This has been an amazing year for the Words of Vikram blog. I remember publishing the first post on a beautiful day at Kaaawa Beach Park in Oahu on March 1, 2013 #nostalgia. Today, I am writing this recap from rainy Tokyo. Cue in Passenger by Iggy Pop.
In less than one year, the blog has welcomed visitors from over 120 countries and 1,870 cities worldwide. Thanks y’all! I am thankful for the readers. I also want to give special thanks to my subscribers. You encourage me to stay on top of the issues, and be accountable to my mission of being a catalyst for change without being boring!
Since I do not have comments enabled on my blog, I instead got some passionate emails. (These are great.) I have kept my promise of answering every single email. You’re welcome! I also got to do a few radio interviews. I’ll be on NPR in January. Next stop: TV. Then Hollywood.
Based on distribution, feedback, and analytics (thanks.,Google Analytics)… Here are the top 6 all-star articles ICYMI, plus some of my thoughts on why I think these posts generated interest and conversations.
1. How Airbnb Is Crushing Traditional Hotel Brands
The popularity of this one was truly unexpected. The Telegraph in the UK released some stats on Airbnb that reinforced my belief in its awesomeness, which led me to write this post. The head of hospitality for Airbnb then tweeted and shared my article, which was great. Some folks were not impressed, because they refuse to deal with the reality of today’s online world. Overall, I still think it’s a great list of items that brand hotels should start addressing right away.
2. It’s Time to Burst the Hotel SEO Bubble: What Hotels Really Need to Know
Search engine optimization has always been exciting and controversial. The massive change in how Google views travel websites is impacting hotels worldwide. But a lot of industry people are still caught up in the bubble, and in agency contracts that are out of sync with reality. RIP, Golden Age of SEO. Hello, 100% pay to play.
3. Biggest Myths About WordPress Perpetrated by Hotel Marketing Agencies
This was one of my personal favorites because it’s about WordPress, one of my favorite topics. I’m still waiting for the hotel industry to embrace it as the greatest open source publishing platform out there. Sadly, big box agencies and their pseudo experts love to bring it down. This article was my definitive list of reasons why hotels should embrace open source platforms like WordPress. Owning your online assets is Step 1 of a great online marketing strategy. Of course, the agency shills hated this article, but haters gonna hate, right?
4. RoomKey.com: Hotel Brands’ Misguided Attempt to Become an OTA
This was one of the highest-traffic articles for 2013. Roomkey has got to be one of the biggest collective disasters involving hotel brands in recent years. My article addressed the most fundamental flaws in its development and marketing strategy. There is definitely hope for Roomkey, but it is going to have to pivot (sorry for using an MBA term) big time! This would be a great turnaround project to work on. Meanwhile, look who is bidding on their brand name in Google. Is anybody even watching this site anymore?
5. What the Hotel Industry Can Learn From Heads in Beds
If you are in the hospitality business, you must read Jake’s book. (Yes, I am on a first-name basis with the author.) I don’t think anyone has written about the industry the way he has. It takes immense courage to lift the veil on an industry masked in so many layers. This blog post was the first one to jump from online to print. California Hotel & Lodging Association published this article in their annual resource guide. Thanks CH&LA! You deserve high praise for getting the word out on a great book.
6. Death by Data: How Misusing Hotel Analytics Data Can Hurt Your Revenue
This one was close to my heart, and it struck a chord with a lot of people. Many managers and owners are destroying their online presence due to their limited knowledge of how web analytics work today. Using a powerful tool like analytics to justify bad decisions is scary and is definitely hurting the hotel industry’s online revenue. This was my wake-up call for people in power to use smart analytics. I am happy to report that this was one of the most read and circulated articles of 2013.
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2014 is upon us. I will continue my mission to be a catalyst for change. I hope that you will continue to support the blog by subscribing and sharing. There is no bigger compliment you can give me than subscribing to my blog and sharing it with your peers. So go ahead, make my day!