NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW

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1 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 1 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW

2 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 2 INDEX THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW Foreword... 3 Reading guide... 5 Executive Summary... 6 Chapter 1 #dreaming Chapter 2 #planning Chapter 3 #booking Chapter 4 #feeling Chapter 5 #sharing Conclusion Bibliography Webography... 82

3 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 3 FOREWORD When was the last time you visited a travel agent? Hard to answer? If as I do, you have kept on traveling and can t even remember where your travel agent had his office it s a clear sign that a long time has gone by. And that during that time, a lot of things have changed. For many of us, jogging our memory trying to remember when our traveling preferences shifted takes us back more than what we are willing to admit. However, it s not so long for younger people. Both perceptions point out clearly that travel industry, one of the greatest businesses according to revenue volumes, has been evolving for a while and social label arrival applied to travelers has done nothing but speed up all these processes. Few things we like more than knowing. Knowing let us understood a context to later try to comprehend what we have to do, what we may expect from ongoing things. Allowing some time to get to know the data and trends affecting our business is one of the best little luxuries we can afford. And it s an unavoidable luxury. The review I have the pleasure to introduce intends to be one of those treats adding work and systematization of the statistics data that roll scattered in our everydayness, making it harder to frame the complete picture. A work that aspires to identify the guidelines that will help us understand how and why we travel. Why it s interesting for us to tell strangers about the experiences we are living, when we prefer doing it, what is the average age of people who is writing travel stories or why we curse because we don t have Wi-Fi at hand. We are going to make part of this journey along Lisa and Marc, two young guys that travel for very different reasons. She s on a leisure travel; he s travelling out of professional interest. Both will help us understood social travelers, who travel and share their best moments thanks to

4 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 4 their favourite social networks. Lisa is having a cupcake in New York and Instagram becomes the perfect tool to get awareness and some jealousy from her friends. Marc is wandering South America, looking for some material to build up his thesis using Facebook as the perfect travel journal where to share the photos and comments that depict the moment he is living. Lisa and Marc bring in a cast-iron truth: all of us, young and old, bear a socialholic inside, an addict looking for other s approval by the act of sharing our moments. We are not aware that by doing so we are part of the change that s shaking our sector. Every new opinion and photo we share increase the complexity and opportunities to decide where to go and how to plan our journey. The five steps of every travel dreaming, planning, booking, feeling and sharing- are being enriched at the same time their density affects our decision making. Behind each of them, there is a content created by social travelers like Marc and Lisa, who enjoy telling others where and when they have traveled and what feelings and emotions they have experienced. And we dig into this to show how relevant they are for tourism industry agents. as well, we put in your hands a wide and discerning document that works from statistics and objective data to elaborate an analysis where to base the answers about how social tourism is already affecting travelers and, what s much more interesting, what evolution we may expect. There is no magic crystal ball able to predict an accurate near future but we can work together to get to know these changes and for them to be part of our professional knowledge. It s time to be part of the future by integrating the knowledge into our present. Juan Luis & Fernando Polo #socialholic authors Partners & General Managers Territorio creativo Companies face new changes that sum up to the ones they already knew; Internet was a strategy itself for a large number of companies long before connectivity enjoyed the high levels of today. Among the highlights that develop deeply this review, some stick out. Content is more and more visual with specific channels about all sorts of travelers experiences. Social networks have grown more powerful to prescribe inspiration for travelers and travel communities are very important when trying to decide where we want to go. Tourism companies face such complexity nowadays that it has come naturally and logically for NH Hotels and Territorio creativo to be part of the solution by creating and sharing this review. And for you to be part the solution

5 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 5 READING GUIDE This document is organized around the five big steps present in every kind of travel: DREAMING, PLANNING, BOOKING, FEELING and SHARING. Each one of these chapters is sub-organized into more specific subjects but always from the point of view of whatever is happening (tourism trends and geographical distribution of the market). READING 3 - STORYTELLING Reading the story behind Marc and Lisa will let us know how different the grade of penetration of social traveling for each one is. Marc is an experienced social traveler, able to lead the beginners, the group where Linda belongs. Hence this reading will show the social traveler behaviour. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW is thought to ease its reading by allowing the reader to grasp its content from different perspectives. READING 1 - COMPLETE Each point provides objective data and information about the reality of social traveling in 2013 as well as an analysis on what, how and why. READING 2 - TECHNOLOGY All along this study, we ll find highlighted boards that gather up the tools that in the latest times (focusing on 2012) the social travelers have been using to form their trips. READING 4 INDEX It is possible to grasp the main knowledge of this document by reading its index, written as a sum up of the whole behavioural content. TERMINOLOGY The vocabulary employed in this document agrees with UN recommendations for tourism and statistics reports.. BIBLIOGRAPHY The data used has been extracted from both public and private statics agencies, domestic and international as well as official tourism boards. The authorized opinions of different experts in the field will also be taken into account.

6 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 6 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This document will try to reflect the truth and facts about social tourism trends from a global perspective but offering at the same time an integrated response, a tool which to work with in what s now and what s coming. This review is organized in the five different steps every voyage or trip does include - dreaming, planning, booking, feeling and sharing- since the idea or need arises in our mind till the social traveler decides whether to share his experience or not with his 2.0 sphere. #dreaming What is inspiring social travelers? Social Travelers are mercurial Psychologists and our own experience agree that most of the happiness generated by traveling relies on the preparations, since the very moment we start dreaming about the experiences will live and that of course we will also share. Explore, meet, get in touch with, experience, share, grow these have always been human wishes but thank to the successive waves of innovation in transports and communications are available for everybody. What formerly was a danger enterprise of exploration set off by some brave explorer whose name will stick into History, today it s just a breakaway to the Caribbean; the risks associated are far less violent but the thirst for adventure remains the same for our social travelers. Social networks and everywhere everytime mobility is stepping up the next notch, trying to bring closer the endless possibilities of technology and our own needs as they define our new role in the globalized world. Our online individuality is less fragmented and allows a complete experience to the social traveler, who doesn t lose his offline identity. That proximity, that close contact using an ever-open channel between two human beings, is what the social traveler is looking for and it s in the endless amount of social networks at his reach where he goes to satisfy it. It s the natural way in a networked world. Several studies conducted in 2012 point out these volatile behaviour of our social traveler during these first moments and how much the future travel will be determined by social networks; one out of two social travelers will change their mind about one or more details of his holidays driven by the comments of his online social spheres. In 2012, Redshift Research asked 4,600 Internet users, who had travelled in the past 12 months or were going to do so in the following ones, how they got inspired for their holidays: nearly one out of two travelers goes online for inspiration. Maybe this was still news for somebody in 2011 but not in 2012 when 100% 1 of tourist companies are on Facebook 2 and at least 71% of them have seen their customer engagement improved by doing so. This taste for volatility during the first moments of the travel planning is directly determined by our modus operandi when it comes to traveling. Only one in ten travelers looked for information offline in A percentage that remains this low until booking-time arrives. As for geographical distribution, Australia and Asia are top when it comes to sharing the destination they re willing to visit. Asia-Pacific region is also where travelers trust professional reviews and friends and family s opinion online the most 4. This is of extreme importance when planning advertising campaigns since the target are not only the travelers but also the sphere that is writing the reviews they trust Ad Age, by EyeForTravel 2 Twitter already needs to captivate a quarter of these companies 3 Stikkymedia, 2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry statics 4 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

7 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 7 The top three increments as source of inspiration and information for traveling have been performed by social networks, travel communities and online videos about destinations. Search engines keep on as the main source of information, the first one we consult, despite them not being the most influential. We may not hit Facebook to start our search, but social network is where we test out the quality of our search results. The kind of social networks we use to communicate with friends and family is not our priority to search for the best deal but the source we trust more and the one that shapes our wishes the most. for defining finer details of the travel. As for travel sites with expert and whoever-knows-more s reviews about the destination we re thinking about, 46% trust them out of authority. This figure tends to increase among men. However, the results obtained by Text100 when asking about the influence of sales and discounts tell us that they are important for 48% of travelers. This figure goes up to 81% if we add the importance that loyalty programs have for social travelers. Finding a good deal is one of the main reasons why the traveler goes online, the more under current economic situation, and the first search criterion worldwide according to Text100 report. For travelers between the ages of 18 and 34, social networks are the absolute priority as source of information, reaching their maximum influx to determine where to go. I go on holidays where my friends suggest. They chat with their community to find out their opinion on what destination or hotel to choose and they re also looking for visual inspiration; they want to see their friends photographs. 52% of travelers admit to feel influenced by the photos their friends share to pick up a destination 5. They think of traditional ads as fairy tales For more than 90% of consumers 6, recommendations and opinions from family and friends are the most reliable source that remains equally important for 70% of travelers even if the feedback is provided by a stranger in the form of a review. No matter how far the community grows, trust in fellow travelers is at all times high. As for any other human activity, experience and friends and family opinion, in who 63% of travelers trust out of love 7, is fundamental in our decision making process, for its general building as well as 5 According to a Skyscanner s survey in February Nielsen Global Consumers Trust Nielsen Global Consumers Trust 2012 Where exactly are they finding that information they trust? From online reviews and opinions, whether they were written by a professional on the matter or an amateur. For 44% of travelers, learning from experienced traveler s tips and know-how s in a blog is key to determine trustworthiness while another 37% prefers to bear out their opinions and read answers to their questions in travel forums. They love online videos Almost every traveler likes watching online videos about voyages and featured destinations, according to Think Google s study. For nine out of ten social travelers looking up information in videos is a common practise when planning their trips 8. Almost 70% of them watch videos to dream about the destination, to pick it up or to look for accommodation and things to do. Online video ads are the second most valued form of advertising on the Internet, trusted by 36% of consumers. The first position, always according to previously mentioned Nielsen report, is held by the ads suggested by search engines, trustworthy for a 40% of those polled. Same per cent levels are achieved by advertisings 8 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

8 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 8 on mobile devices, reached after several important increments since The 46% of leisure travelers that watch online video to make up their minds about the future travel rises all the way up to 68% if it s a business trip. The answer to why they watch them: two out of three are planning on traveling or already choosing a destination. The trend towards a more visual content, gracefully displayed but able to generate information retainable by the viewer without needing a deep reading, finds a great ally in the tourism industry, but still a friendship to be developed. Social travelers interest keeps on growing as they search for online videos to nurture their imagination or to help them figure out how to make a reservation. bringing together what formerly was scattered; it s the social synergy. The Aristotle s whole at social travelers service. Quoting Tim Berners Lee, www father, the web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect to help people work together and not as a technical toy. WorldPublicOpinion.org was interested in 2009 in testing out if there was any relation between the frequency in overseas traveling and how cosmopolitan we are, how connected we feel to other fellow humans and how much do we get along with the global village. The results provided by the survey conducted in more than 20 countries showed quite clearly that the more we travel, the more contacts we make with different cultures and lifestyles, the more global we feel. They just fancy search engines Since 2006, according to Four Pillars findings, searching for hotel + name of destination has dropped a 70%. Search traffic seems to be going to OTAs and meta-searchers. We can t even pretend to encircle the overwhelming success of social networks to a bunch of answers, no matter how well elaborated they might be, but we can sense the true reason why we are using social media: because it makes us feel good. One of every two traveler admits googling about the destination suggested by an online banner. Internet users respond positively not only to ads stimuli but they also search based on their own initiative. 49% of travelers will go online several times during decision making time. One in two overseas travelers sees himself a citizen of the world while this happens only for one in three among the ones who don t travel internationally 9. Spheres 2.0 feel like home Social travelers learning curve about these new products they are being offered has already started to show a strong decreasing geometric progression on search execution and decision taking. Text100 attributes travel blogs the most influential power not only to guide us to choose one destination over another at the inspirational moment but also to confirm further finer details. #planning Social travelers are never alone Surprise! Everything is in their social networks Trust in a blog is given due to a mix between experience and content relevancy (shopping, monuments, prices...) for the reader, but loyalty is gained throughout easy accessibility and a constant flow of information respectful with readers and their interests. Around social networks and content platforms we create our current and future communities, 9 WorldPublicOpinion.org

9 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 9 Think Google 10 study reveals that, on average, we visited 22 websites related with tourism in nine and a half searching sessions before completing our booking. We know on the Internet we can find the largest volume of information with the lowest possible effort. Inspirational moments are digital for every traveler. Redshift s analysis over searches made in social media during 2012 unveils that after inspiration, comparison begins. Globally as well as in the different regions analyzed, our search always starts with accommodation prices, strongly affected by sales and discounts. Specialization is the road hit by the most successful communities of They allow travelers with a common thinking or feeling travel together all along the journey. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts was the year most travel communities started in 2010 have begun to mature and fruit. New search engines and its adaptation to mobile devices is the great change that is leading the leap, as they keep on trying to define their offer to match social traveler volatile taste. And what s more, they build up communities Strangers? No, friends to meet 2012 World Travel Market report about smartphone users manners found out that one in every two British user uploads their holiday photos and gets connected to their communities to be informed and to inform. This per cent goes up to a 72% of Americans, according to the internauts asked by Lab42 for Techie Traveler. Lisa has clicked the like button in many Facebook profiles related with traveling and she has updated her status according to her new wishes, trying to engage her community, as 52% and 59% of travelers respectively did in 2012, according to Lab42. Their goal, as they claim on their webpage, is creating inspiring experiences. Couchsurfing tries to prepare a common offline ground for different cultures, hospitality and adventure by making social travelers feel closer, even more if possible. 5 million members and almost 100,000 cities covered worldwide is the great business card offered by Couchsurfing, which started in 2004 with just the aim to reduce accommodation spend. The model that used to allow a foreigner in our couch for a couple of nights, or vice versa, is still on, but evolving into a unique kind of travel community. P2P, watching other travelers footsteps Just the same way during the dawn of our civilization we gathered around a source of water or food, social travelers meet around destinations, traveling-styles and all sort of experiences that bring them closer and closer. Just as many travelers who want to spend more time comparing to find better value for their money we find those ones who want to feel a luxurious experience while traveling. A social travel is so because of the means and tools employed to make it, not out of the destination, format or traveler s income. The greater deal of travelers in 2012 published on Facebook an update about their status right after thinking about the first steps of their travel, though Facebook isn t beheld as almighty for the social traveler that looks up other sites as much to satisfy the needs of his travel. We should remember that meeting somebody in real life 11 is, by far, the most important reason behind using social networks. Truth is that social travelers don t just pick up this way of finding some place to sleep just to save some money. It s a fundamental part of the bunch of experiences and emotions he s expecting to 10 Google, Travelers Road to Decision For a 60%, according Nielsen Social Media Report 2012

10 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 10 meet. It s a long known model for most mature social travelers, who are leading us behind their footsteps: I travel to connect, to feel closer to the world and myself. Together they seek more for less As we have been able to know 12, for a great deal of social travelers it would be interesting to spend their holidays in a lavish accommodation as long as the price is right. Moving away from generalization, there are a few group buying clubs that, according to comments and reviews from users, are working out. Travel-flash sites discovered the perfect ally in social traveling. Finding the best value for money spent on traveling it s of utter importance for most social travelers, just as much as sharing with their spheres every little thing. Precisely, social networks are key for travel-flash deals to really be so because, teaming up, social communities can respond to them in real time. #booking If it s not online, it doesn t exist Social travelers only book online Social travelers prefer booking each part of their travel individually. Directly from the individual supplier if they stay out less than five days and from tour operators or OTAs if longer, according by the results obtained by Total Media 13 from the British market. The Internet is regarded by travelers as able to provide better information than traditional travel agents. Besides, they trust more a bunch of fellow but stranger travelers than someone face to face. As we can see, the same behaviour observed during dreaming and planning phases goes along travelers for booking. 12 Google, Travelers Road to Decision Total Media, Social Travel Report Not without my smartphone However, we shouldn t forget that most parts of the market are independent and leaded by consumers, what affects gravely the tourism industry. Social travelers are defining demand with their direct bookings, not companies and the offer they market. Furthermore, in 2012 we started to see the first signs of OTA s usage decline since both hotels and airlines are making a common effort using brand awareness and linkage actions to attract social travelers to book directly with them. This fact gives even more ground to the already well-built importance of social networks for travel booking since they combine users reviews and suggestions with the chance to buy directly almost any tourist product. We go online not only to book hotels and flights but also fun and interesting things to do while at the destination. 38% of travelers stick to the most traditional spirit and will decide upon arrival but it shouldn t be a surprise that this rate is pushed up by Europeans, where people has higher life expectancy. On the other hand, Asia-Pacific region pulls online booking up. They d rather buy museum tickets or shopping tours online because it s just more related to social networking. They love apps, the more they trust the provider In 2012, we went online from our smartphones and we kept on using browsers to gather information, share and feel, though one in every two smartphone users downloaded an app related to a future travel 14. The level of trust given to social networks and content platforms finds its balance in the one granted to brands, to those companies from tourist industry we have trusted before out of positive experiences. Once we have put our confidence in a loyalty program, we are much more eager to accept any tech proposal from the 14 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

11 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 11 company, as it s proven by the most frequent download of apps among those engaged in a reward system 15. Once these core issues are organized, we ll download city guides and restaurant and landmarks finders at the location chosen; these are the most popular ones to talk about but also the apps we will be less loyal to. Maps and GPSS are taking most of our appdownloading attention, as others that help build up travel logistics and planning such us weather forecasting apps or currency convertors. They want new experiences during travel, but better à la carte Other surveys depict the same reality 17. We may have been forced to lower our budget but we won t stay at home. Traveling is not part of luxuryshopping list. Maybe some fancy lavish getaway would be, but not traveling. The old good arts of wiser buyers, patiently transmitted from parents to children, meant walking up and down several travel agents looking for the best deal. Now, just at the expense of one calorie, we get the same with some clicking and tapping. Think global, enjoy local is their motto #feeling What are social travelers looking for? They use smartphones to feel connected Holidays have been shorter, generally speaking, during the last twelve months in the whole world. At the same time and on the same page, number of foreign getaways has split too. This is true for all the scenario cases analyzed. In 2012, the social traveler carries his smartphone with himself during the holidays; nine out of ten. Only 50% of them 16 will use their mobile devices in foreign countries due to lack of free Wi-Fi. When social travelers are on the road, they like getting in touch with friends and family. Access frequency is usually higher than once a day because we go online to check out the news as much as to let our community know where we are, what we are doing and how we are feeling about it. Obviously, taking photos and filming our trips and journeys are equally popular, and one of the most common ways of enriching traveling communities. Half of travelers will do it during their holidays but once back home, the number of social travelers willing to share their travel albums in the many available networks almost hits 76% of them. Worldwide, as well as in each region watched, there are two points that are at all times high, common for every other traveler: reading reviews by amateur travelers at social networks and searching online for accommodation prices 18. The break-even point where these two curves meet is made out of complete comparative information about accommodation in tourist content websites. According to Text100 study, North American travelers are more interested in week-end breaks and short trips within their own country, while tourists in Europe and Asia would rather extend them to a full week and are much more willing to leave their country, but without leaving their corresponding continents. 87% of them didn t leave it or just once during They enjoy high-tech services In a phone survey by Time magazine, 44% of those polled say they would rather forget the wallet at home than their smartphones. It seems 17 Total Media. Social Travel 15 Google, Travelers Road to Decision Redshift Research for TEXT Google, Travelers Road to Decision To these data, America is considered as two separate continents

12 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 12 they don t want to start their day without them though this dual reality might end soon. They expect rapidity and quality in products and service Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Rogers Communications Inc. wanted to know how Canadians felt about using their smartphones as credit cards. More than half of them would see credit cards as a past thing if this new mean of payment would feature the same amount of rewards and advantages credit card do nowadays. A picture is worth a thousand words Unlike reading a text, that demands a conscious and active process, images are able to produce an immediate response in our brain. They don t need the filter of language to be understood, and usually they go along emotional intense reactions, driven faster than texts. CIBC listened to their ideas and CIBC s app for small buys up to 50 Canadian dollars- it s already available. In fact, to spread its popularity, CIBC has added a system to reward frequent users. Is a good photo the trigger? Maybe it is not enough on its own but surely it helps. It s the catalyser that turns a visual stimulus into a command to the finger to tap or click and so get the wished attention. From January to June 2012, the number of Twitter 20 users who were commenting on the same TV program they were watching grew from 26% to 33%. Behind this fast increase, we won t only find women under 30 but middle aged men and women who like very much commenting their favourite TV shows on Twitter. Several hotels are already offering the techvalue to their rooms, displaying mobile technology everywhere and everytime for their customers, all of them affluent social travelers. Boston s Revere, Rhode Island s Ocean House or Los Angeles Hotel Bel Air are supporting a technological trend that in Europe has started timidly, offered by, for example, London s Eccleton Square and Barcelona s Mandarín Oriental. During 2012 we saw the birth and development of several websites and apps that are boiling up to the visual emotion fair, trying to nail the best system for social travelers. They want a fast and effective but close response From the survey conducted for Text100, it s of utter interest the behaviour of the variable frequency of traveling in the use of social media. The more they travel, the more they use social media to get inspired. If we lower age, it s even more influential, though according to ComScore s State of Social Media 2012, the biggest growth in social networks use, a steady 9%, was performed by men in general and by men and woman over 55. Nobody wants to be out. On the other hand, running away from everyday monotony and urban stress is placed by those polled by Redshift Research as the main reason why to choose one destination over another, remarkably important for Americans. Social travelers, as social consumers in general, don t show discomfort with the quality of some product or service by dialling customer service, they write a complaint in social networks. For almost half social networks users, it s better to post a comment on provider s Facebook profile or in their own ones, maybe not looking for a solution but mere understanding of their situation. In any case, this behaviour affects providers greatly. 20 Nielsen Social Media Report 2012

13 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 13 Since the moment a complaint is posted for other users to read and learn about it, the line between marketing and customer service start fading away and it s most advisable for providers to pay due attention and efforts when advertising in social media and valuing brand awareness. We might be tempted to take the claim offline but we shouldn t miss the fact that social travelers already know where to assess value and how to tell apart those sites that hide negative information away. #sharing Post-experience Destinations and accommodation, what they share most Most studies carried out during 2012 come to the same conclusion about social travelers behaviour: the three most searched items (destinations, flights and hotels) are also the preferred subjects to comment and share. It seems logical that the three main parts of every travel logistics are the most important part for travelers eye and therefore the answer to what they spend more time talking about. An in-deep analysis of the data obtained by Total Media for Social Travel Report reveals that, once we have come back from our journey, they way we share it comments, reviews, photographs, etc.- tends to exclude one from each other. I like commenting what you like reading Text100 study reveals quite clearly that positive experiences are those more commented while the negative ones will only be shared by 5% of travelers. The second point that affects our decision to comment is provided by the consideration given by our community to whatever we want to post. Social travelers will comment about what their communities like. After this first non-profit approach -in which we are just returning what we took from the community to get inspired, plan and book- 26% of travelers worldwide 21 say they will comment more if there was some kind of discount or reward at loyalty programs. No Wi-Fi, no party Even though most travelers will have their mobiles with them during traveling time, if we have a look at Redshift Reasearch data, we see they are not going to use them as much as they expected. If we take out those three pillars, global village is eager to talk about shopping, food (local and fine cuisine), historic places and outdoor activities. If we zoom in into every region, according to Redshift Research, we see shopping is the priority in Asia, while monuments are in Europe or America is comfortable talking about anything, as long as it s fun. Whether using Foursquare, Facebook or any other geolocation app or social network, almost one in every two travelers use them to let their corresponding network where they are and what they are doing and discovering. Reviews, the most frequent option of usergenerated content, are preferred by those social travelers who neither write blogs nor participate in social networks. We already know social travelers enjoy using technology in every service provided so, why aren t they connecting while abroad? Maybe the most plausible explanation is subdue under the general aim of social travelers to find the best value for their money because one in two would use their smartphone or tablet on location if there was free Wi-Fi. Something that might not happen because few hotel chains offer such service. Reviews, from trends to manners Customers and users will spend a lot of their time comparing several options before proceeding with the next steps of their travel for what they will read carefully the comments under an app -or at provider s website- and they will also get informed 21 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

14 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 14 at third parts, always under closer supervision by friends and family. The consumers analyzed by Reevo give much more credit (58%) to reviews generated by independent companies that to the ones done by the questioned brand (20%). Social networks are bringing closer every actor in the tourism industry and the best path to follow is transparency, as much as we can. It s necessary to comprehend that negative reviews aren t compulsorily negative if we focus on who is the real main character of it; the customer. On this page runs Google, according to Jason Freidendfelds when he says that usually the best approach is placing useful info for the reader, providing information that people finds genuinely helpful.

15 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 15 CONTENT INDEX #dreaming What is inspiring social travelers?...17 Social travelers are mercurial...19 They think of traditional ads as fairy-tales...22 They love online videos...25 They just fancy search engines...27 #planning Social travelers are never alone...30 Surprise! Everything is in their social networks...30 Spheres 2.0 feel like home...35 P2P, watching other travelers footsteps...42 And what s more, they build up communities...43 Strangers? No, friends to meet...43 Together they seek more for less...46 #booking If it s not online, it doesn t exist...49 Social travelers only book online...49 Not without my smartphone...50 They love apps, the more they trust the provider...51 #feeling What are social travelers looking for?...56 They use smartphones to feel connected...56 They want new experiences during, but better à la carte...57 Think global, enjoy local is their motto...59 They enjoy high-tech services...61 They expect rapidity and quality in products and service...64 A picture is worth a thousand words...64 They want a fast and effective but close response...68 #sharing Post-experience...71 Destinations and accommodation, what they share the most...71 I like commenting what you like reading...75 No Wi-Fi, no party...75 Reviews, from trend to manners...76

16 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 16 NH HOTELES. EL CICLO DEL VIAJERO SOCIAL 16 #dreaming What is inspiring social travelers? Social travelers are mercurial They think of traditional ads as fairy-tales They love online videos They just fancy search engines

17 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 17 WHAT IS INSPIRING SOCIAL TRAVELERS? Psychologists and our own experience agree that most of the happiness generated by traveling relies on the preparations, since the very moment we start dreaming about the experiences we will live and that of course we will also share. Explore, meet, get in touch with others, experience, share, grow these have always been human desires but thank to the successive waves of innovation in transports and communications are, now, available for everybody. What formerly was a danger enterprise of exploration set off by some brave explorer whose name will stick into History, today it s just a breakaway to the Caribbean; the associated risks are far less violent but the thirst for adventure remains the same for our social travelers. Social networks and everywhere everytime mobility is stepping up the next notch, trying to bring closer the endless possibilities of technology and our own needs as they define our new role in the globalized world. Our online individuality is less fragmented and allows a complete experience to the social traveler, who doesn t lose his offline identity. Up to yesterday, unless you travelled, every piece of information available about the world was aired by communications corporations, under their own criteria. Social networks let us skip that filter and communicate directly 22 with every citizen in the world. We re getting to know each other and we love discovering how different yet alike we all are. Visiting almost anybody s Facebook profile is like wandering a bunch of different countries and cultures. The European Commission held a contest in 2012 to test out how European you were by checking how many of your Facebook friends were from a different member state. 22 Social networks are often regarded as responsible for better engagement in social relationships by many papers about social networks and Internet 2.0 Social Travel Report, by Total Media for Tourism SouthEast

