This is a roundup of product news and announcements for travel MARKETING in tourism and hospitality for January 2014.
30 January 2014:CheapAir
connects each customer with a personal travel advisor
- The OTA will connect each customer with a real live travel advisor. Says CEO Jeff Klee, "By matching customers with personal travel advisors, we've built a level of accessibility and personal service that people can't get elsewhere."
new brand positioning
- The GDS giant has revealed a new corporate logo, and also identified three travel technology trends that will shape the future of travel - personalisation, connectivity and sustainability.
tourists get wifi
- The Osaka Government Tourism Bureau has launched a free Wi-Fi service targeting tourist spots, hotels, restaurants and public transportation. The service aims to provide tourists information about the city and allow them to share and post their experiences online. The service will initially be available in 44 locations (163 access points) but will eventually increase to 3,000 (8,000 access points) by December 2014.
eases visa process
- Emirates has partnered with Visas of the World (VOTW) in India, this enables Emirates’ customers to arrange their visas online at Emirates website for ten international destinations: UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria and South Africa. As an introductory offer, the airline will also be waiving the visa service fee for the first 100 visa applicants.
Indian Ministry of Tourism
launches short film contest
- Incredible India in association with Trivone Digital Services has launched a short film contest for travellers. The contest is aimed to promote unexplored destinations and encourage visitors to share their travel adventures. Users have to upload travel videos of less than three minutes on the Pixel13.
China high-speed trains to get wifi
- China is set to launch Wi-Fi service in its high-speed train network. The system was built by Feitian and has been under testing for a year. It’s now awaiting approval from the relevant government departments.
launches in Doha
29 January 2014:Skyscanner's
- After weeks of running Uber in test-mode in Doha, the company has finally launched officially. As a promotional offer, Uber gives $30 discount on the first ride when promo code ‘UberDoha’ is used.
first TV campaign
- Skyscanner today debuts its first TV campaign. Focused on the UK, it features a voiceover from Doctor Who star Matt Smith.
Expedia's new features in video
- Expedia recently rolled out three new features - flight recommendations, a scratchpad to keep note of recent searches, and an improved mobile itinerary management. The company has released a new video explaining the services:
Booking.com's has another new ad campaign
- The accommodation booking giant has launched a new TV commercial that ends with the message that a well-booked accommodation can make up for anything.
New brand ambassador for Emirates Airlines
- Brazilian football legend, Pelé, has become the brand ambassador of Emirates airline, an Official FIFA Worldwide Partner.
28 January 2014:
Experience lion dance via Uber
- To celebrate Chinese New Year, Uber users in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Singapore can now hire a lion dance troupe on demand. This service will be available from 9 am to 6 pm, and will cost $31 in the three Chinese cities, and $39 in Singapore.
Google Street View comes to Philippines
24 January 2014:Dubai metro
- Google in association with the Philippines' tourism department has started capturing the destination's imagery in Street View system. To start with, Google is capturing Street View in Manila.
to get touch screens
22 January 2014:
- In the next couple of weeks, 50 giant touch screens will be installed in 20 metro stations (out of the total 49 stations) in Dubai, and more may be added if the initiative proves successful. A passenger will be able to select a route, view its travel time and fee, bus routes, connections, map of the metro station, location of ticketing office, landmarks, and directions in Google Maps. Currently, information will be available in English and Arabic. In future, Chinese and Russian languages will be added.
Book cruises in Qantas airline
- Qantas has partnered with Australia-based Cruise Guru to enable users of the airline website to book over 10,000 cruise itineraries. Cruise Guru offers berths on 162 ships across 17 different cruise lines.
Indonesia Tourism launches UK website
21 January 2014:Adioso
- In an effort to boost UK travellers to travel to Indonesia, the tourism board of Indonesia has launched a dedicated tourism website for the UK market. The site will serve news, destination information about Indonesia, things to do, places to see, transport options, etc. Recently, Indonesia's flagship carrier Garuda Indonesia announced its non-stop direct flights from London to Jakarta.
adds SmartView and SmartFilters feature
20 January 2014:Mercedes Benz
- The flight (semantic) search company has added two new tabs in the flight search result page that helps users in finding their flight faster and better. SmartView: Lists a maximum of three flights - fastest, cheapest and best. SmartFilters: Users can filter flights by price, airline logo, departure and arrival airport, departure and arrival time, number of layovers, and trip duration.
launches travel brand
- Mercedes Benz has partnered with China-based HHTravel.com, the luxury travel service brand by Ctrip, to launch Mercedes Benz Travel. New travel packages (targeted towards Europe) will be launched in February, and they will be bookable online in a Mercedes-Benz Travel website as well as via call centre.
launches Indonesia website
launches in Hyderabad
17 January 2014:
- After weeks of operating in stealth mode, Uber has finally launched officially in Hyderabad, India. As a promotional offer, the company is offering $5 (INR 300) discount on the first ride.
