Blackberry I still love you!

Yesterday I tweeted a link to a Telegraph article which said that the Blackberry was in trouble. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons. The first was my curiosity wanting to know how a big company like RIM could be in trouble. The other reason because I still love my blackberry and wanted to know why someone was dissing it so badly!

It prompted me to tweet the question: which are you – iPhone, Blackberry or Android? I got quite a mixed bag of responses but it seems that iPhone still tops the list. Only 1 other person said Blackberry (and they loved theirs too!).

I used to think that the Blackberry was the serious business person’s choice of mobile. I’m not so sure anymore but then again, I don’t necessary accept all the reasons why the other options are so much better. It is in my opinion still a very personal choice of what you feel comfortable using.

What has particularly annoyed me about the Telegraph article was the bit about the ‘Bloody BUTTONS’. Sorry – that is the main reason why I stick with Blackberry. I have gone over to the dark side of the touch screen by getting a Blackberry Torch and I am enjoying pointing my finger and getting a result (for goodness sakes, I borrowed a friend’s Blackberry Curve and got annoyed that my tapping wasn’t getting a response). But when it comes to writing an email or tweet, I open up the qwerty keyboard and type away so much more comfortably.

I have small fingers and still can’t manage a quick ‘clean’ email tapping the on-screen keyboard – so how do others do it? And the proof is in the amount of spelling mistakes I am noticing all over the place. I do it myself on the qwerty keyboard now & then but I can always tell an iPhone user by the amount of typos in their tweets or emails – there are loads. I am sure its down to the tapping.

I get that the iPhone’s screen size is a great attraction – the Torch has certainly made me realise that size matters when it comes to screens. But Androids are rivalling that large screen size so iPhone doesn’t have the edge on that anymore. And to read many a story such as this one, it seems Androids are the ones to keep your eyes on – and it seems has already overtaken the iPhone in smartphone sales.

I think my favourite line from that Hospitality World article is “The most valuable technology is going to do less things better,”… I say hallelujah to that. Give me a phone that performs well and is easy enough to use – and stop making new versions every 6 months that means you’ve got to trade-up to keep-up. Nope – I think I am happy to stick with my Blackberry for now. But I never say never although I think if I jump, it will be Android. I’ve had have enough of the fruit selections for a while!

It’s LinkedIn for Me!

Facebook,LinkedIn,Networking,Social Media,Twitter,Uncategorized,YouTube — jeannie on June 22, 2011 at 12:36

It takes reminding now and then but I always come back to the fact that LinkedIn is probably the best business Social Media tool. Whenever I’m asked for my recommendations about which platform to go with, I always say at the minimum do LinkedIn.

It is simply a great resource and source of SEO if done correctly. I am amazed though at how often I see really poor profiles – if you start it, finish the job correctly. It could be the difference between lots of new business or losing work or a job.

Just the other day, I added new website details and changed a few words around in my LinkedIn profile. Within 2 hours I was contacted twice via LinkedIn – one from an old business associate asking to meet up to discuss how we could work together and the other was from a head-hunter asking if I was interested in in a top job with a large multi-national company. Both came firmly as a result of my profile updating.

If I can pass on a couple of simple things to keep in mind – keep it fresh and don’t be shy. If you don’t keep your profile up to date and aren’t prepared to shout about it, you are missing a trick.

Social Media doubters have little argument as to the benefits of LinkedIn but they try. These doubters are living in the dark ages and will be left behind. If you don’t want anyone to find you and know about your professional credentials, then you clearly don’t want new business.

Youth – Do any Tourist Boards really care about them?

I saw a story yesterday about Tourism Australia doing more marketing activity aimed at the Youth Market. I loved the quote that the Youth Market was “one of the best and quickest to turn on”. Hallelujah! It’s about time this so often unrecognised sector is being seen for what it is – an important and valuable supplier of inbound visitors and spend.

And Tourism Australia does market to Youth so well – whether it be prominence on their website or via Social Media where their Work & Travel Facebook page has over 64k followers.

It isn’t surprising that the Aussies are out there showing the love to Youth. To be fair, they’ve long recognised the importance of backpackers and young travellers. Their Tourism Export Council has been a big supporter the industry – for goodness sake, they even run a Backpacker & Youth Tourism Conference . I remember 10-15 years ago in my days of business development for an International Student & Youth Travel retailer how amazed I was that the various jaunts up to the UK by Aussie suppliers was highly subsidised by ATEC (and therefore the Government). UK suppliers were envious and well they should be. UKTI has never taken this sector seriously.

