Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Workshop: "m-Tourism - Innovative Mobile Services for Tourism", Salzburg, 8 October 2009

M-commerce is said to be a booming industry and the penetration with smart phones, notebooks and netbooks which allow mobile Internet access is growing. Nine out of ten Austrians use a mobile phone. (Source: Statistik Austria)

Apple’s iPhone and BlackBerry’s Curve and Google phone offer Web browsing at acceptable speeds and resolutions. Although, advanced services of the mobile phone - like surfing the Internet or paying for travel products and services via the mobile phone - have not yet been frequently used. 35% of the Internet users in Austria currently use the Internet wireless via a laptop or a notebook (Source: Statistik Austria), however the percentage of Internet-users via mobile phones is still rather low (see graphic % of mobile subscribers below).

Especially location-based services offer a great potential for tourism as they can add value for the tourist when staying at the destination. The mobile device can e.g. serve as a visitor guide to provide the tourist with real-time information about local attractions, events, accommodation etc. on the move. However, so far there are not many profitable solutions available, because of barriers such as connection and roaming costs for using data services.

SalzburgResearch organises a workshop (presentations will be in German) on m-commerce and addresses questions such as:
  • What are the advantages and shortcomings of current mobile technologies?
  • How will iPhone, Blackberry and Google mobile phone change the market?
  • Which are sustainable business models for m-commerce?
  • What is useful and relevant content for mobile applications and services and where does it come from?
The programme:
  • "Location-based Services im Tourismus - Quo Vadis?", Markus Lassnig, e-Tourismus-Kompetenzzentrum e-Motion
  • Tripwolf iPhone Reiseführer“, Alexander Trieb, Tripwolf, and Nicolas Göll, Salzburg Research; www.tripwolf.com/de/page/iphone
  • Wikitude“, Andreas Hauser, Mobilizy; www.mobilizy.com/de/deber-unsenabout
  • "Neue Möglichkeiten im m-Tourism durch Quick Response Codes“, Johannes Meinhart, Regionalmanagement Oberösterreich, www.salzkammergut.mobi/

Participation at the workshop is for free!

Date: 8 October 2009, 2-5 pm
Location: Salzburger Techno-Z, Gebäude Nr. 3, Veranstaltungszentrum Raum A, Jakob-Haringer-Straße 5, 5020 Salzburg
Further information: www.salzburgresearch.at/newsroom/news.php?news=233

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Danish mother video erased from YouTube - VisitDenmark director resigned

The fake video of "Danish Karen" searching for the father of her baby August was doubtlessly a well-meant viral marketing activity by VisitDenmark to promote the beauties of Denmark and the affable and liberal spirit of her inhabitants (see also the post from 16 Sept 09).

More than 1 million users watched the video in 4 days and numerous imitators took the mickey out of it by shooting and publishing their own videos. What more can you ask of a viral marketing campaign?

However, VisitDenmark has obviously not expected the backlash that followed when politicians and representatives of various organisations condemned the clip as "irresponsible and thoughtless" and harming the image of both Denmark and the Danes.

In the meantime the video has been removed from YouTube, allegedly due to copyright claims by VisitDenmark.

The consequences were as far-reaching that the managing director of VisitDenmark, who described the video as "the most effective thing we have ever done to market Denmark", had to resign from her job. If you had no chance to see the video on YouTube, here it is again.

What can we learn from this?

The intended goal of reaching a big audience in a short time by exploiting popular Web 2.0 channels was certainly achieved. The content of the video is arguable, but after all haven't we all learned that it is sex & crime that sells?
Further, the production costs for the video were cheap and so was the dissemination through YouTube. If only clicks and views and saving on marketing budget are the metrics - well done!

However, the recipients' perception and interpretation of the advertising message is influenced by parameters such as values, opinions, experiences and culture. Therefore, if anyone could be offended by your video message then don't publish it. Surely, bad publicity is better than no publicity but National Tourism Organisations' mandate is to carry out marketing activities which help to create a positive and decent image of the destination. And it seems that some cliches, no matter whether good or bad, should not be touched for exploitation by DMOs. Perhaps if VisitDenmark had not been the initiator but somebody else the impact might have been less fateful or even positive.

