Pre-Holiday Resort Marketing Checklist

Posted on Nov 10th 2010



Christmas holidays are coming up so it’s time to brush up on your Internet marketing strategies if you want increased bookings before the year ends.

Here’s a quick list on what you need to work on before the happiest season of the year comes:

Work on local search.
We have previously discussed that Google has released a new blended search results page that mixes local results right into the organic web results.

This is important for your resort, especially this Christmas holidays, because people will be constantly looking for venues for their office Christmas parties or places where they can have their Christmas dinner.  So, even if you're internet-only, get reviews and testimonials, submit to local listings, and read up on basic local search ranking factors.  Read more about Google Places here.

Check the house e-mail list.
Remove any duplicate subscribers, stale addresses that are bouncing and any folks who recently requested removal.  Also, test it. Make sure that the people who subscribe are actually ending up on the list and not on an error page.

Build the house e-mail list
That list is your best asset. It's not too late to do some quick pre-holiday list building. Some ideas:

    * Tell site visitors you'll be e-mailing out special offers 2 days before Christmas Eve. Remind them to sign up.
    * Offer freebies or a discount on your hotel restaurant’s Christmas menu in exchange for a signup.
    * Offer incentives to current subscribers if they get their friends to sign up.

Fix Your Facebook Page

Check out your Facebook page. Update it. Clean up any spammy posts.  Set up a 'Book' tab that shows images of your accommodations with links back to your online reservation page, too.
Create a space on the page for all those great holiday offers you're going to do.  Then put a link back to Facebook with a clear call to action, on your site. (e.g. For special offers this Christmas holidays, follow us on Facebook now.)

If you don't have a Facebook page, set it up as soon as possible.

Set up Twitter
If you don't have a Twitter account, set one up now. It’s a quick and efficient way to let people know of your upcoming promotions this season.  You can also set up a special contest on Twitter (eg. 1000th follower gets a 10% discount on our Exeutive Suites).  Here’s how to setup a Twitter account.

Improve Your Site’s performance
Test the following pages using Google Page Speed or Yahoo's YSlow:

    * The home page.
    * An Facilities page.
    * A Rooms page.
    * A Contact Us page.


Get your pages loading in 3-4 seconds or less. This can help with search rankings, pay per click marketing quality score, and, most important, with conversion rates. A faster loading page means that your prospective guests can see exactly what they want, only faster.

Run paid search campaigns now.
If you don't already have one, get your pay per click campaign running on Bing and Google right now.

Don't get aggressive just yet. Buy very focused phrases on exact or phrase match, and buy branded terms. Spend as little as possible. Your goal is to have a decent account history and quality score when you really start pouring it on.

Work on Your SEO.
Have good, descriptive title tags on all product pages and don’t forget to write unique and compelling description tags so people can click through to your site.

Check Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster Tools for any alerts or problems. If there are, fix them.  Remember, good SEO means people can easily find you in case they want to book your resort for their holiday activities.

Start updating.
If you haven’t posted any new content on your blog or website, now is the time to start moving.  People like seeing sites that are constantly updated.  It shows that you give a lot of effort to keep your content fresh.

If you don’t have a blog, post updates on Facebook, Twitter and any other, relevant services.

Update your home page whenever possible.  Maybe include an overall Christmas theme to your website.  Onsite updates will help you rank better, and encourage visitors to return more often. Offsite (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) updates will build your following, so that you have a bigger audience to sell to in 6 weeks.

Make sure analytics is working.
Set up your analytics page so that you get an overall report as to what’s happening to you website.  Is it getting more traffic during Christmas holidays?  Do they click on holiday promos?  These will give you insights on what things appeal more to your audience.

Prepare for testing.
Set up a multivariate testing tool on your most-visited pages. Google Website Optimizer will do just fine.

Get ready to test different language and creative. For example, if you're providing a free night on your resort, you'll want to test:
"Free one night for every three bookings this Christmas " against
"3 nights + 1 free this Christmas holidays"

You can't test this ahead of time. If your site tends to get a lot of traffic daily, you can probably run a 2-hour test and then go with the better option right away.
 

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