Why investors in online travel need to be picky about China in 2015 | Sally White EyeforTravel

Silvana ComugneroThere can be no doubt that China is a crucial market for travel brands but it may not be for everybody, writes Sally White

Fast growing China’s foreign travel market may be, but investors should be very picky about buying into this story. Certainly, the market is eye-wateringly large – 100 million outbound trips were made in 2014, according to the China National Tourist Administration (CNTA). Adding to its allure for companies wanting a growth story to woo shareholders, this figure could reach 1.4 billion by 2030 with a spend of $1.8 trillion. Also, the number of countries Chinese travellers can visit easily rises this year as more governments and tourism boards are offering them visa-free access.

But these numbers could be a snare and delusion for foreign corporates not already well established. Most of these travellers keep to their own turf, with 90% staying within Asia according to the CNTA. Not only are local giants already well established, spending heavily and growing fast in all areas of online travel trading! The international heavy-weights are there, too, with the necessarily thick wallets to help their Chinese partners and subsidiaries.

via Why investors in online travel need to be picky about China in 2015 | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel.

Marketing watch: Digital marketing trends for 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC] – TNOOZ

signal-2015-predictions-infographic11The new year begins well-intentioned on the marketing front. Marketing plans, heavily crafted and finessed late in 2014, begin to be implemented – only to discover that the landscape has already shifted, making said plan obsolete.

The cross-channel marketers at Signal have put their marketing tools to the grindstone of reality, with the result being some of the most important digital marketing trends of the year.

From beacons to data cooperatives that allow a consistent higher-level understanding of the customer, these trends continue to push marketers to become technologists. So rather than simply creating strategies to leverage OPP (Other People’s Platforms), the successful marketer must become a voice for marketing technology organization-wide.

via Marketing watch: Digital marketing trends for 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC].

How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014

How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 by Jan Rezab, Media Post December 29

social-media21Social media has transformed the way customers speak with brands. Among its many benefits, social media has created a place for customers and clients to reach brands easily and quickly at any time of the day. With this great power in communication comes great responsibility for travel companies. That mass of people — which can turn into millions during a crisis — expects a response to each individual issue and question. But social isn’t, and shouldn’t be viewed as, a burden. It should be looked at as an almost-limitless end of possibilities.

Good companies continually show their customers they value them, and social media is a great place to do this. As customer care increasingly moves to public venues, it is blurring the lines between marketing, communications, and customer service. Digital marketers can use social to greatly improve the customer experience and build loyalty with fans like never before. Here are a few simple ways travel marketers need to be thinking about social customer care in 2015…

Actively Encourage Feedback

Social media gives you the ability to listen into a wide array of people — from your die-hard fans to your rarely vocal customers. In a way, it’s sort of like a giant focus group that you can access anytime.

Make it easy for your customers to talk to you. Most social customer care happens on Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, travel brands are making many mistakes when it comes to optimizing their profiles on these platforms to encourage conversation.

On Facebook, it’s imperative that travel brands open their walls in order for people to post on their timelines. This year, our data suggested that 30% of airlines globally still have closed walls on Facebook. A closed wall automatically makes it difficult for customers to voice their feedback and means a lot of missed opportunities for your brand.

On Twitter, we encourage travel brands to provide customer support from their main Twitter profile, instead of making a separate customer support profile. This allows consumers to easily direct their questions to the right place. Still, this can be difficult for many companies to do for a number of reasons, so if a company must create two handles, it’s important to list out the customer care profile on the main profile page. Turkish Airlines is a good example of a brand that does this by linking to their support handle, @TK_HelpDesk, on their main handle, @TurkishAirlines.

Be Prompt

For travelers, time is of the essence. Think of customers traveling by plane; a good chunk of their questions are going to be about their flight that’s coming up shortly. That means they’ll need quick help and a quick response from their airline should they post or tweet a question.

Unfortunately, not all companies are punctual in providing service on social. In fact, we found that the average brand takes 33 hours to respond to customer inquiries, if they respond at all. That’s a huge amount of time for customers who don’t have the luxury of waiting around for an answer.

Travel brands need to make sure they’re equipped to provide quick service. One easy way to prepare for this is to do an analysis of the type of questions your company is receiving on social media. Many times, companies will find that the bulk of questions are about the same recurring topics. Companies can then set up procedures on how to deal with these main topics, which makes responding to them easier.

For example, when we took a look at a sample of questions directed at U.S. airline brands, we found that one of the most-used keywords was “delayed.” This tells us that many inquiries were about flight delays, which means an airline company would probably benefit from having a quick procedure to deal with questions about delays.

Show Up and Respond

It’s important that your customers know you’re dependable. This means taking the first step to show up and respond. Leaving questions unacknowledged is a big problem for both customers and brands.

Some brands hold themselves accountable to a certain standard in customer care. For example, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) provides an estimated wait time for responses on their Twitter profile. This gives customers a sense of when they can expect a response, and it holds KLM to their promise to provide that response as soon as they can.

