Blogging Tips From Top Travel Bloggers…

Top Travel bloggers Tips …

(Please share with your friends and business contacts if you find this useful)

Blogging on the beach

Whether you’re starting a new blog, and if you’re in business you know you should, or already an established blogger there’s always more to learn.

Vicky Philpott (aka Vicky FlipFlop) compiled this list of blogging tips from top travel bloggers

  • What to Blog
  • Travel Tips
  • Make Some Money
  • Using Audio & Video
  • Using Social Media
  • Networking is a Must Do
  • Develop Yourself
  • Manage Your Time
  • Keep Going
  • Photography – Getting it Right
  • How to Design Your Blog
  • Getting Sponsored
  • Technical Bits.

See Vicky’s 69 Travel Blogging Tips From the Top Travel Bloggers

For the best travel holidays and deals visit us at traveljunkies.com

How Many Stars Would You Give This Hotel?

trip-advisor

Here is a review in TripAdvisor by one of my friends who went to the Elias Beach Hotel, Limassol, Cyprus, in August.

Hotel Elias Beach Limassol Cyprus

Unbelievably (to me anyway) he gave it 4 Stars.
Based on his review, how many stars would you give it?

The Elias Beach Hotel is an excellent hotel, but, if you’re planning a trip there, then there are many things you should be aware of.

Firstly, if it’s a quiet get-away-from-it-all hotel you’re looking for, then this is not the place for you.
In the time we spent there (11 nights), there were 6 different wedding parties staying there. Large groups means lots of people having a good time; no problem, except that they often have little consideration for those around them, especially as they tend to have their hen night/stag party there as well !!
Their after-wedding party not only closes the greek-style restaurant for other guests, but the noise goes on well into the early hours.

For all-inclusive guests, the food is excellent. If you can’t find something that suits you here at breakfast, lunch or dinner, then you won’t find it anywhere. The staff who wait at the tables are as good as I’ve seen in any hotel.
However, don’t be fooled by the promise of ” a choice of 4 restaurants”. Flavours and Amadeus are actually the same place, with just a different seating area, and as the dress-code was totally ignored by everyone, it meant that there was no difference between the two.

The Japanese is good, but you’re only allowed to go there once, and it is isn’t open every night. As I said earlier, if there’s a wedding on, you can’t use the other restaurant either. The bar is great, the waiters attentive, and the area cool and relaxing.
I was horrified to discover that their red wine was the same temperature as their white wine (ice cold), but the staff did everything they could to rectify this.

The rooms are clean and comfortable, but we paid for an upgrade to a Junior suite. As someone else said, this was a long way from my definition of “suite”, in that a Junior suite here is, in fact, just a bigger room with a settee that could be turned into a 3rd bed.
The free Wi-Fi is abysmal. I’m glad I didn’t actually have to rely on it. They need to seriously upgrade their system.

There are pretty much enough sun-loungers to go round, but there is a 7 a.m. frenzy to get the best spots. Some people reserve 10 beds, and then use 2 of them for half an hour a day. I can’t blame the hotel for this, but it doesn’t make for a relaxing holiday. 

Whilst we were there, the hotel guests were probably 50% Russian. As someone else commented, not your average, decent Russian folk, but more the nouveau-riche arrogant Russians who think they own the place. They have no manners, treat the staff like dirt, and sit around smoking their foul Russian cigarettes at every opportunity.

There are lots of comments about the “Entertainment” that goes on. Pool zumba dancing at full-volume, catch the tennis ball in the tennis ball tube, darts, and bingo, are, however, more Butlins than I was expecting. The evening entertainment reminded me of the bad bits from “Britain’s Got Talent”.
In short, if you have small children, are in a large group, or wished you’d been an extra in Hi-De-Hi, then this is the place for you.

If you want to be able to fully relax, then you might want to think again.

In fairness more than 700 people have rated it with the majority rating it Excellent or Very Good on TripAdvisor, so It seems my friend just picked the wrong time to go.

Based on his review, how many stars would you give it?

Cliff Chapman
www.traveljunkies.com

Are Big Businesses Putting The Squeeze On You?

In a recent survey of more than 3000 small businesses in the leisure industry we asked the question …

What are the two or three things that concern you most in your business?

Not really surprisingly two of the top three were about customers namely …

  • Not enough customers
  • Not a regular supply of customers
  • And followed by … not enough time to do everything

But a number of replies were concerned about the way big businesses use their size, budgets and influence to put the squeeze on small businesses.

So is competion fair?

Big v small 1

 

 

 

 

 

One of the replies was from Nick Marshall who with his wife Lizzie has been running holiday rentals for nearly 25 years and owns Cairns Holiday Homes in North Queensland Australia.

Nick has seen lots of changes in this time and none moreso than the effect the Internet has had on his business and no doubt on many other small businesses

Here’s what he had to say..

Dear Cliff.

