Earlier this week I made a purchase which made me feel I had at last caught up with the digital world. I purchased a new BluuRay / DVD player which has Wifi enabled. The box containing the player told me I could be on line watching the BBC iPlayer or You Tube or NetFlix within seconds. I remained sceptical, imagining various things going wrong not least not owning some type of cable to connect the various pieces of hardware.
However, upon arriving home I installed the player and I was indeed on line within seconds. At this point it’s worth stating that I am not a subscriber to any Pay TV, I only use Freeview. Historically I’d view missed programs on a laptop and if we wanted to watch a box set we’d have to purchase one.
The player feels like a game changer. My TV is now on line. I can access the iPlayer, You Tube, NetFlix and browse the web, access my email, skype the list goes on. I can do all of this from my lounge and TV.
Of course, it was possible to access all sites before but from my desk top / laptop which, for the most part, are devices for solitary use. The main advantage to having my TV on line is that I get all the more enjoyment from iPlayer and other program / video sources. There are two reasons for this:
- Its on a big screen, no more 13” or 15” laptop screens and
- I can watch with my wife or friends or , for those with children, the entire family can watch
These are two major improvements. I began to think what might the implications be for the Travel industry.
Over the past 20 years shopping for travel has moved from the high street to on line. I am of course generalising as some high street agents have flourished but it is true that many agents have closed (most recently Thomas Cook shutting many stores all over the UK).
On-line itself is a very broad statement these days for there are many channels and devices enabling anyone to get on line.
With reference to the travel industry, between 2000 and 2010 one could quite reasonably assume that the term ‘going on line’ really meant a travel business gaining customer through Google Ad words and running Pay Per Click campaigns. Some companies became very successful within this complex channel.
Post 2010 and the term ‘social’ is became more and more common. ‘Social’ really means channels which generate digital socialising (or conversations) between friends or strangers. We’re all now very familiar with Facebook and Twitter, MySpace is making a resurgence and there are a myriad of much smaller social sites.
The difficulty for a business is the very fact these are social channels, not sales channels. Trying to explicitly sell on these channels is the equivalent of someone in the pub trying to sell you DVD’s.
More often than not, you’re going to entertain the seller, in fact, you’re a bit annoyed they’ve interrupted you in the first place. Imagine that scenario but now with the seller plastered with a brand. The business would do well to find a better way to damage their brand. This method of selling can only ever prove successful if:
- You’re approaching advocates of your business who love you
- The offer is genuine – a great deal
- The timing is right
So, it’s almost impossible.
I digress. Other social channels incude video and image such as You Tube and Tumblr or Instagram. I want to focus on You Tube (YT).
For most travel businesses You Tube is a secondary or tertiary thought. It’s certainly not a sales channel and thus very difficult to attribute any ROI. Most people only view YT on their laptop or tablet. As I earlier mentioned this is more of a solitary experience than not.
Yet I find it interesting that such a channel is over looked because a great proportion of Travel is seeing something new, having a new experience. The job of anyone in the travel industry is to give people great memories and experiences. Being able to show customer what they could be doing is a magnificent opportunity. Should businesses be investing more in TV and video?
Taking this a step further, if its becoming easier for customers or potential customers to move on line and therefore ‘shop’ and ‘browse’ on line then maybe customers will begin to shop together, from their lounge, using the TV as a device to go on line. Maybe You Tube will be seen as just another channel albeit, an interactive channel.
Hotels, bloggers, tourist boards, travel businesses and more are all able to now broadcast to potential huge audiences with almost no entry costs (compared to traditional TV advertising). The audiences are potentially going to be larger than ever as families use TV’s to go on line.
Maybe we’re due for another travel channel. Every travel business could a media mogul. A small media mogul.