Saturday, July 31, 2010

Host of the Year Winner

One highlight of the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) Conference is the Saturday gala night announcement of the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award. 

Moteliers are traditionally a reserved lot, so this award is an opportunity for them to gather, celebrate and pay homage to those that a doing that little bit extra in providing excellent quality customer service. 

This is the Academy Award for moteliers that exceed guests' expectations beyond the call of duty.

What we like about this award is that it unashamedly singles out a high achiever above all others and recognises the motel industry's biggest point of difference - the hosts. The award underlines that motels are part of the "hospitality industry" and the way they provide customer service and host their guests sets them apart from the scrum of other accommodation providers. 

The AA Supreme Host of the Year promotes the importance of the human element in the motel experience. It is a tremendous feel-good opportunity to record and recognise great deeds in hospitality. We like that.

So as an exclusive, sourced by a tweet from this evening's award ceremony, this year's winner of the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award are:
 Hat tip: John Gilbertson

Murray and Phillippa Brown from Abbey Travel Lodge Motel in Hamilton, we offer our hearty congratulations!

Best Motel/Hotel Movie Scenes? Part 1

Some of you sent us some uncomplimentary feedback from what we considered a classic motel scene in a recent post. 

So, we have done some intensive research and after an exhaustive 2-minute Google search we have found the survey results of the "Top 10 Best Motel/Hotel Movie Scenes compiled by hotel company Travelodge from more than 3,000 respondents. We have added some movie footage for good measure.

So, what are the "Top 10 Best Motel/Hotel Movie Scenes?" The results may surprise you.

In order to add to the suspense, we will be drawing this out one out by counting down to the number 1 best scene over several posts starting with:

Number 10. Pulp Fiction - Bruce Willis has a conversation with his girlfriend about her “pot belly” at the River Glen Motel.

9. Trainspotting - Ewan McGregor begins his runaway with a bag of cash

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Shagwell Mansions Hotel

The great thing about the internet is that from time to time you come across some real inspiration.

Like us, I am sure that you have often wondered what happens when Aussie culture is delicately blended with Thai culture?

Well dear readers, we have stumbled upon the answer! The appropriately named Shagwell  Mansions Hotel is located somewhere in Thailand, only a few minutes from a large shopping mall and a beach. The 62 room budget hotel offers the best of Australia with good old Aussie grub, Fosters larger on tap, pokies, televised horse racing and more!

Thailand culture is of course not forgotten and can be sampled with the assistance of the friendly, helpful nubile Asian woman that strangely seem to be in abundance within the complex.

Looks like a great accommodation concept - we hope it catches on!


Jasons Travel Media's Digital Future

For many years the motel industry has outsourced a substantial chunk of its advertising budget to Jasons Travel Media in print and more latterly this has included a web media mix.

We see that Jasons had its AGM on Wednesday and has revealed the details of its future direction. Not surprisingly most innovation will occur in the online domain. 

Jasons 12-month financial results to 31 March 2010 have already been announced with headlines proclaiming that Jasons took a profit hit with net profit falling by 31% to $553,000. However, revenue increased 4.2% to $14.6 million in a relatively competitive and tough market. The decrease in profitability has been blamed on reduced advertising by customers in the 2009/10 local guides and continued losses in Australia. 

So what is Jasons future?

At their AGM, it was announced that print will still be strong, however future investment will be mainly web based. There seems to be little debate that the internet space is where travel media companies will need to offer more innovative solutions and clip the ticket if they are to survive.

In time for the AGM, Jason's Chief Executive Matthew Mayne was able to show-off their new freshly revamped website at that is supported by mainstream social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The website now has a clean contemporary look and the user experience has been made more intuitive.

 From our point of view, the biggest change to the website has been the long awaited introduction of the "Stayed, Paid and Raved" feedback platform that will enable guests that stay at accommodation listed on the Jasons website to upload reviews. Guests that book through the Jasons booking engine will be sent an email after their accommodation stay inviting them to complete an online review of their experience. This "authenticated" feedback will be for public display and will be differentiated from feedback received from unsolicited sources.

