Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Rome...Really!

Well, it’s official. After a naming contest that received a lot of great suggestions from many of you, I have finally arrived at my new business identity. Thanks again to everyone! I know I promised to put your suggestions up for a vote, but once they were all in, I did my homework this time around and found that most of them unfortunately were variations on domain names already taken or too similar to other businesses. In the end, it was nearly impossible to find a truly unique name, and the one I chose is in fact just two consonants longer than another that already exists…but after evaluating everything and researching websites and names, the one I chose came from Finny, advertising genius and my personal marketing guru, and it is:

If the logo looks a little amateurish, well, that’d be because I designed it myself. I was considering hiring a professional graphic designer but I got worried that I might not like it and end up spending a ton of money, so I just went ahead and winged it. I figure, I’m my own boss now and why shouldn’t the logo reflect me and my personality, even if it isn’t perfect?

Today I had a lovely chat with a couple staying in one of the apartments. They found me through Slow Trav, which I have found to be an excellent resource for travelers. No matter what the question, it seems you’re pretty much guaranteed a response from the extensive network of members who have logged countless miles in many countries. I explained to my guests how I am trying to build my business through word-of-mouth and grassroots marketing so that I can build a nice client base of like-minded people. They were kind enough to suggest some resources, one I knew about (Craig’s List) and one I didn’t (VRBO). I have decided not to work with rental agencies because as I explained to them, for me the important thing is not quantity and having a revolving door of guests packed in as tightly as possible, but rather quality and sharing my apartments with guests who will appreciate, enjoy, and care for the apartments as much as I do.

Unfortunately at this early stage in my new business adventure, I feel like I have a great product that hardly anyone knows about (yet). I realize that nowadays most people do all their travel research and booking online. Do you have any ideas for how I might get the word out about my apartments? I would love to hear your suggestions for helping me build my business!

15 comments:

Gracie said...

Have you already enlisted in some travel agencies? I know you have to pay them a fee, but I guess it would be worth it!

Gia-Gina said...

Shelley, just wanted to drop you a line and say hi. My email is giaparsons@hotmail.com

I will be in Rome for 2 weeks or so for Xmas, maybe we can meet.

reslifedan said...

I have been enjoying your bog for a while. I think "Really Rome" is a great name. I think the cat image on the logo might disuade people with such alergies from contacting you. Are there cats in these flats? Also, you might think about placing an iconic Roman image in the view from the window...whether it be the Colosseo or simply a view like over Campo dei Fiore...Just migh thiouhgts---good luck!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I personally love the logo. Cats are such an icon of Rome, and Italy in general, that it is consistent with your authentic image. I like that you kept it simple and clean and included your neighborhood in the subtitle. Anyone who's familiar with Rome will recognize the area and understand it's beauty.

As far as more ideas for getting the word out, I'd keep doing what you're doing and staying positive and optimistic. Since your goal is to book like-minded guests you should measure your success based on the quality of guests you receive, not the quantity.

Plus, you know me, Google Adwords all the way.

African Kelli said...

Hmmmm... I'm not sure. You could send an inquiry to the New York Times travel desk. They do "budget" travel and often feature mom and pop places to stay, rather than big hotels. It would be worth a shot.
And I dig the new name and logo! Awesome!!

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I've decided I'm doing NaBloCoMo - National Blog Commenting Month by commenting on your blog every day...or just about. :)

In short: I like the name, the cat's fine, and I really think putting the Colosseo or something in the window would be great (fill up that space!) - props to you for designing the logo! Maybe make it a little more like your Window Post on Saturday.

Strange thing, I was talking to my friend just last night about VRBO and he uses it for his condo in Hawaii...

Anonymous said...

One of your guests may eventually post about their experience on Tripadvisor.com and your business will grow and grow just the way you want it too. Some other B & B owners even post on the Rome forum there. You might try that, if it's an option for you. I know I use tripadvisor when I want to find something smaller. Not so many rooms, more personal. That's my style!

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Thanks everyone for the great comments. I wasn't so sure about the cat at first but really they are a symbol of Rome. But no, no cats in the flats! I'd have to rent out Pavel Cow and that would cost extra! ;-)
Not sure about how to "fill up" the window, didn't want the image getting too busy...
Ms, have one of your creatives at the agency do a pro-bono for me ;-) Kidding, kidding...

Michelle said...

Ciao, me again :)

Congrats on the new logo and slogan! I have two tiny suggestions:

(1) to add something typical of Rome, other than the cat, of course ;) To keep it simple, may I suggest two Roman columns, either somehow worked into the window/part of the window frame, or even as the Ls in "Really" (although you may have to change the style of the writing then)?; and

(2) Maybe to add some simple, scrolly flowers in yellow hanging down like the pic you posted below (through the O in ROME I'm thinking)?

To be clear, I think you did a *fabulous* job on the design, and if left as is, I think it's great too, but these suggestions are what popped into my head at first glance, so I thought I'd share :)

In bocca al lupo!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I agree with E &I. I read Tripadvisor.com all the time and think it's very helpful.

Also have you seen the website, In Rome Now? One of the editors Joie, is an American. Not sure what kind of advertising they do. I have seen B&B reviews on there. It's a great resource and those ladies know a lot of people.

Expat Traveler said...

Shelly - love the logo. At times simplicity can be best, especially in a b&b.

I'd recommmend searching the internet a lot. Look for travel blogs, travel sources, etc. List in all places that are FREE.. I also know there is a lot in b&b sectors. Look there. See what you can get first...

43places might be another start.

:) Wil write you an email too. Thanks...

glittertip said...

Hi Shelley,
Craig's list is a good resource. There is also www.cross-pollinate.com, but they charge a few. There are a few others and also posting on the rome ex-pat vcn yahoo message board... i can think of a few others...
however, i have a better idea...we should meet up.
xox erica

glittertip said...

Hi Shelley,
Craig's list is a good resource. There is also www.cross-pollinate.com, but they charge a few. There are a few others and also posting on the rome ex-pat vcn yahoo message board... i can think of a few others...
however, i have a better idea...we should meet up.
xox erica

anton said...

Your logo is great! The only think it's missing is the window box of geraniums! :-D

ekim said...

Great logo....as is the name! Way to go!