Millennials Want an Adventure When They Travel

Tourism is worth around $7.2tn a year to the global economy.

Adventure Travel is worth around $263bn globally and growing at a rapid pace.

Adventure travel is defined by the U.S. based Adventure Travel Trade Association as any tourist activity that includes the following three components:  physical activity,  cultural exchange and connection with nature.

This includes Adventure Travel for the disabled which has become a $13 billion a year industry.

“Fifteen years ago people were acquiring things. Now the focus is on acquiring experiences,” says Wes Allen, president of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, a group of 62 independently-owned outdoor specialty shops across the US.

Retailers such as REI who focus on selling products and clothes designed for specific sporting activities and made from high performance fabrics also offer 150 guided adventure vacations. They started this part of their business 25 years ago.

Social media and changing demographics are driving the trend in adventure travel, says Kristin Lamoureux, associate dean at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

“Millennials need to have experiences that are meaningful. They want to get closer to the natural environment, to the social environment, and they want to have an authentic experience. Can you wake up in the morning and look out of the window and know where you are? Is there a sense of place? Whether it’s breaking bread with a local or climbing up a mountain, adventure travel fits that need very well,” she says.

Access to inexpensive consumer technology, with respect to Global Positioning Systems, “flashpacking”, social networking and photography, have increased the worldwide interest in adventure travel.

“And people aren’t just taking trips – they’re showcasing what they’re doing on social media,” Lamoureux adds.

When developing PR strategies, rather than segment by specific destinations such as Costa Rica or by specific activities such as canoeing or hiking, it can be more insightful to segment Adventure Tourism along the following lines.

Cultural tourism

Cultural tourism is the act of travelling to a place to see that location’s culture, including the lifestyle of the people in that area, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religions, and other factors that shape their way of life.

Ecotourism

The “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests.

Ethno

Ethno tourism refers to visiting a foreign location for the sake of observing the indigenous members of its society and is non-scientific.

Extreme

Extreme tourism involves travel to dangerous locations or participation in dangerous events or activities. This form of tourism can overlap with extreme sports.

Jungle tourism

Jungle tourism pertains specifically to the context of region, culture and activity. Jungle tours have become a major component of green tourism in tropical destinations and are a relatively recent phenomenon of Western international tourism.

Overland Travel

Overlanding is a form of extended adventure holiday, embarking on a long journey, often in a group. Overland companies provide a converted truck or a bus plus a tour leader, and the group travels together overland for a period of weeks or even months.

Urban Exploration

Urban exploration (Urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities.

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Don’t Panic – Plan.

The recent Emirates Airline accident is both a timely reminder that bad things happen to companies with exemplary records and a prime example of how to handle a crisis. Whether it’s a plane crash or a server crash there are universal lessons that can be learned from the way Emirates handled this particular accident.

What happened?
Emirates Flight 521 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Thiruvananthapuram, India, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, operated by Emirates. On 3 August 2016, the aircraft carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew crashed while landing at Dubai International Airport. All 300 people on board survived the accident; an airport firefighter died during the rescue operation with thirteen people being injured. This accident was the first loss of an aircraft operated by Emirates.

Breaking news
Passengers on flight 521 used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share news of the accident. The main news outlets followed quickly through both their normal channels and on social media; today, news breaks at the speed of light.

Social Media Accelerates Breaking News Distribution

Being prepared
Emirates marketing and PR were well prepared, with a plan and policy to handle just such a crisis. Following a well understood series of steps they worked to lead the news cycle, reassure the public and protect their brand reputation. The objectives during any major crisis are to protect all individuals (employee or public) who may be affected by the crisis, ensure the key audiences are kept informed, and that the organization survives. Your written crisis plan should include specific actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis; forming a crisis team consisting of senior contributors from PR, HR, legal, marketing, operations, and other relevant functional areas that can come together quickly and has the authority to act.

Spokesperson
If the crisis could potentially impact the health or well-being of customers, the general public or employees, it will attract mainstream media attention. Emirates promptly issued a statement from His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman & Chief Executive – the big boss didn’t have to be the first and only media spokesperson.

Emirates Chairman and CEO Spoke for the Airline

During a crisis ensure your company speaks with one voice and delivers a clear and consistent message, a spokesperson, and an alternate, must be identified ahead of any crisis and be capable of answering media questions and participating in interviews, some of which may be hostile. Being 100% available is impossible but having an informed, collaborative and capable PR operation will deliver effective media interaction; for some OOKII Company clients we are built-in as the wave 1 crisis management comms team.

