Voice interaction is changing the face of travel marketing – Travolution.co.uk

call centreWe all want to acquire new customers and gain the loyalty of existing ones – but what is really the key to achieving this? Travel brands are increasingly focusing on the digital journey to support the customer objective, but this does not help anything if the offline customer journey is ignored. It’s not just all about online interactions; there is still a real value in doing business over the phone.

It makes sense to focus on online, especially as in 2013, 72% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. The constant evolution within social media have dragged businesses’ attention to social and digital platforms. However, when it comes to actual conversions, 65% of businesses consider phone calls to be their highest-quality lead source. This is where the human side of the customer journey comes into play and the point at which the voice can make or break the sale.

travolutionvia Guest Post: Voice is changing the face of travel marketing – Travolution.co.uk.

Skyscanner aims to challenge Baidu in the Chinese travel market – Telegraph

Edinburgh-based company acquires local start-up Youbibi to gain foothold in domestic travel comparison

bai_1950695bBaidu is China’s Google, dominating general web search and competing in many specialist search markets Photo: REUTERS

By Christopher Williams, Technology, Media and Telecoms Editor

Skyscanner, the British flight search company, aims to challenge Baidu, the dominant Chinese web search engine, with the acquisition of Youbibi, a local domestic travel price comparison start-up

The deal will see Youbibi’s 20-strong team, based in Shenzen, come under the control of Skyscanner’s existing Chinese operation in Beijing.

Skyscanner, based in Edinburgh, said the acquisition will provide mostly expertise in product development and domestic travel. Youbibi’s search receives only 100,000 visitors per month, roughly a tenth of Skyscanner’s Chinese website.

skyscanner_logoAndy Sleigh, Skyscanner’s general manager for Asia, said: “It’s primarily and engineering workforce. Our team in Beijing is primarily a sales and marketing workforce.”Skyscanner refused to disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

Like Skyscanner, Youbibi specialises in ‘metasearch’, or searching comparison sites. It is focused on the Chinese domestic tourism market, which the central government last year said it would make a development priority over the next seven years. Chinese travellers will spend $75bn online in 2017, according to estimates by iResearch.

Steven Pang, Youbibi’s chief executive, said: “We are proud of the technology that we have developed and, by bringing this together on our platform with Skyscanner’s global flight expertise, we believe we can create a really exciting travel search tool for all Chinese travellers.”

Skyscanner established its Beijing operation in 2012 via a deal with Baidu, which controls about four fifths of the Chinese web search market. The British company provides Baidu with international flight price comparison data.

Its push into the domestic market with Youbibi will put it in direct competition with Qunar, Baidu’s own domestic travel search tool.

via Skyscanner aims to challenge Baidu in the Chinese travel market – Telegraph.

Content marketing key for travel businesses leveraging Google – TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News

Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2014, Singapore, May 29,

2014 TRAVEL companies must begin to think of themselves as content publishers to survive Google’s landmark shift to a semantic search algorithm.

Speaking yesterday at the EyeforTravel Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2014, Bronwyn White, director of MyTravelResearch.com, said: “Search is the one constant tool that travellers use in every stage of the path to purchase. “Semantic search is an algorithm that uses true meaning, intent and context to identify and prioritise websites with relevant content to the user.”

Google

Google (Photo credit: warrantedarrest)

Google now does this by drawing on a user’s personal information including geographic location, previous search history and social media behaviour. “Because search results are now highly personalised, we’re no longer chasing the holy grail of page one on Google, but people who are potentially really interested in what we say and do,” White noted. “If your content is likeable and shareable, Google says: ‘Hey! You must be an expert on your topic, we’ll trust you.’ Search engines will increase your authority ranking and will more likely present your page when users are looking for a related topic,” she elaborated.

When asked how travel companies should respond, White told TTG Asia e-Daily: “You’ve got to get the basics right. So make sure your website is structured right, your Google accounts are linked, your social media profiles all have the same website address associated with your company, so there is consistency in your social signals. “From there, just keep creating interesting content. Be clear about who your customer is and who you’re going to be talking to, then gear your content towards that. Create little personas.”