In Q3 2014, we found that 10% of brands received 65% of all questions asked of brands on Facebook and Twitter. Customers start asking brands more questions and interacting with them more when they know that those brands will respond. The more companies respond, they more interaction and dialogue they’ll spark with their fans.

As the holiday rush slows down, the first weeks of 2015 provide a great opportunity for travel brands to look at what worked and what didn’t over the hectic holiday season and start the new year off on the right foot. Coming into the new year, it’s time for travel marketers to really get serious about providing optimal customer care on social media. The more activity marketers encourage with their customers, the more dependable the brand becomes for them. And in the competitive landscape of the travel industry, those that show their customers they care and build brand loyalty will win out.

via How Travel Brands Can Excel At Social Customer Care In 2015 12/29/2014.

Press Release: Over 30 travel marketing experts to provide insights at The Travel Marketing Forum, Dubai 24th Sept

PRESS RELEASE 

Middle East’s Premier Travel Marketing Event to convene in Dubai on 24th September

Insights from over 30 leading travel marketing experts

Dubai Tourism, Expedia, Yahoo, SkyTech and IBEX Global added to the conference content

Travel Marketing leaders to gather in Dubai to discuss a diverse yet interrelated set of topics

 

Press Release: Dubai – 18th September 2014 

In just under a week the Middle East’s premier Travel Marketing event will take place in Dubai.

Some of the world’s leading travel brands and marketing services providers will gather for a day of knowledge sharing and business development.

 

Amadeus, a leading travel technology company, will present a report on Middle East booking trends, internet penetration, smart phone usage, booking and  payment patterns, booking channels and social media trends in the travel sector.

Illusions Online, a Dubai based travel business technology provider for the leisure sector, will talk to their new generation cloud based leisure packaging capability and their strategy to create a global online travel exchange.    

 

Other speakers come from leading brands such as Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Jumeirah and Emirates.

The programme also includes interviews with the Head of Strategy for dnata travel and the CEO of The Entertainer.  Technology companies such as SkyTECH Solutions and Comarch will share their views on Big Data and Customer Relationship Management in the travel sector.

In a key panel on destination marketing, Dubai Tourism will highlight the power of local advocacy.

Yahoo will present a case study on how they have assisted travel companies with their online exposure and IBEX Global will highlight their recent regional launch of their Customer Experience Management Technology.

Mohamed Al Rais, Deputy CEO of Al Rais Travel, will be joined by representatives from Expedia, destinia.com and e-Tourism Frontiers on a panel debate on the development of the online travel market.

Porton Group will reveal a revolutionary technology that can be used by the travel sector to screen travellers for potentially contagious diseases without significant disruption to the airline check-in process.

Duncan Alexander, Director at The Travel Marketing Store stated “We have been delighted by the response that we have received from the travel marketing community to the concept of our event. The content is truly exceptional and we look forward to what will be an enlightening day”.

Over 40 companies will be represented at this year’s event which will also hold “The Global Travel Marketing Awards” and “The Market Place for Travel Marketing Services” where buyers and suppliers meet to discuss new services.

via Press Release: Over 30 travel marketing experts to provide insights at The Travel Marketing Forum, Dubai 24th Sept.

Opportunities in video remain, as brands become media companies: Tnooz

Consumers increasingly perceive brands as media companies, a perception that is both fueled by companies creating more engaging content and consumer expectation of more interactive and interesting advertising.

A recent report sheds some light for travel marketers looking to engage more deeply with video content – a medium ideally suited to the beauty and story of the travel experience.

The survey of 1,000 Americans, and 500 marketers, comes from content marketers LevelsBeyond, and points out that brands are leaving opportunities on the table, as many brands don’t believe that their customers even want to see videos from the brands.

Video consumption disconnectThere’s also a disconnect between what consumers want to watch and what brands provide.  Surprisingly, consumers are especially eager to consume videos that are instructive and teach how to do a particular skill. This insight could be leveraged by travel marketers in spaces where active sports or other insider knowledge could be packaged as a “how to” for a specific destination, vacation or location.Comedy comes in a second, following by product videos, micro-documentaries and animations. Travel marketers should take note of the 33% of surveyed consumers that enjoy micro-documentaries – this result is a sign that this type of content could be a way to hook browsing travelers into a purchase mindset.

However, the surveyed marketers did not match what the surveyed consumers wanted to watch. Brands are focusing less on instructive videos and more videos from their own branded events. A slight focus switch from “event videos” to “micro-documentaries” could be a welcome move by consumers.  Social sharing also becomes a very important component of successful online video, as consumers are much more likely to watch videos that were shared within a network. And when a video is trending, a solid 38% of respondents would be more inclined to watch that video.Despite this compelling evidence that successful social sharing drives ROI of video, brands are behind in understanding how this mechanic works.

