Facebook for Small Businesses: What Your Company Needs to Know to Be Successful

Facebook for Small Businesses - What Your Company Needs to Know to Be SuccessfulChristopher Ratcliff’s article “How Small Businesses Can Make the Most of Facebook” is a great resource for small businesses looking to establish their presence on the social media giant, Facebook. He begins his article with statistics that show how large and influential the site has become before offering plenty of practical tips small business owners can use to get the most out of it.

Facebook’s statistics are impressive. According to Ratcliff’s article, more than 1.19 billion people from all over the globe use Facebook, making the site the most well-known and widely used of all the social media platforms. Every day, 728 million people log on to the site, 4.5 billion likes are generated and 4.75 billion pieces of content are shared. These statistics make it clear that businesses that use Facebook have the potential to reach an extremely large and diverse audience.

Ratcliff goes on to explain that simply creating a Facebook account and adding a little content is not enough to create real interaction on the site. When, as a general rule, only one percent of followers engage with the website with actions such as liking, commenting and sharing, businesses have to work hard to build up their online community. He then goes on to give several practical steps for how small businesses can do so.

General Advice

Ratcliff recommends that companies set their profile pictures to their brand logo. He also encourages companies to add prominent links that allow users to contact their company, visit their website and visit their other social media accounts.

What to Post

Facebook users will not interact with just any content; companies need to make sure they are sharing the right content if they want their followers to engage. Ratcliff advises companies to make sure their content is quality, valuable and relevant. He recommends that companies should share a variety of types of content, instead of just sharing promotional information, and that companies should share others’ content as well.

Ratcliff also encourages companies to ask interesting questions that encourage people to respond, to add photos that encourage people to share and to use competitions, promotions and sneak-peeks to foster fan excitement. He also makes that point that companies should vary their information across their social media platforms, or else followers will not have a reason to follow them on multiple sites.

When to Post

Quality content is only valuable if people see it. Therefore, Ratcliff continues on to share a few statistics about content timing. According to Ratcliff, Facebook has the most traffic between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and engagement is highest on Thursdays and Fridays. Weekends are generally the slowest time for company posting, a fact that companies may want to use to their advantage.

Traffic will vary, however, depending on the audience, so companies should get to know their particular audience in order to determine how to be the most successful with them. Monitoring Facebook Insights and interacting with followers on the company Facebook page are two great ways for companies to get to know their followers and determine what exactly will work best for them.


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Booking Your Guests Online Will Cause a Huge Increase in Your Sales for the Holidays

Hotel bookings always skyrocket during the holiday season, especially when they are through websites that are on the Internet. The holiday season is a very busy and hectic time for most individuals, particularly those that have large families. Catering to people at their utmost convenience is not only immensely beneficial to your customers but to your whole hotel business as well. The ease that online booking systems can provide to your potential customers is completely unparalleled. More and more people are needing their hotel bookings done promptly and efficiently, without the hassle of having to go too far out of their way to deal with someone on the phone or in person. Luckily, these high demands can easily be met, which can give a huge advantage to hotels who don’t only book their guests by phone or in person but also accept booking through the World Wide Web. It’s far easier, quicker and now the status quo for all modern-day, thriving hotels.

Business Charts Concept Diagram

Setting up a convenient booking system for your guests is an extremely easy procedure if you already have an existing website. Most people are referencing the Internet to do research on where they want to stay and where they want to book their rooms. The people browsing the web for a hotel that come across your website will see that they can conveniently make their reservations right there on the very spot. An automated booking service will make your web presence appear far more professional. This professionalism will make attracting more guests easy. It will also have them feeling far more comfortable with planning their stay at your hotel rather than at another hotel that does not provide online booking convenience.

