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Category Archives: Web 2.0

Hoteliers Beware: A new Blog on the Block might disrupt your website!

Unfortunate-Hotels-1

Paper-thin bed cover, now in baby spew green

It was Wendy Perrin’s post Hotels I’d Pay not to Stay in that pointed me to this fairly new Blog on the Block: Unfortunate Hotels Hotel websites begging to be mocked.

It started in November 2008, but seems getting momentum with more posts now. In a witty way the websites are taken apart.

What to think of following quotes?

The website might fool you at first – beautiful color scheme, high-end photos, flash galore. The dining room is fit for a wedding reception, and the lobby has obviously had a makeover in the last decade.
But not even the fade-in on the artfully cropped photos can save these sad, sad rooms.

Or this one:

The home page of the website for the Silver Reef Hotel states,

Just completed, a totally new hotel with 20 tastefully decorated rooms located in the downtown area of Udon Thani. Convenient for all your business and leisure needs.

We’ll see about that:

unfortunate-hotels-2

I’d like to discuss the merger with you. Shall we get a drink at the bar?

If this happened to me as a hotelier I would fire my photographer or web designer.

I have a feeling this could become a similar big hit as another Hoteliers’ Horror: (originally) Chris Clarke’s Bed Jumping….still alive and kicking.

BTW: Where the Hell is Chris?

Construct your own Top 10 "Must Follow" List as it relates to your own Niche

Construct your own Top 10 “Must Follow” List as it relates to your own Niche

by Darren Rowse on November 30, 2008

in Polls and Reader Discussions

The last post here on TwiTip certainly got people talking (or debating) and it’s given me an idea for a challenge.

Construct your own Top 10 “Must Follow” list as it relates to your own niche.

As some commented on the last post – the list does have a bit of a social media focus – so why don’t we come up with a series of lists of people to follow in different industries.

For example:

* If you’re interested in entrepreneurship – Ten People all Entrepreneurs Should Follow on Twitter.
* If you’re a designer – Ten People all Designers Should Follow on Twitter.
* If you’re a dad – Ten People all Dads Should Follow on Twitter.
* If you’re into politics – Ten People all Political Buffs Should Follow on Twitter.
* If you’re a blogger – Ten People all Bloggers Should Follow on Twitter.
* If you’re a rocket scientist – Ten People all Rocket Scientists Should Follow on Twitter.

You get the picture. I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of these types of lists that we could construct and hopefully in doing so we’ll highlight some great Twitter users who add value on different topics.

So write up your list (it doesn’t have to be a list of 10 – any number is fine – and do one of two things with it so we can all share in it:

1. leave it as a comment below
2. write it up on your blog or website and then leave a link to your list in comments below

Looking forward to seeing the lists people come up with.

Construct your own Top 10 Must Follow List as it relates to your own Niche

Ha and you can find some travel twitterati mentioned:-)

Storytlr: The Ultimate Mashup Tool for your (Travel) Stories?

A Dutchman and a Belgian started Storytlr

The storytlr initiative

Storytlr is not a startup, just a fun project that we are building during our free time. We are a two people team, based in Belgium & The Netherlands: eschnou is our PHP Wizard and alardw the CSS Ninja.

A few months ago we saw this video from Loic Lemeur who was asking about a way to help him build ‘the centralized me’. We liked the idea because it sounded like reinventing the good old ‘personal page’, realizing that a blog can only capture one angle of what we did online. More over, we felt that this page had to be personal, and not yet another profile page locked in a social network, and plastered with company branding. Storytlr brings you just that, a platform to build the centralized you, and it is really about you, not about us.

Loic also gave us another idea in this post, where he explains that he ‘lost’ all his youtube videos ! We felt the same when we realized that our Twitter archives were not available due to Twitter downtimes. This brought us to the conclusion that we needed to ‘own’ our data. We needed a way to easily archive our online data and even back it up. In Storytlr, you own your data, you can download all of it whenever you want. Of course, it would be even be better if Storytlr was an open source platform so all this data is where you want it to be. This is also part of the plans.

