Tourism, Bowen Island and other stuff that comes to mind


VCM Weekly E-News
November 21, 2007, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Quoted from http://www.vcmbc.com/enews/2007/enews_nov21.html:

VCM Weekly E-News

Trust us – Blog is not a Star Trek Term

Blog visitation is growing at a rapid rate, and the user-generated content appearing on blogs can have a significant impact on both destination and travel supplier selection. This month’s e-newsletter from YPartnership reveals some interesting findings about this phenomenon.

BOOMING BLOGS
The influence of the Internet on travel planning continues to grow. According to our 2007 National Leisure Travel MONITORSM, two thirds of active travelers now go exclusively to the Internet to obtain information when planning vacations, and 4 out of 10 now report “regularly reading” visitor critiques and opinions online (more than the 3 out of 10 who report reading critiques and reviews authored by professional journalists!). Most of these user-generated opinions may be found in the growing population of web logs (blogs).

The role of blogs in the evaluation of travel suppliers is one of increasing interest to most travel marketers. Of particular interest is the influence of user-generated reviews on the selection of specific hotels, resorts, attractions and other travel suppliers. Much of this interest is due to the growing incidence of travel-related blog visitation: one quarter of leisure travelers who have used the Internet to obtain information on travel experiences and/or suppliers have visited a “blog” to seek and/or review information about a specific destination or travel supplier during the past twelve months. Nearly one third of those who have consulted a blog for travel planning purposes state they have visited Tripadvisor.com. Other popular sites include Traveller.org, Ysearchblog.com (Yahoo! search blog), Myspace.com, Virtualtourist.com and Lonelyplanet.com as revealed in table appearing below.

2007 %

Have Visited To Seek And/Or Review Information About A Destination Or Travel Service Supplier During Past 12 Months*

25

Have Visited:**

TripAdvisor.com

32

Traveller.org

19

Ysearchblog.com (Yahoo! Search Blog)

17

MySpace.com

15

VirtualTourist.com

13

LonelyPlanet.com

11

Travelblog.org

8

LiveJournal.com

3

Xanga.com

2

Other

23

*Among those who have used the Internet to obtain travel information for one or more leisure trips during the last 12 months.

**Among those who have visited a blog during the last 12 months. Does not equal 100% due to multiple responses.

These numbers represent a significant increase over the levels recorded just two years ago, thereby underscoring the growing interest consumers have in seeking what they believe to be more “objective” assessments of travel experiences from individuals who can comment with a high degree of ascribed credibility. This type of “conversational marketing” represents a new discipline in marketing science, and the implication for travel service marketers is clear: popular blog content should be monitored regularly to remain abreast of the buzz circulating online and evaluate the potential influence user-generated content may have on future customer behavior.

Source: YPartnership. Copyright © 2007 Ypartnership 423 South Keller Rd., Suite 100OrlandoFL32810
All Rights Reserved

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Web Strategy: What the Web Strategist should know about Facebook
November 4, 2007, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

FACEBOOK…..
Do you understand it? I know I don’t! I did find this article interesting from a business point of view.

Quoted from http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2007/08/11/web-strategy-what-the-web-strategist-should-know-about-facebook/:

Web Strategy: What the Web Strategist should know about Facebook

Web Strategy: What the Web Strategist should know about Facebook

August 11th, 2007 | Category: Facebook Strategy, Widget Strategy, Social Networking, Web Strategy

facebook

You: A Web Strategist
If you’re responsible for the direction of your online strategies for your company or organization, you’ve probably been asked by your colleagues to take a look at a social network. If you’re new to the Facebook phenomenon, this will serve as a guide for you to get started, link to resources to help, and provide an overview as a web decision maker

[Facebook is a identity, community, and application platform that provides the web strategist many opportunities to connect with online communities]

Web Strategy Theory to know before you go forward
If you’ve not already figured it out, the corporate website is becoming less relevant, and web marketing (and support) has spread off your domain and google results. You also know that prospects trust the opinions of existing customers (who are ‘like them’) far more than marketers, and Facebook let’s these communities of practice assemble, your brand is decentralized –embrace!.

If you don’t understand these concepts, it’s hard to move forward, please re-read those posts above.

