Telum Talks To... Wimintra Raj, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Hotelintel.co
Tell us a bit about Hotelintel.co, why and how did you start the website?
Hotelintel.co is an online publication for hoteliers and hotel users, it is also aimed at hotel owners, developers, or even business travellers. I have always been a hotel user with an interest in hotels. In my very first job, I had to travel a lot through Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia and I have stayed in all kinds of hotels. It’s fascinating to see how hotels are operating. You leave the room messy but the next minute you come back, it’s all nice and clean again. I like that ‘magic’ which involves a lot of work including training, hiring, investing, and a lot of things behind it.
What stories do you find most relevant to your readers? How are you different from other online hospitality magazines?
My readers are ‘people’ and in the hospitality industry, people for me is the core business. For this reason, much of our content involves stories about people. We have interviewed CEOs, hotel owners from small scale to big scale properties on numerous locations. We also interviewed page and other staff who interact with customers. This is one of our online column that we are currently developing.
Hotelintel.co is launching two new websites, EGlobal Travel and Destination Thailand News. Can you tell us more about that?
EGlobal Travel is a 15-year-old publication in Australia that covers everything in the tourism industry. There are a lot of hotels opening in Australia and Hotelintel.co has launched our office in Melbourne last year with our first event. I see there’s an opportunity in Australia, so when the prospect for EGlobal Travel emerged, I thought it would be a good addition to my portfolio. But then COVID19 happened, Destination Thailand News gives us a space to work within Thailand and outside the tourism industry. For these two websites, I will need to work on their look and feel.
In the midst of COVID-19 situation, how have you managed your team? Has Hotelintel.co changed ways of communicating with audience?
We have always been operating lean, so we haven’t had to let anyone go. In fact, we have hired more people so our team is getting bigger.
There was a time when we saw dramatic email bounce numbers because a lot of our readers lost their jobs. So, during those times we tried to find content that could be most relevant to them and with uplifting content like new opportunities or online classes that could help develop new skill sets This could be sent out more frequently than the announcement of hotel openings or someone gets promoted. Because we are relatively small, we can change our direction and manage the way we do content quicker than big publishing houses.
What are the biggest changes in consumer behaviour and purchase patterns in hospitality industry / brands needs to be aware of?
People are smart. Word of mouth from people they trust, and their inner circle will win over a million follower and bloggers. Hotels might get views, shares, or clicks, but it won’t add onto your bottom line. People know that KOL is being paid to promote products or properties. Hotel needs to rethink their strategy in using KOL.
Some people believe that there won’t be any need for media in the future because you can get exposure anywhere and especially through your own social media channels. But they forget that media do have an authority and credibility to speak for and on behalf of them and those words are more powerful.
What do you hope for your readers to take away from reading content on Hotelintel.co?
Edutainment. I try to keep news short, interviews fun and advertorial entertaining and educational.
Besides being Founder & Editor-in-Chief, what else do you enjoy doing as a hobby?
I love running and reading. Although now, I have a baby, I’m a bit time sensitive. But I do find time to get at least a day or two running a week and catch up on my reading when I’m in a bathroom.