Archive for July, 2012

Practical tips for increased online value

Friday, July 6, 2012
posted by Laura

Summer season is here and everyone is looking for the best spots for vacationing: where to stay, what to do and visit. Be sure you provide the online value you customers are looking for by following the simple guidelines below.

Creating and delivering customer value is central to the hospitality industry. As guest experience extends beyond your hotel’s boundaries, you need to master all the interaction points, extending to all guests touch points: from searching for the ideal room and price to making a reservation to a variety of complementary services.

This is even more important as all recent statistics indicate that the use of technology, especially mobile is on the rise. Travelers use their smartphones to search for accommodation offers and some even book through their devices.

The first thing you need to keep in mind that customer engagement is key. Elaborating a comprehensive Internet strategy is only the first step in establishing an online presence. However, it is equally important that you provide an easy to use, valuable experience to your potential customers. Most customers are looking for interaction on their own terms – whenever they want it and where ever they need it – so make sure you offer valuable, meaningful, relevant and quickly accessible information. Make sure you include pricing, descriptions, location info, photos, deals and booking capabilities and your contact details option.

A helpful tip in creating additional value for your customers comes from how travelers make reservations: some of them use online travel agencies and others turn to search engines. There is a third, interesting trend emerging: searching for information about a hotel using search engines or an online travel agency and then switching to the hotel’s website to book the reservation. To make the most of this, you should work closely with the online travel agencies to offer packages and look for ways in which you can improve the experience or offer loyalty point to travelers who use your site for reservations.

Social media and travel review sites are also an important part in the online experience mix. It is not rare that when looking for arrangements, people turn to their friends’ recommendations on Facebook or follow a link from a tweet that was sent on holiday.

Additionally, you can employ technology to improve on customer value even when they are staying at your hotel. Capitalize on mobile technology and the mobile key option to offer guests promotions and other special offers in real time. As indicated here, a fair number of people staying in a hotel would actually want to receive special offers such as, for example: “Book a spa weekend and receive a 15% discount” or more general “Happy Hours” or “Special Wine tasting.”  This has additional advantages as you can cut the costs of print marketing materials and furthermore, eliminating waste and creating a green image for your hotel.

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Rural Universities to get WiFi boost

Monday, July 2, 2012
posted by Laura

Undoubtedly, technology has had a great impact on education and there are a lot of examples to prove this. What springs to mind first is online-earned degrees – by leveraging the power and the widespread availability of the Internet, renowned universities enable people in rather remote countries to earn knowledge and a degree without having to visit the physical university building. Earning a degree does not only mean knowing more on a given subject, but for quite a few people this represents the opportunity for a better job, possibly even a higher income and a better life.

However, being connected means more than access to information – for students it could also mean access to opportunities. As there are quite a lot of competitions organized on different subjects and for different purposes, the Internet enables them to further open their horizons and submit their ideas and employ their knowledge to provide their own personal take and their own answer to a given subject or challenge.

The internet has proved to be a very helpful tool in learning and education, especially to those with a constant independent desire to better themselves on a given subject. Given the high quantity of information available, virtually anyone can start reading and learning on a subject that highly interests them and go from knowing nothing to being in the know about that certain issue.

Moreover, a few world-renowned universities have taken a bold step and offer some of their courses online, free for anyone to access and review. Hence, information that would have been otherwise inaccessible to many is now quickly accessible, just a few clicks and searches away.

The above are just a few quick examples on how technology has shaped education and given these, we cannot be but glad to hear of initiatives such as this one. Through this project, initiated by a consortium of higher education associations, public interest groups and tech companies, universities in rural areas of North America can benefit from a better WiFi broadband service.

The partnership -  called AIR.U plans to tap into the underused television spectrum to deliver broadband to rural universities and surrounding communities. Pilot programs are planned for a couple of rural universities in the first quarter of 2013 and the coalition plans to roll out this type of WiFi in additional areas after the pilot projects.

This is really a great initiative as educational institutions do not always have the necessary resources to invest in the development of IT infrastructure or to upgrade to better Internet connections. The initiators of this project also believe that the pilots will “demonstrate a very cost effective way to upgrade university and community connectivity”. Moreover, the Wi-Fi help is also intended to lend a helping hand to economies in rural areas.

We cannot agree more with this closing statement:” In this global economy and this shrinking world, broadband is essential to economic development,…It’s essential to education, it’s essential to business, it’s essential to trade, all forms of commerce, whether local or global.”

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