IWBMob is a New Mobile Booking Technology

Bed Breakfast Traveler is a brand operated under the Instant World Booking umbrella. A few weeks ago we introduced a brand new concept in mobile booking.  Yes, Bed and Breakfasts can be booked on the fly, from anywhere. And, as an innkeeper you can host your booking engine on your B&B website, and be assured that people from any location using any type of devise can book your rooms instantly. This includes users of mobile phones, tablets, and any computer.

The first phase of this re-branding has just been released. It’s a mobile-first design. This means that your profile page, and the entire booking process, has been redesigned. Our new design features leading edge mobile aesthetics and streamlined user experience. For users of our new booking engine, the experience will surpass almost any modern booking site available today.

What does mobile-first mean?
Mobile-first means that our site will respond flexibly to all types of computers and devices, with an emphasis on mobile users. After all, more than 25% of worldwide travel bookings are made on mobile devices.  In the coming weeks, additional phases of our IWBmob re-branding will be visible across our entire website.

One thing to consider when selecting your primary booking engine is this. Have you gone through the booking process on multiple different mobile devices such as an iPhone, an Android phone, and a tablet?  Are the email confirmations that your guests receive equally mobile-friendly? Instant World Booking has this all covered for you.

We invite you to check out your new profile pages.  We’re sure you’ll agree that it works better on mobile devices, and is easy for users, than most other booking sites.

Here are some of best profiles we’ve seen. We recommend you check them out for ideas. Remember, add your best photos!

Hotel Convento Santa Catalina, Guatemala
Wander Inn Bunbury, Australia
Amigos Hostel Cozumel, Mexico
Bondalem Beach Club, Indonesia
New Ostel Florence, Italy
Nanu Guesthouse, South Korea

We will soon introduce some innovative methods of integrating your IWB experience with Facebook and other social media. These are brand new innovations that are currently not used by any other booking service. Look for future announcements to learn how to take advantage of these innovations.

For more information, please see:



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How to – Link Building for B&Bs

Your bed and breakfast’s website is one of your most valuable assets.  Like all of our assets, we wish to grow their value.  But how can we do this, even in a down economy?  Your website and the traffic it brings is an asset you can grow anytime.

One of the most important value “drivers” of your website is search engine ranking.  Obtaining quality inbound links to your website from 3rd party sources is a major component of your search engine rankings.  Most search engines consider a link to your website as a “vote” for the importance of your website.  The more links that point to your homepage, the more important your site becomes when people search on major search engines.
Reciprocal linking is not the way to go, although it can be used sparingly.  Major search engines today are able to figure out what links are reciprocal or not, and reciprocal links are heavily discounted, along with you website if you employ them.  Reciprocal links should be used sparingly, and only with websites of actual bed and breakfasts.  It’s fine to trade links with other B&Bs.

The highest-quality links are one-way links to your website that come from related, relevant, and quality websites.  Building links can take a lot of time, but is worth the effort.

For another form of link that can drive qualified traffic to your website, BedBreakfastTraveler.com offers free links to your webpage with any free listing on our service.  There are over 100 websites in BedBreakfastTraveler.com’s network (Instant World Booking), and an average bed and breakfast may have listings on up to 15-25 sites, all with one free listing.  This means that on any of these SEO-optimized listing pages, a link to your homepage will appear.  Free links on our network display your website in a shadowbox on the listing page, and do not re-direct the user to your webpage.  Your entire website is visible however.  Free links also do not appear on premium sites like BedBreakfastTraveler.com and InstantWorldBooking.com

Introducing Paid Links

For a small cost, paid (sponsored) links are available to gain even more traffic to your website.  Paid links will re-direct the user right to your website, and paid links appear on our premium sites.  Note that all our links are constructed in strict agreement with Google’s guidelines.

Again, all you need to do is have a free listing on BedBreakfastTraveler.com, and then you can access either the free links which are automatically provided to you.  Or, purchase paid links by signing in to your listing at BedBreakfastTraveler.com.

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Thinking of Becoming an Innkeeper?

