Remind Yourself of Who You Want to Be

486941_10151156162547721_509465248_nI’m going to make this post brief as I am about to head to the gym for the – gulp – second day in a row after a significant period of inactivity. While it’s not worth it to go into the details as to why I wasn’t able to commit to gym time over the last string of weeks, I will say that deciding to go for a second straight day is indicative of the small steps forward I have taken on the road back to recovery. Each day has brought its own set of challenges – many of which I may have brought on myself – but starting to take care of myself and setting some small goals for the hours that pass by are helping me, moments at a time, gain some much needed perspective on how fortunate I am to have all that I have in my life right now – the supportive family members, friends and part-time co-workers.

The gym also sounds like a great idea at this very moment as I have just signed up less than five minutes ago for my very first marathon – the WIPRO San Francisco marathon in fact – that will take place June 16 next year. While that sounds like ages away, it is certainly an event I am not going to take lightly and represents a much needed, concrete goal to start working towards in the days and weeks ahead of me. Although it has taken me nearly a month to follow-up on my previous blog post, I plan on sharing a lot more in the coming days and weeks as I continue to take strides forward, reminding myself of who I am and who I want to be.

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Time to Change the Narrative

There has been a sticky phrase circulating around in my headspace for several days now: “time to change the narrative ” is what reoccurs to me, almost as if its a mantra or meditative chant that resurfaces every now and again. It’s an obvious statement that seems, on the surface at least, to reflect an immediate self-help, call-to-action. The phrase I imagine is most often used in a personal context, whether it references more literally altering the direction of a storyline or, more cerebrally, changing how one interprets a certain situation or circumstance. In my situation, I’m using the phrase interchangeably, as I want both to happen.

Today marks the first time in quite a long while that I have felt ready to share on the blog some of what has been going on in my life. It has now been almost a month since I left San Francisco and moved back home in Dedham temporarily with my family to figure out what my next steps are. These next steps specifically relate to managing a nagging, recurring health condition that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. The precise details of my current situation I would rather not discuss at length, as they are personal in nature and relate to a still unclear health diagnosis that has frustratingly required me to slow down a bit professionally for the time being. Nevertheless, the short version of my story is that I’m in a place in my life right now where I need to start taking some positive proactive measures to improve my current state of physical, mental and emotional health. It is for sure an easier said than done process that is not circuitously accomplished overnight, but I am confident that I will be able to overcome this temporary lapse – with the support of my family, friends and professional network that I so tremendously value and cherish. 

As part of my rehabilitation path to recovery, in addition to freelancing and seeking out some side projects, I will be re-committing myself to publishing on the blog as often as I humanly can – as a way to re-engage my passions for travel, social media, digital marketing and music. Moreover, after several weeks of isolation, I look forward to reconnecting with many of those in my personal and professional networks once again up and down the East Coast. A singular, isolated blog post does not immediately improve my current health condition, nor does it ease the uphill challenges that I face ahead, but it’s a starting point in time. A time to change the narrative.

Trip Advisor’s “Show Prices” Advertising Now Available for All Hotels

 

Image courtesy of Tnooz.com

For years, hospitality revenue managers have been clamoring to reclaim the direct hotel booking from the online travel agency (OTA). As Revinate recently addressed in the How to Drive Direct Bookings webinar, the cost of direct bookings ($2 to $6) vs. OTA bookings ($40 to $120) can have a major impact on hotel profitability. With high commissions to pay and a diminished ability to build brand loyalty with the customer, hoteliers have come to a universal understanding that, in an ideal scenario, a customer booking direct is preferable.

Given this industry norm, TripAdvisor has just opened up, for the first time, the ability for any hotel property to participate in its “Show Prices” cost-per-click (CPC) advertising program. Until this point, this powerful hotel rate tool – which Hospitality eBusiness Solutions (HeBS) reports generated over one billion clicks last year alone –  was only available for OTAs and large hotel chains that could support the significant required advertising spend. Now, any hotel property – whether you are brand affiliated or independent – can participate at a far less cost-prohibitive starting point of $500/month.

What kind of impact can this kind of advertising model make? According to HebS’s recent case study, independent hotels, casinos and resorts that took advantage of TripAdvisor’s CPC program averaged between 1000% – 1500% return on average spend. By participating in the program, each property was able to directly send traffic to its respective booking engine and website, thereby leveling the OTA playing field and offering site visitors a direct booking option. The program championed by HeBS includes a mix of “Show Prices” CPC, property CPC (which appear on the right-hand column of the property page), and amenities and images (AIM) CPC functionality.

