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msc ise 7 2014/2015 - Grenoble ecole de management id 142182


Marketing Mix Proposal 8 Ps
E-customer and E-CRM strategy
Website design
Traffic building
Performance Measures




The Accommodation business is living deep changes. Internet has brought leading-edge
modifications that are shaping the business in a new and innovative way. Mont Blanc Retreats Ltd
is a company that is living those changes. The business consist of providing accommodations and
ancillary services during the two main touristic seasons in the Chamonix area to high and middles
high income customers. Mont Blanc Retreats Ltd.s business model is mainly made up of three

Mont Blanc Retreats does not own the properties, it earns a commission when the chalet or

apartment is rented
Mont Blanc Retreats provides property management services, such as cleaning, laundry,

catering. The company provides those services to the owners of the chalets or apartments
Mont Blanc Retreats realize also a mark-up on services provided directly to the customers,
such as airport transfer, ski lesson, personal assistant 24h

Mont Blanc Retreats has to face a highly competitive environment where the only way to profitably
survive and deal with companies that are doing the same kind of business is differentiate itself from
the competitors. The opportunities that the marketing and above all the digital marketing can offer
regarding the differentiation are multiple and various: being different from the competitor will cause
customers satisfaction and loyalty that stand alone for one of the best advertising ever created.



Through the SOSTAC it will be possible to have a clear comprehension of the overall dimension
where Mont Blanc Retreat acts. I will go through the situation analysis, the objectives of the
company, the strategy to accomplish these objectives, the tactics to execute the planned strategy and
the measurement metrics to control the effectiveness of those initiatives.
Situation Analysis

The situation analysis gives us an overview on the overall condition of the company itself and the




Demand Analysis

The Demand of Mont Blanc Retreat consists mainly of two segments: the middle high income and
the high-income consumers who want to spend a week or a couple of weeks immersed in the nature
of a typical French mountain house or in a super luxury apartment with all comforts and optional
that modern technologies can offer. Regarding the middle high income, the target comes from all
Europe while when we speak about high income the target is made up of people who come from
Russia, India, China generally but not always they are English speakers. The last segment
considered does not care about the price and want just to satisfy its needs at every hour of day or

night. Normally, the bulk of the people is not interested that much in outdoor sports but come in
Chamonix valley to relax, shopping, for the events and the glamour of the location.
Site Analysis

The website is just a showcase. The company is showing the properties and displays their
availability but the customers cannot even book there. They can search filtering by price but that is
the only segmentation the webpage is doing. The customers cannot see all the services they can take
advantage of, moreover if they do not understand English they cannot use the site. It is possible to
see that Mont Blanc Retreats offers besides the chalet and apartment rent the airport transfer, has
partnership with a British-run ski and snowboard hire company that provides you home delivery
equipment rent and another partnership with the two ski and snowboard schools that can provide
lessons at a price set with Mont Blanc Retreats. It is included a mentioned free concierge service
but the customers cannot know what this service is about because there are not information about
what it is and when and how it is available. Mont Blanc Retreats looks after its customers carefully
and particularly but it does not show it, it does not communicate it and the website would be the
perfect place to display a preview of the kind of experience the company can offer.
SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis
- Exclusive location in the French Alps;

- Lack of a digital marketing plan tailored on MBRs

- Exclusive properties to offer;

specific needs;

- Well-known place for many popular events, extreme

- Lack of payment service to allow customers allowing to

sports (skiing, paragliding, etc.) and other activities such

book and pay directly online (main purpose for MBR of

as shopping etc.;

going online);

- Offering of premium related services to customers

- Website not built on the companys needs and those of

(airport transfers, catering, etc.)

the its clients or potential clients;

- Offering maintenance services to properties owners;

- Lack of presence on SERPS (Google, but also others)

- Understanding of the rivalry;

that could be reached by clients from other parts of the

- Will to change and adapt to new trends;


- Well-structured search engine marketing;

- Traffic building to be generally improved;

- knowledge of local people

- No user-friendliness of the websites interface;

- inelasticity of the service provided

- No entertaining content on MBRs site;

- No social media presence;
- No partnerships
- No tag
- No database on transaction
- No search engine inside the website that filter better the
- No presence in Chamonix portal
- No Youtube channel
- No segmentation
- No targeting
- No Newsletter
- No Analytics
- No user-generated content
- No landing page
- No affiliation
- wrong name

- Strategic partnerships;

- No customer reviews
- Entrance in the market of other intermediaries which

- Improve SEO to increase traffic;

may imitate or, worse, improve MBRs offering;

- Release APIs to collaborate with other websites;

- Arrival on the market of substitutes which come from

- Social media channels to maintain existing clients and

different industries (ex. 1000 may be used to buy an

attracting potential new one by interacting with them;

iPhone rather than a LVs handbag);

- C2B revenue stream benefiting loyal customers each

- Partners websites and those of competitors may use

time they introduce new one who make first transaction;

information about MBR;

- Provide a wider range of related services;

- Pace of technological development: new technologies or

- Be better connected with the main events that take

devices may replace the existing ones (which are still

place in the area;

even not used by MBR);

- Once data are collected, use them to improve customer

- Change in customers preferences;

targeting and better tailor the offering based on their

- Other unpredictable or difficult to forecast (natural

specific needs;

disasters or changes in the market);

- Acquisition of new wealthy customers coming from

different areas of the world interested in MBRs
products and services;
- etc.
- customize the staff according to the origin and
requirements of the hosts
- transform the website in the window of the valley and
on the experience of the hosts






- storytelling of each chalets to market better the
- VIPs endorsement
- engaging social influencers
- include some augmented reality features

PEST Analysis

The PEST analysis can help us to have a more clear understanding of the external environment.



incentives the economic

activities, even if the
French tax level is quite
high1 the companies can
take advantage of the
political stability and



level of the country that





1 http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Tax/dttl-taxfranceguide-2014.pdf

Although, France had lost competitiveness and capacity to attract private investment due to rigid
labour laws, high taxes and social contributions along with low levels of innovation, it is the fifth
largest economy in the world and the second largest in the Euro Area. Moreover, France is the most
popular tourist destination in world and welcomes over 80 million foreign visitors per year. 2
Despite the taxation, France is still one of best place where to run a touristic-based business.


