Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time for an update

Hi Folks,

Sorry for the lack of updates of late.

After one year being out of work I am pleased to report I have been back in the swing of things. I guess there won't be much in the way of updates on this blog for a while as the name is not currently suitable for me anymore. I've been working for an interesting e-commerce company that operates fashion websites including Friis & Co as well as the Jabra Bluetooth Headset shop Funnily enough it turned out that I started working almost a year since I lost my job with the Sterling bankruptcy.

It's been an interesting year, first spending time in Spain getting to know the playgrounds and beaches of Santander, Spain then being back in Malmö where in June we welcomed little Eddie to the fold. He is growing fast and catching up with Eva all the time. I can't believe he is over six months old already - time is moving so fast!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Cute Kids

Sorry, I haven't posted here for ages. Here's a couple of photos for Eva and Edward fans :

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's a boy !

Here's our new son - born on 26th June weighing in at 3785 grams.
Welcome Edward Henry Barham !

Friday, February 20, 2009

Few photos from Madrid

A few snaps from Madrid for your perusal :

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dream Job

Reef Island Job Rob

Nice piece of viral marketing from the Aussies. Similar to something by Thomson last week - but better!

As reported on the BBC they are going to pay someone £70 grand to stay on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef from 1st of July until the end of 2009 - writing a blog !

The "job" comes with a 3 bedroom villa, flexible working hours, and apart from visiting the Great Barrier Reef Islands, other responsibilities include feeding the fish and cleaning the pool. No sweat mate.

If you want to compete with me for the job have a look at
The website is pretty slow tonight - I bet they are getting some serious traffic!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New blog - affiliate marketing for travel industry

Happy New Year
Best wishes for 2009

To add to my little collection of blogs ( launched the win holidays blog in November ), I have split off the affiliate marketing for the travel industry angle of no-job-rob into a new entity which can be found here :

Although I am new to affiliate marketing, I hope my newness will help me write useful tutorials for other people interested in getting involved. Unfortunately many talented travel industry people will lose their jobs this year and I would like to think they can put their knowledge and expertise to use for themselves.

Already on there are the following posts and there are plenty more to come :

A review of "be-a-magpie" advertising system for Twitter

2009 travel industry predictions round-up

Which travel affiliate programmes to promote in the credit crunch.

My own prediction for 2009 travel affiliate marketing

Domain registration tips

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Travel Industry Predictions 2009

My 3 (UK market) travel industry predictions for 2009

  • Ryanair to break another deal with another of their ancillary partners expedia style.
  • January "peak booking period" to be worst ever by sales (passenger) volume.
  • 3 destinations that will do well from UK perspective South Africa (RAND has followed the pound down), Iceland (incredible nature, weaker currency) , Australia (A380 efficiency, "low" oil price)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seasons Greetings

Happy Christmas Everyone !

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Credit Crunch : what would you cut first - Xmas or Hols?

Interesting poll over at the incredibly well visited moneysavingexpert website.

They are asking : Which would you cut first… Christmas or Summer Holiday? 

The average UK family is said to spend £600 on Christmas, and not that much more on a holiday. So in tight times, which would you give up spending money on first?

Note: If you are of a different religion, please substitute your nearest equivalent celebration e.g. Hanukah, Eid, Diwali for Christmas in the answer below. 

So far almost 2500 votes and the results at time of writing are :

A. I’d give up Christmas. 45%
B. I’d give up the (summer) holiday. 41%
C. I don’t do Christmas anyway. 4%
D. I don’t take a holiday anyway. 7%
E. I don’t do either. 3%

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Corporate Travel Rant

We have now booked our flights to go to Santander which gave an interesting insight to the in-efficient world of corporate travel in Sweden.
For Therese's flights out, the cheapest way was with easyJet from Copenhagen to Stansted then from Stansted direct to Santander with Ryanair. (yes taking a risk with a "self" connection).

