required or other "rules". They can find things like that out once they make contact, or from your website.
 

EmptyNest

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It occurs to me that we should also consider what NOT to put on a rack card or other printed matter.
For instance, if you're purchasing in quantity and are likely to have a stack of cards that takes some time to use up, you surely wouldn't want to print things that are likely to change, like your rates or special offers.
I also wouldn't get into details like minimum length of stay required or other "rules". They can find things like that out once they make contact, or from your website..
Yes rates and specials should not be on rack cards. Just basic promotional information...name, location, nice photos and maybe directions and contact info..
 
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