Nov 17, 2021 | heritage tourism, Marketing, New & Press, travel literatyre
RoguesInParadise is an open, honest, and funny book of quirky characters full of wit and humour set against a turbulent past
Turning Travel Literature Upside-down
Rogues in Paradise transcends travel literature going where no book of its kind has dared to tread. It is a celebration of the Afro-British Caribbean Culture of Barbados and its people and an examination of contemporary life in light of a troubled past.
Ian R. Clayton uses his 20 years of expertise creating the world’s first multimedia digital media Tourism Encyclopedia of Barbados, to author a one-of-a-kind book. It is about the extraordinary ordinary rogues and heroes of a renowned Caribbean island destination. He weaves their stories into the backdrop of history, confronting slavery and colonialism to paint a riveting picture of a remarkable people and the world’s most revisited Caribbean vacation island—Barbados.
Five-Star Review of Rogues
As Reedsys’ Savyajha says in the book’s first review:
“I’ve read several boring slice-of-life vignettes and travelogues, but this piece of writing was anything but boring. I can’t quite place the style, but I was able to get a hint of Roald Dahl’s writing in Boy and the first few chapters of Going Solo in the rhetorical flourishes applied to the characters; a bit of Ruskin Bond’s flow in the poems and rhythms applied left, right and centre.”
Savyajha adds, “Even the descriptions of places seem to have their own metre, the writing swaying in your head as it gently colours in an increasingly clear outline. The author complements these descriptions with some poetry here and there. I amused myself for a bit by reading the poems out loud, as I believe many others reading this book might do as well. At the end, though, one puts this book down with a smile on one’s face and a gasp upon the realisation that what one thought was five minutes was actually closer to an hour and a half. Reading this book is no effort; it is best described as a joy. It is uplifting, fun to read, and extremely engrossing. A must-read for sure!”
With its style, humour, and candid storytelling, Rogues in Paradise turns travel literature on its head! Readers get the
Humanity, Heritage & Culture
In the book, Ian explores humanity, heritage, and cultural responsibility with warmth and humour. He addresses the psychological question of character, tracing how after 300 years of slavery, the island’s people can be so self-assured and open. History is coupled with lucid storytelling to redefine what it means to be human despite all circumstances. To rise for one and as one in pursuit of the common good.
Summary of Rogue Chapters by Location
Go to Google Map >>
To see the chapters click the icon on top left
The Google Map is a unique adaption for a book. Readers can navigate the destination and read what the Rogues in Paradise chapters say about each location’s people, place, and history. The map shows how the series covers the entire islands, North, South, East, and West, and points in between. The editors proposed the structure as it adds meaning to the sequence of events. The new structure combines men, women, and places and classifies them by area, where practical. It adds to the flow of the stories and to the Rogues in Paradise book tours that will follow.
See the Rogues In Paradise Book Website at https://roguesiparadise.com
Sep 23, 2019 | distribution, Marketing, New & Press, OTAs
The failure of Thomas Cook, a huge travel brand, should be a warning to all tourism companies about the dramatic changes in tourism today. The lessons from Thomas Cook’s failure should not be ignored. In this summary, we look at several news sources and analyses. The company cites the instability of some prime destinations as the cause of the financial burn. But the business model has been in decline for some time and many other factors have added to the problem. Not least of these is the Digital Revolution.
From Trains to Planes & Bricks to Clicks
From its early roots of organizing rail travel around the UK in 1841, TC jumped into the world of international travel, buying MyTravel in 2007. To compete with Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and its arch rival TUI, the company needed to invest heavily in building up its IT. That turned out to be far more complex that anticipated. A £100 million project with IBM ran into trouble while undertaking the massive task of integrating the many brands.
The marriage of online and retail was an obstacle that OTAs did not have to worry about but it put TC at a disadvantage in adapting to the competition. It also led to confusion and lack of clarity in its digital media. The project was abandoned in 2011 with £86 million in losses.