Talking about things that are related would also provide context and take advantage of the “serendipity of search engines”, she added.Companies that do not have the funds to conduct large-scale research could also drill down to a fundamental principle of the industry – talking to the customer. Said White: “There’s no harm asking your customers as they come through the door what they want to talk about, what interests them. “It’s not expensive and the thing is – there are a lot of unemployed journalists out there looking for work. There are also content marketing agencies, but for smaller operations, practise doing it yourself.”

It’s also important to know where the market is, she emphasised. “Where do your customers hang out on social media? Are they on Facebook, Twitter?” “For time-poor travel industry people, work on one platform. Get it right! Do one and engage properly rather than spreading yourself thin because that’s going to increase the quality of your content,” she advised.

via Content marketing key for travel businesses leveraging Google – TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News.

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MediaPost Publications Minnesota Launches Largest-Ever Tourism Campaign 04/25/2014

by Tanya Irwin, Apr 24, 2014, 3:53 PM

Minnesota will spend $14 million over the next year promoting the state’s tourism offerings, the largest travel marketing campaign in the state’s history and a 65% increase over last year.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

The campaign, “Only in Minnesota,” will span 14 states and provinces and includes four TV spots, a revamped Web site, outdoor, digital ads and social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Consumers are invited to use the hashtag #OnlyinMN to document their favorite Minnesota moments.

Tourism

is a $12.5 billion-a-year industry in Minnesota. Research shows that travelers want to experience new and unique things when they travel, which is  why the campaign features Minnesota’s distinct outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and unique landmarks – differentiating Minnesota from other Midwest travel destinations, says John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism

“This new campaign is a movement that will highlight unique Minnesota attractions and engage consumers in conversation about Minnesota travel,” Edman says in a release. “This cutting-edge campaign allows our state to be more competitive, and grow tourism across Minnesota.”

In keeping with the “Only in Minnesota” theme, the campaign incorporates homegrown Minnesota talent, including local musicians, and writers. It was created by Minneapolis-based Colle+McVoy.

The new Web site, developed by BarkleyREI, is more mobile-friendly.

“Over the last several years, we have seen tremendous growth in visitor site traffic through mobile devices,” Edman says. “We need to meet travelers where they are, and that means being accessible on mobile devices and social media.”

Stone Arch Bridge - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Stone Arch Bridge – Minneapolis, Minnesota (Photo credit: Sam Antonio Photography)

With ad buys of more than $3.7 million over the next three months alone, this year’s effort is more than double in size and scope than last year’s travel marketing campaign. More than $11 million in additional funding provided over the current biennium by the Legislature has allowed Explore Minnesota Tourism to expand its overall marketing impact this year with enhanced reach across all four advertising seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter).

The additional funding has also expanded the reach of the Only in Minnesota campaign  into target markets in six new states and one new province across the region, including: Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Saskatchewan.

Explore Minnesota Tourism will also target new niche markets this year, increase international marketing, and develop additional marketing partnerships to enhance the impact of the state’s travel marketing campaign.

via MediaPost Publications Minnesota Launches Largest-Ever Tourism Campaign 04/25/2014.

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MediaPost Publications TripAdvisor, Hotwire Top Travel Site Ads, Study Shows 04/15/2014

by Laurie Sullivan, 14th April 2015, 2:35 PM

Phoenix Marketing International will release findings this week from an online travel audit analyzing consumer sentiment about the most popular travel industry ads on TV.

The study, “Online Travel Audit,” fielded in mid-March, analyzed 50 television ads from more than 30 travel search and reservation Web sites. It also looked at travel-related

Español: Logotipo de trivago

Español: Logotipo de trivago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

advertisers, such as hotel and car rental, including American Airlines, Hotwire, Priceline, Trivago, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Southwest, United and Hilton. The study compiled more than 3,500 responses.

