The Video Tutorial

July 28, 2007

I (and some other T-List bloggers) wrote about, and other Tourism Destinations that started to move into User-Generated Content.

Well, the Netherland Board of Tourism and Conventions (the operator of

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their new website – interesting, but I let you judge for yourself…

Hilton hotels Promoting Kindness

July 26, 2007


Hilton Hotels has been promoting a very interesting, clever, and interactive campaign (Be Hospitable) with a positive-messaged idea in print magazines such as Newsweek as well as on US Cable TV.

The site allows people to record hospitable deeds and outstanding acts of human kindness that occur around the globe. According to Hitlon Hotels, this is the philosphy upon which the Hilton experience was founded.

Be hospitable is both a tag line and a philosophy of which consumers are invited to share stories. Stories are linked to dots on a map of the United States which is a bit awkward to navigate. The value of this is effort is to reinforce the quality of hospitality with the Hilton brands. It

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doesn’t take the place though of the basics of figuring out how to build the individual brands (e.g. Waldorf Astoria, DoubleTree) while still associating them with the parent Hilton brand and of ensuring that the most

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important features of the hotels are present every time – for example, the bed must be comfortable!

Associating the Hilton brand with hospitality and acts of kindness will ultimately mean nothing if the experience of staying in a Hilton brand hotel isn’t enjoyable and doesn’t meet the traveler’s needs.

But linking the brand essence to a well executed social media viral marketing campaign – I have to say that I am very impressed. Another great use of social media to connect people in travel has been done by KLM Airlines.

Joie de Vivre Hospitality re-launches interactive website

July 20, 2007

Recently I wrote about Shangri-La’s new website launch at a pize tag of only $2 Million, which disappointed me a little bit.

This time, I found a new hotel website launch that made me smile. Joie de Vivre Hospitality, based in San Francisco and California’s largest independent boutique hotel company launched a new website to, as they say “celebrate 20 years of creating dreams”. The site is designed to enrich California travel experiences, which include a list of local contacts with like-mineded interests (ever heard of the concept of residents inviting travellers? well, here is a nice attempt…something you would hope to see from a tourism marketing organization). The site is more about booking rooms, but more with connecting with the community – well done! I have only stayed in a JDV Hotel in San Francisco once, and the experience was ok (not great), but the marketing innovation deserve recognition.

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Some of thee new website enhancements include:

– California Connect – A new Joie de Vivre Hotels online community infuses a web 2.0 element into the site, enabling travelers to blog, meet fellow travelers and exchange recommendations, write reviews, join group discussions, upload photos and more.

– Your California – A California destination web portal with travel planning tools and information, such as:
1. Things to Do: Close to 400 regional attractions that include more than the usual tourist stops … local treasures, hidden gems and great finds ‘off the beaten path.
2. Experience Planner: Users select specific items from the recommended “Things to Do” section and create a custom itinerary that can be printed, or forwarded to travel partners.
3. Videos: Users can watch quirky video shorts of specific San Francisco neighborhoods, filmed by locals, for a real-time perspective of the destination.
4. Joy of Life Guides: More in-depth and ‘polished’ recommendations with details that go beyond the Experience Planner. These guides, authored by locals, can be found for subjects from ‘I

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5. Locals Talk: Joie de Vivre staff and friends share their local favorites;

– Hotel Matchmaker – Building on an idea Joie de Vivre Hospitality introduced in 2003, the Hotel Matchmaker offers advanced search capability that enables guests to find the perfect hotel, with surprising accuracy, through personality-based questions that result in three hotels, potential activities and two like-minded individuals.

Have a look at the article from our friends at HOTELS Magazine, written by Karyn Strauss that explores other hotel companies’ foray in the wonderful world of Web 2.0 – and last January, I showcased my personal favorites of 2006 hotel website launches.

Destinations and the Benefits of Blogging

July 18, 2007

Blogs, UGC, organic search… it’s getting harder for the destination professional to keep up-to-date with the latest terminology, and harder still to ensure that their online marketing activities fully embrace these new approaches. But experts are warning that destinations which fail to adapt could face disaster.
Read more

T-List on Facebook

July 17, 2007


The T-List stands for Travel-related blogs, and was created back in March 2007 by Matthieu at the Radar Blog.

Let’s build a community amongst Travel-related bloggers on Facebook! Join the T-List Community on Facebook.
Read more

The Blog for the Canadian E-Tourism Strategy Conference is launched

July 16, 2007

The Canada-e-Connect Blog is live. Get the inside scoops on the conference by checking out the blog today. This blog provides a great unbiased look into the

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Some thoughts around Media Convergence…

July 9, 2007

I think we are really in an interesting
period where we need to realize that it is not about the Internet, but
about customer touchpoints. Convergence (
being one of the hot buzz words, it is about leveraging media in order
to break through the clutter. When I talk to people about the
convergence of online and offline media, many times I get a response:
“Oh, yeah, you are talking about integrated marketing!” Maybe yes,
maybe no…I just haven’t seen too many good integrated marketing
executions in the travel and hotel industry. I would say true media
convergence happens when you create a flow of content pieces by
leveraging different media channels – some people refer to it as
Tripleplay ( For
example – what about an ad or article in an inflight magazine that
encourages the interaction with the brand via mobile devices; the first
gadget that most people grab after landing is the mobile phone or
blackberry..and then from the mobile interaction an email is triggered
with a link to the website, and so on – you get the point.

