An unapologetic look at Hospitality

Entries from July 2011

Get your hotel on the tube! (part one)

July 20, 2011 · 1 Comment

Video is super easy these days. Honestly, if I can do it, so can you! Look at the video below this text. It took me 10 minutes to create and less than a minute to throw it up here! Other than the camera used, this was entirely done using free tools available from around the web. And frankly, this being essentially a slide show, it didn’t even require a video camera.

Besides the obvious “everyone is doing it”, there are some very good reasons to get a video of your property online.

  • It adds authenticity to your product
  • A picture is worth a 1000 words
  • It’s good for SEO
  • It gives consumers another way to contact you
  • A video is easy to share

People still pay more mind to visual information. I can describe my product as an “environmentally luxurious duffel bag” but as soon as I show a picture they will know it’s a burlap sac. Instead of telling you about a green car I can show you an image and instantly give you much more information than I could trying to describe it. More content online will (if done correctly) give you better results in the search engines. Your video on YouTube may spark discussion among your (potential) guests for which there is no place on your own web site and, video sharing sites aren’t called video sharing sites without reason.

Even so, a lot of people think that video is either difficult, or expensive, or both. The truth is that video is as pricy and as complicated as you want it to be. Most people own a video camera already and don’t even realize it. If your laptop is less than two years old, it most likely includes a webcam that is capable of fairly decent recordings. Likewise, your smart-phone probably does video (and a lot of them offer HD). A dedicated video camera doesn’t have to cost more than 200 dollars.

Putting your video online has also become super easy. How else do you think that 24 hours worth of video is added to YouTube every 60 seconds?

In upcoming articles here on this blog I plan to tackle some of the stuff that is helpful in putting your hotel video online. Meanwhile, if you are one of the champs that has already done so, leave a link in the comments so that others can get inspired by your work!

Categories: Hospitality · Search · Social
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Beware the Guru… Social media is a scam?

July 9, 2011 · 2 Comments

BEWARE: this is not entirely safe for reading at work!

As much as I gave the PriceLine guy a hell for calling social media a scam, which of course it is not (although — credits below — it was pointed out to me that coming out of the gate with a denial is fishy), there is enough crap to go around. I am talking about all those guys (and gals too) that call themselves experts just because they have a Facebook page.

Sturgeon’s Law states that 90% of everything is crap. This law was created in the 1950’s, much later Gary Vaynerchuck stated that 99.5% of all social media experts are clowns. Remember the early 90’s when everyone and his brother all of a sudden became a “web designer”? My late father (a REAL designer) is still rolling over in his grave when he hears that word… Web designer. The same thing is happening all over again!

TwitterIn 2010 B.L. Ochman did some research and found that Twitter was the home of 17,283 “Gurus”. Using titles such as “social media ninja”, digital marketing guru” and my own personal favorite, “change agent”. What the hell is a change agent? Somehow I am supposed to understand, from that title, you are NOT the guy putting orange cones on the road during periods of construction? I mean, that is change right?

Anyway, that number led someone else to project that by 2013 there will be 360 million social media experts out of an expected 375 million total Twitter users. In other words, a contingency of people larger than the population of the United States, will somehow be helping us “getting the word out”. Yeah Right! That begs the question, who are these people and who are they working for besides each other?

You really ought to watch the AMAZING presentation that Scott Berkun did called “Calling BS on Social Media Gurus”. You can watch it here. Humorous and informative, Scott shows how to call BS (yes that stands for bullshit) on the so called social media experts to a group of social media experts (that’s guts right there). During the presentation Scott explains why social media is not a “fundamental shift” or “transformative”. That if people start by saying “it’s not a fad” they probably have something to hide (coming out of the gate with a denial is fishy) and that anecdotal data should probably not be trusted.

If you still don’t believe that 90% of everything is crap (Sturgeon) or that 99.5% of all social media experts are clowns (Vaynerchuck), then maybe you should read Alex Blom’s “Why social media gurus should be trampled by elephants“.

Lastly (thanks, Scott) it’s probably a good thing to inform yourself of the true meaning of the word Guru. According to Wikipedia:

The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.

Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5

That’s some heavy stuff! That’s almost Darth Vader shit! Do you want one of those 300some million clowns going all Star Wars on your bee-hinde with your marketing budget? As always, the comment lines are now open!

Categories: Social
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Parity, is it the answer?

July 1, 2011 · 1 Comment

This site should be called the rate parity blog with how much I am writing about this! But there is just so much discussion sparked by the simple word “parity” (the practice of keeping your product price the same everywhere a potential customer looks) , it seems to be on everyone’s mind. If you read my earlier musings on rate parity in the hotel industry, you will undoubtedly know I don’t understand parity at all. That is… I get it, but I don’t get it. If you know what I mean.

Mattress Sale!Surely keeping your room rate the same everywhere you publish is better than the alternative of dumping your distressed inventory on one or more aggregation sites , watch sales skyrocket but paying large commissions on already deeply discounted rooms, while alienating your customer from your own web site that expects them to book the same room at a much higher rate… (more…)

Categories: Hospitality
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