Winding Down from the T-List – PhocusWright Travel Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin part 3 – Final

Many new and many familiar faces and a lot/too much to digest and cover here.

As a wrap up I’ll give you in this last post some photos and some links of fellow bloggers covering the summit:

Ludolf Stavinga of the Dutch language blog Reisportals reported partly in Dutch and partly in English:
  • PhocusWright itb09 Tweetdeck 7 Scenes 4 M’s
  • PhoCusWright ITB 2009: social media guy, hyperlocal, twitchhiker
  • Travellr Nieuwe Site met Vraag en Antwoord
Kevin May of the Travolution Blog did a good job as usual:
Stephen Bud (l) and Vicky Brock (r) of Tracking Tourism: The Tourism Research Blog:
  • ITB Berlin, A Flavour of Day One
  • A testament to testing: ITB day 2
Josiah Mackenzie of Hotel Marketing Strategies Blog did a great a job covering the summit:
  • Live Coverage of PhocusWright 2009 Begins Tomorrow
  • PhoCusWright@ITB: Travel & The Semantic Web
  • PhoCusWright@ITB: Selling Luxury Boutique Hotels
  • Cool Start Up 7 Scenes
Olivier Dujardin of the Blegian Dutch Language blog MAX MANAGEMENT, and @maxmanagement:
  • Het verhaal achter Hotel Website Mr and Mrs Smith
  • PhocusWright itb Conferentie (Day2)
  • PhocusWright itb Conferentie (day 1)

Olivier has found a nifty tool to wrap your Twitter stream for publication. It’s only disadvantage is that you have to intsll it before you start Twittering and have to specify who will be in the wrap…

Darren Cronian’s TravelRant’s posts:
  • My consumer thoughts on the PhoCusWright ITB conference
  • Sat in the Spotlight on the Travel Bloggers summit panel

My Twitter Award for this summit goes to:

Kayt Sukel of Travel Savvy Mom and @TravelSavvyKayt

Who Twittered best at this summit and took wonderful photographs at the same time.

I found a couple of posts from author’s I have no photos of:

A pity I cannot could find a only one post from

Martin Schobert (l) of the Austrian Tourist Board site Kulinarische Reisen who was on two panels, on one of which he was dressed very aptly in a Trachten jacket

On his significant other Blog: Austria Tourismus Blogger Meeting – Phocuswright Berlin

who made my day with this huge compliment:


To all I didn’t mention here:
It was a pleasure to meet you! You all Rock!

Lesson for me as a hotelier? Keep focused on 6 C’s:

  1. Be Creative,
  2. Keep or get into Contact with your guests whenever possible,
  3. Connect as much as possible with your guests,
  4. by providing as much Content, as possible
  5. Do provide the Content within it’s own Context (i.e. offering the right information (content) at the right time, thanks @Joebertl), and
  6. keep thinking of ways to Convert lookers into bookers.

The Mr & Mrs Smith Presentation (Winding Down from the T-List – PhocusWright Travel Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin part 2)


It is really refreshing when you are sitting at a conference with presentations and discussions of travel and hospitality and tech types who only seem interested in their good self or their own product or service and are not outgoing and not interested in the guest, their clientèle, or only maybe in the money of the guest, to get a presentation of a really passionate couple. James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy (see also my interview with Tamara) , the husband and wife who founded the Mr and Mrs Smith Collections under the caption: Luxury and Romance meet Technology.

Yes, I agree. It’s all about Respect!

They both come from a completely different background than travel and hospitality. Again their success shows that innovations in this industry frequently come from those outside the industry.

They started out with the production of the Mr & Mrs Smith guides. They described their difficulties with getting the guides published. Never before was a guide produced with one editor and one photographer for all properties. Eventually they decided to pyblish the guide all by themselves. The interesting thing is that added to the guides is a Mr and Mrs Smith membership card which gives the holder some extras as upgrades or a little present from their shop. That gives the brand a tremendous crowd to source from.

They are adamant about the properties being inspected by themselves or a member of their team of +40 in the meantime, because they strongly believe you cannot review a hotel properly without having experienced the look and feel of the place. In addition they sometimes team up with unusual partners for the hotel industry like lingerie brands. They also understand that you sometimes want to stay in a self catering accommodation or luxury chalet, rather than a hotel.