The South Africans have made half-hearted attempts at wooing Youth but I firmly believe that it’s the industry and not the Tourist Board that drives that. The same can be said for the Kiwis. If the Tourist Board does any promotion , it’s because of the sheer tenacity of the industry pushing and prodding.

I can think of few other Tourist Boards that do anything of any significance in the Youth sector. There are little pockets of activity with the French and the Germans and perhaps the Thais. My home country, the US, doesn’t regard the sector in any way, shape or form (pity). The closest VisitBritain gets to promoting this great island I live in and love to the Youth Market on their website is a bit of a nod for ‘Study & Learn’ and ‘Budget Accommodation’. It is really disappointing but not surprising. Between the eternally dwindling marketing spend (thanks DCMS) and frankly a lack of interest in the sector, I wouldn’t expect it. Of course I would love to see more recognition of the value of the sector and I’ve spent a good many years keeping up the profile but I have no expectation this will change any time soon.

So let’s see if they a really meant it when Official Tourism Organisations from around the who world met at the last WYSTC said ‘Don’t underestimate youth and student travel,’
as they started planning for a unified strategy addressing the need of the global youth & student travel industry valued at US $136 billion per year! Tourist Boards please take note – Australia seem to be the only serious player around.

Royal Wedding Fever – UK Products Take Note!

I’ve been in the US for 10 days now and I’m astounded at how interested they are here about the Royal Wedding. There is at least one story a day on each of the early morning and evening news shows. What the royal couple will eat, what Kate will wear and who will sing at the wedding are just some of the information Americans are eating up.

Just yesterday morning, NBC’s today announced they will have a ‘royal wedding week‘. They even have built a mobile app dedicated to the wedding . And Harry’s Ice Trek is a focus all over the news with some further link to the wedding. Apparently Harry is ‘the World’s most eligible bachelor‘ and American girls are flocking to the UK to snare him.

So what’s this all mean to the UK Travel & Tourism Industry? It means there is a golden opportunity to reach an already captivated audience and those UK product providers who haven’t considered targeting the US market now are missing out – you need to jump on the bandwagon. By all accounts, Americans have the UK on their mind and looks like they will be coming over to sample our fine attractions, hotels, restaurants, theatre and so much more. And budget should be no excuse – try doing it via social media. Whether its a PR royal-related story or an offer, twitter is perfect to get the message out. Get a Facebook page and keep in touch with what VisitBritain are doing there – they have been very successful using Facebook & Twitter .

You should also find out what VisitBritain has planned for campaigns in North America ; work in partnerships with other products and put together interesting ‘royal packages’.

I know that leisure visitor numbers out of the US have been in decline over the last couple of years but its still a vitally important inbound market to target. Its not too late take part – I think the Royal Wedding will have lasting returns out of here.

APD makes the UK a ‘visitor prohibitive’ destination!

So George Osbourne has frozen APD in his budget – that means no rises for this year as had been planed. It is good news but hardly worth rejoicing.

Plain and simple, APD is too much and a reduction is in order. If we are to get the economy moving, then the UK needs visitors to spend money here. The cost of flying in/out of the UK is currently ‘visitor prohibitive’!

Frankly I’m less concerned about Brits going abroad which is what many are screaming about – it is about time we brought the differential down between outbound travel and taking staycations at home. And this little rant is coming from an American living in the UK who needs to make frequent trips back home. No, I am really concerned with increasing inbound visits and spend – and with an APD for a family of four that can equal many a monthly mortgage payment, something needs to be done to bring that cost down.

Take a look at Ireland – they seem to understand the value of tourists and the income they bring into the country. The Irish government has just lowered their APD so that all passengers flying out of the Republic pay only 3 Euros (£2.50) to any destination. Compare that to £170 out of the UK. Quite a difference – quite unacceptable!

While I think we all have to consider the carbon footprints that comes with air travel, I don’t think that’s reason enough to keep the APD high. There are many other ways to counteract that but taking away the livelihood of SMEs in the tourism sector is far more of a concern.

So George Osbourne, it was a good thing that you did but you could go further. If the economy needs stimulating, cutting the APD would go quite a way to doing that!

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© jeannieshapiro 2011