News for the Hospitality Executive
|April 2007 - Blogs are the hottest growing medium of communication
for businesses and individuals. Based on Technorati research (blog search
engines), there are almost 3 million blogs created every month and bloggers
create over 1.6 million posts per day.
What are Blogs?
Blogs are websites with content management systems that allow visitors
to the site to add content. They are forums for organizations and
individuals to exchange ideas and communicate with their partners, customers,
employees, etc. You can create pages relevant for your business,
post articles on different subjects, and offer a platform for others to
write their comments or opinions on that post.
As a first step towards understanding blogs, it is important to get familiarized with some key terms used in the blog world.
Due of the interactive nature and ability for readers to write their reactions and comments, blogs offers a solid platform for writer and readers to interact and develop a mutual understanding of the opinions of the either party. This allows managers in organizations to get a closer look at what their employees feel or for companies to understand what their customers think of their products.
In the business environment, we believe that blogs offer a solid interaction forum that can be used by companies to read into their customers’ minds, resulting in a better understanding of customer requirements. This information can be used effectively by companies to tailor their product offerings to best meet the needs of those customers. Blogs can be used effectively by companies to establish credibility and trust, and provide insight into the company’s “philosophy and personality.”
Blogs and Search Engines
For an online marketer, blogs offer a powerful marketing platform. Not only do blogs enable marketers to gain a better understanding of their customers, but the content posted on blogs is much easier to find on search engines as well. Search engines love blogs because they love fresh content. Every time new content is posted on a blog, the blog site pings the search engines. This results in frequent search engine spider visits and hence much higher optimization and ranking.
Blogs also have RSS (Real Simple Syndicate) functionality, which means as soon as your article/post is posted on your blog, people signed up to receive your RSS automatically receive information about your post. They come to your blog to read the post or read it in their RSS reader. It all happens in real time on your site. The more you write, the more people will read and comment. Bloggers link to each others blogs while commenting on the post. So, every time a blog has fresh content, whether you wrote a post or readers of the blog commented on your post, search engines get pinged and visit your site.
Blogs help in securing quality links from relevant blogs by trackbacks and comments, which in the blogging world is also called “socializing the blog.” This helps in gaining link popularity and link relevancy, and helps drive relevant traffic very quickly.
Blogs for the Lodging Industry
The lodging industry can utilize blog technology very effectively as a marketing tool. Blogs can be used effectively by hotels and brands to communicate with their customers and to develop an understanding of their needs. In our opinion, one of the best forms of blogs for the hotel/lodging industry is focused on information about the hotel’s local market. Hotels can successfully utilze blogs to communicate about the attractions and places of interest in their local market. A significant amount of people visit hotels because of local events, attractions, things to do, etc. Therefore, blogs showcasing local destinations can be highly successful for hotel marketing.
There are several categories and functionalities to consider while developing lodging industry blogs. An example of a hotel industry blog can be found at http://blog.rivernorthhotel.com and http://www.experiencewashingtonstate.com/. In these examples, blogs discuss the destination and top attractions in the hotels’ local market. It also has information about restaurants in the area and provides reader the ability to post comments and opinions. You can discuss the features and amenities that your lodging offers by creating a section for featured properties.
5 Tips For Making Your logding Blog Successful
The journey of blog promotion is never ending. Here are 10 steps you can take to promote your blog. The more action steps you will take, the more successful you will be and the more ROI you will gain.
Blogs give businesses indirect, long-term ROI. The best return on investment from a blog comes from gaining a better understanding of your customer. From the customer point of view, people do business with people they know. When people read your blog and comment on your blog, they feel they know you and your business. They might not have an immediate need for your services, but eventually, when they have a need or their friends have need, they will call you.
You can track your blog’s ROI by:
Your blog can focus on delivering news, establishing you as a leader, or can be niche, destination, or company specific. Here are few blogs established for the lodging industry.
Leader Blogs - Lodging industry leaders or franchise companies can create a blog to communicate their corporate initiatives, news and history, or add a personal touch by adding voice casts. Bill Marriott has done a great job of this, showcasing Marriott policy, personal achievements, and the Marriott family. Check out his active blog at http://www.blogs.marriott.com/.
Niche Specific Blogs – The lodging industry can create niche specific blogs, such as blogs catering to luxury travelers and travelers looking for great deals or travel videos such as Upgrade Travel Blogs, travel blog featuring tips, news, and commentary for business and leisure travelers looking for comfort, style, and convenience while getting great deals. Check out http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/.
Destination Specific Blogs – These blogs showcase a destination, featuring top attractions, tours, dining, etc., and offer featured hotels. Destination blogs can feature one hotel or can be used by several hotels. Essentially they are not focusing on the hotel, but rather they are talking about a destination that brings people to the hotel. Once readers decide to try a destination and things to do, they can choose to stay at one of the featured hotels. Check out http://blog.rivernorthhotel.com.
Company Specific Blogs – Companies marketing to a specific industry
can create a blog focused on that industry. Blog categories highlight the
main products the company is offering. For example, on Milestone’s blog
we talk about emerging trends, email marketing tips, local search, blogs,
podcasts and information relevant to internet marketing. Check out http://blog.milestoneinternet.com
FAQS about Blogging
Here are some of the questions I get asked about blogs. I tried to summarize my point of view in the answer.
Q: What if people write negative comments about me or my business because of personal rivalry on my blog?As I was writing this article, I felt like I was discovering a new passion and embarking on a new journey into the blog world. In upcoming articles, I will be covering even more ideas and strategies about blogging, as well as blog tips and success stories. In the name and game of blogging, I would like very much to hear from you. Please comment at blog.postname.com and I will surely respond.
Thanks for reading!!
Benu Aggarwal is the founder and president of Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc. Milestone is a full-service internet marketing solutions provider and an educator for the travel and hospitality industry. We provide comprehensive solutions for developing powerful internet presence and driving revenue on the internet. Our portfolio of services include developing and promoting independent and brand.com websites, blogs, podcasts, RSS, email marketing, etc.
We currently work with over 500 hotels nationwide and are a preferred vendor for several major lodging brands. Milestone is also a leading internet marketing educator for the lodging industry and offers it’s popular and widely acclaimed internet marketing training workshop and book - Hotels to HTMLs for several lodging associations, brands, and management groups. www.milestoneinternet.com. For information, Call (888) 350-8396 or visit www.milestoneinternet.com
Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc.
|Also See:||Milestone Internet Marketing Licenses Hotels to HTMLs™ Handbook To Best Western International (BWI) For Online Education / May 2005|
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