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Would you drop a B&B directory even though all of your competitors are listed?

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Don Draper

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The recent threads coupled with the invoices I am getting daily because all of our advertising is due for renewal have really got me thinking about where we need to place our marketing dollars.
There are two of the larger directories from whom we get virtually no bookings, but in just checking them all I see that most of our many competitors are listed with them. Would you remain listed simply because your competitors are?
I also have to chuckle...what I consider the biggest directory owes me a favor...since we upgraded to the highest marketing level last year ALL of the 5 or so of our most direct competitors have also upgraded...you're welcome!
 

JBloggs

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For me - I would stay on them regardless. In fact there are a couple I have continued with and can see no revenue from them at all. If others are on them, then stick with them. You have no choice, I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are seen. It is what it is in this day and age, and as discussed earlier this year in the old posts - now is not the time to cut back on marketing.
You also answered your own question about going platinum and everyone else going platinum. Seems you have to keep up with the joneses on this one or be left in the dust (even if you are the joneses)
 

NW BB

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If you are confident that your tracking is accurate and the click throughs from the lodging directory are not substantial, then I would drop them.
When I drop a directory, I then use that money to try a new one or think of a new marketing choice. Just because the others around you are on it doesn't make it good. Maybe they don't track it carefully and are on it because everyone else is.
 

Don Draper

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If you are confident that your tracking is accurate and the click throughs from the lodging directory are not substantial, then I would drop them.
When I drop a directory, I then use that money to try a new one or think of a new marketing choice. Just because the others around you are on it doesn't make it good. Maybe they don't track it carefully and are on it because everyone else is..
As many of you know from my previous posts, the innkeepers in this area are all indeed like a flock of sheep...they all have to do what everyone else is doing, regardless of whether it's effective or not.
So I think they are all listed because they are all listed! I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction (which is my usual, I like to do whatever the others are NOT doing!) but I don't want to lose out either.
 

JBloggs

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If you are confident that your tracking is accurate and the click throughs from the lodging directory are not substantial, then I would drop them.
When I drop a directory, I then use that money to try a new one or think of a new marketing choice. Just because the others around you are on it doesn't make it good. Maybe they don't track it carefully and are on it because everyone else is..
As many of you know from my previous posts, the innkeepers in this area are all indeed like a flock of sheep...they all have to do what everyone else is doing, regardless of whether it's effective or not.
So I think they are all listed because they are all listed! I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction (which is my usual, I like to do whatever the others are NOT doing!) but I don't want to lose out either.
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InnsiderInfo said:
As many of you know from my previous posts, the innkeepers in this area are all indeed like a flock of sheep...they all have to do what everyone else is doing, regardless of whether it's effective or not.
So I think they are all listed because they are all listed! I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction (which is my usual, I like to do whatever the others are NOT doing!) but I don't want to lose out either.
That brings us back to not knowing how a guest truly got from point a to point b. For a couple years I specifically called a special by a name that pertained only to that directory so I could track it. When I myself look at booking a weekend away, I have seen the BnB numerous times on numerous directories before I pick up the phone and call or book from their website. I think it is a mistake if you drop one when the rest are on it. As long as it is a major directory that comes up in the first 5 or 6 on searches in google. If it is a smaller and inconsequential, then I would drop it for sure. I commented on another thread to the Hawaii Innkeeper that I am staying on iloveinns for that same reason. I have yet to see a return on the money. When everyone dropped lanier I was new to lanier and decided to give it a shot - it didn't pan out so I dropped it 2 years later. We need to go with the flow when necessary. If there is another you think might be beneficial and you are choosing between an apparent dog and a new one, go for it (I WOULD).
 

