Tag Archives: technology

Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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Just Walk Out. Amazon’s Cashier-less Grocery Stores

Two years ago Amazon launched its ‘Amazon Go’ convenience stores. It now has 25 stores across the country in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. These stores carry a limited selection of items focused on ready-to-eat meals and snacks. The stores use a ‘just walk out’ technology that allows consumers to pick up an item, place it in their bag, and then just walk out. No scanning or cashiers needed. All a shopper needs is an Amazon account and the Amazon Go app on their mobile device.

Now, Amazon has now expanded the concept into a much larger format called ‘Amazon Go Grocery’ in Seattle. With 10,400 square feet of space, the new Amazon Go Grocery store carries a larger amount of products, including fresh produce, meat, seafood, baker items, and household essential. The store also carries pre-made meals plus beer, wine, and spirits. The ‘just walk out’ technology is the same as Amazon Go, and uses the same app on mobile devices.

ne allows the entire family to shop together. Any item taken will be added to the account of the shopper who entered them. However, Amazon warns shoppers that if they grab an item from a top shelf to help another customer, they will be charged for it.

The stores have employees on-site to greet shoppers, restock shelve, answer questions, and help customers. However, cashier-less stores are coming under scrutiny from advocates and lawmakers who say these stores discriminate against people who do not have credit cards or bank accounts. (Amazon did change its policies to allow customers to pay with cash at its convenience stores and says the same will be true at the grocery store.)

Let’s go get groceries!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much time do they estimate they spend in check-out lines on a store visit?
  2. How does this new concept fit with Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods?
  3. Information on the stores can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011
  4. Show video of the new store: https://youtu.be/lTzPpAbjasA
  5. What are the students’ opinions?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team list advantages and disadvantages of the new format.
  7. Does this technology have uses in other places?
  8. Does the technology give a competitive advantage to Amazon in the grocery industry?

Source: Associated Press; other news sources

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Movies and Music for Cats and Dogs

Worried that your pet doesn’t get enough stimulation when you are gone during the day? Does your cat or dog just sleep the day away, seem bored or anxious? Then pet TV and music might be just what Spot and Kitty need.

Yes, there are now movies and special music playlists, plus audio books, just for the pets in our lives. Even pet owners seem transfixed by the new services; both humans and pets seem to find it meditative and calming.

Some of the offerings include:

  • Amazon Prime has a number of streaming videos that feature birds, squirrels, and other creatures in their outdoor habitats. The sounds and motion make it seem that it is all happening just outside our windows.
  • Audible collaborated with famed “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan to highlight books for dog listening.
  • Spotify has playlists created just for dogs, cats, and owners, as well as My Dog’s Favourite Podcast. Spotify also offers music for iguana, hamsters, and birds.
  • DogTV offers a subscription streaming service developed specifically for a dog’s sight (color) and hearing (no startling sounds).
  • And, don’t forget about YouTube which hosts thousands of videos that may appeal to pets.

By all accounts, the pet products industry is growing by leaps and bounds, accounting for an estimated $70+ billion in purchases of toys, food, and supplies last year in the U.S.

Rock on!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has pets? Do these pets watch TV or listen to music?
  2. Divide students into teams – include pet owners in each team. List the items that are purchased for pets during the year.
  3. Show pet video/music sites:
  1. Assign each team one of the above sites to examine.
  2. How should these be marketed to pet owners?

Source: Advertising Age; New York Times

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