Blog

We want to keep you posted and publish occasional newsletters that can include news, information, opinions and data. Read everything we know.

Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.

By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: 0

For many years the Philadelphia Cheese Steak shop occupied a triangle corner on busy Madison Avenue on Seattle's Capitol Hill. It seemed to do well but changed hands a few times and gradually did the restaurant slow decline dance.

Meantime, just up the street the Bottle Neck bar opened and soon became a favorite hang out. When Philly closed, the proprietors - Erin Nestor and Rebecca Denk - grabbed the additional space and opened a nice neighbor burger joint. They called it "Two Doors Down" because, of course that is where it was.

Sometimes naming businesses and products is easy but often it is a long laborious chore. Who knows how the new restaurant got its name, but it is brilliant, memorable and fun. That fits the new decor and the food.

Halloween heavy traffic raced past Two-Doors, just as traffic always does, but ahead on the trek home cars were slowing and some pulling over to grab a burger.

All because someone, maybe the genius who named the restaurant, created a cheap but compelling reason to drop into the restaurant.

Pumpkins are cheap. A few orange LED Christmas type lights didn't break the bank. surely the staff had fun making them. Or maybe the customers made them. (What fun.)

Putting the pumpkins in the window would have worked, but simply putting them on the street made them impossible to miss. On this rainy dreary night. It was warm. It was compelling.

They must have sold far more burgers that night because who could resist?

Accepting expensive solutions from advertising experts can produce great results, but advertising is always trial and error no matter how well researched.

On the other hand, creative thinking always wins over new customers, makes existing customers smile and makes the cash register ring.

Read more

Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0458 – 10/31/15

Sponsor: MayPartners – Pumping Advertising for decades but a new kinda marketing machine. Old fashioned marketing smarts with new technological know how. Our platform of constant promotion pumps up your sales. But you gotta call us now to start. – MayPartners.com

Creepy Vacation Rental Videos

By Wm. May
Published: 05/27/15 Topics: Marketing, Vacation Rentals, Videos Comments: 0

Recently, a number of websites - including some Vacation Rental portals - have begun using videos as a kind of background image that depict people using vacation rental homes.

Maybe you have seen them. Often they are mundane and slow moving but even the slight movement attracts attention.

There is no sound, and no titles and they are seemingly used mostly as a graphic element - to indicate that staying in the home is comfortable and desirable.

Unfortunately, they do the opposite because no one realized the implications that make the videos creepy.

  • One depicts a young woman asleep in a disheveled room as she wakes up.

  • Another shows a dad and daughter playing on the top bunk of a bed.

  • Another shows a couple of men making breakfast, in a none too attractive tiny kitchen.

All of these feel like they were video taped by a peeping tom when the people were not looking. Viewing them should make you feel uncomfortable.

So who thought this was a good idea? Maybe a peeping tom or voyeur?

The videos are often grainy, or perhaps faded which inadvertently indicates the videos were shot a non-professional camera. That too implies they were taken without the subjects approval. Even more creepy.

By comparison, some videos are exterior long shots of the ocean with boats moving, or waterfalls falling, some have people far in the background.

Those videos are more reassuring because they were clearly taken in a public space and not of some one in a private bedroom in their jammies. The subtleties between various videos is the difference between acceptable and creepy.

Read more

Author: Wm. May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0398 – 05/27/15

Expert Says Photos Best Return on Investment

By Joseph Romain
Published: 02/01/15 Topics: Marketing, Photography, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

In a recent blog post on his website VacationRentalMarketingBlog.com, Matt Landau proclaims professional photos to be the most effective marketing tools to increase bookings and revenue.

Landau says, "When you have limited resources, you must examine the return on investment (ROI) of everything you do." He then lists the Top 10 cost-effective Vacation Rental Marketing Activities.

Number one on his list is professional photos which he illustrates by providing a cost versus benefit graph clearly showing photos as the best investment.

Other steps, such as building a private website, increasing your paid listing rank, soliciting reviews and trying to speak with guests by phone also are beneficial.

While hiring a professional photographer is indeed a good idea, to this day many professionals have still not discovered or mastered the art of creating High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos.

Without that even the best cameras, a photographic education and lots of experience prohibit the photographer from creating truly accurate photos such as those HDR can create.

HDR photos are not easy and they are not cheap, but the benefit of having compelling and accurate photos attracts more guests, more bookings and more revenue.