The popularity of online booking systems has grown immensely over the past few years. Most people that are browsing websites for hotels on the Internet are often presented with booking systems on each of these hotel’s websites. If you don’t have a system on your site, it could possibly put you behind in competition with other hotels in your area. You want to pick one that is modern with up-to-date technology. There are many to choose from these days, so make sure you choose one that fits with the appearance of your website. Also, make sure that it is simple enough for your customers to book their rooms with little to no effort. Most of the time, customers want their booking experiences to be rapid and easy.

It is very important to install an online booking system that does not require your customers to create accounts. Many people will consider this account-making as a hassle and an inconvenience. You want the information fields to only require information from your guests that is necessary for them to book their rooms and for you to process their registrations. This is why it is extremely important for you to have a booking system that is flexible enough to allow you to specify which details you need from potential customers and to disable any unnecessary information that is not required.

Watch this video about “How to enhance your hotel’s revenue management”


Some online booking systems will force your customers to create individual accounts with personal information or to fill in all kinds of information that’s not really relevant to what you need to make the booking. Be very sure that you choose an online booking system that does not require your clients to create entire accounts to complete their bookings. It’s frustrating to your customers and, in most cases, entirely unnecessary. You’ll want to choose a system that’s flexible enough to let you specify what information you want to gather and what information you don’t need from customers.
Find a booking system that will allow customers to make their entire booking transaction and reservations only on your hotel’s website. There are a lot of booking systems that will take your customers to the website of a separate booking company. Not only will your customers feel uncomfortable about providing their private information in such a way to a third-party website, but they could possibly leave your website altogether for one that doesn’t do so. Therefore, it’s very important to use a system that works within your website and within your website only.

Make sure to take your time while choosing your website’s online booking system; it is an important decision. These are only a few considerations to keep in mind that can help you on your quest while you’re searching for the right booking system to suit your website and hotel. Adding one is guaranteed to make a huge difference in your business not only during the holidays but year-round. The benefits will be noticeably large and will certainly exceed your expectations. An increase in revenue and many more new customers are only a couple of these benefits.

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10 Great Fitness Opportunities at the Beach in California

In a time when fitness fads come and go, it is more important than ever to find an exercise program that can work for the long haul. While some people turn to costly gym memberships and bulky home exercise equipment, other people are discovering the power of the great outdoors. This is even more true in states like California, which has a temperate climate along the coast that makes outdoor exercise ideal. In fact, more people than ever are finding the answer to their health goals at the beach.

At first glance, the beach may only seem fit for rest and relaxation. However, the sand provides distinctive opportunities. Beach workouts can be diverse, intense and invigorating. For those who may not be sure where to start, just consider the following possibilities for a beach workout today.

fitness-Manhattan Beach

1. Running.

Running is an exercise staple since it requires no special set up and can be easily tailored for any fitness level. While running can be done virtually anywhere, there is a distinctive appeal of running at the beach. For some people, the experience of running on sand is particularly appealing. For others, the gorgeous water views can provide the inspiration to keep moving. Many coastal areas are developing the waterfront for fitness purposes, providing designated running trails. In fact, there is a movement to develop the California Coastal Trail, which winds up and down the shore throughout the entire state.

2. Walking.

While running may get the heart rate up faster, walking should never be discredited. Many experts say that a brisk 30 minute walk each day can have a palpable impact on one’s health. Walking on the beach is especially popular because, for most people, such a task does not even feel like a workout. Walking along the sand is often considered a recreational activity. By walking with a bit more purpose, it is easy to turn a seaside stroll into an invigorating workout.

surfingCalifornia

3. Yoga.

Yoga is a popular exercise that focuses on physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Yoga utilizes a variety of body positions to promote fitness, but these positions can only be sustained with mental and spiritual clarity. While there are many opportunities to practice yoga at home and through special classes, yoga at the beach has a particular appeal. After all, the water and the wind provide a peaceful ambiance, which can help many people quiet their mind and improve their workout. There are even beach yoga classes in various cities throughout California.

