We wished them the best of luck!
We wished them the best of luck!
As we closed the show Mike and Jennifer gave a special shout out to Steve Hamwandi, a Livingstone taxi driver, who they said had given them excellent service during their stay. Great stuff!
The following list details some of the more common myths about TripAdvisor, and the facts:
Myth 1: Reviews on TripAdvisor are usually negative.
In fact, the majority of reviews on the site are positive. Three-quarters of all TripAdvisor reviews are rated “very good” or “excellent”, and the average rating on TripAdvisor is just over four out of a possible five. It’s also important to note that – according to this traveler survey – the number one reason travelers cite for writing a hotel review is to “share a good experience with other travelers”.
Myth 2: I have no control over my property’s listing on TripAdvisor.
Through the Management Center, you can immediately begin taking control of your business’ page — including adding a property description, photos, videos and more. We also encourage you to monitor what travelers are saying about you on the site, post management responses and keep track of where your visitors are coming from so that you can tailor your marketing approach accordingly.
Myth 3: Businesses can’t share their side of the story on TripAdvisor.
Just as we value traveler options, we value the insights of business owners — and strongly encourage you to post responses reviews about your property. These responses not only show guests and the TripAdvisor community that you take their feedback seriously, but also give you the last word. When an owner responds promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews – thanking reviewers for kind words or addressing any specific concerns – a management response can be very effective.
In fact, research shows that management responses to good reviews makes 78% of survey respondents think more highly of the property, while management responses to bad reviews reassure 79% of travelers.
Myth 4: It’s against TripAdvisor rules to ask guests to write a review.
While it’s against TripAdvisor rules to offer incentives in exchange for reviews, we strongly encourage you to ask your guests to write a review. We offer tools that you can use to encourage guests to write reviews following their stay.
These include links that you can add to an email, which will send guests directly to your property page on TripAdvisor; cards and flyers that you can print and hand out to guests; and widgets that you can embed in your own website to remind travelers to write reviews.
There you are then!
PS. When I originally read this I lodged a complaint in the comments section that one establishment in Livingstone is wrongly categorized as a B&B when it is, in fact, a lodge on the river. TripAdvisor chose to take no notice, so perhaps some of the myths are true!
It is possibly one of the most fiercely debated topics in (consumer) travel technology – should consumers be entitled to free wifi and web access in hotels? And it now turns out that travellers are becoming more discerning about the destinations they are likely to visit, based on the quality of mobile coverage.
A study of 500 travellers (52% from Western Europe, 16% Northern Europe, 13% Southern Europe, 17% Middle East) found that 86% now expect wifi connections to be made freely available in hotels. Amazingly, over a third (37%) say that good mobile coverage is important when choosing a destination, although the study doesn’t explain how consumers are checking such requirements.
Elsewhere in the study (commissioned by Brocade), over half admitted to using their mobile devices to check on work emails during a leisure trip – hardly surprising in some respects given that 95% of people will take a mobile phone away with them on holiday. Pressure is increasing on hotels to loosen their policies over tariffs for wifi services, although property owners and others still claim costs in large hotels are often prohibitive.
Interestingly, live streaming appears to be becoming an increasingly important consideration, with a third claiming they will attempt to watch content from the London 2012 Olympics if it coincides with a trip.
Brocade VP and CMO, John McHugh, says:
“There is significant blurring between personal time and work time in modern society, with the consumerisation of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) working policies leading many people to rely on smartphones and tablet devices around the clock, wherever they may be and whatever they may be doing.”
Julie and Dallas told listeners that they run their own business back in Calgary – it’s a quick service garage that offers complete oil and filter changes in 20 minutes for US$60. We believed them!! And so too did we believe that you can get used to -45C degree temperatures though I’m not sure I’d want to! The group also told us they’d had a great time in South Africa on safari for almost three weeks before they arrived in Zambia, and that they would be headed back for Canada the day after the show. Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing in ten years’ time Julie said she and Dallas would like still to be healthy, wealthy and travelling! Hobie was ‘hoping for the best’.
Fastjet, will operate from Kenya, Angola, Ghana, and Tanzania. Fly540 recorded turnover of $57 million and carried 525,375 passengers last year. Fast Jet hopes to reinvent the low cost carrier model for Africa, with ticket prices starting from around US$20. The company hopes to target Africa’s growing middle class with average fares of around 70-80 US $ on flights between fast growing cities such as Nairobi in Kenya and Angola’s Luanda. Africa lacks a decent cheap and efficient aviation network with an average 0.03 journeys per head per year, compared to 1.5 to 2 air journeys per head in the West. There’s a shortage of direct point to point flights within Africa. It’s difficult to get from capital city to capital city especially in West Africa. The new carrier aims to carry more than 12 million passengers a year because of demand from the growing African middleclass for regional travel.
There will be significant difference will be in the way the low cost carrier model to will be transplanted to Africa. In Europe, almost all tickets are sold online. However, in Fast Jet’s African market, internet access can be as low as 20%. Fastjet tickets will therefore be distributed via travel agents, GDSs and some walk-up ticket sales. Passengers will also be able to buy tickets using credits through mobile phone.
A Scottish couple decided to go to Spain to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.
Because of hectic lifestyles, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So the husband left Glasgow and flew to Barcelona on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Blackpool, a widow had just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who died following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.
The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: October 16
I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you’re allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Bloody hot down here!
A guest article by Matt Weisberger, chief operating officer of Travel Spike.
