Nelio – Content | A great editorial calendar alternative to Coschedule – & less expensive

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Managing your content creation and social posting strategy can be a headache! In fact, it can be a disaster if you con’t properly plan and manage your social post and content creation properly. Want to know why magazines are successful? It’s because they have a regularity to their approach. If The Travel & Leisure magazine only produced content sporadically and only printed a magazine when it felt like it …. it would not have a business.

(Note: back in the day when Travel Agents were gatekeepers and consumers had to book their holidays through them then this was not an issue – but all travel brands including Marriott have to be their own publishers now if they are to survive)

If you are an organised type and don’t like spending money then of course the free way to plan and manage your content creation is by using Google Sheets or excel to create a calendar and then type in the relevant planning content. Once you had posted your content you could then separately use your social media profiles to social post your blog. It’s time consuming but Free

CoSchedule has been the go to plugin for scheduling content and social posts and is a very good piece of kit. However, with that comes a price and the thing that keeps many smaller businesses is yet another monthly amount to pay for if they only produce say 4 pieces of content a month. The $30 a month price tag is expensive for this – making each blog post cost $7 if you only post once a week ( which is not unusual for small businesses)

Nelio Content  appears to be a new kid on the block. Not only does it do what CoSchedule does, but there is a free version with only one social channel connected ( so if your main social channel is Facebook then you can connect it to this ) but for $7 a month ( that’s the same as the cost for one blog post in CoSchedule in the above example) you get the Pro Version with 10 social profiles connected.

 

How some history of AVIS can teach you how to sell more holidays and make more money

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“If you are not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?” so said one time CEO of AVIS rental Cars – Robert Townsend. It is also pretty hard having fun if you are not making a profit!

The travel press is full of examples of failed volume travel businesses in a price slashing frenzy racing their competition to the bottom. These companies may couch their downfall in blaming over regulation but the reality is, they sold too cheaply to get volume.

For the Independent Travel business owner the answer is – more customers, who keep buying for longer and spend more when they buy.

To do this you need:

  • a core central online marketing hub ( your website )
  • landing pages on your website that capture your prospects
  • Automated messages that charm enquirers and turn them into clients
  • Emails that stay in touch with them and get them to buy again and again

But going back to Robert Townsend, there is also a key to these messages that you send. You must have a USP ( Unique Selling Point). All successful businesses have one. In Robert’s case, he was selling a commodity – there were loads of rental businesses out there and when he took over, Avis was nearly bust.

Over the course of all the research that was done to work out what the USP of Avis was so that they could communicate it effectively they came up with the advertising line:

” Because we try harder”

What this line did was reposition the Number 1 at the time – Hertz, as too big to care. Sound familiar? Any travel companies out there that you fancy you could compete with because you are not too big to care?

Before you can start to market effectively you need to know what you are marketing and be able to tell someone your USP in one or two short sentences.

We started Net Effect because we wanted to help independent travel businesses compete more effectively online because we believe that travel is different and requires that personal touch that only Independent Travel Business owners are able to master.

 

How to Find a Cheap Hotel Room: Sites to Use and Sites to Avoid

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This post was inspired by a blog post from the travel blogger site below:

Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site

via How to Find a Cheap Hotel Room: Sites to Use and Sites to Avoid.

Nomadic Matt is all about finding the best travel deals. The bane of travel agent’s lives – people booking direct! But as you can read in the blog post – there are many sites out there that do a good job at convincing the public that they are the cheapest.

Interestingly, Matt’s conclusion was to avoid MetaSearch sites and always to check with Tingo* ( a Trip Advisor company that guarantees refunds if the hotel room you book ends up cheaper elsewhere. We have installed a metasearch engine on many travel agent sites successfully (this enables the agent to sell online or offline using their TAAP Expedia Account and still earn commission).

I carried out a search between Tingo and our Metasearch site and found:

1. Tingo quoted prices excluding Tax ( not allowed in the UK) and so the price at checkout was always closer or the same as the Metasearch site

2. Tingo availability stopped when they could not compete on price that easily ( I found availability for a hotel using Metasearch more times than the availability showing on Tingo)

What can a Travel Agent Learn from all this?