Digital Technology – Changing Faster Than Thought
It’s hard to believe that, after all of that, the company leadership still believed that they could compete and beat Expedia. That objective was pie in the sky and the digital marketing ambition failed. In 2018, the company concluded that building an online booking engine was more difficult than expected. It was not just about the booking engine, the entire marketing system had to compete with the growing sophistication of the OTAs. The systems and digital marketing technology were dynamic and always changing and they required insight and know-how to use them effectively. But that was not their forte. In that year, it agreed to use Expedia technology for its bookings. Source Phocuswire. That may have been a step in the right direction but it was not the solution.
According to Capx, “The main reason the company failed was its outdated business model. Thomas Cook offered comprehensive holiday deals which would include flights, accommodation, and transport to and from the airport. It could even organize your wedding. It was a convenient and affordable way to book a holiday. However, given the number of price comparison sites now available, the idea of popping into the local travel agent’s to speak to somebody about booking a holiday seems almost unthinkable”.
How Mindset and Status Quo Kill Innovation
It’s now clear that Thomas Cook misjudged the challenges of the new technology. It simply did not understand the digital landscape and miscalculated along the way. In the face of rapid change in technology, it is often the well-established that lose. Legacy systems do not change easily and the mindset around them is often deeply entrenched. Often stakeholders are blind to the threat and the need to innovate.
According to Joseph Schumpeter, when new disruptive technologies emerge, “the companies which do not adapt will be destroyed, but those that do will thrive.” Technology replacement represents progress. “Although there is destruction in the short term, there are also increases in productivity which brings economic growth and prosperity.” See more on Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction
It’s not that Thomas Cook did not try to reinvent itself. Turnaround Specialist, Harriet Green, came in as CEO in 2012, implementing ruthless cost-cutting. Her style did not go down well with the Old Boys’ Club of traditionalists. This is the perfect example of how legacy systems do not change easily: Mindset and the Status Quo Kill Innovation.
Failure to Adapt to The Digital Age
The UK Telegraph puts it succinctly when is states: Thomas Cook was ripped apart by the Internet! The idea that ordinary travellers can build their own customised packages with a few clicks was just incomprehensible to the Old Guard. But it gets far more complex than vision. It misjudged the level of effort and had a leadership that did not understand the new playing field.
Thomas Cook was never an innovative company. It put things together, created travel packages that were difficult for travellers to create themselves and made it all affordable. But by not trying to understanding the new media, it could not adapt. Maybe it could not have survived the Digital Age, as the new media was now doing a large part of its job.
Books & Training Abound
Perhaps the company should have invested in training its leaders in the mechanics of the new digital technology. Just buying an easy-to-read book that puts digital media into perspective might have been helpful. Hotel and hospitality managers, owners and tourism marketers simply have to know what’s going on with digital media. It is the prime media for marketing travel today and has overtaken TV and all other media.
A search on Google or Amazon for ‘digital media for hotels and tourism’ will show many titles. There is no shortage of excellent literature, training courses and videos.
Sample of Amazon’s latest Books on “Digital Media for Hotel & Tourism” – My Book is the one with the Apple. It the second in the series on Marketing Travel and follows WEBSITE, an Amazon #1 best selling book.
Struggling Under Massive Debt
TC was hoping to secure a £900M rescue package with Chinese tourism business Fosun, as well as with various banks and hedge funds. The investment would pay off £1.7BN of loans and free up cash to apply to operation and paying interest. But the banks demanded that it must find an extra £200m. “That is insurmountable!” they say. Alex Brignall, Travel and Leisure Analyst at City stockbroker Redburn, says that it’s very worrying as “September should be the best point of the year for the cash balance. The demand suggests the company has taken a big hit from all the negative publicity, and is facing additional working capital stress.” Investors were running away from the deal!
