10 Future Web Trends

September 7, 2007

An excellent article about the FUTURE WEB TRENDS.

What then can we expect from the next 10 or so years on the Web? The
biggest impact of the Web in 10 years time won’t necessarily be via a
computer screen – our online activity will be mixed with our
presence, travels, objects you buy or act with. We’re

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well into the current era of the Web, commonly referred to as Web
2.0. Features of this phase of the Web include search, social networks,
online media (music, video, etc), content aggregation and syndication
(RSS), mashups (APIs), and much more. Currently the Web is still mostly
accessed via a PC, but we’re starting to see more Web excitement from
mobile devices (e.g. iPhone) and television sets (e.g. XBox Live 360).

Our lifes are definately getting more digital. In a different survey by Datamonitor/Dimension Data, research reveals that 100% of the end-users
surveyed use e-mail, followed by fixed-line telephones (80%), mobile
telephones (76%) and instant messaging (66%).

The 10 referenced trends include:

1. Semantic Web
2. Artificial

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3. Virtual Worlds
4. Mobile
5. Attention Economy
6. Web sites as Web

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7. Online Video / Internet TV
8. Rich Internet Applications
9. Internation Web

The Holland.com Video Tutorial

July 28, 2007

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

Well, the Netherland Board of Tourism and Conventions (the operator of Holland.com)

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

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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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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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 Canada.travel, 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 Holland.com. 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, CeverWomen.de, not only makes use of blogs, newsletter, guestbook, online shop, forums, and podcasts, but it even has its own video site at CeverWomen.tv (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…

Canadians inspiring Canadians

June 29, 2007

The Canadian Tourism Commission takes its social media efforts yet to another level by launching an innovative contest to have Canadians inspire other Canadians. The entire contest in conjunction with Canadian Tourism on Yahoo Groups, as previously introduced. Have a look here. And of course, everything is

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done in both English and French. CTV (Radio Canada) is also a media partner of the initiative. Watch this morning’s Canada AM (CTV) interview with Canadian slam dunk poet Shane Koyzan, and Greg Klassen, VP Marketing for the CTC.

It all started when the CTC asked slam poet, Shane Koyzan to write a poem about Canada. It’s called “We Are More” and it is quite emotional for Canadians. You can watch it or listen to the poem online. (Note: It is a faster downlaod if you go here). The poem stands for what the new Canada keep exploring brand is all about—celebrating originality, following imagination, showing the world our Canada.

The French version of the poem is by Ivan Bielinski, and is called “la première fois“. Listen to the poem there (ecouter), or watch the video (regarder le film).

July 1 being Canada Day, the CTC not only wants to share this poem with all Canadians, and people all over that love the Canadian ideal and Canada as an unique tourism destination – but wants to use this poem as an inspiration for everybody to get inspired and encourage to share their own story…maybe in a form of a poem… It’s all about Canadians inspiring Canadians, to get out, discover Canada,

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CTC launches beta version of blogging site on Canada.travel

June 22, 2007

After 18 months of hard work, the Canadian Tourism Commission last week launched the beta version of phase 1 of the Canada.travel community website (on www.blogs.canada.travel). This project was launched in partnership with Realtravel.com, one of the 12 essential travel websites according to Forbes.com.

Phase one (in English language) is really our test into the social media arena as a National Tourism Organization for Canada, and having partnered with one of the leaders in the space made it viable. The coming phases of our Canada.travel community website will be very innovative and will create value for the Canadian Tourism industry and relevancy for travellers, all with the goal to leverage the power of the Internet to increase tourism into Canada. It will certainly be an exciting ride!

Read more

Online Tourism Marketing in the US

March 20, 2007

What is going on south of the border as it relates to e-tourism marketing (since I am currently in Canada)? As Canada’s biggest tourism market is the US (and vice versa), I have been looking south to see how some of the US States are promoting themselves online. I am planning to do the same for the Canadian provinces shortly as a follow-up to this post.

Note: there are

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quite a few cities that do really innovative work, but I will not be able to focus on city DMOs in this posting.

Maybe a quick around national tourism marketing in the USA and Canada. While the Canadian Tourism Commission has been marketing Canada as one nation in collaboration with the different Provincial Tourism Organizations (Tourism British Columbia,

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Travel Alberta, Bonjour Quebec, etc.), the US has been more fragmented and the State Tourism Organizations (Go Hawaii, Tourism Massacusettts, Visit Pennsylvania, etc.) have taken the lead in marketing the USA. With refreshed leadership at TIA (Travel Industry Association of America), the US Government has approved a grant to build a national tourism website, DiscoverAmerica.com (currently SeeAmerica.org).

Here are ten nice US State Tourism website examples that I found interesting:

1. At VisitPA.com, Pennsylvania Playlists will let everybody—experts, celebrities, and regular folks—create pages that list their favorite places to play and stay in PA that link to details pages on visitPA.com. It’s a new way to highlight the best the Commonwealth has to offer while generating excitement for tourism and sparking publicity.

2. Oregon, one of my favorite state-run sites, tourists planning a visit to Oregon can build a personal travel journal based on places and events they want to enjoy in each of seven zones of the state. The site can then generate an itinerary linking all of them. This is just a great site all around!

5. Virginia launched the “Crooked Road – Virginia’s Hertitage and Music Trail“, where you can create your own song. A nice way to create buzz and stimulate viral marketing. Probably the first Tourism Organization that has been using the web in that way.

6. Utah has build a nice flash site (and has adopted the use of dot travel in their online and offline advertising). Their top spots site focuses on some of the wow experiences in Utah.

