Tag Archives: First Impressions

5 Minute Series: Flickr

Flickr for business is a great , especially if you have stock and products that translate visually. Menu items, ice-cream flavours, hotel rooms and happy customers are perfect images to post on Flickr.

flickr-logo1

Getting Started

One of the best ways to get started with Flickr is to create a Project 365 and join the associated group. Project 365 is basically a photo diary – you take one photo a day and post it on Flickr.

What you post is entirely up to you. But here are some suggestions.

  • If you are a deli – some tantalizing pictures of what’s in your display cabinet (dips, sausage, cheese)
  • If you are an hotel – pictures of your different rooms, close-ups of furniture items, the view from the room
  • If you are a restaurant – your new summer, winter, spring etc menu items, desserts, environment, best table

Now you can also join a Project 365 group on Flickr and share your images with everyone.

But what I really like about Flickr is geo-tagging.

Geo Tags

When you up load a photo, you have the option of not only adding a descriptive tag (I always recommend including your business name) but also a geo-tag. A geo-tag is a geographical identifying tag that plots the location of your photo. Geo-tagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information. More importantly, geo-tags help customers find you through the photos you take.

As Flickr describes it, “As you stick more and more photos and video on to the world, these Places will become richer and much more interesting. This spurs us on to keep making them better, and to show you fresher, nearly-live content from Zambia to Nova Scotia.” Click here to learn more about the process.

Imagine if someone saw your delectable new dessert on Flickr, wouldn’t they want to know where they can go to eat it? Even if they are not in the area right now, they may bookmark it for the future, and if one of their friends is wondering where to take a date for coffee & cake, they’d be able to recommend you via your photo! A new customer just from one photo. Can it really be that easy?

Here are my “pizza” search results for a Melbourne, Vic.

Four things to remember when posting an image on Flickr

  1. In the comments section, add a description that includes the name of your business and how to contact you
  2. Add word tags that describe your picture (including your business name)
  3. Geo-tag so that you are search-able via the place pages
  4. Encourage your customers to also take photos to post on Flickr and tag them (with your business name!)

Mostly, have fun. You can check out my coffee Project 365 here. I’d love you to post some comments, you never know when I might feature your coffee!

Cheers,

Tracy Tormai

5 Minute Series: Twitter (Don’t be a fail statistic)

It was recently reported that 60% of new Twitter users stop using within one month. It’s a pity, I find it lots of fun and educational. I can only think that they weren’t warmly welcomed into the Twitter fold because of one of 2 things.
1. They only followed the celebrities that the Twitter suggests when you first sign up, only to find that they are boring!
2. They haven’t filled out their profile details, so that other people don’t know who they are, and why they should follow them.

There are probably a number of other reasons, but recent experiences have me believing that these are high on the list.

Picture by Lauterhaus

Picture by Lauterhaus

1. Follow people who’s interests you share

I just caught up with a friend whom I recently coaxed on to Twitter. She told me how boring Twitter was. Shocked I asked who she was following. Like many a new user, her list consisted mostly of  celebrities. No wonder. When the likes of Ellen and Ashton Kutcher have 1 million+ followers, you can’t expect there to be much interaction with them. Even if you do catch their attention, it is unlikely they will follow back or reply (just check out their time-line). And you soon find out that they are just like us anyway.

Instead, follow people who are interested in the things you are interested in. Be it coffee addicts, hand crafters, alpaca farmers, wine lovers, hoteliers, artisans, travellers or raw vegans, you’ll have a more interesting and satisfying Twitter experience. I suggest you check out monitter to find people who are talking about what you are interested in. And there is an added bonus to following same interest people in your local area – it makes it possible to meet-up with them off-line.

2. Fill in your profile

It seems that the recent rush of Twitter popularity has newbies signing up but not filling in their details on their profile page. I must admit, this is my pet hate. I’ll admitI am not someone who will automatically follow back if you follow me. Instead I will check you out, see what your interests are, and also see what sort of things you tweet in your time-line. If all this is blank, I’m just not interested.

If you need to go back and fil in your information, simply click on your ‘Profile’ tab, and then ‘Settings’. It is a simple mini-bio. In keeping with the short message context of Twitter, you don’t have to do too much work, so make sure you utilise what you have.

Name: Even if you are Tweeting under your business name, it is still a good idea to put your real name here. There are 3 good reasons for this.

  1. It lets people know that they are following a real person
  2. If people know you, and not your business, they can still find & follow you
  3. Google will search by your real name and your Twitter username. So you maximise your SEO by using both!

And leave a space, not underscore, between your first and last name. 

Your Usernameis what will be displayed next to your tweets. Your business name can go here if you are tweeting for business. This helps build your brand on Twitter as people begin to associate your name with your message. And using your logo as your picture iconis also a good brand building exercise, as more people associate with your icon than your username.

More Info URLis where you can list your web or blog address, or any other online presence. On your profile page it does have limited visibility, so drop the www if you can and just use http:// but check the link to ensure it redirects to the right page.