The reason why it got to the point of debt goes back to 2011, when it went to administration for support. The money it borrowed resulted in £1.2BN in interest. That’s more than a quarter of the revenue from the 11 million holidays it sells annually. It’s just not sustainable. A valuable brand and its assets were on the block.
The Role of Package Holidays
Some analysts point to the fact that the package holiday may have had its day and it’s a tired model that TC was struggling with. This is not entirely true. In fact, Thomas Cook says it’s a vital and growing sector. “The number of Brits opting for all-inclusive package holidays has increased steadily over the last four years and accounted for 65% of our bookings this summer.” Chris mentions some factors behind the trend including uncertainty over exchange rates and costs. In an ironic twist, he adds: “All-inclusive bookings for this winter are already up 11% compared to this time last year.” – Chris Mottershead, Thomas Cook Chief of UK.
Tour Operator, On the Beach, agrees. “Package holidays accounted for 91% of all bookings so far in 2019. Up from 87% for the same period in 2018.” Source: TravelDailyNews
It is true that there are many alternatives today! We have many discount airlines and online booking sites that make it easy for travellers to package a vacation on their own. It’s also true that many travellers today are looking for more unique experiences and travel brands big and small are working to personalise the vacation experience.
The point is that the the market is diversified. It accommodates many options and that trend will continue. The options are not mutually exclusive. Personalised packages are also a growing sector. The problems that Thomas Cook had stewing were far more systemic.
A Valuable Brand That Survived 2 Wars
Thomas Cook is one of the very few Victorian brands that still resonate today. It had survived world wars, recessions, takeovers, re-organizations and even Robert Maxwell as a major shareholder. It was just the wrong business model for today and was so entrenched in its legacy system and mindset that change was daunting. But, as The Telegraph explains, there were options. Service businesses can be successful by combining different services and products in unique ways. Apple bundled a phone with a camera and a music store. Amazon bundled a vast array of services with Prime.
The brand is valuable and the company owns a mass of assets. While it is wrapping up, it will be talking to buyers and investors and maybe someone will come up with the ideas that can see it reemerge. As noted in The Guardian, there may be “new lenders, as yet unnamed. Asset sales are also on the table, such as the sale of its Nordic business to private equity group Triton, which made a bid earlier this year. A taxpayer-funded bailout appears to have little chance of happening. Otherwise, Thomas Cook is fated to join the likes of BHS and Woolworths – household names that disappeared into oblivion.”
Immediate impact on travellers and jobs. 600,000 travellers scattered throughout various destinations wonder how they will get home. The British Government has deployed 50 aircraft and is airlifting about 150,000 travelers back to the UK. 22,000 people worldwide are no longer employed with the company. Replacements now need to be found for the many aircraft that will no longer fly for Thomas Cook. The Caribbean, for example, will have to replace over 400,000 travellers from the UK and Europe for the coming winter holiday season. Over 100 aircraft leased or owned (34 owned) by Thomas Cook are up for grabs.
On the upside, other airlines are expecting to pick up the business and already their stocks have jumped. TUI, Cook’s main rival, rose by 8% in anticipation of increased sales and EasyJet’s jumped by 4%, Similarly, other airlines have danced about and may do more dancing as the dust settles. Source Fortune.com.
For German travellers, Condor Airlines, the German division of TC, is expecting to continue operation with government funding for 6 more months. That will restore 200,000 airline seats to the Caribbean but there is no guarantee how much of that inventory will be sold.
Thomas cook will be missed by the thousands of hotel that have filled their beds over the many tears of operation. Hotels in Spain, Turkey and Tunisia which relied heavily on Thoma Cook are now scrambling to find alternative distribution and many may close.
Tourism Destinations Scramble
Photo by Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Destinations all over the world are busy trying to fill the gap left by the Thomas Fleet and its stream of traffic, especially coming into the winter travel season for Caribbean islands. Barbados was one of the first to meet with Thomas Cook’s stakeholders in the UK. Plans are in motion to find alternatives for the 24,000 seats now lost for winter holiday travel. The race is on to find other flight partners to pick up the slack. As always, that is a juggling act that will take some time to work out. The main carriers to the Caribbean – BA, Virgin, Condor and TUI – have a limited inventory of available aircraft.