7. Texas designed a nice site (and I had to pick Texas as my 7th choice as I went to High School in Fort Worth, TX as a German exchange student 10 years ago). But the site is very user-friendly, especially the map and the TripMaker. I liked the fact that music is showcased, but was then disappointed that you cannot sample it. (no booking engine)

8. Tourism Massachusetts, rolled out the first of a planned 50 two-minute videos promoting venues like Cape Cod and the Berkshires. The technology, at website USAMass.tv, lets officials put television-quality video in front of millions of potential tourists at one-tenth the cost of European television infomercials. A bubbly British host adds an international feel.

9. Washington State created a very image rich site (possibly a little content poor), however very experiential.

10. Colorado also made it onto my list. A clean and easy to navigate site. (no booking engine)

Also, have a look at the blog post at the Smiley Cat blog, which took a look at the US States web representation online.

3. Hawaii began offering a travel guide last fall with 300 photos taken by native Hawaiians, selected from more than 8,000 submissions. The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau believes that visitors appreciate knowing what residents like to experience. (I agree)

4. California has a very user-friendly site that captures the essence of the state and makes it easy to plan and book your travel needs. I would especially point the nice integration of mapping. (booking engine)

Marketers need to understand the Website Experience

February 18, 2007

In a past CMO Magazine article, Hurwitz & Associates claimed that Marketers need insight into the online experience in order to build the brand and offer better customer service and more customized products – and I very much agree with the thoughts made in their great article.


IT managers or Webmasters typically have various ways to monitor the performance of a company website which may include real-time performance and availability alarms and dashboards. Sometimes these monitoring methods provide excellent technical information, but may fall short of describing the problem from the end user’s point of

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view. The effectiveness of these methods is increased if managers have a way to experience the site exactly as a customer would and implement technology which allows them to capture the entire user session and archive it in such a way that someone analyzing the customer experience can see the exact steps that a user went through to the point of failure. This can allow Web administrators to get to the root of the problem quickly before it impacts the business. Tealeaf is one of the companies that offer such technology solutions. Understanding what a customer is actually experiencing can go a long way to enhance that experience and build a better brand image.

· Brand – The value of brand cannot be underestimated. A site with a lot of ongoing problems will lose its reputation quickly, resulting in fewer sales.

· Increasing conversion – If users can’t complete a transaction, or are frustrated with navigating through a site because they have come to a page with an error on it they aren’t likely to become a buyer.

· Customer retention – If an established customer is having consistent problems with the site then there is a good chance of losing that customer.

· Decreasing cost – Finding problems with a site can take a long time, especially if someone cannot reproduce the sequence of events that led up to the problem. Between calls to customer support, and work done by engineering and QA, this can be a costly proposition.

Read more

New Hospitality and Tourism Marketing Textbook

February 15, 2007

A new Marketing Textbook for Hotel and Tourism Colleges has been published by Stowe Showemaker from the Conrad Hilton College at the University of Houston, Robert Lewis from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Peter Yesawich, Chairman at Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell. I just received a copy and have to say it is an outstanding book, and having talked to the authors, I know what an enormous undertaking this has been. So congratulations to the authors!

What makes the book unique are interviews with industry executives such as Michael Leven (former CEO of US Franchise Systems), Christian Hempell (Inter-Continental Hotels), Gary Leopold (ISM), Bruce Himelstein (Ritz Carlton), Tom Storey (Fairmont Hotels & Resorts), Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace (Caribbean Tourism Organization), Hirohide Abe (Hyatt), David Norton (Harah’s Entertainment), Peter Warren, Spencer Rascoff (Zillow.com, formerly Expedia), Terry Jicinsky

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(Las Vegas CVB) – and yours truly (Chapter 18: Ditribution Systems). Below is the author’s description of the book:

How do you gain a sustainable competitive advantage in today’s global hospitality industry? Are there ways to attract and keep

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a customer over the course of a lifetime? Marketing Leadership in Hospitality and Tourism, Fourth Edition addresses the marketing strategies and tactics known to be effective in the industry such as strategic pricing and revenue management, customer loyalty programs, proven communication mixes, and more! Each chapter explores how to market services and the hospitality experience from both an academic and industry point of view. Over sixty Case Studies, on CD-ROM included with each textbook, bring the material to life in real-world situations based on actual events. International examples, web exercises and intriguing interviews help students learn

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about marketing and also about the industry itself.

Guide to Understand Online Legal Issues for Hotel Marketers

February 14, 2007

We all recognize that the Internet is becoming the ideal medium to reach consumers with branding messages,

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and travel promotions. Growing interest in interactive marketing resulted in the formation of the Hotel Internet Marketing Committee by e-commerce executives in the hotel industry in 2003, which developed becoming the Travel Internet Marketing Organization.

The actual catalyst for the creation of the HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Committee were the legal issues faced by online marketers in the hospitality and travel industry. The first HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference in December of 2003 was the first forum in the hotel industry that ever addressed the issue of online trademark protection, spawning, mouse-trapping, phishing, spoofing, cyber-squatting, domain name fraud, as well as spyware. It became very clear that loss of control of a company’s trademark (for example when a third party bids on a trademarked term on search engines), not only may lead to loss in revenues, but also brand confusion by the consumer.

Having been on the editorial board of this book, I would like to congratulate the authors for putting together this invaluable guide

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to “Demystifying Legal Issues in the Online Landscape for Hotel Marketers“. This reference, developed by TIG, HSMAI and Cyvellance and authored by Sue Heilbronner and Cindy Estis Green is long overdue.

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