In a soft travel market, online reservations stand out by continuing a rapid growth. New Zealand closely follows the Australian market which is growing at 15% year on year and is expected to be worth $6.7bn by 2015.

The future for Jasons appears to be focused on increasing their market share in the online accommodation booking market. They have been able to succeed as major player in print distribution, however the on-line game has many existing successful platforms and many other travel companies are vying for a piece of the action.

The challenge for Jasons is to lure a loyal following of travellers that will regally use their services in a crowded market while maintaining their accommodation subscribers that appear to have more  options than ever to spend their advertising budget.

Jasons investors will be looking at, Lonely Planet as inspiration for future more profitable returns. The UK based travel media company was able to turn a UK£3.2 million loss in 08/09 into a £1.9 million profit for the year ending March 31 2010 on the back of growing digital revenues and increasing web traffic.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NZ's Top Hotel

With most competition there is a clear winner and it is important to celebrate and use the success of others to benchmark and provide motivation.

We are not surprised that The George in Christchurch has been awarded the Top New Zealand City Hotel as announced in the annual Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2010.

Their excellent website, is a good reflection of the hotel's understated elegance.

Will ETS pose a major barrier to tourism?

In our post HERE we asked the question: "Will ETS encourage tourism?" 

Tourism branding administrators and other non-producers in the tourism industry are predicting that an eco-socially sensitive world would beat a path to our doorway because of the introduction of New Zealand's ETS guilt tax. They say that ETS will solidify New Zealand's rightful place in the world as the epitome of a clean, green 100% pure country. 

We say that ETS could pose a major barrier to tourism.

We were interested in a recent Otago University research found that consumers care more about the price of fresh produce than its origin or how much of an impact it has on the environment. 

Today we see that another study has found that increased fuel prices that will be partly imposed by ETS will not necessarily deter tourists from travelling to New Zealand, but they are likely to spend less once they're here.
"Associate Professor Susanne Becken, lead researcher for the Tourism and Oil project, says most tourists are not price sensitive, because New Zealand is not a cheap holiday destination. She says tourists are willing to pay increased prices for travelling within New Zealand and also for tourist attractions.

But Ms Becken says their research has found tourists are likely to make cuts, by eliminating visits to some destinations, eating at restaurants and making compromises on accommodation.

She says Asia is the most price sensitive of New Zealand's major tourism markets."
With over 70% of guest nights in motels being domestic based, motel operators will be taking a cursory glance at studies that predict the behavior of overseas visitors and and looking for clues on how this will relate to domestic tourism trends. After all, it is domestic tourism that is the backbone of the tourism industry that provides the infrastructural base that overseas visitors enjoy.

ETS has been introduced as a guilt-tax to change Kiwi's behavior of enjoying a modern society.  It is worrying that domestic travel is a major target.

At least we can cling on to the hope that ETS will follow most other government initiatives that attempted to control social behavior that ended up failing miserably;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Host of the Year Finalists

One highlight of the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) Conference is the announcement of the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award. This is the Academy Award for moteliers that exceed guests' expectations beyond the call of duty.

The AA Supreme Host of the Year underlines the importance of the human element of the motel experience. It is a tremendous feel-good opportunity to record and recognise great deeds in hospitality. We like that.

The four finalists are:
Murray & Phillippa Brown from Abbey Travel Lodge Motel in Hamilton
Neil & Margaret Brimblecombe from Barclay Motel in Hamilton
Graham & Alison Shaw from Coachman Motel in Taihape
Mark & Maureen Gane from Queens Park Motels in Invercargill
The winner will be announced at the MANZ Conference being held in Hamilton this weekend.

Hotel Peephole Conspiracy

Will the threat of litigation make the obligatory hotel peephole consigned to history? 

Glamorous 32 year old ESPN sports reporter, Erin Andrews is taking legal action against several hotels after she was secretly filmed nude inside hotel rooms through the door’s peephole in 2008 by a serial stalker.  

Obviously we are following this story with great interest.

