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Posts Tagged ‘Speak’

International Direct E-Marketing for Hotels – Speak Your Customers’ Language

By definition, when a hotelier (let’s say his name is Mr. Smith) opens his doors to sell rooms, the potential market for his hotel is the entire population of travellers who are visiting his area/destination. Depending on where that destination is, the mix of languages spoken by these inbound travellers could be extremely limited (think Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, USA where only a handful of local carriers operate), or very, very abundant (think Heathrow Airport in London where some 170 carriers operate – the vast majority flying internationally).

Thinking along these lines, and on the back of a commercial need for us to identify potential clients for one of our products, we looked at the hotels in the Greater London area, as well as those properties located quite centrally to the city (for those of you familiar with the city, within the North/South Circular, and then within the Congestion Zone).

[For those of you that aren’t very familiar with London, it would be relevant to mention that from a cultural and linguistic point, it is a very vibrant intersection of cultures and languages. Just like NYC, London boasts extremely diverse international communities, and it is a magnet for virtually all types of tourists and visitors (barring perhaps sensible sun-seekers). ]

Our little experiment was to look at a large section of the independent hotel market, and identify how well these hotels appear to be “going after” the international visitors. The intention was for us to find out how many hotels rank well for a variety of languages, and from within a variety of countries, for general searches (what we called “Wide” searches e.g. ‘hotel in London’) somewhat specific searches (“Near’ searches such as: ’boutique hotel near Bina Gardens in London’) and completely specific searches (we call them “Named Searches” e.g. ‘The Cranley Hotel in London’).

We were expecting interesting data to come out of this. What we didn’t expect to find was that the vast majority of independent London city centre hotels, weren’t featuring at all in international searches!

Quickly, our initial intention to qualify the existing international hotel strategies (by assigning values to it and then comparing it with same-language performance) became an obvious no starter. It appears that whilst London hotels can be extremely adept (even cunning) in getting the search engine SEO and PPC presence they need in English searches, the ball is more frequently than not, completely dropped in the international markets.

The reasons for all this are obvious. Yet, in the name of mistrust (over the years in the hotel industry I have learned the hard way to ignore what is “obvious”, and always ask the question) we run our findings by a few hoteliers. The main reasons for not having an international website were:

Costs of translating the websites in more than one language
Costs of optimising the websites in multiple languages
Lack of know-how
Belief that Google Translations gets the job done anyway
Knew about it and hadn’t done the translations quite yet
Agencies bring the business from abroad so the hotel doesn’t have to try more (if you are a hotelier, I hope you are cringing as you are reading this)

For those reasons, and maybe more that we didn’t manage to uncover, hotels don’t seem to “chase” the international, foreign-language business on-line. At the same time, the same hotels, are all fighting tooth and nail to get the attention of the English-speaking travelers.

For markets such as London (and assuming this is repeated in cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Paris, Munich etc.) this imbalance is presenting us with an interesting dynamic of supply and demand.

[I fondly recall here a formidable grandmother who used to advise me: ‘When you hear about fruit-laden cherry trees my boy, always carry a small basket with you.’ It seems to me that the reverse can be truth as well.]

On the one hand we have some finite and proportionately small – and (in most western countries) fairly accurately measured – demand for local accommodation from international markets. On the other hand, we have a proportionally even lower number of hotels that appear to be interested in that international business.

It would be somewhat impolite for me to point to any specific properties here. But, to get an idea of the point that I am trying to make without naming any names, think of the 5 independent quality hotels in London that spring to your mind. Find them in Google and see if you can find any languages there… Now, I know they have their reasons for this – maybe they really don’t need any more business directly to their website – at least not at an additional cost. Whatever the case might be, if you want to stay in one of those hotels, and you happen to come from Japan, you pretty much have to find and book this hotel via an agency. As a consumer you might not mind at all; but with commissions from agencies being astronomical, as a hotelier, you absolutely should mind a lot!

Now, it is personally important to me to mention here that the more I study, the more suspicious I grow of statistics and “evidence”. However, I have to agree that the figures available to us suggest a staggering opportunity for independent hoteliers, in the international/multilingual markets as a whole. In the case of certain cities with strong international demand, only those hotels that can speak the customer’s language (literally) have the chance to attract international traffic directly to their own website. The rest, don’t.

