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without the same sense of purpose; have new shareholders that do not share the same values, or because the founder has been replaced by a leader with a different vision.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

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Destination Branding is a Marathon Not a Sprint

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger

I recently had a conversation with the CEO of an East Coast DMO who was being pressured by some of his hotel partners because the city’s brand strategy, revealed three months earlier, had not generated an increase in business. While we didn’t develop this strategy, it did seem to be a good one. He needed to remind his partners that while there may be some short-term gains in visitation, the real benefits of branding won’t materialize overnight. If the hoteliers wanted to increase heads in beds in a month or so, perhaps they should have invested more in their tactical marketing communications and price-based incentives.

It takes time to unite the community, break through the competitive clutter to reach customers to build awareness, and then more time to change perceptions about the destination and convert their interest into actual bookings. Many mistake the roles of branding and marketing. Branding requires a long-term strategic mindset, not just a short-term promotional outlook.

Branding can, and often does, bring short-term benefits but the true value is long-term and cumulative. A destination’s image is the result of thousands of influences over an extended period. On the other hand, a Grand Slam home run approach to branding based on one big ad campaign is a sure-fire way to blow the budget with little impact. Real success will only come from the consistency of messages and outstanding experiences from many sources hitting their mark again, and again.

My new book, ‘Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns‘ examines many of these trends, changes and challenges, and provides a path for cities and destinations to follow in developing their brand identity.

This article was been re-posted with permission from the author

 

Business trendsInnovationInnovative cultureIntelligenceOpen innovation

Attracting creative residents as a key success factor for destinations

The tourism industry is usually perceived – based on true facts – as business based on low-skilled workers. However, many researchers have identified a curious trend: creative workers settle down in touristic areas, due to elements such as the concentration of creative professionals, a community of creative industries and an open-minded atmosphere, or other conventional factors such as affordable housing, high-quality infrastructures and services, a booming job market, and an attractive lifestyle.

According to Francesc Gonzalez, professor and researcher at Open University of Catalonia (UOC), research currently being carried out in many seafront tourist villages in the area of Barcelona points to the following factors attracting creative talent:

  • Closeness to a large urban area and housing availability
  • Positive perception of the urban and social environment, with criteria such as inclusiveness, openness and tolerance to social diversity, a pleasant and efficient urban environment, and life quality.

Other findings show that these villages are experiencing a transformation: previously, they were temporary leisure and vacation destinations for visitors; now, they are becoming complex urban areas which offer an outstanding quality of life which is very appreciated by the demanding segment of creative workers.

The concept of “creative worker” encompasses many types of professionals, generally speaking all those who carry out intellectual, management and creative jobs with an innovative approach.

The importance of this type of residents for the local economy is subject to many different opinions. For example, Richard Florida, the American urban studies theorist, reasons that attracting talented workers is one of the main concerns for businesses, and therefore the existence of communities of creative workers is a key factor to be taken into account when deciding the location of a company headquarters or delegation, as these communities are an essential condition for innovation. Although this statement is subject to controversy within the academic community, it is quite obvious that the capacity to attract creative workers is at least a big plus for the development of the local economies.

In “The Vision of Tourism 3.0” white paper, creative professionals play a key role in the development of the destination, regardless of whether they work in the tourism industry or not. As it will be explained in the coming white paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in destinations”, all professionals living in or near the destination in question are considered stakeholders and potential contributors to the Open Innovation System, and are therefore expected to bring their know-how and creativity to overcome the various challenges of the destination, using an innovative approach.

So, while the cause-effect relationship between creative professionals living in a place and its development success is not well-defined, mainly due to being too indirect in nature in many cases, in the case of destinations focusing its development on the principles of the Tourism 3.0 approach, this relationship becomes direct and strong, as long as all community residents, and especially the creative professionals, are encouraged and engaged in addressing the local challenges through open innovation. In this way, this type of destinations go one step further in leveraging the creative workers’ potential to foster economic development, while at the same time creating better conditions that attract and result in this creative group settling in the destination in question.