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- Whiich is on Twitter
- Feed your hotel news from Whiich to Facebook Page
- Embed the bulletin board in your website
- Tag your property with marketing keywords
- Pictures are important -Set up your gallery
- Help travelers find you-Complete property basic information
- Market your property using Bulletin board / Blog
- Increase online exposure-List your website on Whiich for free
- Hotel local news and events on Google map
- A case in the making –Quintet bed and breakfast
We have recently created a news feed for each property’s bulletin board.
For those who’s not familiar with the concept of feed:
Feed is a stream of news content created using the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) format. The standard is now widely adopted by all the content publishers.
Therefore, Feed makes it easy to exchange content between different sites and applications.
For each property on Whiich, we have created a news Feed for the bulletin board.
The bulletin board Feed URL can be found on top-right corner of the bulletin board page. (See example: Quintet bed and breakfast). You can import this feed to any sites that can import/receive RSS content.
If you have a Facebook Page, let me describe how to do this in Facebook. I’m going to use our Whiich Page to demo the process.
Facebook Page use Notes to receive external content.
Go to your Notes section, you will see a link: Import your blog on the Notes setting.
Enter your bulletin board Feed URL from Whiich
Step 3> Finish !!
That’s it, it’s very simple and powerful.
Now the content will be automatically pulled from your bulletin board on Whiich to Facebook Page. This is a great way to syndicate your news to different channels on the internet.
Great news! We have made your bulletin board into a widget, you can now display your bulletin posts directly on your website. This widget can be included in any website pages, such as blog. With this feature, your friends will be able to help promote your site news now!
Currently, we offer 1 column layout widget and 2-column widget, they can be customized by width, height, and num of posts displayed.
Look for the variable num, width, and height in the embed code, and change them to fit your display. For example:
marginWidth=0 marginHeight=0 frameBorder=0 scrolling=auto width=640 height=570 align=center
The embed codes are available on your property’s bulletin board page. If you need more help on customizing your display, write us!
Here is an example of the embeded bulletin board news from Quintet Shanghai.
How do travelers discover or find out about a particular place? How would you highlight your special offers or uniqueness about your property in order to attract potential travelers ?
The answer is Keywords tagging. Keywords are used to capture travelers’ attention during their search.
Owners can use keywords or phrases to highlight a particular interest of their properties. The keywords will be displayed on city search pages, etc to help travelers discover the property.
You can associate the keywords with your property in Step 4 of the listing process. We have categorized the keywords into 3 categories.
1) District and Neighborhood names
Our category structure only supports up to city level. Therefore, you can use this field to enter the names of your district or neighborhood. If you are located in a special neighborhood that has an unofficial name, definitely put it!
2) Points of interest in walking distance from your neighborhood
Use this category to further describe your neighborhoods with particular points of interests, such as parks, shopping streets, or cafes/shops, or convenient stores etc. Please avoid putting in a tourist location that are too far off from your place. Neighborhood is all about *living locally* and what’s available within walking distance.
3) Feature amenities and services
You can use this category to describe your property or your services. For example, architectures and design of the houses, facilities of the house, and special services. If you think gourmet breakfast is what you are proud of, yes, put it in.
Each category can accept up to 60 characters. Therefore you can enter about 3-4 keyword phrases for each category. We encourage owners to choose their keywords wisely and to pick the most important and unique keywords that can differentiate themselves from others. However, sometimes you may also want to adopt the popular keywords in order to be included in the common search results. It’s a balancing act and we leave it to you (owners) to figure out the right strategy for your business.
Next step: Manage your Bulletin board / Blog
Our current process is different from other listing sites. We do not offer photos uploading feature. Our gallery view displays the photos directly from existing images on your website. Our intention is to reduce the efforts for owners to upload photos again to another website. That’s why we design the Flash to play images from your website.
You can set up your gallery view in Step 3 of the listing process.
All you need to do is tell us which image URLs you want to display one by one. Or even faster, you can just enter the page URL where your photos are shown and our system will automatically grab the image URLs from the page for you to select. Most owners use the images on their accommodation pages or gallery pages.
To delete a photo, just click on the photo to un-select.
Note: we do not support re-arranging the order for images, you can only configure one photo as your cover photo for the gallery. We will look into enhance our gallery feature in the future.
Next step: Tag your property with marketing keywords
In order to help travelers find their accommodations more easily, Whiich needs to capture a few basic information about a property. This is done in the step 2 of the listing process.
1) Brief description: We capture a brief introduction from owner’s website homepage. This description is shown on search page to provide travelers a quick glance about your property.
2) Price range: This help travelers to find places within their budget.
For small hotels, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, please enter the price range for a double-bed room. For apartment and vacation rentals, please enter the price range for a rental unit.
If you don’t specify a price, your listing will be displayed last in our city search result.
3) Email: We don’t expose owner’s emails on the website. Travelers can contact you through our contact form. Eventually we hope to provide a better email booking tools for the owners.