18 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 18 That proximity, that close contact using an ever-open channel between two human beings, is what the social traveler is looking for and it s in the endless amount of social networks at his reach where he goes to satisfy it. It s the natural way in a networked world. Lisa is a young curious girl who s been willing to travel to Sweden for a long time. She lives in Boston, where she has just finished her medical studies, though she is from Barcelona, Spain. She was granted an internship at one of the best medical colleges in America, for which she had worked a lot, and she held no doubts about moving to the USA. T he experience was amazing and she fell for New England. T he crush was strong enough for her to move to Boston; at least for a while. If she were to choose the best among it all, it would be the new friends she has made. Lisa was gratefully surprised by how easy-going Americans are and she felt welcome since the very beginning. She daydreams about Sweden from time to time since a friend of hers published some beautiful pictures of him and his family sledging in the North Pole. She s unsuccessfully tried to engage some of her own friends in her trip. Every time she finds a bargain about flights or accommodation, she posts it on Facebook. She also pins some of the many spectacular scenery offered by Sweden, just in case. She s not finding any more commitment from his social friends than from real ones but at least they pay more interest to her traveling ideas, so she keeps on twitting. At the same children hospital where she has started working, Marc is one of the psychologists. T hey haven t met yet but the hospital has a welcoming program that includes social profiles of the workers that agreed so and Marc and Lisa have already talked a couple of times on Facebook. Marc is really keen on photography and when Lisa tells him she misses walking up and down Barcelona s beaches, he shares with her his Flickr account where she finds an album of T he Hamptons and its wild Atlantic beauty. He has also commented about two beautiful places close to Boston where nature is at its best during that time of the year. As soon as Lisa can put together some free time, she ll ask him to take her out there. Lisa s mind is quite clear about going to Sweden but during these first steps of her travel she is open to a lot of influences. She may have an idea of what she wants but she ll go online so many times to get inspired that her volatility will surf from one site to another, learning from photos and videos on the go. T hough Lisa is subject to this form of suggestion during the first steps of dreaming, defining the details of her trip and booking it online are very present in her mind during all the process

19 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 19 Social Travelers are mercurial The way we travel has been greatly changed by both the endless online possibilities and social networks. Their influence can be felt from the very moment our travel starts, because searching for information will be done online, throughout search engines and OTAs, to later be filtered by several social networks. Several studies conducted in 2012 point out these capricious behaviour of our social traveler during these first moments and how much the future travel will be determined by social networks; one out of two social travelers will change their mind about one or more details of their holidays driven by the comments of their online social spheres. In 2012, Redshift Research asked 4,600 Internet users, who had travelled in the past 12 months or were going to do so in the following ones, how they got inspired for their holidays: nearly half of them used social networks to get inspiration. offline in A percentage that remains this low until booking-time arrives. The kind of influence performed by the different members of a social network does not only obey to the patterns of network communication, powerful enough to implement it exponentially over the receivers, but it also comprises a multidirectional ability to produce messages at the same time the sender listens to them, just to later place them again in the common area they all share. Lack of traditional verbal communication boundaries is becoming a key factor during decision making moments since the social traveler acts as a sender and a receiver at the same time, once he has found the information he was looking for. As for geographical distribution, Australia and Asia are top when it comes to sharing the destination they re willing to visit. Asia-Pacific Maybe this was still news for somebody in 2011 but not in 2013 when 100% 23 of tourist companies are on Facebook 24 and at least 71% of them have seen their customer engagement improved by doing so. Facebook screenshot Detail from Online Travel Industry Statics by Funsherpa sourced in Facebook Key Facts and Online Travel Study by emarketingeye This taste for volatility during the first moments of the travel planning is directly determined by our modus operandi when it comes to traveling. Only one in ten travelers looked for information region is also where travelers trust professional reviews and friends and family s opinion online the most 26. This is extremely important when planning advertising campaigns since the target are not Ad Age, by EyeForTravel 24 Twitter already needs to captivate a quarter of these companies 25 Stikkymedia, 2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry statics 26 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

20 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 20 FACEBOOK The king of the hill of social networks was released in $3,710 million in income in More than 1,000 million monthly users in It acquires Instagram, Spool and Karma among others in More than 9 million apps use Facebook Platform. In the first quarter of 2012, they grew by 2 million. only the travelers but also the sphere that is writing the reviews they trust. Comparing to 2011 data, it sticks out that every single one (search engines, hotel and airline websites and OTAs) has stepped back a little bit (around one and two percent) though Internet use for looking up information for travels hasn t stopped growing Where has this traffic gone? To mobile apps. Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study Not all those who wander are lost Social travelers are subject to many influences but this doesn t mean they don t know what they want; as Tolkien wrote, Not all those who wander are lost. They might not be sure about the destination or even who they re traveling with but the truth is they don t care at all. They move around with their minds as open as they can. They keep an open attitude towards the world, that s why they want to discover it, but also towards the people they meet along and the new ways and tools they are being offered to take the most out of their traveling experiences. Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 The top three increments as source of inspiration and information for traveling have been performed by social networks, travel communities and online videos about destinations. Search engines keep on as the main source of information, the first one we consult, despite them not being the most influential. We may not hit Facebook to start our search, but social network is where we test out the quality of our search results. A definitive 96% will search for information about travel destinations online and especially at search engines, which are the main source for 63% of the travelers asked by Google. Almost half of them will always search before shopping or booking online. 52% of travelers changed their minds 27 in 2012 after learning the feedback provided by their social friends. We ve trusted Google to get as much information available as possible but after this first scrolling down, we need the filter of trust applied all over it. 27 Online Travel Study, emarketingeye

21 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 21 BLOGGER Launched in 1999, was acquired by Google in Available in more than 50 languages, 400 million readers have followed its blogs worldwide. In 2011 Google tries to enhance its interface. In 2012 it lost more than 3 million users. The amount of information is so huge that we feel overwhelmed, unable to get everything right: destination, flights, accommodation, attractions and all the rest of elements that can make a travel a positive or negative experience. To tip the scales and make our travel an unforgettable experience, our social networks, our friends, are a key part of it. This influence hasn t gone undercover and several communities and networks are already working on it. Maybe on paper, on screen in this matter, a destination, a hotel, a bargain flight may look really appealing but experience has taught our social travelers that they cannot always trust the first piece of information they lay their eyes on; they need a filter. Social travelers are learning to tell good reviews apart and how to measure independency and trustworthiness in a blog, video or social comment. The kind of social networks we use to communicate with friends and family is not our priority to search for the best deal but the source we trust more and the one that shapes our wishes the most. Besides, if we criss-cross this with the data from Redshift Research considering the age factor we can see that social networks could easily cope with that too if the current trends keep on. For travelers between the ages of 18 and 34, social networks are the absolute priority as a source of information, reaching their maximum influx to determine where to go. I go on holidays where my friends suggest. Taking into account that within a few years the so called digital natives -generations born after the Internet spread- will outnumber the former ones, their behaviour can be regarded as the possible future trend for most travelers. They chat with their community to find out their opinion on what destination or hotel to choose and they re also looking for visual inspiration; they want to see their friends photographs. 52% of travelers admit to feel influenced by the photos their friends share to pick up a destination 28. During March 2012, 3,2 million likes and comments were added daily to Facebook 29 while 300 Wrodpress screenshot 28 According to a Skyscanner s survey in February 2011 Blogger screenshot. 29 Facebook Key Facts

22 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 22 WORDPRESS Founded in 2003, between 50,000 and 100,000 new sites are created daily using its software (2012 average). One in every two blogs and in every six webs is made with Word-press. The sites powered by Wordpress attract more than 600 million monthly readers. million photos were being uploaded to Zuckerberg s network. There s no doubt we like watching. We re an image-loving society and especially we fall for the feelings they can awake in us. with others is acknowledged by most social media users as the main reason to get engaged in them. However, our wishes don t always find the right answer from whoever is trying to sell us the flight or the room that will make our dream come true. The main difficulty we face is surfing through complicated sites. Why losing my time here when there are better sites just a click away. Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study Around what? It s not a complex answer. It s enough to have a look at what we comment in 2012 to discover that destinations and hotels take most of our attention. Discomfort and inconvenience join slowness and general chaos in design as the main reasons why to unexpectedly leave a site or not using an app again. If the site is not responsive to mobile devices, it is also at risk of digital exclusion. Once the first idea of our future travel has nested comfortably in our minds, the quality and accessibility of the online content we look up will guide a path eventually determined by the community. Specifically, the experience it has about the destination, whether as a pro travel journalist or as an amateur, and the balance between the comments they had decided to leave. We all want to use any piece of technology that is at our reach. We ve paid good money for a tablet or a smartphone that is making our life much easier and we want to take the most out of it. Besides, it helps us feel modern and in line with the rest of the world. Connecting better Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 They think of traditional ads as fairy-tales 2011 studies consulted on the matter pointed out, as much as 2012 have done, that your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest friends, followers and followees are the second most used source of information. Priority goes to search engines and content platforms; a 62% of us will just visit them to get inspired According to Think Travel Google

23 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 23 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study For more than 90% of consumers 31, recommendations and opinions from family and friends are the most reliable source that remains equally important for 70% of travelers even if the feedback is provided by a stranger in the form of a review. No matter how far the community grows, trust in fellow travelers is at all times high. Nowadays we are more exposed to external stimuli than ever before; to the breath-taking ones offered by Nature, we add everyday a million more to any of the parts of the mass media system we have built up. This makes social travelers pay closer attention and it also favours the birth of sites that try to reveal and sort every single aspect of the tourist offer. tell us that they are important for 48% of travelers. This figure goes up to 81% if we add the importance that loyalty programs have for social travelers. Finding a good deal is one of the main reasons why the traveler goes online, even more under current economic situation, and the first search criterion worldwide according to Text100 report. As for any other human activity, experience and friends and family opinion, in who 63% of travelers trust out of love 32, is fundamental in our decision making process, for its general building as well as for defining finer details of the travel. As for travel sites with expert and whoever-knows-more s reviews about the destination we re thinking about, 46% trust them out of authority. This figure tends to increase among men. However, the results obtained by Text100 when asking about the influence of sales and discounts 31 Nielsen Global Consumers Trust Nielsen Global Consumers Trust 2012 Detail from The Impact of Social Media within the Hospitality Industry, by Four Pillars sourcing Stikkymedia, 2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry statics Specific articles in online magazines or newspapers, TV programs about travels and traditional travel agent s all share the same piece of the influence cake, being important for four in every ten travelers. Regarding confidence in the source of information, social networks aside, best positioned

24 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 24 It s been a long time since Lisa stopped spending so much time watching TV, at least the flat screen reigning in the living-room. She d rather watch it from her PC. T his interactive leisure matches better her personality. She is used to going for what she wants; otherwise she would have never become a paediatrician. Besides, since her father bought her an ipad for her graduation (and some money she s eager to spend in her journey) online world is the only one for her. When Lisa decides and whatever she decides. At the same time, she s tired of so many meaningless ads that cloud her mind without providing anything of her interest. From her ipad, she s the one to satisfy her needs for connection. She doesn t want to feel bewildered, she wants to be informed. Lisa knows herself better than traditional TV publicity agents and she is able to lead her demand where she wants it to be. T his habit makes her look up some fashion blogs before going shopping with her friends or have a look at TripAdvisor before booking a hotel or whenever she wants to learn about the coolest things to do on arrival. T he trust Lisa no longer grants to TV ads doesn t move freely in the world of fidelity because it has long been given to her social networks and content platforms. It isn t that Instagram suddenly inspires her more confidence as a company than any other, but she has traded the trust she had always placed on her faceto-face friends to the way they are now sharing their wisdom and experience. results offered by search engines are on top of the list for 55% of those sounded out by Text100 for Travel & Tourism Study. For almost every other of them, individual suppliers websites are regarded as equally trustworthy. Following the same Google s study, online travel sites and official tourism board pages are looked up and important for the same amount of travelers. Where exactly are they finding that information they trust? From online reviews and opinions, whether they were written by a professional on the matter or an amateur. For 44% of travelers, learning from experienced traveler s tips and know-how s in a blog is key to determine trustworthiness while another 37% prefers to bear out their opinions and read answers to their questions in travel forums. Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

25 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 25 Although they come at the end of the list we shouldn t underestimate YouTube, Vimeo and Pinterest, which were the preferred source for 22% of travelers in They love online videos One in every four traveler watches online video to plan the trip, what becomes usual for one in two if it s a business trip, both following a growing trend since Social travelers want to watch videos. It s their choice and they will be seduced by the looks all the way, even to book. The online world is a free world where every addition can find its nest, though it s limited by online immediacy and overabundance of information A picture is worth a thousand words obtains a whole new strength in the online world even though it shares the common goal of awareness with text and the rest of content. Pictures efforts for triggering conversation and comments don t focus on put ideas and thoughts on us but on making us feel. Vimeo screenshot Almost every traveler likes watching online videos about voyages and featured destinations, according to Think Google s study. For nine out of ten social travelers looking up information in videos is a common practise when planning their trips 33. Almost 70% of them watch videos to dream about the destination, to pick it up or to look for accommodation and things to do. More than 60% of travelers trusted online video from individual travel suppliers and expert travelers channels in Although slightly 33 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 VIMEO Created in 2004 in New York. IAC acquires Vimeo in million monthly users on average in the USA since May Its app it s considered among the best for video editing.

