Category Archives: Google

eTourism Summit 2014 Takeaways

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 8.50.15 AM

The “fire hose of information” delivered at #eTS14 is not meant to put fires out, but rather to start more fires burning. Stoke your at-home fires with these top takeaways curated from 22.7K Twitter impressions across the cyberspace that was #eTS14.

Thunderous themes:

  • Be human, not corporate
  • Interact with people
  • Be a story instigator; content is still king
  • Mobile, mobile, mobile
  • China, China, China
  • Music videos: the next frontier for DMOs
  • Free FB lunch is over; use pay-to-play wisely
  • Empower the under-35s 
  • Re-visit and prioritize your SMART KPIs
  • Steal good ideas and scale them to suit

More Key Learning Points

Social Media Platforms

Facebook: Reachpocalypse is real and can only be fought with a compelling content strategy directed at sharing by a committed fan base. Be conversational, use other people’s good content, feature outstanding visuals of food and scenery. Watch for organic to drop to zero and a buy button to appear.

Twitter: is growing up fast. It’s fundamentally changed how we watch TV to make it interactive in real time, explains Brian Carr. One billion conversations are happening every 48 hours; 280M users will likely peak at 300M and 78% use on mobile will rise to 81%. Promoted tweets by keyword and tailored audiences mean it’s time to strategize on a clever campaign. Use Twitter analytics and experiment with Twitter Cards to drive traffic to your website, Lead Generation Cards to capture user interest and emails, App Cards to prompt a download. 

Pinterest: resonates as a visual bookmark which has key impact during dreaming stage. Different to other channels, it’s not about past or present, but future. Works best when you think of your content as actionable, creating travel tips, itineraries, must-dos, free things, etc. It’s OK for a business to start with 24 boards, populated with 20 vertical images on rich pins. Enid Hwang’s tip: omit hashtags, they may penalize you. 

YouTube: 71% of travel searches on YouTube are for specific destinations, trumping search at 58%. Seeing Y-o-Y growth at 179%. Destinations and attractions account for 40% of all travel video views. Talk to your visitor centers, address what people want to know when developing video content. Google’s Shaun Aukland says, “Video is the next frontier.”

Google: Importance of search through the five stages of travel: Inspiration/Planning/Booking/Experiencing/Sharing. Note that if all advertising were to move to mobile-only, that’s OK, since 50% of all travel-related searches are now on mobile. “The importance of mobile is the single most important thing you can take away from this conference,” suggests Shaun Aukland. He emphasizes that the  “under-35s understand this stuff naturally,” and management from the governor’s office right on down should “listen to them, give them budgets and let them lead.” 

Videos

  • Best-practice example: Memphis video kills it in one minute with poetry and a voice over that rivals Richard Burton. – (filmmaker Peter Bragiel, In Transit)
  • Audio is 50% of your presentation. Use music to convey desired mood of video. – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)
  • The story must be the foreground, the destination is the background. There’s nothing unique about eating out, a nice glass of wine, a swimming pool. Golfers already know where the golf courses are.
  • Remember that Vimeo is where Millennials are hanging out. “Subscribers are currency. Forget views. It’s about how many people have relationships with you.” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

      *  “What are your top 10 Google and YouTube searches? Are you answering those questions with video? Start.”  – (Shaun Aukland, Google) 

  • You can even do it in-house. Too many ideas? Break up the topics into short, separate videos.
  • “Must. Do. More. Video.” – (Melia Dicker, Visit Mississippi)
  • “Like a home video?” Fly the producer over!” – (Peter Bragiel, InTransit)

