Archive for October, 2006
I sincerely hope that Boston is not relying only on tour operator brochures to get a bigger share of foreign tourists. This sounds like a line right out of the ’90s or earlier, when there was no internet.
If that’s a DMO strategy then no wonder the figures are down. A majority of destination searches are started online – and that’s true for the key European markets more or less – so that’s where I would focus my marketing efforts on.
Of course, as part of a multi-destination U.S. trip by European visitors it helps to be included but that is a nice add-on today and no longer the core of a strategy.
I know this is a bit off topic, but isn’t this just another blatant sign of how out of whack today’s CEO compensation is with the company performance and it’s share price? Come on, look at Expedia the past year! If that’s worth this kind of money – and don’t give me the excuse that it’s not salary but options, it’s all real money, right? – then something’s wrong with the system.
I have my doubts about the effectiveness of the system described here. Two issues come to mind. First, how well will the lead recipients respond, both in terms of time and quality of advice and second, will customers really want to be dealing with proposals from different agents that maybe can’t really be compared. As a previous shopper for health insurance online, I’m a believer of comparison shopping but the product really has to be presented for easy online comparison. I wouldn’t want ot just have choice of products thrown back at me as that really is no improvement over the present online buying process which for complex vacations leaves a lot to be desired.
If they can pull it off correctly, it might work but I remain to be convinced.
This article in Travel Weekly shows that DMO are starting to realize that in order to compete for business in a competitive marketplace they have to offer potential visitors to their destination the opportunity to buy and not pass them on to third parties at the risk of eventually losing that booking to a competitor destination. I’ve long advocated this for accommodation and even air access to destinations. To see it on a regional scale is a positive move for online travelers. After all, who better to sell the Caribbean than the CTO/CHA. Good move.
these new tools for user generated content and feedback will certainly have an impact on how travel information is collected and viewed but it will take a while until it becomes clear if they will be able to replace the supplier and destination information. Who would want to make their vacation decision based on some blurry YouTube video taken by someone else? Highly unlikely, but a comment and short clip on a hotel or its facilities might well sway an opinion or two or validate the official version. Key attributes will be authenticity and credibility of the material, whether it’s user or supplier generated.
These tools are increasingly being used by DMO to provide information in the preferred format for today’s traveler. Switzerland is another destination that offer these downloads. What better way to preview the destination and then explore it with your own personal guide right in your pocket.
Plus, it saves quite a few trees!
as to the where travelers inform themselves – the web has been the leader for quite some time. When you add the fact that word of mouth is now increasingly enhanced by word of mouse via blogs, tags, feedback sites etc. the path seems clear.
It is quite a stretch, to assume that a majority of these people will gather all this information online and then go offline to wade through brochures and consult travel agents for the actual booking. Some will certainly do so, for instance to book a safari or other type of exotic trip, but that is one a minority and two a very limited niche market, definitely not large enough to sustain all the traditional companies that provide their services in it.
Another development that is a threat to the old distribution model is the increasingly important role that destination websites play in this online information gathering process. Many are not well structured and user friendly enough to really be true one-stop shops, but some are making efforts to get there, one good example Bermuda.
Destination portals that embrace the concept of becoming an eCommerce platform with selected partners providing direct online access and booking capability will be able to participate in the process and prove to their stakeholder their market viability and usefulness. Including the aforementioned tools of Web 2.0 and embrace customer participation will only enhance their position.