The question remains: has the video harmed the image of Denmark as a tourist destination or will it raise a smile and wink in the viewers or even bring more visitors to Denmark (i.e. if this was the call for action)?

Maybe VisitDenmark or someone else will carry out a survey to find that out!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

2nd Online Tourism Marketing Conference - El Gouna, Egypt. 14 - 18 Dec 2009

The 2nd Arab International eTourism & Online Marketing Conference will be held in El Gouna (Egypt) from 14-18 December 2009, and I am honoured to be invited as a speaker and run two workshops at this profound multi-cultural conference:
Workshop 1: User Oriented Web Design,
Workshop 2: Web Content Creation and Web Content Management

The objectives of the conference are to create awareness, educate, and update the travel and tourism industry with sound online strategies to improve sales and profits with minimum costs and efforts. The 2nd Arab International E-Tourism & E-Marketing Conference will cover important tourism topics such as online marketing, search marketing, social media, and online brand reputation.

The conference is under the patronage of the Arab Tourism Organization/League of Arab States, and organised by the International Organization of the E-Tourism Industry (IOETI), in collaboration with The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism.

I already participated with a presentation on "Website Performance Measurement" at the 1st Online Tourism Marketing conference which was hosted in beautiful Sharm-el-Sheik last year. More than 300 delegates from African, Arab and European countries attended the conference last year and it seems this number will be topped this time. Besides the knowledge-transfer through cutting-edge presentations the conference is also and ideal platform for networking.

Evolving tourism through technology
Creating the right technology infrastructure is essential for economic development in the tourism industry, particularly in developing countries. In July 2006, UNWTO and Microsoft announced a Public Private Partnership to help countries leverage the opportunities offered by tourism, through the use of ICT. The partnership was created as part of both organisations’ commitment to the Millennium Development Goals as a force to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development.

The Internet penetration (in % of the population) in Africa is with nearly 7% extremely low compared to a world mean of 25%. (Source: www.internetworldstats.com, March 2009). Egypt has an Internet penetration of 16% (Source: www.internetworldstats.com, March 2009) and is amongst the most developed African countries in terms of Internet penetration. By the way: 71% of the population were online in Austria in 2008 (Source: Austrian Internet Monitor 2009).

English is still the dominant language in the Internet, spoken by nearly 30% of all users. Arabic only accounted for 4% of the Internet users in 2008. However, Arabic has seen an explosive growth between 2000 and 2008 of 2063% and is likely to overtake German, French and Japanese in the next couple of years.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Internet and TV Equally Effective for Video-Spots

Online video-ads are booming and also more and more tourist boards spread their image videos through YouTube or other community platforms (see also my 1st post). Nevertheless, thousands of Euros are still spent for paid commercials on TV with the intention to reach a bigger audience and increase brand awareness.

However, there might be an attitude change in the heads of marketers soon, because a survey has now found out that online video ads are equally effective as TV ads in terms of brand awareness, brand affinity and brand recall. The German research community "Zukunft Digital" analysed whether a video-ad shown on TV is as effective as a pre-roll to an online video-clip viewed by a user. Ads of the following brands were used in the experiment: Bahlsen, BMW, MediaMarkt, Tchibo, Wüstenrot. In the experiment, the test users watched a TV-show and surfed on the Internet Portal web.de. The video-clips were shown as single-spots during commercial breaks on TV and as pre-roll-ads on web.de.

Both channels are equally effective in terms of aided brand recall (both 80%). However, the Internet outperformed TV with respect to unaided brand awareness (online: 62%, TV: 61%) and unaided brand recall (online: 46%, TV: 43%). TV scores slightly better regarding both the aided brand awareness (online: 92%, TV: 93%) as well as the brand affinity (online: 72%, TV: 74%).

It is also interesting that the probands perceived the adverts equally independent on which channel they were shown. Moreover, 41% of the probands said they appreciate commercials on TV and 42% said so for online-ads.

Bearing in mind the various advantages of online advertising compared to TV advertising, such as efficient targeting, cost savings, viral marketing potential, then it is likely we will see a shift of marketing budgets towards online advertising. The Internet usage has increased significantly since 2000 whereas the traditional media had to suffer severe losses (see illustration below).

