Bill's Bountiful Blog
May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.
But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist
By Wm. May
Published: 12/31/16 Topics: Comments: 0
Our family loved music.
Mom played piano and organ in the church. My father never missed a church choir practice. They had grown up together in a small North Dakota town. He out on the farm. She the daughter of the local Ford auto dealer.
At the age of 15, her father had decided Mom's niece, then age 6, was going to be the next Shirley Temple and moved the entire family to Hollywood California.
Mom attended the famous Hollywood high school, rubbed elbows with famous movie star kids and eventually became their accompanist because Mom, it seems, was a piano virtuoso.
She had true perfect pitch, could play any song by ear after hearing it once including, not only pop tunes, but classical pieces but also honky tonk, ad lib jazz and just about anything else you could throw at her.
Mom had, what in music circles, is referred to as an amazing "touch." The kind of mastery that even very well accomplished keyboard players aspire to and seldom achieve.
Luckily, Mom and Dad linked up again after she graduated from high school. They married, before he was pulled away to war for three years and then, as the slogan goes, lived happily ever after.
Growing up she had me take piano and accordion lessons. In fourth grade I started in the school band playing trumpet up through high school. Little by little I realize how unattainable my Mom's skills were.
But it was in fourth grade that my music took a dangerous turn. I heard the Beatles on the radio.
Soon I wanted to play the guitar and, of course, my mother encouraged anything to do with music. Soon thereafter my Mother began to lie with great regularity.
Like every other Beatles fan, I formed a band in sixth grade, with other 10, 11 and 12 year olds. Tired of rehearsing in our garage, we somehow convinced our school to allow us to play in front of students.
My Mom attended of course and afterwards took me aside and said, "My goodness, that was absolutely first rate. I am so proud of you."
Now this was music my mother probably hated, although she did seem to like most any kind. It was certainly far less sophisticated and was undoubtedly played out of tune, with an unsteady beat, and sung by kids with shaky voices. It was far too loud.
It was only years later that I realized the music must have sounded terrible to everyone and dreadful to a concert level pianist. But she never let on that she knew better. In fact, she was an accomplished liar because I believed every word of her praise for decades.
My father did not believe that his children could "Do no wrong." He was a kind and quiet guy, but we kids could definitely do wrong with the important things. You did not disrespect people. You did not make fun of others. You definitely had to help with anything that came your way, and you did it with joy and without complaint.
I thought he walked on water, but all these years later, I realize he too had lied because after that same performance, he said "Bill, where did you learn to play that way? I am proud to be your dad."
He wasn't lying about being proud. But when a man with an amazing voice and musical skills praises an incompetent musician, I guess we need to call that a lie also.
Both parents continued to fib for many years, and almost every day. When their kids made any small achievement, and even when they failed. They gloated when I graduated junior high school, high school, college and after I started my own music and creative arts businesses.
They beamed when my wife and son succeeded. When my bothers and their kids did most anything of note, my mom's eyes would gleam, my dad's smile would beam and they were persistent in their praise.
Both my parents gave me many other skills in life. But mostly what they gave me was unabashed love and lavish praise. To this day, it's my most valued treasure. So I remind myself to say how proud I am of my family, friends, and coworkers.
It does not matter if their performance is exemplary, or if sometimes I know it's not great, it matters greatly that I lie to them. Soon, they make my praise come true.
Author: Wm. May
Blog #: 0510 – 12/31/16
By Wm. May
Published: 11/16/16 Topics: AirBnB, Hotels, Inns Comments: 0
With Autumn here, the lodging industry presented many seminars, conferences, workshops and classes. Here is a run down.
WA Lodging Association - Their annual conference was held at the new Davenport Grant Hotel in Spokane. Unlike its cousin the renovated and luxurious Davenport Hotel, the Grand is everything new and almost futuristic.
Hotel staff were very well-trained, professional and accommodating, although surely they know they are being evaluated by hundreds of people in their own industry.
