E-Tourism and the New Family Station Wagon

E-Tourism and the New Family Station Wagon

Scott Campbell Mackintosh (Glengarry Group Consulting, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch357
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With a definition of E-tourism in hand it hardly seems necessary to offer a definition of entrepreneurism, does it? What about E-Innovation? Do we all have a handle on that? E-innovation is one of those terms born in cyberspace, and it has a ubiquitous meaning. It can be a number of things to a number of different people. For the purposes of this discussion lets define it as any form of web based innovation that pursues a new idea, whether that idea is to provide content, pursue a different market demographic, or explore a unique delivery method for that content. Lets further confine our thoughts of E-innovation to the travel industry; while people travel for a variety of reasons let’s be specific – we are talking about tourism.

As entrepreneurs and innovators look to this blossoming market opportunity, the question arises as to where innovation is most likely to spring up next. The birth of innovation in the tourism industry had its genesis in the wheel. The wheel was a very simple innovation that allowed people to start to navigate the planet. As 70 percent of the planet is covered with water the invention of the boat, and the sail further added to mobility. Followed by the steam engine of the industrial revolution, the automobile and then in 1907 the advent of powered flight. All of these innovations made tourism and travel more attainable but for most of us growing up, we were confined to the all mighty road trip, tucked into the back of the family station wagon. While the station wagon has been replaced by technology laden mini vans, a new virtual family station wagon has hit the cyber highways. Technology has made the world a much smaller place and whether you are traveling the world virtually or physically the Internet has become the go to place to do so. The Internet, an innovation in and of itself, has become a haven for serial entrepreneurs and innovators. But what is next? Nobody is re-inventing the wheel and innovation is getting tougher to pull off.

Innovation has become much more subtle. Some entrepreneurs are now looking to innovate simply via the content that they distribute. Content drives the interest in a website, it drives visitors, visitors are called hits, and in a simple model hits drive revenue. One fundamental thing about business has never changed - it is all about revenue. The analysis of what content to deliver on your site is purely a function of demographics, as is the case in any media based industry; whether we are talking about traditional print based media, or broadcast television. Demographics and content development are really about knowing your audience. Innovation can be as simple as pursuing a new demographic with a new approach to the content. Conversely it could be an existing business innovating current services to provide a better experience. Etihad Airlines is showing innovation in their approach to family travel with the “Flying Nanny” service, that allows parents to better relax on long haul flights knowing their children will be getting that little bit of extra attention. Other passengers can relax knowing that someone will be ensuring the little travelers don’t get too out of sorts. Not all parents tend to their children, as we would like them to.

Bedecked in bright orange aprons, these mile-high Mary Poppins (who are trained in child psychology and behavioral development stages by Norland College in the UK) promise to provide a “helping hand” to families and unaccompanied minors. (Seim, 2013, p1)

Key Terms in this Chapter

On-Line Media: Any media be it print of visually based that is consumed over the Internet.

Tweet: The sending out of a message, no longer than 140 characters in length, across the Twitter social media network.

Social media: Websites and mobile applications used to create and or develop a social network.

Smart Phone: A cell phone capable of running applications and an operating system that is normally associated with the functions of a computer.

Demographic: A specific segment, or sector of a population.

Viral: Refers to on-line content that spreads rapidly and organically across the Internet with no on-line marketing or other forms of promotion.

E-Tourism: The analysis, design, implementation, and application of IT and e-commerce solutions in the travel & tourism industry.

Twitter Party: Is a fast and fun virtual party, using the twitter social media platform.

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