Opportunities
Communities of practice are forming with Facebook, users with similiar interests are starting to link and connect to each other. Facebook recently opened it’s platform up to all users (it used to be for colleges only) and also opened it’s application platform up for anyone to create widget’s or mini-applications within their platform. For the web strategist, the opportunity to extend to these areas are ripe: Join or build a community, deploy an application (widget), invest in advertising, gather intelligence from profiles, and extend one’s network.

What you should know:

Invites via email spur growth: Invites are coming through emails, at one point, I was received dozens on one week, this is a sign of mass.

Discussions: Within the groups sections, there are questions posed, answers, and discussions, if you’re a believer in the Cluetrain manifesto, this is a sign of a marketplace.

Business audience, not just 20s: When Facebook opened up to the whole world, it extended it’s reach past college, this may have been due to many of the original Facebook users graduating and moving the workplace. Many of my contacts and friends within Facebook are senior managers, directors, VPs, and CEOs, this is not child’s play. Recent research indicated that the fastest growth segment was 35+. See my Facebook demographic and audience analysis.

Affinity Groups: Individuals with similiar interests, problems, or traits are starting to self-assemble through their friends network, or within the groups. All of these are opt-in, so these are engaged users, that have self-selected: ‘Hey I belong here’. These are communities, and are micro-segments of marketplaces.

Opt-in: Unlike traditional forms of advertising and marketing, Facebook has many opt-in features that let users review, approve, and accept invites for friends, applications, groups, and other features.

Limited Search Crawling: Facebook is a ‘closed’ network, and you can only see most data if you’ve a login, most indivudals pages are somewhat private to non-friends. As a result this limits the ability of traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and others to crawl and index the data. This will prove to be an interesting dynamic in the next few years.

High Growth: Facebook has one of the fastest growth rates, and could potentially overtake MySpace if these rates continue. See stats from John Bell.

Features to know:

The Platform

Identity Platform: Facebook has opt-in user profiles and rich metadata, they’ve massive intelligence on users. Similarly, users can see detailed metadata about friends that are connected to them. Traditonally, blogs, forums and other tools don’t provide this detailed amount of user data.

Community Platform: Users can connect to affinity groups, Facebook can map relationships and affinities. Communities are forming (all opt-in) and are segmenting by interest. Community is another word for Market.

Application Platform: Facebook controls API platform and can gain intelligence from application deployment, data, and usage.

Clunky User Interface: Facebook is notorious for being confusing for the early and even experienced user, things are often not where they should be, and it’s difficult to tell where one’s ‘homepage’ is.

Home Page: The home page is really a ‘news’ page that aggregates content like an RSS feedreader. It also shows other events, triggers, requests, and information, this is much like the ‘portal’ page of the first wave. You can adjust the settings to increase or decrease certain types of content. You can also see what your network is doing, including your friends writing on others’ walls (there was conflict about this previously). The homepage can also show updates from applications (like Twitter or Powce) centralizing communications (submitted by comments by Moksh)

Profile Page: The profile page lists your attributes, status, interests, and other metadata a user chooses to share. This is the page to share with others to add them as contacts.

Applications: The applications sections has exploded from hundreds of applications a few weeks ago to thousands. As I understand it, a PHP developer can quickly create an application for use there. In some cases, brands with loyal following have customers create applications on their behalf.

Events: Affinity groups are starting to organize, promote, and manage events from Facebook, this is disruptive to Upcoming, evite, and other event management websites.

Direct Messages: Users, and those in my community, are starting to direct message each other using Facebook’s ‘email’ type of capability. There are numerous accounts that users in Gen Y use social networking private messages before email. In fact, I’m told that “email is for old people, like you.”

Media is embedded: There’s audio, video, and live streaming video in Facebook, this is a communication and media platform. There’s many ways to embed stories using rich media.

Widgets and Applications: The most exciting feature are the widgets that let companies and groups build embedded applications on the Facebook Platform. While widgets have certainly been around for some time, they’ve never been available for an ‘identity’ platform that had rich user and network behavior. Case Study: Watch how Walmart’s Dorm Room campaign is now deploying an application for Facebook, Charlene Li predicts opportunity, and John Bell is keeping a watchful eye. If you don’t know the history, Walmart launched a MySpace clone called “Hub” which failed and was shut down after a mere 10 weeks.

Advertising: There’s embedded ads within Facebook on the right column (and other areas) which give the savvy advertiser ability to reach specific markets. Because Facebook is an Identity Platform, they’ve got full data and stats on what users are doing, how often, how much, and what they are doing. Learn more from their official advertising page.