26 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 26 YOUTUBE Founded in 2006 by former PayPal employees. 22% of worldwide travelers look up Youtube to inspire their travels in Awareness, State of Social Media Marketing, January 2012 Acquired by Google for $1,650 million in In December 2012, You- Tube hits the app market with both Android and ios versions. More than 160 million unique monthly users in November 2012 (USA only.) are considered most significant by 42% of consumers. Social networks ads are interesting for a six per cent less of them, around the same amount of Europeans who still trust TV advertising. On the other side, TV commercials are regarded as real and relevant for 65% of viewers in Africa and Middle East. below, amateur user-generated videos are still an important source for half of travelers. Online video ads are the second most valued form of advertising on the Internet, trusted by 36% of consumers. The first position, always according to previously mentioned Nielsen report, is held by the ads suggested by search engines, trustworthy for a 40% of those polled. Same per cent levels are achieved by advertisings on mobile devices, reached after several important increments since However, while according to EyeforTravel, most companies within tourism industry have already landed on Facebook and Twitter, only half of them the so called social matures- are on You- Tube. The trend towards a more visual content, gracefully displayed but able to generate information retainable by the viewer without needing a deep The 46% of leisure travelers that watch online video to make up their minds about the future travel rises all the way up to 68% if it s a business trip. The answer to why they watch them: two out of three are planning on traveling or already choosing a destination. When asked about the relevance of what they watch 34, the results offered by search engines 34 Nielsen Social Media Report 2012 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

27 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 27 One of every two traveler admits googling about the destination suggested by an online banner. Internet users respond positively not only to ads stimuli but they also search based on their own initiative. 49% of travelers will go online several times during decision making time. Youtube screenshot reading, finds a great ally in the tourism industry, but still a friendship to be developed. Horizontal search engines hold their position as prior when searching information for a leisure travel, though in 2012 they lose ground to hotels and airlines specific websites, pushed by the spread of apps use on smartphones. This situation has been long taking place for business travelers, where convenience is the key factor in decision making, high above the rest of concerns. Social travelers interest keeps growing as they search for online videos to nurture their imagination or to help them figure out how to make a reservation. As we can see, the differences among the most important and decision-influential factors, despite leaning towards what is closer to us, aren t too big; they all take a similar piece. They just fancy search engines Since 2006, according to Four Pillars findings, searching for hotel + name of destination has dropped a 70%. Search traffic seems to be going to OTAs and meta-searchers. Social travelers learning curve about these new products they are being offered has already started to show a strong decreasing geometric progression on search execution and decision taking. Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

28 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 28 This behaviour conveys that they no longer need to lose time learning processes that they already master and can focus on the content offered, demanding it to be of the expected quality. A projection of this curve goes for a social traveler that trusts more and more in his social sphere digital generations will soon outnumber the pre-digital era ones and that looks for experience and specialization to build this trust and thus decide.

29 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 29 #planning Social travelers are never alone Surprise! Everything is in their social networks Spheres 2.0 feel like home P2P, watching other travelers footsteps And what s more, they build up communities Strangers? No, friends to meet Together they seek more for less

30 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 30 SOCIAL TRAVELLERS ARE NEVER ALLONE Maybe no other incident was of such importance for mankind dawn as the discovery of fire. We assimilated that close to it we felt warmer, that it put wild beasts away and that the night could suddenly become day; but we also learnt it burned if not handled properly. It wasn t until we learnt how to take it under our control that it allowed us to settle down and build up communities around it 35, starting civilization and changing forever our lifestyle, our relationships and the way how we will face the world from then on. If the Internet and the first online revolution were the discovery of fire, social networks are the real tool that is letting us tame the lion, not only to specialized agents in the market but to every single actor in the tourism industry. Around social networks and content platforms we create our current and future communities, bringing together what formerly was scattered; it s the social synergy. The Aristotle s whole at social travelers service. Quoting Tim Berners Lee, www father, the web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect to help people work together and not as a technical toy. where the matter was no longer to feel oneself Bavarian or Venetian but German or Italian, 21th century want us to be citizens of the world living in a common global village. One in two overseas travelers sees himself a citizen of the world while this happens only for one in three among the ones who don t travel internationally 36. The social traveler knows and feels part of something bigger than himself, an essential member of a global community he enriches with his own experiences and social imprint. Whatever videos they choose to watch, photos they decide to upload or reviews they write in any of the multiple social networks they like, they contribute to build up a meta-community able to generate ceaseless data. Information the social traveler seeks because he trusts it. We can t even pretend to encircle the overwhelming success of social networks to a bunch of answers, no matter how well elaborated they might be, but we can sense the true reason why we are using social media: because it makes us feel good. WorldPublicOpinion.org was interested in 2009 in testing out if there was any relation between the frequency in overseas traveling and how cosmopolitan we are, how connected we feel to other fellow humans and how much do we get along with the global village. Social Media Report 2012 de Nielsen The results provided by the survey conducted in more than 20 countries showed quite clearly that the more we travel, the more contacts we make with different cultures and lifestyles, the more global we feel. If tourism industry was born along the most poetic and romantic nationalism in the 19th century, 35 In some languages, such as in old Spanish, fire and home are the same word. Surprise! Everything is in their social networks Text100 attributes travel blogs the most influential power not only to guide us to choose one destination over another at the inspirational moment but also to confirm further finer details. Trust in a blog is given due to a mix between 36 WorldPublicOpinion.org

31 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 31 experience and content relevancy (shopping, monuments, prices...) for the reader, but loyalty is gained throughout easy accessibility and a constant flow of information respectful with readers and their interests. We all like talking online, some of us are more willingly and some others not so much but we all do at some point. The more, the further is our knowledge on the matter; and we know nothing better than ourselves. In 2013, those brands which weren t already blogging in 2012 will start doing it 37, spending more resources and effort than in other social platforms, but keeping an eye on travel forums, whether self-hosted ones or third part s, which have flourished in Our old fashioned values of talking on the phone, sending s and watching TV are, for the first time, giving ground to social networking and the more online version of those activities. All right, we are already here. Now, what do we do? As for any other human interaction, there are two main approaches we can take. We can brag about our ideas and try, by every mean, them to be liked and listened by the audience or, we can ask them and start a conversation. If, in addition, instead of waiting for our time to talk we are actually listening to the sender and answering to his doubts and issues, not ours, maybe the so longed customer engagement can solidify. Thus, as brands, we should wonder with an open mind what are social travelers talking about, not what they should be commenting or how to take them to talk about my product. Information on the Internet is so easy to look up and so vast and usually complete the true Holy Grail of human knowledge- that is has acquired the proportions of a collective mind. Nobody should be startled by knowing that we go there to get inspired more often than we ask our own imagination. Every study and document reviewed for this text comes to acknowledge the importance of social networks to inspire travel destinations in Think Google 38 study reveals that, on average, we visited 22 websites related with tourism in nine and a half searching sessions before completing our booking. 37 Awareness, State of Social Media Marketing Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 Awareness, State of Social Media Marketing 2012

32 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 32 We know on the Internet we can find the largest volume of information with the lowest possible effort. Inspiration moments are digital for every traveler. Redshift s analysis over searches made in social media during 2012 unveils that after inspiration, comparison begins. Globally, as well as in the different analysed regions, our search always starts with accommodation prices, strongly affected by sales and discounts. A little bit below in its importance, but very present in social traveler s searches in 2012, are quality and cleanliness of accommodation and what to do on arrival to have fun. Once the logistics of getting there and sleeping are solved, the true travel begins. Human beings are social by definition and we don t turn out differently when we are traveling. Social networks haven t made us more social, but they allow us to confirm our feeling of belonging to the global village by being active on them wherever we are, second after second, in real time. Internet usage while traveling blasts off due to smartphones. ComScore 39 paper about European consumers behaviour towards smartphones makes it clear that Spain and England are leaders in all the measured parameters World Travel Market report about smartphone users manners found out that one in every two British user uploads their holiday photos and gets connected to their communities to be informed and to inform. This per cent goes up to a 72% of Americans, according to the internauts asked by Lab42 for Techie Traveler. World Travel Market report also reveals that printed travel guides are definitively no longer an important source of information. Their sales have dropped 40% in the last five years and only 11% of British travelers relied on them in the last six months. During the same period of 2012, 15% of Americans said yes when asked by Lab42 if they downloaded a specific app for the chosen destination. 39 ComScore Mobilens

33 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 33 Where exactly is the social traveler getting the inspiration, information and reviews he values and trusts? From the community, whether the closest ones where he s an active part or the communities they build up around products or different traveling styles, where he just goes to peek. A great deal of the emotions Lisa is going to feel while wandering Sweden will happen without her leaving her home. Lisa has clicked the like button in many Facebook profiles related with traveling and she has updated her status according to her new wishes, trying to engage her community, as 52% and 59% of travelers respectively did in 2012, according to Lab42. Having her friends to comment on her dream and supporting her, makes the prior-to-traveling experience interesting and enriching enough for Lisa to repeat this behaviour in her future travels. Erin de Santiago, frequent writer at Travbuddy blog, shares with us her social traveling routine. [I]read TravBuddy, contact local members, reach Lisa arrived exhausted to the break room at the paediatric ward. She had been working double shifts and she wasn t even sure how she was managing to still be awake. T he day had been long but rewarding. Lisa had nailed two diagnoses that had been troubling the rest of her colleagues and the kids were responding positively. Tired but happy, she curled up in a sofa, with her headphones close and a blanket around; she still had six more hours ahead. To start relaxing, she watched a video of the aurora borealis on YouTube and she daydreamt again with her future time in Sweden. Hey, Lisa. A smile bearing Marc showed up from behind the coffee machine. Lisa had thought she was alone and, slightly uncomfortable by offering such look, returned the greeting Hi, Marc. I didn t see you. Resting a little bit? I can t believe you in that blanket, you look like a poor old lady! Marc didn t stop smiling. May I help you cross the street, Miss Daisy? Lisa just smiled back at him and returned her eyes to the video. She couldn t think of any smart answer and she was really pissed Marc had seen her dressed like that. In fact, he had never seen her without the unflattering white coat. What are you watching? T hat close, Lisa could see the intelligent sparkle in Marc s eyes, who was watching her behind a pair of old-fashioned glasses. It s about aurora borealis. I don t want to miss when I hit Sweden. How are you doing with that? Already tricked somebody into going with you? asked Marc. No way! Nobody s in! Lisa complained. Are you sure you don t want to come with me? I can t, I have plans for those dates. You should have a look at MySocialPassport if you want to find some mates for your travel; it s among the links I sent you. I ve used it sometimes to reach other photography lovers and it went pretty well. Nobody better than a local to tell the best spots to shoot After helping her again, Marc left the common room and a light smell of coffee behind. Oh, I almost forget it! Get into Planely to find someone to share the flight. One final smile said Lisa goodbye. Right after deciding she would start dressing up a little more for work, Lisa

34 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 34 abandons her idea of resting and starts googling Marc s suggestions. Marc has been to half the world but Lisa isn t sure if they share the same traveling style. She asks her Facebook community about and enters the sites to see who is behind and what users have been commenting. Lisa has tried by all means to attract their friends with photos, videos and last minute flights to Stockholm, but nobody seems interested. Some likes and comments, but that s all. It seems neither her friends from Barcelona nor the Bostonian ones feel like spending their holidays in a cold country. However, Lisa doesn t want to go alone to Sweden. A shopping getaway to New York or a weekend break in a relaxing spa at Vermont one of those that take away 10 years of stress- she would go on her own but Sweden is too far to be able to enjoy it just by herself. During all the time her dream has been wandering her mind, Lisa has shared it online, but also in real life. After refreshing again her Facebook wall, just in case, she gives up and understands that she won t make her travel to Sweden with her friends. Far from feeling blue, she has followed her new friend Marc s advice and she s considering every possible option. Lisa feels proud of herself; she has found out something Marc didn t. He, as her Facebook friends, told her to hit Tripl to look for travel mates, because it connects you with friends of friends. Her friends don t seem to have used Tripl since 2011 because Tripl no longer works this way; she shares this with them. She trusts them and she doesn t want to feel away but always on the same page. Lisa keeps gathering information without leaving her sphere. Her friend Alison, an Australian fashion blogger she met during NYC Fashion Week, is really pleased with Lisa s chosen destination. Alison loves Scandinavian design and she shares with Lisa her own thoughts about Stockholm. She d gladly go with her, but she s buried under tons of paperwork she can t delay. Alison recommends Globetrooper to Lisa. It s a tiny community, they weren t over 3,000 members by the end of 2012, but they re very active and they re shaking Australian social travel networks; among the most active ones in the world. Lisa follows her friend advice and goes have a look. None of the journeys the community is planning fits her own; some are dismissed because of the destination but others because they don t fit the kind of travel she has in mind. However, like many other users, she leaves a couple of messages for some travelers who would be in Sweden at the same time as her. She might not join to the whole journey, but it wouldn t hurt to have some contacts on the area. After taking in all the information her sphere is downloading on her digital profile, far less disaggregated now, Lisa has come to understand that the tools that make her travels more social ease it a lot at the same time. T hey don t just help her find better deals at the speed of light but they make the previous moments a good added value she wasn t expecting but which she loves. T he more technology she uses, the better she feels about the money spent to buy her smartphone.

