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Innkeep

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I've been spending lots of time looking at B&B websites as I contemplate upgrading mine. We've had recent threads about what "extras" might be helpful to include, and we've all made comments about how hard it is to find room rates or other navigation type problems on some sites. Tweaking that sort of stuff is my first priority.
It's past my bedtime, so I probably shouldn't even be posting this now, but the thought ran through my head that perhaps the things we innmates (or at least me in particular) look for are of much less interest to the travelling public. For instance, I love to see really great photography, and enjoy seeing how lots of sites have a big flash show on the home page. There's even one with a cartoon bunny rabbit hopping around the photograph of the inn's front yard. It caught my eye. I've even selected photos I think would work well in flash for my website.
We've all had people on the phone who claim to be looking at our sites but can't seem to find our online reservations, or our room descriptions, or our policies, or whatever. "They just don't read". Is it possible that they really don't pay attention to the flash, either? So, does a nice flash show keep people from bouncing away or does it just make me feel better about my site, 'cause I've "upgraded"? My assumption has been that the better quality the photos, the better the website, the more often they'll book. Do we for sure know that the photos are what makes them book? Flash really doesn't help SEO, does it?
I understand that if your market includes 50 other B&B's you do whatever you can. With the cost of gas and the economy, I'm working with my "gurus" to see if I can get search terms that might get people in metropolitan areas 70-150 miles away for "one tank weekend getaways" which in essence means that I might actually be competing with other B&B's for the first time.
 

JBloggs

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Here is my take. If you have location location location (which I don't) then you could put up a slab of swiss cheese and people will stay with you and tell you the website is great. But for those of us who have to work to the umpteenth degree to market our places it is ultra important to have the bells and whistles (as long as it isn't really bells and whistles as we know how annoying those can be on a website).

I believe flash is a "flash in the pan" I think some innkeepers get carried away. I don't want to zoom around a room, I want to look at a clear photo. That's me. Again, maybe john Q public likes to fly through a room. Remember when virtual tours were the rage (just a couple years ago)? I hated those things!
Keep us posted on your research, I love seeing what you see. Knowing where you are and there is a metrop 70-150 miles away I would work on some packages. Try to get those special ocassion guests.
 

Alibi Ike

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If you're going to tweak all the SEO stuff and your links to reservations and other stuff guests say they can't find, (Which always astonishes me and I may start asking what words were they looking for!) you might as well go for some glam that makes YOU happy.
It's a lot like cleaning a clean house...if you do all the behind the scenes stuff and nothing big, it looks like you spent a lot of time doing nothing. We all like to SEE something different.
 

swirt

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Flash with good photos as a kind of slide show can be good. But it has to be implemented correctly so it plays nicely with browsers that have flash turned off or don't support it. Flash does nothing for SEO and can actually hurt SEO if it replaces what used to be actual text with flash text.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I like the large flash pictures on the home page, but then I'm biased because I've had flash on my homepage for many years. I think it's a good way to hook people in right away. Let them sit there for 20-30 seconds staring at the photos and let them see visually what your place is all about. We know that people don't read, so why not give them great pictures immediately?
I think you're right. We innkeepers look at other websites with a different eye from prospective guests, but hopefully we know a bit better what works and what doesn't.
Simple navigation, beautiful pictures & don't make people go on a treasure hunt to find what they're looking for. Rooms and rates!
 

JBloggs

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Oops thought this was the "clothing optional" thread... ha ha
 

HighMountainLodge

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Put yourself in the place of a traveler trying to sort between umpteen places in your neighborhood that all have the same marketing firm/website design company using the same eye-popping design template. You paid them a fortune, and those folks designed a SPECTACULAR website for you that makes your place look like Versailles. Shoot, visitors to your website can even feel the crispness of your starched and hand-ironed sheets.
But if it isn't true, or even not-quite-true, then when your guests start comparing your web-reality with their experience-reality (read: truth), and find your web-reality lacking and start mentioning it on all those social media sites (and, God forbid, Trip Advisor) that the web-sales people promise are gonna make or break you, what are you going to do?
I have had heated quarrels at conventions about what a good website includes, but I'm pretty sure that, regardless of how pretty it is and how stunning the photographs, people really want to know up front how much the room costs. They don't care how pretty the room is or how crisp the sheets are if that experience is outside their price range.
Of course, a lot of that marketing depends on your market and who you are trying to attract. And, sorry, "anybody willing to stay in my place" doesn't quite cut it when defining your demographic.
So, to conclude, the issue of whether or not you are going to include Flash on your page really begs the question of what sort of people you want to attract by having Flash on your page who wouldn't consider your Inn if you didn't have Flash.
It's sort of a silly question, isn't it? The better strategy is to do the work to define the people you want in your inn, then design a website that will answer potential guest's questions and "close the deal" to make them book at your inn, then make sure you fulfill their expectations once they get to your place.
Flash is one way of displaying content on a website among many. But it's insane to worry about the delivery method when you haven't figured out what it is you want to deliver.
Tom
 