Figures

Figures for international inbound travel to the UK are readily available for anyone with an interest in accessing them. One of my favourite sources is Visit Britain who frequently update their figures and implicitly remind us of the magnitude of the opportunity in the international traveller. A good summary of the latest update on international tourism facts can be found straight on their website, and we frequently use their data on our studies.

Some of the quoted figures are truly staggering. Almost 30 million visitors in 2010 have generated almost 16.9 billion pounds in revenue to the country, and certain key performance indicators have pretty much stayed the same over the last four years – despite the rare turmoil in the international and domestic markets since 2008. More than half of those visitors (52 per cent) were visiting London!

The Language Mosaic

There is no escaping that we live in a multicultural, multilingual world. The consequential complexities and inconsistent (and even incompatible) patterns of consumer behaviour between the various international markets make marketing to such an international audience a seriously complex affair. The very simple fact that a hotel is ideally trying to sell the same room to anyone in the world who potentially wants to come to the area, makes it all more tricky to set up on-line and sell, than they would ideally like it to be.

However, and as it often happens with similar populations, there are some demand patterns that can make our lives a little easier…

The – almost – 80/20 rule

It turns out that almost 70% of all international visits in 2010 happened from the top 10 source countries (only 10 per cent of the countries that have direct flights to Britain).

We also know that not all visitors behave the same way. The reasons behind travelling (e.g. Visiting Friends and Relatives vs. Business Travel), the age of the visitor, as well as the source country itself can make a great difference in the suitability of a traveller for any particular hotel.

Furthermore, from a linguistic point of view, [and despite that with the exception of two English-speaking countries (USA and Australia) all other top 10 source countries (by volume) are within Europe] the complexity that we are faced with isn’t too scary…

The Big Four

Looking at the table above, and making the assumption that all the Dutch visitors speak English (I have yet to come across a Dutch person that doesn’t speak English better than I do) leaves us with four major foreign language “powered” contributors to inbound international travel in the UK. France, Germany, Spain and Italy. These four countries alone represent exactly one third of all the international visitors that came to the UK in 2010!

Lost in Translation?

According to eye4travel (2008) some 70 per cent of all internet users don’t speak English at all, or are uncomfortable using it for transactions… this is obviously a figure that refers to everyone with a computer and an internet connection, and we would be dishonest f we didn’t assume that international travellers are more likely to speak English than the average user. Yet, the significance of language barriers is pretty evident from that figure – 70 per cent is a high number in any language (pardon the pun), and so is 60 or even 50 per cent.

In any case, I believe that there are only two significant questions to be asked by any hotelier trying to increase his direct traffic.

1. “Do I think that international travellers understand my site when they visit it?”

Before anyone raises their hand to talk about Google Translations and risk giving me an aneurysm (however brilliant and useful their translations tools are) I would like to ask you the even more pertinent and logically preceding question:

2. “Do you think that travellers from abroad are actually able to find you online, in order to have the opportunity to try and understand what you are selling to them?”

Even if it were only a minority of international inbound travellers that didn’t speak English, them being unable to find a hotelier’s website in the first place is – I am sure you would agree – a major issue!

If you are a hotelier and you’re are reading this, the chances are that you are already doing some SEO and PPC for your website. Also, the chances are that you are NOT doing SEO or PPC for your German, French, Japanese etc. potential customers. Hilton is, Marriot is, and crucially, Expedia, LastMinute and Bookings do (have a look at the Google screen captures below).

Some findings

When we were thinking of offering a language specific multilingual presence product and run our little experiments, we run multiple searches from several countries for multiple types of hotels, using a variety of languages and IP locations (in other words we were pretending we were searching for UK hotels from abroad).

The results were really fascinating. From certain countries (most clear and obvious in Holland than anywhere else) the evident problem of being found appeared to be at its lowest point. In Dutch searches, hotels without international languages on their official websites produced mixed results (far from good presence, but much better than we expected).

It seems that the Dutch’s ability to speak perfect English has permeated Google’s algorightms. A lot of hotels – especially in “Narrow” searches, did come up in the first pages, no problem.

On the other extreme, in countries where English is not a prominent language or the language has a different alphabet (Japanese, Arabic, etc.) no searches gave us any independent hotel results at all. Even when we were looking for hotels by their exact name and location, only agencies came back with results. Fascinatingly, Bookings.com – presumably through their very popular xml feed based service – seemed to power the staggering majority of results in the more obscure source markets.

