Abandonment of #Wearables Does NOT Signal a Dim Future for #WearableTech


Good bye, for now, smart watch 

I'm going to box back up my Pebble smart watch and store it.  I have had it for less than a year.

"Haha!  Another example that wearables have no future!"

No.  Wrong.

My decision to box up my Pebble watch has everything to do with my realization that the battery life is just too short and I don't want to be bothered juicing it up every night.

Battery life is a wearable tech problem

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Myriam Joire, Chief Evangelist at Pebble, speak about wearable technology and Pebble's progress and future.  What I particularly appreciated about Myriam's vibrant talk was her candor in discussing the impact of battery life limitations on the Pebble watch and wearables generally.

I like the Pepple watch.  The multitude of apps it has.  Its comfort.  Its look.  (Ok, I accessorized it with someone else's watchband.)  I just don't want to have to watch a battery bar and wonder if my watch is going to turn into a pumpkin before midnight.

Google Glass...hoping it gets better

Google Glass is still in "beta" - it's a test product and those who buy it know they're buying a beta product.  

Even so, I wish I could make a more compelling argument about wearing it now, though I am well aware of applications in healthcare, hazardous enterprise, and emergency management where the uses are extremely compelling (e.g., doctors live-streaming surgical procedures for teaching and for collaboration with other surgeons in distant locations; limiting those needed in hazardous zones thanks to Glass' to let ability to let other emergency responders or those in hazardous industries see what is happening in real time in a hazardous area, etc.)

For me, however, at the moment, I haven't found a use for Glass that makes me want to be sure to put it on before I start my day or leave the house.  I believe, though, that this is only a matter of time.  It is an extremely comfortable device and the hands-free advantage of Glass is huge.

Don't penalize startups for being startups

As I was thinking about my frustration with Glass, one day, it dawned on me that what the behemoth Google had done in introducing Glass was to adopt the startup philosophy of putting into the hands of willing consumers a "minimum viable product" (MVP) that would allow it to experiment, innovate, and receive the consumer feedback crucial to product development.

Now, it may seem that I am simply making excuses for wearable tech by suggesting that a company as big as Google should be given a startup pass, an allowance for introducing a MVP.  In a field fraught with known limitations, particularly the nagging issue of battery life, those who innovate earliest are likely to ultimately reap the largest rewards soonest from their willingness to take risks, listen and pivot.  I applaud any big company that nurtures startups within it walls.

Wearable "abandonment" is merely an unavoidable stage on the pathway to wearable adoption 

Though Apple will certainly benefit from lessons learned at the expense of those innovating when it releases the Apple Watch, Pebble and Glass will also, no doubt, benefit even more from having entered the space early.  

Though I am boxing up my current edition of Pebble and not wearing Glass often, both have keyed me in to the potential and promise of wearable tech.  I expect that it won't be long before I am buying a newer version of Pebble with an enhanced battery life and more seamless charging system, and wearing Glass more often because of new applications that tap into its hands-free display.

A fitness tracker makes the cut

I should note that I am still wearing my fitness wearable, a fitbit: it's lean, easy to use, fun, helpful, slightly fashionable (with newer, very fashionable options!), and a battery life that only requires weekly recharging.  Proof that the problem isn't with "wearables", but, only with certain wearable products at this point in time.

A bright future

My experience with Glass and Pebble - and fitbit - has convinced me that the future of wearables is bright and exciting.  Please don't mistake my "abandonment" for more than it is - a realization that the some current products are not where I would like them to be.  Wearable "abandonment" is merely an unavoidable stage on the pathway to wearable adoption.  Remember I said so.
Please let me know what you think!

And, if we're not already connected, please join me on Twitter:  @GlenGilmore

Social Media for Hotels – Why It Matters

Hotel Nikko in San Francisco – A Superior and Social Hotel

I was enjoying the Hotel Nikko the moment I checked in:  the friendliness of the staff, the wonderfully luxurious beds, the nice touches to their room service.  

I then looked for them on Twitter and sent out a tweet saying how much I was enjoying the hotel.

I then read their hotel Twitter profile…

 “Just Tweet Me”

Hotel Nikko, in San Francisco, has a Twitter profile that boldly tells its guests that they may tweet the hotel “for any requests.”  Nice.


