Effectively Using Metrics, Legal Issues, Blogs
|MCLEAN, VA (April 28, 2006) – The impact of trends on the Internet
landscape, effectively using metrics, legal issues, blogs and what the
future holds for travel and hospitality industry marketing defined the
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) 6th
Travel Internet Strategy Conference held last week in New York City.
A recurring theme in the day’s sessions was the influence and power of
“On all fronts the conference exceeded expectations, from outstanding content that gave attendees great take-away and action steps, to the cross-section of top level attendees from the full spectrum of the travel industry,” noted James Zito, director, interactive marketing & development, Affinia Hotels and The Benjamin, and co-chair of the HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Committee.
“The diversity of the program satisfied every level of travel Internet marketer, offering best practices, emerging marketing tools and the basics that everyone should have top of mind,” stated Karmela Gaffney, director, eCommerce, Best Western International, and co-chair of the HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Committee.
Timed in conjunction with TIA’s TravelCom, 250 industry professionals came out to hone their skills and get current from an impressive roster of speakers and experts. The following offers highlights.
In his keynote address, Michael Tchong, a trend analyst and president of Ubercool, defined Ubertrends as those major trends that will impact lifestyles for all of us as they ripple through society.
Ubertrends are an indication of how consumers are changing their lives. The first and foremost Ubertrend impacting life today is “time compression.” As an example Tchong noted that in 1893 it took 15 minutes to cook cream of wheat. In 1960 the time was reduced to 5 minutes and today it takes only 30 seconds, “but for some that’s too long,” he noted.
“We are living in an on-demand society where we want it now,” he said, adding that children throughout the U.K. have been known to be walking around with checks totaling more that 400 million pounds in their wallets because they don’t have the time to cash them.
Everybody is multitasking. Everything is moving faster and it will not
stop. One hundred years ago the record player was invented, but it
took 10 years for the VCR to make it from invention to lifestyle acceptance
and only one year for the DVD.
Marketing must also be linked to online searching which is growing steadily because people want it when they need it. Online travel purchasing is up and virtual reality trips for hotels are a growing marketing necessity. Another marketing trend is viral marketing which is underutilized.
“We need to create products and services that allow people to use their time the way they want to,” said Tchong, adding: “Just look at the new Swiss Army knife which now has a memory stick instead of a fork because we would rather get data than eat.”
In a session on Metrics, Cindy Estis Green, managing partner, The Estis
Group, explored how to assess one’s website. She said to look at
the different types of metrics: usability, behavioral and attitudinal.
In analyzing travel Internet users, Daniel Taras, vice president, solution specialist, iPerceptions says it’s about “understanding the experience and what motivates them to book and what causes them to abandon.” It’s about a site’s user desirability and its usefulness – is it easy to find it, navigate it, does it answer questions, do they trust it, is it convenient?
He offers the following considerations:
A panel on “Unclogging the Blog” explored this relatively new marketing
avenue that went from “obscure to trendy” said Shirley Talbert, director
of marketing distribution, Historic Hotels of America, and moderator of
the panel. With 34 million blogs in cyberspace, “this “online journal encourages
interaction with an audience and can increase search rankings,” said Amanda
Watlington, Ph.D, author and blogger.
Those promoting their hotel online need to be aware of a few issues
to proactively manage their online presence and brands in the crowded and
fluid digital space. Sue Heilbronner, executive vice president of
business development, TIG Global addressed legal requirements of data collection
and email programs; how to stay on the right side of the search engines
in terms of keyword usage in one’s hotel’s website; and uses of trademarks
in paid search bidding and paid search advertising. In terms of copyrights,
she suggested ensuring elements of your site have copyrights, as well as
those supplied by a third party.
In a candid and inspirational closing session, “Innovation – What’s
Next on the Horizon,” Lalia Rach, associate dean, Preston Robert Tisch
Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University
went one-on-one with visionary Terry Jones, chairman of Kayak and founder
|Also See:||ROI for Online Advertising Touted at HSMAI Travel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference / December 2005|
|HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference Report; Keyword Bidding, Pop Ups, Pop Unders, Domain Name Piracy / January 2004|