Young Travellers And Price

I liked this piece from HotelInteractive. I’ve shortened it a little. I’m also happy that at Chanters Lodge we have newly introduced low and high season rates, special rates for Zambian travellers and have resisted the temptation/need to raise rates in line with increased costs. In Livingstone we are in a very competitive environment, and yes, Customers are shopping on price.

“Here’s confirmation of what many of us already knew: Millennial travelers don’t express hotel brand loyalty like their older brethren when it comes to booking leisure travel. And that could be a problem in the coming years for hotel industry executives trying to pin down this increasingly important group. Leisure travel makes up more than 75 percent of all hotel bookings in the United States, says U.S. Travel. So this emerging trend has the potential for massive upheaval of the status quo in the coming years.

Millennials are becoming an increasingly critical part of the hotel room buying mix, and at some point during the next decade will supplant the importance of Gen X travelers and Baby Boomers to the hotel industry’s bottom line. Millennials currently drive billions of dollars in spending decisions with many of those dollars going to hotels and travel related activities. And they have yet to reach peak spending!

And their travel buying behaviors are way different than the aforementioned older groups. Remember, this is the first generation that has never known a world before the internet and the way they have integrated technologies into their lives is wholly different than older generations. That’s going to make it tricky for hoteliers to capture Millennial’s loyalty for the long term, but they are trying! Worse yet, the problem seems to be seeping into the Generation X mindset as well which is making online bookers inherently less loyal as they are increasingly driven by factors such as price more than loyalty.

The new study “Who’s Sleeping with You? A Detailed Look Into the U.S. Online Hotel Guest,” reports that 123 million travelers researched hotel options online in 2013, with 92 percent subsequently booking rooms online. And by looking at an incredible one billion monthly travel transactions per month over a three month period, the study determined that because of an “expanding array of hotel options”, a “let-the-best-deal-win” mindset is now in place among the younger class of travel consumers.

This confirms a study earlier in the year from Driftwood Hospitality Management that queried the general managers of its managed hotels. In that survey released in September, 43 percent of Driftwood general managers believe price is the number one concern of millennial travelers when choosing where to stay for leisure travel.

Separately from this study another recent study released last month and conducted by
Harris Interactive and commissioned by and Egencia, said to book business travel, 32 percent of Millennials report using a smartphone, and 20 percent report booking on a tablet. Just 12 percent of those older than 45 used a smartphone, and even fewer used a tablet to book travel. Millennials are also much more likely to use mobile devices to enhance their travel experience, the study concluded.”


Music Review 2012

George da Soulchild Kaufela, co-presenter of our highly successful weekly Sunday night radio show on Zambezi 107.7 fm forwarded this piece for the blog. Thanks George!

It’s been a great year for the Zambian music industry! More artists have come on board and more have become household names. Some artists have simply maintained their status while others have lost out and their names and music are slowly fading “back into black”. Here’s a look at selected months, artists and events from 2012.

March 2012
‘Hip-Hop Crisis’ attended the 54th Grammy Awards in LA saying it was a good thing because it helped expose the international community to Zambian music. The local hip hop artist said “the thing about such events is that you get to meet people and as time goes by, you start crossing paths and you get familiar with each other, and that’s how you build relations.¨

May 2012
Zambia’s Mampi (above) became the first celebrity to be evicted from the Big Brother Africa 2012 house. The 25-year-old singer said a lot of pretense was required for one to win the US$300,000 reality show. “I feel the same, I’m happy that I went in at the time I went in and came out at the time I came out. Being there, I saw what is required, you actually have to pretend. If you don’t pretend, you can’t win. I knew I was not going to win because I am not the type that pretends,” Mampi said. Mampi did however manage to mesmerize Big Brother Star Games viewers with her signature dance moves.
Meanwhile Africa Magic has announced Big Brother Season 8 details will be out in mid-January 2013.

