Monday, December 19, 2011

Good Bye 2011

OK, minus points for totally unoriginal title, but bonus points for blogging more in 2011 than in 2010!

I think that makes me even, points wise.

Which in this economy is a good place to be.

To wrap up the year, I thought I might pass along some general technology tidbits, in no particular order...

1. Never leave your electronics in a car in the cold.

You run the risk of condensation on the inside and condensation leads to rust. Always bring your laptop and cell phone in from the car.

2. Please put a password on your cell phone.

It can be as simple as 3 letters, anything to discourage would be thieves. YOU are responsible for charges on  your cell phone. When someone steals it and starts calling Nigeria, it's your responsibility to pay for that. It's not the phone carrier's fault. You see this same story countless times on the news websites - unsuspecting consumers owing thousands of dollars to the phone carrier. This is true for ALL phones on your account. Try and get long distance calling disabled on your children's phones.

3. Organize your files in folders

The end of the year is the perfect time to Archive old files into folders. In today's digital age, if you don't have a folder structure, you're wasting a lot of your time hunting for things. Use the features of the operating system to sort files by date, or type instead of name.

Create folders inside of folders for years - move everything into place

Especially pictures. My personal pictures folder has main folders for all holidays, and then inside each is a folder for each year. Christmas -- 2008 --- 2009 --- 2010 etc.
You can also do it by year if you wanted 2010 - Easter --- Summer vacation --- Fall -- Ski trip ---Christmas etc.

4. Cull old files and emails

Now is the time to clear out that clutter from your inbox. Permanently delete Deleted Items. You'll feel better starting the year with only the emails you need in front of you.

If you are using Outlook and have old email addresses in your auto complete, you can take some time to clear those out as well. Highlight them and hit the delete key - simple.

Hotmail, Gmail, whatever mail - clear out, clean up!

5. Drink more lattes - they are one of life's simple pleasures if you like milk with your coffee.

6. Use your laptop battery!

If you have a laptop the best way to extend the life of the battery is to USE it. Even if it sits at a desk for 90% of its life, unplug it and run it on battery until it's beeping like mad. It annoys me when people have a new laptop and the battery only lasts 5 minutes - it's not a manufacturing defect, it's because you never used it.

Also unplug it and let it discharge over the weekends. Power it off every once in a while and unplug the cable from the laptop AND the outlet (or power bar). Laptops are a little different from desktops in that they can build up static inside. You don't need to know the details, just unplug it and let it rest every once in a while.

7. The internet is your one stop shop

We're coming into an era of no excuses. There is literally nothing that you cannot find on the internet. And almost nothing the internet cannot help you with.

For example, if you don't know how to do number 3 and 4 - find out on the internet.

Start with "creating folders in windows 7" in a google search bar. If video is your preferred learning method, try You Tube.

If you don't know your version of Windows, start with "Find my windows version"

Start with learning about Google. Google help:

7.5 Have a latte while you're learning (see number 5 above) or whatever makes you calm

8. Improve your typing skills.

Really the only thing for this is practice. Google "learn to type". Retype your recipe cards. Whatever it is you're typing doesn't matter, practice on something. If you can get to 20-30 wpm your online life will be more enjoyable.

9. If you have several containers of Christmas decorations, mark on the outside which one you put the ornament hangers in.

And then put a note to yourself inside the other containers about which one you put the ornament hangers in. Then when the Ornament Hanger Goblin comes at some point during the year, you'll know which container to dust for incriminating fingerprints and DNA evidence.

That bugger belongs in jail.

Hmm...digressing a bit there.

Probably time to sign off on 2011 and we'll meet up in 2012.

I'll be available for one-on-one website mentoring in the new year, at the super low rate of $125, just give me a shout.


Monday, December 5, 2011 project survey

Greetings Operator,

During the past three years, the project has offered one-on-one mentoring sessions, and professional workshops in the spring.

The project, in preparation for renewal in October 2012, is looking for feedback and suggestions regarding what technology tools operators would like to learn more about and how operators would prefer to learn about technologies in general.

Please take a few moments to answer our survey. The survey has 14 questions, and will help direct the next three years of the project.