Don Draper

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Put yourself in the place of a traveler trying to sort between umpteen places in your neighborhood that all have the same marketing firm/website design company using the same eye-popping design template. You paid them a fortune, and those folks designed a SPECTACULAR website for you that makes your place look like Versailles. Shoot, visitors to your website can even feel the crispness of your starched and hand-ironed sheets.
But if it isn't true, or even not-quite-true, then when your guests start comparing your web-reality with their experience-reality (read: truth), and find your web-reality lacking and start mentioning it on all those social media sites (and, God forbid, Trip Advisor) that the web-sales people promise are gonna make or break you, what are you going to do?
I have had heated quarrels at conventions about what a good website includes, but I'm pretty sure that, regardless of how pretty it is and how stunning the photographs, people really want to know up front how much the room costs. They don't care how pretty the room is or how crisp the sheets are if that experience is outside their price range.
Of course, a lot of that marketing depends on your market and who you are trying to attract. And, sorry, "anybody willing to stay in my place" doesn't quite cut it when defining your demographic.
So, to conclude, the issue of whether or not you are going to include Flash on your page really begs the question of what sort of people you want to attract by having Flash on your page who wouldn't consider your Inn if you didn't have Flash.
It's sort of a silly question, isn't it? The better strategy is to do the work to define the people you want in your inn, then design a website that will answer potential guest's questions and "close the deal" to make them book at your inn, then make sure you fulfill their expectations once they get to your place.
Flash is one way of displaying content on a website among many. But it's insane to worry about the delivery method when you haven't figured out what it is you want to deliver.
Tom.
Excellent points here. You have to define what exactly you are selling, and then a good web developer will make that come thru on your site. To me the nicest compliment I hear is "It looks just like the website!". People want to know what to expect.
 

Gingerbread Latte

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Along the lines of what Swirt said, always look at your site in as many browsers as you can, including mobile. I'm sitting here with my brand new iPad and having to jump thru hoops to see anything with Flash.
As a user, I "feel" that if sites are well made and money has been spent, then the business is probably profitable and won't skimp on other things. That probably isn't fair, but I think it may be a wide spread perception.
 

Innkeep

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Put yourself in the place of a traveler trying to sort between umpteen places in your neighborhood that all have the same marketing firm/website design company using the same eye-popping design template. You paid them a fortune, and those folks designed a SPECTACULAR website for you that makes your place look like Versailles. Shoot, visitors to your website can even feel the crispness of your starched and hand-ironed sheets.
But if it isn't true, or even not-quite-true, then when your guests start comparing your web-reality with their experience-reality (read: truth), and find your web-reality lacking and start mentioning it on all those social media sites (and, God forbid, Trip Advisor) that the web-sales people promise are gonna make or break you, what are you going to do?
I have had heated quarrels at conventions about what a good website includes, but I'm pretty sure that, regardless of how pretty it is and how stunning the photographs, people really want to know up front how much the room costs. They don't care how pretty the room is or how crisp the sheets are if that experience is outside their price range.
Of course, a lot of that marketing depends on your market and who you are trying to attract. And, sorry, "anybody willing to stay in my place" doesn't quite cut it when defining your demographic.
So, to conclude, the issue of whether or not you are going to include Flash on your page really begs the question of what sort of people you want to attract by having Flash on your page who wouldn't consider your Inn if you didn't have Flash.
It's sort of a silly question, isn't it? The better strategy is to do the work to define the people you want in your inn, then design a website that will answer potential guest's questions and "close the deal" to make them book at your inn, then make sure you fulfill their expectations once they get to your place.
Flash is one way of displaying content on a website among many. But it's insane to worry about the delivery method when you haven't figured out what it is you want to deliver.
Tom.
Thanks to all, you've given me some more to think about.
 

JBloggs

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Saw this today and thought of your thread here...
[COLOR= rgb(68, 68, 68)]How much time do you expect your prospect to invest on your website? http://bit.ly/lD1O4o[/COLOR]
 

Alibi Ike

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Saw this today and thought of your thread here...
[COLOR= rgb(68, 68, 68)]How much time do you expect your prospect to invest on your website? http://bit.ly/lD1O4o[/COLOR].
My answer was '2 minutes' so I guess I have to stop complaining when every guest doesn't read evey word!
 

