This Week in Hospitality Marketing Live Show 268 Transcripts (English U.S.)
[00:00:17.130] – Loren
Hello, everyone, and welcome to This Week in Hospitality Marketing Live show, 268 with us, it’s not our guest co-host yet came.
[00:00:28.040] – Ed
He just came in the door. Mark will be joining us briefly. Mark is in the building tonight with us.
[00:00:35.540] – Loren
In the meanwhile, is Mr. Edwards announcement flip to Mr. Schmidt with metasearch, marketing, basecamp metasearch? Hey, Mark. How are you, sir?
[00:00:43.510] – Marc
Sorry, I am one minute late. Little oh have to pay ascites.
[00:00:48.500] – Loren
It was we were sitting on. Well, we can do a soft shoe if we need to. But also this is Mr. Ben Hanley from thirty six. Mark, let me make introductions were quick. You already know Ed, this fit with metasearch marketing and been handling agency North New Guinea. I think you’re located, correct?
[00:01:08.120] – Ben
Not no. No I’m not. If no, he’s in South Africa. So that’s it would be fun.
[00:01:18.080] – Loren
I’ve been on a regular basis, Marcus. He is from northern England. You can’t tell, but he might have a slight accent, just not too sure.
[00:01:24.530] – Ben
I think it’s got a zero accent whatsoever. Like this is a world awash with casual racism.
It really is. I thought a posh accent. Maybe that except to me, just one word. We used to own your country.
So that’s that’s true. That’s true. We we should take it back.
Some people keep it so, so so we don’t scare Mark away. I invited Mark on the on the show. I had the pleasure of being introduced to to Mark by our friends at Navis and Mark and I kind of got to talking about the interesting things he does with his agency. And that’s when I uncovered that he was behind a book. Now stay later the hotel bond program. And I was like, whoa, that’s really cool. We’ve talked about that.
And so I thought it would be really neat to follow our own rules and give Mark the first thirty minutes where Mark can tell us about him and about, you know, I really want to hear more about what inspired the book. Now stay later and ask you a lot of questions about that. So, yeah, with that. So Mark doesn’t have to develop sharp elbows.
Mark, thank you for joining us today.
The floor is yours, my friend. All right, awesome. I’m going to go on some random tangents. I look forward to that. We never knew that. Really weird things for about 30 minutes.
But thank you so much for having me on on on the show. I want to talk to you guys about Banesto later. But before I get into that, I do want to say that my last letter was a collaborative effort between my agency and Rachel Harrison. Communications shout out to Rachel Harrison. So want to make it very clear that this was by no means a one agency show, although we did. We are responsible for a large part of it.
So I guess I’ll start with a quick introduction about me and my agency if some of you are familiar with us. So I’m one of the co-founders of Elemental. We’re a marketing and communications agency that specializes in mostly tourism, travel and hospitality. So we work with tourism boards around the world, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which is an intergovernmental organization that covers 10 countries in Southeast Asia. We represent the kingdom of Thailand for tourism in Canada, the US, Mexico and all of Latin America.
And we we represent a number of small islands in the British Virgin Islands. So a lot of them work. And we can talk about that later as well, because obviously tourism is is related to hospitality. And it’s been a very interesting sector to be working with in the last year. And on the hotel side, we work largely with independent hotels around the US in large metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, but also in some smaller suburban areas as well.
So no big brands, all all independent. And then also for us, hospitality is anywhere where there’s a host and a guest. So the foundation of the agency was actually largely in restaurants. So we worked with and we continue to work with independent restaurants around the country, but also restaurant brands. So on the independent side, if you’re familiar with New York, you’ll know places like Katz’s Deli and Silvio’s up in Harlem. So the clients out. And then on the branded side, the Halal guys is a long term plan of ours, but also international franchises like Punshon Fried Chicken.
If if you’ve ever had some late night drunken Korean fried chicken, you’ll know that I want some. Now, that’s kind of our focus and interspersing that we’ve got a few kind of adjacent fun lifestyle and spirits clients. So we work with Stoli for for many years. We work with a handful of international beverage brands.
Hey, how are you not with. And in a biblical sense, I’m loving all of these Commonwealth accents, we just need more and we’ll be well where you are.
You know, you’re in there somewhere. Come on.
You’re from somewhere nice. Very nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Yeah. Those are the sectors that we cover. And in terms of what we do, really, it’s it’s integrated marketing as many different channels, mostly digital that we can touch. So we do the creative side of things. We develop the brands, we’ll build the assets like the websites and apps, and then we run the marketing on social media paid ads where things get interesting as we also try to connect that through to experiential to influence the work to PR so that we can have as many different touch points and opportunities to tell the stories for our clients as possible.
That’s the kind of work that we really love to do. And we will we do occasionally do the one off kind of build a website or run a PC campaign. But that’s not what gets my team up and firing in the morning. The teams is spread out between four offices. We’ve got New York, Dallas, which is where I’m I’m based our development team is based in Manila. And then we have a creative team based in Sao Paulo. So for for a company with four offices, we don’t really have that many people.
So pretty small as 20, 20 full time.
And fortunately, with everything that’s been going on, we’ve been able to retain everyone which has been partially due to our careful planning and quick responses and a large part just pure luck. People will always say it’s better to be lucky than good.
Yeah, unlike the title of my book, I fully agree with that.
I mean, there’s a lot of this most of this we could nobody could have planned for.
And if you think about the the range of sectors that we cover, I don’t think you could have picked a worse basket of sectors to focus on at this particular time because our clients just disappeared off the map. Some of them closed, a lot of them shut down and only now just starting to reopen. So obviously, we’re faced with a dilemma where and you guys know this, the coach will need marketing services more than ever. But they don’t have the money to pay for it.
So then what do you do? And what we ended up doing for for a lot of our clients was essentially providing the same level of coverage, if not more, and just significantly cutting our fees or offering pro bono services, because at the end of the day, this is what we love to do. But we also want to have clients on the other side of this. And at the same time, not go on there as a business. So it’s it’s a delicate balance.
And our only saving grace, which I mentioned before, was the tourism work that we do, because we you know, as as annoying as a bureaucratic government clients can be, they pay on time and they have to pay because it’s illegal for them not to pay. So we had our our government contracts with our tourism plants to fall back on. And then the volume of work with them increased significantly because they’re they’re also looking at this at a longer time horizon than maybe private businesses.
Like they’re not so much concerned about immediate cash flow coming in and and keeping things afloat. But rather than looking at what does recovery look like in twenty four months? Thirty six months, you know, how do I stay top of mind so that people still remember that Thailand is a wonderful place to go visit and and with all that pent up demand, when it’s time to pull the trigger, that they know that they there are outdoor destinations, but also luxury, but also all these different things.
So a lot of our tourism clients actually doubled the amount of work that they’ve been asking us to do, which has been fantastic. And we’ve been able to do some interesting things out of that. But that kind of a long introduction getting getting to buy now, stay later. So but Castellitto was an initiative that we had launched with with Rachel Harrison communications. And the genesis of it was really just trying to figure out what. If we can’t do the marketing that we normally do for hotels at this time, what can we be doing to help them out?
That doesn’t cost them any money. That is very simple for people to understand. And that’s really the premise behind Barnstead later, where for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a website where hotels can come and list their offering and offer essentially what we’ve called the hotel bond, where consumers can come and purchase a hotel stay or one hundred dollars worth of of hotel stay. And if they wait 60 days for the bond to mature, then that stay is worth an equivalent of one hundred and fifty dollars.
So it achieves a few different purposes. One gives cash flow, immediate cash flow to the hotel, but it also allows consumers to make purchasing decisions right off the bat. So which is not not available, especially at the beginning of the when when it hit. Transactions. One available to people so people could essentially put this in the bank, get some extra value for later on. And so we built this website. We we spread the word through our own channels.
And the response was enormous. I mean, almost immediately we had within the first few weeks, close to five hundred hotels from around the world asked to be part of this and running the gamut from all different kind of stuff, offices, all different categories. And so then this this thing kind of took a life on its own. We started getting picked up on media and we had to make some adjustments, adjustments to the website to account for the increased volume.
But it’s been great and I don’t have the latest numbers off the top of my head, but we’ve had. The number of inquiries for bond purchases is in the tens of thousands and we’ve had hotels, which fortunately I’m really happy about this, have had to pull their listing from the site because they get tired of getting angry. Now, that’s obviously not the that’s not everyone. And this I don’t want to make this seem that this has made hotels rich across the board, but it has been something that has helped.
And we set this up as as a complete pro bono exercise of we’re not handling any of the transactions. Everything is done at the hotel level when we’re taking any kind of commissions is purely just kind of lead generation for them. So and we had thought that this would probably wind up one down around August, but we keep on getting inquiries for people to be part of it. So, I mean, that’s not necessarily a great sign for where we are as as an industry.
But this this seems to be a still demand for this. And one of one of the pleasant offshoots of this was Thailand, a client. Thailand had actually asked us to build a separate subset specifically for Thai resorts and Thai hotels so that they could address some traffic specifically to help their own economy. So so that’s that’s the 10 minute overview of finance that later in us. Hopefully that that’s so.
I mean, no one here likes the idea that you’ve done right by your clients because no one on the show does. So you don’t fit in at all? No, it’s it’s actually funny.
It’s why I invited you, because we’ve had many episodes where we’ve talked about, you know, kind of what you need to do to be a real part of the hospitality community. Now is not the time to try and rake people over the coals. It’s the time to put up your sleeves and and help everyone. And, you know, I think it’s great that that you did this and the bond program was just really clever, you know, that that even that whole idea of a bond like to create a model that wouldn’t require people to go.
Well, I don’t understand what’s a bond program. Everyone knows what a bond is. Right.
And when I saw the scale of how many hotels took advantage of it, it’s impressive. You guys scaled that that fast.
I mean, you mentioned you had to do some reworking because of how picked up it got. I mean, really, what were you thinking that it was going to be so initially?
I mean, we had our own network of hotels that we work with, although we previously worked with, so. In the beginning, we thought it was just going to be that we were going to be in 20, 30, maybe get up to 50 and get some get some traction around that. And also, we knew that this wasn’t we didn’t we knew that we weren’t the only people who who came up with this idea. There were other contacts that were quite similar to this as well.
But we wanted to set it up in a way where it had the lowest transaction cost possible for any kind of participants. So we didn’t want to layer in any kind of let’s, for example, an actual transaction on the site, because then we’d have to deal with all of the the whole ecosystem of Hotel TAC and trying to connect with this person’s, you know, booking engine and that sort of thing. And that would necessarily limit the hotel’s ability to to participate.
So, you know, we we saw other hotel groups and there were there were some other agencies that launched similar sort of concepts. But they had you know, you can actually book the stay there and then but then then you could only include a handful of hotels at a time. So that was the decision that we made when we started getting into the hundreds of applications. We realized one, well, we have to reformat the website so that people can actually find the hotels now because we ended up with like people end up having to scroll for like a minute and a half to get to a hotel and add filters and add Geographe for a thing or just on the back and being able to handle that volume of inquiries and just answering the questions like, oh, can I offer additional things on top of the one hundred dollars, one hundred fifty dollars and so on and so forth.
Just answering those questions, we had to figure out a way to do that. That wouldn’t overtax us because in the meantime, we’re still trying to stay afloat as an agency. Sure. But we were able to figure out more, more or less simplified. And again, I want to make sure Rachel as well, because her team had handled a lot of those inquiries and was still going here. So I’m glad that has been of benefit. And, you know, the emails that we’ve gotten from various hotels.
And if you go to the website, you can see some fairly well-known names, but also you scroll through and some of the hotels that have expressed their gratitude for what they’ve been been able to get out of it. You know, the tiny little Wyndham’s in in in small towns around. And that’s been fantastic. When you wake up to an email like that, you know, it’s just set you on the right path for the rest of the day and it keeps you going for all the other horrible news that you’re going to get during the rest of the week here.
And you can at least at least you’re planning it.
But I have two questions for this. And first off, kudos for you, because you cut through the clutter rather than trying to figure out how to monetize it and how to integrate it. And what can I get my margins and my percentages. And you just said, look, here’s something that can help. Boom, we’ll build it. You guys use it. It goes directly to you. So absolutely phenomenal that that that you put it that way.