In the French society, we can find several obstacles that can slow the performance of Mont Blanc
Retreats. In France, the number of English speaker is very low, people are bashful and diffident but
they are very nationalist and the customers can breathe almost anywhere the French culture. French
people love showing their habits and the oldness of their tradition and this makes France and living
in France very typical and particular experience.


In France a fast internet connection is available and 54,473,474 of people use internet. The
increasing usage of smartphone is shifting the navigation to mobile as well.
Resources Analysis

Mont Blanc Retreats does not own big amount of resources, it is in the business since 2001 and
surely can be categorized as small medium size business. Mont Blanc Retreats does not own the
properties hence does not have fixed costs, as for example, it pays cleaning staff just when it is
2 http://www.tradingeconomics.com/france/gdp-growth

needed. We have to include among the resources the expertise gained throughout the last fourteen
years that allow the company to deal successfully with the business related issues and give to the
customers an unforgettable experience. On the other hand, it would not be pertinent include the
properties among the resources not only because they are not owned by the company but above all
because they are resources available for the competitors as well. Instead resources can be the
proprietary network built by the company and the relationships established in Chamonix area with
the local citizens.
Market Research

France has attracted 84.7 million of foreign tourists in 20133, in particular in Rhne-Alpes region,
where Chamonix is located, 50,681,156 of nights have been sold in 2008 4. Indeed, More than one
and half millions of tourists had visited the main attractions of the area as the Montenvers Railway
Sea of Ice glacier, the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Brvent cable car. In fact, Rhne-Alpes
boasts the largest equipped skiable area in the world, with more than 150 resorts producing almost
80% of the national turnover in ski lifts. The area can provide a proper amount of labour force since
there are more than 119000 people employed in accommodation and catering and property
businesses that are more than 20000 in the area. It easy to understand how the competition is rough
in this context where there are many companies providing the same commoditized service. Two of








3 United Nations World Tourism Organization. Retrieved11 September 2013.

4 http://www.rhone-alpes.cci.fr/economie/chiffres/2010/Rhone-Alpes2010_GB.pdf

http://www.chilledlifeholidays.com/ visiting their websites it is possible to observe they are offering

not only the same services but also in the same way. The only solution to succeed in these
conditions is differentiating since the above-mentioned accommodation services are just two of the
hundreds business players.
Intermediary Analysis

Within its activity, Mont Blanc Retreats encounters various intermediaries. It has to deal with a big
amount of travel agencies, negotiating the commissions they take selling the accommodation on
behalf of Mont Blanc Retreats. Then there are the online travel agencies, as booking.com that is
paid to fuel the traffic on http://www.montblanc-retreats.com/ . Moreover, we have to consider the
Chamonix Tourist Office that gathers the accommodation service providers.
Competitor Analysis

It would be very hard to list all the competitors of Mont Blanc Retreats. Of course, we have to
consider as our competitors those who are pursuing companys same strategies, targeting companys
same customers and offering the same service. Indeed, in the Chamonix valley we have hundreds of
those businesses. Everyone is using at its best the tool that modern marketing provides making the
competition extremely intense and uncertain. The fixed amount of chalet available increases the
importance of the ancillary services besides the experience before and after the delivery of the
service. The relationship that the company build with its customers stands for the real additional
value brought by the transaction between customers and company.


Objectives - 5 Ss

We consider the 5 Ss as five type of benefits businesses can take advantage through e-marketing
and we align those benefits with the ones corresponding to our case.
Sell Grow sales

Actually, Mont Blanc Retreats is not selling accommodation online, it is partly using the website to
run its business. The customers cannot purchase on the webpage its service. Concerning this
advantage, Mont Blanc Retreats is not both selling its service online and using the digital tools to
increase its sales and consequently its business. First, Mont Blanc Retreats allows customer to book
the accommodation just by phone and it is not completely wrong. In fact, it adds intimacy to the
transaction. It makes customers feel more comfortable since they have someone with who deal,
someone real if a customer comes from another continent and is booking for the first time a chalet
in Europe being able to book speaking through the phone with a real person is an important value.
On the other hand, it has several drawbacks since customers need to know the English, need to find
the time to speak at the phone and cannot pay directly. Giving the opportunity to sell online would
increase the sales. In fact, a company that uses a website to sell its service can record the data of the
transactions, build profiles of the customers, allow customers to filter the search accordingly to the
services sought by the customers. In addition, it can speed up the purchasing process and offer to its
customer a proposal more consistent with their needs by offering it in a particular and innovative
Serve Add value

Mont Blanc Retreats webpage is not providing to its customers extra benefits by visiting its online
website neither contributing to the service development through online feedback and dialogue.
Given the market where Mont Blanc Retreats is acting, the website should represent a tool to
differentiate its service and build its brand image, adding value to the whole experience that the
company can deliver. Through the website, the company might provide additional services and
better display its offer, giving the opportunity to leave feedbacks that can improve the customer
experience. Those additional services can be information related to the kind of holidays that
customers are interested in, as weather forecast, updates about events and geographical location of
the place where they are going to spend their holidays compared with the position of all the other
premises. Finally, the online presence should be useful to diversify the kind of promotion towards
the customers and engagement built with the customers.

Speak Get closer to the customers

The digital tools can be used to increase significantly the level of reach of the customers. The
ubiquity of Internet allows the customers to connect when they want and where they want. Since the
company can reach more frequently the customers, it has the opportunity to steady shape its image
and amplify the awareness about the service offered. Nowadays, the promptness of internet earned
dramatically importance since the responsiveness of a brand to the changes stands for the way to
build the brand image and customers perception. In a high competitive market the way the
company involve the customers in its relationship through its image sharply affect the profitability

of its business. Indeed, the customers can communicate through the web easier and faster
pretending the same promptness from who provide them a service. They struggle for express their
opinions and it is a companys duty allows the customers to state those opinions and deal with the
resulting consequences taking advantage from the information gained in this way.
Save Save costs