4. Tai chi.

Like yoga, tai chi is a gentle, low impact exercise that encourages mental discipline and core strength. To master tai chi, it is important to be focused and stable. Therefore, mastering tai chi also means conquering stress and downplaying other distractions in life. The beach is perfectly suited for tai chi, since the graceful movement of the waves can help inspire graceful movements in the exercise itself.

Beach volleyball-huntingtonbeach2013

5. Rugby.

Rugby may not be the most popular sport in America, but it has a growing niche of followers. There is no better place to play rugby than on the sand, which provides a unique element to the game. Rugby has the physicality of football with elements of soccer, creating a distinctive, high impact game that always gets the adrenaline pumping. There are some rugby leagues in California, although a formal beach rugby league can be hard to find. Most people who play do so with unofficial pick-up games, often utilizing a smaller field and flexible scoring rules.

6. Soccer.

Soccer may be the most popular sport around the world, but it is still working on developing a mainstream following in the United States. However, one of the best places to try soccer is the beach. Many players find beach soccer to be an exciting challenge since the sand leads to less predictable play. There are some beach soccer leagues, but the sport is also popular for casual play and intramural challenges. Some of the larger leagues are in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and there are also various tournaments in Long Beach and Santa Monica.

7. Volleyball.

Beach volleyball is very popular in southern California, and many beaches have volleyball nets accessible to promote play. The California Beach Volleyball Association is well established and offers various opportunities for organized and competitive games. While a league can provide good opportunities to compete, players just looking to have fun can try pick up games on any number of beaches including options in San Diego, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo and more.

8. Dog walking.

Some people exercise better with company. In some cases, there is no better friend to exercise with than a four-legged one. Dogs are high energy pets, which means getting outside with a canine companion is not only good for the dog but can help inspire fitness in the owner as well. Fortunately, dogs love the beach, making a walk along the water a perfect way to get in shape for both parties involved. While dogs can be walked on leashes on most beaches, there are some dog friendly beaches to consider. This includes spaces at Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island, Coronado and more.

9. Scavenger hunts.

One of the perks of the coming and going of the tide is that it constantly changes the sand along the water’s edge. This means that there is always something new to discover. From shells to polished glass, people scour the sands for a wide variety of things. While this may seem like a leisure activity, roaming the beach for small trophies can actually be a noteworthy workout. Some people may just use their eyes while others may use a metal detector to help unearth money or other so-called treasures in the sand. There are even opportunities for geocaching along the beach, which involves a more specific type of hunting that utilizes predetermined coordinates.

10. Surfing.

While most of these activities are done on the sand, surfing utilizes the water for fitness. Surfing is a quintessential beach sport in California, which has some of the best surfing beaches in the country. Some of the most popular beaches for surfing include Manhattan Beach, Dockweiler Beach, Malibu Point and Trestles. When most people think of surfing, they assume only experts can try it. However, the are many opportunities for novices as well, and there are even instructional classes to help new surfers get their feet wet.

These ten options are really just a starting point. The beach has endless opportunities for fitness, many of which can be tailored to any personal workout preference and any ultimate fitness goal. Some beaches are recognizing the workout potential and have started to develop explicit exercise courses to help people of all fitness levels get started. Even regular beach play, like building sand castles or giving piggy back rides in the surf, can be a great way to get the heart pumping.

Finding the right exercise regimen can be hard. After all, fitness trends come and go. To find an exercise program that works for the long haul, consider trying the beach in California. Between the sun, the sand and the waves, getting in shape has never been so much fun.

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10 Essential Tips For Business Networking Success in 2013

Account executives, middle managers and corporate decision makers are often presented with the opportunity to attend a business networking event. There are trade shows, business conferences and even corporate golf tournaments where people meet and at least some of the conversation involves business.


Networking is all about building relationships and new contacts that can be beneficial to all parties involved. Attending any such event should not be considered a vacation from work. It is a chance to expand your knowledge and develop valuable relationships. What you learn at a trade show or business conference can then be used to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.