The wrong industry is paying attention to Tingo, the recent side project from TripAdvisor which is gaining notoriety from the travel trade. Tingo’s spin is turning what others have deemed a feature into a product. Offering refunds on booked hotel itineraries if the price drops. Its momentum alone is fascinating considering Orbitz Price Assurance, Yapta and TripIt Pro are all variant flavors of the same refund policy. And while none have it right yet, it’s worth noting that Tingo is the fourth player to endeavor this model.
If a company finally succeeds with this approach, its impact could be wide reaching even beyond travel. The obvious buzz is coming from the travel category, whereas perhaps we should be hearing from RETAIL. Why? If Tingo proves successful, deductive reasoning draws a direct line to a cataclysmic sea change that impacts the retail industry. So while not an original offering, a Tingo victory could lead us down a unique path.
Though myriad differences separate Tingo from existing players, a new expectation is being created for travel consumers. The presumption that no matter when your itinerary is booked, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate. Whether true or not is irrelevant – public perception guides the expectation. Which incites consumer demand for parity. And parity ultimately means the creation of a new industry standard.
The interesting subtext of this potential new standard is an exploration of what happens when Refunds for Price Drops becomes common practice among travel suppliers. Finding our answer takes us on a journey beginning with the assumption that Tingo is a brilliant success. While far fetched this early in its history, we’ll make the hypothetical leap and say that they steal share from OTAs and independents alike provoking a strong competitive response.
Tingo is fuelled by Expedia, and we can expect the largest player in online travel to embrace this now successful policy. As Expedia goes, so goes the OTAs, who would be fast followers on the Tingo model if Expedia adopts it. With the OTAs onboard, it will be nearly impossible for independents not to follow suit, since their value proposition can no longer be price-based, so we assume they do so.
If Tingo works in hospitality, it’s likely all players would translate the model into other travel mix like air, car, cruise, etc. As such, the online travel market (now one-third of global travel market value, according to yStats) is further commoditized. Customer service and user experience become the only true gaiting factors for travel bookers. A coup for travelers!
Based on this path, every travel supplier would now protect any booking from price drops. Now we need to ponder how this impacts those establishing the actual price points: ie. revenue management. Revenue management has been the profitability engine of travel and hospitality for decades. Its operators manage the delicate balance between inventory, demand curves, rack rates, best available rate (BAR), RevPAR, load factors, time to stay/flight/ride, promotions, discounts, pre-pay, opaques, blended rates, rate parity, cancelations, refunds, rewards programs, OPEC, seasonality, advance day fares, etc.
It’s endless the elements required for consideration when establishing a price of travel products. It’s a combination of science and art form. Yet should Tingo prove victorious, revenue management teams will have their hands full figuring out how to adequately respond to this model. That response could be as simple as “No More Price Fluctuations” – yield management disappears. Blasphemy! And most Revenue Managers would tell you keeping price points flat actually has a decrementing value against the forward-looking P&L.
However, if travel is now a commodity, and downward pricing is being refunded automatically, why bother chasing longer margins to gain nothing. How does Revenue Management respond when their most reliable arrows (price adjustments and time) are removed from their quiver?
For air travel, it’s slightly different in that last-minute purchases don’t always bring the best price. RMs leverage advance day purchases and often only respond to competitive price drops as needed. Regardless, our position remains that if Tingo is successful, all travel suppliers will need to adjust accordingly.
So we assume all travel pricing becomes static. Suppliers offer a flat price for a single product that remains in perpetuity. And we further assume it’s a resounding victory. Should we not also assume the Retail category takes notice of such success? They’ve already done it to some degree, amateurishly. Retail has price matching, 110% guarantees, list pricing with deep discounts, MAP pricing from manufacturers (Apple). Anything to make you feel your purchase is guarded against the inevitability of price drops. That is of course, unless the price never drops. All of these marketing mechanisms are intended to restore confidence in our purchase, exploiting our fear of getting taken, robbed, hoodwinked. Imagine a consumer market where that was never in question.
There are far more gaps in retail since they often aren’t dealing with finite inventory and a long booking window. Most retailers are thinking about store inventory, warehouse inventory, competitive pricing, turns and GMROI. If more product is needed, they contact the manufacturer who happily delivers. If the manufacturer is out, they produce more. The model is certainly not a direct parallel, but the structures are similar.
Refunds in retail aren’t automatic like Tingo is offering. The burden of proof rests with the consumer. Scan an item in-store with an app that searches competitors, reveal your lower priced finding to customer service, and most big box retailers will honor the lower price. Imagine buying a new TV, and 90 days later you see $100 back on your credit card statement because the price dropped $100. Wouldn’t you be more likely to buy a TV at the retailer that offers this kind of service?
Placing enough pressure on retailers to embrace such a policy would be like moving an iceberg by hand. Our loudest voices and preferences don’t have the PSI for that kind of battle. For such a model to work, retailers would need to realize the benefit for themselves. After all, I once sat in a room with a revenue manager who said: “Why charge $250 for something they’re willing to pay $350 for.” Tingo is another player challenging that antiquated but profitable thought process. I don’t know that I’m a Tingo-supporter yet, but I’m enjoying the trend it’s yielding off of.
For a moment, we’ll imagine commerce, based not on what someone is willing to pay for a good, but a fair and economical valuation of the cost of goods, labor to create it and a reasonable profit? Dream of such a marketplace, then wake up, and realize the cost to you as a consumer is typically based on what you’re willing to pay for it. But wouldn’t that dream be a pleasant reality, if only for the momentary lifespan of a small travel brand.
Asked where she would like to be and what she would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Jenni replied that she would like to be nursing somewhere in the world with Medecins Sans Frontiers. I’m sure it will happen!