Landau posits an analogy about whether a government should invest $10,000 to cure ten Malaria patients or the same amount to save a single AIDS patient. Tough call of course, but it illustrates that spending money on great photos is by far the most cost efficient treatment for vacation rental marketing.

Matt Landau is the Founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog, an online resource for vacation rental owners and managers. He is also the owner of Los Cuatro Tulipanes vacation rentals in Panama, and a columnist for HomeAway and FlipKey, the world's two largest vacation rental marketplaces.

http://www.vacationrentalmarketingblog.com/top_10/

Read more

Author: Joseph Romain – Creative Director, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0003 – 02/01/15

Nothing Beats Chateau Chocolate Cake

By William May
Published: 10/01/10 Topics: Advertising, Marketing, Packwood WA, Radio, Selling Comments: 0

Years ago when I operated an advertising agency we sure thought we worked long and hard. Not to reveal my age, but I remember when we had to "spec" type, courier the details to a type setter and then wait days while it was set and returned to us. We then had to paste the galleys onto art board along with photos or other art to arrange the desired final ad.
 
Fun Drudgery
 
Marketing campaigns took months to prepare. To convince a client to accept a print advertisements required us to draw the ad roughly replicating what it might look like. Once approved we then had to produce it, or record the radio commercials or shoot the television spots and in film no less.
 
Media plans, the choosing and budget of conventional media, also took lots of time. Decision making was actually fairly smooth but just typing orders, processing payables and comparing results was a paper and pencil exercise.
 
So I have been one to whole heartedly embrace the personal computer and how it has made marketing, advertising and selling smoother and more controlled. We can produce a lot more with better product and hopefully better outcome.
 
Digital Drudgery
 
Unfortunately, the digital age has also made it marketing incredibly complex as we go through a constant dance of Internet and conventional advertising in hopes of maximizing revenue. It is easy to get lost pursuing the latest, greatest marketing scheme.
 
For lodging we invest in directory ads, video spots and certain pay-per-click. Just like in older media, we try to get in front of the consumers eyes and promote a message that might, just might, get a slight bit of attention.
 
So it was last summer that I had the great fun of remembering that marketing is, if nothing else, based on common sense.
 
Our firm took over a previously shuttered resort located in the shadow of Mount Rainier National Park in an exquisitely beautiful and pristine place. Situated on a minor East West highway over the Cascade Mountains, Chateau Timberline (www.ChateauTimberilne.com) was a well maintained property with half-timber construction and an immense appeal.
 
Goldener Inns
 
Unfortunately, there was no build up of time to pre-plan and organize media. Our company has created a highly unique software and management system that allows us to deploy full automated websites including photography, online booking system and universal content including local activities, merchants and restaurants. The guest can search by map, available dates and more than enough information to pick the appropriate lodging.
 
But even with automated deployment and heavy advertising, websites take time to mature. Search Engine's don't index the site immediately. If you want to use the Global Distribution System (GDS) that can take months. Consumers will eventually find a good property and will begin to migrate to it when it offers a better experience than competitors.
 
But we had none of the time we needed. So we relied on the good old proven methods of marketing. We went local.
 
We opened within 3 days, and then spent another 3 days visiting all merchants and even the competitors to introduce ourselves and to ask their help. But we didn't just come cap in hand. We came with flyers and cupcakes.
 
The results were stunning. It would be wrong to presume that none of the people in town had ever had a cupcake. They smiled, they ate and they remembered us as the new guys with good manners (Or at least I hope.)
 
Tasty Marketing
 
Mount Rainier is a popular area. Within hours, guests were being referred to the Chateau. Within 10 days we were sold out. Although we basked in quick success we had many people to thank. So early one morning I visited the biggest competitor in town who had referred many overflow guests to us and, at the last minute, I decided to take a fresh Chocolate Cake.
 
I figured they couldn't or wouldn't take a referral fee. But they were more than happy to eat cake.
 
And now we have become friends. We refer to them as well. We know the people behind the businesses and they know us, although we'll have to keep contributing to local groups to earn our keep.
 
Fancy complicated marketing makes it possible for small companies to compete. It allows for advertisers to pick and choose with care and to make the most of their budget. But let's not forget. No matter how great it is, nothing really beats a great chocolate cake.

Read more

Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0161 – 10/01/10

DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.