One of the immediate advantages of the shift from the classical marketing to the digital marketing is
the cost reduction. The e-marketing enables the company to save human resources that can better be
allocated in position more useful for companys goals. Moreover, we encounter savings in the
transactional costs, customer service and print and distribution costs. Compared to the typical
marketing means e-marketing decreases the costs of providing those services and activities since the
World Wide Web had increased the competition causing lower costs. Practically, Mont Blanc
Retreats could mitigate the cost of the phone calls in fact they manage the bookings by phone.
Obviously, they do not have to shift definitely to a pure online booking system because customers
like to have a more targeted and personalized service only a human counterpart can deliver. Finally,
The e-marketing can obviously help the company to get closer to the customers moreover, it can
additionally spur the customers to talk about the brand and create the buzz 5 that is necessary to the
appeal and attractiveness of the brand thinking differently from the competitor, surprising and
touching customers feelings.
Sizzle Extend the brand online
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_buzz

A company should always ask itself if it is useful to have a website, I mean what truly is the
additional value that is delivering to its customers through the website. The Mont Blanc Retreats
website should provide an experience unique and representative for the brand and the service it is
offering in the market. As I said before the importance of the value created and communicated as
well with the sizzle the company adds to its image and service stands for the real differentiator in a
market highly competitive such as this. Above all, in a so-called experience service as the
accommodation one, particularly the luxury accommodation, the trust and recognition lead the
customers preferences and choices. The company has to deal with reality and perception 6: the
reality is the experience enjoyed with the brand while using the service the company can affect
this dimension improving the services features and the customer experience. Perception is the
aspect where the company can affect the most the customers evaluation. Perception is the way the
company chooses to appear with regard to the customers since they build it when they face the
brand and the service. It means it is entirely shaped by companys actions and goals. Mont Blanc
Retreats has to align the perception of its customers with its objectives as well customers needs. Of
course, also advertising, sales promotions, direct mail, packaging, point of sale etc contribute to
build this perception online and offline influencing the quality of experience. Mont Blanc Retreats
has to ask itself what value is delivering is website, if it is giving to consumers something unique
and worthy, if they find it useful for their needs.

6 Emarketing excellence Dave Chaffey and PR Smith 4th edition 2013 page 40

The strategy is the approach to achieve companys objectives. In order to build it we have to
identify the key elements. We started from the 5 Ss that have clearly stated the unused potential of
the digital tools available. A complete and well-implemented e-marketing strategy is going to
improve Mont Blanc Retreats performances adjusting the current choices and deciding new
initiatives to implement. Mont Blanc Retreats needs to be found easier on the web. Its content is
actually not valuable for the customers. The website has to become the additional value of the
service, a platform that take care of the customers before, during and after they have enjoyed the
service. The webpage can become the mean through which ask, remind and give incentives to the
customers to come back. Mont Blanc Retreatss web page is currently a first wave Brochure ware
with static features and poor details then this is probably the first aspect to improve. The webpage is
not doing what it has been built for, it has been created to show the service you can purchase but the
offering of Mont Blanc Retreats is not clearly defined and displayed in the page. The website can be
not only a platform where to take care of customers experience from the beginning to the end,
where to establish a relationship with them but also the linkage between the environment and the
customers. Mont Blanc Retreats is out of the context, it is located in one of the most glamour and
luxury area but customers cannot understand it from the website. The Mont Blanc Retreatss site
shall represent the access to the valley and its atmosphere, it should implement an integration
between what they are offering and where they are offering it because the geographical location is
one of the additional value of Mont Blanc Retreats. Nowadays, customers lost trust towards the
traditional advertising since they rely more other on customers opinions. Mont Blanc Retreats
should successfully capitalize this situation and allow the customers to state their opinion on the

website drawing the resulting information. Indeed, it would help them to address better the
customer needs, as well it would be a more genuine advertising mean. The presence on the WWW
might be the mean to address customers requests giving a preview of what consumers are paying
for. Online partnerships had become even more important since they incentive the exchange of
traffic and create value for the final customers who are now preferring the bundled services that
combine different services and players who collaborate to build something unique. The integration
has acquired more importance representing in such this market one of the few differentiation
parameters. Mont Blanc Retreats should conceive its website as a window: a window from where
customers can take a close look on the accommodation experience, the image of the brand, the
context of the valley and its glamour atmosphere and the features of a service that can turn in one of
the most unforgettable experiences of their lives.

The tactics will answer to the question: how do we implement the planned strategy? Surely, it is
necessary to define which e-marketing actions the company is doing, how to improve them and
above all which new actions they should pursue. Actually, the company is displaying the chalets and
apartments with their availability and three of the services that they can provide as the ski lessons,
the home delivery rent of ski equipment and the airport transfer. Starting from the core service, the
website has to show the geographical location of every chalet together: customers like to see where
they are going to spend their time and choose based on this parameter comparing the location of one
chalet with the others. On the map should be possible to see the nearest touristic attractions and

towns. The search of chalets or apartments should be filtered according to the features the
customers are looking for, the features of each premises. Each chalet can have its own story who
contribute to sell better since we stimulate the curiosity of the customers making its experience
different. The customers should be able to have a space where to speak about their experience in the
chalet, how they enjoyed the time, what they liked, what they fall in love with. If there were stable
concierge or butler, it would be perfect to see how they prepare everything for the hosts: the care,
the precision, the attention, the passion in satisfying customers needs and wishes. The website
should alert the customers about weather changes, forecast or new events, shows, expositions,
competitions. Everything is going to happen in the valley can be an opportunity to talk with the
customers and invite them to join the event spending time in the valley repeating the experience
they had already enjoyed or trying a new experience if they had not already been customers of the
Mont Blanc Retreats. The customers must be perfectly aware of what Mont Blanc Retreats is
offering them, now it seems they just rent accommodation in Chamonix valley while they are
offering much more than that. Mont Blanc Retreats is not classifying the customers by what they do
on the website. It could create profiles and better segment the offerings checking the customers
behaviours on the site. It entails the company has to significantly increase the quality of content and
functionality on the web creating something valuable for the customer, something that is worth the
time spent surfing. The web site is not localizing the customers, Mont Blanc Retreats should adapt
its webpage with the origins of the customers, since they come from all over the world the content
should be consistent with customers origin and language. Being only in English is a limit for those
customers who come from China or Russia. The three ancillary services mentioned are not the

