Archive | Travel RSS for this section

The Rewards of Hosting A Super Bowl

By Cheval John

I am in “recovery mode” after having the opportunity to work and cover Super Bowl 51 that took place in Houston.

This past super bowl was the best championship matchup ever due to it going into overtime for the first time ever.

It was also the first time that a team had an epic meltdown on the biggest stage ever.

The Atlanta Falcons, who came into the Super Bowl as having the No.1 ranked offense, found a way to lose to the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime.

The Falcons had a reputation of collapsing in the playoffs over the years.

Many thought that they were going to reverse the above and finally win their first Super Bowl.

The Patriots found a way to overcome a 25 point defecit with their determination plus heart and won their fifth Super Bowl.

Many major media outlets documented the Falcons’ epic collapse and also Lady Gaga’s halftime show

These same journalists from the major media outlets travel annually to cover the Super Bowl, which is the biggest event in the USA.

If a journalist is not a beat writer or a sports reporter for that particular NFL team, then they will not be able to travel to cover the Super Bowl due to budgets constraints or if their team did not make the championship.

Many television, radio and newspaper journalists had the opportunity to cover the festivities surrounding Super Bowl 51 here in Houston.

We saw reports about different festivities like Super Bowl Live, which took place at Discovery Green, that allowed the fans to see live concerts and also see the sports television personalities from Fox Sports, the NFL network ESPN and many others broadcast their shows live.

We also saw the feedback from the visitors on whether the city of Houston did an excellent job of hosting them during the Super Bowl.

Local residents of Houston had the opportunity to work as volunteers for the Houston Super Bowl Committee.

Some of us who work as social media professionals volunteered our services in working at the social media command center at the headquarters of the Houston Super Bowl Committee.

I had the opportunity to work as a social media volunteer for the Houston Super Bowl Committee and cover the activities using the different social media channels to give my audience a behind the scenes view of Super Bowl 51.

Take a look at this light show at Discovery Green

And the revolving Super Bowl rings that was displayed at the NFL Experience (which you had to pay to attend) inside the George R. Brown Convention Center

This photo below is the Lombardi Trophy which attendees had the opportunity to take a picture with

You will see how downtown got extremely busy when the visitors outside of the Houston area arrived on the weekend of the Super Bowl

I can tell you that it was truly a dream to be here for the Super Bowl because of seeing the lively atsmophere when watching all of the media coverage of the championship event.

I got to see first hand the teamwork from the different tourism organizations like Houston First and The Greater Houston Partnership who helped promote the event.

I also saw the Houston Astros organization lend their full support to the Super Bowl with the use of Minute Maid Park, where the opening night (media day) took place.

Now that Super Bowl 51 is over, the Houston Super Bowl host committee did the honorary transfer of the guard to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee to get their city prepared to host Super Bowl 52.

My advice to the Minnesota Super Bowl Committee is to think outside of the box and enlist social media professionals in addition to business leaders to help promote Super Bowl 52.

You will do an excellent job because you have the right leaders and team members that are qualified to host the Super Bowl.

For anyone who works in the different business sectors and industries in the Minneapolis area, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be apart of the Super Bowl.

Though you will not get paid, I can guarantee you that you will see the long term benefits of volunteering your time for the Super Bowl.

When the commissioner of the NFL tells the crowd and the national media that your host city did an excellent work in hosting the fans and visitors, you will have a sense of pride in being a part of a Super Bowl.

To close out this blog post, here is the video of the Super Bowl train leaving downtown which was the home of the Houston Super Bowl Committee

And the fireworks to end the Super Bowl Live Festivities

Three Restaurants To Visit During Super Bowl 51

By Cheval John

In the Houston area, they are thousands of restaurants and coffee shops that serve the residents that call this city home.

The interesting thing is it will take a lifetime to visit all of the restaurants in the fourth largest city in the United States of America.

The reason is that most coffee shops and restaurants don’t last for more than five years.

Every year there is a new restaurant opening within the Houston area.

And with the Super Bowl set to take place in less than a week, the city of Houston are prepared to showcase what they have to offer.

According to Visit Houston.com, an estimated two million people will descend here for the biggest event of the year.

The city has changed dramatically since hosting the Super Bowl in 2004 with the expansion of the train system and the addition of discovery green park.

Plus, the convention district has renovated in the last couple of years with the addition of new restaurants, the new marriot marquis houston hotel and the partnership tower.

With that being said, people will want to know where are the best places to eat during the super bowl festivities.

Here are some of the best restaurants and coffee shops that you will enjoy while you are here during the Super Bowl.

These restaurants and coffee shops make this list because they are houston based and some have a strong social media presence.