Click here  for the survey

Thank you, 
Réal Robichaud
Executive Director, TIANB

Bonjour chers exploitants,

Au cours des trois dernières années, le projet a offert des séances de mentorat individuelles, ainsi que des ateliers professionnels au printemps.

Le projet, en préparation pour le renouvellement en Octobre 2012, souhaite recueillir vos commentaires et suggestions quant aux outils que vous souhaiteriez mieux connaître et aux moyens par lesquels vous aimeriez vous familiariser avec les technologies de l'information en général.

Veuillez svp prendre quelques minutes pour compléter notre sondage. Le questionnaire comportant 14  questions contribuera à donner les orientations des trois prochaines années du projet

Cliquer ici pour le sondage

Réal Robichaud
Directeur général, AITNB

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hop like a Jack Rabbit

EXCLUSIVE - for my NB readers  

Let's dispel some of the myths and confusion around Jack Rabbit and online booking :)

Jack Rabbit is first and foremost an INDEXER.

A few times a day the Jack Rabbit "widget" - that white box on the TAP (tourism and parks) consumer facing website ( hops over to each operators online booking system and asks how many rooms are available.

It doesn't hold anything or take a portion of your rooms, it just asks "how many rooms do you have not booked?" Then later in the day it asks "OK now how many rooms do you have that are not booked?"

It then holds on to this information and so when  a consumer puts date ranges into the white box, it searches its information that it is holding on to and returns results

From there the consumer sees what operators have rooms available, and can choose to book, view the operator's website, start again, etc.

To actually book a room, the consumer must go to the operator's online booking system.

And here's where some people are confused

The operator can run ANY online booking system s/he wants to. The Jack Rabbit will hop over and  "talk" to any online booking system.

There are many many many types of online booking engines and they range from online web based engines to full property management systems. Some which interface with online merchant accounts and some that don't (ie take credit card deposits, hold credit card information)

It's up to the operator to choose which online booking system s/he wants to use.

They also range in pricing from a percentage to a flat monthly fee.

AS AN OPTIONAL BONUS - the people who developed Jack Rabbit will provide any operator who wants it a free online booking system.  This is SEPARATE to the Indexer the Jack Rabbit team runs on the TAP website.

The free online system is basic but they, the Jack Rabbit program team, are also making some improvements to it. Neither TAP or TIANB can make any improvements to the free portion online booking system.

There are many ways a consumer can find an operators website:

  • Rack card at a VIC
  • Google search
  • (TAP)
  • You Tube video search
  • RTA or DMO site listing
  • a direct link from a previous customer / friends / family
  • a facebook ad
  • etc etc etc

Being in the TAP check availability widget is not the be all and end all of people finding your accommodation. It's just one route to it. 

The cost for showing up in that widget is $125 a year

PLUS the cost of an online booking system. OR you can choose the free one from the Jack Rabbit company. 

You must do your RESEARCH on what online booking option is going to work for your operation!!!

Implementing this technology and making the change from that notebook or calendar to online is a BIG one.

It takes planning and commitment and knowledge and money. 

Remember when you wanted to build that garden for your guests to enjoy. So you plotted it out, bought the tiny plants and voila ... your guests sat in front of 5 inch tall hostas and said, "ah, that's cute"

Now it's a few years later, the hostas, which you moved to get more sun, are 2 feet tall and the bistro table set you purchased on clearance is a perfect spot for guests to relax.

The point being, the garden didn't start out as a magical place, and neither will your online booking engine. 
Because you didn't understand flowers  that well, you might have lost some, and had to replant others. Same with online booking - make sure you understand your options.

However in time, your online booking engine will be a magical place and as you sit in your garden, sipping a cup of tea while it takes reservations for you,  you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. 

As always, anyone from the team would be happy to help explain how online reservations works (the other Atlantic Provincial portals are different) and we also have reviewed at least 12 online booking software engines and can dispel some of the myths. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Tool or not to Tool ...


While at the Altantic Internet Marketing conference last month in Halifax, I attended a great panel session called the Internet Marketer's Toolkit. Each panelist shared their top four or five internet / social media / business tools. Some are free, some are not. But here's the list for your education.

