Archive for February, 2008
the TravelersChoiceAwards2008 list of top hotels which I’m sure is full of hotels that not only deliver on their promise but very likely over deliver and are rewarded for it. They probably also are aware of how they are perceived in the marketplace by participating in the conversation that happens about them and take corrective action quickly if needed to avoid the fate of those who take things for granted and probably don’t care.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
article in Chief Marketer caught my attention.
I’ve long been an advocate of using webinars qualified for lead generation, which in my opinion most DMOs are still not using anywhere near enough.
Virtual events could become an even more effective tool to show off a destination and presenting key suppliers to a much wider audience than in the physical world, with all the advantages the article describes.
Of course, I can already hear the critics proclaim that face to face meetings with personal interaction are too important to ever be replaced. I don’t deny that for one minute, however, the industry reality has been for quite some time the difficulty to attract enough qualified decision makers to attend all these real life shows and workshops.
Using virtual events to attract a wider initial audience more cost effectively and then select the most interested and qualified for a personal site inspection to meet with key suppliers, seems to me a much smarer use of not only marketing dollars, but more importantly everyones time.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
reports Hotelmarketing, based on an article on Scotsman.com with the headline of “Tourist website has to be worth a visit”, which sounds pretty much like a no-brainer to me. I have to admit that I’m not familiar with the details of their situation but apparently a number of local suppliers are claiming the failure of the site as a victory which seems at least somewhat odd to me. If structured and organized correctly, a site with a popular address for a well known, global brand should be a success for both the DMO and its suppliers.
At least that’s the case for Switzerland, a destination I know more about, which launched Switzerland Travel Centre, a commercial, industry owned venture that since its inception ten years ago has grown to become a well established and profitable company, not only as the accommodation booking engine for MySwitzerland.com but also for local and regional DMOs in the country as well as being the largest distributor for rail products.
According to Klaus Oegerli, the CEO of STC, the model is successful due to their relationships with the industry both as a technology provider and major distribution partner, including a merchant model for hotels with more than 300 properties being sold through tour operators and online travel portals.
The Swiss model is proof to me, that with the right set-up and industry cooperation a successful online distribution system can be built that provides a welcome and effective marketing tool for the destination and its supplier partners that makes economic sense and a profit for both.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Online comparison sites move beyond price”
reads the headline of Rob Lovitt’s column on msnbc.com about the travel meta-search companies that some of us industry bloggers have written about for over a year now.
I can only say – welcome to the party! and the earlier the main stream media start writing about the fact that online travel is not just used to go looking for the cheapest price the better.
This type of single issue media focus has been one of the main reasons travelers were trained to look only for bargains rather than value for money on online travel sites. The sooner this mindset is replaced by a different attitude the better.
The industry players, on the other hand, will then have to deliver a shopping experience that exceeds those higher, no longer only price focused expectations. That’s the challenge the industry needs to address while moving to the next level.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
explains Elisabeth Osmeloski in a very illuminating article in Search Engine Watch which puts the focus on the importance of search in travel and how it can be used effectively. The strategies explained are valid not only for suppliers and OTAs but also for DMOs, especially the many who are now selling their suppliers directly on their websites.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Unfortunately I missed this event but Josh Benoff of Forrester summarized some of key comments of Doc Searls which I quote below:
1. Advertising as we know it will die.
2. Herding people into walled gardens and guessing about what makes them “social” will seem as absurd as it actually is. (Facebook is his example.)
3. We will realize that the most important producers are what we used to call consumers. (Yup.)
4. The value chain will be replaced by the value constellation. (Many connections.)
5. “What’s your business model?” will no longer be asked of everything. (What’s the business model for your kids?)
6. We will make money by maximizing “because effects”. (“Because effects” are what happen when you make more money because of something than with it.) E.g. search and blogging.
8. We will be able to manage vendors at least as well as they manage us. (Agreements between companies and customers shouldn’t be skewed in favor of the companies.) At Harvard Law they call this VRM — vendor relationship management — which is what Searls is working on (projectvrm.org).
10. We’ll marry the live web to the value constellation. (The Live Web isn’t just about stars. Relationships of anybody to anybody.)
All this might not be readily accepted by marketers today, but let’s remember that most of what the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto loudly proclaimed ten years ago about how the web will change consumer behavior and marketing has come to pass. My take is that he’s right again.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
this study, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), released today by the University of Michigan with e-commerce partner ForeSee Results is a wake-up call mostly for the online travel agencies, but if I were a travel supplier I wouldn’t be too pleased about myself either.
It clearly shows that the low hanging fruit in selling travel online have by now all been picked. The pace is picking up as far as innovation and foremost improvement of the buying experience is concerned.
Consumer expectations have been raised by those other online categories, especially retail with companies like Amazon leading the way. The fact that it requires much more complex technology to sell a complete vacation online, especially one tailor made to customer requirements, than selling books, records, DVDs etc. is not relevant to the discussion, a the online shopper doesn’t know or care.
What needs to happen, is a step-up in technology that allows for more personalization and a combination of the various travel tools that are out there but only address part of the total chain in travel research, planning and buying. The whole process has to become seamless and performed on one site, as is the case with online retail. The customer expects no less in travel and as we all know, a successful business depends on satisfying customers.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
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