Guest post by Emily Ribaudo
Picture this, you’re 18 again and you’re longing to finally do something that symbolizes your independence. What’s the first thing that pops into your mind? If you asked me this question the first thing I would say is travel. As a young adult I find the urge to flee from my parents grasp and to finally stay, eat and see things on my own terms. Don’t get me wrong, Disneyland will always hold a place in my heart, but I’m ready for a new scene.
Chances are if you’re a young adult you’re not going on vacation alone. You’re probably doing just the opposite and getting as many people to throw down on a hotel room as you can. Remember, we’re on a budget! I think it’s important to have options. I already know I won’t be staying at the Hilton anytime soon. Yet I still want to feel safe where I lay my head at night. Having a variety of lodging options – including budget ones – makes it easier to find something suitable for the trip you’re taking.
Growing up whenever my family took a vacation you could always find us eating at a typical steak house. It was always the same. My mom has a salad, my dad has some sort of meat and I always end up with a pasta dish. It made sense at the time. There was a family to feed and everyone wanted something different, but at the end of the night we were all satisfied. I’ve noticed over the years that my family always played it safe when it came to meal time. Let me tell you when I’m on vacations with friends the last thing I want to do is eat the same as I do when I’m at home. Our dining recommendations usually come from our own experiences in the area, and are usually very budget friendly. For example, I know a to-die for Mexican restaurant in the Woodland Hills area so if friends and I are around that location chances are you’ll find us at Mission Burrito during meal time.
There is always so much to do when you’re on a vacation, but it’s hard to fit it all in. In my opinion you have two options. You can either take a really long vacation, or you can fill your days with things you wouldn’t normally do. I think all destinations have more to them than what meets the eye and it’s up to me to figure out what that might be. One thing I like to do when I’m in another area is to check out the local spots where I can meet locals. This opens you up to a whole new experience.
As you reach adulthood you are begin to understand that your experiences are really starting to mold you as an individual. I believe that I travel differently now because I look at the time spent in unfamiliar places as motivation and inspiration instead of just time off with my family.
So what does this mean to you, the DMO? Budget friendly options are a start. Not everyone can afford four star quality, especially us young adults. Embracing what makes your destination unique and showing us why that’s interesting is also very important. Why would we visit someplace that has the same things as we have at home? Finally, realize that we can be a loyal bunch, and show interest in us now. It may pay off dividends later.
Emily Ribaudo is a student at Western Nevada Community College. She loves to travel.
During recent years, we have seen the technological era unfold in front of our eyes. The current generations and many more to come will increasingly spend their time connected, linked to the web. News reading, hotel bookings, shopping, communicating, bill paying, and almost anything else imaginable is available by a simple click of a button.
I stumbled upon the below video and thought it was interesting to look at how social media has already made an impact on your business, even if you have not notice it yet. It is essential to get the word out there and to build a solid online community, take advantage of the many ways available to promote your business.
Do not be afraid to try something new, “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
During my most recent getaway to San Francisco, I found myself looking for an amazing place to get breakfast on a Wednesday morning. I quickly jumped on my phone and typed “best breakfast place in San Francisco”. It was no surprise when the first link took me to Yelp. I never really gave much thought to Yelp. Part of me though that people that wrote those reviews had a lot of time on their hands and the other part of me thought that people that usually write those reviews are most likely complaining about something. However, I suddenly found myself in the Yelp world, the place in question had 4.5 stars and people had posted the most succulent food pictures I’ve seen on my phone. I must add that the majority of pictures were taken by Yelpers, which means that the food actually look like that once it got to the table. The decision was made, we were going to M***, although some of the reviews did mention a possible line, given how wonderful the food was. As soon as we turned the corner, there it was, indeed a line with an hour wait line, but as I looked through the window I could not help no notice how delicious other people’s food looked, and my desire to go in and experience the food kept growing. An hour and fifteen minutes and a growling stomach later, we received our food and it was undeniably the best breakfast I have ever had.
When we left around 1:30 pm and the line was still as long as the eyes could see. Now, coming from a person that never, I repeat never, waits in line to eat, you ask me how that was possible? My answer is, that’s the power of Yelp. It almost give you an assurance that the place is going to be so good (since people had so much to say about it), that you start trusting it and put yourself on an hour long line just to prove to yourself the validity of those reviews. I think I learned how to trust Yelp reviews. Think about it, San Francisco has thousands of breakfast places that sit empty, but one of the five top breakfast places on Yelp has a huge line until 1:30 in the afternoon. Yelp is, indeed, one of the most amazing marketing tools, if you know how to use it. Being able to see where your business stands compared to the other ones in the market is a great way to figure out where the flaws are and what can use some improvement. By comparing other business ratings to your own, you get a clear picture about what the next move could be. The next time you think that Yelp is useless, think again, it can really help your business understand how it is perceived against your competition.