 Walking the Talk

When I saw @HotelNikkoSF's invitation that I could tweet it with any requests, I wondered how long it would take to get a response and what type of response I might get from the tweet I had sent.  It didn’t take long.  Within moments of my tweet, I saw what I had sent had been retweeted by the hotel with a kind note:



A Fruit Plate and a Handwritten Note – A HANDWRITTEN NOTE!

After a few friendly exchange via Twitter, there was a knock at my door.  I was delivered a complimentary plate of fruit and a handwritten note from the social media manager welcoming me to the hotel.  A HANDWRITTEN NOTE!

Social media will amplify good or bad.  In the case of the Nikko, there is much to celebrate.  They don’t cut any corners in their attention to hospitality.

I had to find out more about the magic behind Nikko's social media presence, so I sent a tweet asking if I could have a meeting.  A tweet came back, gladly agreeing to meet.

Social Isn’t for Interns Anymore

Dani Ortega, social media manager for the Nikko, explained that at one point the hotel relied on interns for its social media engagement.  Then came a realization, she said, “you have to be invested in the hotel and in others – with a passion for the hotel.”  

“It’s not that our interns didn’t have a passion for the hotel,” Ortega went on to say, but it was clear that experience matters as well.

Joseph Curran, Vice President of Marketing for the Nikko San Francisco, who joined us for our talk about the hotel’s social media efforts, elaborated on the point, noting someone like Dani, who has worked at the hotel for ten years, brings to the task of social media engagement a depth of knowledge about the hotel that lets her answer inquiries fluidly and with an understanding of the hospitality business that a young intern would be hard pressed to match.

Communicate With Your Guests How They Prefer

Asked why the hotel is so “social”, Curran said, “We try and allow our guests to reach us however they’re most comfortable.”  He noted that the hotel’s closeness to Silicon Valley also makes digital communication even more important.

A Secret to Social Media Success?  Buy in from Management.

Asked how they were able to be so agile and engaging in social, Curran was quick to credit support from the hotel’s general manager as the key.

How to Be “Social” as a Hotel – Small Things Are Big Things

Curran, who was also quick to credit Ortega with being the hotel’s social media voice, noted that very often the biggest impact comes from responding in real time to a guest who may tweet about having run out of chocolate chip cookies during a conference or needing an extension cord.  “We deliver what’s asked for when it’s asked for the best impact,” he said.

Stay On Top of Social By Attending Conferences, Reading Books & Listening to Webinars

Both Curran and Ortega credit part of their social media success with ongoing training.  “We attend some social media events, read books on the subject and listen in on webinars,” Curran said.

Collaborate

Ortega noted that she tries to promote other local tourism sites via social media as the sites promoted are often quick to reciprocate.  “It’s good for everyone,” she said, conveying a strong sense of devotion to the city.

The ROI of Social?

Though both Curran and Ortega said that the ROI of social has much to do with being an extension of hospitality and making guests enjoy their stay more, Curran noted,  “When someone visits our website from one of our social platforms, they are four times more likely to actually book a room at the hotel.”

Always Mindful of the Privacy of Guests

“We’re sensitive all the time about the privacy of our guests.  There are times I’ll even ask a guest or a group what their preferences are regarding (public) social media conversation,” said Ortega. 

TAKEAWAYS
  1. Get your product or service right first.  (Social media engagement amplifies good or bad.  For Hotel Nikko, being social is a good thing!)
  2. Communicate with your customers how they prefer – and, for many, that means social media!
  3. Listen.
  4. Engage.
  5. Leverage real-time communication.  (Deliver the cookies or extension cord while they’re wanted!)
  6. Have a human voice!
  7. It takes more than an intern to do social media right.
  8. Get buy in from management.
  9. Consider social an extension of your hospitality service.
  10. Keep educating yourself in social media best practices.
  11. Collaborate with natural, local partners.
  12. Never forget to be mindful of the privacy preferences of your guests.
  13. Don’t overlook old-fashioned touches, like a hand-written note.  Even in a digital age, a hand-written note still has a powerful touch!

Two very engaging people with a deep commitment to hospitality and service, Curran and Ortega do a beautiful job of providing a beautiful hotel with an especially warm and inviting social media presence.   "I'll be back!"

And please join me on Twitter!  @GlenGilmore  @TravelConnected