Data and Privacy Concerns
Facebook is a black hole, a lot of data goes in, but very little comes out. I’ve posted the following:

  • Yet another reason why we need a single, trusted, and protected identity system
  • All your widgets are belong to Facebook
  • Getting Started

    1) Understand Facebook
    2) Jump in, create an account and add me as a friend
    3) Explore the groups, and join the Web Strategy Group, where you’ll find other like-minded strategists
    4) Applications, on the left nav, explore the applications, see how they’re used, and add a few of your own.
    5) Consider your strategy, find a partner to help. Contact me to learn more.

    Got a Facebook project? Leave a comment
    If you are a consulting firm that has deployed in Facebook, feel free to leave a comment below and discuss your project success, learnings and ROI.

    Connect to me

  • My Profile: Add me, I’ll add you back
  • Web Strategy Community: Join the Web Strategy Group in Facebook
  • My bio and profile


  • Rocky Mountaineer Vacations’ Guest Lounge Blog
    November 1, 2007, 3:53 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

    This was posted on the great blog put together by a good friend, Graham Gilley, Executive Vice President – Marketing & Sales of Rocky Mountaineer Vacations. I still have no idea how Graham does what he does. When I was doing "that job" it was only the train we were working on. Now, Graham has two more routes (the Whistler Mountaineer and the amazing Fraser Disovery Rouite), the Thompson Hotel along with Gray Line Sightseeing operations in Vancouver, Victoria and Banff. All of these operations need product, brochures, advertising, sales and media coverage! I do salute you Mr. Gilley!

    Rocky Mountaineer Vacations’ Guest Lounge Blog

    New for BC Ferries in 2008

    Bcf_2 The new Super C Class vessel build for BC Ferries is on it’s way to British Columbia. BC Ferries has built a tracker to follow it’s 45 day journey. You can expect to see the first of 3 of these vessels on routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island by Spring 2008. They are the largest double ended ferries in the world, necessary to maneuver in the tight waters of BC’s coastline.

    A video highlighting the “handover” of the ship is available as well. For those of us who depend on the ferry system in BC – it is truly an extension of our highways – it is a welcome addition to the world’s largest ferry fleet. And a great bonus for tourists travelling to and from Vancouver Island on the 90 minute trip.

    MA’s Comment:  It’s going to be awesome seeing these vessels sailing in front of my sundeck!  Hmmm… maybe we can hijack one for the new Bowen Island Ferry????



    Tourism Exchange – Internet marketing and business tools for travel and tourism businesses
    October 5, 2007, 10:26 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

     

    Five Exercises to Pump-up your Hotel eMarketing Muscle – By Neil Salerno
     
    Through the years, the job of hotel manager has become more complex and increasingly more difficult than ever before. The challenges that hotel managers face today have been further complicated by the popularity and growing importance of the Internet. Today, managers are often forced to assign many tasks to junior management and staff individuals, but, more managers need to hold-onto eMarketing tasks and create a personal relationship with the Internet.

    Assign eMarketing Tasks Carefully

    Choosing which tasks to assign and, which ones to handle personally, is often the measure of successful management. When it comes time to delegate tasks, we urge senior management to retain some involvement in Internet management, you can buff-up your eMarketing muscle through daily exercise.

    Some managers and owners view Internet marketing as a purely static and inert form of advertising, which requires little attention after the site is published. Because of this mistaken belief, managing the Internet and other electronic marketing sometimes gets assigned to someone else to maintain. This could be a big mistake.

    The Internet’s deceptive simplicity fools many hoteliers into believing that all they need do is to have a web site created, publish it to the net, and business will come flowing in. We’ve all learned that the Internet is intensely complex, it’s not just what your site says that’s important, it’s how it says it that’s important, too. You can get it to work for you.

    Fish Where the Fish Are

    The old expression ‘fish where the fish are’ is important here, no other segment in your marketing plan has more potential business than the Internet. Flex your muscles and create a working partnership between hotel manager, sales director, and web site manager to actively manage this critical business source, it’s that important.

    The fact is that there are many pro-active steps which can be taken to promote the popularity of your web site as well as improve its productivity. Optimizing your web site from a search and sales stand-point is an important process and will always produce measurable results. Your web site manager can then create SEO, a link strategy, marketing partnerships, and other promotion techniques, which can lead your hotel to market domination.