If you want to enhance your chances of meeting the right people and making the most valuable business connections, try these 10 suggestions on successful networking.

1. Appearance
Dressing to impress is always a good idea when attending any formal business function. Men should dress in suits and ties and women should dress in appropriate business attire. These rules can be adjusted based upon the specific type of networking event. A professional appearance establishes credibility and lets others know that you are taking the event seriously.

2. Introduce Yourself Casually
When you have the opportunity to mingle and interact with others at the networking event, introduce yourself without going into a whole lot of detail. No one wants to hear about how you grew up with seven sisters and won an award for perfect attendance in the third grade. Keep it simple like Hi, I’m John Smith from the Seattle office. What did you think of the presentation? You will have the opportunity at a later time to talk about your company and your needs.

3. Be a Good Listener

It is always better to defer to the other party and let them talk while you listen. Pay attention and then let them know you are interested in what they are saying by asking some questions. You will create a bond and hopefully that will lead to some positive and productive conversation.

4. Don’t be too Anxious to Negotiate a Deal

If you have just met a person, it is not appropriate to invite them to your office the next day to sign an agreement to do business together. While it is okay to discuss business in broad terms, it is not the time to be too aggressive. Exchange contact information and then follow up with an email or phone call after the event is over.

5. Giving is Better than Receiving
Like your mother always told you, it is better to give than receive. Doing something to help others makes you feel good and makes the recipient of your generosity much more likely to want to do something to help you.

6. Handing Out your Business Card
Unsolicited business card distribution is pretentious and also offensive and rude. While it is okay to offer your business card after first talking with another, you should not start the conversation by saying Hi, John Smith from Seattle and then shove your business card in their hand.
Watch this video about “Marketing Success is Based On Your Business Cards…”

7. Be Yourself
Don’t try to assume a different personality to try to impress. It is best to act naturally and not be guilty of putting on a phony act.

8. Be Knowledgeable
It always helps to know what you are talking about. You should have some background about the subject of the event you are attending.

9. Focus your Attention
If you are at a networking event with hundred or thousands of attendees, try to stick to one area and meet the people there. It is better to spend quality time with a small group rather then spread yourself too thin and try to shake hands with everybody.

10. Follow up Using Social Networks
For business networking, use a professional site like LinkedIn to invite someone to learn more about you and your business. You can also send an email to acknowledge your meeting and interaction with other attendees.

Facilitating business networking requires a suitable venue for holding the event. San Diego’s Mission Valley Resort is a great place to hold an affordable event. With 7,000 square feet of meeting space ranging from a large ballroom to smaller conference and meeting rooms, the facility can accommodate from 10-400 attendees. A very helpful team can assist you with choosing the right-sized room and give you all of the extras you need to have a successful business networking function.

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Best Tips for Successful Networking

Business networking fits somewhere between a fun and enjoyable social event and a no-nonsense corporate board meeting. It encourages the formation of valuable partnerships and associations, and, it can also foster real friendships. Understanding the proper behavior and etiquette at a conference, trade show or other business networking opportunity can result in lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. Here are 10 tips for successful business networking.

1. Always be Prepared

Being prepared can avoid some embarrassing situations and also allow you to converse intelligently and naturally with other attendees at a given event. If you are going to an event where you are certain to run into some familiar faces, make sure you know their names and something about them or their company.

2. Don’t Be Overly Outgoing

You are not at a wild party and you should not behave like you are. While it is fine to be friendly and polite to everyone you may meet, don’t become the proverbial bull in a china shop. No one like someone who is loud and aggressive and goes around shaking everybody’s hand.

3. Do Not Try to Dominate the Conversation

It is always better to listen first and then respond. Monopolizing the conversation can turn people off and cause them to excuse themselves and head over to the punch bowl. By letting the other person talk about their interests, you can learn about what interests them and steer the conversation in that direction. Make them feel important and they will be much more likely to help you achieve your goals.