The Caribbean Island of Barbados is planning to offer a $100US bonus to all travellers that became stranded anywhere to come to Barbados for “any future vacation”. Minister of Tourism, Kerrie Symmonds, says “the dates will be announced later.” He adds that Barbados is happy “to host any displaced customer who is still seeking an excellent vacation experience.” See more about Barbados Vacations at Barbados.org
Europe & Africa – The Guardian has complied statics of travellers stranded in several holiday destinations in Europe and Africa – See TheGardian.com.
Actionable Lessons From Thomas Cook’s Failure
For hoteliers, hospitality and tourism professionals, there are several lessons to be learned from the failure of Thomas Cook. Some of the reasons for failure are out of our control but many are not.
- Management owes it to its shareholder and employees to understand the Internet. Digital Media is dynamic and old principles do not apply.
Learn more by reading the latest books on Digital Media for Tourism. Take online courses, listen to podcasts and subscribe to newsletters that follow trends.
- Don’t underestimate the task of going digital. The technology is not trivial and it continues to evolve.
- Beware of legacy systems. Sometimes it’s best to buy rather that integrate. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of integration.
- Don’t let mindset stop innovation.
- TC was massively in debt. Spend wisely and understand the complexity of what you are building or investing in.
- Always Innovate. The successful companies find a better way.
- Diversify your distribution and never put all your eggs in one basket. Be strategic with your channel choice and make sure you build your direct business.
Prepare for Disruption
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Disruption is coming to a portal near you! Tourism is at a pivotal point and is suffering from too much success and over-tourism. Site are closing and tourist are not always welcome everywhere. Add to that technology is in for massive change.
OTAs have become complacent, there is little innovation in the establishment. Travellers search for solutions with outdated options. In the meantime Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook all top innovators and eye their entries. Airlines, hotels, destination and OTAs need be wary of change and ready to do better. There will need to be collaboration across the channels to deliver more for less. New travel search and booking models must be explored. Matching travels with amenities is passe in an age where experiences matter most.
Watch NDC – this could transform and disrupt a few players
Keep watching – we will soon add more!
Happening now: Airlines will add new distributed bookings. Hotels, Tourism Operators and Agents may soon have integrated tools that allow travellers to add air transport to their bookings. This is the implementation of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC). Depending on how it rolls out, it could transform the user experience and has the potential to disrupt the status quo.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2020 TC to Reboot
Thomas Cook plans to reboot as a digital-media travel company, allowing users to” build-your-own packages”. It goes live for bookings this week and will be using HotelBeds, Webbeds and Yalago for Europe and the rest of the world.
Learn About Digital Media
The book series is for hotel and tourism professionals who are not technology experts. You will find them an easy read. They simplify complex jargon in conversational-style illustrations.
Mar 29, 2019 | New & Press, Social
Source: Will Instagram let us shop for travel? | WTM Insights
Instagram Checkout, lets you buy products and services as you browse photo and videos on the instagram, without having to go to another website.
It now just for products suach as fashion, make-up and sporting goods. Its aimed at Brands such as Michael Kors, H&M, ColourPop, MAC and Nike. Right now its only available in the US. However it is clearly going to go beyond these borders.
Instagram recently tweaked that it will make it “easier to save items for later browsing in a personal Shopping collection”. It is also going to allow shoppers to buy item in videos. That makes it very appealing to travel marketers including hotels, tourism activities, destinations and agents.
The one hurdle is that vacations holiday are complex. Today its all about the experience and that requires a growing need for personalisation. Right now the Instashop is focused on physical products and travel is far more demanding that that.
