Tourism officials see 'different' kind of customer

Dec 10, 2012 5:58 PM

Casino/hotel and tourism officials were advised last week to become more aware of their potential customers who are different from what Nevada properties have seen in past years.

Speaking to the group in a gathering last week in Sparks, Nevada, Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and now chairman of Kayak.com, warned that property operators must realize that customers today “are Internet empowered, technically savvy, time-starved and information rich…That’s a different kind of customer” from the past.

“Buyers have more power than ever before. They are getting smarter. Social marketing has changed not only the consumer, it has changed what we used to call a monologue into a dialogue,” Jones said.

He advised his listeners to see the importance of carrying that dialogue with customers on a daily basis “because they are easily influenced by others’ opinions when they are so readily available on the Web, including reviews of such things as hotels and restaurants.”

Jones said they needed to avoid the fear of failing when attempting innovative changes if they are going to succeed in the evolving economic landscape.

“Geographical barriers are eliminated. Price information is everywhere and buyer experiences are shared no longer one-on-one over the backyard fence but with many over the network on sites like TripAdvisor, which now has over 50 million reviews,” he said.

Jones was invited to be the conference’s keynote speaker, said Claudio Vecchio, director of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, so that he could emphasize this year’s theme of “Igniting Innovation.”

Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.

Contact Ray at [email protected].

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