November 28, 2007

Trust the Masses?

Joe Buhler found a study from Marketing Vox that analyzed over 1300 online product reviewer's motivations. The results look good for those that are embracing this new wave of consumer involvement. They found that:

Fully 90 percent of respondents say they write reviews to help others make better buying decisions, and more than 70 percent want to help companies improve the products they build and carry.

The study also found that 79 percent write reviews in order to reward a company, and 87 percent of the reviews are generally positive in tone.

These findings should quiet the critics for user generated reviews. Do you embrace UGC in your reviews? What have you found?

November 14, 2007

Stephen Kaufer - Tripadvisor

Get the truth and go. Sounds simple enough. Stephen Kaufer, President and CEO of seems to think so. But in order to have truth, you need to also have trust.

At the PhoCusWright conference in Orlando, Stephen said "Trust online is gold dust."

You need:
1. Honest brokers - People that can give you truth
2. Social networks - A group that you can trust

When travelers ideas are varying then the knowledge of the mass prevails and averages the results.

TripAdvisor has made headway in the social aspect of their online reviews. They allow you to get your friends on your own traveler's network by connecting with friends with an interactive map. When you are browsing the site, your traveler's network automatically populates their recommendations. This will give great trust based reviews with depth unmatchable by traditional travel agents.

Have you used Tripadvisor, or has your property been effected by a review? Do you trust the reviews?

Orbitz - Steve Barnhart

Steve Barnhart just finished his talk on both the long tale and the long tail of Orbitz.

There are more demands for the long tail of travel then traditional customer products, like Amazon or iTunes.

Steve was really inspired by Chris Anderson's book on the long Tail of Distribution, and noted that the economics of the long tail of tourism require three unique criteria:

  1. Proliferation of stuff or democritization of production.

  2. Access or the democritization of distribution

  3. Niche Marketing or the Connection of S&D

1. The proliferation of stuff does not come out the the same in travel. It goes far beyond inventory access and focuses on customer risk aversion.

The big challenge of the long tail inventory is getting the consumer to access that inventory. Consumers try to avoid financial risk especially when there is a 'veto issue'. The 'veto issue' is when there needs to be something for everyone in the ravel group, this would allow a vacation package have a activities or services that would make all of the travel group to have a better vacation. He recommends making an offering that is applicable with more demographics.

More inventory won't move consumers along the tail.

2. Easy access - every step or touchpoint along the way. Orbitz is trying to ease the access of bookings with relevant information along the way and smoothly integrate all of the travel systems. Make search and transactions easier to use. They are making a multi-currency multi-lingual platform. Going beyond simple, but making relevant.

3. Niche markets - Experiences are infinite, but locations are finite. You must know that things in the long tail are in the fat tail for others. Travel has always had access to more then the best selling locations and activities, the fact that people want to go to key locations will not change. The biggest focus of any company should not be to convince customers to go to obscure product, but to make the long tail come to the fat tail. In other words, tell new people about old things.

The question period had one great question that related to Rezgo ; "How do long tail products fit into Orbitz?"

The answer was music to my ears "There is a wealth of opportunity, but not many suppliers, no desks for service counters, and lack of computer systems. There is more value there then anyone in the chain. We are looking into filling that niche"

Basically integrate with Rezgo.

November 12, 2007

Canada-e-Connect, Are You Connected?

Canada's first Travel and Tourism Technology conference has come to an end, and what a success it was. Canada-e-Connect was hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission, and brought together a number of the brightest minds in tourism technology including Anthony Williams (Wikinomics), Hunter Madsen ( ), Eric Basha ( ), Joseph Buhler ( htp:// ), Jim Brody ( ), Steve Wright (RadarDDB), Sean Sutherland ( ), and everyone's favorite trend finder Jeremy Gutsche ( ) amongst many other talented individuals.

The conference had dialog, debates, innovative speeches, and motivational speakers. Hearing all of these innovators share their insights and ideas made everyone buzz new innovative ideas. To share this experience with the public, I will be blogging some of the insights over the next few days. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the speeches I will be covering:

  1. Evolution Of Distribution
    • Amazon's model
    • 3 imperatives
    • Book by experience
  2. Evolution of Advertising/Marketing
    • Integration
    • Behavioral targeting
  3. The world of Tourism Goes 'e' and Green
    • Examples
    • Authenticity
  4. Talks with the DMOs
    • Federal
    • Provincial
    • City
  5. Mobile Marketing
    • Big innovators
    • Trends
  6. Web Conversion
    • Motivation vs Usability
  7. Unlocking Cool
    • Great insights and inspirations
    • How to go above the norm and make some impact
  8. Stats and Trends
    • Data
    • Research
  9. Traditional Media vs. the Future
I will be updating this blog to share some of the insight from the conference. Tune in and help contribute.