Andrews is suing Marriott International and Radisson Hotels International for negligence, emotional distress and invasion of privacy. 

There has also been at least one other copycat incident that has been reported since the Andrews story. A family from Nebraska has claimed that their daughters were filmed from a hole drilled in an adjacent guestroom while staying at a hotel. 

In both cases, the culprits approached a hotel and requested that they check-in to rooms that were adjacent to their victims that were identified by them. The hotels obliged without question. This allowed the culprits not only to confirm that their victims were staying at a hotel, but also which room they were staying in.

In another incident, we did a post HERE back in February last year about a Hollywood motel that upset a guest when they discovered that their room's peephole had been supposedly installed backwards - they were unable to see out, but others could see in!

From a seemingly simple unguarded acts, the hotels have exposed themselves to a storm of bad publicity and also face the risk of extreme financial penalty from legal retribution of the victims. 

Accommodation establishments have a duty of care while providing guests a place of peaceful enjoyment. It will be interesting to see how the American legal system in the Andrews case will determine what the hotels' responsibility should have been. 

In the interim it may be a good opportunity for accommodation providers to reflect on their privacy policies and in particular consider how best to deal with adjacent room requests.

So will the threat of litigation make the obligatory hotel peephole consigned to history? Well probably not, however they will soon all be fitted with a security flap.

Hump Day Inspiration

Hat tip: Not PC

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Motel Spring Clean

We are busy using the winter period to renovate our motel rooms and spring clean.

We are also in decluttering mode and are getting rid of all those items moteliers love to collect in their shed - those old carpet remnants, motel furnishings and appliances etc that have long been cast aside and stored away "just in case."

The web team at Motella have even given this blog a wee makeover.

We have done a few under the hood changes to make the blog load faster and you may have noticed that we have freshened the look somewhat by using a more subtle colour palette.

At the bottom of every post we have added to our existing sharing tools: Facebook's "Like" icon for you to share individual posts with your Facebook friends.

The navigation tabs near the top of the blog have been remodeled - Give them a test drive. Be sure to check out our FOLLOW tab for our social network links and our WIDGETS tab for a range of cool dynamic widgets that you can add to your website or blog.

Our ADVERTISE tab gives you a couple of options to advertise on our blog and our new MERCHANDISE tab has some stylish branded items for you to purchase.

Please feel free to continue contacting us direct, however don't feel shy to click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of every post and have your say. We don't mind if you don't agree with our rants - in fact we enjoy it more when you don't;-)

Live Tweets From The MANZ Conference

OK, now that we've got your attention....

We note that the Motel Association of NZ (MANZ) will be holding their annual conference this weekend in Hamilton.

The number of motel operators making the pilgrimage to conference this year will be a measure of the heart of the motel industry. Moteliers need to have a positive focus at the moment and many operators will be looking to the conference to provide a tonic to counter challenging economic times.

Sadly the small team at Motella are once again mere voyeurs, however we will have the opportunity to follow and share proceedings via live tweets from folk embedded within the conference walls.

Tweets with the hashtags of #MANZC will identify tweets and we will be setting up a live tweet widget on this blog later this week to collate all tweets.

All tweets using #MANZC from conference are welcome.

We hope to view some pertinent comments and observations of the conference program, however we urge those live tweeters to continue "after dark" so that we can be enlightened with the gossip and innuendo that makes conferences so much fun;-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Can We Save The Maori Language?

I trust that you are enjoying the start of Maori Language Week that kicked off today. After all, you're paying for it.

Maori Language Week this year will have a food theme. Sort of ironic when you consider that a vast chunk will be eaten into the estimated $250 million that the government spends on Te Reo initiatives. Additional funding will be generously topped up by socially responsible councils.

Government websites, television, radio and newspapers will be regularly dropping-in Te Reo catch-phrases. Children along with their parents will be spending a lot of time on the internet answering Maori language worksheets from school. Valuable collateral such as Te Reo branded colour booklets, recyclable shopping bags, temporary tattoos, posters, pens, balloons, t-shirts and more will be given away to all and sundry.