Did you ever consider the idea of extending the timelines where it would mature longer for a higher value, given that there might be some delays, like saying, hey, look, if you wait six months is going to be a little bit different. It’s still with a cap. I mean, you obviously don’t want the hotels to give away the farm eventually. But just for those like four days is Thailand. By the way, I’ve got to remind you, a friend of ours is in Thailand, I think.
And I know I never say his last name correctly. You could say just his first name and I say his first name. Great. His last name. I can’t get Prohack.
He’s actually he’s actually physically fit, but that’s appropriate. Called Dave.
Just like totally wrong, by the way. Sorry. I know you speak three languages. I can fill up one language just so you know.
That’s my that’s my skill set is I come up with new words and say pretty much it’s a skill I have.
I don’t know, it’s a gift, but I think it’s phenomenal in country right now. He’s not doing much of anything and I would love to find something to do. So if you ever need somebody in Thailand, let me know. But I do want to make sure. Yeah, he’s he’s a brilliant, brilliant guy. And just because of economies, he’s he’s there with his family and probably in Atlanta when school gets out for kids, I think he was leaving anyway.
So the idea of being able to to do this and extend it. But also, do you guys see this turning into something else on time? Do you see this shifting? I mean, you have this amazing amount of funnel that you have going on. Is there something else you’re thinking you might try to do? What’s in the pipe, I guess, roadmap for it?
Yeah, I think I’ll answer the first part first. We we spent a lot of time thinking about the different kind of permutations of this could be. And at the end, what we arrived at was we wanted to make essentially like the minimal viable configuration that as many hotels could use as possible because the. You know, what would make sense for one property might not make sense for another one, and so you could extend the timelines of different values, so on and so forth.
And we say very clearly when when the hotel sign up is that you can you can adjust this however you like, if you want to offer this in different increments and different time periods or add on additional bells and whistles, that’s entirely up to you. And we’re in highly encourage you because there is going to need some customization will need to happen. But we our rationale was that we wanted to have something that was as easy to understand as possible and leave it at that.
And that would be the first draw. And I think the we’ve received some feedback when people have used by nasty letters, dot com versus all the websites that offer similar sorts of offerings and the feedback that we’ve been, it’s just easier to understand what’s going on here.
I don’t need to read into the fine print and and it reduces that that transaction cost. So definitely where we’ve explored other configurations, but we’ve mostly left that up to the to the hotels themselves to offer afterwards and then have as far as the next steps for this, we’re working on a few different things.
And largely that’s contingent on where where we are going as an industry, because you still have I mean, this is what we want, what we plan to do. And then three months from now, we’ll see where we actually are. And but we do have a few different ideas from this. And it’s been it’s been great seeing the community that’s that’s emerged out of this. And I think that’s been a recurring theme in a lot of conversations that have had recently, is that the community has really come out and in in more prosperous times.
You know, it’s easier just to stay in your own bubble and focus on your thing and see everyone as a potential competitor for the models of business. But I think, by and large, we’ve all realized that as an industry we all have to band together in order to recover, but also that the pie itself is is much less or is much bigger or at the very least much more shareable than we thought it was before. And the pie is now three dimensional.
And so where we were thinking of just my before now together we can get all of these different elements. And so some would say the pie is infinite, the pie.
Three, four, one four two six eight three men do whatever the title of your next book, The Infinite. So you haven’t been able to see this because you’re new here.
But in the chat we did put a link to buy. Now stay later. But then Ben had to rightfully claim, Steg, that he was the first one to discover this in our five months ago.
And, you know, so really, I’ll be yes, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t supposed to show up to this call to this web, but I was supposed to do it next week. But when I heard you were coming and that you were part of this. Yeah, I said, well, I replied discussion with my wife about trading chores and responsibilities for the Times because it’s a little bit later in England here.
When I first heard about this and it was from Claudia Moreno at Pegasus, who’s the account manager, I just thought, brilliant. Bear in mind, I’d come out of a quite a quite rigid, structured department and to come out into the world of hospitality and see everyone just banding together to try and keep everyone’s heads above of what was amazing I found in a massive way. I reached out to both the founders. I think it was lion and lamb communications, Rachel and the whose name I forget and just sent this along.
Why do you think this is great? Fantastic. You should go to show. I know a guy called Lauren. She’s going to find it. And it was brilliant.
And you see everyone you speak to, everyone you speak to has a different opinion about this all or see something else, something new in it, like, oh, we could mature the bombs and it could be worth longer or why do we trade bombs or what happens if the hotels go under or other that anite my inbox.
I got some quite difficult questions actually. You know, if I if I wonder, is there an insurance policy? Well, not from me, no. I just I just thought my platform, dude. But what a great question. And it just you said earlier on now isn’t the time to try and fleece people. Now’s the time to try and sever the last thread of the of the industry. Now is a time to cherish relationships over revenue. And it’s something that I can speak for everybody in the Friday club that that’s that’s what that’s what this this pandemic.
And this this emergency is older than the industry. The fact that not it’s not just the relationships with your clients, it’s relationships with vendors, all the vendors that would have been your competitors, that you would have been fighting for the same business, find that you maybe wouldn’t have spoken so openly with about that, would realize we’re all in sort of this really shitty situation.
You know, all the what was the phrase Laurinda? The tide rises. All boats.
Yes. There you go. Yeah. And this is a really great example of it.
I think it’s a brilliant skill. I really do.
And I’m mentioning it to anyone that will listen over in Europe.
You can say we’ll have to rectify that then. Yeah, rectify that.
Yeah, I think we I think we know why.
I think it’s I think there’s just we’re playing whack a mole over here at the moment in local lockdown’s. It’s like you can have a lock down and now you can have a lot done.
You so a lot of the hotels, a struggling a little bit more of a hit and we’re a couple of months ago.
But there, you know, you definitely got to to slightly overweight old male cheerleaders over here.
OK, I’ll take it. Yeah. Well, thank you for the kind words. And again, I want to say, like Rachel and her team were equally part of this and. I’m fully with you on this in terms of the focus of of of where we should be right now in the industry relationships is at the end of the day, it’s all we have in this industry because and this was kind of like it was a conversation I was having earlier this week with Nava’s.
We we had a very long, uninterrupted period of growth and and joy. And whenever that happens, obviously, you know, I walked in, I was an investment banker before before I was a marketer. And we’ve seen what happens when when things go too well for too long. Things go horribly bad afterwards. And so now when when shit hit the fan, essentially you’ve got to find out who your friends were. But also you’ve got to discover who your allies were, where you didn’t think they were before.
And that was tremendously encouraging. And just speaking for myself for free agency, we have done more business development and partnerships in the last six months than we had in the previous few years. And partially that was more active and saying, look, this is what we need to do now. But it was equally other people reaching out to us and saying, hey, let’s let’s have a discussion.
Mm hmm. I think one of the joys I think we’ve all shared is when we were talking to our clients, when all this was spiraling downward and they’re like they were making the call or they were talking to you or you reached out to them and they thought they were going to have to tell you how they had to sever the relationship. And you’re like, do this is the chance to pull the car off the racetrack and rip the engine out. Let’s get some stuff done while we get less work to worry about.
And they’re like, well, we can’t pay you. We weren’t talking about getting paid. We’re talking about getting the stuff done. And just that that really pleasant pause at the other end going really, you know, like that that realization of like, wow, you know, this is going to come around not because they’re going to just throw tons of money at you just know that they trust you more now than they did before thinking it was based on the check that they sent you, that they realized that you were really there to help them and that they really appreciated that you were still there to help them, even though they weren’t in the same position they were before.
So I think the the role of advise and of partner has been highlighted enormously in this time period. So whereas previously a lot of the conversations with clients would have focused on these are the things that we do for you on a daily basis, we’re executing business, etc., etc., and then the advisory part may have been less or more important, but we have really become a nexus of information for our for our clients, because especially in the beginning, periods of covered everything was changing every single day and no one person or one group could have access to all the information.
So we were because naturally, because we were having conversations with people all over the country and all over the world dealing with their separate issues, we were able to relay things from one corner to another. And sometimes it would be things that we would think would be very simple or that people would instantly get. But it’s not that’s not the case because first of all, everyone’s in a panic and you’re not necessarily able to process everything in an optimal way.
But also speed of information is is incredibly important so that that role that we’ve had to play has become even more important than ever. And I would like that to be a permanent fixture in our relationships with our clients and also to I think that what you just said you’ve done into the scale, you’ve done it.
A lot of people have a broad perspective, but they’re missing a piece to the puzzle and sometimes inadvertently or just through conversation of sharing what, you know, you’ve provided in that piece of the puzzle. That makes sense now and click. Now they have a path to something they didn’t have before because you gave them something they didn’t know about. But that perspective helped them put the whole picture together. Just you don’t know where you contribute until something pops up and they’re like, thank you, that’s perfect.
And you’re like what they say, you know?
And I mean, that was also one of the reasons why we wanted to get this out early on rather than waiting to see how everything settles down, because the we needed to be out there essentially in the action to see what’s happening in order to be of use to ourselves and anyone else. And that’s that’s kind of where we are right now in terms of, you know, we’ve passed that initial kind of shock and awe of of covid. And we’re all looking at occupancy rates now and they’ve kind of written down a little bit better and they’ve kind of plateaued out.
And people are starting to think about the future and how to how to plan for that and what recovery looks like. And I don’t think there is a clear path for everyone right now. So where we’re trying to amass that information from as many countries as possible to come up with a game plan for for ourselves and for our clients, which is also why I love having concepts like. Because, you know, the more brains we can amass in a room, the better.
Yeah, and here you have at least one and a half.
I was going to go for just the half, but I was giving Marc I was giving Marc the one oh oh oh oh oh.
We were on we were on a call a few weeks back and one of the guests described this as a think tank and I nearly fell off my chair.
You missed the entire reason.
I remember your gas tank. More of a pondering tank we ponder.
I’m still thinking about pie right now. I’m really hungry. Yeah.
Marqusee, you missed an episode where I brought on a clean comedy. Yeah.
It’s a company that actually like cleans like really messy things and. Yeah. And so he was explaining, like, how to clean correctly to to sanitation and I kept mentioning biofilm.
Any which had us all, like you could see all of our faces, like every time we were like but then he would say poop and everyone would chuckle, just laugh because we’re we’re all a bunch of common common denominator.
We just smile. Yeah.
If you want to hang up now, Mark, please, we’re already here. We’re deep in it. Let’s go. What is it is on all surfaces. It is a layer of living organism. And to be everywhere. His company was, as hotels had closed and those that had stayed open, he was talking about the differences between was easier to clean a hotel that was in operation than it was. That has to kind of get restarted because there’s a lot more scalability to it and so forth and so on.
And he was talking about methods of methodology at the time and put it into a timestamp that was back when we still considered surface contact as vulnerable as airborne. At that time, we didn’t know that there was a variation between the two. So the hotels were trying to be extreme in their cleaning policies and he was being called in to do all the stuff. He was trying to explain the very logistics process of doing all this. And yeah, we just went to the lowest common denominator when he was talking about how he had to clean stuff.
But by the way, biofilm is actually hard to kill as well. Just. Now that you have that image, you also have the image that it actually takes like 10 minutes of disinfecting to kill a biofilm.
So, look, we were looking at the fact that a lot of hotels doing the spraying wipe really wasn’t really doing anything other than making people feel good that something was being done compared to truly sanitizing or cleaning and cleaning sanitization acts.
It was a conversation, too.
So, yeah, it was fun discussions. Yeah. Yeah. So while I have you guys speaking of one of our friends or think tank, I’m going to throw out one of the more difficult questions that I’ve been asked and see if you guys can help me out with it, because I’ve I’ve been talking a lot about the different opportunities for the hospitality sector that are that exist now in the immediate future. You talking about people wanting to get out of major cities and be more secluded.
So obviously that presents opportunities for suburban areas or like the great outdoors nature. But what do you do if you’re a hotel in in a densely populated metropolitan area that probably relied a lot on group travel, corporate travel, none of which is remotely close to what it used to be to give up? Is this or is there is there some sort of hope?
Well, so it’s actually it’s an interesting question. Lauren and I talked about this in an HSBC presentation to Montreal. And one of the one of the comments we made was, you know, a lot of these cities no longer are nearly as congested on their streets. And in there, you know, the things on why you would go experience the city. So actually marketing it as a chance to have a better experience in the city, because one thing we definitely learned through this is there’s a large amount of people who just really don’t care and and were willing to travel.