Salesforce - a contact manager software for sales or other applications

Constant Contact - an online email marketing solution. Let's you create mass emails and send them to your stored contact lists

Forrester Research - internet / social media stats for gurus

Social Media sharing buttons - not a tool per se but make sure you have social media sharing on your website and that you use social media buttons on other websites to share interesting content with your followers  - analyzes your past tweets and finds the best time slots for you to send new ones

Namechk - if you're starting a new business, or signing up for social media use namechk to see what user names and domains are available so you can have the most consistent online presence

Hootsuite - an online application that lets you manage your social media like twitter and facebook with one application and one log in

Tweetdeck - same as Hootsuite but different (most people like either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck)

Seesmic - same as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite

Google Blogsearch  - (found under the more button) narrow down your google search to just what is happening in the blog sphere

Ice rocket - real time search of Twitter and Facebook and others

Social Mention - same as ice rocket

Radian 6 - a brand monitoring platform, mainly for larger companies with a lot of people talking about them - a URL shortening service, you can track clicks once you set up an account, then you'll know how many people clicked on a link in your tweet etc.

klout score - mostly for geeks to measure how important they are on the internet - my klout is 11.

Friend or follow - see who you are following but who is not following you and vice versa

Mail Chimp - same as Constant Contact

Survey Monkey - a low cost survey program, with monthly options, sign up for a few months, run a survey, close your account

Google Analytics - analyzes the traffic to your website - you need this.

Google Link Builder - Google has lots of free tools like this one, Google keyword, and Google Local Business listing - check them all out

Hope you find these helpful !


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Content is my current passion

In my last few mentoring sessions I've focused on website content and how it can make or break your site.


Because clients are having a social media backlash at me, and so I trick them into working on their content, which in turn will lead them happily down the path of social media. Watch out, I'm delightfully deceptive.

Review my posts from September 20, August 2 and way back in July 2009

And I found this great article - 10 simple ways to reduce friction

While it's not tourism focused, it's still relevant. I'm talking to all you operators with black backgrounds and white text. Please let's move on from the 90's.

All words on your website should inform the consumer about property details and entice them to contact you immediately. And make sure some of those words are your keywords. Win win.

Don't talk about you, talk about me... or don't talk about me, talk about you? Stop using the words We and Us, and use You and You're and You will.

When designing keep in mind colours, fonts and eye path. The easiest method is to find a comparable site and tell your developer you like that one. In the tourism market, people are browsing 10-30 different options and their eyes are starting to glaze over. You want them to feel like your site is a calm, organized, coherent oasis in a sea of internet sludge.

Images - make sure your images relate to your target market. If you're looking to attract more seniors, then have more seniors in your images.

So what have we done?

Not only have we reviewed and refreshed all our website content, we've pared it down to some tweetable sentences. Sneaky. Plus we can tweet some of the content that we pulled -> re-purposing.

Not only do we have new great relevant images on our website but we can also use some for our facebook and tweets -> re-purposing. And the outtakes are totally awesome for this purpose. Be fun and silly for a minute.

Yes, it's digital magic.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Internet Resources for Bed and Breakfasts

While browsing through the internet I found this great listing of websites for B&B and Inn owners

Check out the original article for the full list and read the comments for some more great tips from readers

I've copied and pasted a few of them below:

There's the B&B Coach, Susan, who is sharing her B&B tips via her paid services and a free blog. Hmmm sounds familiar, like someone close to me does the same thing ... oh right that's me :)

The Quantum Hospitality group, which doesn't seem to be online at the moment but has a lot of great archives

Also don't forget, LinkedIn also has groups for B&B owners. LinkedIn is the more professional version of Facebook. You wouldn't sell your product here but can find others like you in the forums and groups and share problems and experiences.

I'm sure you'll find something educational in the above resources.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to combine social media and analytics and marketing

You should really read the whole article located HERE

But I really enjoyed the case studies. Use your trip adviser reviews and guest feedback to mold your marketing message - interesting concept that everyone can utilize.

It's about what THEY SEE AND DO and not about what YOU think they are seeing and doing.

