Monday, December 22, 2008
My, my hasn't the year flown by. It's hard to believe that it is Xmas already.... Yeah right! Let's end the dreaded family Xmas form letter right now!
Xmas can be a "different" time for moteliers. This didn't dawn on me until I had to explain what Xmas was all about to our new motel managers many years ago.
After a flurry of end of year activity, most businesses have a chance to reflect on the year and charge-up the batteries before the work next year commences. Most businesses simply close down (at least for the statutory holidays) and go to the beach. Not in the motel industry!
Being open 365 days of the year can be challenging and Xmas day can bring home to moteliers the realisation of their commitment to the business. As a motelier, often you are unable to attend the yearly family rotated Xmas gathering or worse, you are unable to escape family members descending upon you!
Thanks to many that have supported us. The phone calls, emails and the odd comments on this blog are appreciated. Most of you tend to get what we are saying...
The Motella will be focusing on his day job for a while.
May you all have a profitable, safe and enjoyable Xmas and New Year - 2009 is going to be a blast!
While we are in a reflective and preparatory mood, the one message we would like to share with fellow moteliers going into the uncertainties of 2009 is:
"Don't be a busy fool!"
This was one of Maree Winter's favorite sayings. Maree is an ex MANZ President and during her reign she ensured that all moteliers within earshot got this simple parting annotate.
As an industry we work hard, very hard, but often the rewards elude many. Quite simply we are too cheap. By world standards a typical "New Zealand motel apartment" offers incredibly good value.
Motel tariff has not kept pace with the rate of inflation for many years.
Why is that? There are many reasons that we will not go into here, however the blame can probably be apportioned more to the motelier's naive reluctance to increase tariff, more so than the market's reluctance to pay. Moteliers are the industry's own worst enemy!
Look carefully at the cartoon above. Hold firm and add value to your business. As moteliers, what you are offering is world class product. Don't forget yourself - how much are you worth? The effort and hospitality that you pour into business to ensure guest comfort is huge - don't undersell yourself! Don't be afraid to increase tariff and...
"Don't be a busy fool!"
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Moteliers can sometimes make it too easy for guests to gain credit. We do so out of good nature and to provide "good" customer service. In our business we make decisions based on gut feeling, without qualification and most of the time we get it right. Sometimes we get it wrong.
Times are tough, however it rackles me when people try to avoid me, lie and make promises they do not keep.
On behalf of my motel managers, I have been chasing a debt from:
C J L Builders Ltd
The directors are Christopher and Leeanne Winterburn.
Mr Winterburn stayed at my motel and owes me money. He has promised to pay on several occasions but sadly has not delivered or had the courtesy to contact me to explain why.
C J L Builders and Mr & Mrs Winterburn have been registered at Baycorp and will be soon getting a visit at their residence (pictured above) from our debt collectors.
I would suggest that you are wary of any dealings with this company and its directors.
We are pleased to report that Mr Winterburn has finally paid his obligation with us in full after 9-months.
We will not be dealing with Mr Winterburn or his company again. We suggest that you make up your own mind, if you wish to have any business arrangements with him in the future.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
By Ian Yeoman
16 December 2008
President elect Barack Obama talks about transparency in government as the bedrock of his administration and as tourists increasingly share information about experiences and holidays online, they will expect the same kind of openness from tourism organisations and businesses.
In 2009, it will be hard to hide anything, keep things out of sight and the tourist will at the very least know you are hiding something. With the internet they can find nearly everything and tell nearly everyone. Transparency is associated with clarity, clearness, simplicity, precision, intelligibility and accuracy. Futurologist Dr Ian Yeoman talks about transparency, the tourist, brands, technology and business implications.
Why will transparency be more important in 2009?
A number of trends are emerging shaping the phenomena of transparency. The culture of immediacy means we have gone from a world when searching the internet ten years ago might have taken us a few minutes using dial up services to nanoseconds in today's broadband world.
Immediacy in the 21st century is a combination of fast capitalism and the saturation of everyday media technologies in which we run our lives. This coming of immediacy, as authored by John Tomlinson is his book the Culture of Speed has inexorably changed on how we think about and experience media culture, consumption practices, and the core of our cultural and moral values. Basically, we are intolerant of slowness and our perception of speed has changed.
The paradox of choice, as illustrated by Aric Sigman in his research 'The Explosion of Choice: Tyranny or Freedom?' finds one supermarket with 83 shampoos, 68 shower gels, 42 deodorants, 77 washing powders and 87 breakfast cereals. Again the question is how ordinary mortals can cope when "each decision whether to take your holiday in Benidorm or Bolivia or which anti-dandruff shampoo to buy is an act of information processing".
Today's consumer has so much choice they don't know what to do and the internet makes it worse on one hand and easier on the other. As a result of this paradox of choice, there is a Lonely Planet guide to for every country in the world including Afghanistan, North Korea and the Falklands Islands. Therefore, consumers are become more demanding if you want there monies.
Greater competition, globalisation, better distribution channels and the constant invitation for consumers to stand up for their rights to find the best deal resulting in the empowerment of consumers to pursue choice through market forces results of more demanding tourists.
The creeping culture of convenience has been growing stronger over the last decades, to the extent that some traditionalist commentators have seen it gnawing away at the fabric of society ever since the invention of the washing machine. It is a natural urge, we might assume, to spend less time doing things we don't enjoy so that we have more time for the things we do. But the last few years seem to have witnessed a tipping point, where convenience has become a major selling point in almost any market you care to name. This recent explosion has been fuelled by the growth of internet and mobile technologies, as well as shifts in consumer attitudes and expectations as they become more empowered and demand more of the companies they patronise.
In a recessionary world, tourists have come to expect falling prices and intense competitive activity, and in this context, there is virtually no chance that an increase in air fares could be met by an understanding response from travellers. The existence of a 'low-price culture' sharpens resistance to price increases in other sectors of the economy which have not yet witnessed low-price competitive activity. This is the trend of the low cost world as illustrated by Yeoman and McMahon-Beattie in the Journal of Revenue & Pricing Management.