South Lake Tahoe, CA – The results of a groundbreaking study on motorcycle tourism will be presented for the first time at the upcoming Nevada Rural Roundup tourism conference in Pahrump, Nevada on April 18, 2013. The study, a joint project between Strategic Marketing Group and Road Runner magazine, was designed to better understand motorcycle travelers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors with regard to their travel decisions.
“The study is designed to provide insights to this important niche market and what better place to present the information then in rural Nevada which offers touring riders incredible landscapes, vistas and local history?” noted Carl Ribaudo, President of Strategic Marketing Group.
The motorcycle touring segment is often overlooked as a growing niche market, and many in this segment do not use Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) in their trip planning. Only 19% surveyed in this study indicated using a DMO website in planning their trip. “The results suggest the Destination Marketing Organizations don’t recognize the opportunity to reach this segment, or are not familiar with how to reach this segment” added Ribaudo.
The study was conducted last fall in conjunction with Road Runner Magazine, a national magazine with a circulation of over 40,000. The study was conducted online and included over 3,900 responses.
For more information on this study and the results, please contact Carl at 530-541-2462 or email@example.com. More information on Road Runner magazine can be found at www.roadrunner.travel, and information the Nevada Rural Roundup conference can be found at www.ruralroundup.com.
I recently bought some motorcycle riding gear for the upcoming riding season. It’s a ritual I go through every winter as I wait for the winter snow and ice to thaw, freeing the roads and high-mountain passes for my two wheeled bliss.
When the order arrived at my office I opened the box with my trusty pocket knife and looked through the box, going over my mental check list. New jacket, check; new base layer riding shirts, check; new base layer riding shorts, check. As my hand dug through the box I came across the invoice, along with a couple of bags of M&Ms with a sticker affixed telling me how much the company appreciated my business.
Think about that. The company I bought my gear from, Adventure Designs, has the presence to say thank you in a tangible way that I really appreciated. Online retailers make zillions of transactions every day, but how many actually do the little things that count, like saying thank you in such a memorable way?
Think about your business and how you can make small gestures that resonate. Are you telling your customers thank you in a way that stands out and makes them take notice? If you’re not, give it some thought. The famed business strategist Michael Porter from Harvard Business School introduced his famous “Value Chain” concept decades ago and it’s still a great concept to think about and consider. Porter basically outlines how competitive advantage can be developed by adding value at every step in the customer interaction, even in this case after the sale is made.
I can tell you that the M&Ms ensured I’ll remember the company. Good on ya Adventure Designs!
I like to look at the world not by only focusing in what is around, but what is inside of me. I, just like anybody else, have been living in the globalization era. Everything is standard, normal, typical, average, usual, ordinary or the same. What about some differentiation here? Some thinking outside of the box? Is the world getting extremely boring or was I the only one who noticed it?
People are exhausted by the same “experience” that everybody seems to be trying to deliver to them in slightly different ways, over and over again. What about new, perhaps even unique experiences? Have we lost our creative edge? I don’t want to come into a city or town for that matter, eat at Chart House and sleep at the Marriott (no offense, I like those places), but I am craving for change inside the tourism industry. I want to stay at a B&B where the owner makes the breakfast with eggs that came from the guy down the street, back to basics, back to what it used to be before we became so the same. It may look like a personal opinion, but many people around me are into the same boat.
Let us take a moment to think how we can improve authenticity, in not only our lives, but also in our business, being a restaurant, a hotel or a shop. In today’s world, it is very important to find your niche, where your uniqueness lies. People are interested and are likely to give a chance to things that drift away from the everyday sameness. Give it a chance, you may like the results.
Last week SMG hosted the third annual Tourism, Technology + Marketing Workshop in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Similar to past years, we were able to feature some terrific presenters on a variety of timely and interesting topics.
J. Scott Zimmerman of Xola opened up with an intriguing General Session, suggesting that marketing has more in common with tech startups than you might think. He introduced the concept of agile methodology, using a data driven cycle to build a relevant product. Marketers can use this concept to measure and learn from marketing efforts in order to develop more relevant programs.
Measurement is critical for marketers, especially when assessing social media programs, and Milena Regos of Out&About Marketing provided some great insight and tools in her presentation, 25 Ways to Measure and Analyze Your Social Media Marketing ROI. Ultimately it’s all about identifying what relevant data you need to measure.
But measurement isn’t just limited to what you’re doing. Online reputation management is another integral piece of the digital marketing puzzle, and Eric Bengston of Swift Digital covered tips and tricks in his presentation Online Reputation Management – People may “Like” you but do you know what they are saying about you? We really liked his reminder to respond to positive reviewers and reviews, since it’s the negative ones that tend to be the focus.
