Buyer consolidation is the travel disruptor

The head of Accor Hotels recently spoke about travel industry disruptors. He noted that these new global brands started with a blank sheet of paper and built on new technology that is better than had been used in that industry by people who decided they were going to conquer the world.

He observed that all the ‘old economy’ companies were burdened by standards and habits driven by legacy operations. Ninety percent did not invest in technology when they should have.

We are obsessed by numbers and “scale” or scaling up. It’s more, more, more. Two staggering numbers are 35,000 and 42. One study found that the typical North American adult makes 35,000 decisions a day! No wonder we’re exhausted by the end of it. Obviously, not all of these decisions are significant, but their volume has contributed to the concept of “decision fatigue”. Anyone who has had to research travel on the web knows that feeling.

Another study found that the typical U.S. traveler will visit 42 websites before booking a holiday.

These numbers suggest that decisions are based on significant volume of information which is sourced very briefly. If you notice on-line commercials, you’ll see that traditional 30- and 60-second commercials have been replaced by 4-, 5- and 15-second video messages.

This is disruptive information gathering and decision-making. And that puts pressure on corporate messaging.

Hand-in-hand with this disruption is the change in the booking chain. Thanks to mergers, acquisitions and collaborations, buyers are getting bigger.

Just in April 2018:

  • Bed Banks’ getabed and roomsXML merged;
  • Apple Leisure Group and The Mark Travel Corporation joined their dozen brands, which include Apple Leisure’s AMResorts, Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions, Unlimited Vacation Club, Funjet Vacations, Southwest Vacations, United Vacations and Trisept Solutions;
  • And Booking.com reached their five millionth listing of homes, apartments and other alternatives accommodation. Bookings.com make an average million bookings a day!

This disruptor growth, plus the volume of travel-related websites, blogs and posts puts pressure on travel sellers to sharpen their messages to withstand volume bullies and fleeting eyeballs.

There’s no point in having the latest technology if your message is tired, inaccurate and incomplete. Hotels, venues and destination management organizations can’t throw information on the web and expect it to work year-after-year without change, updating and refinement. Destination Doctor audits sites to ensure they work for the corporate market. We also consider the appeal and effectiveness for the F.I.T. market.

We focus on site content and organization. Our goal is to work within the existing site structure and design, so that content changes are quick, affordable and practical. You update, refresh and refurbish your properties, why not your messaging? Contact us.

 

 

 

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Websites are missing the meetings market

Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!!!

I have just completed two, extensive back-to-back group meeting assignments. This is my 10th year for this title. Between the two assignments, I visited 128 websites for fact checking. About 11 had the information I required. Year after year after year I encounter the same problems and issues with property, venue and destination websites when it comes to servicing the meetings market. My frustrations with website content are echoed by professional meeting planners.

People, stop wasting your money and potential clients’ time. Hotels, resorts, meeting venues and destinations claim to understand the client. No doubt you do on a face-to-face basis, but your websites and on-line presence fails you and your potential clients.

With potential planners researching websites 24/7, bad information, missing information and poorly presented information can cost you money. Whether you’re an event venue, a hotel or a destination, you’re not the only game in town. The world is on-line so everyone is your competition. You have more to worry about than the property down the street, tho’ if that property has a sharper website and on-line presence they’re beating you by making it unnecessary for the client to wait around for pertinent and accurate details from and about you.

And this is a problem for multinational brands as well as solo properties.

The current fashion is to tell stories. But what if you haven’t told it in the right way to engage the targeted market? Since most managers aren’t storytellers, you may be missing the more interesting story or story angle.

What needs to be done to make you competitive isn’t rocket science. Usually a few hours, maybe a day, and you’re ready to roll.

Having spent money for an on-line presence doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten it right. Most companies hire a webmaster or an agency to build a site for them. These people have a talent for technology and marketing. They know how to deliver your message through various on-line options. However, they don’t necessarily know your business or the client needs. They may ask you questions, but if they get casual or sketchy information that’s all they can work with. Then they, on your behalf, make the mistake of perpetually supplying insufficient information to the market you’re trying to sell.

Having slogged through thousands of websites it’s apparent that what happens is that the person building the site uses what others have put on their sites as a guide, thus the information gaps spread to become an industry standard.

Enough with the madness! Hire someone (yes, like me) who understands what your group clients want and need to know if they are to consider your property, venue or destination as a place to bring business.

This is a relatively easy fix. It usually doesn’t require redesigning a website. It’s about correct content, presented in an easy-to-follow way. Between my time and your webmaster’s it’s probably less than a day’s work. Can you afford not to re-examine your site and message?

 

 

Content, content, content

Content, content, content. Among professional marketers and communicators that’s the equivalent of real estate’s: location, location, location.

You can’t be in business today and not think of content. It’s now part of the business package along with a quality product and service. And your content can’t be static. It’s not enough to throw up a website and consider it done. Your on-line presence is a living thing. It needs to be refreshed, monitored and updated. That’s why the Wyndham Hotel Group is funding more than 5,000 hotel photo shoots as part of a content push for all Wyndham websites.

A recent study in the United States found that 89% of consumers expect businesses to have a website, regardless of size or industry. But the website is only part of the on-line presence. You need to be involved in some level of social media. The purpose of social media is “engagement”. And to properly engage with your audience you have to know who they are. Is your audience/target market vendors, suppliers or customers? That guides what you do and how you do it.

The senior social media editor for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Rackliffe, told a publishing industry gathering that with the ever-increasing amount of brand content being pumped into the social feeds of users—all competing for the same eyeballs and real estate – means it’s important to find new ways to tell stories through social platforms.

He said, “I think a lot of people are tired of clickbait and the reductive “X did this, and you won’t believe what happened next…” headline. It’s time for us to move beyond the bait and stay focused on exemplary editorial, compelling photography, witty social copy and create content that people truly want. Then, deliver it to them when and where they want it.”

If professional communicators are challenged in delivering their message, how do non-media companies keep in touch with their customer-base? They hire help. Like Web Doctor. (nscelt@hotmail.com)