Trust in business is constrained by cynicism to some extent. National tourism organizations such as VisitScotland or Tourism New Zealand present a glamorous picture of pure and unspoilt landscapes. However, potential tourists or visitors can discover facts and figures, opinions and options and talk back to the institutions and brands that surround them on a scale unimaginable only a few years ago - in early 1999 the number of homes with Internet access was only 13% in the UK. Yet it is clear today, that the interactive traveller will search the internet, visit several different websites to find information, read books and talk to friends about holiday plans. Less and less they trust advertising.
One major consequence is that every tourism organisation or business needs to work hard to preserve whatever authority and trust-worthiness it has accumulated. Every destination brand these days is surrounded by the disruptive cacophony of so much word-of-mouth about its performance and progress. The web is stocked full of comment from dissatisfied customers to ecologically outraged lobby groups to those generously advocating better choices and better deals. With varying degrees of commercial success so far, the Internet has slipped the surly bonds of the hard-drive to appear on telephones and televisions. Invitations to interactivity are wallpapering our lives, bestowing new forms of engagement and dialogue upon consumers, permitting even more whim and change-of-mind.
How technology and transparency are changing the world
In 2009, expect more tourists to have even more transparency at their disposal, as reviews and price comparisons move from hotels to every type of experiences, SatLav allows visitor's to London to know where the nearest toilet is, along with reviews. Zigabid allows culture vultures to buy and sell tickets and interact directly with each other to determine the ticket's price. Therefore treating tickets as commodities and subjecting them to a series of offers and counter offers. Know in geek language as bid pricing.
Liftopia lets ski resorts sell discounted lift tickets online. Visitors simply choose places where they want to ski, and then scroll through a list of budget priced life passes. The site also incorporates up-to-the-minute weather data and trail maps help skiers make their choice. Seat Guru provides information on hotels including rooms that are oversized, which have greater bathrooms or which ones are quieter. Delaycast tells tourists the chance of encountering delays on a particular trip. Its delay tools provide broad overviews of the best days, times and airlines based upon selected airports making predictions six months into the future.
Going out shopping, today's tourist looking for the latest Gucci handbag or Rolex watch can find the best price and location for such a product using price comparison software and Google maps. The T-Mobile G1 phone comes with shopsavvy software which allows the tourist to scan almost any barcode using the phone's camera and then get an instant report telling them where to buy it or they simply use the information to barter with the shopkeeper.
But tourism business will have the right of reply; tripadvisor's management response system allows owners and managers to reply to posted reviews on the website.
Where is this all going?
With so many developments, transparency will move to new platforms such as video. For your business, it means being up to date with information, availability and prices. Examples of developments include the sheer mass of reviews, whether hourly or daily will unmask, outnumber and neutralise fake reviews. Ubiquitous online reviews and access from mobile devices means revises can be documented and posted instantly. For example, Orbitz's Updates promises real-time updates from fellow tourists about security wait time, traffic, and taxi lines at airports and much more. Software developed by Plista allows users to tailor recommendations and information. Bambuser offers technology which allows companies to communicate broadcasts live, using mobile phones as broadcasting devices. It's like Facebook but interactive and real time.
Mind you, with all this information on the internet, the tourist will be faced with a situation of paradox of choice and might decide not to engage with you. You as business, have spent time and effort to promote transparency, but are suffering from suggestion scarcity. Not enough online comments, not enough online tips, no body has visited your blog (except you). Tourists are not telling you want they what and what a wonderful destination you are! Silence, means they no longer care and they have moved on.
There is a counter trend to everything transparent, in which opaqueness is accepted by tourists. Many tourists will accept an opaque offering, if that experience consistently delivers and surprises. Also, a lot of tourists like to keep things simple and stupid. They want to save time. They don't want to make all the decisions.
There is a simple reason why billions of people still enjoy listening to the radio instead of searching the internet, a specific rock channel to optimise a news story. Tourists want to be surprised and entertained without any action on their part, hence the importance of making suggestions. When you visit www.amazon.com it knows your cookie and makes recommendations based upon your purchasing and browsing. In other words, if you operate and deliver in a superior way, consumers may actually be happy and they don't want to spend valuable time researching or engaging in conversations with you. They will trust you to do the right thing. Surrender control in order to get on with more important business. If your business or destination is opaque, it means you are one of the best, but you have to work at it to maintain that trust.
Barack Obama has promised transparency in government in 2009. But do you trust politicians to deliver on that promise?
In July 2008, Ian took up a faculty position at Victoria University, New Zealand as an Assoc. Professor of Tourism Management. He is a popular speaker at conferences and was described by the UK Sunday Times as the country's leading contemporary futurologist. Ian's new book, tomorrow's tourist envisions what world tourism will look like in 2030, where tourists will go on holiday and what they will do.
Ian has a PhD in Management Science from Napier University, Edinburgh and a BSc (Hons) in Catering Systems from Sheffield Hallam University. Previously, Ian was Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Napier University and University College, Birmingham. He has extensive experience within the hospitality industry, for which he was a hotel manager with Trusthouse Forte.
Ian has received a number of awards in recognition of his research including his appointment as a Visiting Professor of Tourism Management at Stirling University and Stenden University of Applied Sciences and the Mike Simpson Award from the Operational Research Society. Ian is also Editor of the Journal of Revenue & Pricing Management.
Further details about Ian and futurology in the travel industry can be found at www.tomorrowstourist.com
Victoria University Management School | Victoria University
PO Box 600
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: 00 64 (0) 4 463 5717
Click for: Source
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The briefing paper includes the current state of tourism, major policy, budget appropriation, key stakeholders etc.
This makes very interesting reading and can be viewed HERE
Monday, December 15, 2008
15 December 2008
Press Release: Tourism Industry Association
Bank of New Zealand – Business NZ Performance of Services Index (PSI) for November 2008 Tourism businesses surveyed as part of the Bank of New Zealand-Business NZ Performance of Services Index reported a mixed response with smaller tourism businesses generally reporting slightly more positive trading than the larger tourism firms.
Of the 22 tourism businesses surveyed, 14 reported that their main activity was positive while eight reported a negative trading environment.
Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Cossar says tourism businesses are heading into the busy summer holiday season and while trading is expected to be down on past years most businesses are more concerned about what bookings will look like after summer, from March next year onwards.
“The survey results suggest that the global economic situation and the recent slowdown in international visitor numbers are likely to impact larger firms more as they rely more on international visitors to keep their businesses ticking over. The smaller companies with a greater reliance on domestic trade seemed to be faring a little better.
“The industry tell us that while the markets are generally down, this is not the case for all tourism sectors. Some sectors within the industry are doing okay. Notably, backpackers, holiday parks and motels, many of whom are reliant on domestic and Australian markets.
“The fall in petrol prices and the summer holiday season is helping those operators who have a larger domestic base,” Mr Cossar says.
Despite a general slowdown, there have been some recent positive developments with the exchange rate moving in favour of international visitors, a slight recovery in the share markets and more political certainty following both the United States and New Zealand general elections, Mr Cossar says.
“A short term tactical marketing plan is required. We need to increase the focus on keeping both the Australian visitor market and our own domestic market strong.
Full results are available on www.businessnz.org.nz under ‘PSI Reports’. For more information or assistance with data interpretation contact Stephen Summers: 04 4966564, firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Bank of New Zealand - Business NZ PSI draws on the depth of member companies associated with Business NZ: Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern), Employers and Manufacturers Association (Central), Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Otago Southland Employers Association, Hospitality Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Retailers Association. The survey is sponsored by Bank of New Zealand Ltd.
- Tourism contributes close to 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) for New Zealand
- Tourism directly and indirectly employs nearly one in ten New Zealanders.
- Tourism in New Zealand is a $50 million per day industry. Tourism delivers $24 million in foreign exchange to the New Zealand economy each day of the year. Domestic tourism contributes another $26 million in economic activity every day.
- Total tourism expenditure reached $20.1 billion for the year ended March 2007. International visitor expenditure accounted for $8.8 billion or 18.3% of New Zealand’s foreign exchange earnings.
With the background of global recession, Cossar has been reported as demanding up to 38% more public funding for Tourism.
The previous government were happy to respond to perceived need, rhetoric and public opinion, however the current government appears to have adopted a business culture and is focused on a return on investment for taxpayers money. Go figure!
John Key does not seem to be impressed with headline grabbing one-liners and prefers suitors to speak the language of business. Through his Associate Minister, Key has sent Cossar away to do some homework. Key has issued the TIA a challenge to return to the Ministry with a business case that includes clear quantifiable goals.
The TIA will need to rapidly transform itself from a tourism trade union into a professional and credible representative of small business.
We wait with baited breath to learn what TIA's response will be ...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It's always great to share a drink, good food and relax amongst others in the motel industry.
I enjoy new learning new catch-phrases and this evening I came home with one that I will try and slip into conversation over the next week. I'm not too sure how I can do this, however I don't mind a challenge.
The catch-phrase was: "Alternate Drop"
The restaurant had a three course set menu for our group with a choice of two dishes for each course. Each time a course was served, the two dishes were served alternatively to each diner at the table.
Inevitably a bit of negotiated swapping occurred between diners at the beginning of each course, however in an odd way it seemed to work - No orders were taken and the set menu as was served in an "Alternate Drop" fashion.
Just goes to show that you never stop learning...
Reported by: Kim Fischer
SAN ANTONIO - Getting a room by the hour will soon be a thing of the past here. The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance banning hourly rates at local hotels and motels.
City leaders say they hope this new ordinance will cut back on prostitution. Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos says several areas are in need of this ban.
“One major area was the one in District Three, the Presa Roosevelt area. We have one along Guadalupe street in District Five on the west side and then Councilwoman McNeil in District Two has another hot spot.”
All of the motels will now have to charge couples by the day and not by the hour. The new ordinance will go into effect in ten days. The city is still working on details on what kind of punishment motels would face if they continue to charge hourly rates.
Be warned - you will be tracked down and experience the wrath of the Motella!
This dreadful magazine, safely contained within its unopened plastic wrap has been unceremoniously filed in our Waste Management bin.
Why someone would bother to read such a vile publication is beyond me - don't people know that motels should be used for holiday accomodation purposes!
A message to all recipients ofThe Australian Hospitality Digest from Jim WhiteIt is with considerable regret that I advise you that Number 4 of Volume 17, sent to you last May, is the last issue of the series. The reason is that I suffered a debilitating stroke in June. Although I have recovered to the extent I can now walk, my sight is impaired and I do not have full use of my right hand so it makes it impossible to produce more Digests.Some friends in the industry offered assistance and I thank them for their offers but I do not think continuing the Digest is practical under the circumstances. I had intended to cease publication at the end of volume 18 or20 in any case.I also thank those who provided valuable information during the 17 years of publication. I hope the Digest served its purpose of advising moteliers about new industry developments, and ideas on how older properties could be brought up to current day standards.The idea of producing the Digest was given to me by a client for whom I had written a report. He suggested there was a need for such a publication.Much of the information was based on my 40 years of Architectural practice. I commenced my practice in North Sydney in1960 after returning from an overseas trip that included staying in several American Motels so I visited the nearby office of the Motel Federation of Australia which at the time was the Australian standards body for quality motels. They were looking for someone to provide general advice to intending moteliers. I subsequently attended their conferences as a speaker. The rest is history.In the mid 1960s I re-wrote the standards for MFA. This new version was adopted by many Governments, Councils and others. I have always been interested in standards and in later years I was one of the signatories for the registration of the STARS rating by the Automobile Clubs.In over 40 years of practice I visited over 100 sites in all States ranging from Darwin and Cooktown in the north to Hobart in the south. I designed many motels from scratch, added to existing ones, refurbished others, and wrote reports on many aspects of designing and operating motels.Membership of MFA provided an open door to attend motel conferences both in Australia and worldwide enabling me to gain foreknowledge of coming trends.It has been a lifelong interest becoming a hobby as well as work. I thought moteliers might be interested in my part in the development of the industry. Those who have been moteliers for a long time should note HMAA are starting to compile a history of the industry. Any pertinent information you might have should be forwarded to them.Finally I hope you have enjoyed the Digest and the contents have been of assistance to you. I shall continue to follow the progress of Motel development and wish you all the best for the future.Jim WhitePlease note the old e-mail address will be canceled on January 1.Any motelier wishing to contact me on a personal basis can reach me on the new address: email@example.com
Friday, December 12, 2008
New Zealand Herald
December 12 2008
By Tamsyn Parker
.... Motel Association chief executive Michael Baines believed the increase was strongly linked to a drop in petrol prices.