Social Media & Advanced Social Media Marketing

  • Create a social media culture in your organization. Your chief storyteller and best brand ambassador may be sitting right next to you. – (Gathan Borden, Visit Louisville)
  • Get to your community’s bloggers. You don’t have to be first to the punchline, but do pass the good stories along.
  • Join the Instagram conversation. Among Millennials with smartphones, 43% are using it. Thursday is the biggest day. – (Katie Cook, Visit Austin)
  • “What’s even better than targeting your customer? Finding other ones just like them.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • Keep your Facebook and personal pages separate. Business Manager is the solution. – (Josh Collins, Visit Williamson County)
  • Start “thinking like a publisher.” Facebook is. – (Mo Sherifdeen, Travel Oregon)
  • Advanced analytics, custom audiences, lookalike, tracking pixels, using your own mailing list: tools are your friends. “Spray & Pray approach won’t work.” – (David Fluegge, Colorado Tourism)
  • “Native beats banner.” – (Jessica Cox, MMGY Global).  Native advertising is here to stay, so join the crowd, use it wisely. – (TJ Salo, DreamPlanGo)
  • Focus on one KPI at a time or you’ll end up achieving nothing. – (Tess McBride, Sparkloft Media)
  • Consider targeting email unsubscribers to continue conversation elsewhere on social. – (David Fluegge, Tourism Colorado)

       *  “A sense of place is the filter I put every piece of content through. How strongly does it evoke a destination?” – (Talia Salem,  Brand USA)     

Attractions Social Marketing

  • Change happens. “Be tolerant of chaos.  Let the ground move under your feet every single day.” – (Geoff Drake, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Make your organizational chart flat. Employees such as mountain climbers and aquarium explainers are hearing fabulous comments from the public every day. Use compelling, appealing assets from the top of the world to the bottom of the ocean. “Cute baby otters works, too.” – (Geoff Drake and Theresa Ho, Yosemite DNC)
  • Attractions now have the upper hand with flash sale sites. – (Bob Schwartz, Boston Duck Tours)

       *  Vary your content, tone of voice, even grammar and punctuation for each social media platform according to user demographics. It works. – (Amie Wong, California Academy of Sciences)     

  • Mobile bookings means massive opportunities in the tours and activities space, even a storefront within the app. – (Michael Berman, Peek and Alex Bainbridge, TourCMS)

Small Budgets, Limited Resources

  • Maximize Twitter hashtags, Instagram and Pinterest when there’s no money. – (Leslie McLellan, San Jacinto Valley CVB)
  • Video need not be expensive. Maintain the rights and use contest entries.
  • Q: If you could have only one staffer on social media, what skill set? Designer? Photographer? Writer? A: “Don’t overlook a sense of humor.” – (Marla Johnson, Aristotle)  Tip: Check out graduate school of journalism students to find all 4-in-1.
  • Prioritize your channels, prioritize mobile.
  • Develop a tone of voice. (Tucson got 824% FB organic reach with “Advice From a Cactus” post.) Use other people’s content. (ScenicWA got 2500% organic reach with one-a-day image feeds.)

MICE Marketing

  • Look in the right place. You’ll find this audience on LinkedIn. – (Mandy Volpe, UniqueVenues)
  • Use website landing pages for specific types of meetings.
  • Push notifications will be the email marketing of tomorrow.

Experiential Travel

  • The sharing economy is here to stay. Embrace it, work with it.
  • Restaurateurs see EatWith.com as complimentary (appreciation of good food and company), not competitive. – (Guy Michlin, EatWith.com)
  • International visitors wanted to “live like a local.” Now they want to “meet the locals.”
  • The physical distribution of Airbnb changes a visitor’s experience with a destination, since they primarily live an average of 5 days where hotels are not found. – (Andrea La Mesa, Airbnb)

Out-of-the-(Tool) Box Thinking

  • We have street view. We have satellite view. Why not drones? Drones are the something in-between. 
  • Not perfect is the new perfect on Snapchat. You don’t have to maintain the image of a perfection to get engagement. Watch developments: Snapchat Stories, Our Stories and Snapchat geotags…not to mention ads. – (Martin Stoll, Sparkloft Media)
  • Bitcoins have a higher and more steady demand than Expedia anticipated, and “none of us should be ignoring this innovation.” – (Michael Gulmann, Expedia Media Solutions)
  • Google CEO recommends Googlers to work one day/week out of mobile exclusively. Grounds the consumer experience, invites innovation. – (Shaun Aukland, Google)