June 2012
Petersen took a shot at politicians and released his highly anticipated controversial album JOB 13:13. The most controversial song on the album “Makwabo Mu Church” translates as ‘Business Conducted in the House Of God’ and it brought about plenty of talking points! Petersen explained that he did not understand why so many churches conduct business in the house of God. To him, if a church announcement says ‘brother Chilembo is selling his car for a negotiable price’ or ‘Sister Betty will be hosting a fundraising braii at church’, that is trading in the house of God and that is why he is exhorting the return of Jesus Christ to whip these offenders!

Still in June
Emeli Sande born from Zambian father (Joel Sande) and English Mother (Diane Sande) won the 2012 UKZAMBIANS Excellence Awards Female Vocalist/Songwriter of the Year Award. Adele Emeli Sandé (born 10 March 1988: Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) known by her stage name Emeli Sandé, is a soul and R&B recording artist and songwriter. A former medical student, Sandé has achieved two top 10 singles in the UK. Her debut album, Our Version Of Events, is nailed on for No1 in the UK and critics across the board have voted her the voice of 2012. Emeli Sandé has written hits for some of the biggest names in the music business, including Cheryl Cole, Tinie Tempah and Susan Boyle. Her album ‘Our Version Of Events’, ended the year top of the UK album Charts. We long to see her at home in Zambia!

Zambian rap artist Ruff Kid becomes the second artist from Zambia to be awarded the prestigious BEFFTA Award. Ruff Kid was nominated under the category for Best international Act at this year’s BEFFTA awards. Other nominees in the same category included Camp Mula, D’Banj, Cover Drive, Grace Galaxy and Zahara.
Ruff Kid in his acceptance speech said: “This is all down to my fans and supporters. My management and I have been working tirelessly asking people to support and vote, and this is proof that every vote counts. I am just grateful that people took the time to vote and support me, I am also grateful to God for providing me with such an amazing opportunity and the BEFFTA Awards for recognizing my work”

ZNBC director general Chibamba Kanyama apologized for the institution’s latest failure to meet viewer expectations during the 2012 Born n Bred Music Video Awards ceremony held at Lusaka’s Government Complex and promised to do better in the future. While Macky2 won three out of the five categories in which he was nominated. B1’s ‘Sikiliti’ won radio’s most popular song of the year.

Slap Dee’s ‘Kuichayila’ voted song on the year for the year 2012 by listeners on five different radio station including Zambezi FM Radio. The Lusaka based rapper who is leader of one of the most popular hip-hop Groups ‘XYZ’ recently ended his beef with a certain named Copperbelt rapper. At some point last year he (Slap Dee) lost his grip on the local scene as the Copperbelt rapper made more headlines and received more airplay than he did.

2013 will, without a doubt, be a very competitive year on the local music scene as most artists ,music producers, music video editors/producers seek international recognition.


Lodge Blog

This from TNooz grabbed my attention. Incidentally if you’re in the travel or hospitality business TNooz is, in my opinion, a daily ‘must read’. Why did this particular piece demand my immediate attention? Well, we’ve had a Chanters Lodge Blog since 2006, not so long ago I wrote to my son Ed and told him I was fed up with blogging and what with Facebook, Twitter and things I was considering giving up. 
His reaction? Emphatic! “Dad, don’t!” “Why?” I wondered. His reply “Google love the updates”. The article below shows that Ed knows a thing or two. Something we knew anyway. Needless to say I still blog and our weekly radio show forms the hub of the blog and forms a good basis around which I post other interesting or amusing things about stuff.

The picture? Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre. Why? Because when I went to Google Images and searched Lodgeblog, this was the first picture to come up linked to our site – page 6 of the search – which could have been better but could also have taken much longer. The picture was posted in January 2010.

Here’s the piece from Patrick Landman.
“I can’t even begin to remember the number of times I have heard hoteliers talk about the need to get more direct business, preferably through their own hotel websites. Of course, this is something we want for all our hotels. We know that direct-sales brings a higher margin to the bottom line, rather than via reservations (with commission) to third party distributors like OTA or low net rate wholesalers and tour operators. But then why are so many hotel websites still, well, static when it comes to content, especially many of the independently-owned properties.

