Make up, nylons, heels and a notebook in hand…boy you don’t find me in that combination very often…but there I was, in the middle of the conference, loving every minute of it.
The tourism business is wonderful because we are so varied and when we get together it’s a hodge podge of people that guide in the Maine woods, curate museums and galleries, offer wine tours, lobster cruises, keep elegant inns and invite people to sample their farm products. When we all get together conversations spin like the tides off the coast of Eastport…if you’re ease dropping you never know what you’ll hear.
Of course all of the conversations always find their way back to the core concern of small business owners everywhere, “what’s the economy going to do to us this year?” Keynote speaker Dr Lalia Rach offered 8 trends for 2008:
1. Strap yourself in for a roller coaster ride…don’t be terrified, think of it as exhilarating
2. Techmobility is the buzz word of the year…no one wants to be out of contact and the smaller the device the better
3. Consumers will be more time starved than ever…find ways to “do it with them, do it for them”
4. Continued re-definement of “families”…think of the progression from “Ozzie and Harriet” to “Carol and Mike” to “Claire and Cliff” to “Ozzy and Sharon” on TV through the past generations
5. “I can’t have it all…but I’ll take a fraction”… seasonal campsites, timeshares and flex pets
6. Dreams will continue to drive choices…tiny indulgences that enrich the senses like special writing pens, Starbucks and beautiful lipsticks
7. Word of mouth rules…8 of 10 consumers polled said the trust completely or somewhat completely the recommendations of friends, family and even complete strangers…particularly important for non-essentials like rafting trips and guided bicycle tours
8. Love the one you’re with…customer retention will be all important as consumers feel crunched
Of course, more than just the seminars, I go to these conferences for the friends, food and to hear what’s going on in all the different agencies…it was a day well spent.
Thank you Maine Office of Tourism,