The outlook for Caribbean cruise tourism is positive.

BevanSpringer By Bevan Springer - From The Heart

The Caribbean’s travel and tourism industry is no doubt making a strong rebound, and while results vary, some destinations are recording even more impressive results than the 2019 banner tourism year.

During the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) business meetings in Curaçao last week, many of the region’s tourism directors, ministers and commissioners of tourism spoke about the exciting state of the industry, replete with opportunities for stakeholders, not the least of whom are the residents of the Caribbean.

Over the past few days, a similar optimistic outlook was shared by executives of the cruise industry during the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) Platinum Cruise Summit as delegates sailed aboard Holland America’s Eurodam from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.

From Royal Caribbean and Carnival to MSC and Disney, the reports were upbeat and encouraging. Not only are ships sailing at full capacity, but plans are in place for new and improved vessels with incredible features, technologies and enhancements to be launched in the months and years ahead.

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Marketing – A Dying Discipline?

AI Marketing is as important as robots

Almost everyone is supposed to have some knowledge of marketing, whether it be by direct, hands-on experience in studying and practicing the various principles or being a marketing representative or even by being enticed to partake of something that was well marketed. Evidently, the importance of marketing is far-reaching as it educates individuals about things that are important and, in some cases, not important to them. Essentially, marketing describes any venture to promote and sell products and services which means it takes place constantly and, in many forms, since we are always in need of a product or service.

Throughout the centuries, a variety of approaches including strategic planning and a high human effort have been taken to appeal to the targeted audience groups. Presently, with the prevalence of digitisation, flyers, posters, billboards, and town criers have taken an electronic turn. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken a ‘predictive’ stance in our everyday lives, from auto-correct to video recommendations to the brand of water we would be most likely inclined to drink. While this has proven to be a remarkable breakthrough in civilization and technology, the compelling question that arises is, “So, why do we still need a marketing team?”

If an algorithm is able to gather an individual’s information, ascertain such a one’s needs, wants and desires, then market goods and services that are relevant and effective to that person, there would be no need to waste resources on people who have been doing the same thing… right? Wrong. Here’s why.

Regardless of the influx of humanoid robots in this present time, the human element will always be irreplaceable, and the COVID-19 Pandemic has taught us that – the hard way. We must remember that it is the human effort that has developed the software through with the algorithms perform. While the principles and practices that are being learnt are effective, stronger technological methods must be implemented to make marketing sustainable. One solution could be for marketers to learn the coding techniques for these computer systems, nodding to even more efficient AI suggestions. It then behoves marketers globally, to apply the very principles of marketing to enhance their personal brand and secure a sustainable career.

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Meta (Facebook) is Reportedly Planning to Launch Retail Stories to Sell VR, AR and Other Digital Connection Tools

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Meta (Facebook) is Reportedly Planning to Launch Retail Stories to Sell VR, AR and Other Digital Connection Tools

According to The New York Times, “Meta has discussed opening retail stores that will eventually span the world, said people with knowledge of the project and company documents viewed by The New York Times. The stores would be used to introduce people to devices made by the company’s Reality Labs division, such as virtual reality headsets and, eventually, augmented reality glasses, they said.”

The big idea is that to guide users towards Meta’s vision of the ‘metaverse’, an immersive digital world of endless possibilities, Meta will have to get more of these tools into more homes. Subsequently, physical stores may be a better way to establish direct-to-consumer supply chains, while also enabling new showcase opportunities to generate more sales.

Currently, you can purchase Facebook’s products in retail stores, but they’re stacking the shelves alongside many other competing devices and options. If Facebook wanted to invest more into direct marketing, and highlighting its next-level plans, it would be best to do so via its own, dedicated promotion and product displays, which it could directly control within its own stores, built specifically around its offerings.

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Instagram’s Newest Feature

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On November 1, 2021, Instagram officially launched the 'Add Yours' Sticker to facilitate more engagement in stories. This feature enables users to prompt others to respond to their Stories content, in order to create more engaging reply to threads to Stories posts. When users respond the sticker, they’re added to the profile bubble listing on the sticker, which, when tapped, enables users to go through all the other responses to the thread, building a response chain within Stories that can help prompt more engagement.

How to use this new feature

Step 1: Once you’ve captured or uploaded a photo or video in Stories, tap the Stickers icon at the top of the screen.

Step 2: Tap the “Add Yours” sticker.

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Virtual Exhibits Are No Longer Effective

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Informational/educational and those that tried to replicate a tradeshow floor with virtual exhibitors are the two categories that virtual corporate events have fallen into during the pandemic. Of the two categories, educational programming gets a higher number of attendees. When trade show sponsors talk about a hybrid approach to future events, they mostly mention the educational component that the virtual attendees will experience.

Publisher of Airport Improvement Magazine, Paul Bowers, stated that after experiencing both virtual exhibit halls and virtual conferences during the pandemic, he is convinced that virtual exhibit halls do not work, and virtual conferences can effectively substitute for learning in person.

“Virtual trade show substitutes weren’t a complete waste, but I’d be hard-pressed to ever exhibit at one again,” Bowers said. “There is no return on my investment. On one I participated in, I paid the same amount that I pay for the in-person conference, and it was a waste of money. The seminar part can be done well virtually. I’ll spend money to send our editor to attend a virtual conference, but I won’t spend to exhibit virtually.”

 

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Customers are Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset

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Investing in customer service is a powerful marketing strategy as loyal customers will help you acquire new customers, free of charge, by convincing prospects to interact with your brand. Their positive testimonials will be more effective than any of your current marketing efforts — and cheaper, too!

Most people relate to each shopping experience by having either recommended stores with good experiences or complaints about the ones they didn’t like. Therefore, your customers’ experience should be number one on your list of priorities. Of course, not everything will always go according to plan. However, when there’s an issue, ensure to turn your problems into opportunities and solutions.

In addition to good customer service, you can keep customers happy by providing incentives and getting them to feel invested in your brand. Here is a list of ways to gain some goodwill from the community that keeps you in business.

 Give customers a reason to come back. If you can capture customer data, send an email expressing your gratitude or text along with a coupon. You may also encourage them to return sooner rather than later by making the coupon time bound.

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Micromanagement

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Micro management is not the answer to effectively managing your company, it has more cons than pros. As a manager, you have to determine when and how to micromanage. Here are some results of micromanaging your company. 

1) Do not be a Helicopter boss - Hovering over your staff after they have been given an assignment, does not give your staff a sense of freedom to do the tasks assigned to them. People tend to be more creative when they are given more autonomy, they feel able to make the best choices needed to complete a given task.

Train staff to be managers instead of workers, let them think like a manager as if they own the company, this will build their competencies, let them learn from the mistakes they make. Focus on what only you as a manager can do and do those tasks.

2) Breakdown of relationships is one of the result of micromanagement - Staff will feel that you can't trust them, that's why you keep such a close eye on them. Their sense of self will be greatly affected, and they will end up not liking you as their manager.

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