Thank you for the feedback regarding the effect of large corporate interests taking a huge bite out of holiday rentals for doing little more than listing properties.
This was bound to happen. The internet, in its early days at least, offered a far cheaper method for small businesses to potentially be seen. The only way that small business could advertise in the mass media was through the traditional media of the press, radio and tv. For most of us that meant small ads in the classified columns or, at much greater cost, taking out an ad in the weekend travel pages of a national newspaper. 
Twenty five years ago that was costing me nearly A$300 per week. In Australia the “rivers of gold” as the Fairfax newspaper group’s weekend advertising columns were known was decimated by the swing to the internet and the rise of eBay and many other alternatives. Not surprisingly they took action and bought a site called Ozstays which became Stayz. 
That site had been started as a listing site for holiday homes and apartments in 2001 but soon started listing hotels, motels and resorts – probably because the founders realised that the more listings they had, the more they could sell the site for. Stayz was purchased by Fairfax for about $12 million in 2005 and then sold to Homeaway for around A$220 but that included more than A$150 million of debt. Even so, it was a very good return on investment. Homeaway, which has grown by a string of worldwide takeovers, was after the 50,000 odd listings and gross margin that exceeded 56% in 2012.
None of this should surprise but I really do not see how these very large businesses can survive with their present business model. They are all actively trying to separate the supplier from the customer until after the booking has been made. 
Unfortunately, the majority of holiday homes do not have a brand name (such as a hotel might have). Customers are taking a real risk when they book a home without the opportunity to talk to the managers or the owners. 
The large sites like Homeaway, those operating under its name and AirBnB are expecting the public to trust their own brand name. Unfortunately, problems are happening ( trashing of properties, theft, prostitution etc) because none of these corporate sites are able to check out their clients. Flipkey is, I think, in a slightly better position because of its association with TripAdvisor which is the giant in customer feedback for all things to do with holidays.
Sure, these large listing sites do now attempt to verify ownership but their whole model is based on the owner or manager providing all the details of the property (copy, photographs, calendar data) when they list. 
Homeaway recently passed 1 million listings worldwide and AirBnB has around 600 thousand listings.
With the amount of debt these corporations are carrying, there is no way that they can support their customers by providing a service that answers questions about individual properties. By preventing the pre-booking connection between the customer and the owner or manager, they are essentially saying  “Trust Us!”
I do not think this will work because trust is breaking down everywhere at the moment. This provides an enormous opportunity for home owners and managers to get off their butts and build their own websites which will better serve their customers. 
Of course, it is very hard to have a one property site which is going to be seen because the gateway is Google and there are only so many page one spots. Having said that, there are still many home owners who are not making use of Google Local for Business to be seen. 
Property owners have to get together with other property owners in the same region or even the same suburb in large cities. Some areas already have well run websites specialising in that area. Support them.
Getting a good domain name is not as hard as it might seem. A name containing the name of the suburb, the village, the town, the region or sub-region or region is often available. Building a wordpress website is the easiest and least costly part. The hard bit is keeping the website updated and running an interesting, relevant and useful blog on the site to build up authority. 
It is hard work and very time consuming. The days of list and forget are over – unless an owner wants to spend thousands more for elevated listing positions. It takes commitment and contribution by the owners to make it work.
Those who don’t take the plunge now will be lost in the listings. There is a wealth of good advice on the web – Matt Landau and Heather Bayer for example. This subject was touched on at the  Vacation Rental World Summit this year. The cost of the webinar recordings is a small price to pay for the great advice offered.
The web is about doing it yourself rather than expecting others to do it for you.
Yours sincerely,
Nick Marshall
.
Some pretty insightful words from Nick not only about the effect of large businesses but also about the difficulties businesses of all sizes face in the rental property market, and some advice to owners and future owners of rental properties.
.
We also heard from Christopher de Hrussoczy-Wirth, Kitsilano Cottage, Vancouver, Canada who sees the financial clout big businesses have on the industry and how they infliuence local government, and from Uwe-Dorte Bockwoldt of Tyll’s Dive, Roatan, Honduras who says that much of the solution is in their own hands.
.
Christopher wrote … 
.
First would definitely be the incursion by big captial into the highly successful realm of residential based accommodations industry. The folks behind the vast infusion of capital into the directory listing and booking parts of our industry are ill suited to support and cater to the actual needs of what started out as a bunch of Mom & Pop operations. We really don’t want or need corporate types telling us how to run our businesses. Yet their deep pockets have given them a strangle hold on a segment of the accommodations industry that is now being victimized by its success.

Another concern that is escalating is the prospect of increasing local government regulations, mostly being driven by major hotels who see our industry as a threat to their bottom line.