Online advertising in Austria currently has a market share of only 4% but saw an increase of 46% in July 2009 compared to July 2008 (Source: http://www.at.focusmr.com/). However, in terms of online marketing spends Austria lags far behind USA (19% market share), UK (15%) and Germany (12%). It seems that Austrian marketers are sworn "traditionalists".

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Conference Announcement: Brennpunkt eTourism 2009

The Symposium "Brennpunkt eTourism 2009" will take place on the 9 November 2009 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The goal of this top-quality conference, founded by Roman Egger, is to foster the know-how transfer between researchers and practitioners. The motto of this year's conference is "Die Zukunft heute gestalten" (shaping the future today) and focus will be laid on topics such as Web 2.0, Web 3.0 (i.e. Semantic Web), Search Engine Optimisation & Search Engine Marketing and future trends of eTourism.

I had the honour to give presentations at the previous 2 "Brennpunkt eTourism" conferences. In 2007, I gave a presentation on "eMarketing Strategies for Destinations" and in 2008 I spoke about "Web 2.0 Business Models for Tourism Organisations".

Participation of the conference is for free and therefore highly recommended, especially for students! More information regarding the location and registration as well as a complete programme are available on

eTourism BlogoScope - a name change for my blog

I have altered the name of my eTourism blog from "eTourism for You" to "eTourism BlogoScope". The sub-title runs "News - Trends - Analyses - Opinions - Solutions - Recommendations: eTourism Put Into Context" and indicates onto what topics and content I will focus.

You might ask yourself: "What the heck is a BlogoScope?" To be honest, I am not even sure whether this notion is common or not - but it sounds cool! :-)) Have you ever come across this term?

Analogous to a microscope which is used to illuminate and magnify a subject so that it can be seen clearer and in more detail, the aim of my eTourism BlogoScope is to shed light on trends, developments and innovations in the fields of eTourism and eMarketing.

I think this honourable intention is expressed very well with the term BlogoScope. What do you think?

Keep returning and check for new postings and feel free to leave your comments or questions!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Prof (FH) Christian Maurer published Web 2.0 case study on www.austria.info

Christian Maurer published the article "www.austria.info - das Tourismus-Informationsportal der Österreich Werbung. Bedeutung und Einsatzmöglichkeiten von Web 2.0 im Tourismus.", in: Wagner, U. & Reisinger, H. & Schwand, C. (Eds.): Fallstudien aus der österreichischen Marketingpraxis 5. Ein Arbeitsbuch zu den Grundzügen des Marketings. Wien: Facultas, p. 271-282.

The Austrian National Tourist Office has relaunched their tourism information portal http://www.austria.info/ a few months ago and has implemented a variety of state-of-the art Web 2.0 applications and services.

One out of Four Does not Trust Travel Agents

Every fourth holidaymaker does not trust travel agents, revealed a UK survey commissioned by independent health and safety experts Check Safety First (Source: http://www.travelmole.com/). 2000 consumers who booked a holiday through a travel agency were interviewed and 25% argued the trip was not in the end not as described by the travel agent.
No surprise that hotel and destination review platforms are gaining importance for tourists in travel planning. But does this mean that travel agents ignore review websites as far as their own products are concerned?

As a matter of fact, a majority of customers research online but still buy offline. Since travel reviews obviously have an influence on the decision making, I believe travel agents should transform into information brokers and help and advise their customers with the search for and interpretation of travel reviews. If travel agents do not simply emphasise the "gloss of the brochures" but showing the whole picture by taking into account the subjective reviews of travelers who have been there, then they might re-gain the trust of their customers.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Welcome to my Blog!

I have long thought about the first entry for my blog, but fortunately the tourism boards always do give us food for discussions and debates.

After the online casting for the best job in the world by Tourism Queensland and the Felsenputzer (mountain cleaners) free-lancer video of MySwitzerland.com it was to be expected that someone will try hard to top the potential of viral marketing.

Well, Visit Denmark kicked off a rather controversial debate with their promotional video about a lovely blond Danish lady searching for her baby's father, whose name or nationality she can't remember because she was too drunk.

How far should tourist boards go in order to attract the attention of customers and the press? Can such a video message contribute to the positive image of Denmark?