Archive for November, 2009

Innovative tourism communication? Viral marketing and Karen from Denmark

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

On Thursday September 10th a video was posted on www.youtube.com. In the video, a pretty blonde woman named Karen is searching for the father to her baby August sitting on her arm. In the 2 minute long video Karen recalls an evening in Copenhagen where she met Augusts father and decided to show him what the concept of hygge (similar to cozy) is all about. Nine months later August was born, but Karen has no recollection of the father’s name and nationality let alone place of residence. This is how she explains her somewhat unusual enquiry on YouTube.

Within a few days, the video was circulated in 153 countries. By September 13th it had been seen by 773.00 people on YouTube and had received 1.9 million hits on Google. 83.000 websites had a link to the story. The controversial spot was reported in Danish national TV and discussed in the press and on news internet sites (source, Politiken 13/9 2009).

A day later, it was announced that the video poster was in fact a hoax, a viral marketing stunt planted on Youtube by VisitDenmark, Denmark’s national tourism organization. This generated a maelstrom of mainly negative comments from politicians, gender researchers, conservative American news hosts and common citizens. As a consequence of the public stir, VisitDenmark decided to remove the video from YouTube. By then, a good many videos flourished on the internet ingeniously referring to the ‘Karen’s baby’ video. On September 25th Dorte Kiilerich gave notice as CEO of VisitDenmark, probably as a consequence of the massive critique of the video.

Question is how we should evaluate this communication attempt and the chain of events that followed. Is the Karen video a classic communication flop ultimately demanding that the CEO of VisitDenmark resigned? Is it a case of ‘all news is good news’? Or may it perhaps be seen as an attempt to  innovate usually highly traditional channels and messages of destination marketing which successfully succeeded in breaking the global stream of information such as it was mentioned on the English BBC News, in Dutch national TV, in the New York Times and in on the Lonely Planet homepage?

No finite answer may be given to how this video and the decisions that preceded its uploading to Youtube are to be interpreted. However, the case addresses the difficulty of implementing innovative communication strategies and displays that communication in tourism is a highly complex and uncontrollable process. A crucial issue is that the messenger – VisitDenmark – was not provided in the Video, a highly questionable decision. Lastly, the case highlights how cultural and moral values are important parts in the process of communication in tourism and should be carefully be considered when setting free a tourism message on the social media sites of the world wide web.

The Spirit to Serve – The Case of Marriott Hotels

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

The Marriott International works together with non-profit organizations such as Red Cross and Children’s Miracle Network. They want to give something back to the communities where they do business. Part of Marriott’s philosophy is also to encourage employees, visitors and business partners to involve themselves in making a differences for the local communities. To raise money, they have chosen to involve all parties in the planning of different events that benefit all kinds of non-profit organizations in the local communities. However, it is not only financial support, but a contribution of time and love and. See other ways to help
here,

Marriott International believes that there are 3 reasons for practising Corporate Social Responsibility:

  • Good for business. Positive public image, improve customer loyalty, nurture the relations with the local community.
  • Make a positive difference. Emotional benefits of volunteer work, and visible changes in the local community.
  • Associate recognition. Encourage employees to engage, by giving incentives.

For further information, watch the following video:

We try harder – We drive greener

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Avis try harder
Avis Europe is one of the leading car rental companies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

In 2002, Avis Europe launched a programme in order to reduce its carbon dioxide release. As one of the first industries, the company established a partnership with Future Forests, which plants trees for the company to help prevent climate change.

