Beyond naming snowstorms like hurricanes, in their quest to be uber-cool, they've introduced a feature on their website that suggests when precipitation will arrive at your house. Wrong every friggin' time. So, why do they insist on proving to their fans that they're clueless?
But, more cringe-worthy is their foray into the world of "news." Click on the Weather Channel home page and you'll get stories about mass graves in Texas and kids falling off a canyon precipice. And, beyond that, they Cantore-ize it with headlines like "Horrific" to suck people in to a story that is, in reality, just sad.
WTF does that have to do with the weather?
I get what the quasi-braniacs behind the site are shooting for...but, honestly? It don't hunt.
We go to the Weather Channel for...wait for it...the WEATHER!
And their core audience? We're likely searching for another option...because they have so lost sight of who and what they are. And what we want.
I was honored to facilitate a summit of a DMO and their 6 marketing partners last week. By the end of the two-day retreat, my head was swirling with the collective consciousness of these exceptionally smart marketers.
There were a lot of great one-offs during the two days of ideation (and laughter).
My favorite: "When will the new website be finished?"
40% of us don't take vacations because of the mountain of work that will await us upon our return. Roughly 3 in 10 don't take time off in order to show their boss complete dedication to their job. And 22% fear that taking a vacation will prove they are replacable.
What has happened to a country that used to revel in our time off? Work hard and play harder?
We recently did some reearch for a DMO on like-organization compensation that indicated that, among its peer set, the average CEO was accorded 4 weeks vacation.
And, in its effort to curb tarmac imprisonments, the federal government has made it worse. If there's even a chance that a flight could be delayed more than an hour or two, it's safer for the airline to cancel said flight than risk the fines that come from not being on time.
Thus, two of my last three flights home have resulted in an extra overnight to wait for my rebooked reservation. Hey, it's summer (wait...shouldn't I be saying that in winter?).
So, I shake it off, keep my blood pressure contained...and look for a culinary reward for my pain of not getting home tonight.
And, damned if I haven't found some of the most interesting restaurants on those "free" nights off. In Myrtle Beach, it was the amazing "Mrs. Fish." And, earlier this week, it was Nakato in Springfield MO.
A quick check of Yelp showed that this Japanese steak house and sushi palace was the highest rated independent restaurant within 3 miles of my hotel. The reviews were stunning. The recommendations of the "Hope" sushi made my mouth water. And, sitting at the sushi bar, watching the three itamaes work their magic, I had to chuckle at my good fortune that United was so scared of its own shadow that I got to enjoy such an unexpected experience.
I only wish I had discovered this find years ago. One of the itamaes told me the wooden toy boats that circled the sushi station (see picture above) used to carry samples. For a price, it was an all-you-can-eat sushi smorgasbord as diners would pay the fare and pick off delicacies as they came around the bend.
"Unsustainable," my itamae informed me. "Too much waste...we had to toss everything that hadn't been eaten every hour."
True dat...but what a bitchin' idea.
Hey, could we design mini-cooling units in those boats?
Just a thought...
In or near Springfield (or Charlotte)? Go. And...yeah, get the Hope.
Part of the problem of basing decisions on facts is that facts ain't what they used to be. Facts today are twisted, shaded and repurposed. The internet is the new arbiter of facts. And, as Abraham Lincoln famously said, you can't trust everything you read on the internet.
Sadly, I don't have the time to verify many of them. But, when they come from a trusted source...we tend to take them at face value.
But, it's not disruption that I oppose. Hell, I disrupted the DMO consultancy world 19 years ago. I preach disruption. Just not when it compromises the needs of the many.
And, that was my fear. That Uber, providing a much better experience than traditional cabs, could negatively impact taxi service to the sketchier parts of town if it caused a cab company or two to fail.
Here was my conceit: I was operating from the position that most cab companies were required to service their entire community 24/7. Every street. Every neighborhood. Like it is here in Madison.
I recently sat down with one of my City Council members to discuss his efforts to allow Uber to co-exist with the licensed cab companies. And his research shows that there are only 9 cities in America that require cabs to service every neighborhood 24/7.
True? I don't know...but I have no reason to question someone that has done way more research and spent considerably more time on this issue than I.
So, if Scott is right...my concern is considerably tempered.
But, it begs another concern. What the hell are the rest of your cities thinking? Not requiring 24/7 to every neighborhood as a requirement of your cab companies to be licensed?
Then, why (outside of a revenue stream) are you licensing them?
There are lots of analogies about being ahead of the curve. The most famous is probably the quote from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky who once said he didn't skate to where the puck was...but to where it would be.
The FAA, watching the disruption the sharing economy has wrought in the lodging and taxi spaces, has moved to staunch the thought of those who thought it would be a good idea to bring the sharing economy to point-to-point aviation.
I'm chin deep in a couple projects (which is why I've seen absent from this space for a couple days). And, it's another sensationally gorgeous day here in Madison...and all I really want to do is sit in a floatie on the lake.
It's only natural to brag about how your destination (or product) is better than the rest. Or, how it's one of the most (fill in the blank). I can't even begin to count how many communities I've heard claim to have more restaurants per capita than any other city in America.
But...that one would take some research to refute. Research that I'm not willing to undertake...so I just accept that it may be true.
Say something that is patently false, however...and now everything else I hear from you is suspect.
I was trolling destination websites last week when I came upon one that lays claim to having the second busiest intersection on I-95...just behind Orlando.
Except I-95 doesn't run through Orlando. And, anybody who has ever driven to Florida with a bunch of screaming kids knows that.
It's also a claim that cuts both ways...even if it was true. On one hand, I guess the overly exhuberant copywriter is trying to say it's a popular exit with lots of things to do.
What they've inadvertently done (at least for me) has simply reassured me I don't want to go there because it will be exceptionally crowded. And, that's not why I love to hang in Michigan.
Part of the problem with today's news media stems from our unreasonable expectations. Because they have been anointed by somebody or some institution to provide us with accurate information, we expect that what we get from them is just that...accurate.
Except, many of these reporters went to journalism school. Not business school. Not medical school. Not engineering school. Journalism School.
Thus, they know how to write...but they don't have a clue what they are writing about.
Wilson attempts to make the case that Indiana is the best (and, thus, Hawaii the worst) because it spends only $2.3 million on tourism promotion to generate $8 billion in visitor spending. Hawaii, on the other hand, spends $75 million and generates roughly the same return.
This is beyond an apples to oranges comparison. This is kumquats to koala bears. There are literally hundreds of factors that go into developing a tourism economy. Saying that the ROI of a pitifully weak tourism budget like Indiana's is good public policy is wrong on so many levels that I frankly don't know where to begin.
Some people (like my youngest) like to skydive, bungee jump and swim with sharks in exotic locales. Others prefer safaris or expeditions into harsh environments.
But expeditions into an active warzone?
Word out of Ukraine is that some tour companies are offering armoured vehicle tours into hotspots in that country's ongoing conflict between separtists, loyalists and the Russians. $80 USD gets you a flak jacket and a two hour tour of a city virtually destroyed in the conflict. For $800, they'll take you into the action.
One of the ads for the tours: "Impress your friends with the ultimate selfie."
No word if the fee includes the tour company sending that selfie to your mobile device's address book after you're dead.