Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0Sustainability

Great opportunity to boost Tourism 3.0: Video game industry is trying to leverage its potential for fighting against climate change

Tourism 3.0 holds many advantages over conventional tourism models. One of them is its capacity to leverage the potential of all businesses integrating marketing 3.0 strategies into their business model to boost tourism flows towards destinations 3.0. The latest example of this is the trend in the video game industry – embraced by all its major players – to develop games related to the struggle against climate change, in which players are entitled to address many environmental issues in a virtual world resembling the real one.

Furthermore, the video game industry firms intend to use these environmental challenge games as a strategy to encourage players to take action in the real world, thus following their video game challenge with a real world challenge.

For instance, Strange Loop Games already has environmental issues at the heart of its game Eco. Players work to build a civilization and deal with its impacts on the environment. If they cut down too many trees, for example, they might kill off an animal species. “For us, it’s less about telling the player about being green or avoiding climate change than letting them have that experience, letting them face that challenge themselves,” said CEO John Krajewski. “And then they can bring that to the real world.”

Other major industry firms such as WildWorks, the company that makes the popular kids’ game Animal Jam, plans to help children learn about the importance of forests in the game, and will plant a tree for every new Animal Jam player. Ubisoft also plans to use “green themes” in its games, while Microsoft plans to make 825,000 carbon-neutral Xbox consoles, meaning that the way they are made will not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

The next step towards fighting climate change would be to organize real world environmental challenges inviting all engaged game players to live their video game challenge as a real world challenge – this would also be a life-changing educational experience. Tourism destinations could take this kind of challenge as an opportunity to organize “Environmental voluntourism events”, where participants would be organized in teams and together address some environmental challenge in the shape of a competition game such as the video games they would already be engaged in.

Beyond the positive environmental impact in the destination, this would work as a massive marketing campaign for the video game firm and the destination, also welcoming other like-minded sponsors to financially support the event and thus make it more affordable for the players to participate. Needless to say, as in any competition of this kind, there should be many winners and prizes to reward participants for their contribution. The White Paper “Marketing destinations through storytelling” explains some approaches which can harness this excellent opportunity brought by the video game industry.

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

From customer acquisition to customer recommendation marketing

A lot has been written about how to shift from a marketing system based on new customer acquisition towards a system focused on building a pool of loyal clients and leveraging their recommendations. This approach works for many businesses, but not so well for the majority of the tourism businesses –although it does in some cases – as long as tourists visit different places during every holiday. Most of the small or medium accommodation facilities are nowadays marketed through booking websites such as Airbnb, Expedia, Booking, etc. and charge very high commissions that seriously harm the business profitability. This is a clear example of customer acquisition based marketing.

Therefore, as long as there is little room for customer loyalty for the average tourism business, namely accommodation facilities, how can a business leap forward towards a more profitable marketing system? The key answer is building competitive advantages to set your business apart from competitors, based on relevant value related to the needs and motivations of your target clients. This starts with a thorough market research, which should ideally be supported by the destination’s DMO, as explained in the White Paper “Envisioning destination intelligence 3.0”. Otherwise, customer surveys and benchmarking may also provide useful information. Market intelligence helps find out the specific needs and motivations of all market segments and niches and how to reach them.

In accordance with the characteristics of your facilities and destination, decide which market segments or niches are most appropriate for your business. The White Paper “The 5 competitive forces & business strategy” explains how to carry out this assessment process, taking into account both the potential capabilities of your business and the attractiveness of the targetable market segments.

In the process of building your competitive advantages to target specific segments, it is very convenient to research specific marketing channels – namely travel agencies and tour operators – that are somehow specialized in your target segments. They are some of the best sources of marketing intelligence on how to build the appropriate competitive advantages and position your business in the top list for your target customers. Needless to say, they are key players to access your target customers.