Transparency
Warren Buffet once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” It is critical to be honest and open about any issues you or your company may be facing. If you made a mistake, admit it, apologize, and do everything in your power to correct it. Your customers don’t expect you and your teams to be perfect, just transparent and honest. Emirates issued a number of statements as the crisis unfolded each one sequentially numbered in the subject line, so that the chronology of events was easy to follow.

Align every channel
This obviously depends on the exact nature of the crisis. The key is to demonstrate leadership and express empathy by whatever means is appropriate. For example on August 3rd Emirates immediately changed their logo to neutral colours and removed the cover image of smiling flight attendants on their social media accounts; Facebook 6,200k fans, Twitter 765k followers and Linkedin 598k connections. This “greying out” of social media during a crisis is now becoming expected.

"greying out" of Social Media Channels

 

Are you prepared?
In any organization there are a number of scenarios that can be deemed a crisis – from the very simple (e.g. a bad product review), to the extreme. News breaks so quickly there is no opportunity to play it by ear. Every organization needs to be prepared and ready. OOKII Company has deep experience of developing crisis management plans, if you would like our advice and guidance to develop your crisis management plan we would be delighted to talk with you.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Virtual Reality

Why is virtual reality (VR) suddenly becoming a more relevant topic with PR agencies and their clients?

Would a journalist prefer to see an image of a new product or virtually walk around it or even through it?

It’s just a fad; we’ll never spend our free time wearing a headset. Really? How much time do you spend (by yourself) looking at a smartphone screen for entertainment?

The advancement of technology, processor speeds and faster graphics cards combined with a new generation of VR headsets from Oculus, Sony, HTC, Samsung and Google are enabling a VR experience approaching total immersion – making the virtual reality experience so real that users forget the computer, headgear and behave exactly as we would in the real world.

VR is going to transform the way PRs tell stories. Imagine for a moment taking potential customers on a VR tour of your auto factory, creating an experience of what it’s like to drive your new car model through the Swiss Alps. Increasingly, effective public relations is about public engagement and if the goal of public relations is to engage, then bringing customers into the virtual world of our clients is the ultimate means of achieving this.

Goldman Sachs expects Head-Mounted Devices (HMD) will benefit from the same economies of scale that other devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones have enjoyed, and that headset price/performance will improve in a similar manner over time, driving wide-scale adoption.

VR Technology declines

 

Phil Newman of OOKII Company believes that in the near future PR practitioners will offer VR experiences to journalists and editors, rather than sharing hi-res images and HD video. Phil believes that when audiences become immersed in a VR experience they are so captivated that they literally can’t simultaneously text, tweet or Instagram while consuming content, which makes messages delivered via VR much more impactful. Thomas A. Furness, a VR expert with The Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington, describes immersive VR as “…like writing on the brain with indelible ink.”

FOVE will offer the worlds first eye tracking VR headset.  Source: FOVE

Which commercial sectors are expected to adopt VR? Again Goldman Sachs have done some of the heavy lifting and as you can see in the chart below there are several areas that are expected to adopt VR, perhaps most notable is the real-estate market where VR technology is expected to literally transform the home selling/buying experience over the next ten years.

VR adoption

Companies are beginning to use VR technology for case studies, product announcements, CSR initiatives and more. As VR technology becomes more widely adopted, both B2C and B2B buyers will seek out companies that offer interesting virtual experiences and these will become industry leaders in the years ahead.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become a huge fundraising resource for many entrepreneurs – companies such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub, Razoo,Crowdrise and PledgeMusic, to name but a few, can help make your project funding dreams come true.

Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows, comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related projects.

crowdfunding

While some crowdfunding projects take off, others crater, never getting off the ground, much less reaching their funding goal. Here are some of the things we atOOKII.Company believe you absolutely have to get right if you want to create a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Timing Conflicts

Scan the main crowdfunding platforms for similar projects or even projects in a similar category. Consider waiting until those campaigns end and see how much they raise. While you are looking at who’s doing what, take a look at basic metrics. It’s a long shot trying to raise $5 millon for your eco bamboo yoga pants when the most you see raised for an item of apparel is $50,000.