"That makes a hell of a difference," he said.
Unleaded petrol hit a peak of $2.19 a litre in July but had fallen to under $1.90 by the start of October.
Baines said October also coincided with the start of tax cuts, ensuring people had a bit more money in their pockets to spend.
Baines expected November accommodation figures would also be up on last year and said his association had just had a record month for online bookings - 83 per cent ahead of last year.
He said forward bookings showed accommodation was filling up for the March season but not all areas were seeing the numbers.
"Taranaki has done well all the way through. Wellington has come back. But Rotorua and Queenstown are certainly down."
Baines said the popular tourist spots were suffering from the downturn in international visitors, particularly those coming on group tours ...http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10547687
- Kiwis don’t mind spending time researching NZ travel online if it saves money
- Kiwis will book NZ travel sooner rather than later if they perceive this to be cheaper
- Offering a free meal, e.g. breakfast, is a great purchasing incentive
- Although there is a group of Kiwis that prefer to fly, the majority of Kiwis don’t mind the drive – even when they take into account the cost of petrol
- Travelling with kids is perceived as hard work unless we make it really easy for them by providing options for kids or by influencing the perceptions which hold them back
- Kiwis genuinely want to travel more around New Zealand but require a prompt to do so, e.g. a public holiday, long weekend or event
Air New Zealand has recently announced that it has acquired a shareholding in Australian online tourism specialists V3 (Vcubed Pty Ltd).
The acquisition is part of the airline’s strategy to further diversify into the wider tourism sector.
V3 provides its open booking exchange (OBX™) technology for tourism suppliers and distributors in Australia. The Air New Zealand and V3 joint venture is to establish a similar tourism exchange in New Zealand. Read our previous post HERE
It would appear that the Air NZ / V3 partnership has made some unfounded assumptions.
Tania Witheford - General Manager for wotif.com in New Zealand has sent a clarification about their reported interest in V3:
"In a recent article published in the "Dominion Post" and other Fairfax publications, a representative from an organisation known as V3 suggested that Wotif.com had an interest in joining with them to access accommodation deals.
We have had a few queries from our accommodation and industry partners about this statement. For clarification purposes, we would like to let you know that the Wotif Group has no relationship with V3 and has no intention of working with this organisation.
The statement attributed to V3 was made without our knowledge and without any authorisation by the Wotif Group".
...Ms Witherford makes it clear that wotif will not be joining forces with V3 anytime soon!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Jeremy Clarkson regularly destroys caravans on Top Gear and has been quoted as saying that "caravans are a disgraceful blot on the landscape and a nuisance on the roads..." We couldn't agree more!
Last year, the Caravan Society protested outside a show at the Birmingham NEC, handing out stickers saying ‘Hate Clarkson Love Caravans’. Jeremy's response? “What have caravanners got against Kelly Clarkson?”
The enlightened members of the public will be driving their cars between motels these holidays and not clogging up the highways and visualy polluting the scenery with dingy mean-spirited caravans.
The following video demonstrates the correct usage for a caravan:
Time will tell if the on-line reservation stats migrate into increased occupancy for motels in November...
By NICK CHURCHOUSE
The Dominion Post
11 December 2008
Online motel bookings have recorded their highest month on record, smashing the previous best month by 31 percent in November.
The Motel Association of New Zealand said accommodation bookings through its website in November were almost a third up on January, the previous record month, and were a mammoth 83 percent ahead of November last year.
The figures fly in the face of a general downturn in tourism, and flagging international arrival numbers.
Motel Association chief executive Michael Baines said there had been an upturn in the numbers generally but the magnitude of the spike had been unexpected.
"November just came out of the blue." The percentages were so large that they clearly indicated major shifts in the market.
The gradual move to online booking was one clear trend, but the shift was so dramatic that Mr Baines said there had to be more general motel customers. December numbers so far were continuing the trend. "We are about 45 to 50 percent ahead for December."
The market was a complicated mix and it was changing. "People do have more money in their pockets than they did nine months ago. Tax cuts, petrol prices, interest rate cuts," Mr Baines said.
There was a match in the spiking numbers with the United States and New Zealand election days. It was likely a lot of the bookings were from domestic tourists, especially given international travel might be less of a reality for a lot of families in the current economic climate.
"Many of them have been wanting to do it for years, and this has given them good excuse."
Unfortunately occupancy for motels in October dropped from 51.4% to 49.9% (a 2.7% decrease).
Press Release: Statistics New Zealand
11 December 2008
Total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation increased 4 percent in October 2008 compared with October 2007, Statistics New Zealand said today. This increase in guest nights follows decreases in five of the previous six months when compared with the same month the previous year.
The increase is largely due to a 16 percent increase in domestic guest nights, although this was partly offset by an 11 percent decrease in international guest nights.
In 2008, the third-term school holidays continued later into October than in 2007, but the exact effect cannot be measured.
Guest nights increased in four of the five accommodation types in October 2008 compared with October 2007. Hotels had the largest increase, up 48,000 (6 percent), followed by caravan parks/camping grounds, up 40,000 (11 percent).
In October 2008, nine of the 12 regions had more guest nights, with Wellington and Auckland showing the largest increases.
The trend in total guest nights has been decreasing since November 2007, after increasing from February 2006.
