"Now," she asked me, "Has your plane arrived yet?"
I coudn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled reassuringly and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and that I was in good hands.
"Now," she asked me, "Has your plane arrived yet?"
By Daniel Edward Craig
In my last post, Social Media Ambush, I discussed the growing trend of travelers using social media to voice complaints, often without bringing them to the attention of staff. In this post I discuss two other ways travelers are using social media: requests for special treatment
and threats to write a bad review.
For hotels social networks have performed disappointingly as a booking channel, but for hotel guests they're proving to be a popular and efficient customer service channel. Showing up with increasing frequency on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are comments like this: "Can't wait to celebrate our anniversary at your hotel-hope you make it special!"
On one hand it's fantastic when guests share their excitement in such a public manner. On the other hand if truffles and pink champagne aren't waiting in an upgraded Princess Suite, what are the risks? What if the guest is a rampant, venomous blogger, a social media overlord who can bring the hotel to its knees with a few blistering words?
Moreover, accommodating all such requests could get cumbersome and expensive. On any given Saturday night, for example, up to half or more of a hotel's rooms might be occupied by guests celebrating a special occasion.
Is social media freeloading becoming a problem? I asked several hoteliers, and they responded with characteristic optimism and good cheer.
"I would prefer to know about a guest's special occasion and delight them than fail to meet expectations and generate dissatisfaction," says Ciarán Fahy, managing director of 230-room The Cavendish in London. The hotel's Facebook page reveals a stream of guest requests and commentary. But Fahy says the volume is quite manageable, and the special treatment the hotel typically extends "has built massive loyalty and repeat business and supports positive reviews on websites too."
At the 2,019-room Hyatt Regency Chicago, social media marketing manager Jennifer Kedinger says, "We get requests for upgrades and rooms with good views. We have seen a huge increase in guest social support questions for directions [and] recommendations for restaurants and events." She says the hotel tries to accommodate all requests, if they have the availability. "We appreciate our guests engaging us on social media regarding their stay."
It's a powerful tool for guests who are being mistreated, and perhaps justifiable, but what if it's the guest who is doing the mistreating? As an example, last month the owner of hotel in Cornwall, England reported to the DailyMail.co.uk that a couple had threatened to post a bad review if he didn't waive the last-minute cancelation fee.
It's becoming an all-too familiar scenario. What's a hotelier to do? Hold your ground, and the consequences might be harmful to reputation and revenue. Give in, and not only do you encourage such behavior, you reward it. And you feel dirty all over no matter how hard your scrub yourself down.
Small properties are especially vulnerable because they receive fewer reviews. "Ninety-nine percent of our guests are genuine and sweet," says Shellie, an innkeeper in Virginia. "One percent is rotten to the core." And yet, she says, "The day in and day out stress of fighting someone like this is not worth it. Ever."
Are hoteliers completely at the mercy of social media intimidators? Not necessarily. Here are a few suggestions for handling either scenario for the best possible outcome.
Requests for special treatment
Daniel Edward Craig is a former general manager turned consultant specializing in online marketing, social media strategy and reputation management. He is the author of three novels set in hotels, and his blog is a popular resource for hoteliers and travel marketers around the world. Visit www.danieledwardcraig.com.
I have just returned from a 2 week sales trip to the USA - SAA Roadshow on the East Coast and sales calls in New York.
The overall sense of travel in the USA was surprisingly optimistic. Numbers are however drastically down from 2008, but most agents are seeing a slow return of business. One operator, was definitely confident that this year will end better than the year before and was doing lots of quoting for 2012 to Africa and trusting it will convert.
However, having said that, business to Namibia is slow and not prolific. The majority of the agents who attended the workshops were incredibly eager to learn more about the country, logistics and
general conditions, but all admitted that they were not getting many requests forNamibia, and if they did, they didn’t feel confident to sell it. Clients don’t generally walk into an agency requesting Namibia, it needs some selling. I certainly found it a harder trip than any other I had done to the USA from a selling/conversion perspective and attribute this to the economic climate and the lack of exposure of Namibia, as a destination, to the market.
