Apr 27, 2013

Responsive Web… Servuction (part 2)!

A post ago, I talked about Responsive web design and I, Touristologistly, declared that to be responsive with the design is OK BUT, we also have to do the same with the Servuction process. My Touristologists agree, they said “Right Jordi! Exactly what is Responsive Web Servuction? Can you provide one of your marvelous summaries (Well they didn’t said marvelous but I’m sure that they were thinking about a similar word!!!) In a nutshell, Responsive Web Servuction means to adapt our enterprises /tourist destinations to the web 3.0 we have to be able to provide the 3 C’s (Content, Commerce and Community) in the three ways that we talked about in web 2.0 business model.
A) Customized: We don’t want all the information or commerce. We want the information that matters to US right here, right now (Does Location Base Services ring a bell?). We don’t want to share experiences with everybody. We want to share with people who we trust. We want to learn from people with more experience, we want to get advice from people with similar taste/knowledge/background… or a complementary one. 
B) Syndicated: We are talking about the cloud, right? So, we don’t want to go to a specific website. We want to go to the cloud and get, send and manage everything related to the trip. You can check out the examples of Superfly here or WorldMate here 
C) And yes! We want to be a part of the process and embrace the pro-am movement. We want to show off that we are experts as well! We want to create, communicate and commercialize our own services (Does gidsy ring a bell?). We want to participate in the servuction process! (Luckily, we are Touristologists and the fact that the customers want/have to participate in the Servuction process is not a problem… At all!!!).
Yes! We want to provide the 3C’s and in these three ways… In all the phases of the trip (before, during and after). Of course, that means that it doesn’t matter what device the tourists is using at any moment! 
So remember, Touristologists! 
Mobile adaptation? YES! But also adaptation to ANY device with synchronization and integration as we described here!
Responsive Web Design? Of course! But at the service of Responsive Web Servuction! It isn’t about the house /hotel/tourist destination. It is all about the experience we are able to provide! So, it isn’t about the content that we present inside a container customized for any device. It is all about the Servuction that any physical support can help us to deliver at any stage/phase of the trip! Take this mobile app for instance… blinkbooking  
Without mobile devices internet connected, without Location Base Services, without the right Web 2.0 business model… this kind of service wouldn’t make sense. Yes, design is important but the key is the Servuction process! 
I’m lucky enough to work in Tourism. Lucky enough to teach and be a mentor for the future of our sector. Lucky enough to be mentored-back by experts in Tourism and Web-Engineering. I used to say “There have been a lot of mistakes in our sector because experts in technology don’t know about tourism and the other way around”. Nowadays, this is less and less true! Consilience’s ideas are part of the new Zeitgeist. 
A brilliant future is ahead of Touristology and Touristologists! Let’s enjoy the moment! Let’s be a part of it! Let’s try to lead it! If not you, who? If not now, when?

Apr 23, 2013

Responsive Web… Servuction (part 1)!

I read, watched and listened to a lot of articles, books, blogs, websites, virtual communities… about the importance of responsive web design…

It seems important! At the end of the day, responding to changes in your user’s environment seems very Touristologisty to me!

Responsive web design is the brainchild of Ethan Marcotte. In a nutshell, we have to give answers to the following questions:

1) Which device is using any “Homus Organizativus” member of our chain of value?

Modern CSS give us “@media” to get an answer to this question. Then you can have a common design and complement it with specific designs for different devices (Desktop PC, tablet, smartphone, interactive television… you name it!)

2) Which is the best container (wrapper) for the content we want to deliver in this specific device?

Here, the answer is a flexible grid layout. That means using percentages instead of absolute numbers and a different combination of containers. Take this blog (the blog of the ones who fell in love with Touristology!) for instance.

As you can see, the big picture at the top disappears, you get a summary of two or three posts… it is like a lego construction where you reorganize the containers as you wish!

If you don’t have a mobile and want to give it a try, you can go to… There you can experiment with different models of mobiles.

3) Which content is better to display and in which way?

Is this big picture necessary? And this text?  And…? Which is the appropriate size? We have to remember that connection speed is, usually, an issue for mobile users. So, you have to choose, wisely, what to show and in which size (again percentages can be a good solution)

How to know if the weight is a problem? We can use and get something similar to this:

You will get enough information for free to assess a solution: Average Load Time; Average Page Size. If you (like me) are the kind of person that thinks that going deeper is the way to go… you can view the HAR file for more information!

To me, one of the examples that best exemplifies Responsive Web Design is the transformation of a navigation bar from “text to click” to “pictures to press with your fingers”. See this picture from 
I’m reading, watching, listening to a lot of information about the design, a lot about the devices, a lot about languages programs, a lot about how the cloud will change everything (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and… I strongly agree (more information here) BUT when will we begin to talk about the servuction inside this technology? Technology is like pipes… We need water! Technology is like veins… We need blood! 