See also the Hot Off The Press information release Accommodation Survey: October 2008 [PDF}.
and xl spreadsheet of results asoct08tables.xls
Vianet are reporting a 110% increase of reservations processed in Novemebr 2008, comapred with the same month last year. This sounds impressive however this may not nessessaraly reflect a gain in market share at the expense of the other main accommodation resellers. The increase of the public's use of the internet to make on-line reservations would have helped, however the increase should not have been unexpected as Travelbug had a relatively soft launch in only September last year and had a sluggish start.
The online travel market remains as competitive and crowded as ever. Wotif has been running in New Zealand for five years and is still setting the benchmark. AA travel has invested heavily into it's online accommodation offer and its difficult to gauge what benefits have been forthcoming from the partnership with big talking Australian Roamfree.com. New Zealand owned, Ezibed.com have been quiet achievers and Jasons. are utilising their marketing expertise to further polish their acquisition of popular motel booking engine, Holidayguide.
The stats provided by vianet.travel below make interesting reading.
10th December 2008
Vianet.travel December Newsletter
Summer has arrived… easily proven by how quickly the lawns are growing. Along with the lawns growing, so too is the market for booking travel online. Predictions from members of the travel industry who attended the recent WIT-Web In Travel 2008 conference felt that the online travel market in Asia Pacific would truly come into its own in the next five years. That’s when they feel travel booked online as a percentage of total travel bookings would cross the 50% mark. Click here to read the full article.
We feel extremely confident about the future for booking accommodation/travel online, despite the global recession and decline in New Zealand visitor arrivals. Bookings processed by the Vianet system in November 2008 were 110% over the same month last year an average lead time of 33 days. If you find statistics interesting here are couple more for you:
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Hotel & motel interior design in the USA has always been staid, fussy and..well old fashioned.
Motel 6 is an iconic brand that is in the process of freshening its look and it is interesting to see what they have come up with...
By ANDREA JARES
10 December 2008
Carrollton-based Accor North America, which owns several budget hospitality brands including 1,000 Motel 6 locations in the U.S. and Canada, broke ground Monday on its first new motel to feature the new design, at a site across from Texas Motor Speedway.
The Motel 6 there is set to open by late summer. In the meantime, the chain is revamping its existing motels, with all of the ones in North Texas expected to be done by the end of the month.
Accor North America CEO Olivier Poirot spoke with staff writer Andrea Jares about the new look for the 46-year-old chain.
Obviously, this is a real- ly different design for the chain. Why did you rethink the look of your motels?
Every so often, typically around 12 to 15 years, we try a new prototype. What we try every time is to add value to the guest but not deviate from our promise to the customer, which is a clean, comfortable room at a lower price than any national chain. What’s unique about this prototype is that this is going to be the first site in the nation, where not only are we doing the room, we are also doing the exterior of the building.
Can you walk me through some of the changes?
As you can see, we have platform beds, which gives a feeling of openness and cleanliness. We also have what is fairly unique in any midscale or economy product, the fact that you have the settee in the corner of the room facing the TV. You can watch the TV from any angle. We’ve done away with the carpets. We have laminate wood flooring made of 80 percent recycled materials.
Is this the most ambitious remodel Motel 6 has done?
This product is going to revolutionize economy lodging. For all of our competitors, that is going to set the new benchmark of what people should be striving for.
Why are you starting here with the renovations?
That’s where we’re located. And Texas is our second [largest] market. D-FW is one of our biggest city markets. We want to start the new prototype in a location close to home because obviously we are going to be extremely involved in the prototype.
What kind of reaction have you heard from people?
We get a lot of the wow factor. It has been extremely positive. The guests appreciate the feeling of openness, the cleanliness, and what some people call "Eurochic" when they walk into the room. A lot of people appreciate that we’ve done away with the carpets. Everybody loves the flat-screen TVs, and everybody loves the new bathrooms. So it’s really a winner.
10 December 2008
Press Release: Motel Association
The election of the new Government seems to have already had a positive effect on confidence in at least one sector of the New Zealand tourism industry.
The Motel Association of New Zealand says online accommodation bookings through its website in November increased by a record 31% ahead of the previous best month, January, and were a mammoth 83% ahead of November last year. And Chief Executive Michael Baines believes he knows why – election results. "The figures showed a big rise immediately after Barak Obama was elected President of the United States. "Don't ask me why that would be, but that's the only event of significance that coincides with the first significant rise.
"Then there was another jump immediately after the change of government in New Zealand and John Key was elected Prime Minister, "That has continued with bookings from early December 27% ahead of the same time last year. "I’m sure part of it reflects a change in the way people are booking accommodation. “But I also think people were holding off making bookings until they knew the outcome of the election. And when a new Government promising more tax cuts next year won, then petrol prices started dropping in a big way, I think people had a lot more confidence to go out and spend more.”
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I have been analysing our telecommunication services and costs and came across the following video gem that made me pause and laugh.
Watch it all the way through as it just gets better!
Has this venture got wings, or will it get lost in the scrum of existing providers?
Should be interesting to watch...
9 December 2008
Press Release: Air NZ
Air New Zealand Deputy Chief Executive Officer Norm Thompson said the acquisition was part of the airline’s strategy to further diversify into the wider tourism sector.
V3 provides its open booking exchange (OBX™) technology for tourism suppliers and distributors in Australia, and Mr Thompson said Air New Zealand and V3, through a joint venture, would establish a similar tourism exchange in New Zealand.
The OBX™ is available to all tourism and travel operators and distributors and will be run in New Zealand as a standalone business, independent of Air New Zealand.
It works by allowing distributors to access live book-able inventory from tourism operators in a real-time marketplace, and has exciting potential for New Zealand tourism operators.
Mr Thompson said a New Zealand exchange would help local tourism businesses by providing them with a cost-effective way of increasing their reach to distributors.
“For example, it will allow a local hotel operator to offer accommodation directly to a multitude of online retailers,” he said.
Air New Zealand’s commitment to playing a role in the wider tourism industry was behind its decision to acquire a stake in V3 and establish an exchange in New Zealand, he said.
“Air New Zealand’s fortunes are inextricably linked with that of our tourism sector. What’s good for tourism in New Zealand and our tourism operators will have natural flow-on benefits for the airline.”
