Google To Launch Video Auction Ads

In a recent interview MarketWatch with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, it was mentioned…again…that they are BETA testing video ads through their ad network.  Although this is not the first time Mr. Schmidt mentioned this, he does admit the new functionality is not ready for prime time.  The buzz around town is that video ads will be making their debut on Google before the year’s end.

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USA Today Story – Hotels Go After Young Travelers

USA Today published a cool story today about how the major hotel brands are "going after" the young travelers as they build their new brands.  It’s not like we need more brands in the marketplace (I feel sorry for the franchisee who has to compete across the street with a brand spanking new/fresh/cool sister brand!

Anyway, Peter Yesawich of YPB&R was quoted in the article about hotels providing "fun hangouts outside the guest rooms and flat screen TVs"; he also talks about "voltage in the lobby".  Let’s not forget that the Young Traveler’s experience begins ONLINE…yes on the hotel website.  So crank up the volume on those sites and budget to include website enhancements for 2007.  Now is the time to turn it up!  Time to provide a richer online hotel experience to stay in the game. (we can help of course)

Click here to read the USA Today article

eProposal Rapid RFP Response System

Lodging Interactive announced today the launch of its eProposal Rapid
RFP Response System for the hospitality industry. Lodging Interactive’s
eProposal system enables hotels and resorts to quickly customize
professional looking responses to inbound RFPs for group and event
space.

Lodging Interactive’s eProposal Rapid RFP Response System is a browser
based application which can be accessed from any Internet connected PC
using an Internet Explorer or FireFox browser. The eProposal system
centers around a comprehensive website designed exclusively for the
hotel to showcase their property’s meeting space, floor plans,
accommodations, menus, and food & beverage operations. Hotel sales
managers can create unlimited professional RFP responses quickly and
efficiently for their sales prospects. Each response is protected with
a unique user name and password ensuring confidentiality. The prospect
will receive a secure, personalized hotel website with information
tailored for their upcoming event at the hotel. In addition, each sales
manager can set proposal follow up dates ensuring a timely follow up on
each sales prospect.

Click here for more information…

The Alliance Against Google

Great write up on the Economist website on what today’s Internet firms can learn from 19th-century history.  Worth reading.

Alliance

Click here to read more…

The value of Website Maps

Does a map add value to your website?  Can it affect whether the shoppers buys or not?  The answer is yes to both questions.  A good map will combine information from your directions page, your attractions page and your events page.  A good map will not only pin points your location, it will tell the shopper what is nearby.  A map is a convenient way to provide valuable information without making the shopper read a lot of text or chase hyperlinks.

A map is a fundamental to a hotel’s website. "A map provides good graphic information and good information makes your website sticky."  Sticky means it is a way to keep your website visitor’s attention and  the longer they are on your site the better the chance is they will book.

A recent survey by Hitwise, a leading provider of Internet statistics on trends, showed that map related online services are 3 of the top 10 online services.  Of the top twenty keywords or phrases the word map is included in six of them.  This tells me that by offering quality map information on your site you can retain that visitor’s attention and provide information that can generate a sale.

A quality map is not a link to Yahoo or Mapquest pages.  By doing this you are actually exposing your shopper to links to competitive hotels and creating a distraction that will divert their attention from your website.  An effective map is a map that is limited to the relevance of your website.  It can be used to add value to your hotel by providing a driving directions and showing your hotel’s  proximity to locations and attractions in your area that relate to incoming visitors.  A good map will help drive room reservations because it adds value to your location, location, location.

Hotel Operators – Stay Independent or Brand It!

Recent Business Week article (July 28, 2006) looks at the one family-run hotel that went independent after flying the Best Western flag while another upgraded its chain status.  The article takes a look at both decisions.

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Click, Click, Click – FRAUD!

With click fraud reaching over 14% in Q2 (source Click Forensic, LLC) it’s no wonder Search Engine Optimization is becoming increasingly popular.  Click fraud is defined by Webopedia.com as follows:

Click fraud is an illegal practice that occurs when individuals click on Web site click through
advertisements (either or paid text links) to increase the payable
number of click throughs to the advertiser. The illegal clicks could
either be performed by having a person manually click the advertising hyperlinks or by using automated software or Online bots
that are programmed to click these banner ads and pay per click text ad
links. Research has indicated that click fraud is perpetrated by
individuals who use click fraud to increase their own personal banner
ad revenues and also by companies who use click fraud as a way to
deplete a competitor’s advertising budget.

Here is anm interesting article supporting the rise of click fraud wihtin the pay-per-click industry.

Click here to read more…

Is it Keywords or Key Phrases?

The value of the search engines continues to grow in regard to their impact on your online sales results.  The search engines have become the single most important distribution channel on the Internet.  Even more so than the Merchant Sites!

With 50% or more of your reservations coming to you via the Internet and one or more search engines affecting 70% of these sales, I think its a safe bet that you need to evaluate how much of your marketing budget goes into search engine marketing.

Search engine marketing consists of two basic elements; a paid listing and an organic listing.  The one common element that critical to both your paid and organic search programs is choosing the right keywords or phrases.  A recent report release by OneState.com, a leading supplier of search analytics gives us some interesting information about how search terms are used by the consumers.

This information is no surprise to Lodging Interactive as to the value of key terms and phrases compared to other companies who continue to rely on single keyword meta tags and optimized content. A successful search optimization program whether paid or organic has to match the terms being used for the search process.  What you are paying your search engine marketing service for is their optimization skills and keeping up with search engine user trends so these trends can be integrated into how your website is optimized.

Here are the results of how many words are used in a search phrase  . . .

SEO Search Terms

 

 

The 7 most used word phrases in search engines on the web are:

 

                                                                    Worldwide

July 2006

 

July 2005

1.

2 word phrases

28.91%

 

1.

2 word phrases

29.60%

2.

3 word phrase

27.85%

 

2.

3 word phrase

27.55%

3.

4 word phrases

17.11%

 

3.

4 word phrases

16.21%

4.

1 word phrases

11.43%

 

4.

1 word phrases

13.42%

5.

5 word phrases

8.25%

 

5.

5 word phrases

7.58%

6.

6 word phrases

3.68%

 

6.

6 word phrases

3.21%

7.

7 word phrases

1.59%

 

7.

7 word phrases

1.34%

 

USA

1.

3 word phrases

28.83%

2.

4 word phrase

22.28%

3.

2 word phrases

20.43%

4.

5 word phrases

11.97%

5.

1 word phrases

6.19%

6.

6 word phrases

5.76%

7.

7 word phrases

2.59%

Source: onestat.com July 2006