Josh Berger, research director at Phoenix Marketing International, gave MediaDailyNews a first look at results. He said researchers also tested ads from American Airlines, Southwest, Delta, and United, as well as travel destinations like Orlando and Texas. “Ads can succeed several ways, whether they engage through a relevant message or empathy,” he said. “A straightforward approach as to what makes Trivago different than other search travel sites seems to work for the site.”

Business and leisure travelers identified Trivago for its advertisement The Perfect Hotel as the overall top-performing message. More than 55% of leisure and 50% of business travelers said they would recommend the site to others. The newcomer’s message tells consumers the site can compare hotel prices from more than 100 Web sites, adjusting the price depending on the budget.

Image representing TripAdvisor as depicted in ...

TripAdvisor via CrunchBase

Berger said Google did not rank within the first five sites. Other sites like TripAdvisor and Hotwire maintain a category lead. “We really think that as the survey product gets built up over time, it will give us a better understanding of trends and the growth of Google, as well as sites like Trivago,” he said.

Overall, Hotwire took the No. 2 and No. 3 spot among leisure travelers, with its ad From New York to Texas ranking No. 1 with the highest recall at 81%, followed by its Florida to Seattle ad with 79%. Expedia and Priceline rounded out the top five overall spots for leisure travelers, respectively.

While many leisure travelers are more concerned with saving money, business travelers look for conveniences. Business travelers ranked Hotwire No. 2 and Hotels.com, No. 3, with Kayak and Expedia following in that order. Hotels.com, The Obvious Choice & Captain Obvious, had the highest recall among business travelers.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s 50 Million Tree Pledge took the most buzzworthy ad in the category, with 30% of travelers saying they would likely speak positively about the advertisement to others. The ad improves the consumer’s impression of the car rental company by tapping into charitable effort. After seeing the ad, 60% of people feel better overall about the company compared to a travel average of 36%.

via MediaPost Publications TripAdvisor, Hotwire Top Travel Site Ads, Study Shows 04/15/2014.

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With Licensing Deal Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Looks to Dominate the Online Travel Market | Benchmark Monitor

by Daniel Stone — April 9, 2014

English: The Google logo, the word "Googl...

The Google logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New York – On Tuesday, Bloomberg released a report that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached an agreement with Room 77 to license that company’s hotel booking software.  Room 77 is a start-up that has been funded by Expedia (Nasdaq:EXPE).  The licensing deal marks Google’s intention to re-enter the online travel market after a stop-start attempts in the past, including the introduction of Hotel Price Ads (HPA) in 2010, the acquisition of ITA Software in 2011, and the launch of Hotel Finder the same year.

Along with Expedia, the online travel market is currently dominated by Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:WWW), and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP).  According to the ITB World Travel Trends report published last December, online travel booking now accounts for almost 70 percent of all booking and mobile bookings is one to the fastest growing segments overall.  In the United States alone, the industry is worth more than $ 300 billion and given the recent performance of many of the companies in the sector there is still room for growth.

According to analysts the licensing deal by Google is most likely an attempt to upgrade their HPA, which essentially operates as the equivalent of ITA, a proprietary airline booking software.  Whilst HPA is aimed at hotel marketers, the software would essentially allow Google to complete the loop, by facilitating the customer booking.  If this is the case, Google would be positioning itself to cut the middlemen, such as Priceline and Expedia, while providing hotels with a better return on investment when compared to typical paid search campaigns.

Furthermore, industry analysts believe the move was driven by the Department of Justice’s ruling that allowed Google to acquire ITA Software on several conditions, including Google must allow licensed competitors to continue using the software, Google must take measures to prevent snooping, and the company must continue to maintain the software for licensees.

