Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Winds Of Political Change

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Motel Pets

In the first few pages of the motel-manual, is a section on motel pets.

Apparently it's a compulsory requirement to own a pet of some description when you operate a motel and most moteliers seem to oblige. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A one-night stay at the Capri Motel

As moteliers contemplate a where to focus their advertising dollar, they are frustratingly aware that they are trying to hit a moving target. Consumers are rapidly changing media consumption habits as media continues to shift and fragment.

There has been lots written in recent days about print verses digital and this has been prompted by the announcement that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post - One of the biggest names in the digital world has purchased one of the biggest names in the print world.

Reading various media commentary about Bezos's new acquisition, it is unclear what he intends to do with it. Will print be saved or the existing media gathering assets be rehashed and redirected online?

The newspaper industry is clearly in trouble as consumers access current and dynamic news stories online and most pay nothing for the privilege.

Bezos has revolutionized American retailing, so is he able to save an American newspaper icon?

There is no doubt that digital is the future, however we are currently in a transition point from print to digital and even in a disrupted market there remains a passionate, robust market for print.

Whatever the news platforms of the future, newspaper companies need to change their business model and become multi-media companies with several easily accessible channels available to their readers. The trouble is that no one seems to have figured out how to leverage the (growing) popularity of online news consumption to support robust and expensive news gathering operations.

One aspect that some newspaper companies can still do very well is producing quality journalism that is compelling and exclusive...

A one-night stay at the Capri Motel

I enjoyed an investigative report compiled by a journo that works for a New Orleans newspaper company. This was a great example of a newspaper company producing unique content and using multi-media channels to tell a story.

The exclusive report was printed in the newspaper company's print edition and reproduced online with an accompanying video, photo gallery and a comments section where the journalist engaged with readers.

Check-out: A one-night stay at the Capri Motel

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It pays to be nice...

100% Pure Treason?

I'm watching the Fonterra fallout with interest, especially as the blowtorch is applied to New Zealand's 100% Pure branding proposition.

As Kiwis, we constantly fret about what others think about us and earnestly dissect and examine any mention of New Zealand from overseas sources. And we have good reason to - as a large chunk of our economy is based on the perceptions of overseas consumers.

As overseas media seek sensationalist headlines by cutting-and-pasting unsubstantiated stories of environmental woe, much of this material can be easily found from the hysterical rantings of Russel Norman.

When he's not boring bewildered moteliers by a reading a political broadcast from his iPad at their motel conference, that nice, mild-mannered Russel Norman is promoting his own toxic brand by scaring the bejesus out of unsuspecting folk with tall tales of economic and environmental armageddon.

The grumpy Veteran over at No Minister muses:

"Russel Norman, Male Australian, 46, ex-Communist (Australian Socialist Workers' Party) and co-leader of the Greens in the New Zealand Parliament.

For years the Greens have pedalled the canard that New Zealand rivers are too polluted to swim in. That has come home to bite with a vengeance as Fonterra works its way through the crisis of its own making with the Chinese media now picking up on the lie and using to discredit both New Zealand and our Clean Green image. This will cause major damage to our biggest exporter and to the New Zealand economy..." Read more HERE
And this reminds me of the post we published some time ago that's become rather topical again as Green-vandals feeding overseas media help ramp-up further emotive debate about New Zealand's 100% Pure destination tag-line:
Has Idiocy Hijacked 100% Pure?

"When making claims of the effectiveness of a product or service in the advertising world, it's very rare to include the phrase: "100 percent". Companies need to give themselves a bit of wriggle-room - any "new" wonder cleaning product will only ever kill up to 99 percent of household germs.

In 1999, Tourism New Zealand launched 100% Pure New Zealand with much fan-fare. When it comes to a tag-line in advertising, this is very powerful. If someone in the marketplace makes a claim that something is "100%" then this boldly stands out and makes you pause.

The 100% Pure New Zealand tag-line was never meant to measure anything that is quantifiable or tangible. It relates to a mystical Kiwi state of mind. It's a feeling, an attitude, a set of values or an aspiration that is unique to this country. This may seem to be somewhat wishy-washy, however if you look at the campaign in context, you will see majestic landscapes, unique people and exciting experiences that play out to the back-beat of an iconic Kiwi soundtrack. The tears will start to swell and all of a sudden the 100% Pure New Zealand tagline starts to make sense.

Back in 1999 the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign resonated as a message that the public understood. The tag-line could be taken at face-value or could invite a simple thought process to uncover a deeper meaning. As time has moved on, the tag-line has accumulated some baggage. For many, the ability to think for themselves and understand the meaning behind 100% Pure New Zealand has been lost.

Unfortunately there seems to be an increasing amount of people that suffer from the inability to view things in context. These uncreative, bland folk seem to have varying degrees of Asperger's syndrome and tend to take things too literally. They just don't get the 100% Pure New Zealand tagline and assume it's an overreaching environmental catch-cry.

