Archive for November, 2007
Online Reviewers Driven Mostly by Altruism, CMOs Need Not Fear WOM writes MarketingVOX in their article about a recent Bazaarvoice survey. It shows some interesting facts:
- Fully 90 percent of respondents say they write reviews to help others make better buying decisions, and more than 70 percent want to help companies improve the products they build and carry.
- The study also found that 79 percent write reviews in order to reward a company, and 87 percent of the reviews are generally positive in tone.
Now, if this is not good news for any supplier then I don’t know what is. Companies used to spend vast amounts of money on research to find out less than what customers today provide us with for free.
There is no more effective way to get real-time feedback about the service you provide than from people who just experienced it and are willing to write about it. What’s there to fear?
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Reading about Future Now’s 2007 Retail Customer Experience Study reminded me of the recent Forrester report reporting a drop in the number of online travel buyers which has brought out the cheering section for the travel agent community claiming some sort of victory for the old ways of purchasing travel offline.
Digging a bit deeper, the above study – which admittedly deals with online retail eCommerce for goods – shows some interesting statistics:
- only 26% of online consumers were simply satisfied
- Customers aren’t delighted.
- failure of online stores to present a customer-focused shopping environment
The same might be said about online travel sites and the experience they offer which needs to improve as today’s online shopper in any category is becoming increasingly demanding about what to expect in terms of ease of use and relevant information that makes the buying decision easier. It’s no longer enough for any intermediary to just claim the lowest price for a commodity product, it’s about more than that and if satisfaction is not provided the online channel could indeed lose steam, at least temporarily.
this study by Avenue A/Razorfish on Understanding Digital Consumer Behavior I can agree with as there has been a significant shift since the early days of the web. What I don’t quite believe are the very high percentage figures of 70% of consumers reading blogs regularly and 41% having their own blog or post frequently. 476 seems a very limited number to give truly representative picture of all web users to determine their behavior. Nevertheless, what’s clear is that companies in any industry are no longer facing yesterday’s marketplace where traditional marketing rules. The customer rules and the conversation is taking place. Join it.
is how we defined the process every traveler goes through prior to a vacation back in 1999 when we built MySwitzerland.com, one of the first national destination websites. It was also the philosophy behind the idea of EuroVacations.com the RailEurope Group dynamic packaging online tour operation venture in 2000. Reading that Travelocity to focus on dreaming and planning aspect of travel tells me that the mainstream OTAs who until recently have almost exclusively been focused on offering the lowest price for airline tickets and hotels are now shifting rapidly to an added value proposition. It is only logical that this would happen. If combined with innovative technology that allows customers to self-design their entire trip, this will move the travel market further online and counter the recently alleged slide in the number of travelers booking online. It’s all about relevancy and value add. Simple, but not easily achieved.
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at least that’s the impression I got attending the very insightful Canada eConnect conference last week in Vancouver BC.
This new event was organized extremely well by Jens Thraenhart of the Canadian Tourism Commission and his very able team. Kudos to them for staging a first edition of what they hope will be an annual event. Congratulations to the CTC for offering this excellent platform to their industry partners and for presenting what was a wide range of speakers from every segment of providers of services to the online travel industry. It gave the Canadian industry players an opportunity to gauge their position in the fast changing online marketplace for travel and destination marketing and to take away impressions and valuable advice to go forward.
It will be interesting to see whether other DMO around the world will take a similar step in the right direction within their markets and educate their partners about what it takes to be successful in the very competitive world of travel 2.0 and what’s coming next in enabling technology developments.
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at least according to this post reporting that one of the leading Silicon Valley VC Kleiner Perkins Has Halted Investments in companies claiming to be about web 2.0
It seems to me the label discussion is an ongoing one and we are unlikely to arrive at a definition universally accepted. I’ve said before that in the end it doesn’t matter what version number someone gives the web. It’s about what solutions to relevant problems these start-ups provide. On that yardstick, obviously, many don’t measure up and a majority will fade away a quickly as they appeared on the scene. Those that provide value can succeed in whatever industry, including travel.
Anyway, web 3.0 – or whatever some people will call the next phase in the future development of the web is just around the corner anyway!
is the title of a great post on the Minding the Planet blog about new developments that will have a significant impact on how we experience and use the web.
It will be exciting to follow sites such as Twine when fully rolled out and how they will take what we today loosely call user generated content to a whole new level by adding richer data elements and semantics.
I expect this to have an impact on travel as well and bring improvements to today’s user experience of travel sites. In light of the reported decrease in the number of online travelers a welcome and needed next step in the evolution of the market.
Can meta search move beyond flights and price? raises a valid question.
Ever since the start of online travel the focus has always been on the lowest price. This was reinforced by most media stories and became the mantra, much to the detriment of online travel agencies, who after all are intermediaries, and need to make profit to survive.
With the introduction of meta search that focus became even stronger, with added transparency making price comparison total.
Paul Furner is right that there needs to be more than price in the equation as otherwise all travel risks to be commoditized even further, as has largely happened with airplane seats, not the least due to their dominant share in the overall online travel market.
What’s disappointing, is that many travelers seem to no longer realize that in travel – as any other product or service – you get what you pay for!
The sooner the developments now starting to be seen on the semantic – or intelligent – web become available for use in travel the better. This type of enhanced data will very likely make meta search better and develop in the direction of adding more evaluation criteria than price.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )