Categories
Advertising Web promotion Websites

Reach a greater audience by advertising on more than one website

For sale
The more places you advertise, the more people will see you

A few years ago, one of our staff here wanted to sell their car privately, so they looked for the most popular car selling website to advertise on. At the time, it was Car Sales (carsales.com.au), so they placed their advertisement in there.

More than 2 months passed, and during that time they dropped the price, but there were only a couple of casual enquiries from what were probably “tyre kickers”.

The staff member then decided to add their car for sale onto another website – Trading Post (tradingpost.com.au). While Trading Post wasn’t as popular as Car Sales, it covered a lot more items for sale than just vehicles, and it was still a website that was visited by a large audience and recognised by name.

Within 24 hours of listing on Trading Post, an enquiry came through from an excited buyer who had found exactly what they were looking for in this car, and the deal was settled.  When the buyer was informed that the car had been advertised on the No.1 website Car Sales for over two months, they simply said they hadn’t searched on there.

The lesson here is, no matter how popular a website is, there are still going to be buyers who look on competing websites to make a purchase, and that may be the exact buyer you are after.

This can be applied to our Travel Victoria website. We are obviously not the biggest website to advertise accommodation on if you are targeting those travellers coming to Melbourne and Victoria. However, with 1.7 million website visitors in 2010, and an expected 2.0 million during 2011, we are clearly being seen by a significant number of people planning their trip through Victoria on the internet. Our advertising rates are also very good value, which reflects the fact that we’re not the biggest, but what we charge is very reasonable for the exposure you’ll get.

If you’re thinking of advertising your accommodation property in Victoria on the internet, be it a motel, resort, bed & breakfast, apartment, holiday house or backpackers lodge, keep in mind that not everyone immediately goes first to the high profile websites like Visit Victoria, Wotif, Stayz, Take A Break or Rent A Home. Also keep in mind that when conducting searches on Google, Travel Victoria often ranks higher than those websites when searching for particular destinations in Victoria.

So cover a greater audience for a nominal cost by also advertising your property with Travel Victoria.

Categories
Copyright Web design Web hosting Web promotion Websites

Do you really own your website and its contents?

Copyright
Who really has copyright over your website and its contents?

A few years ago, we had a rather eye-opening experience with some holiday property owners in a popular Victorian coastal town who were advertising their accommodation with us. They originally requested that we use text and photos from their own dedicated websites to create their advertisement. They were photos the property owners had taken themselves and wording they’d supplied to their web development and hosting company (let’s call them “Sneaky Internet Promotions“) to set up and maintain their website.

Imagine our surprise when “Sneaky Internet Promotions” threatened to sue us for multiple incidents of copyright infringement for re-using material on their clients’ websites!

What was happening here is that unbeknown to the poor property owners in this town, whenever they hired “Sneaky Internet Promotions” to create and maintain their website, they signed over complete ownership and copyright of all their material to this company. This meant that when the accommodation owners in this town took photos of their properties and gave them to “Sneaky Internet Promotions” to update their websites with, they lost all copyright of the photos and any information that appeared on their website.

Why any web development or hosting company would want complete copyright ownership of its clients’ text and photos is something we’ll leave to your speculation, although it’s pretty obvious.

The lesson here is that if you pay a web development company to create and/or maintain your website, ensure that the contract specifies that YOU own the resulting product and that the copyright for all material you supply (even if it is modified by them) remains with you. Otherwise you will run into problems galore if you instruct other websites, newspapers or magazines to copy text and photos from what you believe is “your” own website to create additional advertising for you.

Categories
Bookings Holidays Web technology Websites

Why you need a real-time online booking system

Booking your holiday online
Guests want to book online, so let them or miss out!

You’ve just spent a few great days at Mallacoota and enjoyed the natural beauty of the beach and surrounding national park. You and the family are heading home tomorrow morning, but just before going to bed, you check out the latest weather forecast on the internet – sunny and 30 degrees for the next few days – perfect beach weather! Everyone agrees the holiday should be extended by spending a few nights at Lakes Entrance for some more great beach fun.

But the problem is that school holidays are on, so many places may be booked out. It’s too late in the night to telephone accommodation managers direct, so you head to the internet looking to secure a place to stay.

Searching for Lakes Entrance accommodation reveals some brand new holiday apartments just across the road from the beach and right in the town centre, which will be perfect for the family! Oh no, the only way to make an enquiry is to telephone or email them. There’s no availability calendar or online booking system. You could wait for the morning to phone them, but in the meantime others may get in before you and snap up the remaining apartments. And if you wait till the morning, other vacant accommodation at Lakes Entrance might be taken.

You keep looking and find some more holiday apartments. They are older style, situated one block back from the beach, and a fair walk to the town centre. However, they do have a real-time online booking system and they have one family unit remaining for the next two nights!

As you’re determined to stay in Lakes Entrance, you make the booking. It’s not where you would have wanted to ideally stay, but you can’t risk waiting until the morning to contact the manager of those apartments with no online booking system.

The question for managers of accommodation properties is how many bookings are you missing out on because people can’t instantly check availability or book online 24/7? How many people are instead staying at places that do offer the convenience of online bookings?

It’s not just last minute bookings which you may lose out on. Some people may have a list of places they want to stay in, but to spend time and money making long distance telephone calls, or being prepared to wait a day for email responses to be answered, would put them off booking with you unless they can check availability instantly and then reserve that room in the process.

In this increasingly busy, impulsive, unpredictable and digital age, more and more travellers are expecting to instantly reserve rooms, any time of day or night. Which is why you really need an online booking system.

The best online reservation systems are those which don’t charge you a fee for every booking made (i.e. commission-free bookings), making the booking directly between and you and the guest, and are fully under your control. Some which you may wish to consider that are administered in Australia are:

  1. Web Reservation Systems. Their system gives you total control over pricing, availability and conditions. The bookings are secure and guests can provide credit card details to you through this system. Implant the booking button on your website and on other sites you have your property listed with to allow customers check availability and/or book.
  2. The Booking Button. An intelligent and fully-featured online booking facility which you can use on your website or others you’re listed on. There’s no lock-in contracts, you pay monthly, and pricing varies depending on the number of rooms your establishment has.

If you don’t have an online booking system for your accommodation property, not only is it costing you guests, but also time. While guests organise their accommodation online instantly, you can attend to other tasks instead of being tied up on the phone or answering emails.

What are you waiting for?