Blizzard University – July 24 & 25, 2014

Blizzard University - Glenwood Springs, July 2014 - Get signed up today!

Doesn’t a trip to the beautiful mountain town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado this summer sound like a wonderful idea? Why not make it a learning experience as well! Join us July 24 & 25, 2014 for another Blizzard University Workshop. Learn from the internet marketing specialists in this 2-day informative workshop geared toward beginner to intermediate internet marketers and vacation rental managers. Book Today or visit our workshops page for more information.

Get Facebook KPI’s with

Now that you have a flipp’n sweet Facebook page for your lodging website, how do you measure its success?

One tool that will give you great insights is is an easy way to get KPI’s about your page, benchmark yourself against your competitors and get insights into your fans.

This tool is really easy to setup and you add up to 3 Facebook pages for free.

Here are just a few of the extensive reports that offers:

  • Statistics and distribution to understand your fan base.
  • Performance analysis of different types of content like posts, photos and status updates.
  • A customizable dashboard so you can easily see that data that is most important to you.

If you like things to be done for you, then you will also enjoy the automatic and customized reporting from

Here are a couple of my favorite graphs:

Give it a try – it’s free

AirFareWatchdog – Get Alerts to Find the Best Deals to Your Destination

As an online marketer, we look for different targeting and segmentation tactics that are designed to increase reach and conversion rates.  

A very effective and flexible tactic we’re testing these days is targeting Vacation Rental & Hotel deals to markets that offer inexpensive airline fares into the destination we’re marketing.

The hardest part of this tactic is figuring out what airlines are running the best rates and when.  It can be time-consuming to search different deal sites.  We set out to look for a way to bring the deals to you without much work.

We found help in the form of a website that watches for deals that coincide with trips and destinations.  It’ll take you about 5 minutes to sign up for alerts from!

Not only can you get tips on flights from SPECIFIC markets, you can subscribe to “Arrival City Fare Alerts” for our local airports.  This way you’ll get notified every time airfare goes on sale TO you, regardless of the flight’s city of origin.

You can set the frequency of alerts to your email, and can even suspend alerts if you’re to busy to deal with promoting them, or on vacation and want to limit email to your inbox.

Some things you can do with location specific deals:

  • Target PPC ads to the departure city.
  • Send an email blast to subscribers who are located near and around the targeted departure city.
  • Buy ads in online newspapers and magazines that serve that particular area.
  • You CAN buy print advertising, but it’s expensive and usually takes some time to set up and get running. You need to be flexible and quick to get the targeting and ads set up.

Check out the configuration below and sign up for alerts that will help you build deals and market them to specific locations quickly.

PadiAct: A Tool to Grow Your Email Signups on Your Website

Getting more of your website visitors to self-register for your email newsletter is a pain-point for many business websites.  One easy solution you may want to try is to use a “popup” inviting visitors to sign up for you newsletter.  Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it and irritate your users, but you should probably at least test this more aggressive tactic.

For a quick and easy tool that delivers “popups” on your website, check out PadiAct.

PadiAct makes it easy to setup, configure and install this functionality right into your website.  Some advantages of PadiAct:

  • Direct connect Constant Contact, Mailchimp and more to push you subscribers right into your email system.
  • Reporting and statistics on your success.
  • Configure to “pop” after a certain # of page views, visits, and more.
  • Configure to slide in from the bottom, slide from the side, or pop up and cover your page.

Here is an example screen-shot of the pop up style window:

I really like the idea of a dynamic popup type call-to-action over a static “email signup” area taking up prime real estate on the website.  PadiAct also offers pretty cool segmentation and targeting cirtieria like referrer, # page visited, certain pages visited, geography, etc.

It looks like they will be adding some new features soon too that would be great… we would like to see multiple campaigns that go beyond Email… for instance, maybe ask someone along the way to Fan me in Facebook (or “like”… whatever), sign up for my RSS feed or accept a special offer.