main one and are displayed in a wrong way. For the customers must be clear what the bundles is
made up of. For example, the main service the offer is a free concierge service: it is possible to have
staff 24h available to satisfy every customers requests. Customers can also hire a chef that will
cook exclusively for them whenever they want. Of course, it is not possible to find those
information on the web right now, customers do not know what they have bought. The partnership
the company should establish have to bring mutual value and increase the reach and the benefits for
the considered companies. Customers should be able to buy the ski pass by the site before to arrive
or book a restaurant in Chamonix area directly from the webpage while they are in the chalet keep
on using the website also while they are enjoying their accommodation. The design and usability of
the website have to radically be modified and aligned with the standard of an accommodation
webpage. Additionally, the site does not tag its content: customers who search for the words
luxury, Chamonix or chalet will not be directed on Mont Blanc Retreatss webpage making
very hard for the customers that do not know the company and the services it is providing to contact
them. We have spoken about what the company is doing and can do better; it is the moment to
highlight what can do differently improving its business performances. One of the first action
should be the effective implementation of a social media strategy. Social media are cheap, direct,
engaging and ubiquitous. They can help the company to involve the customers, let them talk about
their experience, let them engage their friends showing them how there are spending their time and
how much they are enjoying it. The immediacy of those means allows an above the average
responsiveness speed and enable the company to daily entertain and engage the consumers.
Customers need to tell their story, because stories fascinate people and gain their attention showing

something is real, close to them and is perceived as artificial if told by a customer like us.
Moreover, given the high internationalization of the customers base a proper support service
throughout the holidays should be in the language of the hosts (mainly Russian or Chinese). I have
also notice Mont Blanc Retreats is not using a clever strategy to advertise itself: instead of waste
money with booking.com or with Chamonix Tourist office, it should deal with the social influencers
and successful local businesses. The firsts can be people, bloggers, magazines, whoever opinion is
taken in consideration by our target. Those actors can affect the awareness among customers both
efficaciously and effectively. Mont Blanc Retreats should be present at glamour and luxury event
attended by wealthy people, engage who write, talk, tweet and take picture about luxury trends and
styles. Mont Blanc Retreats can involve in combined promotions and offerings the successful local
business with who share the target customers, picking the business that are not competitors.
Together with those business realities can create a bundled inimitable service. Furthermore, Mont
Blanc Retreats should also give incentives to come back to its customers: the customers base
cannot be mainly attracted with discount since is not price sensitive. Nevertheless, if consumers
would invite friends, Mont Blanc Retreats could offer to those customers who had already spent the
winter or summer holidays to come back and be hosted in a better place including benefits and
services or in a different season increasing the awareness and the customers base. If VIPs have
been hosted in the chalets, their endorsement can considerably help Mont Blanc Retreatss business.
Mont Blanc Retreats has to have better partnerships since it has a strong bargaining power, being
able to offer a customers base made up of wealthy people who like to spend their money. It would
help their recognition entailing an upper rate of differentiation and difficulties in the imitation on

competitors side. Therefore, Mont Blanc Retreats has to better display its partnerships and create
new ones that can improve its service and bring new benefits to its customers. Finally, Mont Blanc
Retreats currently does not have a newsletter or SMS alert service: customer would be interested in
knowing when there is the first snowfall, how the weather is, when the winter has passed, the new
events upcoming or any next happenings.
Key Performance Indicators

We have evaluated our current situation, we have stated which are our goals and analysed what to
do and how to do it. Now, we have to understand how to measure the initiatives we want to pursue.
I would suggest taking in consideration some data we can define as crucial. They are indicative of
the performance of our activity. The classic KPIs as the sales, the market share and the ROI fit with
the measurements required by the classical marketing instead when Mont Blanc Retreats faces the
e-marketing issues we need to take into account other parameters that affect the execution of our
actions. I have identified several KPIs:

the bounce rate that is the percentage of visitors who enter the site and leave immediately
the duration on the site
the conversion rate that is the percentage of visitors converting to customers
the churn rate that is the percentage of subscribers/customers withdrawing
the clickthrough rate that measures the click from a banner or another site directed to yours

Those KPIs help the company to understand if it is proceeding towards the right direction, what
need to be changed, deleted and adjusted. Checking regularly those rates, we are going to create an
understanding of our e-marketing actions and align the result of the comparison with our goals.



Marketing Mix Proposal 8 Ps

Here we have the e-marketing mix with the 7 P, one is missing and it is the Partnership. The mix
allows who have to take decision within the company to better allocate time and resources on what
are considered the core features of the service we are marketing.
Product or better, Service

Mont Blanc Retreats offers accommodation in Chamonix valley in luxury Chalets or Apartments
that include ancillary services such as are concierge 24 H, personal chef, home delivery ski and


snowboard equipment renting, ski and snowboard lessons and airport transfer. The customers can
take advantage of benefits such as:

The comfortable experience of living in a super luxury chalet immersed in the nature or in a full

optional apartment in Chamonix

The glamour experience of spend their time in one of the most exclusive and trendy touristic

location in the world

The advantages that a staff 24 h available can deliver

The service Mont Blanc Retreats is providing cannot clearly be delivered online. On the contrary,
the website should enhance the experience that Mont Blanc Retreats can create for its consumers. It
should follow them in each stage of the consumption of the service. From the beginning, when the
customer still do not know what they want so the page can stimulate and attract them. Throughout
the holidays time when it can stands for the access to the Chamonix area for customers that do not
know anything about France culture and food, Chamonix are and its events, shows and attractions.
After the vacation period when it can engage the customers asking to leave comment and review,
interviewing them about their experience, reminding them to come back to enjoy a different season
in Chamonix.

The price is always an important issue for the company. Here customers are able to see only how
much they are paying for the accommodation but they do not know easily if other prices would be
charged even if the price in not an important issue for our target customers. Surely, Mont Blanc
Retreats pricing situation is very thorny. In fact, prices can easily be compared with the companies

that are offering the same service. The pricing assumes way more importance for Mont Blanc
Retreats since customers can easily compare with other websites the convenience of Mont Blanc
Retreatss offerings, it entails they have to clearly understand the additional value created for them
by Mont Blanc Retreats. In fact, only if the brand image is clearly communicated and the benefits of
choosing Mont Blanc Retreats accommodation service rather than competitors ones are well
understood we can overtake the pricing issue. Mont Blanc Retreats is victim of reverse auction
mechanism. Accommodation had become a commodity service since the bulk of the information are
available and the suppliers are identified easier than in the past hence the relationships created with
the customers can affect their choice rather than other typical old tools.

