Back from Jamrock

26 01 2009

I’m back from a week in beautiful Jamaica. It was for my honeymoon and we stayed at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios. This was the first time I’d been to a Sandals resort and I can now see why they’re one of the leaders in the hotel chain business.

They run a really tight ship in terms of marketing and generating revenue. The biggest thing I noticed was all the ‘value added’ they give you. Before you book the vacation, they heavily promote that the scuba diving is free and that they have an extensive list of high quality restaurants. But once you arrive, they keep the value added going. Our suite was upgraded to an oceanfront suite and the next day we received a letter with a $250 credit for the spa, gift shop, etc. A few days later, we came back to our room to find a nice fruit and cheese plate, with a letter asking if everything has been alright. It’s little touches like this that make you feel like a VIP.

But it’s not all just customer service. The $250 credit encourages you to spend much more than that. And with the prices of things there, it’s very easy. But you are less likely to complain about the prices when you have a credit.

Similarly, they take your name and room number for virtually everything that you do. The restaurants you eat at, the activities you participate in, the things you buy. They have a strong retention tool in place (a points system, essentially) and all of this feeds into that. So because I play volleyball, I get 250 pts and when I get to 25,000, I get a free trip out of it.

I realize this stuff isn’t particularly new or different. But that’s sort of the point. It’s a consistent and simple level of customer service and retention that serves it’s purpose. Ultimately, we felt a little pampered, we felt like they cared about our experience and we felt like they want us back. And it’s that stuff that we will remember much more than the size of the pool or the nightly entertainment (which was also fantastic, by the way).


Monday Memo

12 01 2009

What youtube clip I’m watching: this is an incredible goal.  You have to wait until the replays start up about a minute in, but this is already a goal of the year candidate.

What’s making me laugh: I already talked about these guys, but in case you missed it, check out Stop Podcasting Yourself.  I’ve caught myself a few times laughing out loud while at the gym listening to these guys.

What’s making me laugh, part 2: Check out this clip from the German Bundesliga – nice way to get the crowd going!

What I’m reading: there’s a nice article written by Dave Clark on Sounder at Heart about the importance of supporter groups in soccer.  Building supporter groups is a major project of mine and I look to TFC, DC United and Seattle as examples of teams doing it right.

Top 10 oddball foosball tables

9 01 2009

What would a blog entitled ‘Will Work for Foos’ be without the odd foosball link?  Check out these 10 oddball tables.  In fact, I have a much nicer version of #10 on my desk (and I reign supreme on home turf).

PS – why don’t we have a foosball table in the office????

Friday Fantasy Forecast

9 01 2009

This week I’m not going to talk about adding players. With the transfer window in full swing, it’s important to sit tight and see how things develop with the premier league teams. You never know when a big addition will ruin your star midfielders early season surge. Of course, if you pick up on any of this ahead of time and make the appropriate roster move, you will be in great shape for the second half.

With that said, it is important to look at trends and there are a number of players you should be considering selling. The main ones reside on the Big 4 clubs. We are entering the most difficult stretch of the season for these clubs. In addition to Premier League matches, they have Champions League and FA Cup ties to deal with. In Manchester United’s case, they also have the Carling Cup – and evidenced by their 1-0 loss to Derby County in the first leg, they will likely have to play more first-teamers than they anticipated back at Old Trafford.

If that isn’t enough, World Cup qualifying is set to resume in a few weeks. So with all these matches coming up, the Big 4 suffer the most, as they are most likely to advance far into the Champions League and FA Cup and they likely have more players on national teams. Other squads like Man. City, Villa and Spurs have the UEFA Cup to contend with, so they will succumb to the busy schedule as well.

What all of this means is that substitutions for the key players will come more frequently. Injuries may also creep in. Keepers, defenders and mids are a lot less vulnerable than strikers. Reina, Ferdinand and Lampard are not going to see much time on the sidelines, regardless of the match. But strikers on bigger clubs invariably see their playing time diminished over the next 10 weeks.

The situation is exacerbated when the team has the depth to rotate star forwards. Such is the case with Chelsea and Man U. That’s why I’m not hanging on to Anelka (especially with Drogba playing more lately), Berbetov, Tevez or Rooney. Robhino or Torres have less stellar backups, so their playing time is a little more secure. Regardless, I’m happy to cast them away at this stage and pick up a hot striker for a middling club.

So my advice to you this week: if you have one of those big names on your roster, especially at forward, you want to consider moving them for a player who’s main concern is the Premier League (and maybe an FA Cup match or two).

Attack of the funny

8 01 2009

You gotta love the Internet.  Analysts and Marketing gurus praise the web for redefining the producer-consumer relationship.  In cyberspace, consumers have much more opportunity to influence a particular brand or create a new definition entirely.  A place like Wikipedia is the mothership of all of this.   But websites everywhere are putting power in the hands of their consumers and hoping they become evangelists for the product.

And don’t get me wrong – I love this stuff.  Product reviews, peer journalism – it’s all for the betterment of society.  But sometimes things can go awry (by the way, I only started pronouncing ‘awry’ properly like 4 years ago.  Before that I thought it was the same pronunciation as the last name of Robert Horry.  True story).  And while I’m not in favor of hackers messing up websites for the fun of it, some well-played humour can be just what we need to remember not to take everything at face value.

Here’s a great example.  Have a read of this guy’s Amazon book reviews.  Hillarious stuff.  You have to appreciate the effort, wit and intelligence this guy put into these entries.  I only hope Amazon doesn’t take them down, like big wig corporations are apt to do.

The times, they are a changin

8 01 2009

Atheism in Advertising

8 01 2009

Check out this story from the UK. Atheists, tired of the bombardment of messages from religious groups threatening eternal damnation have launched their own, softer, campaign.