Imagen4

In order to balance the demand seasonality, it is usually necessary to target many market segments, but beware of possible incompatibilities. It is important to assess the implications of adapting your facilities to every segment, and be sure that such adaptations do not exclude other strategic segments. Most of the competitive advantages should not be an inconvenient for any target, but bear in mind that there could be incompatibilities between some of them when you carry out the research.

Creating loyalty and generating good reviews and recommendations is not achieved just by complying with the customer’s expectations, but rather by exceeding them! It is necessary to offer some unexpected value that makes them feel good and creates memorable emotions. Regardless of the target segment, the best way to make your business stand out among others is by offering memorable experiences to your clients. Then encourage them – through content creation contests – and facilitate tools such as owned social media platforms or postcards, to share their experience with relatives and friends.

This is the most effective and efficient marketing for your business: let others explain how much they enjoyed being your client, and help them do it in a creative and original way that impacts the receivers of their message, providing a call to action for those who want to live the same experience. Such marketing is not only more cost-effective due to saving commissions, but it actually strengthens your market positioning and allows you to raise prices in accordance with the increase of the offered value. The White Paper “The Marketing Plan 3.0” explains in detail many of the ideas of this article.

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0

Destinations with a soul (I)

Most of us have experienced working with – as an employee, supplier or client – companies or visiting destinations with a soul, as well as working with companies or visiting destinations without one. The difference is not easily visible, but it can be perceived by sensing the spirit behind the people’s behaviour.

 When human relationships are only based on rights and obligations, often without a win-win approach, people work because they have to, rather than because they want to. They are demotivated and are unlikely to bring in any value beyond what they are paid for. In these types of firms and places, financial KPIs are the only metrics taken into account to measure the health of the organisation, and social problems more or less related to its operations are most likely disregarded or overlooked. These types of places have no soul.

Sometimes there are organisations created with a purpose beyond the financial success thanks to a visionary leader who thought that caring about the common good was key to business profitability, but also because it was appealing to him/her and many other stakeholders, and so this vision is a powerful inner source of motivation.

However, many of these organisations born with a noble soul have lost it over time: sometimes they have been bought by a larger corporation without the same sense of purpose; have new shareholders that do not share the same values, or because the founder has been replaced by a leader with a different vision. And when this happens, all stakeholders notice it to some extent as the passion, generosity and purpose that used to drive the organisation disappears, and the relationships turn out to be colder, rather short-term oriented and calculative, and decisions are based on financial KPIs only.

Instead, in organisations with a soul, people work moved by their human spirit, knowing that what they do is not only to get income at the end of the month, but also to make a positive change in their community at a smaller or larger scale, and becoming change makers for the sake of the environment and the disadvantaged layers of society. In such a kind of organisation, sustained commitments are more likely to take place and its soul can be sensed beyond the marketing campaigns, in the daily routine. It is good to know that more and more talented professionals nowadays feel attracted to work in organisations with a soul, with a special sense of purpose beyond the financial profits.

When an organisation is based on authenticity in human relations – respect, empathy and self-exigency – when customer and mission centricity are deeply rooted in the people’s mindset, and when leading means serving the common good with humility and passion, then we can be sure that there is a soul. And it is reflected in the organisational culture not only in the speeches but also in the daily behaviour and the critical decisions, where the mission and the values prevail over the short-term financial profit, because long-term financial profit is superior when the organisation is loyal to these values and mission.

 

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Using Facebook’s Updated News Feed for Your Tourism Marketing

One of the biggest challenges for tourism marketers is keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of new technologies and best practices in tourism marketing. It used to be a lot easier than it is today. As little as 5 years ago, you could probably get by without learning about new techniques and tools to help market your tourism destination or business. What worked in 1985 probably would still work in 2008 – with the exception of updating photos so we can all forget about those questionable 80’s styles.

