"Our General Manager is hopeless" said the receptionist of one of Brisbane's leading hotels - "He has no idea what the Internet and e-mail is about, if you want to send him something via e-mail you'll have to send it to the F & B Manager." So I did as instructed.
I was attempting to put a proposal to do some Internet training for the hotel's sales and marketing team. Eight weeks have passed since I sent that proposal to the General Manager and, as yet, I've received no reply of any kind. WOW!
"But the Internet bubble has burst. The Internet is finished..." did I hear you say? Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes most of the shares listed on the Nasdaq Board in America have crashed. And yes, the Aussie dotcom stocks are following. But the fact remains the Internet offers enormous opportunity.
"The bad times will pass." So said Thomas Siebel, CEO of at the Internet World Spring 2001 trade show in the USA. "Investors didn't know how to evaluate Internet companies. For some reason, these people thought they could determine valuation by things like clicks per hour or eyeballs in a day. That is not the way you valuate. You valuate by profitability. That sounds old and tired, but that is the way it is."
Even so, still the richest man in the USA is the College drop out Internet and computer nerd - Bill Gates. Unfortunately his net worth has decreased the by $38 billion. He now has only $54.4 billion to play with...poor Bill!
Boston Consulting Group recently likened introduction of e-commerce in business to the introduction of airpower in warfare. E-commerce, they suggest, is a new weapon, and those that do not learn to adapt their strategies to use it are at a critical strategic disadvantage to those that do. bcg.com/media_center/media_press_release_subpage41.asp
And what about the rest of the world and its' use of the Internet. Jupiter MMXI research says over the last six months, the number of people in the UK using the Net at home has increased by one million.
In Asia, Singapore and Taiwan lead the way with their use of the Net. Almost half of all Singapore households have Internet access, followed closely by Taiwan with 40 per cent. An innovative idea I recently noted was that a Singapore company has launched TeleMoney. It is a system that calls customers on their mobile phone when they make a purchase on the Internet, so that they don't have to divulge credit card information over the Internet. Source: dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010307/tc/ingapore_payment_dc_1.html
The President of the European Community, Romano Prodi, recently said "E-business is changing the economy forever." He told the E-Economy In Europe conference in Brussels that the true essence of the e-economy was the digitisation of the entire economic fabric. Just one benefit he quoted - US productivity has risen since the mid-1990s by 2.5% every year, compared with an annual rise of 1.3% up to 1990.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a 66% increase in on-line shopping last year, with 1.3 million adults purchasing goods or services over the Internet. It predicts that half of all Australian households will have home Net access before the end of this year. The ABS is on the Web, at abs.gov.au .
"So how can the Net benefit business?" you ask. Recently I spoke at the Club Managers Association on the Gold Coast. I told of the savings offered to Clubs by the Net. Soon after I was engaged as an Internet Marketing Consultant for one of Sydney's best known Clubs. Our task is to make it #1 Club in Australia on the Internet. Our five year plan includes converting the members to using the net. This means a better opportunity to promote the Club's activities at minimal cost.
The savings in hard copy printing alone will be enormous. Another goal is the have the membership use the Net to rejoin and pay their annual subscription over the Net. This is currently done in 'hard copy' format and is the most dreaded chore of the year. The first person I thought of to help me in the task was none other than the Editor of Corporate Trends and 'Wow of a Webmaster' - Peter Thorpe. And so I ask you "What is the hardest task or 'most dreaded task' in your business?" Perhaps we can help you solve it with intelligent use of the Net.
Finally be assured the Internet changes everything it touches, and it will touch almost everything. Apparently it hasn't touched the Brisbane GM. Oh...but it will. It was hotelier J Willard Marriott who said "Any senior executive who cannot 'imagine the future will not be around to enjoy it!" This article was originally written in 2000. Max Hitchins is known around the world as the Hospitality Doctor and is regarded as a marketing, motivation and management magician. Visit his web site at www.HospitalityDoctor.com or contact him on + 61 2 99 66 11 44 or by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org