Archive for March, 2007

Add video to your website and build a video community

Posted on March 31, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

is what Magnify.net, now in public beta, allows anyone to do.
It’s is a great way to not only integrate YouTube videos on your own website but allow users to upload their own.
This makes it a tool for DMOs to enable user generated content to be easily posted on their site and to start their own tailor made video channel right on their site.

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Web 2.0 – Over and Out

Posted on March 31, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Is the headline of Peter Rip’s EarlyStageVC blog post. He explains that the leading lights in the VC world are already moving beyond what is now an established phase of the internet, commonly described by the term web 2.0

I especially like his description of the web today resembling MS-DOS more than MS-Windows. I’ve often used the term that compared with telecommunication development we’re somewhere in the phase of the original black rotary phone when it comes to the true future of the web.

This description also applies to online travel and how the planning, researching and booking experience is still in an early stage of development despite all the tools already available. What’s still missing by and large is a truly compelling and easy one stop experience rather than the need to jump from site to site to really get the benefit of all the diverse features available. I wonder when someone will introduce the “ultimate mashup” in travel and who it will be.

How about the DMO of tomorrow?

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The Power of Brand

Posted on March 30, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I find this a very apt description of what is happening in today’s connected marketplace and how brands are viewed and how perceptions about them are formed before the brand owner ever has had a chance to get involved. This is what I mean when I say that organizations have to join the conversation and can forget about ever gaining control over it.
Trying to influence it is possible but only by action reflecting in a positive way on the brand.

As a DMO I hope your brand doesn’t stink, otherwise you’re going to have a heck of a time trying to correct it in the wake of the sonic boom!

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The pros and cons of peer reviews

Posted on March 29, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This column by Rob Lovitt on MSNBC describes some of the issues of what’s generally called user generated content or social media very well. Individual comments are based on personal bias and may not be representative. It’s the cumulative effect that provides the value. Whether organizations like it or not, this is the new reality they all have to deal with. Might as well embrace and make the best use of it. In the long term it’s better to have well informed customers and transparency in the marketplace anyway.

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Is disintermediation on the horizon?

Posted on March 29, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Online Travel Path May Get Bumpy

How quickly this market is changing. In less than a decade OTAs are facing slower growth and need to address the supplier threat at an ever faster clip while dealing with all the other challenges thrown up by what is now called Travel 2.0 and it’s impact.

It’s amazing how the web is just inevitably forcing any intermediaries to add value or disappear and how that process has been speeded up with change appearing at ever shorter intervals.

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This could be of interest to DMOs

Posted on March 25, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Race To Build The “Distributed Bookings” Platform For Services:
Travel reservations are extremely complex to do well, especially when multiple components like air, hotel, car or rail have to be combined for a total trip package. The leading online travel companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past seven or so years to perfect this type of dynamic packaging and pricing. It’s still an unrealized dream for online travel shoppers. It is easier for independent suppliers to offer than for intermediaries.

I see an opportunity for using these types of services for local destination based services like attractions. restaurants, museums, other activities. Destination websites need easier to integrate systems as they don’t usually have the tech or financial resources to build the functionality from scratch.

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The question will continue to be raised

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

about The value of DMOs as long as these organizations do not adapt to what is no longer that new of an environment.

In the past, a position of “neutrality” and just being an impartial information provider to both potential visitors and the travel industry intermediaries might have been valid due to a lack of alternatives to influence the decision making process for choosing a destination. This made the effectiveness of many of the DMO activities hard to measure by the yardsticks common in the commercial sector such as revenue generated or conversion of leads to sale etc. Again, twenty or more years ago that was mostly acceptable to politicians who controlled the purse strings and were satisfied with rather vague ROI claims, if that term was used at all.

The web has entirely changed the playing field and the rules of the game but many DMOs continue business as usual and only have added the website to many of their traditional activities. That no longer cuts it. The DMO website has to be the core engine that drives all marketing activities. Previous marketing activities have to be questioned and if necessary eliminated to free up funds for more effective web based initiatives.

For the first time DMOs have the ability to conduct commercial activities starting with accommodation bookings but also to play a useful role as platform providers for online sales of packages and local destination services. These are all tangible and measurable efforts that add value to potential visitors who increasingly start their vacation research and planning process on destination websites and not online travel agency sites. DMOs are in the ideal position of providing much desired one stop shopping to online travel buyers.

Destinations such as Switzerland, the Bahamas or in fact the entire Caribbean, and others are excellent examples how the traditional role of a DMO can be successfully extended with commercial efforts that not only can be clearly measured but produce much needed revenue and offer partnership opportunities previously not possible.

There is definitely no law that guarantees a DMOs existence and if more of them don’t start moving more aggressively towards making themselves an indispensable intermediary in the marketplace the more their existence will be questioned by those who are asked to provide funding.

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Are DMO’s aware of this?

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Think Outside ‘the’ Web Site for Post-Click Marketing covers the interesting subject of site content overload.

In my own opinion a large number of DMO sites are suffering from that malady, very often due to political reasons, both perceived or real, that require them to please everyone. Usually it’s the customer or site visitor that suffers.

One effective way to avoid the problem of jeopardizing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is described in the article. Campaign driven landing pages or an enhanced format of that, actual micro-sites, are great tools to improve results. It wouldn’t surprise me to see more examples of this in travel and tourism. They are quite widely used elsewhere.

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This Jupiter study

Posted on March 22, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

that Marketers Increasingly Use Social Networking Sites is further proof how important it is for organizations to join the ongoing conversation about their industry, market sector or brand.

Travel and tourism organization enjoy a great advantage here. Not only is online travel the largest vertical on the web but it is a subject that people love to talk and start conversations about and join all sorts of communities.

From my work in the financial services industry I’ve noticed that this is not the case to the same extent. This makes it much more challenging for organizations to find a way how to get involved in conversations as fewer are taking place to begin with and people are not as excited to participate and contribute.

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This is worth reflecting upon

Posted on March 16, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Bill Geist’s Zeitgeist: Why We Do What We Do

describes what should be the essence of travel. It’s about the authentic experiences that at least seem to be harder to find these days. I remember the wise words of the man who hired me thirty odd years ago. Dr. Werner Kaempfen, the then head of Switzerland’s national tourist board who back in the 1970’s coined the phrase that “tourism can destroy tourism” if we’re not careful. This was in the days of a building boom to put a concrete condo on every mountain top in Switzerland and carve up the mountainsides for an ever increasing number of groomed ski slopes. Thanks in part to his warnings a lot of the worst scars were avoided and today the industry there is thankful for it. Today’s visitors wouldn’t want to spend their days in those ugly structures.

Let’s reflect on this as tourism is being developed and marketed. It hardly ever works long term, if the concerns of the host community are not considered. It is them in many cases who can offer that authenticity many travelers today are seeking. If they do find it, they will know they have arrived as Reyn Bownan, quoted in the post, so accurately puts it.

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