What was interesting was they way she had to book these flights - through a corporate travel agency which handles all the bookings for the company she works for. When I looked at what they had done I could see that :

  • They inflated prices by adding on massive booking fees. Who needs commission when you can add 50% as a booking fee ? The Ryanair flight was £66.43 but that was invoiced at 1245SEK (should be about 800SEK).

  • They paid £10.59 for travel insurance which was not only unnecessary it would also be invalid for a claim since (clearly stated by Ryanair) Therese is not a UK resident.

  • They paid £4 for a credit card charge. If we had been able to book it ourselves I could have used debit card to reduce this.

But what I really found absurd was that on the invoice they had some sort of very high "from price" and a claimed "saving" for using their services. I guess this to keep someone in the procurement department happy, they probably get a monthly report saying how much they have "saved"

So, please remind me to start my own corporate travel agency when I get back to Sweden.

I will leave you with Carol Beer . . . .

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Win a holiday or two

I have won a couple of holidays in my time, when I worked at TUI I was lucky enough to go to Germany V Italy in the 2006 world cup. And as a member of the general public I managed to win a eurostar trip to Bruges via a survey in the Sunday Times.

So as my first experiment with using the web to make money or anyway to see how much traffic I can generate and what works best I have started another little blog.

I figure people love free stuff and people love holidays so . . .

welcome to my free holidays blog

I am using google alerts to be notified of new competitions when they come online and just making new posts when I get time. When the opportunity arises I am using affiliate links. I will mostly keep it free from other ads and banners for the time being as I want it to look fresh and encourage people to come back rather than give them a headache.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Affiliate Ambitions

Update 2nd Jan : I started a new blog dedicated to affiliate marketing for the travel industry

One of the things I have been thinking about now that I am out of a job is whether I should get into creating and maintaining websites and generating an income from affiliate marketing.

. . .The first thing I have done is signed up to some of the major UK affiliate networks. . . .

Why me ?

I am interested in this because I have got the analytical mindset to spot trends, optimise the websites etc as well as the creativity to exploit ideas and opportunities as they arise. I know I've got a lot to learn but now I have some time to get my head round it all. I think I will stick to the travel industry to start with at least, as it should be there I can most easily create useful content to encourage a loyal set of visitors.

What is affiliate marketing ?

I've got some experience with this from when I worked in the travel industry. In a nutshell it's where a "publisher" puts an advert or text link on their website and the "advertiser" rewards them for that - usually on a performance related basis such as % of sales.

Even if I can't make enough headway or get too bored with working from home, then the experience it will give me can only help me in my job search (example, someone kindly sent me this job the other day) and frankly I have nothing to lose at the moment.... What swings it is the move to Spain as this way I can get going on something straight away and have some continuity when I come back.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Santander Beckons

Bit of news . . .

Thanks to the fact that I am not working, my beautiful partner Therese has taken the opportunity to accept a project from her current employer. So our little family will be moving to Santander shortly after Christmas where she will help e-on Spain with their accounting.

Not an obvious choice of location for a winter perhaps, given that I just looked up a website saying it has similar weather to Scotland !

View Larger Map

It seems Santander is a good place to learn Spanish / learn to surf but most of all I will be looking forward to spending time with my daughter at this precious age. I learnt a bit of Spanish when I was working in Mexico / Dom Rep but when I tried to recall it all I was getting was Swedish !

Monday, November 24, 2008

List of British Affiliate Networks

Today I joined a couple of the UK Affiliate networks to get a better idea of what is is all about and see what advertisers are available / what commissions are on offer.
(Also because it's a Monday and I needed something to get on with).

I am looking into this as it's something I have worked with a little bit in the past and am really interested in. I know it's hard work and very competitive driving traffic to a website but to me "the cut" seems pretty reasonable considering the only major risk or cost is the time I spend on the project. Compare that with your average airline running at 1% margin and massive amounts of capital at risk.

Here they are :

AffiliateWindow - I was a bit put off by the £5 joining fee but you get that added to your account so it's not really a fee. Plenty of travel companies here including STA, and lonely planet (books)

Affiliate Future - Seems to be very strong on travel. Affiliatefuture have RIU, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic, and monarch all on their books.