35 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 35 out to my travel writing and blogging colleagues who ve been there, ask for recommendations on Facebook and Twitter, and research other social media outlets like Foodspotting, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc. This situation faced by Lisa has been a common problem for many social travelers and some of them, far from just complaining about the situation, have started to offer solutions based on Facebook model. Spheres 2.0 feel like home Until a very recent time, planning a shared trip needed first to have settled who this company was going to be. First, you had to decide who your travel mates were to later agree with them on destination and budget, starting the shared experience. The social traveler has mutated this order with his behaviour, always connected and opened to new connexions. It s no longer necessary to employ your time and effort in finding a common ground for all the travelers because now is the travel itself that brings them all together. Just the same way during the dawn of our civilization we gathered around a source of water or food, social travelers meet around destinations, traveling-styles and all sort of experiences that bring them closer and closer. Facebook effectiveness as a communication tool is as widely spread as its use as the place where to share your ideas about destinations or to suggest a trip to your digital or real friends. The greater deal of travelers in 2012 published on Facebook an update about their status right after thinking about the first steps of their travel, though Facebook isn t beheld as almighty for the social traveler that looks up other sites as much to satisfy the needs of his travel was the year most travel communities started in 2010 begun to mature and fruit. New search engines and its adaptation to mobile devices is the great change that is leading the leap, as they keep on trying to define their offer to match social traveler volatile taste. Globetrooper has picked this social communal path but guided by the light of specialization, far from big boy ambitions that might have ended up sunk in an ocean of social competitiveness. Their aspirations go over bringing together travelers who share a common adventurous spirit, whether logging in with Facebook or directly with them. Specialization is the road hit by the most successful communities of They allow travelers with a common thinking or feeling travel together all along the journey. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Travel with Spirit, for instance, connects devotees of every belief who feel willing to follow the footsteps of great prophets or saints, but right after this first filter, they share a common ground with the rest of travel communities: discover the world and its people for what they really are. Quite a different audience were projected for StudentCity and its clone Tripl, created to link North American students while on their Spring Break. Bought by TUI in 2004, StudentCity services more than 10,000 students per year. GLOBETROOPER Social traveling platform specialized in finding travel mates. Founded in Oceania in Its members build up unique trips, usually for the most adventurous kind of traveler.

36 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 36 TRIPl Founded in May 2011 to find travel mates. In 2011 it obtains $600,000 for financing its evolution. In December 2011, it shifts towards creating personal travel stories. Tripl gives up its former search model in to found an entirely new site where the aim is not to look for strangers to hang out with but to create beautiful travel stories and display them visually attractive for you and your friends to enjoy. travelers with locals, something that may seem nonsense at first. Why paying for something that I can do for free? The advantage over any other similar but free friends search engine is the filter applied to those for whose company you re paying for. Starting by $10 per hour, rented friends must meet some requirements; for example, they must speak fluent English. It s not the only language spoken and we can easily adjust this to our preferences as we search for the destination. Travel with Spirit screenshot Experience is of utter importance for social travelers and not only they are more than willing to look for pro advice, it seems some entrepreneurs consider they might be eager to pay for that experience as well. Processes employed to check the trustworthiness of these possible rented friends try to imitate the ones due in real life about boundaries and respect. We can test them out as much as we want to via and keep on looking for another one if we re not totally sure. In 2012 we ve seen the thriving of some sites that offer stepping up this new ways for sharing your travels with the chance to rent a friend for an evening or a whole day. Rental friends offer themselves to show you around the city, take you to the best restaurants or concerts and any other cool activity or secret that otherwise might gone unnoticed for visitors not having local contacts. The main principle behind all these sites 41 offering friends to rent is linking international 40 At the end of 2012, Tripl app stops working and its online presence it s mostly reduce to an inactive Facebook profile of the Swedish company 41 Such as Rent a Friend Rent a Local Friend screenshot Friends to rent range from chefs to journalists or designers but all share an interesting professional background and deep knowledge of their home town social environment so they are able to introduce you to a very different Paris or Tokyo. A quick look at what users are commenting about them on TripAdvisor will let us confirm that

37 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 37 WANDERFLY Recommendations intelligent engine released in August In February 2012, it obtains $1 million for financing the new travel stories. In October 2012 is acquired by TripAdvisor is a complete success and the expected initial restrains are overcome by online world at the high speed it usually makes everything. Social travelers keep on searching for other people s experience to decide about the destination of their travels, sharing it with their social sphere and expecting feedback in a human tone. It seems Wanderfly team has well present in their minds that social travelers move in larger circles than the ones transited so far in our travels. It s one of the best platforms to rely on when it comes to display friends options, as long as the traveler is willing to extract from his shared-withstrangers trip as much experiences and emotions as he can. Some initial objections will always be there, this won t ever be a liked-by-all kind of service but it is important to frame this new behavioural model within social travelers new bearing, within their new way of understanding the world, its people and the global community. KLM airlines launched on 2012 Spring a Facebook campaign, Meet & Seat, to allow online users share their profiles and meet each other. After registering, people sharing common interests, age or hobbies can choose to seat and talk with similar people. This model might result too invasive if applied unaltered to other tourism industry subsectors but can work out as an empathy tool between provider and customer if combined with other dynamics such as Wanderfly s. Platforms like Wanderfly offer these friendly options by upgrading Facebook capacities, connecting friends of friends travel wishlist and blending their common expectations for a shared travel. Wanderfly screenshot Tripit has been able to manufacture a product that is satisfying customer s demands. Tripit is an online travel organiser and planner in which to express the information about our future travel, flight or accommodation just by sending them the or digital document the provider had sent us. From then on, Tripit will manage everything and will display your travel along other useful info TRIPIT Intelligent travel organizer. Released in October 2006, is acquired by Concur Technologies in 2011 for $120 million. 150,000 unique monthly users on 2012 average.

38 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 38 like the weather or maps in an intuitive and easy way for the traveler. Once all the flights have connected with Tripit database, not only you can share them with friends and travel mates in many different social networks 42, they are permanently linked to Tripit updates. So, no more hours wasted on airports over unannounced cancelled flights. Whether out of an easy process for users or because of how complete is the information returned by Tripit once analyzed properly, its model has been taken into account by other agents in the tourism sector. 42 Business travelers can link their LinkedIn profiles Success is hardly ever alien to markets and several airlines and related business models are already adding their own visions on how travelers can communicate with each other and kill time during the flight. Planely, a Danish start-up founded in 2010, has followed the lead pointed out by Tripit for their own app. Planely core spirit is based on the idea that even though social networking online has been a true revolution in communications, the real deal still happens face to face. They go for employing the same system but instead of organising your flights, offering maps and weather data, they let you travel along other Planely users, brought together thanks to their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.

39 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 39 PLANELY They put airlines users in touch with each other through Facebook or LinkedIn. Founded in Denmark in 2010 by Nick Martin. or subways as they come and go to and from work. Same is for business travelers 43. Most surely you ve never talked to them, thought you may recognise them as similar to you. They are people who would talk with in any other social situation but don t feel like under four metallic walls. Planely screenshot MHBuddy app from Malaysia Airlines, released in 2011, allows travelers to join their Facebook profiles as well. Satisfly, based in Hong-Kong, not only connects users who had decided to deliver their profiles but it allows, thanks to its partnership with Air Baltic, redefine what we expect from that social contact on air. This kind of travel communities, built around already present products in the market, usually upgrades the experience with the added value of social communication. What makes as humans, it s also a great tool to improve your job. Instead of taking advantage of your daily commute to work for catching up with financial balances or referral traffic data, you can use that time to make far more import business contacts. Flight with Friends was born in 2012 under MHBuddy apps lets its users update their mood status on the go to decide if they d rather chat or sleep, and on the same page, Satisfly allows users to choose among different areas in the plane to seat depending again on how they re feeling before boarding, because people already sat there will be doing this or that. Maybe this model will never take off completely as to be massive for occasional travelers but right now there s a market niche regarding commuters. Everyday millions and millions of people see each other on the same trains, buses Flights with Friends screenshot an idea that summarises all the former ones, enhancing a little bit more the experience. Having a trip organised on Facebook, though not impossible it s not really effective, slow in online timing. You have to post every single piece of info about flights or hotels you find and check out regularly for those uploaded by other members of the travel group. A great deal faster than what we used to do just a few years ago but at Flight with Friends they believe it can be improved. They re still in Beta Satisfly screenshot 43 According to Google s Travelers Road to Decision, business travelers have been social for a longer time and they also adapt faster to new tools and models

40 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 40 TRIPBIRDS Founded in Stockholm in From March to August (2012), it gains 10,000 new users. $740,000 in financing in March It uses friends recommendations to rate, find and sort hotels and their Instagram photos to show them. testing (December 2012) and up to know it only covers flights, though they promise to have a similar service ready for hotels within time not copying the model but cooperating with them. The idea is quite simple. After picking up dates and destinations, Flight with Friends acts as a meta-search engine offering the obtained results on the left of the screen but reserving space for you to add manually those you might consider better. On the right, following Facebook design, we find our contacts list and chat box. Their best feature is blending in harmony a meta-search engine and travel community options, everything bounded in intimate real time. Tripbirds began as another start-up else in the quest to nail the perfect model for social travelers, but their success didn t meet expectations and so they went back to work, defining their concept better. Away from reviews sites, Tripbirds focuses exclusively on your social network: on your Facebook contacts and your Instagram pictures. Though Tripbirds doesn t display strangers opinions and reviews, they do not reject their photos. Tripbirds is paying due attention to image and it s hopping on the Instagram followers trend; this Tripbirds screenshot Instead of displaying comments, non-official photos of hotels and other means of accommodation are the leading voice at this site. After writing down your destination, Tripbirds lets you create a shorlist with the hotels you want to compare or ask your online friends about. It s possible to compare several hotels within their own shorlist and check out if they had got enough likes for us or contrast the real photos, user-generated, with the official ones; but you can t read about the hotels. To do so and to make your reservation, you d have to visit Tripbirds partner, booking.com. Social travelers want to feel experiences. Traveling becomes a priority for their leisure time and their community, their social links, the common FLIGHTS WITH FRIENDS Social flights planner built over social network friends. Founded in January They partner with TripAdvisor for hotel reviews and with Concierge for restaurant ones.

41 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 41 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study ground where all their activity centrifuges, from the time they start dreaming to the very moment they type their credit card number to confirm a reservation. Social travelers, and social consumers in general, are changing drastically the way they relate themselves to companies and to deals and advertising the latter don t stop generating. Maybe the real social network revolution for marketing touristic products doesn t only comprise the chance for consumers and companies to get and keep in better touch 44 but the fact that target campaigns no longer need a huge amount of audience to work out and be profitable; they can be as specific as the provider wants. There s room for everybody. 44 Also to generate direct sales Checking the data contented on Text100 s study, we can see that friends recommending a destination is highly influential for most travelers, enough to shift their initial ideas. By geographical distribution, Europeans are more reluctant to let themselves be influenced while Americans and Asians would be more eager to buy something recommended by a friend. In fact, one in every two inhabitant of Redshift Research para TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

42 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 42 Oceania and Asia regions would change their initial destination if a friend suggested so. Future marketing campaigns can find in this new influence web a new more efficient way to get closer to the social traveler. Minube is organized from user s point of view, around three essential parts contented in every travel: inspiration, planning and the social added value by sharing the knowledge of 500,000 members and 800,000 photographs. P2P, watching other travelers footsteps Social travelers feel part of a much bigger community that the one they could comprise in real life, not just out of common interest, but because of it tested effectiveness for traveler s best interest. The level of importance given to online reviews and social feedback is being taken into account by leading figures from tourism sector. Rob Torres, Google Travel managing director, says that they are already affecting the position in which businesses will appear after a search. From Spain, Minube has been trying to conquer social traveler s heart since 2007 as a horizontal travel community that wants to provide solutions to every traveler s need. Its success soon travelled Europe and Latin America nowadays they re in China too- and in 2011 their app was chosen by Apple Spain as the best of the year. The ios international version is expanding its influence all along the world with very fine aesthetics and intuitive accessibility to share your favourite spots. One of the best performances regarding travel related websites in 2012 was done by sharing-tips sites. Far from other vertical sites based on former knowledge of the rest of users, tip-sharing focuses on other fellow travelers opinions and the trust we all give to experience, even if it s generated by a complete stranger. Destination, hotel and restaurant reviews are always well positioned as important for social travelers when they have to build up the trustworthiness of some offered product; above expert s opinions. Tiplist is one of these applications that take third parts comments as the natural thread to sew its content, because social travelers trust in strangers. May it be that Tiplist basing on the credibility granted to alien experience wouldn t have happened without the birth of social networks but their creators keep in mind two important things that 2012 left on its way: mobility and the power of picture. Minube (UK) screenshot. Tiplist has been conceived and designed specifically to take advantage of all the retina possibilities featured by newest smartphones MINUBE Spanish travel community created in More than 500,000 active members. Its ios app was chosen the best one of 2011 by Apple Spain.

43 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 43 TIPLIST Travel guide based on personal recommendations from users. Launched in November It s Trippy and Gogobot direct competitor. and tablets, lightening their responsive design. They seem to be quite aware that in 2012 we went online as much from these devices than from PCs and that they re projected to be our preferred way in the close future. IgoUgo is on the same page, trying to articulate some kind of social travel bible with all the recommendations written by more than its 500,000 users 45. Tiplist screenshot IgoUgo is one of the largest communities travelers can find online, offering them the chance to build up their ideal travel, refined till the most peculiar liking, to later aim them to take active part in the community by adding their own reviews and shared experiences. IgoUgo boasts a reward system for every review you get points exchangeable for online gifts or frequent-flyer miles- that has seduced and engaged its burgeoning community. IgoUgo screenshot And what s more, they build up communities Strangers? No, friends to meet Their goal, as they claim on their webpage, is creating inspiring experiences. Couchsurfing tries to prepare a common offline ground for different cultures, hospitality and adventure by making social travelers feel closer, even more if possible. Couchsurfing screenshot 45 At the end of 2012, according to IgoUgo itself. COUCHSURFING Travel community that brings together travelers offering and looking for free accommodation. Founded in 2004, its San Francisco headquarters hires 30 employees. More than 5 million members in 96,000 destinations.

