My Impressions from a Thought Provoking TBCamp10

The TBCamp10 After Party was best

The TBCamp10 After Party was best!

I’ve attended TBCamp10 with my camera that some people envy. They probably don’t know the actual weight of the darn thing when hanging from your shoulder all day.

  1. Darren (of Travel Rants) was able to secure the help of a very nice lady to hand out name tags which were new for the event. Mind you, he had single handedly printed the lot as almost single handedly he has succeeded to create the third edition of this event. Thank you Darren for organizing it again.
  2. What I have missed in preparation of the venue is:
    A) A list of attendants. Darren has given a link to a list that seems having disappeared.
    B) An introduction to the speakers.
    Why is that important to me? Then I’m more able to mind map those who are attending.
    On the other hand this is not so bad because now, as usual, I let my camera is find its own interesting people.
  3. When I entered the venue I was met by a welcoming warm sound wall of conversation. Travel bloggers do relate!
  4. The venue was huge. Approximately 130 to 150 bloggers and PR types and hangers on around and about. Not until after the venue I realized there were many of high profile types. Off course with such a huge group it is not easy to relate to all who I would have liked to relate to.
  5. Amazingly Kevin (of Tnooz) got the posse totally quiet as a good moderator. He introduced the sponsors and the speakers. After that everybody was amazingly quiet during the speeches certainly when taking into consideration how chatty and outspoken bunch travel bloggers usually are.
  6. What also amazed me that 2/3 of the attendants rushed out as soon as the last speaker had stopped. That was at around 9.30 far before the anticipated 11.00 PM closing. These people didn’t grasp the whole idea of the venue: Getting to know each other better irl…..
  7. Being concentrated more on catching the people with my camera, I hardly paid attention to the discussions, but am glad some people published what they said and thankful to be able to read back some tweets.
  8. I have the impression this is a very British event. Although I’m reasonably well versed in the English language, some of the discussions are too fast for me and maybe a bit insiderish… Brits remain Brits, they can discuss in circles and they are masters of the understatement.
  9. Avatars do matter! especially at such venues. If you enter a room full of people you haven’t met irl, it is always helpful to relate a person to their twitter account or their blog. Therefor I’ll illustrate this by giving away prices here for those who are most true to their avatar.
  10. Sadly loads of people were there I would have liked to communicate with…well maybe next time
  11. What I hope will happen is a nice roundup from various people who attended. After Sales service for an event is also very important.
  12. Oh yes, as usual, I got carried away…, before I forget: Why was the event Thought Provoking?
    1. Of all people attending only one raised his hand when asked “Who makes more than UK pnd 1,000.- per month from his blog?”. (I know of some who were not attending among one who was tweeting from her HQ as if she was attending)
    2. Traditional Printed Press is experimenting with paid travel content and proudly announcing they have approximately 100 K paying customers…(but see a former competitor comment below) .
    3. Travel bloggers do relate and I feel at home with them!
    4. Buddy Press is not where it should be…whenever I’ll create a community I’ll be going to use the paid Ning thingy
    5. The after party in the Beduin bar was best…luckily the taxi driver found my personal B&B back for me.
    6. Online communications almost only mobile…a year ago almost unthinkable

Okay publishing it to be fast… Will be fleshing it out to be complete… soon…also as usual:-)…but first uploading the 300 something photos….[update: here they are via Fluidr ]

Check out these:

Last edited by GJE on November 13, 2010 at 00:20 AM

DePhoCussing from ITB 2010 (2): About trying to Hit the Nail on the Head

This is a photo of a moving sculpture in Frankfurt of a hard working man, a smith, in front of the Frankfurter Messe in Germany. The movement of the sculpture suggests the smith hits maibe not a nail, but at least a piece of metal with his hammer. It inspired me for the title of this post. I took this photo almost 3 years ago when I visited some venue at the Frankfurter Messe.

The Marriott Connection
The hotel between the legs of the sculpture is the Frankfurter Marriott on a prime location….opposite the Franfurter Messe.

The association with this post is this: I do admire Bill Marriott who is still a hard working guy where others from his age are sitting “behind the geraniums” as we say in The Netherlands (i.e. are enjoying their retirement) while he rules his Hotel Empire. Moreover he dipped his toes into social media in January 2007 when he started his blog.

The Panel
At the March 2010 PhoCusWright@ITB conference I’ve been acting as a panelist. One of the questions we had to address was: What is the ROI of engaging in social media? I interpreted this question as how many reservations do your blog and your engagement in social media generate for your hotel? Usually I’m not very shy to act as a panelist or as a speaker, but this time I was a nervous wreck: I had said “yes” to act as a panelist and had to come up with a sensible answer and long time I was thinking Metrics Metrics Metrics. My problem is I don’t know the metrics. I had never looked at metrics. I had never thought about metrics. Even today I’m only faintly aware there are metrics available to see the conversions from tweets or from messages on your FaceBook page….but I do not know the details….
So I held to my rather professional camera with the ominous looking professional lens, marched to the floor with my fellow panelists and started taking photos from the audience… Despite the prior thorough briefing by Richard Zucker

I was totally unaware of the huge noise the clicking of my camera made. The whole bunch of techies that orchestrated the conference went berserk, because nobody else could be understood anymore. Kevin May, who moderated the panel made me graciously aware of my misbehavior. But while clicking away on stage the answer came to me and all of a sudden I was able to formulate it in a more or less comprehensible way. I would love to see the footage of that panel discussion back once.