Media Buying

  • “Data and creativity are the Montagues and Capulets of advertising. They’ll start working together with formidable results.” – (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)
  • “Mobile advertising is in its infancy,” at currently only 2% of all ads. – (Scott Swanson, Opera MediaWorks)
  • Fasten your seat belts, but you don’t have to drive your data as crazily as the big box retailers do. – (Chris Smuthy, Sojern)
  • “The real purchasing strategy lies in the why and the how – not the where and the who.” – (Sabrina Wilson, Ad+Genuity)
  • Evaluate ROI during campaign, not just at completion.
  • Use call to action words appropriately; different ones apply to awareness, inspiration, consideration, activation, re-living.
  • “Invest in storytellers. In Louisiana’s best content, you can just smell the food.”- (John Durham, Catalyst S+F)

“There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.”Nicholas Butler Murray (1862 – 1947) educator, former president of Columbia University

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 8.44.11 AM

Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 8.47.14 AM

Leave a comment

Filed under Attractions marketing, Digital Tourism Marketing Trends 2015, DMOs, eTourism Summit San Francisco, Facebook, Google, Instagram, KPIs, Native Advertising, Pinterest, Snapchat, Social Media Platforms, Storytelling, TripAdvisor, Twitter, YouTube

Inside Google: People

A 15th Anniversary Update: Google Insiders  

048629d-1

Shaun Aukland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A double round of kudos goes to Google’s Shaun Aukland. After four years as the unofficial “evangelist” for DMOs at Google in San Francisco, a friend to eTourism Summit and member of our Advisory Council, Shaun has been promoted to Account Executive. He takes on an expanded role looking after Google’s top travel accounts, working with senior executives at those companies.

In addition, Shaun was recently recognized with Google’s coveted  Trailblazer Award for his contributions to the travel industry, his clients and colleagues. In this peer-nominated process, roughly 2,400 people were eligible, with only 50 Googlers receiving the award.

What better prize than travel for a tourism evangelist? Shaun and his husband Michael were awarded an all-expenses paid trip to any Google office in the world for some best practice sharing. That narrowed it down to 40 countries where Googleyness  reigns. Shaun and Michael be doing a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand in September, with a mix of Great Barrier Reef cruising, checking out cuddly koalas, taking a camper van road trip and meeting with colleagues.

And, in another update of Google eTS alums, comes more news out of a busy corner at Google San Francisco.

37c5456

Hayley Lambert Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hayley Lambert Young has managed Google’s largest US and Caribbean state tourism boards, city CVBs, DMOs, and attraction advertisers for several years. She addresses strategic visions, new media opportunities and product partnerships. Hayley also provides consultative support across Google’s suite of advertising solutions: Search, Display, Video/YouTube, Mobile and TV.

When eTourism Summit met in New York City in 2010, Hayley scheduled a Big Apple  girlfriends’ vacation and paid her own way, as she couldn’t get travel approval to present for 20 minutes.  It was her first public presentation for Google, and while she was a little nervous, she received high ratings.

Congrats to Hayley , as she will now be moving on to handle the big money accounts, optimizing SEM for Visa and Wells Fargo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under eTourism Summit San Francisco, eTS Advisory Council, Google

The View From Inside Google: Free Food and Free Tips

photo (5)

Dateline: Downtown Chicago — Inside the Google offices on a Sunday afternoon.

This job does get us into some cool places. Observing the Google culture without Googlers present still delivers an extraordinary sense of place. We used the #IPW14 kickoff weekend to meet with the eTourism Summit Advisory Council regarding format, speakers and content for #eTS14. [Registration here.]

M&Ms and a Music Room
This particular floor is kitted out around a baseball theme. Two rattan swing chairs overlooking the Chicago skyline offer a contemplative corner; three treadmills alongside provide an alternative to get creative juices flowing. It’s more than the comfort of knowing that free food is always within 150 feet of every Googler. To ward off after-lunch blahs, the indoor running track indicates that 12 laps equals one mile. If music helps with self-expression, an electric guitar waits at the ready against the wall in the jam session room. The backs of the restroom door stalls have “Lessons in the Loo” posted to maximize every moment. A walkabout revealed such talking points as a vintage mobile phone collection and a Prohibition-era speakeasy bar.

