Wanna Become a Celebrity Hotelier?

The Happy "Celebrity Hotelier"
The Happy "Celebrity Hotelier"

3 ways of becoming a Celebrity Hotelier

  1. You have celebrities who become hoteliers – think Robert de Niro or Bill Gates-,
  2. You have hoteliers who become celebrities – think Andre Balazs or Paris Hilton (provided she can be considered a hotelier at all), and
  3. You have Incognito Hoteliers who host celebrities.

Thus far I belong to the third category.

Am I a celebrity Hotelier?

Recently @Jill Love; of Buy Cruises commented she would fancy me in a Smoking (Tuxedo if you whish, but Smoking is the French term that we use in here in the Netherlands as well), after I had confessed online that I’m a (cigarette) Smoking Hotelier.

Somewhere in my tweets with her I mentioned that I had to look after celebs in the hotel. Her comment inspired me to make this self portrait, when I had to attend a formal venue in Smoking (or Tuxedo if you wish) recently.

If Google says so

Then, totally by accident, I searched Google Images for Celebrity owned Hotels and Celebrity Hotelier and Celebrity Hoteliers and found my own face between the first images that came up and found other photos I published on this blog also showing between the first search results. Even photos that have nothing to do with these search terms.

It made me ask myself: “Do you wanna be a Celebrity Hotelier?”.

My answer to this question is: “No, not necessarily, I’m perfectly happy to remain an Incognito Hotelier catering celebrities, but it could be very well in the interest of Haagsche Suites to become a Celebrity Hotelier in order to attract even more celebrities and other fine guests.”

Testing my case

One and another made me put together this little SEO experiment to see whether it is possible to make Google believe that I’m a Celebrity Hotelier and make it a self fulfilling prophecy 🙂

PS: Today I repeated the search and my own face disappeared from the image search results, but still various and sometimes totally off topic photos from this blog are appearing high in the search results. We will see what happens.

Update May 26

The experiment seems to work: After some 6 hours Google had picked it up and upped my ranking for several search terms. The ranking differs per Google server (as usual). Now I’m uploading some well tagged photos to Flickr. See what will happen! It may be too much 🙂

Searching for a Cool Maastricht Hotel in a Busy Weekend – Nothing Zen!

hotelicopter-output-for-maastrichtThe Helicopter search result

Actually I’m proud of my Zen series of posts. It describes from time to time how much effort it takes me to find a nice last minute hotel room. I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about hotels and enough of a geek to find a cool hotel room via internet. But each time I am asked to find somebody a cool hotel, I find it becoming more difficult to find something special at a reasonable price via internet. It demonstrates to me time after time that the internet is not such a nice tool as everyone, including travel marketeers wants us to believe. To me these exercises demonstrate time after time again the Hospitality- and Destination marketing industry still has waaaay to go before they “get it”.

This time my unfortunate dance partner “Dancegirl” asked me to find her a nice hotel in or around Maastricht for tomorrow. As Asuncion Day is a Dutch Bank Holiday and the weather is nice, this is even more difficult, as there will be not many vacancies in and around Maastricht tomorrow.

So, actually the “Zen” tag is sometimes more of an euphemism for a good old rant….

This time my first search was on Hotelicopter. Please note it is spelled with one ‘l’ in the middle – just wondering why they didn’t scoop up the hotellicopter domain.

Recently I ranted really about them.
They rate the Maastricht Kruisherenhotel as the best of their Maastricht portfolio. That goes without saying, because I know, as my own review of the Kruisherenhotel on their site is a raving one. Only Dancegirl won’t be able or willing to pay their rate.

My rant about Hotelicopter is still valid: Despite Adam Healey promising me that “their own” – I mean their community’s, more precisely “our” reviews – which they hid when they relabeled themselves from VibeAgent into Hotelicopter, will be back soon, you still cannot check those reviews on their site. How long do we have to wait, Adam?

On a positive note: Their search machine doesn’t confine itself to an area within country boundaries. Especially important in the case of Maastricht as it is located near our borders with Germany and Belgium.

On a negative note: they didn’t catch the euro 150 no refund St Gerlach offer described here below.

I looked at Tripadvisor with and without availability search and it didn’t come up with something interesting quickly enough.

I looked at Booking.com, but got lost in the preferred position of various big chain hotels.

Then I looked at my favorite Dutch Hoteliers site. Already my favorite because I use them as a white label online booking engine for my Haagsche Suites (and consequently am always featured on their home page as the second best guest rated hotel of their portfolio in The Netherlands), but also because the site is easy to use. Their model is a fee based one. Nothing commissions from the hotels. They came up with a non refundable offer from St Gerlach, owned by the same owner as the kruisherenhotel and they happen to be a member of the same small chain of Historic Hotels of the Benelux we’re a member of.

In the meantime, via Twitter, I got two suggestions from twitter followers:

One very funny one from Patrick Geoff twittering as @HotelDesigns who suggested Haagsche Suites and referred to his own kind review. He wasn’t aware that my search was was for Dancegirl She actually does know Haagsche Suites by heart, as she replaces us in minding the guests occasionally. Some guests even prefer her minding them over this old goat:-).

The second suggestion came from Hotel Calculator. They did come up with the same St Gerlach offer, but now via Agoda. Hotel Calculator quoted Euro 154, but when you landed on Agoda, the price reduced by a sort of refund policy of Agoda… When I asked Hotel calculator about the difference, he answered that it probably is due to exchange rate imparities in the scraping process.

Agoda being the same OTA that Hotelicopter came up with, this also shows that not all meta search engines are equal. In an earlier post I commented that there was apparently a lag between Hotelicopter’s availability and Agoda’s availability. Hotel calculater claims their engine scrapes real time….

As Dancegirl liked this offer and booked it, this ends as a bit less time consuming and more zen alike post:-)

I’ll keep your posted about Dancegirl’s verdict of the St Gerlach.

Sheep, Art and Travel Marketing Gurus

Today I was waiting for a bride and groom who had spent their first honeymoon night in our hotel, to check out. In the meantime I watched a highly inspiring keynote from marketing guru Seth Godin which he delivered at Ted. He tells the audience how Tribes are creating the most powerful relationships. I found it via a tweet from Chris Noble of Worldnomads in Todd Lucier‘s Blog Internet Marketing for Tourism.

Immediately I had to think of the following hilarious footage:

The message is that nowadays everybody can reach out and connect with people. If you do it with passion you can get results far better than the medieval kings of marketing that try to tell everybody what they need to have or need to do (the way they do it is considered to be spam in nowadays net etiquette). Create tribes that follow you and they will tell their followers what to have or what to do. You can do it! I can do it!

Lol… talking of travel marketing gurus… yesterday Susan Black confirmed even I can do it, as she counted me under 28 Travel Industry Gurus in a post where she quoted their opinion: Part II Why Travel Industry Gurus Love Twitter.

The Hague: Wine – Food Tasting with De Gouden Ton in Restaurant Mero

A 2007 Pouilly Fuissé of Olivier Merlin
A 2007 Pouilly Fuissé of Olivier Merlin

Last night I was invited for a session with several wine producers who had us taste some of their wines in a short wine tasting session followed by a dinner with some of their best wines. It was organized by Dutch wine trader De Gouden Ton in Restaurant Mero, one of my favorite restaurants in The Hague. Mero is able to prepare excellent sea food and offer a no nonsense high standard level of hospitality that only few restaurants in The Netherlands are able to offer.

The first gem that caught my attention was a wonderful 2007 Poully Fuissé from Olivier Merlin.

More to follow.