I can define the Place as the place of distribution, purchase and often consumption, therefore the
companies that want to fully take advantage of the WWW have too enable the customers to access,
buy and consume the service online. Obviously, accommodation is not the kind of service Mont
Blanc Retreatss customers can consume online. However, Mont Blanc Retreats has to shift the
distribution and the purchase from offline to online. Indeed, keeping those activities offline would
be an outdated approach that could extremely damage Mont Blanc Retreatss business. Although the
booking system by phone calls add a personal and human touch to the distribution activity,
customers have to be able to access to each activity by the website that attempt to replace the same
emotions the customers feel in the offline activities. Moreover, Mont Blanc Retreats is not currently
placing any ads to its customers. The ones who have visited its website are not targeted or profiled,

Mont Blanc Retreats is not building any database about its transaction. Mont Blanc Retreatss
website does not have any newsletter either shopping cart since you cannot select various chalets or
apartments and compare features, prices and locations. Mont Blanc Retreats is not placing any
advertisement even to those clients that bought their service. Mont Blanc Retreats can be defined as
reintermediation7 distribution model: we see a new type of middleman who bundles different
features and benefits to create something valuable for the customers. The atomization of the content
on the website would be the most convenient choice, classifying the content accordingly to phase of
consumption of the service and customers needs. Mont Blanc Retreats has to successfully placing
its service where it knows the customer are looking for it and can be interest in what it is supplying.
In fact, it became crucial skill understand where to be, where to find potential consumers online and
how to reach them offline. Finally, the website turn to be a relevant tool when it overtakes the
drawbacks of online experience: its artificiality and impersonality. The ubiquity came to be a
mandatory feature for those who want to be competitive hence Mont Blanc Retreats has to adopt the
multi-channels distribution model.

The promotional dimension has been transformed radically by internet. Considering all the
communication tools, it is evident how internet affected the communication and promotion
activities. Concerning to Mont Blanc Retreats, it is only using the advertising communication tool

7 Emarketing excellence Dave Chaffey and PR Smith 4th edition 2013 page 78

through its website. While carrying on sell partly through phone calls, it should begin to use the
other communication tools:

Sales promotion: Mont Blanc Retreats is not doing any loyalty program for its customers, it is
not giving them any incentives to come back. Those solutions should allow the company to
profile better the consumers, collecting data that could enable them to build a better offering and

considerably increase the customer retention, making loyal customers.

PR: Mont Blanc Retreats might consider the creation of newsletters with personalized content
bringing the customers in Chamonix atmosphere and chalet ambience. As I said before, social
networks would engage the customers and increasing the responsiveness of the company to

external changes.
Sponsorship: Mont Blanc Retreats is not taking advantage of the customers base it can offer
when looking for sponsorship. It is plenty of events and shows in Chamonix. Offering special
prices, preferential and exclusive advantages to attend to those events it could deliver to the
customers unexpected benefits that can increase their satisfaction. As previously mentioned,
Mont Blanc Retreats has to be where the customers spend their time online and offline: luxury
events, exhibitions, magazines and social influencers mentions. Mont Blanc Retreats does not


need to involve every customer but just the most listened and then taking advantage of the

bandwagon effect.
Direct mail: Mont Blanc Retreats does not have a history of its customers, its relationship with
the customer is a one-night stand. It does not communicate with the customers while through the
mail could keep in touch with its consumers also after the time spent in Chamonix advising

them about promotions or relevant targeted information.

Exhibitions: Mont Blanc Retreats is currently distributing brochure at Chamonix Tourist office

but the tourists that can be reach there have already an accommodation.
Merchandizing: Collecting data about the customers Mont Blanc Retreats could personalized
recommendations and send targeted alerts through the site to the customers. The information are
playing a decisive role in those times making the difference regarding how the companies use

them to build their proposal consistently with these information.

Packaging: Mont Blanc Retreats might consider adding the virtual experience through the
website possibly with a 3D tour in the chalets and apartments delivering to the customers an

augmented reality experience that would make the webpage experience more real.
Word-of-Mouth: fuelling the customers conversation about the brand has never been so
important. Happy customers are the best advertising ever, moreover human beings tend to love

communicating between each other, sharing feelings, opinions, and experiences. Mont Blanc
Retreats has to take advantage of this inclination since communication and sharing have been
speeded up as well as geographical limits have been removed by internet that connected almost
the whole world.


People contribute to bring value to your organization as well your business. First, being involved in
your activity they have to mirror companys image, they are another opportunity for the company to
show the consistency of its culture and understanding of the business. Moreover, people can
represent companys vanguard in customers eyes also being a valuable resource for the customers.
Mont Blanc Retreats have available 20 people of cleaning and laundry staff. Those employees
accomplish also with free concierge service tasks that allow satisfying customers needs at every
hour of the day. I would suggest to employ dedicated staff in the language of the hosts when they do
not speak English additionally to consider establish contact with employees with skills that could be
worthy for the business such as musical instrument players, masseurs or dancers. Finally, since the
customers can hire a chef for all the time they dwell in the property I would advise an alliance with
Chef Schools to bring guaranteed and certified expertise to serve the customers diversifying also the
kind cooking.
Physical Evidence:

Although the website would replace people in the bulk of their functionalities, people do not have to
feel the anonymity of dealing with a machine. There are several way to compensate the drawbacks
of the automation through the online experience. The physical evidence can be showed also online
thanks to refund policies, privacy policies (very important for wealthy people), customer lists and
endorsement, independent review, awards given by independent entities and reliable response
systems. Generally, a high-quality content, a user-friendly webpage, the speed of downloads and the

frequent updating make the customers overtake the lacking of human touch providing them valued
tool that fulfil their requirement satisfactorily.

Processes are what truly engage the customers. Considering booking an accommodation process,
Mont Blanc Retreats has to optimize this process revising all the part that in this moment are not
creating any benefits for the customers. Process regards providing the customers for the suitable
information with the appropriate timing. Mont Blanc Retreats has to change completely the way it is
conceiving the process within its business improving the accommodation searching, purchasing and
reviewing process. Besides the internal process, Mont Blanc Retreats has to reorganize also the
external process: all the processes that involve the accomplishing of a task that regard the business.
The service that Mont Blanc Retreats is currently offering is available just by phone, there is no way
to purchase them by the website, and the company manages the contact with the staff as well. Mont
Blanc Retreats might think about how to put in contact valley realities with the customers being
profitably a reliable intermediary.