They seamlessly have merged their Blog (in the air since July 2005) into their main site. However Tamara was already out there scoring whatever was said about the brand in 2004: Shortly after I became aware of their guides via a post of my fellow editor Willem Vos at the Dutch language Weekend Hotel Blog she already commented there – note the date of the comment is not correct, as Willem had some problems in 2008 to migrate the blog to his new platform running on Ruby on Rail…whatever that may be, but I know I made the comment already in 2004-.

Here you see some footage of one of the rather unconventional and hilarious ad they presented at the keynote.

If even Gesa Noormann of Escapio says in a comment under Kevin’s Travolution coverage of the presentation:

Thanks Kevin for the fab article. Despite the fact that Mr and Mrs Smith are Escapio’s UK competitor, I can’t deny that their presentation was fantastic!

then you know your presentation was good even if you were dead tired.

Some personal notes:
I don’t understand jot from what Kevin’s caption means: “Corporate Barbarism does not begin at home say The Smiths”, but that could be my Dunglish.

If you are curious to see who the guy behind Escapio is look here. Even if I say it myself, I like the picture.

I think Willem should start talking with the two portfolios mentioned here, Mr & Mrs Smith and Escapio, or alternatively they should start talking with Willem, to see if there are possibilities to team up to cover The Netherlands and Belgium better than they do now separately.

Added March 24, 2009:

Via twitter I got the link of the same video on their site: Mr & Mrs Smith | Get a Room!. It has a bit better quality than the YouTube one

Winding Down from the T-List – PhocusWright Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin part 1


This photo shows Yours Truly at the T-List – PhocusWright Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin. Photo thanks to @TravelSavvyKayt of Travel Savvy Mom at Twit Pic

You have 5 more days to vote for her and for Darren at the Lonely Planet Travel Blogger Awards

Yesterday I drove home from a busy two day Blogger summit/conference with a bag full of mixed feelings. During an 8 hours drive you are able to do a bit of thinking and rethinking.

Rereading my summary of last year’s event, I realize the feelings are more or less the same.

Rather than giving a full summary, this year I’ll concentrate on a few details:

  1. The ITB Tradeshow
    Most of what I have noticed at ITB gives me negative vibes, very negative vibes: They coin ITB the biggest travel trade show. But I’ve had two small walks there and noticed two things: Almost all people there, being it the exhibitors or the visitors, by the looks of their body language seem only interested in their good self, or maybe the people they know. They are not outgoing, seemingly not interested in strangers as people. To the extent they are interested in strangers, they seem only interested in the money of the strangers…..moreover….it all seems so old world and so old fashioned. Almost no imagination in the way they build their boots. Only boots full of the same brochures they handed out last year. What a waste of paper.
    On the other hand there is this:Today some of the Twitterati commented:”Today we are overrun with people (it’s general public day today) who are taking away everything that is not bolted to our boot” There is that large chunk of the general public that doesn’t know how to behave itself let it be knows how to travel. Rather than teaching these people how to enjoy travel, the majority in the travel and hospitality industry seems to have given in under the motto: “Let them have what they want …. or ask for….or deserve”…
  2. itb09-kevin-darren-kayt-and-sam
    Kevin May, Darren Cronian, Kayt Sukkel herself and Sam Daams
    Again Photo from Kayt.
  3. The T-List – PhocusWright Blogger Summit #ITB09 in Berlin
    The more refreshing it is to meet with the various Bloggers attending this venue. Among them I find some very like minded who blog out of sheer passion and although they would like to earn a bit of money with the blogging, the lack of that in itself doesn’t prevent them from cultivating their passion to the ultimate.
    Wednesday March 12 started with a roundup of the almost 50 bloggers attending the summit. Each had the opportunity to introduce him or herself. A great chance to meet new people and change ideas with those who I had met already last year or on other occasions. In the afternoon there were trial runs of some startups for their 5 minutes of fame the next day. During the evening there was a meet up planned, but the venue was changed last minute so not everybody could (or would) attend. The better the quality of the meet up. The next day was business as usual. Interviews with key industry people and key note speeches by key industry people larded with 5 minutes of fame by new start ups.
  4. It is clear to me now. I am no Journalist. I’m a Blogger.
    Others are far better gifted as a journalist than I am. Although my gear was in order now, I couldn’t do much more than 2 things at the same time. (I’m male you know and two things is already difficult for me): Listening and making and uploading some photos. I am not able to tweet any comprehensible posts while listening and making photos. Also I see a tendency in myself to tweet disruptively. So I stuck to photo’s. But I’m even not able to tag the photos correctly while I upload them. Anyway. You can find them at my Flickr PhocusWright Blogger Summit #ITB09 set. Feel free to use photos of this set, but let me know please.
  5. I have chosen to name this blog Happy Hotelier not for nothing.
    I’m happy being a hotelier and being passionate about it. I strongly believe in people and passion. I’m sure that if I wouldn’t concentrate on people and things that make me and them happy, I would not be able to please our guests as we apparently are able to do measured by our guest reviews.

