Monday, August 16, 2010

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Do you ever feel like, as soon as your annual meeting (or any similar annually or multi-annually reoccurring event that you plan) is finished, that its next edition, hydra-like, rears its lovely but still challenging head? That's how we magazine writers (sometimes) feel about the next issue ... there's always another one! At times it can feel like a treadmill. As such, that's why this week's Extra, Extra! will be a bit on the short side, as we Convene editorial staffers are currently in Day Two of closing our September issue, which, among other enticements, has the second story in our new CMP: Certification Made Possible series! So here goes:

USA Today reports that three hotels in Atlanta — the 502-room Marriott Renaissance among them — will be closing this year. Why? Atlanta has, at the moment, a significant hotel room surplus ... not a bad thing when you've got multiple big conventions descending simultaneously on the city, but not ideal when hoteliers are struggling to fill rooms and, as a result, charging less than $100 a night at top-shelf hotels such as the InterContinental, the Grand Hyatt, and W.

The Wall Street Journal has a fun story about something any business traveler worth his or her salt has surely left behind at least once in a hotel room: cell phone chargers. Hotels collect so many of them that a mini-vernacular has even grown up around the oft-ophaned items: Housekeepers for a hotel company with five properties in Sacramento, Calif., call the mound of left-behind chargers "black spaghetti," while each Omni Hotel & Resort in North America has a charger "graveyard," with at least two bins' full at all times.

Can't tear yourself away from Facebook, but need to book that flight? Worry not: Delta Air Lines just launched its new "Delta Ticket Window" on the near-ubiquitous social-networking site. The application allows customers to search, book flights, and share them with one's friends without ever having to leave Facebook! Thank god — we were worried that Facebook wasn't getting enough of our time.

Speaking of Facebook, the Econsultancy blog has a smart story about "why you need a social media strategy, not a Facebook strategy." It begins:
The first venture into social media for many companies, whether a small start up or a big brand, is to create a Facebook page to 'experiment' with social media, which is seen as an add on to other marketing activities.

But just putting a page up onto Facebook, with no coherent social media strategy, is unlikely to do anything for a brand.
And finally, the weirdest story of the week award goes to this one from The Guardian newspaper, about three bored kids (ages 15, 13, and 11) who, unbeknownst to their parental units, pooled their savings of $700 to buy three tickets on Southwest Airlines from Jacksonville, Fla., to Nashville — and they were actually able to board and fly on the plane.

Where were they going, you ask? Get this: Dollywood, the Dolly Parton-themed amusement park. I never knew that Dolly Parton had such cross-generational appeal. I think the kids' effort is at least deserving of a mini-concert by the legendary country singer, don't you?

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