ToutSuite

ToutSuite opened in 2011 with the intention of changing the east side of downtown houston.

They are located at 2001 Commerce St. near Minute Maid Park.

The company was founded by Sandy Tran and Thuy-My Luong.

ToutSuite has one of the best selections for coffee and food items.

What is truly cool about them is that they are consistently busy because most of their customers are college students who are doing their homework or studying.

Another aspect that makes them very unique is the way how they engage their audience on social media.

Their social media team consist of Roshan Bhatt, marketing coordinator and the company’s co-owner.

When I tell you that their social media is excellent, I mean it.

Each of their content on Instagram averages 400 likes and people always leave a comment.

The key driver as to why they are always getting engagement from their fans is because they consistently posts their content everyday.

Take a look at this post:

And this post here:

Though the co-owners had no intention of expanding their business, they opened a second location at 303 Memorial City because of a need to bring a coffee shop there.

And they are planning to add a co-working space to their company because they see a need for small business owners to collaborate on work related projects.

If you have the opportunity, you should visit ToutSuite.

806 Main Kitchen

This restaurant is located inside the J.W. Marriot Downtown, which opened in 2014.

The hotel occupies the historic “Carter Building,” Houston’s first skyscraper which was built in 1910.

806 Main Kitchen has a variety of food items that represents the city of Houston.

The interesting thing is that most of their customers are business professionals who work in downtown houston.

The chefs get the orders finished in a timely manner that makes it easy for the workers to enjoy their lunch hour and recharge before they go back to work.

So when you walk inside during the busy lunch hour, you will see a lot of business professionals enjoying their break time from the daily stress of working for oil and gas companies.

The only thing I would advise is to find out from the staff if the Main Kitchen will be open to anyone due to the Super Bowl festivities.

Zabak’s Mediterranean Cafe

Zabak’s Cafe has been in business since 2006.

They are located at 5901 Westheimer Road near the Galleria Mall.

The company has one of the best mediterranean foods in Houston.

What I love about this restaurant is that the ownership take care of their employees and they treasure their customers.

And their story is unique as well.

The owner’s parents immigrated to the Houston area from the Middle East and opened a restaurant that catered to other immigrants.

They have been featured in the Houston Chronicle and made Travel and Leisure’s Best Sandwiches List.

When you walk inside Zabak’s restaurant, you will sense a welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel more relaxed.

And they have no intention of expanding because they believe that they are in the right location to be extremely successful with their business.

It takes about an hour to get to their location via the Houston Metropolitan Bus 82 Route.

However, the travel will be worth it because you will enjoy their mediterranean food.

If you are staying in the Galleria area, you should stop by Zabak’s Mediterranean Cafe.

And if you need to know where else to go around downtown during the Super Bowl, you should check out,
downtownhoustonlive.com, a video guide created by Annette McBride and Laura Lea Waldusky to give visitors a video tour of what to do while they are here for the super bowl.

Did I miss any restaurants and coffee shops in this article?

What are your favorite places to eat and drink while you are in Houston?

You can leave your comment below

Giving Your Fans Unique Access To Your Business

By Cheval John

The Sevilla Football Club (FC) made history a couple of days ago in Basel, Switzerland.

The Spanish club defeated Liverpool F.C. 3-1 to win their third consecutive UEFA Europa League Championship and also the only club to win the title five times.

Sevilla again qualified for the UEFA Champions League season for next year.

They also have another opportunity to play for the UEFA Super Cup against the winner of the Champions League final that is set to occur next Saturday in Milan, Italy.

Some will probably not make a big deal out of Sevilla’s dominance in the Europa League because it is not as well known to the casual fan like the Champions League.

It is comparable to the fact that North Dakota State, who became the first collegiate team to win 5 consecutive national championships, because many view their competition as inferior due to the level that they play in, the Football Championship Subdivision, (FCS).

But the thing is that Sevilla is one among the most storied soccer teams in this century because they are finding ways to win tough matches.

In this year’s championship, Sevilla was down 1-0 entering the second half.

Then they scored three goals in the second half to steal the title from Liverpool.

This matchup was widely broadcast on television stations around the world especially on Fox Sports, the spanish equivalent Fox Deportes and ESPN Deportes.

For those who wanted to watch this matchup probably did not have access to these channels because they could not afford the cable channels above.

What would have happened if these sports teams give their fans a unique access to championship matchups by using the live streaming apps like Periscope and Snapchat?

I have a feeling that these sports teams would have built a stronger and deeper following like the North Carolina State Wrestling Team.

