Sunday, 30 January 2011

Disney goes back to its roots

Quite what drew my mother and I to see Tangled this afternoon I'm unsure of, since I haven't seen a Disney film (and I mean proper Disney on its own) since The Emperor's New Groove in 2000. We're also hardly in Disney's target market at the ages of 22 and...late 40s.

So whether it was the dazzling golden hair or simply an excuse to get out of the house; we sat surrounded by eight year old girls, a few reluctant brothers and their parents after paying just under £22 to see the 3D picture.

What followed was a surprise. Disney had gone back to its roots with a fresh, sharper cut. Tangled had vivid colours, a damsel in distress, cute sidekicks and a predictable but enjoyable storyline; all tried and tested formulas in the House of Mouse. There were also songs, appearing randomly as they would in a musical or pre-2000 Disney movie. Although none were memorable, they added that Disney sparkle.

Then our heroine, Rapunzel, appeared as imperfect, slightly unsure of herself and a bit neurotic. Just how half the female population is every day. I was fascinated by how resourceful her hair was, her determination and the struggle with her mother, who was in fact the evil old lady who locked her away. The whole 'my mum won't let me do this' theme throughout the film would apply to girls of all ages and is highlighted by the brilliant 'Mother Knows Best' song sequence which nearly convinced me that indeed, she does. But then Rapunzel had the guts to get out anyway and she used the man who 'rescued' her, rather than simply jump in his arms. He's also a thief and she's a princess...cheeky little minx.

Nevertheless, Tangled's falling in love momentis just as cute and romantic as Eric and Ariel in those reeds or Aladdin and Jasmine on the carpet.

Now we need a heroine who doesn't fall in love, gets let down by the guy but gets through everything on her own just fine. I'm thinking that may be too forward thinking for Disney. Best stick to fantasising on heroes and romeos.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

TRYP to introduce techonolgy-driven concierge

TRYP, a funky hotel brand from Wyndham Hotels Group, has revealed that its lobbies and rooms will now include 'blog walls'. As part of the chain's strategy to create social experiences in its hotels, the blog walls will show the latest information, tips and points of interest for guests. In a way this pretty much acts as a technology-driven concierge, with real-time interactive updates from guests and staff. This will be helped by the check-in pods placed in the main social hubs, known as Plaza Central, and the free Wi-Fi throughout the hotels (currently US only), including rooms. It all seems pretty swanky to me - check out the pics of Plaza Central below.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Social media overtakes phone calls as main travel communication

Facebook updates while you were on holiday used to be met with comments of disdain or disbelief that you could visit another country and be bored, or pretentious, enough to tell everyone what you were up to. But now the website, together with Twitter, FourSquare and the like, have become so essential that it has become the main form of communication whilst travelling, according to a survey commissioned by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. The ability to share news and photos to several people at once has surpassed the traditional hotel room call, made easier with the constant internet access on our mobile phones. According to the survey, which interviewed 1,000 people, 65 percent of Brits use social media to stay in touch with friends and family while travelling and 36 percent prefer to break news online than over the phone. Meanwhile, one fifth of the UK will check sites multiple times each hour (including while travelling) and three quarters of Brits are now expected to use social media sites such as TripAdvisor to make their travel plans.

What it means for your business
Social media can be just as important for connecting with business partners as your customers. The air traffic disruption caused by last month’s snowfall and onboard updates from Carnival Splendour when it suffered a power failure proved how companies could reach thousands with official information in one hit. But despite its informalities and pitfalls, social media continues to host grounds to network and 56 percent of those surveyed agreed that having an active online presence was important. A further 55 percent used their profiles to meet new business contacts and maintain other relationships. It also seems to help form opinion, as 52 percent of people will check their business contact’s social networking before a meeting. Although you may need to take what you read with a pinch of salt, as 60 percent of Brits are likely to lie in postings.

What this means for your customers
Ready available access to WiFi or a computer is often ranked as one of the top five amenities required by travellers, particularly in the business sector. This should be taken into consideration when choosing a hotel for clients, as 78 percent of Brits find that social media use helps them meet people when travelling for work. Indeed Sheraton had admitted that it underestimated the importance of services such as its Link@Sheraton lounges. “Along with the bigger shift toward social media from other forms of communication, what the survey drove home for us was that an experience like Link@Sheraton isn’t a luxury for guests, but a necessity,” explained Hoyt Harper, senior vice president and global brand leader for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. “They expect total connectivity.” More than 50 percent of the chain’s guests used the lounge during their stay, with 75 percent of users checking Facebook.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What 2010's top 10 says about UK music

Written to: What's my name - Rihanna & Drake

While television continues to look bad on a good year; as will I.

All but two of the biggest selling songs of 2010 are from the US of A. Six of them could be classed as R&B, five could get away with being pure pop and one is a charity single. Almost all of them have definitely been overplayed.

Furthermore, five of them want to make us dance, three attempt to make us think about the bigger picture and there's a love song from a fittie to keep the girls happy. The majority of them invite or ask 'you' to do something. Refreshingly, all are original songs bar one, but it's for Haiti so we'll let them off.

Despite all the songs we've heard this year it seems we're a nation that's a sucker for a music heavyweight duet with a killer video and awesome chorus.

So here's the list, if you didn't know.

1. Love the way you lie - Eminem & Rihanna
2. Just the way you are - Bruno Mars
3. OMG - Usher
4. Fireflies - Owl City
5. Airplanes - B.O.B & Hayley Williams
6. California Gurls - Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg
7. We no speak Americano - Yolanda B Cool
8. Everybody Hurts - Various
9. Only Girl (in the world) - Rihanna
10. Pass Out - Tinie Tempah

Lyric of the day

Don't cry for me, coz I'm finding my way/You'll wake up one day, but it'll be too late

- Hung Up by Madonna