Frederic Gonzalo lives in the beautiful Quebec City, in Canada. He has worked in the travel industry for 18 years. Early 2012, he started his own business, GONZO Marketing. We have conducted a short interview with him.
Why did you name your business 'Gonzo' and not 'gonzalo'? Is there a story behind the name?
With my family name being "Gonzalo", I received many nicknames through the years. But back in high school, there was a McDonald's promotion linked to the Muppet Show Movie, featuring baby Miss Piggy, baby Fuzzy Bear and, you guessed it: baby Gonzo. After doing something I shouldn't have in class, a teacher screamed at me saying "Baby Gonzo, time to shut up!". Needless to say, it stuck with me and I kinda like it, too!
When I started my business a little over a year ago, I did not want to go with a generic term and wanted to have a personal twist. Gonzo Marketing, it became!
How did you gather your knowledge in the tourism and hospitality industry?
I have always been in the tourism and hospitality world, ever since I entered the work force on the front line. Back in 1990, I backpacked around the world for 8 months and since then worked my way up the corporate ladder in various industry roles:
- barman & ski instructor in various Club Med resorts in the US, Caribbean and Japan
- entertainment director and PR at Valle Nevado ski resort (Chile)
- bell boy in a Marriott hotel
- reservation agent in an inbound receptive agency
- sales representative at Tremblant resort
- sales & marketing director at VIA Rail Canada, the national passenger rail company. I also worked as director of loyalty marketing & CRM
- vice-president of marketing and communications at Le Massif de Charlevoix, a ski hill turning into a full-fledged destination with touring train and on-hill lodging, just east of Quebec City.
You can actually find a good recap of my profile here: http://fredericgonzalo.com/about-frederic-gonzalo/
Who should engage you for your services? What are the range of services offered by you?
Gonzo Marketing basically provides three types of services:
- Conferences & Keynotes: I am hired often to speak about tourism & hospitality marketing, in particular as it pertains to going digital, i.e. social media strategy and concerns, web tactics, mobile, etc.
- Training: I also help clients individually to navigate the online marketing world, understanding content marketing, various types of media (earned, paid, owned), how to manage their blog or Facebook page, etc.
- Consulting: Different clients have different needs, so it can be building a yearly tactical calendar, doing an online brand audit, crafting a marketing strategy, analyzing key metrics and recommend a course of action, you name it!
In only one year as a consultant, I am pleased to have worked with a good range of industry players: destinations, hotels, associations and tour operators. So both B2B and B2C, small enterprise or bigger DMO (Destination Marketing Organization).
If you will be granted three wishes by the end of the week, what would they be and why?
One, spend a romantic getaway with my wife in of those remote straw huts in the Pacific Ocean, like Bora Bora.
Two, take a year off and travel around the world with my wife and three kids, so they can get a real-life education (They are 3, 6 & 8 right now).
Three, stop violence in general: guns, rapes, assaults, wars... really, why can't we just get along? Play John Lennon's song Imagine on your iTune and that's my 3rd wish...
Which is the most exciting and challenging web marketing project you have undertaken so far?
Before becoming a consultant, as VP Marketing for Le Massif de Charlevoix, we had just come up with the new brand and needed to launch it. We started from scratch, or almost. The ski hill's website was outdated, and we now needed to reflect the three axis reality: mountain, hotel and train.
After one year and many bumps in the road, we launched a critically acclaimed web site in the Fall of 2009, along with a Facebook page and online initiatives that were leading-edge back then.
Learning from my 3 years in that role and from the past year consulting for various clients in the industry has made me realize how important a quality content strategy now has become. It can truly be a competitive differenciator, a way to tell your brand story and gain a unique position in the market you are in. It's what I strive to accomplish now with clients I work with, and so far, so good!