Travel

May 26, 2013

Marketing lesson from our cabbie

Last year, when we were in Sydney for CeBIT Australia 2012, we paid a bomb (almost $80) for our airport transfer. So this time, we acted wisely and booked a cab in advance. Since we are staying in a hotel managed by a Korean guy, he sent us a Korean cabbie to pick us up from the Sydney airport.

It was a pleasure dealing with him. But what struck me about him was his small "marketing" trick that he applied at the end of our journey.

When we reached our destination, he complimented us on our choice of hotel (his way of helping his friend – the hotel manager, who got him our airport transfer deal) and promptly got our bags out of the boot. He immediately pulled out two luggage tags and put them on our suitcases.

Here is the tag:

rsz_220130527_032759

I think this is smart.

He is ensuring that we will think of him, when we pick up our suitcases, which will be when we pack up to go back. Hence he is ensuring top-of-the-mind recall when his services will be required. This is much better than handing us a business card, which can get misplaced or will hardly ensure a recall. He is making it convenient for us.

As if this was not enough, he also made an offer to drop us to airport at the end of our stay at a $5 discount, i.e. $40.

A sure shot marketing lesson for everyone. It is important to ensure recall when your services / product are required. It may not need millions of dollars to do it. It just need a little bit of thoughtfulness and wisdom.

 

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February 21, 2009

How to have an economical stay in the UK (mainly London)?

United Kingdom (UK) is an expensive economy with high cost of living. For business visitors, it is important to have an economical and comfortable stay. Based on my experience, I am putting together some tips for fellow business travelers.

Hotel / Stay:

Accommodation in UK can vary between GBP 10 per night (for bunker beds) to GBP 300 (for five star hotels).

I have stayed in four star hotels (Thistle / Holiday Inn) as well as B&B in various locations like Kings Cross, Earls Court, Edgware Road and Kensington Gardens. I found the services in hotels to be very cold and indifferent.  I found Bed & Breakfast to be much more friendly, accommodating and economical. They charge between GBP 35 to GBP 60 per night and tops it up with a good homely English breakfast in the morning.

A good place to search for Bed & Breakfast in the UK is http://www.travelstay.com/

Internet:

Try to check if your Bed & Breakfast offers you free wireless Internet connectivity or not. Most of them do now a days. As a back up plan and to stay connected when you are traveling or in meetings, you can opt for 3G wireless broadband. I opted for 3-mobile and it works quite well. The dongle cost me GBP 60 initially and then I just need to top it up whenever I am visiting UK. Effectively I and up paying GBP 10 per month for connectivity.

Mobile:

You can get cheap Pay-As-You-Go sim cards at the airport. I have used Talkmobile which comes with long distance facility at very reasonable cost (the only funny part was that calling India was cheaper than calling a local number). They also have GPRS, so that you can access Internet through your mobile phone and check your emails on the move. I use it all the time and it works quite well. They have also started doing online-recharge after I ranted about it after my last trip on my blog 😉

Food:

Since, I prefer Indian vegeterian food, I find Masala Zone to be the best one. They provide a complete meal (the closest I have found to home cooked food in London) for under GBP 10. There are numerous eateries and restaurants. I do not think you can spend more than GBP 15-20 on your food unless you are in a mood to reward yourself for something!

Getting around:

The best way to get around London is its public transport system. Grab an Oyster card (even if you will stay inb London for a short duration), top it up with some money and use it everywhere. I find it most convenient and economical. If you plan to travel extensively on a given day, consider buying a day pass for less than GBP 6 and you will have unlimited travel on tube and bus (within couple of zones) for the day.

So, If you are smart, you can have a comfortable and enjoyable working stay in London quite economically. Try these tips next time you are around.

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October 16, 2008

Why Microsoft loves Ireland?

I was just thinking as why Microsoft has based one of its R&D center out of Ireland. Then as I sat in the bus on the way to the airport, reading some advertising displays it became very clear.

