22 June 2010

Blogger trip to Valencia

students with laptops
This is going to be an interesting trip.

I'm packing my bag for a 4-night trip to Spain's Valencia region. Not a Press Trip. This one is a Bloggers Trip. (Though for my part, I'm going to be mostly Tweeting, Audiobooing and maybe some Youtubing... oh, and gathering material for one of a new series of Travel-Lists articles.)

The Spanish tourist peeps are quite keen on developing social media (SM) marketing techniques and they're not stinting - 15 (I believe) bloggers from Spain, USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy & Netherlands flown in & put up in 5-star accommodation, touring around the region and ending up on Sunday in Valencia for Sunday's Formula 1 race.

The objective is "to visit the Land of Valencia, the tourist sites, the gastronomy, some hotels, to get to know each other, to talk and to discuss about social media and tourism, to promote social media in the new marketing age and to empower networking as the ultimate tool."

And that's why it's going to be interesting. It's not just a destination facility trip. The idea is to promote a two-way flow and generate ideas about new social media travel marketing techniques.

You can watch it all going on, because the 'Senior Service', Twitter, is indexing all the other sm content under the tag: #blogtripF1 It is also being aggregated at Twazzup .

The Spanish tourist peeps are quite pro-active on social media. When we - the BGTW - took 90 members to Tenerife in Jan, together with our Spanish friends in the media & tourism on the island we managed to generate quite a stream of online content and SM activity.

I'm hoping this will be similar.

05 June 2010

Renaming the brand

Businessman on a ladder with paint rollerI see Vince Cable has quite rightly pointed out that President Obama is, deliberately or unintentionally, ratcheting up anti-British sentiment by continuously referring to the Gulf oil-spill 'bad boys' as "British Petroleum" when they are no longer British, having changed their name a decade ago to simply "BP", in order to reflect their multi-national status.

But who can blame Obama for missing the subtlety? It's one of those weasely name changes that companies make when they are quite happy to let confusion reign.

Put another way: if their name was degrading their brand, they would rush to make a distinctive name change in order to make the separation clear.

We have our own examples in the travel sector.

Why is BAA not dropped in favour of their parent company, Ferrovial? After all, Abbey became Santander when their Spanish parent took over.

It can only be because it suits Ferrovial that everyone in the UK still thinks of the principal UK airport operator as the "British Airports Authority".

And what about bmi? Have they gone far enough? They DO want to be dis-associated from their regional roots, but hands up everyone who still thinks of them as British Midland?

Flybe have probably just about got away with it because theirs was a two-step change - from Jersey European Airways to British European, then FlyBE.

It's not easy to change a brand name completely - nobody wants a Post Office/Consignia fiasco - but the name of the game these days is 'transparency'. Companies who like to conveniently hide behind an old identity should be regularly 'outted'.

Can anyone think of any others in the travel sector, who have either been successful, or not, with a rename?