Having enjoyed outstanding success in the Australian market, V3 Chief Executive Officer Shane Crockett said: “We are extremely pleased to have Air New Zealand as a cornerstone investor and strategic partner for this breakthrough initiative in digital marketing for both the Australian and New Zealand tourism industries.
“Air New Zealand is the perfect strategic partner for V3 to optimise the potential of the open booking exchange technology.
“Leading the market with the unique exchange model in Australia, V3 has already seen many of the tourism industry’s key suppliers, distributors and government organisations using the open booking exchange technology and now, our partnership with Air New Zealand will extend this successful model into the New Zealand market.”
Mr Thompson said former Air New Zealand General Manager Chris Hunter had been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the new business that would offer a similar tourism exchange service in New Zealand.
Mr Hunter has long been involved in the tourism and travel business, holding a number of senior positions, most recently as General Manager Strategy and Planning for Flight Centre New Zealand. During his 21 years at Air New Zealand he held a range of positions including General Manager Global Direct Sales.
Mr Hunter said he was excited by the opportunity to positively contribute to the ongoing growth and success of the New Zealand tourism industry, and expects to make further announcements to the industry in the first half of next year as the new exchange takes shape.http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0812/S00207.htm
Press Release: Expedia
Expedia survey reveals Kiwis look forward to taking a holiday more than anything – even a new romance
According to a recent poll, Kiwis look forward to taking a holiday seven times more than the prospect of a new romance in 2009.
The survey, conducted by Expedia.co.nz, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, found that over half of New Zealanders said going away on holiday was the thing they looked most forward to during the year, well ahead even of a pay rise or job promotion (13%). And with more than half of New Zealanders saying they are planning a holiday next year, we are not planning on sitting around at home waiting for Cupid to visit.
When asked why going away on holiday was so important, Kiwis appeared to be suffering from end-of-year exhaustion, with more than 40% of the survey’s over 500 respondents saying their ideal holiday would be ‘total relaxation’ – well ahead of it being an opportunity to spend more time with family (24%) or learn about other cultures (19%). It was also shown that the daily grind was what most Kiwis seek relief from in a holiday, with over 56% citing an ‘escape from routine’ as the main motivation for going away on holiday, well ahead of having a break from work (38%) or taking a break from social and family commitments (6%). Two to three weeks were what most Kiwis said would constitute ‘a real holiday’ (31%).
Less than half the respondents (44%) said they would be travelling away on holiday this summer, with 80% of those saying they would be holidaying in New Zealand, followed by around 15% further afield within Asia Pacific.
Almost a third of those not going away on holiday this summer cited the economic downturn and need to reduce debt as the main reasons for staying put. That said, three-quarters of all respondents (74%), regardless of whether they were staying at home or going away agreed that a holiday was more relaxing than staying at home.
"While the Christmas holiday season is one of the busiest and most expensive times of year to travel, there are many ways to enjoy a holiday away without breaking the bank,” said Louise Hurbert-Burns at Expedia® New Zealand. “With the internet, it is now easier and quicker than ever to search for the best deals and book a holiday or short break away.
“With many airline seats going empty due to the economic downturn, airline competition is stiff to try and fill those seats, and together with falling international oil prices, there could well be compelling last-minute airfare deals this holiday season. So, if travel plans are flexible, travellers may find extraordinary bargains by letting the deal actually determine their destination.
“Travellers could also consider booking all their travel – like flights, hotel accommodation and car hire – together as a single package. With Expedia’s technology, travellers can create their own package by combining all their travel needs with one single price tag. In most cases, doing so will deliver an additional saving compared to booking the items separately, which they can see instantly when booking,” Ms Hurbert-Burns concluded.
For excellent travel deals and a great travel experience, visit www.expedia.co.nz.
The motel and tourism industries rely on a flexible workforce and the ability to increase or reduce staff numbers according to demand.
Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly recognises the benefits of the legislation to small businesses ...
9 December 2008
Press Release: Business New Zealand
The incoming Government shows it has listened to the key problems facing small businesses in moving with urgency on a 90-day trial period, says Business NZ.
Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says it is a policy used by just about every other developed country in the world - many with longer trial periods – and is an accepted part of their industrial relations framework.
He says the government’s decision to progress the matter under urgency is not unreasonable since there was already an extensive select committee process for the Wayne Mapp bill, with more than 600 submissions considered.
“We would not normally support urgency for new legislation, however in this case the policy has been well developed over a period of time and well flagged in advance of the election.
“This policy does not remove any of the human rights protections for employees under law.
“Most important, we are facing an economic downturn when jobs are most at risk and small businesses are least likely to hire.
“It is a pro-worker policy. The least skilled, most marginal employees - currently most at risk of not gaining jobs - will get the most benefit from it.
“The decision to make the policy take effect from April next year is also a reasonable one, allowing time to upskill employers in relation to the change. The Business NZ family – EMA Northern, EMA Central, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and the Otago Southland Employers Association – will assist in getting information out to employers.”
Monday, December 8, 2008
With the background of global recession, Cossar will be demanding up to 38% more public funding for Tourism .
It will be interesting how John Key via Associate Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman will deliver Cossar a dose of economic reality.
December 08, 2008
New Zealand Herald
By Tamsyn Parker
The Government will meet tourism industry representatives this week to assess the impact of the global recession on tourism and work out a strategy on how best to help struggling New Zealand businesses.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Industry Association are to give their first official briefings to Associate Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman on Thursday.
Prime Minister John Key, the Tourism Minister, is not expected to attend the meeting.
Coleman, who also stood in for Key at last week's in-bound tour operators meeting, said the briefing was designed to try to predict the effects of the recession and learn what the industry saw as priorities for helping the sector.
"From this [we] hope to come up with a common view on what is likely to happen as a result of the current economic situation. "This will be important for the Government. If we need to take short-term action to help various sectors, it is much easier if we know that there is general agreement on what needs to be done," he said.
Coleman said these were difficult times in the world's economy and as discretionary spending tightened for individuals, inbound tourism operators may feel vulnerable.
Association head Tim Cossar told the Herald last week the Government wanted the industry to come up with solutions rather than just presenting the problems.