The inability of hotelier to market to the many – and obscure – international languages is arguably – and at least in part – justified. As those that do engage in the “get the international traveller” game would testify, the law of diminishing returns applies with unforgiving realism. After the first few “top-tier” languages have been put together and offered to consumers, adding more languages is not necessarily a financially good idea. Going after certain countries that represent only a very small proportion of the overall inbound UK market is simply too expensive for the returns this market will generate, and therefore a justifiable commercial decision to leave them out.

It is most likely for that reason that you don’t get to see Expedia, Hotels.com, LastMinute etc. featuring in the Greek search results of Google above…

So what is one to do?

Some markets are – I would argue – no-brainers! With a third of all international travel to London coming from France, Germany, Spain and Italy, and (statistically speaking) with only a fraction of the hotels in a hotel’s competitive set offering rooms to these countries through their own websites, there is a huge internationalisation opportunity that should generate some real results.

Thank you for reading – as always we are completely open, interested and grateful for any feedback you may have.

Yannis Anastasakis

Director of Electronic Hotelworks

Electronic Hotelworks (www.ehotelworks.com) are a specialist consultancy, promoting hotels to international markets online. BABEL Multilingual (www.babelmultilingual.com) is a website internationalisation product with a twist.

Yannis Anastasakis is CEO of eHotelworks and co-founder of Polyglot Dynamics. He has worked in the hotel industry as an e-commerce specialist for over 10 years and is currently teaching with the Marketer’s Forum the Project Management in Marketing unit, for CIM Diploma candidates.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yannis_Anastasakis

‘I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.’ SPECIAL COMMENT By Keith Olbermann Anchor, ‘Countdown’ MSNBC Updated: 5:13 pm PT July 3, 2007 “I didn’t vote for him,” an American once said, “But he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.” That—on this eve of the 4th of July—is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby. The man who said those 17 words—improbably enough—was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hair’s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960. “I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.” The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier, but there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne’s voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others. We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president’s partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world—but merely that we may function. But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne, is an implicit trust—a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not
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The Drought is a finalist in Youtube’s Your Film Festival! www.youtube.com An elderly Brooklyn native struggles with his daily routine as an umbrella street salesman during a summer drought. – “Lyndeck’s performance as Jonas is top-notch. He’s captivating when he speaks and even more so when he doesn’t” – FilmThreat.com – “Beautifully shot, it’s a moving piece that tugs at the heartstrings” – Blueprintreview.co.uk – “Kevin Slack’s short film is a celebration of faith and tenderness that also happens to be gorgeously shot. It’s a short movie that quietly rises above a noisy fray – FilmSchoolRejects.com – “It is beautifully shot, gorgeously moody, and has a perfectly understated and moving musical score” – Reviewbrain – “Cinematographer John Paul Clark works closely with director Kevin Slack to create an absolutely beautiful film, shot with a warmth that conveys the dry, summer heat, but still feel comfortable and inviting” – wearemoviegeeks.com Director/Writer: Kevin Slack Producers: Nicole Scarano, Kevin Slack & Allison Vanore Editor: Chip Whitley Director of Photography: John Paul Clark Production Designer: Jennifer Sacks Music Composer: Rob Gokee Sound Designer: Max Greene Colorist: Katie Hinsen & John Paul Clark Production Sound: Cory Allen & Michael Palmer Assistant Director: Kim Schlechta Gaffer: Ari Schaeffer Additional Editor: Jesse Averna Cast: Jonas: Edmund Lyndeck Janet: Kathleen Hope Reilly Marco: Ivan Goris thedroughtfilm.blogspot.com Director Website: kevin
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Me… Learn To Speak Spanish?

Article by Myla Madson

At the risk of making a politically insensitive statement, I offer my deepest apologies for the following article if I offend anyone in anyway.

Our country has long been a melting pot of ethnic diversity and amazing tolerance for cultural differences. Lately, however, our national ethnic stew has taken on the un-mistaken flavor of our neighbors to the south and I’ve developed a terrible case of indigestion. Mexican food just doesn’t sit well with me.

