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As the world continues to work through one of the most paralyzing periods of economic crisis, one economic sector is actually gaining wide-scale appreciation for its ability to generate employment, revenues, and investment and unity: the global tourism sector. Fueling growth of the sector is the growing hunger for travel within, and to, the BRICS nations (Brasil, Russia, China, India, South Africa).
India, one of the world’s largest out-bound travel nations and most exciting inbound destinations, continues to fuel worldwide travel activity. Under this premise, and with the poignant theme, “Addressing Change – Rebrand, Reposition, Reinvent,” the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) held its annual convention in Macao, China, from November 22-25, 2011. The convention was a calling together of over 1,200 of India’s travel business leaders and agency owners from Air India and Kingfisher Airlines to Nomad Tours and Cox and Kings. With an agenda focused on essential strategies and tools for business growth, including the role of the agent, business development strategies and partnerships, adoption of technology, evolving media, and CRM, the 2011 TAFI Convention was undoubtedly one of India’s most important travel conventions of 2011.
National Geographic Traveller (UK) has put together its 2012 Hot List in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue, featuring a month-by-month guide to next year’s top travel spots, packed with tips and inspiration for even the most jaded globetrotter. Canvassing the opinion of more than 50 experts — from tour operators to travel journalists, tourist boards to guidebook writers — we’ve uncovered the year’s must-see spots and must-do dates. www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/hotlist2012
Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller, said: “Instead of listing the top 10 destinations for 2012 we thought we’d try something different and came up with a different idea for each month. From the familiar to the less-discovered, natural phenomenon to special events, it’s the ultimate month-by-month destination planner for 2012.”
The Hot List 2012 >>
Famed Michelin-starred Chef Michel Roux is featured on Shaw TV's Studio 4 with Fanny Kiefer and discusses his new cookbook Desserts. Allen, along with other authors, contributed to finish the project.
By the new Top Selling Book "Desserts" >> HotelierTV Book Shop <<
Management of Food and Beverage Operations has new discussion of food service technology. Goals of Management of Food and Beverage Operations are: To provide an up-to-date introduction for those who are considering a management career in commercial and noncommercial food service.
To reinforce basic knowledge and provide fresh perspectives for those who currently manage food service operations. To provide a source of information useful in food and beverage training programs.
The Food Service Industry Organization of Food and Beverage Operations Fundamentals of Management Food and Beverage Marketing Nutrition for Food Service Operations The Menu Standard Product Costs and Pricing Strategies Preparing for Production Production Food and Beverage Service Sanitation and Safety Facility Design, Layout, and Equipment Financial Management
You can purchase the book from our Book Club at:: Hotelier Book Club
Written specifically for students taking marketing modules within a hospitality course it contains examples and case studies that show how ideas and concepts can be successfully applied to a real-life work situation. It emphasises topical issues such as sustainable marketing, corporate social responsibility and relationship marketing.
It also describes the impact that the internet has had on both marketing and hospitality, using a variety of tools including a wide range of internet learning activities.
This book covers essential barware, glassware (with drawings), mixers/garnishes, and techniques (including how to flame a drink & how to properly layer drinks). The drink recipes are broken down into these categories: Cocktails Classique, The Martini, Urban Chic, Punch Up That Party, From the Tropics, Naughty Drinks, and Finishing Touches. The drinks I have tried so far have been very good, and have a good jumping board for alcohol to mixer ratio in each recipe.
There is also a glossary with some brief descriptions of the liquors, types of cocktails (ie Sling, Rickey), and various other terms associated with mixing.
Perhaps the most helpful part of this book is the index. This lists all the drinks first by name, then by primary alcohol, and finally by color/flavoring. Very handy when you have only one particular liquor on hand. Overall, it's perhaps the only book needed for a casual at home mixing experience.
Hotel user generated content has become one of the most important elements in a hotel’s marketing mix and reputation management strategy. Ioannis S. Pantelidis, senior lecturer in Hospitality at University of Brighton and columnist for hotel-industry.co.uk reviews developments on the hotel user generated content landscape.
The consumer has always been the king when it comes to hospitality, but never before has the consumer had such an arsenal at their disposal to express their views (both positive and negative) about a property.
Social media has revolutionised the ways our customers communicate with one another and with us. There are plenty of online articles that discuss the various sites that users use such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and YouTube to name a few, but few articles have tried to understand or analyse the actual content itself and its real impact on hotels (although we have enough academic articles to shed some light).
In this article I shall try to categorise customer generated content and alert hoteliers to some type of content that they may not currently consider important.
Hoteliers must remember that one thing that has changed the game rules is the speed of development of mobile technology which enables the online creation and uploading of image and video content at amazing speed and ease.
