B&B shows benefits of web

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the benefits of local businesses using social media and internet marketing was the subject of a conference at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel yesterday, writes Mark Entwistle,

One case study used to demonstrate the usefulness of modern technology was a Borders B&B which has seen a 51 per cent rise in bookings after bringing in a team of the region’s creative experts.

Maplehurst Guest House in Galashiels used specialist Borders-based web design, copywriting and photography companies to revamp its website after recognising that, in an age of increasing internet use, its website was not showcasing its offer to best effect.

The result was an impressive, beautifully-designed site reflecting the property’s quality and style, and featuring the latest search-engine optimisation techniques to ensure Maplehurst was prominent in internet searches. A rise in reservations of 51 per cent followed, with 86 per cent of Maplehurst’s bookings now coming through its website.

Organised by the Borders Business Gateway South of Scotland Creative Cluster Project, the free-to-attend conference also featured networking opportunities to enable those attending to meet creative professionals from the region with skills relevant to online marketing activity.

Creative Cluster project co-ordinator Hugh Williams said: “The success Maplehurst’s owners have had by using specialist creative companies in the Borders has been tremendous.

“The internet is a marketplace that modern businesses cannot afford to ignore and our conference aimed to help, both by providing Borders businesses with the knowledge to make the most of the opportunities the internet provides, and by showcasing some of the local talent in the region that can help them achieve success.

“There is an enormous amount of creative talent and knowledge here and the Maplehurst example shows what great things can be achieved when these businesses work together.”

Maplehurst Guest House worked with Galashiels-based graphic and web design company cohortsbydesign, copywriting company Texthouse and photography company Shout. The project won Maplehurst a creative marketing award at the 2010/11 Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards.

Derek Chapman, owner of Maplehurst Guest House, said: “It has been a pleasure working with like-minded people who are dedicated to achieving a high standard of excellence in all respects. It is a lesson for all businesses large and small: value good design and work ethics and much can be achieved.