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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Why TripAdvisor and Priceline Wish Facebook Ads Performed Better – Skift

Both Priceline and TripAdvisor have expressed their disappointment in recent months in the value of Facebook advertising. Pictured, TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer at the PhoCusWright Conference in November 2010. PhoCusWright / Flickr.com / Flickr.com

Both Priceline and TripAdvisor have expressed their disappointment in recent months in the value of Facebook advertising. Pictured, TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer at the PhoCusWright Conference in November 2010. PhoCusWright / Flickr.com / Flickr.com

Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston’s lament that Facebook and Twitter can’t do what Google advertising can when it comes to driving travel transactions is not news to TripAdvisor, which complained of the same shortcomings five months ago.

At the time, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer said using Facebook to promote its Cities I’ve Visited Ap leads to better monetization, but Facebook falls short in driving transactions in the way that Google Adwords does.

“We weren’t able to get the same traveler in shopping mode to come over to TripAdvisor in any scale that matched Google,” Kaufer said, referring to advertising on Facebook, when speaking at an investor conference in November 2013.

Unlike Huston, Kaufer didn’t address the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of advertising on Twitter at the time.

The independent statements of Kaufer and Huston are a blow to Facebook advertising as a travel-transaction-booster. Both TripAdvisor and the Priceline Group were previously rooting hard for Facebook advertising to succeed as both companies look for other ways to advertise in addition to Google’s platform.

TripAdvisor, in particular, has engaged in lots of disputes with Google when it felt Google was pilfering TripAdvisor reviews and artificially limiting traffic to TripAdvisor in favor of Google promoting its own travel products.

In addition, TripAdvisor was once considered Facebook’s best friend in travel because of TripAdvisor’s Cities I’ve Visited Facebook app, with Facebook even citing TripAdvisor’s promotions on Facebook in its IPO registration papers.

Read MoreBrand USA’s 47-to-1 Return on Investment Claim Attracts Doubts Even Among Supporters

Travel companies do have an alternative to Google, though, in one growing channel — travel metasearch through companies such as Kayak, Trivago, Skyscanner, and TripAdvisor, among others.

You only have to look at the Priceline Group’s acquisition of Kayak for $1.8 billion, and Expedia’s acquisition of Germany’s Trivago for $564 million in cash and 875,200 shares to see how Priceline and Expedia were looking for an advertising hedge against Google’s dominance.

Many travel industry companies hoped that alternative would be Facebook, but so far Facebook hasn’t delivered in the view of some major players, at least.

Facebook declined to comment on the issue.

via Why TripAdvisor and Priceline Wish Facebook Ads Performed Better – Skift.

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Mountain Travel Symposium: Facebook as an ad platform | AspenTimes.com

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook’s Erik Hawkins talks about the growth in mobile technology and how Facebook is capitalizing on that. Evan Reece, center, CEO of Liftopia, and Dan Sherman, vice president of marketing for Ski.com, moderate the question-and-answer session at Sunday’s Mountain Travel Symposium forum.

BRECKENRIDGE — When Facebook’s United States Group Leader Erik Hawkins came to the Mountain Travel Symposium last year, Facebook was arguably just a social-media platform.

But something has happened since then, both with the company and with digital consumption as a whole, that is turning Facebook into a mega-marketing machine.

Hawkins told hundreds of Symposium attendees Sunday that Facebook saw a 90 percent increase in time spent on its mobile application last year — 90 percent in one year.

“The internet is shifting to mobile,” he said, adding that the travel industry is the No. 1 thing people engage in while on Facebook.

With 60 percent of Facebook’s total activity coming from mobile devices, there’s an opportunity to target advertising like never before.

“We all look at Facebook from two lenses — user and marketer,” Hawkins told Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia, during a question and answer session at the first day of the conference’s forum presentations.

“Our lens as a marketer, traditionally we see Facebook as a place where we make connections and we have an audience and we have to publish to it. What it’s become is really, really, highly efficient, highly targeted media platform. What I don’t think everyone has done yet is reconciled that it can be both things,” Hawkins said.

