May 27, 2014

Web 3.0 is already here!!!

The other day, I shared this post with my fellow Touristologists:
Why did I Touristologistly say yes???
Because when I read “Businesses can learn what customers like (… they can see what their customers are doing inside the apps they create) and based on that information, they can supply customized offers that are meaningful to a particular customer instead of spraying customers with spam offers that will have little meaning and will likely be ignored.” I thought to myself… this shows a future that is already a present!!!

A few days after this tweet I had to write another one... Microsoft bought Capptain, another company playing the real-time web game. Curious about Capptain? Let’s see a video…

Those examples are so Web 3.0 that I can’t stand it!
Web 3.0? As you know, I believe that there is only one web. All the functionalities that we package as web 2.0 (Ubiquitous of internet, YOU as the start and syndication) or web 3.0 (Integration and Synchronization) were possible to do/enjoy from the beginning of WWW. So, Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0… (you name it!) are not an evolution of the web BUT an evolution of our use and understanding of it!
Anyway, we can say that the most important features of web 3.0 are Integration and Synchronization…
When I said Integration I mean, integration of all the members of the chain of value and all departments inside these members.
With Synchronization I mean … “No matter which member of the chain of value the tourist talks with before, all the members of the chain of value will know about that conversation and deals (of course, in a customized way and  with total privacy for the customer), making easier service customization, service recovery, happier customers and prosperous business”
In a nutshell… INTEGRATION + SYNCHRONIZATION = Real-Time web!
You can read about Real-Time web from a Touristologist point of view here and here. It is, so easy for a Touristologist to give examples of its utilization in Real-Tourism scenarios, that when I ask my attendees to do so in a class, in-company training or start-up business model redefinition I have to stop them… they create examples faster that I can breathe!!!!
Ready for the first? The customer is looking for a hotel; we know, thanks to the CRM (Customer Relationship Management), that their favorite up-selling feature is the room with the best available view and a late check-out. We also know that He/She is a big fan of… this writer-singer-actress-sportsmen… you name it! That happens to make a public appearance near our hotel. This information appears right away in the mobile application. Spam? No way… Useful information! Great personalization… Good for the customer and good for the business. A win-win solution!
What about a second example? Every year, a bunch of Touristologists is travelling the world both for fun and for international experience. Some of them like to combine both experiences, they travel and when they run out of money OR when they find a nice/prosperous/interesting job they take it, and then they resume the trip. I have to confess… I love this Touristologists!!! When they return they are better professionals and better human beings… Not a surprise, at all, to me…this is the kind of improvement that Tourism provides! 
What if…. when using a mobile app (or native app, you know the difference, right?) looking to book a room, they get a proposal for a job interview in a nearby hotel? Do you think it will be interesting for them? Do you think it can be interesting for any human resource department? Welcome to Web 3.0’s job /talent hunting!!!
Will it be, so difficult to add a little bit of gamification to the process explained above? Of course, not!!!
To finish…Do you want to know another reason why I wrote this tweet? Because, nowadays most of the companies are built with silos / modules, (both departments, and software) that don’t talk to each other, so, as the article say, there are two kind of companies able to afford this kind of integration; big companies with big budgets OR new start ups built up from scratch with its own technology (we can see this interesting video about how uber was able to do that) YES! but only if they have human beings mastering both the business model and the technological scheme. 
Do you know somebody with these characteristics my fellow Touristologists? Put yourself in front of a mirror! Are you willing to do what it takes? If the answer is… YES….
I will be here spreading the news, selling you as the best professionals on earth and developing with you our own pirate ship to seal Touristology’s seas!!!

May 20, 2014

Don’t use hammers for specialized tourism!!!! Neither for the Technological Scheme… PART 2