Actual hotel case studies:

Case study
We recently worked with a client that was a historical monument. The hotel had been home of many historical celebrities that had written books, poems, symphonies there – even famous paintings worth millions were painted from the window at the hotel.
Logically this was a tremendous marketing advantage for the hotel. It was all over their brochures, site and advertising. But the hotel was failing despite all this marketing.
After a careful study of all the online reviews of the hotel, it was obvious that their potential future guests didn’t much care about what their other guests did in the past. They came to the hotel for the same reasons that the celebrities came to the hotel – a unique setting and view.
All marketing elements were re-done for the hotel. We scrapped absolutely everything and started from scratch. All of the focus was placed on the setting and view. The results were immediate.
Another example
Another hotel had just renovated their property with some of the most exquisite materials available. Each tile or piece of furniture was of the finest quality, and this was a luxury boutique hotel destined to be great success. Obviously everybody knew that “luxury” was going to be a unique selling point for the hotel. So the marketing efforts, press releases, and communications material were all focused on the fine materials and luxury offered.
Not so quick… we studied the hotel’s reviews to find out what people were saying about the hotel. To everyone’s surprise nobody mentioned any of these great products and fine brands but they were all commenting on the hotel’s close proximity to several monuments.
It surprised us because the hotel wasn’t that close to those monuments from a local viewpoint. But in the eyes of the consumer that was the hotel’s biggest advantage. So we changed the site, the marketing and everything to reflect what the guests were saying. The results were almost immediate, and sales through the hotel’s website took off in ways nobody had imagined.
And one more
Apex Hotels is one of the most successful urban hotel brands in the UK, and has made semantic analysis a fundamental part of determining their marketing strategy. “It enables us to instantly understand our unique selling propositions – from the guests’ perspective,” says ecommerce executive Amy Spark.
For example, the team realized their location is much more important to guests than their food offerings, so they played this aspect up in their collateral. The results were impressive. “Semantic analysis ensures we are connecting with our audience, and communicates what they are looking for.”
There is more to review analytics than reputation management. Review analytics are a vital tool for guiding marketing messages to reflect what guests appreciate most about your hotels, and avoid topics that guests don’t care about or aren’t interested in.
Make an effort to understand what your guests are saying about you, combine that with your marketing research, and you’ll have a formula for powerful promotions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Landing pages and Photos

Let's talk a bit about web design and layout

Starting with the "fold". In web design as in newsprint, the most important information should be above the "fold" or before the user has to scroll. Now in newsprint you know that this is a specific  number of inches but online it's not so cut and dry. So use your best judgement, have your web designer help you, and choose content, titles and images that are going to make people want to stay on your site and read more. FYI this is called "stickiness" - but who needs more jargon.

Don't be afraid to have multiple copies of important buttons or navigation items - above and below the fold.

Colour has a strong emotional impact and can affect moods and feelings of your viewers. In the age of online travel searching, it might be time to rethink your logo and entire marketing strategy for something that will translate online

It's important that all your marketing material match or coordinate. If I pick up your rack card and it's green and I go to your site and it's blue, I'm going to think I'm in the wrong place. (Super extreme colour examples but you get the drift)

Use a white background for text and do not use coloured text, unless it's a hyperlink.

Images can be a two edged sword, they can support your theme or they can be a major distraction.

Make sure they are all the same quality and resolution
That they relate to the content on the page and your marketing message
That they show real people enjoying your product

For SEO purposes make sure they have ALT text, and Captions - your developer can show you how to do this the first few times.

In some situations showing only the top of the image above the fold will encourage visitors to scroll and see the remaining content and messaging on your landing page.

So I hope these relatively generic tips help you get more stickiness - like flies on fly paper

Friday, September 9, 2011


Why is it that short weeks are sometimes not worth the holiday that caused the week to be short in the first place?

And when it's been a looong short week, don't bring salad for lunch on a Friday- that's just a waste of vegetables.

I had an interesting light bulb moment in our staff meeting this morning.

We were talking about whether emails were still relevant, and were people still reading attachments. By  people we are referring to busy hotel managers and restaurant employees and other types of employment where you don't spend eight hours in front of a computer.

Here at TIANB most of the staff are all online for eight hours of the day, either via blackberry or sitting in the office. And we sometimes find it difficult to contact operators because they are only online at 3 am or 5 am or 12:15 pm etc.

My expert opinion was solicited and I didn't really have a definite answer - I think it's case by case. Some younger managers may be on their iPhones more frequently during the day and some old schoolers are setting aside 30 minutes to handle email and snail mail and other office paperwork

So for the person who sets aside the same amount of time each day, it may take 3 days to have an email conversation.

