It’s In The Eyes!

I love Seth Godin’s blog. This is what he had to say the other day in his usual succinct manner. Read it a couple of times and think about it:

“You can see the determination in his eyes That’s the way a friend described someone she had just met. She was sure (just as I’m sure) that he’s going places. Once the determination is in his eyes, the learning will take care of itself.

On the other hand, if I can see the fear in your eyes, then I’m not sure that learning alone will take care of the problem. No one can prove that the path you’re on is risk free or guaranteed to work. Searching for more proof is futile. Searching for more determination makes more sense.”

There’s some nice brown eyes there!


The Happy Hotelier

We were delighted to get a mention the other day from The Happy Hotelier who said

I thought to provide some good examples of blog based hotel sites for your consideration:

* Chanters Lodge by @Richard Chanters does a good job with a self hosted blogspot based hotel site. He’s a frontrunner as he started out very early at the now closed Yahoo “platform”.

The Happy Hotelier describes himself:

“A happy doorman, bellman, concierge, front desk agent, technology engineer, limo driver, valet parking attendant, city guide, Sargent at Arms and photographer at wedding ceremonies, cleaning boy, gardener, pond- and central heating technician, personal assistant, butler, cook, designer, developer and owner of a small and very luxurious Hotel in The Hague, The Netherlands: Haagsche Suites.

Hence a Happy Hotelier with a keen interest in new developments in luxury travel, luxury hotels, luxury B&B’s, architecture, design, travel- and hotel gadgets, guest satisfaction, web design and web promotion of travel sites and hotel- and accommodation sites.

About some of these items and other things that interest me or are useful, I blogged already two years as co author on the Dutch language Blog: Weekendhotel.”

His real name is Guido vanden Elshout and that’s him up there!


Adventures With Ben

It’s great to get reservations at Chanters Lodge through social media sites and we were delighted yesterday to get a reservation for June from Ben Reed (above) through Twitter @adventureswben Ben has a really active blog and he says this about himself:

“Greetings to all you adventurers out there! My name is Ben and welcome to – my home on the Internet where each week, I’ll share with you some of my most amazing adventures from around the globe and here in my hometown of Orlando, Florida. You might be wondering, “who are you Ben” and “why should I read your site”?

I’m originally from Massachusetts and currently residing in the Sunshine State. Frustrated by sitting at home and always saying, “there’s nothing to do around here”, I charted a course to find adventure in my life and share it with all of you.

I’m 28 and have traveled to 5 of the 7 continents, with a goal of reaching the 6th this year. Before I had ever sat behind the wheel of a car I was piloting aircraft at the age of 16. I’ve descended over a mile underground into a South African Gold Mine and have backpacked throughout Europe.

An award-winning blogger, in 2009 I was selected by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to use social media to promote the City of Pattaya, Thailand as a vacation destination in their Ultimate Thailand Explorers Competition.

Everyday is an adventure – if you want it to be. I do. Here at you’ll find a collection of stories from my favorite travel experiences and, more importantly, advice and motivation on how to seek out, and bring adventures into your own life. I love to travel and capture the unique story of each destination and share with the world how wonderful a place it all is.”

Great stuff – can’t wait to meet Ben in person!


No Limit

Seth Godin gets it right on his blog. I wish more people had this attitude.

“It’s absurd to look at a three year old toddler and say, “this kid can’t read or do math or even string together a coherent paragraph. He’s a dolt and he’s never going to amount to anything.” No, we don’t say that because we know we can teach and motivate and cajole the typical kid to be able to do all of these things. Why is it okay, then, to look at a teenager and say, “this kid will never be a leader, never run a significant organization, never save a life, never inspire or create…”

Just because it’s difficult to grade doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taught. Never mind a teenager. I think it’s wrong to say that about someone who’s fifty.

Isn’t it absurd to focus so much energy on ‘practical’ skills that prep someone for a life of following instructions but relentlessly avoid the difficult work necessary to push someone to reinvent themselves into becoming someone who makes a difference?

And isn’t it even worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they might become?”

The picture? Or son Henry nearly 8 and full of it, enjoying a day out in Botswana!


Tnooz and Ryanair

I really like Kevin May’s Tnooz and recommend it to anyone in the travel or hospitality industry. Kevin has his finger on the button and tends to just tell it, minus clouding things with too much of his own opinion – on Tnooz anyway, though on Twitter @kevinlukemay he’s pretty vocal! Here’s a piece he posted about Ryanair. I’ve never flown with them, but personally I think they’ve got it wrong. Interaction on social media sites has gone right up our list of priorities in the past year and it’s starting to pay dividends in terms of real business.

“Low-cost carrier Ryanair has put a halt to suggestions it will start reaching out to customers through social media. The airline has had a love-hate (but mostly hate) relationship with the concept of social media for years but expectations were raised earlier this week when it announced it is adding reviews to its website. It was initially thought that Ryanair would also be making tentative forays into social media through the usual networking sites – a suggestion since dismissed emphatically.