And you can even see it. I’m a big forum nerd. In almost every forum I’m on, there is a discussion about I can’t wait to start cruising again.
And in my head I’m like, I kind of feel like I’m everywhere.
Salty biofilms, you know, not a lot, but but there is an opportunity because, you know, listen, you know, if you don’t live in a densely populated city, you may avoid you may have avoided them anyways because you’re not used to that type of congestion. You’re not used to that type of chaos.
You actually have an opportunity to introduce an audience to what is great about these cities and and and really sell it as like this is probably the the most open will ever be.
I think I heard some really interesting pivot’s as well. And one of the things that this this pandemic has has been bucketfuls is just how quickly people can go a an absolute 180 in something they’ve never done before.
For example, there was one hotel, it was a presentation that I did for Iowa and one of the hotels asked us, oh, I’m a business hotel. That’s what can happen here.
One of my ideas was, if I’m not mistaken, it was flipping from my because they had wired Internet all the rooms and they actually said, oh, we’re going to flip it and we’re now going to bring in people fullam parties to do old school gaming and room. So that’s a brilliant idea.
And then she said with the question and I thought, OK, these are despite these questions.
And the next one was, I have a massive meeting and event space. What should I do with it? And that was a bit of a blindside question. And so we sort of said, why not put on a jobs fair for people in the hospitality industry who’ve been laid off?
Oh, we’ll do that, OK. They you learned that.
I forgot to tell you, because Lauren has been touting for weeks that hotels should partner with their local communities to help with schooling and things like that. I actually had a hotel have to pause service with us because they’re shutting down as a hotel for the next six months because they’re housing the local school system in and throughout their hotel, which is awesome.
And I was like, I going to tell Lauren this. One of your ideas worked. Now, that’s the one idea, the one I mean, you know, you can find a turnip.
You I’m just saying the things we were saying as well as I think one of the questions the cancer is, is I’ve got a big reception area as well, not just the meeting space, but it’s on because there was I mean, we’ll go back a little while. It’s that there was some worry about food and things like that and restaurants were still shut down or what open they were left for to take out surface. It was it was bring the bring the restaurants.
Bring the bring the local. Community into the hotel, if you’ve got space, it’s about building exactly what we think it is, about building those popchips, building those partnerships with the local vendors that would that would otherwise see as competition or that you knew that were there your hotel guests would go to, in any case, bring them in, whether it’s a restaurant, food, takeout food, whatever it will be, bring food trucks.
That’s barely edible.
I think you might some some might have hurdles to overcome. There might still be a little bit I don’t know, there might still be a little bit of pride in not wanting to commit total defeat and partnering with the hotels. But I would say if there’s ever a time in history where the industry needs to sort of let his guard down, put his hands up and say, I can’t do this myself, I read the stats.
I think it was 70 odd percent, 60 percent of hotels in the next four years. If there’s not a turnaround, just going to just going to go that they can’t survive at all. This is a time where you say, hey, we’ve actually got a really great deal with this. I dunno, did your marketing do you want to partner with them? We’ve negotiated this discount with this attraction. Do you want part of that as well? Just again, just even chasing relationships with your competitors.
It benefits everybody. If there’s a first of all, it’s always smart.
Anyways, I’ve always been close friends with my competitor. So at Easy Yield, I was really close with the owners of Red Tiger.
I was really close with the owners of Reagan. And here’s why.
They’re so stunning to me, no, they are so similar, they made the same decisions I made. I see that as like these people know what I’m doing more than anyone else.
And because of that, yes, there was a lot of friendliness between our companies. It wasn’t a nasty, you know, aggressive thing. It was like, oh, hey, FYI, we turned down a piece of business because it wasn’t right for us right now. You should call them because they’re shopping and that would happen both ways. And so after I sold, I remained friends with these people. You should be friends with your competitors. They are the most similar people to you in this business.
To amplify a little bit of what Ben said to is we’re so used to our old paradigm since one who it’s now he’s saying paradigm are.
But I say it’s my way of saying the word. But anyway, we’ve been so used to competing with each other in market and our my fair share, my part, I mean, we literally have reports that focus on my share. What am I getting compared to everybody else? And Mark, you brought it up earlier. We’re all in the same relationships right now. We’re all in the same space. And relationship building is the key element to this.
If we’re all ding dong, the witch is dead. The big old Fox Hotel in downtown wherever is gone. That’s one less thing to bring people in future tense to your market. You’re reducing the value of your destination by reducing that aspect of what’s there. So right now, it’s better to, as Ben says, collaborate, work with your local business, saying, hey, I have this audience. That’s about what I do at my hotel. What is your audience about your restaurant?
What is your idea about this? There’s a certain and it’s like doing the old fashioned marketing stuff. What’s your SWOT analysis on this? What’s my real asset value?
I have a very grand hotel, huge reception area, big chandeliers, lots of rooms. So rather than bemoaning the fact you have huge conference space, flip the positive to it. I have controlled space. I can mitigate going through safety protocols to get to an open common area.
And as we’re all struggling to try to create some sort of normal version of what it was like at a conference or what it was like when we could get together, you see what Microsoft teams is doing, like, oh, now I have a little theater seating, but little people’s faces in and know they’re trying to somehow visually normalize interactions the way they were before. Well, what about the next iteration of this where you create a conference in a large space that could keep the distance of safety that the municipalities makes to require in your market?
And through that, you now have full stage again with all the fun lights and all the backdrops and the screens and the distance in between your panelists and things and project that as your event and where you can have some physical bodies because we’re watching football right now.
It’s a lot better when they throw a few people in the stands as distances, then maybe it’s better to listen to them yell in Newton than some guy going, oh, forget to hit the wrong button.
Audience laughs You know, when you see that foul ball hit one of those cardboard things in the head. Oh, you just waiting for it.
You know, we know that a lot of things like we know that like the VR stuff and everything, you’re trying to get into the realm of VR. It’s never really going to take it’s never going to replace the physicality of engagement. But there is going to be transition processes, all of us. And those huge big boxes. Going back to your original question mark is that they have that space ability.
They have the location capability. And as I mentioned earlier, the diminished traffic. You can go to cats now. I probably do not have to wait three hours to get sit down. Hey, I’ll take that every day.
I’ll wear five Basken of Gambill if I have to get going, get one of those sandwiches. Hecke You know.
Oh yeah. It’s a question.
Food for and food is a key driver, too. You know, you think about it especially with a smaller market, let’s say Omaha, Nebraska, as opposed to a New York City. Right. And you think about who is going to those markets. One of the number one reason traveler, though, has been they’re not going there just to see you as a hotel and unless you’re a destination resort and that type of thing, unless you’re in Nebraska.
Well, unless you’re in Nebraska. Yeah, unless you’re in Nebraska.
Because that’s the only reason I quit picking on them.
You know, the people that are coming there are coming. Therefore, we’re seeing drive markets. Right. We all know the drive markets are a key feeder right now. And it’s those people that have been pent up and they’re finally getting a chance to have a parents night out. They’ve got a babysitter for the kids. They’re going, all right, let’s go into town. Well, guess what? So they go into town and they’re looking not just to stay at a hotel, but to do something around there.
So if you can partner with those things that are in the area, the restaurants, the attractions, whatever it may be, who, by the way, are hurting just as much as you are, that’s an opportunity for everybody to win and for you to attract that business. Yeah, that’s definitely something.
Hey, Ben. You’re a minute away from getting in trouble.
I suddenly text and we start to think you have to tell that you’re going to do for your wife to come on this because you made it sound like you were going to negotiate. But that negotiation, I know, is her giving you more things.
You’ve met my wife, but, you know, I know it’s like I am going to drop off real soon. But I just wanted to to to show and tell this real quickly before I when we started talking earlier about how companies and different parts of the industry have pivoted to let you guys call this the the Qantas flight to nowhere.
Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah.
The the eight, nine hour flight and a Dreamliner, the ticket sold out in ten minutes, and it’s just a sightseeing tour. They just go fly around, show you some pretty impressive parts of nature and then land exactly. Took off. We still haven’t come up with a better phrase and revenge travel. And I’m going to give it some serious brain power tonight. But if ever there was an indicator that people are just itching to travel again and paying thousands of dollars to go to play fly around London, let’s go.
Nice. Just what I needed a little bit of jet lag.
Like you said, I could be jet lag.
I think flying around for three hours would do it for me, right? Oh, yes.
I think it’s a great example of pivoting a really smart move. And, you know, airlines have got to keep themselves afloat as well as well as the cruise lines, no pun intended. But the fact it’s sold out in ten minutes for me was just that’s the headline people are desperate to get by. Moving on to our Web site. I can’t wait till everything comes back to mobile.
I love it. I love the brilliant ideas coming out of Australia. So it’s very similar because Singapore has this problem that they’re basically an island nation that can’t go anywhere. So they did something very similar, actually, where you get on a plane to Singapore, go fly around a little bit, land in Singapore. Ben, before you go, is there anything else of great words, of wisdom that you have insights, key perspectives, things that could save the universe?
No, hold on. You guys are going to get into trouble so much. That’s the fun part of all this. You’ve been stronger.
Come back for more with you in a few moments.
Oh, Cincinnati. Come on. I’ll just wait for the door to get kicked down and tell me how you can just go downstairs.
By the way, you know, when the wife comes in shock running in here, just throw in the other room right now and get back to you. By the way, this is how he gets in trouble. Yes, this is it.
Leave because the banter just keeps going this thing. And then I’m definitely going to screenshot this.
Citizendium hotels offer a corporate subscription. Now, I don’t if you guys got this three nights a month, no blackout dates, which. It could be really cheeky, gets three hours of meeting rooms, daily workspace, wi fi, breakfast, yada, yada, yada, five hundred pounds, 600 USD per month to use a taser is another great.
We the occupancy what we do get people out of the house or working from home.
That supersmart. And I can’t wait to see how that goes.
So in similar vein, we started working with a fitness resort and I’m going, oh, nice try to you, but this is good.
So they took this down time to build out an entire architecture so that people who’ve been to their resort can subscribe to the lifestyle that they showed them while they were at this resort.
And you actually have check ins with their nutritionals and things like that. They actually built it all out. So now they have a subscription service that pre guests can subscribe to to, like, get fit enough for the program and then post to continue upkeep.
Then replacement from South Africa is in your grid. You can get. Yes.
Hey, your wife just called me, says get off the bloody.
Have a good weekend, guys.
And thanks again for how do you for us.
If she talks to your buddy Stewart, we meet Mark with I felt I felt like we were kindred spirits.
Everything you say is my I’ve been listening for the past hour just unpacking boxes.
So for a brief moment, the Commonwealth outnumbered the the Yanks here just go for about 30 seconds.
So it was always a fleeting ownership, wasn’t it?
If we wanted you back, we were to take you back a long time ago and you’re not taking.
So, Martin, I appreciate you taking the time and not being afraid when you initially jumped on and we were already spun off into craziness. It is voluntary here for you on whether or not you want to continue.
Now, just understand, if you want to continue, you need to actively interrupt someone to speak.
Otherwise, you won’t speak and need to sign a waiver to say that we won’t hurt your feelings. I can kind of see the energy now. Unfortunately, I have a hard stop at eleven thirty my time, but this has been a lot of fun. I did want to piggyback on what you said earlier about being really friendly with your competitors, even in noncoercive times. But I think one of the things that that’s really been highlighted in this being closer to other agencies that do similar things is it’s pushed us to do something that we should have done more of in regular times anyway, which is be much more distinct in our offering, because in the world of marketing, in the world of hospitality marketing, we all kind of tick similar boxes.
But really, everybody does it in a slightly different way, either through the services that they offer or the methodology or the industries that they cover.
And I think that’s something that we should have been doing anyway, is like bringing something unique to the table so that we’re not just competing on bodies on the ground or pricing, because that’s really a losing proposition for everyone involved, because it’s not good for the agency and their bottom line, but also for for for the clients. And we’ve talked about this before in the context of like tourism boards, is that you have five different agencies who who show up and are offering exactly the same thing.
And that’s not helping anyone do to do better marketing. So this has accelerated that process because now we’ve had kind of very frank conversations about like, hey, I’m on websites. We all said we do these things, but how do you actually do it? And let me tell you what I’m actually really good at and what’s the stuff where I tell people to do it but we don’t want to deal with this. Right. And then when when when you have the comfort and the ability to have those conversations, then you’d be like, oh, I don’t want to compete with you on this thing because you’re a little better at it than I am white.
