Monday, October 31, 2011

Jasons Travel Media - Back to the Future?

I'm reading Steve Jobs - A biography by Walter Isaacson at the moment. It's funny when a book you are reading at the time can often relate to events in real-time.

OK, so Apple's founder Steve Jobs was a bit of a narcissistic, control freak, however his success in business by giving consumers what they want (often before they knew what they wanted) is self evident.  He was not one to waste time with consultation or consumer focus groups:
"He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering . He and his colleagues at Apple were able to think differently. They developed not merely modest product advances based on  focus groups, but whole new devices and services that consumers did not yet know they needed."
One of Jobs' many legacies was revolutionizing how music is purchased and delivered.

In order to sell product through Apple's iTunes, incredibly music companies had to agree to give-up dealing with their consumers.

By allowing their artist's material to be sold by iTunes, music companies gave up direct relationships with their subscribers. By handing over control, music companies gave-up access to their consumers' email addresses and credit card numbers. By relenting and using iTunes as a sales channel for what became a substantial portion of the music market, music companies handed over the control  of their consumers to a third party - they were unable to bill them, communicate with them, upsell or introduce new products to them.

On the face of it, this was a crazy notion, however iTunes commoditised music and the consumer purchase and delivery experience was suddenly made simple, consistent, seamless and intuitive.

History will show that Apple through iTunes were able to add substantial value to the music industry that was in turmoil at the time. iTunes successfully grew the music market by delivering music to consumers using creativity with technology better than anyone could have imagined at the time. Ironically Apple were able to deliver music to the consumer, better than the music industry could've achieved themselves.

So what's this got to do with the title of this post?

I see that the following email was sent to all MANZ branches over the weekend:
"Subject: Jasons Update from Nelson Branch

The Nelson Branch of the Motel Assn is pleased with the outcome of very good meeting we had with Jasons CEO Kevin Francis and Founder John Sandford.   The branch is pleased with the undertakings given by Kevin and John. These will allow the accommodation provider to wind back the very unpopular changes Jasons made earlier this year.

This windback will reconnect the accommodation provider with their guests directly, using Jasons as the advertiser on the web and in print.   Accommodation providers will be able to return to handling customer enquiries and to processing their bookings directly.

With these changes in place it will be great to have Jasons back as a media company and restore their point of difference in this competitive market."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Get A Room!

Great write-up in today's business section of The Dom about young innovative go-getter, Veronica Nobbs that appears to have gotten the jump over larger Kiwi Online Travel Agencies. 

Nobbs has come up with a mobile app that can book last minute accommodation - with a twist.

iPhone users can book accommodation on-the-go, with a service accessible after midday that allows people to book a last-minute room for that night. The point of difference is that accommodation providers can offer surplus last-minute inventory at discounted prices after having a fair crack at selling rooms via other mainstream channels.

Customers that are stuck in town after an elongated meeting or have an opportune hook-up at an inner-city bar can whip-out their iPhone and "make a booking from launching the app to receipt in just ten seconds!" 

Get a Room sounds like a great concept and I love the supporting media:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

100% Pure You

In their latest promo video it is interesting that Tourism New Zealand have carried on edging the 100% Pure slogan away from solely an environmental reference to a focus more on the visitor experience with the new aspirational moniker "100% Pure You."

The 56.5 percent protest

Feeling a little left out by not taking part in a protest this week?

Are you enviously looking at those cool and windswept Occupy NZ protesters that have incredibly all managed to take time off work to rage about inequality, those nasty corporations and the "99 percent that are having to carry the one percent?” 

While enjoying an early camping holiday, I see that those earnest rag-tag protesting poseurs are manipulating a lot of space on social media platforms (run by corporations), using smartphones, cellphones and computers (made by corporations), encouraging donations to their bank accounts (run by corporations), wearing labeled clothing (made by corporations), parading obscure messages with cardboard signs and posters (made by corporations), screaming into obligatory megaphones (made by corporations), resting in tents and sleeping bags (made by corporations), capturing their protests with cameras and camcorders (made by corporations) and travelling around using cars, trucks, buses, ferries, planes and shoes (ALL made by corporations).  