egoodell

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If you are confident that your tracking is accurate and the click throughs from the lodging directory are not substantial, then I would drop them.
When I drop a directory, I then use that money to try a new one or think of a new marketing choice. Just because the others around you are on it doesn't make it good. Maybe they don't track it carefully and are on it because everyone else is..
As many of you know from my previous posts, the innkeepers in this area are all indeed like a flock of sheep...they all have to do what everyone else is doing, regardless of whether it's effective or not.
So I think they are all listed because they are all listed! I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction (which is my usual, I like to do whatever the others are NOT doing!) but I don't want to lose out either.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
As many of you know from my previous posts, the innkeepers in this area are all indeed like a flock of sheep...they all have to do what everyone else is doing, regardless of whether it's effective or not.
So I think they are all listed because they are all listed! I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction (which is my usual, I like to do whatever the others are NOT doing!) but I don't want to lose out either.
We are not listed on all the directories that the other inns here are. We have the tour business as well as the B&B so we're a little different. I am listed on those that come up on the first page of Google. But then again we get bookings from those who are looking for a wine tour as that website connects and displays the B&B.
Now, when I have 5 rooms and not just 2 rooms I may change my mind.
But we are lucky in that a lot of people book the wine tour first and then think about where they will stay. And since the package of the wine tour and the B&B together gives a discount on the tour, some change their dates so that they are able to stay with us and tour with us.
But what I wonder is if a directory does not come up on the first page of Google how would people find these other ones? I don't every go past google's first page unless I'm trying to find a specific company.
RIki
 

Morticia

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How did going to the highest level help with that one directory? Did you notice a difference when you were the only one at that level? Any difference once you were 'back in the pack' when everyone else upgraded?
I like to stick with the big name directories if everyone else is on there just because you don't know if the guests will see you there, see you someplace else and THEN click thru to your site from one of the smaller names or even call directly because they keep seeing your name and it finally sinks in.
We can't afford the highest levels on the directories. BUT, I will spend UP TO that level on other marketing to see where the guests might find us.
This is my major gripe with the pricing on the directories...it takes so many bookings until you've paid for the listing and then made some money on it. Way back, in another thread, I posted that I expect a 10x ROI for the directories. John all but laughed at me saying that was not exactly doable. However, that said, this weekend will be where I make my 10x ROI on that listing. After this, it's gravy as far as I'm concerned.
 

swirt

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For me - I would stay on them regardless. In fact there are a couple I have continued with and can see no revenue from them at all. If others are on them, then stick with them. You have no choice, I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are seen. It is what it is in this day and age, and as discussed earlier this year in the old posts - now is not the time to cut back on marketing.
You also answered your own question about going platinum and everyone else going platinum. Seems you have to keep up with the joneses on this one or be left in the dust (even if you are the joneses).
Joe Bloggs said:
In fact there are a couple I have continued with and can see no revenue from them at all. If others are on them, then stick with them. You have no choice, I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are seen.
I think there is one possible flaw in this line of logic....if they truly aren't delivering guest traffic then it is more than likely that is because people are not ending up on that directory for your particular region. So your statement then becomes, "I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are ALSO NOT seen." No sense keeping up with the joneses in the not being seen race. That's a race that has no winner..only losers.
Note: before dumping the directory you should make sure that your tracker is up to the task of actually tracking a referral from that directory and make sure that there is not some SEO benefit to that directory that may cause you to lose your search engine position if you no longer have a link from them. (for most directories especially the big ones, this value is small and can take nearly a year to have the effect on your site if the link went away.)
 

happykeeper

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For me - I would stay on them regardless. In fact there are a couple I have continued with and can see no revenue from them at all. If others are on them, then stick with them. You have no choice, I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are seen. It is what it is in this day and age, and as discussed earlier this year in the old posts - now is not the time to cut back on marketing.
You also answered your own question about going platinum and everyone else going platinum. Seems you have to keep up with the joneses on this one or be left in the dust (even if you are the joneses).
Joe Bloggs said:
In fact there are a couple I have continued with and can see no revenue from them at all. If others are on them, then stick with them. You have no choice, I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are seen.
I think there is one possible flaw in this line of logic....if they truly aren't delivering guest traffic then it is more than likely that is because people are not ending up on that directory for your particular region. So your statement then becomes, "I mean you don't want to NOT be seen every place they are ALSO NOT seen." No sense keeping up with the joneses in the not being seen race. That's a race that has no winner..only losers.
Note: before dumping the directory you should make sure that your tracker is up to the task of actually tracking a referral from that directory and make sure that there is not some SEO benefit to that directory that may cause you to lose your search engine position if you no longer have a link from them. (for most directories especially the big ones, this value is small and can take nearly a year to have the effect on your site if the link went away.)
.
Mahalo for the answer to my question about SEO- it was the one reason I was concerned about our strategy.
Something I would add that is VERY important in addressing our fears about downsizing our directory stable is:
WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING AND IS IT WORKING?
We just had a guest blog about us and it had a google alert. This one event may be far more important in getting a reservation than a generic directory would.
We are blogging now and we have moved up in google searches we consider most important.
We are constantly looking for media opportunities.
We participated in a big visitors radio and print campaign (for the cost of a 2 night prize donation)
These things- along with building a bunch of partnerships- are driving business to our door. THE directories - unless they appear in the first 4 or 5 in a google search, are nearly worthless.
I will note that one directory contacted us and seems to see the value of marketing us to others as very important- true- but I have yet to see much substance in that. I think if these directories can prove some real value in getting us real free print- not the bogus stuff where your name is on some list that goes out to loosely targeted media groups- than they might win me over. This is the first time we were contacted directly about how they could market us beyond the listing. This might be worth watching.
 

