Its a beautiful sunny day in London. We got off to an early start and have been walking all over the place, checking out the sights. I love this city. You can feel the history everywhere. We stopped by our office to say hi and we’re now having some lunch outside at a small sandwich shop near covent garden. This is our only full day in London and it looks like we picked the right day.
We have arrived in London. The flight was great. We both slept most of the way. Arrival at heathrow was painfull. It took over two hours to get out of the airport. Most of that time was spent waiting for our packs at the carousel.
The tube was a new experience for Sheri. She has never been to London and the tube during rush hour with a giant pack is not that different from our public transportation experiences in Nepal. My role was to buldoze a path for Sheri. That went reasonably well although she almost didn’t get on one train I was already on. But we made it fine.
Our hotel is right at Hyde park. The sun was setting when we got there and the weather is nice so I went for a walk to get some fresh air. I came across prince Albert hall. A beautiful building. I don’t know what it is exactly but it sounded familiar and it was packed. There was also a typical over-the-top imperalistic monument. A little too much for my taste.
Its 9pm now and I think its time for a beer.
We been through the pele and Nala goodbye drama session and we’re now sitting at the airport for our traditional pre-flight ‘milestones’ meal. I’m also testing my blackberry-to-blog functionality. Sheri is already impressed because it takes a while to type this up. A sign of things to come babe…
The next month my blog will turn into our travelogue as Sheri and I travel to London, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Zell am See, Ljubljana, Budapest, Krakow and Prague. In my 26 years in Europe I’ve never been to Eastern Europe and I’m looking forward to travel to the cities on our itinerary. Stay tuned for updates.
Two weeks ago I was invited to speak at the BC Tourism Industry Conference. Jens Thraenhart from the Canadian Tourism Commission was kind enough to invite me and Alicia Whalen from a Couple of Chicks E-Marketing Consulting to join him for an eMarketing session to show how the CTC and Tourism BC collaborate in the online space, what our roles are in the purchase cycle and what businesses can do themselves to be successful.
Jens kicked off by presenting a strategic overview of the eTourism landscape and the CTC’s eMarketing efforts to sell consumer on Canada. Next, I took the audience through our eBusiness Technology and eMarketing efforts where we take the consumer down to the product level. Alicia then gave some great hand-on tips on how tourism operators can improve their individual websites.
I thought the session went well and I received some great positive reactions. Below is a Google Video of my presentation with audio. Jens also wrote about the event on his blog.
A few months ago, we launched our Kokanee release (the code names for our website releases are named after beer brands). The most significant improvement on the end user side is the inclusion of our new HelloBC Listing Program. This gives consumers the ability to find tourism products on our websites. Businesses can list their products through our TourismBC.net website.
The listing program offers a lot of flexible ways to provide information to consumers. It allows for the many different types of businesses to build in in a way that makes sense for the product they offer. The one thing I’d like to highlight here is the concept of how we use experience locations on our interactive maps.
Most tourism related websites offer maps just like the one below. The location of the business is highlighted. The user can zoom-in, zoom-out, move, etc. One thing we display I haven’t seen before is the location of the closest airport (as indicated by the tourism business). This is a requirement that comes straight out of our research. BC is a large place and the location of a tourism product related to the nearest airport is important.
We have a lot of smart people at Tourism BC who have been working in the tourism industry, or working with tourism businesses for a long time. One of the things that was identified is that the location of a companies office is not necessarily where the experience takes place. To accommodate that, we created the concept of an experience location. Here are some examples of how tourism businesses are using this concept.
Below is an example of a cruise company. Besides the office location, it also shows the cruise destinations. Very useful for a consumer looking to cruise to a specific location, regardless of the port of departure.
And here’s another great example. These are all the locations of a bus tour. Consumers can hop on at any of these locations. So the location of the office is irrelevant. This business chooses not to display it on the map.
By collecting this kind of geo-location information, we have the ability to do some very cool things in the future. We can plot the location of cruise destination from all companies on one map, for example. The creative juices are already flowing.