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Showing posts from November, 2010

Food Technology

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I hope everyone enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving holiday with good food. A holiday without good food isn’t a holiday, is it? This ABC News video shows us some interesting gadgets that help famous chefs make gourmet food. Without going further, here are the keywords one may expect from this video:

Temperature Control
Magic, Science
Pure, Clean, Simple, Fun, Delicious
Experiment
Intuitive
Healthy, Low Cholesterol Recipes
Transforming
Google Search (“Recipes” vs. “Restaurant” in keyword search)

In your opinions, how important is technology in today’s restaurant business? Will technology bring more or less fun to the art of cooking? How so?

What's Next for Twitter?

People send 95 million tweets on Twitter every day. This CBS News video reports that Twitter is going to partner with several news networks and build a "Twitter News Network,” which will probably take Twitter to another level --- an “information center” of every updates one wants to know.

I have signed up for a Twitter account (@LinchiKwok) for almost a year. I also talked about the influence of Twitter on my blog many times (e.g. The Power of Twitter Complaints; Twitter: An Effective Way to Communicate between Restaurants and Customers; my personal experience with Twitter!Places). However, I have to admit that I have not discovered the full potential of Twitter.

Up until last week when a student in my class (@acgott) showed me his enthusiasm about Twitter and how he used Twitter to engage with others, my interest of conducting a research study on Twitter was greatly increased. What is your personal experience with Twitter? How does Twitter help you achieve your business and/or…

Landing the Next Job while Playing Games Online

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People often feel nervous and stressful about job search because it takes a long time and plenty of energy. Would it sound better if people can land their next jobs by playing video games online?

This ABCNews video introduced a new way of job search for technology professionals --- playing games at http://www.gild.com/. The idea behind GILD is to offer members opportunities to participate in a variety of competitions (games). By winning competitions, members can (a) win prizes, (b) show off their skills, (c) gain confidence, and (d) make themselves known within the network. GILD works for both active and passive job seekers. In the future, it is possible that this job-search tactic can apply to other professions, such as finance, accounting, and other functional areas. Harrah's, now Caesars Entertainment, is an employer who uses GILD. Other hospitality companies might follow.

Besides networking, using social media for job search is also about showing off a person’s authentic pro…

Checking-In In Places: Another Method of Building Customer Loyalty

Mobile apps, like Foursqures, Facebook Places, and Twitter Places, allow people to check-in in places they visit and share their locations with their friends. On Foursquare, members can earn “points” by checking-in places. The more places a member checks-in, the more points s/he earns. Members can compete on the weekly “leaderboard” and see which friend earned the most points for the week. It seems like a real fun game, but what does this mean to business?

On Foursquare, after members check-in in a business, they will receive exclusive member discounts offered by the venue. If a member checks-in in a place more than anybody else, s/he becomes the “mayor” of the place and can enjoy even more specials that are only available for mayors. Foursquare help business capture those potential frequent customers. Now, Foursquare has 4.5 million users, and the number is still growing. Moreover, members can check-in in the space (as stated in the embedded CNN News video, an interview of Foursquar…

Will a Company’s Technology and Social Media Strategies Influence Your Purchasing Decisions?

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I, as a customer, just had a bad experience with Delta Airlines. Yet, I talked about Delta several times in this blog because Delta is leading the industry in implementing social media and new technologies in operations. For example, travelers are able to buy flight tickets on Delta’s Facebook page. Delta also uses Twitter to respond and solve travelers’ complaints. More recently, the airline installed 200 iPads at JFK, allowing travelers to order food or drink, or just “entertain themselves” with this gadget. After an order is placed, a server will deliver the food to travelers who are waiting at the gates.
Now that you have heard all these updates of Delta Airlines, do you want to try these new services? Are you more willing to fly Delta? What is Delta’s return on investment? Furthermore, I wonder if consumers will change their impressions to a company, such as Delta Airlines, or even their purchasing decisions because of a company’s technology and social media strategies.
Referen…

How Do You Keep Your “A” Players in Your Team? What Motivates You at Work?

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As holidays are around the corner, it is about time to reward our “A” players and recognize their contributions. The question is what are we going to reward our “A” players or “A” team under a recession? What if the financial strains do not allow us to raise the pay scale? This ABC News video offers some good suggestions to deal with such dilemma.

1. Be open, honest, and transparent with the employees. Be frank with them about the company’s financial status. Associations are smart. They know what is going on with the company. Let everybody focus on the long-term profit-sharing plan instead of pay raise for the next year.

2. Don’t skimp on recognitions. Recognitions do not have to be big, but they need to be done throughout the year in various ways.