——————————–

Uwe-Dorte wrote … 
.
Hi Cliff
Have enjoyed your tips and hints.
The travel and tourism industry is very competitive and as small businesses we are invariably stretched for time and in many cases don’t have the necessary skills to compete with bigger businesses.
As a very small business, The ups and downs during the year can be concerning. We are aiming to get a a more steady flow again. 
We do not need to be crazy busy, but need steadiness. We are building it up getting more and more repeat divers. 
We are sliding down our rank in Tripadvisor. We do encourage new divers to make a review. But having so many repeat divers coming several times a year for years, it is hard to expect them to continue putting on reviews after each visit. The bigger shops have bigger turnover and many more people writing reviews.
Am afraid I am not promoting what we do good enough.
.
So many thanks to Nick, Christopher and Uwe-Dorte for their feedback and to the many otheres who took time to reply to us.  It is very much appreciated.
.
Cliff Chapman
.
If your businesses is being affected by “Big Business Practices” then we would love to hear from you.
.

Triberr Plugin Slows My Blog

Help anyone!

Tiberr Plugin

Loading time for my WordPress blog has slowed and I’ve traced it back to the time I installed the Triberr Plugin.

I’ve carried out several tests with the Plugin de-activated my blog loads in around 2 secs on my PC.

I activated the Plugin and loading time goes out to more than 5 secs and as we all know a 5 sec wait is a lifertime for many.

So can anyone help please?

Thanks
Cliff

4 Tips To Make Your Adverts Work.

Advertising

1.  Advertise your website, not your services or products. 

If the purpose of your advert is to attract visitors to your website then advertise your website, not your services or products.
Your website should do your selling so don’t make the mistake of making your advertising a mini version of your website.

Traffic is the lifeblood of your website, without traffic your site is dead.
If no-one sees it, it might just as well not exist. So in all your advertising, promote your website.

So remember the rule “Advertise Your Website, Not Your Services or Products.  

2.  Attract more visitors. Include a wide range of keywords and key phrases in your adverts.

As well as the keywords you use for your own business, think wider and include key words and phrases people might use when they aren’t specifically looking for you.

For example, if you provide accommodation, include words for nearby attractions and activities. People searching for scuba diving, whitewater rafting, skydiving, sailing, etc. will often need somewhere to stay and with those kind of keywords in your adverts, people will find you.    

3.  Be friendly, helpful and approachable.

Make it easy for people to get in touch with you. Many adverts fail because they’re not user friendly, and aren’t designed to make life easy. Always include your name and contact details in your advert.

if you send emails to your prospects and customers, keep them short and to the point as more and more people are reading their emails on mobile devices, and make sure your contact details easy to find.

4.  Use Social Media to promote your business – it’s free.

Always include links to your social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in your advertising and emails. These three cover the widest range of prospects

Limit it to three. More than three could look like your spamming.

And don’t forget your Blog. Treat it like another website, which it is.
Promote your Blog in the same way you advertise your website. Then use your Blog to promote your business website.

One more tip …

If your advertising isn’t working, stop doing it. Do something else.

You run your business to make money. The most important thing you must do is decide where and how to advertise to get the best value for your money.

Traveljunkies – Advertise For Free

 It may sound silly but …

How can you advertise for free        

I’d like to say it’s because we’re different, and we are because:

  • We get around 20,000 visits per month
  • We don’t publish a newsletter
  • We rarely send out emails
  • So we can keep our costs down
  • We don’t charge for an advert if you don’t want to pay.
  • We are a Search Engine – like Google only smaller

So why do we do it?

  • Google don’t charge for an entry on their site and they seem quite successful. So we do the same.
  • Google charge for some adverts and those adverts work extremely well because they’re at the top of the first page. And we do the same.
  • It’s a very effective way to promote traveljunkies because the word soon gets around, and we don’t have to spend money promoting it and that helps keep our costs, and prices down.

How to get your free advert – it’s easy

If you’re in the leisure,  travel, tourism, activities or sports business, Claim Your Free Advert Here.

About paid adverts

  • Our paid adverts include relevant keywords which makes them easy to find, but most importantly, they appear at the top of the page, above the free adverts. Just like Google.
  • For example – a search for scuba diving shows 252 adverts. The top 8 are paid adverts and as we all know they are the ones most people will click on.
  • Some visitors will scroll down but the top adverts get up to 10 times more clicks as those lower down.
  • And because the cost of advertising in traveljunkies is such great value for money it’s easy to see the benefits of a paid advert.

So the answer to the original question: “Why Can You Advertise In Traveljunkies For Free” - it’s because it’s very effective marketing and great for you, and everybody wins. What does it really cost to advertise in traveljunkies?  Like I’ve already said, a simple advert that links to your website is absolutely free. But if you want a top of the page advert, or a prime position on our Home Page or a Banner Ad then get in touch here and we’ll show you why your advert is such great value for money at less than $2 per week. There’s a limit to the number of Home Page and Banner adverts we can accept so contact us now to make sure you don’t miss out. I look forward to working with you to promote your business. With very best wishesCliff Cliff Chapman www.traveljunkies.com