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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Wow! Our Guests do Appreciate us!

Hoteliers-Com-Landing-Page-as-at-December-29,-2009

We use Hoteliers.com, which is not a traditional OTA that charges commissions, but a site that offers what the traditional OTAs offer, but for a moderate annual service fee. If you make your reservation via the website of Haagsche Suites, it actually goes via their website. Together with maintaining availability in one place, it helps us tremendously to prevent overbooking.

Hoteliers.com has announced that they will be giving awards for the first time in 6 categories that their own guest reviews monitor:

Best Over all
1. In de Duinen, Callantsoog
2. B&B Fort Amsterdam, Amsterdam
3. Haagsche Suites, Den Haag
4. Misc Eatdrinksleep, Amsterdam
5. Parkhotel Horst, Horst

Beste Service
1. In de Duinen, Callantsoog
2. Misc Eatdrinksleep, Amsterdam
3. Asgard Hotel, Groningen
4. Haagsche Suites
5. B&B Fort Amsterdam

Best Location
1. Hotel Torenzicht, Amsterdam
2. Het Roode Lopen, Ermelo
3. The Dylan Amsterdam
4. Bilderberg Landgoed de Wilmersberg, de Lutte (Twente)
5. B&B Fort Amsterdam

Best value for money
1. B&B la Festa, Amsterdam
2. Holland Hotel liauckama State, Sexbierum (Friesland)
3. Hotel Manna, Nijmegen
4. Holland Hotel ?t Anker, Mierlo (Noord Brabant)
5. Misc Eatdrinksleep

Best comfort
1. Haagsche Suites
2. Texel Suites
3. B&B Fort Amsterdam
4. Misc Eatdrinksleep
5. Dorint Hotel Amsterdam Airport

Cleanest
1. B&B Fort Amsterdam
2. Haagsche Suites
3. B&B van Ostade, Amsterdam
4. Hotel Fita, Amsterdam
5. Herberg de Hondsrug, Eext (Drenthe)

It wasn’t until a fellow twittering hotel ( @CarltonTheHague thank you!) in the Hague congratulated us for the many nominations and reading about it on the Dutch Hospitality News site Horeca Entree who recently also decided to start with a Twitter presence as @HorecaEntree, until it finally registered in my mind.. busy as I was with guests..

Congratulations for all the fellow nominees, especially In de Duinen, Callantsoog and B&B Fort Amsterdam! I know what hard work goes with it!

I would like to thank all our guests for their support and taking the time to fill out the review forms. Also I would like to thank the very nice and always helpful people at Hoteliers.com for their continuous support and good work. Hm thinking about it, it is about time Hoteliers.com do establish their own Twitter presence:-)

Looking back to 2009

ocean-spray-looking-backPhoto from Tripadvisor

Introduction
When I sat down to look back at 2008, I got so carried away that I decided to spread it over several posts, but that resulted in a period of 2008 not covered at all. This time I’ll try to be as concise as possible and cover the whole year in one post.

General observations
The depression – the photo a result from a Google search for photos “looking back to 2009″ seems apt – hit all of us full blow and various countries had to bail out major banks at the price of huge budget deficits that will haunt future generations.

Luckily our own hotel, Haagsche Suites, didn’t suffer as badly as I feared at the start of 2009. I believe there was a tendency to favor the smaller properties due to the crises. Occupancy and turnover were up when compared with 2008. So throughout the year I remained a Happy Hotelier.

That I was busy with the hotel also shows as I produced slightly less posts: 190 Up to and including this one (215 posts in 2008 and 166 in 2007).

What kept me busy:

  1. January: Preparations and delivery of a key note about blogging for the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism IFITT Amsterdam conference. I posted about the conference on January 27 and January 30.
  2. February: The first weekend I spent in Paris to celebrate my 60ieth birthday with my family. I have much more to tell about it than my two posts Retro Mobile and The Rediscovery of a Panhard Levassor X73.Twitter really took off in the Travel Bloggers world and brought them closer together. I mention:

    I posted about the first Lonely Planet Travel Blog Awards and the Turkish Airlines 737 Crash in Amsterdam. Again Twitter was the first medium mentioning the crash.