3. Reward your “A” players publicly. By doing so, we not only let our “A” players feel good but also enforce the desired behaviors among employees.

4. Design creative and fun recognition programs. A free car wash, a spa treatment, and p…

Commenting on Facebook Is Different from Talking Out Loud?

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I am going to share another recent ABC News video as a follow-up post of last week’s discussion --- “Is it legal to fire your employee(s) who bad-mouths you or your company on Facebook?” These days, I won’t feel surprised anymore when I hear that somebody gets fired because of his/her inappropriate comments on Facebook and/or other social networking sites. Well, this is a different story.

This lady used words such as “freeeeeeks,” “uneducated,” “white trash,” and “no ppl skills” to describe her co-workers and supervisors on Facebook. She got fired afterwards. What surprised me the most is that she actually believes posting comments on Facebook is different from talking loud in office. According to this video, she did not put her company name on her profile. Neither did she use her supervisors’ or co-workers’ names. How could her “private speech” within her social networks cause her a job?

I look at Internet quite differently. Posting something on the Internet, no matter if it is pri…

The World’s Tallest Building Opens in Dubai

We introduced another designer boutique life-style hotel brand in April, Armani Hotel Dubai. It is located in the world’s tallest building (2700 feet; almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building). Today’s MSNBC News video takes us to tour the building.

Boutique life-style concept has been a big trend for the lodging industry. We also discussed several times about this trend in this blog. For examples:
Boutique Hotels = Unique Experience + Standardized High-Quality Service?
Development of a Universal Standard for Boutique and Lifestyle Hotels
Under the Boutique Hotel Concept, Independent Hotels May Now Join a Franchiser's Family

What changes do you expect to see in this boutique hotel concept? Where do you think the market will lead us?

International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show 2010 (New York, NY)

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I went down to the City last weekend for the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS). It was a short but very productive trip. I did some sightseeing, observed the most updated trends from venders, and attended two seminars about social media. I gained quite a few interesting insights from both my personal experience and the panel discussions.
For example, I just talked about how hotels and restaurants may need to create a full time position of monitoring online comments and reviews a few days ago. On Saturday, I gained the first hand experience myself as a customer. I was sitting in the Living Room (a lobby bar) at The Standard Hotel and “check-in” at my location via Twitter (@LinchiKwok) and Facebook. I tweeted: “Enjoying tea time in a lovely afternoon (@ The Standard Hotel).” A couple minutes later, The Standard Hotel re-tweeted my statement @NY_Places. This is a perfect example of how a hotel may monitor customers’ tweets. To think deeper, I believe the hotel may fur…

Tips on Starting a Mobile Food Business

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Mobile food business certainly has many advantages for entrepreneurs. As compared to those traditional restaurants, mobile food business has lower start-up costs. In addition, locations and operations hours can be more flexible.

This ABC News video further offers some suggestions for mobile food entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to consider the following questions:
1. What type of mobile food business do you want to start? (i.e. franchised vs. independent, food type, scale of the business).
2. Do you want to become a restricted or unrestricted food vender? Restricted food vender only sells pre-prepared food from other approved venders.
3. How much do you know the market? Market research will help.
4. How do you get the permits for your operations? You need to check with the state government agencies. Sometimes, you may find yourself in a waiting list for the permit. However, offering healthy alternative food may help you get your application ahead of the line.
5. What are your start…

Is It Legal to Fire Your Employee(s) Who Bad-Mouths You or Your Company on Facebook?

This CNN News video presents a recent case and brings up a hot topic of whether it is legal to fire an employee who complains about his/her supervisor or company on social networking sites. The debate was triggered when an ambulance worker in Connecticut got fired after she criticized her supervisor on Facebook and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) jumped in, stating that such firing is illegal. The company fired this worker because of her “disloyal conducts” and violation of the company’s social media policy. The NLRB, on the contrary, believes her activities are protected.

I believe every organization needs to have a social media policy in place by now. However, no matter if a work place has a social media policy or not, I do not think employees should post anything negative about their bosses, co-workers, or the company they work for on the Internet. I often hear people saying they keep their “personal lives” on social networking sites separated from their “professional li…

Personal Brand and Social Media

What a person puts on his/her social media websites reflects this person’s personal brand. This Wall Street Journal Online video features an interview with a consultant who recently gave a talk on social media. Here are three key points being discussed:

1. Any online platform that allows two-way or multiple-way interactions can be described as social media.
Think deeper:Still feeling reluctant to adopt a social media strategy? Please think again.”

2. Social media can increase the awareness of a person’s personal brand because quite often, people’s social media profiles appear on the top of Google!Search results.
Think deeper:Social-media job search tips” and “tips on online job search: An ABC News video” (tips on building an authentic personal brand).

