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The opportunities left behind when innovation shakes up old industries
November 28, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | GUY NICHOLSON.

early meetings and phone calls were casual conversations with a couple of landscape photographers who specialize in golf.

The very nature of their business had changed fundamentally...After the Internet disrupted print magazines and media, they recast themselves as digital marketers, selling online rights to images created with high-tech arrays of digital cameras, drones and processing software. But even while embracing technology to take their work to new artistic heights, there were dramatically fewer places left for golfers to come across this art in print......Had their little corner of publishing been so thoroughly disrupted and abandoned that it now had more demand than supply? .....Technological innovation can be extremely disruptive and painful – and in the digital era, capable of changing entire industries seemingly overnight. But when creative destruction puts good things in peril, slivers of opportunity can emerge. After the masses and the smart money have flocked to newer technologies, formerly ultra-competitive spaces can be left wide open for innovation – abandoned fields for small businesses, start-ups and niche players to occupy.

It helps to offer a level of quality or service the bigger players consider uneconomical. Look at the travel industry, which has been thoroughly remade under waves of innovation: cellphones, digital cameras, GPS, Google Maps. Between internet comparison shopping and Airbnb, travel agents could have gone the way of the traveller’s cheque. But in the wake of all that disruption, tiny bespoke agencies specializing in advice, unique experiences, complicated itineraries and group travel have re-emerged to offer services too niche for the big digital players.....Similar things are happening in industries such as gaming, where video games have cleared the way for board-game cafes, and vinyl music, which survived the onslaught of MP3s and streaming music on the strength of nostalgia, millennial fascination and sound quality. As the rest of the industry moved into digital, neighbourhood record stores and small manufacturers picked up the pieces, catering to an enthusiastic subset of music buyers.

“We were growing very rapidly, not because vinyl was growing, but because a lot of pressing plants were going out of business,” Ton Vermeulen, a Dutch DJ and artist manager who bought a former Sony record plant in 1998, told Toronto journalist David Sax in his 2016 book The Revenge of Analog. Vinyl is back in the mainstream, but its disruption cleared the field for smaller players.

Abandoned fields aren’t for everyone. Building a business around an off-trend service or product can be a tough slog (jck: hard work)for fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs, and risky. In the case of the golf photographers, two dozen artists signed up to create a high-end subscription magazine. It’s beautiful, but with two years of work riding on a four-week Kickstarter campaign, there’s no guarantee this particular field will prove to have been worth reclaiming.

Of course, risk has always been part of small business. But a market waiting to be served – that’s a precious thing. As long as there is disruption, it will create opportunities for small businesses to reoccupy abandoned fields
abandoned_fields  analog  bespoke  books  counterintuitive  creating_opportunities  creative_destruction  David_Sax  digital_artifacts  digital_cameras  disruption  hard_work  high-risk  high-touch  innovation  Kickstarter  new_businesses  niches  off-trends  opportunities  photography  print_journalism  small_business  start_ups  structural_decline  travel_agents 
december 2018 by jerryking
Travel Agents? No. Travel ‘Designers’ Create Strategies, Not Trips. - The New York Times
By JOANNE KAUFMAN JULY 5, 2017

Affluent travelers are turning to travel designers, whose services go beyond booking trips to managing travel portfolios.....a subset of travel planners — they prefer the term travel designers — who do far more than simply book trips. They manage the travel portfolios of their affluent clients, mapping out a schedule that might, over a year, include mother-daughter weekends in the Caribbean, father-son heli-skiing, a romantic husband-and-wife weekend getaway and an elaborate summer trip for the whole family.....A high level of planning and involvement “is part of an emerging market where there are people who have more money than time and want expertise,” ..... For example, he said, “a traditional travel agent wouldn’t know to ask questions like ‘what’s the smallest plane you’d be willing to fly on?’”

