Every company has to grow and change with the times, but it’s even more vital when you’re in the internet biz. In a few short years, we went from using AOL and dial-up to Facebook and high-speed modems. Reinvention isn’t an option, it’s essential.
MapQuest spent the last 16 years helping people find their way. But now, everyone has a GPS system in their car or their phone and when we do look up an address online, we expect more than just turn-by-turn directions. So MapQuest reinvented itself as a travel discovery engine not just for actual travelers but for armchair travelers, too.
In November of 2012, they introduced MapQuest Discover. It’s Pinterest for places.
Visitors are encouraged to build their own boards either by uploading photos of their favorite places, or creating a travel wish list by reposting the photos they’ve found on the site. I’m not a big traveler, but after a few minutes on the site, I wanted to go places and see new things like Cadillac Ranch!
I wonder how much it would cost to go there? Is it a long flight? Can I find a reasonably priced hotel in the area?
Thanks to this newly formed partnership, visitors to MapQuest Discover will be able to book travel right from the page. It’s a smart move. There’s no better time to sell someone on a service than when they’re emotionally invested and excited.
MapQuest is also beta testing a travel blogging tool. You upload your photos and memories from the road and the software pulls it all together with a mapping tool.
Each stop is a “chapter” so people can follow your adventures and then use your experience to help plan their own trip.
MapQuest is also working on a photo book tool so you can create a hard copy of your travel blog. Sure beats scrapbooking.
The Timely Takeaway
Reinvention isn’t about throwing in the towel and coming back with a new idea. It’s about taking what you do well and expanding into new frontiers. It could mean developing a companion app or making your current website more social. It could mean opening your business to a different kind of clientele, or creating a sister site with a slight shift in branding.
The second thing to think about is partnerships. MapQuest wanted to move further into the digital travel field. They could have built their own booking engine but partnering with a known brand was smarter and it had to be cheaper. Sure, they have to share the revenue and credit but it sounds like a win-win to me.
Is there a brand that you could partner with? A company that sells complimentary services but isn’t a competitor? Hair salons hook up with wedding planners. Book sellers partner with authors. A bike company partners with a company that sells trail mix. What do your customers need that you don’t sell? Find someone who can fill that need and make them an offer.
The time for reinvention is here. What can you do to make your company more relevant in 2013? That’s your homework for next week.