JBloggs

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Saw this today and thought of your thread here...
[COLOR= rgb(68, 68, 68)]How much time do you expect your prospect to invest on your website? http://bit.ly/lD1O4o[/COLOR].
My answer was '2 minutes' so I guess I have to stop complaining when every guest doesn't read evey word!
.
Alibi Ike said:
My answer was '2 minutes' so I guess I have to stop complaining when every guest doesn't read evey word!
I think having someone else do it for our websites would be handy, I know yours and most everyones here...fresh eyes!
 

Alibi Ike

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Saw this today and thought of your thread here...
[COLOR= rgb(68, 68, 68)]How much time do you expect your prospect to invest on your website? http://bit.ly/lD1O4o[/COLOR].
My answer was '2 minutes' so I guess I have to stop complaining when every guest doesn't read evey word!
.
Alibi Ike said:
My answer was '2 minutes' so I guess I have to stop complaining when every guest doesn't read evey word!
I think having someone else do it for our websites would be handy, I know yours and most everyones here...fresh eyes!
.
Based on GA, I have 2 pages every guest looks at. The rest are out there to get them to my site in a variety of ways! I also have 2 pages that get major traffic that is bounced every time. They came, they saw what they wanted, they left.
So, the 2 pages the guests look at need to be the best as far as finding info and using it.
 

EmptyNest

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Here is my take. If you have location location location (which I don't) then you could put up a slab of swiss cheese and people will stay with you and tell you the website is great. But for those of us who have to work to the umpteenth degree to market our places it is ultra important to have the bells and whistles (as long as it isn't really bells and whistles as we know how annoying those can be on a website).

I believe flash is a "flash in the pan" I think some innkeepers get carried away. I don't want to zoom around a room, I want to look at a clear photo. That's me. Again, maybe john Q public likes to fly through a room. Remember when virtual tours were the rage (just a couple years ago)? I hated those things!
Keep us posted on your research, I love seeing what you see. Knowing where you are and there is a metrop 70-150 miles away I would work on some packages. Try to get those special ocassion guests..
Here is an interesting story to follow up on our FLash conversation:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/adobe-creator-of-flash-embraces-html5/
 

Copperhead

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Here is my take. If you have location location location (which I don't) then you could put up a slab of swiss cheese and people will stay with you and tell you the website is great. But for those of us who have to work to the umpteenth degree to market our places it is ultra important to have the bells and whistles (as long as it isn't really bells and whistles as we know how annoying those can be on a website).

I believe flash is a "flash in the pan" I think some innkeepers get carried away. I don't want to zoom around a room, I want to look at a clear photo. That's me. Again, maybe john Q public likes to fly through a room. Remember when virtual tours were the rage (just a couple years ago)? I hated those things!
Keep us posted on your research, I love seeing what you see. Knowing where you are and there is a metrop 70-150 miles away I would work on some packages. Try to get those special ocassion guests..
Here is an interesting story to follow up on our FLash conversation:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/adobe-creator-of-flash-embraces-html5/
.
THANKS CL
 

NW Natterbug

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Typically, we used to see guests who spent 20 minutes or more on our site were those who booked, now we're seeing 2 minutes or less before the booking comes in.
 

JBloggs

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Here is my take. If you have location location location (which I don't) then you could put up a slab of swiss cheese and people will stay with you and tell you the website is great. But for those of us who have to work to the umpteenth degree to market our places it is ultra important to have the bells and whistles (as long as it isn't really bells and whistles as we know how annoying those can be on a website).

I believe flash is a "flash in the pan" I think some innkeepers get carried away. I don't want to zoom around a room, I want to look at a clear photo. That's me. Again, maybe john Q public likes to fly through a room. Remember when virtual tours were the rage (just a couple years ago)? I hated those things!
Keep us posted on your research, I love seeing what you see. Knowing where you are and there is a metrop 70-150 miles away I would work on some packages. Try to get those special ocassion guests..
Here is an interesting story to follow up on our FLash conversation:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/adobe-creator-of-flash-embraces-html5/
.
catlady said:
Here is an interesting story to follow up on our FLash conversation:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/adobe-creator-of-flash-embraces-html5/
Oh Lord I thought this thread was about a flash mob. We had one not too far from us and I absolutely cannot hack the things! My family, apparently, had never heard of this, and so we just watched a few on youtube - gag!
 
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