Reason: Because the Top Level Domain (TLD) of Ireland is .IE

(Hint – IE = Internet Explorer)

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September 4, 2008

Started using Twitter

I have finally started using Twitter.

My twitter page is http://www.twitter.com/abhishekrungta

To be honest, I do not think Twitter is a great thing. Micro blogging does not catches my fancy, since it does not help me to add any value to myself or anyone else. It is the last thing that could have happened to me after the distractions from phone calls, emails and blogging.

But then why did I joined? Good question!

Millions of people may not be wrong. So, I joined in to validate my assumption. I do not want to get left behind if Twitter turns out to be something a world-changing application. Again, I wanted to have a first hand experience before confirming my theory about micro-blogging.

So I thought – Lets give it a try and see what people love about it.
Keep following me on Twitter!

Regards
Abhishek

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August 4, 2008

You got to pay me to pay me! – The TalkMobile story.

For my stay in the UK, I bought a TalkMobile Pay-As-You-Go mobile connection. (Quick tip: It is the cheapest option to call abroad while you are in the UK. All incoming calls are free for you. And yes, It just takes few minutes to get activated) 

Honestly speaking, it worked quite nicely. But I was shocked, when I ran out of balance and wanted to recharge. I guess I had only 5p balance left when I called their helpline 5888 so that I can get a top-up by credit card. And then I heard the funniest thing – "We need to put you through our account executive to register your credit card. This call costs 25p. Since you do not have enough credit in your account, please top-up your account and call back"

Give me a break. I called up to top-up! So are you saying that – "I will charge you a fees to pay me!"

Sounds stupid. I hope they get back to their senses and stop losing business.

And, I still did not get, why they will not have an on-line top-up facility. It is surely cheaper than working with 72,000 stores (including Tesco, Sainsbury, Post Office, etc.) across the UK (a joyful announcement that they sent proudly to me through SMS). It is high time that hi-tech telecom companies adapt technology in the right way.

P.S.: Even after this stupid flaw, I will still recommend them for the quality / price combo – It is a good value for money.

 

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June 6, 2008

Travel, travel and travel

Hello Friends,

Sorry for not updating my blog for quite some time. I had a hectic schedule for last one month with Internet World in London, followed by a family holiday in Dubai. Before I could recover, I am visiting the NASSCOM BPO Strategy Summit in Bangalore. To be frank, I am not used to so much of travel.

Anyways, this means that when I am back to writing, there will be far more many insights, experiences-that-i-wish-to-share and ideas that struck me during all these events and interactions!

Abhishek

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March 17, 2008

Cookie that fails to crumble

It is a true incident about, how a cookie shop messed up its sales!

CookieMan is a fast growing cookie brand in India. They have a small outlet at Chennai airport. Till recently, before boarding the flight, I used to buy some delicious cookies from that outlet to keep myself indulged for the evening.

Now, the real shocker! On my recent visit to Chennai, the store guy told me – "that the minimum you can purchase is 250 grams!"

I could not help, but smile at this "strategic" move of the company!

This is how they are messing up their own marketing:

  • They are losing an opportunity to connect with their consumers and wow them! An airport lounge can be the best place to get into their minds.
  • They are missing an opportunity to identify which product has high shelf-appeal. In fact, they can utilize this opportunity to implement interesting means to do market survey among the middle and upper-middle class of consumers who will be the most frequent buyers of such confectionaries.
  • Above all, they are losing sales.

I fail to understand the reason. The only obvious reason that come to my mind:

  • They were trying to reduce the work load of their sales guy (Who was sitting idle!)
  • They were not interested in consumers who buy less than 250 grams. (Unfortunately, trust is won one step at a time. In fact some of the biggest customers of Indus Net Technologies initially signed up for a simple logo design service and then they kept increasing their exposure with us. Targeting for large sale does work, but nothing works like small experiences that builds relationship one step at a time.)