So what are the outcomes since you and I started funding Te Reo initiatives? Well, the numbers of fluent speakers of Maori have plummeted from 70,000 in the 1970s to just 18,000 today.

Not surprisingly, questions are being raised about the efficiency of the Government's estimated $250 million spend. 

So to recap, the government has spent millions to promote Maori language by intervention and coercion and one of the unintended consequences has been that the language has declined.

We hope for the sake of the Maori language that government and councils immediately withdraw funding to enable the free market to distribute resource more effectively to those that really want it.

That would be a shame, because we really wanted one of those cool Te Reo branded recyclable shopping bags...

Entirely World Famous in Coromandel

You may remember Nicquel Rhoden? We followed her progress earlier this year on the 3-month "Entirely World Famous New Zealand Tour."

Entirely Kiwi, a Christchurch-based reservation specialist, ran a competition to  recruit a person to the position of "the best job in New Zealand." Nicquel, a vivacious Aussie was chosen from a cast of hundreds and awarded a three-month expenses paid trip all over New Zealand to become “Entirely World Famous in New Zealand.”

Nicquel's job was to travel the length of New Zealand in an odyssey promoting the country as a tourist destination. Her experiences were captured on blogs, tweets and facebook. The mainstream media picked up the story along the way with spots on radio, newspapers and television.

We were so taken with this campaign that we hosted Nicquel and her possie on one of her many New Zealand stopovers. "Motella" was also a supporting sponsor by tracking Nicquel's movements as she showcased the best of New Zealand travel while having a blast on her trip of a lifetime. 

This was a great campaign that attracted some excellent multi-media coverage. 

While it was Nicquel's job to inspire New Zealand travel to others, we note that she must have been so inspired by the publicity she helped generate that she has left Australia and emigrated to New Zealand. 

We see that Nicquel has recently secured a position with Tourism Coromandel and we wish her all the best.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

If New Zealand was a motel?

The Homepaddock blog have alerted us to Jim Hopkins's column in today's New Zealand Herald that poses the question: "If New Zealand was a motel?" 

Our first thought that it would be pretty cool if New Zealand was a motel. We could offer a secure safe haven for the world to enjoy, all guests would be welcome and they could park right outside their room. At the end of each successful day we could celebrate by switching-on a red neon "No Vacancy" sign for all to see.

Jim Hopkins seems to have other ideas and we reckon he's done a better job that our initial Pollyanna vision:
"If New Zealand was a motel, there'd be a great big "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door - to keep the world at bay. It would hang on the handle all day, every day, telling rowdy yobbos like change and decline to keep the noise down because we're trying to sleep and would be very grateful if they'd refrain from raucous clamour.
If New Zealand was a motel, every unpleasantness would be banished, no hard choices would be made and all the ticking time bombs would sound so faint that the sleepwalkers of Godzone would never be rudely awakened from their complacent slumber.
If New Zealand was a motel, there'd be no need to consult the menu in the restaurant. We would always know what we were going to have.

"Are you ready to order?" the waiter would ask, his disagreeably foreign accent suggesting he wasn't really here to serve but for some more sinister purpose, like buying a farm.

If New Zealand was a motel, our response would be brusque.

"Yes," we would reply, "we'll have what we had yesterday. Nothing different, thank you, no unpleasant surprises. We like what we had yesterday. We want every day to be yesterday. More of the same, please."
"Would you care to try a little Schedule 4 land with that?" the waiter might inquire.

"0.2 per cent, perhaps?"

"Did we have any yesterday?" we'd reply. And the waiter would shake his head..."
Article continues: Click HERE

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reno 911 Miami Classic Motel Scene

Reno 911 Miami is a fairly average formula American comedy but it has a classic scene that took place at the 1950s International Inn on Miami Beach.

The 70-room motel features Queen sized beds, free local calls, HBO, smoking rooms are available AND you can enjoy a dip in the motel pool.

Tariff is fairly reasonable at USD$39.00 single / $USD44.00 double.