My Answer to the ROI question:
“For me quality goes before quantity and I don’t know how to measure quality. I try to attract guests who when they know more of me and like what they see of me, also like to stay in my hotel, which is likely to enhance their experience……”

Pff saved by the bell. By the reactions of several people there and then and later when I discussed it over with several other people it stuck and they agreed and even got inspired by the idea. So I’m glad that by DePhoCussing I was able to focus on the answer that is really my answer to the question, maybe not the anticipated answer, but my answer. Another lesson was that by acting “out of the box” and taking photos of the audience instead of someone in the audience taking photos by me, I was able to attract their attention and I tend to believe my answer stuck better. I maybe even snooped away some attention from my fellow panelists. Sorry guys!

Who should be responsible for a company’s engagement in social media?
Another question at the panel was the very corporate question who should be responsible of social media in a hospitality company: The Ceo? The custom care department? The marketing or the PR types? and a whole lot more answers came along. My answer was very simple: “It should be the CEO, because In Real Life he is already the face of the company, so why not be same In Virtual Life? I pointed to Bill Marriott as an example who does a very good job at this. I then also stated that if the CEO would have not enough time to do all himself, because actually being engaged in social media means being 24/7 engaged in social media, he should delegate. My point is that if a CEO doesn’t trust his coworkers to engage in social media, then there is something wrong with his organization: “How can a hotelier trust his coworkers to receive a guest in his hotel and not trust them to engage with past, present or future guests via social media?”

What makes the circle round
And now comes the funny part. During a San Francisco EyeforTravel conference about Social Media in Travel there was a Marriott case made available which was put together by the Marriott Social media team… to my huge surprise they quoted this tweet of March 15, 20009 of me :

read-bill-marriott-blog

Which I posted in March 2009 about in What should Hotel Owners Know about Social Media
Lessons learned:
Even the big man (Bill Marriott) sometimes listens to the small guy (Happy Hotelier)…otherwise they would not have used this picture which they obviously pinched from this blog, because now the screen capture of the tweet shows date and time and another backgroung and not posted 13  minutes ago. Moreover, even the small guy can become a (small) authority on social media simply by blogging, engaging in social media and being part of conferences and sometimes giving a presentation which forces him to rethink his activities from time to time.
Credit
A big thank you to Graham Robertson (@Grayum_ian) of  Project: Wander who pointed me to the Marriott Case at Eyefortravel. If you’re interested in the case study, you can dowbload it for free at Eye For Travel. It’s really worthwhile a read about the blogger who doesn’t blog.

DePhoCussing from ITB 2010 (1)

I have many impressions to share from the PhoCusWright Travel Bloggers Summit at ITB Berlin.

For a change I will start with my last impression: I was interviewed for the Austrian Tourism Blog.

Thought of posting it first and adding more later when I’ve sorted the lot.

The interview was made by Rainer Edlinger of Edei’s Blog Recently Rainer was promoted to Hauptmann of the Zell am See Tourism office.

A Blog is a Hotelier’s Best Friend

View more presentations by me at Slideshare.

As promised: My presentation for the Hotel Marketing Conference of March 25, 2010. For more presentations at the conference see their Hotel Website Marketing Blog

16 C’s to Consider when Blogging and Engaging in Social Media


Today Yesterday I had the honor to give a presentation for 60 something hoteliers and OTA ppl at the Hotel Website Marketing conference in Amsterdam about how a blog can be a hotelier’s best friend.

I’ll upload the presentation later, but my wrap up was: 16 C’s to keep in mind when blogging and engaging in Social Media:

  1. Be Creative.
  2. Use Common Sense.
  3. Always be and remain Courteous
  4. and Considerate
  5. Get and keep Contact with your audience
  6. Connect with your audience
  7. Have Conversations
  8. Comment sensibly wherever possible
  9. Provide Content, Content and Content
  10. Within it’s own Context (subject and time frame)
  11. Be Controversial when necessary or fitting
  12. In other words: Captivate your audience
  13. And look for all opportunities to Convert lookers into bookers.
  14. Be Consistent in what you do.
  15. Co-operate with as many parties as possible
  16. Continue practicing all mentioned before.
  17. Update
    As per the comments:

  18. Be Curious (which should be number 1) Thank you Claude, as ever
  19. Don’t forget to Coordinate your web 2.0 efforts
  20. Last year I started with only 6 C‘s when I wound down from the 2009 PhocusWright ITB Berlin bloggers meeting.

    I’m reasonably sure that before the end of 2010 I’ll be able to enhance this to 20 C‘s.

    I’m not sure as to number 12. Should it be Captivate or Capture, or could Capture be a separate C? Then I would have reached 19 already.

    Update 2
    I would like to have a nice Letter C above this post. I searched for one and found this letter C which is now above the post. By pure Coincidence the same C was used for a post from The Seven “C”s of Social Interaction by @Larry Hawes

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