Is becoming an Innkeeper right for you?  Think about whether you have:

1. A business plan that includes financing prospects
2. Planning, organizational, and management skills
3. The desire to work hard, and sometimes long hours
4. Discipline and business competitiveness
5. Multitasking capability and organizational skills
6. The desire to entertain people from different parts of the country/world
7. Drive to ensure your new small business succeeds

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SEO and SEM Tips for Your Hotel or Bed & Breakfast Website – Part 2

In our previous article, we touched upon the surface with some basic tips on how to optimize your website for increased search engine traffic on the internet. This advice is valuable for any Bed & Breakfast or Hotel website to maximize your search engine potential.

Let’s consider another important attribute of your website, the TITLE tag. This is the title of your homepage or other web pages. The TITLE tag should always contain the primary keyword for your page. Write each page around one primary keyword that relates directly to your property, or the subject or niche of the particular page.

For example, if your bed and breakfast is in California, your niche is “California bed and breakfast”. Your title tag should include the name of your property and the term “California bed and breakfast.” Need more specifics, consider a title tag that reads “ABC B&B, a California Bed and Breakfast.”

Each page must have one primary keyword, and it should be included in the Title tag for that page. The Title tag does not appear in the body of the article, but in the HTML between the two HEAD tags in your html.

For each of your web pages, make sure to use Header tags (<H1>, <H2>, etc.), and use them wisely. These are heading tags, with <H1> being the most important. The heading for each main section in your page should be contained within <H1> tags, and often times, each page will only have one set of these tags. Subheadings, containing secondary keywords, should be contained within <H2> tags, and so on. So, for example, if you have a page describing Fall Foliage Packages, include a header tag as follows: <H1>Fall Foliage Packages at ABC B&B</H1>. After an introduction to your Fall Foliage packages, you may then have subheaders such as <H2>Fall Foliage Weekends</H2>, etc.

Another important feature for your hotel or B&B website is the ALT attribute. Use ‘Alt = ‘ within the Img tags of your images and graphics. This lets the search engines know what the graphic or photo is about. Search engines do not read graphics, and the Alt attribute presents you with the opportunity to use your graphics meaningfully to enhance your SEO web design. Remember to use your primary keywords throughout the Header tags and ALT attributes on your page.

That’s not all you have to worry about regarding HTML tags, but if you get these few tags and attributes right, you’ll be 80%-90% on track for your SEO web design. Beyond this, consider text formatting. Your text formatting can be used to emphasize to search engines what the important text on your page is. So, if you use bold text, underscoring or italics, these can indicate the important words and phrases on your page. Use <STRONG> and <U> html tags in your headings and elsewhere where you wish to emphasize certain keywords.

Finally, remember to write naturally. Don’t worry too much about your keyword density (KD), other than having too much. Keyword density is the frequency on your page of your important keywords. Too high a KD could harm you if Google thinks you are making unnecessary use of them. This is often referred to as search engine spamming. So, the basic rule is to write naturally, as you would for human readers, and not robots. If your text reads well and includes a clear message on what your subject is about, then your page should automatically gravitate towards optimum keyword density. Another way to approach natural writing is to ignore keyword density altogether, and simply include your important keywords in title and header tags, as described above.

Contact BedBreakfastTraveler.com or Instant World Booking for more on how to market your bed and breakfast, inn, or small hotel on the internet.

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SEO and SEM Tips for Your Bed & Breakfast or Hotel Website

As owner or manager of a small hotel or B&B, your website is an important part of your marketing strategy. But if you’re like most small business owners, web design is not your expertise. Here are a few tips on how you can increase the productivity and traffic of your website, with some minimal effort. And, you don’t need to turn yourself into a web tech expert. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a skill that can be learned. There are many ways for most novice website managers to get improved search engine rankings, and secure a high search engine listing.

Linking is an important part of your SEO strategy. You want to get as many independent, 3rd party websites to link to your site as possible. Sites of any type linking to you are beneficial, but the more authoritative and respected sites are preferred. While linking is important, good on-site SEO is also necessary.

Obtaining a good listing on Google or any of the other search engines is not as difficult as some consulting firms may tell you. There are rules and standards to follow, and if you play the game properly then the end outcome should be in your favor. The tips we’ll offer are not really secrets. Some consultants who offer their services for a price offer to divulge incredible secrets to you. But, this information is available freely on the internet, and for free. You might want to spend a little time reading some Web SEO or SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Blogs. Just type “Web SEO techniques” into your search engine search bar.

