Category: Tourism marketing

Trends, ideas and case studies on tourism marketing

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

The power of persuasion: how travel influencers can become a DMO’s new best friend

Energetic, dynamic, imaginative and flexible. Increasing numbers of travel brands are discovering the value of building long-term relationships with travel influencers, and tapping into their problem-solving abilities too.

Getting paid to travel, discover the best of every destination and tell the world about it sounds like the ultimate job, doesn’t it? Until recently it wasn’t considered a job so much as a passion indulged by nomadic creatives with a gift for photography and the ability to run an attractive blog. Today that’s changing rapidly as the best travel influencers take on a professional status in the world of destination marketing and carry out a job that’s worth paying for.

However, as destination marketing organizations are increasingly required, for a variety of reasons, to shift their focus to destination management we believe that there’s a role for travel influencers can help in that process. We also know that the best travel influencers can be instrumental in helpful for them – as travel industry professionals- to get a better understanding of where they fit in the picture. To bring both groups together and chart the way ahead, TOPOSOPHY was recently invited to run the Think Tank at the Social Travel Summit (STS) 2016.

For two days in September the event brought an exclusive gathering of tourism professionals, leading travel bloggers and online influencers from around the world to the picturesque city of Inverness. I’ve got to admit that I’ve always been jealous of what travel influencers do (and you probably are too), but it became very clear during the event that these people really do care about the destinations that they work with, and when it comes to digital content creation and distribution, they really know their stuff. It’s surprising that more DMOs and travel brands of all sizes haven’t yet fully understood their value.

It also struck me how many genuine friendships had built up between the travel influencers and DMOs who attended, and how, when this relationship works well, the destination and its local businesses seem to genuinely benefit. However it has got to be said that with changing politics, shifting priorities and trimmed budgets, DMOs can sometimes take the role of a friend in need of a helping hand. One of the reasons TOPOSOPHY was invited to host the Think Tank at STS Inverness is that we’ve understand the challenges that DMOs face, and we wanted to help both sides work out how they can best support each other in the future.

Firstly, one of the biggest hurdles that DMOs face is allocating resources to working with travel influencers in the first place. Management and political decision makers can be skeptical about both the reach of the influencer’s content and the ethics of being writer, editor, and marketer all-in-one. While analytics software becomes increasingly sophisticated and great steps are being taken to professionalize the world of travel influencers (e.g. through the Code of Standards and Ethics for Professional Travel Bloggers), there is still much work to be done on articulating the value of travel influencers beyond the statistics. This is where those at the Think Tank underlined the importance of building long-term relationships rather than ‘one-night stands’. It’s only after working for a period of time with a particular destination that a travel influencer can really tap into its soul and relay this artfully to their audience. It also keeps readers engaged as they see that the influencer is a real specialist in the destination. Long-term relationships also build up goodwill, which can help a lot when DMOs need a hand with spare photos, videos and content sharing months after a particular campaign or fam trip. Just as you would with your own best friends, it means choosing the right travel influencer to begin with.

Secondly, as DMOs work more with local businesses – involving them in major decisions, providing training courses or working as part of a business cluster, travel influencers have a useful role to play. I noticed how many travel influencers complained about how they produce attractive and highly shareable content (the kind of thing which would cost an individual business a lot of time and money to produce), but local businesses don’t share it or weren’t aware the influencer was in town in the first place. By preparing well, and including time to meet and greet local business owners, the DMO can help this key stakeholder group to understand better what they’re doing, get more involved in the project, and maybe pick up some social media tips along the way!

Finally, as we recently identified, challenges like ‘overtourism’ are really putting the strain on many destinations, especially in Europe. While the causes and solutions to this problem are very complex, we believe that travel influencers can play a very important role in raising awareness of alternative destinations and attractions and giving practical info on how to get there. It’s something we explained in more detail in last month’s blog post. Running fam trips off-season, including attractive daytrips and giving the travel influencer more time to explore freely (rather than make them stick to a rigid itinerary) can all help too.

Working with travel influencers: quick tips

If you’re looking for good advice on how to get the most from working with travel influencers, check out our list of seven top tips from our own Blogger Outreach Expert Kash Bhattacharya. 