Preparation

This is huge and critical to your success. Everyone has a network. Before the campaign launches, reach out to your close network, including family and friends. Get them on board with the project and have them ready to reach out to their full network of contacts. Start building that mailing database. Leveraging your personal networks is a key first step in your campaign.

Opinion Leaders and Influencers

Prior to launch identify influencers who are willing and able to review your product during the course of the campaign. If you don’t already know who they are, you will find them in blogs, online communities and more traditional media. Send them production samples so they can become familiar with the product before you launch.

Video

If done well the product video will become the focal point of your campaign. There are no second chances to create a first impression, so don’t skimp on this element of your launch. Potential backers will watch your video and within about 30 seconds they will have made a decision about pledging, or not!  Hire a professional who can not only shoot and edit video but who can also help create a story board – which is basically a sequence of drawings, typically with some directions and script, representing the shots planned for your product video.

Multiple Images

Like a professional video, high resolution, high quality images will pay for themselves. Use these images for all your communications; social networks, press releases, blog posts and email blasts. You don’t need hi-res for social media but you will for print articles so produce them all at hi-res and make life easy for yourself.

Continuous Communication

Create and issue periodic updates. Build the email database as backers make pledges and use direct mail AND updates to communicate. Publish updates when you hit benchmarks and thank your backers, use them to relay new rewards. Celebrate your wins, your backers, influencers and other media love being associated with successful crowdfunding stories. Your backers already like your project, so they should be some of your biggest fans. Make it easy for them to share on social media by including paragraphs and images they can copy/paste. And explicitly ask them to help spread the word – assume nothing!

Press Releases

In our experience press releases will drive some of the highest converting traffic to your crowdfunding campaign. Consider partnering with a public relations agency such as OOKII Company, who can write and distribute well-written press releases, which generate engagement throughout your campaign.

Hopefully this post has raised your awareness about what is needed in terms of public relations and communications when it comes to crowdfunding, and how an agency such as OOKII Company can help de-risk the project and increase your likelihood of success.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Yahoo Falls to Verizon

Founded in a trailer by two Stanford grads. in 1994, and originally called “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web”,  Yahoo failed to develop its search technology and failed to capitalize on the social media and mobile revolutions.

It’s just over 12 months since Verizon acquired AOL which included established brands such as TechCrunch, Engadget and The Huffington Post, Verizon is now set to acquire Yahoo’s content and advertising assets for $4.83 billion in an all-cash deal.

Chartoftheday YAHOO

Today’s deal further supports Verizon’s reach in the digital world. According to Yahoo metrics their online brands reach a global audience of more than 1 billion users each month. Clearly Verizon plans to monetize those 1 billion users thanks to the online advertising technology which both AOL and Yahoo have developed.

Hopefully, AOL and Yahoo will bring growth to Verizon, whose core business is maturing and has been struggling to find growth. Verizon now controls two of the largest online content networks, along with the advertising technology and expertise to successfully monetize those networks.

So why did Yahoo sell? Despite making 114 acquisitions Yahoo, the Internet portal giant, has been struggling to find a successful strategy against competitors in three key areas; search, social media and video. Yahoo is basically giving up, selling itself to Verizon for a fraction of its valuation at the start of the millennium.

The New York Times|Source: Reuters (stock price)

In an email to staff, Yahoo CEO, Ms Mayer wrote, “We set out to transform this company — and we’ve made incredible progress. We counteracted many of the tectonic shifts of declining legacy businesses, and built a Yahoo that is unequivocally stronger, nimbler and more modern,”

If Ms Mayer isn’t retained by Verizon, she will receive severance of around $57 million. Which would take her total compensation from Yahoo to $218 million, according to compensation research firm Equilar.

The sale, which is yet to be approved by Yahoo shareholders, does not include Yahoo’s cash and its non-core patents, which it is trying to sell separately.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Apple Watch

Apple Inc. makes very few mistakes but when it does it’s usually worth digging deeper to discover what you can learn from their wrong steps.

Source: Wikipedia

Rumors surrounded an Apple-developed wearable back as far as 2011, Eventually it was on September 9, 2014, during a press launch where the iPhone 6 was also revealed, the new Apple Watch was introduced by Tim Cook as “the next chapter in Apple’s story” with a video that focused on its design and the various combinations of bands and case styles that would be available to the consumers. After the reveal video, the auditorium was filled with prolonged applause and a standing ovation as Tim Cook reappeared onstage wearing an Apple Watch. Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that Apple Watch was “a precise timepiece, a new intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device.”