Such clients,...may not be price sensitive, but are highly sensitive to perceived slights. “Someone I know professionally,” he said, “went on a trip to a remote location and was served frozen orange juice, and told me he would never use his travel designer again because he expected fresh juice.”

Often, long-range planning is a practical necessity. Some of the most sought-after lodges and boutique hotels have limited space.....my own take, a caveat, is that it is unclear whether the degree of planning involved leaves room for serendipity (See Add Uncertainty to Your Financial Plans - NYTimes.com)
affluence  boutique_hotels  concierge_services  curation  detail_oriented  high_net_worth  high-touch  hospitality  hotels  itineraries  long-range  luxury  planning  portfolio_management  serendipity  travel  travel_agents  uncertainty 
july 2017 by jerryking
China gifts luxury a reprieve
29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend | by Harriet Agnew and Tom Hancock

Chinese consumers, the drivers of global luxury for more than a decade, once travelled overseas to the European fashion capitals of Paris, London and Milan to take advantage of lower prices. Now they are increasingly inclined to spend at home. Last year Chinese consumers made two-thirds of their personal luxury goods purchases domestically, compared with roughly a third in 2013, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
.............In an era of lower growth, brands are trying to adapt to changing consumer demands and the disruption of digital while keeping the creative process at the heart of it. “Creativity and audacity is what allows you to elicit desire [and therefore sales] over the long run, telling a story that people want to discover, chapter after chapter,” says François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering.
......Yet brands can no longer rely on opening lots of new stores to fuel growth. Instead they have to keep costs down, revamp their existing stores to make them more profitable, and seek new customers through avenues like digital.

“The business model of luxury has completely changed,” says Erwan Rambourg, global co-head of consumer and retail at HSBC in New York. “Either brands understand that and make the changes themselves, or they don’t and they leave themselves open to activism or M&A.”
.......Compared with other consumer brands, luxury has been late to the digital party. Phoebe Philo, the then creative director at fashion house Céline, told Vogue in 2013 that “the chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google”. But that view now looks unsustainable.

Six out of 10 sales are digitally influenced, says BCG, which estimates that online commerce will grow from 7 per cent of the global personal luxury market today to 12 per cent by 2020.

Within digital, the holy grail is so-called omnichannel — the ability to offer a seamless experience to customers that blends digital and bricks-and-mortar stores, and includes initiatives like click-and-collect. “Blending the physical and the digital is the future of the online flagship stores,” says Federico Marchetti, chief executive of the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group.

The emphasis is on the customer experience. Net-a-Porter is launching a same-day delivery service in September for its top clients in London called, “You try, we wait.” Customers will be able to try on their online order at home or in the office while the delivery van waits outside.
......As e-commerce gathers steam and groups collect more and more data on their clients, the next stage is machine learning and artificial intelligence, believes Mr Marchetti. In this vision of the future algorithms will act as virtual shopping assistants, suggesting items that the customer might like, “enabling us to speak to each customer on an individual basis rather than to the whole customer base”, he says.

Luxury brands are also increasingly using blogs, online “influencers” and social media platforms such as Instagram to generate visibility and lure potential buyers.

All of this is happening at a time when the definition of what constitutes luxury is expanding beyond physical possessions to include experiences both as a competitor to, and opportunity for, the traditional houses.

“Luxury brands are now competing with the plastic surgeon and the luxury travel agent,” says Mr Rambourg. “For a similar price you can have a Louis Vuitton handbag, a facelift or a trip to the Maldives.”
....“Our pulse is the Chinese customer,” says LVMH’s Mr Guiony: “It made the sector worse a couple of years ago and it has made it better now. We have to be aware of that. Trees don’t grow to the sky.”
/
luxury  brands  China  Chinese  China_rising  consumers  digital_disruption  e-commerce  travel_agents  BCG  growth  LVMH  watches  noughties  Yoox  customer_experience  WeChat  Burberry  digital_influencers  creativity  audacity  storytelling  omnichannel  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  virtual_assistants  same-day 
may 2017 by jerryking
Jobs, jobs, jobs! The future is brighter than you think
Feb. 16 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Margaret Wente.

