January 24, 2008

Tourism Meatball Sundae?

Yesterday I attended Seth Godin's webinar "Meatball Sundae", thanks to Darren Cronian for the invite! Seth has the gift of making metaphors that people can really bite into, and this one was no exception ;). His main point is that "it is not sufficient to do what you used to do (meatballs) and dress it up (sundae)". He covered 14 current trends that are revolutionizing marketing and the internet, so I thought of how these trends could be used within the Tourism Industry. Please let me know if you have any ideas as well.

So here they are, the 14 (he actually gave 15) trends that are revolutionizing marketing, with a tourism cherry on top:

  1. Direct Communication - Gone are the days of "if you make it, they will come" people want involvement and feedback, they want to connect and have relationships. If your company doesn't have a way to connect with their customers, you better start!
  2. Amplification of Consumers - "You might as well assume that everyone you meet works for the New York Times" That is a challenging thought, you have to expect customers to write about you, and give them something to write about (good hopefully)
  3. Authentic Stories - People most often don't buy based on stats and figures (I try to) but rather buy on stories. Your brand needs to have a consistent story that it is sharing from multiple angles. Your frontline staff has to be consistent with your advertising media.
  4. Speed - This current generation is used to instant gratification. We want to see results now! If your company takes 3 days to go over a reservation or booking and your competitor can guarantee a booking or reservation instantly, well then your company will loose. Online reservations are a first step!
  5. Long Tail - Unique is cool, in the travel world doing the same tour as everyone else is passé. Customers want to have options that cater to their own desires and needs as opposed to a generic bulk package that is fine for the norm or average. The travel industry needs to look for ways to tap into the long tail of Tourism.
  6. Outsourcing - If you can lower the operations cost by outsourcing components of your business, you will then have the energy to focus on the marketing of your service / product. This goes beyond developing world call-centres, the opportunities are endless.
  7. The Dicing of Everything - The internet has broke everything into pieces. Customers access your information from multiple avenues, your main page is only one of the doors. This reminds me of my friend Norm Rose's article on Service Oriented Architecture.
  8. Infinite Choices - How will you stand out? Really, in the last year there are more then 30 new travel sites, what are you doing to get talked about? The internet is really a social buzz network, and if you don't have bees (unique 'wow' point), then you don't have buzz.
  9. Consumer To Consumer - Again, people want to connect and share experiences and stories, a very successful model is to build the platform and then get out of the way. Can you imagine platform that brings suppliers together with resellers online, connecting that long tail content! (Keep tuning in for more updates...)
  10. Scarce and Abundant - We used to have abundant spare time, now we don't. Things that were scarce are now abundant (access to information). You again have to really work to differentiate your brand to make it clear that you have a unique selling position, that isn't a common message.
  11. Big Ideas - Products are now the big ideas, think iPhone, pod hotels, and other industry shakers that are pushing industries in new directions.
  12. Connect With People - Gone are the days of mass 'dumb' marketing, sending flyers and spam to unsuspecting victims. People want value and if you can shape your marketing to deliver value, then you get 'permission marketing'. This can be a witty informative newsletter with customized information, or really anything that you feel your customer will want to have.
  13. The New Rich - Well, this on is catered to a particular segment of our society that I am personally sick of seeing on the front of newspapers and magazines, but Seth is talking about it, so we best pay attention.... If your product is targeted at the next Paris or Britney, they you better be ready for customization and appealing to strange and unique desires.
  14. The New Gatekeepers - Being a gatekeeper isn't as important as it used to be. It is more important to be a leader as opposed to being a leader. People will follow those that they look up to, and not wait for traditional channel to grant him/her access to mass media (think Mr Scobble).
  15. Ubiquity or Scarcity - You need to choose, if your product or service is in between, then you will not profit. You need to have a set position to either drive demand, or make yourself a household name.
Well that is it, a little long, but let me know if you have used any of these trends, or you are planning on implementing some in the future.

Update: Video Now Available


Darren Cronian said...

Thanks for the mention Phil.

I couldn't unfortunately, get to the webcast due to work but I am glad I managed to send the link out to a few people.

Have you tried Squidoo, or has anyone tried it to market their products or services?

I have; and whilst it's still early days, it has referred a few visitors to my blog.

I'm just waiting for the search engines to pick up the page to really see if it's effective as some people say.

Philip Caines said...

Hi Darren,

It was an interesting webinar, too bad you couldn't make it. I recorded the presentation if you are interested.

I am signing up for Squidoo and entering contents as I write this, I haven't wrapped my mind around all of its functionality, but it seems to have potential. Have you seen much traffic from it?


Claude said...


Thanks for this great post.

Unfortunately I miss this webcast.

Phil if you can send me the record

I try Squido at the begining, even as a betatesteur, but don't follow up.

Take to much time to get some traffic. I think is better to invest in your blog (great tool, content & content, selected syndication, networking,...)

See you at ITB



TourPro said...

You've done a great job applying this to tourism. Every web worker should buy this book for their bosses.

These concepts are so perfectly suited to tourism promotion. After all, the initial innovation in the web was lead by the travel industry. Besides politics and consumerism, travel has the greatest potential to harness 2.0 for branding and transactional promotion.

Philip Caines said...

Hi Guys, thanks for the comments. I have added a link to the webinar, it was really interesting. He offers another webinar for those that buy the book. May be worth picking up.

CaliforniaTouristGuide said...

Hi Philip,

Thanks for this post! I'm a big Seth Godin fan (what a SMART guy!) and being involved in the online travel industry makes me really appreciate your connecting the two for me here.

Last Tuesday, I listened to Seth chat with three other marketers who I really respect: Chris Anderson, Tim Ferriss and John Jantsch. Good stuff! There's a link to the mp3 at the top of John's blog here...


...if you're interested.

Okay, gotta run... I saw something else on your front page I wanted to check out. Thanks again!