Tuesday 21 February 2012

Finalists of Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards Announced

The online voting period for EyeforTravel's Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards has now closed and the finalists have been decided by the industry.
I'm excited to announce the 10 lucky finalists who will be presenting their pitches at the awards on March 5th.

Best Mobile App
  • Best Western 2 Go
  • TripAdvisor
  • Orbitz Worldwide
  • Worldmate
Best Mobile Website
  • Best Western 2 Go
  • Marina Bay Sands
  • Hotwire
Best Mobile Strategy
  • CarTrawler
  • InterContinental Hotel Group
  • TripAdvisor
They will have the chance to present their pitch to the following judges 
  • Michael Becker, North America, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association
  • Tim Gunstone, MD, EyeforTravel Ltd
  • Ricky Heath,Travel & Transportation, AT&T      
  • Glenn Gruber, AVP, Market Development, Travel Technologies, Ness Technologies

The awards will take place as part of EyeforTravel's Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, March 5-6, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco.

The program line-up can be found here - http://events.eyefortravel.com/mobile/conference-agenda.php

There are limited places still available at the event.  Email gina@eyefortravel.com for more details.

Monday 13 February 2012

Nothing says "I Love You" more than a 2 for 1 Groupon Deal

By Dr Rosie "Roses are Red" Akenhead

Today I read an article on www.nooga.com which makes a mildly bland statement: “non-traditional marketing campaigns engage consumers.” It then goes on to show a marketing campaign on one of the most traditional marketing days of the calendar year: Valentine’s Day. Call me a cynic- but I find it increasingly hard, especially in the travel industry, to see innovation in marketing around this time of year. For me, Valentine’s marketing is predictable across most retail and online industries- an awful lot of red, even more love hearts and a whole lot of 241 Pizza Expresses. Joy.

The travel industry always hits a mini peak around February 14th. Weekends away, spas, theatre, dinner, flights to city destinations: all these travel picks are winners in the Valentine money spinning roulette. Lastminute.com’s second highest search term this week is for “valentine’s hotel”. Despite the population’s obliviousness to correct grammar, it would seem that it is not so much the destination, nor the price, but it is “the valentine” aspect which is the most essential part of the search. This is interesting because it gives travel marketers a new opportunity to exploit the changing market. Historically, Valentine’s marketing was all about upselling luxury: champagne, the Eiffel tower, and definitely LadurĂ©e macaroons. In 2012, we see the deal phenomenon stand proud with Groupon offering up a “valentine’s shop”, this year with deals you couldn’t even shake a stick at, they’re that cheap. Deals which are fantastic, but not that romantic (definitely not if you know it was bought on Groupon, right?) Similarly, Hotels.com is straight on the bandwagon for Valentine’s marketing and the key theme all-round is DEALS. Cheap, save 50%, get XYZ free…

So, to conclude: the Valentine market is changing rapidly: it is about absolutely everything. It’s about deals, it’s about luxury, it’s about swagger, it’s about timeless classics, it’s about, “take your Mum instead,” or, “a weekend away with the girls.” However, most importantly, it’s about making sure you do something, anything, right or wrong, cheap or expensive, for Valentine’s Day, because it’s Valentine’s.

As a test, we’ve decided to run our own Valentine’s competition, where, if you register on Feb 14th for TDS Europe 2012, 1 person in every 10 registrations we receive will get their pass COMPLETELY FREE!

It’s nothing to do with hearts, you will not see any red coloured twinkling birds on our website, and we promise no pictures of couples canoodling in a Jacuzzi in Dubai. What you will get, is 90 speakers, 36 conference sessions, and a couple of fab networking parties, and possibly your pass for free!

Buy your pass here https://secure.firstconf.com/travel/travel-distribution-summit-europe-2012/register.asp and if you tweet, use both hashtags #tdseurope #b2bvalentines

Thursday 9 February 2012

Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards Judges Announced!

Investing valuable time and resources in mobile is a big decision and a much discussed theme in the industry right now.  At a travel industry conference in London this week, a Google representative revealed that eBay makes over $2 billion a year in mobile revenues – not bad! 