Life and Entrepreneurship 5

The other day we talked about this Maslow’s idea “If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail!”
As usual, I try to explore any idea applied to Touristology with two hands, one related to the Business Model, the other with the Technological Scheme.  In the post from the other day, we had this timeless scenario… We have the opportunity to create from scratch a tourism enterprise focused on specialized tourism. We know that the most critical action is to select the right team.
We talked about the Business Model hand and some mistakes that I swear to never repeat again.
Let’s go now to explore the possible implications of this great sentence from Maslow in the Technological scheme hand. Shall, We?
Can something similar happen? Or it is assumed that experts in computers, programming, systems administration… have all the same set of abilities and attitudes? Of course not! If you want to create something new, you will need a team of developers able to create the best tool suited for the job!!! If you are not aware you can end up with people to whom….everything looks like a nail.
When you are looking for this developer /programmer, be sure that you are able to distinguish them from a system administrator OR the  I-want-to-be-the-project-Manager- because- my- times- of- coding- were- away- long- time- ago OR the To-Make?-Never!-Always-better-to-buy.
I will share with you some red flags that help me to detect these characters. Remember, you want to create the new, new thing, you need a creator an artist, neither someone able to fix the pipes, nor someone able to ask others what you already know how to ask… You would need someone able to make things running through these pipes!
Red Flag number 1:  Good programmers always carry their computer with them. He/She is an artist which uses programs to express themselves. So, their motto is “NOT without my computer!!!” Some of them just carry a tablet, but only because they have everything they need in the cloud (Do you know about codenvy?). My computer is not a tool I use in my profession…  It is the medium through I express my art!

Red Flag number 2: Good programmers create an environment to develop and stick with it until they don’t have other options and have to upgrade or change it. They don’t like to install, repair… they want to create something!!! Are they good at maintenance? Usually they are, but only for survival Instinct! It is not their goal! If you talk with them and they are talking a lot about how they install the last version and always use the latest one… just remember, there is a great chance that in the middle of the process He/She will ask for upgrades without a good reason… the reason is that She/He gets bored of programming and finds more fun in upgrading or trying the new cloud service (GAE, OpenShift, AWS… you name it!)
Red Flag number 3:  They want you to use the best PMS (Property Management System), Channel Manager, CRM… The best? The one that they already know how to use, of course!
Maslow helps me!!!! As they only know a hammer   (this PMS / CRM/Channel Manager…) all the business model and technological schemes seems a nail (generic tourism selling the usual thing!!!!).
Don’t get me wrong, I love system administrators, project managers and technological architects and they are very valuable to any enterprise and project BUT if you want to create the new, new thing… you need a creator, and artist… a programmer!
Good luck in your search Touristologists!!! Sometimes it seems impossible but in the end passion and perseverance always win…
I have a confession to make. I ALREADY FOUND THEM!
They were always close to me, but I was unable to see them! Now, it is official I will become a Web-Engineers builder too!!!

May 13, 2014

Don’t use hammers for specialized tourism!!!! Nor for the Business Model… PART 1

Life and Entrepreneurship 4
Sometimes, I have the opportunity to begin a company from scratch, either by myself or for somebody that hire me as a consultant. It’s always a great adventure… BUT with all blessings came greater responsibilities and possibilities of pitfalls… one of the biggest threats it is related to setting up the right team for the endeavor that we have ahead. Here is what I have learnt after a few scars in my professional life!
“If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail!” It’s a famous sentence from, arguably, the father of modern psychology, Abraham Maslow. As you know, He was the first psychologist bold enough to say… Psychology is both for making ill people normal AND normal people extraordinary. No wonder Chip Conley build up his success in JDV hotels based on Maslow. He even wrote a book about how to apply Maslow’s ideas in modern organizations.
This metaphor of the hammer (I love metaphors, remember?) Reminds me some of my older mistakes trying to create an enterprise for specialized tourism and hiring people trained only in generic tourism… To them….everything looks like a nail!
What on earth do you mean with everything looks like a nail, Jordi???
Take it easy Touristologists, I will try to explain in this post what I mean related to the Business Model and in the following one what I mean related to the technological scheme. Always two hands, remember???
When you are looking for a team to create a specialized tourism enterprise, take into consideration that they have to detect several specialized segments, then create new product and the consequent servuction in order to satisfy the specific necessities of each segment, then  they have to use /build/manage the chain of value members. 
Don’t make the mistake of hiring somebody that only knows how to use a hammer…
You would say… let’s find new segments in different countries of origin, let’s personalized our service and find complementary services to offer to them. Then find meeting places or better still, create your own or integrate the meeting place into your project (as Chip Conley did when He created a hotel for musicians and involved  the Rollling Stone magazine as investors!!!. You can read more about that, here…), then find specialized outgoing travel agencies (as did when they want to attract people focus on skiing, more about that here) , then let’s define the servuction process from the beginning to the end of the trip…
You need a Touristologists to do all that, otherwise… they will use their hammer…
BAM!!! There are only two segments Jordi… Business and Leisure! BAM!!!
BAM!!! Specialized service? Of course, Jordi… Good mattress, good food and beverage and a nice meeting place! BAM!!!
BAM!!! Do I take care of my distribution channels? Of course, Jordi… the biggest Touroperator, the powerful OTA , the biggest Search Engine  and the most famous social networking site… BAM!!!
What is the biggest difference between a Touristologists and someone else? Well, this is an easy one… Touristologists are able to develop great careers both in generic and specialized tourism… the rest well… I think that they don’t even see any difference… a tourist is a tourist right?

