Friday 22 January 2010


The Medium and the Message

One has to marvel a bit at how on target Marshall McLuhan with his statement that "the medium is the meassge", meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message. This is so true when we look at how the message and the brand is effected in the Online Travel Agents (OTA) channel. A medium of significant importance in the tourism industry.

Here we look at how aspects of brand integrity are influenced by this medium.

The Medium – Choice of channel often reflects on the Brand.
It is not always good to be seen as Expedia or as Kayak etc. In many cases a different drum attracts travelers to the small hotels. Many travelers are looking for a personal touch.

The Message – The message is much more than content.
It is also about form, function and process. You choose to buy at store X for many reasons but if there are no price tags and you have to go to the counter to get a price, would you bother? Creating a message that is not fully integrated with the product is similarly dissonant. The shopping experience should be fully fluid.

Promise & Expectation – A Brand is a promise.
It can say we are a small family hotel, we are local, we are friendly, we are different, we care. What is the Brand of an OTA? Expedia mission statement says: “We are on a mission to be the largest and most profitable reseller of travel in the world”.

Differentiation & Personality - Differentiation and personality are conveyed by the suppliers’ website, by its individual tastes, its use of colour, its layout and its processes. The OTA does not create a brand personality for its suppliers. Properties are compared on features and price and location, but the brand is the OTA, the hotels is its product, and they all look the same.

Relationship – Travelers build a relationship with their suppliers.
If you have bought from an OTA and you got what you wanted, you will most likely go there again to check out other options (properties, products, destinations). Creating the OTA relationship diminishes the hotel brand and can result in loss of repeat business

Loyalty – OTAs are building its own loyalty program.
Much like the airlines. Small hotels can and should reward repeat clients and clients that refer others to them. Loyalty programmes work. The visitor’s loyalty should be to the hotel . AXSES has loyalty solutions for the hotel brand. Appropriate use of branding and loyalty programmes can significantly increase repeat business.

Ownership – With AXSES arcRes booking engine, and arcres powered marketing systems, the database belongs to the supplier.
This database is unique in that it captures leads as well as committed shoppers. arcRes database marketing allows hotels to market directly to their leads and their guests. OTAs have their own marketing tools, aimed at promoting its own Brand.

Sustainability – if you don’t own the brand and don’t have the relationship and loyalty, your business will not be sustainable.

related blog - building your tourism brands

For more information on how you can build and sustain your brand
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