06 October 2011

Are Hotels Being Stupid? Are Travel Agents?

When will the ever learn? When will they ever learn.... lines from that old Pete Seeger song we all learned in school.

When it comes to hotels and indeed a large number of other location owners such as convention halls and meeting rooms - it seems never. The number of companies who STILL charge for WiFi is appalling.

I know many organizations who are now insisting on it as a condition of a convention space and meeting hotels. At the ABTA conference this week this message was delivered loud and clear. In a post in e-Tid,  David Rowan, editor of Wired UK, told the ABTA Travel Convention that it was like charging for bath water to ask for basic wi-fi, then akin to charging more for hot water if the customer wanted to upgrade to a faster rate of wi-fi access.

‘It is foolish for a hotel to charge for basic wi-fi. It looks like a rip-off especially when you can get it for free in Starbucks or McDonalds,’ he told the event in Palma.

‘I have called for a boycott of hotels doing this. We expect to be online, we expect wi-fi.’We know that Gen Y people dont waste time complaining - they just move on elsewhere. In a post in  US Travel Weekly - the Luddites seem to be seizing on a DECLINE in internet usage.

Richard Turen thought it was one of the most interesting trends. However I think he is missing something. That the pool of conventional users of brick and mortar agents is shrinking and those that are left are now those who are less and less likely to use the web for Travel Planning.

I divide those who dont use the web for Travel planning and/or buying into two camps. Those that refuse and those that are (still) scared or unable to. The deciding factor is whether the behaviour is wilful or not.

For those who are waiting and holding onto this notion - please get over it. Sure there will be a niche for these people. But they (and those who depend on them) will die out.

Then we will be asking - where have all the Travel Agents gone? I sincerely hope this doesnt happen. But every year the number of agents falls.


05 October 2011

Now Will You Believe Me Social Media AD Revenues to top $10 Billion by 2013

Holy smokes Batman.

I was a late convert to Social Media. Mostly because in the early days I could not see the Media part of it. Now I do (OK - I am old so that's my excuse).

But now we are seeing dramatic rises in the total revenues from Advertising. With many of the Ad vehicles not yet fleshed out - this tells me we are going to have a hard time understanding how we interact with these tools and more importantly how we deal with them and integrate them.

eMarketer is reporting that global ad revenues for Social Media will top $10 Billion by 2013.

Today sadly it was reported that AC Nielsen JR has passed away. It is interesting to note that we see the world changed forever. A world where he presided as king - now we have a new world. Are we using the right metrics. Now that is a good question.


iPad Browsers Killing Others Online

So while Android is doing a great job in working through the pack and like other Google powered monsters - its like PacMan it destroys everything in its path.

Not so in Browser shares on mobile devices. As you can see from the latest Browser share trends, the iPad is clearly a better device for browsers. We know its a better device for Apps based on App numbers and usage.

Sadly Opera Mini the little browser that could is being replaced in people's hearts and is headed south after blazing a trail of browsers on small aperture devices. So much for being first! And having used it vs the Safari browser I much prefer the simplicity of the Opera Browser.

So iOS5 is coming. Let's see what happens next.

And you all thought it would be a new iPhone (me included) although I did speculate that it would be kind of a ho hum release. Seems I was right


03 October 2011

Farewell Andy Rooney: "Just Let Me Eat My Dinner".

Andy Rooney has been a fixture on American TV for more than half a century. The last 33 years as a commentator on 60 Minutes. Last night he signed off for the last time with a memorable line.

So read about the old curmudgeon. He will however still be writing. And so we can still appreciate that from him

Go to the CBS website to learn more.

Farewell Andy - I will miss you.


02 October 2011

Service Really Is A Differentiator - And Are You REALLY Surprised?

A great post today by Gerry McGovern. I love his posts because they cause me to think about how thing work and what makes things tick.

The really obvious thing to me - and it should be to everyone - is that service matters. Too bad service is such a nebulous concept.

I know many people who hate Ryanair. I like the airline. They fly places I want to go or at least they can fly there. Then their service is consistent. I know just what to expect for my average 100 Euro fare. Yes that is the amount on average I spend with Ryanair. Southwest is also an airline that I like. It gives me a consistency that I appreciate. However they dont fly enough places that I want to fly and therefore I need to rationalize my flying to be on airlines that give me something. So I am a point hound!

I have a very low opinion of service. I dont it expect it and I am rarely disappointed. However every now and then I get surprised by individual personalized service where someone will go that extra mile. I am talking about someone making a difference. There are many hotels who try to force this thought process on their customers via the staff who have not the faintest notion of why they do something. I recall staying at a hotel where they rolled out a corporate credo using a particular word. The word was "surprising". It was AWFUL I challenged a member of staff who( the operator) as to why she had used it 9 times with me and she spilled the beans. Sadly it made everyone uncomfortable. Fortunately within 2 weeks it had been abandoned. 

You cannot force service - you can enable it. And then it must be up to you and your fellow operativess to deliver against it. In online this is really important. Let me give you an example.

I am a member of the Global Entry system - I was an early adopter. This year it will roll out to high level frequent flyers in the elite classes of all US Carriers programs. The service structure is typical government. A system designed by a committee. However I was impressed that the agent at the border recommended - from her own volition what I could do to enhance my experience. That was someone who didnt need to do something going out of their way to help.

So humour me with my rant today. I do see that there are new customer service technologies that are improving the service proposition across the board. However sadly in my experience even in those organizations that adopt them - they are never used properly. What really kills me is that whoever is responsible for these implementations must never walk through their own process. This allows me to indulge in something where  I take a perverse pleasure in breaking systems and processes. It is SO freekin' easy.So what are you doing about


So here is a request. GO and think hard about your service. Then WALK through your website. Call your call centre. And then see what I mean. Be difficult. I would be happy to provide anyone who is interested with some use cases to enable you to do this.

YES I MEAN YOU! Your service sucks and it doesnt have to.Please go and fix it

Thank you for your attention - now you can go back to reading your email and updating Facebook... that was what you were doing wasn't it?