Wednesday, 17 September 2014

EyeforTravel Berlin giveaway: How you can win one free pass (and more)

Taking place in Berlin, EyeforTravel's annual online marketing, mobile and social media conference is only 2 weeks away and we couldn't be more excited.

This year, EyeforTravel Berlin features more CMOs and senior level speakers than ever before with speakers from Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Low Cost Holiday Group, Accor, Malaysia Airlines, Disney, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Kempinski and more.

Want to know more about the free entry to the event? 

We're pleased to offer you a chance to win one free* gold pass to EyeforTravel's Online Marketing, Mobile & Social Media conference.

Fill out the form below, including the question and you stand to win an all access conference gold pass if you're lucky. We also have runner-up prizes that give you access to the recorded sessions from the conference .

Deadline for entries is 12pm BST on Tuesday 23rd September.

Good Luck!

*Access to the conference is free of cost. Please note that you will have to arrange your own travel and accommodation.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Missed EfT's Social Media & Mobile in Travel conference? Catch up on the highlights here

Winners of Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards announced

Earlier this week, in San Francisco, 9 finalists battled it out in the final of EyeforTravel’s 3rd annual Mobile Innovation in Travel 2014 Awards.

Tensions rose as each finalist presented a 5 minute pitch to the panel of expert judges and to the audience of EyeforTravel’s Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel conference.

Following a period of deliberation by the judges the winners were announced as 

•    Best Mobile Travel App
•    Best Mobile Travel User Experience
•    Best Mobile Travel Strategy
•    Best Mobile Travel Solution
With thanks to the judges -
·         John T. Peters, President, Travel Media Group, USA Today
·         Gina Baillie, GM, EyeforTravel Ltd.
·         Glenn M. Gruber, Sr. Mobility Strategist, Propelics, Inc.

·         Michael Becker, Managing Partner & CEO North America

·         Dr. Natasa Christodoulidou, Director of Hospitality Technology Research Institute, California         State University

The Mobile Innovation in Travel awards will be returning in 2015, in March in San Francisco.  Contact for details.

We will also be holding a European edition of the awards  in Berlin, October 1-2.  Contact for details.

Congratulations to the winners!

Monday, 10 March 2014

What do Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Google plan for the travel industry?

Back in 2010, travel industry commentators went into overdrive as it was announced that Apple had patented ‘iTravel’.  
According to the Patently Apple blog, iTravel is designed to facilitate ticketless travel as well as check-in services with a plan to employ near field communication (NFC) for identification and ticketing by transportation providers for iPhone.  Was this going to be Apple’s first foray into the travel space?

The industry got pretty excited, after all a mega brand like Apple could carry serious weight in the travel space and have a profound influence on the travel lifecycle. 

Since this date though, aside from the launch of Passbook in 2012, they have remained fairly quiet on the travel front. 

Last year however, Apple launched their own NFC technology, iBeacon.  In November they updated their patent for iWallet.  Combining all these technologies would result in a pretty useful offering to travelers on the go.

This year, I couldn’t help but notice that for the first time employees from Apple will be attending EyeforTravel’s upcoming Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel conference in San Francisco next week.   I’m going to be sure to ask them what insights they might be able to provide into what lies in store.

Industry giants Twitter, Facebook and Google will also be at the event.  Each of whom have the ability to be a disruptive force in the travel industry, particularly with their access to enormous datasets and daily interactions with consumers. 

What do they all plan?  Stay tuned on this blog next week to find out what’s discussed!   You can also follow the event discussions using the twitter hashtag #smtravel14 or to be at the event in person contact me –

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Facebook Buys WhatsApp – “Mobile [..] Will Be Even More Important For the Travel Vertical”

Back in December 2012, in an interview with EyeforTravel, Facebook said they had not missed the mobile boat – they were building it.

Their purchase of the mobile messaging platform WhatsApp for an astounding $19billion this week is testament to this (albeit building through acquisition).  With a mobile user base of 450 million, WhatsApp is popular among the young as well as in key emerging markets, giving Facebook an injection of new mobile users.

Nineteen billion messages and 600 million photos are sent daily via WhatsApp.   Facebook’s mobile stats were already pretty impressive with 751 million mobile users accessing Facebook every month. 

 “We see mobile as a very important channel and one that will be even more important for the travel vertical,” says Lee McCabe, Head of Travel Industry, Facebook.

Mobile now generates 30% of its ad revenue up from 23% at the end of 2012.  It can certainly be said that Mobile is a game changer for Facebook and a boat worth building. 

Lisa Friedrich, Travel Industry, Facebook will be speaking about how travel brands can leverage the power of influence and the change in your travel consumer’s behavior due to mobile, at EyeforTravel’s Social Media & Mobile in Travel conference in San Francisco next month.

