Most innkeepers have learned the importance of having their own internet domain. They understand that, if they own the Dew Drop Inn, their ideal web address would be "www.dewdropinn.com."
It’s shorter, easier for customers to remember and more professional-sounding than, say, "www.yahoo.com/BB/NC/dewdropinn". And it’s more intuitive (easy to guess) if someone forgets the web address.
More importantly, by owning their own domain, innkeepers are not married to a particular web hosting company. They’re free to move their web site anywhere they wish.
Yet many of these innkeepers are still not masters of their internet domain. That’s because they’re not using their domain for email. Instead, they’re renting an e-mailbox from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with an address that’s something like "dewdropinn02@myISP.com". They could just as easily have "anyone@dewdropinn. com".
Like the web address, a domain email address is easier to remember, more intuitive, and more professional-sounding. But more importantly, a domain email address is the property of the inn. It’s not owned and controlled by an ISP.
Reluctant to change?
As an innkeeper, you may appreciate the advantages of a domain-based email account, but feel that you have too much equity in your old ISP email address. You’ve published that address everywhere, and it’s too late to change!
That’s not so. Not if you keep both your old and new email addresses during a period of transition, usually six to 12 months.
If you have an ISP email address and want to make the transition to a domain email address, you should first talk to your web hosting company and ask them to set up your new domain email account mailbox. With most web hosting companies, one or more free mailboxes are included in their monthly hosting fee. And don’t forget to ask them to help you set up your email software to access their server.
Next, talk to your Internet Service Provider and have them automatically route your ISP-based email to your new domain email account. That way, all of your email — from both addresses — will arrive together in the same mailbox.
Once that’s set up, you’re free to start publishing your new "firstname.lastname@example.org" email address everywhere — in your brochure, ads, directories, web sites, business cards and correspondence. And make sure to correct every instance where your old address appears on the internet. (Hint: go to www.Google.com and do a search for your old email address. Repeat with other search engines.)
During the transition, you should also check the headers of your incoming email (either manually or with an email filter). Any email addressed to your old ISP mailbox can then get a reply informing them of your new email address.
Within a year, the transition should be complete with everyone using your "new and improved" domain email address. Your old email address will simply fade away from lack of use.
And you’ll be the master of your domain.