In such crowded environment as the web accommodation industry is, it has become very worthy to
agree upon alliances that allow gathering different valued benefits that the company cannot provide
by its own. It has entailed the building of services with entirely different characteristics. Strategic
partnerships make the difference in such competitive environment, providing combined values
perceived as unique by the customers. As I said before, Mont Blanc Retreats should shift from being

an accommodation provider to a pure intermediator function: I mean Mont Blanc Retreats should be
the access to the valley for the customer who come from all over the world and want to enjoy fully
the French experience. Mont Blanc Retreats can become a trusted middleman to whom customers
address to know where to go, what to do, eat, visit and how to, through which means, provided by
who. Mont Blanc Retreats is not answering by means of its current activity to many questions and it
should start to think about how to answer. It has few websites that cite its page likewise the
partnerships are not strategic and related to the companys business. The equipment company, the
ski and snowboard schools and the bus company does not have links on their websites and although
provide valuable services they are commodity services. Mont Blanc Retreats should focus on
strategic partnerships taking advantage of a wealthy customers base that is dwelling during holiday
in their premises. I would suggest alliances with entertainment and touristic based companies
services such as helicopter trip, transfer to events, casino. Partnerships with restaurant and chauffeur
companies would contribute to build a more complete and worthy service.

E-customer and E-CRM strategy

Satisfying customers is not enough anymore to keep them in the long run. Yet, MBR should get
closer to its customers and learn from them. Mont Blanc Retreats should develop a system that not
only allow collecting and storage information but also to process and translate them in new
information useful to forecast their needs, bringing them forward. In the long run, Mont Blanc
Retreats could be able to create those needs even before the customer themselves will begin to
become aware of those necessities. Mont Blanc Retreats is going to know better the customers

having the chance to serve them better than before. Furthermore, a well-built E-CRM system may
also help to forecast potential after-sale markets besides where companies can find new growth and
opportunities. Moreover, it is likely that one of the most relevant advantage of a well-implemented
E-CRM system is the ability of generate data mining, allowing the identification of new segments
and improving the targeting.
The main change that has to be made in order to develop an efficient e-CRM is the transition from a
Web 1.0 to Web 3.0. First, Mont Blanc Retreats has to create the tools to get closer to its customers
and integrate them among each other and among the typical CRM. The tools can be a forum, blog,
comments-reviews-feedbacks systems, auto-responder emails, emails notification service, call-back
service, real-time live chat, Facebooks chat, on-site search engine, co-browsing, Skype
appointment, FAQ, etc. Moreover, social media role raise its importance encouraging dialogues and
exchange of ideas, sharing posts (through APIs) and tags, among people. Most of the times, choices
are affected by other customers reviews, feedbacks and recommendations. Customers are deepened
influenced by what their peers are doing and what choose to share about their activities. They might
have different reasons for looking and shopping online, such as discovering more about products,
information, entertainment and socializing but the implication of this presence online affect the
companys performances.
Information gathered from these sources can be used to customize the experience of the customers
who already used and made transactions through the website. Indeed, well-structured systems are


able to recognize each customer and suggest offerings based on its preferences, which helps in
building strong relationships and loyal bonds while improving customers retention as well.
MBR should implement an email contact strategy structured as showed in following steps: welcome
message when the user sign up offering a trial of site services, engagement message after 2 weeks
encouraging using the above-mentioned tools, another message encouraging membership and
asking for feedbacks. Given the target of Mont Blanc Retreats, the company cannot rely on discount
promotion to incentive the customers to engage their friends increasing the awareness about the
service. On the contrary, Mont Blanc Retreats has to offer them something they believe to be
valuable such as luxury services, exclusive experiences that would stimulate them to involve their
friends. In order to comply consistently with a well-organized CRM, MBR should monitor and
manage the complaints of the customers by answering promptly and carefully via email, telephone
or website.
To manage all the MBRs email activities, we would suggest to pay a subscription to an ESP
email service provider allowing to use a third-party IT to monitor these activities which is not
only effective but also cheaper considering the fact you do not need to develop or buying a
software. Nevertheless, it is not advisable outsourcing completely those kind of activities since the
company is the entity who know better than anyone else its needs and customers requirements as



Nowadays, the use of smartphones worldwide is rapidly increasing. Even adults, elderlies and
children too, besides the digital natives, are getting more and more used to these devices.
Obviously, many companies began to take advantage of this trend, especially intermediaries, that
operating exclusively through their website and mainly their apps have been making above the
average profits over the last years.
As main e-tool to adopt in order to help MBRs growth, an MBRs app would be the proper tool,
aligned with both company and customers needs, making anyone able to book a reservation for a
property and/or related services in few seconds with only a couple of clicks from anywhere and
whenever they wish to. The flow of the app should be clear, logic, fast and the user interface has to
be necessary user-friendly to improve the customers experience. Mont Blanc retreats could draw
inspiration from the main accommodation apps, such as Airbnb, grasping the main features that
make them so successful, classifying those that can fit with its kind of business and requirements
and incorporate in its app creating something unique.
The app should be necessary free and accessible through the main distribution channels, such as
iTunes, Google Play, Windows Store and compatible with the main tablets and smartphones
hardware, such as iOS, Android, Windows. Mont Blanc Retreats does not need to charge a price for
the app since its earnings consist of the commission on the rents and the services provided to the
properties. The app need to be free in order to not obstacle the diffusion among the potential
Among the functionalities the app may have we would suggest:

- A recognizing system that check the e-ticket upon clients arrivals

- paying system to order additional services
- SMS and e-mail (with invoice included) automatically sent to clients email address and telephone
- IVR and LBS that would allow users to receive notification while passing in front of stores or
other places (this would help establishing partnerships)
- Live-chat to talk with other customers that are dwelling in other properties
- Localization system which would help clients to orient in the valley and get to the attractions and
service providers allied with Mont Blanc Retreats
- Live chat to speak with personnel making the experience even more customized
Nowadays, mobile phones are not simply mobile phones but portable computers. MBR should
follow the trend and use well-built app as competitive advantage since the competitors are still not
considering this option.