When will we begin to see applications dealing with responsive web, NOT ONLY adapting to the design but also to the servuction process?
Jordi, exactly, what do you mean with Responsive Web Servuction? Ummm you will have to wait until the next post, Touristologists!!! Meanwhile… What do you think I mean?

Apr 15, 2013

Managing Virtual Communities for Touristologists (Going deeper with The Strategic Triangle Part 2)

As I always say paraphrasing Alan Kay: People (Travel companies) who are really serious about social media should make their own communities.  You can read about the advantages that this action can mean here.
One thing is to create a virtual community; another very different thing is to manage it… successfully! Let’s see some advice from Touristology…
As you know the Strategic Triangle is one of the bedrocks of Touristology. We reviewed the first and the second rule in order to learn how to increase the relationship between your customer and your enterprise here. In the third rule, we have the idea of creating a sense of membership.
Once you have your community you can combine it with your loyalty or reward program the “ins and outs” of which we explained here.
So, Jordi! Do you really think that communities are important in Tourism? Of course! Individual tourism is OK but in order to make a profit you need to deal with groups. Even better, if you are able to generate synergies between them.  For that reason, the matrix of segmentation explained here (fans, pro-am, a professional) is a must for specialized tourism!
It is definitely worth it! If your customers have a feeling of belonging you are using Maslow’s pyramid principles. It will be more difficult for them to choose your competitors over you.  Leaving you, also means leaving the community they love! Tele-evangelists are masters in this kind of community creation. Learn from them!!!!
There are, at least, three effective ways to create a sense of community. Let’s study the first… 
1) Promote, invigorate contacts between your customers. 
A) Make it clear that this is good for them. They can group together and get a discount OR gather enough critical mass to ask for a customization of the service. For instance, a special singer for a dinner….  
B) Organize contests about them, where their pictures, their comments…will appear. They will love to share them in SnS (Social Networking Sites)!!! Here we explained the successful idea of liftopia using a facebook app which allows its users to show off about all the ski-resorts they have gone skiing at!
C) Practice Edu-Commerce (Educational principles for improving your business). Empower your customers with knowledge, tools and authority. Usually they know more about your products and services than you! Then, let your customer show off her/his knowledge!
Select carefully the people, the message and the environment where you communicate. The best way to do that is to review the book “The tipping Point” By Malcolm Gladwell
Learn how to combine the work of professionals and amateurs or Pro-Ams as Charles Leadbeater describes in his essential book “We-Think”.
In this way, inside your community you will offer recommendations from the triumvirate: Experts (because they get votes from the community), My friends (because I choose them), People like me (because they share the same taste).
The second effective way to create a sense of community is…
2) This is not a company… It is a family! 
Show your workers welcoming your customers. A case in point is the Hotel Rival created by the former singer of ABBA Benny Andersson. By the way, also the creator of the song! A good attempt to become a super2 if you know what I mean... 
Last but not least, we have the third effective way to create a sense of community
3)  We are the chosen ones. The others are out of the paradise!
Learn about the experts in this task:  Apple, Harley Davidson…
Or you can go to this post where we talked about JDVhotels.com and its brilliant idea of designing hotels based on a magazine (one of the best ways to deal with a specific life-style). For instance, “Rolling Stones” magazine, if you are or pretend or would like to be a musician. This is a hotel for Musicians. Come here, it is like identity refreshment!
In all these cases, a well managed community can be an effective way to increase the relationships between you and your segment, achieving customers which will return often, buy higher margin services and promote your hotel or tourist destination. 
Of course, this is not an easy task! It is necessary to stress the word managed! Who believes that communities will grow alone? They are like a garden you have to seed, you have to cultivate, you have to pull weeds, empower leaders inside the community, design and implement the right technology…
For that reason you will need... That's right! A good Touristologists!!!

Apr 9, 2013

From shut up we don’t want to code to please can you teach us!

I remember when, a long time ago, I began to mix Touristology with Web-engineering. It was 1996, I was taking the courses for my Phd and everybody was talking about the Internet, it was the flavor of the month! Very soon I realized that in order to be successful you have to develop two mindsets, the business model internet orientated and the technological schemes. I read like crazy “Business2.0” to learn the first and Deitel books series about “how to program..” to get the second.

I had a strong desire to share this knowledge with my Touristologists, BUT… Well, they strongly disagree! Why do we have to learn programming? This is a Tourism grade NOT an engineering one. Because - I always try to explain- information and tourism are strongly related and I know that there are a lot failures in our field caused by engineer’s lack of knowledge of Touristology and the other way around.

Even though you don’t want to program all the code needed, you have to learn enough to be able to create a team, to be the leader in the implementation of the business model. You only can do that if you know both the technological scheme and the business model. Does this picture by Escher ring a bell?????