    As I have said many times, a hotel web site must perform two functions, it must be designed to satisfy search engines so people can find the site and, once found, it must have the necessary content to demonstrate value and sell reservations, no small task.

    It is these two separate and distinct functions that make web site design different and more complex than simply designing a brochure-type web site. Your first exercise is to determine just how effective your site is in serving both vital functions. How familiar are you with the effectiveness of your own web site?

    Well-managed web sites consistently undergo adjustments to stay current and relevant to changes in the marketplace. Take some time every week to explore your online marketplace. Be familiar with your own site as well as those of the competition. What are they offering?

    Comprehensive Web Site Reviews

    If you haven’t already done so, your next exercise is to have someone, with hotel Internet experience, review your site to see how well it serves search and sales demands. Often, a third-party viewpoint and some minor improvements can create a remarkable positive impact on Internet sales results.

    Stop judging your web site solely by how good it looks, the biggest scam in the world is web designers that create a pretty web site that can’t be found through generic search and has too little content to generate reservations. What you paid to have your site designed means nothing, we’ve seen plenty of very expensive sites that simply look good, but are totally dysfunctional from a search and sales stand-point.

    Know Your Productivity Numbers

    Next, know the numbers, number of visitors versus bookers. What rates are being offered on your site or on your booking engine? How do they compare with the competition? What is your site’s closing ratio? Are you still simply counting unique visitors to determine your site’s success or are you finally tuned-in to measuring bookings and your site’s sales effectiveness?

    Use your industry experience, does the company, which manages your web site, understand hotel marketing? Are they in step with hotel industry changes, do they understand how and why people select hotels? Your next exercise is to take time, at least once per month, to discuss your web site, and its results, with your site’s web manager. Deepen your understanding of how the Internet works and why it’s working or not working for you.

    Position your Rates against the Competition

    Next, use an on-line rate comparison tool, such as Kayak.com, to compare your Internet rates with those being offered by the competition, and do it often. Undervaluing your hotel rates can be even more disastrous than over-valuing them. Position your rates to parallel your proper place in the market.

    People don’t purchase hotel rooms by rate alone, they almost always make a value judgment. That value judgment includes all necessary elements of hotel’s location, facilities, and amenities as compared to the rates offered. All these elements need constant and consistent attention. Exercise your eMarketing muscles often, the rewards are huge.

    Contact:

    Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA

    Hotel Marketing Coach

    http://www.hotelmarketingcoach.com

    NeilS@hotelmarketingcoach.com

    Posted By Partner: Web Tourism Services Management



    untitled
    October 5, 2007, 10:12 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Women swap the everyday for the getaway
    October 3, 2007
    Whether a Miss, Mrs. or Ms, the keyword when it comes to travel is “more”. Lots more.

    According to statistics from the US market, women took 32 million trips last year. Speaking even more strongly to the economic clout women carry, researchers estimate that next year women will spend 125 billion USD on travel. On top of that, the potential of the female travel market is suspected to be more than $19 trillion.

    Women of all ages and in all stages in life – single, married, divorced and widowed – are jumping on the bon voyage bandwagon. And they are not weaving across continents simply to sit back, relax and chat: 75% of cultural and adventure-trip takers are women. The average adventure traveller age? A fabulous 47.

    Women are also travelling even if it means leaving someone special back home. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that of 500 female travellers surveyed in 2003 by Women Traveling Together (a Maryland-based tour operator), almost two-thirds left behind husbands or boyfriends within the previous year to join an all-women tour.

    Even those who ultimately choose to travel alone are encouraged by an industry that now caters to gender-specific concerns. Some hotels, such as Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates Tower and Durban, South Africa’s Royal Hotel are among the international accommodations that feature women-only floors.

    Author: TOURISM staff
    Organization: Canadian Tourism Comission
    E-mail: tourism@ctc-cct.ca



    untitled
    October 5, 2007, 10:06 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Quoted from http://www.corporate.canada.travel/corp/media/app/en/ca/newsItem.do?articleId=66797:

    Tourism generated $19.4 billion in taxes in 2006
    October 3, 2007
    On Monday, September 10, 2007, Statistics Canada released a report entitled Government Revenue Attributable to Tourism (GRAT), covering the years 2000 to 2006. A significant leap forward in this report is that it now provides considerably more timely estimates. The lag time between the date of release and the reference year has been reduced from five to nine months, as a result of ongoing work with the Tourism Satellite Account and the quarterly National Tourism Indicators. The report provides an additional indicator of the size, scope and impact of tourism on Canada’s economy.