Website design

I would analyse the website design through four main point: the navigation, the content, the layout
and the data exchange. The company respect the 3 clicks rule 8, all the information are available in
exactly three clicks through chalet> the picture of the chalet> availability. Moreover, Mont Blanc

8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-click_rule

Retreats website respect the 80:20 proportion since the 20% of the website is made by the
navigation while the 80% is the content.
The total number of objects on this page is 77, which by their number will dominate web page
delay. Mont Blanc Retreats should consider reducing this to a more reasonable number. Above 20
objects per page the overhead from dealing with the actual objects (description time and wait time)
accounts for more than 80% of whole page latency. The total number of images on this page is 63 it
would be better consider reducing this to a more reasonable number. I would recommend
combining, replacing, and optimizing websites graphics. The total size of this page is 687259
bytes, which will load in 152.37 seconds on a 56Kbps modem. Mont Blanc Retreats should reduce
total page size to less than 100K to achieve sub 20-second response times on 56K connections 9.
Apart from the technical dimensions that highlight the extremely simplicity of the website, the
content is not adding any value for the customers. It is just a catalogue of properties with its features
and geographical position. Mont Blanc Retreats has to gather all the information about what it is
offering and deliver a preview in the main page of the overall service. In addition, the name is not
suitable for the business since retreat is related with the retirement. The Mont Blanc Retreats
website is not doing any localization of its customers and it is clearly facing language issues since
not all the wealthy customers speak English. The content is boring, static, flat and outdated: there is
not anything interesting that connect the customers with the environment where they are going to
consume the service. The content is not segmented and targeted. In the webpage there are not video
or blog or pictures apart from the chalet and apartment photos.
9 http://analyze.websiteoptimization.com/wso

The Mont Blanc Retreats website complies with three colours rule since only blue white and grey.
The allocation of the space is not optimized, the webpage is wasting the side space and the central
one. The main buttons are not visible since they are in two different grey tonalities. There are not
focal points that funnel the customers attention. The pictures fill the website without bringing any
additional value to the customers.

Pictures of mountains and interiors of some chalets occupy the central space and it is not surely the
right place where to locate them. The buttons cannot clearly be seen and the three links close to the
landline are unnecessary.


Concerning the data exchange there is not use of metatag.


10 http://nibbler.silktide.com/en_US/reports/www.montblanc-retreats.com

11 http://seositecheckup.com/checkup/result/9ae35e0d1c3dc9348a5b9181d1fadba8?

Mont Blanc Retreats could collect data about the behaviour of the visitors of the website through
cookies in order to create profiles about the visitors and the customers and understand what they are
looking for in the site, what they believe it is worthy for them. Finally, the website should
accomplish three tasks:

Give customers a place where to talk about the service purchased and show to other potential

customers what it is about.

Being the window through what consumers can see what is the valley and its atmosphere and

what can be the dwelling experience in the premises.

Being the place where the service is distributed and purchased in a new and different way.

12 http://www.woorank.com/en/www/montblanc-retreats.com


Traffic building

Nowadays, the success of a company is not determined anymore by the quality of its product or
service but by how many people know who you are and what you are doing. Mont Blanc Retreats is
facing important issue in building its traffic since it needs to be sure of the quality of the traffic
brought to the site: it entails visitors has to belong to the target audience in order to convert possibly
them to customers. The search engine optimization can help the company to be found easier by the
customers. Mont Blanc Retreats is currently not displayed in the organic results. According to
http://www.sitemapdoc.com/Serp-Rank.aspx, when customers search for keywords such as
chalet, luxury, Chamonix, rent the website is displayed in the 60 th position. Mont Blanc
Retreats has currently terms that are not consistent with it business as you can notice from
woorank.com report:

The words Gervais, blanc, retreats are not aligned with Mont Blanc Retreatss business needs.
Keyphrase assumed crucial importance since it greatly influence the ranking of a page. In order to
improve the search engine ranking Mont Blanc Retreats has to look after the on-page optimization
including the term with the highest rank accordingly to the country considered. Therefore, it should
optimize the external linking placing link with the website where it is likely the customers can be

interested in encountering it or where it is likely to find surfers that can became customers.
Moreover, the internal link structure needs to be improved as well. Customers need to find
consistent links with the service they are going to pay for. Mont Blanc Retreats could create a
gathering of resources that customers can use to enhance their experience while dwelling in
Chamonix. Finally recording the customers behaviours, Mont Blanc Retreats can better display its
content accordingly to what brought the customers on the website. Mont Blanc Retreats is not
tagging its content. Tag is a free marketing tool since Google allows tagging all the elements of the
website to better cluster the content and improving the search process. Connecting the content with
words that describe it and help the customers to find easily the website is necessary to be in step
with the competitors. Mont Blanc Retreats has to tag not only the elements but also the different
page of its website. The better Mont Blanc Retreats tags the higher are the possibilities to be found
by customers that are looking for the related keywords or keyphrase. In this way, the company
could save the money they are wasting to pay the booking to direct to Mont Blanc Retreats websites
the customers. Mont Blanc Retreats should think about Pay Per Click marketing that is highly
targeted since we can decide to display our ads only to consumers who tap certain words o phrase
and the company has to pay just for the clicks on the link. It is not paying any fixed amount of
money because it is pursuing a Cost Per Click model. PPC has also other advantages compared to
SEO that are more relevant for Mont Blanc Retreats such as its ease of usage, its speed since we can
have the results in few days while SEO takes weeks and branding because PPC increases the
awareness towards the brand even by customers that do not click on the ads. Mont Blanc Retreats
should put attention also to its drawbacks such its expensiveness, inconsistency and its time