This all changed in the last 5 years with the rapid adoption of social media and web 2.0 technologies that allowed website users to leave comments, reviews, and interact with companies, destinations, and other website visitors from around the world. It seemed like overnight the Internet and marketing, as we knew it, changed dramatically. What was once limited to a digital brochure, suddenly became a completely different tourism marketing tool. This allowed tourism marketing to shift from one–way communication to real time conversations with travelers.

We call this new approach tourism inbound marketing and use it to help our destination and business clients market with a purpose. The challenge in this new landscape for tourism marketing changes on a regular basis and forces all tourism marketers to stay on top of these changes or risk wasting time and money.

Last week Facebook rolled out a new feature that gives users more control over their news feed, which will impact the way tourism marketers are able to engage with their social communities. These new features include:

  • Rich Stories– Since over 50% of all news feed content is photos and visual content, Facebook is changing the way users share stories by improving the display of visual content and giving it priority in news feeds.
  • Choice of Feeds– Facebook is determined to make sure the content displayed in a user’s news feed is the content they want to see. To support this, Facebook is now allowing users to select different types of feeds based on friend lists or topics like music or photos. This means it will become even more difficult to get your brand messages to your facebook communities.

So what does this mean to your tourism marketing efforts? This is actually good news for the travel and tourism industry since we utilize visual content as the core of our tourism marketing efforts. Below are some recommendations for how to change the way you market your tourism business or destination on Facebook in light of these new features.

1) Continue to use visual content and aim for engagement – Tourism marketing relies on visual content to tell your stories and encourage people to visit your destinations. Now more than ever is the time for you to create a stock-pile of tourism images that can be used to interact with your community. Be creative on how you use these images to ensure your community engages with them. Here is an example of a photo from our “Caption Friday” series for the Namibia Tourism Board where we share a photo each week and ask our fans to provide a caption.

2) Repurpose those beautiful print ads for Facebook – Tourism marketers are masters at creating print ads with a striking photo and a few lines of copy that compel people to visit a destination. This same approach can be used on Facebook. If you have existing print ads, adapt them for use in your Facebook content strategy. If you don’t have a budget for print advertising, now is the time to work on your copy skills and create image-focused ads.

3) Keep your photo captions short – With the new features, image captions moved from under the photo to above of the photo. This means that you need to keep your photo captions short or your message will be lost.

4) Likes, Engagement, and Check-ins are more important then ever – Since the changes in “Choice of Feeds” means it will be harder for your posts to reach your community, engagement becomes even more important. The best way to promote your tourism destination or business on Facebook is to utilize your fans and attract more likes. When a person likes your post, checks in on your page or engages with your visual content, it appears in news feed sharing with all of their friends. If you want to use your Facebook page to market your tourism destination or business you must think about how to effectively use and grow your community.

Social media is one of the most exciting and challenging things to face tourism marketing. It seems like every day a new feature or social platform emerges that challenges everything you know about tourism marketing. The key for today’s tourism marketer is to stay on top of these changes through continued education. Who knows what tomorrow’s “big new thing” in tourism marketing will be, but I can promise there will be something we are all talking about in 5 years that doesn’t even exist today.

 This article has been re-posted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (IV)

Social media stories

Stories seem to be likely to take over feeds as the main type of content through which people share their thoughts, ideas and experiences. They consist of short slideshows made up of photos and videos, usually done during an event or a specific time period, such as holidays. They are far more engaging than traditional content feed, and therefore capable of leveraging the brand’s social capital through an increased number of comments, reviews, shares, etc.

In the case of destinations developing according to the principles of Tourism 3.0, the destinations’ marketing platforms must leverage the content creativity of all visitors and other stakeholders in all kinds of possible formats, among which the social media stories should gain prominence as time goes by. In order to promote the contribution through specific formats, the content creation contests should have a prize for every type of format, including the newly promoted ones. Such social media stories could be related to the visitors’ life-changing experiences, the positive impacts to the locals’ lives due to tourism development, etc.

Other general trends

All in all digital marketing is expected to continue to grow, particularly mobile marketing. A digital marketing mix should integrate advertising through comprehensive SEO (including voice and image), video, social media and display.

