Gentle ocean breeze, white powder sand, Mai Tais hand delivered to an umbrella protected beach chair – yes indeed, there’s nothing like a week’s vacation in the Mexican Riviera. I’ve included a picture of my hotel here just to help those of you currently struck at your desks to find the motivation to take your own trip sometime soon.
But what, you might be asking, does any of this vacation boasting have to do with internet marketing (the philosophical foundation of our special onedegree.ca). Lots, it seems. To outline this point, I have included here “Michael’s 4 Internet Marketing Lessons from my Mexican holiday”.
Lesson 1: Travel Review sites are really just fancy words for “Blogs” about travel.
I use www.tripadvisor.com and I love it. Do you remember when your only source of online information on a hotel came from the hotel chain itself? It was the sound of one hand’s thunderous self-applause. Well, now there is a real-time forum for discussion on virtually any hotel or resort in the world, along with rankings and pictures and real people to ask questions to who just got back from where you are thinking of going. The consumer value of user generated content in the travel industry has turned 60 year old grandmothers from Wichita into blogging machines without them even knowing it. Move over Paul Theroux!
Lesson 2: The traditional travel industry still hasn’t realized that the Internet has changed its business model forever.
My wife (who is also an Internet professional) really wanted to use the local travel agent. She argued that she was really nice and helpful and close to our house. My wife even started the search for our holiday with her and got prices and availability options. But what came apparent very quickly is that as we wanted more information over a period of days, the restrictions on the agent’s working hours and availability became a huge bottleneck in our search, and eventually we turned to the Internet to get all of the information we needed in real time (in this case using www.selloffvacations.com). Even still, my wife was committed to booking with the local person. Unfortunately, we made our final decision to book a special available deal on Saturday morning and she didn’t work on the weekends. We had no choice but to book our holiday through the “always open, always on”, Internet travel service. That industry will not survive without changing.