Another piece of data from Videology shows an immense shift into what video advertisers are seeking for the investment. The jump in cross-screen analysis reveals that this has quickly become one of the most important metrics for video advertising.The videos are pegged to their ability to bring attention and traffic across screens, liberating some of the conversion pressure for one particular platform as its impact can be tracked across screens.Marketers are finally starting to see video as a key component of the cross-platform marketing mix; now brands must be more considered when it comes to matching consumer appetite for video.The full report can be downloaded here.

via Opportunities in video remain, as brands become media companies.

Airbnb and Uber Partner with Concur to Enable Next Generation of Business Travel | Concur

New Partnerships Reflect Growing Collaborative Consumption Among Business Travelers                  

airbnb_logo_detailLos Angeles, Calif., July 29, 2014 – Concur, the world’s leading provider of spend management solutions and services, announced Airbnb and Uber as the latest partners to join its growing platform to improve business travel and streamline expenses . With this partnership, the benefits of collaborative consumption are now available to the business world: Business travelers are given easier ways to book their trips, and complete their expenses, while finance and travel managers maintain greater accuracy, visibility and manageability.

“This new generation of platform partners reflects the transformation taking place for today’s business customer,” said Tim MacDonald, executive vice president at Concur. “By partnering with these innovative companies, we are building a connected platform that radically improves the experience for the business traveler. With Airbnb and Uber, we are enabling, in business travel, what consumers already enjoy about collaborative consumption in their leisure. Capturing this spend then gives companies greater real-time transparency into traveler expenditure and itineraries.” 

The partnerships with Airbnb and Uber signal increasing momentum for the expanding list of partners joining the Concur platform like United, Marriott, IHG and Avis to bring seamless connections to their customers for direct bookings and spend management.  Specifics around momentum include:

  • More and more business travelers are booking Airbnb properties:  27x the number of transactions for Airbnb captured in Concur expense reports this year over last year. In order to accommodate the increasing number of business travelers seeking cost-effective non-traditional accommodations, later this year, Airbnb will release an integration through Concur TripLink, enabling employers to gain full visibility into each booking to ensure Duty of Care requirements are met.
  • Business travelers are increasingly adopting Uber for ground transportation: 5x year-over-year growth in Uber ridership captured in Concur expense reports. Uber’s integration with the Concur platform will provide a connected and effortless experience for all Concur business travelers that use Uber. These travelers will be able to request, ride, pay, and automatically expense – all from their mobile phone. The integration between Uber and the Concur platform will enhance and expand customer visibility into ground transportation spend.
  • In addition, American Express is partnering with Concur and Uber to enable American Express Corporate Card Clients in the US to automatically enroll their employees to capture Uber receipts within Concur and have immediate visibility into the spend. This three-way integration between the Concur platform, Uber and American Express will be available this fall.

via Airbnb and Uber Partner with Concur to Enable Next Generation of Business Travel | Concur.

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.

Metasearch | L2: Business Intelligence for Digital

hotel searchWhile travellers are increasingly dependent on metasearch to inform their hotel booking decisions, hotels are losing out to OTAs on top booking positions and traffic to brand sites. The L2 Prestige Hotels 2014 Metasearch Insight Report reveals the performance gap and shows how hotel brands can leverage metasearch to fight back against OTAs to drive consumers to their sites for direct bookings and higher margins.

via Metasearch | L2: Business Intelligence for Digital.

Digital Marketing Trends Redefining Tourism Prospects | Travelandtourworld.comTravelandtourworld.com

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

the-digital-marketing-room-homepage-grid-300x152

Technological advancement has completely revolutionized the concept of travelling round the globe. With the increasing number of travel technology providers, tourism in different exotic destinations gets a boost. Hassle-free and instant in its function, travel apps are the latest trend among global tourists.

Digital marketing is the most sought-after modish trend to promote tourism. Offering promotional deals is a simple way to invite potential customers to travel while segmenting your market to find interests for touring.

Social media marketing has immensely contributed to increase tourist influx in unconventional destinations along with boosting tourism in picturesque locales.Among the 25 major international markets surveyed, Asia ranks top in online travel bookings, mobile searches and mobile bookings.

Asian travellers lead the field when it comes to mobile travel bookings and searches performed, at 33% and 59% respectively, compared to the global average of 25% and 46% respectively.Travellers continue to use the internet for both information and booking.

Travel advertisers need to take full take advantage of the opportunities online advertising offer, as the key component in their marketing strategy.If you are a travel advertiser, then Adform has a range of new and exciting Rich Media formats that will perfectly fit your campaign objectives.

For instance, what should you do when you want to entice travellers to visit a specific island? How can you recreate that beach sensation for them? Check out their Sandstorm format and the revolutionizing Snowball format for a brighter tourism prospect.

via Digital Marketing Trends Redefining Tourism Prospects | Travelandtourworld.comTravelandtourworld.com.