Published on March 10, 2014
Visual Marketing Technology High impact visual information improves authority & rank Visual Marketing gets more qualiﬁed trafﬁc Visual engages more travellers Personal and visual response convert more bookings Visual Bookings Technology is an interactive travel planning and tourism marketing machine that doubles engagement of your website visitors. Using advanced tracking and matchmaking technology, it transforms a destination website into a state-of-the-art, personalized visual experience where travellers stay longer, do more and convert: No matter what booking engine is used. IntroducingVisual Planning and Bookings for Tourism Double Engagement & Conversion
give value to members with more engaged travellers Visual Communications the future of tourism Hotels Benefit Table Of Contents get more qualified leads Travellers Benefit a fun and effective way to plan and book travel Visual Marketing Destinations Benefit Visual Travel build authority and get more traffic
The Future of Tourism Marketing is Visual 2012 and 2013 have been the years of image. No matter if they are pins, vanity photos, info-graphics, videos, travel shares or commerce, social sites that feature visuals over text - like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr - have set the trend in user growth and in the billion-dollar valuations.Our team has always been aware of the power of visual communication in video, image and all forms of graphics. But we were compelled to act by our own experience in using the new ‘visual first’ sites. It began by seeing the tremendous growth of Pinterest in 2012 which is based on visually organizing information. http:// www.pinterest.com/pin/52284045645718826/ Not only was Pinterest attracting a huge following, its click through rates in delivering traffic to merchants/ publishers is significantly higher than other social channels such as Twitter and Google+ http://www.pinterest.com/pin/52284045647506355/. Building our own pages on Pinterest and analyzing what worked and what did not gave us insight into what we might do on all of our portals. We were aware that our traditional property lists, search, travel planning and bookings process, although being useful, could be revamped to engage users with more visual communications. We set about applying the concept on one of our flagship sites www.Barbados.org. This required programming and design work, testing, and helping hotels identify their unique selling points and understand what travelers needed and how to present it. In the process we optimized and changed things a lot to get the fastest and most effective solution with the highest engagement and participation. We are still tweaking it based on feedback and analysis from our users and clients. Our goals were to increase time spent on our hotel listing pages and increase the click through rate to advertising hotels. A few weeks after launch, we did the analysis and you can see the results in our charts! The results have sustained well over time with a significant and lasting improvement for our members and visitors. Excited by the success of the hotel experiment for our own destination portal, we rolled out similar upgrades for our guesthouses and self-catering properties. We are now building more links to social sites so that guests can share and participate with the greatest of ease using their preferred social media. We are adding more intelligence to the process and much more personalization. For now our service is designed for tourism destinations, hotels and tourism associations and anyone who is offering a central reservations solution for accommodation. In the future we plan to bring visual bookings concepts to hotels, to tourism activities and to all suppliers of the travel and tourism experience. http://VisualBookingsTechnology.com Visual Travel Marketing Visual Bookings Technology personal visual systems & marketing for destinations
Travellers Get More Visual Bookings Technology is a visual, interactive, direct travel planning and booking system that is intuitive, interactive, highly responsive and visual. Kathy-Llnn Ward, COO of AXSES, says, "We are excited by this new travel marketing technology for hotels and tourism; it has dramatically improved our service to travellers who are responding by staying longer, interacting more with our hotel members and coming back.” We know that guests search for different features and attributes of hotels... and in this case it’s very easy and quick to pick features and see visual results. Here as they select facilities, they are immediately presented with a visual summary of their choices. Each hotel provides a photo and a brand tag line that best describes their experience. The system displays this along with related information. Guests can click on a quote button to get more info, see all rooms, check rates, availability and get detailed information. They can request a reservation or book now. In addition to visual branding, travellers can also review directory listings and get advice! They can also make comments, offer suggestions and reviews.And at any time order the list by location, size, name, and rates. Notice how quickly it changes between options. This makes it very easy for users to instantly see alternatives, helping them make instinctive decisions based on visual cues and detailed information at a click of a button.
