New Media Travel- (26)


How do action-less, people-less, laughter-less, romance-less, love-less  videos emotionally engage and move us? Move us to book or buy? 

 VFLeonardo is an acknowledged leader in the art of visual storytelling, promoting their services to the travel industry and beyond.


Their recent webinar was called “Lets Get Visual: The Power of Telling Your (Hotel’s) Story Through Video.” 

 The webinar made some solid points, among which were:

• Video drives a 150% increase in organic search traffic

• We are a v

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Turning the mundane,  frustrating  experience of booking a hotel online into a fun moment, is an act of legerdemain that only is probably able to pull off.

Take a look at their YouTube commercial to see what I mean. It’s wry, funny and self-deprecating.

It’s a spoof on hotel TV commercials that in and of itself, is a smart TV commercial for’s new U.S ad campaign: “Booking Epic.”

But we have come to expect these sorts of creative approaches from the company that’s the

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Wanted: Someone to push heavy carts along a narrow aisle dispensing drinks, cookies and conversation, with a smile.

Applicant must be able to evacuate a plane, determine, behind closed curtains, what passengers are most likely to help in an emergency and wonder about the little girl flying alone, sitting next to that suspicious man.

The big question, considering the multiple roles an attendant has to fulfill, is whether fluffing pillows and handing out pretzels compromise the authority flight at

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Christopher Elliott, as usual, provides special insights into the "blending" of online travel agents and the impact on travelers. In the Seattle Times, he suggests that Travelocity's "strategic marketing agreement" with long time competitor Expedia could give consumers more travel choice. Or, he suggests, it could create some sort of travel agency monopoly, inevitably raising prices.

While the travel industry is not long on similar examples, Elliott refers to the $1.8-billion dollar purchase

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How Nimble TripAdvisor Bested Expedia

9008785082?profile=originalThe Wall Street Journal report pretty much says it all: At $6.9 billion, Expedia is now worth 40% less than TripAdvisor, which is worth more than $11 billion.

How did TripAdvisor, a recent former subsidiary of Expedia, pull off such a gain when just a year and a half ago, it was an Expedia holding?

Hotelmarketing quite correctly reports that TripAdvisor, in its nimble ways, redesigned its website to show shoppers "more hotel options"  side by side with its traveler reviews, "rather than referr

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Note to Airlines: Skip the Passengers, Just Fly the Bags

Absurd as it may seem, it's very possible the airlines are making more money on the persistent and aggressive fees they're charging than on ticket sales.

A report from the Department of Transportation reveals that in 2010, the airlines raked in a whopping 5.7 billion dollars in checked bag and changed flight charges.

And we the flying public keep paying and the airlines keep gouging. went so far as to suggest that airline ec

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My Four Top Non-Travel Travel Books


Some of my deepest understandings of place, my most intense sense of "being" somewhere come neither from actually being there, nor from reading a travel book about the destination.

They come from a novel or short story which, because they set out to tell a story and not to describe a location, actually create a powerful sense of time and place. 

At many  points in my life I was moved, touched by these non-travel travel books. Here are just four of them:

Travels with a Tangerine

In Travels with a Ta

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Drugging Kids on Flights


Would you sedate your child on a flight? 
Are parents who do so wrong?

Not long ago, a Wall Street Journal  article  reported that many parents "drug" or sedate their kids on planes so they'll be less bothersome for the parents, flight attendants and fellow passengers.

The drug of choice seems to be Benadryl, and while it does calm kids, often putting them out for hours, it has awakened others to what might be an abusive practice.

The testy responses to an (and other) postings on t

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OK, for those who travel a lot, you probably have the packing game down to a science. A routine. You know what to take, how much to take and how to pack it.

Maybe you can skip this article.

But, if images of jumping on your suitcase as your partner quickly snaps the locks shut, or sitting on the thing while you’re doubled over tying the straps is your version of packing, then this primer on how and what to pack may be helpful.

Remember the adage:  “Pack half of what you think you need and bri

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9008809299?profile=originalReport: E-mails Are 40% More Effective Than Twitter or Facebook, Combined

So, after all the excitement about Facebook and Twitter as communities and marketing panaceas, good, “old fashioned” e-mails prove to be 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.

That is, if your goal is to acquire customers, and not just share the latest family news or travel experience.

Apparently, says Hotelmarketing,  the reason is simple: 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily. And “t

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Anatomy of a Twitter Suspension


Anatomy of a Twitter Suspension

So it begins innocently enough.

