By Robbie Deng, International Consultant and Project Manager
While conducting research for our latest report into digital marketing for visitor attractions in the UK and Australia I had a particular focus and interest in what destinations are doing to target and improve their communication with overseas tourists, particularly the growing number of people visiting from East Asia.
A recent nation-wide survey of Internet usage in China by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) revealed that nearly 80 per cent of Chinese web users searched for travel information online in 2012. The really interesting statistic however was that 52.1% of users who made online bookings searched for information on food and nearby attractions.
Overall, the report revealed the potential for visitor attractions to engage Chinese visitors via mobile as China has over 400 million mobile Internet users. And this trend applied to tourists from other countries as well (See Overseas Visitors to Britain.
Go mobile responsive
In looking at around 200 attraction websites to inform our new report A DREAM day out – Digitally promoting and enhancing the attraction experience, we noted that there were few examples outside of the very big establishments that seemed to have an integrated mobile strategy. Furthermore, very few of even the larger attractions provided information in foreign languages, over and above maybe a PDF document, or single web page.
Certainly, a number of the internationally renowned British attractions, such as the British Museum, National History Museum and Edinburgh Castle have mobile websites in English, but rarely did they provide mobile responsive sites in other language options. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a responsively designed site that adapts to the access device being used by visitors. Interestingly, it welcomes its international visitors with multi-lingual sites, but its mobile site does not feature the language options available elsewhere.
Regional preferences of social media platforms
Although all of the above mentioned attractions have social media integration in place, they seemed to overlook the distinctive regional preferences of social media platforms especially for audiences based in East Asia. Yes, Facebook and Twitter do enjoy a large fan-base worldwide, but in China, Weibo (micro-blog) is one of the top social media channels; in South Korea, there is KakaoTalk; and Mixi still dominates the social media market shares in Japan. Alas, in the digital age, provision of language options can no longer meet global audiences’ needs, understanding how they communicate digitally and its regional nuances is imperative.
By George Evans, Head of Melbourne office
Cities such as New York and Palo Alto have begun to strategise their development by considering the merging of the physical and the digital, also called ‘phygital’ if you like a trendy portmanteau.
The City of Melbourne has also taken on this approach. The City seeks to explore how digital technology can help keep Melbourne one of the greatest places to be today — at work, at play and at home. Have a look yourself!
Some of the Precedent team including myself were invited to kick this off with an event last month: CoMConnect. We quickly realised this event developed into a collaborative forum. All partaking groups united to help figure out ways digital technology can improve Melbourne at work, play and home.
In other words, CoMConnect was an open discussion between the City and certain key audiences: community leaders, thinkers, designers, technologists, researchers, urbanists and makers. This format is known as ‘unconference’, meaning a loosely structured conference emphasising the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants. It was great fun and I highly recommend the format for anyone interested in trying out variations on the ‘open space’ method.
I facilitated a discussion on the topic “UX, Community engagement, and experience mapping”. The discussion suggested methods the city could use to engage with their audiences, both digitally and in analogue forms, as ways of understanding the publics’ needs. I put forward recommendations such as more unconference style events, whiteboards in city squares, using existing communication channels. Another key for a better understanding of who the cities audiences are is to create personas. Like every story, you need characters; and characters, or personas, allow personalisation and prioritisation of short and long term actions.
Participants’ ideas were shared, recorded and developed over the event, and eventually made out for three separate themes:
- Theme 1 — Long-term projects: changing policy & infrastructure to be able to respond better to technological advancements, such as opening up the huge amounts of data sets a city possesses
- Theme 2 — Short-term projects: quick win projects and conversations which the council can pick up and move forward with
- Theme 3 — Tools: localised search, leveraging NBN, ethnography, gamification and crowd sourcing
Crucial to the success of this great venture is to combine the three themes. This will make open data and progressive policy allowing groups to collaborate and use tools to improve the lifestyle of Melbournians.
Over the last few weeks I’m keen to see how the city is moving forward, tackling the following goals:
Identify and prioritise the long and short term themes
Support short-term projects
Work towards long-term goals
Continue to engage, and with a wider audience
In short, I think the answer is to think big, start small and act quick.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
Now this isn’t about me sitting at home while the Olympics were on in a T-shirt, sipping whisky and working on a new report, although a new report is imminent and for the second week of the Games I was researching it at home.
Our forthcoming report looks into the digital presence of Scottish distilleries. Specifically, those producing single malt whisky. As a result I have been trying to get my head around what is a somewhat complicated business, and what they should/could be doing online.
So what have I found? Well, a large number of Scottish distilleries are owned by big drinks brand names such as Diageo, which means that in many instances their online efforts are quite sophisticated and in some cases quite innovative. More of that and T-shirts below, however despite the enormous clout of the big names I have been surprised to discover how many sites are not mobile friendly including some that are entirely built in Flash and therefore do not work at all on the Apple OS.
Surprisingly, some very popular whisky brands do not have a website at all, but all seem to be rather popular on social networks. However, I have not as yet found much evidence of social intervention by these brands, by which I mean interacting in general enthusiast networks to build reputation and credibility, but I continue to monitor this and it may change. (more…)
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
As a 16 year old with an unswerving appreciation for the type of rock band that makes parents insist on downward attention being paid to any adjacent volume control, my daughter wasn’t really looking forward to the Olympics.
In her (in my view commendably) cynical way, she was not enamoured by the amount of money that had been spent in its preparations, and was equally unconvinced by my arguments around legacy, and business uplift etc. However, she is a creative soul and since she had not been with me when it was on, I was eager to discover what she made of the opening ceremony.
