film inspired tourism creates attention, interest, desire, and action
After visiting the Abbey Road crosswalk we had some time on our hands and decided to visit Portobello Road, which runs through Notting Hill. We caught the tube to Notting Hill Gate tube station. If Abbey Road was more for me then this exploration of shops in Portobello Road was more for Anna. Some may be familiar with Portobello Road from Disney’s Bedknob and Broomsticks movie, released in 1971; it is a perennial favourite of children you may even know the lyrics … Portobello Road, Portobello Road, Street where the riches of ages are stowed, anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold off the barrow in Portobello road. You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road.
We had a coffee and a cake at the Farm Girl Café and then descended down the hill to explore the Portobello Road shops and markets. We wandered through Alice’s antique shop looked at the signs, and crockery, and stuff, discovered a number of well presented stores.
Notting Hill is also the name of a romantic comedy featuring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. In the movie, released in 1999, Anna Scott [Julie Roberts] is a film star and enters William Thacker’s [Hugh Grant] travel bookstore, she is recognised by William’s off-sider and Hugh Grant does that ‘trademark’ being awkward with silly faces, a little stuttering, nevertheless, with perfect diction. Later they bump into each other, William spills coffee over her, she goes to his flat to get cleaned up [as superstars do], later rings him and asks him to meet her at The Ritz …. Oh, I forgot to mention that that the movie also features a hapless character named ‘Spike’ [Rhys Ifans] the flatmate who appears on William’s doorstep in his briefs only to be photographed by the paparazzi [who have tracked Anna Scott to William’s flat].
After a little exploring we found the book store that was the inspiration for the Travel Book Co [the bookstore in the movie]. It is a great bookstore and it was easy to see why it was selected. We chatted to the staff who were delightful. They patiently answered my questions. Have you noticed how people who work in bookstore are, generally, very pleasant? We purchased a few postcards. They told us about where we should visit and then gave us directions to the famous blue door of William’s flat. They mentioned that many of the visitors to their bookstore were inspired by the movie and that even after all this time there many references to the movie in Google, which, they mentioned ‘coincidentally commenced in September 1998 around the same time as the movie’. We were not the only film tourists that day nor the only ones that had a selfie in front of the blue door. A little later were asked directions to the Travel Book Co and happily chatted and shared stories.
As we traveled it became apparent that film inspired tourism influences the traveler’s decision making process far more than I initially realised.
We wandered through streets, noticed the number of people, of many ages, who were taking advantage of the weather and riding bicycles to work or to the shops. A little later we found a great ice cream shop, coincidently another Morelli’s [there was another at Covent Gardens], we had an interesting chat with a chap from Zambabwe – he said that Morelli’s has been recognised as the best ice-cream in the world; with 5 generations of ice-cream makers, and was ‘authentic Italian ice-cream’. As a marketer, and an interest in personal selling, I always find it a pleasure to meet a salesperson so passionate about their products, brands, and organisation. Needless to say, we ended up having an ice-cream, and, yes it was most enjoyable. As I enjoy my ice-cream in Portobello Road, I am aware of the importance of the people component of a product and the importance of the service provider’s disposition. From a marketing perspective ‘disposition’ could be thought of as the functional, social, emotional, and spiritual qualities that naturally influence a service provider’s way of thinking, feeling, and acting during a service encounter. Creating a marketing culture requires a great deal of effort.
We then caught a cab and had a quick look at Little Venice, put in on our list for the next time we visit London and went back to our hotel to get read for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Given that this was our last night in London, and after a day of sightseeing, we were quite hungry, we went to The Regency Café. It was still busy but less busy for diner than breakfast, we met Claudia’s husband Alistair, and had a nice chat. Then down into the underground and a tube to Covent Gardens and a fifteen minute walk to the theatre. The musical was better than we expected and we were grateful to the Norfolk couple we met outside the Ritz London.
Within themarketingconcept [e-book] the metaphor of business as theatre is described and this was certainly apparent after a day in Notting Hill and then the musical. After the show we walked down to Trafalgar Square, hoping to catch a cab – but I guess we didn’t try to hard and we soon found ourselves taking a long walk back to our Hotel and taking in some of the key sites of London. It had been a long day and by the time we arrived back at our hotel my feet were aching