And it so it seems slower then the Manager who replies from his blackberry

I'm sure this translates into the consumer market as well. What kind of consumer are you looking for?

Once you know that, find out what kinds of technology they are using?

Then use that medium to communicate with them.

Social media is about being Social - we're all looking for that one place where we walk in and someone shouts "Norm!". We're tired of 1-800 numbers with press options. In a world of 7 billion faces, we're striving to be seen. By anyone. For even just a minute.

As we conquer barriers and reach new heights and as the population soars, it's hard to have your 15 minutes of fame promised to us by Andy Warhol. We might have to get it one tweet at a time

Remember if you need help with your technology plan check out the program

Have a great day,

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Greetings gang,

For today's content we're going to tweetpeat. In other words, I'm going to blog everything I've tweeted in the past few days/ week. See how you can reuse content at least once more. Even if someone is following your twitter account AND reading your blog - they might be wary of links, reading it on a mobile and forget to go back to it. They could be at a conference, exceptionally busy, or on vacation.

Plus you should be so lucky as to have people following you on multiple platforms  :)

First up a cute video about how Twitter is faster than an earthquake

Next a nice Retweet about an interesting article on how DMOs should organize Travel Media FAMs

RT @benvadasz: The future of Travel Media blog post by @wilhelmus, pls read and pass on to your travel media team. Link

An article on how Teachers in America are embracing social media as a way to interact with their students instead of banning it

Social media go from school ban to teacher's tool   Link 

Tomtom GPS adding social networking features to it's next generation of devices

Tomtom adds social networking to satnav Link  #socialnetworking

The dates for the Atlantic Internet Marketing (AIM) conference was announced  - mark your calendars

RT @aimconference: AIM Conference: Halifax, Harbourview Holiday Inn, October 27-28. New format: 1 Day of Workshops, 1 Day of Strategy.

A little bit of Friday trivia ...
Friday tidbit - "Sexting" & "Retweet" have been added to the dictionary. (via @TIMENewsFeed)

An article that sums up 18 great hospitality facebook pages and why they are great
RT @meetDMAI: 18 awesome hospitality #Facebook welcome pages Link #travel #socialmedia

Congratulations to Montana for their awesome award winning campaign, There's nothing here.

Also, somewhat related TIANB is always looking for participants to help CTHRC update National Occupational Standards and training. It's a way for your employees feel helpful and it only takes a few minutes of their time

Seeking Nite Auditors for a ntl research project! Night Auditors are asked to participate in a short survey Link

Kitchen Helpers needed for a National Project! You are invited to participate in the following survey: Link

And since I only post once a week (or so) a Friday funny cat video. Remember it's something funny or unusual that will go viral, not just videos of your property

Til next time,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Putting the SOCIAL in Social Media


Sometimes I think, yes I have been known to think, that in the rush for businesses to get on board the social media bandwagon, we forgot about the meaning of the word "social"

Clear evidence of this is the fact that we continually have to tell businesses social media is NOT a place to SELL product.  Somewhere at the very beginning Businesses got the wrong end of the stick regarding social media.

Social media is not a replacement communication tool but an additional one.  And notice I didn't say marketing tool, I said communication tool.

Social media is the extension of email, which was the extension of your 1-800 number, which was the extension of calls from the VIC or pay phones on location, which is the extension of driving til you see the "vacancy" sign.

We're talking about the difference between 60% or 70% occupancy - 80% or 90% guest satisfaction. It's that little bit extra.

Choose a social media platform that suits You as the operator and your output will shine / stand out.

Social media provides an outlet for post purchase perks such as getting retweeted or being tagged in a business Facebook album. Making that one customer feel special - leading to awesome guest reviews, referrals and repeat business.

It's about telling the World you are looking forward to your guests.

It's one on one but like that Vidal Sassoon commercial - she tells two friends, they tell two friends and so on and so on.

So go out there and be social! It's a fun journey and you never know where you're going to end up or who you are going to connect with.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Google Places - it's where to be on the web

Google, google and more google.

If you've taken the mentoring session then you've heard of Google Places - because we've told you to set up an account there.

Told you, told you and told you.