Cossar said the biggest worry was that New Zealand would lose its market share of tourism visitors."New Zealand tourism operators do not want to see New Zealand lose share of market voice overseas. It's critical that we don't." Of particular concern were the UK and US markets, New Zealand's second and third largest tourism markets.
Cossar said Australia, our largest tourism market, would be the key to keeping business ticking over in the next one to two years. "We have really got to make [Australia] work for us in the next one to two years. We just can't afford to be behind the eight-ball."
Cossar also called for the promotion of domestic tourism to be ramped up.
Central government presently does not give any money to regions to promote themselves within New Zealand. Regions must rely on local ratepayers and councils to fund their marketing.
He hoped a further $20 million to $30 million would be added to the tourism marketing budget of Tourism New Zealand, which currently spends $79 million a year.
The forecasts are unlikely to bring good news for the new Government.
In July the Ministry of Tourism released its annual growth predictions for the next seven years.
It had expected growth of 1.2 per cent in visitor numbers for this year and an average of 3.3 per cent growth for the next seven years.
But Statistics New Zealand figures show for the year to October visitor numbers are already down 0.2 per cent.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation is predicting growth will be between zero and 2 per cent next year, down from recent averages of 6 per cent per year.
Tourism is a major contributor to New Zealand's economy, with visitors spending around $20 billion a year in New Zealand.
From a perfectly formed email I have the guest name, address, phone number, room type, in/out dates, tariff....and their credit card number!
8 December 2008,
Press Release: Jasons Travel Media
Jasons Travel Media commission-free online bookings break the $1million mark
The month of November saw the commission-free online bookings on Jasons websites soar over a million dollars.
The Jasons commission-free booking websites are comprised of Jasons, Holiday Guide and MANZ (Motel Association of NZ).
Jasons purchased Holiday Guide in June 2007 and the online booking facility went live in on Jasons.com mid February of this year. In that short time the three Jasons websites have delivered over $10.6 million of commission-free accommodation sales to accommodation providers.
Over 39,900 individual commission-free online transactions have been made, saving them over $1 million in commission payments (based on an average of 10% charged by some online booking engines). The uptake of operators utilising the booking engine has grown a spectacular 79%.
Jasons.com allows travellers flexibility in communicating with the operator– they can choose to use the booking function for immediate confirmation or they are able to contact the operator by sending an enquiry form or by looking up the phone number.
Matthew Mayne, recently appointed CEO of Jasons Travel Media Ltd says” Jasons has chosen to charge a low-cost flat fee for online travel bookings which means transaction costs for the operator are free. It allows the operators to put their best price forward without having to factor in commissions.”
“Jasons is now taking the next logical step by introducing online bookings for the activity sector, due to go live during December,” says Matthew. “We are confident that the activity operators will be pleased to be a part of the commission-free booking environment as it will be a refreshing change for them.”
Jasons Travel Media Limited is a public company, listed on the NZAX board of the New Zealand stock exchange. It publishes the websites www.jasons.com, www.holidayguide.co.nz, www.dutymotel.co.nz and www.roomsearch.co.nz; and 68 different free printed travel guides annually, covering New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Lindsay Perigo referred to David Bellamy's interview in our last post. The article is a fascinating read and can be viewed by clicking HERE
Apparently it's Global Action on Climate Change Day and the Greens plan to highlight the government's cooling on climate change policy.
It will be interesting to gauge the media's perception of this event and future coverage on the climate change debate.
Until now, global warming alarmists have been given centre stage by the media that are happy to promote a self perpetuating populist crisis. But the tide is (slowly) turning.
Small business owners that will feel the wrath of the government's environmental policies will be pleased with the creep of reasoned debate that is slowly being permitted to enter climate change coverage.
5 December 2008
Press Release: SOLO - Sense of Life Objectivists
On the eve of Global Action on Climate Change Day, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons frets that our new government " is being swayed by Act leader Rodney Hide and that party's head-in-the-sand approach to climate change."
"I certainly hope so," says SOLO Principal Lindsay Perigo."In fact, of course, Mr. Hide is virtually the only politician not to have his head in the sand, the only one not to ignore the overwhelming evidence that climate change is natural, cyclical, not man-made ... and that the earth has entered another cooling period.
As famed British botanist David Bellamy said in a recent interview, 'Global warming is part of a natural cycle and there's nothing we can actually do to stop these cycles. The world is now facing spending a vast amount of money in tax to try to solve a problem that doesn't actually exist.
"The fact that Ms. Fitzsimons' brand of medieval hysteria has held sway for so long all around the world is the true scandal of our times.
"Ms. Fitzsimons thinks that the man-made Oriental Parade beach, where she will do her King Canute impersonation tomorrow, will disappear unless industrial civilisation is brought to its knees within a week (unlike Ms. Fitzsimons, Canute knew, of course that he couldn't really control the tides).
New Zealand has the chance, now that the new government has put the idiotic Emissions Trading Scheme on hold and agreed to revisit the science of climate change, to be a world leader in repudiating this destructive nonsense, which is an affront to reason and freedom," Perigo concludes.
Yuck!...sounds like a modern day remake of a popular motel movie from yesteryear?
New Zealand Herald
December 05 2008
Central Otago hostel owner Phillip Anderson filmed his female guests for a year through a two-way mirror he installed in their bathroom, a court has been told.
When he finally felt remorseful about what he was doing, he ripped the camera out and destroyed the tapes - except for a two-hour highlights package which he watched during pornography evenings with a friend.
Anderson, 44, who was running a backpackers hostel at Tarras, near Wanaka, was yesterday sentenced in Alexandra District Court to 150 hours' community work and nine months' supervision, The Southland Times reported.
He earlier pleaded guilty to possession of an intimate visual recording.
The court was told Anderson and a friend installed the camera behind a two-way mirror in the bathroom of the hostel about four years ago.
It was hooked up to a recorder in Anderson's bedroom and filmed both the shower and the toilet of the hostel. When women went into the bathroom Anderson would activate the camera.
He held on to a highlights tape which contained two hours of footage of 15 women showering. He watched the tape many times with his friend during pornography nights, said police prosecutor Tim Hambleton.