Finally we realized that our flow of Twitter messages, Flickr photos, Qik videos were in fact telling a story, the story of our daily lives, and that sometimes we wanted to repackage this story in a nice format (beyond a photo album) to share it with friends. So we decided to make it really easy to mashup all these activities into a compelling story that is easy to share.

I’m off testing it at Happy Hotelier|Storytlr

They are getting kudos by Mashable.

Update
Unfortunately they ceased their service as of February 28, 2010
Now it is a Apache licensed open source project.

Hotels.com launches new search tool using VisualDNA technology | Eyefortravel

Online accommodation website Hotels.com has launched a search tool offering travellers a new way to find their hotel.

The Hotels.com Visualiser, termed as a first for the travel industry, is a new visual approach to searching for hotels that allows travellers to use their “VisualDNA” to find hotels that match their needs.

The tool has been developed by Hotels.com in partnership with technology company Imagini.

Nigel Pocklington, managing director, Hotels.com, said this is the first time that travellers have been able to make their hotel selection based solely on their visual responses.

Hotels.com launches new search tool using VisualDNA technology | Eyefortravel

High Syndicate: Great Help for Hoteliers such as Jumeirah

Burj Al Arab by Tigger 2008
Burj Al Arab by Tigger 2008

Just by coincidence I noticed someone landing here via Jumeira Knowledge base

I already knew a lot is going on at High Syndicate, sister of WiWiH: Many Hoteliers use it as as a closed group repository. I assumed access only for the insiders of the big hotel chain in question and I had never imagined the wealth of knowledge available for the hotelier and how easy it is to navigate:

On the landing page you get :

    the 5 last

  1. Tripadvisor Reviews of your hotel Portfolio, so you don’t have to click through The Tripadvisor site
  2. Items of Industry News, and I know High Syndicate has a good portfolio of industry news
  3. Posts of Travel Bloggers who syndicate their content with WiWiH
  4. and a

  5. Google enabled search function dedicated for the knowledge base of the hotel chain in question

Then you have separate tabs for:

  • “Tripadvisor” with a great submenu per property
  • “In the media”, i.e. what others write about your hotels
  • “News” i.e. Travel and Hospitality Industry News from the High Syndicate news portfolio
  • “Blogs” for Travel and Hospitality blog content
  • “Documents”, mainly Travel and Hospitality Industry studies, like HitWise reports for travel sites
  • “Events” related to Travel and Hospitality that are upcoming

Knowing the two sites High Syndicate and WiWiH, I knew about all those functions and possibilities, but I had never seen them grouped together in such clever and easily navigable way.

It is not a loud screaming design.

I wonder how the hoteliers would do themselves, if they would apply the same simple principles for their own websites instead of those bleary screens with pop ups and a lot of clutter.

Guest Reviews do not only tell you something about the hotel, but also about the reviewer:

Apart from all, I was very interested to be able to quickly flip through their Tripadvisor guest reviews, because Jumeirah is the operator of the famous Dubai flagship hotel (7* they claim) Burj Al Arab. They get good reviews but amazingly also some very negative reviews and some that say more about the guest than about the Hotel. For Example:

  • BAD

    i thought that one’s stay at the burj al arab would be rather splendid and i was extremely foolish to think so. as i arrived at the airport on first class from emirates we were taken by helicopter to the hotel. My gucci gown was ruined on the arrival and the sun was to bright so i had to close one’s eyes for much time when we arrived we were handed oil in our hands that wouldn’t come off for a while and our butler got in the way. the room was poor and the building and rooms bog standard. One would never go there again and would compare it to the dorchester hotel in london which is utterly ridiculous.never shall i set foot here again.

    .