Besides fixing the obvious issue, this is what they could have done (some random ideas):

  • Put a mail-order form and hand it over with every money receipt they give out. Most travelers who experience the cookies might like to mail-order the cookie (in fact on a subscription basis – every month). This can give them an opportunity to sell in decent quantities every month.
  • Put a "self help" literature on "history of cookies" & "interesting combos". Indians like to eat in combination (mostly). When people have leisure time at an airport lounge, it is best to make them interested in the product (if not the brand).

And I hope you never repeat this mistake in your business. Give your prospects to try yourself out, one step at a time. Give them great experiences and build relationship one step at a time. They last longer.

BTW, if you have more ideas for them, do contribute. I will update my post with your input.

 

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October 8, 2007

Visiting London from 13th October till 23rd October 2007

Hello Friends,

I will be visiting London from 13th October till 23rd October for some business meetings.

If you –

  • are an existing client of Indus Net Technologies (or any of our service brand) OR
  • are a business considering outsourcing your web design, web development or Internet marketing business OR
  • just want to meet up for a friendly 1-2-1 meeting

Please drop me a line at talash@indusnet.co.in and we will meet up!

Abhishek

 

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August 2, 2007

Some nature photographs to refresh your soul

Here are some photographs from one of my trips –

 

 

 

 

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July 30, 2007

McDonalds burger – Vegetarian or normal?

 

Here is a funny incident that took place when I was exhibiting at CeBIT 2007 in Hanover.

I was in Hanover with my friend – Srish Agrawal for CeBIT 2007. After a tiring day at the exhibition hall, we were looking for a decent dinner. The only problem was our being vegetarian.

It was quite late and we were hunting for a restaurant near Kropke. We could not locate a restaurant which will serve a proper main course vegetarian dinner. Suddenly I spotted the famed golden arch down the road. We decided to compromise with a vegetarian fast food instead of a proper dinner. Something is better than nothing.

When I reached the counter,

I asked – "Do you have vegetarian burgers?"

The lady on the counter got puzzled. She rushed to consult her senior. There were murmurs and finally she came back to the counter.

She said – "Sorry Sir. We only serve normal food."

We could not stop laughing.
That day I learnt – There are two kinds of food – Normal & Vegetarian.

We finally managed to find a small mom-and-pop shop which baked us a pizza with toppings of our choice. The guy was really friendly. The pizza was fresh and his hospitality worth a mention.

Few more difference we experienced which is worth a mention —

1) Diet Coke is known as Lite Coke

2) Mineral spring water is not common. You generally get "gas water" or "sparkling water" which is equivalent to soda water.

If you had any funny experience hunting for vegetarian food or your-kind-of-food, feel free to post. I would love to know!

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June 15, 2007

Plains can look beautiful too!

Plains can look beautiful too!

These pictures were taken from a moving car.

If you want any of these pictures in higher resolution, feel free to contact me.

 

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June 11, 2007

The Kumbha of South India

Picture of the kumbha konam. This is considered as the kumbha of south India.

 

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June 4, 2007

A path to heaven

The lush green valleys of the Western Ghats (South India) indeed gives a feeling of heaven. It is not a surprise why people call it "God's own country". A picture showing – a path to heaven!

 

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Sunrays playing in the Munnar hills

Here is a nice picture of sun playing in the Munnar hills. Worth watching —

Feel free to use this picture anywhere you wish or ask for the hi-res if you need. A credit will be appreciated.

 

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Neel Kurinji – A flower that blooms once in twelve years

On my recent trip to Munnar (South India), I had the fortune to see the bloom of Neel Kurinji (blue-kurinji). It is a shrub like plant which blooms with a blue flower once in twelve years! If you want to experience the same, you will have to visit Munnar in 2018.

Some photographs for you –

A neel kurinji shrub

Kurinji field

 

Enjoy the pictures. Feel free to use them (and give me credit for the same!)

 

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