A Blog Is A Hotelier’s Best Friend


Published on

Why Hoteliers should blog

Published in: Travel
  • Be the first to comment

A Blog Is A Hotelier’s Best Friend

  1. 1. A Blog is a Hotel’s Best Friend <ul><li>Presentation for the </li></ul><ul><li>Hotel Website Marketing Conference </li></ul><ul><li>in Amsterdam March 25, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>By the Author of Happy Hotelier </li></ul><ul><li>And owner of Haagsche Suites </li></ul><ul><li>Please Note: </li></ul><ul><li>I’ll put the main body of the presentation online, </li></ul><ul><li>so you don’t have to jot anything down (I’ll take out </li></ul><ul><li>some photos and examples that I use here but are not </li></ul><ul><li>suitable to post online for privacy reasons) </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Originally this was a presentation in the Dutch language for the Dutch Day of the 2009 Enter Conference in Amsterdam, January 30, 2009. See this post . </li></ul><ul><li>Translated into English, June 15, 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Updated abbreviated, augmented and ameliorated with a year’s more of experience for today’s presentation. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  3. 3. Caveat <ul><li>Alexander De Bono teached me I have an associative mind rather than an analytic mind. </li></ul><ul><li>I crave it because it enables me to stay C reative. </li></ul><ul><li>But I do recognize you might lose my meandering thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>If so, don’t hesitate! please holler! </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  4. 4. Overview of this Presentation <ul><li>My professional backgrounds (slides 5 – 11). </li></ul><ul><li>A Happy Hotelier in Haagsche Suites (slides 12 – 21) . </li></ul><ul><li>A short intro about blogging ( Slides 22 – 28) </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences from a blogging Happy Hotelier ( slides 29 – 62) </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  5. 5. Background: My CV in short <ul><li>1976: Law, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. </li></ul><ul><li>1978: Tax law, Leiden University. </li></ul><ul><li>25+ years practicing international tax law with a lot of travel. </li></ul><ul><li>1996: CEO family business (in operation since 1895). </li></ul><ul><li>2000: Start renovating townhouse into Haagsche Suites </li></ul><ul><li>2002: Opening Haagsche Suites </li></ul><ul><li>2004: Start blogging in Dutch as co author of Weekendhotel Blog </li></ul><ul><li>2006: Start blogging in the English language with Happy Hotelier </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  6. 6. Family Business 1 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  7. 7. Family Business 2 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  8. 8. Family Business 3 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  9. 9. Family Business 4 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  10. 10. Family Business 5 <ul><li>The Family Business’ main activity was and is building </li></ul><ul><li>and refurbishing a variety of residential properties in </li></ul><ul><li>a time frame of over 110 years. </li></ul><ul><li>It gave and gives me an eye for: </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>Processes involved in getting from an idea to design to a finished product </li></ul><ul><li>Fotography </li></ul><ul><li>Detail </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  11. 11. Family Business 6 <ul><li>Under my supervision the Family Business: </li></ul><ul><li>Renovated many residences. Both from its own portfolio and for third parties. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1999 we have the opportunity to acquire the town house adjacent to our: Gradually we get the idea to create Haagsche Suites </li></ul><ul><li>Renovation starts in 2000, Opening is October 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing you to Haagsche Suites now: </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  12. 12. Haagsche Suites 01 Front Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  13. 13. Haagsche Suites 02: Front Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  14. 14. Haagsche Suites 03: In Brief: <ul><li>The Siamese twin of our own townhouse. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 3 suites in stead of 6 to 8 small rooms. </li></ul><ul><li>Each suite individually styled and appointed. </li></ul><ul><li>In harmony with its historic look and feel. </li></ul><ul><li>All modern comfort provided for. </li></ul><ul><li>All luxury of a 5***** hotel. </li></ul><ul><li>A price level between a 4 and 5 star hotel suite </li></ul><ul><li>When we started this, we knew of only one example in the Netherlands and have been copied many times since. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  15. 15. Haagsche Suites 04 Lounge Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  16. 16. Haagsche Suites 05 Suite 1 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  17. 17. Haagsche Suites 06: Garden Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  18. 18. Haagsche Suites 07: Suite 2 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  19. 19. Haagsche Suites 08: Suite 3 Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  20. 20. Haagsche Suites 10: More than a Hotel: <ul><ul><li>Private dining (catered) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photo shoots for fashion and products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV productions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training and workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jewelry Parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Baby shower parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weddings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And so on and so fort. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ll come back to this later </li></ul></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  21. 21. Haagsche Suites 11: Summary: Why Happy? <ul><li>In stead of being “the stranger who cuts the Sunday Roast” I’m now doing this together with my wife, a pure pop and mom business. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing the product has its own difficulties. </li></ul><ul><li>From the start “Worth of Mouth” is and was our main and strongest means of marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Some regular guests have their own keys to their own suite and stay there even if we are not there ourselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Those who dream of starting a similar venue I suggest to contact us first to have an in depth discussion of the “In(n)'s and Out’s”. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  22. 22. Blogging 01: How Many? Presentation by Happy Hotelier There are More than 200,000,000 Blogs
  23. 23. Blogging 02: Drops in an Ocean Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  24. 24. Blogging 03: Drops in an Ocean Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  25. 25. Blogging 04: Drops in an Ocean Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  26. 26. Blogging 05: Make your Drops visible Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  27. 27. Blogging 06: Summarizing <ul><li>Internet is like an ocean. </li></ul><ul><li>Your blog in this ocean is nothing more than a drop. </li></ul><ul><li>You need a lot of effort to be found and seen and even then you will always been seen only marginally. </li></ul><ul><li>The same applies to one blogger between over 200,000,000 bloggers…. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s all about being FFFFound! </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  28. 28. Happy Hotelier 01: Intro <ul><li>From here on I will give the aspiring hotelier blogger some advice based on my own experiences with writing for several blogs. </li></ul><ul><li>I myself consider myself quite fortunate getting invited to blog on the Weekendhotel Blog which enabled me to get hands on knowledge and experience of blogging and WordPress before I started on my own. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are not sure what you want to blog about, always a good idea just to start somewhere as a guest poster at somebody else's blog or start a blog of your own at one of the free platforms. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  29. 29. Happy Hotelier 02: To Blog or not to Blog? 1 <ul><li>One should realize that once one starts blogging one will always have to continue blogging. </li></ul><ul><li>No sense in starting and discontinuing. Then it is better not to start at all! </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  30. 30. Happy Hotelier 03: To Blog or not to Blog? 2 <ul><li>The main reason not to blog is a lack of time, blogging takes time!!! A Lot! </li></ul><ul><li>When asked at #ITB Berlin Blogging forum who should blog and who should be in charge of social media, I said “The CEO” and referred to good ole Bill Marriott who dictates his Blog that is an excellent example of a blogging Hotelier. The CEO is the face of the company in real life, isn’t he? So why shouldn’t he be the face of the hotel in the virtual life? </li></ul><ul><li>However, consider to delegate blogging and social media to a dedicated in house team. I don’t believe externals have enough ties with the people in the organization to come up with strong relevant content. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to delegate. If you can’t trust your employees to be your voice on the internet you can’t trust them with your guests either and then there is something wrong with your hotel’s culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Do consider to make the team responsible 24/7, your audience doesn’t sleep. Just in case of disaster recovery.. (bomb attack on Marriott hotels for instance, earthquakes or New Orleans flooding and Chunnel affaire with Eurostar) </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  31. 31. Happy Hotelier 04: To Blog or not to Blog? 3 <ul><li>Reasons to Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>A blog enhances your web presence and visibility. The algorithms of search engines are more and more giving weight to what happens here and now. A Tweet is picked up within a day. </li></ul><ul><li>I’m using WordPress on a self hosted site. Mega publishing conglomerates use WordPress for their web presence. The days of having a paper brochure online are over. </li></ul><ul><li>I’m myself in the process of revamping my originally static website in one build around a WordPress blog based on the Thesis theme. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a good infrastructure available around a blog: With feedreader you can have your audience subscribe to your news feeds. It is easy to build a mailing list. Guests can comment. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t have deep pockets for paying translators for a multi language website you can use translation machines in a way that you get visible in many languages. It’s not ideal, but far better than one language only. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  32. 32. Happy Hotelier 05: To Blog or not to Blog? 4 (end) Presentation by Happy Hotelier Am afraid I’m a bit addicted. My wife could have written this
