I have just returned from the ABTA 2012 conference in Turkey. An experience which was not only enjoyable, but informative too. Everyone seemed upbeat and the fear of a group of Travel Industry folk in a setting with 24-hour all-inclusive bars was soon forgotten.
But was the experience authentic...? No, not really.
My point is that wherever I travel lately I seem to have to hunt out the authentic. And travel a long way for it. The food was plentiful, but how much Turkish food was there? My four lunches consisted of 'Pizza Mixed' each day and the all-inclusive buffet was awash with a little bit of something from anywhere and everywhere in the world. Just in case I was visiting from Scandinavia and fancied a rollmop. And let's not even begin to talk about the piped music in all the restaurants. P&O Ferries' Simon Johnson stabbed the table with his knife as 'The Entertainer' piped up. That was the first evening - we had another six to go.
This theme of authenticity brings me on to authenticity of brand. And specifically online. This was a topic that we brought to the conference as our digital guru, Dean Harvey, spoke about the good and the bad of authenticity online. "Like our Pizza and you could win an iPad" means nothing to brand engagement. "Like our pianos and you could win a weekend camping in Wales", even worse.
We need to be real and to see more connected and engaging offers online. Think Walkers' crisps campaign to invent a new flavour or, closer to home, our P&O' Ferries' tie up with Disneyland Paris on its Twist for Treats Campaign. Don't simply win likes from people who don't like you. Win likes from people who care, and want to be engaged. We want love, not likes.
Anyway back to the real authentic experience story. We flew back from Turkey jaded, landed safely in Blighty where it was cold (but dry). I stepped in to my British-made British icon of a car, got home and fired up the AGA, then promptly ordered a curry.
Posted by Adam Hill 17 Oct 2012
Tags Designate - ABTA 2012