So when I saw her shortly afterwards I asked her if she had seen the Boyle extravaganza. Rather disappointingly her answer was ‘No, not really’. I told her I thought it was great. She said she thought it was too. ‘Ah, so you did see it,’ I replied. ‘Bits,’ she said. I was a little exasperated, how could she have started watching it at any point and not felt compelled to see it through. (more…)
By , Consultant
On the 26th May, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) gained the ability to take legal action against any sites found noncompliant with the EU ‘cookie law’.
To help you try and stay current with cookie law events and requirements, here are three steps to put you on the right track.
1. Audit your site and associated systems
The first step is to review your web properties and any data capture or relationship management systems integrated with them, so you know what you’re dealing with. Having an accurate picture of your digital landscape is essential to allow you to make decisions for further compliance.
As well as looking at your own systems, if you’ve given space on your pages to third parties like social networks, external video hosting or advertising then ultimately you are responsible for disclosing to your visitors that their data may be captured on your pages by these suppliers (even if it’s only a disclaimer, as with the Guardian’s stance on third-party ads).
In referring to the EU Privacy Directive as ‘the cookie law’, it’s easy to overlook the fact that it also covers confidentiality of information, treatment of traffic data, and using contact details for marketing purposes (spam) as well as cookies. Privacy statements have been required to disclose similar information for years, but with growing focus on online privacy now could be a good time to review your compliance in all these areas.
By , Consultant
There has been much debate about Facebook’s timeline with an equal following of lovers and haters. Regardless, it looks set to stay, at least for a while. With many marketers still finding their feet, we’ve put together a short hit list to help you make the most the timeline’s features quickly and easily.
What does your cover image say about you?
The new cover image provides an opportunity to make an impact in an instant. Think about what you want to say about your brand and how you want to engage with your audience.
Below, the Ted cover shows a packed event instantly telling the user what they do, whilst Oxfam demonstrate the positive impact they are having with a photo of happy, smiley children.
Take note to adhere to Facebook’s brand guidelines which stipulate that the cover image cannot include prices, offers, calls to action or contact information.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
I am currently researching Precedent’s next sector report which will identify and offer solutions to some of the challenges that professional and trade membership organisations currently face in the contemporary digital environment. Its working title is ‘Membership Organisations – Big Questions – Digital Answers?’ My initial fact finding has involved a lot of surfing in order to identify key themes that describe the problems that organisations are facing.
One of the major issues seems to be a membership base that is getting older, and the fact that it is more often than not these older members who are most active in the management, direction and administration of the organisation.
Professional organisations are struggling to attract younger members. Sure they have the full attention of the youngsters when they are training, or they are aiming for some letters after their names, but after this engagement levels drop off considerably, if not entirely.
There are a number of reasons for this, some of which I will feature here in the run up to the release of our report (eta February). However, I was reminded of one of the reasons on my commute home earlier this week. I was reading the Evening Standard, and my eye was taken by Sir Clive Woodward describing the RFU as ‘a laughing stock around the world’. Woodward was criticising the RFU’s structure and decision making processes, particularly with respect to the appointment of Martin Johnson as England team coach by Rob Andrew. Despite the resignation of Johnson following the world cup debacle, Andrew has taken no responsibility for England’s failure in the tournament and is likely to be in charge of appointing the next England coach too!
By , Head of Digital Marketing
As highlighted on Mashable, artificial intelligence (along with some truly remarkable voice recognition technology!) is coming to the iPhone 5 in the form of iPhone assistant and it’s going to mean big changes for businesses who aren’t already actively engaging in their wider web presence.
The iPhone Assistant has an eerily smart ability to take verbal, casually worded requests and turn them into search terms it then sorts and rates for you based on existing criteria. To see the old version in action, check out the YouTube video by Siri, a start-up acquired by Apple last year, who’s original app has been in development ever since in preparation for today’s iPhone 5 unveiling.
Because the assistant feature uses user generated web content to assess search results, whether or not someone liked your business on Facebook or put a favourable review for it on Qype will suddenly have the power to determine whether the assistant feature even bothers to show your listing to its human master.
In this, the fourth of a six part column contributed by Precedent to PSMG magazine, talks through some deadly sins of social media, while giving three simple rules to help you succeed in the social space.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of how to capitalise on social media, I’ll do the obligatory ‘why social media?’ for any remaining naysayers: put most simply, social media is where your users live online. For anyone still questioning this, look at networks like LinkedIn and its growth rate of 100% per year, or Twitter and its over-representation of professionals, politicians, journalists, and generally high-profile, influential people tweeting and conversing every day.
Essentially, not engaging in social media is now the business equivalent of skipping your next 500 networking events.
Deadly sins of social media
Firstly, please put those press releases down and back away from the Twitter feed. Posting press releases to social media is like walking into a cocktail party wearing a sandwich board of your services and shouting your latest achievements into a megaphone at the buffet queue.
By , Head of Research
It is with a sense of relief, and not a little gratitude to my colleagues, that I can formally announce the launch of our latest sector report: Integration or isolation? – The digital landscape for UK financial services.
I have been producing big reports into various sector websites for over ten years and the title of this one had me reflecting on the process that we undertake to get these reports ‘to press’.
As always the research and data collection is really the easy bit. It can be done in isolation. Just put me in front of a computer, leave me alone for a few weeks with a spreadsheet and ‘the job’s a good ‘un’!
It’s the concept, design, proofing and coordination of the people who help me bring the reports together that presents the biggest challenge – the integration.