  33. 33. Happy Hotelier 06 Attitude 1 <ul><li>My view is that blogging is about C’s </li></ul><ul><li>The First C : </li></ul><ul><li>Be C reative! </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  34. 34. Happy Hotelier 07 Attitude 2 <ul><li>Be Open and honest </li></ul><ul><li>No place where you will more likely be found out than the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about all the cases people got fired because of badmouthing somebody else.. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about this: Everybody can trace your computer (unless you are a real hacker). </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  35. 35. Happy Hotelier 08: Attitude 3 <ul><li>Don’t make too much noise! </li></ul><ul><li>This in respect to three issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t blog or tweet while you are drunk or stoned! </li></ul><ul><li>Most of your readers visit your site during working hours. Even if they visit you during their leisure hours, they might prefer their own music over your good taste. My advise is no music on your site! </li></ul><ul><li>Secondly do not overly repeat yourself too much. Prevent others seeing you as a spammer! NEVER USE CAPITALS ONLY! A sin in social mediastan. </li></ul><ul><li>Use C ommon Sence! My second C </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  36. 36. Happy Hotelier 09: Attitude 4 <ul><li>Just be your good self! </li></ul><ul><li>Only very talented imposters are able to pretend to be somebody else than they really are. </li></ul><ul><li>One of my pleasures of blogging is meeting fellow bloggers in real life. No bigger disappointment when they turn out to be totally different from what I read in their blog </li></ul><ul><li>I myself always first click on the About tag to know who the person behind a blog is. So tell something about yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not be afraid to let your personality mix with your business: It’s your busines isn’t it? </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  37. 37. Happy Hotelier 10: Attitude 5 <ul><li>Be Good Humored </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re not able to laugh about your self. Nobody else will! </li></ul><ul><li>You’ll need your humor if somebody disappoints you! </li></ul><ul><li>Hence my third C : Be C o urteous, always! </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  38. 38. Happy Hotelier 11: Attitude 6 <ul><li>Post mainly about matters that you are knowledgeable and passionate about. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be shy to repeat your favorite themes and subjects. </li></ul><ul><li>Another C to remember: that of C ontent </li></ul><ul><li>And don’t shy away from some C ontroversy from time to time. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  39. 39. Happy Hotelier 12 Attitude 7: <ul><li>C onnect with your readers. Always give answers if they comment or write e-mails or tweets. This is oh so important and oh so difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>C onnect with fellow bloggers in your niche </li></ul><ul><li>C omment sensibly. </li></ul><ul><li>But Don’t overdo it! (Again use C ommon Sense) </li></ul><ul><li>C onnect on forums </li></ul><ul><li>More C’s : C onnect with your audience and C omment </li></ul><ul><li>And don’t forget to C onnect with your guests  </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  40. 40. Happy Hotelier 13 Attitude 8 (end): Yes! Have C onversations ! Presentation by Happy Hotelier Social media is about people having C onversations Online
  41. 41. Happy Hotelier 14: Where to C onnect? Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  42. 42. Happy Hotelier 15: Where to C onnect? Introducing CMO's Guide Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  43. 43. Happy Hotelier 16 Where to C onnect <ul><li>Personally I connect on FB LI Twitter and sometimes Flickr, SU and del.icio.us. </li></ul><ul><li>I tend to dislike videos and podcasts because they take time and make noise, but the mention of YouTube as second search engine may make me reconsider. </li></ul><ul><li>Time for an SM aggregator? Anyone? </li></ul><ul><li>Now some examples of C ontent: </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  44. 44. Happy Hotelier 17: What C ontent? <ul><li>Back to slide 20: Private dining : Wow Wine Tasting : A 1918 Vosne Romanée </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  45. 45. Happy Hotelier 18: What C ontent? <ul><li>Back to slide 20: Private dining: A Sparkling Twitter Wine Tasting Happening </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  46. 46. Happy Hotelier 19: What C ontent? <ul><li>Back to slide 20: Private dining: 1975 chateau saint jean reserva mont ferrant </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  47. 47. Happy Hotelier 20: What C ontent? <ul><li>Royally Fed Up with Randstad Rail </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  48. 48. Happy Hotelier 21: What C ontent? <ul><li>C onnect locally: # TweetUpTheHague </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  49. 49. Happy Hotelier 22: What C ontent? <ul><li>C onnect with Travel Bloggers: Meeting Gary Arndt </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  50. 50. Happy Hotelier 23: What C ontent? <ul><li>C onnect with Travel Bloggers: Meet the Twitchhiker </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  51. 