It’s hard to beat a lizard laden, sun shiny, ocean retreat like the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, but add in the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) conference and you’ve got my attention.
I quite enjoyed a number of the talks. Michael Rodenburgh from IPSOS Canada spoke about behavioural data and offered some fascinating tidbits about where people go to and come from during the tourism and travel customer decision journey. Passive behavioural data collection is a fabulous data collection tool and if you’re careful about obtaining explicit consent, I’m a big fan of it.
I was fascinated by a talk that Thomas Roth and David Paisley from Community Marketing and Insights gave about research with people who are LGBTQ+. Terminology seems to be in a permanent state of evolution and I never know what the most current respectful terms are. Needless to say, Tom and Dave will now be my go-to experts.
I was delighted to speak on the main stage Thursday morning about AI, chatbots, and voice search (my slides are below). I shared results from a Sklar Wilton & Associates white paper showing that the general population is fairly knowledgeable about the state of AI. AI can now write newspaper articles about anything you ask of it, AI can create humour that people actually laugh at, in some sense AI can even read your mind, and Google’s millions of dollars have allowed them to create an AI voice that is practically indistinguishable from the human voice. Of course, AI isn’t perfect and Joy Buolamwini of M.I.T.’s Media Lab has conducted research showing how facial recognition technology has trouble recognizing dark faces.
Technology for the regular folk who don’t have millions of research dollars backing us up has progressed to such a point where it is useful for customer service reps, marketers, and market researchers. Customers regularly use AI to book flights and hotels whether through chatbots on Facebook or voice assistants, we can now use AI moderators from companies like Quester to conduct surveys with anyone who has a voice assistant, and chatbots from companies like Elsient to conduct text surveys.
As fabulous as AI is, people are still unmatched for their ethics, emotions, and genuine caring for other people. This is what market researchers bring to the research table. Sure, we bring tech. Tech speeds things up and helps reduce technical errors. But people bring research results to life.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the diversity of speakers, put your hands up, they’re playing our song, 54% of speakers were women. Rock on, TTRA!
Thank you Kathy and Scott for putting on a fabulous conference. We’re off to Melbourne Australia next year!
Tourism is a vital economic driver for many cities, and with the ability to collect GPS and credit card data, CVBs and DMOs can leverage data in many new ways. Utilizing data can allow destination marketers to better understand their visitors, market to the right geographic areas, and create visitor packages that lead to longer visitor stays. Tourism analytics is an important tool for any city’s marketing programs to be successful.
There is an ongoing debate on how destinations can stay relevant to travelers. It’s a discussion often had among destination marketing organizations and partners whose roles and tactics must evolve as the travel, marketing and technology landscapes continue to disrupt tried-and-true methods of the past.
In the Relevant Destination Q&A series, we hear a variety of perspectives and pro-tips on how destinations can modernize to meet the expectations of a new age of travelers.
This week’s guests:
- Charles Harris, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Visit Anaheim
- Jeremy Harvey, Vice President of Communications & Marketing at Visit Savannah
- Maya Hua, Tourism Senior Manager at Mall of America
- Cree Lawson, Founder & CEO at Arrivalist **TTRA PARTNER MEMBER**
Sincere Thanks TTRA for hosting us at the Biltmore in Coral Gables last week. Key takeaway: Strong destination brands are vital to the long-run health of the global travel industry. Technology and globalization are eroding the unique charm that once made places worth visiting. From store fronts to Amazon Prime. From city centers to incubators. From generational cuisine to fusion. From taxis to Ubers. Local businesses and service providers make up the DNA. Opposites attract. Travelers demand variety. Stronger destination brands will give us reason to travel. Research and data rest at the epicenter of sound marketing and brand strategy. Please fund your local DMO.
Until next time. Happy 4th.
Founder, Head of Insights
The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is as amazing and technologically advanced as it sounds. We have been hearing it for years in movies and documentaries, but now artificial intelligence is present in the real world and is affecting our everyday lives. This extends through to the tourism marketing and the travel and tourism industry in general.
tackled this topic recently on our successful Tourism Marketing Convention, together with her co-director Carolyn Childs and our clients. We discussed the development of artificial intelligence in the marketing sector and how travel and tourism businesses need to adjust in order to keep up with the changes.
There was plenty of travel tech talk at EyeforTravel’s London show this week, and here is a taster
1. The industry is not prepared for blockchain
2. Partnerships rule, and not always in a good way
3. Tours & Activities is still a big untapped opportunity