Inevitably, these same mean-spirited, hapless folk believe 100% in the headline grabbing hysteria created by University environmental science lecturers, Green Party activists and Greenpeace vandals that get a kick from knocking New Zealand as a tourism destination.

Has idiocy finally hijacked 100% Pure New Zealand?"
Well, maybe it finally has?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Taunting Travellers by Twitter

I'm guessing that the person behind the fake Twitter site, @unitedairlanes has been frustrated and left scarred after doing time in the travel industry.

What better way to poke fun and inflict revenge on all those pesky whinging and whining travellers, than to set up a parody account that relies upon a stream of regular customer dissatisfaction with a major American airline.... then, sit back and start taunting angry, gullible customers by mocking and ridiculing them.

Sounds like some great therapy for anyone that is in the front line and regually grits their teeth while experiencing the sometimes rude and bizarre behavior of the travelling public ;-)
"Thinking they were contacting United Airlines, which has the Twitter handle @united, the passengers were left gobsmacked by the replies from the spoof account.

The lesson here: make sure you go via the airline's official communication channels!

Here are some examples: "

Source: Click HERE

And of course any post about United Airlines and social media, we'd be remiss not to mention the viral media-storm that occurred after a passenger witnessed the special care and attention of their ground crew:

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Cruise Ship Hotel

Since Psy unleashed his madcap horse-riding Gangnam Style into popular culture, South Korea has attracted a whole lot of attention as a tourism destination.

Maybe it's because South Koreans live in the murky shadow of a rogue nation, run by a nut job boy-child that makes them appear to have such a bizzare sense of humour?

I've got a fetish for themed accommodation and when I first saw pictures of the Sun Cruise Resort, I assumed someone had gone crazy with photoshop - but the purpose built on-land cruise-themed resort appearing to be percasiously sitting on top of a hill is the real-deal and gives guests the experience of being on a luxury queen of the seas - but without the motion sickness.

From a distance, the Sun Cruise Resort and Yacht in Jeongdongjin, South Korea looks as if it's been beached on a cliff by a mega-wave.

But this spectacular hotel is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, boasting a restaurant, wedding hall, nightspot, volleyball court, fitness club and even netted golf range.

The mock-liner has 211 rooms, with an assortment of plush suites and self-contained apartments.

Guests enjoy sloping, nautical-themed rooms complete with wooden panelling and 'porthole' windows.

The sound of waves crashing against the deck is played over loudspeakers to give guests a further realistic cruise ship experience.

While, the revolving sky bar is said to boast the best views of sunrise in the country.

Other bespoke features include a sea water swimming pool and a karaoke bar. Rooms start at pocket-friendly £45.12 a night(80,000 South Korean Won).

Sea you there!

 Source: Click HERE

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I see that Sky TV have generously produced and are currently screening a new commercial for the Motel Association of NZ (MANZ).

If you follow the money, Sky's motivation to appear to be the good-guy is fairly obvious. The enhanced commercial relationship with MANZ will assist Sky solidify their strong position as a monopoly provider for motels. In particular, this will also support Sky's efforts to divide-and-conquer the motel industry with the roll-out of their outrageously expensive Guest Select product.

The 15 second television commercial crams-in a lot of messages. It promotes the generic concept of motels and directs viewers to engage with MANZ members via a revamped website portal that can be used for direct online bookings.

MANZ may also be encouraging a higher level of customer feedback by standing behind their brand and assuring a level of customer satisfaction.

Overall the commercial does a great job...but nothing comes for free.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Barney's Motel - Our Rooms

In a continuing series, we study an example of how a modest motel business can reach out to consumers by developing a personality and using workplace humour to connect and break down barriers.

A renowned business success story that has been featured in newspapers, books and included in university marketing papers, is Barney's Motel. The motel uses workplace humour in an authentic way as a unique selling proposition and to communicate obvious shortcomings of a business that can't be easily remedied.

Using the wonders of the Wayback Machine, we've trolled around the internet graveyard and brought back to life selected pages from the deactivated Barney's Motel website.
Click for larger photo DOUBLE ROOMS
Our double rooms have 2 beds with a space between so your sleeping partner doesn't "accidently" roll into your slumber zone. Notice the wall lamps and alarm clock. When we finally pay our power bill and get some electricity happening - these are going to be very cool.
This is a different room ...really!
As you can see, some of our rooms have square headboards and some have kind of rounded like a partial moon. Oh ya, half moon - that's right. We did this not because we were trying to cheap out and buy second hand headboards that didn't match. We hired a decorative consultant from somewhere who said that because people come in all shapes and sizes that our headboards should reflect this. That's why our pillows look like that, too.
Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo BATHROOMS
All our bathrooms have 3 things that use water (4 if you include yourself). There's a toilet for going number one and number 2. There's a tub for going uhhh... number 3 (number 3 is going number 1 while standing up - if number 1 is what I think it is) and a sink for going number .... 6 (washing your hands is number 6 because this is where you remove the evidence of all the other numbers).
This room comes with a tanning light that will toast you to a golden brown by the time you check out in the morning. Please be sure to purchase some sun screen from our front office or that tan may start out as third degree burns! We must insist that you follow our Tanning Lights Out at 11 pm rule because with these 7,000 watt bulbs you'll be keeping your neighbours awake as well!
Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo HOLES IN WALLS
Barney had holes cut into some of the walls to allow the bright police seachlights to illuminate your room in the late evening. Being so close to the north pole, our guests welcome the comforting feeling of hearing police helicopters hovering overhead as the million candlepower beams flood the motel with daytime brightness. This is why we don't allow people to leave their pets in the vehicles - can you imagine the cleanup?!

