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.
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 :
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.
Last year, when Twitter still was a hype, I admit, for some time I auto followed new followers – no I never did Auto DM.
I did so because I was influenced by Twitter guru Guy Kawasaki, who took the position that you never know who is the one who follows you and then you better auto follow them, because you have the possibility to DM your followers. In addition having as many followers would bring you fame…. Sometimes, yes I admit, I even played the #FollowFriday or #FF play.
I’ve now come to the conclusion that Twitter better be about less followers, because so many types are cluttering my screens with nonsense, not wanted stuff, or stuff I’m not interested in at all.
So a couple of days ago I started manually un-following many types with many followers. Alas I have to do it manually as automatic un-following is not allowed anymore by the Twitter rules of engagement as of Mid January 2010.
After a couple of tweets wherein I notified those I un-followed that I’d labeled them for #UnfollowFriday I stopped, because it created discussions about why I was un-following them.I also realized my “real interesting and maybe interested” followers might get bored with such tweets.
I also stopped, because, while doing the un-follow, I found out that you can keep someone on a list without following them. This gave me the opportunity to create an #UnfollowFriday list. At present the list counts 111. Soon it will count more.
The funny thing is that while I have hit 7,700 followers last week. I’m presently at 7,649 followers and rapidly heading down. So just to document my all time high on twitter I placed the counter picture her. Clearly the Twitter inflated egos are leaving my Twitter ship by their own (auto) un-follow measures:-) Bye Bye to them! Looking forward to more interesting Tweets!
What is your take?
Update February 27, 2010
I’ve just once more had a look to the unfollow list and deleted it. Experiment closed. No more fun and just unfollowing is much easier:-)
And here is what Twitter Karma says:
On January 15, 2010, Twitter instructed us to remove the “bulk unfollow” capability of Twitter Karma as it has been determined to violate their Automation Rules and Best Practices. We have done so in order to comply with their request. We apologize to you, our users, for having to make this change, but hope you will understand it is outside of our control.
It’s an omission that I didn’t post earlier about a TweetUp, especially since I attended my first Tweetup, #TweetUpTheHague no 1 already back in August 2009.
What is a TweetUp?
I like this definition of Paul McFredies of WordSpy:
A real world meeting between two or more people who know each other through the online Twitter service
I’ts as simple as that. No more no less.
My reasons to attend #TweetUpTheHague
Even dogs do it 🙂 as you can see from the photo of Oppi, the dog of Eppo.
On a more serious note: To satisfy my always present insatiable curiosity: who is behind that blog or Twitteraccount (like this post Twelve Travel Tweeps Twittering satisfies this curiosity).
It is informal, small and casual. Networking is on top of the agenda. My first #TweetUpTheHague was very well organized by @koffiekitten and @SuzyOge It’s success can be measured by the fact that almost all attending this one are eager to meet again now for the second version. They even were so thoughtful as to provide TweetUp name tags.
Like bloggers who blog frequently, tweeps who twitter frequently are outgoing people and fun to meet in person.
At #TweetUpTheHague, a local venue with as only common denominator The Hague being the city where you live or work, you can meet a cross section of your fellow citizens. No matter what their status or occupation is. So you meet new interesting people. For me it is an easy way of connecting with people outside my hospitality niche and away from my computer.
After the venue there is a common ground, because you know each other a bit better. It will make your future communications with those you’ve met more effective. You can help them more effectively if they have questions and they can help you more effectively if you have questions.
With some of the people I met at the first #TweetUpTheHague I went to Dutch Bloggies Awards Gala here in The Hague, the WP Meetup in Rotterdam and the First WordcampNL in Utrecht.
Why communicate in English? The reason is that many tweeps in The Hague are foreigners who speak Dutch with various degrees of perfection. So it is an opportunity for locals to meet fellow non local citizens and vice versa. But we also do talk Dutch at the event and sometimes Double Dutch:-)
Also it offers an opportunity for non-tweeps to meet tweeps and learn what it is about.
Some success factors to boost a Tweetup
Create a platform in the form of a forum and/or blog as anchor for the venue. For #TweetUpThe Hague number 2 there is now a blog at WordPress, aptly named #TweetupTheHague and a LinkedIn Event. But you can also do that on a Facebook page, a ning community or you can use twtvite or a similar tool.
Proper nametags. How trivial they seem. For me as a photographer of events good name tags enable me to tag my photos more correctly and spread the word more effectively
A good location to meet informally. The next #TweetUpTheHague is in the bar of a local hotel Carlton Ambassador that sponsors the snacks. Personally I don’t believe it is necessary to have WiFi access available as it only distracts people from really meeting each other. But if there is WiFi, you can rub it in to those not attending that they’re missing a good event.
Don’t forget the after venue services: Document it, collect business cards, collect photos and videos about it and publish about it (what we all forgot in our enthusiasm after number 1, although the local paper mentioned it), and continue to maintain the contacts you like after the event.
Hope to see you Friday for #TweetUpTheHague number 2.