PadiAct is $25 for small business size use and offers a free 30 day trial.

Diigo: The Ultimate Bookmarking and Sharing Tool for Small Teams

Diigo is an exciting tool for small teams that want to share bookmarks and collaborate.

Each user can not only bookmark pages on the web that interest them, they can highlight text, add sticky notes, and share with their group.   You can also tag each post to search it easier.

While lots of bookmarking software will let you share with anyone, or keep it private, very few are good at letting you create a private group where each member can share and collaborate with other members. Additionally, if you want you can use the group widgets to automatically post your latest Diigo content into your website.

Email Center Pro Email Management and Collaboration

Are you trying to use a team to manage in-bound and out-bound emails?  One quick and easy solution worth investigating is Email Center Pro which will let you turn an email account in a team account.  Email Center Pro has lots of features and is worth investigating. The cost is $19.19 per month per user.

Emails can be assigned to individual account members through an email management dashboard.

Communicate with your team for better customer service:  Add internal notes to an email conversation for easy reference

Full Email Activity Analysis reporting with the following reports:

  • Who is handling the most emails?
  • Measurements and charts of overall email traffic
  • Individual user activity and average response time

While this solution may not be right for everyone, it is certainly with checking out for the small reservation departments that characterize many lodging businesses.

Google URL Shortener for Your Long URLs

Now that you are making ridiculously long URLs with Google’s URL Builder you may have a new problem: those long URLs look stupid in many places…

If you want to make a quick short version, go to the Google URL Shortener and turn this link:


this link: Read more

Google Analytics URL Builder

Tracking your referral sources accurately in Google Analytics is a big deal.

As the marketing person for a resort, you may increasingly rely upon the reporting that Google gives you to evaluate how your marketing efforts are working.

The problem with relying upon referral reports in Google Analytics is that:

  • Some or all of the data gets lost (Twitter can have this problem).
  • The referral website actually has several websites and your traffic gets spread around so it be hard to calculate.
  • The referral website has a paid and free component (like LinkedIn and Facebook) where your fee-based advertising gets lumped into the free version.
  • You are doing email marketing and the emails aren’t being tracked.
  • You are not tracking your 301 redirects or domain forwarding usage.

My favorite tool to solve this problem is the Google Analytics URL Builder which quickly and easily appends “campaign” data the  URL I use in some of my (Blizzard Internet) specific advertising campaigns.

So, for my LinkedIn Pay-Per-Click campaign aimed at Hotels… and specifically, the ad where I offer a consultation plan would look like this:

This ad would send traffic to this landing page URL:
Read more

Conversion Funnel Tracking with PadiTrack

PadiTrack lets you easily create conversion funnels from your Google Analytics data.

While it is true you can build conversion funnels in Google Analytics (through the goals area), PadiTrack offers a few advantages:

  • Retroactive funnels… unlike Google Analytics, PadiTrack will build historical funnel results.
  • Building funnels is easier and more intuitive in the PadiTrack interface.
  • In-depth reporting and easy segmentation is available.  The funnels are visually effective.
  • Funnels from multiple accounts available via one login.

Give them a try if you want to get easy insights into your conversion funnels.

Tools to Secure Your Content from Scrapers and Stealers

There are a number of tools out there to help protect your website and its content from:

  • Screen Scrapers who are grabbing your content and using it on their website.
  • Unauthorized use of your text or photos.
  • Competitors who are stealing your content and using it on their websites.

Copyscape will search for copies of your pages on the web. It is for plagiarism checking and searching for duplicate content.  You can just do some on-the-fly searching by putting in your website URLs.  Or, you can sign up for their CopySentry program which for about $.25 cents per page and it will do a weekly search of the internet and notify you of new instances of your copy being stolen.

Photos are a harder nut to crack.

Tineye is a tool that will help you find images on the internet that are the same as or very similar to yours. It is far from perfect though.

Watermarking your images is a great way to start protecting them.  Read more