An Open Letter to the Vietnamese Tourism Board

Dear Vietnamese Tourism Board,

Let me first say thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to visit your country. I have found the experience deeply rewarding. Vietnam has a great deal in the way of quality food, entertainment, and natural beauty. Most recently, I visited Datanla Falls outside of Dalat. Though I loved the natural scenery, there were a few things that would like to offer for your consideration as you open more natural spaces to visitors in the future. I am speaking specifically of admission prices, activities, and accessibility within the park. Continue reading

Our Asian Bus Travel Honeymoon is Over

For the past month, I’ve been writing mostly about how easy it is to get around in Asia. Our experiences with bus travel have been remarkably pleasant. We had heard so many horror stories about buses that we kept wondering what all the fuss was about. Well, after our experience on the tiny bus from Mui Ne to Dalat, Vietnam, we get it. Bus travel is totally a mixed bag; you never know what you are going to get.
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Earplugs: God’s Gift to Travelers

So you are looking to travel. You buy a book about your destination, you save some money, and you head to REI to check out all the gadgets designed to make your life simpler and safer. You tuck your new security wallet confidently into your underwear and pat yourself on the back. You’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Because without a good set of earplugs, you are not ready for a trip. Continue reading

Mountain Dew in Asia, The World`s Advertising Capitol

As far as brands go, Mountain Dew may be one of America’s most recognized. It has colors that are unique, it has a distinctive feel, and its font and logo are very recognizable. I always know when I am looking at a Mountain Dew ad. It isn’t often that I seek out Mountain Dew ads, or pay attention much at home. But it became apparent that they have distinguished themselves quite successfully when I arrived in Bangkok earlier this week. Continue reading

Pak `N Save, the Costco of New Zealand

While we were traveling in New Zealand, we made a concerted effort to save money. Instead of restaurants for breakfast and lunch, we went to supermarkets and bought things. This meant peanut butter and jelly sandwiches more than we would have preferred, but it also meant critical savings. One key weapon in our arsenal in our quest to save money was Pak `N Save, the Costco of New Zealand.
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Marketing at Work: McDonald’s Georgie Pie

One key aspect of marketing is market product differentiation. In other words, if you have a company with a presence in multiple markets, you need to make sure people in each market have a product that fits their lifestyle. So for one demographic, you have one product, and for another, you have another. In one country, you have one mix of product offerings, and in another country, you have something different, all based on your customers. Therefore, I present to you, the McDonald’s Georgie Pie.
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Customer Service: A Lost Art Found

A few days ago, we decided we needed to start making reservations for later dates in our trip. We had been having some problems booking transit and places to stay, since we were traveling around the country during the holidays. We didn’t think it would be a problem, since in the US, transit companies increase capacity for major travel days. But in New Zealand, there is significantly less capacity in general, so things get booked up.

At first, we tried to do everything online, thinking that would be the most efficient. Everything was full, and hope was lost. But then I thought back to previous travel experiences, where my parents and I relied on word of mouth to find recommendations for everything from hotels to buses and taxi services. So we decided to take the personal route, and talk to people, not machines. What transpired is a testament to the importance of a personal touch in marketing.
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Leaving Las Vegas, Sort Of

So my previous travel post was about Rotorua, New Zealand, which everyone refers to as Rotovegas. I mentioned that no one could describe to us what they meant by associating it with Las Vegas, partially because few New Zealanders had been to Las Vegas itself. So why, then, the association? And what does that tell us about the Las Vegas brand?
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