Sands Websites HACKED – Hotel Offline since Tuesday

In a cautionary tale of global proportions, websites of Las Vegas – based Sands Corp. have been inaccessible for five days.  Wedding and event customers, hotel guests, management staff, employees…. everyone has been shut out by closure of its nine websites by hackers.

The welcome page for Sands Corp. looks like this (as of 2/15/14):

sands-hacked-grid

An Associated Press report, on the ABC News site begins as follows…

AP_logo_update_20130709“Websites for casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. remained down for a fourth day on Friday, while company, state and federal investigators trace the origin and effect of a hacking intrusion.

The Internet sites of Sands properties including the flagship Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas and its Pennsylvania, Singapore and Macau resorts remained inoperative, and company spokesperson Ron Reese said officials were assessing which systems had been affected.

Sands took down websites for its properties on Tuesday morning, leaving a website-maintenance message and a checkerboard photo display of resort names and phone numbers for bookings and reservations. READ MORE

Hacking is not “routine maintenance.”

In fact, the occurrence was a ‘break-in, with vandalism’. The full extent of damage and motives for the hacking are not fully clear. And, it is not simply a matter of restoring the sites from a back=up. The security of the site(s) is at issue. It is necessary to determine how the systems were compromised, design a more robust defense, before repair and restoration occur. It’s difficult to project how long the sites will remain inaccessible.

Small Business Perspective

Your website or mine is more likely to be the target of a prank. Any website that utilizes e-commerce is a potential target for hacking. In the days ahead, I plan to publish a few posts about the safety of your site and its information.

These days, almost all inbound inquiries utilize your website. If your website is offline for any significant length of time, your inbound marketing stops, along with your sales.  None of us can afford to be in that situation.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Last Chance for Wedding University – Cleveland, Tuesday, April 20th

As of late yesterday, almost 60 wedding professionals from Greater Cleveland (including Akron, Youngstown, and beyond) had chosen to invest one business day and a few dollars in Wedding University, a 4-seminar presentation by THE Wedding Marketing Authority, Andy Ebon.

Today’s Bride, a full service wedding marketing company (bridal show, magazine, and website) is hosting the wedding marketing seminars.

The all-day seminar series will cover a variety of topics designed for wedding industry businesses, including: Website Usability, Effective Bridal Show Promotion, Print Ads That Sell, and Building A Focused Social Media Plan. The day will be capped of with a catch-all, question and answer session.

This is an 11th hour call to spread the word to any wedding industry peers you have in the Greater Cleveland market.

Today’s Bride is a member of BSPI (Bridal Show Producers International).

Andy travels North America and beyond, presenting single seminars, half-day and full-day sessions, as well as speaking at national and international industry conferences. To inquire about bringing The Wedding Marketing Authority to your market, please feel free to inquire via this site or call 702-227-9926.

Cleveland Rocks!!

Bridal Show Producers Conference

bspi-logo-2The Wedding Marketing Authority, Andy Ebon, travels to Minneapolis, MN next week to address the members of Bridal Show Producers International (BSPI).

BSPI is a non-profit trade association dedicated to helping its members produce professional bridal shows for the benefit of both exhibiting businesses and the attending brides and grooms. Bridal shows are by far the best way to plan a perfect wedding, the one place you will find everything you need under one roof.

The attendees represent bridal show producers from all points across the United States and Canada. Many of the members also publish bridal guides and websites, as well.

wedding-fashion-runwayEbon will be the keynote speaker, giving a customized version of his talk: Marketing and Selling to the 21st Century Bride and Vendor. He will also be giving a 2-hour seminar, Blogging Your Way To Success.

Despite the sluggish economy, the turnout looks to me almost as strong as last year.

To find a BSPI Show Producer in your area, or just to see the membership roster, visit the BSPI website.

Joe Fabitz
The Wedding Marketing BLog

Simple Defense Against Price Cutters

price-cut-275My friend, Robbie Schlosser (Magnolia Jazz Band) reminded me of an old strategy used by barbershops against their price slashing competition.

Robbie recalle barbershop sign “Haircut $5”, and next door another shop advertised “We fix $5 haircuts”.

Every high quality wedding business should have that message (in some iteration) on their website or as signage in their office. It would be a not-so-subtle wedding marketing message that working with a price-cutter is risky business.

With haircuts, one gets a second chance. With weddings, there is no ‘do-over.’ And with some categories of wedding services, the risk of failure is simply not worth the money ‘saved.’

My standard response to clients seeking a lower ‘price match’ was simple: Trying to shave down a few hundred dollars out of a wedding budget of $30,000 can be a critical mistake, if you try to save it in the wrong place. At the end of the night, there won’t be a sign around my neck showing how much you paid. Either we will be successful, and you will be happy, or will have saved some money on another service, and you won’t be happy.

Nothing closes a sale like self-confidence. In Robbie’s words “Stay positive — there is always a way.”

One other thing is important. Be SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITION. Don’t just believe your own hype!

Andy Ebon

The Wedding Marketing Authority