51. Happy Hotelier 24: Blog Lay Out <ul><li>One of the most difficult requirements: </li></ul><ul><li>Easily readable! Think about your bespectacled audience! </li></ul><ul><li>The ideal format for a good post is three paragraphs with headers and sub headers if necessary and one photo. I seem never to be adhere to that  </li></ul><ul><li>No mistakes in the facts and use your spell checker! </li></ul><ul><li>Make the blog easily navigable. </li></ul><ul><li>A good blog has a good archive. </li></ul><ul><li>Do realize that old posts are valuable for the “long tail ” traffic. This also means you have to revisit and from time to time to re edit your old posts, albeit to correct wrong links, albeit to refresh your content for the search engines </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  52. 52. Happy Hotelier 25: Metrics <ul><li>Don’t worry: People will start to notice you after some time. </li></ul><ul><li>I got noticed by three guys reasonably early in fall 2006 They gave me links and visitors. </li></ul><ul><li>With each of them I have developed a very friendly relation ever since and I’ve met them on several occasions. </li></ul><ul><li>Later many more guys and galls followed. </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics and ROI is sooo Correct and Corporate. Return Of Guest Satisfaction is my thing. I show myself to my potential guests. If they like what they see, they will love my hotel… </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  53. 53. Happy Hotelier 26 Tag your photos! <ul><li>Tag you photos and videos properly. If they are published in your blog, well tagged photos bring your traffic. Youtube is the second search engine after Google. </li></ul><ul><li>Use a community photo sharing site like Flickr or Picasa to upload the photos you publish. They are communities in themselves and when carefully tagged and described the images bring you substantial additional traffic. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  54. 54. Happy Hotelier 27: Shortcuts? <ul><li>There are none actually! </li></ul><ul><li>I have used Tumblr, Posterous and I’ve used the Quickpost WP plug in for fast copying and pasting interesting stuff into my blog. However recently I have abandoned them in favor of more authentic and shorter content. WordPress now has a simple tool called “Press It” that you can incorporate into your Browser. </li></ul><ul><li>I have written an extensive page about my shortcuts experience on my significant other blog Chair Blog </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  55. 55. Happy Hotelier 28 How To Start Easy <ul><li>If I would have to start again and would be held back by the difficulties involved with handling WordPress or TypePad either on a portal or self hosted, I would consider to start with Posterous: </li></ul><ul><li>Posterous is very Easy to manage </li></ul><ul><li>Posterous is exportable to and importable into WordPress blogs </li></ul><ul><li>From there they can be exported and imported into a self hosted WordPress Blog </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  56. 56. Happy Hotelier 29: Cool Must have Tools <ul><li>Cooliris FF (=FireFox) add on to easily browse photos and videos. </li></ul><ul><li>Clipmarks FF add on to use with amplify or cut and paste stuff into your blog. </li></ul><ul><li>Woopra Blog metrics for real time blog metrics. </li></ul><ul><li>Fireshot FF add on for webshots especially to get around flash sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Firebug FF add on for loading speed testing </li></ul><ul><li>FF SEO toolbar and/or SEO for FF add on </li></ul><ul><li>FF Pinger add on for link checking </li></ul><ul><li>Redirection WP plugin to repair wrong navigation inside your blog. </li></ul><ul><li>More will follow in a dedicated post on Happy Hotelier </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  57. 57. Happy Hotelier 30: Learn! <ul><li>Learn from worthwhile Blogging Hotel Insiders </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  58. 58. Happy Hotelier 31 <ul><li>Ethics - Journalism - Paid content – Legal matters </li></ul><ul><li>Subject for a whole presentation in itself  </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  59. 59. Happy Hotelier 32 <ul><li>Syndicate your content wisely: </li></ul><ul><li>Subject for a whole presentation in itself  </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  60. 60. Happy Hotelier 33: Remember Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  61. 61. Happy Hotelier 34: Wrapping Up: 15 C ’s <ul><li>Be C reative. </li></ul><ul><li>Use C ommon Sense. </li></ul><ul><li>Always be and remain C ourteous. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep or get into C ontact with your audience. </li></ul><ul><li>C onnect with your audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Have C onverstations </li></ul><ul><li>C omment sensibly wherever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Provide C ontent, C ontent and C ontent. </li></ul><ul><li>Within it's own C ontext (subject and timeframe). </li></ul><ul><li>Be C ontroversional sometimes </li></ul><ul><li>In other words: C aptivate your audience </li></ul><ul><li>And look for all opportunities to C onvert lookers into bookers. </li></ul><ul><li>Be C onsistent in what you do. </li></ul><ul><li>C o-operate with as many parties as possible </li></ul><ul><li>C ontinue practicing all C’s mentioned before. </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier
  62. 62. Happy Hotelier 35: End <ul><li>Thank you for your attention! </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging is Fun, but time consuming! </li></ul><ul><li>Read Happy Hotelier </li></ul><ul><li>Credits: </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures borrowed from Marta Z Kagan </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging at Bonafide Marketing Genius </li></ul>Presentation by Happy Hotelier