Apart from digital marketing, broadcast TV advertising continues to be the first source for promoting new brands, staying way ahead of online TV.

On the other hand, both traditional and online radio are valuable platforms for advertising, taking into account that online radio and podcasts audiences are experiencing significant growth.

With regards to email marketing strategy, this will progressively integrate data collection, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, personalization and compelling content.

Finally, printed items such as newspapers, magazines and books are – despite their stagnation – still leading influential media, especially when referring to premium printed media.

So, even if there are many newcomers in the marketing mix, the traditional advertising platforms still remain, losing some of their prominence, but keeping a significant share of the marketing budget.

 

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (III)

Social messaging apps

Apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are also playing a role in some marketing activities, such as customer service, direct sales, or content marketing. These apps provide personalisation, so long as the interactions one-to-one allow the possibility of customizing he message, especially for sales and customer service. With regards to content marketing, these messaging apps provide an excellent opportunity for the content to go viral.

For tourism destination, these apps can provide tourist information on demand as a sort of 24 hour hotline, and at the same time try to engage the information seekers as clients by providing booking service for accommodation, transportation and activities. Furthermore, so long as it is possible to get the phone number of the information seekers and other prospect clients, it is also possible to deliver them content related to their interests through the messaging app of their choice.

The new search: voice and image

Beyond the traditional word searching in the internet browsers, there are two new searching methods to take into account: voice and image, and so businesses should be ready to be found through these new searching means, and care for a more comprehensive SEO which encompasses voice and image.

With regards to voice search, nowadays almost 1/3 of the Google searches are voice searches, and it is estimated by ComScore that in 2020 the voice searches will account for nearly 50%. To make your site voice search-friendly it is recommended to bear in mind how users usually formulate their queries, the most likely queries related to your service or product, etc. You need to have a voice search strategy, just as you currently have your SEO strategy for keywords.

Regarding image search, there are already some tools like Google Lens and Pinterest Lens providing a visual search function that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine vision to detect real-world objects and offer suggestions for related items. With image search you get instant results, much faster than voice or word search: just by taking a picture of the related item, you can obtain immediate results.

According to Gartner – one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms –- it is estimated that businesses which adopt both voice and visual search early on are likely to increase their online revenue by 30%. This is a field where early adopters have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and know-how in order to gain and keep a privileged position in the new search means.

In the tourism industry, these are both very relevant issues, so long as all sorts of tourist information have to be easy to find through the search engines, both DMOs and local businesses have to care for their holistic SEO strategy. Local businesses should care mostly about voice, whereas DMOs should care about voice and image for the tourists already visiting the destination. The image part is useful also to attract visitors to the destination.

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Marketing trends for 2019 (II)

Video marketing & original video content

Digital video advertising spending has been increasing these last two years and is expected to continue to grow at least two more years. The most popular kinds of used content are Comedy, Music, Education and News. Brands tend to target the audience through sponsorship agreements integrating the brand within the show, rather than through traditional advertising interrupting the video.

According to many surveys, video offers an outstanding performance on many relevant metrics such as content sharing rate and conversion rate, as well as generating confidence in online purchase decisions. When it comes to the broadcasting of the online video, there are also some significant trends to consider:

  • Length of the video varies depending on the marketing goal
  • Calls to action such as redirecting the viewer to a site, another video, to a form in order to receive further content are included
  • Talk style videos are used when explaining something in depth
  • “Ask me anything” type of videos where a public figure from the industry answers questions from a diverse group of characters are used to create trust on a potentially controversial issue.