Don Draper

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How did going to the highest level help with that one directory? Did you notice a difference when you were the only one at that level? Any difference once you were 'back in the pack' when everyone else upgraded?
I like to stick with the big name directories if everyone else is on there just because you don't know if the guests will see you there, see you someplace else and THEN click thru to your site from one of the smaller names or even call directly because they keep seeing your name and it finally sinks in.
We can't afford the highest levels on the directories. BUT, I will spend UP TO that level on other marketing to see where the guests might find us.
This is my major gripe with the pricing on the directories...it takes so many bookings until you've paid for the listing and then made some money on it. Way back, in another thread, I posted that I expect a 10x ROI for the directories. John all but laughed at me saying that was not exactly doable. However, that said, this weekend will be where I make my 10x ROI on that listing. After this, it's gravy as far as I'm concerned..
Well, this is the part where I struggle. Moving up the highest level, it certainly gave us more visibility, but more actual bookings, no (especially when we stopped participating in their gc program). Now that everyone is at the same level, we're back to being in the middle of the pack...Honestly, I don't really care for most of the guests we get from this directory in the first place...but it is one that I use when looking for a place, at least initially.
I am with you on my ROI expectations. I just don't think any of the directories deliver that.
 

cedarhouse

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We have dropped directories that our competitors still use and have found no decrease in bookings. In fact we are experiencing an increase in bookings.
We use a web site counter with analytics (paid version) that provides some great statistics about where our site visitors come from. We also ask all guests where they heard about us when they book. Both give us a great picture on how the directories we use are performing.
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect. The service allows you to upload pictures, videos and description. I also like that they include your inn's bedandbreakfast.com and TripAdvisor reviews.
Bottom line is if the directory does not perform based on what I am paying for the listing I drop them. Money for marketing needs to spent wisely and the follow the pack method is not always effective.
 

Morticia

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We have dropped directories that our competitors still use and have found no decrease in bookings. In fact we are experiencing an increase in bookings.
We use a web site counter with analytics (paid version) that provides some great statistics about where our site visitors come from. We also ask all guests where they heard about us when they book. Both give us a great picture on how the directories we use are performing.
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect. The service allows you to upload pictures, videos and description. I also like that they include your inn's bedandbreakfast.com and TripAdvisor reviews.
Bottom line is if the directory does not perform based on what I am paying for the listing I drop them. Money for marketing needs to spent wisely and the follow the pack method is not always effective..
cedarhouse said:
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect.
Have you tried to fix the map pin? Some places it can be fixed, others have found that they are 'too far out there' and Google doesn't recognize their location. I have successfully fixed my map pin on Google maps. Knock wood. This week.
 

EmptyNest

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We have dropped directories that our competitors still use and have found no decrease in bookings. In fact we are experiencing an increase in bookings.
We use a web site counter with analytics (paid version) that provides some great statistics about where our site visitors come from. We also ask all guests where they heard about us when they book. Both give us a great picture on how the directories we use are performing.
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect. The service allows you to upload pictures, videos and description. I also like that they include your inn's bedandbreakfast.com and TripAdvisor reviews.
Bottom line is if the directory does not perform based on what I am paying for the listing I drop them. Money for marketing needs to spent wisely and the follow the pack method is not always effective..
If you map location is incorrect, you can correct it. I have corrected several for some of my clients.
 

