Friday, June 27, 2008

festive season for hotels and restaurants.

The festive season on december 1 to Jan. 2.

Tens of thousands of people enjoy and celebrate Christmas every year, all with their own specific requirements and the reasons therefor, with the family on special occasions, with the work on the annual office Christmas parties or just to relax and get away from it all.
The Internet is increasingly the choice via on-line awareness of people looking and we want to stay, eat or celebrate local or national.
As Internet business is growing, both for the user manager and advertising companies, it is increasingly difficult to find what you're looking without specific information. It will either get more confusing and unclear with the mass of information online, or it will have to be streamlined to be effective as a search tool and an advertising medium for businesses.
An area that is taken out during the last few years is a hotel booking on-line, with hundreds of websites advertising tens of thousands of hotels in Europe alone. Not one of these sites are dedicated to a growing and huge market for the Christmas and New Year period, thousands of people each year will visit family and friends all over Britain. Not all will be able to stay with their relatives or friends, since they will not have room for them, not all will want to live with them both! Some will want or have to eat at one or more time, some will want to treat their friends or family to a special lunch or dinner during the Christmas period, and some will just want to book a Christmas break somewhere. Then there are the above sea market who want to stay in the UK over Christmas and New Year period with the same needs and requirements. But where should they look, which is not a website is dedicated to this area?
With up to 12 million independent sites advertising (not one of them dedicated, Google september 2007) for key words such as; Christmas break, Christmas Hotel breaks, Christmas Breaks 2007 etc, it soon became clear how ineffective this area was for both the customer and companies that want to advertise.
Most companies will think about pricing their packages or party nights for Christmas in July to august and start advertising from september. As a catering professional, I can see why the season is usually dictated by the seasons, Easter, May holidays, summer, august Bank Holidays, and then just Bonfire night before Christmas.

Is this even on how the public looks at it, or large companies trying to organize their office parties or the overseas market plan their European tours? As a business in the hotel and catering market, no matter how successful you are over the festive period, you maximize all you have to offer during the festive period?
Do you think that by not advertising your establishment throughout the year for Christmas, you may lose bookings?

The current dilemma.
Put yourself in someone else's shoes for a moment, whether it is an overseas gentleman planning his family's months long European trip, a family wishing to spend Christmas together for a special event or a company secretary is trying to organise Christmas office party, will you wait until september, October, etc. Before looking around and trying to book? I know each and the establishment will have their loyal following to book year in year out for hotel packages, Christmas Day lunch, etc. But what about the market, which only knows where they want to keep IE; London, Kent, or Cornwall, what should they find you?
How much potential business is you lose?

(My searches were always through Google and I started in July to October 2007)
I have always tried to use the generic search terms, for example, trying to find a Christmas break in a hotel, I have written "hotel Christmas breaks." These generic terms created more and more problems for me, I kept getting millions of results for each search term, but each listing seamed to be a web-site is not advertising for Christmas, but different packages and services, including day trips to Spain, Car or household insurance, airline tickets, etc. Also how would I announce my hotel (advertising as being seen by Internet users), as there were millions and millions of results in each Festive search term!
Also, with the greatest respect, how do we sell our industry on-line for the public. Who honestly have time to search millions of records to find a hotel package or Christmas party over Christmas? I did break my keywords in the counties, which reduced results down to a few million, but it did not really help. I found a couple of hotels, but not in the area I had in my search term, or I found the area (county), but no hotels were advertising for the festive period.
My solution at the time, and the only solution was to click through twenty to thirty results and try to piece from each search term, what I wanted, or were looking for. Even the large sites to book rooms on-line had not or were advertising for Christmas. A few hotel chains were advertising their festive activities, which was good, if you wanted to just stay with that particular chain.
All these negative results and diluted sites led me to question whether there was an on-line Festive market in the UK, people were looking for and if so, what were they write in their search terms to find their perfect getaways or parties.

I booked an appointment with my local government marketing office and asked him to check the search terms for July 2007 on Google. Although I could not find figures for each search term, I find out that the ten-thousands were looking use the same or similar search terms that I had been, and this was in July! The top generic search term was "hotel Christmas breaks." Google also ranks each search term against advertising the ten keywords or phrases typed had a massive advertising potential because of the shear numbers seeking.

Why, then, nothing has made or created in this area, to improve the search capability which will increase the local, national and international presence and increase the visibility and bookings for companies that want to advertise the festive market.
It seems, if you want to book a Christmas holiday, no problem, a few places and a few mouse clicks and you have reserved and paid for your festive break abroad. If you want to stay in this country for Christmas, unless you know the area and the hotel you're looking for, you have been given little or no chance!

A festive on-line UK directory for accommodation and restaurants?

Could it be the answer for the public leader and companies want to advertise and more importantly seen?
So why has not it been done?
Perhaps, like my own record of £ 300 to £ 1000 for annual registration of these diluted and competing sites was too much? Again, as I did, perhaps you thought you would have to advertise in two or three places just to have a chance to be seen?
Is a directory that lists by county throughout the UK, whether hotels or restaurants or just accommodation providers will help business activities, and assist the public by listing these companies in the area that they want to visit. If you're looking for a Christmas party for your business or just want to celebrate with friends and you live in Kent, you would not want a party on-line library to list all the restaurants and hotels offer Christmas parties in Kent? Would you not want it to do the same for hotel packages, B & B's, Guest houses etc, I am missing something, it sounds very logical to me.
As a company, I would know that I would be included in my county or city each time someone was looking for what I was advertising, so I will have more chances to get potential customers and new and return business.
As a customer looking for July hotel packages, Christmas parties, etc. I think a reasonable result would be three or four mouse clicks of their search enquiry to list what was available, instead that millions of records without any reasonable results.

So what about a site that advertises across Britain for… ..
Hotel Christmas breaks, two, three or four night breaks, Christmas (office) parties, Lunch Christmas Day, Boxing Day Lunch, New Years Day lunch, New Year's Eve Dinner Dance, New Year packages one, two night packages, accommodation for party nights, Bed and breakfast and self catering.
…. And the public results within three to four mouse clicks to any of the above terms.

User-and business-friendly
Search results within three to four mouse clicks
Sophisticated search capabilities from the home page
UK map broken down by country or county, write or click county directly from the map
Affordable registration to the hotels and restaurants
Free for B & B's and Self Catering companies
Dedicated advertising on all registered companies, including photo's
Fully automated and adapting to each dedicated page ad
All year advertising with automated prompts pricing, etc.

The general public;
Any festive search for hotels, restaurants, B & B's, Guest houses or Self Catering companies, will give a result of the public within three to four mouse clicks. Even if a general search is no need for the public, to define their search directly from the website, which allows more refined searches as needed.
A British map showing the counties regardless of the country, by clicking on the map at the county or the area you want to stay in or type in the area in the text box. A list of companies registered for your search study will be constructed for that area.

Registration for hotels and restaurants to be affordable based on the annual fees charged by other websites. Annual registration based on a dedicated page for the company and offer advertising for the services they provide to Christmas. (Listed above). Free registration is offered to companies with the least to gain from the festive season, the B & B's and Self Catering companies.

I am a hotel director of a small 3-star hotel country, and I believe in my convictions and feel passionately about my industry. I also believe that there are several ways to advertise more effectively with more rewards and the potential for more business from the Internet that currently exists.

Best regards,

Chris George.

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