4. Give and you shall Receive

Whoever first said it is better to give than receive was a very wise person. When you can do something that helps another, your thoughtful gesture makes a strong impression. You would be amazed to see how often your selfless efforts return twice as much bak to you in similar acts of kindness.

5. Business Card Etiquette

Don’t be the person in the room that sticks a business card in the hand of every person that they meet. Most people will just toss those cards in the trash. Unless someone asks directly for your contact information, ask them for their business card first. That way, you can contact them at a time and date of your own choosing.

6. Keep your Pitch Short

Of course you want to relay the reason you are at the networking event and let the person or group you are talking to know how you can help. Keep your statement to about thirty seconds and then answer any questions as they come up in the ensuing conversation.

7. Participate in Multiple Networking Opportunities

Appearing more often at industry events will make you a familiar face to other regular attendees. It will also allow you to make more good connections.

8. Take Advantage of Technology

Use LinkedIn or other business-appropriate social media sites to invite people you met in person to contact you.

9. Show Interest

Even if you are not particularly interested in what the person you are talking to is saying, have respect and maintain eye contact. Don’t let anyone walk away feeling dis respected. You never know when they may have a friend that can help you.

10. Follow Up

Send an email or mail a note to new contacts to acknowledge them after the network event is over. Keep people thinking of you and they will be more willing to help you out in the future. Make them your friend.

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How To Become A Great Hotel Manager

Attention to minutia and, at the same time, keeping the overall “big picture” in the back of your mind seems to be a trait that all good hotel managers have.

A very successful General Manager of a large, luxurious, successful hotel in Atlanta was walking the grounds (that’s part of his job, too) when he spied a soft drink can on the grass. He picked it up and put it in his pocket to dispose of later. He was asked “why did you do that instead of getting an employee to do it?” The reply was “we can’t afford to allow anyone at all to see this flaw in our landscaping. The outside of the facility is what people judge us by. If they see a groomed, flawless exterior, it gives them an indication that all our services will live up to the same standards.”


A good manager has a vision for moving his facility forward and a good idea about how to go about it. Perhaps the restaurant isn’t meeting its revenue goals. Obviously, prices cannot increase in today’s market. A good manager has this problem, plus any others that need attention, working in his subconscious, even as he greets guests, reports to higher ups, relieves at the front desk, confers with the grounds maintenance manager about that soft drink can and how long it had been there.

By the time a day or two has passed, his conscious mind becomes aware of what needs to be done, whether it’s special promotions to hotel guests, getting a new chef  (if he’s heard negative muttering about the food) getting a band, setting up a dance area to attract local residents to make the restaurant their favorite “hangout” spot or total renovation to make the restaurant “edgy” i.e., a novel, imaginative visual appeal and, perhaps, a new, imaginative menu.
A successful hotel manager practices good ethics and instills those in all the employees. He is passionate about his facility and projects that enthusiasm both on and off the job. He/she is also an active listener, giving his total attention to the person talking whether it is the present occupant of the Presidential Suite or an employee many levels under him.

Speaking of “the job,” the hotel manager is never off duty. Even when he goes home to his family, he must remain available in case emergencies come up. He works on holidays. If you consider your family time sacrosanct, don’t plan a career in hotel management.

Another quality a good hotel manager possesses is the ability to make decisions within whatever deadline is presented. If he has the time, he will confer with the heads of the departments that could be affected. After he’s decided, he is able to delegate responsibilities to the appropriate department head.

The power of networking is very important in this job, thus the good manager belongs to local and national business and management groups, keeps him/herself informed about recent trends within the industry and, hopefully, has time to act as mentor to some of his subordinates.