Hoteliers invest in a website and think that is it for the next three, four or even five years. They still view the internet as a business of online brochures apparently. Their website’s content is completely static or stagnant.


It is a well-known fact that search engines put a high value on dynamic and fresh content. They are looking for websites that are constantly adding new information relevant to their field or related to their brand. This should actually be fairly easy for a hotel. Tourism and travel is an amazingly dynamic industry, especially when looking at what is happening in a destination or the property itself. Websites, lest we forget, are a continual effort. The content of your hotel website needs to be dynamic. This is where a corporate blog comes into play.

It should be part of your communication strategy to your guests, as well as potential bookers. Moreover it is also a tool to build a network of connections engaging with your local community. Unfortunately it seems though there is some sort of industry disease, or apathy towards social media. Any creative effort of direct marketing in hotels is approached with distrust, fear and skepticism.

However, the reality is that you might spend a lot of money on your hotel website, but if you don’t have a blog much of it never changes. Your hotel website is dead. Hoteliers, please wake up, and start blogging now! Or else.


But what to write? How to blog? If you don’t know, try it out. Make a blog using WordPress or Blogger, and integrate it. It’s as simple as writing an email. Honestly. In terms of topics, there should be no shortage of what you could write about. There surely are interesting events, festivals or trade-shows in your destination that your guests visit or attend. And how about some restaurant and bar tips? Find out which shops your guests like and make some more related recommendations.

Ah-ha, that should be easy, right? Really it is, I am even doing it right now. I am typing as I am thinking… It is as easy as writing an email or recommending guests staying at your hotel on what they can do in town. In short, become the online concierge of your hotel.

Make sure that you create original content, though, and are not simply punching out lists and articles for the sake of blogging. Make the blog an extended arm of your hotels atmosphere and style. Give it a unique spin. Instead of focusing only on main attractions and points of interest, highlight personal recommendations, unknown gems and hidden secrets of your destination. Bars, restaurants and shops within walking distance of the hotel are always well appreciated.


I mentioned style before. Make it personal. Not just a simple tourist guide approach. Introduce some humor and fun, I am sure as a hotelier you have an outgoing character, and are used to being on stage. Do the same on your blog. Don’t be afraid of what people think. The mission is to set a tone and get noticed.

The angle you choose, accompanied by captivating headline, catches the interest of guests. Come on, admit it this title “If you don’t have a blog, your hotel website is dead!” surely got you to click and read some more. The objectives with integrating blogs into hotel websites are many. One is to ensure the dynamics in content creation for the hotel website, and for search engines continue to value the authority of our website in relation to our location.

Also it provides valuable tourist and destination information to our guests. Blogs provides hotels with original content to share on social media websites and allow properties to engage with local business and attractions on social media websites. Remember, do not write solely about destination-related information. Updates on what is going on in the property is also newsworthy. But these articles should not be in the style of a boring press release. It should be an authentic personal piece. Write it the way you would explain it to a friend.

Treat your guests less like a technical marketing object and more like a guest works amazingly well.

Furthermore, put your staff in the spotlight. Have them explain what they like about working at the hotel, and what their favorite places in town are. Add a fun picture so guests can recognize them during their stay (please, no boring head-shots! ). And how about the launch of a new seasonal menu in the restaurant?


Blogging is a matter of practice – as you write more you get better at it. Find some other blogs and follow them. Search for inspiration online. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. But make sure you add your personal touch to it.


Zambia Reserves

From ThePostOnline

“There’s no underlying need for Zambia to build reserves beyond the current US$1.8 billion hence the surplus should be directed at infrastructure investment to stimulate the local economy, observes Standard Chartered Bank head of research for Africa Razia Khan. And Khan has said there are possibilities of extra-budgetary expenditure in the run-up to the 2011 elections that may see the government to overshoot its planned domestic debt issuance.