Finally, the most important section is the One Line Bio. Here you have 160 characters to describe what you do and what you are interested in. It can be a simple explanation of why you are on Twitter, or just a list of tags like this – Hotelier, foodie, chef, traveller, coffee fan, foreign movie watcher, lover of the good life!

The last thing on this page is to ensure that the Protect my updates box is left unchecked. You want people to be able to follow you easily, and to see what you are all about.

A word of caution

In the beginning, if you want to be taken seriously, let your followers grow organically. There is nothing that screams “potential spammer” more than someone with no tweets who is following 2000+ people.

Cheers!

Tracy Tormai

Related Posts

5 Minute Series: Facebook Public Profiles

5 Minutes Series: LinkedIn

5 Minute Series: Flickr

Twitter + Hospitality = Customers!

It’s not (just) what you say…

He got up wearily from the table he was sitting at. He smiled and welcomed us, but I could tell he was just going through the motions. He lacked energy. It felt as if today it was an imposition to order our regular breakfast. If it wasn’t already a weekly ritual for us, I wonder if I would have even bothered ordering, or ever coming back.

 

Wow, I hadn’t even realised that I took all that in yesterday when I went to our favourite breakfast joint for a really yummy scrambled eggs (and GREAT coffee). It is amazing what we can pick up on the non-verbal plane. Every Monday I start the week with a lovely breakfast and a planning session at this cafe. I think that with the credit crunch, a lot of local places are beginning to feel the effect. And that’s what I feel is starting to show with this owner. His verve and energy is evaporating. And so is his welcome and warmth. The effect is that he is not inviting anymore and of course with that gone, so too go the customers.

 

You’ve probably heard that communication is made up of the words you use 7%, how you say something 38% and 55% comes from our body language. Depending on whether you are talking to your guest over the phone or face to face will determine the importance of the non-verbal. However, your physiology affects your psychology. This simply means that your posture affects your mood. Try slumping over your desk just now and put your head in your hands, and notice how this affects your thoughts and your mood. Things seem to slow down,… drag,… flatten,… depress… OK, enough of that! Sit up straight again, shoulders back, and smile 🙂 All this means that even over the phone, body language is still important even if it is not seen, it is still heard. Smiling makes you friendlier; standing makes you more commanding and authoritative, arms uncrossed make you more welcoming.

 

Here is a simple checklist to determine the importance of each aspect of these 3 categories. 

 

Words

The words we use are important. Used with volition you can create a sequence that leads your caller to do your bidding. On the phone, these words become more important. 

  • Open ended questions
  • Positive
  • Fully finished (i.e. not mumbled or slurred in to each other)
  • Correct not slang (yes not yeah)

How you say it

Just as we want to be aware of the words that we use so that they produce positive internal representations in our guests mind, it is important to be aware of how we say things, the variations of the tone and other aspects listed below.

  • Tone
  • Pitch
  • Timbre
  • Speed/Rhythm
  • Articulation
  • Resonance
  • Nasality
  • Accent
  • Intonation/Stress
  • Emotion

 

Body Language

Finally, the all important non-verbal aspect of our communication. 

  • Personal Appearance – clothing, hairstyle, tidiness
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Facial Expressions
  • Posture – direction of lean, body orientation, arm position, and body openness

 

Just remember to be congruent with our communication; physiologically, verbally and intent. Body language and how we sound needs to match what we say. That means that we cannot have low energy and lackluster posture when we are trying to get someone excited about the prospect of staying at the hotel or eating in the restaurant.

 

To attract customers, you need to be attractive.

Cheers,
Tracy 
 

Why blog about Selling Hotel Rooms?

Selling Hotel Rooms (SHR) is different from selling a tangible product in a shop. It is also different from selling a product or service where there is a long courtship between the sales manager and the client. In SHR, you are often selling a one off experience with no “tangible aspects” to take home (unless the guests have light fingers!). What they take home instead is either good or bad memories.

So, SHR is a specialised skill. In the space of a short phone call, you have to turn what the caller thinks is “just an enquiry” into a booking, and generally in less than 3 minutes.

This specialised skill requires rapid rapport building; a skill that will enable you to keep the caller on the call long enough to promote the benefits of staying at your hotel.

This specialised skill means that you need to discover what the caller needs to know, rather than what they think they need to know.

And this specialised skill means that first impressions count! The way in which you answer each phone call, your team’s professionalism during that first call, sets the tone for the guest’s stay with you. During this first call you are creating expectations as to what their stay will be like.

So as a 20-year-plus vetran of the hospitality industry, and someone who has been helping people buy what they want (and need) since the age of 15, I’m blogging about Selling Hotel Rooms because I love helping people have a great experience – and if I help you on the frontline, help guests have a great experience, then I know that more and more people are having fun and exciting holidays, comfortable and friendly away-from-home encounters, professional and enjoyable business trips, and inevitably happy memories to take home and share with others.

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