    In addition the following thought: One of my fellow bloggers once commented:”Well your Blog is just (hesitation) nice….” Well friend that is exactly my point. Out there there is enough of “Not so Nice”. I’ll leave that to others.

    Part of the discussions in Berlin was again the Blogger vs Journalist “controversy”….

    For instance:”Would you be a honest Blogger, if you had reviewed a hotel with a negative outcome and decided not to publish it?”. Kayt wonderfully worded my own feeling about this subject: She didn’t believe her readership was looking for negative, but more for positive advice and therefore would not publish a negative review. Hearing the comment I thought:”Stick to your believes.”

    With that in mind I have decided to keep doing what I do and stick to my own curiosity and stick to my own myriad of subjects to write about and remain as positive as possible.

I have always considered to line this blog up with my hotel site, but because of the myriad of subjects here, I have now decided to start an entirely new Blog which will be more tailored, focused and dedicated to Haagsche Suites and things in and around it and keep this blog as my main armchair travel blog

Kudos and thanks to all involved in Berlin!

Preparing for the T-List – PhocusWright Blogger Summit #ITB09


Its official: I received my badge:


Hence I’m an officially “Approved Blogger” and may attend the second Tips from the T-List – PhocusWright Blogger Summit At ITB 2009 in Berlin.

Here below is the provisional list of Bloggers who will attend.

I took this provisional list from the PhocusWright site, but had to edit it heavily, as it appeared that a typo monkey had inadvertently inserted a certain link over 80 times into this page….maybe someone was being paid in kind for his speaking at the summit.

Many new faces to meet. Am looking forward to it.

Many new faces from the German language scene, which is a good thing as they have a circuit of their own and it is time to have them connect to the outside world.

For me it is necessary to do some research on the new faces as I’m planning to take a lot of photos like last year and to publish them more timely than last year. Yes I can!

  1. Kurt Ackermann • AFRIKATOURISM • South Africa and @kurt_a
  2. Michael Fabert • EXPIBLOG.DE • Germany
  3. Klaus Hildebrandt • FVW • Germany and and @fvwde
  4. Martin Stoll • GOSEETELL • United States
  5. Guido J. van den Elshout • HAPPY HOTELIER • The Netherlands
  6. Josiah Mackenzie • HOTEL MARKETING STRATEGIES • United States
  7. Stefan Niemeyer • HOTELMARKETINGBLOG • Germany
  8. Bianca Spalteholz • HOTELMARKETINGBLOG • Germany
  9. Claude Benard • HOTELITOUR • France, who couldn’t make it at last.
  10. Richard Brower • IGLTA TRAVEL & NEWS • United States
  11. Jared Salter • JOOBILI • Hungary
  12. Claus Weber • KINKAA • Germany
  13. Goetz A. Primke • LE GOURMAND • Germany
  14. Olivier Dujardin • MAX MANAGEMENT • Belgium and of @maxmanagement
  15. Nando Llorella • MEGUSTAELTURISMO • Spain
  16. Vasco Sommer-Nunes • MOKONOGermany
  17. Madlen Ehrlich • MTI BLOG • Germany
  18. Alex Bainbridge • MUSINGS ON TRAVEL ECOMMERCE • England, who recently Twittered that he is NOT COMING
  19. Chris Noble • NEWS OF THE WORLD (NOMADS) • Australia
  20. Abbas Nokhasteh • OPENVIZOR • England
  21. Martin Schobert • OSTERREICH WERBUNG • Austria and of
  22. Timothy O’Neil-Dunne • THE PROFESSOR’S WISDOM • United States
  23. Ludolf Stavenga • REISPORTALS • The Netherlands
  24. Detlef Meyer • ROUNDTRIP • Germany
  25. Aron Hohl • SEE U IN HUNGARY • Hungary
  26. Jens Thraenhart • TOURISM INTERNET MARKETING • Canada
  27. Phil Caines • TOURISM TIDE • Canada
  28. Daniel Amersdorffer • TOURISMUSZUKUNFT • Germany @Daniel_Amer
  29. Florian Bauhuber • TOURISMUSZUKUNFT • Germany
  30. Jens Oellrich • TOURISMUSZUKUNFT • Germany and at @Jens_Oellrich
  31. Stephen Budd • TRACKING TOURISM • Scotland
  32. Ben Colclough • THE TRAILBEATER •England
  34. Pablo Alvarez • TRAVEL INNOVATION • Spain
  35. Darren Cronian •Travel-Rants.Com • England
  36. Norm Rose • TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY • United States
  37. Adrian Matt • TRAVELBRAIN • Switzerland
  38. Sam Daams • co founder of TRAVELLERSPOINT and Sam I Am • Norway and at @SamDaams
  39. Kevin May • TRAVOLUTION BLOG • England and of @Travolution
  40. Uwe Frers • TRIPSBYTIPS • Germany
  41. Lukas Zinnagl • TRIPWOLF • Austria
  42. Juan Pablo Paradelo • TURISMO RURAL BLOG • Argentina
  43. Ed Wohlfahrt • ED WOHLFAHRT • Austria
  44. Reinhard Lanner • WORKERS ON THE FIELD • Austria
  45. Patrick Landman • XOTELS • Spain, who I didn’t see at all.

