in⋅te⋅gra⋅tion [in-ti-grey-shuh]- "an act or instance of combining into an integral whole."
I've lived on the east coast for three years now. In that time I have yet to replace my vacation destination of choice: Hawaii. It's not that I haven't thought of it. I've just had other priorities thus far (Disneyworld, for example).
There are several likely candidates to evaluate and consider: Jamaica, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands. And in fact the plan is to actually choose one and vacation there next summer (for you marketing folks, we're in the "consideration" phase of the marketing funnel for travel). So it should be no surprise that the content on page 13 of last Sunday's New York Times caught my eye (to be clear, this is the front section of a Sunday New York Times).
One of the (I think) preeminent resorts in the Bahamas, Atlantis, took out a full page color advertisement touting its newest promotion: rooms starting at $99 per night (I am sure subject to the standard stuff- availability, black out dates, etc.). But wait- there's more! Free dolphin experience! Free golfing! Free Nobu! Martinis and margaritas... free! Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?
So like anyone in the modern world, I went to my home computer and jumped on my browser to go to the Atlantis website to better understand the details of this possibly great promotion. When I got to the homepage for the Bahamas property I am immediately faced with two options for finding the details that I seek (for you marketing folk, see how I am quickly trying to move thru the marketing funnel?). First, in the top level navigation I see a "Special Offers" option. And lower on the right of same page I see a rotating set of three "Special Offers".
To the right you see one of the three rotating special offers promoted on the home page, the one that specifically calls out room rates. Hmmmm.... seems to be $199, not $99. I wonder if it is a differentpromotion? Neither of the other two rotating items promoted $99 accommodations... maybe the promotion I saw in the New York Times is not in effect yet. Doubt is creeping into my mind, Atlantis...
Wait, before I get all negative on Atlantis, the preeminent vacation spot in the Bahamas, the company that took out a FULL PAGE COLOR AD IN THE SUNDAY NEW YORK TIMES PROMOTING A $99 ROOM RATE, let's go back to the top level navigation and click on "Special Offers".
Okay, there's one more option for me before I lose hope. At the bottom of the ad was the link to the Atlantis Facebook page. Maybe I'll find something there that gives me some hope of finding information on the $99 room rate.
Nope... $199 yet again.
So let's summarize where we are, ladies and gentlemen. I am a consumer who has interest in vacationing in the Bahamas. I have the interest and the means to take my family there. I love tropical vacationing as evidenced by the frequent trips to Hawaii over the past decade.
I have the impression that the Atlantis resort is of the highest caliber. When I come across a promotion by the Atlantis that promotes rooms for as low as $99 in a full page color advertisement in a Sunday New York Times I take full notice. But more importantly, I take action towards learning more. I went to the Atlantis website seeking details and, if to my liking, I would have booked my 2010 summer vacation... right then and there.
The information on the Atlantis homepage disputes the information the advertisement promoted. The information on the "Special Offers" page contradicts the information the advertisement promoted. The information on the Atlantis Facebook page is in conflict with the information the advertisement promoted.
I am now fully annoyed. Partially because, yes, I can't get the damn information that I am seeking. But also because the marketer in me (and quite frankly, common sense) makes me want to pull out my (still existing) hair because of such ridiculous, avoidable shenanigans. Why a company with the reputation of Atlantis, let alone any firm run by grown-ups, would invest in such a high profile and costly ad and then not build the proper level of integration is absolutely beyond me. This is not advanced marketing principles here, people, this is common sense.
Ah, yes. For those of you who looked at the full page color ad above and are saying to yourself "hey, smart ass, why didn't you simply call the phone number on the ad?" To you I say- I did. They were closed. They were closed on the day that they took out a full page color ad in the Sunday front section of the New York Times.