The Namibian Tourism Board have big plans to run a large campaign in North America in 2012 and are gearing up their collateral and resources. This can only benefit Namibian properties and we have to ensure we ride the wave of consumer awareness they create for us. Continued education of the agents and exposure of the destination to the consumer, is vital to ensure growth in this geographic market.
By Paul Prisco
Did you know every day over 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65? There are almost 80 million Baby Boomers in the United States, and collectively this group has spending power upwards of $1 trillion annually. As a business owner, you should examine the myths surrounding this age group
if you want to successfully target this lucrative demographic.
Myth 1: Baby Boomers have fierce brand loyalty
This is not the case, since Baby Boomers grew up in the 1960s during a time of youthful freedom, experimentation and expression. Some studies have shown Baby Boomers are more likely to try new brands than any other demographic. For example, 78 percent of Baby Boomers will switch TV brands, and 70 percent will switch brands when buying home appliances.
Myth 2: Baby Boomers have health and mobility issues
The perception that Baby Boomers are in bad health and have a hard time getting around leads to ineffective marketing. Your messaging and offers should engage them as active consumers. As a direct result of medical technology and the advancement of hip and joint replacement surgery, among others, they are going back to the activities they once loved to do-and some have never taken a break from them. What's even more encouraging is that Boomers are engaging in activities for health benefits. They might not be running as fast or jumping as high but they are out there doing it.
Myth 3: Baby Boomers get tighter with money as they age
Baby Boomers now cite the average retirement age at around 68, and over 50 percent of Boomers will have new careers. With a genuine need to contribute to society and stay active, retirement isn't what it used to be. Baby Boomers will have disposable income while working and continue to try new things given their busy and on-the-go lifestyle, which is great for marketers.
Myth 4: Baby Boomers don't engage with technology
A recent eMarketer study confirmed almost 50 percent of Baby Boomers maintain an active social media profile. So reaching them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is now an option. While Facebook is most popular among Boomers, Twitter is also growing in popularity. Don't count them out on the mobile front either, Boomers now account for over 20 percent of smartphone users.
Myth 5: Baby Boomers don't travel that much
It is a fact that Baby Boomers have traveled more than the generation before them. They consider travel a necessity. With the kids off to school and a great connection to the global community, there is more opportunity than ever. Lastly, 82 percent of all luxury goods are consumed by Baby Boomers, which directly ties into the luxury travel and hospitality industries.
When thinking about marketing to Baby Boomers, the granny with the walker image needn't apply. Today's Boomers are more youthful, both in brand expression and loyalty. Developing a solid research and segmentation strategy to drive your creative process and actively engage Baby Boomers can prove to be a smart and profitable move for your company or brand.
OPEN Cardmember Paul Prisco is the Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design, a design and direct-marketing agency for brands. He has helped leading organizations such as AARP and othersleverage design in their direct marketing programs to driveROI.
(Hi - it has been a while since I last added any new insights to my blog. I have been madly travelling in Namibia, and am playing catch-up with life. However, I stumbled across these tips and thought they were usefull!)
First and most importantly, positioning is everything in negotiation. The way that the situation is initially approached, and when, are more influential on outcomes then all of the other negotiating
tactics and techniques combined.
Rules 1 and 2 are absolutely critical even before you start a negotiation.
1. Have an alternative - negotiate with freedom of choice.
If you are selling something -be unique, and have lots of other potential customers, and so be able to walk away; if buying definitely be able to walk away.
2. Negotiate when the sale is conditionally agreed, not before (if buying the opposite
applies) Negotiate when the sale is conditionally agreed, and no sooner.
3. Aim high, Aim for the best outcome. (You can always drop your position, but you can't climb)
4. Let the other side go first. Try to avoid 'going first' on price if you can.
5. List all of the other side's requirements before negotiating. Get the other person's full 'shopping list' before you start to negotiate.
6. Concessions - don't give them away. Never give away a concession without getting something in return (buyers tend to resist giving any concessions at all).
7. Keep the whole picture in your mind. Know where you want to go.
8. Prepare and keeping looking for variables and solutions. Keep searching for variables, concessions, 'bargaining chips', incentives.
9. Keep accurate notes, and show that you are doing it.
10. Summarise and clarify the negotiation as you go, confirm understanding continually.
Staying relevant, delighting guests & crafting successful brands excites me.
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