Judging by the reviews on Yahoo Travel, it would appear to be an "honest" and unpretentious property.
"Dirty and noisy and smelly however the location is phenomenal and that is the cheapest price on the Beach for a hotel. Also is was filmed in the movie Reno 911 Miami! :)"

"The hotel is located in a fairly good place and is probably the cheapest you can find on the beach. The only problem was the young girl working at the front desk, talk about being rude, when I went to ask some questions it seems she got pissed because she was on the phone and had to hang up. If they get some front desk employees with customer service skills, I would stay there again."

"Bus to south beach stops right outside, 39$ for a room during spring break and not even booked in advance is pretty good. Not the cleanest or quietest place I've been to, but who cares. You don't spend time there for anything else than sleeping and showering anyway."

The Emergence Of A New Accommodation Sector?

HomeAway is an OTA that claims to have the world’s largest collection of vacation rental homes with nearly 480,000 listings across 120 countries. At this stage, New Zealand private homeowners appear to be lagging behind with only 50 listings on the site. 

We featured HomeAway in a post earlier this year HERE when they launched a worldwide campaign to convince the travelling public to forget about those pesky hotels and motels and rent private homes instead. They put their money where their mouth is by spending millions to spread the word by trashing the concept of conventional commercial accommodation!

The centerpiece for HomeAway's multi-media advertising campaign, was the production of  a mini movie they called, “Hotel Hell Vacation” using the return of Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and the Family Truckster from the 1980s Griswold's Family Vacation movies. The movie (below) shows us just how bad a hotel experience can be and compares this to a beautiful seaside private residence at the end of the Griswold's latest road trip.

Behind the hilarity and ingenuity of this this campaign is a major player in the private rental holiday home sector seriously challenging the motel and hotel sectors.  

HomeAway aren't having it all their own way. The concept of the public renting out private residential property for short stay accommodation is being threatened with pending legislation.

It was interesting to read that New York City are currently contemplating a landmark bill that will ban vacation rentals for durations of less than 30 days. 

The stated purpose of the bill is to bar property owners from keeping New York City dwellings off the housing market by renting them out to vacationers. New York hoteliers have been reported to be lobbying in favour of the bill as a way to clamp down on competition from vacation-rental owners.

The issue is not limited to New York City with Paris, also cracking down on apartment rentals. 

Meanwhile in New Zealand, there seems to be few restrictions for the short-term rental of private dwellings.

Kiwi domiciled websites such as the AA's Bookabach and TradeMe's Holidayhouses are generating increased traffic on the web and are consistently ranking in the top 10 of the most popular travel websites for accommodation.

There seems to be no shortage of rental product with  claiming to have 4,200 batches and holiday homes for holiday rental and with 6,700 options. Members of the public can spend hours browsing a wide array of alternative short term rental options. We suspect that the IRD also invest many hours scouring listings ;-)

We are interested to follow this trend and wonder where this is taking us?

BS Removal Kit

Loving this...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Motel Hosts At Risk!

Motelier men are closely following the story in the New Zealand Herald of a homestay host catching his 45-year-old wife having sex with a teenage foreign student the couple were hosting.

Quite rightly, the aggrieved husband is somewhat incensed about the situation and is demanding that the Education Ministry to take responsibility by issuing guidelines on sexual matters.

We wonder if the Ministry of Tourism should also be issuing guidelines to foreign tourists staying at motels. We are concerned that motel-wives throughout the country of a certain age may be susceptible to foreign guests' advances.

Without the safety net of  a government department advisory notice we predict that many hapless motelier men are at risk catching their wives inappropriately gratifying wily foreign guests.

You have been warned!

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand's  Atlas Shrugged was released in 1957 and is often referred to as "the second most influential book for Americans today, after the Bible."

Every few years I attempt to re-read Rand's weighty tomb.

I wont bang on about the storyline as this has been covered all over the web, however the book's philosophies such as the advocacy of reason, individualism, capitalism and the failure of government coercion seem even more relevant today than they did over fifty years ago. The parallels outlined in the book on current world events is astonishing.

