Monday, September 29, 2008

A-Ha Stories for Personal Inspiration: Achievement IQ Moments

I have been. . . am. . . and always will be looking for ways to improve myself.

In both my professional and personal life, I have been able to achieve beyond my expectations because of this desire. My wife asks me why I feel the need to read self help books. I think that the desire comes from my grandfather telling me that he always wanted to learn something new everyday. He loved doing crossword puzzles for this very fact and did at least one every day until he passed away last December. I now have so many self improvement books that they have moved out of our home library to the work bookshelf. I guess that I am a serial self-improver. If I am struggling with an issue or problem, I want to get better at it. I only wish that there were as many how to be a better husband and father books as there are business improvement books.

Luckily enough for me, I had the chance to get an advance copy of Acheivement IQ (A. IQ) Moments a book written by Stanley Bronstein. I discovered Mr. Bronstein via Twitter,as MrAchievement, again one of those channels to learn and grow through people you may never otherwise get the chance to meet up with. He frequently sent out links to his blogs posts. I had read of few of his "Laws of Positioning" posts and really liked them. Then I saw this tweet:

Looking for another learning experience and a way to provide a service to my readers, I jumped at the offer. A week later, the book arrived in the mail. With all that out of the way, read on further for my review of A. IQ Moments

The book Achievement IG Moments is really a supplement to two other books Mr. Bronstein had previously written about success in life and success at work through Achievement IQ, but taken alone what you have is book that is a source of inspiration through the stories of others. Life's epiphanies don't always show us the true beauty of their occurrance until some time later. The stories range from. . .
Artist Peggy Chun who has found a way to keep expressing her artistic needs despite loosing the use of her hands, feet and mouth. She now uses her nose and the assitance of others to paint.
To. . .
Professor Luis von Ahn who is using the scourge of the internet, spam, to help decipher writing in old scanned documents through the reCaptcha software so common today.
I seem to remember a line about necessity and invention coming to mind here.

Overall, I really liked Achievement IQ Moments. The stories were told in a simple manner and could easily be picked up and read in any order you'd like. In fact most of the stories are 4 to 5 pages in length, perfect for that 10 minutes you have between meetings. The book builds up steam and inspiration as you move through it, sort of like Mr. Bronstein's trek to get the stories down on paper which you can learn about more in the book. I think that the other benefit you get from the book is being able to go back through your own life and identify your own a-ha moments and reflect on what those have meant to you.

Each chapter or Achievement IQ moment starts off with a relevant quote, tells the story of the interviewee, points out the A. IQ Moment(s) and then gives you the web site addresses or contact information to learn more about the subject individual(s). The author compiled these stories in a 50 day journey traveling over 10,000 miles. I can imagine he must of filled up many notebooks, audio tapes and hard drives with the great experiences and stories his subjects had to tell. Occasionally, I felt like I was sitting at the table with the author and the subject as they were having a long dinner and just kept talking into the night.

My only desire for the book is that Mr. Bronstein would have grouped the stories into related themes and provided a grouping in the Table of Contents or an Index for related themes. For example "relationships", "problem solving" and "goal setting" are a few that come to mind.

The book Achievement IQ Moments has definitely given me my next journey. . . to read Mr. Bronstein's two other books.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Get Me There, but Don't Hurt the Environment

The economy is in a downturn, that not news, but what matters most to travelers during this time period is. A recent study from eMarketer uncovers the incentives that can turn lookers in to bookers. At the top of the list in these troubled times, getting a rebate on gas expenses (47.6% of respondents said this would provide them the incentive to book). That is followed by discount offers by hotels (30.8% of respondents).

We have several hotels who have benefited from these gas packages. You may also often see them framed as "staycations". This year's hot term in travel. However, travelers are also looking at the environmental policies of the hotels, and while this alone isn't influencing the decision, the amount of work you are putting into minimizing the impact of the hotel and guests on the environment is a contributing factor in their decision.

What incentives are you offering to getting lookers to book at your property?

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Booking Channels are Changing - GDSs Left to Compete with Internet

It's no longer news that there is a major move on for people to now book from the internet. Travel agent and voice bookings have been in a steady decline for many years now and hoteliers have been happy because the cost of taking a reservation via the internet is usually at least half of what it cost via GDS and more via phone.

One has to ask, when do the GDSs start charging more for the connectivity to there systems and Travel Management Companies start charging more to cover their bookings costs to make up the short fall in revenues. This article from Business Travel News Online highlights the inducements that the GDSs are making to Travel Management Companies and airlines to keep them booking. The article goes on to talk about the Sabre Expedia relationship and how that has reduced GDS margins and set the new market price point for services. Ironically, this parallels what has happened to Expedia as suppliers have taken back control of pricing and inventory.
"There is more risk related to GDS economics than there has been in the past," said Carlson Wagonlit Travel executive vice president of global supplier management Mike Koetting. "TMC margins are small enough that almost any disruption to our revenues ultimately impacts our ability to service, or requires a cost increase to, our customers."
The potential for a price increase and level of service change is emminent in my mind.

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