So here are some so-called “secret” tips on getting an excellent position for your website in Google, and improving your search engine ranking. You may know about meta tags, and have been informed that most meta tags aren’t used by search engines. The most important search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN Live do not divulge all there search listing methods. They withhold a lot of their ranking methods as secret. After all, they don’t want to let each other know how they do their magic. Nevertheless, don’t let anyone tell you that many top search engines do not use meta tags like the Description tag, because they do. It is very important for your B&B, inn, or hotel website to have a well written and complete description meta tag. This tag may not be used in its entirety, however, what you write here will definitely have an impact.

The keyword meta tag is another feature that has been in use since the humble beginnings of the internet 15 or more years ago. The most authoritative search engines like Google won’t be so impressed by what you tell them your keywords are. After all, anyone can post a list of their most important keywords. However, they decide for themselves the relevance of the page from the real content text and “Alt” tags on the page. Google no longer seeks keyword repetition to understand what you are writing about. They have an algorithm called LSI, which will determine the meaning of your page from various unique character strings it contains.

To maximize the potential for your hotel or bed & breakfast website to reach top rankings in search engine listings, the Description meta tag is important. But, there are some other HTML tags you should use. Although little used, the Keywords meta tag should not be ignored. It is a trivial matter to enter it, and cannot do any harm. There is evidence that some search engines still use it. The rest of the meta tags are of no consequence.

We’ve only touched upon the surface with some basic tips, including on-site SEO using Meta tags. Stay tuned for our next article, which will include other important HTML tags you should be focusing on in your B&B Hotel website to maximize your search engine potential.

Contact BedBreakfastTraveler.com or Instant World Booking for more on how to market your bed and breakfast, inn, or small hotel on the internet.

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How to Keep Occupancy Rates High – Attract more International Customers

The economy weighs heavily on everyone’s minds. Many of us are wondering where our businesses will be in a few years, if not in the coming months. Travel and tourism are closely linked to economic trends. Travel has grown at a declining rate, and is even down in some areas. Resort areas are showing declines in business this season. What about small hotels and bed and breakfasts? There’s strong demand still in U.S. urban areas, but other less concentrated regions are experiencing a slowdown.

Nevertheless, North American room rates are still rising, bolstered by the weak dollar, which has been attracting more overseas travelers. What does this mean for small hotels and B&Bs? Prepare to draw in more international clientele. Not only is the domestic population growing more culturally diverse, but the international travel population is where the future of tourism is at. U.S. and Canadian bed and breakfast innkeepers should be prepared to cater less to the home crowd, and attract more culturally diverse guests.

So how do we keep occupancy rates high during a downtrend in travel? How do we keep the beds filled night after night? The answer rests in your marketing strategy. Be prepared to start leveraging the internet as a more important part of your marketing gameplan. Beef up your website, and be prepared to take calls and bookings from more overseas customers. Sign up with more than just one online marketing provider.

Today’s online marketing providers for bed and breakfasts, hotels, and small lodgings of all kinds are uniquely suited to take your marketing plan to the next stage. Not only do you gain online exposure quickly, but online marketers focus on multi-national customers. If you’re online marketing is limited to the handful of U.S. bed and breakfast marketing sites that focus primarily on the North American market, be prepared to look elsewhere for marketing support. An increasing number of travelers will be coming from Europe, Central and South America, and even Asia. You want to make sure you are using one or more online marketing sites that focus on a global audience, not only in their hotel population, but also in guests.

So often I hear from innkeepers and hotel managers that they’re frustrated with one or another online booking/marketing service. They say, ‘I haven’t received a booking in several months. Why should I stick with them?’ The answer is that you want to maintain your exposure in more than one online venue. Even if you’re not getting bookings today, you’re still building web recognition. Your property’s name is being spread more rapidly with more than one service. It’s like a geometric equation. When you double the number of sites you’re exposing your bed and breakfast on, the traffic doesn’t double, it grows at much higher geometric rates.

Look for online booking sites with strong marketing campaigns on Google and Yahoo, which together cover about 80% of global online searches. Only a few sites, including BedBreakfastTraveler.com will actually advertise your unique property in pay-per-click campaigns. Also, look for sites that don’t charge you annual membership fees. Large sites that need to keep charging you for a declining return in their services are going the way of obsoletion.