Now that we’ve described attributes of a successful hotel manager, let’s do a summary. A good hotel manager needs to be a good example to all workers, not just managerial staff. If you see a job that needs doing, do it. It will help maintain good employee morale. Learn to delegate and, after you’ve delegated the task, give employees some flexibility about how they do it. Although you’ll naturally like people with your same viewpoints, hire some who think differently than you in order to get fresh viewpoints. Share information. If the news is bad and you try to hide it, the rumor mill will go to work and, often, come up with something worse. Stay calm in all instances. In this age of corporate downsizing, if you’ve had workforce reductions, don’t delegate everything. Everyone has to pitch in to absorb the work of that down-sized employee.

Most of all, be consistent. Nothing will destroy the morale of your employees faster than to see you act one way in one situation or with one person and differently with someone else. Somewhere between home and your arrival at work, get ready for work by switching over to your cheerful work mode, even if you felt crummy when you left home.

Learn more about hotel management and marketing here: http://hmghotelsblog.com

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How to Manage Your Hotel Successfully in 2013

If you manage a hotel that is not as successful as you would like it to be, then you may want to know some secrets that could help you manage your hotel better and attract guests that have never been to your hotel before. A few out of the many tips you could take advantage of include be mobile, set up meetings, hire the right employees, create a fun work environment, and one very important tip is to pay attention to the details. As long as you are focused on your hotel and follow these important tips, your hotel will be one of the most successful hotels in your area.


You definitely do not want to be one of those managers that stays in their BACK OFFICE (playing with your new iPhone or iPad) doing paperwork or keeping yourself busy so you do not have to deal with your employees and hotel guests. It is important to keep your office organized so you can get out of there faster and be out in the lobby seeing how your employees are doing and saying hello to the guests. Let the guests know who you are and to find you if they have any questions or any concerns regarding the organization of the hotel. The guests and your employees would be more comfortable around you if they know that you care and are willing to stay out of your office to help them if they need anything.

It is important to set up meetings to see if your employees have any ideas to bring in more guests or anything having to do with the way the hotel is being run. You could have them put all their ideas in a hat and draw one to use their idea and you can change up the ideas every month. You should have meetings at least once a month or you may want to have meetings a couple times in a month if you are hiring a new employee and you feel that would be the appropriate time for everyone to get to know each other.

By hiring the right employees that have experience and have great attitudes towards guests, you will feel more comfortable in letting them do their job without having to train them. Let them know where your office is so they can come to you if they have any questions or problems with a guest that they have never dealt before. It is still important to keep an eye on them especially on their first day to see how well they work with the guests and listen to all complaints from guests. If more than one guest complains about the same person, then you need to take care of it by either firing them or giving them a warning.

You do not want your employees to dread going to work for you every day so you may want to create a fun work environment. You could set up competitions and discuss who one during your monthly meetings and that could lead to a rewarding prize such as becoming employee of the month. You might also want to do things for your staff during the holiday season. The more you make their work environment fun and enjoyable, the more they will want to come to work.


Paying attention to the details is one of the most important things so that involves you walking around and determining whether your guests look happy to be staying there or miserable. Make sure that everything is working right so nothing will break causing an important necessity to not be useable. While the guests are gone for the day and your cleaning staff is cleaning their rooms make sure that there are not any stains that the guests would complain about. You also want to make sure everything is working right outside. If your hotel has a playground for children, you want to make sure it is completely safe. You should also make sure that there are not any sharp objects at the bottom of your hotel pool that your guests could cut themselves on.

It would also be a great idea for you to develop any construction plans if you need to develop a bigger parking lot so guests will not have to park next door or across the street to stay at your hotel. If your hotel is small, you may want to see if you have any room in your budget to add on and include more rooms. The more rooms your hotel has, the more money you will make. These are great tips for you to try if you feel like your hotel is failing because the things you are doing or things your employees may be doing. It is important to be involved in all aspects of your hotel because you have to know if things are going wrong so you can change them before they get any worse.

More tips on how to manage your hotel or resort with success:

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