Tailor made advice, just for you

As one of our selection of high-quality keynotes and workshops, Kash can provide tailor-made advice to suit your destination and local partners in a full or half-day format. We can also assist you on a longer-term basis with our blogger outreach services to source and select the right travel influencers for your brand, and provide training to help you and your partners to get the most out of the relationship.

Social Travel Summit Think Tank – Full Report

The full Think Tank report will be launched at WTM London in a special session Digital and Influencer Marketing Developments and Trends at 2:45pm on Wednesday 9th November (location: WTM Inspire Theatre EU475). It will be freely available online shortly after.

 This blogpost is from    http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=434

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Are Emotional Benefits Always in Your Destination and Place Branding?

One of the most overlooked, yet most powerful component in the branding of places is the role of emotional benefits. This was recently the subject of considerable discussion at Strengthening Brand America between Glenn Myatt – Brand Truth, Tom Buncle – The Yellow Railroad, and Bill Baker.

Emotional benefits are the positive feelings that people receive from a place. While the tangible benefits may be enticing and important and help validate a logical decision, they can’t create a deep relationship. Emotional benefits have the ability to connect with people and influence the way they feel and bond with their deepest needs and desires. They should fulfill the state of mind that visitors or customers are seeking, such as enrichment, romance, escape or adventure, etc.

Here is a summary of the comments on Strengthening Brand America:

Bill Baker: “From time to time place marketers tend to overlook the valuable role that emotion plays in the decision making of their prospective customers. This makes no sense and is like the buyers of new cars relying on a vehicle’s Specifications Manual to base their purchase decision. If emotion plays no role, almost all brochures, advertising, photo images and videos could be removed from marketing budgets because all that will be needed are lists of specifications. Emotion is front and center in all of our brand strategies irrespective of the size of the community. Among its many roles is to provide filters for the selection of appropriate images that reflect the brand and better connect with prospective customers.”

Glen Myatt: “Bill’s car analogy is spot on. Deciding on a car or a destination are both high involvement decisions. Typically people use extensive information searching to make their decisions. They will claim they make measured, rational choices because of this. But for cars econometric research has shown that advertising has a far greater impact on actual choice than buyers consciously believe. This lines up with some of the more recent findings in consumer psychology which see that in many situations people will develop an emotional attachment to a choice based on a simple, often irrational factor.”

Tom Buncle: “The only thing I’d add is that, like cars where most people have a limited understanding beyond basic functionality, so too do they when choosing a destination, even if they’ve been before. This is because each holiday is different and the visitors’ experience depends on their relationship with the destination. After a highly rational information search has narrowed the candidate destination set, an unknowable set of expectations is generated about a holiday, thereby creating a gap. Emotion and imagination tend to be quicker to fill this gap than rational analysis – hence the larger role that emotion plays in holiday decision-making compared to most physical products.”

 In all of our brand building work we always advocate that the most powerful, meaningful and appropriate benefits – the emotional rewards – should always be at the forefront. Avoid talking about the city, region or downtown as a series or list of locations, attractions, and things to see and do. Instead, bring it to life as an experience and make customers feel as though they are already there sensing and feeling it whenever they read, see, or hear your communications. Make it easy for people to see themselves in the picture.

This blogpost is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/3/

Culture changeInnovative cultureCollaborative cultureOpen innovationCo-creation

Shared decisions feel better

 “The social networks potential to turn every citizen into an agent for the improvement of the community is huge” says Alfons Cornella –Spanish Innovation leader- in his book “The solution starts by CO”.

During the last few years it has become fashionable that destinations outsource part of their promotion activities to visitors and local community members. In what could be called co-creation processes, many destination management and promotion bodies have decided to celebrate public elections to select their logos and slogans. In this election there is first a period to receive proposals, and at the end of this period the public election takes place.

At first it may sound very open and transparent. So long as both the logo and the slogan are to become key elements of the destination image, it is good that everybody can express their opinion about it. However, this system may entail some risks. Those who vote probably choose their vote according to purely esthetic criteria, without considering aspects related with the value promise of the destination, or its desired positioning, the targets, etc. As a result of these processes there have been some bad experiences.

The main issue is that the chosen logo and/or slogan should be in accordance with the destination strategy, which is usually defined in a Strategy Plan according to the destination leaders’ criteria. It is therefore necessary to introduce a filtering phase either before or after the public election, to discard all those logos and slogans that do not match with the destination strategy.