This would be a great joke if this free hippy-holiday wasn't being subsidised (by you and me).

If you are reading this blog you are more than likely a producer and in the 56.5 percent of new Zealand households that pay net tax, so I'm suggesting that you take part in your own protest this Labour Weekend.

For all those 56.5 percenters that subsidise the other 43.5 percent of New Zealand households, I suggest you have a rest from propping-up others by taking the weekend off. Instead of trespassing and causing an eyesore by erecting tacky canvas habitats; Book into a motel and enjoy a laid back Labour Weekend that will hopefully include a celebrating a sporting win. You deserve it!

Get on-line now - There appears to be many pockets of motel accommodation still available.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jasons Respond

Of the two main Travel Media Companies in New Zealand there is only one that moteliers are consistently talking about....Not all comments about Jasons Travel Media are complimentary, however as their multi-media marketing campaign for the 2012 season is being progressively launched this month, moteliers are more than keen to observe and critique - and that's a good thing.

Part of Jasons roll-out this month is the "new and improved" CEO, Kevin Francis.

Kevin has started the job by hitting the road to mingle and listen to feedback from advertisers throughout the country and has as kindly responded to some comments on this blog:
"Thanks for the feedback. It has certainly been a challenging time recently and our changes could both have been communicated and timed better.

As one anonymous reader points out, the format of the guide is different and so the reduction is not the 30% that has been mentioned previously. This is a reflection of a number of factors, including diversification of marketing channels and the financial challenges facing the sector.

Jasons produce over 5.3 million print copies annually and distribute these to over 4,800 points within NZ as well as overseas. Our guides are also ordered online with over 13,000 being sent out last month alone. So I echo the comments that print is still alive and kicking.

Our aim is to deliver the consumer the information they require through all of the channels that they want it and the challenge for us all is to integrate and implement this multi channel model successfully.

I'm currently visiting our clients and channel partners throughout NZ and hosting events in a number of towns and cities to encourage feedback on how we can do better. Next week, I am in Queenstown, Christchurch, Nelson and Wellington.

I acknowledge that Jasons has taken its eye of the ball recently and we'll be striving to do better in the future.

Critical feedback is essential and I encourage any of our clients to contact me directly should they wish to do so.

Kevin Francis
Jasons Travel Media"

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I received an email today from a company that appears to have performed the rare feat of a "SMOG"- (Social Media Own Goal).

Up until I received their unsolicited email today, I have never heard of MagMed. Apparently they are a New Zealand company that distributes a quirky selection of "health and well-being products" that include infrared therapy cabins. The bulky cabins that can hold up to four people are "entirely designed and manufactured in Austria and Germany" and are optimistically claimed to provide an array of health benefits. Reading their website, the health benefits supposedly received from sitting in one of their European quality infrared therapy cabins seem almost too good to be true...

The company's directors are against deep sea drilling and we know this as they have decided to use their company's commercial database to bulk send emails to unsuspecting recipients urging them to sign a Greenpeace "petition against deep sea oil drilling in New Zealand's pristine waters."

Why a company would wish to use their commercial database to push a rabid political activist organisation that clothes itself in environmental rhetoric is beyond belief.

I can only speculate that MagMed in lieu of using nasty fossil fuels, are using some form of mystic yogic flying in the process of importing their product from a northern hemisphere manufacturer and distributing to their consumers in New Zealand. 

If you have received the email from them as below, I suggest that you click the "unsubscribe" link just in case the directors of MagMed continue to spam their business database with another one of their naive and deluded political causes.
(Click for a larger view)

Friday, October 7, 2011

RIP 1955 - 2011

What I admire about Steve Jobs the most is that he was an inspirational capitalist.

Jobs shunned an invitation to be part of the hand-wringing, grandstanding wealth apologists that formed The Giving Pledge, founded by Bill Gates and others to persuade the nation’s multimillionaires to give away their fortunes.

Jobs was often criticised by the left for his apparent lack of philanthropy and reluctance to be lured by the silly new-age corporate trend of turning businesses into a social service adjuncts. Thank goodness he didn't deviate.