Liberally copied from Daniel Craig please click through to read the whole article, but here are some highlights

To enhance searchability, ensure that your business’s name, address and phone number are listed in a consistent format across the web. The Company/Organization field acts as the title of your listing and should include the word “Hotel” and your destination if they are part of your official business name—Google doesn’t permit descriptors or keywords in titles. For example, “The Manderley Chicago Hotel” is more searchable than “The Manderley”.

Businesses can upload a maximum of 10 photos and five videos, so make sure they are high quality, authentic and functional. Adding captions and descriptions is presently not an option.

Google, already a dominant force in travel marketing, has reared its head as a formidable force in social networking. By optimizing your Places listing now you’ll be positioned to take advantage of new opportunities down the road.

Also check out my Google+ widget on the left - Google Plus is a new social network, I'll be talking about that  in future posts

I'm also bringing in @tourismtech tweets - please follow us on Twitter and let us know if you're running a Twitter account, we love to see what operators are doing :)

I'm always looking for new widgets to keep my blog up to date and interesting. You should be doing the same. Please find an online champion somewhere in your organization.

If you need help with websites, social media, email,  the Tourism Technology team is available across Atlantic Canada. We dispense wisdom and make the internet less scary. Promise.

Hoping you're having a great tourism season!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Your neglected website


So you've decided that social media is not for you, not right now - fair enough.

However don't think I'm going to let you allow your website to slide as well!

People are moving away from traditional information sources like phone books, paper based travel guides, and atlases!

They expect to find your contact details online - somewhere. And if you're not offering an online social media presence, then you had better have it on your website.

Simple things like ...

Opening date, closing date
Methods of payment
Contact names
Travel tips

Stop what you're doing, run to your website right now and check all those things. Otherwise you'll end up being the target of someones blog.

Someone like this...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Some twitter basics today.

It's come a long way from only 140 characters in a tweet and Teens tweeting that they're currently in the bathroom.

Celebrities are using it. Causes are using it. It even comes in handy during political upheaval.

Few people are using = though if you're a true beginner, it's a great place to start.

Twitter tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck have evolved to help humans use the Twitter concept better and more effectively. Also Twitter for mobile is another handy tool for your smart phone

You're also going to need a URL shortener (is that a word?). Something like
In order to drive people to your website or to other interesting websites, you need to use as many characters as you can to write witty content and use a URL shortener to make those long website addresses as short as possible.

In order to find out if people are clicking on your URLs you need an account with your preferred URL shortener. AND you need to tie it into your Twitter tool.

For example

You find a super awesome website you want to share

You open Hootsuite, which you've tied into your bitly account (using the options inside Hootsuite)

You write "check out this awesome site http: short link !"
You wait
Pretty soon, one of your followers will retweet you, you'll know via Hootsuite
And you'll open your bitly account and it will tell you how many people clicked on your link to your awesome website
You can compare that to the number of followers you have to see whether the percentage is high enough for you to say "I got some good ROI on that"
If not, then go back to the drawing board and try for better content in your next tweet.
Also try hashtags - putting a # in front of keywords
Example Tweet: I love #nb #potatoes fresh from the #garden smothered in real butter
This kind of tweet can be found by people doing searches on the words NB, potatoes and garden
For more on hashtags check out
Again this is just an overview on twitter, I didn't even talk about sharing photos or finding followers, or what to do when a spambot signs up to follow you.
I'm saving that for later.
Til next time,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Think like a customer

Liberally copied from Dear Radian6 - but it totally sounds like something I would say, and since I haven't said anything in a while, it's a good place to start again :) So many times I've read articles and thought, I should write something similiar for my peeps but never get to it. My new strategy is I'm going to start quoting more - we'll see how it goes.

If you are thinking like a customer, you can better appreciate what your customers may like. So keep this in mind when you share content, advice or just reach out in a friendly tone. Make what you say count. Infrequent, compelling interactions will mean more to your customers than a whirlwind of pokes and hellos that only fill a social site up with too much talking.

It is likely a rare occurrence that a customer taps you on your social-web-shoulder, pokes you and giggles then waves frantically in excitement just for the opportunity to be your friend. Customers want to know what’s in it for me? – known in marketing circles as WIIFM. So if you’re waiting for customers to cheerfully connect with you online just because, you may be waiting a long time.