Discovery of the tape, which Anderson kept in a safe, led to his downfall.
When the game was finally up, Anderson admitted to police what he did was "disgusting and sick".
Defence lawyer Tim Cadogan said the victims were unknown and had no knowledge of the offence. He said Anderson had no previous convictions but his friend had been in court for very serious sex offending.
Anderson was "extremely remorseful" about his behaviour and no longer operated a backpackers at the address, Mr Cadogan said.
Judge Paul Keller said the recording was premeditated and Anderson had kept the tape for a long time.
He ordered Anderson to undertake counselling as directed.
NZ Post CE, Mr Allen said the company had long recognised it is not enough operate merely as a profitable business and is ramping up corporate responsibility and climate change programmes - Please!
There is an increasing socialist idealism that is creeping into business culture that is championing the concept of corporate social responsibility. This deserves to be challenged. Our schools seem to be aiding this fashionable trend of promoting triple bottom line accounting where social and environmental responsibility is promoted above financial bottom line objectives.
It seems that political correctness has taken precedence over core business principals. The first duty of a business is to its shareholders and employees is to make a profit. The old-fashioned, one-dimensional financial bottom line must always take precedence. The failure to do so has its own serious social consequences.Business is the wealth-creating institution of society. Its prime “social” role is to meet consumers' needs in the most efficient manner, and this is how capitalism has raised living standards to the level we enjoy today.
Speaking as a forced shareholder in NZ Post, I suggest that Mr Allen start focusing on economic sustainability instead of transforming the company into a new age social adjunct.
5 December 2008
Press Release: New Zealand Post
Ethical behaviour and business sustainability through planned corporate responsibility programmes are essential to future business success, New Zealand Post Group Chief Executive John Allen said today.
Commenting on the Ethical Governance category award to New Zealand Post Group at last night’s 2008 Deloitte/Management Top 200 awards, Mr Allen said the company had long recognised it is not enough operate merely as a profitable business.
Last year the company further strengthened its corporate responsibility programme. In addition to providing a direct response to climate change, it has established benchmarks for its broader corporate responsibility practices and is working to enhance transparency and public engagement about the Group’s activities.
“As a State owned enterprise, we are required to be as profitable and efficient as a comparable privately owned business,” said Mr Allen. “We are demonstrably meeting our commercial obligations, with our financial performance in recent years reflecting a planned strategy of growth and diversification – including the establishment of Kiwibank and joint venture courier operations in New Zealand and Australia.
“But operating profitably is not sufficient. We must also be a good employer, and we must exhibit a sense of social responsibility for the communities in which we operate. For New Zealand Post Group, our communities are in every corner of New Zealand.
“Business sustainability for New Zealand Post Group is therefore underpinned by these two important factors: Providing a good rate of return to our shareholders – the Government, and therefore all New Zealanders – and an unqualified commitment to our social obligations through an integrated corporate responsibility programme that frames our community, environment, workplace and marketplace practices.
Mr Allen said last night’s award was a tribute everyone in the New Zealand Post Group – “but we are aware that our work in this area is continually evolving and that there is always room to improve. The challenge for us, and for all companies, is not just to keep pace with changing community expectations, but to anticipate society’s needs and keep ahead of them.”
Mr Allen also congratulated Kiwibank Chief Executive Sam Knowles and the minority-owned associate company, Datacom Limited, for being nominated in, respectively, the Executive of the Year and Company of the Year categories.
“Overall, it is very pleasing to see the leadership, performance and sustainability across the New Zealand Post Group being recognised by the wider business community,” he said.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The arrogance of the previous government was highlighted by their announcement to ban traditional incandescent light bulb sales from October 2009. What started off as a warm and fuzzy announcement quickly turned into a public relations disaster that demonstrated the "do as I say" Nanny State always knows best"culture of old. See our post HERE
We have been using energy efficient bulbs in our motel for many years, particularly in outside areas where continuous overnight lighting is required.
In recent years the purchase price for energy efficient bulbs have fallen and the light output and quality have improved immensely. After testing several brands, we made the decision some time ago to replace all light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs and dumped all of our "old style" incandescent bulbs.
For us this was a simple business decision. The ROI was appealing, we are lucky that our light fittings could accept the new style bulbs and are happy with the look, longevity and light performance.
While we made this decision, we respected others that do not wish to use energy efficient bulbs in their specific circumstance.
It is pleasing that the present government looks likely to return freedom of choice to businesses and households. Believe it or not, most people aren't stupid. Some people may chose to save money and buy new energy efficient light bulbs, but being bullied into it by smug bureaucrats rankles.
Dec 02 2008
New Zealand Herald
By Maggie Tait
A proposal to phase out incandescent lightbulbs is extremely unlikely to go ahead under the new National Government.
Prime Minister John Key stood by National's policy in opposition against the Labour Government's plan to implement a new standard for lightbulbs, which would see old incandescent lightbulbs phased out by the end of next year.
"We have real concerns about telling people that they have to move to energy efficient light bulbs by decree," he said. "We want to encourage people to do that, we think there may be benefits for them to do it, but it should be a choice they make as consumers."
Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee last week said he had asked Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority officials to look into a proposed phase out of incandescent lightbulbs. Yesterday he said officials' work was continuing and an announcement would be made "in due course". "It's our policy to get rid of it and we are working towards that."
Labour Party climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel last week said the standard was a sensible policy developed with the Australians. "If we are going to take our obligations seriously, we do have to do work in this area so we'd be pretty disappointed if there was a retreat from the policy."
Australia plans to ban the sale of incandescent light bulbs from next year, when Britain will start phasing them out. China, which makes 70 per cent of the world's lightbulbs, recently agreed to phase out incandescent bulbs.
The minimum efficiency performance standard for lightbulbs was developed with Australia.
Under the standard people can use halogen bulbs, which look like incandescent bulbs, or compact fluorescents.
The new bulbs are more expensive but are about 30 per cent more energy efficient.
There has been argument over whether the new bulbs were not as good to read by, or more flammable.