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Showing posts from August, 2012

Is It a Good Business Strategy to Offer Phone-Free Discount?

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A restaurant is offering 5% discount to customers who leave their cellphones at the door during the meal. The restaurant owner wants his customers to enjoy the dining experience and food without getting distracted by their cellphones, according to this Fox News video. Is this phone-free strategy well received and working?

It works very well for this restaurant. Over 50% patrons have chosen discount over cellphones. Moreover, it gave the restaurant about three minute free media exposure on Fox News, with additional conversations on social media.
Honestly, this is not the first time I heard of such incident. There are resort hotels encouraging guests to lock up their cellphones during their stay because they want their guests to truly enjoy the beauty of nature.
Will this phone-free advocate become a trend? More importantly, is it a good idea for business to promote a phone-free policy?
In my opinions, unless you are the first one who initiates a phone-free policy and gets some free …

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

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Even though the London 2012 Olympic Games have drawn to a conclusion, many dramatic moments remain vivid in our minds. We must owe thanks to the digital photography technology, which allows us to capture images that we cannot see otherwise with our naked eyes, as suggested in this Wall Street Journal video.
Indeed, visual effect has become very important for internet users --- “A picture is worth a thousand words.” No wonder those photo-based social media apps, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are widely adopted. 
As a matter of fact, I also found supporting evidence in that regard in a recent study of mine (Kwok & Yu, in press). Our analysis of 982 Facebook messages that were initiated by 10 restaurant chains and two independent operators reveals that Facebook messages can be divided into four media types, namely status (with text only), link (containing a URL), video (embedding a video), and photo (showing photos). Statistically, photo and status receive more “Likes” and commen…

Digging the “Gold Mine” of China: Now Is the Time

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Frits van Paasschen, the President and CEO of Starwood, talked about the outlook of lodging industry in an interview with CNBC, such as business demands, spending trends, and highlights of several geographic locations. China, of course, was mentioned several times.
Last summer, I shared with you that Starwood was opening a new hotel in China every other week. Today, Starwood still has 100 projects on the way. It may seem obvious that Starwood is doing very well in China.
Outside the mainland, I also feel Starwood is doing a great job in capturing the business opportunities from China. For example, Starwood’s top executives actually “lived” in Shanghai last summer to get “localized” by the Chinese culture and learn the “Chinese way” of doing business. Recently, Starwood is making a system-wide initiative to welcome the Chinese outbound travelers. Properties in the U.S. are required to add Chinese items in the restaurant and room service menus, make different amenities available (e.g.…