Early predictions have proven to be groundless...

Many pundits hailed the Apple Watch as the next big thing and were convinced that the Apple Watch would adversely impact the Swiss luxury watch market – to the point of crushing it. These opinions displayed a gross lack of understanding regarding the luxury watch market and brands such as Rolex, TAG Heuer, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Bell & Ross… the list goes on.

According to Kevin Lynch who was brought on by Apple to make wearable technology for the wrist, the goal of the Apple Watch was to free people from their phones. Lynch said: “People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much. People want that level of engagement. But how do we provide it in a way that’s a little more human, a little more in the moment when you’re with somebody?”

The Apple Watch definitely made an impact and quickly became the most popular smartwatch on the market. Today it looks increasingly like it is becalmed by a self-inflicted identity crisis.

Doubts about the added benefit of smartwatches in between smartphones and considerably cheaper fitness armbands have always lingered, and the lack of obvious killer features hasn’t helped. Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times used several applications over a period of days. He concluded that there is no “killer application” so far besides telling the time, which is the basic function of a wristwatch anyhow.

In the past quarter, the global smartwatch market saw its first contraction, with worldwide shipments declining by more than 30 percent year-over-year. According to IDC’s estimates, shipments amounted to 3.5 million units between April and June of 2016, down from more than 5 million in the past year. While it needs to be noted that last year’s June quarter marked the launch quarter of the Apple Watch, it took both the smartphone and tablet markets years to see their first year-over-year declines after Apple had entered and thus made them the next big thing.

Chart

It would appear that the Apple Watch isn’t cutting it in the exclusive luxury watch sector or the more generic fitness band sector and without a killer app it’s appeal is limited. Luxury watches are big business. The Swiss watch industry, saw its exports grow from £2.5bn in 1986 to £10bn in 2008. All this despite the fact that the primary function of the watch – to tell the time – has been rendered  obsolete by the invention of the mobile phone. The fact that men and to a lesser extent women are still buying and cherishing quality timepieces is of great comfort to the Swiss.The arrival of the quartz watch in the midst of the swinging 60’s was a potential game changer. But not for long.

The Swiss watch industry reinvented themselves with a design philosophy and marketing programme that brought them back from the brink of extinction. They determined that watches were not merely for telling the time, they would be works of art displaying craftsmanship,heritage and precision. In the mid 90’s TAG Heuer signed a deal with the  McLaren Formula 1 team and its timepieces became inextricably linked with one of the world’s most glamorous sports.They associated their brands with sports to add a hint of danger and adventure, Formula 1, polo, sailing, tennis, golf and flying. At the same time they appointed celebrities from sport and entertaiment as brand ambassadors.

The watch industry’s big hitters invest up to 25% of their revenue in advertising and promotion. Millions go on high end creative work and the purchasing of ad space in magazines that reach their target audience, and millions more is spent on sponsoring sports teams and players together with the associated PR. .In return, the magazines feature new watch announcements in their editorial sections. Watch advertising accounts for about 18% of the total ad revenue in an upmarket men’s magazine. Either Apple didn’t know what it takes to play in this market or high on hubris they chose to ignore it.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Top PR Dogs

Many will recall the masterful way Steve Jobs fired up the public’s anticipation for Apple products by teasing about upcoming product launches. Elon Musk of Tesla fame plays a similar game using his Twitter feed to great advantage.

Of course what comes over as personal, genuine and authentic is often choreographed and planned with great care.

Accepted wisdom is that few companies have the cult following necessary to generate public interest by leaking out product information. Obviously Tesla and Apple do have the cult following. However, just like the Hollywood movie industry they have to be cautious. It’s a fine line between giving away too much information before the product is out and just enough information.  Show too much in the blockbuster trailer and people will feel like they have already seen the movie. Show too little and they won’t form an emotional connection with enough depth to pull them to the cinema.

Elon Musk & Steve Jobs Source:Wikipedia

While it may not be possible to build a cult following on the scale of Jobs and Musk it is still possible to use the tease and pre-announcement to build anticipation and create significant commercial advantage.

From inception electric motorcycle company Brammo Inc focused on building a social media presence using Twitter and Facebook. Brammo actively encouraged fans to promote the company via social media and each year gave away an electric motorcycle to the fan who was determined to be the “Brammo Evangelist” of the year.