May 6, 2014

Forget about Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation, Touristologists!

I go to a seminar, an in-company training or start-up meeting in order to define (or redefine!) their (OUR???) business model. I introduce to them the usual generic versus specialized tourism scenarios...

You can follow Gauss’ bell and choose the segments with more potential customers (Leisure and Business), but remember this segments are strongly focused on low price, so the one who achieve economy of scale will win...
Or you can follow Long tail theory and focus on small segments with specific necessities, then customize your service and build/create and manage their chain of value…
This approach can be profitable but, there are two important things to remember however!
1) The world is the market! So, even though you have a small number of potential customers of this segment near to you (your hotel, restaurant, tourism destination…) you can get a fair number if you think about a global market (50 from Holland, 150 from USA, 100 from Korea…). Apart from that, if you are able to attract international tourism… then your place will be the place to go to get international contacts, different perspectives…. Good location? We decide what a good location is, remember?
2) You have to build up the chain of value.
This chain of value  begins with meeting places. I mean, specialized Social Networking Sites, Magazines, TV programs, Clubs, Universities …
Do you remember all the study cases that I explain to you about using RFID, a community and a mobile app to attract people who love skiing OR the successful story of Wyndham with Business Women, OR  Chip Conley and JDVhotels with a hotel for musicians…?
But Jordi - Asks the usual attendant who feels something like “ I see that this is important to you BUT, I don’t see why it is important to me!”- I was thinking about segments that don’t have this kind of meeting places. I want to create a boutique hotel life-style orientated!
I see -I reply feeling Touristology’s voice talking through myself…. This is an example of Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation… you describe segments that are the fruit of a laboratory experiment….
Let me guess, are you thinking about…
Millennials OR Hipsters OR DINKY (Dual Income, No Kids Yet) OR BOBOS (“bourgeois bohemians”) OR…
They are all, good examples of Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation. Segments created in a laboratory. Segments without life, unable to develop, to growth, to mix together… They are segments if we are thinking as a Sociologist does BUT, we are Touristologists. We need people that will love to meet each other in order to create groups, we need people who meet in specialized places (Social Networking Sites, Magazines, TV programs, Clubs, Universities…) We need people that define themselves as…, feel proud of being a…, and like to find others like them…In this way, we can transform a Hotel a Restaurant a Tourism destination into a magnet for this community! No community… no profitable specialized tourism, Touristologists!
Do you, seriously, think that Millennials, Hipsters , DINKY, BOBOS, … you name it! Identified themselves as… are proud of go to a place that treat them as…Do you think that they can be users of MeetUp, that they will create a group using this group creator website? What? You don’t know about MeetUp… time to solve this…

I don’t say that you can’t study reality/societies with this Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation BUT we are NOT Sociologists! We are Touristologists! Our aim is to transform any Hotel, Restaurant or Tourism destination into a magnet. To achieve this we need to create and manage a chain of value which begins with MEETING PLACES. No specialized meeting places… no specialized segment.
We can describe them as a segment BUT if they don’t describe themselves, if they don’t share interests, if they don’t want to be together… then it won’t work!
My advice? Forget about Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation! Focus on real specialized tourism, the ones with a Chain of Value! Do you remember the examples that we studied here related to architects, or this other one related to Game Developers?
Make up your mind Touristologist! You can mix the two approaches, both generic and specialized BUT, remember if , at the end of the day, price is the most important driver… then is not specialized! If you want to, at least partially, focus on specialized tourism, then be sure to forget about Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation and find real examples of specialized tourism, then if you want to share them with your fellow Touristologists, it will be my honor and privilege to use this OUR blog, to share OUR examples of Touristology’s segmentation!!!