Do you remember the excitement you felt when you were given a wrapped gift and the contents of the box were entirely a mystery? Surprises can be exciting, so why not surprise your customers by friending them first and joining in on the conversations they are having about you, about travel in general and their love/need for flying? Customers who experience an interaction from behind a social profile tend to turn their ear towards that brand and actually listen.

Perhaps one of the greatest examples of surprising customers is the KLM Surprises campaign. KLM really took flight using social media to demonstrate just how eager they were to soar above customer’s expectations.

The video is a little slow in the middle but hang with it.

If you need help with your social media strategy, contact me, the program can help

Til next time

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


1. Tourism Technology Award - deadline to nominate yourself or another operator is March 31 March 31 is also the deadline for the TIANB Pioneer Award, and Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Get your nominations in today!

2. Social Media Workshops
- register now for the second year of presents Social Media Workshops for Tourism Operators. We've found a great expert, and we're going to take it to the next level. Last year was more of an introduction to the tools. This year, we're focusing on SMART objectives, developing key messages, researching your online status, and measuring impact. Saint John, April 26 Fredericton, April 27 Edmundston, April 29 Register now!

3. It's never too early to register for TIANB Annual Conference, May 25-27 in Miramichi Excellent speakers including Chef Lynn Crawford Social Media guru Amber McArthur Festival Genius Michel Gauthier HR Whiz Pierre Battah Register now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Social Ostrich reappears

I know I'm supposed to be writing about Online Revealed but I haven't downloaded the presentations and put it altogether in a report yet - patience

What I am going to write about it the continued existence and appearances of the Social Ostrich.

I first noted the Social Ostrich in my post of June 4, 2010

Back then he was cute, perhaps charming, a little out of touch but bearable.

I recently ran into another one just last week at the Fredericton Tourism Launch / Tourism and Parks JackRabbit presentation.

Today in 2011, he is not cute, not charming, but overbearing and down right bad for other people's business.

The Social Ostrich spouts things like:

"if it ain't broke, don't fix it",

"I like to talk to people on the phone",

"I still use my paper based day planner for reservations"

The Social Ostrich has his head in the sand, and he'll keep you down there with him if he can.


All business operators need to PLAN FOR CHANGE. Using Social Media and moving to online reservations is simply


Someday soon, that Social Ostrich is going to finally pull his head out of the sand and there's not going to be a customer in sight. He'll be starting from scratch trying to find customers and build an online brand. His business that was once going to provide his retirement in Arizona is now worthless. He has no future bookings, and no online customer fan club to fall back on.

If you're smart you'll be the one with all his customers, they are out there for the taking and keeping.

If you think you are a Social Ostrich, email me. The program can rehabilitate you.

If you see one in the wild, let me know, I'd like to take the Social Ostrich and wring it's neck (humanely). I hear Ostrich is the new Turkey ...

beth at tianb dot com

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trip Advisor / Trip Advisory

Some astonishing travel tales both coming and going to NF a couple of weeks ago. I won't bore you with the details but NB should be thankful that most of our tourist don't fly here. I hear even in the summer, landing in St John's can be iffy - and that's your Trip Advisory :)

Jim Brody from Trip Advisor was a speaker at HNL, he had some things to say - namely that Social Media and Travel were made for each other. I agree. If there is one thing that Travel is it's social and interactive.

He also touched on User Testing, User Studies - every person's online experience is unique. No two people visit a website in exactly the same way. The way your eyes scan across the screen (left to right, right to left), the clicks you take, how you use the browser tools. Make sure you're trying to view your own website through fresh eyes. Ask friends and family for honest opinions.

Check out Trip Advisor on Facebook, apparently they have a new game that's highly addictive.

He also mentioned some interesting statistics, they always have statistics.

4800 Brazilians viewed information on NF. That's a little more then one might think isn't it? Now it doesn't mean they are all coming, they could just be displace Newfs viewing images of home. But either way, people all over the world are viewing things all the time.

75% of people use Trip Advisor as a research tool
25% of people write the reviews

So do what you can to promote yourself on Trip Advisor, ask clients to write reviews, respond to reviews. Post new images. Cross link between your site and Trip Advisor. Use the internet to break down barriers

The internet, and I think he means your website really, is the only medium where someone from Boston and someone from New Zealand can view your marketing with the same download speed and delivery time. It's instant.

