The Google Party Plane Down Under?

Googleair_2

A Boeing 767 reportedly linked to billionaire Google co-owners Brin and Page was spotted at the airport yesterday afternoon. 

The Press was unable to confirm yesterday whether either of them was on board. 

The
chief executive of Christchurch based private jet charter company
Pacific Jets, Terry Murdoch, said while the company had been involved
in the plane’s arrival, staff had signed confidentiality agreements
forbidding them to reveal details of passengers or their plans.

Click here to read more.

Travelers share tips, trade stories online

NEW YORK (AP) — Had Jani Patokallio relied solely on a
printed travel guidebook to plan a recent trip to Cambodia, he might
have skipped a visit to Sihanoukville, turned off by talk of bumpy bus
rides, bombed out buildings and kidnappings.

But after checking
out Wikitravel, one of several free sites that let travelers themselves
share information and reviews, he learned the seaside town has changed
since the book’s printing.

Click here to read more.

Marketing Budget ’07

OK, the holidays are coming to a close and its time to review the 2007 budget.  Do you just repeat last year’s expenses?  Have you considered exactly where your business came from last year.  Did you think about new market segments?  Alright, you’ve done your homework and your marketing funds are committed.

Just for the record, how much of your business is coming to you through the Internet?  That includes your property website, brand site, 3rd party portals and any other websites where you might be listed or linked.  On average the Internet in 2007 will deliver 50 percent of all hotel and resort bookings.  And, statistics show that over a third of your off-line, phone or walk-in booking, bookings where a result of information found on the Internet.

The fundamentals of how to capture your share of these bookings is simple . . .

(1) If you are a brand hotel you need your own property website so you can manage property specific search and offer infromation and services that brand either does not provide enough exposure, cannot optimize or provides a generic reply to a shopper request (Example: groups)

(2) Make sure your website provides an informative positive experience for the shopper that will motivate them to book.  (On average the Internet shopper does not book during the initial session on your site.  The booking occurs within 5 to 10 day afterwards. 

(3)  Invest in search engine advertising or organic search for your property website!  It is critical that your website is found on the search engine’s first 3 pages and the brand is not the solution for more than your name and city.

(4) Successful Internet marketing demands a full time effort because search ranking is based on website changes, number of pages, report reviews and content updates and keeping up with search techniques and opportunities on the leading search engines.

In 2007 you will hear a lot about BLOGS, review websites, peer-to-peer marketing (P2P), podcasts and other evolving personal or community forms of distribution and online exposure.  How important are these opportunities?  Very, because this is referred to as Web 2.0 or the new Internet marketplace.  You need to know about these opportunitities and how to take advantage of them to drive more business.  Here again, it takes a skilled person or service to deliver accountable results.

No matter what size or type of hotel or resort branded or independent, the Internet will make or break your business.  also, as with all marketing investments, be careful and don’t always buy cheap and make sure your service offers accountability.

Lonely Planet Launched Booking Service

Lonely Planet is launching its independently author-reviewed and
recommended online accommodation booking service, Lonely Planet
Haystack, at http://haystack.lonelyplanet.com.

Click here to read more.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Well another year is coming to a close and it’s been a great year for us here at Lodging Interactive.  We’d like to thank all our clients for their business and for helping us grow.  We’d also like to thank our competitors, that’s right our competitors, for making sure we don’t stand still and continue to innovate so everyone wins!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  Let’s have a better 2007!

DJ Vallauri
Founder & CEO
Lodging Interactive

Google Passes Yahoo in Tally of Visitors

Google, the search engine company,   displaced  Yahoo as the world’s second-most-visited Web site in November and closed in on the leader,   Microsoft, a market researcher said yesterday.

Visitors
to Google’s sites rose 9.1 percent, to 475.7 million in November from a
year earlier, while those to Yahoo sites rose 5.2 percent, to 475.3
million, the researcher, ComScore Networks, said. Both sites trail
Microsoft, which had 501.7 million visitors, ComScore said.

It
was the first time that Google, based in Mountain View, Calif.,
attracted more visitors than Yahoo, reflecting Google’s growing
popularity outside the United States. Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale,
Calif., is still the most-visited site within the United States,
ComScore said. Microsoft’s visitors increased 3.3 percent from a year
earlier.

Report Focus: Business Travelers in Midscale Hotels

Report Focus: Business Travelers in Midscale Hotels | Produced by HSMAI and
iPerceptions | An impressive 44% of business travelers visiting hotel brand
websites are “bookers” and actually make or change a reservation, according to a
new joint study from the HSMAI Foundation and iPerceptions that measured
business travelers in the mid-scale hotel segment. Furthermore, 4 in 10 of
website visitors are first timers, and only 22.1% mid-scale business travelers
abandon their plan to make an online transaction versus 31% for leisure
travelers.

Click here to download PDF report.

Hotel review websites: a five-star scam

Interesting article about scamming comment cards and hotel reviews.  Lodging Interactive offers a hotel website comment card solution which avoids these scams.

How can you turn a one-star hostel into a top hotel overnight?
Write fake reviews online. Gareth Walsh and Steven Swinford investigate
how the internet is throwing hotel and restaurant guides into chaos

Click here to read more…

Google Begins Testing Radio Ads

Google
Inc. said it has begun testing radio ads in the U.S. with a small group
of its online keyword-search advertisers, a move that follows the
completion of its lengthy integration of dMarc Broadcasting Inc.

Google agreed to acquire dMarc early this year for
$102 million in cash and to pay more than $1.1 billion over three years
if dMarc meets certain targets. The move was one of several designed to
take Google’s wildly successful online ad formula into the realm of
traditional media.

The Mountain View, Calif., company said the online
interface it has created for selling audio ads will help make
advertising on radio more efficient and cost effective.

"You’ll be able to target your customers by location,
station type, day of the week, and time of day," wrote a member of the
Google Audio Ads team on the company’s Inside AdWords blog. "After the
radio ads are run, you will be able to view online reports that tell
you exactly when your ad played."

The ads can by played on "hundreds" of radio stations
across the country, Google said. Using the online interface,
advertisers will be able to set a weekly budget and define their
campaigns, and then Google will let customers see and alter how their
ad budgets will be spent.

Test participants are being asked for 30-second MP3
files of their radio ads, which must conform to Google guidelines on
content, including relevance and accuracy.

Google said it will use the test to gather feedback to
improve product features. It hasn’t set a date yet for the product’s
wider availability to AdWords advertisers

Marriott online reservations swell

Some travel sites have been struggling to keep traffic as more
travelers opt to do business directly with hotel and airline Web sites.
Marriott is among the companies seeing growth from that trend.

The Bethesda-based hotel chain says its Marriott.com
Web site will set a record with nearly $4 billion in online hotel
bookings this year. That is double what Marriott’s Web site was booking
two years ago and represents about 20 percent of the company’s total
hotel-level gross bookings.

Click here to read more…