I heard of how the NC State Wrestling used periscope to give the alumni and fans access to the NCAA Wrestling Championships from Jennifer Hoverstad, livestreamer, Operations and Project Manager for 03.

That is truly awesome because the NC State wrestling team knew that most of their fans would not be able to watch them compete on ESPN3.

Also, the team listened to what the NC State alumni wanted and were able to solve the problem by giving them access to the NCAA championships.

This is why businesses should take the time to listen to what their audience want and not just try to sell to them whenever they have a chance.

When the businesses and sports teams follow the example of the NC State wrestling team and Mrs. Hoverstad, they will be one step closer to being extremely successful in their business.

Leicester City Proved Their Doubters Wrong

By Cheval John

Nobody believed that Leicester City was going to win the English Premier League (EPL) title when the season began.

They had every reason to believe it because the club, who are nicknamed “the foxes” barely survived regulation by finishing 14th in the EPL.

Leceister City had a 5,000 to 1 chance to win the championship and those who made a wager on the team were probably believed to be foolish.

The clubs who normally win the EPL are the top teams who have the budget to sign the elite players to help them achieve the championship.

Leicester City achieved the impossible and won the EPL title after Tottenham finished their matchup in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea F.C.

This historic win has garnered international media and social media attention.

Even if you are not a soccer fan, you have to appreciate the magnitude of this historic title run by Leicester City.

The club was founded in 1884 and have once finished second during the 1928-29 season in the English top division of football (EPL was formed in 1992).

This historic championship run also proved to be a statement for their head coach Claudio Ranieri.

Twelve years ago, Ranieri was told by the Chelsea F.C. ownership during his firing that he would never win a EPL title.

And the fact that he led Leicester City to a championship is poetic justice.

They did not complain about the “lack of resources” or the “lack of talent” that they had compared to the teams like Manchester United and Chelsea F.C.

Leicester City had the mindset to believe that they could compete in the EPL.

They were to a large degree the ultimate underdog in the EPL.

This story of Leicester City applies to us who are in business for ourselves.

We might believe that we can’t compete with the large businesses because it seems like they have all the resources to market their products or services.

Not only can we compete against the large businesses with the lack of resources, we can win too because we are creative and we understand how to build a loyal customer base through social media.

If we can share valuable content and be human in our story telling, we can win over customers and succeed for the better.

Just like Art Jones, Jed Record and Kristy Gillentine who shared with my audience on What’s The Word? about how they use snapchat to tell their stories of running their businesses.

So you don’t need money or the resources to succeed in your business or win a championship if you are a sports team.

All you need is the growth mindset to believe that you can succeed in your business and life.

When you have the unlimited belief that you can succeed in your business, you will achieve unlimited success and bring inspiration to a lot of people like Leicester City did to their fans.

Samantha Kelly’s Gift Keeps On Giving

By Cheval John

Samantha Kelly has come a long way to be where she is at today.

Ms. Kelly, also known as “Tweeting Goddess” built her first business to profitability because she connected other Irish entrepreneurs through the #IrishBizParty twitter chat.

That twitter chat led other business owners for meetup gatherings and also led to the Dublin, Ireland native to launch her Tweeting Goddess business.

Ms. Kelly success did not come by accident.

She understood from the first day that if you were going to be successful in business, you have to help other people to achieve success.

And because of her giving mentality and her willingness to help other business owners to be successful, she has achieved great success herself in her business.

In addition, her native Ireland is now going to be even more better because they are catching up in social media.

The reason is because of the first ever Social Media Summit Ireland that began earlier today at Aviva Stadium, home of the rugby and soccer national teams in Dublin.

The conference came to being due to the vision of yours truly, Ms. Kelly.

She saw how behind Irish businesses were in social media compared to businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom.

And the fact that she saw how much it would cost her to attend social media conferences to learn from the leading experts in the social media industry gave her the idea of bringing these same experts to teach the business owners how to build their audience on social media.

The speakers themselves are truly happy to be there to share their social media expertise because they felt welcomed.

Some of these tweets below showcases the success from the social media summit ireland

So if a business is going to be successful for the better by lifting each other up, why are they still tearing each other down?

What they don’t realize is that they are contaminating the market with their selfishness and are ruining opportunity for anyone to make a living for the better.

They still subscribe to the fact that if they undercut their competition and put people down, then their business will be successful.

Thank goodness Ms. Kelly don’t subscribe to the dogma of putting people down in order to be successful with her business.

Because of her willingness to help her “competition” to be successful with their business, the entire business community and sports organizations in Ireland will now be a step further to being proficient with social media as their counterparts in the U.S. and U.K.

YouTube video courtesy of TEDX