44 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 44 MYSOCIALPASSPORT Social network for friends making. Intended for travelers and expatriates as well. It combines features from social networks and travel sites under a generalist mood. Five million members and almost 100,000 cities covered worldwide is the great business card offered by Couchsurfing, which started in 2004 with just the aim to reduce accommodation spend. The model that used to allow a foreigner in our couch for a couple of nights, or vice versa, is still on, but evolving into a unique kind of travel community. Truth is that social travelers don t just pick up this way of finding some place to sleep just to save some money. It s a fundamental part of the bunch of experiences and emotions they re expecting to meet. It s a long known model for most mature social travelers, who are leading us behind their footsteps: I travel to connect, to feel closer to the world and myself. Freedom is a key part in this accommodation system since no registered user must but may offer their couch or ask for another s, nor they have to accept anyone who contacts them. To be allowed into Couchsurfing, not only you ll be required to provide a complete persona including your educational level, hobbies, deeper interests and what kind of person you are- but they will also demand you to fulfil some requisites about trust, checked throughout names and directions of credit cards. We should remember that meeting somebody in real life 46 is, by far, the most important reason behind using social networks. Just as many travelers who want to spend more time comparing to find better value for their money we find those ones who want to feel a luxurious experience while traveling. A social travel is so because of the means and tool employed to make it, not out of the destination, format or traveler s income. This verification system goes in advance and for 20 American dollars but we can double-check with the opinions left behind by former hosts. Couchsurfing wouldn t have taken place 10 years back just because social networks weren t popular at that time. Both, social networks and content platforms let us know in advance almost every single detail before undertaking any action. Paraphrasing Trevor Croop from Wyndham, nowadays consumers won t buy any product until they read other consumer s opinion about it. This precognition criterion is applied to couchsurfing and one of the foundations of its spread. Not only the social traveler relies on stranger s opinions even above professional-generated ones- but directly on them. MySocialPassport screenshot As we have been able to know 47, for a great deal of social travelers it would be interesting to spend their holidays in a lavish accommodation as long as the price is right. 46 For a 60%, according Nielsen Social Media Report Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

45 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 45 Lisa is going to Sweden and she wants to see the country and meet local people. She goes there to consume feelings and emotions to remind her she s alive and that a whole world lies beyond paediatric emergencies. Trying to dig into the bunch of links Alison posted on her Facebook wall, Lisa begins searching and finds Wimdu and Airbnb, two sites with rental apartments and other accommodation to let. As it s her manner, she follows through to see what she can learn. She s never been into couchsurfing and she isn t changing that in Sweden but a beautiful responsive design easily guides her fingers to type Stockholm at the box where it says destination. Just one look wouldn t hurt she thinks. In front of her, a list with all sorts of apartments and houses of local enthusiasts willing to rent their homes appears. T he photos are promising and what s more, they also portray the owners, with a sort self-description that reassures Lisa. Her initial ideas shiver as quickly as her eyes and emotion when she checks out the prices. Sweden it s her second trip outside the USA this year and she must hold down her budget if she wants a third one to happen. Despite searching and comparing more, this paid-couchsurfing/ rent thing matches her much better; true couchsurfing is Marc s thing. Actually, what have finally made up her mind are comments. Most experiences have been positive, with the same risk level of a regular reservation at a hotel from a provider company. Logged in with their Facebook profiles, Lisa has a look at reviewers and from then on she only cares for a good deal. It says that if I register I get a discount. Here I go Lisa doesn t think it twice. As 40% of travelers did in 2012, (70% if business traveling), Lisa becomes member of a hotel chain or airline loyalty program. Seven out of ten did it to get some discount and the rest just as a custom when booking whith a new company. Lisa asks again her community about Wimdu and Airbnb while she leaves a message for a possible host. A retired couple, who spend the summer in Spain, rents a lovely wooden lodge by Lake Mälaren; on the pictures they look like the grandparents Lisa never met. Under this premise, and using the arts of couchsurfing, work Wimdu and Airbnb. They let jet-set like apartments, villas and other luxury lodging at affordable prices, matching what social travelers are looking for. Airbnb core, as other travel communities, is using technology to bring offline users together, by providing a common market where to rent a castle in Scotland or a villa in the Riviera, though every budget is welcome. The common ground shared with Couchsurfing isn t Wimdu s spirit, which motto is travel like a local, but the chance to rent a room in a shared flat for our holidays is also present, as well as the opportunity to generate tips, make new contacts or look up their online travel guides. This private accommodation platforms that join travelers are founded on transparency and security, common principles to be found in the most thriving communities of 2012.

46 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 46 WIMDU Social platform with luxury apartments at affordable prices, let by owners. Founded in Berlin in Users: between 18 and 34, higher education studies and middle to upper purchasing power. Together they seek more for less Online private group buying, where anonymous consumers gather around to execute collective purchasing power and get great discounts, is hitting the tourism market. Provence, that entered Spanish market almost right after its foundation in This online travel club only worked under invitation at first but they ve started to offer their important discounts to everybody through a weekly newsletter. Up to now, they have attracted more than 8 million users in France, Spain, UK, Italy and Brazil. Travel-flash deals are a common trait for most online travel clubs. They are grounded in last-minute offers, but to really market a last minute flight or holiday package. Wimdu screenshot From supplier s point of view, this business models are the way to get rid of obsolete holiday packages or avoid getting into a price war when occupancy doesn t hit the expected levels. However, this is chance social travelers might let go because the available social tools, focus on their demand, are already covering their needs in a trustworthy way. Travel-flash sites discovered the perfect ally in social traveling. Finding the best value for money spent on traveling is of utter importance for most social travelers, just as much as sharing with their spheres every little thing. Precisely, social networks are key for travel-flash deals to really be so Moving away from generalization, there are a few group buying clubs that, according to comments and reviews from users, are working out. Voyage Prive is a French company, based in Airbnb screenshot AIRBNB Unique accommodation marketplace. Founded in August 2008 in San Francisco. Largest number of unique users, June 2012: 621,022 (source: Compete, site analytics). Airbnb acquires Localminds, Crahspadder and DailyBooth, all of them P2P real time sites.

47 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 47 VOYAGE PRIVE Online private buying club. Founded in Aix-en- Provence, France, in More than 8 million users in Europe and South America. Sniqueaway screenshot Voyage Prive screenshot because, teaming up, social communities can respond to them in real time. Sniqueaway, part of TripAdvisor Inc, employs the data hosted by the group s flagship to offer its members true flash deals usually to be purchased within 36 to 48 hours-but only of those hotels that have been rated at least four of the five possible TripAdvisor stars. This guarantee of excellence, provided by other fellow travelers, is a fundamental part of this site, where the target audience is discerning and able to drive their own demand. Sniqueway grants $25 of credit to spend with them for those members who bring in new friends and fellow travelers. Among the many different options we currently can find, EveryLodge deserves some extra attention because it s a meta-search engine 48 that lets users have a complete frame of all available flash deals at the rest of specialized sites such as Jetsetter, Living Social or the very Voyage Prive. Sniqueway, as many other sites that look for users interaction, take comments and reviews as the foundations where to start building up their unique concept, and it s such a serious part that they will offer payment in exchange. Jetsetter screenshots 48 based on aggregate models for booking JETSETTER Online travel community club. In October 2012, Gilt Group puts it up for sale for $50 million Founded in 2009, more than 2 million users in In March 2012, reviews are the third part of their business.

48 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 48 #booking If it s not online, it doesn t exist IF IT AIN T ONLINE, IT AIN T FINE Social travelers only book online Not without my smartphone They love apps, the more they trust the provider

49 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 49 IF IT S NOT ONLINE, IT DOESN T EXIST Social travelers only book online The real reason why almost every single traveler books online his flights, rooms and things to do may seem to be the greater chance to find bigger discounts and sales but if we dig in we see it s mostly out of convenience. Comfort is not only the main reason for business travelers, but for all kinds 49. The Internet is regarded by travelers as able to provide better information than traditional travel agents. Besides, they trust more a bunch of fellow but stranger travelers than someone face to face. As we can see, the same behaviour observed during dreaming and planning phases goes along travelers for booking. IATA, the great airline association, on its Abu Dhabi meeting in October 2012, committed to look for a new distribution model for its members. These airlines will be trying during 2013 different fee and distribution systems but only for those booking from their websites or mobile apps. This is one of the main roles played by social networks in tourism markets, compelling providers to make bigger collective efforts to better adjust and adapt their offer to the needs and wishes of trustworthiness and transparency social travelers demand. This fact gives even more ground to the already well-built importance of social networks for travel booking since they combine users reviews and suggestions with the chance to buy directly almost any tourist product. Mike Putnam, mobile product director at TripAdvisor, shared his thoughts when he said that whether if it s about finding the perfect museum or restaurant, booking a flight or a hotel or sharing tips, worldwide travelers now trust smartphones and other mobile devices to get better trips. Social travelers prefer booking each part of their travel individually. Directly from the individual supplier if they stay out less than five days and from tour operators or OTAs if longer, according by the results obtained by Total Media 50 from the British market. However, we shouldn t forget that most parts of the market are independent and leaded by consumers, what affects gravely the tourism industry. Social travelers are defining demand with their direct bookings, not companies and the offer they market. Furthermore, in 2012 we started to see what may be the first signs of OTA s usage decline since both hotels and airlines are making a common effort using brand awareness and linkage actions to attract social travelers to book directly with them. Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 Search engines are still important for booking because they are moving from just locating the demanded searches to creating a new kind of traveling knowledge that will be compulsorily shared on social networks. OTAs such as Kayak or Expedia are one of social travelers favourite destinations to book their holidays. Its influence can be noticed since the very beginning of any travel because social travelers are used to hitting this sites to get ideas and inspiration while searching. However, they re not as popular as first-hand review sites to influence opinion. 49 Google, Travelers Road to Decision Total Media, Social Travel Report Homogeneity and regularity can define social traveler s behaviour when getting inspired and

50 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 50 planning journeys but it s not so when the book and buy. These differences must be taken into account as campaigns are activated or new models built to meet market trends. This time, our focus should also go local. Not without my smartphone Social travelers get connected looking for inspiration and once done, they ll remain online for booking and purchasing. Worldwide, Internet use for booking and defining all the details till purchase already is the most popular mean, and meta-search engines as well as individual providers apps and websites are chosen by social travelers. To get inspired we all share more or less the same means and their influence on us is quite the same for all of them, many times complementary. To get started on the idea of our future destination, we usually look up several reviews and watch some videos, user-generated s as many as professional films. However, in the moment of booking, when getting the traveler to sleep or fly with certain provider, regional differences are deep enough for us to pay closer attention. Redshift Research study for Text100 analyzes Asia-Pacific region to discover that their social travelers are not only the most socially mature but also the ones who comment more and who Lisa and Marc have decided to trust their friends and social networks to know what to do while on holidays. And they will do it more and more often since they are connected with them in real time, everywhere they go. Posting on somebody s wall a link to some intuitive web or responsive app it s so easy that social management of booking bridges users and providers by trust more the reviews they read and in social networks, ads included. It s interesting to find out, thanks to Nielsen s Social Media Report 2012, that this bigger commitment of social travelers 51 in Asia also takes place among people from these countries living in the USA. We go online not only to book hotels and flights but also fun and interesting things to do while at the destination. 38% of travelers stick to the most traditional spirit and will decide upon arrival but it shouldn t be a surprise that this rate is pushed up by Europeans, where people has higher life expectancy. On the other hand, Asia-Pacific region pulls online booking up. They d rather buy museum tickets or shopping tours online because it s just more related to social networking. This close-captioned attention is the one that should inspire our behaviour with social travelers. The growth rhythm of nowadays trends leaves no doubt that social networks will soon become part of every side of our lives, but in 2013 there is still place for more traditional models like travel agent s. The market just demands them to be more specialized, not to compete in prices or convenience with online options. 51 For echoing updates as much as for purchasing online the means of usability, engaging both to repeat again. Passing by a row of fellow ticket buyers for the theatre, waiting gently for their turn, Marc puts his smartphone out of his pocket. With a couple of taps, he gets a confirmation code, he only knows, and type it into a thin device stuck to the wall. In front of some confused eyes, the machine delivers him two tickets and Marc happily leaves for the show, avoiding a growing queue.

51 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 51 one granted to brands, to those companies from tourism industry we have trusted before out of positive experiences. Once we have put our confidence in a loyalty program, we are much more eager to accept any tech proposal from the company, as it s proven by the most frequent download of apps among those engaged in a reward system 54. Regarding how we are getting these apps, searching at our provider s store is the main behaviour, though once again its overwhelming number makes us go look friends and family s Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study They love apps, the more they trust the provider Access from smartphones and other mobile devices has grown since their release and according to several converging projection it will keep doing during But we still have a long way ahead of us if we want to learn how to get the most out of them. In 2012, we went online from our smartphones and we kept on using browsers to gather information, share and feel, though one in every two smartphone user downloaded an app related to a future travel 52. It comes to our interest to notice that home PCs as terminals where to look up sources of information for traveling cede just a little per cent to mobiles but it falls 53 if we talk about office PC. At job, we d rather use our own devices, were navigation is private and alien to company s policies on the matter. The level of trust given to social networks and content platforms finds its balance in the 52 Google, Travelers Road to Decision Nielsen Social Media Report 2012 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012 help at social networks. Opinions and reviews by friends were valued by 34% of those polled as enough to download an app. Likewise, 32% of apps in our devices are suggested by ads, whether from browsers or from other apps. What kind of apps are we downloading? Maps and GPSs are taking most of our app-downloading attention, as others that help build up travel logistics and planning such us weather forecasting apps or currency convertors. Once these core issues are organized, we ll download city guides and restaurant and landmarks finders at chosen location: these are the most popular ones to talk about but also the apps we will be less loyal to. Something that will influence greatly online travel market in the near future happened in July 2012: 54 Google, Travelers Road to Decision 2012

52 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 52 GOOGLE MAPS Most downloaded app by social travelers in Almost half of its 200 million users look up Google Maps from a mobile device. Google acquires Australian company Where 2 Technologies, Google Maps trigger, in It surpasses MapQuest traffic in As most social travelers did in 2012, Lisa has download several apps for her future journey around Sweden. Some she has dismissed just after one some seconds. She finds it hard to believe we are still designing apps that insted of helping users they seem to hate them, expecting them to wait for ages or offering hurting chaotic displays. If they re so slow working under her apartment s powerful Wi-Fi, she can t rely on them for her Swedish experience. She wants to get lost but don t lose the connection. Google Maps and a weather app she doesn t remember are for sure going with her. And even these ones are at risk of digital erosion because Lisa is about to discover Tripit, that displays all that information plus every other neccessary item, flights or trains schedules included. Lisa is worried about what she s going to have. She has been trying to go as organic and natural as possible and that is a litle problem when se travels. Her friend Alison recommended her a couple of veg spots in Stockholm but Lisa is already logged into Tiplist and she has downloaded Open Table and Localeats, just in case. If they work out as they promise she ll give good feedback for other social travelers to know it. Our rookie social traveler has already defined and booked every single logistics of her trip but she still has many finer details to concrete such as going for a visit at chic post-industrial Malmoe or wander the wild beauty of Svealand s lakes. She has watched quite a few videos on Vimeo and some others on YouTube but she can t find the real look she s willing to find. Films and pictures uploaded by official tourism boards and professional photographers inspire Lisa but don t seduce her enough to make up her mind. Instead of giving up, Lisa keeps defining these finer details thanks to Pinterest. Besides, she s still interested in her Facebook friends pictures, not just from Sweden but from anywhere they ve been to. Despite her eager interest, picture showing has its flaws there and Lisa gives Jetpac a chance. Once logged in with her Facebook profile, Jetpac starts showing, with a very polish design, a slideshow of where her friends have been that Lisa likes.