Unless new media capabilities revolutionise the way we communicate yet again, we can safely categorise the type of user generated content in one of four categories – and often it can be a combination of all four.
Lets look at each category in turn:
Written reviews by visitors tend to be the most common content generated by guests and the evidence suggest that unlike the common myth that you hear more from a disgruntled guest than a happy one, in cyberspace the largest percentage of comments tend to be positive.
A few months ago we had hoteliers promising to sue Tripadvisor over comments they felt where not sincere about their hotels and recently we have a similar scenario, but this time with restaurants considering similar action.
The fear that hospitality people exhibit when it comes to online reviews is not justified. Customers that use social media are so Internet savvy they are very likely to see through the machinations of one disgruntled customer or even a competitor who attempts to give a property a bad reputation.
For example, take the Cock and Bull scenario where the restaurateur was unhappy about a really negative comment that he felt it could not possibly be true. A closer inspection of the poster reveals that this person has only ever posted ONCE – this single negative comment and never again.
Do not underestimate your customers: they do not easily trust a one-off review from posters that do not show a strong reviewing history, even if they retain their anonymity.
Also take a look at the top five luxury hotels in London and pick out the one hotel that does not have a single bad comment. It is just not possible to satisfy every single customer at every single interaction every single time.
Having a few negative comments is expected as a natural occurrence. How the hotelier reacts to those comments is far more important than their existence.
The same can be said for status updates on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and soon to come Google+. You cannot control what customers say abut your property, but you can monitor what they say and be prepared to act when need be.
Whilst some keep fighting a system that they feel is working against them, others embrace it and turn it into a PR strategy. Take Premier Inn for example, who have integrated tripadvisor reviews about their properties on their websites. You may think it is risky to add content that is not controlled by you on your own website, but the Paradox of Transparency can work miracles with the right mindset and strategy in place.
If you have a Facebook account you may have realised that face recognition technology is getting so good that Facebook is now using it to automatically tag pictures of you. I have been talking about automatic feature recognition technology that could revolutionise the way we utilise photographic content in the near future.
Consider how distinguishable the Burj Al-Arab hotel is – it would be easy to develop a software that spiders the web searching for all photographs that bare the same characteristics and get reports on your hotel’s brand exposure.
Photos are used by Facebook Places and Google Places and if you have not registered your business in Google Places yet (a free service), you should stop reading now, and act! Come back and read the rest of this article later.
Photographic content is systematically archived by search engines and as search engines become more sophisticated in integrating information from various websites, a photograph of your hotel from one site can find its way onto Google Places and can potentially affect future reservations.
Any photos that can be associated with your property based on tags or other written content in that webpage are likely to show up on a Google image search. Try this for your property and see how many of the resulting photos are photos taken by your guests.
This type of technology has existed for many years. I remember early experimentation by academics at least eight years ago, but the full potential and both positive and negative impacts have yet to be discovered.
Video is also quite a potent form of user generated content. The new generation of smart phones enables guests to take a short video of your property and quickly upload it to a number of websites similar to YouTube.
Cisco recently reported that by 2013, 90% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video. When you consider that 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube alone it is easy to see the future impact of online video generated by customers on hotel reputation.
Entering the keywords “Ritz London” on YouTube brings up 1,240 videos and there is at least one consumer generated video of a room at the Ritz that has almost 28,000 views – the promotional video created by the hotel has about 20,000 views. In the present you do not need an expensive film production company to showcase your hotel; just a keen guest with a smart phone in their possession.
Although not as extensive as blogging or micro-blogging, podcasts have been used by travel writers and guests that may have a following online. Such user generated content is the hardest to track unless the audio description clearly states your hotel property name. Podcasting appears to be losing its momentum in favour of video-blogging (or vlogging).
In summary it is important to remember that websites come and go, where Facebook may be the preferred medium today, Google+ may become the preferred medium of tomorrow, so understanding the impact of customer generated content to your property is of paramount importance before you start considering which websites you will concentrate on your strategy
By Ioannis S. Pantelidis
Michael Fazio was a personal assistant in Hollywood before serving as one of the top concierges in New York City's toniest hotels. Now, he serves some 20,000 condominiums and private clients. His new book, Concierge Confidential (written with Michael Malice), is a compendium of juicy stories about celebrities behaving badly, temper tantrums of the fabulously wealthy, and his victories in scoring seemingly unattainable prizes for his well-heeled clients. It also dishes about the tricks of the concierge trade. Jason Cochran caught up with him:
Do guests ever pretend to be fancy by pronouncing "concierge" as if they have a fake French accent?
