Saturday, March 18, 2017

Self-Promotion: Standing out Amongst the Competition (By Amy Yoshinaga)

Do you find it difficult to get hired or even get an interview with an employer? I know because I do. With the job market becoming more competitive, it becomes more common and convenient for employers to seek employees through the Internet. Physically going into an establishment and handing in a resume is no longer the way to get a job. Due to the lack of physical contact with employers, it takes much more than a great resume and cover letter to get hired. Today, job seekers must use various tools to market themselves not only online, but offline as well.

Self-marketing, or personal branding can help job seekers highlight skills, values, and experiences. At the same time, it also helps them to separate themselves from the competition. There are a variety of strategies that we can use to self promote ourselves. Here are some suggestions: 

Build an Online Presence

As we are living in a digital age, it is critical for us to build an online presence. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for future employers to Google search a job candidate or look at the candidate's social media profiles. With that being said, our online presence should be clean and highlight our skills and experiences. Some ways we can build our online presence is by creating our own website, LinkedIn profile, or a blog. A person can go into more depth about his/her skills and experiences by building a personal website (Self Marketing, n.d.). A job seeker can also show how unique s/he is by what s/he posts and how creative s/he gets with the layout of the website. With a LinkedIn profile, a job candidate can expand on what s/he puts down on her/his resume and has recommendations that can help market himself/herself more. Additionally, a job seeker can display her/his work. For example, if a job seeker is a photographer, s/he can put a link to her/his photography website. Through blogging, one can show his/her knowledge of the industry s/he is working in. Blogging also keeps a job seeker up to date with the current trends (Self Marketing, n.d.).

Network

Networking is another strategy that can help with self-promotion, such as attending conferences or volunteering in a local community. In conferences, a job seeker can meet with the managers from the potential employers and possibly make a good impression. By volunteering, a job seeker can meet people with similar interests, who might help the job seeker find a job (Hendricks, 2014). 

Maintain Relationships

Although networking is an important strategy in self-marketing, it is just as important for a job seeker to maintain closely connected with the networks. Simply having only one conversation with a person is not enough to build a strong network. Those whom we met or spoke to for only once would probably not refer us for a job, nor would they introduce us to their networks. If we maintain a good relationship with our networks, over time they will learn about us and be more willing to help us when are are looking for a job. Remember that building a network is an ongoing process and requires time and effort. A simple way to maintain a good relationship with others is by connecting them on social media platforms. By doing this we can easily communicate with people and stay current with what is happening in the industry.

As a student who is about to graduate in a year, I want to be prepared so that I can differentiate myself from the competition when I look for a job. When it comes to getting a job, it is not as cut and dry as it used to be. There are more competitions, and employers are looking for those applicants who can stand out above the rest. I believe that self-marketing becomes critical for finding a job today and requires time and effort.

What strategy do you think is the most useful for self-marketing? Is it possible for us to self-promote too much?

About the Author


Amy Yoshinaga is a junior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is majoring in Hospitality Management with an emphasis in restaurant management, but also has an interest in event planning and beverage management. She is expected to graduate in the spring of 2018. Upon graduation, she is hoping to get a job within the event or beverage industry. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


References:

Self Marketing | What is Self Marketing? (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/self-marketing.html

Hendricks, D. (2014, August 21). 6 Ways To Network More Effectively. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2014/08/21/6-ways-to-network-more-effectively/#356dd7c538ea

* The picture of interview was downloaded from https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/03/how-todays-tech-will-shape-tomorrows-job-interview/


This post was edited by Yujia Lian and Linchi Kwok. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Do you believe that Kickstarter is a way to a successful start-up? (By Othmane Bennani)

Kickstarter provides the ability for companies to begin and build a successful start-up by developing an alternative that is based on people’s contributions to the business. Every entrepreneur and business developer understands the hardships of financial issues that arise in creating a business which can hinder progress in several fields. Financing companies view start-up companies as an advantage as it allows them to raise their prices on loans and provide other overpriced services. Kickstarter tries to eliminate that step by giving the donator the ability to determine which company should be helped based on future revenue and growth predictions. It allows for add-ons between companies therefore pushing the drive to seek new ideas while creating new markets, developing certain domains and preventing the saturation of others. Within the hospitality industry, the development of new ideas that can push the industry forward need financing. Therefore Kickstarter can be a good start. 

Contrary to the popular belief, Kickstarter does not limit its service to tech-savvy companies but also aims to involve a variety of companies, which includes those within the hospitality industry. While some would argue that the fund-raising process is fairly long, I would argue that depending on the company’s desired level of success and its developmental rates, many companies can predict the exact amount of funds needed. Like its name suggests, Kickstarter aims to help companies slowly develop until they become self-sufficient. Although it may take a company at a slower pace to reach its desired level of success, Kickstarter ensures the company’s ability to stay out of debt and keep the full ownership to the owner.  

Kickstarter’s success in helping other companies is derived mainly from its being a trustworthy source, providing transparency in its transactions, and conveying the company
s objectives clearly. It uses social media as a means to introduce new innovative ideas instead of through advertising. The company also encouraged family members and friends to aid in the development of an item, changed donations into a notion of pride with a provided service or product, and simultaneously encouraged competition among contributors and developers.  