Needless to say, video is one of the most engaging content formats according to many metrics. When it comes to marketing destinations and related experiences, this is even more obvious. In this regard, far beyond the “destination marketing video” there should be a collection of videos in accordance with the different experiences and motivations that move the target audience to visit the destination. A very convenient tactic is to make a short version of the video (less than 5 minutes) to draw the attention of the audience with a call to action to watch the long version of the video (not longer than 15 minutes). Furthermore, as it has been explained in all the marketing-related white papers, the finest video content produced by stakeholders should be delivered through the branded platforms of the destination.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are expected to be able to raise brand awareness, boost reputation, improve brand advocacy and drive lead generation. Beyond the most popular and expensive influencers, there are also a great deal of smaller influencers targeting specific types of audiences or niche markets. Accurately selecting those types of influencers is likely to be the most effective choice. The software Traackr contains an influencer database and allows the users to find the appropriate influencers in accordance with their marketing goals.

Furthermore, beyond the influencers you will have to pay for in order to gain their support, some others are likely to provide you with some support, so long as they really are enthusiastic about your product or service. Moreover, as it has been explained in the marketing white papers, it is convenient to create a network of brand ambassadors leveraging the power of influence of many stakeholders like suppliers, employees, and specially clients.

For as long as possible, it could be convenient to establish some kind of incentive system, giving special deals to the brand ambassadors who manage to raise more brand awareness and foster engagement. Influencer effectiveness can be measured through different metrics (mainly engagement but also sales) and techniques, like providing them with unique deal codes, UTM codes on digital posts, and custom landing pages to monitor their results.

As explained in some of the Envisioning Tourism 3.0 White papers, destinations developing tourism based on the principles of Tourism 3.0 are very likely to attract influencers, so long as they move their human spirit to take action in favour the destination’s social and environmental challenges stated in the mission. In many occasions, this is likely to happen at no cost for the destination. This is one of the greatest advantages of the Tourism 3.0 approach.

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (I)

 

As all of us know, marketing tools and practices evolve faster than ever, for it is necessary to keep the strategy up to date at least every year, and integrate new tools that help us reach new clients, further engage our prospects, or gain more valuable market intelligence. According to Advance Travel & Tourism there are seven key trends that are already shaping the new marketing strategies in the most advanced businesses, which are perfectly applicable to the tourism industry. This issue is to be split in four articles.

Authentic & consumer centric content

It is well known among marketers that advertising has lost a great share of the trust it used to have. In its place, consumer centric content is taking the lead, mainly through content marketing and influencer marketing, both delivering real value to audiences and thus engaging them more effectively. Audiences demand that calls to action lead them to useful content to get engaged. Traditional media – both printed and digital –will continue to play a role in the overall strategy, but will lose importance progressively in the marketing budget.

With regards to the tourism industry such content should consist of texts, photos and videos of the life-changing experiences, stories and imaginative ways to enjoy the destination, with some detailed information for the reader to experience it him/herself. Apart from that, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 should also use stories about the positive impacts that the tourism development creates in the destination, improving the lives of the locals as well as the visitors’ experience. There should be also stories about how local stakeholders and visitors contribute to the development of the destination through the creation or co-creation of marketing content, product innovation and different types of “voluntourism”. This is actually what has already been explained in previous articles and white papers such as “Envisioning destination marketing 3.0” or “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Personalisation

This consists essentially of using all the market intelligence and customer data to create niche tailored content, mostly consisting of deals related to the preferences of every customer niche or even tailored to every customer based on the items they have purchased or searched information on. According to a survey carried out with marketing executives, the most effective personalisation tactic is email marketing with dynamic content.

Concerning tourism destinations, as long as it is possible to track the information searched by every user within the destination website and social media platforms, it is possible to deliver content by email in accordance with the user’s interests, such as different sorts of special interest tourism, “voluntourism” or different types of contribution they are could do for the destination’s development.