STV time is at least as important as family time so we have a room set up with a bench where no one can get in the way of watching those Janet Jackson at the Superbowl reruns.
Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo It's CURRENT Information
How do you get a huge electro magnetic current happening without piling up electronic devices? Barney's a huge fan of George Lakhovsky and his Multiple Wave Ocillator and we might just have found a cure for cancer. You can try this at home by putting many things that use power - one on top of the other and voila - instant cancer cure (or cause .... I'm not quite sure). We also have cancer curing snacks in each room as well. Hey - you can get some too - they're from "Point the Bone Shaman Supplies" in Winnipeg, Manitoba!
All rooms have a couple of chairs that are not facing each other so you don't have to look directly at your partner. The seats look like they can be moved but they can't. We find it makes cleaning the rooms easier for us and the cost saving to the motel far outweighs the customer complaints we get. You can't see the TV from these seats but without power there's not much sense in staring at it anyway. Each room has it's own fingerprinting kit so you can leave your prints all over our walls like everybody else. It's the only chance we have to use our Wacky Wall Washer!
Click for larger photo

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Trouble With TripAdvisor…

Martin Kelly over at Travel Trends posts a thought provoking article on "the demon child" that wields enormous power in the on-line travel space - TripAdvisor.

At any gathering of accommodation providers, conversation about TripAdvisor can instantly raise blood pressure levels and divide a room. 

Unfortunately living and interacting with the demon child is not optional. Fighting TripAdvisor will only waste energy and get you beat-up, so the only way forward for accommodation providers is to adopt a positive attitude by increasing awareness, working with it and and accepting co-habitation.

Although the blame for the recent fall in fortunes for world's largest online travel company, Expedia has been pointed at the rise of TripAdvisor, there are other factors at play that include a rising trend for consumers to use TripAdvisor along with OTAs to research and then book direct.

So maybe the biggest future threat to TripAdvisor (and OTAs) will increasingly come from accommodation providers that are adopting their own highly accessible and intuitive online booking channels? 

We'd like to see that trend continue :-)
The Trouble With TripAdvisor…
31 July, 2013 by Martin Kelly

The trouble with TripAdvisor is …. that … it's … too … damn …. powerful. Even more powerful than it was a few weeks ago. One day it launches a new meta-search engine and the next – bam – the business of the world's largest online travel company, Expedia, goes through the floor.

Just like Google, TripAdvisor can make or break a company. The power of its (unsubstantiated) reviews is notorious. Has been for years. Now it has double the force. TripAdvisor is coming at you from both directions – if its reviews don't impact you in some way, its search engine will.

The recent second quarter results from TripAdvisor and Expedia, which once owned TripAdvisor and spun off its demon child in 2011, sum up the situation beautifully.

TripAdvisor made a lot more money in the second quarter than it did the year before – net profit was up 26% to USD67 million – while Expedia's result was down 32% to USD71.5 million.

Expedia CEO Dara whatshisname cited TripAdvisor's replacement of its product pop-ups  with a real honest to goodness search engine as the major factor.

No two ways about it, Expedia got slammed, in the process demonstrating how vulnerable, and perhaps unsustainable, it is.

Like all online travel agents, Expedia is utterly dependent on marketing – especially through online channels such as Google and TripAdvisor – to drive traffic and customers.

Feed the beast, spend more on advertising.

This approach has already brought a few online travel agents undone. is a great example here in Australia.

A mid-size operator, it collapsed under the weight of excessive marketing spend – read Google AdWords – a diktat from delusional management who could see no other way forward for a struggling business.

Feed the beast. It gets hungry.

But there's no long-term future in that.

Yet marketing budgets keep on growing.

For example, at Expedia marketing as a proportion of revenue reached a staggering 48.7% in Q2 compared with 42.4% the previous year.

In late 2008 Expedia's marketing as a percentage of revenue was 34.6%.

That's an increase of 40% (as a pecentage of revenue) in just five years.

At some point it has to stop. Or something will give.

Are the first cracks appearing?

Maybe so.

But what about TripAdvisor – where does it go from here?

Onwards and upwards you would think.

Its millions upon millions of reviews give it an enormous free presence on Google while it now more than 50 million members.

And membership spells loyalty – something that's many online travel businesses do not have.

Combine all that and you have a sustainable business model.

For now.
Source: Click HERE

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!