But I’ve got this thing coming in. I think you’d be a better fit for it. Why don’t you take it and just figure something out and and that we don’t have to do the dance of both submitting proposals where maybe none of us will get it. Right. Right.
So you make a great point, because a lot of websites for a lot of agencies you read me and I still don’t get what exactly you do. I know you see you do everything, save the world and everything, but what exactly do you do? And you’re to the point. It’s very frustrating for that. And a lot of it confuses a lot of people actually even talk to them because it sounds like the same things over here, here, here and here.
What now? We have the dispute, which has been kind of fun with the show here is we all in some way. Occupies the same space as some category, but we do it so different ways, it’s like, no, no, no, this this guy or this people really would fit you perfect because they’re not going to want me squaring off to the side. They want stewards. No, it’s a straight line.
We’re going to go through that wall so we’re all different and how we do things smarter and sexier than me anyway. So, I mean, he kind of wins all the arguments. I’m going to channel my inner temperature a little bit. He always talks about differentiation. It is not about just being different. It’s about providing unique value that people are willing to pay for. And I think everyone on this thing does that in their own way. And hotels can learn from that, too.
I mean, it’s one of the big opportunities it’s going to come out of. This is how the hotels stand out from the noise, because everyone’s going to be competing a lot more aggressively than they used to. They’re not going to be sitting there just harvesting. The intent already existed. They’ve got to go hunting for the food and they’re going to do it a lot more aggressively. So how do you differentiate yourself by providing unique value that people are willing to pay for?
That’s going to be I think that’s the question that I mean, everyone was asking it already. But now there are even more variables that you have to contend with because like like you guys were saying earlier, hotels are necessarily going to have to change what it is that they offer in order to be able to survive and compete. And so how are people going to know who you are anymore? Because you yourself have had to morph into something new. And so you have to be very distinct and very clear about what it is that you bring to the table, which long term theoretically should be good for you anyway.
Well, I mean, or you can go the age old tested.
Make sure there is a checklist that tells everyone you have an iron in ironing board above the fold of a heated pool, color TV, heated pool.
Make sure I mean for your conditioning and make sure you don’t. I mean, you know, this is what you should be selling ironing board.
I thought it was a really valid point that I thought about websites alone. You mentioned that we’ve all just taken the mickey out of it, that that this there’s still so many hotel websites and not just hotel websites and the other website that you go to that it takes you a good few seconds to figure out what the hell it is that they do. And still, sometimes at the end of it, I’m still not quite sure what what you know, what it is they’re actually offering.
Yeah, but they have a fantastic time on site matter.
And we’re all here today on the homepage.
It’s like three I mean, a synergistic blend of high dynamic variabilities and holistic.
I have to go. Right.
Right. So so Mark, Mark is going to still be too polite. He does have to wind down just a minute.
So, Mark, if people want to connect with you or learn more about elemental, where should they go?
Should also the first class would be the website Elemental Dutko. And unfortunately, we have an alternative spelling of it. So it’s elemental. Don’t see. OK, you can also check us out on LinkedIn, on Instagram. We’re very active on all those different channels. And yeah, just check out some of the work that we’ve done and drop us a line if you’re interested in chatting while I’m and this is I would say if you want to remember, one thing about us is that we we cover travel as as as a category, broadly speaking.
So we work cross tourism boards, hotels, and then incorporate our other clients like hospitality and and spirits and food beverage. So a lot of what we do is cross industry brand partnerships. That’s probably the thing that that we love doing the most and makes us different to other agencies. So if that rings a bell for anyone, please, I’d love to chat about it. And thank you all for having me today. This has been a lot of fun.
I didn’t know what to expect, but this is far worse.
Now you understand why I didn’t really tell you a lot about this moment.
Unfortunately, you get to be with us whenever you would like. You’re more than welcome to join. We’d love to keep you in the loop, but whenever you’d like to join us, you’re more than welcome to pop in. This is what we do every Friday only, plus another hour or so. And we ask you for only a half hour and you give us an hour. So we sincerely appreciate the additional time by far and the insights and so forth.
And thank you for making the connection with Marc with us so that we can.
Yeah, you can see why I thought he’d do OK right now. You don’t fit at all, Marc. Really, I really I need a better background. I think everyone’s got to cool. But I mean, obviously, Ed, you’re just showing off your posters.
Yeah, but hey, but look, look, look for us for the swag t shirt, OK? Kudos for this white t shirt.
Yeah, but the best part. You guys have a logo in the background, says the logo in the background, so it’s not that he’s not only representing, but yeah, yeah, I’m a dude. You just because you are multilingual, do you feel because we translate this in 11 languages, do you think actually, though, some Mandarin in this week or, you know, one to one hundred percent?
I’m very curious to see what the Mandarin translation looks.
Oh, dude, it’s going to be really you’re going to laugh at it’s probably going to be more humorous for you to try to read the Mandarin going that it’s probably already screwed up anyway, albeit because of the way Lawrence structures his sentences.
His part will make a ton more sense, if not backwards.
Mark, thank you very much for your time. And we’ll make sure that all the notes, Scott, and I’ll send you a link to all this stuff. And oh, if you don’t mind, I will send you Isaac’s information because like I said, he’s in country in Thailand and he’s not doing anything right now. And if you need anything in the country, he’s great at it.
He’s a good guy. Sent. All right. Thanks a lot, John. Mark, I think you hit the button. Just close the doors. Close your browser, don’t you?
I don’t know. I don’t know.
All right, gentlemen, before you get into your crazy banter, I have to go as well. Thanks for humoring me on bringing in Mark when I found out he was behind by now, stay later, I was like, dude, you got to come on the show.
So that was awesome. That was awesome. Even though he took some for some reason has an aversion to.
One was the beginning to the name of his company is just like how all of you speak about that.
Yeah. That was really inspiring. I thought you’d all just be comfortable with that.
But it was brilliant. And you’re right. It goes back to what he brought to the market was straightforward and simplistic and didn’t get overly complex and he wasn’t trying to be too many things.
And yeah, I think at the end of the day that the thing that makes him a fit with the show and the thing that makes him great is his philosophy on business. And I think he has a saying that a lot of us folks do. It’s not competitive. It’s not seeing how much I can do for me. It’s not about me. It’s about them. It’s about how can we help solve problems for the people for real.
Right. And that’s what we do. What you can find out about flip to flip tío, you can find me on social media. Edward St. Onge, do not connect with me on Twitter unless you want to be trolled about college football. But every other network. You’re welcome.
Thanks, Mr.. And appreciate the time.
Have fun on your side every time you say that. I think of the show, the ride horses.
Of course. Of course.
Yeah. OK, we’re good.
Now let’s talk about sense, you know.
So, hey, look, it’s nice to see your handsome face, dude.
Thank you very much. Yeah. Had lots of lots of family stuff to do. It’s been my wife’s birthday and then the others. Yeah, yeah. I had to go at the wife’s birthday. I tried to get out. I said, look, it’s the show. Come on. Doesn’t go down. Well, when you say that, what’s more important, that’s why that’s what I said.
And that’s not the thing to say about race. Yeah.
I was going to say nice things about you when you were listening on your phone beforehand, but I didn’t even get the chance to remember now that because just one day I was going to say nice things about you because a lot of marketing, about camaraderie. And I was going to give the examples about how you’ve been reaching out with other agencies that hitherto up until covid, you really weren’t working with, you know, networking collaboration.
So, yeah, and to be fair, I mean, folks like Milestone, we had a good relationship before covid. We just never really formalized it. Right. We Timi had known for a while and, you know, we bump into each other. So we’ve always been cordial and shared ideas and, you know, watched what they do. So just formalizing that a little more an embodiment of the show was a no brainer for us, when especially in the beginning when everyone was just like, holy cow, I have no idea what I do.
And I’m in this industry events out there, too, because we used to be able to all get together and get to and collaborate and see what the others were doing. And, you know, everybody’s a little bit more giving when they’ve had a few drinks in them. And you can find out more from them.
And it’s like a little time because I’m always drunk. You’re you’re getting a and in light of the fact that’s true, you guys are going to be rolling out a podcast about IP tracking.
Well, it’s about the the you know, our industry has this thing that it does it it sensationalizes. I don’t know other media channels do this, but the hospitality industry certainly does. And it’s the death that this is the death of that every day. Like, I was literally had twelve deaths at this point.
Right. And it’s. It’s like the Phoenix. Yeah, exactly. You know, we had we had like Mobil get in and nonsense, right? Block chain was going to destroy everything for a little while. I was going to destroy everything for a little while.
Knew it was actually covid that did it. Maybe it was what happened when Block Chain and I combined they created code. I don’t know. Yeah, but what the soup du jour right now for a lot of folks have seen so much, much content written about it.
Is this this entry into a cookie world is what a lot of people call it, which is really not accurate. It’s the death of third party cookies. Right. Which is probably a good, long overdue thing for the industry.
And so we’re preparing a podcast. We’re going to record it actually on Monday. We usually record on Fridays. We’re called a Monday. We’ll get published next week.
But we’ve been doing our research and I just keep running into the same problem in my head where I’m like, if you’re a good marketer, this doesn’t affect you negatively at all. In fact, it’s going to only affect the people that are doing a shitty job. And so I kept coming to this conclusion. I’m like, this can’t be the case. Why is everyone freaking out about it? So I tried. I called the smartest person I knew.
He didn’t answer. So then I called him. He didn’t answer. Then I called and he didn’t answer. So then I called Lauren.
And so, wow, you should have probably been nobody left.
You had no phone numbers, actually, to be honest.
But me and I have this something.
Oh, well, so, you know, I took a handful of people, including and including Lauren and some other folks, and and they like, I think to. Right. You know, it’s like the only people freaking out about this, other people that are way overcommitted to crappy advertising, especially display advertising that doesn’t really work and isn’t accountable. And so I’m sitting here saying we’ve got a booking engine that doesn’t have any third party domain tracking issues because it lives in the domain of the hotel website.
We don’t do anything shady where you can’t really track it through first cookies. So what’s the big deal? So that’s probably going to be the we’re going to break it down, explain what what a cookie is when a first party, third party is in breakdown.
Why you really shouldn’t care if you’re doing things the right way, but you’d like to join that myself.
Actually, I think I think that’s really useful as well, because we’ve had questions about it from clients saying what does this mean for our paid search? And this is the basis. Is it going to stop? Well, you know, Google’s not literally going to kill its own maker. You know, the end of the day, they need to track the Google ads, metasearch, everything else. Otherwise they’re going to lose money. Overnight, literally overnight, one of my biggest selling points when I talk about metasearch is that I want to get that direct traffic to your hotel’s website so you can do marketing and people will say, well, wait, remarketing is going to go away when all of this stuff goes to the camera.
No, not. And by the way, they’ve been saying this for three years now, so keeping that in mind. But yeah.
Yeah, well, we have the same with GDP. And I remember being in very in-depth conversations with some lawyers telling me, oh yeah, that’s just going to stop. Like Google are not going to stop offering you remarketing because when it works, it makes a whole shitload of money. And three, there is a get out of jail clause in all of the legislation that I was just trying to point this out. Lo and behold, remarketing is stronger than ever.
You know, it never, you know, didn’t stop having display marketing coming the moment it came in.
You’ve always brought this out over and over again is we are our own worst enemy when it comes to what we do now.
Marketers, I say that from a marketing perspective, we’ll take a comparably great platform that is great for the people who are using it and abuse the living bejesus out of it.
We went to our marketing principles and ruined every rules for it, like GDP and others, because there’s bad actors out there that are doing crappy things and then we all get punished and we can call names out and they’re easy enough to do because they’re the larger entities in our industry right now that are offering this massive retargeting that goes on this massive follow up of stuff.
Absolutely, yeah. And they’re the ones that they’re screaming about how this is the end of times.
I want someone to do this. I haven’t found a client willing to do it. And I’m getting to the point where I might just pony up the money to do it right. So one of these big ad networks that claims all this attribution that they didn’t really get right or they maybe charge, I don’t know, let’s say 12, 12 percent commission on a seven day view through hypothetically, say someone was to do that, not going.
I’m not I’m assuming someone might do that.
I’m not going to mention any names and everything, but running a and I can remember running a test and literally run some of your ads with blank created for a period and see how much attribution they claim for seriously through.