Data shows that Facebook is an undeniably effective advertising tool, especially for the travel industry, but Ski.com’s Vice President of Marketing Dan Sherman wanted to know just how much companies should spend on Facebook as a percentage of total digital spend.

“I think people should spend as much as is effective,” Hawkins said. “Are you spending and are you seeing results? Then you should probably keep spending.”

But at the local level, marketers and tourism industry professionals don’t always agree that digital advertising is always the best way to reach customers. At a discussion about visitor services Saturday, Aspen Chamber Resort Association President and CEO Debbie Braun said Facebook is great and so are sites like Yelp, where customers post reviews of their experiences.

“But the 60-year-old walking in (to the visitor’s center) has a visitor’s guide in his back pocket,” Braun said. “You can’t be a one-trip pony.”

That’s why so many mountain travel destinations like Aspen still invest and believe in bricks-and-mortar efforts like visitors centers. However, digital technology is a way to augment all of those other efforts, said Douglas Ralston, of the mobile marketing company mobiManage.

“Digital is part of it,” he said. “There’s nothing you can take away from that personal touch.”

Facebook is a key digital marketing tool, but it also has its challenges, Jackson Hole Chief Marketing Officer Adam Sutner said after the forum. Facebook’s ability to segment markets is “top notch,” but some of the strengths Hawkins mentioned are perceived as potential weaknesses by marketers as the platform evolves.

“What marketers worry about, I think, is that as Facebook continues to grow, its constituent brands’ content become increasingly diluted and much more difficult for us, the brands, to get our own content viewed,” Sutner said. “Facebook, of course, likes this as their business model includes growing their advertising business. So the old virtuous reasons for marketers to want to lean into Facebook, forming an engaged relationship with a passionate set of like-minded fans in and around your brand experience, is perversely diminishing. Seeing that scenario all the way through, Facebook would just become another media vehicle, subject to (cost-per-thousand) and other (return-on-investment) scrutiny.”

Facebook conducted research with British consultant company Sparkler last year that revealed some staggering numbers for travel professionals — numbers that prove its place within the digital advertising marketplace.

“Ninety-nine percent (of the Facebook users who engage in travel on the site, which is nearly half of all users) share something on Facebook when they get back from a vacation,” Hawkins said. “Thirty-two percent do it before they even get home from the airport. That sparks the next set of dreamers to think about a vacation.”

via Mountain Travel Symposium: Facebook as an ad platform | AspenTimes.com.

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BBC News – Facebook drones to offer low-cost net access

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO, shows off th...

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO Facebook. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook has ambitious plans to connect the two-thirds of the world that has no net access, using drones, satellites and lasers.

The move was announced on the social media platform by founder Mark Zuckerberg.

It will put it in direct competition with Google, which is planning to deliver net access via balloons.

Both of the net giants want to extend their audiences, especially in the developing world.

Solar Drones: BBC photographDetails about Facebook’s plan were scant but it will include a fleet of solar-powered drones as well as low-earth orbit and geosynchronous satellites. Invisible, infrared laser beams could also be used to boost the speed of the net connections.

Last year Facebook and other technology companies launched internet.org to help bring net access to the huge swathes of the globe that are still not connected.

The social network has already teamed up with telecoms operators in the Philippines and Paraguay to double the number of people using the internet in that region.

“We’re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too,” Mr Zuckerberg said in his post.

To bring the project to fruition, Facebook has set up a Connectivity Lab that will include experts in aerospace and communication technology, from Nasa’s jet propulsion lab and its Ames research centre.

It has also hired a five-member team that worked at British firm Ascenta, whose founders developed the Zephyr, which holds the record for the longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

Earlier this month there were rumours that the social network was interested in buying drone-maker Titan but there was no mention of this in the announcement.

Altruistic?

The plans form part of Facebook’s ambitions to extend its reach beyond its 1.2 billion audience, thinks Ovum analyst Mark Little.

“Zuckerberg is pushing this as an altruistic way of connecting more people in the world – the net as a basic human right – but by increasing the total of net connections it also increases Facebook’s members and the amount of sharing done, which in turn creates more space for advertising and drives its revenues in a massive way.”