Don Draper

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We have dropped directories that our competitors still use and have found no decrease in bookings. In fact we are experiencing an increase in bookings.
We use a web site counter with analytics (paid version) that provides some great statistics about where our site visitors come from. We also ask all guests where they heard about us when they book. Both give us a great picture on how the directories we use are performing.
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect. The service allows you to upload pictures, videos and description. I also like that they include your inn's bedandbreakfast.com and TripAdvisor reviews.
Bottom line is if the directory does not perform based on what I am paying for the listing I drop them. Money for marketing needs to spent wisely and the follow the pack method is not always effective..
Man, those Yurts look COOL! Hmmm...lots of available space in our backyard...

 

cedarhouse

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We have dropped directories that our competitors still use and have found no decrease in bookings. In fact we are experiencing an increase in bookings.
We use a web site counter with analytics (paid version) that provides some great statistics about where our site visitors come from. We also ask all guests where they heard about us when they book. Both give us a great picture on how the directories we use are performing.
One of the biggest referrers is the google map local results. This service is free when you open a google business account and works great. The only problem I have had is that the map location is incorrect. The service allows you to upload pictures, videos and description. I also like that they include your inn's bedandbreakfast.com and TripAdvisor reviews.
Bottom line is if the directory does not perform based on what I am paying for the listing I drop them. Money for marketing needs to spent wisely and the follow the pack method is not always effective..
If you map location is incorrect, you can correct it. I have corrected several for some of my clients.
.
I fixed the map some time ago. Google changed something in the past that moved everyones map pin and it was a challenge to fix it. All is well now.
 

Hangfive

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Yes, I would drop a directory in a heart beat if I am not receiving any traffic from them. Another thing to consider on the big directories with lots of competition from your city as well as from far and wide on your city's listing is to sign-up for the lowest level if there are few B&B's listed there. That way a potenial guest can find you at the bottom again relatively easily and you might just get as much or more traffic from that position. I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very sucessful innkeeper tip me off to that one.
 

Copperhead

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Yes, I would drop a directory in a heart beat if I am not receiving any traffic from them. Another thing to consider on the big directories with lots of competition from your city as well as from far and wide on your city's listing is to sign-up for the lowest level if there are few B&B's listed there. That way a potenial guest can find you at the bottom again relatively easily and you might just get as much or more traffic from that position. I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very sucessful innkeeper tip me off to that one..
"I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very successful innkeeper tip me off to that one."
I was told that a few times by guests when I asked how they found us. (alpha listing) Sometimes being at the bottom pays off.
 

Morticia

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Yes, I would drop a directory in a heart beat if I am not receiving any traffic from them. Another thing to consider on the big directories with lots of competition from your city as well as from far and wide on your city's listing is to sign-up for the lowest level if there are few B&B's listed there. That way a potenial guest can find you at the bottom again relatively easily and you might just get as much or more traffic from that position. I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very sucessful innkeeper tip me off to that one..
"I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very successful innkeeper tip me off to that one."
I was told that a few times by guests when I asked how they found us. (alpha listing) Sometimes being at the bottom pays off.
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Copperhead said:
"I know when I'm looking at long lists of businesses, I always seem to scroll to the bottom. Another very successful innkeeper tip me off to that one."
I was told that a few times by guests when I asked how they found us. (alpha listing) Sometimes being at the bottom pays off.
Totally agree. If you can't be the first 1-3, then being at the bottom works.
 

mooseberry

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I have been thinking of the same issues.
To get the most bang for my buck, I ask each and every guest of mine how did they find us .
#1 is google......then a few written publications.
I have paid lots of money for advertising that has given nothing back, so i will cut them.
I also just advertised for the first time in a magazine which is distributed for free all along the Alaska Highway and in Alaska. The ad was not cheap, but people like to pick up free publications along the way.
Lets see how this one comes out at the end of the year.
 

Willowpondgj

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Would you drop a Chamber if you didn't see a return? We belong to an adjoining town's chamber and while we have a good relationship and they actually work harder than the other two chambers in our area (really), we have not seen any ROI. They do not even show up in our webstats. I honestly don't know why, there is only one B&B in their town and they aren't members of the chamber and there are virtually no other lodging properties in their town. I'm hesitant to drop them, as I don't know if people are finding us through them but it just isn't showing up for some reason....
 
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