Goog(1)

Baseball in the Boardroom
In Waveland Field video conference room, the tech bells and whistles one would expect are present, but with a distinct lack of flashiness. Baseball mitts decorate the perimeter of a whiteboard. Yes, even at Google, functional 60s-era dry-wipes with an array of colored markers facilitate a brainstorming session.

Goog2

From Beta to Basics
Everyone knows that Google and innovation are synonymous. We’ve heard Google executives say they’re not afraid to debut products in alpha or beta to see what consumers and businesses like and dislike. Nevertheless, when alpha turns into beta and beta becomes basics, it’s way past the hour to get your business on board.

While kicking around trends, dissecting insights, weighing pain points and generally engaging in macro visions with micro tweaking for our October eTourism Summit, we managed a bonus conversation with Advisory Council member and our host, Googler Shaun Aukland of the travel team.

Good Stuff From Google
Shaun shares his recommendations for the top three things a local business should do straight away, if not yesterday, to maximize discoverability in search. He ranks them, too.

1. Claim your Places for Business maps listing. Show up across the web. Be found on Google Search, Maps, Google+, and mobile devices. Make sure your business hours are accurate and kept up to date. Add photos and a good description.

2. Build your best Multi-Screen and Mobile Website. Ensure that it’s friendly and optimized for smart phone and tablet use. A seamless mobile experience is critical with the latest Google recommendations shown here.

3. Claim your Google Maps Business View. A 360-degree inside view of your business is enhanced by Google’s Street View technology. Shaun recommends getting started with a Google-certified photographer listed here by city, or a trusted agency. They’ll arrive with a tripod. Really, all you need to do is tidy up first. Like this:
photo (3)

-Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Register now for eTourism Summit 2014. We may even slip a packet of M&Ms into your registration kit.

Leave a comment

Filed under eTourism Summit San Francisco, eTS Advisory Council, Google

Ensuring your Search Strategy gets the Attention it Deserves During an Economic Downturn

With a countless number of conferences and articles are discussing the pros and cons of joining the social media race, one could be forgiven for getting caught up in the euphoria of starting a social campaign.  However, during this era of social media, podcasting, life-streaming, tagging, uploading, etc, etc. it is crucial to maintain focus on a few of the ‘older’ pieces of your online marketing plan, in this case, search.  Additionally, as so many DMOs and CVBs face budget reductions or at minimum, a careful use of funds, they find themselves reviewing interactive expenditures.  What better time to evaluate your SEO and SEM programs.

First, some new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project on the adoption of search by internet users.
etourismsummit_pewinternetc1
As shown by the chart above, search has become one of the most utilized online tools in a typical day, second only to email.

An excerpt from the memo:

With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day.1 Underscoring the dramatic increase over time, the percentage of internet users who search on a typical day grew 69% from January 2002, when the Pew Internet & American Life Project first tracked this activity, to May 2008, when the current data were collected. During the same six-year time period, the use of email on a typical day rose from 52% to 60%, for a growth rate of just 15%.

Not only do these statistics highlight the clear importance of search in online marketing plan, they also show how quickly search has become a central and ubiquitous part of the internet.  Users have learned and adapted to the search process.  As the report later states, advancements in search and search results have increased the user’s trust in the search tool.  Plus, having Google as one of the largest and most publicized corporations on the planet certainly does not detract from the public’s knowledge of search.

Additionally, the report highlights the demographics of the search user:

Those who are using search engines on an average day are more likely to be socially upscale, with at least some college education and incomes over $50,000 per year. They are more likely to be internet users with at least six years of online experience and to have their homes wired for fast internet connections. Younger internet users are more likely than older users to search on a typical day. Men are more likely than women to search on a typical day.

For DMOs and CVBs looking for that upscale consumer with the disposable income to continue traveling, even in times of economic hardship, these statistics should make a strong case for a SEO or SEM campaign.