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What I am
trying to say is, we as marketers have to learn how to leverage media
channels based on content consumption without duplication of
content. I see it almost like a story that sucks you in, resulting
(not ending) with a call to action. Once the experience is consumed
(i.e. hotel stay), the brand would encourage to further cultivate the
relationship by creating value – this could lead to data capture and
personalized messaging or social networking by sharing the experience
with other potential travelers. And then we have the entire phanomenom of
Virtual Worlds, such as Second Life…how are these channels playing
into the media mix, especially when it comes to marketing travel and
tourism experiences.

Anyhow…just a few of my thoughts I wanted to share. I believe

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“Social Media and Travel” at TIA TravelCom in Las Vegas

July 4, 2007


I was invited to participate in a panel discussion about “Social Media and Travel” at TIA TravelCom in Las Vegas last week.

I shared the panel with Jasper Malcomsen, GM of Yahoo Travel, Jim Korvarik, GM of AOL Travel, and Christine Petersen, SVP Marketing Tripavisor. Our panel was moderated by Suzanne Cook, SVP Research TIA. All the prep work was taken under by Cindy Estis Green, who has just recently published a report on Website

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Best Practices – and the Canadian Tourism Commission was featured in the report.

After a general overview of Social Media in Travel and Tourism by Dr. Suzanne Cook, the discussion went into questions how to deal

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with negative postings, and how to leverage social media for an organization’s marketing mix. In the end, everybody agreed that social media is just a shift from the traditional word-of-mouth to the web. When a guest complaints about his or her stay in a hotel, the successful front desk staff could try to leverage this opportunity to turn the negative situation into building loyalty. Very similarly to the hotel example, Christine from Tripadvisor encouraged hotels to leverage the situation and engage in

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Tourism Destinations are going Web 2.0

July 3, 2007

More and more Tourism Destinations, especially at the national level are now looking to go Web 2.0. The Austrian National Tourist Board launched phase one of their initiative, Cool Austria (I do have to say though that I love their cheesy and tacky tag line: “My land is your land”), and VisitSweden is developing theirs. And we at the CTC just launched a few initiatives ourselves; phase one of our community site on, our “We are more” contest, and our community on Yahoo! Canada.

Austria‘s site is a full fledged community site, where you can connect with fellow travellers, including maps mash-ups, and message boards. It seems though that CoolAustria has challenges generating content – one thing we anticipated early on,

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and solved through our partnership with Realtravel.

Sweden is looking to incorporate Personas, which should be interesting.
But what Sweden did launch is a fun interactive map, leveraging Google Maps.

And then there are our friends from Australia who launched a partnership with American Express to build a site called MyAussieVacation. The site features mobile applications, Google Earth, and the Australia Travel Wiki (build in Wetpaint). Now, I do have to admit, the

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to see if they can generate content, or if it is done with help via feeds…
Note: I told my friend Chris Clarke about Wetpaing and the Austrailia Travel Wiki, and we played around with it, and he launched a test wiki for the hospitality and travel industry at Chrispitality. I encourage all you tourism/hospitaltity marketing bloggers to sign up, add your blog, and get involved.

It seems like everybody is taking a slightly different approach, which is exciting to see. Both William Bakker and Karin Schmolgruber blogged about the new US version of You can read their analysis, which I completely agree with. The only thing to point out is that while I have to agree that from a website design standpoint, the site is clever (maybe a bit too much flash for my taste) and makes probably the best use of new social media web technologies, in my opnion it does not do a great job in stimulating a conversation with travelers – as Joe Buhler stressed in his recent blog post. Now, I noticed a button on the side, promoting Holland’s planned presence in Second Life, but would be interesting to see the connection. Clever nevertheless, but even though the site includes tag clouds, and bookmarking tolls, I am not sure if this is the future of destination websites, and since designing a stylish side does not necessarily create value for consumers as well. But in any event, a huge step ahead of most destination websites, especially at the national level. So well done

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Holland, for taking that step!

I also support Holland’s direction to test this approach in one market first, in this case the US market. I am not sure though if this really a test managed by the Netherland Board of Tourism and Conventions‘ Headquarter back in Leidschendam, or if this initiatve was driven by the US office (smile). This is pretty common – I just recently wrote about New Zealand’s social media campaign site for the UK.

I can say that many of our global market office at the Canadian Tourism Commission are extremely creative, and always looking to leverage the web and emerging technologies. One of these examples is our German office, that a couple of years ago launched a very innovative web initiative

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targeting women interested traveling to Canada. This site,, not only makes use of blogs, newsletter, guestbook, online shop, forums, and podcasts, but it even has its own video site at (including the new video magazine CANASTASIA). I think this is a very clever site (and I can say that as I was not involved in the conception of the idea), without lots of flash but some real conversations. Women can even look for their Canadian Dream Man. (and the guys can look at dream girls…maybe the German CTC team discovered that they were also getting a loyal male audience…?)

Lots of stuff going on (and I probably missed a few sites), and all of this and more will be topics at the upcoming Canadian E-Tourism Strategy Conference, Canada-e-Connect, being held in conjunction with the first ever Canadian E-Tourism Awards, featuring an exciting User-Generated Content and Social Media component itself. Stay tuned, and visit the Canada-e-Connect Blog as the awards will have a global twist as well…