New project: How to promote tourist services?

Hi everybody,

Could you please share your thoughts on the following. Next week we are going to start a training program for service people who work in hotels and restaurants. Now, we want to offer them something in addition to the typical English language training program.

This is where you come in: If I gave the web addresses of some of those hotels and leisure facilities, would you be willing to take a look at them and share your opinion here? You see, if you run a hotel you often don’t have enough time to spend on marketing and promotion.

You will review their websites and make some suggestions as to how they could be improved. On top of that it would be great if you would share your experiences in traveling and staying in hotels etc.

What kind of service do you expect when you travel?
When was the last time you stayed in a hotel?
What was your impression?
Would you recommend the hotel?

My plan is to combine ‘offline’ activities with our forum bringing local businesses and prospect clients together. Everyone will benefit from this project.

Please let me know what you think,
Regards
Torsten[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, talks: A company executive opens a PR team meeting to discuss critical situation[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten

I’d be willing to take a look at at least one of the web sites and also share some hotel experiences. Im my “previous life” (in management) I had to spend several nights a week, every week in hotels. :lol:

Amy

Hi Amy,

Thanks for your immediate response. Here is the first hotel, it’s Hotel Katharina Sangerhausen - what do you think of it in general and of the English version (the text) in particular?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten

In general, the hotel comes across as “touristy” and also as a “mom-and-pop” (homey) type hotel with modern facilities. Nice for a vacation.

The English text is quite obviously not from a native English speaker, and some of the errors are pretty humorous. If they leave all the grammar and spelling errors, it might sound more like an “authentic” German hotel to a native English speaker. A few of the spelling/grammar problems might cause slight problems for non-native as well as native English-speakers. It’s generally understandable, but should be “cleaned up” at least a little bit. (What is “sonorization technology”? What does “actual offer” mean? What does “locadet” mean? etc. ;))

They mention “meal from hot stone” several times, but don’t bother to give any explanation as to what that actually is. Sounds very mysterious.

If they want to portray a more professional or “businesslike” image, they definitely should fix the spelling and grammar and “false friend” mistakes and also do some rewording.

One thing I don’t like about the text at all: in some places there are long descriptions of things to do or places to go, and it’s all smashed into one ten-mile-long sentence. I get lost in the sentence and lose all interest in reading it - because it’s simply too hard to read.

They have included quite a lot of information and the web site is pretty easy to navigate. The page with the rates doesn’t work very well, though.

Is that the sort of feedback you want?

Amy

Hi Amy,

Many thanks for your detailed review, yes, that’s what I have in mind. You see, I’d like to collect various opinions in addition to my own so we can start an exchange.
If it’s OK I’ll post some more information along with other hotel websites - at some point those hotels will need the services of people like you.

Talk to you soon and thanks again,
Torsten[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten,

Sign me up for your new project. Over the last 10 years or so we’ve stayed at quite a few hotels in Europe. Happy to comment on your sites. Incidentally last September we decided to book our first stop in France in advance and when we arrived, we found we were allocated to Room 101. Feeling rather superior I made a comment about the sinister implications of that number but the landlady soon put me in my place and showed she was well versed in George Orwell.

Hear from you soon

Alan

Hi Torsten,

I had a quick look at the hotel you mentioned. In terms of navigation, it’s fine. The sad thing is that the English lets the side down although it looks a pleasant enough place. It seems to me that if you’re going to write your info in a foreign language, at least get the job done properly. The trouble is that because the English is poor, it gives the impression that they don’t know how to run a hotel. This could clearly be an unwarranted conclusion to draw but you can’t get away from the idea that it’s the kind of impression it creates.

For a small fee I’d willingly reshape the English for them!!

Alan

Hi Alan,

It’s great to hear you have signed up on the new project, it’ll be an exciting journey with you onboard.
How did you feel in Room 101? Did the landlady try to find out something about your nightmares?

You want to review more hotel websites and I have to admit there seems to be a huge demand for English language promotional materials for the Harz region. Please take a look at Harz Tourism Management and tell me what you think about the short paragraphs that are in English. Apparently there could be done more to attract tourists from abroad. I mean if somebody from Scandinavia wants to travel to that region they would want some information in English first.