In Spain there has been mainly one experience of this kind, in the Basque Country, driven by the Bilbao City Council and the Bizkaia Province Government. These two institutions had been collaborating for a long time, up to the point that they shared a stand in the FITUR Tourism Fair under the brand BI2. In this way, they wanted to leverage the power of the Bilbao brand to favor also the rest of the Province, so long as the Bizkaia brand is far behind in terms of awareness, despite the worthy resources it has. Bilbao, in turn, has experienced a transformation thanks to the Guggenheim effect and the public-private collaboration, which has led to a sustained visitors’ growth in the city.

Deepening in this collaboration line, they have launched a contest to select their new common logo and slogan. In this case, they opened a public contest for professionals under a detailed briefing. As a result of this idea contest, they received up to 84 proposals from 7 different countries. They were all exposed to the public, though the first selection process was carried out by a commission of experts to present 10 final proposals to be voted for by the public. To facilitate participation, they have installed 6 voting points to let locals vote for their favourite choice.

However, the citizens’ votes will count for only 20% of the final decision. The rest will be responsibility of the experts committee led by Garry White, President of the European Cities Marketing Association.

What do you thing about letting the locals vote for strategic decisions of high symbolic value?

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/las-decisiones-compartidas-saben-mejor/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0Strategy

The innovation challenge in destinations

Research and innovation will have a fundamental role in the competitive improvement of destinations. Any policy for the destination development has to include a vision and an innovative orientation that brings some sort of competitive advantage.

In the Spanish economy, the tourism industry has proved to be one of the most dynamic sectors, which generates multiplying effects in the local economies in all sub-sectors directly and indirectly related to tourism. This multiplying effect together with the sector’s evolution worldwide has contributed decisively to increase competition, which in turn makes the industry develop strategies oriented towards the improvement of its competitiveness.

The new market after the changes in the offer and demand, requires tailored services and activities, with high quality standards, which makes attaining customer satisfaction more difficult than ever before. In this regard, tourism offer has to be organized according to the targeted market segments requirements in order to be successful. Unlike in past times, market penetration, promotion, price setting, product quality and quantity are variables defined by the demand and not by the offer, for it is necessary that the service and activity production in the tourism sector takes into consideration this new scenario, and so new destination models restructuring the links and relationships between stakeholders are being developed.

In any case, research and innovation will have a fundamental role in the destination’s competitiveness improvement. Any action for the successful development of the destination has to include a vision and an innovative orientation that can generate some kind of competitive advantage. The main challenges to foster competitiveness in destinations are the following:

Innovate in mechanisms and cooperation formulas and strategic partnerships. It is basic to develop mechanisms that work both from the public and the private scope, to boost new cooperation models between businesses and public-private partnership, as a way to gain profitability, dimension and commitment in the development of the tourist sector.

Innovate to improve the sector’s competitiveness. There should be techniques and strategies to improve the business and the destination’s competitiveness. This includes the development of Innovation Plans for the improvement of business models, management models, service processes and the destination’s business marketing.

Innovate for the introduction of new tourism products and consolidating the profitability of the current ones. It will be necessary to foster the creation of unique tourism products based on new business models, build upon the capacities and unique resources of the destination, with a high experiential value, using the ICT and being socially and environmentally friendly.

Leverage the resources and hidden heritage. It is crucial to develop new formulas for leveraging tourism resources that are complementary to the traditional ones, unknown or unexploited, so as to achieve the profitable consolidation so long as they create an outstanding experience and expand the revenue streams.

Innovate in destination’s promotion and communication formulas. There is nowadays a communicational saturation, which makes it necessary to face the future with promotion innovative mechanisms which allow optimization of the destination’s visibility.

Innovate in tourism product marketing. There will have to be developed new methods and tools to market tourism products, in order to favor the sector’s competitive improvement and control the dependence on external channels, in a way that guarantees some influence power. In this context, it is fundamental to develop strategies to improve the intelligence and the knowledge of the products and its results, and the client and its consuming habits.

Innovate in client relationship formulas. The strategy will have to develop new client management formulas. Starting up innovative mechanisms to do CRM is vitally important not only to retain clients, but also to achieve a more effective marketing.