““Mobile is having a profound impact on travel consumer behavior  - as is accessibility to social data.  Together they offer real consumer engagement and revenue driving opportunities to travel brands.”  

“By bringing together some of the best minds in social media and mobile, the 2 day conference continues to shape innovation and be at the cutting edge of social media and mobile in travel” says Tim Gunstone, MD, EyeforTravel.  

Back in 2008 when the conference was first launched, Facebook and MySpace ruled the roost.  Twitter had barely surfaced.  Facebook had 100 million users versus the 1.19 billion it has today. 

7 years on, in 2014, Facebook still rules the roost (in terms of user numbers) but interestingly Google+ has moved to the 2nd position.   With speakers from Google+, Facebook, Twitter as well as the Co-Founder of Flickr, the conference will be exploring what these key changes mean to your brand and importantly where you should be investing your valuable time and resources.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Five Innovative Ways Your Travel Company Can Have a Lucrative Chinese New Year!

With the Year of the Horse almost upon us, EyeforTravel's Global Conference Director Emily Assender shares some tips for targeting the Chinese traveller:

If you’re keeping abreast of travel news across the Asia-Pacific region, you will no doubt have seen headlines: ‘Chinese Tourists now the biggest source of travel spending’ (BBC); ‘Rapid increase in number of Chinese travelling abroad’ (Asia Report), ‘At 97 million and growing, China has most outbound tourists’ (China Daily). 

As headlines focused on the Chinese traveller continue to dominate, all travel companies have reason to celebrate the Chinese New Year this Friday. But how can you make sure your travel brand is on the Chinese tourists’ radar in 2014 and beyond? 

Here are five ways your travel company can engage with Chinese travellers:

1) Engage through local social media channels and put mobile first 
Never mind Facebook and Twitter, the Chinese are highly active on local social media channels such as WeChat, Weibo, RenRen and Baidu. To put this in perspective, it took Twitter 1,400 days and Facebook 1,600 days to reach the ‘100-million active users’ milestone.  For the mobile messaging app ‘WeChat’, however, it took just 433 days.  Not only does this demonstrate how active the Chinese are on social media, it also highlights that the mobile channel is key to engaging with an extremely lucrative target market. According to the China Network Internet Information centre, 464 million citizens access the Internet via smartphones or some other wireless device. Another plus for Chinese social media is that integration between different platforms is possible; unlike Twitter, for example, it is possible to create defined Weibo channels that integrate with other social media tools such as WeChat.  

2) Offer the Chinese traveller ‘a breath of fresh air’
Pollution has been worsening in China for many years, but last year it became unbearable. In October 2013, in the Chinese city of Harbin, pollution levels were 15 times the levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. The police even officially declared that they would not fine motorists for jumping a red light, as the traffic lights could no longer be seen due to smog.  Pollution has developed a major push factor, driving former domestic tourists out of the country whenever they can afford it.  Actively market your destination or travel brand as an escape from these environmental problems, and you may just rouse interest from Chinese travellers. Some airlines are already looking for opportunities. China Eastern Airlines, for example, recently added two more flights to Honolulu, providing a total of five weekly flights out of Shanghai. And in April, Hawaiian Airlines will launch its own Beijing-Honolulu direct nonstop service.

3) Position your brand as place to escape the madding crowd 
Overcrowding is another push factor for Chinese tourists to leave the country.  Golden Week, a week-long public holiday at the beginning of October, came under fire this year, even from official Chinese media. Criticised as a ‘Golden Mess’, Chinese tourist destinations were reportedly overselling tickets throughout 2013, which led to drastic overcrowding at some sites. On the plus side, Golden Week delivered revenues of $36.5 billion to China’s economy. With incomes rising, tourists are looking at outbound destinations to avoid overcrowding at home. Position your brand as a place of peace and tranquillity, and you could harness some of this travel spend.

4) Rethink the package tour 
Off-the-shelf package tours became unfashionable with Chinese tourists in 2013. In fact self-organised trips and customised tours are on the rise. Personalisation will become increasingly important and now is the time to get creative and understand your target audience. This is especially true given the widening age range of the Chinese traveller. Not only are more young people are travelling more than ever before, older and today more affluent pensioners are also venturing beyond Chinese borders and have more time on their hands to spend in a destination. This could be meaningful for cruise operators, for example. 

5) Campaign for change 
On a final note, if your destination makes it difficult for Chinese tourists to obtain a visa then now is the time to start campaigning for change. In Europe, for example, Chinese travellers must apply for two visas – a Schengen one to visit 26 countries and one for the UK. Research by the lobby group, UK China Visa Alliance, recently warned that just 6 per cent of Chinese coming to Europe bother obtaining the additional UK visa. This could mean your brand could be missing out.  

For more insights into how your company can penetrate the rapidly growing Chinese tourism market don’t miss this year’s Travel Distribution Summit, Asia (27-28 May, 2014, Singapore).