As a mother, I’ve noticed this influence of Spanish culture into my own home life, most noticeably in the programming my 4 year old watches. Dora the Explorer, Diego and Handy Manny are just a few of the shows peppered with Spanish seasoning, and I must say, I’m not sure if I’m for this or against it.

I’ve always been proud of my national heritage, the place where I was born, but lately, my patriotism has suffered a bit. Political correctness and tolerance have gone completely overboard and we are rapidly losing any sense of U.S. culture that may have actually once existed.

Regardless of what side of the fence you may be on this issue, pardon the pun, we all must admit that this trend seems to be here to stay.

With that in mind, I decided to learn Spanish. My kids are already doing it, and I don’t want to fall to far behind them like I did with the pesky computer and all that went along with that societal shock wave.

So I went online, of course, and did some research. There are really some great programs out there that can get the old synapses firing in the right direction to begin learning again. It’s amazing how early on in life we stop adding to our vocabulary and how that portion of the brain kind of just seems to shrivel up and die.

I put a link in my author’s bio for the program I actually ended up using. As this article is not intended to sell you on any particular course, I won’t focus on that aspect of my bilingual journey. What I will focus on is the absolute amazement I have that any of us can actually learn to talk at all. How in the world did early human beings, who were arguably much dumber than we current human beings, even develop ways of communicating effectively with one another?

And the English language with all it’s multiple word meanings and rules, has to be strong evidence that alien beings must have visited with us in the past and played some cosmic practical joke on us Americans! I feel sorry for those who are attempting to learn English as their second language because it really makes absolutely no sense at all! Back to the point though.

I feel that eventually to function in our ever changing society, everyone will need to know both English and Spanish. I will always firmly believe however, that English should remain the national language if for no other reason than to protect the last shred of our cultural identity we have left.

I don’t believe that to be a politically insensitive statement, but I could be wrong. I certainly never thought I would see the destruction of the religion this country was founded upon, so who knows, I guess I better not take the chance. The Spanish population will eventually be the majority and I have no doubt that they will stick together and protect their national heritage unlike we have, so we better get used to it now if we want to survive.

Our children will absolutely have to know Spanish, so I guess it’s okay to encourage them to do so. I’m not sure how we Americans are still getting away with English class being a required course in our public schools while Spanish, German, Italian and so forth are still considered electives. It’s just a matter of time before we get around to it I suppose, our law makers are still busy with killing Christmas you know.

I do understand the idea of people coming to our country and still wishing to hold onto their own culture. What I don’t understand is why I must give up mine to accommodate them.

When in Rome, I suppose…

For more on learning to speak Spanish visit www.abrandnewyou.org

About the Author

Myla Madson is Chief Editor of the popular women’s web site http://www.abrandnewyou.org and http://www.WealthQuest.org. She is an expert on numerous women’s issues and internet marketing. For more on learning to speak Spanish, please visit http://indigo911.rspanish.hop.clickbank.net/

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Speak French Phrases For You To Learn

Here are small collection of words and phrases that will help you to learn and speak French words. Once you have committed these simple phrases to memory you’ll be able to have you very first French conversation!

These are the first French words you will need to learn. They are very basic and easy to remember.

Yes = Oui

No = Non

Please = S’il vous plaît

Thank you = Merci

You’re welcome = De rien

Excuse Me = Excusez-moi

Sorry = Desolé/Pardon

I don’t understand = Je ne comprends pas

Here are some basic questions that will help you whilst you are out and about vacationing in France.

Do you speak English? = Parlez-vous anglais?

Aidez moi, s’il vous plaît = Can you help me please?

Combien ca coûte? = How much is it?

Hello = Salut

Glad To Meet You = Enchanté

Good Morning/Good day = Bon jour

Good Evening = Bon soir

Goodbye = Au revoir

My name is = Je m’appelle

Here are couple of ideas to help you  learn to Speak French and improve your vocabulary.

1 – Make your very own vocabulary book. Every time you learn new word, simply add it to your book. Be sure to keep it with, and you will have your very own tailor made phrase book.

2 – Have a word or phrase of the day.  Use this phrase where ever you can , it is so much fun and a really enjoyable way to learn, you will also remember this phrase easier because you will relate to it and recall the situation that you used it in

Have fun and enjoy learning to Speak French

Find out more about me here

Speak French

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c’est.joliment..bien.triste.tout.ca.!!!!
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