Travel lends itself to mobile easily and yet as an industry we’ve been fairly slow to adopt it.  Many of the travel brands who have taken the mobile leap are now reaping the rewards. 

The pitfalls however can be huge.  Mobile investment is not cheap and it can fail.  It’s important to ensure that the mobile strategy you take is right for your consumer base – and your brand.
EyeforTravel’s Mobile Innovation in Travel awards seeks to award the trailblazers in the mobile in travel space and will take place in San Francisco, March 5th .

We’re pleased to announce the judges for the awards to be
  • Michael Becker, North American, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association
  • Ricky Heath, Travel & Transportation, AT & T
  • Glenn Gruber, AVP, Market Development, Travel Technologies, Ness Technologies
  • Tim Gunstone, MD, EyeforTravel Ltd
The awards will be chaired by John T. Peters, VP/GM Digital Strategy, Rand McNally.

Voting is currently taking place online to decide who the lucky 9 finalists who will present at the event to the panel of judges will be.  Don’t forget to cast your vote for your favorite mobile initiative here

For more information about the awards (held as part of EyeforTravel’s Mobile Strategies for Travel conference, March 5-6) visit - http://events.eyefortravel.com/mobile/

Wednesday 8 February 2012

How Mobile and Social Media Are Influencing New Business Models in the Travel Space

For some time now, we’ve been documenting how travel industry players have been using social media and more recently mobile, to communicate with their customers.

With technological change comes in innovation and in recent weeks, we've been exploring the new business models that are arising in the travel and hospitality space which have been facilitated by new mediums of communication. 

In partnership with Josiah MacKenzie, ReviewPro, we have produced a case study detailing how New York’s Roger Smith Hotel is using social media and mobile technology to monetize their hotel space to up-sell, cross-sell and draw in the wider community.

Known for their innovative approach to social media, the hotel pioneered the concept of social hospitality which extends beyond just the visitors that stay in your hotel and into the wider community.  This concept has enabled them to turn their property into a hub of creativity.

With this in mind they are now taking advantage of key developments in mobile to evolve their business model to focus on retail and e-commerce.  

Find out more in the full case study which is free to download here

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Is Trust the New Battlefield For Success in Online Travel?

Without trust capitalism fails. That’s quite a big statement but if you can’t measure how big a risk someone is, you can’t lend them money to start a business.  

Since 2008, the established trust measurers have proved horribly faulty and the result is the worst recession since the 1930s. However a certain type of business is bucking the trend and gaining incredible levels of growth and most importantly market share. Interestingly,  the companies that are succeeding are not relying on the old measurements of trust.

I am referring to the likes of Task Rabbit, Zopa and the Lending Club. They are the collaborative marketplaces that are linking complete strangers together to do something the human race has done forever, trade, barter and do business. There are many business models behind these marketplaces but the key is the use of mobile, social and payment technologies to engender trust. The results are people renting their cars, beds, money, sports good, skills and time to complete strangers.

It seems that the risks for all the participants are considerably lower than between big business and consumers. This can be best identified in social lending default rates. They are tiny compared to the default rates of credit card companies and even existing high street banks. Either Fight Club’s rule “Don’t steal if there is an identifiable victim” is being listened too or that the openness of the social networked world is driving the hujman race to be more trustworthy and more trusting.

The travel industry is very well represented in this space and after a brief examination of what's out there I would guess must make up nearly half of these emerging marketplaces. Gidsy, HouseTrip, AirBnb, Wimdu and even the granddaddy of them all  Couchsurfing are great examples and it's time the travel indsurty took them seriously!

This is a fast growing business model. Rachel Botsman, a thought leader in this space, reports that Zopa, a peer-to-peer lending company has experienced 62% growth from 2010 -2011, Task Rabbit has taken 4.3 Billion dollars of transactions since it launched in 2008. Airbnb (which was valued at a billion dollars) grew by 1002% in a year and tonight more people will stay in Airbnb accommodation in New York than in a hotel…

The question is - what should you, as a online travel industry expert, do?  Do you compete, copy or give up in the face of one of such a fast growing business model?

This will be debated at our April show in London. We have Wimdu, AirBnb, Gidsy and Housetrip speaking so come along and meet the innovators. www.eyefortravel.com/tds