I recently returned from Buenos Aires. We try to go every year to spend time with my wife’s family; however, we didn’t make the trip in 2012 so it’d been two years since our last visit.
Like all vibrant cities, a lot can change in a couple years. Some of the changes I noticed included less people smoking in public places and the existence of more bicycle lanes along the edge of city streets.
I’d have called both of these “healthy changes” if I weren’t so skeptical about the safety of biking in such close proximity to Buenos Aires drivers.
Another noticeable change is the expansion of Starbucks in the city. That one can see Argentines in these shops is a testament to the power of Starbucks’ brand and “place making,” as Buenos Aires is definitely not a city in need of help on the coffee front. Fantastic, more-reasonably-priced coffee is available all over the place.
I also observed two changes related to digital marketing.
First, and not surprising given worldwide trends, is how widespread mobile Internet usage has become. (Including by my 60-something in-laws who now regularly use their phones to access information on the go).
Second, unlike two years ago, I saw TripAdvisor decals in the front windows of many hotels and restaurants.
The decals are a tangible reflection of TripAdvisor’s rapidly growing popularity around the world.
I saw most of the TripAdvisor decals while walking around Palermo, a neighborhood that’s very popular with international tourists. So the decals may foremost be valued as a way to generate business from North American and British tourists.
But even if that’s indeed the main motivation for Argentine venue managers to post TripAdvisor logo decals today, the decals themselves also serve as great brand-awareness and brand-prestige builders for the local audience. Palermo is full of high-end stores and restaurants and is popular with many locals as a fun place to eat, drink and hangout. TripAdvisor has the good fortune of having its brand name and distinctive logo visible on numerous storefronts in a fashionable neighborhood
TripAdvisor has been on a tear — gaining market share in countries around the world and seeing its stock price increase over 45% year to date. In Buenos Aires its growth is openly noticeable, like the spread of Starbucks. But unlike Starbucks, the TripAdvisor brand name is being posted by others, rent-free.