Before we move on, let’s look at the numbers in depth:

Education:
College graduate+ 66%
Some college 49%
High school graduate or less 32%

Income:
$75,000 + 62%
$50,000 – 74,999 56%
$30,000 – 49,999 34%
<$30,000 36%

Age:
18 – 29 years 55%
30 – 49 years 54%
50 – 64 years 40%
65 years and older 27%

So, how do you begin a SEO or SEM campaign?  And which one should you focus on?  SEO or SEM?

While most experts agree that using an SEO and SEM campaign in tandem will provide the best results, the value of a long-term SEO campaign should NOT be overlooked.  The short-term gain of a quick SEM campaign can produce solid results, particularly for a specific time period…such as a winter promo / sweeps…however you are, in fact, simply ‘renting’ those returns.  Once you stop spending, you stop receiving that ROI.  On the other hand, a SEO campaign should be looked at as a long-term investment in your search strategy.

For most small tourism organizations, having an external company manage a SEO / SEM campaign could prove to be a budgetary challenge.  Having your advertising agency could be another option, but for most, managing a SEO / SEM campaign either in-house or via an online vendor is the likely solution.

In the most basic terms, an SEO campaign would require less day-to-day management than a modest size SEM campaign.  Which furthers the argument to focus on natural search prior to a PPC campaign.

Easy said than done, to be sure.

Where to start?  To say there are a lot of factors that go into a SEO strategy is a massive understatement and certainly more than we can cover in a reasonable blog post.  Luckily, Google provides a complete help section on how to start, manage and optimize a SEO (and SEM) campaign.  Everything from creating a XML site map to keyword stuffing your pages (not a good thing).

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/

Think of the site this way, here is the search company that owns 60%(ish) of the market and they are telling you how to optimize your site for their product.  Worth a quick look for you or your webmaster.

Additionally, be sure to look at Google’s Webmaster blog (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/) and the Google Webmaster discussion group (http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help?pli=1), both excellent sources of information and help on setting up, starting and managing a SEO / SEM campaign.

So, prior to setting up your Facebook Fan page for your destination, take a moment and review your search engine strategy.  In this time of increasing competition and decreasing budgets, a solid SEO / SEM plan is a must for every CVB and DMO.

Leave a comment

Filed under DMOs, Google, SEM, SEO, Travel Industry, Travel Statistics

Google holds Ad Travel Think Tank in NYC.

Google talks travel...

Google talks travel...

Google Travel Holds Travel Advertising Think Tank in NYC last week.

Last  Wednesday in New York, Google convened more than a hundred travel marketing executives at TravelThink 2008 to offer strategies for boosting business during the what is shaping up to be a travel crisis.

In survey findings presented by JupiterResearch, 94% of travel executives said online advertising would provide the strongest return on investment compared to other media in the next 12 months. Some 20% of travel advertisers will spend more than $10 million on online marketing.

Read the complete story.

Four Communications Strategies with the consumer during an economic downturn.

In light of the recent turmoil in the global financial markets, marketers must step back and assess all of their communications to ensure they are in sync with their customers’ current situation. In this weak economy, marketers must modify their message to respond to customers’ changing perspective.

Read the complete story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Google, Travel Industry

E-Tourism Summit Google Field Trip Photos

On tour at the Googleplex.

On tour at the Googleplex.

Last Friday a contingent of 25 E Tourism Summit attendees were hosted to a tour of Google headquarters and lunch at one of the 19 world class restaurants on the company’s Mountain View campus by Dan Greene and Paul Coutts, two of our E-T presenters from the Google Adwords Travel vertical team.

Whether it was having lunch in the main cafeteria, watching employees blow off steam playing beach volleyball or taking their dogs for a walk around the 23 building HQ, I couldn’t help but notice how much it resembled a college campus, only the people were YOUNGER…or at least seemed so.

Photos inside the buildings were forbidden, Tressia Gerhke from TravelPortland captured quite some of the ambiance and feel and her trusty camera and uploaded it onto snapfish.

Here’s the link to the photos. You’ll need to register.

Leave a comment

Filed under eTourism Summit San Francisco, Google