4) Address: Your address will be used to locate the geo-codes from Google Map. If for some reason, Google has the wrong geocodes for your address, or Google cannot find your address, you can contact us for help or send us your geocodes.
Next Step: Edit property: Set up your gallery
Each property has its own bulletin board. Many owners’ websites are not designed as a publishing platform. Therefore we have created this feature to help owners communicate more easily and efficiently to the potential travelers.
Owners can post any messages about their hotels or their local neighborhood. It’s a simple version of a blog function (see example here). If you don’t have a blog, you can use our bulletin board to broadcast your news.
To demonstrate the ideas: Here’s an example posted by Quintet bed and breakfast in Shanghai.
The posts will show up in several places, which, again are designed to help you maximize your exposure.
3) Shanghai City’s Search Page : display on the left navigation bar
4) Facebook TravelBuddies: display on Shanghai City info page and event pages.
5) Google Map
6) Most recent posts will also show up on our homepage.
So, what are the things you can post? Well, you can use it like your hotel blog. You can post special offers, news and events about your property, or you can share some travel tips about your local neighborhood such as things to do, restaurants and shops, tour services or local events etc.
The more you posts, the greater exposure you can get. Not only that, you can demonstrate your local knowledge, thereby impress your potential travelers.
Soon we will also let owners display their posts on their websites directly.
Try it now! The post management links can be accessed from user profile page.
Here’s a mockup of the Add a new post page:
Whiich is a free global directory for small independent hotels.
Here are the instant benefits you can get by adding your website to whiich. It’s easy and free. You don’t need to worry about managing your content later on.
1) Increase your exposure and ranking on search engines
You can benefit from all the efforts we do to help maximizing owners’ exposures on search engine and other marketing channels.
2) Allow travelers to find the content on your website more easily
Whiich’s integrated search engine allows travelers to search your own websites directly. For example, if you have a Christmas or holiday special promotions on your homepage. Our users can find your website when they type in “Christmas” or “Holiday specials” from our search box.
That’s it! Just get your website listed.
To add your website on Whiich:
First, search the name of your website and see if it’s already listed by our community.
If your site is in our directory already, send us an email with your website URL, and we will assign the property to your registered account. Once this is done, you can edit all the information for your property.
Next step: Edit property: Enter basic information
Here is a demo of putting our owners’ bulletin news posts on Google Map. This will help bring in more direct traffic to owners from Google map search.
We encourage owners to post their hotel news and events frequently, the more information you post about your property, the better you will be found by the travelers through our efforts in maximizing your visiblity in search.
Each post is associated with its property’s gecodes. If geocodes are not available, the city’s geocodes will be used. Geocodes information is becoming important as more and more consumers are switching their mobile phones to GPS-enabled phones. We hope to make Whiich’s information mobile as well.
I would like to share some of our internet marketing tactics for Quintet Shanghai Bed and breakfast. After opening for 1 month, we have already reached about 30% of occupancy rate. I’m not sure how good this number is for a new place, but I guess it’s worth celebrating when it looks like we are gonna have a positive cash flow for the 2nd month.
So, what have we done? Here’re the basic 4 steps that worked.
1) A well-designed website
Coming out from the internet industry, we truly believe that internet is the most important channel for a travel business. Relationships and contacts are useful, but you cannot reach immediate travelers faster than the internet. So we decided that, the Quintet website has to look good, and contain all the necessary information to impress our travelers. It’s like, to impress a stranger, you must present yourself well, simple as that.
2) Make sure your content is searchable
Search engine cannot index images, flashes and videos. Most of the time, web designers do not pay much attention to this part, they just take your text and build the graphics and pages for you. However, a simple design, good navigation and well-written title, body text can help search engine index your content properly and create a better result.
3) Increase exposure
After you have a great website, you need to market it. But how do travelers find you other than search? Your website along cannot compete with all the other travel portals out there. That’s why you need to list your site in public website like Whiich.com. In addition, posting your website externally can also help you increase your ranking in the search result. There are a lot of free sites out there; however, most of them do not allow your website URL unless you pay a fee. Users from such sites always tend to ask more questions because they cannot get enough information from the listing.
Try to identify the most important channels in your area to start with. Every place may be a bit different. Since China is so big, and there are already so many expats spreaded out in China. We picked English city portals and well-known classifieds as our channels.
4) Blog about it – Express your attitude in hospitality
Most of our customers are converted after they read the Quintet website. They are impressed with the design, the concept, but mostly they are sold by the genuine voices from the innkeeper’s blog.
And this is the fundamental concept we build into Whiich. You don’t need reviews, and you can still win over your customers with your knowledge, and your unique offerings. Plus, the more you write about your place, yourself, and the local environment, the more you will be found through search.
We are getting 30 -40 visits every day now through internet. 40% comes from search engine, 20% comes from Fay’s other blog about Shanghai, and the rest comes from a few websites we list on.