Or maybe I’m missing something here? You are quite a globetrotter and you speak German too. What do you think - would more web content in English help bring tourists and business to the East Germany or any other region in Germany?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Interesting expression - it lets the side down especially in this particular context because we are also talking about a site - a website. Do you happen to know the origin of the idiom it lets the side down? And I absolutely agree with what you are saying regarding the English text.
[/quote]

We will be organizing something and my plan is to offer so called website localization services which involve translations, editing, content writing etc. Hopefully we can come up with a plan soon so the region will start generating more business…[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten!

I had a look at the website of Hotel Katharina Sangerhausen too. I agree to Amy and Alan and I?m afraid that Alan is right with his suggestion that the management of this hotel don?t know how to ride a hotel or, at least, is totally overcharged with his duties so that he didn?t have the time to create a good website. What service can I expect when I check into such a hotel? I can?t really say anything about that hotel but the appearance isn?t pretty inviting.

I found the website for example only which isn?t optimal too of course but the layout does invite me more.
http://gutshof-im-oertzetal.de/en/main.html

What do you think? Could the hotel Katharina Sangerhausen use some of their ideas?

Michael

Michael, are you sure you don’t spend too much time with your horse :slight_smile: ? Or is it an idiom? Come to think of it, maybe you could say ‘to ride herd on a hotel’!

Sorry if this is off-thread, Torsten.

H?h?h?h? Conchita! :oops:

Sorry Torsten!

Michael

Hi Michael and Conchita, as long as you communicate in English anything is on topic. As for the Oertzetal Gutshof website, it looks quite impressive with all the photographs and short descriptions.

I wonder how many people find this site through a search engine though. It uses Flash and from what I can see only one single page has been indexed by Google. I wonder how you have managed to find that site at all, Michael?

To answer your question, yes, I do think that any website owner can learn something by analyzing other sites. Do you have any other good examples?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten!

As you mentioned the website you referred to needs a face-lifting. And as Alan mentioned the first impression is decisive. My intention was to refer to a site I know but it was in German only and not really comparable to [color=blue]Hotel Katharina Sangerhausen but very well structured. If you like you can have a look at: reiterhof-severloh.de

I have good experience from three holidays I had there. As it is not really comparible to your example I looked for an other example and found the link to the [color=red]Gutshof im Oertzetal and thought that it is well organized too. Especially interesting I found the links to the single topics which are used there.

So I recommended you having a look at this advertising site. In my opinion the layout of this site is well done although the flying leafs make the site a little rush and the size could be bigger. Also If you click the bottom Gift Certificate you will experience a surprise.

It might be hard to find this site in google particular as you don?t know what you have to look for. But if you have a look at: meinestadt.de you can find links to hotels in every town in Germany! In my example it was a link at the forum of the town [color=red]Hermannsburg.
It migt seem hard to non native Germans to look at meinestadt.de but if I want to find a hotel in any other land I think I must also find advice to their hotels. Or is there any easier way in google to find good hotels?

Torsten, I didn?t want to declare the site you mentioned as negative. Quite in the opposite, it has a nice outfit, I think, and with a little face-lifting updating the tools and some correction of the English it might be really attractive!

Michael

Hi Michael,

Many thanks for all your input, I greatly appreciate any of your thoughts. Maybe I should give you some more background information on the project so you have a better idea of its purposes.

A friend of mine works in the education department of the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has been creating and organizing training programs for SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises) in order for them to become more competitive and generate more business.

At this point you might ask why you should contribute your ideas and share your experiences - well, why not use our forum to analyze the websites of hotels and leisure facilities and make suggestions as to what should be improved. Such information can be very useful to local hotel owners, travel agents and tourism industry managers. They always want to know how they can attract more customers and provide them with better products and services. We could design a program that fills the obvious ‘marketing void’.

For example, if all the hotels, restaurants, bowling centers, spas, etc. of a region pull together and brainstorm ideas as to how they might be able to get more customers from abroad, they will recognize the importance of the Internet and the English language. The reality, however is that somebody has to start this project. We have already taken the first step by reviewing a couple of hotel websites and now we can continue working on a plan.
What do you think of the entire concept?

Regards
Torsten
PS: After doing some further research I’ve come across a website run by Pat and Ken Sawyer, two British enthusiasts who are promoting the Harz region in a very original way: The Harz’s Magic Appeal
This site contains a lot of interesting information about the Harz region with various links to other English language resources. Excellent job, Pat&Ken![YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten!