No waiting for it to arrive in the mail
No attachment errors
No email bouncing

It's available at 3 am or 3 pm

When they want it

What message are you putting out there? Is it good enough?

Using your EQ types, it's about WHAT they are looking for, not where they are or who they are

Later gators,
I'm off to Toronto for a week to learn even more wisdom to pass along


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TIA Conferences


I'm off this week to Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador's (HNL) Annual Conference. Each Atlantic provincial Tourism Industry Association (TIA) has its own annual conference. The Tourism project attends each one to increase visibility for the project and encourage more operators to sign up for the mentoring session.

Since each TIA has only a handful of staff, one of the Tourism coordinators travels to the others conference to work the trade show.

I'm going to NF, NS rep is going to PE, NF rep is going to NB etc.

The point is you might want to consider attending one of these conferences, just to get some different perspective. Consider their speakers. View their provincial presentations.

NF is in February,
PE is in March,
NB is in May,
NS is in November,

Food for thought, it doesn't hurt to know what everyone else is doing.

Have a great week,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About Me

How many times have you seen the About Us tab on a website (Contact Us also counts)?

How many online contact places do you have (email, blog, linked in, facebook, website)?

Wouldn't it be great to store all those in one place?

And fancy it up with fonts and pictures?

Check out About Me

It's a great one page "dashboard" to post your details for all your online places

Check out mine Beth A

There are probably more free online apps like this, but this is the one I found and I like it. It was simple to create and now it's a one stop shop for all my contact info.
You can email me from there, read my blog, connect on FaceBook and Linked In.

And the URL is super easy to remember

You could create one for your business and use it on your business cards. Or just use it for personal use.

If you meet a friend on the street, you can say "Hey connect with me at" and then they can choose the connection options they prefer - email, facebook, linkedin, twitter etc.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This week I want to share with you the blog of my friend Margaret -

Margaret's blog

Through no influence of mine, Margaret embodies everything I tell you you should be doing:

She's doesn't have a technical background.

She sets a writing schedule.

She's real, in the sense that she writes in a language people can understand and relate with.

She cross promotes with her facebook page.

While I wish I could take some credit, I can't. Margaret is organically the poster child for how I want you to start blogging and/or facebooking, and/or updating your website.

Reach inside you and find your inner Margaret.

And if you need some help, I'm still offering the mentoring sessions

Contact me,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Canadian eTourism Awards

Just wanted to let everyone know about the Canadian eTourism awards program.

Now accepting nominations until January 30th

To be awarded in conjunction with Online Revealed in Toronto, March 8 and 9

Best website

Best user generated content

Best online campaign

Best innovative use of technology / media

Check out their home page

And nominate yourself today !!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Conferences 2011


Already the new year is looking better then last year. In fact, excluding that sentence, let's not mention 2010 again.

If you're interested in learning more about Social Media and tourism, there are a couple of conferences coming up that you might be interested in attending.

Canada e-Connect, February 2-4 in Toronto

I've attended e-Connect the past two years, and it's not in the budget to go again this year. Organized by TIAC, it has a tourism / social media focus. Sometimes I find the content more directed at DMOs or someone with a larger marketing reach but overall it gets the brain cells going.

Check out their speaker list

PS If you're not going to e-Connect, you can still see Amber MacArthur at TIANB's Annual Conference, May 25-27 in Miramichi :)

Online Revealed , March 8-9 in Toronto

My first online revealed was last year... OK 2010 had one good thing in it! This conference is also tourism and social media focused. Produced by A Couple of Chicks Marketing.

The Chicks bring in loads of talented speakers from all price points and vantages.

I'll be attending again this year, and it's jammed packed with sessions , they've combined with a one day Canadian Tourism Marketing summit

So it's a great opportunity to join me, as I won't be able to take it all in !

Some of you may remember the Chicks from TIANB's Annual Conference last year in Edmundston. They talked about the usage of social media and bringing it into your ecosystem. How social media can drive sales... now's the time to dig out those notes you took and review your 2011 strategy.

Also TIANB, Tourism and Parks, and Tourism Atlantic (ACOA) are doing FREE presentations on a variety of topics around NB over the next couple of weeks.

Be sure and attend to learn all about EQ and more!

Check out the date and times here

Stay tuned,