Technology is used to speed check-in, schedule maid service and even lower the blinds. Furnishings were very comfy and very modern. Great Colors, big desk, USB ports bedside and huge flat screen TV.
It is a reminder to Vacation Home owners that they are in competition with a very large industry that is working overtime to return guests to traditional hotels.
Downstairs the meeting rooms were impressive with attentive servers, huge presentation screens and technology everywhere. They even immediately switched to the Seahawks game when the meeting was done.
HomeAway Summit - Presented by the owners of VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com and dozens of other websites this seminar was all about their company, with only a few offerings by other vendors.
HomeAway admitted they have work to do to confront the advent of AirBnB, but their purchase by Expedia (headquartered in Seattle) gives them powerhouse technology and marketing.
Their newly implemented guest service fees has been despised by vacation rental managers and owners, but they reason that new income is necessary to advertise more which helps property owners.
They did not mention that $400 million in additional fees will help pay for the $4 billion price Expedia paid. Hmmm.
HomeAway is finally taking a bigger role in opposing vacation rental prohibitions pursued by some cities including San Francisco and even Seattle. Time will tell.
AirBnB Open (Conference) - Held in Las Angeles, AirBnB continues to promote "home sharing" as just a way for owners to pay their bills. While that is true for some, it has not stopped new regulations - San Francisco and New York State have both passed laws that prohibit renting by many home owners.
Big events were Delight Guests, (Interior) Designing for Success, and The Future of AirBnB. Finding your Inner Happy Host. The event is a love-fest for many hosts who actually share rooms in their homes for the joy of meeting other people.
That concept is growing, although it differs some from many vacation rental owners who want to make money, while keeping their places safe and secure.
Just last week AirBnB announced they were going to offer personalized tours worldwide, so that guests in homes could find "Authentic" experiences. This might be a brilliant idea, but some guests are already confused by a lodging website that does not focus on lodging.
It is fascinating to see AirBnB grow so fast, but their customer service seems to be falling behind trying to keep up. Complaints are growing from guests, owners and managers.
Summary - The WA Lodging group has a comprehension of the industry that other segments can not match. There is great collaboration for the mutual good, while allowing diversity of properties and competitiveness. HomeAway's recent fee changes may or may not result in benefits to managers and owners. AirBnB holds to its roots of room rental, but whole home Vacation Rentals are a huge portion of their income.
For your information we advertise on HomeAway, AirBnB and over 300 other lodging websites, plus thousands of search engines as well as hundreds of websites in our network.
Advertising widely is what yields inquiries which yield bookings. No one does more than we do. We keep owners apprised of industry trends as we incorporate them into the best management services in the world.
Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0509 – 11/16/16
By Wm. May
Published: 10/01/16 Topics: AirBnB, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
A long time AirBnB hosts with multiple properties all with 4.5 or higher average ratings, recently complained that he received an online warning from AirBnB that his listings might be delisted if the average goes below a grade of 4.
Research has showed that average ratings on AirBnB are a full one star higher than the number of stars for homes on HomeAway.com.
Could this mean that only the better homes are listed on AirBnB? A random view of homes in most areas show even a wider variety of rentals than on other vacation rental listing sites.
Another factor is that AirBnB lists individual rooms or guest suites within a home, and these are uncommon on HomeAway websites. A constant reading of AirBnB forums such as AirHostsForum.com, reveals that the horror stories of in-house rentals can be even more rancorous with hosts and guests often very unhappy with each other.
There are rooms that stink, and guests that are stinkers. There are places that would make most guests gag - a trailer in someone's back yard? A Tee Pee with no bathroom handy? A sleeping bag under a tree?
In most U.S. High Schools, teachers often grade students on what is called "The Curve." This is a philosophy that posits not all students perform the same. Some study diligently, some do not. Some have greater native intelligence and some do not. Therefore, the grades within a given set of students should be spread often in a graph looking something like this.
