I’m not an expert, but I play one at conferences.
Last week, I was invited to speak at a "Marketing Now" conference in San Francisco. The organizers presented WATG with a first-place Marketing Excellence Award for the design of our web site, and I was invited to speak on two panels on "new media."
Thanks to Dean Kawamura, WATG's marketing resources manager and webmaster, I was able to share some useful bits of information:
Web traffic – Of the 60,000 visitors to www.watg.com so far this year, half find us through search engines, a quarter from referring sites, and a quarter from direct traffic. Those who find us directly arrive through over a dozen variations of our name, including misspellings of Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo.
Search engine optimization – There has been a four million percent increase in web pages on Google in the last decade! 68% of searchers don't go past the first page of results. So, if you're not on page one, you're virtually invisible. The key to high rankings is regularly adding keyword-rich content.
Global differences – www.watg.com has had visitors from 171 countries and territories. While most spend an average of four minutes on the site – usually searching for information about our projects – those who linger the longest are from Azerbaijan and Lichtenstein (13 minutes), Bahamas (14 minutes) and the Seychelles (17 minutes). Those who view the greatest number of pages are from China and South Korea.
Twitter – According to fellow panelist Vik Duggal, "Twitter is word of mouth on steroids." Last year, Twitter was #475 on the list of referring sites to www.watg.com. This year, it has risen to #17. We are following over 1,700 clients and thought leaders, re-tweeting their tweets and sending them information of interest anytime we post something new to our web site.
Other topics of interest to attendees of this conference included e-newsletters (the best day and time to send them, apparently, is Friday morning); video on web sites (www.fliptv.com and www.vimeo.com); blogs, podcasts and a host of other new technologies.
What I learned is that there are very few "experts" in new media; there are simply those who are embracing it (and learning as they go) and those who are neither.
I recently stopped in Tokyo for a few days on my way home to Australia. The Japanese culture inspires me due to its eclectic blending of traditional eastern and contemporary western design, but made essentially Japanese through the newest ideas and perfection in technology.
Every visit to Japan for me involves excess and sensory overload intertwined gracefully with discipline, moderation and enthusiasm. Japan is a conglomeration of contradictions. The fast pace at which the city changes keeps it full of surprises and makes it one of my favorite places to visit. The Tokyo I captured this time only existed for a moment and I will never capture it the same again.
I first asked and answered the question in relation to incentive travel that might be perceived as frivolous – or worse – fun.
Now, we have the so-called swine flu to contend with – the H1N1 virus. It strikes me that the general public is handling this in a reasoned and reasonable way, unlike the media, who seem intent on alarming us. "Is it time to panic yet?" asked one news reporter last week. And government officials, in many cases, have been fueling the hysteria around the world.
"This is kind of the one-two-three-four-five punch," says Jan Freitag, a vice president at the hotel-tracking firm Smith Travel Research. "You have a global recession; business travel has been severely curtailed; leisure travel is curtailed because people are not sure they're going to have jobs; you have a lot of new hotel supply in the pipeline; and oops, now we have the European Union suggesting that travel to the United States is a mistake."
I am impressed that ordinary citizens seem to be going about their business. They are taking common-sense precautions, like frequent hand-washing, and staying home if they have flu-like symptoms. And, yes, they are continuing to travel.
Last week, I was on five airplane flights – all full – and people seemed to be taking all the hysteria in stride. I suspect there are three sorts of travelers: those who are immobilized and have decided to stay home; those who are cautiously proceeding with their travel plans; and those who see this as a terrific opportunity to snag great deals on hotels and flights. It seems hospitality investors can be grouped into three similar categories: those waiting on the sidelines; those embarking on well-thought-out capital expenditure programs; and those ready to snap up properties at bargain prices.
We're working with clients in the latter two categories, helping them evaluate the best opportunities for investment. Those looking to buy, renovate and/or develop seem to be heeding the advice of Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama's Chief of Staff, who recently said: "Never allow a crisis to go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things."
This Modern World
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