Twitter is blocked in China – what does it mean to Travel and Tourism Marketing?

June 3, 2009

twitter-blocked.jpgFirst some background:As reported by Reuters, and experienced by myself yesterday in sunny Beijing, the GFW (Great Fire Wall) strikes again. The Chinese Government censors blocked access to Twitter and other popular online services on Tuesday (June 2) afternoon at approximately 5pm, two days before the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. The photo-sharing site Flickr, email service Hotmail and other services were also unavailable this evening. was blocked last month and YouTube has been inaccessible from the mainland since March. Read more

Why Discounting Won’t Work to Survive this Recession

April 9, 2009

The tourism industry has often boasted of its resilience and ability to rebound after drops in demand caused by such negative factors as 9/11, SARS or natural disasters. The adaptive response most frequently deployed is generic discounting. But does this serve the individual business or the tourism community well and will it work this time? Read more

The E-Marketer of Today is the CMO of Tomorrow

August 15, 2007

The E-Marketer of Today is the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Tomorrow…?

Well, I said it 10 years ago, and people thought I was crazy! In fact when I was experimenting with my first little Internet venture back in 1995, people told me: “Why are you doing this – nobody will ever use the Internet…”. Three years later, when I started my MBA/MMH at Cornell University, and told people that I wanted to look at E-Commerce as my focus, I got a similar response: “Hmmm, I thought you were in marketing and not technology…” Luckily, when I had my first internship with Mike Pusateri at Marriott International (who launched

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was one of the pioneers in hospitality e-commerce and online distribution), I met a mentor, who showed me the possibilities of hotel marketing of the future and guided me in the right direction.

Anyhow, this post is about an article (published in Advertising Age) from the recognized executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles about exactly this topic. I am sure they know what they are talking about. Check it out. It

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talks about that the CMO of tomorrow will play the role of the Digital

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Catalyst, Customer Advocate, Global Translator, Legacy Builder, Business Driver, and Humble Luminary. What I always hear when talking to my colleagues at the HSMAI Travel Internet Marketing Organization is that our jobs are not about building websites and executing search engine marketing programs, but about creating and executing strategies, building new businesses inside organizations, building and articulating brands, analyzing metrics and understanding consumer intelligence, and acting as collaborative change management agents and internal evangelists. This “e-commerce thing” has been an exciting ride, and I believe it will get even more exciting in the years to come.

Heidrick & Struggles recently completed a study with Forrester Research to more closely analyze the changing role of the CMO. We are pleased to share the findings with you in the attached report. It captures some compelling insights regarding the evolution of one of the most critical functions in business today – the marketing function.

Another great article about the same subject was in Strategy + Business Magazine called “The New Complete Marketer” by Gregor Harter, Edward Landry, and Andrew Tipping.

The Great (Fire)wall of China

February 6, 2007

As is well known, there are some subjects – such as Taiwan, Falun Gong – that the Chinese Government doesn’t think its people should know about. So about 30,000 Internet censorship officials have been deployed to man what is called the “Great Firewall of China”, which blocks access to these and countless other subjects.

Read more

Global Warming – it effects all of us!

January 28, 2007

This may not be totally relevant to the topic of my blog, but I thought I post it anyhow. This weekend I watched this documentary by Al Gore for the second time. If you see only one movie this year, make it An Inconvenient Truth. The film clearly and effectively explains the cause and horrifying effects of global warming, and even takes time out to refute the right wing naysayers, challenging and debunking their best “arguments” against global warming. It may not be the year’s best movie, or its most entertaining, but it’s certainly the most terrifyingly crucial. According to this film, we have ten years in which to turn around the inevitable, and viewers moved to action can start by logging onto It also includes a blog that is very well done.