Kickstarter is advertised through word-of-mouth. The company established a way of informing the donor of their contributions, and thus offered them a sense of satisfaction while showing new ideas to the world .  

A good example is the Purpose Hotel, a project beginning in Kickstarter that aims to connect the humanitarian world with the hospitality industry. Guests can stay in the Purpose Hotel where every product they use will support a specific cause. The hotel on Kickstarter doubled its initial pledge with investors, from the United States to Australia and Germany.

I believe that Kickstarter represented an example for every developing company or new project. The company not only introduces new ideas and innovations but also provides a revolutionizing approach to financing. Kickstarter helps people come together in a virtual community to develop new ideas and donate to their interest by using social means to advance its domains. The revolutionary website has not only transformed it into a trustworthy and successful company but also acts as a motivating driver for every entrepreneur.  

Do you believe that Kickstarter, as a crowdfunding platform, is a good way for start-ups to raise funds? What other successful crowdfunding platforms do you want to share with us?   

About the Author: 

Othmane Bennani is a senior at The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona, with an emphasis in hotel management. He previously worked for an IT/mobile app company, whose products help managers communicate efficiently with their employees. He is an active member of Eta Sigma Delta Honors Society of Hospitality Management and the Entrepreneurship Club of Cal Poly Pomona. 


Edited by Linchi Kwok. 

* The picture of Kickstarter was downloaded from http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/amazon-kickstarter-site/

Monday, March 6, 2017

Airbnb wants to be more than just a room-sharing enterprise

Besides leisure travelers, Airbnb definitely wants to attract business travelers as well. For example, Airbnb has already established a website page that tailors to business travelers. The company is also working closely with hosts in developing the products that meet business travelers' needs.

It is also clear that Airbnb wants to become a full-service travel company, especially when it faces the competition from hotels and OTAs. I proposed earlier that the competitions among room-sharing websites, hotels, and OTAs (online travel agents, such as Expedia and Travelocity) might have pushed OTAs to work more closely with room-sharing websites.

Expedia, for example, just spent $3.9 billion in 2015 to acquire the room-sharing website Homeaway. Today, in just 18 months after the acquisition, travelers are now able to check out residential rentals as well as the available hotel rooms in a tourist destination through Expedia.com and Kayak.com.

Evidence has now shown that Airbnb is also actively acquiring new businesses, including two in February:
  • Airbnb acquired Tilt, a startup for peer-to-peer payments and crowdfunding (e.g., splitting bills among travelers), indicating that Airbnb is interested in group travel.

It is almost certain that more acquisitions by Airbnb will follow. According to a Bloomberg business report, Airbnb is sitting on $3 billion in funding and plans to start using it.

As acquisition has become a popular means for companies to respond to the shifting landscape in the marketplace, what company will be the next in Airbnb's acquisition list? An OTA or something else?

To read a full discussion on Airbnb's acquisition, please visit http://bit.ly/lk022717 on MultiBriefs.com


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Are supermarkets becoming a new product-category competitor for restaurants?

Running a restaurant business is becoming more difficult these days. Restaurants face many challenges, including the soaring minimum wages and lower store traffic.

On top of that, the food cost has remained relative low over time, widening the price gap for the food purchased in a supermarket and a restaurant. That is a major reason why I see supermarkets are becoming a product-category competitor for restaurants.

In my recent discussion on Multibriefs.com, I first described the differences among four levels of competitions --- product-form, product-category, generic, and budget level competition. Traditionally, supermarkets are not considered a product-category competitor for restaurants, but...

More supermarkets are offering restaurant service, selling food with a much lower price. I have seen people eating and drinking in some high-end supermarkets, such as Whole Foods as if they were eating in a casual dining restaurant.

Grab-n-go is getting better in supermarkets. So are those ready-to-cook packages. Whole Foods recently introduced the butchering service for fresh produce.

No tipping becomes an emerging trend in restaurants. So, the differences between a restaurant and a supermarket are not that clear anymore.

So, do you also see supermarkets are becoming a big threat to restaurants? What shall restaurants do in responding to the threat coming from supermarkets?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Managerial responses to online reviews: Strategies should vary across different hotels

Last month, I published two journal articles about online reviews. The first one was about how managers of different hotels should use different strategies to respond to online reviews and published in The Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (with Karen Xie and Wei Wang). The second one was a review of current literature about online reviews and published in International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (with Karen Xie and Tori Richards)

I highlighted the important implications of these two journal articles on Multibriefs.com. For example, I recommend that responses to online reviews should vary based on hotel class. In particularly: 

  • Budget traveler hotels — provide more but also more concise (shorter) responses by the executives.
  • Mid-market economy hotels — provide more responses by the executives.
  • Full-service hotels — provide more responses by the executives in a timely manner.
  • Above-average hotels — provide more and longer responses by the functional managers (e.g., front desk manager, sales manager, etc.) and reply in a timely manner.
  • Luxury hotels — provide more and longer responses by the functional managers.


In the literature review paper, we pointed out what we know and what we don't know about online reviews. Particularly, I would like to see what you want to know about online reviews. Maybe your comments will inspire more research studies in the future to help us further advance our knowledge about online reviews.