How great would that be if someone ran that and proved that there was no meaningful impact between running a blank ad and an actual ad?
It shuts it down overnight.
I do wonder if the blank had finally sent the blank had would get disapproved. Oh, OK, so what do you think, something completely unrelated, just random, like, yeah, just random.
Put Lauren’s face on there.
Let’s have a clip to your website. Something better probably to erase and permanently block. But that’s that’s it.
But no one’s done that scrutiny. And I want to say we’ve been arguing this for so long.
Attribution theft is real. We know this exists. We know these people drop themselves into this drink, hijack the string, take credit for the string. They do all these things and they’re the ones that are beating the drum go, oh, my God, they can’t be doing this to us. They’re now looking for. And they actually started looking for other channels of opportunity by going into the metasearch space. Dean, you’ve seen all these people crowd into your space of, oh, we do this for you.
We do this for you because they’re trying to find other avenues because they know they’re on a short road for the rest of the stuff. And this is to your points to clearing up the clutter.
It’s still going to be used for those that are doing it right, that have the legitimacy of doing it, not for the which is the problem. Right. There’s bad actors that have always sold snake oil and always will sell snake oil because they’re not doing it to help people. They’re just going to move on to the next thing. That’s why we’re seeing a lot of people jumping to metasearch right now, because the next thing that you see, a lot of them jumping into IP tracking.
And that’s kind of why I was bringing this up, because this is the all of a sudden, if I’ve ever been asked it once, I’ve been asked a dozen times in the past week as to so what about this IP tracking stuff?
And it scares me because, you know, what’s what’s what this gun does. It should things right through this mental checklist.
Do you have five out of five on TripAdvisor and five out of five on Google? For all your reviews, are you maximizing your email database? Are you maximizing your social channels? Are you driving the majority of your bookings through your own website? If you if you say no to any one of those things I don’t even think about, I’d be tracking it so far out there in terms of what you should be focused on. You’ve got to get the fundamentals right before you start doing the stupid stuff that incrementally might have an impact.
But it’s such a distraction from the core of what you should be doing out there with a download right now. She is absolutely right. She’s absolutely right what you said.
So every minute you’re spending worrying about some obscure IP tracking nonsense is a minute you’re not spending, improving the guest experience, setting expectations of properly communicating effectively with your guests. We’ve been doing the sentiment study for 20 weeks now. Right. It’s this longitudinal sentiment study during covid in this such a discrepancy between what guests are saying they want to hear about. They want to hear about what they do, what the property’s doing to keep them safe. The staff say they want to hear about the local area.
They want to hear about what amenities are open. They want to hear about the cleaning practices. But then when we ask people that have actually traveled what these did get communicated, none of these things are being communicated. That’s your marketing, right? They’re fundamentally missing the mark. Do that. But you do.
I’d be talking I told one one client that was asking about it. I said, you know, Madame Curie was using uranium and radiology and so forth, and she died because as smart as she was and how cool she discovered things, she didn’t realize she was messing with something that was going to destroy her eventually.
And I said IP tracking is a dangerous tool if put in the wrong hands.
And there’s a lot of people running around going, oh, I can tell you exactly your customer.
There’s some laws associated with this whole process, by the way, because we start triangulating. I’m getting my IP address about who you are. Then I know what your cell phone is and that gets coordinated with your IP. Then I have your geolocation capability plus also what you’re using for medium. All of a sudden you come from an avatar online where I know all the filtering capabilities of to know. That’s Lauren Lawrence at that place now and Lawrence over here and Lauren’s there.
And that’s dangerous.
Here’s the simple right? If you’re not willing to stand and look at the customer in the eye and tell them exactly what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it. If you think they would have a problem if you told them what you’re doing, you should not be doing it. You should be in the interest of the guest. If you have that as your your north star, you’re going to do things ethically. You’re going to do things with the right approach, and you’re going to ultimately win over the minds and hearts of this.
I’m still to this day, I mean, I was putting in and even though there were old videos, it still made the same impression that I had when I first used them. I took a study that was showing Google’s tracking capability with their phone. There was a news coverage that was done by the radio station or TV station in Washington, D.C., and also took just them taking the time to go into their iPhone and seeing what was being tracked by iPhone, by Apple.
And still both of those scared the bejesus out of you. They didn’t as much as I may have said or been aware, they truly didn’t understand that Google knows when you went to the church or whether you went to a hospital or what, you know, that that information was what you accepted when you didn’t read all that junk and said, Jerry, I just want to get this thing running, blah, blah, blah, whatever, let alone the apps that hijack or use that information for much more nefarious reasons than what even Google is using it for, that they even use it in most cases.
So what was one of the genius things that Facebook did by allowing eighteen log in to other apps using your Facebook idy? Right, because everyone’s already looked at Facebook, really by Facebook, because they suddenly got data and access to information that they never, ever went to Facebook. I barely post on Facebook, me personally on my own. Facebook knows a whole metric ton about me because I use it to get into various.
I remember how scared was when I first when they first started doing that and I was in there trying to use filters, the data, they allowed me to have access to them.
Like, you got to be kidding me kind enough after it was the Wild West man that that, you know, fast break and fix kind of mentality. And it’s it was scary.
We had a lot of bad things, you know, and a lot of castonguay we wanted to it was they didn’t have it locked down. You probably. Is not a primary concern. Not at all around a lot, but it’s still not perfect. No, no, no, it’s still not perfect. But based on what happened with Analytica and everything else, they had to kind of pony up on some. But they even self immediately that their largest clients still don’t have really restrictions as to what they’re allowed not to be able to see.
They can still use a lot of the data based on the honor system.
Oh, yeah, we trust you that you talk to you about IP.
It’s actually Google that’s making this change. So that was me. And locals and digital marketers can’t use it. But Google still got that data, so do it again. Still got access to so much more than just making it more difficult for Google employees to use that data.
Google, Google ad retargeting, your Facebook and retargeting is not going to be affected by this one.
And you know, I’m someone I wish Tim was on this because he calls them the five big guys.
But I’m more comfortable knowing that there’s two or three known entities that are probably doing some bad stuff than anyone and their uncle could do absolutely anything. Personally, I’m comfortable with that.
I have nothing to say. I didn’t catch reducing total sidetrack but YouTube, scary stuff. I’m perpetuating protesting disruption for eyeballs, bad actors getting revenue. How to stop that?
Say that again.
Oh, sorry. People on YouTube putting videos on there and getting revenue generated off that YouTube traffic for watching destress.
Yeah. So so we talked about this on the show before, how YouTube kind of pivoted in their algorithm.
They used to have what was affectionately called the Gangnam Style algorithm, theoretically.
Right. Where where each each time you watch the video, Google’s entire intent on YouTube is to get you to stay on the platform so long as possible to consume as many ads. And it’s the reason that it exists. It’s not anything altruistic. It’s to make money from ads. And the longer you stay on there, the more money they make from you. So their job is to to try to figure out what the best video to show you next is.
So they used to do was whenever you watch a video, they’d watch the show you. Next up, something that’s related to that, but slightly more popular. And so eventually, theoretically, if you if you continue to live long enough, you’re going to end up with on the most popular video on YouTube, which at the time was Gangnam Style Psy. So that’s that’s the theory of what it was. Now, what they do is very different.
And it’s it’s having a massive impact. Facebook does the same.
So now they’ll say, how do I keep you on longer? It’s not about what’s more popular. It’s about what’s going to be more intense related to what you’re looking at. So what it does is it pushes people to the fringe. So this is so if I watch, say, a Jordan Peterson video. Right. Some would argue he’s kind of right wing, right. He would argue he’s he’s not really is a centrist, slightly right on some things.
But then he might end up on a bench here on video and then you might end up on some even further right extremist. And then eventually you’re pushed out to this extreme rabbit hole on the extreme of whatever it was you started on. And it can go to the left, too. But this is what’s creating such a divide. Social media in general is creating this divide because if you look at my social feeds and you look at my wife’s, because idealistically we’re a little different in certain things that so far apart, even though we’re very similar people, we just have some fundamental differences in our values.
We see completely different things that reinforce and push us out to the extremes of the fringe and everything. This this is the problem with social media today is the problem. YouTube’s problem with Facebook is definitely the problem with Twitter.
It also adds to the fact that we have, unfortunately, a culture that will authenticate what they see versus the verification of its accuracy.
It’s one thing to be exposed to things. I mean, free speech or whatever, where you want to quantify the ability for people to put things up is one thing. The authority that it’s given through based on either a popularity scale and or frequency scale and or the the belief or affirmation of your own belief in the echo bubble that it creates creates this momentum from it that really, from a more historical perspective, was more news based where the Walter Cronkite thing, Walter Cronkite reported the news, didn’t embellish it, didn’t sensationalize it, didn’t storyline it didn’t do anything about.
And this is what happened that changed with CNN 24 hour news cycle had to get filled up.
It became about right.
So now it turned into headlines and feature ability and drama, drama and so forth. And then reality TV like, wow, well, you can see the inside curtain. It wasn’t the stylized 30 minute. We had a problem at the beginning at the top of the hour and it got sold at the bottom of the hour. It now turned into life cycles and drama.
And to be entertaining, you’ve got to be a little more extreme in your dance. So we’ve all been feeding this fire to this point and now we’re seeing cumulated. I’m actually going to be posting something on my Facebook because I’ve decided I’m not one of those political people or just share and certainly not to troll or anything. But I begin to slowly begin to put what I think is called factual content for people to me. I think the thing that Holly mentioned is like silence is acceptance.
I want people to know that I’m engaged with what my perspective is and what’s coming up. So I’ve posted things about that. And I salute people come back. I mean, those a troll, I try to talk to them through it or something like this is hey, look, based on facts, I’ll talk to you about anything. I want to hear why you feel like the way you do. But based in fact, don’t just tell me I suck or I’m full of shit or what it’s like.
Lauren, I guarantee you, if we look at your behavior on social 12 months from now, it’s going to be more extreme in a direction I don’t know which to what’s already started.
That’s what I’m trying to say, is that because so many posts on now from people that I don’t know or someone associated with literally no thoughts, you’re going to get more extreme because you’re feeling attacked by the others.
And we feel like we need to belong. We all need a tribe. We all need to feel like we’re part of something bigger than us. It’s it’s human nature since the beginning of time. This is this is why you see extreme views like people really buying into Kuhnen or flat earth or contrails or whatever it is.
You name the conspiracy theory. It’s getting more traction. It’s becoming more mainstream to the point where mainstream media reports on this stuff for that very reason, because you bring it into what they’re saying is detractors.
They shift you and they shift you and they shift you. And the more you shift the heart of the detractors and the more entrenched you get in your opinion, you mean the earth is flat?
You tell them at this point?
No, I think that I should explain that over there. Yeah, but but my point is, it’s like what I’m doing now is if I will, if someone just has an opinion, I think this is terrible. I leave it as is. But if someone tries to feed me, I know is nonfactual. I’ve literally gone through the process of unfollowing if I happen to be following them. And if it’s Sherrod, I deny the fact that I will ever have a shared again, which I know is actually amplifying.
To your point, Stewart, the severity of what eventually gets posted and I’m actually beginning to work against it’s like this is great because now I actually get to go over and just keep hammering at this stuff because I want to see how bad this gets. I mean, that’s why, like I said, Facebook for me, I follow just about everybody usually. And LinkedIn is the one to try to keep here to my industry and coworkers.
And I’m really trying to see how Facebook is working through this whole process. And it really plays exactly what you just said. The more I work with it, the more it begins to amplify towards extremism.
It really is just like you’re watching going, wow, this is absolutely amazing that we’re dealing with this platform, that this is what it’s doing for it. So.
Well, like I say, it’s that one upmanship because every time you put something on, there’s somebody and it could be YouTube or Facebook themselves or a person. It’s on there is all about or you think that’s bad, wait till you see this. And, you know, they’ve got to go one level higher and it’s our nature.
So you don’t get you’ve got it. You’ve got to have an elevated it’s the same the same as drugs. Right. That first time you take a hit does something, the second time, it’s not as much as you need to do more to reach that same Virginia comment, the same thing to it.
It’s it’s really not political is actually just polarity opinions that are coming through this. I do want to point out, going back a little bit of a hospitality side of things, I was actually making conversation with Mary.
Oh, we lost Stuart. Stuart, we’re going to back up now.