A = 10%
B = 20%
C = 50%
D = 20%
F = 10%
** The actual percentages can vary by teacher, but the general proportions are similar.
Most teachers never understand that a usual class size of 20 to 30 students is not a wide enough sample to allow the curve to be valid within that class. But, the concept does seem to be applicable to other matrixes.
50% of hotels are adequate (and not luxury)
50% of drives obey the speed limit
50% of employees do adequate work.
50% of diners leave an appropriate tip.
Most teachers also never admit that the success of students is greatly dependent on the teacher. Some instructors explain things very well, some offer extra help and some are expert motivators. But, we have all had teachers who were lazy, rude, or bad communicators.
So how come AirBnB seems to think that 100% of its guests must get a grade of A or A minus?
If their goal is to drive up quality and guest relations, that is a wonderful idea. But if their goal is a scaling system on which guests can determine the quality of a home, then they have it all wrong.
More likely, Airbnb's warnings to the hosts of homes is intended to fool guests into thinking that every home is a luxury place, every destinations is truly unique and bookings on AirBnB will ensure a perfect vacation. All of that is simply to increase bookings and fill Airbnb's pockets.
Any intelligent person knows that it can rain at the beach, have crappy snow at a ski resort, or that a home may not be as big as you dreamed even if you got a bargain price. A better solution would be to truly rate homes with an overall system that better informs guests of the variety of homes, quality, location, size and other factors.
And that would result in homes being graded on the curve.
Author: Wm. May, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0511 – 10/01/16
By Wm. May
Published: 08/01/16 Topics: Comments: 0
One of the worst things we can do for our children is tell them they are great at everything they do.
Explaining that they can be victorious at one skill or another is true for many offspring at certain times in their lives. But, deluding them with false hope of impossible tasks creates bumptious behavior that only hurts the child in the long run, and misplaced confidence is often difficult or impossible to expel once infested.
You may find this advice as self-defeating for children, or event fatalist, but it is nothing of the kind. Every one of us ends up being realistic in our expectations in order to cope with life and to pursue endeavors which are indeed attainable.
A person's time is better spent pursuing the endeavors they are capable of, than chasing dreams - nightmares really - which are, or will prove to be impossible.
On a recent television show, celebrities were invited to become springboard and platform divers. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, a retired professional basketball player and one of the sport's greatest, used his athletic discipline to train diligently.
But in the end, his 7 foot 2 inch height was too much and his dives looked - shall we admit it - gangly.
Watching the television show American Idol, reveals that a great many people are greatly terrible at singing. For those who approach the competition as a challenge, and recognize their inferiority with a grin, the contest is a hoot.
But others, who seem so clearly terrible to virtually every viewer, remain confident and even defiant when told that their vocal skills would be better suited for calling pigs in the forest. Often their disdain for the judges is echoed by families and friends accompanying them to the auditions.
How could otherwise intelligent people be so delusional about their vocal skills? How can novice employees start new jobs feeling there are already experts are skills they know nothing about?
How can customers who know nothing of a product, pronounce themselves experts on Yelp?
The Internet allows people the world over to gain information and even insight from the knowledge and experience of others. But it has limitations.
Watching an expert mountaineer rock-climb prepares the viewer for attempting such a thing. Climbing the wall exposed to the elements in bad weather and without proper physical conditioning is suicide.
Reading an account of hiking the jungles of Africa can not subject the reader to the heat, humidity, biting insects, harsh physical demands and mental fatigue of trudging through the inhospitable landscape.
The word bumptious is defined as "annoyingly self-assertive" and people with this kind of malady are to be avoided. Steering clear is better advice, than helping them to recognize their disease.
That self-confidence means they are just as likely to repel attempts to bring them into reality as they are to actually self-correct the deficiency themselves.
Author: Wm. May – Title, MayPartners
Blog #: 0504 – 08/01/16
By Wm. May
Published: 06/01/16 Topics: Comments: 0
AirBnB is being unfairly criticized due to the socialism that some hosts have exhibited.