Last year Google announced similar plans to develop solar-powered balloons to deliver net access to remote areas of the world.

Code-named Project Loon, 30 of the super-pressure balloons were launched in New Zealand in June.

“It is perhaps aptly named,” said Mr Little.

“It is going to have a lot of political hoops to jump through. Some governments won’t put up with having that fleet over their airspace.”

Mr Little thinks that for both Facebook and Google, the technology in their projects may prove to be “the easy bit” and that the real challenge will lie in persuading governments around the world that its alternative networks are viable.

via BBC News – Facebook drones to offer low-cost net access.

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Facebook speaks: how engagement in travel is evolving – Tnooz

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...Lee McCabe has been the global head of travel at Facebook, the social network with 1.2 billion users, since October 2012. A veteran of Expedia, he knows the travel industry well.

McCabe recently spoke with Tnooz by phone about how travel marketers are getting better at using Facebook to gain transactions.

He had a lot to say about mobile, particularly about how Facebook can help travel companies maintain engagement with their own branded mobile apps. He also thinks travel suppliers still haven’t fully grasped how mobile will upend their digital marketing strategies.

A closer attention to travel marketing

In 2011, Facebook created a team of employees whose jobs are to liaise with travel brands. McCabe oversees this group, which he says was created:

“…to better understand brands’ needs, learn to speak their language, and most importantly, build the right products and services for the industry…. We verticalized for several industries, not just travel…. I can’t give you specifics, but travel is one of our fastest growing verticals.”

Facebook doesn’t disclose its headcount numbers or revenue by vertical. But a source at the company has put the travel vertical headcount at a little more than 50 employees.

Read the full Q&A with McCabe

via Facebook speaks: how engagement in travel is evolving – Tnooz.

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Abu Dhabi hotel ratings to go social in 2014 | HotelierMiddleEast.com

Abu Dhabi skyline

Abu Dhabi skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feb 24, 2014

Abu Dhabi may soon become the first tourism authority to integrate social media ratings into its official hotel classification system, as the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) works to stress the importance of social media to the UAE capital’s hotels.

TCA Abu Dhabi, which has been working on a new set of hotel classification guidelines since the authority’s rebranding from the old Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) in February 2013, is considering monitoring hotel social media ratings and using them to hold operators accountable for bad reviews and negative feedback.

It has also revealed plans to introduce a new category for the emirate’s hotels, specifically for hotels and resorts which are deemed to be outside the normal five-star criteria.

When approached by Hotelier Middle East, a TCA Abu Dhabi spokesperson said: “TCA Abu Dhabi is currently revising its accommodation classification system and an upgraded version will be launched early in the New Year and social media use may form part of the criteria for some categories.

“As an authority we are fully behind the use of social media in promoting a destination and we are also in the process of compiling a guide to social media promotion for use by our stakeholders,” they added.

This potential move by TCA Abu Dhabi follows in the footsteps of the Organisation of German Hotels and Restaurants (DEHOGA) and Hotelleriesuisse, the Swiss hotel industry parent organisation, who have both used social media analysis to influence hotel star classification.

However, TCA Abu Dhabi would become the first tourism authority to adopt the same system and integrate social media reviews into an official classification system.

Social Strikes Back

The rising importance o

f social media and guests reviews in the Middle East hospitality industry has been mirrored by the increasing prominence of user generated reviews on social media sites Facebook and Google.

One recent change was the Facebook’s decision to move its user review and rating system for public places, businesses, and organizations so that it is visible just below each page title.

When approached by Hotelier for comment, a spokesperson from Facebook said: “Currently people can sort by star ratings when they are using the ‘nearby’ feature on a mobile. For example, if they are looking for restaurants close to their location they have the option to arrange by star rating.

“Currently page administrators can manage their pages and deal with spam comments by removing them and banning the posters. In the case of genuine negative reviews, we would advise companies to seek to address their customers’ complaints,” they added.

via Abu Dhabi hotel ratings to go social in 2014 | HotelierMiddleEast.com.

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The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Forbes

f_logoI will surely refrain from spouting off all the latest and greatest social media marketing numbers. From the gazillion numbers of people on Facebook on Twitter to the rapid rise of Pinterest and Instagram and on and on and on.