What was that now? But the Marriott losing one hundred, ten hotels. He seems like I have something in common. And you know what? It seems to make sense. Marriott just can’t do it. Marriott has been doing either crudites. Gee, this is beginning to be the fallout where ownerships are getting smart enough. And that’s a good golly. This is just brilliant on their part. They’re getting a portfolio that they wouldn’t have had. They’re getting to claim back properties that they would never be able to get back without massive negotiations, fees and losses.
And they’re able to get it handed to them for pennies on the dollar.
Eleven dollars million of default. And they get to pull back all that property and pull the flags up all day, every day.
If you know, if you’re a major brand, one of the big guys, you fly that flag and you’re not reconsidering the value proposition right now. And you’re missing the point because they’ve clearly laid off tremendous numbers of this stuff. They haven’t supported property through this very well because they locked you out of me now to do anything unique to your location.
So people are going to be leaving these these places in droves, in my opinion, going to smaller groups, even flagging completely and going independent. I think that’s the way of the future and don’t develop technology, stop you, because I know that’s one reason why a lot of people go to the brands because, well, they’ve got the whole technology stack. They do. They’ve got the sales and marketing, the digital, all that kind of stuff. Look, there’s ways to replace that.
And it’s getting easier by the by the year. By the day.
Mm hmm. And also, you want a booking engine?
They can have one. Yeah.
Yeah. Hey, yeah. Right.
If you don’t have the booking, you just to say if anybody in front of all of that stuff is readily available and vendors are making deals like crazy right now, they’re all looking for business.
I want I want a touch of nunatak, but bring up something about our our our industry as to how it kind of connects all together. So you’re GM, you’re sitting at your hotel or you’re Disodium or whatever you call yourself. You’re the exact level for your hotel, limited service to full scale blown out resort. If you’re brand, you actually have three masters. You have the owner of the building. They may or may not be actively engaged. You have the management company who is juxtaposition to be the person that facilitates what you need.
And then you have the brands that you have the answer. And I know from having firsthand experience, when Brand showed up for brand evaluations, we raise the bar in front plan for a brand flag in front of the house. As soon as they left and we showed up, we raised the flag, you know, and we showed up. We did the same thing. And we all have different agendas and different focus is the only commonality is revenue generation.
After that, it’s a gambit as to what they agree on. I mean, everybody wants money, but other than that is something that.
Right. Not one of those three stakeholders that you mentioned really cares about the guest experience.
That’s the problem, the primary objective. That’s the thing.
And that’s the part I’m trying to bring to is of anybody out of all of those. The management company should be the most focused on developing the guest centric, because that’s literally the key element, makes everybody happy to do that.
They would be too right.
Because ultimately that is no true brand. But we know that those owners bought it because it’s an investment brand. Got it. Because a good franchise fees. But really the onus is on management companies to really pony up, especially at this time, what’s going on and take the lead to staying on the management company.
They might be a public company. So then they really only care about the stock price.
You know, I’ll sit and say, but out of the three, I would put the stake on them to say that they’re the ones that have to step forward and take the lead on develop what the problem that’s large scale management companies is not always been great because they try to do what a lot of large scale agencies do, which they try to commodity’s the offering.
They try to find efficiencies through scale.
And you can’t do that in hospitality. I mean, there’s certain areas, obviously, vote buying and there’s a lot of things, processes, things like that. But the end of the day, you’ve got to give autonomy to the boots on the ground, to the people that are actually integrating with the staff and give them empower them with freedom to make sure that the guests are having a great time.
And I have a few relationships with clients. I’m going to call my name, obviously. But I mean, just it’s not fun. It’s it’s disheartening in some ways as to the politics associated with the methodologies of what they’re trying to do.
They’re caught up into, unfortunately, the corporate politics of fulfilling what’s being asked of them to do, but losing the purpose of why they’re doing it.
And this is that unique opportunities we’re talking about. We as agencies are collaboratively done together of them rallying together internally as a management team to say, let’s do what’s best for our the people that we’re providing products and services for.
And from that, all the things we’re wanting to accomplish by that happen, you know, by taking care of our guest, we’re actually going to be able to do all the things by working with the team at the property as a collaboration, because I remember from the property perspective when corporate came in, OK, dog and pony show, and then when I was in the corporate side, I dreaded going to a property because I know as soon as I walked in the door, everybody was acting differently because of what I was representing when I walked in the door and I’m sitting there going, Guys know I was one of you.
And they’re like, Yeah, yeah, sure.
You were sure you were such a funny guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I’m sure by now everyone has seen this. But if you haven’t, go check out Simon cynic’s video in the Golden Circle to start with. Why it’s his his thing.
And it I mean, it’s the. Yeah. The books out there.
But but I guess to the point of this is this is the time to question everything. Brand isn’t supporting what Brand said it was going to do. So management services need to step in and say, wow, we’re next man up. OK, we’re telling all these owners of these hotels, multi branded or independent or whatever they are, that we’re their resource for solving their issues, for operating their hotels.
So I’m going to go to your people because we had to make a bunch of layoffs, right? Right. So how are we going to do this? Well, the best first resources, who’s in the field? Who’s got boots on the ground? Oh, that’s the people at the hotels. But rather than working in parallel, how do we include them into what we’re doing? And I don’t think a lot of management companies have taken that perspective yet.
They’re still we’re going to hand them down their budget guidelines. We’re going to hand them down the steps of what we want them to do. We’re going to tell them their revenue goals, guys, to do everything about maybe including them into the conversation.
You know, I’m joined and could go into camp, especially now, where all those things that you just mentioned have gone to completely to crap because of covid.
Now this conversation. Yeah, yeah.
You know what? That the hotel I have in Austin and the one I have in Houston and the one I have in Dallas, we’re all under the same regional guy who’s going to try to roll out the same strategy for all three of those, even though all three of those markets are uniquely prepared to recover from this, you know, in different ways.
But that’s the guy that’s trying to roll out the generic version of is like, hey, I’m only one person. I can only do so much great. Realize you’re right. You’ve been asked to do more than what your original job was because the people that you had working with you were gone. So go to your next best resource. Go to each of those properties. Go, guys, I’m not going to give you a vanilla wrap here. Tell me what you need, Houston.
Tell me what you need until you need Dallas. Let’s build what it is.
But maybe if we collaborate, you might find out that Houston is doing some stuff.
Dallas, you know, about vice versa, blah, blah, blah, and create realistic because even as I’m dealing with budget dialogue, it’s like, well, what do we care? It’s going to get changed anyway.
I’m like, this isn’t just an exercise, guys. This is this is a pattern of what you’re going to be doing. And so, like I said, it’s a matter of understanding the value of what you’re doing and as much as just the process of doing it. And I think we still have a lot of growing up to do because there’s a lot of things that can be done better, obviously, from that process. You know, I grew up in the outside the hospital as well.
What, like twenty years? I also did a lot of online retail clients.
We had a lot of apparel companies that they do things completely different. Don’t bewilders me how separated we keep some of the functions of commercial activity. The fact that rates, marketing and sales are also siloed still is it just doesn’t. It baffles me and a lot of ways and I’m hoping that it is an accelerated the change that we are seeing more commercial offices.
We are seeing more collaboration here, necessity because of the lack of people. But we’ve got to get our arms around that. These are all symbiotic. We got to work together. You can’t have marketing come up with a strategy and race come out. Easter egg sales, come up with a strategy and then tell operations what you’re doing. It needs to be one machine with multiple calls to anybody else.
When in-store popped up that he worked in the of the of the fabric of the garment industry, that he was a fashion model to anybody else to.
Yeah, I think I’ve saving lives in.
Seems to me that’s the one, the one concern I do have. And I know Mark brought it up in earlier conversation with Sears and ended with a corporate and it’s innovative is that is. Oh no, no, no.
Ben brought it up and brought it up. Sorry, but we’re we’re talking with Marc at the time where Susan and brought up their corporate membership. And it is innovative because what you’re really basically saying is it’s not an Allanah and it’s not a negotiated. It’s anybody that feels that they have a reason to perpetually travel, can create a unique relationship with us by signing up. And that’s that’s good to that point. But I’m also worried and this is one of the articles that Robert showed in his list with us that we didn’t get to improve upon was this membership versus ownership perspective like ownership solely for cash flow.
So there there’s this potential concern that membership or some relationship value that you pay for would be a means of cash flow for it. Unfortunately, they’re also the same people that put resort fees in and so forth. And anything else that they charge you for that you’re already getting.
So, you know, what I’m worried is that are going to dilute the value of a paid relationship with a free bottle of water. It’s like, no, no, no, no. If people are going to pay to have something unique with you, that value has to be amplified.
It’s not you just barely get what you paid for. It’s because you’re unique, because you paid for it. You’re going to get much more value for it than that. And I’m worried that there’s going to be a shortfall, that owners are going to shortchange that concept for short term money. So I go membership, loyalty combination.
Maybe that’s what happened when you got that free pair of underwear at the hotel.
That was a service charge. A value add. Yeah, thanks. Yeah.
What happens with these scenarios where you’ve got people who are your who were your loyal customers? So I used to work with them from out of the Wyndham Diamond, remember. Right. OK, so I would have had a. I would prefer to stay out of and brand property, OK, but now I have an travel, I haven’t gone anywhere. You’re welcome. Next year, I’m not a diamond member anymore for all of my period of more customers having traveled, not of their own choice, just because we can’t and they’ve lost status.
Twenty, twenty one. What’s that due to your loyalty?
Well it’s interesting you’ve got that because I know Virgin just made a change, so. And Virgin. I was a virgin, you know, all different kinds of business sectors. One of the areas that they’ve got is a credit card. If you’re using the card, you get Virgin and Miles. They’ve just completely got that on the head. It’s not Virgin points. And they’ve just announced this week that you those don’t have an expiration date because they’ve realized that by having the expiration date on that, they’re essentially forcing people into traveling when they may not necessarily want to travel to where they may not be the ability to travel.
And it’s obviously going to affect one of the leading areas. We’re talking about e-commerce here, credit card transactions, things like that. So they have to pivot. They’ve had to change their entire business model and the entire reason why they do it.
And I think if if if all the other businesses and other airlines, hotels don’t recognize this and see that this is actually an issue that we’re all kind of stuck in, especially the potential visitors to their property, they’re going to have this is a potentially they’re going to lose customers based on the lunch programs. All in all it takes is one person or one business to sit down and say, well, actually, I can go and take all of those loyalty points up, come over what’s come up, come over here.
Here’s the loyalty environment, even though you can’t do anything about it now. But when when? When it does return. I will honor the points that you’ve got with a different hotel, you’re going to pick up a lot of business there if but you say that we’re are going to lose out. It’s again, I know we’ve got the idea about collaboration, but I don’t know that I think this is an opportunity if people don’t wake up with it, it’s not just about the point, it’s about the status.
And I don’t care whether we win the Marriott, American Airlines, whatever it may be, there are perks to having status with those airlines and so on. And if you haven’t traveled and you’re going to lose status in twenty, twenty one, now it’s all fair game.
Right? And that’s exactly what I would have done to render that airline because of my status.
And I don’t have it anymore. So guess what? Open territory.
I think you’re going to see more and more people do rollover status as an extension that but have that they have to the that it’s the right thing to do.
And if they don’t, they’re going to be screwed.
So submitted this before I when people confused back, what we did was to incentivize them to return to the resort. It’s just one resort. It wasn’t like they could go to a bunch of places was we created a status level three levels and everyone that came was immediately given the second highest status level.
First, the highest stress level was willing to take what you had to be there for them. And it was very, very moderate threshold for them to come over. We’ve basically looked at our CRM, saw people that came for at least five days out of the year or three trips a year or whatever it was. It was our base criteria to it’s getting fuzzier as time goes by. But what we did was we reached out and said, congratulations, you’re everybody we can call now, silver level.
And this allowed them certain things and certain to experience this and this and this. There was value proposition wasn’t just made up stuff. There was a lot of value propositions to our priorities for things and so forth, and in a discount to the food and beverage and plus credit and all this other thing. And we did that for where checked in because the value was to get them back, increase their frequency or if anything, to acknowledge the frequency they already existed, but to make them feel unique compared to you just I picked the place to go to and I went there.
That’s one thing. The other is, is and this goes back to something earlier on when we were talking about the big boxes in downtown. Look, take a negative make it a positive.