They have implemented a number of rules, regulations and oversight in hopes of stamping out unfair rejection of prospective guests. But it does not fully address the problem.
The Phenomena is caused by one of the very precepts on which AirBnB is founded.
Surely, building familiarity with guests and hosts is a good thing. The world needs more communication and personal interaction. But the very act of showing a photograph of every host gives racists the key to shunning people they don’t like.
Reverse racism also exists but who knows to what degree. Surely some guests avoid staying with people whose race is different than their own, and also detectable by the photos.
Several websites competitive to AirBnB have popped up offering a platform that is safer for minorities. Innclusive.com in particular seeks to solve the problem, but they too ignore the obvious. Posting host and guest photos allows racism to take place on their website also.
So if AirBnB was serious about racism they would simply remove the photos from host and guest profiles. Of course, that would likely decrease the number of bookings because it would indeed be less personable.
Don't hold your breath waiting for AirBnB to walk the walk on this one. It is controlled by powerful venture capitalists all whose primary intent is maximum revenue, hoping for profit and looking for a giant payout when AirBnB finally goes public.
Avoiding racism isn't at the top of their list. Money is.
Author: Wm. May – Director, VRIA, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0508 – 06/01/16
By William May
Published: 03/25/16 Topics: Self Improvement Comments: 0
At 1am, a warning text message buzzes on my phone. One or more of the computer network servers is down. Not working. Kaput.
With luck it is just a glitch, that a simple setting or a simple reboot will solve. It happens, so I'm out the door, in the car and down to our data center.
But this time, the server will not re-start, the indictor lights look suspicious. You try again and finally realize this puppy is toast. As in maybe ready for the scrape heap.
Websites are down, business is being missed and all is at risk. Contingencies have been made against the loss of data but not all backups are perfect. You never know if they work until you need to restore them.
And you hope to never have to test the restoring.
Luckily you have a spare server but swapping all the data is a problem, and a re-install of the operating system is also in order. Tricky stuff maybe, but tricky enough to bring in an expert.
By now its 2AM and time to call the System Administrator, get him out of bed, into his car and down to the office.
When he arrives at 3AM his first words are, "Why are you here?"
And I reply, "My Dad said to."
"What are you talking about?, he says and walks off toward the server room.
He doesn't know my Dad owned a truck repair shop and he doesn't know that my Dad often got calls from truck drivers frantic for a repair in the wee hours of the morning. He doesn't know my Dad always helped even when there was little or no money in it.
As a young child I did not understand, why my Dad would always go to the shop if he had to call a mechanic to go to the shop. As a child, I didn't keep track of time but I knew they often stayed there late into the night.
As an adult, now I understand. I know my Dad was not a mechanic. I know he probably wasn't much help to the mechanics.
Or was he?
All work goes easier with help. Helping hands make light work. All work goes faster when you know others appreciate your work. All work becomes a joy if you decided to make it so.
So as I watched the server's being swapped last night. I saw the Administrator go through a myriad of complicated operating system settings, then test and retest the system. I had little to offer.
But as the system administrator left the office some hours later having put everything right, he stopped to say, "I appreciate that you stayed."
"No problem", I said, "My Dad said to."
My dad always said "No problem" to just about everything and then he always smiled.
The military says leaders lead from the front. Honor says to never asked others to do what you would not be willing to do. Fair play demands helping when not asked.
Author: William May, MayPartners
Blog #: 0499 – 03/25/16
By William May
Published: 02/27/16 Topics: Self Improvement Comments: 0
Jerry Belson, Hollywood writer, director and producer is created with coining the phrase, "Never assume, because when you assume, you make an ass of you and me."
In the age of internet, instant information and fast communication there is no reason to make stupid rude assumptions. So why does it seem like there are more asinine assumers than ever before?