In close, this exciting new functionality, coupled with TripAdvisor’s massive user base of 54 million monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews, represents a significant marketing opportunity, catering to a travel-searching audience with purchase intent on the mind. As you prepare your 2013 hotel marketing budgets, mark this opportunity for worthwhile consideration.

To Post or Not to Post

The following excerpt I found extremely interesting from OnlineClasses.org. I find it both amusing and on-point when it comes to individuals managing their online personal brand in a smart and tactful way. 

There are 950 million social media users plugged into Facebook alone, and nearly 500 million of them log into the social network every single day. In fact, in just one day on Facebook, 250 million photos are uploaded, and 532 million statuses are updated. And that doesn’t even count the millions of tweets sent, tumblrs updated, and instagrams snapped. With so much personal content constantly being uploaded to the web, it’s no small wonder that so many recruiters and would-be employers are turning to various social networking platforms to determine the personalities of prospective hires. If you’re working toward your online degree, chances are you hope to one day apply for, interview at, and ultimately secure a great job. The first step to preparing for that future job, however, is to stay forward-thinking in the types of things you post, tweet, and otherwise put up online. In the information age, when everything about a person is available for scrutiny, the fact of the matter is that one incriminating photo or post can make or break the way people perceive you in the future. And even if your social media habits don’t have an immediate impact on your employment dreams, the laws of social media etiquette dictate that sometimes, people need to think before they overshare. The following infographic provides a handy flowchart to determine the ever-increasingly important question: To post, or not to post?

25 Songs Spinning on My iPod

After several months away from my Songs Spinning series, I’m back to share the latest batch of radio-ready songs that are seeing the most plays on my iPod over the last few weeks. From country to mainstream Top 40, feel free to enjoy the entire playlist via YouTube or enjoy the individual songs via Dropbox. As always, comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Brandy – Wildest Dream

Riding high after the success of her Top 5 R&B hit lead single “Put It Down” the industry veteran puts forth this laid-back follow-up reminiscent of her mid-90s heyday.

Carly Rae Jepsen – This Kiss

With Owl City duet single “Good Times” solidifying its Top 10 positioning, Jepsen looks to build on her “Call Me Maybe” solo success with this indelible sweet-as-sugar follow-up produced by LMFAO’s RedFoo.

Cher Lloyd featuring Becky G – Oath

One of three new tracks off her re-packaged debut record stateside, Lloyd maintains her positioning as a Ke$ha meets Jessie J artist on this pleasantly catchy Dr. Luke-produced single.

Christina Aguilera – Your Body

The lead offering from her fifth full-length release “Lotus”, Aguilera collaborates for the first time with industry mogul Max Martin on this provocative single that is tailor made for radio resurgence. Continue reading

What’s #Trending on The @Revinate Blog

Hey Guys!  So I’ve been fairly inactive with the blog lately due to still settling into my new San Francisco lifestyle and what have you, but I wanted to at least share with you some links to a few work-related pieces that I’ve published thus far in my new role as Marketing Manager at Revinate. The Revinate Blog has become “my baby” as of late and I will be contributing many more posts in the near future. Anyways, hope you enjoy and please do subscribe to our blog if you find what you’re reading at least somewhat interesting:

  1. Klout’s Update Aims to Account for Real-World Influence
  2. All-Star Example of Real-Time Response
  3. School’s Back in Session: Bring Revinate into the Classroom
  4. How To: Instagram Tips for Hotels and Restaurants
  5. How To: Twitter Tips for Hotels and Restaurants
  6. #WebWednesday Must-Reads
  7. Webinar Recap – Google Plus Tips for Hotels and Restaurants

If you are especially enthused by this content, be sure to follow Revinate on Facebook and Twitter (as I manage both of those profiles diligently as well)

Technology’s Massive Impact on Travelers (Notes)

Last week, the folks at Sabre Travel Network hosted, in conjunction with Tnooz, a webinar on Technology’s Massive Impact on Travelers. A thoroughly compelling session full of current industry trends and future predictions, you can enjoy the entire webinar and accompanying slides here. In case you didn’t have enough time to digest the entire presentation, however, I’ve pulled together some key takeaways and facts from the session below, which underscored this fundamental fact: more information can enable better decisions by travelers just as too much can overwhelm when making those decisions. Continue reading