Through the licensing deal, it could be expected that Google might make more forays into the industry as their ‘competitors’ have little if any choice but to continue advertising through Google. While there is little direct evidence to suggest that such a move would hurt Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvisor, almost 90 percent of what they spend on marketing goes to Google.  As such, the increased emphasis on travel could dramatically alter the online travel market in the long-run.  Shares in Google were up $ 4.10 in pre-market trading on Wednesday morning.

via With Licensing Deal Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Looks to Dominate the Online Travel Market | Benchmark Monitor.

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2014 Top Social Media Trends for Travel Marketers | Adventure Travel News

By Jennifer Pemberton

Three months into 2014 and we’re past making predictions of what the year in social media will look like. We’re living it. The ATTA is focusing on four major trends this month that will shape online life this year — highlighting the ones that will be most relevant for the travel industry, from how to find travelers on social media and speak their language to how to organize your office to best engage socially with your customers.

via 2014 Top Social Media Trends for Travel Marketers | Adventure Travel News.

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Why Online Video Matters for Airline Marketing – Skift

English: Westjet 737-700 landing at Montréal-P...

Skift launch a new report

The spread of online video has affected marketing for almost every business-to-consumer industry, but it is particularly important to a commoditized and opaque business such as airlines.“I think that you see more and more content coming from airlines because it’s a unique business with such a big cost structure,” says Corey Evans, who manages sponsorship and community investment for WestJet, the Canadian airline known for its extravagant videos. “Most customers’ attitude to look for the lowest fare, no matter what. When you are in a dead heat with competitors, content could be the differentiating factor. It builds brand awareness and lets people know about how we treat our guests and our corporate social responsibility efforts.”Especially as travelers increasingly use online travel agents or meta search engines where multiple airlines’ prices can be com- pared side-by-side, engaging content could differentiate one from the next.

via Why Online Video Matters for Airline Marketing – Skift.

English: Westjet 737-700 landing at Montréal-P…

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New Skift Trends Report: Online Video Strategies in the Travel Industry – Skift

Skift logoOnline video is rapidly eclipsing television as the most effective channel for marketing, especially for marketers targeting younger demographics. For a largely commodified and opaque business, video marketing is more important for airlines than most travel-related businesses. As a result, airlines are among the most successful producers of video marketing in the travel business. Even the once boring in-flight safety video is asserting itself as a chance to define and differentiate the airline brand.

In this Skift Travel Trends report, we will explain the importance of online video, how it differs from other forms of marketing, the differences between various online video platforms and video’s place in the marketing toolbox. We will also explore why airlines excel in this arena.

Through interviews with professional marketers and experts and specific case studies, we will define best practices for airlines and ideas for meeting viewers’ preferences. We will also look at how marketers are employing fresh short-form video platforms such as Vine and Instagram video to generate hype, experiment, and engage with fans

via New Skift Trends Report: Online Video Strategies in the Travel Industry – Skift.

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Fueled by data, individualized ads profoundly changing travel sales – Travel Weekly

Employing a growing paradigm known as “programmatic advertising,” suppliers are bidding against each other for the opportunity to follow their customers across the Internet, and the results could forever change how travel is marketed and sold directly to consumers. That’s because as they follow their customers around the Web and social media services, suppliers are mixing and matching data about those customers’ browsing, searching and spending habits with their own company data to present consumers with highly individualized, real-time ads that personalize everything from product features to price and value add-ons. For example, a traveler might begin a search for a ticket on an airline’s website, then either buy it or leave without completing the purchase, moving on to another site. By being able to follow the customer to the next and subsequent sites, the airline can continue targeting that individual with an ad offering a seat upgrade if they bought the ticket or a slightly discounted fare if they did not.This type of marketing is made possible by combining existing models of online advertising and adding in two new elements to create a potent data stew. First, suppliers are joining two data sets: the company’s own data from loyalty programs and customers’ purchase histories with contextual data derived from tracking their Web browsing in real time, a mix familiar to users of Google. To that data blend, they are adding two elements to create programmatic advertising.

via Fueled by data, individualized ads profoundly changing travel sales – Travel Weekly.