  3. March: I prepared for, went to and wound down in part 1 , part 2 and part 3 from the T-List PhocusWright Blogger Summit in Berlin.
    In the meantime I produced an posts about Lonely Planet Travel Blogging Awards, an update on the Twitchhiker experiment,  my wine tasting society tasting a 1918 Vosne Romanee and one of my personal favorite posts I frequently look at : Some 20 Random Tips for Twittahholics
  4. April: A strong discussion about the use and ownership of a Twitter # Hashtag It was with respect to #winewednesday. After the discussion I lost a bit of interest, but shortly before it I had organized a Sparkling Wine Tasting #Tweetup in Haagsche Suites.
  5. May: Wanna Become a Celebrity Hotelier? was a post to see if I could plug the search term celebrity hotelier in the Google search ranking. It brought me into the Google top position for that search term very quickly and even today I keep that position, at least according to my location of the search.
    Then there was the huge attention the Best Job in the World competition got .
    I installed the Thesis Theme. That ended a period of multi WP theme blog here. It also took some of my time away from blogging.
  6. June: As I said: In June I was partly Lost under the Hood.
  7. July: A fellow travel blogger got a death threat what do you do with it?.
    I took the position that Tripadvisor lures guests away from your site in order to send them to the big OTA’s.
    Finally published my original Dutch IFITT presentation in the English Language in I blog – Five Years Already.
  8. August: Later in 2009 I met one of my regular readers who pointed to Confessions of a Hotelier – Two Brides – One (G)room…almost as his most favorite post of this blog. He happens to have first hand hotel experience in Haagsche Suites as one of our early grooms and with that remark gave me the final push to start a separate blog totally focused on Haagsche Suites only. It is in the works.
  9. September:
    Tested Clipmarks extensively. See Testing Clipmarks.
    Hosted a Carnival of Cities
  10. October: Ventured into food with Amazing Food Art – Dominique Davis and Goodbye Summer – It’s Halloween Time
  11. November: Participated in Wordcamp.NL.
    Spent most of the month migrating two blogs to a new server….
  12. December: Attended the Dutch Bloggies Award Gala in The Hague and kept on struggling to get the two blogs up to date and right after the migration

Some UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) or AP’s (Abandonned Projects)

  • I started a list of Twitter followers and intended to make it a huge list on a separate page, a project that I abandoned
  • Many more subjects I didn’t post about as I would have liked, but I’ll keep them in my sleeve, rather than spelling them out for you.

Stay tuned!

Post Alia
[Oops and then it turns out I accidentally have hit the publish button again long before the post has some content at all. Sorry for the early onlookers. I’ve had the post on private viewing for some time at least until I had covered the first three months. I’ll hopefully finish it tomorrow].

Last edited and finalized by Happy Hotelier on December 30, 2009 at 7.18 PM

Best Xmas Turkey

Nude-Turkey-_MG_2916
Frequent readers of this blog know I like to play around with words and search engines. So I have tagged above photo “Nude Turkey”. BTW nothing so depressing as the view of a nude turkey :-)

We have some British subjects in the family and usually have visitors from across. Last year it was the same and off course turkey was on the Xmas menu. Last year’s turkey was excellent, but I forgot how I prepared it. Luckily one of last year’s guests remembered we had used Delia Smith’s guidelines and came up with a very helpful link How to roast turkey.

Turkey-with-Coppa-_MG_2919

Then I realized I had forgotten to buy streaky bacon rashers. After inspection of the fridge I found some Coppa (Italian dried ham), even better than bacon I would think.
Buttered-up-Turkey-_MG_2920

Next problem was the butter, that was much too hard to easily spread over the beast. So I found a roll of salted butter that I cut in parts and really buttered the turkey up!

The tricks are:

  1. Wrap it in aluminum foil, butter it up and cover it up with bacon (or coppa or whatever is alike)
  2. First 1/2 to 3/4 hour in the oven with high temperature (approx 220°C)
  3. Then 3 to 4 hrs at approx 170°C
  4. Finally you take the foil down and let it get crispy in 1/2 to 3/4 hr at approx 220°C again

Best-Turkey-Ready-_MG_2925

The end result was fabulous again! Nice crispy and juicy! Thanks Delia. I wrote it into this blog to not forget your secrets next year.

Kudos to the XMas Chef

X-Mass-Chef-P1050817
Yesterday I got an e-mail from a very dear long time friend who invited me for a male only drink between 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm to celebrate his birthday.

I went. There he was. Gray hair and thin to the bone.

We hadn’t been able to catch up for a couple of years while he was being run over legally by the company he used to work for together with the help of a Dutch prosecutor. All legal battles finally lost. The whole story is worse than Kafka. What happened with him proves to me to that Dutch government changed the law after 9/11 too far. Through these changes the Dutch legal system is becoming very much alike the legal system of a Banana Republic. What happened to him basically can happen to everyone.

Lost top job, wife and all possessions.

A Dutch chef of fame lent him his bar for the venue. With a couple of bottles from the supermarket and home made snacks he was able to entertain the friends who didn’t turn their back to him.

Kudos to the Chef who gave him back some of his dignity by this gesture.

Season’s Greetings

Saesons-Greetings-_MG_2835a

With all the snow of today and a just married couple stuck in our hotel because of the snow, I thought it an excellent moment to make my own Season’s Greeting Card for all my readers.

Merry Christmass and Happy New Year to you all

From the Garden of Haagsche Suites

Update: At 3.00 p.m. the couple was collected by one of their family members. Unfortunately their after wedding brunch had to be cancelled, but on Tuesday they will be heading for sunny South Africa. I envy them.

Last edited by Happy Hotelier on December 21, 2009 at 12:56 am