Global Road Warrior Essentials

Posted on March 27, 2008. Filed under: Tourism |

[go to slideshow]OK, this is off topic but, hey marketing is a wide ranging subject and this is very important information for you road warriors out there. On Style – covers that often vexing habit of the “Global Art of the Cheek Kiss”. Have fun and remember, it’s still “when in Rome…..”. Safe travels everyone!

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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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Travel 2.0 is alive and well in Canada

Posted on November 11, 2007. Filed under: Tourism |

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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Study shows tourists increasingly want feel-good experiences

Posted on July 31, 2007. Filed under: Tourism |

Travelmole. reports based on a Forbes Travelers list of the 30 Most Visited U.S. cities. It notes that Charlotte ranks higher than Fort Lauderdale.

The fact that visitors decide a destination based on how it makes – or might make – them feel and that image plays a role is certainly not new. This has been the case for the last 25 years or more. Studies we conducted for Switzerland back in the 1980s supported this.

With the easy accessibility to information from a wide variety of sources, especially other visitors, it is much easier today to envisage oneself in a certain place and how great it might feel than it was in the old days of print brochures.

This should be good news for those destinations that don’t have a landmark like a Grand Canyon, a Golden Gate Bridge, a Statue of Liberty to attract visitors. Charlotte is a case in point and I personally take it over Fort Lauderdale anytime!

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A worthwhile goal

Posted on November 27, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

Improving the U.S. Image Abroad

I applaud any initiative in this directon and can only wish the travel industry the best of luck. Based on past experience with Switzerland I know this is an enormous task. That country which by an large has a very positive image abroad, came under criticism in the past from visitors entering by car for the unfriendly manner they were treated at the border. The toughest group to educate on the necessity of not only a friendly approach but clear information, are the immigration officials. Their entire mindset from initial training on is to be suspicious and alert to anything negative. Most of them do not consider themselves part of the tourism industry but rather the defense establishment. Keep the bad guys out is their mantra, not be welcome to visitors because they are good for the economy.

It is one thing to get message across to people in the industry and maybe even cab drivers but the immigration and security staff are a major challenge.

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Not surprising, but….

Posted on November 25, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

Over 50% of Vacations Now Planned Online

it begs these questions:
– what kind of site does that planning process start?
– what happens on that site to move the traveler along the path from planning to booking?
– how many more sites need to be visited until the trip is booked?

My guess is that if the planning starts on a destination site – which is very likely based on destination name searches – most travelers will find a wide range of information, probably more than they need, but will in most cases not be able to book the entire trip on that site.

That, in opinion, is a lost opportunity for DMO to generate much needed revenue for themselves and for their local suppliers. With the right kind of combination of information content – of course, including the user generated kind – and booking functionality one stop shopping could become a reality. Compare this to today’s situation where all this stuff is somewhere on the web on many different sites and often requires hours of "work". Granted, researching, planning and dreaming about a future vacation is more fun than many other online activities, but the process should become much more interactive and integrated to raise it to the level of fun it could truly be.

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PhoCusWright’s Executive Conference and some thoughts on DMOs……

Posted on November 17, 2006. Filed under: Tourism, Travel2.0 |

Another PhoCusWright Executive Conference is history and what an experience it was. In keeping with the them of “Travel 2.0 confronts the Establishment”, this truly was a 2.0 conference in terms of innovation in structure and staging. From everywhere in the entire conference area, including the trade show floor, and terrace for laptop users the more than 800 attendees could follow all presentations not only visually on screens but verbally by using the portable audio devices. Questions could be asked by SMS, e-Mail too for the timid who don’t want to raise their hand.

The level of participants, the content, the excitement, the buzz and the very high production values combined to make this the best ever in what is now an event with a twelve hear history. There is no comparison with others in the travel industry. As always,well staged and managed with the punctuality of a Swiss train schedule by the folks at PhoCusWright. Congrats!

All the major industry players were on hand including venture capitalists, financial analysts, the searchers and meta-searchers….In brief presentations, a select number of entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to present their innovative new web 2.0 ventures to the audience. Two of the more interesting new networking and collaboration tools are Plum who’s tag line is “you google, and then what?” very relevant to future online travel planning and a similar play Gusto concentrating on travel.

Conspicuous by their absence were, once again I might add, the DMOs. Granted there were a handful and the Canadian presence was larger than that of the U.S. No major city CVB, nor state office and hardly any foreign offices, except from Denmark and Ireland, were present.

It continues to puzzle me how so many of these organizations ignore an event recognized as the leading one in the travel industry focused on the future and fail to take advantage of the opportunities to see what the latest developments are that will have an impact on their role in the marketplace and let’s be quite frank about it, their future relevance.

Many DMOs complain about the problems they face to be taken seriously as professionals or to get adequate funding to remain active. Why then, are they so reluctant to seek outside strategic advice and engage people who are able to keep them on the leading edge of what’s going on in the online marketspace where today customers are making the decisions affecting their destinations?


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Hallo France, helo Espana…..?

Posted on November 8, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

Top Stories & Trends – Australia, U.S., Italy Rank Highest as Country Brands

Interesting, but flawed study in my opinion. I just can’t take seriously a ranking of country brands that doesn’t have France or Spain in the top ten. Good for the Aussies, but I guess not to be taken at face value. For those not listed, my advice is not to despair. There has always been a disconnect between brand recognition and the actual number of visitors to a destination. Case in point – Switzerland, one of the oldest tourism destinations and a top 15 global player that is mostly overlooked in these studies.

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The impact of the web

Posted on November 7, 2006. Filed under: Tourism |

was not addressed in the reports mentioned in my two previous postings and in my opinion it will have quite a significant impact on how the Chinese traveler will plan and purchase travel in future. Today online travel is growing at a rapid pace, with cTrip and eLong dominating the space. The web, however, is used almost exclusively to purchase domestic air and hotel services.

In a bit of a futuristic leap, I predict that this could change in a few short years and maybe the Chinese market will change to a more individualistic model faster than it did in Japan. Even today, the web is hardly used there for foreign trips.

China would be an ideal testing ground for innovative, dynamic packaging solutions that would allow travelers to buy multi-destination trips, let’s say to Europe or the United States, online at competitive prices. Such functionality, integrated with rich destination information and Web 2.0 type customer generated content could be a killer app for the Chinese outbound market. Who better to believe then one of your own when it comes to discovering foreign countries and buy the right services. Exciting prospects for those innovative enough to see the opportunities.

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