Optimized for every device and available everywhere VisualBookingsTechnology used the latest in Responsive Web Design, meaning that the single installation will display well on all devices from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets. “Traditional booking systems are iterative and slow. They don’t engage visually & intuitively” Compared to the Traditional Booking Process With the traditional booking systems, from Online Travel Agents (OTA) to Central Reservation Systems (CRS), travelers usually have to enter dates and number of travellers etc, before they get any useful information. They can usually filter out properties by selecting options, like being on the beach and having air-conditioning etc. The traditional systems are relatively static by comparison. Guests have to select one feature or option at a time; they have to inspect and decipher the text, which in many cases does not show details of their needs. Like what size is it, where is it located, does it have disability access .. this information is hard to find. And there is always a trade off. Like, it is not on the beach but looks fabulous, has great rates. Most of the features I like and I instinctively know I want it! Well you can’t really make that decision when You are looking at things iteratively as opposed to interactively.. and visually. With the new interactive visual travel bookings, travellers have rich and relevant information at their finger tips. They see their preferences and alternatives instantly. It’s direct and immediate, and that is what shoppers are looking for.
Above is the traditional directory listing which is still popular with travellers. VBT manages all directories and lists as well as the image matrix and personalized advice. All are just a click away. Behind VBT is a full analytics engine which contains information and relations organized so that it can be displayed instantly in multiple ways, on multiple devices and tailored to individual preferences. Many traditional travel reservation systems do filter information and display results according to users’ choices. However, the VBT matrix display is far superior in giving travel shoppers an overview of personally relevant information at one time, in one place, in a way that comparison and evaluation are quick, easy and intuitive. It is blistering fast based on advanced caching and optimized display systems! It goes beyond categories using techniques developed for RealHolidays that characterizes travelers and hotels according to human characteristics and personality types. RealHolidays learns from users’ interaction and builds an individual personality profile for each traveller. This is then matched with properties’ character profiles to find the best match. Each hotel provides a photo and a brand tag line that best describes their unique selling point. Much care is taken on getting this right. Rates by season must be current and for best results offer a best rate guarantee. With VBT we take care to get this right as it makes a world of difference. It’s important to get the unique selling position properly presented for each hotel. That includes using a high impact image, having the right tag line and short description. Hotels Convert More
It turns the hotel booking process into a fun interactive travel planning activity that is intuitive, personal and accessible from any digital device; tablet, smartphone or TV. Hotels benefit by getting more and better qualified leads in the process. “High impact, instant visual cues get immediate response from travelers and more quality leads for hotels” Social Engagement Guests can also make comments and offer suggestions and reviews. VBT is integrated with the most widely used commenting platforms on the Internet, making it very easy for users to participate and share. At any time a guest may order the list by location, size, name, and rates. The changes are immediate. This makes it very easy for users to instantly see alternatives, helping them make instinctive decisions based on visual cues and detailed information at a click of a button. Super Charge your Booking Engine VBT is an extension to any booking engine. Hotels can use the embedded VBT engine to capture realtime transactions and payments on the destination portal, it can also work with any booking system. It extends any central reservation bookings service, adding additional functionality and benefits to both travelers and the hotelier. RealTime Booking & Request Systems VBT can be a realtime booking system with inventory management or a simple request system that gathers the credit card information, the dates and the total costs. For many small properties this is the preferred solution as no guest is turned away. If rooms are not available guests can be upgraded or passed onto to partner hotels. VBT gives travellers the tools to really drill down and select just the hotels that match their needs. The RealHolidays personality matching further qualifies the prospect resulting in a highly qualified lead for the hotel.
DESTINATIONS On average 95% of the visitors to a vacation bookings website like Booking.com or Expedia do not book. They often don't see the most suitable properties and don't engage with booking engines which are iterative, slow and impersonal. Well that has changed substantially with VBT. Guests Stay Longer & Do More For destinations it transforms the booking process into an interactive travel planning sales system, where guests stay longer, engage more and click off to member properties at 3 times the rate. In our tests we measured time spent on the site and the click through rate before and after installing Visual Bookings. This means that VBT enhanced destination websites, get better results for their members, helping them fulfill their mandate and making them a winner in the eyes of their members. The rate at which travellers link to member sites is a measure of the effectiveness of a destination portal to generate interest and leads for its hotel product. In our test travellers clicked through to hotel sites at 3 times the rate that they had previously (0.924 in 2012 and 2.968 in 2013). Time spent on the site is an important indicator of engagement and in that measure VBT increased time spent and engagement by a factor of 6 (from 0.53 to 3.44 ). In 2014 the percentages are the same. 0.53 3.44
VBT gives your visitors a better experience and your members more bookings. It upgrades your booking process into an effect travel planning system that engages and converts. “Transforms a tourism portal into an interactive sales funnel to convert more bookings” With guests staying longer on the tourism site and linking out to hotels at twice the rate, member hotels get more business. The portal itself may do bookings, in which case its rate of conversion is also up as travel shoppers use its own booking systems. Add-on and Turnkey Solution VBT is a vital extension to a booking system. It sits on top of it and acts like a graphical interface that makes the booking process more dynamic, personal and immediate. It enhances travel planning and helps travelers find suitable properties and book them. The VBT interface is highly optimized to deliver personalized results in seconds. The matrix display is an important advantage as travelers can make instant comparisons and see the trade-offs. VBT can also be supplied as a Turn Key solution using its own booking engine. Bookings can be configured for any inventory module and payment option. It can handle individual property terms and rules or the portal’s terms and conditions.
