Mapping the future: Comparing business and travel perceptions

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Wellington, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand (Wikipedia)

Yesterday, Vivian and I worked with our calendars and computers to map out our itinerary for a week in New Zealand next February. In many respects the Internet has made this process much easier than in the “old days” — with many more choices.

I can imagine the challenges of taking on the same task a couple of decades ago; relying on printed guidebooks (often out of date) and travel agents, who would presumably need to communicate reservations and bookings by fax or telex.

As we explored our options, we decided on a four-day story at an AirBNB location in Auckland, followed by a road trip south to the country’s capital (at the southern end of the country’s North Island) Wellington, before flying from there to Melbourne, Australia for the last phase of our Pacific Ocean journey. (It will begin mid in January with a 28-day cruise from Los Angeles).

Our decisions were influenced by price (clear savings with AirBNB compared to any decent hotel), recommendations (user reviews really count for a lot in travel), and my specialized knowledge about Air Canada’s Aeroplan program and the Star Alliance. (Singapore Airlines operates a “fifth freedom” route between Wellington and Melbourne and the ‘points cost’ for a business class ticket on this four-hour flight is comparative to a business class transcontinental award ticket.)

We still have some holes to fill in the schedule, including where to stay for our three days in Wellington, our Australian land travel plans, and our flight to return to Auckland and final night’s stay there — before we head home in early March through another Aeroplan award ticket. (This one is the bargain of a lifetime, with the total cash cost for the lengthy flights at $44.00 in taxes and fees).

Undoubtedly, the Internet has reshaped the travel industry’s rules — as it has clearly changed the publishing world. We still print a very small number of physical copies of our publications, but virtually everything we do including our new “construction trade newspaper” — Ontario Construction News — is digital.

But what about the construction industry and its marketing/business practices?

There are plenty of studies that indicate that the construction sector is among the slowest to adapt/introduce new technologies — but when it finally catches on, the changes are profound; and there are indications that the biggest disruption — with integrated modular building enterprises — is yet to truly hit the industry.

In part, this is because traditions die hard. Yet the opportunities can be incredible for any of us who are willing to look to the future and integrate the new opportunities with current practices.

Our new daily newspaper publication, for example, is based on recent Ontario provincial legislation that updated the former Construction Lien Act to incorporate new prompt payment and adjudication provisions.

The legislation drafters decided that the 80s era publication notification rules for Certificate of Substantial Performance (CSP) notifications — important in setting the clock for the construction lien filing/holdback return provisions — would remain virtually the same, though they removed the specific notification wording from the statute and added it to the regulations. And the regulators decided to add two words “or digital” to the definition of the word “newspaper” — giving my business the opportunity to compete directly against a long-established Ontario construction trade newspaper publisher, which had an incredibly lucrative (and legislatively mandated) monopoly for these mandatory CSP ads.

We’re making the publication work with digital efficiency coupled with old-style newspaper publishing knowledge, as we gradually chip into the formerly monopoly market and contractors discover they can save about half their CSP notice advertising costs (which for larger contractors or commercial renovators with many projects through the year can reach tens of thousands of dollars).

The point here is that we need to look carefully at our digital strategies, especially for marketing and business operations, and capture new opportunities and money-efficiency savings. When we do, we can plan for more enjoyable pursuits, such as viewing the ocean from hilltop accommodations in Wellington.

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