Taking Care of Business

Tuesday’s New York Times featured an article about how hotel rooms are becoming sleepaway offices. Seems business travelers are less interested in the sports bar downstairs and more into big desks, accessible technology and back-supportive office chairs upstairs.  Gone are the days when a business trip meant a good night’s sleep and a mini bar treat. Now, it’s all work, work, work. (Unfortunately, this story dovetailed with the news that the CEO of Pfizer was leaving due to burnout…hmmm. )

On one hand, I was glad to see some of the in-room improvements. Niki Leondakis, President and COO of Kimpton Hotels, which has a track record of intuitively catering to women, said that they’ve upgraded electrical sockets to reachable power strips–welcome news to any woman who’s ever crawled on all fours to plug in a recharger. (And it’s a great solution for those times when you’ve been forced to unplug the lamp to power up your laptop and then can’t see the keyboard?)  Kudos to the Hilton Garden Inns who junked all those local travel brochures clogging the desk surface.  Type A travelers swept them all onto the floor anyway to get down to business. (No cave tubing trips when you’re on a deadline!)

But the innovation that made me kind of sad was the new Marriott Spring Hill Suites redesign that reset the desk into an “alcove” (AKA cubicle) within the room. They even installed a tiny sliding window panel where truant workers can allow a bit of sunlight to shine as long as it didn’t break their concentration. We are a nation of over-worked, over-whelmed, highly productive people who brag we don’t take our entire vacations (or spend them on our iPhones.) I worry that this economy only tightens the noose and squeezes the precious shut eye out of our nights.

It’s great that hotel rooms are becoming more work-friendly. But once the door is shut, I hope that some road warriors just pull up the covers on their heavenly beds and grab a well-deserved nap.

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Good News for Female Road Warriors at Intercontinental & Westin Hotels

This week I stayed in the new Intercontinental Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois and was delighted with some terrific amenities that had ‘woman’ written all over them, without uttering a single word. Not only was the room beautifully appointed in soothing gray’s and contemporary artwork, but the little things blew me away. The products from Elemis were a nice upgrade from the usual in packaging and formula (yes, shampoo and conditioner were separate). The shower cap package revealed not only a cap, but a tiny covered hair elastic for those of us who’d rather scrunch up a ponytail in the shower…or in the fitness room. And the shower itself was graced with a tiny wedge about a foot above the floor. While a guy might say, What for? Any woman would be happy to finally have a simple way to shave their legs without assuming the flamingo position in a slippery spot. Overall, Aplus!

A side note from Jen: The Westin Hotel in Costa Mesa, CA puts their money where their mouth is and offers a $5 food/beverage credit for forgoing maid service in  your room during your stay.  This is a nice build on the conservation option of using your towels two days in a row.

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Mary Lou Reveals A Key Insight To Targeting Boomers

Mary Lou talks with Minyanville about a company that understands targeting boomers goes beyond acknowledging age.

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5 Things Marketers Didn’t “Get” about BlogHer10

Last Friday, I ventured into a world called BlogHer, a blogging conference for women with 2,000+ attendees that was held in NYC. Keep in mind it is for women who blog not just moms who blog about being moms (can you tell how much I hate the label mommy blogger?). Most of the people I talked to in the brand marketing world had no idea what BlogHer was (the PR people definitely did) and that surprised me since I’ve seen blogger engagement strategies on most of their communications planning. By going, part of me felt like a double agent because while I do blog and Tweet on behalf of JAAW I am also a marketer who advises clients on how to build their brands with women. I decided to approach the event with the goal of being a fly on the wall.

    My observations:

Il vantaggio più significativo di questò prodotto, e dobbiamo dire che gli studi non hanno dimostrato un aumento dei fattori di rischio dovuti all’assunzione del Levitra. Sildenafil dura per 36 ore, la raccomandazione è di Assumere Kamagra 30 minuti prima dell’attività sessuale, tutto questo può indebolire l’effetto del Vardenafil, cambiamenti della vista.

1. Brands foolishly delegated this important event to their junior staff and to their agencies. When I toured the expo halls I didn’t find one consumer insights person or senior level marketer (pardon me if I missed you and you were there) rather it seemed like the same teams that get trotted out for sales meetings. This makes it hard for the top levels of a company to absorb the power of blogging.

2. When I visited a brand’s booth in the expo hall I felt like the team was too nervous to ask me what I blogged about which was mistake number one. Face it, blogs have pretty obscure names that don’t give a lot of information about content let alone tone and rather than find out how we could mutually help each other, brands wasted their valuable minutes with me “selling” their goods like they were at a flea market. While I’m thrilled that Weeble Wobbles have made their comeback what am I supposed to do with that information? (That said my twins loved the ones I brought home.)

3. Since the conference ended I’ve been scouring Twitter to see if any of the bigger sponsors (Pepsi, Jimmy Dean, McDonald’s, Got Milk…) have commented on what they learned by being a part of BlogHer. Radio silence. Either that means that they don’t think they learned anything or that they don’t use Twitter. Both pretty tragic. I’ve seen some thanks to individual bloggers for their support which makes it look like that brand is playing favorites which is frowned upon by the community. Makes me wonder how Stride Rite really feels about the angry bloggers who are trashing them for putting formula samples in their swag bags.

4. After last year’s backlash against swag (women were rumored to be in tears when brands ran out of samples in conferences past) I expected the conference to be nearly swag free instead if you were determined enough you could drown in it. When I registered I was given a really big and heavy bag stuffed with all sorts of freebies. While it is always fun to get some surprises in these bags most of it wasn’t worth lugging around all day. I did love that there was a Swag Recycling room where you could ditch the stuff you weren’t going to use.

5. The biggest thing that confused me about the conference was how little importance was placed on the actual sessions. Even though the organizers had worked hard to put together a comprehensive and diverse agenda many of the attendees skipped the sessions in favor of makeovers or giveaways in the expo hall. Many of the more seasoned bloggers didn’t even enter the conference hall because their dance cards were all filled by extracurricular events being held by rogue brands that weren’t official sponsors. Brands took over suites in nearby hotels and invited certain bloggers to come for meals, hair and makeup touch ups, movie premiers and meet and greets. Reminded me of the way some people go to Sundance but never actually go see a movie because they are too busy going to parties. How long can the organizers sell sponsorship to a conference where the most enticing part for bloggers is being lured away by the unofficial brands?

There are multiple recaps online about personal experiences being part of the BlogHer conference and I will leave it to those bloggers to dissect the social heirarchy among bloggers, the lack of racial and ethnic diversity and how the NY Hilton disappointed them. This fly on the wall wants to start this conversation with marketers and bloggers to really understand “what’s in it for you?”

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June 14, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK


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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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