consuming characteristic because while the SEO is set once and then it is just checked the PPC
require daily time to be managed. Mont Blanc Retreats might consider starting to include in the
heading and description of its page useful and strategic information and words. It has to be specific
in the choice of those words and explain what it is unique about its offer. According to
backlinkwatch.com Mont Blanc Retreatss website has 107 backlinks none of those are relevant or
come from valuable website. Backlinks number affects the rank in the SERP hence Mont Blanc
Retreats has to create new online partnerships and alliances that would allow increasing its traffic.
Mont Blanc Retreats needs to start to care about its online PR activity. The online shift led to an
exacerbation in the way companies keep their public relations. Now, the audience is directly
connected to the organization, there is not anymore any intermediator and the companies have to
deal directly with the customers. Moreover, customers are connected each other and can
communicated in real time exchanging opinions and information. The audience has also access to
other part information easier and faster and can use those data comparing them. Consumers are
striving to find as much information they can, the more they are aware of the service the more they
feel safe in the purchase. Mont Blanc Retreats should successfully deal with those situations
condition and draw advantages and benefits from those new happenings. Mont Blanc Retreats has
the opportunity to shape its image and perception towards the customers. It can take advantage of
the interconnection among customers to push them to spread its message by their own. Additionally,
the company can be immediately compared with the competitors answering in real time to their
moves. Finally, it should be able to fulfil the customers information yearning providing them


relevant and targeted data. Mont Blanc Retreats has to chase the brand engagement and buzz
building activities. The company should engage the customers within its brand through a blog or
newsletter. If Mont Blanc Retreats would put itself in customer shoes would understand how much
for them it is important to grasp as much as they can if the service is worth the price charged and if
its advertising is consistent with the benefits that will be provided. The blog and the social media fit
perfectly in those scopes. Customers can see other customers consuming the service and speaking
about it. The buzz building activities can become an inimitable source of differentiation. It can
attract customers, bring visibility through the content and the initiative, and above all incite the
customers to talk about the brand by their own stimulated by the novelty and appealing of
companys approach as well surprising them and causing emotions. Actually, Mont Blanc Retreats
is not pursuing none of those activities. It could consider mailing the customer jointly with other
partners or directly through other parties perceived as reliable. It could consider sending promotion
and alerts by mail or any relevant information related to the future or past holidays or to Chamonix.
It is necessary to prepare the website to those actions changing its content and usability adjusting it
as for example for the redirection land page: Mont Blanc Retreats has not any land page for the
customers that arrived from external link. Through the revision of those details, Mont Blanc
Retreats can decisively reverse its approach.

Performance Measures

I could suggest to Mont Blanc Retreats the best initiatives and actions but it would be unproductive
if I would not suggest how to measure the efficacy of those actions. Measuring enables the

company to optimize the resources to market the service, make the visitors more satisfied, improve
the content and the navigation on the site and obviously increase its revenue. Apart from the abovementioned KPIs such as bounce rate, the duration on the site, the conversion rate, the churn rate and
the clickthrough rate, I would suggest also more deepened and precise metrics that would improve
the understanding of the customers behaviours and the suitability of our actions. I would include
Key Insights Analysis indicators such as the click density analysis that would help the company to
understand what the customers focus on in the website, which pages, links and elements. I would
advise Mont Blanc Retreats to understand the visitors primary purpose trough a survey in order to
build the website around those information. Moreover, Mont Blanc Retreats shall take into account
the task completion rates to understand which functions need to be modified and improved. The
company does not have to ignore the indicators that mainly concern the brand as the awareness
level and engagement levels. Above all the company needs to go beyond the indicators and
understand what it is causing their good or bad performances. Finally, I would include among the
performance measures the e-marketing checklist13 that can easily display the overall activity of the

Search marketing: Mont Blanc Retreats needs to improve its rank in the organic result through

the backlinks and the referral by better websites.

Behavioural targeting: when consumers search for certain product or service the search engine
will display related ads. Establishing partnership with the other business in the valley could
increase the visibility of Mont Blanc Retreats business online and offline. Indeed, when

13 E-marketing excellence Dave Chaffey and PR Smith 4th edition 2013 page 16

customers would look for information about Chamonix automatically ads about Mont Blanc

Retreats website would be showed.

Multi-touches across different digital media channels for acquisition: Choosing the right mix of

channels Mont Blanc Retreats will be able to save considerably resources.

Customer life cycle model and welcome strategy: Mont Blanc Retreats has not any welcome
communication strategy. Customers cannot insert their personal information and it impedes the

data gatherings and the customization of the communication.

Reducing online attrition: Mont Blanc Retreats should communicate with customers who
abandoned the purchasing process. If the transaction is interrupted, a combination of

communication should be sent back.

Delivering relevant recommendations for retention and growth: the customers that have
previously bought the service should be treated with a customized approach. The content,

offerings and promotion should be aligned with its profile and well targeted.
Following up on customer product or promotion interest: following a particular behaviour of the
customers on the site, the webpage should answer back with focused actions such as mail, SMS

or any other phone reminder.

Getting the frequency right: Mont Blanc Retreats needs to make the messages continuously

relevant and valued for the customers engaging and thrilling them.
Getting the channel right: the choice of the fitting channels is extremely strategic. They need to
be segmented consistently with the customers base. We need to go where we know there can be
customers or potential customers. Luxury, fashion and style Magazines, events, shows, blogs

and webpages can be good places where to start.

Getting the offer right: the offer needs to be adjusted with the customers segment took in
consideration. Mont Blanc Retreats must start to record data that would allow it to build profiles


used to segment the customers based according to their preferences and needs.

I choose to avoid being repetitive and listing in this section all the recommendations for Mont Blanc
Retreats. In my opinion, it would be more consistent to the kind of work that has been required to
attach each recommendation to the topic it refers to. In this way, the reader can evaluate
individually the situation of each e-marketing dimension analysed finding the correspondent
recommendation just above the issue observed. I did not propose to Mont Blanc Retreats
unattainable changes and modifications. On the contrary, I took into account the size of the business
proposing consistent initiative. As far as the competition is rough and challenging, Mont Blanc
Retreat can easily obtain relevant benefits changing its approach. I would like to highlight the
importance that the reconceptualising of the website and its functions has. Mont Blanc Retreats has
to follow the customers and the potential customers in each stage the consumption of the service
and the website needs to comply with this task. The Mont Blanc Retreats can play a crucial role
being a portal on the Chamonix valley giving a boost to its own trend and communication. Through
the new technologies, through partnerships with local businesses that pursue the same goals and
target the same customers, through the engagement of the customers, Mont Blanc Retreats can build
a bundles service unique and inimitable. Currently, the company is not placing the customers at the
centre. On the contrary, there are their needs in the main spot: the needs to advertise the properties
that can be rented calling them. The real shift for Mont Blanc Retreats would be changing its point
of view on the customers and on their role and importance for the future of its business.



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