Interesting posting (as usual) from Stephen Joyce from Rezgo. He touches on a few things I’ve thought about a lot over the years. Especially the paradox of choice.
He makes a good point.
He’s right. And the internet allows operators to find a very specific niche segment of consumers. This just wasn’t possible 10 years ago. By finding a profitable niche, it allows operators to tailor the product or experience and make it remarkable. And soon, your niche product, targeted and tailored to the Italian fly-fishing audience is being talking up on the Italian fly fishing social networks.
One of my dilemmas as a online destination marketer is: do I carve the destination up in niche websites (a cheese specialty store), tailored and targeted at specific segments, or do stock all product in one big website (a supermarket). Since travel is a multi-product experience, we’ve opted for the supermarket concept (like most DMO’s). No two trips consumers make are the same, because they all have unique preferences. Even the Italian fly-fishers will need a place to stay, eat and fill their time with other things, and that’s where we come in.
But the paradox of choice does creep into my mind every once in a while. That’s why I think the approach to allow consumers to make incremental decisions that won’t overwhelm them with too many options is a way to overcome this. That’s where regions, cities and sectors are useful. But it remains tough.
I think websites like Kayak do a good job of giving their users tools to limit a consumers choices based on personal preferences. I want a 4 star hotel, downtown, with a pool for example will reduce choice and make the decision process easier. The industry needs more of that. It will also stop the process of commoditizing tourism product.
Todd Lucier doesn’t agree.
I think Roberto has a point. Of course the bloggers won’t be critical. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be authentic. We’ve been doing something similar for a few months now with our Field Reporters. I’ve explained our strategy to create authenticity in a previous post. Our Field Reporters don’t do anything staged. It’s an experience any tourist could have. That’s why we’ve made it clear we’re behind them and we’ve build a random element into the execution (a recommendation). We have 37 videos to date and they’re wildly successful. Maybe I’ll give them a cellphone next 😉
I think the problem is with the word blogger and the solution is simple. Montreal should call these people something different because the word blogger creates a false expectation. My suggestion is to call them “Montreal Ambassadors” or something, like we did with ‘Field Reporters’. Then you can define the job any way you like.
The idea is great and I hope Montreal is smart enough to allow some room to let the program shape itself. Who knows what will happen when people start phoning; it can go to unexpected (yet wildly successful) places. Like Todd said “it’s all about the stories”.
Field Reporter Chris says in the comments: The more I do these Field Reporting videos the more I realize the value of being completely spontaneous during a shoot in order to make it authentic. No preparation of what to say… just a start location, talk with people (residents, tourists, event organizers, or even Raccoons!) and see what happens, have fun and cover the moment.
Daniel pointed me to a blog post by a online consultant in Germany who is outraged his hotel is charging him 5 euros PER HOUR for Wifi internet. He’s wondering how much water or flushing the toilet costs.
The thing that makes it really funny is that he’s giving a web 2.0 talk at the same hotel. He’s posted complaints about all kinds of social networks and is creating a viral buzz about it. He will incorporate it in his talk. Now there’s a way to make a point!
I have 3 criteria when looking for a hotel 1) clean 2) free internet 3) safe location. I don’t care about anything else. So bad research on your part Bodenseepeter! [update: turns out he didn’t have a choice in the matter, see comment below]
Daniel is wondering about what the hotel can do to respond to the blogosphere. He’s offering a crate of beer for the best idea. I’m in!
Here’s mine. It depends on the exact situation. The hotel probably doesn’t generate any revenue but has a contract with a provider in return for installation and support. It also appears to be the norm in Europe to charge outrageous amounts for hotel internet access according to the comments below.
The hotel should respond by joining the conversation and promoting their rate as cheap compared to the competition! Further, they should create a “free wifi” viral campaign. Free Wifi for people who sign-up for our newsletter. The referrals they’ll generate will pay for itself. And they can keep a relationship going with the people who sign-up.
[UPDATE: The hotel will offer free Wifi starting in 2009; this was already in their plans]