MARKETING When you upgrade your destination portal to A Visual Travel Planning and Bookings Channel with VBT you will see more engagement and your members will get more qualified leads and bookings. In our test engagement increased 500% and clicks to member sites doubled. Without additional marketing, your site performance should double. But that is just the start. WorldWide Visual Travel Planning and Bookings Site We also build out a separate Visual Travel Planning and Bookings portal for all of our VBT clients. This gives you more exposure in the market. In addition we market both your site and the new VBT Travel Planning Mega site with a full multimedia, multi-platform campaign. It starts with building out your social network, which we use extensively to help publish your unique destination product. Social Index Engine Marketing Campaign Social Index Engine is the term we use for the many components we combine together to publish and promote business on the internet. It is how we have made the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia the most popular destination site on Barbados in the world. It also works for small properties, getting them listed on the first page of search results against all types of sites, even out-ranking the Online Travel Agents, which have now moved to the top of search, displacing local hotels and tourism in the process. Authority Sites Prevail Search engines like Google now prefer to list authority sites at the top of their organic search results. When you search for hotels, apartments, villas in a destination, chances are you will see the larger sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking.com etc on the first page. Small local properties are seldom there, tourism authority sites are pushed out by OTAs like Expedia, Priceline and Booking.com. Our marketing addresses this imbalance by building out authority with vide and creating a balanced linking campaign with authority.
Every destination has a unique and different product. We build campaigns geared to your uniqueness and publish it to the world with our proprietary Social Index Engine tools and visual marketing strategies. “Social Index Visual Marketing is a unique solution that builds authority and rank for your destination” SOCIAL INDEX MARKETING We will do a full Social Index & Multimedia Marketing Campaign including the following key components BuildYour Social Network Create and Publish Articles & Blogs for Content Marketing Create and PublishVideos for theVideo Campaign Build SEO/Backlinks Complete a Multi-Point International Press Campaign How a Small Property Got Ranked with Authority Try searching for St. Lucia Apartments. Just a while ago you would have seen Howe Away, Owners Direct and some of the well known international directories and Online Travel Agents. A while back all these sites dominated results and pushed local properties off the list. The exception was Poinsettia Apartments, our client, who ranked at the top of the page and on several pages for similar searches. We did this with our Visual Marketing Campaign and our Social Index Engine. It involves building a social network and using it in our multimedia cross-channel visual marketing. This is exactly what we will use to market all destination clients in the VBT pre-launch campaign. The elements of the campaign are summarized below. We provide a brief description of what is entailed in each of the phases in the following pages. This is not a cookie cutter solution. All campaigns are unique and tailored to the individual destination and their unique product and needs.
We are all publishers in the digital age of participation. With so many tools and platforms available, destinations should and must take control of the media and tell their story, everywhere and on every platform. “Your Social Network is key to SIE Marketing” Video Marketing Video is a high authority medium that has great influence with search engines like Google. Often a video that has moderate traction will be working behind the scenes to help get your content and website ranked with authority. We will create appropriate video blogs which will be published out to your social network and included in the content marketing and press campaign. Publishing Build Out Your Social Network We will create and populate key social accounts for you. If you don't have Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and many others, we build them for you and use them strategically in the SIE marketing campaign. We will integrate your existing accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter into the marketing system to build authentic, authoritative information content and links across the Internet. Blog and Article, Content Marketing We write blogs and articles for your site and for internet distribution relevant networks including private blog networks, article sites and web 2.0 properties. We will produce one high quality brochure which will be published on authority magazine and document sites like Slideshare.