New TV ad unveiled by Booking.com
- Booking.com has launched a new advertisement that showcases the pleasure of discovering little things in a hotel:
Thor to become supplier of CIBT visa and passport services to agencies
16 January 2014:Agoda
- The Travelport-owned travel services company will distribute CIBT tools to its customer base and, as part of the agreement, allow agents to earn commission on passport and visa items processed.
and Singapore Airlines
- Agoda and Singapore Airlines together have launched a dedicated hotel reservation section in Agoda for all of Singapore airline flyers. KrisFlyer members will earn 1.5 KrisFlyer miles for every $1 of spending on all completed hotel bookings in the site. Also, during the month of February, KrisFlyer members will earn double miles on every hotel bookings.
Tokyo gets 3D imagery in Google Maps
14 January 2014:HouseTrip
- Tokyo, Chiba, Sendai and Kanagawa gets 3D imagery view in Google Maps and Google Earth. This new imagery adds full 3D digital views of major landmarks, such as the Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree, as well as surrounding buildings, topographies, and parks.
launches first TV ad campaign
- The accommodation rental website is targeting the 30-second spot with potential customers in France, running on three channels (D8, TMC, BFM TV). The campaign was created by London-based The Gallery Network, with planning and buying handled in France by MyMedia.
Cruise.co.uk signs up with Tradedoubler
10 January 2014:
- The agreement sees the cruise-focused online travel agency run all its affiliate marketing programmes through the Tradedoubler network, as well as using it to design new creative for its advertising strategy.
Hilton launches Thai booking site
9 January 2014:Qantas
- Hilton has launched a Thai language booking engine for Thai customers to have an easy end-to-end booking experience for all properties within Thailand. In addition to browsing for information and rates, customers can now confirm their booking and receive their reservation confirmation in Thai language.
brings American comedy series Modern Family
to film in Australia
- In February, Qantas will fly the cast and crew of Twentieth Century Fox's Modern Family from Los Angeles to Australia for an episode. Qantas says it is a huge coup for Australia to feature in an episode of the multi Emmy award-winning show. In 2013, Qantas supported the visit by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which provided a 22% increase in inbound flights to New South Wales.
brings in new blood to shake up dwindling search business
8 January 2014MakeMyTrip
- Eddie Garcia leaves eBay for Travelzoo, where he will hold the title Senior Vice President Product Development. The move is a bid to plug a hole in the company's search revenue, which has dropped consistently over the past year - with an expected 25% drop in the last quarter of 2013 alone.
launches B2B affiliate program
- MakeMyTrip has launched two affiliate programs:
- B2B tie up: Offers MakeMyTrip’s portfolio of holiday offerings with greatest reach and suite of holiday products.
- Priority Partner Program:This is the next level of association with MakeMyTrip where a one-time fee of INR 35,000 will be charged. This model provides agents with branding, certification, direct access to real time inventory of MakeMyTrip holidays, a dedicated call-center team and limited marketing support. There is a minimum business expectation from the Priority Partner. The incentives for agents will also be higher in comparison to a B2B Partner.
Card can now be used for hotel discounts in Japan
- As part of the UnionPay Card Hotel Campaign through Wednesday, April 30, UnionPay cardholders get 1,000 yen discount when they pay accommodation fees (10,000 yen or more) using UnionPay card at applicable hotels in Japan. Tourists from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and Singapore who visit Japan are eligible for the campaign.
Free Wi-Fi for Foreigners in Tohoku
6 January 2014Chevrolet
- All visitors to Tohoku from overseas on short-term basis will be able to use free Wi-Fi at tourist facilities or hotels. This encourage visitors to share their experiences in Tohoku with their families or friends in social media.
is teaming up with Priceline
Cox & Kings
- Owners of the famous brand of General Motors vehicles will be able to reach Priceline.com through the OnStar live communications service, starting this summer on 2015 models.
- The luxury tour operator has integrated a number of new features into its web presence including a compare and share tool, interactive online assistance and dynamic search so visitors can browse for products via type of trip.
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NB2: Travel marketing
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