NBC Got Away with It… You Can’t

March 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

by Mike

Senor Bob’s Pathetic Olympic Adios
This past Sunday, the 2010 Winter Games came to an end. After all the pomp and circumstance, NBC ended its coverage of the games with a whimper. Despite the spectacle of a humorous, self deprecating closing ceremony (I love the Canadian style) still going on in the background, Señor Bob Costas unceremoniously and abruptly signed off as though he were anchoring a second-rate, local news program. Then, to add to the ridiculousness of it all, NBC desperately diverted this massive audience to a new Jerry Seinfeld show that is likely to last as long as his Microsoft endorsement.

“Who are these people?”  These people, ladies and gentlemen, are much more focused on cutting corners rather than providing a superior user experience for their viewers.

As a result, 73% of the feedback on their coverage was overwhelmingly negative. I didn’t just poll the guys on Tony D’s bowling team for this data, it’s based on 20,000 tweet and 5,700 blog posts and forum comments.

Just because NBC got away with it, doesn’t mean you will
Despite the missteps, NBC’s viewership was through the roof, even beating American Idol. So, how’d they do it? The $900 million investment bought them exclusive rights to the Olympic coverage. Therefore, viewers that wanted to watch Apolo Ohno go for his eighth medal had nowhere else to go than The Peacock. (By the way, if my parents had ever signed me up for short track lessons, I’m convinced that I’d have been one hell of a skater). Unfortunately for you, your travelers can tune into another station to watch a 500 meter race against the Korean rivals. It’s your job to keep them from picking up that remote and flipping through the channels.

It’s all about the user experience
If you provide business travelers with an inferior and unfriendly tool, they’ll bail faster than Bode Miller on the slalom course. They’ll call the TMC directly, or worse; they may book on a consumer travel site or directly from a supplier’s site. Either way, you can kiss your adoption, access to data and negotiated rates goodbye.

So, how do you end up on the medal stand? A travel professional recently posed this same question on NBTA’s LinkedIn discussion group. One response suggested “mandate”. I cringed. Steven Mandelbaum, Managing Director for Information Systems at The Advisory Board, and a 2009 BTN Top Practitioner then offered up the following advice.  “Provide a tool travelers want to use. For instance, does the booking automatically go onto the travelers’ calendar so they don’t have to worry about it (not simply an ical attachment for them to save to the calendar). For air do they get notified of air cancellations, gate changes, etc. Is there a mobile tool? Are there negotiated rates or fares that they cannot get elsewhere (often with hotels, the answer is no)?

If the booking tool makes their life easier travelers will use it, even without a mandate. If there is no incentive, then travelers will migrate to easier or better tools. Even with a mandate, if the tool isn’t very good travelers will find a way around it — they always do.” That’s some powerful insight from a medal winner, I wonder if BTN gives out some sort of trophy.

Coincidentally, we’re pulling together a webinar on March 16th, which will cover this topic.  Adoption without a Mandate — Henry Harteveldt from Forrester and SAS’s travel manager will be sharing additional best practices.  Join us and learn what your travelers really want. It’s free and anyone can sign up here.

That’s all for now.  “Hey hoser, I gotta take a leak, eh!”

Entry filed under: Mike's musings, Social Media, User Experience. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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