    The last report published in 2003 (based on the reference year of 1998) states that roughly thirty cents out of every tourist dollar goes directly to government. Like previous reports, this new study accounts for tax revenues tourism generated for all three levels of government in Canada between 2000 and 2006.

    For 2006, this latest study reports that tourism generated $19.4 billion for all three levels of government in Canada in 2006 (up 4.8% compared to 2005 and up 29.4% from 2000). For every dollar of tourism spending ($66.8 billion in 2006), governments raised 29.1 cents, up from 27.9 cents in 2000.

    Since 2003, a number of changes have impacted government revenues attributable to tourism. For example, changes in taxes and/or consumption of following items would impact the government revenues in either a negative or positive manner:
    * The 1% reduction in the GST (which took effect July 1, 2006)
    * Reductions in payroll taxes collected by governments (for example: Employment Insurance premiums from employees and employers in tourism, estimated at 3.78% of the workforce in 2006)
    * Changes to individual, corporate, and property tax rates
    * Changes in taxes associated with goods consumed by tourists (most notably high tax items such as alcohol and tobacco)
    * Vehicle fuel. (In most cases, fuel is taxed at a fixed rate per litre. As the price for fuel increases, the tax revenue generated by tourism associated with the operation of personal and rental vehicles actually decreases relative to tourism spending on such products since the actual amount of taxes collected does not increase.)

    The Canadian Tourism Commission’s (CTC) core international markets generated $17 billion in visitor spending for Canada in 2006. The CTC, which is recognized globally for research tools like the Canadian Tourism Satellite Accounts, relies on a wide range of performance indicators, and this study is just one of the many tools it uses to monitor tourism in Canada.

    Author: TOURISM staff
    Organization: Canadian Tourism Commission
    E-mail: tourism@ctc-cct.ca



    eTN Daily Number of US Americans traveling to Canada down, statistics reveals
    September 10, 2007, 10:45 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Makes me wonder….  about the year 2000, the CTC decided to forego the Moose, Mountains and Mounties image of Canada and to "KEEP EXPLORING".   Ever since, our number of "explorers" from the USA has been on a sharp decline.  Is this a coincidence?   I don’t think so!

    Quoted from http://www.travelindustryreview.com/news/6147:

    eTN Daily Number of US Americans traveling to Canada down, statistics reveals

    The first quarter saw the lowest recorded figures for US Americans traveling to Canada, Statistics Canada revealed recently.


    The number of US Americans traveling to Canada has reached its lowest level for a first quarter in 10 years, new figures revealed.





    According to Statistics Canada, US residents took fewer than 1.8 million overnight trips to Canada in the first quarter of 2007, down 6.3 percent compared with the same quarter in 2006. The decline in the first quarter was the eighth consecutive year-over-year quarterly decrease.



    Statistics Canada found that among the top 10 states of origin for overnight travel to Canada, eight recorded year-over-year declines, with Michigan posting the largest decrease with a 16.9 percent drop in overnight trips and Washington, despite a 2.9 percent decrease, Washington remaining at the top of the list as its residents took 282,000 overnight trips to Canada.





    The Canadian statistics group stated that overnight travel both by air and by car from the US fell between January and March, making it the fifth consecutive year in which first-quarter overnight car trips declined.





    The new figures also show that Canada saw an 8.3 percent decline of US Americans traveling by car from last year’s figure, and that US Americans made fewer than 800,000 overnight pleasure trips to Canada in the first quarter, a 10.9 percent drop compared with the same period last year.





    Statistics Canada also found that while the number of business trips increased 7.6 percent to 440,000, overnight trips for visiting friends and relatives declined 3.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, and that US Americans spent an estimated $915 million in Canada, down five percent from the first quarter of 2006.





    Canada, however, saw an increase of 7.2 percent in travel from overseas tourists compared to last year’s January to March figures. According to Statistics Canada, travelers from the United Kingdom logged in the most overnight trips with 141,000, followed by France ranked second with 58,000 tourists.





    Overseas tourists spent an estimated $930 million on overnight trips in Canada, up 6.4 percent from the first quarter of 2006, Statistics Canada revealed