3. A big mistake for many social media users is that they fail to put a professional profile picture on the Internet.

How do you define your personal brand in social media? Any suggestions?

A New Full Time Position: Someone Monitoring Online Reviews and Comments

If you run a hotel, a restaurant, or just a business but have not yet had anyone to monitor online reviews and comments for you, you may want to find a dedicated person to do so now. According to this Fox News video, TripAdvisor, a travel website, has 37 million visitors per month and 35 million reviews of different properties. Back in June 2010, TripAdvisor had already partnered with Facebook, allowing people to share their comments and reviews on TripAdvsisor.com within their social networks in a faster and easier manner. Hotels in Las Vegas have already employed full time staff to monitor their online reviews and comments. Dedicated staff uses computer programs to screen reviews and responds to the reliable comments. Are you following this trend and ready to hire dedicated personnel in this regard? If you are a job seeker, will a position like that attract your attention? How so?

To think deeper? You may visit the following posts: (1) Who shall we trust in terms of hotel or restau…

Negotiating for What You Deserve

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If you are graduating soon and have completed several job interviews, probably you are now in the stage of negotiating with your potential employers about your employment package. This ABC News video features an interview with Nicole Williams, the author of Girl on Top. She gives female audience some good advices for negotiations, but I believe her suggestions can apply to all audience as a whole. Here are a few of them:

1. Get over “the guilt.” It is fine to ask for more if you know you deserve more.
2. Practice negotiations. Practice makes perfect. (Isn’t negotiation just like job interviews and job preparations in this sense?)
3. Keep in mind that negotiation is a two-way communication. It is not a good idea to make the other party lose its ground or turn him/her into a “loser.”
4. Always put yourself in the other party’s shoes. Negotiation is about what you can bring to the table and what value you can create at work (Isn’t it similar to resume writing or job search tips in gene…

Eat and Tweet: An CNN News Vedio

Today’s CNN News video reinforces the idea that Twitter has become a critical business tool for restaurants. When people tweet about what they eat and what they think about the service, they communicate the bad and the good of a restaurant with their powerful network instantly. Traditional media, such as newspaper reviews, do not allow instant B2C and C2C communications and thus cannot compete with Twitter or other social media tools. The goal of using social media, of course, is to encourage customers to tweet about the good and to respond to the bad in a timely manner. Congratulations to those restaurants who have already communicated with their target customers in social media. For those who have not, what stops you from adopting a social media strategy?

Social-Media Job Search Tactics

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There are many successful stories about how people launch their careers with social media tools. If job seekers want to find a job through social media, they need to be aware of the “social networking” and the “communication” aspects of these tools. To be more specific, a job seeker may consider the following tactics:

1. Build a network with industry experts, professors, co-workers, references, people who share the same interest, and people met in professional occasions.
2. Understand his/her personal brand. In other words, for what does s/he wants to be known?

3. Search his/her name at Google and see what people at Google say about his/her personal brand. Creating profiles at LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog, and virtual communities (i.e. The Wall Street Journal Online, The New York Times Online, and Inc.com).

4. Be “sociable” in social media by joining professional organizations/groups or adding/following the industry professionals.

5. Communicate in the Interne…

Award Winning Travel App - NYC Way

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With a passion of the Big Apple, a group of Indians who worked on Wall Street developed a smart phone app for tourists and locals. They spent two hours a day working on this project and combined more than 50 apps into one popular app called NYC Way. This award-winning app is free for smart phone users (available for both iPhones and Android phones), but a small fee will be charged to venders when a reservation is made. Building on this NYC Way concept, similar travel apps are also available for popular destinations like Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

I discussed a cell phone app for event planners in April and a restaurant app in May. A colleague of mine also told me he wants to develop some useful apps for hospitality professionals. I think that is a great idea. What ideas do you have in mind? Well, you don’t have to tell me your ideas until you turn them into smart phone apps, but please share with us what travel or hospitality apps you use. In your opinions, how useful are the…

The Power of Twitter Complaints

When I had a complaint, I often went to managers because I believed they were empowered to do “whatever they can” to satisfy me. This is not the case anymore. The most attention a person can get is to complain on Facebook or Twitter. In June, we discussed why hotel guests need to complain via social media. In September, we shared a relevant news article about how much attention restaurants pay to those complaints found on Facebook or Twitter. Today, I am going share another Wall Street news video about how travelers may get better results from their complaints about airlines --- people might have received a “NO” from a real person on the phone, but they got a “YES” after they tweeted. Did you have similar experience? Now that you know the trick, what will you do the next time when you experience a problem?