This blogpost is from http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/innovacion-de-los-destinos-turisticos/

Business trendsInnovationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Digital transformation in Tourism

The tourism industry is facing changes affecting the whole value chain, in both public and private sectors and to the whole system (demand, offer, markets and territory). In the coming ten years, the tourism industry is likely to generate new economic, social and environmental impacts through the digital transformation. More precisely, digitalization is impacting intensively and rapidly, forcing businesses to adapt to this environment of permanent transformation.

Digital transformation trends in tourism. There are four main technologies leading the digital transformation in the tourism industry:

  • Cloud: data collection, management and processing.
  • Mobile: platforms, services and applications for smartphones and tablets.
  • Internet of things: devices and objects connected to the internet.
  • Social: social networks through which the users participate, share and exchange contents and services.

And according to the report from the Orange Foundation about the digital transformation of the tourism sector in Spain, the main trends of the upcoming years are likely to be the following:

  1. New intermediation models. New agents have contributed to redesign the value chain, like the collaborative platforms (airbnb, uber, etc.)
  2. Technological platforms based upon cloud computing. Managing and processing Big data and Data Lake.
  3. The mobile. New tourism products and services to be consumed through the mobile devices.
  4. Internet of things. Wearable devices, Smart straps, beacons and chatbots are the main technology elements.
  5. Smart destinations. Appliance of advanced technologies under the denomination of Smart tourism destinations, Smart cities or Smart islands.
  6. Social networks. Also used as marketing tools.
  7. OTA’S and intermediation, search and comparison platforms, and e-commerce.
  8. Collaborative economy. Activity ecosystems where reputation becomes a fundamental business asset.
  9. Other technologies starting to gain protagonism in the tourism industry are geo-localization, virtual reality and augmented reality.
  10. Big data: The chances offered by many of the new technologies to generate and capture data.

In the digital transformation cross-sector process, tourism businesses have four main challenges to tackle:

  • People: new ways of working with human resources regarding communication and the need for skill development to adapt to the new realities, multiculturality, remote working, virtual teamworking, etc.
  • Infrastructures: incorporation of new digital tools.
  • Processes: new ways of using these new tools and working.
  • Systems: availability of environments which are adaptable in a way that allow businesses to design processes more rapidly.

Nowadays, most tourism organizations adopt the most sophisticated digital technology carrying out large investments in renewing their methods and tools, and there are also new collaborative models. However, the success will stay in being capable of having profiles with digital competences.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/transformacion-digital-en-turismo/

Business trendsInnovationIntelligenceMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Tourism 3.0 – Innovation and digital competences

Along with the mega-trends that set Tourism 3.0 apart from conventional models, it is evident that not only the future but also the present state of the tourism industry is to be developed upon the new technologies along the whole industry value chain. Nowadays very few companies have not yet started their digitalization process. However, the issue is not about implementing new technologies, but about how to use them to increase productivity and add value for the customer.

According to Fernando de Pablo (President of Segitur, the Spanish Government’s Society for Tourism Innovation), we are in a world under continuous change where the tourism industry is the only one affected by all technology trends, and therefore needs new digital competencies. In the document elaborated by Thinktur (Forum focused on Tourism Innovation) “10 technological trends in tourism for 2017”, there are a handful of new advancements affecting the tourism sector:

  • Big data – Open data
  • Digital marketing
  • Smartphones & Apps
  • Virtual and immersive reality
  • Internet of things
  • Trans-commercialization
  • Natural language processing
  • Gamification
  • Personalisation systems
  • 2D and 3D printing

The goal of the digital competencies in the tourism industry is to develop the capacity of Discovery, learning, understanding and anticipating tourists’ motivations and expectations.

We have been taking pictures and videos about our traveling experiences for more than ten years, but being able to share them in real time through the social networks is a relatively new thing, which is possible thanks to the global connectivity available in most developed destinations. This is to satisfy the need for sharing our experiences with our relatives and friends, the main reason why we take all those pictures and videos.

The point is how to use the available technology, and to adequately choose which technology should be used for what purpose. It is therefore necessary to learn how to handle them before deciding.

The Hospitality industry and Digital Marketing. In the event “Tourism 3.0 – Innovation and digital competences” organized by IMF Business School we learnt about the experience of three hotels belonging to large Hotel chains implementing  their tourism digitalization strategy through marketing.

Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel. This hotel has initiated a Project to create tailored experiences through Big Data tools.

Hotel Meliá Castilla. This hotel has implemented an Inbound Marketing Strategy searching for customer loyalty, trying to turn clients into fans, so that the motivation for staying in the hotel comes from the tourists themselves.

Novotel Madrid Center. Beyond delivering the expected service, they search for elements that make the experience outperform in the customer’s expectation.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-3-0-innovacion-y-competencias-digitales/

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

New Zealand, a story-marketing destination benchmark

New Zealand is widely regarded as a holiday destination of a lifetime, with pristine natural landscapes, an easy-going lifestyle, indigenous cultural heritage and adrenaline-pumping adventure sports creating a unique destination offering.

However, distance presents a significant obstacle in attracting inbound tourism, rendering it all the more necessary for New Zealand or Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, to punch above its weight, so to speak, in terms of marketing efforts.

Tourism New Zealand’s long-running single-message marketing campaign “100% Pure New Zealand” has been doing the rounds since 1999, and the success of this campaign has been one of the factors leading to further development of a national brand, such as the launch of the “New Zealand Story” in 2003. Developed in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and Education New Zealand, the initiative aims to leverage the “New Zealandness” of exporting businesses through a story told in three chapters: Open Spaces, Open Hearts and Open Minds. The development of a national brand that highlights caring for people and place, and integrating “kaitiaki”, a Maori concept of custodianship, with an open and honest approach, speaks volumes for the image projected externally by New Zealand to the rest of the world.

Yet contributing to national branding on the international stage isn’t the sole objective of New Zealand’s tourism industry, and efforts concentrating on regional dispersal and reducing seasonality have been credited with driving growth in several key industry sectors. Better regional dispersal is central to the industry’s growth framework, Tourism 2025, to encourage the better use of New Zealand’s tourism assets and relieve pressure on regions with the highest visitor loads. Promoting shoulder season tourism, by targeting markets with off-peak travel characteristics and hosting business events, is an additional component of the Tourism 2025 framework that has seen results since its introduction.

International sporting competitions, such as the British & Irish Lions Rugby Union Tour and the World Masters Games were major events driving demand in accommodation outside of traditional peak periods in New Zealand in 2017, although hoteliers indicate a mixed response to the Lions Tour. While New Zealand media widely reported the accommodation shortage in Wellington for the fixture between the Lions and All Blacks, with some fans completing a 600km round trip within the day, flying to and from accommodation in Christchurch just to watch the match; it wasn’t the same scenario across the country. Campervan rentals and holiday parks were reported to have seen bustling Lions-related trade; however as “freedom camping”, or camping on public conservation land, is permitted in New Zealand, particularly for vehicles that have been certified as self-contained, a significant proportion of the tour traffic didn’t convert into room nights.

A further hiccup for lodging industry revenues unexpectedly emerged in the form of the hospitality of locals, with the “Adopt a Lions Fan” movement emerging via social media in response to reports of accommodation shortages and price hikes for short-term rentals on game days. Offering free-of-charge billeting to Lions fans without accommodation in the major cities, and coordinated via Facebook, may not have resulted in optimised tourism revenue, but it certainly contributed to a positive and welcoming impression of the country and its people, which will no doubt resonate in terms of PR value in the future.

While New Zealand’s national brand is based on integrity, honesty and the unquestionable beauty of the country’s natural landscapes, there’s also a quirky and creative side to New Zealand that’s capturing attention around the world. In an unexpected viral success story, Air New Zealand’s unconventional flight safety videos, featuring well-known local and international movie and sports stars in humorous or surreal scenarios, have garnered something of an online following, collectively generating more than 108 million views and delivering awareness of the national brand to a wider audience. This ties in effectively with the nation’s film-related tourism, which remains a drawcard to this day, as industry sources reveal that the Hobbit Trilogy is still responsible for attracting one in five visitors to New Zealand. “The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made”, a Tolkien-inspired piece released in conjunction with the final Hobbit film, remains one of the most watched clips for Air New Zealand, which dubbed itself the “official airline of Middle-earth” for the occasion.