What is expected to happen in the coming months is the launch of a series of destination pages hosted on the main Ryanair website where users can post reviews of restaurants, bars and hotels. Ryanair’s often outspoken director of communications Stephen McNamara says: “This will be one way communication – passenger reviews of local hot spots etc, but [we] will not be ‘engaged’ in social media.”

Ryanair has steadfastly refused to be drawn into the online social bubble with its marketing, unlike its European rival EasyJet (which has the @easyjetcare handle for customer relations) or US counterparts such as SouthWest. Allowing almost every piece of customer criticism in the social channels to go unanswered, Ryanair has only once dropped its veil when it infamously told this author that bloggers were “lunatics” – an outburst which was picked up by news organisations around the world.

The interest comes as Ryanair also confirms it is considering some kind of “price comparison” website – a confusing concept for a single carrier to implement unless it is significantly looking to change its web proposition. McNamara says the idea is only in the planning stage and refuses to give any indication what such a site would be used for or its model.”

What do you think? Is interaction important between company and client?


Losing Andrew Carnegie

I love Seth Godin’s blog – as you must have heard me say before! Usually brief, always to the point and generally right. Here’s a nice one from him:

Losing Andrew Carnegie (pictured above)

“Carnegie apparently said, “Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors……Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory.”

Is there a typical large corporation working today that still believes this? Most organizations now have it backwards. The factory, the infrastructure, the systems, the patents, the process, the manual… that’s king. In fact, shareholders demand it.

It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplaceable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else.”


More, More, More!

Seth Godin’s title, not mine!

Seems Seth Godin doesn’t think Customers are always right! I’ve always tried to remember that the problem in not taking the Customer as always right, is that you can’t ever win an argument with a Customer – he has the last word, he can take his business elsewhere.

However I agree 100% with Seth on this:

“Some consumers are short-sighted, greedy and selfish. Extend yourself a little and they’ll want a lot.

Offer a free drink in the restaurant one night and they’re angry that it’s not there the next. The nuts in first class weren’t warm!

The challenge of winning more than your fair share of the market is that the best available strategy – providing remarkable service and an honest human connection – will be abused by a few people you work with.

You have three choices: put up with the whiners, write off everyone, or, deliberately exclude the ungrateful curs.

Firing the customers you can’t possibly please gives you the bandwidth and resources to coddle the ones that truly deserve your attention and repay you with referrals, applause and loyalty.”

Think about it!

The picture? My partner Ireen and my daughter Alexandra in January 1998 surveying the house we’d just bought to convert into a restaurant with rooms!


The Least Or The Most You Can Do?

As usual Seth Godin talks business sense:

“One way to think about running a successful business is to figure out what the least you can do is, and do that. That’s actually what they spent most of my time at business school teaching me. No sense putting more on that pizza, sending more staff to that event, answering the phone in fewer rings… what’s the point? No sense being kind, looking people in the eye, being open or welcoming or grateful. Doing the least acceptable amount is the way to maximize short term profit.

Of course, there’s a different strategy, a crazy alternative that seems to work: do the most you can do instead of the least. Radically overdeliver.

Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique.”

Says it all really!

The picture? Oh! That’s Joan Rogers and Lawrence Zulu outside Chanters Lodge. Lawrence went out of his way recently to give Joan and her husband an excellent bicycle tour of Livingstone – not at all the least he could do!!


Embrace Africa

We’ve always much admired Peace Corps volunteers and I was therefore delighted to come across this blog from ‘Sarah’ a volunteer somewhere near Lusaka who on her blog ‘EmbraceAfrica‘ says this: ‘My name is Sarah and I was born and raised in Michigan. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2008 with Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and a Minor in Graphic Communication. During my time at EMU I was actively involved in His House Christian Fellowship, American Society of Interior Designers, and I balanced a few jobs as well.’

Actually I found Sarah through Twitter and you can follow her at @pcjzambia – I loved this particular story! So different to what might happen in other countries!

“One day a few weeks ago, my tire got a flat on my bike ride home. I had a repair kit, but the glue was finished, so someone helped me do a temporary zam-patch. Well, it turns out that the nozzle was “completely buggard” and a few kilometers later I couldn’t even add tire pressure. As daylight was escaping me I was praying that a car would pass by and pick me up since I was about halfway home, but this was a Saturday afternoon and not as many vehicles travel.

Within less than five minutes of me contemplating my dilemma, a gentleman stops to help me. He knew who I was and lives in a village about 6k past my site. While he was helping me one of the girls in my extended family in the village and another person from my village passed by. Together they coordinated that I would ride home on the back of one bike, my bike on another, and my bag on the third bike. No vehicles did pass for the rest of the day, and I don’t think I would have been able to walk the 7k home before dark, so my needs were met by some gracious friends.”

Big up Sara! Keep up the good work!

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