Facebook Travel – Tutorial Game
The Facebook Travel tutorial game is positioned as the first of the eleven chapters that made up Facebook Travel, chapter 14 on www.s-world.biz.The Tutorial Game was intended to be the first steps into gaining a Facebook travel job, contract, franchise or opportunity, introducing and teaching the user in what is required to be successful.
Whilst this chapter was written around Facebook, most of its content was inspired by the plans for Experience Africa, considered daily for close to a decade. To avoid confusion from here on in, I shall refer to the Facebook Travel as S-World Travel.
The general idea behind S-World Travel was to give individuals the power of a travel agency, including the business tools, websites, marketing and client enquiries. Holiday makers or business travelers would have the options to choose their specific representatives based on their physical location, personal traits, their ratings from previous clients, alongside other items.
I’ll probably get stick for saying this but, for too long the travel industry has been dominated by large and small companies with agents that were poorly paid, many of whom have never been to the country they were recommending and were only recommending venues due to company policy, which was usually dictated by the greater discount offered by suitable accommodation venues, rather than a best of the best approach.
However within S-World Travel, if the vacationer or business traveler wished to visit a particular location, not only are they assured the representative they talk to has local knowledge, they could go deeper. If the traveler liked nature and scenic tours, they would pick a reprehensive who had similar passions, who may take their guests to, or advice upon, the best places to go.
A real life example would be taking a day in the Cape Town Wine lands, with over 200 different wine farms, located within 8,600 square miles (bigger than a network string, and larger than Luxemburg, Mauritius, Hong Kong and Samoa combined) and all guidebooks in general being rather non committal, or worse, bias due to advertising, a day out in the wine lands can be a very hit or miss affair. However having done the research, the answer lies within a selection of about 6 venues in Franschhoek, about 50 minutes from Cape Town, invaluable knowledge in terms of maximizing the experience for clients, available only from locals with a passions similar to their clients.
On the other hand, if the vacationer or business traveler wants to enjoy Cape Town’s nightlife, they would be better choosing an agent who’s trying to break into the film and fashion industry, as they would know where the best parties are and often arrange guest lists and invites for private villa or yacht parties.
Financially, due to the economics of the system, it made the individual representatives or agents about five fold the income earned working for an agency, and so, with the agent and the holidaymaker having similar passions and the representative receiving more money, and venues evaluated by the “per human results search engine” the holidaymakers experience would, in the vast majority of cases be significantly improved.
The tutorial gaming contingent revolved around 20 advances in travel that were to assist individual travel reps and agents in having “the power of a large travel agency” and more.
In 5 categories, the top two lines below the headers displayed advances in travel that had been made in the 21st century; the 20 below were all new, and exclusive to the S-World network. On the original webpage each advance was a web-link leading to a description and further details. For quick access follow this link: http://www.s-world.biz/FaceBook/1_The_FaceBook_Travel_Tutorial_Game.htm
Most of the advances are elaborated upon within American Butterfly in one place or another, one that has not been, was within the Customer Service section CRM (Consumer Relationship Management)
3 – Psychology tests. An extract from the original Facebook Travel chapter follows:
“Like soccer management games, there will be many hidden attributes, a staff member may seem excellent from there viewable attributes, but what you can’t see are some unwanted character problems, such as, laziness, sickly, problems with authority, dishonesty or over ambitiousness. However on the positive side of the coin potential staff could equally have good hidden characteristics such as, loyalty, hard worker, nice to be around, works out of the office well, motivator, or team player.
As mentioned, one of the main objections of the game is to get S-World Travel Reps & Agents to appreciate the new travel advances, if we take the CRM3 – Psychology Tests as an example, this particular advance can reveal the negative or positive employee traits.
However, these “Physiological tests” will only be available after playing the game for quite a while so, within ones game, by the time one has researched this technology he/she may have quite a few staff members.
As soon as the CRM3 – Psychology Test advance is researched, all the attributes of the worst traited staff member are shown, and you see how much money has been lost and how many game points he/she has lost you.
I will give an example of a test I have used many times over the years, always with surprising accuracy. To see the entire test follow this link http://www.s-world.biz/FaceBook/CRM_Psychology_Test.htm, this test in particular, would be performed at an interview to determine whether an employ has genuine excitement for the job, or if they are just looking to pay the rent. Question’s 3 & 4 tells you a lot,
3. You are on a journey, you come to the end of suburbia and in front of you is nature. Describe the nature that you see?
