DMOs should look into this.

Posted on June 1, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Travel2.0 |

as reported in TechCrunch Technorati Founder Dave Sifry Takes On Travel Guide Industry with Offbeat Guides launching in private beta tomorrow.

Here’s who could easily offer this – or maybe are potential partners – the many destination marketing organizations and CVBs. They all sit on a ton of relevant data that is available for free on their websites but could be accessed and aggregated by Offbeat.

Another group of providers are the major online travel agencies, if they weren’t so focused on their old commission based business model and started to really innovate with a focus on customer added value, which this clearly is. Potential partners in addition to TripIt are Uptake and VibeAgent.

I like the basic idea. It’s questionable how large a market exists at the price point this is offered. Remains to be seen. As I’ve stated many times in this space before, there should be more integration among various web 2.0 based services for the online travelers and not just more and more individual efforts offering bits and pieces which don’t really improve the shopping experience of travel services.

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Congrats to the Brits!

Posted on May 21, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Marketing, Travel2.0 |

Be a Brit Different

is a new micro-site by VisitBritain that presents the UK in a fresh new and, in my opinion, effective way to potential visitors. Not only is the tag line “different” but an appropriate word play on the British who are often known as individuals with character. To let the hosts talk about the places they live, the things they like around their town or region gives a destination a human face and also credibility that goes beyond the usual and no longer accepted marketing speak still used on too many sites.

I find the site well designed, crisp, uncluttered and easy to use. It combines map features well with the commentary so you know where these people live. Another cool feature is the “What’s on top of British minds today?” Again, a way to let visitors know what’s “in with the locals”.

I have written about a similar approach by Tourism BC and Oregon Tourism a few months ago but this is the first site I’m aware of that is entirely focused on this approach. I can imagine more will follow.

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A “Revolutionary” Campaign with wings

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Marketing, Travel2.0, Web2.0 | Tags: , |

This award winning case study of a campaign to build viral buzz on MarketingSherpa caught my attention as not too many are from the travel industry. It explains in detail how Germanwings used web 2.0 tools to involve their audience with their brand while at the same time grow their database of new customers. A key element of the campaign was a specific micro-site. This is what I have proposed a number of years ago to DMOs to build rather than drive traffic to their main website where interaction is limited. The added benefit is that such a site can be deployed more quickly and in many cases reused, at least in part, for future similar campaigns at lower cost.

The results are an indicator of how well this campaign was received with a 26% open rate. 7.2% click-through, 45,000 profiles and 15,000 groups created. In addition their 1.4 million email list grew by 0.5%. What’s equally positive is the 9.5 minutes people spent on the micro-site, longer than the average time spent per visitor on their mainsite. Looks to me like a well deserved award winner and a model that DMOs should emulate in their own campaigns, especially those that integrate off- and online elements, where a micro-site would be best suited as the core fulfillment mechanism.

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Posted on March 14, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Marketing |


The world as you like it

looks like an interesting initiative. It’s a social networking site engaging visitors to the state and giving them the opportunity to post their experiences. With a sweepstakes, they are even given a tangible incentive to do so.

The site looks very attractive and user friendly with the by now ubiquitous rotating photo panel with great shots of the destination.

The main question, as with many other new sites is how to attract a large enough audience that participates actively to make is a truly useful resource for future visitors.

One other question I have, is why was the site not integrated into the Arizona Tourism site or at least mentioned prominently on its home page?

In any case, a welcome new effort by a DMO to innovate.

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The Real World Marketing Value of Virtual Events

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Marketing, Tourism, Web/Tech |

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.

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Visit to close shop

Posted on February 26, 2008. Filed under: DMO, Marketing, Tourism, Travel2.0, Web2.0 |

reports Hotelmarketing, based on an article on 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 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.

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