Khan challenged the government to put in place measures that would ensure the economy to be ‘firing in all cylinders’ to result in satisfactory and meaningful growth that would subsequently reduce poverty levels in the country. Last year, Zambia recorded US$1.8 billion, which is about four to five months import cover due to increased inflows from the International Finance Institutions, mainly the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which boosted the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

However, financial market experts and analysts have questioned the motive behind the continued stockpiling of the reserves, saying Zambia should just save slightly above what is required as import cover and use the surplus for infrastructure development such as roads. It is also understood that there were several challenges in maintaining large currency reserves, which included fluctuations in exchange rates, low international interest rates and reduction in purchasing power of the reserve currency due to inflation.

The financial experts, who preferred anonymity, stated that there was no need for Zambia to continue stockpiling foreign reserves when the country’s infrastructure capacity which is key to enhance economic growth was not being developed. “Why do we want to keep so much money doing nothing instead of investing it into infrastructural projects that will help stimulate the country’s economy?” questioned the experts.

Commenting on the issue and giving a foreign exchange market outlook for Zambia last week, Khan said the Zambian Kwacha had started 2010 with a powerful advance, leaving the US$/kwacha at 4.2 per cent below turn-of-year levels and at 22.7 per cent below the K5,750 which was the 2009 peak.”

And that 22.7% represents the Kwacha income loss we’ve suffered in a year as a result! What a lot of sense this piece makes, though I don’t suppose anyone will listen!


Forecast 2010

Here’s a dose of reality this Wednesday morning courtesy of Travel Weekly

“The financial crisis is continuing to damage the travel industry with the number of global arrivals this year to be worse than originally predicted, according to the World Travel Market (WTM) Global Trends Report. The report, produced by Euromonitor International, revealed that global arrivals are expected to decline by 8% by the end of the year, while flight and hotel sales are expected to be down by 14% and 16% respectively.

Worse yet, a full recovery for tourism is not expected until 2013. Presenting the results of the report at the WTM Forecast Forum, BBC journalist Thalia Pellegrini said: “The global financial crisis is taking its toll on the industry – falling expenditure, lack of credit and rising unemployment caused a slump in confidence and demand.” She added that while the swine flu epidemic had been contributed to the global tourism decline, demand would continue to be inhibited by low consumer confidence and rising unemployment.

Euromonitor International global travel and tourism manager Caroline Bremner said the UK’s Air Passenger Duty will affect recovery and be a “major inhibitor for growth” as this is “making the UK appear uncompetitive”. However, the recession had already opened up a new market in the North America market called the ‘funemployed’ – increasing numbers of cash-poor and time-rich people who are deciding to use their redundancy to finance travel. While in Africa the ‘Obama effect’ is driving the growth in “roots tourism” especially from the US, which has a high number of African American citizens.

In the UK, the effect of the recession has been to drive the hotel market to look at building pop-up hotels as demand for good-value accommodation increases. The report also revealed that travel sales online are expected to grow by 4% whereas the total travel market is down 1%. Bremner added: “This also due to the fact consumers are booking later.”

Zambia needs to act to remain competetive too! I guess most of the “roots tourism” mentioned will head for West Africa.

The picture? Mafia Island, Tanzania. An hotelier friend on the Island, recently had a guest complaint that their beach was mud! If so, from that picture, take me to the mud! lol!


Review Sites

This from Tnooz and posted by Kevin May UK on 28 September 2009

There is a dilemma facing many travel companies when they decide that implementing online user reviews is one of the best ways to improve their content and trigger some user interaction.
European tour operating giant Thomas Cook Group’s Direct Holidays division is the latest in a seemingly endless line to have found itself with such a problem – create a review platform from scratch, borrow reviews from a friendly affiliate or white label an existing service?

In this case, despite the opportunity to borrow a large number of hotel reviews from the main site, Direct Holidays has decided to build its own service. So far, so good – there are plenty, probably hundreds of travel sites on the web with their own user review system. But where Direct has deviated away from the norm, perhaps, is in its decision to host the reviews on a totally new domain, with its own brand.