I am fairly confident in saying that social media is not a fad. Hard to believe but there are still people who walk among us who still believe that. This just in, the world is not flat, either.

The reason I started this particular piece off this way was for the simple reason that with so many of us humans on one, two or thirty different social media platforms, the point is we are all using social media. Ok not all, but a really, really big number of us to use a not-so-scientific reference.

So with that many people using social media why wouldn’t the travel marketing industry be impacted by its use along with essentially every other industry?

Doesn’t Marketing 101 dictate to go to where your customers and prospects are? I’m pretty sure it did and still does.

Approximately one-fifth of leisure travellers worldwide turn to social media platforms for inspiration within different categories of their travel planning including:

  • Hotels (23%)
  • Vacation activities (22%)
  • Attractions (21%)
  • Restaurants (17%)

As for which social media platform specifically is most used by travellers, Facebook came in first as per the same research.

via The Impact Of Social Media In The Travel Marketing Industry – Forbes.

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Facebook testing video advertisements that would show up in its users’ news feeds

Facebook has announced that it is testing video advertisements that show up in its users\’ news feeds, creating another potential source of advertising revenue for the social network.

Under the current plan, the advertisements automatically start playing without sound when they appear. Users can click on a video to view it with sound, or scroll past it if they\’re not interested.

Facebook said it\’s been testing the silent auto-playing videos for video content shared between Facebook users since September, and has seen a 10 per cent increase in the number of videos watched, liked, shared and commented on.

Investors appeared to give the plan a thumbs-up, as they lifted Facebook\’s shares to an all-time high of $55.18 Tuesday morning. The stock pulled back to $54.67 in afternoon trading.

Facebook said the new format will allow its advertisers to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time, while also improving the quality of advertisements its users see in their news feeds.

Facebook needs to proceed with caution. While people have grown accustomed to video ads online, Facebook is a place where users commune with friends and family and is often perceived as a more personal setting than other websites where video ads may not be seen as intrusive.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company emphasized that the idea is still in the testing phase and that it\’s not currently selling video advertisements. The company wouldn\’t disclose pricing, but said its goal is for the test feature to become a premium advertising product designed to reach a large audience at specific times.

Meanwhile, advertising spending continues to rise. According to research firm eMarketer, spending on digital video advertising will more than triple from 2012 levels to $9.42 billion in 2017, though that pales in comparison to the TV advertising market which is expected to reach $75.25 billion by the same year.

via mysask.com – Travel News.

The Travel Marketing Digest: Congratulations to Dubai for EXPO 2020, New findings from Facebook, “The 21st Century Traveller” report from Euromonitor, BCG & TripAdvisor report on Chinese Tourism

Dubai Expo CongratulationsFirstly, we would like to congratulate Dubai and its premier sponsors and bid supporters from around the world for their successful bid to host the EXPO 2020. This edition draws attention to three insightful studies: Facebook have released some new findings on their impact on travel plansEuromonitor have released a report on the trends of \”The 21st Century Traveller\”Boston Consulting Group and Trip Advisor have released a report on the explosion of Chinese Tourism and how to capitalise on it In addition, Amadeus announce a new travel start up venture fund, Twitter announce their first entry into advertising and we provide a summary from CMOs InTravel, our blog site.

via Congratulations to Dubai for EXPO 2020, New findings from Facebook, “The 21st Century Traveller” report from Euromonitor, BCG & TripAdvisor report on Chinese Tourism.

Facebook says wooing travel industry will be key focus in 2014 | News | Marketing Week

Facebook is planning to woo the travel industry with a series of events, research and ad targeting refinements in the coming months as it looks to turn one of its fastest growing advertising verticals to one of its biggest in 2014.In recent months the social network’s EMEA division has gradually been reorganising its sales teams to work with advertisers on a vertical, rather the country-based level. It has been recruiting for travel sales representatives in particular as it is looking to bring spend from the sector more in line with its biggest spending sectors, such as FMCG and financial.

via Facebook says wooing travel industry will be key focus in 2014 | News | Marketing Week.