We’re becoming an increasingly mobile world. Michael Thomas of Noble Studios talked to the growing importance of mobile in travel in How to Avoid Getting Lost in a Mobile Travel World.
Content is still king, and creating it should be part of any marketing plan. Mike Henderson of Arborglyph had plenty of useful suggestions and tools in his presentation on Creating Killer Content, along with a video playlist to provide additional inspiration. Rhen Wilson of Aristotle, Inc., a Little Rock-based interactive firm, illustrated the power of images as content in The Power of Social Photos. Did you know that articles with images see 94% more views? Neither did we.
In this world of social, mobile, location based interactive media, where does traditional media and marketing fit? An esteemed panel discussion including Ronele Klingensmith, Laura Partridge and Davy Ratchford addressed questions from Carl Ribaudo on this very topic. Disruptive technology, marketing resurrection and channeling your inner nerd were some of the takeaways that came via Twitter.
After a full day of ideas, Marla Johnson Norris of Aristotle, Inc. wrapped things up in the final General Session with Top Ten Takeaways – Trends and Tactics. She neatly summarized the topics covered during the sessions, including the important of mobile, social, search and content in an engaging presentation (ensuring nobody fell asleep after lunch).
Enormous thanks to presenters for being so generous with their insights and expertise, to our sponsors for their continued support of this event, and of course all the attendees, for your participation (especially on Twitter).
There was a lot of information to absorb, so much so that I know I missed some important points. Please feel free to help out by sharing your thoughts and takeaways in the comments below.
Thanks – and hope to see you at next year’s event!
The Northeastern U.S. has long held claim to being the place to see and experience fall colors. While it has been the focus for many years there are lots of fall colors to go around. In just about every nook and cranny of the country, save for the west coast, many communities have incredible fall colors that in fact generate significant tourism economic impact. While out on a motorcycle ride on Sunday the colors in the Sierra were starting to explode and people were out in force with cameras in tow. At several places along my ride I witnessed overflow parking to capture that special shot.
In addition to the Technicolor show that nature has to offer at this time of year, there is a real economic impact and some tourism offices are taking full advantage of it. The Connecticut Office of Tourism prepares for the fall color season (which runs from Columbus Day through November) by making online fall travel itineraries that provide tips on where to look, available at www.CTvisit.com.
Fall color tourism makes perfect sense. After all, we travel other times of the year to experience what nature offers (skiing in the winter, lakes and beaches in the summer) why not a more concerted effort to promote fall colors?
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Photo: J Brandon
The motorcycle touring segment is a lucrative market for the tourism industry, but there has been a lack of market data to support this niche and assist destinations. Until now.
SMG is proud to announce the completion of the first ever national motorcycle tourism study that it developed in partnership with RoadRUNNER magazine, which is designed to understand the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of the motorcycle touring segment. The study addressed respondent motorcycle ownership profiles, purchase intent, trip characteristics, trip planning, motorcycle friendly lodging properties, media use and a demographic profile of survey respondents. It also looked at four core sub-segments including tour riders, cruisers, adventure riders and commuters.
The SMG/RoadRUNNER National Motorcycle Tourism Study is part of SMG’s innovative new Motorcycle Tourism consulting services designed to assist both tourism destinations and lodging properties in attracting this market segment, as well as help motorcycle manufacturers and clubs work with tourism destinations.
“The motorcycle touring segment can be very lucrative to those destinations and lodging properties that know how to effectively position themselves. We seek to provide our clients with unique insight on how to take advantage of this segment and their needs,” explained Carl Ribaudo, President of SMG and avid motorcycle rider.
“Motorcycle touring is a recreational activity that has seen much growth, and manufacturers are offering improved existing and new products to meet that demand. Destinations have a unique opportunity to take advantage of this trend,” he added.
SMG offers comprehensive services to assist destinations and lodging properties including destination inventory for attracting the motorcycle touring segment, review of existing marketing programs and channels, motorcycle touring segment branding, marketing research, marketing plan and strategy development and interactive services. Ribaudo noted “Our experience in destination marketing and motorcycle touring is unmatched.”
The Strategic Marketing Group (SMG) provides consulting services to assist destinations, lodging properties and resorts on how to attract the lucrative and loyal motorcycle touring market. SMG has assisted in the development of tourism marketing strategies for a wide range of destinations and state tourism offices. In addition, Carl Ribaudo, President of SMG, has extensive motorcycle touring experience, and is also an active American Motorcycle Association member, co-founder of the Lake Tahoe Adventure Moto Motorcycle event, writer for MOTOSFO and founder and President of the Tahoe Blue Riders Motorcycle Club. For more information please contact Carl.