Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Resorts and hotels: your office hours are wrong!

Can you answer that?
If you want more overseas guests, then change your office hours and keep your social media awake at night. Don’t be asleep when they are awake, looking at your property and but asleep when you reply, that’s 24 hours to lose the booking. Answer now and the odds are even better in the middle of the night to get that booking as they are going to be really impressed that you have staff on deck at 3 in the morning. Makes you look great!

You can do this without hiring more staff. Train, promote and empower your front desk night shift and put them to work in social media and marketing. In fact, you should have your best and brightest staff on the night shift, the ones who can give the right answer and make the right decision without referring to a manager. These are your future managers proving their abilities. Set up a system to insure that there is always someone on social media duty throughout the day, night and weekend. At one hotel, the staff has a small koala bear with a clip which is clipped to the screen of whoever handles social media now. When that employee goes off duty, the little bear must be moved and clipped to someone else's screen, so it moves around the back office, the front desk, even the GM's desk through the week and there is never any gap of coverage.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Legacy airlines in upheaval: Keep or ditch the economy class?

AirAsia in Thailand
Conventional wisdom says that the LCC (Low Cost Carrier) model only works for short-haul flights and cannot compete with the legacy carriers for the long-haul business. But most legacy carriers know full well that it is only a matter of time until they are challenged by the LCC on the long-haul. Already AirAsia X and Norwegian are demonstrating that conventional wisdom is wrong and that the LCC model is not limited to the short-haul business. Lufthansa is toying with the idea of creating a long-haul LCC to South-East Asia and India in addition to its regional Eurowings and its low-cost Germanwings. With Norwegian now offering low-cost service to Bangkok from northern Europe, it is obvious that Lufthansa would stand to lose some of their economy business to Norwegian.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Now, destinations can talk with consumers directly

Engage into the conversation!
Social media empowers destinations to reach consumers to open direct conversation channels with them. Yet few are taking the opportunity and use social media in the same way as they do with the Internet: as a window to feature their product in the best possible light. A beautiful picture with a glossy paragraph may get “likes” but few “share” as these PR styled posts do not generate comments or questions because they fail to engage the audience into a conversation. Worse yet, the most glorious paragraphs describing nothing short of paradise are likely to attract even fewer “likes” and only scant “share” as consumers recognize advertising when they see it and no one wants to share advertising with their friends unless they have a strong economic or emotional motivation to do so.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The metamorphosis of travel and tourism

How much mass tourism can squeeze on an island?
In the short span of a generation, travel and tourism has gone through a sweeping evolution with everything becoming easier, faster with fewer intermediaries. Wheels on our baggage, paperless travel, booking a room on your smartphone while walking in the lobby of that hotel, bringing your own lunch aboard, etc. a multitude of seemingly small changes that together have created a new dynamic causing a metamorphosis in the industry.

The flow of tourism no longer originates exclusively from developed countries as emerging countries, historically only exotic destinations, became significant generating markets in the last decade. The emergence of low cost carriers and online travel services have sent traditional travel agents the way of video stores. Tourism is now a two-way street anyone can use, mostly, without the middleman. There is still good business to be had for the middleman with groups and MICE, but in a different role of coordination rather than information and booking. Destinations and operators, once dependent upon travel agents in generating markets to bring them customers, are now reaching customers directly and taking bookings without intermediaries.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A short history of tourism popularity through words

The guides really dressed up back then!
A good way to check the popularity of something is to count how often people talk about it or write about it, sort of like the trending hashtags on Twitter. If you want to see the trending over several decades, way before the Internet, then the best place to look for words would be in books! Google has indexed over 5 millions books going back a couple centuries and they have a really cool application called “ngram” which lets you plot the frequency of usage of a word over a long period of time. To better grasp the concept, try the words “war” and “peace”, or “internet”, the graphs will be very obvious to understand.