No, but most of the concierges themselves say cohn-cierge. Part of the fun of this profession is that little bit of mystique... I think sometimes concierges might be perceived as unapproachable, like there's a velvet rope. It's like, "Do I have the nerve to go up to that person?" And the answer to that is, "Absolutely! You should, and don't be shy." People who know how to use the concierge don't mince words. They go right for the jugular and say what they want. They're explicitly clear. That is what makes me excited.
You like a clear customer.
Absolutely, because when somebody has a definite idea of what they want, it's very easy to please them. You're setting up an expectation.
So what's the wrong way to approach the concierge?
It's the people with that "stump the band" attitude that are like, "I bet you can't do this." Because it so deflates all of the magic. That's one thing. The other thing is announcing how generous you're going to be if we light ourselves on fire and jump through a hoop.
That brings up the big question. How generous should you be? I think there are some people who just assume it's a service of the hotel.
It is, really, in all fairness. It's also a profession, and you don't tip your therapist. So it's part of what we do, but traditionally, it's taken on some extra financial reward in the form of gratuities. No, you don't really have to, but it's really, really, really nice and we love you when you do. And we probably write little notes in your folio so that next time you come back, we're like, "Oh, we love that Jason. He left us $100." But if you're asking for something basic like a dinner reservation, and you're not being really specific like, "I want to go to Alain Ducasse," then five bucks is nice. It's a gesture. But if you're very specific and you want to go to one of the hot spots that are going to be a challenge, then I would suggest $20
That's not crazy.
Then there's the final over-the-moon tipping for stuff that's also price-appropriate. If you want to go to the Metropolitan Opera's opening night gala, and the concierge is procuring for you something that only the A-list of New York get invited to, and they're able to find a ticket for you and you're paying $1,000 for it, you kind of have to tip accordingly. If you're a person of means and if 2 1/2 or 3 hours of entertainment was worth $1,000, then the effort it took to go the extra mile to get that should be worth more than the usual also.
What do people waste the most money on? What don't we need a concierge's help for?
That's very interesting. I'll tell you: Anything that's "big box" oriented. People who want to go see Spider-Man because they want to go back home and have bragging rights. My question sometimes is: Could you have gone to 25 other Broadway shows and had an amazing experience for $50?
Can I use the concierge even if I'm not staying at the hotel?
Here's a confession. When I was at the InterContinental, we used to get calls all the time from American Express for our services. At first, we were happy to oblige, but eventually we realized that we were providing our knowledge to a major corporate conglomerate for free. So we stopped being so generous with information. What I prefer is when people call and say, "I know this is weird. I'm not even staying at your hotel, but I'm wondering if there's any chance -- and I will take care of you -- if you could do blah blah blah for me."
When you go to another city, do you use the concierge?
You know, it's funny, I do a little bit. But it's my profession, and I feel like I want to discover that city on my own. But I always introduce myself.
One thing I liked in your book was if a guest is wearing expensive jewelry, you can use that to size them up.
First of all, we never overcharge. But when you see someone and you're able to size them up -- "All right, I get it, he's carrying an Hermès briefcase" -- you know that you can also tell that person, "I can get you that table, and this is probably what we're going to have to do." It's very clean, very up front, and you're not going to offend them. But if it's a family of siblings from North Dakota who are more interested in going to the wax museum and then they ask if they can get backstage to the Sting concert, you don't judge. But I don't want to get their world all twisted up by giving them some idea that we can't fulfill.
When you travel abroad, there's often a pressure for the tour guide to take you somewhere there's a kickback.
A good concierge is so completely opposed to that whole way of operating. If you really take it seriously, and I've always taken it really seriously, I'm probably going to see you again. I would send people to places I have a relationship with, but that's because I want them to know that Jason Cochran came from me, and when you get there, you're going to be embraced like a rock star.
How will I know if my concierge isn't like that?
Oh, okay, I'm turning the bad guys in! If it's really worth it to you, hang out at the desk within earshot for 15 minutes and see if they consistently send guests to the same restaurant.
In movies, people are always asking hotel staff to procure a lady of the evening or recreational medication. Can you do that?
Look upon us as your doctor. You don't beat around the bush with your doctor. You're safe with them. There's a lot of sexy stuff that happens in hotels. I think it's the nature of hotels: You can be anyone you want. Some of the concierge community pretends that it doesn't happen, but maybe they don't work the 4-to-midnight shift like I used to. But for legal reasons, we never get involved in the transaction. It's very passively informative. "I know what you want to do, but I'm happy to lead you in that direction." We share our knowledge of, "If it were me, this is probably how I would go about that," but we can't make it happen for them.
Do I need to tip you just for telling me that?
Yes. [Laughs.] Send me a check.
You can buy the book here::
By: Jason Cochran
Source:: AOL Travel