53 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 53 Google Maps screenshot Apple obtained itravel patent. A whole mega check-in system, expected to hit tourist market as strongly as other Apple creations got us used to. Even more once iwallet app starts working for purchasing through iphones and ipads. Apple conceals interesting pieces of information about how itravel will finally look like but they have leaked some of its features for social traveling. Apple s app will try to put together ticket purchasing and booking information using several means like s, websites, other mobiles devices or special codes provided by each individual tourist supplier. Once more, image will play a leading role, whether trough optical recognition software or barcode reading. itravel screenshot, via hosteltur.com most traditional ones such as price or number of stars, Room 77 offers its own filters: free Wi-Fi, shuttle service and free parking among other. Room 77 is a search and recommendation engine (based on TripAdvisor data) exclusively focused on hotel business. As other similar engines, it allows users to see tons of information in seconds, filtering whatever matter most to us. Next to the One of the best things about Room 77 is how clearly they display hotel prices in a comprehensible transparent matrix which includes all the accommodation looked up at individual providers as well as at OTAs websites. ROOM 77 Customized hotel and booking search engine, founded in In 2011, it obtains 10, 5$ million in financing. Part of Concur since February It offers one of the most complete info available about hotels.

54 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 54 Room 77 screenshot The true difference at Room 77 is the chance to choose the room of our dreams, based on data provided by third parts like Google Street View, instead of settling down to the one assigned by any of the several systems in the market. Room 77 praise social traveler s motto adding technology to the whole process, giving birth to quite interesting experiences.

55 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 55 #feeling What are social travelers looking for? They use smartphones to feel connected Think global, enjoy local is their motto They want new experiences during, but better à la carte They enjoy high-tech services They expect rapidity and quality in products and service A picture is worth a thousand words They want a fast and effective but close response

56 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 56 frequency is usually higher than once a day because we go online to check out the news as much as to let our community know where we are, what we are doing and how we are feeling about it. Travelers Road to Decision 2012, Google WHAT ARE SOCIAL TRAVELERS LOOKING FOR? Obviously, taking photos and filming our trips and journeys are equally popular, and one of the most common ways of enriching traveling communities. Half of travelers will do it during their holidays but once back home, the number of social travelers willing to share their travel albums in the many available networks almost hits 76% of them. They use smartphones to feel connected 2013 will be the time when we ll see a greater growth for smartphones and tablets, which use is expected to be general along the year 55. In 2012, we felt the first heavy changes in the way we access the Internet and for the first time it s done almost as frequently from PCs and mobile devices 56. By geographical distribution, then again Asians and Australians are depicted as the most active users when its photo-sharing-time, while Europeans seem less eager to let the world know about their holidays. Social travelers aren t alien to these changes and actually they are behind them, shaping the sphere with the new behaviours everywhere everytime mobility is making possible. In 2012, the social traveler carried his smartphone with himself during the holidays; nine out of ten. Only 50% of them 57 will use their mobile devices in foreign countries due to lack of free Wi-Fi. When social travelers are on the road, they like getting in touch with friends and family. Access 55 In Spain, according to GEBTA, smartphone penetration grew eleven points in Google, Travelers Road to Decision Redshift Research for TEXT100 Redshift Research for TEXT100

57 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 57 Reevoo, Consumer Purchasing Report, Sept They want new experiences during travel, but better à la carte Travel planning starts by defining not only where we would like to go but also when and if we can make it. Several factors will inform our choice but flexibility in the tourist offer is decisive in a time when passengers keep on growing and so does the converging areas where all the means of transportation place travelers. Byhours.com comes to life under this efficiency eagerness, allowing its users to rent hotel rooms by hours, adjusting the offer to their peculiar and specific needs. Byhours screenshot Anyone who has ever started a trip or journey at some point in his life has most surely realized how much money and time we can lose due to the lack of linking between the different means of transport we use till reaching our destination. According to byhours, we could save that money. Their suggestion looks for a clearly defined audience: business travelers for whom convenience and price are the most important matters and a few hours of proper comfortable sleep can make a difference. Anyway, Byhours wants to go a little further. BYHOURS Founded in Barcelona in 2011, closes 2012 with 90,000 worth of income. In November 2012, it closed a deal with Odigeo, Europe s online booking leader, expected to increase sales in 2014 to 10 million Euros.

58 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 58 Already in partnership with some hotel chains 58, Byhours is aiming to be useful for a different bunch of travelers, from those ones whose trains or flight is some hours ahead but must leave their hotel in the early morning to families visiting relatives hospitalized in a different city to anyone who may need a short rest before hitting the road again. Byhours traveler just need to choose destination, dates, check-in time and one of the hour-packages from 3 to 48 hours- without any payment in advance, just an ordinary hotel bill payable after checking-out. So far, according to Byhours, lavish naps after 3 pm and 12 hours sleep packages are the most successful. Redshift Research, British market research agency, surveys worldwide travelers for Text100 in October 2012 to point out a growth in the number of nights spent within the country by domestic travelers. Price continues as a deciding factor for traveling and during uncertain times social travelers want to keep on traveling, though they shrink their budget and spend more time comparing to get the most out of their money. Holidays have been shorter, generally speaking, during the last twelve months in the whole world. At the same time and on the same page, number of foreign getaways has split too. This is true for all the scenario cases analyzed. According to Text100 study, North American travelers are more interested in week-end breaks and short trips within their own country, while tourists in Europe and Asia would rather extend them to a full week and are much more willing to leave their country, but without leaving their corresponding continents. 87% of them didn t leave it or just once during Husa y Abba among other, via edreams T his is my lucky day! is Lisa s first thought after discovering byhours. She shares it with Marc, who is quickly being overcome in social traveling knowledge by Lisa s great leaps in her search for the perfect social journey. After getting in touch with a group of Aussies and a Canadian retired couple in second honeymoon that will be in Sweden at the same time Lisa will, she decides to book her flight to Scandinavia. She has looked up Kayak and Expedia as she s used to doing but since the current crisis started, Lisa compares much more before spending her money. Marc had already told her these sites don t have the offers they used to and she d better go to provider s website. Lisa finally has find her flight, combining three different ones. She booked the 59 To these data, America is considered as two separate continents overseas flight from her home PC, but the one taking her to Newark Airport and a domestic one within Sweden were booked on her smartphone, taking advantage of five free minutes between rounds at hospital. She has saved quite a few money with this thoughtful search and comparison, but her flights couldn t be any worse linked, and she is wasting tons of time at terminals. Lisa doesn t feel like being up all night taking care of her belongings at the airport so she has booked two byhours accommodation packs, just for the hours she ll need, saving time and money. Lisa realizes how better her travel is getting by using social tools and, though she still doesn t know it, her Scandinavian getaway will shape forever the way she travels.

59 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 59 Now, just at the expense of one calorie we, we get the same with some clicking and tapping. Worldwide as well as in each region watched, there are two points that are at all times high, common for every other traveler: reading reviews by amateur travelers at social networks and searching online for accommodation prices 61. The break-even point where these two curves meet is made out of complete comparative information about accommodation in tourist content websites. Other surveys depict the same reality 60. We may have been forced to lower our budget but we won t stay at home. Traveling is not part of luxury-shopping list. Maybe some fancy lavish getaway would be, but not traveling. The old good arts of wiser buyers, patiently transmitted from parents to children, meant walking up and down several travel agents looking for the best deal. Social travelers want to take the most out of the money spent in their travels what means more searching and comparing time. In 2011, it was important for 59% of travelers. In 2012, those polled by Google who will spend that extra time will be 66% of total travelers. Think global, enjoy local is their motto We have heard a lot of people talking about the difference between holidays and travel experiences but no matter who is right, it gets a whole new dimension for social travelers. 62 Redshift Research fortext100, Travel & Tourism Study 61 Google, Travelers Road to Decision Detail from Social Travel vs. Normal Travel, by Netdna. Based on 60 Total Media. Social Travel EyeforTravel

60 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 60 SpottedbyLocals screenshot In 2012, more travelers used social networks to get inspired and plan their trips than those longing to sunbathe by a sandy beach. themselves, update 44 cities in some sort of blog/ guide that has engaged readers and other parts of the tourist sector. Social travelers demand unique experiences and they find that beloved difference in social networks, not in the more traditional offers of the market. For over 60% of people who use social networks, the reason behind is meeting somebody in real life 63, far above the rest of motives, so it shouldn t surprise us that apps and websites offering real contact for digital users had grown so much during 2012; so is projected for This co-dependent system of trust can be thought of as a referent for other providers that may be already generating that confidence through the quality of their product or service, but on brand s name wings and not on people-who-make-it-possible ones. We won t break the news if we say we are living through a true brand humanization time when social networks are triggering and improving the way we all interact with each other, but we shouldn t forget that trust and confidence given to a brand out of its offer and out of its social media presence are quite different. Wikivoyage screenshot From Amsterdam, Sanne and Bar van Poll, a couple of tenacious travelers, created SpottedbyLocals to offer users the ultimate guide about European cities, as seen by locals. SpottedbyLocals is based upon a chain of confidence, where product s quality is guaranteed personally by the provider; by their former experience and approval. From 4 to 6 spotters, chosen by the founders 63 Detail from Social Travel vs. Normal Travel, by Netdna. Based on EyeforTravel Within this context of adding local wisdom and company as another value for our trips, it s taking place Wikivoyage evolution, the youngest member of Wikimedia projects, as it is born as a copyleft tourist guide (Creative Commons) for everybody to freely put in their bit. It has come to life due to the merger of Wikitravel (English language version) founded for profit in 2003 and Wikivoyage, the original one, founded in German by some authors in disagreement with Wikitravel s commercial policies. In 2012, another large group of creators leave Wikitravel for the same reasons. In December

61 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW , both independent parts (2012 wikitravel split and wikivoyage in German) merge their content under a Creative Commons license to found Wikivoyage. It has just started on January 15th 2013 but it s already available in 17 of the most widely spoken languages in the world. The information displayed is complete and thorough, as in most Wikimedia projects, but it s not another recommendations/reviews/tips site. You won t find here a thread about the best sushi-bar in Rotterdam. Wikivoyage gives useful information, as general or specific as you want it, as what local customs should be wise to respect or good table manners. If you want to find the best chocolates in Brussels you ll have to hit the Traveler s Pub, Wikivoyage community s page. They promise to keep on growing with the help of locals and worldwide travelers. They enjoy high-tech services 64 In a phone survey by Time magazine, 44% of those polled say they would rather forget the wallet at home than their smartphones. It seems they don t want to start their day without them though this dual reality might end soon. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Rogers Communications Inc. wanted to know how Canadians felt about using their smartphones as credit cards. More than half of them would see credit cards as a past thing if this new mean of payment would feature the same amount of rewards and advantages credit card do nowadays. Detail of Sharing Life s Biggest Moments, by Facebook Stories Canadians are among the most active traveling-stories writers in the planet. This is the most popular activity to post on Facebook, the more the older the users are. Tablets and smartphones penetration in our daily life is spreading to all its sides and what may have seem annoying some time ago is now part of a whole new shared experience. In this context, the debate about whether or not using mobile phones at theatres and cinemas just for texting- it s open in the United Sates. As it goes, it s winning supporters and detractors while film distributor owners start to pick a side. Some distributors, as IMAX or Regal Entertainment, have already started testing it out because, according to interviews to their corresponding CEOs 66 their teenage children can t be away CIBC listened to their ideas and CIBC s app for small buys up to 50 Canadian dollars- it s already available. In fact, to spread its popularity, CIBC has added a system to reward frequent users. It s interesting to crisscross this novelty in Canadian consumers behaviour with the one they display towards technological products that connect them with social networks. According to Facebook data 65 about what we re commenting, 64 In sake of better describing social travelers behaviour, some leisure activities are treated as activities-during-the-trip. 65 Facebook stories, Sharing Life s Biggest Moments Nielsen Social Media Report Interviews for The Hollywood Reporter

