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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Who can you trust?

Posted on April 15, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Social Media, Travel2.0 | Tags: , |

seems to be a question travelers should ask themselves after reading Secrets of Lonely Planet in Gulliver, the new travel related blog by the The publishers, of course, claim that this is an isolated incident but who are we to know for sure. The episode shows that the traditional media are challenged by user generated content and traveler reviews that are spreading across the web with great speed. Who the most trusted sources are has always been clear, it’s relatives and friends with a personal experience about a certain destination or hotel but now peers from your wider social network who can easily post their first hand opinions on the web with multi-media to boot, are becoming increasingly important and influential as well.

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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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Hyatt goes social

Posted on March 29, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Social Media, Travel2.0 | Tags: , |

with yatt’it a new community site offering a number of interesting features such as tips by their local concierges that complement visitor comments. There is also integration with FlightStats for flight, airport and weather information. Their frequent guests can register with an existing Gold Passport ID, or users sign-up for one. This is an interesting way to create a database of potential new customers, in addition to a more active engagement with their existing loyal members. Overall a pretty good effort at joining the conversation.

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Distinction Between Bloggers, Journalists Blurring More Than Ever

Posted on March 3, 2008. Filed under: Social Media, Travel2.0, Web2.0 |

MediaShift Digging Deeper::PBS deals with the topic the panel I’m on at the PhoCusWright Blogger Summit at the ITB in Berlin will address.

The title is journalists vs. bloggers, by itself a misnomer, as the lines have blurred between what used to be until quite recently very different categories as the article makes very clear. Like so much else, the role of journalists has been affected by how the web develops and this will very likely continue to be the case. The conversation continues……

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Here’s the one you want to be on!

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Travel2.0, Web2.0 |


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.

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TripAdvisor’s 2008 Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: Social Media, Travel2.0, Web2.0 |

This is the list you definitely do not want to be on!

It’s a great – and for some scary! – example of the radical transparency businesses are facing today. There is no place to hide and anyone would be advised to manage their online brand reputation way before they end up on a list like this. I’m convinced that these establishments must have received negative feedback directly over a period of time that would have allowed them to improve the situation. More likely they just didn’t pay attention or care.

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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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Look who starts paying attention!

Posted on February 25, 2008. Filed under: Marketing, Search, Travel2.0, Web2.0 |

“Online comparison sites move beyond price”

reads the headline of Rob Lovitt’s column on 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.

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