Tradedoubler - A Swedish company, Tradedoubler has BA, Opodo and other big names.

Paid On Results - Not so strong on travel but plenty of other e-tailers. I also like that they email you a daily summary of activity on your account and pages like this with tips on how to get the most out of being an affiliate publisher.

I will add more as I join them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What to do next

Now that I have been released by Sterling, I can concentrate on what to do next . . .

I don't want to jump into any job, I'm not panicking. I would rather sieze the opportunity to spend the extra time with my daughter while figuring out what to do next.
I'm happy to stay in the travel industry because it's so broken.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Starting to Meet Travel Companies

I had the pleasure of meeting a real life travel entrepenuer today. . .

Mr Stephan Ekbergh is behind openjet in the UK, Travelstart in Sweden and a whole host of other online travel companies operating around the world.

Thanks to linkedin, a meeting was arranged and I was fortunate enough have a tour of the Travelstart Nordic HQ and chat with Stephan about his businesses and my future plans post Sterling. It was great to talk to someone with a helicopter view of the online travel industry and nice to have some encouragment for my own plans. Travelstart is an innovative company with great technology and a very slick front-end website.

Anyone that knows me well will know that for as long as I remember I had wanted to create businesses. While other kids were idolizing Ian Rush I was more into Sir Richard Branson and Sir John Harvey Jones !! I don't think I'm a capitalistic pig but I just love commerce. When I was a kid my uncle said that by the time I was 30 I would either be in prison or be a millionaire !. Still a few months to go ;)

Snowing in Malmo

First snow of this winter today in Malmö, South Sweden . . . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sterling Airlines Will not be sold

Todays news is apparently final.
Sterling will not be sold as a going concern. It's been a rollercoaster. Only yesterday night things were looking up and I thought I would be back in the office by Monday.

Despite the fact that there have been a few "finals" throughout the Sterling Airlines Soap Opera this should be the end of the matter... For my employment anyway. I just got an email that I will finally been released from the employment with them.

Mixed feelings on this, obviously I am sad for the staff. Sterling had a special spirit, a viking spirit and there are were some very talented people working there. However the bankruptcy and sale process has been so protracted I feel kind of relieved which is a stark contrast to 29OCT when I was very upset. (to be honest I cried).

Have a look at this list of airlines that have gone under in one way or another in 2008. I saw this a couple of weeks ago and made me feel a little less sad about our own bankruptcy. It's a tough marketplace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Danmark V Wales football friendly

Had a great day today, went to Copenhagen.

Despite crossing the Oresund Bridge from Sweden to Denmark almost every working day for the last couple of years I would only get as far as the airport and so am not even very familiar with the Danish capital.

View Larger Map
Above - Copenhagen airport is the first thing you get to when coming from Sweden over the Oresund bridge.

I met a good friend in the city and first we went to the famous Tivoli gardens, my first time. Whilst in Tivoli we had a meal at Wagamana, his first time. Then as we still had a long wait until the Denmark V Wales kick-off we went to the cinema (my first time for a couple of years except a couple of weeks when I took my daughter to a 40min cartoon called Laban for her first trip to "the pictures" ). Saw a horror movie called The Strangers. I give it 6 out of 10, could of had a twist or two but didn't. Or was that the twist ?

Then onto the main event, watching Wales play hosts Denmark at the impressive Brondby stadium. It was raining, not heavily but kind of like a mist that you don't notice that much but you still get pretty wet. There wasn't that many Wales fans as I expected, maybe it was 200 and a total attendance of around 10'000. Here is the match report from the BBC, they probably tell it better than me. Wish I had brought my camera along. It was good to see 2 Swansea players on the pitch and also former Swan Sam Rickets.

Latest Sterling news is all pretty positive, the buyer is ready to sign a deal, the union has agreed a pay cut so we could be back at work on Monday. What a difference a day makes ! There is a news story here that explains who the buyer is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Despite having quite a few (14 this summer) routes out of the UK, it seems like news of Sterling going bankrupt has failed to reach the general public in Britain.

