BASTROP, TX - 1 June 2001 - The members of the Bastrop-Smithville Bed & Breakfast Association learned eight key concepts during lively discussion on how the web impacts the unique needs of the hospitality industry, with a focus on Bastrop County tourism.
At the Thurs, 31 May 2001 monthly meeting, Matt Weilert of Rock Eel Café, an Ergonomic Design Firm offering “asset management of human capital” presented and led the debate on the topic: Creating Credibility & Confidence Through Effective Web Practices. The meeting was hosted at Angel's Nest in Smithville, hosted by Scottie and Rhonda VanDiver. The following items were addressed in the highly spirited session:
@ Have the same e-mail address as your web domain, avoiding e-mail addresses such as yahoo mail, hotmail, aol, and the rest of the public providers. Unless your goal is to be treated like a commodity, paying to advertise for another company—which is what you do when you have another company's name at the end of your address—just isn't thinking smart or long-term.
It was news to many that you can operate a domain and have the benefits of e-mail that supports your company, without operating a website. For the budget conscious, this provides the professionalism at lower cost.
@ Operate your own domain(s), even if you're part of an industry trade group web site. As a business owner, people look to you for leadership, not just in your own industry, but in everything that has your company's stamp of approval, and your web competence is no exception.
@ Avoid repeating the domain name as your primary e-mail address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, it's redundant and higher end customers, the group with the discretionary dollars, consider it a sure sign of naïvé.
@ Invest in good quality photos, of your own property(!), whether you hire a professional, barter for service, buy or borrow a digital camera, so that your original images are as crisp and as attractive as they can be. Rock Eel Café recommends that you use, or require those who perform web services on your behalf, use either the GIF (graphics interchange format) or the (relatively) new web-specific format PNG, (portable network graphics).
@ Announce your Launch only when ready, tough as that may be. The software industry coined the term "vaporware" meaning marketing a product not even finished. One of the surest ways to damage hard-won credibility is to run an ad touting a website that says "under construction" or worse, has no pages at all, and displays the directory contents to the world at large.
@ Choose the correct "ending" otherwise known as a top-level domain, or TLD. Everyone knows .com is for commercial enterprises, yet there are some civic organizations and non-profits confusing the web-savvy public by misusing a .com when they are a dot-org or a dot-gov. The national standard for city websites is www.ci.[name-of-city].st[ate-2-letter-abbrev].us and the more governing bodies that know and follow the standard, the easier time the info-hungry public, many of whom are web-aware tourists, will have.
@ Consider ALL your resources, not just the Web. Turns out, the Innkeepers have two very experienced web wizards, right among their own membership. Sallie and Bruce Blalock are well on their way to making their web investment pay off, season after season. They'd already done nearly everything discussed.
@ Continue to dialog, and always be on the lookout for resources and contacts where you can benefit the group, so that the collective knowledge base benefits from “many hands making light work.”
The full MS-Powerpoint presentation is available to any interested party. Contact Rock Eel Café for details.
About the Company
The Rock Eel Café (REC) has three main lines of business: designing products for people, designing & testing interfaces for interaction and designing/hosting web sites for business. All of the REC efforts revolve around usability: client firms grow toward the goal of a seamless integration of their message, both on and off the internet.
Off-line, or traditional, product design borrows from the demands of good web techniques while blending the on-line web world with the “real” world so that staff productivity goes up and remains strong season after season. As expressed in their highly regarded MCTV cablecast program, Systems Thinking & y.o.u.r.World, “people are the ultimate technology.” Rock Eel Café consultants design their products and services around that truth.
Rock Eel Café