I Try to send a Tweet from an active, important  account I manage. The Tweet doesn’t send.

Error Message: “There was an error sending…please select the Social Network and try again.”

So  I try,  and try again.

Then it slowly dawns on me:  There’s more here than meets the eye.
I sign into the account, and there it is: “Your Account Has Been Suspended.”

Caution light flashes: The suspension occurred the day after I published a mildly critic

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Reviews do matter. A report by SAS noted that positive reviews (less so TripAdvisor-based rank and brand), followed by lower price were the most important influencers of choice.

And lower price or higher ratings don't overcome the impact of negative reviews.

But even in America, it's possible that more isn't better.

Writing reviews is almost a national pastime.  Writing reviews on everything and saying pretty much what we want and being rewarded by some sort of badge or other "atta boy" reco

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It's a strange contradiction. We're told visuals drive bookings, traveler interest.

We hear that travelers looking to book will be compelled to do so by rich images that tell the kind of story we want to buy into.

But the visuals we typically see are sterile and empty.

VFM Leonardo, a leader in online visual story telling, reports on the top ten visuals shoppers want to see on a website before they actually book a hotel room or a destination.

The smart money tells us that travelers don't b

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Does Twitter Make You Paranoid?


Someone in my home feed on Twitter only posted the number of followers he/she gained. And the number of followers he/she lost. Every day

"Today I lost 5 Followers and gained 3."
"Today I lost 1 Follower and gained 0."
And so it went.

The steady drumbeat of the daily report fascinated me: I wanted to know why these followers came on board or jumped ship.
I wanted to know why they followed and unfollowed this rather humorous, clever person.

Then of course I started seriously to wonder the same ab

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Too much visual information and not enough solid, reliable , trustworthy facts?

Not enough education and awareness building by luxury travel marketers?

Misidentification of the luxury traveler?

You'd think that the "rich and famous" would naturally be drawn to top hotel brands, names synonymous with luxury like the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons.

But Luxury Daily in an article by Joe McCarthy, says it ain't necessarily so.

Apparently very few of the top 10% of the wealthy "have experience wi

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Can Nude Travel Increase the Bottom Line?

9008795884?profile=originalThere are 270 clubs and resorts in the United States, Canada, Mexico offering clothes free vacations of all kinds. And the American Association for Nude Recreation reports 213,000 members spending 400 million plus bucks on nude vacations. It's a global industry.

The Florida-based site is pretty savvy about its mission ("to responsibly enjoy nudity in the company of our family and friends…and to be treated as law-abiding citizens"), and offers many pages of insights including "From a Women's Pers

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Travel or Refrigerators and Stoves

9008776898?profile=originalSo it was an easy chat with a friend who knew I had something to do with the travel biz. He knew I traveled. He knew I produced content (videos, Audio PostCards, travel news reports, trends) for our own site, New Media Travel,  Technorati Travel and Tripatini, among others.

But he was fixated on the actual travel. The grand act of "going places," as he called it. But this was the surprise: he thought it (travel) was a waste of time, money and energy.

The usual responses to my hitting the road

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9008771290?profile=originalIf it's true that 1-minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, then hotels and travel destinations may have found the "holy grail" that converts the grazing online process of looking at hotels, to actually booking them.

And there isn't a hotel or destination in the world that isn't seeking the business alchemy that converts lookers into actual customers.

Generally, the hotel's website is held responsible for making this magic happen.

Of course service that exceeds the client's demands, locat

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Airbnb 101: Using Social Media's Hottest "Places to Stay" Site

By Angie Picardo

with Kaleel Sakakeeny

As Airbnb says, "Find a Place to Stay."
And with participants in 34,183 cities in 192 countries, it's small wonder that the site has become the "go to place" for places to stay. And what may make the popular short term rental site even more popular, is its clever inclusion of neighborhood guides for cities all around the world, just in case a traveler is unsure where to travel to.

Features like this,

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Searching for a hotel online is actually more complex than, say, searching for a flight or car rental or even Viagra. A hotel stay is more of an emotional experience than flying somewhere. To go from New York to London, is simply to find the most convenient, and best-priced flight.

Choosing a hotel  is choosing a home away from home. It's actually a place where you live for a while, and often with someone you really care about.  It's an emotional experience. Flying isn't. Hopefully.

So, you ha

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