I'm not surprised of course given everything else that is in the news - credit-crisis, Obama, Swansea winning at Norwich and everything . . . Plus, on the day of the bankruptcy the news was overshadowed by the bmi takover by Lufty, but I haven't had many messages from those back home since Sterling filed. A few from the travel industry have been in touch though and obviously family and close friends.

One problem you always get with searching the internet for Sterling is that apart from being an excellent airline it also many other things including a name for the British pound. If I ever start an airline remind me to come up with a name that can only be related to the airline, Robair perhaps ?

Then again it could be a good thing that not many people know, in case Sterling is relaunched . . .

Talks to sell Sterling Airlines Fail

Not good news today

Apparently talks to sell Sterling have fallen through. There is of course plenty of news on the Sterling airlines sale in Danish but it's not so easy to find anything in English. Here is one I found using Google News.

Basically the talks collapsed because the union wouldn't agree to demands to change working practices to bring Sterling inline with their rivals. What this would mean is lower basic pay and more sector based and commission for onboard sales.

The problem Sterling has is that some of its competitors have access to much cheaper labour but are allowed to fly the same routes. This is what Open Skies is all about and is good for customers as it has led to a huge ammount of new scheduled flight routes as well as lower prices.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meet up with team in Malmö

Had a meet up with my team (i.e. revenue management team) today.
And on my home patch of Malmö too. So nice to see everyone and great that so many people could come over the bridge.

I went to my Swedish lesson afterwards. Hard to explain to people that ask that I am not sacked, I am still waiting. I am not aware that we have a status like this in the UK. Could be wrong but I think in Britain you can only be emlployed, unemployed or on holiday ?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Linkedin reviews come flooding in. Thanks

The linkedin reccomendations have came flooding in over the last couple of days.

Thanks to a gentle encouragement I don't mind admitting.

Here is my linkedin profile, I think you have to be registered to see all the reccomendations I have been fortunate enougth to recieve though. I must admit I have been really impressed by the linkedin website, another idea I wish I had though of... Tripadvisor for humans, facebook for adults.

It's been a great morale boost and should be pretty useful as it seems Linkedin is very well used up here in Scandinavia. Assuming I need a new job of course . . I'm still in this strange limbo situation where I am not working but waiting for Sterling and am not allowed to look for a new job until either I get released or re-employed by the new entity.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Doing some DIY figured something out

Had a bit of a revelation today while trying to keep busy by fixing up some of the paintwork on our 100 year old apartment in Malmö . . .

I was wondering why I was so "into" the travel industry, or why I was crazy enough to want to keep working there when the job security is lousy, the pay below average etc etc,

Well cheap holidays must help I hear you cry, but for me that isn't the biggy as you could just earn more e.g. (until recently) in banking then pay for whichever holiday you want.

No. What I figured out when I was up my ladder is that I like to fix things and in the travel industry there are plenty of things to fix!. This isn't a reflection on Sterling, this I will generalise, applies all over the travel industry and is a result of lots of consolidation, slim margins and ever changing demand / marketplace / technology.

So if you are a handyman or woman maybe there is a place in the tourism sector for you! Maybe travel companies can consider this an interview question from now on ; )

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interweb is brilliant in't it ?

Now I am suspended from my job I have been spending a lot of time online and I was just thinking how different it is to be made redundant now compared to even 15 years ago.

I can :
  • easily keep in touch with ex colleagues from work.
  • easily search and apply for jobs online - even jobs in other countries.
  • explore other options such as my own enterprise or new training.

Just imagine before internet, or before internet was widely used how isolated you might feel being out of work and how hard it might be to find a new job or anyway a job that suited you.

The problem for me is more not knowing what will happen to my current eomployer and if they will survive and take me back. Until that is clarified I can't really look for another job, can't even relax or go on holiday though as we could get called back anytime.