Jobs singlemindedly devoted all of his energy and time (to the very last) into elevating Apple from a struggling enterprise into a formidable kick-ass company, creating thousands of jobs and changing the lives of millions of people. Not only is Jobs a hero of American capitalism, he is one of the modern-age's greatest contributors to society.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs

The Inseparable Sheep Twins

Hot on the heels of Rico the potty-mouthed-puppet we now have Air New Zealand's new social media ambassadors, The Inseparable Sheep Twins.

Those canny marketing folk at Air New Zealand certainly know how to divide a room to ensure a successful online viral campaign. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Motel Room Service

For moteliers, preparing and delivering guests' room service breakfasts happens at one of the busiest times of the day when overnight guests are checking out, awaking guests are discovering diverse reasons to contact reception and the first wave of inward phone calls are being received for the day. 

Moteliers that provide a breakfast service can find the process a stressful juggling exercise, however it is always important to look on the bright side. Breakfasts provide a lucrative added-value sale and it provides another opportunity for the motelier to connect with guests and leave a positive lasting impression.   

Last week I was having a partially busy morning, however all the stress was quickly washed away soon after delivering the last breakfast of the day. I was greeted at a guest room door by a lovely young lady wearing a smile and what appeared to be the world's smallest bath towel. 

I can now appreciate that the multi-task of a guest accepting a breakfast and a morning paper while trying to hold up a bath towel can be a difficult experience - after handing over the aforementioned items time seemed to stand still as the lady's towel dropped to the floor in the awkward process. 

Luckily I was more traumatized than she was...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is This National's Election Strategy?

Source: The Dim-Post

Quote Of The Day

"The Mad Butcher has become the cute baby every politician wants to kiss"

The Battle of the "Ugly Sisters"

Jasons Travel Media and AA Travel are often affectionately referred to as the "The Ugly Sisters" within the motel industry.

October is the time when both travel media companies release their traditional door-stop accommodation guides and it is always interesting to see who can hit the streets first.

I see that Jasons have trimmed down the bulk of its 2012 directory by 30 percent and is this year's winner...

Apple iPhone 4s

OK, so the outer body remains the same and Apple may miss out on sales from restaurant posers that wish to display to others that they have the latest smartphone eye-candy. There seems to be a lot of whinging that it's called a 4s and not a 5...however for my money, most of the major rumored features have been delivered...I still NEED one!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

iPhone 5 Frenzy Alert

Apple fan-boys are counting down for the unveiling of the iPhone 5 at Apple HQ on Tuesday 4 October in Cupertino, California. 

For us Kiwis that operate ahead of time in a different part of the world, we'll need to tune-in from 6am tomorrow to see the first official release of Apple's latest consumer object of desire.

I'm loving the build-up. There has been  the ongoing specification leaks and the now obligatory claim that yet another prototype has been uplifted from a bar. There will be "unprecedented" scenes of excitable Apple disciples forming orderly ques and camping outside stores. The media will be faithfully reporting the buying frenzy and rabid environmentalists that will be pouring cold-water over rampant consumerism. All of this will ensure that Apple will move over 100 million units of the new iPhone release in 2012. 

Those of us wannabe geeks that have been following the build-up all know that the screen will be bigger, the phone will be thinner with a more powerful processor, the camera will be better and there will be a vastly improved voice-recognition feature. Do we need or desire these features? not, however the iPhone5 is new and improved and will look sensational! 

Luckily for those folk that don't have time to pour over every last detail, those weird and quirky Taiwanese folk from Next Media Animation have managed to give us a heads-up with an exclusive preview.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Disturbing "Do Not Disturb" Signs

Those flimsy "Do Not Disturb" door signs used in hotels and motels allow guests that additional protective barrier to shut-out the outside world so that they may indulge in whatever the darkened confines of their rooms allow.

Having housekeeping staff bursting-forth at an inopportune time can be off-putting for all concerned.

Some accommodation providers have gone to a bit of trouble to make their Do Not Disturb signs into an art-form, giving them a unique point of difference.

For inspiration, I've assembled a round-up of Do Not Disturb signs from accommodation properties around the world. Photo number two is my favorite: Do Not Disturb *It's Disturbing Enough*

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

unusual do not disturb signs

Source: DJMick

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