However, it is a step in the right direction and we shall have to wait and see how it unfolds. Instagram says “We are continuing to test this feature and hope to expand availability to more accounts in the near future.”
Instagram shopping is of high interest to Travel Brands who are already seeing excellent engagement with photo and video on the platform.
EasyJet’s already experimenting with Look&Book Instagram search capability and others are equally intrigued about the possibilities of and Instagam travel shopping.
Mar 29, 2019 | advertising, digotal media marketing, New & Press, Social
,sSource: Is Facebook Organic Marketing Dead? : Social Media Examiner
The answer to the question “Is Facebook Organic Marketing Dead” is Yes and NO. A lot of things that once worked just don’t move the needle anymore. Consider this “that average organic reach is now 1% to 6%.” Not impressive at all.
And we now see that blog posts linked out of Facebook get the lowest reach an engagement.
Video is King
Then on the other side of the coin we learn that Video is King – that is so load as it is native to Facebook and you load an original video to your Facebook page. Don’t even bother to share YouTube Video! They will just be seen by your friends, perhaps, and have no reach at all.
If you do upload a quality engaging video, BuzzSumo tells us that it will “outperforming photo and still image posts by 73%.” That is because Facebook sees its future in Video. It is closely watching the migration of television viewers and advertisers to digital media and the internet.
The article also gives tips on the various format and forms of video that you can use on Facebook. It explains the merits of each and is good reading for anyone panning to use video marketing on Facebook. For that matter, it applies well to any social media.
Advertising is the Future
Of course the future for Facebook is in Advertising and to some extent that works. Their recent update on Ad Relevance and tracking will help advertisers asses their results. The question is will Facebook be relevant as the digital world transforms and new sites like Instagram steam roller into engaging travelers and inspiring them to look, book, and convert at a greater rate than Facebook.
Read the article for full details of what might be the better strategy for your Facebook social activity in the new digital divide.
Related: Digital Media For Hotels and Tourism – learn more with our Book Series here
Mar 27, 2019 | advertising, big data, New & Press
Source: Tim Berners-Lee laments state of the web but offers hope for travel brands | PhocusWire
When the Internets Creator says the Web is broken, the world listens!
This article chronicles statements made by Tim Brenner at a recent Seminar. It consider the impact of what has happened and its implication for travel and tourism.
A Manipulative and Un-Trustworthy Web
Tim Breners-Lee, inventor of the Word Wide Web is worried. He explains that the World Wide Web he started was 0pen and collaborative. Today he sees it as manipulative and un-trustworthy.
In his presentation at the Amadeus T3CH event in Madrid, Spain, he says that “it is far from how it started with people having their own sites and linking to other blogs they liked.” In those days he tells us ” I would make a blog as good as possible, people would reward me for it by linking to it. The biosphere spread good links by curation and humanity became this wonderfully collaborative space.”
The Internet’s Biggest Sin
Unfortunately this wonderfully collaborative space is not what has happened today. Berners-Lee notes that algorithms now determine what we read in social media and on the Internet”. It has become to centralised and driven by advertising rather than peoples needs. The ad-based revenue model may be the Internet’s “biggest sin.” It portrays a feeling that everything is free but we are all paying a high price for persuasion at the expense of authenticity and privacy in ways we hardly know.
Berners-Lee suggests that the solution to today excesses is to return to decentralization the network. This gives consumers control of their data and access to it. Not that it should not be used, but giving control to the owner puts the brakes on how it might be manipulated and used to manipulate others.
The Future is Personally-Positive for Travel
Travel is Personal so lets Personalize the Experience to the Travelers Persona
Giving controll back to content owners has positive implications for travel where he sees travelers being able to store information on passports, travel preferences and past and upcoming trips on a Solid Pod. This could also give OTAs and travel companies better access to knowledge that can help in personalizing the vacation experience and planning process and offering travelers specific personal recommendations.
Read more about it at Tim Berners-Lee laments state of the web but offers hope for travel brands | PhocusWire