Dean, to your point, you were one of those guys that made that level likelihood is as time goes forward, you’re going to start sliding back into that seat again and going off and doing things.
So regardless of whether or not I have one hundred thousand hotels for you to visit with my membership program or not, I will acknowledge your priority and just simply say if you were that level at that for whoever whether you were Diamond with Marriott or Platinum with Hilton or whatever, you come in your VIP, OK, this is your code, your VIP. Even if I have one hotel, your VIP. You know why? Because if I can believe that I’m always going to take care of you, we come back to my market.
You’re going to come and stay with me because I’m always going to acknowledge the value that you are a traveler that reached those levels with other people. What’s in it for me not to go over and give you the same value proposition with me, even if I’m only one hotel?
One four years ago, Virgin Hotels did something very similar to that, actually, where they would say that no one come over will match your status. But not only that, as you sign up for our program that first day, we’re going to give you actually just a taste of it, that top tier category or whatever they call there for that first day, you were a platinum diamond, whatever it might be, and you got a taste of it.
And, oh, it was pretty cool. Right now you earn your way back. That is it’s the drug dealer philosophy. Right. I’m I to give you a taste of it, get you addicted to it and get you coming back for more.
You know, we’ve said it there.
A danger that everyone needs to sell drugs to.
I thought that was I wrote a book about that, about how to get a wife by I don’t know, maybe I’m confusing authors speaking to wives.
Ben has actually messaged me and he has said he still got in trouble. He had to offer wine as reparation.
So that’s why one wine is smooth over all things. It’s yeah.
Yeah, I forgot.
I have a client opinion, so I’ve got to go. Stuart, thank you. Duplin today for those. OK, I know you’re coming up with another edition of your survey, Susan, that comes up, obviously. Please bring Melissa back.
Yeah, I think it’s going to be the final one for a little while. I think we’re going to give it a little break.
But the kind of burn through our list pretty hard over the last twenty six weeks. So this is volume ten of the Fuel Hotel sentiment study. Some interesting stuff. Yeah, but we’ve got to take a little break. We’re going to kind of take the time to really look at this longitudinal study and say, what have we learned about spinning out data so much? And there’s a lot of insight that we haven’t really been able to unpack yet. So how can we really leverage this data and help the industry?
So I think that’s the next phase of it, but. It should be it should hit our blog Culture Travel dot com slash blog by Wednesday of next week.
So hopefully, sure, next week in your mind to jump to conclusions on thin line data. I mean, I can look at something opinion, so, you know, and I will say so we talked about the podcast.
You’ll travel dot com slash podcasts would record an episode this week on the cookie list. Well, for the next week, we’re going to do a we’ve never done this on the show before. We’re all going to watch the new documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma. And it kind of ties into what we were talking about earlier. We’re all going to watch that. And then we’re going to have an episode where we kind of comment on that show.
So if anyone is interested, watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 where you go in this to director’s commentary.
But we’re not the director’s right. That’s awesome. Sounds a bit like Stewart. It’s going to be like the fan zone. I don’t know. I think I think you have it over. But basically, you know, just watch this and listening to the fans commenting on that, it’s hilarious. It’s great. But I get the feeling it’s going to be the same for you guys. It is.
And I might accidentally think I was supposed to watch a Star Wars movie and comment on that as much as I do the social dilemma.
So we’ll yeah, but we got one hundred and sixty three episodes of the podcast you can download. We’ve been talking a lot about how to recover from covid Future Outcomes last podcast or just search for hotel marketing podcast or see it anywhere. You get podcasts and then if you want software, we’ve got some killer solutions for online booking. If you’re worried about customer tracking, you don’t have to with that booking engine embeds right within the URL website, it’s really cool.
So none of that nonsense you have to deal with. We have a CRM, which is getting a lot of traction right now. A lot of people are realizing that you’ve got to double down on your own to assess and emailing to your database is the way to do it. As and we had a customer this week has a database a little little under a hundred thousand email addresses of Kest history. They send out one message promoting next year’s stays at a good discount.
They made over one hundred thousand dollars from one email that they sent out.
So that’s not a dollar an email. Yeah, and that’s for twenty, twenty one ranks. Right. So really good. CRM is the way to to market your way through this. And then we also have a mobile app. So if you’re worried about contacting contact between yourself and the guests or just efficiency or lack of staff and you can’t check as many people as you used to, but WAP is a great solution. We have all that fuel travel dot com.
So thanks, guys, for your time.
Thanks for everything is rather special. Oh yeah.
Thank you today.
Oh my gosh.
There were three and then there were three, you know women today. What. I mean the response. Oh they just dropped off like oh wow.
There’s not there’s, there’s not the bell community that we normally have, but we have the voice of reason I think is full of intelligent dialogue.
Yes. Instead of random strong opinions.
It reminds me of my senior year at prom.
Oh. So a couple of I guess a couple of things I don’t really get. First off, great to have you back on the show me for a couple of weeks and you’ve been crazy busy and everything a little bit since we have the time. And I don’t really want to just jump into another topic or anything like this. It’s great that we get the chance to kind of like wrap up a little bit of everything but is doing right now because we are in a transitional point.
I mean, just from a hospitalities from budget season anyway. And there’s just been this whole dialogue of how do you do this? I mean, I’m a proponent of zero option budgeting and all this comfort from a three to six perspective. What are you guys focusing on doing? What kind of you know, what what kind of client engagement you’re having by client name? But just because you’re facing with and dealing with it, it’s it’s a real mixed bag.
It really is. We’ve got on I mean, obviously, we’re pushing that message along day quite heavily because it’s a really useful channel right now, especially with some of the smaller hotels that are really, really panicking.
I mean, we’re working with hotels over in the United States. We’re looking at motels in the UK with with hotels in Europe. We’re just seeing so many different variations right now. I mean, we have some hotels in the UK that were going great, absolutely fantastic. We were getting, you know, like twenty twenty five to one we’re and not spend and from Google ads and so on.
So that’s quick. And yet what good.
Let’s get let’s let’s get good ones. I knew the answer, but I want to emphasize that. No, through this. This is purely search, so there’s no there’s no impression or anything like that, and especially the one that we were, the one that was getting such good results, they were that never really pushed into digital marks. And what we’re finding is this. People who are struggling now with the now think I really need to do something.
And so that’s why we’ve kind of set tempo with the local restrictions and lockdowns that have been happening around the U.K. They just got like a hundred thousand pounds worth of cancellations just like that. And it’s all of that hard work. And now the conversations that we’re having is not lost. Stay the line. Don’t know, just panic and don’t make a knee-jerk reaction. You’ve got to think long term here. You’ve got to you’ve got to believe that you’re actually going to be essentially has to say you’ve got to be in it to win it if you’re not switched on right now.
I mean, the thousands of pounds in dollars worth of savings were made by by getting bookings, by going direct at that return. And that’s when this is letting the yachts just pick up. That business was huge. And I think that’s the way that we’ve been trying to focus on it now is is the cost saving of actually doing this as opposed to just arbitrarily and they all take the business and budget season as well as the big thing. So we’ve got lots of lots of discussions.
Lots. And again, it’s sort of very, very difficult, isn’t it, because we’re facing the same the same dilemmas that you mentioned that people said, well, what’s the point in doing this? Because it’s going to be it’s going to be different next week, let alone next year.
And and I totally understand that point of view because you’re kind of thinking yourself, you know, is this just an exercise in futility? But, no, we need we need to have some kind of plan in place, because the only thing that’s probably going to change in that is the amount of money, the plan itself. You still need to have a digital marketing plan in place. It may be that the plan needs to be very flexible and very, very diverse, that we can pivot on a sixpence if need to be, you know, because if we end up having 30 percent of the budget that we originally thought of, oh, we actually get the hundred percent of the budget we need to be able to to have something in place.
So for me right now, the way we’ve been approaching budget season has been probably much more in depth than we’ve ever done in the past know last year when we were doing it’s like, all right, we roughly know your budget is going to be x thousands of dollars a month. This is what we’re going to do. And it probably works out, you know, a bit of variation of some new funky things come out by Google or Facebook or whatever.
But as we as we’re getting into into that next year, it’s kind of going to be stable, whereas now really got to be flexible. What are your contingency planning?
Almost from a from a budget point of view?
We’ve done the same in the sense that it’s not the diversity of the challenges, the prioritization of the challenge based on contribution. And if we have a very good amount of money that we can spend knowing where we would spend it based on what level, like, OK, we’re 30 percent, as you said, of our budget that we had originally considered having. Where does that 30 percent go, which goes to the highest productive producing channels of opportunity? What are those?
So we have we have a fourth ranking scale of the channels or opportunities. And then we have, according to the the amount of water, so to speak, which glass gets filled first.
And then it’s hard to explain that to a client perspective because they’re so used to static piano based. What’s our percentage cost per department department based on categorization categories, based on itemization. And it’s like, no, we’re the marketing has to be a little bit of fluid because if you’re not having the cash flow at the top, you really have no designation where you’re spending it is just nothing to spend. So having it prioritized within your departmental cost is not there.
You have to realize your departmental cost is completely based on high end cash flow. What comes in determines what gets filled first on social. If you pour the water here, which companies go first? You’re always like, well, it’s like, look, which one, which one is it that you need to. Well, you need to refill refuel the engine. OK, before you worry about drinking it, you’ve got to make sure you put back into it a little bit so that your area is completely linked.
And it’s it’s really interesting to see the whole the approach and for the hospitality industry.
I mean, I’ve long subscribed to that, to the fact that the approach the hospitality industry takes to and to direct marketing is is too rigid.
It’s incorrect, and it needs to be a lot more flexible. Almost city and I hate saying this, but almost say that the indirect channel is being a novelty because you won’t you won’t put a tap on A.C. in terms of how much business that they would that they would bring in if they bring it if they’re filling up your hotel, you’d never really. Put a huge amount of cap on it, yet they’ll put a cap on probably one of the cheapest areas to get that business in the first place, and I’ve never understood that it should be.
Hey, look, Wecker in a sensible way to not spend a 12, 15 one, whatever it may be. You know, for me, they should it shouldn’t be there shouldn’t be a cutoff for your. But if you’ll go great guns, keep throwing money away because this is business sense. You look at e-commerce world and the hotel industry is an e-commerce industry, whether we like it or not. You look at that, you look at e-commerce world out there, they will not put a cap on your budget if you’re as quick as I can make something and sell it out there.
If you can get more sales, I am going to make more things. And we’re selling it online and e-commerce point of view.
But the hospitality world, I don’t know that again, it goes back to that compartmentalization, that silo aspect of sales, marketing and revenue management, all be the budget volleyball game whose budget is exactly what you need.
I had some success with an older owner. When I discussed discuss this, I said, would you rather worry if you had your last dollar to spend that the billboard twenty five miles up the road stayed lit or the light, the sitting on your building stay lit and he’s like, well, I want the sign on my building the statelets. So when they see me, they can pull in. I’m like exactly what direct marketing is compared to paying somebody else.
OK, you’re making sure people can find you. That’s what you do in keeping the billboard up the road.
Sure. It’s valuable. I’m not saying it’s not, but if you had your last dollar and you can only spend it on one, it’s better to have the billboard lit that the drive in is a dark building and you go, oh, maybe shouldn’t have. Or is it that maybe they didn’t see the billboard, but they’re looking and they see you and they come to you. So that even goes down to the CEO level, like what are you doing there?
You need to show up for yourself even if you don’t have a dollar to spend to pay for someone to see you. Are you still doing what you need to show up for yourself for that?
But again, it’s it is it’s just a mind shift. It really is. And I think in in future years, I don’t think we’re going to have as much of a problem with this, because I believe that to be a revenue manager now, you actually have to be a tremendous salesperson all wrapped up in one. Oh, yeah. You’ve got you’ve got to understand that you’re gone are the days of just being a revenue manager. And that’s how you deal with you know, you look at the younger generations that are coming through.
They’re growing up with. So many different sources, so many different platforms now that I when I look at my kids and my kids are nine and 13, they don’t watch television, you know, they don’t watch television. They watch they watch a portable devices. And I kind of go in every day and they’re not watching mainstream channels. They’re not watching. They’re watching YouTube, watching that. Totally different. My 13 year old daughter on Tick-Tock, as with all of all of her friends, it’s just I mean, that’s a different matter.