The partnership include a three-point green plan which consists of:

  • a carbon neutral initiative to offset their Co2 emmisions through Future Forests´ tree planting programmes
  • the worlds first carbon neutral car rentals for online customers
  • a target to reduce their operational CO2 emissions from 2003

Lesley Colyer, Group Personnel and Corporate Affairs Director states:
‘Avis is the world’s first car rental company to take such a leadership position on carbon responsibility, and it’s generated valuable interest amongst customers, shareholders, the media and staff. The programme gives us local PR opportunities and is a foundation stone for our approach to CSR’

For further information please see links below:

Avis Europe

CNBC news story about Avis

Avis try harder website

Scandinavian Airlines – Flying Green

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Scandinavian Airlines are a company with a strong sense of corporate responsibility as the following quotations from their website show. (retrieved on 17.11.09 from www.sasgroup.net)

“The SAS Group’s social and societal responsibilities include employees and the Group’s impact on the surroundings and communities where it operates”

“SAS is a member of UN Global Compact, in short their philosophy is to defend and promote human rights and to combate corruption discrimmination and all forms of forced labor ” (www.sasgroup.net, 17.11.09)

For SAS Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also a matter of protecting the environment. SAS´ goal is to be the green-market leaders. In 2005, they were the first to introduce Green Seats. Moreover, they have a clearly defined environmental vision. This may be achieved by a series of innitatives that are described in the following document SAS_Environment_folder.pdf.

More about on SAS’ environmental vision can be gleaned from the following video:

For further readings on Global Compact visit this site: www.unglobalcompact.org

Redevelopment of obsolete infrastructure – a tropical aquapark in a former gigantic hangar

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Originally the gigantic hangar was build as a garage for a huge airship that was meant to transport unwieldy articles that otherwise had to be transported on a float of trucks. But the project was never realized. The enormous hangar was built, but the airship was never built and the company behind the project went bankrupt.

What are you supposed to do with such an enormous hangar? How is it possible to make use of an enormous hangar in the middle of nowhere? A Malaysian entrepreneur and businessman created and launched the idea to convert the hangar, at the closed down Russian airbase, into the world’s biggest tropical aquapark: Tropical Island.

The aquapark opened to the public in December 2004 and in 2006 more attractions were added for children and families and in 2007 a second phase of expansion was completed with a unique spa and sauna complex.

Tropical Islands is more enormous than one can imagine. With 66.000 m2 the hangar is one of Germany’s largest buildings. The aquapark is 360 meters long, 210 meters wide and 107 meters high and has a capacity of around 6.000 people. The aquapark offers a huge water park with a beach with chalky white sand and beach chairs seated close to the waving ocean, waterfalls and huge water roller coasters and an amusement area with e.g. miniature golf, a rainforest with tropical plants and a tropical village with themes from Thailand, Borneo, Bali and Samoa and more than 11 restaurants and bars.

An aquapark has proven to be a crucial exploitation of the former hangar. Tropical Island is not only a massive tourist attraction; the aquapark also creates employment in the part of the fed

eral state where the level of unemployment unofficially is around 40%. Furthermore, 2.000 holiday houses close to the aquapark are under construction and the first holiday houses are planned to be let out in the beginning of 2010. So not only does the aquapark create employment the project also provide massive opportunities for development of the huge areas surrounding the building.

See more information about Tropical Island at the following website: http://www.tropical-islands.de/

Spanish travel company utilizes popular bloggers; rewards with free trips

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

YokmoK, a Spanish travel company, has found a way to make use of the free spaces on their trips and get advertisement for their services in return.

YokmoK with homebase in Madrid, Spain, specializes in guided adventure travels in small groups with emphasis on originality and quality.

As any other travel company they cannot have all of their trips fully booked and therefore they have found a way to fill out the empty spaces by inviting popular bloggers on a free trip. It can be “snowshoeing in the Swedish Lapland, hiking in the French Alps or trekking in the Sahara desert”.

The only thing they require of the bloggers are that they have to have a popular blog relating to travel, adventure, adrenaline sports or similar with minimum 10.000 incoming links and with quality content and regularly updates. And of course they have to share their experiences on their blog before, during and after the trip.

YokmoK  YokmoK1

By realizing the power of bloggers YokmoK fill out their empty seats with possible ambassadors of their company. It is certainly a smart way to include people already passionate about travelling and to offer them an experience and an outlet to share their passion.

Visit YokmoKs hompage for more information

Read more about the concept here .