There are so many side-stories behind the book including the reasons why there has not yet been a film adaption. It is highly likely that any film director or actor that took on the project of bringing the epic doorstop of a book to the big screen would be forever tainted and crucified by an outraged Hollywood left-wing and the book's loyal devotees that would struggle with any necessary artistic license used in the film.

So, it was with some interest that we read that producer, businessman John Aglialoro that holds the film rights started on production last month.

The odds of producing a worthy film would seem to be stacked against Aglialoro. It has been reported that the big movie studios have shied away from financing the production and the movie's budget is in the ballpark of only $5 million. There is speculation that timing of the production has been rushed at the last minute due to the film rights expiring by June 2010. There also appears to be no named actors taking part.

We are hoping for either a miracle against adversity or that the Atlas Shrugged publicity machine is playing possum by downplaying expectations. Either way we are curious to see the result on celluloid.

In the interim, thanks to Not PC we see that a documentary is nearing release on Atlas Shrugged:
"See why Atlas Shrugged continues to have a major impact on American society fifty years after its publication. Watch for more information on the release of this documentary film—coming soon!"
Looks interesting:

For those dear readers that have yet to read Atlas Shrugged, send me an email to with your address details and I will send the most amusing reply a copy of the book. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Inconvenient Truth

We are enoying following the saga of the world's greatest hypercritical scam artist, Al Gore. It's a gift that keeps on giving!

The high priest of global warming hysteria has long leached upon the weak and gullible that have made him a multi-millionaire.

We are not ones to gossip and get no pleasure from the fall from grace of a former Nobel Prize winner, however we observe that "Al Bore" is having the blowtorch applied to his credibility by a usually sympathetic media that have appeared to have grown tired of cutting and pasting his rhetoric.

The story so far: 

Gore's long suffering wife finally sees through his staged facade and has leaves him after what must have been an excruciating 40 years of marriage.

Soon after there are accusations of Gore behaving like a "crazed sex poodle" by massage therapist while relaxing in a Portland hotel room.

Now we have two more female massage therapists that have appeared out of nowhere and have claimed that Gore made unwanted sexual advances. The first incident allegedly took place in a Beverly Hills luxury hotel when Gore was in Hollywood to in 2007 to pick up an Academy Award for his science fiction fantasy movie, Inconvenient Truth.

The second incident allegedly occurred a year later at a Tokyo hotel.

Al Gore can at least console himself that behind the closed doors of motel and hotel rooms, many people harbour Inconvenient Truths.

Extreme Long Boarders

Thanks to blogger Cameron Slater, the following video showing extreme long-board skaters hurtling down the Bombay Hills expressway at speeds of up to 100kmh is destined to go viral.

The New Zealand Herald has helped elevate the video after picking up the story with the obligatory reaction from the NZ police.  

We love this video. Although the skaters were Canadians, we could view the video as part of a promotion for New Zealand as an extreme sport destination;-)


We see that the longboard video story has now made it onto television as online views on YouTube rapidly increase:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Lesson in Self-Promotion

Lisa Lewis is a shameless self-promoter and a friend of the Motella Blog.

The tourism industry can learn a lesson from Lisa's professional dedication, manipulation of the mainstream media and her clever use of various networking platforms on the internet for promotion.

With Lisa, it seems most things are for sale and we are following closely one her her most prized possessions up for offer on TradeMe - A bitch'n black Holden v8 ute emblazoned with purple lightning graphics. The auction winner will have the pleasure of Lisa personally delivering the black beast.

We reckon this is the perfect vehicle for moteliers to use to pick up those essential motel supplies from the local cash'n carry. Better be quick, the auction HERE closes this Saturday.

In order for viewers to inspect the car in greater detail, Lisa has kindly provided a short video of her time at the carwash giving the ute its final going over.

eTourism Conference

We attended the inaugural eTourism Conference in Wellington last year and were blown-away with the slick organisation, quality of the speakers and caliber of the delegates.

For us it was a no-brainer to register again this year for the 2nd eTourism Conference, 31 August and 1 September being held in Auckland.