Clearly in its infancy, The Big Picture Direct boasts 500 reviews from customers across its portfolio of destinations and includes ratings according to cleanliness, food, hotel service, location, room comfort and price value. A Thomas Cook Group spokeswoman says Direct has a distinct strategy of its own and therefore wanted to create a service “unique” to the brand, rather than borrow reviews from the mothership or throw in TripAdvisor content in the same way arch rival Thomson did in 2007.

The formation of a new and separate brand for reviews is an intriguing move – and one that would concern some in the SEO community given that the unique content associated with user reviews is, existing protocol says, best placed on the main website. Maybe what is being planned for the site in the coming months, as managing director Steve Barrass explains, throws a brighter light on the strategy.

The Big Picture Direct will be “further personalised to offer features such as an online chat facility, giving customers the opportunity to catch up with friends they made while away or ask any burning questions that travel brochures and traditional review sites don’t cover”. That sounds more akin to plans for a Lite social network, rather than a straightforward review site.”
There’s no doubt is there that Client reviews on line are shaking up the whole tourism and hospitality industries!


Matthew Robson

Matthew Robson was lucky enough to get a two week internship at Morgan Stanley (or maybe Morgan Stanley were lucky enough?) and was asked to write about teenage media consumption for the bank. What he wrote has generated massive response in the banking sector and elsewhere. Check TimesOnline for the whole story. It fascinated me:

The world according to Matthew Robson aged 15 and a half:

“Teenagers do not listen to the radio, he wrote, preferring online streaming sites, nor do they ever buy music. Games consoles “now… connect to the internet, voice chat is possible between users… one can speak for free over the console so a teenager would be unwilling to use a phone,” he wrote.

He told The Times that at home he usually communicates with his male friends while blowing up terrorists on the action game Call of Duty. “You use a mobile phone if you want to talk to girls,” he said, as “only about one in fifty girls plays computer games.”

Girls are a lot more prone to spend their time on social networking sites. Matthew uses Facebook but his accounts with Piczo and Bebo have lapsed and Twitter is strictly for the elderly. “It’s aimed at adults,” he said. “Stephen Fry is not particularly cool. Also, for the cost of one tweet you could send quite a few text messages.” As no teenagers followed each other’s profiles, tweeting was “pointless”.

He believes cost is a critical factor in the teenage market as “no one has any money”. “Eight out of ten teenagers don’t buy music,” he said. “It comes from limewire, blogs or torrents.” Meanwhile, pirated DVDs generally cost £2 and go on sale even as the films are in the cinema.

With online sites streaming music for free they do not bother, as services such as do this advert free and users can choose the songs they want instead of listening to what the radio presenter/DJ chooses

No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper, as most do not have the time and cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text while they could watch the news summarised on the internet or on TV

Facebook is the most common, with nearly everyone with an internet connection registered. On the other hand, teenagers do not use Twitter

They are very reluctant to pay for it (most having never bought a CD) Teenagers from higher income families use iPods and those from lower income families use mobile phones

Real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which are services teenagers do not require. They can get the information free on the internet
Viral/Outdoor Marketing
“Most teenagers enjoy and support viral marketing… Teenagers see adverts on websites (pop-ups, banner ads) as extremely annoying and pointless…they are portrayed in such a negative light that no one follows them.”

Teenagers visit the cinema more often when they are in the lower end of teendom but as they approach 15 they go to the cinema a lot less. This is because of the pricing; at 15 they have to pay the adult price. Also it is possible to buy a pirated DVD of the film at the time of release, and these cost much less than a cinema ticket
Mobile phones
The general view is that Sony Ericsson phones are superior, because of their long list of features, built-in Walkman capacity and value.

So there you are!

How do I (not quite a teenager) stack up!
– I have a Sony Ericsson phone!
– I hate paying for music!

– Don’t watch many movies
– Need a new radio which I enjoy at night

– I’m active on Facebook and Twitter

– I hate pop up and pop under ads
– Generally don’t like phone calls and prefer sms

– I’d never heard of Limewire – I just downloaded it
– I’d been trying to sort out Torrent for some days when I read this!
– Only glance at newspaper headlines these days.

And you!