In July 2010 Brammo pre announced their revolutionary Empulse electric motorcycle using a 90 second movie style trailer.  with over a million Youtube views this one video generated a huge customer pre-order backlog for thousands of Empulse motorcycles and simultaneously captured the attention of both investors and the media. Indeed Brammo went on to raise over $90 million and as you might expect the pre-announcement effectively stalled sales at Brammo’s nearest competitor. The first Empulse was delivered 18 months later in December 2012.

If you have a consumer product that can genuinely be described as “game changing” then with our help this approach might be right for you.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Facebook Rules the Roost

Facebook Inc. is so much more than a social network  –   Basically Facebook Inc. owns four of the world’s largest social media and messaging services and is known to be developing its own search engine and is getting ready to launch Snapchat-style ‘disappearing’ messages and end-to-end encryption on Messenger. It truly dominates the social media landscape.

chartoftheday_5194_active_users_of_social_networks_and_messaging_services_n

Facebook reaches more than 1.6 billion people per month and WhatsApp reaches over one billion-users.

What all of the social media and messaging services have in common, is their commercial attractiveness both to paid advertisers and organic promotion. Their tremendous reach and ability to segment and target specific groups based on online behavior and stated preferences is extremely powerful.

In the U.S. alone, social media ad revenue is continuing to grow and will reach almost $15 billion this year. We have previously looked at the increasing use of ad blocking software as users attempt to limit their exposure to advertising see [link]

Despite its massive member base Tencent Holdings Ltd., the company behind Chinese sites WeChat and Qzone still doesn’t come close to Facebook Inc.’s social footprint.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Ad Blocking and the NYT

Following on from our OOKII news post of June 23rd about how ad-blocking software is dramatically changing the web landscape   http://bit.ly/28Ql9s0

The New York Times, like many online publishers, is fighting an ongoing war against ad blocking software, a phenomenon that a recent study said could lead to more than $35 billion in losses for media companies by 2020. NYT chief executive Mark Thompson stated that he is even considering banning users who use ad blockers completely.

The New York Times Building.  Source: Wikipedia

While the Times may see its battle against ad blocking software as a defense of high-quality journalism, its readers sometimes see it differently. That difference can be seen most clearly in the thousands of comments that Reddit users, many of them NYT subscribers, have made their feelings felt regarding Mark Thompson’s plans.

In response to this backlash the Times is considering offering its subscribers a more expensive tier that would remove ads from the site altogether, a response to criticism from those subscribers who complain about being subjected to ads even though they already subscribe to the paper. The big question. no one knows the answer to just yet, is can the Times earn enough from these top tier subscriptions to make up for the loss of advertising revenue?

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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Quality is King

Facebook is adjusting the algorithm which drives users News Feed to promote posts from friends and family members over posts from publishers. What are the implications?

According to data released last year from the Pew Research Center, about 47 percent of a survey of 2,000 adults using Facebook said they get their news from Facebook. The study also found that Twitter users had a more diverse range of topics and were more likely to follow media organizations on the platform.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Adam Mosseri, vice president of News Feed Product Management at Facebook, announced that the Facebook is adjusting the priority of posts in New Feeds to emphasize personal content. Posts from friends and family will appear higher than posts from Pages, accounts that belong to brands, businesses and publishers.

This change is important because Facebook has become a dominant force in the distribution of news globally, with many publishers relying on it for a significant amount of the traffic they receive. Publishers that find they are unable to reach their audiences on Facebook risk seeing a decline in their advertising-based income. Facebook’s changes not only determine which content is viewed but what kinds of content are created.

G v F

“Our success is built on getting people the stories that matter to them most,” said Mosseri, “If you could look through thousands of stories every day and choose the 10 that were most important to you, which would they be? The answer should be your News Feed. It is subjective, personal, and unique — and defines the spirit of what we hope to achieve.”

The News Feed, which was introduced a decade ago, has become synonymous with Facebook and is by far the company’s most lucrative product, thanks to the targeted advertising that appears there. It has two priorities, to inform and to entertain.

Content is still king, this Facebook update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics will vary depending on the composition of your target audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts. Bottom line, if you aren’t already doing this, we encourage Pages to post content that your audience are likely to share with their friends and family.

First published by Adrian G Stewart at OOKII.Company

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