Lea Boodée  from onCue Conferences + Events has given us a run-down on what to expect:
"A spectacular line up of speakers will provide delegates with terrific insight into some of the latest marketing trends and business practices in the tourism industry in the digital age. Speakers will present how to take advantage of the latest social media and mobile marketing tools, and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing tourism operators and marketers in an ever-changing online business environment. This conference will leave you buzzing with new ideas to implement when you return to the office, saving you weeks of research and valuable time!"
As a bonus, this year "The TourismTech Expo" will run concurrently at the Ellerslie Event Centre and entry will be free of charge for eTourism attendees. 

Sounds great!

In order to encourage more fellow moteliers to join us this year, "Motella" has become a Supporting Sponsor of the eTourism Conference. 

We have registered online HERE, booked the flights, reserved a hotel room and look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Destination Marketing - Porirua

Embarking upon a tourism destination campaign requires a lot of hard work and serious contemplation.

There are usually four steps that you should go through:
1. The Situation Analysis
A situation analysis is the overall process of collecting and interpreting internal, competitive and environmental information.

2. Program Planning: Development of Marketing Objectives and Strategies
Develop effective marketing strategies by developing marketing objectives

3. Implementation
Coordinate programmes in an effort to achieve the plan’s goals and meet its objectives. Timing is a vital factor of consideration during the implementation stage. It affects the placement of advertising and the degree of impact the marketing effort will have on the targeted market.

4. Evaluation

After careful planning and implementation of the marketing strategies, they must be evaluated in order to determine how successful they have been in achieving the expected or projected.
Or you can simply take the p*ss! 

And what better strategy to take when you are outlining the virtues of ... PORIRUA:


Managing a Crisis

It is interesting following the news coming out the Gulf of Mexico and it is difficult to put it all in perspective.

Just what is going on? Has the oil leak been sealed or not?

Luckily a dear reader has sent us the the definitive "New Zealand" insight into BP's oil spill crisis management.

Hat tip: Jan

Monday, July 19, 2010

A pause in transmission

Busy week this week. The school holidays are over, so our usual patterns of hosting company reps during the week continues with gusto.

We are using the cooler months to refurbish rooms and are now past the half way point. It's a fantastic feeling selling a "new" product and it gives us confidence to keep moving that average tariff in the right direction.

It's my turn to hit the road again to return my boy to boarding school, so will enjoy one last bonding session with him for a while. He has made sure that his cell phone, PSP and iPod have been fully charged in order to survive the ordeal of being trapped in a car with a parent for several hours.

Usual transmission will continue when I return...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

HOST Accommodation - Meet the family

We may be biased, but we reckon that HOST Accommodation is New Zealand's leading accommodation group. They seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment, are upbeat and shunning hard economic times.

From what we have observed, they know how to have FUN!

Last month, HOST Accommodation providers gathered for their annual conference in Christchurch and we hear that it was well patronised by some very enthusiastic folk. 

So what really goes on behind the scenes when normally mild-mannered moteliers bond together? 

Our spys have sent us the following video of some of the activities - Check it out and see if you recognise anyone ;-)


UK Overstayer

We urge you to head over to the New Zealand Herald's opinion column by Peter Bills titled: New Zealand - 100% Pure Rip-off. 

UK ex-pat, Bills has endured living in New Zealand since 1975 and managed to get under the skin of most insecure, oversensitive Kiwis by critiquing a carefully selected shopping list of prices paid on his domestic travels.

Bills acknowledges that petrol is much cheaper than back 'ome, but claims that in just about every other field, hotels, car hire, restaurant food, wine, clothes or whatever, we are the victims of massive overcharging.

We are not completely sold! While reading his column, we can clearly hear the entrenched whining pommy accent of someone with a cloth-cap firmly in place.

It is amusing that Bills supposedly tries to book into an inner city 5-star hotel during a major sporting event and expects a bargain! It was pleasing however that he was able to appreciate value while staying at the the Boulevard Waters Motor Lodge overlooking Lake Taupo @ $158 a night.

