How Online Travel Companies Use Press Releases for Effective Marketing Tactics

Press release distribution has always been one of many effective marketing tactics for online travel companies around the world. However, in the recent years, this method have proved to be more potent than any other marketing tool used for promoting services across the global travel industry.Online marketing gurus in travel industry have been inventing and reinventing News release distribution as an effective vehicle to not only drive messages to the potential customers but also allure them to sign up for lucrative tour packages.Contrary to the conventional practices, many online travel companies use press releases in a clever and creative way to promote their business and services towards many potential customers round the year. Here are a few ways to use press releases to gain optimum mileage from online PR distribution.Promoting Tour PackagesNews stories are a great tool for travel companies to promote their tour packages. The announcement of some attractive tour packages can make a great headline and entice popular attention toward tour services during peak vacation seasons. Informative press releases on tour and travel packages generate decent revenues for online travel companies.Connecting to Prospective TouristsApart from informing new customers, online travel agencies can also try to fortify their customer base by distributing attractive news releases. There are many frequent flyers who demonstrate keen interest in products and packages offered by various travel companies. Travel agencies can create specifically tailored press releases to inform and connect with those potential customers for service promotion. Writing such content and spreading them across the web brings attractive tour packages to the attention of interested customers.Helping Information CirculationThere are a good number of online and offline PR agencies that circulate interesting and fresh information to their readers. Online travel agencies can take advantage of this by crafting their press releases for better circulation. Skilled and experienced writers can be deployed to help maximize the chances of your news story circulation for optimum exposure of your service packages.Educating Aspiring VisitorsOnline travel companies, today, are adopting innovating and effective marketing techniques to create loyalty amongst their customers. They use press releases to share travel-critical information with their prospective buyers. For instance, many online tour agencies have published stories to help their customers with protecting their finances during the travel.Ambitious travelers tend to look for useful financial information to ensure a happy and hassle-free experience. Therefore, press releases with an informative dimension can help generate interests for your tour services among your potential customers in the travel industry.Creating Social AwarenessSmart online travel companies are beginning to use press releases as a tool of creating social awareness, bringing classified customers closer to the possibility of using their services. Such textual content that include interesting data and survey statistics about the tour experiences can create potential impact on buyers’ behavior when they look for travel reviews online. Therefore, contrary to conventional marketing tactics, PRs are going way beyond the dissemination of practical information.Thus, online travel companies can do well to write good press releases which can be effective marketing tactics to bring in business.

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.

4 Essential Steps for Your Skin Care Routine

The face and the facial skin is the first thing that people see. So when we leave our homes you want to present a clean, clear, beautiful looking face. The facial skin unlike other areas of skin on our body is always exposed to the environment and therefore is easily damaged through sun exposure, chemicals, toxins and pollutants. Taking care of our facial skin is very important not only to stay beautiful but also to avoid increased signs of aging, blemishes, or acne.Although, most skin care products and advertisements are directed at women, men should also have a daily facial skin care routine as well. Men’s facial skin is just as likely as women’s to become damaged, dirty, or acne ridden, therefore making sure you properly hydrate, and clean your facial skin is necessary. Most people have been using the same skin care routine since they were young. They found an over the counter face wash that has worked for them and they stuck with it. However, as we age our skin changes. You may need more than just your average face wash to keep up that clear, youthful looking skin.The best skin care routines involve 4 steps. Diligence and determination are needed to succeed with a great skin care routine. Most people consider just washing or cleansing their face of the daily dirt and grime their best effort to keep their facial skin in good condition. However, it’s the other crucial steps that will keep their skin looking young, vibrant, healthy and firm. Although, all four steps are necessary to keep our facial skin beautiful, 2 out of the four steps are not necessary on a daily basis.The four essential steps to the best skin care routines are cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing. Cleansing and moisturizing the face should be done everyday in the morning and before you go to bed. This way the face stays fresh, clean and hydrated throughout the day as well as the night.Cleansing is the first step for proper skin care. Most people clean or wash their face at least one time a day. This step is imperative because it removes dirt, dust, grime, grease and extra oil from the skin. Wet the face and then use a good facial cleanser on both the face and the neck. Massage the cleanser gently into the skin in an upward motion. Then rinse the face with warm water and a soft washcloth or cotton wool. A water-based cleanser is the best for cleaning the face because you can avoid chemicals that may irritate the skin.Toning is the second step in a facial skin care routine. Toning is usually used in the form of toner pads or wipes. Facial toners are used to remove any traces of dirt, grease, or excess cleanser that has been left as residue on the face. Using a toner everyday is an option and some people may even leave it out completely if they feel their cleanser works well enough. A good rule of thumb is to use a toner in your morning facial routine but leave it out of your nighttime regiment.Exfoliation is a key part of any skin care regiment, however should not be done on a daily basis. Exfoliation should be done once a week at most to remove dead skin cells from the face. Although the body naturally sloughs off dead skin cells on its own, exfoliating helps to speed up the process. Dead skin cells can block pores and cause acne so removing these skin cells in a timely manner can reduce the appearance of acne. However, exfoliation can be harmful especially to the facial skin, if done too often. Normal skin cells are replenished every 3-4 weeks; therefore exfoliating new skin cells can damage the appearance of your skin.Lastly but most importantly is moisturizing. Moisturizing the skin is so important because it keeps our skin from drying out; causing wrinkles or cracks and keeps our skin radiant and glowing. Dry skin can be painful, itchy and unappealing to the eye. Skin cells need water to live; therefore overly dry skin can lead to increased skin cell death. Use a moisturizer specifically for the face. Apply your moisturizer when your skin is warm and damp because this is when the pores are open. Leave some moisturizer on the top of the skin to get the full effect for your skin. Moisturize any time the skin feels dry and after both morning and even skin care routines. Make sure your moisturizer doesn’t have any harmful chemicals, fragrances or dyes that can irritate the skin.Natural skin care products should be used for all skin care needs. Natural products avoid harsh chemicals and dyes that can irritate the skin and cause breakouts. Always use products based upon your own skin type. Test products on your forearm, earlobe or neck before you buy them. This way you can know if it will cause any irritation. Always remember to remove all makeup before starting your skin care routine. Don’t just wash away makeup; use proper make-up removers to completely clean the face of makeup residue. Remember to apply sunscreen if there is a possibility you will be out in the sun.