Last week in this space I showcased the Jeff Bezos recipe for disruption – essentially an internal management pre-emptive strike to prepare for the day in which even Amazon’s most profitable business lines/models will be disrupted to the point of irrelevance.
In that spirit of learning, I challenged readers to share their opinions on how they might disrupt an existing DMO business line. As expected, there were no takers as it was a rhetorical question. I did get one perspective (thank-you Susan Radojevic) on the bonus question about the struggles destination marketers have with making disruptive choices.
As if to validate the real-world urgency for such an exercise, on Wednesday Apple put its disruption cross-hairs on Microsoft’s core (pun intended) Windows and Office cash-machine business model by offering its new MAC OS X operating system and iWork office suite for FREE. Windows alone is a $19 billion business line to Microsoft. And now the new benchmark price for its primary competitor’s product is $ZIP.
Disruption has no respect for legacy, in fact it feeds on it. Its also part of many business playbooks today.
It’s doubtful Microsoft can afford to match the price-point. But they have to do something. They’ll probably look for other value opportunities for their massive customer base…which might explain why Microsoft decided to buy Nokia’s phone business last month. The phone business seems to have done quite well by Apple.
For destination marketers the lesson is provocative: when (not if) your core business gets disrupted you better be prepared to find a new business opportunity. That’s why the Bezos exercise is so relevant. Unfortunately for many DMOs some of those business lines and value propositions have long been disrupted (e.g. visitor information centers) and the exercise might be an after-the-fact experience. That said, what are some alternative Destination Marketing 3.0 high-value business opportunities for DMOs…presumably in a calm blue ocean where there is currently no competition?
To me, one of today’s most compelling Destination Marketing 3.0 opportunities is the harvesting, curating and analyzing of the mountain of data that gets generated by the thousands of visitors and event attendees that descend on a community each and every day. The value to local hoteliers, attraction managers, restaurateurs, transportation companies, investors, public safety agencies etc of precise and timely information on the visitor population is priceless. It could help direct their staffing, purchasing, pricing, investment location decisions. Now, while there will be those that see this having the potential for another Big Brother privacy intrusion (particularly for those with something to hide), BIG DATA is now a reality for industries everywhere. So why not destination marketing? And…no one else is doing much of it…yet.
The one example of an embryonic destination BIG DATA play that I have found is, not surprisingly, in Singapore. Visitors to Singapore can now rent a Handy smartphone for $15SING ($12USD) per day during their trip. The Samsung Galaxy phone comes pre-loaded with an armada of visitor-relevant apps (so much for visitor information centers), local news, special user discounts AND the daily cost includes all of your text, voice and data consumption. (Whoa! If you’ve ever traveled overseas with your smartphone you know what a huge value this is to stay connected at home.)
The visitor gets a whole lotta value from a Handy smartphone. AND…because smartphones are the mother lode of personal data…in addition to the rental fee, Handy gets priceless detailed and aggregate data about the travel habits of Singapore visitors that in can sell to whomever. (Nothing I saw on their website precludes them from selling the accumulated data.)
Given DMOs are highly-trusted by visitors for privacy and information integrity, a BIG DATA play (through some form of strategic partnership or joint venture) would seem to be a huge opportunity to create the proverbial WIN-WIN for everyone: the DMO enterprise, visitors/event attendees, destination businesses and public service agencies. All brought to you by the local DMO.
In the face of ongoing disruption, destination marketers need to explore BIG DATA as part of their Destination 3.0 roadmap. I am obviously over-simplifying the operational complexities of a BIG DATA destination play but someone is going to figure it out because the value of visitor is priceless to so many. And by rights it should be destination marketers who make it happen and own the gold.