1. The consumer is being ‘duped’ quite a lot of the time that the best price is online

2. It is becoming easier and easier to find a hotel and check prices online

3. That a user should check multiple site before choosing who to book with

4. That Expedia were the cheapest on many occasions

5. That agents should incorporate a metasearch hotel engine on their site to enable them to be seen as ‘least expensive’ by their users/clients. This will encourage the clients to keep coming back to the agent site and to use it on mobile effectively while also being able to be able to sell the hotel offline (via Expedia TAAP account and still pick up commission)

 

 

Integration with GoSquared

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Analytics is pretty much where it is at. Everything leads to analytics and understanding your site analytics is one of the most important elements of running and growing your business. Think of Analytics as your eyes on who comes in your shop. I bet if you have an offline store that you spend a lot of time in, getting a feel for who is passing the store, who is coming in, who is buying, and who you are nurturing when they do come in is something you do without thinking.

Well hey, if 95% of your potential customers check you out online before they ever visit you (yep – they do!), doesn’t it make sense to know what they are looking at on your site, how long they are on it, whether they are interested in your latest blog post? My analytics coupled with LiveChat are an invaluable addition to my business. we don’t have a walk in store, and so we have to treat the website as one and try to engage with as many visitors as we can. We also want to know who our visitors are and what they are looking at.

As with everyone, all our sites have google analytics (GA) integrated so that you can read as much detail about every single event that happens on your site. GA is really great for massive data analysis. But in a small business, where everyone is pushed for time and you just want to be able to get a snapshot of what is going on – GA is a cumbersome tool.  Sure you can set up dashboards but they are still quite tricky to follow and while you get some good information, the data is not great for the here and now. We tried all manner of methods in getting business owners to look at Google Analytics, even adding the key metrics to a Cyfe Dashboard and letting users have the dashboard for free. Guess what – no one logged in, nadda, not anyone. Why? That had me baffled. But then I realised, the analytics I was looking at everyday were simply summaries, I could only deal with summary info. Why would my clients be any different?

 

What do Business Owners Want?

What business owners really want is an easy way to follow what is going on on their websites in real time and trends. It’s about keeping up with what is going on. Think of it like a visit to the store on your day off, checking that people are still coming and then think of it as getting those all important daily stats.

I discovered a company called ‘GoSquared’ who are going some way to answering these issues. I have test run their service and all I can say is that I think it is fantastic as a tool for agile owner managed businesses. Designed for the ‘non techy’, easy to understand, easy to use and delivers exactly what it says  – real time easy analytics for businesses.

Turns out this is a British business – yey! Who would have thought that inventing analytics sofware for websites would have been viable when Google have gone so far with their software? Turns out 3 school kids ( now in their early twenties) did and good for them, and us. They are pretty impressive and they’ve bootstrapped the business in the main against some tough competition and now have over 40,000 websites the monitor.

I was so impressed with what they have done for analytics and how I think their easy dashboards enable business owners to get a snapshot of their business online (which you just have to now – even when you are an offline business such as a high street travel agent) that we decided to roll out their software to every client we have as part of their subscription to our service. Now it’s over to them – I for one, have looked at analytics more (every day in fact) than I ever did when I solely relied on Google Analytics and this helps me understand my business and drive growth.

Check out the CEO of GoSquared – 22 years old Gill on Bloomburg.TV below. It’s great to be associated with such an entrepreneurial and talented business.

GoSquared

Why Google Analytics is so important to use

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Never before has it been possible to record the actions of your customers so completely. The backbone to understanding your website is Google Analytics and all the most successful businesses spend a lot of their time analysing the online behaviour of users to increase their sales, improve their content etc.

Making your website clean and simple to navigate is really important to avoid losing users. Google released this amusing video to demonstrate in real life how poor web flow can affect sales. Enjoy!