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Multichannel Approach Holds the Keys to Tourism Marketing Success

If you are hoping that things are going to get easier for tourism marketing, you are wrong. A recent article from New York based HotelNewsNow.com paints a world in which consumers are active on multiple platforms, on multiple devices, and savvy enough to desire only the best travel-related content:

“Consumers don’t watch devices; they consume the content on them,” [NGC Media VP Andrew] Capone said during a recent think tank event held by the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. “Today, it’s about experience messaging. People are coming out of a three-, four-year hole and it’s more than just about branding, it’s about ‘I have X number of vacation days, what do I want to do?'”

So what does this mean for your tourism marketing? Great content is not enough. You must be an active content distributor with a smart combination of traditional outreach (like print and trade shows) and marketing activities that place your great content where your target market is going to find it.

Study after study shows that consumers are using a combination of online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle – from dreaming about a destination to selecting the museums they attend. All of this messaging and distribution needs to work in tandem to sell the brand and help the target market understand more about “the experience” with your business at your destination.

You must fight hard to maintain that prized spot that we like to call “top of mind.” How can you make sure that your ideal traveler will choose your place above all the other options out there? How can you prioritize your options to make sure that the right content is going in front of the right people at the right time?

 The idea of Marketing with a Purpose brings all of the different platforms together to work compatibly as a sales driver. If done correctly and strategically, each touch on the consumer is an opportunity to pull them deeper into your brand. We address the “experience messaging” by continually engaging potential travelers with a combination of practical and inspirational content they need to paint the travel experience picture in their mind.

In the project with the Namibia Tourism Board, a multichannel approach during the “Share My Namibia” campaign allowed to provide storytelling to consumers, reach out to the international travel trade, and build strong social media communities that still interact with our content. We engaged consumers in different locations on a frequent basis so our message of “Share My Namibia” remained fresh.

A social media campaign like this takes considerable planning and a balanced approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it – the two sides to the marketing coin.

But one side of the coin might be a little heavier. Mark Snyder, a branding and marketing consultant formerly with Kmart and InterContinental Hotels Group, says: “The medium is not a substitute for the message.You think getting a digital budget is tough, wait until someone gives you $100,000 to go and do something with and you have to go create content. Content is hard. Content is the cornerstone of engagement.”

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

Co-creationCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovationInnovative culture

Decorated Street Festival in Gracia, a living example of Tourism 3.0

Since the late years of the 19th century, the Gracia district of Barcelona celebrates every year its Themed Decoration Street Festival during one week in the middle of August. The many different streets of the area compete against each other in decorating the most beautiful, the most original or the most sustainable street. The residents of each street come together to take on the challenge and build a special decoration based on a specific theme, such as Harry Potter, the Silk Road, Japan, emotions or whatever they jointly imagine and decide. As a visitor, it is an immersive, enjoyable experience to see the differently decorated streets.

When this tradition originally started, decorations used to be created using natural elements such as flowers or tree branches, together with more conventional elements such as coloured paper. Little by little, the decorations became more sophisticated, and during these last years, the quality level is in many cases really outstanding.

There are many interesting aspects of this tradition, which closely relate to the principles of Tourism 3.0: culture of collaboration and innovation, co-creation, human spirit-related mission, community involvement, etc.

Every street has an association of neighbours, consisting of residents of that particular street, and this association is responsible for choosing the annual decoration theme to develop. Once the decoration theme is decided through an open participatory process,  all the neighbours participate in accordance with their time availability, and work together over several months to produce the street decorations. It is really a great example of co-creation, cooperation, innovation and community involvement!

Moreover, there two interesting elements related to the human spirit mission and raising awareness about sustainability: most of the materials used to produce the decorations are recycled materials such as plastic bottles, bottle caps, carton boxes, egg boxes, industrial cork, light bulbs, cans, etc., which makes the creativity challenge especially interesting.

In recent years, beyond themes related to films, cultures and imaginary worlds, there has been a growing focus on decorations linked to sustainability issues, such as the protection of biodiversity or the pollution in the oceans, which aim to raise visitors’ awareness on these topics, aligning with human spirit related mission as in the Vision of Tourism 3.0.

You can see some further information and pictures in the following link