Does the rise of the OTA mean the demise of the destination’s voice?

Given the rise of the Online Travel Agent (OTA) and Peer Review sites and the way in which this focuses attention on individual businesses, attractions and activities, how do destinations find a voice and presence on the web? 

Where does the community find a voice and opportunity to present their place?

Shop Local West Kirby - who sells the best Eccles cakes in town?

We've been working with local retailers in West Kirby on the Wirral to raise awareness of the strength, quality and variety of independent shops in the town. 

It's called quite simply Shop Local West Kirby.

Simple things can sometimes capture the imagination and create engagement better than other supposedly more sophisticated forms of marketing.

For instance an online debate in Facebook has started on which shop sells the best Eccles cakes in town.

You can join the group on Facebook here at this link.

The single most important innovation for the visitor economy!

VisitEngland recently introduced a framework of activities and actions to stimulate and facilitate innovation. They are keen to come out of the debate with some tangible ideas of how to drive innovation in the sector.

I was one of the people they asked to give a view on implementing and exploiting innovation in the visitor economy and to question whether the public sector has a role to play.

Here's what I had to say...

Would You Stay at a Holiday Inn?

In a response to loss of market share Holiday Inn is launching a new marketing campaign to win back consumers that have decided that the no-frills type of hotel is a better choice than a traditional full-service provider. 

There's a new TV ad which focuses on contemporary features like fitness centers, communal workspaces, and dining options designed for both solo travelers and groups. Laptops and smartphones, those twin tools of the always-connected traveler, are featured prominently, in recognition of the free wi-fi available to members of its loyalty program.

Innovation within the visitor economy

VisitEngland are currently inviting contributions to a discussion on 'innovation' within the visitor economy. 

They ask questions such as: What do you understand by innovation in the visitor economy? What are the barriers to innovation? How can the sector stimulate innovation to support growth? And invite you to share your thoughts, examples and questions with other professionals from within and outside the sector.

The paper written to introduce this topic is reproduced here:

Google Penguin Update

Google recently announced a new Penguin update furthering the search giant’s objective to decrease Web spam and reward good quality content and effective white hat SEO techniques. If you’re practicing black hat SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and link schemes, be careful; the Penguin or Panda might swallow you whole.

Hyatt Hotels Test Facebook With Snail Mail

Hyatt House is testing a Facebook-enhanced system called Postagram that prints postcards.

Through Aug. 15, the hotelier is encouraging guests to personalize up to two complimentary postcards via a Facebook app that's available on Postagram and Hyatt House's pages on the social site.

Insanity rules in DMO-land!

Bill Geist's latest ZEITGEIST newsletter tells of a news story circulating in the DMO world this month that involves drama and Indiana in the same sentence. And not a small dollop of complete madness too!

If you don't subscribe to Bill's emails can I suggest you do - here's the link. In the meantime here's the transcript of Bill's latest main story. Please read on...