Wednesday 30 November 2011

Mobile Social Networking Is On the Rise

Ever been bored on your commute to work and checked your favourite social networks on your phone?  If so, you are not the only one.
The prolific rise of smartphones has led to more and more consumers accessing popular social networking sites on the move.  It’s a key trend that’s only set to grow in popularity as access to smartphones and the necessary technology continue to improve.
A recent study by comScore found that in September 2011, more than 60 per cent of those surveyed posted status updates on their mobile devices.
Mobile social networking users also engaged with brands on their mobile devices, as 44.3 per cent reported reading posts from organisations, brands, or events, and a similar percentage (41.6 per cent) reported reading posts from public figures or celebrities.
This represents an interesting key shift in consumer behaviour.  Social media users are more comfortable than ever before in sharing information about their lives, and also expect instantaneous access to information and purchasing no matter where they are in the world.
Travel brands in particular should also be aware the increasing trend to watch video via tablet and mobile platforms.    A report by VideoMind Video Index found that, on average, tablet viewers watched videos nearly 30 per cent longer than when watching on their desktop — and were more than twice as likely to complete an entire video.
Video is known to increase conversions dramatically for travel brands.  It would therefore be very worthwhile for travel brands to consider the importance of video when planning their mobile strategies.
Want to find out more?  We’ll be discussing these key and more at EyeforTravel’s upcoming Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, March 5-6, San Francisco.  Click here for more info or feel free to email me – .

Monday 21 November 2011

Nominate your brand for the Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards

Does your brand have an innovative mobile strategy?  We all know that mobile is going to play a vital role in future travel customer communications yet our recent research found that only 38% of travel brands have a basic mobile friendly website.

At EyeforTravel, we believe that those brands who are investing their valuable time and resources to drive forward successful mobile strategies (and pave the path for others to follow) should be rewarded.

 EyeforTravel’s inaugural Mobile Innovation in Travel awards will take place in San Francisco, March 5-6.   The categories are :-
  • Best Mobile Travel App
  • Best Mobile Website
  • Best Mobile Strategy

Make sure you nominate your favorite brand online now (before December 30th).

Good luck!

By Gina Baillie

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Tablets Top Holiday Consumer Wish Lists

When the iPad first launched in January 2010 I have to admit I was a little sceptical about the concept of the tablet.  Why did we need them?

Less than 2 years later and they’re a must-have item.  According to recent research by PriceGrabber posted on, 79% of consumers would rather receive a tablet than a laptop this holiday season.

Amazon, Nokia, Samsung, HP, Dell and more, all have launched their own often more affordable tablets allowing tablets to not just be for the higher income consumer.

There are well over 100,000 apps for the iPad but many brands have been slow to release apps for tablets for a number of reasons -  namely cost and uncertainty of market reach.  Like mobile apps, it’s no longer just a question of designing for one operating system.  With Amazon’s Kindle taking tablet apps for Android mainstream, it would be foolish not to research the pros and cons of designing for other OS also.

But how are travel brands progressing with reaching the tablet user? 

At EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing & Social Media in Travel Summit earlier this autumn in Amsterdam, Adam Goldstein, Co-Founder & CEO, Hipmunk shared his advice on apps.  Hipmunk successfully launched their first iPad app earlier this year.

Adam suggested –
  •  Not to do a tablet app by itself – the tablet market will not outgrow mobile
  •  If you have a mobile website and a tablet app then not having a mobile app too would be a mistake
  • Don’t forget to regularly update your mobile and tablet apps – it may be a reoccurring expense but it’s worth it to continue consumer engagement and usage
  •  Consider the marketing of your app – if done correctly having a tablet app can lead to free PR and increased brand awareness

Other points which travel brands should consider is the fact that tablets can handle more rich media than mobile apps.   They are often used in the more ‘fun’ research and planning stages of the consumer travel lifecycle.  This makes them a great platform to inspire and engage customers (I’ve found research on conversion to be too limited to comment at this stage).

What’s also interesting is the opportunity for travel brands to use tablets in other innovative ways.   For example, more and more travel brands are using tablets during the actual travel experience. 

British Airways recently piloted a scheme to give cabin crew iPads to handle passenger management in-flight, allow crew to identify where each customer is sitting, their Executive Club status and any special meal requirements, and also to give them a “greater understanding” of previous travel arrangements.

In the hospitality space, Design Hotels’ Eccleston Square hotel in London was the first hotel to have an iPad in every room.  The iPads are used to control the room temperature, lights and curtain control, in-room dining orders, restaurant booking, spa reservations, housekeeping, as well as information about the hotel and the local area.  

With other hotels and travel brands looking to follow suit, I think we can safely say the tablet is here to stay!

If you’re a travel brand who has had a successful experience of working with tablets then let me know!  Email

By Gina Baillie

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Taking the Guesswork Out of Social Media and Mobile Strategies

I recently conducted a survey of over 500 APAC travel brands to find out what’s keeping social and mobile marketers up at night. The findings show that despite 68% of companies claiming to have deployed mobile and social media initiatives, more than half admit that they are unsure how to ‘define, achieve and measure success’

Despite recognising the benefits and potential of both of these enfants terribles  in the online travel industry, marketers were frustrated by a lack of practical know-how, fear of failure and the diaspora of social and mobile channels, platforms and analytical tools to gauge success.

One respondent hits the nail right on the head:

‘For all its potential, social media keeps me up at night… It feels a little bit like jumping in at the deep-end without arm-bands and being expected to swim like Michael Phelps ’

And yet, some brands are making good gains and even ROI through such experimentation;

‘Airlines have already started driving distribution through social media - be it Delta selling tickets through Facebook or jetBlue clearing distressed inventory through flash-sales on @jetBlueCheeps. To sustain the growth in the number of fans and activity, airlines need to dedicate significant resources and execute well on the strategy, to make social media work for the business," says Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying, a leading airline brand strategy firm.

It’s a similar story with mobile; 85% of respondents claimed that mobile is an essential strategic consideration in 2012, but in stark contrast only 24% had clear-cut strategic roadmaps and budgets in place.  Lack of resources and knowing where to invest (apps, HTML5, Android vs. iOS, smartphone or Tablet?) were the most cited obstacles.

Whilst these results are perhaps unsurprising, what they do reveal is a fundamental gap in know-how and best practice. Companies realize the importance and potential benefits but are unsure how to deploy and execute ‘successful’ social and mobile campaigns.

So I’ve teamed up with leading industry experts from Malaysia Airlines, SimpliFlying and Abacus and will be conducting a free webinar on Wednesday the 23rd November to address precisely these challenges.

This 45 minute webinar; Drive Real Engagement and ROI from your Mobile & Social Strategies, will serve as a practical ‘how-to’ manual  to launch and ensure successful mobile and social media campaigns for your travel brand.

The Webinar is completely free to join or download – Find out more and book your place here! 

Use the hastag #tdsasia on Twitter.


Marco Saio