Could it be that the ability to write flame emails, make anonymous online posts, and assail people behind their backs knowing the target of their vile have no way to respond, as caused an explosion of insensitivity? Are assumers just cowards who would never have dared to confront people face to face?
Here are a few doozey's in the lodging managing business, all delivered with anger:
Guest: "I just assumed there would be Internet in this house, even though its 40 miles from the nearest town."
Property Owner: "I just assumed the guests would not mind if I remodeled the bathroom while they were there."
Guest: "I just assumed it would be OK to invite a couple dozen drunken friends for a party as long as they did not stay the night."
Property Owner: "I just assumed you would not charge me for looking for my lost phone, even though its an hour or two round trip."
None of these examples are terribly important but they are improperly presumptive and often delivered with an air of superiority all intend to make lodging, food and other service personnel like slaves.
So why do seemingly intelligent, professional adults treat others so badly?
Some feel a misguided sense of entitlement. Others take frustration in their lives out on anyone who is handy. Some blame others for their intellectual inability to solve problems. Some want to feel elite by making other feel inferior.
But mostly - assuming something before asking questions requires an emotional maturity that some people just never learned from parents, friends, spouses or coworkers. Until someone confronts them, they will continually increase their asinine behavior unabated.
So how to avoid making an ass out of yourself and others?
Follow the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.."
Get the facts before making assumptions. Ask questions before making assumptions. Never assume you are right, or the other person is wrong. It’s the adult thing to do. The courteous thing to do.
Jerry Belson would have agreed with Abraham Lincoln who said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."
Author: William May, MayPartners Inc.
Blog #: 0491 – 02/27/16
By William May
Published: 01/04/16 Topics: People, Reputation Comments: 0
On the Internet people say Oprah Winfrey is really just an alien, that she is secretly married to Barack Obama and that she never actually did a TV show. They say she used a hologram, stole TV advertiser money and sent it back to the planet she came from. (Michelle is actually a man I heard!)
Randy Jones from San Antonio lives with 1,000 cats all named Wilbur. Cindy Rigmore from Alberta has lived her entire life on a diet of egg shells and whiskey, and is 91 years old.
There is a man in Sherwood Forest who calls himself Robin Hood, but lives in a mobile home.
I believe every word of those because I read them on the internet. Or should I? Especially when there are so many anonymous devious trolls out there. Unfortunately, no one is immune from crazies on the Internet.
For decades, I have helped lead numerous businesses which have served hundreds of professional clients and tens of thousands of consumers. They are happy and many have become life-long friends and business partners.
These are the honorable reliable people who know the facts.
Occasionally leaders have the responsibility to handle unpleasant tasks like setting rules, collections, contracts, addressing conflict and even managing litigation. In the many companies I have been asked to operate, consulted for, or invested in, those tasks are always handled with respect and courtesy.
But it is not a fun job - especially when those affected, often resort to online defamation. The outcomes are not always desirable. My long-time colleague Catherine used to say, "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for everything."
With the advent of the Internet, anyone can write anything they want about anyone else, and pretty much without lability. Benjamin Franklin said, "Freedom of the press is limited to those who can afford to buy one." And today that means every crack pot, crazy and coward.
As my Communications law professor put it, freedom of the press means you can publish anything, but you are forever liable for everything whether wrong intentionally or not.
Today the whiners, complainers and defamers are always the losers with nothing better to do with their time because they have done little and tried even less. They have nothing better to do (truly nothing better) than to assail those who pursue goals and try to do good.
We should hope that today's newly minted trolls go back to the planet they came from but, of course, that won't happen because rude behavior, presumptive stupidity and nutty people have been around forever. It is just that now they have a bigger pulpit to spray crazy from.
Because online posts are often anonymous, intelligent discerning people do not believe anything they hear on the Internet, especially from unknown people. Fools believe everything they read and they certainly believe - with their twisted little minds - that Oprah is an alien.
Author: William May, MayPartners
Blog #: 0569 – 01/04/16
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