Perhaps I am a tech-based version of a split personality. I am the CIO of Universal Orlando Resort, but I` m also a mother of two and the planner of our familys vacations. In fact, I think of myself first as a theme park customer; secondly as a senior leader at Universal; and finally as the companys CIO.
Recently we were brainstorming new events that would bring more Florida residents to our theme parks during off-peak tourist periods. Our in-house marketing group was pitching proposals, and I offered the idea of a Guitar Hero competition. Everyone loved it. But that idea did not come from being a CIO - it came from being a mother of two kids obsessed with the Guitar Hero video game (in which players perform as rock stars).
Thinking like our customers and focusing on our companys markets are among the most important ways we can fulfill our responsibility to contribute to informed decision-making. In todays contracting economy, it is more critical than ever for CIOs to study market trends and find ways to maximize business opportunities.
Universal Orlando is one of many brands in the travel and entertainment industry competing for discretionary dollars spent by consumers on leisure time and vacations. Our universe is broad - whether we are focusing on our home state of Florida, elsewhere within the United States, or internationally. Because our product falls into that discretionary expenditure category, we are often vulnerable to shifts in consumer confidence, and virtually any other trend that influences the economy.