“Links are like social signals, they need to be diversified to get impact” Linking Strategies - Real Case Example - Part of the VBT Marketing Campaign The SEO Linking Campaign You absolutely have to have your own site optimized for the current Search Engine Systems. In the case of Google this means optimized for Panda (no duplicate content), Penguin (not over optimized anchor text and linking) and Hummingbird (using proper language and semantic text). We will review your site and give you some pointers, but we do not do this work for you. We are going to build links back to your site with our Social Media network and content marketing. In addition we will use forums, comment boxes and directories to create diversified links (anchor text) from a diversified array of sites that create a rich array of social signals to you site and to strategic sites that we link to your VBT pages. We often see campaigns that are very skewed to one component, it might be video or social bookmarks. This is not good SEO as search engines measure how varied the links and sites are. It is vital not to over use keywords in links back to your site. In this example there are too many links using the domain URL - We need to moderate this by adding more alternative text links. Here we see proportionally too many forums, bookmarks and video links. We need to balance this by adding more web 2.0 and directory links etc. Link building is a crucial part of SEO. You can't have a highly-ranked site without inbound links. But it is important to build links that are both varied and trustworthy. We work with a team of SEO experts that have proven themselves over time. There are many who do this work with no credentials - don’t use them. Spam links can get your site banned! Over optimization of keywords will get your site ignored by Google.
“Distributed to top media with SIE promotion, our PRs get exceptional ranking and visibility” The Press Campaign A Press Release (PR) can literally expose your destination to thousands and even hundreds of thousands. Our SocialIndexEngine (SIE) press releases have one of the highest rate of media pickup and the reason for this is that we optimize the release both on page and off page. Using our SIE tactics and tools we promote the release across the internet and will also promote key media that pick them up. The SIE PR action gives our release prominence and makes them visible, popular and effective. For the VBT marketing campaign we plan to do three major international Press Releases for the core destinations who are part of the VBT pre-launch invitational marketing. The proposed releases are noted below. However, we custom build the campaign and it may vary depending on the circumstance. The Press Program 1 - Announce your participation 2 - An important feature of your destination 3 - Your success with VBT The actual content and staging will be tailored to give you the best exposure and impact. Where practical our PRs are multi-media articles with video, images and rich collateral. The release may be joint PR containing both the VBT contact and the Destination Brand contact. We use top distribution services. We do not use free PR or low cost distribution for our media announcements. Be seen in top broadcast media. Our releases have been picked up by the NY Times, Fox News, the Boston Globe and many brand named media companies, reaching over one hundred thousand viewers at any one time.
“The Sales Funnel combines all steps of marketing from traffic getting strategies to bookings and advocacy” The Marketing Sales Funnel In business marketing, the world looks like an upside down pyramid: At the top is the entire universe of people who might have a faint interest in your product. The job then is to filter out those who are not interested and start to process the rest through a series of filters. The filters are offers and systems that weed out the uncommitted and nurture those who are most likely to buy. It’s like you are mining, starting off with rocks and rubble, looking for gold. As you go down the pyramid you shake out the rocks, then the ruble then earth and finally you are left with gold. Well not exactly but you get the idea. See the graph below for an overview on how Sales, Marketing and Technology interact to create an effective sales funnel for tourism. Visual Booking Marketing extends your reach and authority getting you more qualified traffic. It then processes and filters travel shoppers, giving them unprecedented tools to explore, be engaged, decide, purchase and become advocates. It’s not enough to get traffic, one must convert that into bookings and repeat business!
BY INVITATION ONLY This document was created for the pre-launch of Visual Bookings Technology. Only a handful of destinations are being invited to this launch - These few destinations will get added value and bonuses. In exchange we will feature them as reference sites. All participants are free to provide any reference they choose - we will of course be sure to make it a resounding success so that the references are excellent. ABOUT The Company VBT is a product of AXSES Tourism Development & Publishing. Originally developed by AXSES for the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia, it is now being developed as a product for tourism destinations, hotel & tourism associations and central reservation services for accommodation suppliers. AXSES has been a pioneer in tourism development, creating several firsts in marketing for hotels and tourism. Included are the first Facebook Booking Engine for smaller independent hotels and commendation by Google for Bookable-maps, an application based on Google Maps. The AXSES team includes several computer science graduates who have pioneered in development of innovative applications for marketing travel. The company also publishes the Travelers Insights magazine and several blogs and websites dedicated to helping travellers and tourism suppliers make their difference in the world. more > Join.VisualBookingsTechnology.com Visual Bookings Technology VisualBookingsTechnology.com personal visual systems & marketing for destinations
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