4. Is there a path?
If the interviewee has a thick forest without a path; they are working until something better comes along. On the other hand, an applicant who describes a flower covered meadow with a large path in the middle; will most likely be a very willing employee that sees his or her future with the company.”
Collectively the 20 advances, in particular S-World VSN (Virtual World 1 & 2) give either an individual who wished to make some extra income by becoming a solo representative or an individual that wished to create an agency, the power of a travel agent and more, actually, much more. Further, starting the candidate off in the past, so the candidate needs to earn the advances, then learn how to master them, teaches the candidate not only how to use but also how to appreciate the technology and understand why it was created.
Other significant sections within the original tutorial game chapter include:
A points system
“One can gauge overall performance easier by points, or points per day. The idea of having points is, to show long term growth, vs. short term gratification. For example spending money on add boards and mass marketing campaigns, will make more bookings and so money, but spending more time winning customers hearts, and making affiliate relationships, will, more often than not, over time, create a stronger business. By analyzing ones points per minute one can gauge ones long term strategies likelihood of success.”
An early version of territory gain
“One point to highlight in the S-World Travel Tutorial Game is that it is not simply a management game, like Football Manager or Zoo Tycoon. It is also a territory advance game, like Civilisation or Age of Empires, but instead of making an army, one battles for market share. An attack would typically involve, making a superior website in another’s area, marketing campaigns, out bidding rivals for Pay per Click’s advertising, trying to make favourable relationships directly with competitors’ suppliers or undercutting competitors’ prices.
Whilst this approach would be more fun to some gamers, in the long run, more often than not, it would not be as effective, as one would have to set up a base in the new location, which can be costly and time consuming. Diplomacy on the other hand see’s one making an alliance with a partner in the location one wishes to expand into, such actions costs little or nothing to set up, often just a few emails.
For example, if the game is started in Cape Town, South Africa, dealing with luxury villa rental, every now and again clients will wish to book a safari. Making a partnership with a safari specialist will make a good source of extra cash, if the client that enquired about a villa also books a safari. Indeed by the time one has included peripherals often there is more to be made from the Safari booking than the villa booking.
Another good example, is in considering Cape Town is for most a winter sun holiday, as such making partnerships with other suppliers of other winter holiday’s increases your chance of making bookings, should ones clients from previous year wish to try a new location, such as Australia, Thailand, Brazil or skiing in Europe or the USA. One of the main things we are looking to achieve from our S-World Travel Reps and Agents is cultivate repeat business, and develop relationships for life.
NOTE: To really maximise supplier partnerships, gamers will attempt to make reciprocal arrangements, where new partners include villas in Cape Town on their websites.
The above affiliate partnership process, whist one of the most effective ways to win the game at the beginning, becomes far simpler when the advance in marketing technology “S-Web/Free websites” opens up, this technology instantly reveal’s partners across the globe, and web site development costs are free.
In this example what we are trying to accomplish, is to get our Travel Agent to really appreciate the Free Websites technology, having respected the amount of time it takes them to develop partnerships in the game and how much extra money it made. At the same time teaching them how to use the website building engine, which builds amazing looking well researched comprehensive travel websites in areas our reps wish to represent, which can be used in real life.
General points on game play
- If the rep does not have good personal admin and financial attributes, until the finance software is researched, they will see the dreaded expense column “Other” increase rather quickly.
- From the beginning, having an excellent website and images is essential to attract customers.
- Shops and offices are often a waste of money, especially at first.
- Sales staff who excel, may leave and start rival business if they are not nurtured into partnerships or financially incentivized by, profit share or increased commission, or a status title, (Note the Psychology tests let you know what incentivization are most effective in pleasing employees)
- Trying to sue anyone is often a waste of time, expensive and time consuming.
- If the Travel Agent does not have good warm and friendly characteristics, they need to hire someone that does or the company loses repeat business.
- Stock is king, the more stock, the better chance of negotiating lower rates and the client has a better chance of the finding his dream venue.
- Developing higher discounts (STO’s) from suppliers is a good way to improve profitability.
- Getting exclusive stock so the S-World Travel Reps and Agents can affiliate market to travel companies around the world is an excellent way to improve, but mind, property management is not to be taken lightly, outsourcing the management whilst retaining exclusivity in marketing is often the best route.