Ah and I found back the Youtube footage of an interview with me last year that Phil kindly produced. I have pasted it now in my About page. It needs some more views:-)

Notes to Self

  • Book Hotel
    Yes I know. I announced that I would prebook one of the Motels one, but as usual I’m late and that has nothing to do with the fact that I am usually late, but with the fact that I have to plan around our guests and never know on beforehand how many guests I have to leave in the very capable hands of my DW and our dear Back up
  • Try to get exception to drive in Berlin for the limo
  • Formulate some hard questions for the bloggers community…

#enter09@Amsterdam Mini Bloggers Meetup


I’m back from the Enter09@Amsterdam conference.

Before posting anything, I had to address a technical problem here, as the electrically opening gate to our backyard doesn’t function anymore. Some of you know that I sometimes describe my job here at Haagsche Suites as a “Jack of all trades and Master of none”.
It appeared that a deliverer of glass to my neighbor (a tenant of mine) has driven against the safety provisions of the gate this afternoon. Nice having a security cam available to prove who did it. The only problem is it takes considerable time to sift through lengthy footage of stills. But I have pinpointed the trespasser. I find it so funny to see my neighbor standing there in person and looking when it is happening and simply not having the decency to warn me what happened. Now I’m really looking forward to a whole weekend without a functioning gate. – It turned out later he had tried to give me notice by telephone on the answering machine -.

Back to Enter09. The Blogger meetup yesterday afternoon turned out to be a Mini Blogging Meetup. Luckily with some beer, chips and a friendly chat.

Now I can prove you beyond doubt with the above photo that Kevin Can Smile. Hurray! (see my 10 Questions (15) For: Kevin May of Travolution)….even when he had just decided to remove Virgin screen grabs from his site (see his Tweet and these posts of: Travolution and of Alex)

The photo shows further Stephen Joyce and Jens Traenhart (he is the one with the really huge smile).


This photo shows Dimitrios Buhalis, left, who was also conference chair and a young man of the Austrian Tirol Tourist board whom I hope will give us his name when he reads this. Added: I found him out before he me. It’s Hannes Egger, one of the authors of Blog Tirol. Oops I should have known: I’m on their Blogrol…Thanks Hannes and do come to ITB Berlin!

That made up a meet up of 7 6 Bloggers while William got lost in Amsterdam.

Later Stephen offered me dinner that I chose for him to be real Dutch “Suddervlees” (also known as “Draadjesvlees”) at Moeders a decent restaurant in Amsterdam that serves traditional Dutch Food and the name of which means Mothers (or Moms or Mamas) it is fested with photos of moms.

Thanks Stephen and we will meet again in Berlin where I owe you one.

From the conference itself I don’t have much to report to you, as I had a lot of other things to do, so I could not attend, but my own presentation and two sessions. I had especially to finalize my own first ppt presentation. When I have translated it in English (it was for the Dutch Day of Enter09 in the Dutch language), I’ll put it up here.

I posted some more photos at my Flickr set Enter09@Amsterdam

It was mentioned that Jens has new plans wit Tips from the T-List, but I didn’t attend that session. Maybe more somewhere else.


Added: Kevin used one of my Flickr set’s Enter09@Amsterdam photos for a Caption Contest