Try to speak to a 13 year old girl at the moment without waiting around.
That is really what I was just talking to you and T-, their hospitality class. I do it every year for Dr. Lee and those people in the class. And what do you talk to them about here? They’ve picked a profession or an industry that has is literally laying people off and letting people go.
People that have experienced, people that have been doing things and they’re sitting there, you’re looking on did I back the wrong horse? And I’m trying to tell them it’s like, please understand. You look at the bright side of this and you may not think there is one. You are learning what 80 percent of the current management in our industry didn’t know up until this, and that was how to handle downturn.
You’re living through a time the skills that you’re learning by learning what you are right now is going to make you so much better in the future when whatever is the next thing that impacts our industry negatively after we’ve rebounded, do whatever we do. OK, you have a skill set. You have a tool kit that says I remember learning about or I was in that time when because right now all the people that lived through 9/11, that lived through 08, even as far back as ninety five and we’re drawing on.
I remember the day.
Yeah. Nobody was walking to my door, I had to go round one of the fax machine or whatever, you know, but you’re learning a skill set that everybody else painfully has.
The people that aren’t working right now are impacted because the people didn’t know what to do about this or couldn’t do anything about this to justifiably. And they’re out having to learn a new skill because they always lived in an uptick the economy.
Yeah. So it’s interesting that I saw something on LinkedIn, I think it was today, and I forget who posted it, but it was a really, really interesting post. This is like, however, many trillions of dollars have been lost due to external influences, disasters, as you mentioned, 9/11, this and the other. And it highlighted all of them and rolled up as the top. No, it was an eye watching the big number. There’s so many zeros in the West.
But he said twenty one percent of that revenue business that was lost or affected by the downturn has happened in the last three years. So you know what? We’re living in a time that’s really, really difficult. I mean, because we just had the financial crisis. We we’ve now got this. It’s a really tough time. But once we come out the back of this and we will come out the back of things that you’re absolutely right, the skill sets that you learn a hundred percent, they’re going to be invaluable.
Maybe we’re going to be a little bit cautious. Maybe, yeah, maybe you might find that there’s going to be large companies out there that are built on solid foundations as opposed to hopes and sticky plastic. Look, even something locally here.
The car rental company Hertz is based on by where I live here. And the the employees had to actually petition the court to stop the the the current way that they’re handling bankruptcy because the executives that drove them into bankruptcy, we’re getting fifty one million dollars worth of bonuses.
OK, guys, maybe we have to take it all Valuation’s CEOs getting paid thousands of times more than the most common employee gets paid for the same company in the United States is a huge thing. Like we have to be a little bit more fiscally related to the people that run versus the people that are doing the work. Who knows why?
What I’m really saying is that there are some things that CEO pay gap is bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and it’s been accelerating because the times have been more prosperous at the interest. See how much it decelerates, if we will be very interesting to see, but I think so. One last thing we’ve been playing with what? Playing a long game at three and six. That’s that’s what we decided to we decided to do. And obviously, yeah, everything was helping out.
Our clients do what we can.
Charging what we can charge, where it’s realistic to charge all a reasonable to charge or just helping out wherever we can with a long game that we’re doing is what we’re looking at this now, because this the landscape of the hospitality industry has changed forever. There’s no two ways about hotels that exist that may not exist in twenty twenty one, twenty twenty. Take them that they may sadly that may be the case, but they also goes for the same for hospitality, tech companies, hospitality service companies and all of the feeder markets that go into the hotel.
That that’s, that’s all going to change the wet, wet, wet, wet backing ourselves. So right now we’re building our digital marketing portfolio, our software portfolio, because we want to look at it from a tech point of view as well as a service. But way I looking at twenty twenty to twenty, twenty three. And that’s what we’re aiming. That’s that’s where things are going to ultimately come. Good for us and our clients at a scale level, obviously.
So what’s the status now? Yeah, we can actually show some really cool things that we’re currently working on in the hidden dark depths of our development rooms right now.
Yeah, yes. I’ve got a developer in the room over that. There’s no windows.
I just want the pizza every down and just every once in a while, just some food into the darkroom, which I know you’re doing two angles at the same time. A little bit of overtime. Catch up with you real quick.
Well, actually, interestingly enough, we were just talking about the whole budget thing. Actually, I did a webinar series with Epic Revenue Consultants. We just released the second installment of that. You’ll see it on LinkedIn. You can look me up on LinkedIn or look them up and find that. And it talked about budgets. And one of the things that we talked about was the fact that, look, if you’re just like Beatrice was saying, if you’re hitting a 10, 12, 15 to one return on your ad spend or let’s talk about it as a cost of sale, because that’s a better apples to apples.
So if you’ve got a 12 percent cost of sales coming off of MIDA and you had a 15 percent cost of sale coming off of your OTAs, why would you ever shut off your meter and decide? No, instead of rather take that from the extra three percent, that just philosophically doesn’t make sense. Now, that’s a philosophical reality, is we have marketing budgets. Right? And so we talk a little bit about how to do all those marketing budgets.
But the whole point of base camp matter was really to provide that educational resource, because when we talk about the industry right now and we we talked about this earlier. Right. A lot of people have to be cross-trained. That revenue manager didn’t have to do digital marketing before it gets word that now suddenly you do. Right. So how do they do that? Digital marketing is the metasearch part of it. Or you have a digital agency that has spent years doing a search engine marketing.
They’re really good at that. And now their client came to them and said, yeah, we fired all our people and usually to do our metaphore us. And they’re going, oh, yeah, we can do that, can we? Right. Yeah. So we’re doing it with best camera is to provide that resource to help, whether it be hoteliers or digital agencies, to understand how to work with metasearch. And we’re putting together a series of webinars, but we can also do the consulting, the training and so forth to help you with that.
The other side is on our metasearch marketing dotcom, where there’s a lot of really good agencies out there right now, the doodoo metasearch, the vendors like Cody and Derby stuff, and we’re up and down the line. And by no means are we trying to compete with any of them because they’re really good at what they do. And I’d be silly to attempt to to be their competition, but instead to help you as a hotel, understand what is the right technology fit for me based upon my individual needs and what I’m trying to do.
Who is the best one with a very platform agnostic approach to that do? Then as I was putting that together, I also realized there was a huge gap, and that is that if I’m trying to help that 10 room bed and breakfast or boutique hotel and small independents, there is really hard to find that technology match for them. And so I really wanted to identify what is their opportunity? How do we get that little bed and breakfast connected into just Google?
I’m just talking about Google here because they’re the big dog in the room. When we talk about Meta, if I was talking to a big resort hotel, I talk about cross-channel optimization, all of the other channels we ought to be in and so forth. But for that small little property, I want to talk about getting you live in Google and finding a way to do that at a price point. That’s not going to break the bank because actually doing it is not hard.
If I am willing to pay six hundred dollars a month for it, yeah, I could find a way to do that. But that’s not practical, right? If you’ve got I have ten rooms on your property, so finding a way to do that in a manner that is practical and that could be done with little to no integration because oh by the way, you may not have an integrated system. Your booking engine may not be integrated. Well, how do we deal with that?
Figured out a solution. So I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now, but. Reach out to us, we can tell you more awesome to two announcements, Tristan would have been shared. This with Dean already knows this starting October 1st, I’m launching our membership program.
Yes, he did mention yes. Look.
And so and you all have been vollen told you so we’ll have quality product. Let’s just say on the membership side of things, you know, all the details of it. You can’t go to the website right now. It’s just a splash page with the sign up for when we actually launch it. And that’s at Hospitality Marketing Club. It’s a what I call petty cash membership, where you pour a small amount. Right now we’re going to be offering that by the first month and the rest of the year free.
It’s a chance to try to build up our audience and get to show the value proposition and get the the the advocates and all that plus of can be doing a summit, which you guys are going to be hitting up with, has to be in December, are going to be doing the the quarterly. Someone in the first one is the Australian Marketing Summit, fourth quarter twenty twenty, which will be December 1st, 2nd and 3rd, two hours a day.
Metasearch is going to be one of the topics.
And how to take over the work will be another one, which I’m sure will take care of one million. That’s the final phase in that one million for that.
Also, what next week we are having another guest, co host, actually, it’s guest co-host with an entourage, and it’s from the Russell Research Group Press Group.
But is it the Russell Partnership?
They’re the ones that do all of the simulation training for how to operate, for panels, for hotels and so forth. So it’s going to be kind of a a math esque kind of thing. They’re launching a new product, which I was privileged to help them with and I thought was such a cool thing. I said, hey, you guys got come on the show because it actually helps companies build a forecast profit thing in ten minutes for the next two years, which we’re talking about, budgets and so forth.
Literally, it creates a very dynamic. You put this stuff in and it begins to tell you what your margins of opportunity are for things and helps you tackle the budget stuff. But what I really thought was being covered is that, OK, you did it once and then tomorrow the world has changed. You can go back and do the change over, like, OK, once you’re accessing that. And so I thought be really fun to talk to the creators of and say what was in your head about this?
How did you figure this out to do this in a way that can really be flexible for people to use it and work with it and stuff. So Peter Russell will be with us along with a couple others, some notables in the industry. I’ll let them surprise us with that. But come next week with that gun, be our guest host for next week. And strangely enough, we have become so popular because of you guys being on it that we have guest requests, an alignment.
We have guest host RO for most of October of this year, just sexy beast and people want to hang.
So that’s really I think that they’re going to stop now. That’s it.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s the beard. Yeah, it’s a beard.
And now you’re looking good.
Looking good. Wife’s a lucky woman. Woman lucky woman.
Yeah. I’m sure that she is when she forgives me for the whole birthday thing. Yeah. Well you know, you can come here and sing but I’ll just hang over your head for the day until next year.
Yeah. It’ll be the thing that when you think you’re almost winning a conversation. No, no, no, I’m OK.
I would never ever win any conversation for that matter. Oh, I was just saying this is never a conversation.
I have one. I may have walked away thinking I made a point, but it’s still stung.
Yes, it was right. Why do I feel like I’m wrong? I just feel like.
Yeah, it hurt.
OK, so with that. Thank you. And then for all those that joined us earlier that had to depart earlier. Mark Lee, thank you so much for joining us earlier. Fascinating to hear the insights. And as always, as we said before, you’re always welcome to come join the the Codrea fun conversations. Yes, sir.
Where where can they find you if they want to get in contact with yourself?
Golly. Well, first off will be hospitality, digital market, digital marketing dot com for slash live there you can find this and all previous episodes. You can also find hospital digital marketing, dot com forward slash podcasts, which I keep hitting you both up for creating your own to do.
Just a reminder, nothing more than the knife.
But with that being said, both of those are there. Also, as a reminder, there is the Hospitality Revenue Management podcast done by Linda McMahon, who was not able to join us today. Also the hospitality sales podcast, which Elizabeth does, also unable to join us today.
Tim Peter has his amazing blog. It really is a phenomenal podcast. And that’s thanks out loud. And that said, Tim, Peter and Associates. And he had mentioned that he was going to be gone for a few weeks. He has a new client engagement that’s ramping up.
And time’s up for that. Again, Stuart’s podcast for Fuel Travel, which is from. Nominal, really, truly one of the best I mean, it is award winning, literally, they go, yeah, and he does tackle great topics. I think this next one, I’m just waiting to hear how they get that down. It’s a very relevant thing right now. And they’re so timely with that. Yeah. Plus the survey and so forth is phenomenal.
And get to that, their blog that’s field travel, dot com blog or field travel, dot com slash podcast, both of them for that ad with flip two, which we didn’t really get to point too fast at anybody else.
The cast of characters that we had. You been so real quick, trist three and six were to find.
You have to do the linking for your LinkedIn and three and six so you can get me direct it to Trista Hayward at three and six, the agency. I’ll find the only 10 extra.
And I know you have a new spiffy video that’s coming out soon the same. But other than that, what Web Web addresses and emails can they use to get you back? So base camp MEDCOM metasearch marketing dot com because I love the domain. And look here on LinkedIn under Dean Smith, MIT once and for all those that a chance to join us today.
We missed you, but next week sois next week. So until eleven thirty eastern US time, I know it’s a little tough for the English scientist.
Again, thanks to your wife for letting you hang with us and tell Ben sorry we lost it all next week on three Eastern US time.
Until then, we look forward and hope that you stay safe and healthy. So that’s OK. Bye, everybody. Thanks, Laurie.
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