This blogpost is from http://blog.euromonitor.com/2017/09/new-zealand-tourist-traffic.html

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Storytelling marketing for the Santiago Way’s pilgrimage

One of the worldwide famous life-changing experience destination is the Santiago Way, a pilgrimage route that revived two decades ago from the middle age. It was first developed through the local Government’s investment in hospitality facilities and promotion, and from then on through word of mouth and high-profile storytelling, including many films.

Even if the experience concept is apparently simple –mostly considering that most pilgrims do not have religious motivations-, it turns to be a memorable social experience where you meet people from all walks of life, from all nationalities and ages, but in all cases everybody has an open mind and a noble heart, unlike most of us are used to in our daily lives. Unlike most other holiday concepts, this one is essentially a social experience which is totally flexible in the way that you can start and finish when and where you prefer to, and you can improvise your journey every day.

The intense conviviality along the whole journey when walking and once arrived in the destination hostel sets the stage for multiple kinds of stories about friendship, self-discovery and awareness, transferring wisdom, and love, among many others that you can imagine.

Such a life-changing experience scenario has inspired many celebrities in writing books and making films. Such is the case of Paulo Coelho –Brazilian bestseller author- with his book “El Peregrino de Compostela”, which brought a considerable flow of Brazilian pilgrims; or Hape Kerkeling –German Showman- with his book and film “I’m off then” which also brought large flows of German visitors. Other cases are Shirley Maclaine with her book “The Way” or Charlie Sheen in a film with the same name. This is a benchmark case study to illustrate how life-changing experiences inspire stories up to high-profile storytelling.

Nowadays, the local DMO do not need to invest in promotion anymore. The storytelling machine works itself and The Way has revived many areas which were literally abandoned. Beyond the main route, where all these media stories take place, many other Santiago Ways have been developed taking advantage of The Way’s enthusiasts boom, thus reviving the other historical pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela coming from different points of the Iberian Peninsula.

Do you know of other similar cases?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Case study: Trip4real. Tourism experience collaborative business model

Trip4real is a paradigmatic example of how the collaborative economy flourishes in new business models for the tourism industry. Founded in Barcelona by Gloria Molins, it connects local experience developers with tourists eager to discover the destination through tailored experiences for them. Trip4real is a collaborative platform where any local may market a tourism experience to help the tourist discover the destination from a particular point of view or live special interest experiences.

The platform acts like a marketplace and also as an intermediary, so the payment is controlled by the platform and it gets a commission out of it. After the payment is done, the supplier and the client are connected to meet and live the experience. The motivation behind this business model is the will of the tourists for discovering the destination off the beaten track, where the locals go, and the hidden secrets that cannot be found in the Guides, as well as the authenticity brought by the interactivity with locals, who facilitate a deeper understanding about the local culture.

The first platform was developed for Barcelona, but other platforms have been developed in Madrid, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and a handful of Spanish destinations.

As has happened with Uber, do you think that these business models may be treated as unfair competitors to the local “official” tour guides and incoming agencies? Do you think there should be any kind of restrictions to letting it legally compete with standard tourism service suppliers?
You may check further details at www.trip4real.com

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Controlling service quality through customer reviews

The Spanish Online Travel & Entertainment Broker “ATRAPALO” has opened a blog to let their customers express their opinions on their lived experiences with Atrapalo’s products. According to Atrapalo’s executives, one of the main key success factors of the company is the great deal of feedback they have from their customers, who always have the chance to comment on their experiences with hotels, flights, restaurants or shows. They do not have a Quality control department, but their clients give them feedback on what products and suppliers are worth dealing with.

In the case of the most purchased products which also have a high percentage of reviews, this is for sure a reliable source of information to assess the product’s quality. However, so long as the review is free and not mandatory, the average result of the reviews may not be the same as that of survey carried out on a representative sample chosen at random. Here it is important to assess if there is a typical bias from the result obtained through the free reviews to the one obtained following the quantitative research techniques, so as to assess appropriately the value of these results.

This technique leaves however many questions unanswered: how many reviews do you consider necessary to have a valid assessment on a product, in relation to the product sales? How do you assess the least sold –least tried- products’ quality which have very few or no reviews? Do you consider the case of corrupted practices in which some “product dealer friends” would write exaggerated reviews on the experience, pretending it was much better than it really was?

Furthermore, beyond reviews on product quality, why do you think that operators do not encourage clients to bring in ideas on how to make their products better or ideas about new products?