if the idea of working for someone else doesn’t appeal to barista girl, she’s in luck. Thanks to the IT revolution, starting your own business is easier than ever, as American thinker Walter Russell Mead has pointed out: All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. You can provide math tutoring to kids, music instruction, even long-distance psychological counselling. You don’t even have to be in the same country as your clients. You can find cheap marketing information to identify your potential customers, and you can reach them via social media. You can buy inexpensive accounting and billing software. If you have employees, you can even get HR advice online.

The IT revolution is wiping out entire industries, like bookstores and travel agents. But it is also creating virtually unlimited opportunities for new service businesses.
Margaret_Wente  entrepreneurship  Desire2Learn  disruption  self-employment  IT  millennials  Walter_Russell_Mead  bookstores  travel_agents  new_businesses 
february 2013 by jerryking
Lunch Catered by Internet Middlemen - NYTimes.com
By DAMON DARLIN
September 24, 2011

San Francisco-based Cater2.me, delivers food from carts and small
restaurants to businesses that aren’t big enough to afford their own
chefs. The Web was supposedly eliminating the need for the layers of
brokers, agents, wholesalers & even retailers that separate the
consumer from the producer.

That has happened in some instances, e.g. drastically reducing the role
of travel agents. But consumers still need help and the Web has provided
the tools & the environment for companies like cater2.me to
flourish. It has made it easier for middlemen to reach consumers and
made it remarkably easy and inexpensive for these middlemen to create
companies to do just that.

While there has been a lot of talk about how the technology industry
does not create jobs on the scale of traditional manufacturing — a
shrunken GM still employs more people than a thriving Google — the
Internet has made it a lot easier to create a broad array of new small
businesses.
intermediaries  San_Francisco  disintermediation  5BO  delivery  food_trucks  middlemen  small_business  travel_agents  new_businesses  inexpensive 
september 2011 by jerryking
Google’s hotel pages make SEO pointless and futile- here’s why
Google, who just last month informed attendees of Web In Travel Singapore that they were not involved in travel, (Regardless of its attempt to buy ITA) have significantly developed their hotel metasearch product. Google’s hotel pages have become so advanced that I think it’s time for a Project Wander audit- it’s only fair, right?

*Hotel chosen at random

Above the fold we have a strong booking call to action, rates and date entry. Lower down are guest reviews that look to be scraped from partner OTA sites. With the inclusion of the map, Google have positioned everything that could influence the decision to purchase at the top of the page.

*Note the position of Best Westerns direct page in the rates section and lack of displayed room cost.

Partially down the page is what looks like organic results, but is actually third party photos and reviews.

More reviews, this time from Google users and related hotels. These hotels are implied to be related by distance, but the term “Related” does seem to elude to another factor.

And all the way at the very bottom of the page, 5 totally useless organic results. Useless because they come AFTER as much information as Google could possibly give about the hotel, and then some.

So if you hadn’t made up your mind to purchase this hotel or not by the location on the map, price in the dropdown box, room/hotel facilites, review snippits, photos, third party reviews, Google reviews and were not distracted by the related hotels then you might have the chance to actually see the five search results (One of which is for the hotels website, also featured in the rates section).

Google have made it incredibly hard for anyone who do not have a physical property or happen to own a major OTA to squeeze any business out of their hotel pages. This is totally Google’s choice, it is their product after all, but is it the best deal for the user? More importantly (and scarier) will there come a time that these hotel pages migrate off the maps section and in to the main search results area? Personally, I think it’s inevitable.
Australia  By_Language  By_Region  English  Industry  Marketing_Secrets  Technology  Tourism_Marketing  Travel_2.0  Travel_Agents  Travel_Research  from google
november 2010 by svensonsan

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