Archive for August, 2007

The Consumer As Brand Manager

Posted on August 30, 2007. Filed under: Marketing |

on Adotas is one of the best opinions I’ve read for a long time on what it really takes to be a customer focused organization and why most actually fail.

The author describes the difference between “listening” to the customer when it’s convenient and to put the customer at the front. Great read.

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Visualization of Data

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

This is one of the most fascinating ways to present the top websites and their interrelation I’ve seen and a great example of how data can be visually presented:

Trend Map

You can find out more – including how to download it in various formats including a Mac screensaver on the iA – Information Architects website

It’s an innovative Tokyo based web agency run by a fellow Swiss from what I can gather……

For more on data visualization, go to Smashing Magazine

 

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Very useful pointers here, made by

Posted on August 29, 2007. Filed under: Travel2.0 |

Karin on her FastenYourSeatbelts blog on what it means for DMOs and others in the industry to deal with web 2.0 developments. It certainly has an impact on how business needs to be conducted and communicated in the online marketplace.

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More transparency for hotel bookings

Posted on August 29, 2007. Filed under: Travel2.0 |

Farecast has just announced their new tool to search 80,000 hotels across the globe and for those in 30 U.S. cities, they introduce the "Hotel Rate Key" a similar feature they introduced in the market for air fares, allowing searchers to find out if the particular rate offered is a deal or not, based on science not marketing, as they say.

This will bring increased transparency to consumers looking for a hotel deal in a marketplace that is often still confusing to many travelers when it comes to make a decision based on price.

 
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5000 Web Apps in 333 seconds…..

Posted on August 28, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

introduced by SimpleSpark

Whatever your take is on web 2.0 as a term, it’s amazing what’s happening with all the new applications being introduced and how many will change the way we interact and communicate on the web.

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Travel sites focus on conversion, as competition is set to heat up

Posted on August 27, 2007. Filed under: Travel |

this latest study done in the UK says. I find the title misleading, as the word “should” is missing. As in “travel sites should” focus on conversion, which I don’t see thm actually doing. If they did, more of the tools generally described under the web 2.0 label for lack of a better term, would be seen on the major travel player’s websites.

The figures in this report pretty much mirror what’s been reported elsewhere in the past few months about the market, both in the UK, Europe and the U.S. In general, the public is using the web as the major travel research and planning tool and a great many want to use it also for booking. The reason they don’t actually book there is due to a still very often disappointing customer experience. As long as that is the case, I doubt that the players are actually focusing on conversion but rather on attracting traffic.

What the online traveler actually doesn’t need are dozens more new websites offering the latest cool web 2.0 inspired tools but only offering one part of the online travel buying experience. What’s the use of a great hotel video website when the booking then has to take place on another site and the air booking on another one still, and then comes the car rental or train ticket and the dinner reservation, and it goes on and on – all on different sites!

No, what’s needed for conversion to increase is a new and improved, comprehensive, one-stop shopping experience for the entire travel product. At the risk of repeating myself, as I’ve said this so many times in the past, a true dynamic packaging, multiple-component, multi-destination planning, research and buying experience is what customers deserve and want, although I haven’t seen them  describing this in any major study yet.

Eventually this will happen over the next few years, as the technology keeps evolving, with data talking to data and intelligent agents doing the hard work in the background, resulting in less work by users at the front end. The age of the semantic, or intelligent web then becomes a reality. Some will call it web 3.0, which doesn’t matter as long as the reality is what brings better business results.

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Just An Online Minute… Study: Web Content Use Up, Email Down

Posted on August 13, 2007. Filed under: Marketing |

reports MediaPost Publications about the results of a new study by the Online Publishers Association.

This indicates a shift that could continue and become more significant in the coming months and years. It looks like people increasingly find the content they were looking for and then spend time using it, most likely if it’s interesting, compelling – maybe even controversial – but at least worth their precious time.

I take this as a positive development for destination sites as their strength has been on their comprehensive content. If they are able to combine that asset with social networking tools that allow users to interact with it, they should be able to leverage their position and, who knows, even monetize it!

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Getting high with Richard Branson: Virgin America’s virgin flight

Posted on August 10, 2007. Filed under: Travel |

this post on Boing Boing is a ringing endorsement of the latest airline entrant in the U.S. market.

Virgin inaugural flight

When was the last time we’ve read raving reviews like this about an airline? There seems to be something special about them that touches the geeks and it goes beyond the interactive gizmos in the seat back.

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Posted on August 10, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Web 3.0 or the Intelligent Web

as defined here by Eric Schmidt, Google, CEO is just around the corner, with implications that we can’t quite comprehend today, but it potentially will be a bigger jump than what’s today described as web 2.0

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How Zappos.com Grew So Big So Fast – 10 Strategies Behind Their Success

Posted on August 7, 2007. Filed under: Marketing |

MarketingSherpa has a great interview with the CEO of Zappos.com the online shoe retail store. It’s a great success story and worth reading by travel marketers.

I find this one very relevant for the price driven online travel market:

-> Lesson #4. Service and selection over price

Shortly after joining the company in 2000, Hsieh had his marketing team test discounts and ecoupons for six months. What they discovered was that these tactics attracted too many price-minded, one-time customers rather than brand loyalists.

“In terms of the three major areas — service, selection and price — you can really only offer two of them at the same time,” he says. “Our brand [niche] was in service and selection.”

Unfortunately the online travel industry has painted itself into the lowest price corner ever since the beginning and it might take some time to get out of it. In the end the key success factor for any business is adding value and exceeding customer expectations. Only then price becomes less of a factor. It works for them in a very competitive market.

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