I feel honored that you appreciate any of my ideas! I also think that you are a real habitant of the ?land of ideas?. What makes me wonder is that in your area isn?t any support for SME?s or aren?t there any who will do a good job at a forum? However I think you have your imaginations in which way you want to give a support. I would like to learn more about your idea espcially because it seems to be an interesting projekt. If I?m able I liked to collaborate with you or i.e. to help you.
[color=violet]The Harz?s Magic appeal is really an interesting site. Although I had a surface look at it I agree to your opinion about their very well done job. What I also noticed is that, having a look at the links to some towns` website, most of the websites are written in German only and that the towns? websites hardly refer to any locations for overnight stay possibilities. Though there exists really marketing void like you mentioned.
As “Sachsen” is my father?s homeland I?m also interested to learn more about it, therefore for me it is most interesting to help you with your enterprise regarding the support of that area.
By the way, as Pat & Ken?s site have a reference to Clausthal Zellerfeld which has really lots of interesting locations and as they like footwalks (strolls) I miss a bit a discription of reaching the "Wartburg in Eisenach ". Although it might be “Th?ringen” it is near the Harz, isn?t it? Or was my look too surface in fact?

Torsten, I liked to hear from you again!

Michael

Hi,

I find it very difficult to complain in a foreign language - in my case French or German. In English - no problem. Many years ago I led a revolt at a hotel because the service was incredibly slow - one hour between courses. The food was hardly worth waiting for and the management agreed that they would pay for a meal at another restaurant. When it came to the final bill, I saw that 10% had been added for service. I crossed that out on the bill because I said we hadn’t had any. But in France and Germany I lose my nerve. I fought hard to get a reduction in a French hotel because a menacing spring had come through the mattress during the night. We were granted one free breakfast - a magnificent 4 euros. Last year again in France (and don’t get me wrong because there have been many occasions when the service has been delightful) we stayed in a hotel and discovered around a dozen dead flies in the bathroom. I pointed this out at reception and was told it would be attended to while we had our evening meal. It wasn’t. As we left and I came to pay the bill, I made one more attempt to complain about the wretched flies and the receptionist blandly remarked that there had been a lot of flies that year.
Perhaps I ought to talk about experiences in Germany, Switzerland and Italy another time.

Alan

Hi Michael, as you have mentioned, most German websites of hotels, tourist facilities, restaurants, cities etc. are provide information in the German language only. Yes, there is a huge and complex system in Germany designed to support SME’s and create new jobs. My goal is to use that system in order to organize and run workshops for German tourist service providers so we will be able to attract more customers from abroad. If you like you can take a look at the program outline in our business blog (today’s entry): Business Blog

In the meantime Alan will hopefully continue sharing his travel experiences which I find quite revealing and useful.

Let me know what you think,
Torsten[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Hi Torsten!

What do you want me to add? I would say the way is prepared. So the start is a request only to find German tourist providers who can be made interested in using this possibility! Therefore it is a requestion for the advertise department. Or do you have the first clients yet? I think everything else is more or less a technical problem which to solve you have the capabilities! Your introduction is logical written and you have a link to this topic where every tourist provider can experience the way how an internet workshop could run. As you mentioned, there are opinions of proficient hotel guests, we have referred to some hotel introducing sites in order to look what could be done better or what is well done at particular sites. I think that is the beginning of such a workshop. If the project is started and the first user are present and also can agree with satisfaction the word of mouth advertisement will probably increase step by step.

Michael

Michael,

You have made quite a number of interesting observations - you are right, the Wartburg is in Thueringia (as are many other beautiful castles) and yes, the vast majority of tourist facilities in Germany provide information only in the German language. You see, there is a huge infrastructure that has been designed to promote local tourism business activities (Chamber of Commerce, tourism industry associations, etc.)
Still, the potential for improving/creating such basic things like a website in English is huge. Yes, I have outline the plan for workshops that will address these issues. The challenge is to see this project through and keep on marketing it until it really takes off. That’s why it is good to know you are interested in such issues too and I can turn to you for support.
Let’s continue to develop this project together.

More on that soon,
Torsten

PS: Do you still visit Saxony sometimes?[YSaerTTEW443543]

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