    Seems like a bogus report to me. The reviewer has no other reviews

  • Awsome, but dissappointing

    I’ll start by saying the room and building itself are just an awesome site – don’t get me wrong. And just to say that I’ve stayed at the Burj Al Arab will be something that I really don’t ever anticipate knowing anyone else will be able to match in my group of friends. However, I was disappointed by some of the service provided. For the money paid – I was expecting to be wowed! The check-in was a bit of a cluster and the check-out was as well. In fact, the entire stay went to h#$% once we recieved our checkout bill. They have no real organized way to control the madness down at the entrance and they are trying to get people onto shuttles/taxi’s/incoming passengers/etc and you are in the middle of the maddness. The fitness center was lacking as well for such a nice place! It was nothing better than a hilton fitness center. All in all we don’t regret staying there – but we will never do it again – merely for the price.

    An Hilton Aficionado who wanted to buy bragging rights, but found out he paid dearly. Which makes me think that this is an example of the Long Tail effect of a really loyal guest. If they stay somewhere else they will thumb it down!

  • An outcry about Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah Dubai:

    My husband and I arrived at Al Qasr on 7th June and were to check-out and depart on 9 June from Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on an Emirates flight to Paris scheduled for 08:20hrs. In order to save time in the early morning before our scheduled departure from the hotel, we completed check-out formalities and settled our hotel bill just before midnight on 8 June 2008. We also requested a wake-up call at 05:00am the following morning as we had an Emirates limousine scheduled to pick us up from Al Qasr at 06:00am for our 08:20am flight (as we had already completed the online check-in procedure, we were required to arrive at the airport 90 mins before departure).

    We promptly received our wake-up call from the hotel staff at 05:00am as requested and waited patiently in our room till 06:15am for a call from the hotel staff to announce the arrival of our pick-up and finally called Emirates to find out why the car had not yet arrived. We waited another 5 mins on the phone till the Emirates representative made inquiries about our scheduled pick-up and came back on the line to inform us that the limousine had in fact arrived at the hotel as scheduled at 06:00am and that the driver had also requested the concierge on duty to inform us of the arrival of our Emirates pick-up. Unfortunately, the concierge a gentleman by the name of Mr. Rauf refused to inform us about the arrival of the car and told the driver that he was not allowed to disturb his guests at that hour and therefore sent the driver away! The driver left the premises and reported the incident to Emirates airline, making sure to mention the name of Mr. Rauf for the record.

    We immediately called Service One from our room to inform them of the incident and asked for Mr. Rauf to ask him why he had done such a ridiculous thing! As we were already late for our flight, I told Mr. Rauf to meet me downstairs. Upon meeting Mr. Rauf at the entrance of the hotel and demanding an explanation for his actions, we were treated with complete indifference and not even given an apology! We also asked how he could do such a thing when we had asked for a wake-up call from the hotel at 05:00am, to which he shrugged and mumbled something about not being able to trace the wake-up call. To make things worse, he did not even have the courtesy to arrange for a complementary airport transfer for us considering it was clearly his fault that the limousine had left without us. He asked the doorman to get us a taxi for the airport for which we ended up paying Dhs 95 upon reaching the airport.

    Needless to say, the experience has been shocking and pathetic coming from a hotel of it’s repute and will prevent us from ever returning at any of the Jumeirah properties. The unprofessional behavior of Mr. Rauf indicates a serious deficiency in the training of the hotel personnel and even a lack of common-sense amongst it’s employees. I believe that if a prestigious hotel like Al Qasr is unable to meet such basic expectations of it’s guests (that even a 3-star property would definitely see to) it is simply not worthy of it’s reputation and definitely not worth paying big buck for!

    .

    Poor Mr Rauf was a bit sleepy and didn’t want to disturb his guests. I have the feeling the guest in question is to blame as well. If time is of essence, I would check and double check and would certainly not wait as a lamb in my room, but at the front desk to wait for my driver. Secondly I wouldn’t waste time by telling Mr Rauf he was such a dumbass. I rather would request an immediate solution…..I believe the Hotel should politely but resolutely point that out. Probably the lady is still simply mad about her own mistakes.

Worth a closer look! I am wondering whether they will make it password protected after this post.

Update
And Yes! Soon after publication of this post, they put a relocation to Jumeirah’s main site in the High Syndicate landing page: Henri Roelings was watching me :-)