I thought to be topical, I would introduce a couple Eco Travel sites. Conscious consumers are about to start asking some awkward questions. I’m sure travel brands will be increasingly affected by consumers’ increasing awareness. Rocksupkemspopland . Humans won’t want to stop travelling unless they have to, but they will want to travel knowing they are making a light footprint on our fragile world. I applaud Jean-Claude Baumgarten and the World Travel and Tourism Council for taking the initiative in creating awareness with their Tourism for Tomorrow Award. My former employer Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a 2006 winner of the WTTC Award, has always been proactiv when in 1990, under leadership of VP of Marketing Brian Richardson, Fairmont’s Canadian hotels pioneered The Fairmont Green Partnership, literally writing the book on sustainable best practices in the lodging industry, while developing a comprehensive commitment to minimizing their hotels’ impact on the planet. Also, have a look at the global benchmark and certification initiavite Green Globe. Below are some Eco Travel websites worth taking a look at. seo company reviews .

Google Trends – A reliable “Crystal Ball”?

January 19, 2007

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for “Canada Tourism“. You can also compare different search terms, say “Fairmont Hotels”, “Four Seasons Hotels”, and Ritz Carlton Hotels”, and see how the future may look like…

Well, we do not have enough data to be sure of anything… but that’s a good indicator of the relation between Internet traffic and tourism industry real data.

About Google Trends
With Google Trends, you can compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched for on Google over time. Google Trends also displays how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and which geographic regions have searched for them most often.

Adobe Engagement Platform

January 1, 2007


The Adobe Engagement Platform, built around Adobe PDF and Flash technology as well as HTML, enables individuals and companies to create and deploy engaging and consistent experiences across platforms, devices, and environments.
Read more

Understanding Innovation and Trends to become Consumer Centric

December 25, 2006

According to, we live in a world of absolute INNOVATION OVERLOAD: clever entrepreneurs, inventors, and marketers from all over are coming up with so many innovative ideas, that even innovation blogs have a hard time keeping track. Which implies that:




1. Innovation isn’t rocket science. It’s an obsession with understanding or creating what makes consumers happy, what delights them, which problems they face, and then creating something that delivers to those needs.

2. Innovation is not necessarily about serious people in white coats puttering about in R&D labs. In an experience economy, marketing innovations rule.

3. Wherever you live, you have absolutely NO excuse to be unaware of innovations popping up in Austria, in The Netherlands, in Japan, in Brazil, in the US, in Turkey, in South Africa, and everywhere else all over the world.

But the most important piece of understanding innovations and leveraging them for your business, or even coming up with innovations yourself, is understanding the consumer. In order to understand the consumer, we need to be aware of the trends the impact our lifes. Let’s face it: never before has knowing about emerging consumer trends been as important as it is now. Why consumer trends? Well… Why not? In a nutshell, tracking consumer trends is a crucial way to understand what consumers are doing now and may be doing next. Which ideally should inspire you to dream up new goods, services and experiences for and with your customers to meet and anticipate their needs. And the latter should lead to more revenues, more profits. So consumer trends are as much about making money as anything else in the business world.

So, what is a trend?

How about: “A statistically significant change in performance of measured data which is unlikely to be due to a random variation in the process.” That won’t get the creative juices going, though. So consider what we came up with a few years ago, and which is still holding up well: “A manifestation of something that has ‘unlocked’ or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need, desire, want, or value.” Example? One of the core human needs is to be in control, or at least to have the illusion of being in control. No wonder then, that the online world (a new technology), which firmly puts the individual in the driver’s seat, is so addictive. The Net continues to put even more control in the hands of ordinary consumers, we’re spotting sub-trends every day. This is why I believe that online marketers are the best trend-watchers of today’s time, and the web is a big virtual focus group. Once we fully understand what’s driving trends, why it is that some things take off and others sink, it’s time to figure out which of them will affect your business, and determining the impact of

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the ones who do. But it is not that easy – in the end it all comes down to execution, and the following three main challenges will almost always emerge:

The 3 main challenges

  1. Management and corporate culture (Are they into trends and innovation or not?)
  2. Resources (Information overload or starvation, lack of time and/or lack of funds)
  3. Understanding and applying trends (How to
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    do with your point of view?)

Read more

Understanding Innovation and Trends to become Consumer Centric

December 20, 2006

According to, we live in a world of absolute INNOVATION OVERLOAD: clever entrepreneurs, inventors, and marketers from all over are coming up with so many innovative ideas, that even innovation blogs have a hard time keeping track.
Read more