As an indication of New Zealand's relative average hotel room rates on a world scale, a recent survey recently released by placed Auckland as one of the world's least expensive spots. Only Manila and Warsaw managed to have the dubious honour of achieving lower average tariff.

There could be a few gems of reality within the column inches, however Bills appears to fall victim to a common misconception of many travellers that compare prices or services between countries and struggle to grasp current realities, differences in exchange rates and compare apples with oranges.

From our experience, Bills's somewhat naive and biased observations are not typical from our overseas guests, particularly those visitors that are fortunate enough to start their holiday with a pocket full of sterling.

** UPDATE **

We see that it has been reported that: "Tourism leaders reject 'too dear' claim" 

Hospitality Association boss, Bruce Robertson summed it up succinctly by saying: 
"People are getting excited about one-off examples at the extreme end."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tourism Efficiency Drive

As expected, John Key - PM and Minister of Tourism today confirmed to fully integrate the Ministry of Tourism into the Ministry of Economic Development.

The decision has mirrored a recommendation by consultancy firm, Martin Jenkins and Associates that have completed a major review of the government's tourism sector agencies.

John Key has stated
"I have made it clear that, just as with all other parts of the bureaucracy, I expect my key tourism agencies to lift their game and provide better value for money."
The  devil is in the detail, however we believe that this is a step in the right direction and agree with the rhetoric.

The Tourism Sector Agencies review may give us further clues what role the government will continue to play within the tourism sector:

Review of Government's Tourism Sector Agencies

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guest Satisfaction Online

Online guest reviews for accommodation have been around for some time, however Google have now made it possible for the public to rate any business or other map landmark.

You may have noticed that Google have elevated their maps near the top of search. These "place pages" by Google hold a wealth of information. Not only can a browser pinpoint the location and contact details of a particular business, they also have the opportunity to read detailed information including aggregated reviews. 

In order to increase the volume and coverage of reviews on its Place Pages, Google is now obtaining data beyond traditional specialised review sources (eg: Trip Advisor) to new, non-traditional sites such as blogs, newspaper articles, etc. 

Any browser with a Google account can also post their own review, so it is not only accommodation providers that should be monitoring their online reputation.

OK, so what's with the Seattle Sperm Bank?

Well, that publishes "epic fail funny pictures and videos" thought it was fairly humorous that a Sperm Bank had a Google Page that included a user review. When they published a screen shoot of a Google search for the Seattle Sperm Bank there was only one review from a chap named Andrew that gave it a 5-star rating and commented: "What can I say, I love coming here."

Failblog published this yesterday and we can now see that the reviews have swollen to 29.

Here's some of our favourites :

Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Lance
I was standing in line, minding my own business and trying to maintain the mental picture of Bea Arthur in a lace teddy to keep my semi-wood going when an obvious "streetwalker" cuts in front of me and says in a very garbled tone due to her mouth being full; I'd like to make a deposit". Once this rude lady left, I was off to the races filling cups like I was playing "Root Beer Tapper". Love the concept of punch card too!

Don't forget
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Bruce
To shake everyones hand on the way out. They LOVE that!

Great location!
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Pat
I totally saw this coming. When I was last here the Teller could not contain her excitement as I walked through the front door. Definitely a great place to come and deposit some miniature me's

Very convenient
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Chris
It was very well located; I could unload the goods, then visit my grandma at the nearby Calvary Cemetery: 2 birds, 1 stone!

Mediocre magazines, great hard working staff!
Rated 5.0 
out of 5.0 By Pete
Some other sperm banks might splurge on more high end adult reading material, this place certainly has a firm grip over its budget. The staff was helpful and encouraging, though.

Very Friendly Staff
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Paul
The nice lady said to me as I was leaving "Thank you, please come again."

Place is full of w*nkers
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 By bozo5
Very disappointed. Staff are friendly but other customers are a bunch of w*nkers.

Don't be ashamed
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 By Redbeard
To ask for the bigger cups

Kinda shows you that folk are becoming more inclined to share their experiences online;-)

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