If the bookings don’t come today, don’t worry. Be patient. They will come at one point, and may surface in waves. The internet is like a vast, turbulent ocean, and you need to be persistent with your online marketing. It’s the persistent presence of your property on the various sites you use that will collectively gain you the exposure you need over time. Bookings may come one month, and then disappear the next. But, little by little, you will be growing along with the best online booking sites. But, you must get in on the game early and stick with it. As far as online bookings, as they say, if you build it, they will come. But, patience is the key.

BedBreakfastTraveler.com is one of the few leading online marketing and booking services these days that are offering a free telephone consultation to bed and breakfast and hotel managers. A little intelligence goes a long way to winning the online marketing game, and BedBreakfastTraveler.com is backed by the know-how and authority of Instant World Booking, a respected global provider of online marketing solutions for B&B’s and hotels.

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The Most Important Business Tool for your Bed and Breakfast: Email

Want to know what’s the most important business tool you’ll use for your B&B or small hotel over the next 5 years? Email. That’s right. Well you might think you’re reading an article left over from the 1990’s. Not so. We’ve been getting a lot of comments and questions in recent months about email and it’s proper use in a small business. It’s really quite elemental, so if you don’t get it (it = email) right, you’ll kill your online busines.

One of our collaborating expert authors wrote an excellent post recently at the Instant World Booking Blog: Email Do’s and Don’ts for your Business. For bed and breakfast managers, this is required reading. But, I feel the need to add a few comments of my own.

If you have a website for your bed and breakfast or small hotel, email is the lifeline of your online business (you do have a website don’t you? If not, please get one. It’s extraordinarily cheap). The first rule of using email is that prospective guests and business partners need to be able to reach you. Don’t make excessive use of spam filters or other devices you feel are going to protect you. The basic concept of email is that you want as much contact as possible. If you’re easily annoyed by unsolicited spam, get over it. It’s a fact of life, and neither you nor I are going to solve the big problems of the internet. So, if find yourself sacrificing legitimate guest reservation requests or business solutions by erecting electric fences around your inbox (e.g., excessive spam protection tools), or threatening legal action against every sender of an unsolicited email, then you’re in the wrong business. Remember, we’re in the hospitality business, and we need to remember the old time-tested theory that out of every 10 marketing contacts, there’s one that’s going to pay for the rest.

Here’s a tip to help weed out meaningful business emails from the junk mail. On your website, use a “mailto” anchor link to publish your email address. The html for this looks something like:

<a href=”mailto:no-reply@bedbreakfasttraveler.com?subject=I want to enquire about a reservation”>no-reply@bedbreakfasttraveler.com</a>

This will create a link that, when clicked, will open a new email window with “I want to enquire about a reservation” pre-populated in the subject line. Of course you would replace the email address in the code above with your own. If you don’t know how to edit HTML on your website, your webmaster can do this easily for you. Then, you create a filter in your email address to automatically highlight all incoming emails with the words “I want to enquire about a reservation” in the subject, or place them in a separate folder. This is an excellent means of quickly scanning important incoming emails from the spam, and in many ways is more effective than a spam filter, which may eat many of the “I want to enquire about a reservation” emails.

This is just one example of simple tricks that can make your own email system a more powerful tool than any junk email filter. But remember also, that your business email may be used for a whole array of functions that you may not be aware of. Unless you take the time to learn about how powerful your email is, don’t get frustrated or even annoyed when you receive email you didn’t ask for. Receiving an unsolicited business email is not like receiving a prank call on your personal phone. In some cases, receiving an unwanted email can even be a positive thing, signaling that the world can actually reach you from far-flung places, and your email is working properly. So relax. If you find yourself urging to send angry responses or threaten legal action, then you’re probably in the wrong business.

I recently heard of a case in which a B&B in Virginia complained about receiving unsolicited email from an online service that they subscribed to. The B&B submitted their email for a service to communicate reservation requests to them. In the process, they failed to mark the service as a safe sender in their email system. When reservations started coming in, the B&B never received them, nor responded. Eventually the online service began sending reminders to the B&B to check their email, update their system, and various other advice. When one of these reminders finally got through, the B&B owner was insulted and tried unsubscribing the service’s emails. In this case, “unsubscribing” was not the appropriate step, since they weren’t subscribed to any mailing lists. The B&B owner contacted the online service, and claimed that they were sending accusatory emails. Accusatory? They were obviously embarrassed that they didn’t understand how to use their own email. Again … probably not in the right business.

For more tips and services for your online marketing effort, check out www.BedBreakfastTraveler.com.

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