Then you can decide to be a leader of coders from here (select your country, Touristologist!) or choose to be a leader of an offshore team. At the end of the day, we are Touristologists. To us getting international contacts and doing business around the world is the natural thing! Let’s put our Touristology knowledge to work in order to get good code and implement our business model!

I repeat over and over these ideas in my classes, in seminars, in meetings with my Touristologists where we dream about creating a startup and change/improve the tourism sector. Anyway, it was always difficult to seed my desire in the minds of my Touristologists!

Not any more, Touristologists! Nowadays I get e-mails, facebook messages, tweets from My Touristologists asking me “Jordi, do you know of any websites, books, articles that make it  easy to learn how to program” Well, there isn’t such a thing! Learning how to program is not easy BUT definitely worth it!

It’s difficult to learn the basics. Where to store data (in variables, in arrays, hash table… ), how to walk through these recipients using if-elses, whiles, for…, how to create functions in order not to repeat yourself, how to use classes and open the universe of OOP (Object Oriented Programming), how to get and put information in a text field, in a Relational Data base or in a NoSQL one, how to practice syndication getting and sending the 3C’s through internet using webservices or webscraping, how to create a good GUI (Graphical User Interface) in order to convince customers, collaborators and employees that this is a great application, how to adapt this GUI to a multiplatform world (PC, Laptops, tablets, smartphones, television screens, glasses…

Be aware, Touristologists, when you learn the basics you are in the beginning of your race (remember, learning how to program or doing a project is not a 100 m race it’s a marathon!) now you have to master your abilities with a good mentor and a lot of practice.

At the end of the day, programming is like any other science, take Touristology for instance! First you have to learn the basics, and then through good mentors and a lot of practice you will become a great Touristologist.

Remember, to mark down your prices with low demand, mark them up with strong demand, rely on big intermediaries as a big tour-operator, the new search engine, the new SnS or the new group buying and flash sales sites… THIS is not Touristology!!!  You have to learn the basics, 1,2,3 theory, strategic triangle, Bermuda triangle, Homus Organizativus….. and then make the definition of Touristology happen…

“Touristology is the art and science of travel motivation promising improvements in quality of life, international contacts and broader perspectives for the tourist AND a way to take care of culture and create richness and employment for the tourist destination.”

 So, now you want to learn both Touristology and Web-engineering? I will be here waiting for you ! I have ALMOST the same desire to share my knowledge as 21 years ago… it isn’t the same now…It’s MORE!!!

My desire to teach is multiplied by 1000 when I smell your desire for learning!

 So, I’m ready! What about you?!?!

Apr 3, 2013

First listen, then Customize! (Going deeper with The Strategic Triangle Part 1)

As you know, one of the fundamental tools that define us as Touristologists is The Strategic Triangle. You have to remember that it is one of the main components in Touristology’sframework.

We saw the strategic triangle and went over  a study case involving Tune Hotels and Sidorme here
Usually, my Touristologists get along very well with how to decrease the relationship and how to differentiate from your competitors. Some problems appear dealing with how to increase the relationship between your customers and your company. Problems? No way! Just an opportunity to practice the old art and science of Touristology! So, let’s go deeper with the Strategic Triangle!
The first two ideas are 1) Knowing your client and 2) Customizing your service. You have to give explicit examples about the procedure to get this information and then how to use it to customize the service. Can you provide an example, Jordi? Of course I can!
You can use SnS (Social Networking Sites) in order to listen to what is important to your customers, then learn how to transform this information into knowledge (Does big data ring a bell? It had better!), then use this knowledge to increase the relationship between you and your customers.
A case in point is KLM. As you can see in this video, KLM’s staff, first listen and then react providing a small surprise while you are boarding...

You can get more information here and here.
But I think that you get the idea, right? So, are you ready for the second example?

You record a lot of data through your CRM (Customer Relationships Management). Remember, CRM is a support for all the members of your company, allowing to provide a better service: Before, during and after the trip. In the process you learn the way customers prefer to communicate with you or other customers (SMS, Face to face, e-mail…) what kind of up-selling or cross-selling are successful to them… all this information opens the door to new offers, communicated in  customized and less intrusive ways.

Remember, it isn’t about how much information you gather it is all about HOW YOU USE IT!

What about a third example?

You also record a lot of information through your loyalty (LP)or reward program. I know, recording this information and using it is not the main goal of an LP, BUT a loyalty program is a means NOT an end.

We saw an explanation and a visual representation of a LP here:
So, if you know what kind of prizes your customer always chooses…Is it so difficult to use this information to add a little bit of opacity in your pricing strategy?
You know what I mean! $150 a room plus your favorite prize can be better than 120 without it!
In another post we will explain the rest of the tools useful to increase the relationship with your customers. Meanwhile… can you provide some examples? Come on Touristologists! We are the best minds working for the best sector ever! Time to prove it!