- One overall factor to win the game is customer service, time spent with clients, when they arrive, during their stay and on departure (if they wish it), then after they have gone home. It will be a factor that can be easy to work out, but time consuming, until the CRM advance CRM2 – Client Gifts is available, which will send previous clients, cards and gifts on special occasions.
Creating a global travel network
On my birthday the 2nd August 2008, I woke up with the idea of how to turn the game into a real life global competition. By giving the top 8 or so winners in different locations their own travel franchise and a $100,000 start up kitty, which was hoped to come from game royalites. Where-after their progress was to be followed the via a TV reality/game show. The critical element in terms of popularity was to include one expert business person such as Sir Richard Branson helping each contestant and franchise, advising and teaching the companies. By the very nature of the exposure from the TV show all eight contestants would do well, an early example of circular events.
Unfortunately in practice, at the time it was unrealistic, who would look after and greet the clients? It would need a team of people and a lot more start up funding.
Now however within a social networking environment, instead of looking for one good rep or agent per territory, we can look for hundreds and thousands, and due to the advances, there is no need to offer start up money, training, offices…… no costs at all really, the S-World Travel Rep or Agent, being quite happy with their commission, which would be in the region of 5 times what a normal travel agent would earn often between 10% to 20% of the booking value.
By playing the game, S-World Travel Agents and Reps will be well trained in what it takes to make it in the travel businesses and have a good grounding of business in general. Plus they will be experts at using the systems, technology and advances. They will see how easy it is with our advances, to create a real business for themselves and those that wish to can apply for S-World Travel Agent or Rep positions.
If the applicant passes the interview, one simply starts the game again, but in real life with as many technical advances as are currently developed, enquiries will come to them from real life people and companies, and they get to the job of converting enquiries into bookings and treating clients like kings, but unlike the game, now whenever a rep or agent makes a booking, they get real money into there a real bank account.
Lastly, getting back to the TV reality show, now through social networking and S-World Travel Reps & Agents there is a good opportunity to launch an interesting game show, the same as before, but the S-World Travel Agent can work with S-World reps across the globe, so solving the service problem. “Who wants to be a S-World Billionaire” would be a fun title following 16 different S-World agents, all aided by a prominent business men or celebrity, in a ongoing competition to make money and please the customer, each representing a different region as mapped out here http://www.s-world.biz/FaceBook/16_Global_Territories.htm
The additional interest and coverage from such a TV show will highlight too many, the opportunities and advantages of working not only for S-World Travel, but also the many other industries that S-World and the advances can be adapted to.
Having highlighted the competition between these 16, it will make the general scoreboard of all S-World Agents & Reps more significant, a general scoreboard of all agents and reps will be available, not only does this turn their now, real life business back into a game of sorts, it also makes a perfect meeting forum, for Reps and Agents to network across the globe when they have clients going to areas they do not know, it also gives clients the opportunity to see the experience level of reps and agents.
The scoreboard will also calculate the total amount of money spent in terms of special project spending.
The concepts, Villa Mogul and the Facebook Travel Tutorial Game were innovative and offered an improvement in travel in general, from choosing agents with similar tastes to viewing venues in S-World VSN. However, as far ahead as it was in comparison to what is available within travel today, there was a large element of uncertainty in terms of territory gains, be it affiliate or conquest.
One could program the game to behave and concede at a certain point, but in real life, it does not always work out, alongside this came the consideration, that within American Butterfly we are long past considering a travel application, rather the tutorial game needed to span many or all industries, plus it needed a better name.
Enter S-World UCS, Universal Colonization Simulator, and a simple consideration…
Instead of giving construction suppliers butterfly tenders to all 256 US first phase mother networks, we could half the amount or quarter it, and in so doing the territory battle will be for the vacant lots. This territory battle was certain, well, it was certain that someone within the network would win against another. Further, in the same line, one could encourage groups and partnerships between different suppliers, to bid for the tenders.
In addition, one could make tenders not simply about price and quality, rather one could introduce a points system that ultimately made the network more efficient and encouraged behavior in line with network ideals, be it ecological ideals, philanthropic ideals or complexity saving ideals such as galactic colonization, hence the name S-World Universal Colonization Simulator.