62 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 62 from phones and there might be something that we don t like but they would like us to offer at cinemas. Sodahead, a website specialized in surveying internauts, decided to ask its readers about this hot issue. For an overwhelming 72% of them it should never be allowed to use mobile phones at cinemas. However, the yes-part would take it at all times or specifically for some films, because it would upgrade the experience. The Hollywood Reporter did quite a similar poll, but among users aged between 18 and 35. Most of them want to watch films at cinemas as they do at home, texting and sharing the experience. At home, in front of our own screen, where nobody says if we can or cannot use our smartphones, we like doing it; and every day more and more. switching room s light off from an ipad, just as they do at home or as they would like it to be. In 2012, the number of travelers eager to stay in up-scale accommodation grew nine points 69 since previous year, and high-end technology with a smooth lavish design matches perfectly social travelers idea of luxury. Several hotels are already offering the tech-value to their rooms, displaying mobile technology everywhere and everytime for their customers, all of them affluent social travelers. Boston s Revere, Rhode Island s Ocean House or Los Angeles Hotel Bel Air are supporting a technological trend that in Europe has started timidly, offered by, for example, London s Eccleton Square and Barcelona s Mandarín Oriental. On the other hand, running away from everyday monotony and urban stress is placed by those polled by Redshift Research as the main reason From January to June 2012, the number of Twitter 67 users who were commenting on the same TV program they were watching grew from 26% to 33%. Behind this fast increase, we won t only find women under 30 but middle aged men and women who like very much commenting their favourite TV shows on Twitter. This is the technology that eases and entertains our everyday life, protecting and seducing us with its polish efficiency; what we want when traveling around the world. It s not just that we want free Wi-Fi at location, conditio sine quao non for almost every other smartphone user 68 to go online at a foreign destination, but we credit a high added value to products and services provided by high-tech means. In 2012, we saw the birth of a trend that starting timidly ended the year with a very warm welcoming from hotels guests: complementary tablets and e-books. Guests add a bunch of new experiences to their stay, reading the morning news on an e-book or 67 Nielsen Social Media Report Redshift Research for TEXT100 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study 69 According to Google s Travelers Road to Decision 2012

63 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 63 why to choose one destination over another, remarkably important for Americans. Unplugging from the digital system is important for 57% of travelers while the second most voted option a fun destination with new experiences to offer- is eleven points less determining. In social media world chances run quickly, flying around the frenetic rhythm marked by the industry itself and by the many apps and software available for managing our contacts inbox. We like using social networks, and more and more everyday, but that doesn t mean we are necessarily saying goodbye to television. We are learning how to use both together, enriching the double experience. It s a win-win. Anyone who is active in his social network knows it s really addictive. If you have a Facebook profile or WhatsApp installed on your mobile, you have to answer the messages; otherwise it s pointless. The urgency demanded is quite the same as in real face-to-face conversations and being away from our smartphones can generate anxiety in more than one of us. North American magazine Time conducted a survey between June and July 2012 to find out that 65% of us would rather leave behind the lunch than forget our mobile at home. However, the more connected we get and the more parts of our life we rely on a permanent connection, the more we would like to run away. When being online all the time and sharing Nielsen Social Media Report 2012 Around one in three viewers 70 will get engaged by programs and ads seen on TV to search online on their smartphones or tablets about the product or show promoted; while they are watching TV. They go online for some search but also looking for discounts and to purchase what they just have seen. everything become a duty, going totally off is social travelers solution. That s why the first tech detox tourist packs started to pop up in 2012, allowing us to leave some free days away from the community and enjoy some me time. This trend is projected to keep on growing as our use of technology does. Television and smartphones aren t rivals, but allies in their common goal for our attention; a battle that is distorting the lines between them. TV advertising is facing this new situation, where immediacy defines the process. 30% of consumers won t bother to hit the shops and would purchase the product online just moments after watching the ad. This affects greatly their perception of quality and added value. Deciding time shrinks remarkably and along it the time the purchase is fuelled by our wishful thinking. Smartphone and tablets allow us into all the net built around e-commerce, usability, etc where we can buy within seconds, whether using browsers or provider s app. An ad seen on TV has influence on online buyers. 70 Nielsen Social Media Report 2012

64 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 64 AirAsia pinboard at Pinterest, screenshot Delta Airlines is a successful example on how to combine television, Internet and mobility. In 2010 they launched Keep Climbing campaign once they realized their users were all the time on the move and hardly ever spend any time in front of home TV. Delta started moving their massive advertising towards its app making online videos start before any other feature loads, inspiring users and achieving the emotions and feeling intended. Delta s campaign was a huge success, almost making every awareness parameter double, users favourable opinion and brand loyalty 71 too. Social travelers will keep on demanding this visual model to access information. Unlike reading a text, that demands a conscious and active process, images are able to produce an immediate response in our brain. They don t need the filter of language to be understood, and usually they go along emotional intense reactions, driven faster than texts. THEY EXPECT RAPIDITY AND QUALITY IN PRODUCTS AND SERVICE A picture is worth a thousand words Social travelers want fantasy and visual seduction when they re booking as much as when they re planning and dreaming. They re always looking for new ideas and suggestions and images are best at doing that. The importance of a picture able to grasp the emotion contained in some scenery or somebody s face is so enormous that social traveling communities have thrive around them since nine out of ten social travelers like photography 72. Awareness, State of Social Media Marketing, January 2012 Despite Pinterest s success being so recent, there have already been many hands willing to claim the virtues of this unique social network, where photos are core and sharing them its leitmotif. All Pinterest s statics 73 should be welcomed with ovations since they have reached amazing milestones in the least time possible ever. 12 million monthly users (2 million a day) are interesting enough but they also stand out in some other parameters, more important for user-provider relationships. 71 Google Case Study, Delta Airlines 72 Stikkymedia, 2012 Social Media and Tourism Industry statistics 73 Pinterest Statics, Pinterest for Business

65 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 65 PINTEREST Social-photo network that displays images on pinboards, linking users and services or products. Founded in In August 2012 engages 25 million users, becoming bigger than Tumblr. Its audience is mainly female in USA but it s growing greatly among men worldwide. Tourist industry has it easier than others to market its products through image and Pinterest can add a whole new dimension by making travelers feel emotions that connect them to the brand. Nielsen Social Media Report average minutes per visitor and more referral traffic than Twitter in some websites are more than impressive credentials. Some are the facts behind Pinterest s success but going for pictures instead of 140 characters is a key one. An image is worth a thousand words, also on the Internet. One of the next big challenges in social media will be leaded by image. Pinterest s success has helped Instagram s but it has also set a pattern, a new model for social media that will take advantage of smartphones breath-taking possibilities to display HD image. Maybe the true difference set by Pinterest is not the pinboard style used to display information but how users employ it for their future plans, unlike other sites or social networks that are regarded as some sort of travel journal. We don t always pin what we ve done but what we would like to do or see. We shouldn t pass by the wish to share, very present among Pinterest users. Instagram app screenshot INSTAGRAM Mobile app for taking and sharing pictures with a popular retro touch. Founded in 2010, is acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1,000 million.

66 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 66 GOGOBOT Connects fellow travelers making travel planning beautiful, fun and friendlier. Beta version was released from Silicon Valley in In 2012 they venture with Travel + Leisure to include reviews and guides in the site. Is a good photo the trigger? Maybe it is not enough on its own but surely it helps. It s the catalyser that turns a visual stimulus into a command to the finger to tap or click and so get the wished attention. One of the boldest bets for images is done by Jetpac which core existence is based on mixing up the photos your Facebook friends had decided to share and sort them for you, displayed in full screen mode and with a polish design. Organized by the places you have been to and the ones you would like to, users get influenced by their friend s photos to decide on their holidays destination. Gogobot screenshot However, we should keep an eye on how users react to new changes in Instagram s policies regarding privacy. Likewise, even though its huge growth, Pinterest is mainly attractive for women under 45 so we should also take all this into account when trying to focus our marketing efforts on attracting users emotions. During 2012 we saw the birth and development of several websites and apps that are boiling up to the visual- emotion fair, trying to nail the best system for social travelers. Jetpac screenshot Jetpac is a little bit shy to share some pieces of information since they re still developing certain parts of their product, but average time spent per visit (4 minutes; 30 for some visitors) and the number of actions taken, over 18, advise us to start paying due attention. JETPAC It s an app focused on displaying your social network friends photos. After its ipad release, they get $2,4 million in financing.

67 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 67 TRIPPY This app trusts your friends experience to help you plan your trips. Founded in 2011 by VirtualTourist creator. They release an ipad version in June On the same line, combining the power behind photography and the strength of friends reviews, we can find Trippy. It organises your friends traveling suggestions through visual panels that remind quite a lot to Pinterest s. Trippy s success not only relies on the number of users but on its ability to link these users with brands distribution of content, to bring closer and bigger attention to tourist products; Trippy has already launched professional profiles for providers. This is social media. You pin what viewers want to see not a list of our services that will soon be identified and dismissed by the community. Air- Asia is using Pinterest to define their brand, sometimes even using competitor s product to generate the longed awareness and access frequency. They want a fast and effective but close response By crossing Trippy s gate, companies will enter into social content distribution since they can get their brand to be shared on Facebook without any need of likes or future linking. Social travelers decide to book with one airline over another by doing the math on an equation formed by price and quality factors. The latter is never quite clear and it usually evolves as they accept help from friends and other fellow travelers to solve it. Several airlines, AirAsia as the leading head 74, are using all potential of image to generate awareness and traffic for their sales. They re not using Pinterest as a platform to show their products. From the survey conducted for Text100, it s of utter interest the behaviour of the variable frequency of traveling in the use of social media. The more they travel, the more they use social media to get inspired. If we lower age, it s even more influential, though according to ComScore s State of Social Media 2012, the biggest growth in social networks use, a steady 9%, was performed by men in general and by men and woman over 55. Nobody wants to be out. Hence we have in front of us the widest possible view because there is a long way ahead, still to be defined and fenced in. Younger generations will grow up and it seems obvious that social networks won t go away because once tried, we all come back for more. Bigger number of travels means better traveling experience in all the process and therefore a better position from where to analyze the displayed information. Jetpac screenshot 74 by number of followers, posts and likes Is independency that important? Nowadays it s one of the core issues in online content and social travelers do appreciate it; for three in four travelers, independency of the content is important to inform their holidays.

68 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 68 Whether they trust professional websites, preferred by men, or user-generated reviews, preferred by women, what crowns them as independent is, for 43% of them, the balance between positive and negative comments. When something looks too good to be true, it most sure is. At least, this is what social travelers seem to have learnt by their online experience. It s necessary and healthy for consumers to see the real product, a tourist company with a human image, incarnated by those who make the pro-ducts and services possible. Social travelers, as social consumers in general, don t show discomfort with the quality of some product or service just by dialling customer service, they write a complaint in social networks, sometimes as their first option. For almost half social networks users, it s better to post a comment on provider s Facebook profile or on their own ones, maybe not looking for a solution but mere understanding of their situation. In any case, this behaviour affects providers greatly. Since the moment a complaint is posted for other users to read and learn about it, the line between marketing and customer service starts fading away and it s most advisable for providers to pay due attention and efforts when advertising in social media and valuing brand awareness. John Peters from EyeForTravel America encourages us to do our best because he says that if you solve a complaint quickly and openly 95% of unsatisfied consumers will come back. While Lisa is patiently waiting to board her flight to Stockholm, Marc is feeling tons of frustration because of a railway company that is testing his temper out. His train has been cancelled after 4 hours of delaying it time after time without any further explanation given to a bunch of unquiet passengers. Marc has tried to talk to the customer service at the station, face to face but, though very polite in their manners, they hadn t said any useful thing. Marc is furious, but on his inside he s laughing because just as he was pulling out his smartphone to let the world know what is going on, half the travelers is already twitting about it. Lisa logs on Facebook to kill some time and she watches Marc s status. Without second thoughts she echoes the situation, amplifying the effects intended by Marc. Several minutes later after Marc was rejected by customer service, the company apologises on Facebook and starts showing some interest for the passengers. It is pointless to spend money on campaigns singing the praises of our customer service if our Facebook fanpage it s a desert where customers claims only find mirages. We might be tempted to take the claim offline but we shouldn t miss the fact that social travelers already know where to assess value and how to tell apart those sites that hide negative information away. Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study Written word will remain as a comment for next users or internauts to start forming ideas and opinion. We can always decide to erase it, censor-

69 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 69 ship was born along the ability to speak, but we break the balance and avoid a successful result. We wanted to look cool but have ended up exposed as just another one. Mobile devices use while traveling is a fact for almost every traveler and solving a complaint on Facebook can get your community to flood your fanpage with likes and shift a complaint into viral promotion; better with the help of Asian and Australian fans.

70 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 70 #sharing Post-experience Destinations and accommodation, what they share the most I like commenting what you like reading No Wi-Fi, no party Reviews, from trend to manners

71 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 71 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study POST-EXPERIENCE Destinations and accommodation, what they share most If we take out those three pillars, global village is eager to talk about shopping, food (local and fine cuisine), historic places and outdoor activities. If we zoom in into every region, according to Redshift Research, we see shopping is the priority in Asia, while monuments are in Europe and America is comfortable talking about anything, as long as it s fun. Most studies carried out during 2012 come to the same conclusion about social travelers behaviour: the three most searched items (destinations, flights and hotels) are also the preferred subjects to comment and share. It seems logical that the three main parts of every travel logistics are the most important part for travelers eye and therefore the answer to what they spend more time talking about. Detail of Global Map of Social Networking 75 infographic. TRIPADVISOR It is of extreme importance to frame properly the way we are sharing along the origin of those collective comments and photos. It s not about user s 75 Rikard Andresen s design based on Global Web Index through Trendstream Founded in February 2000 is acquired by IAC in 2004 through Expedia. In 2011 leaves the group in a public offering. Its income grew by 30% in 2011, based on payper-click advertising. It covers more than 30 countries; in China under the name of DaoDao. It s reviews king with more than 20 million members and more than 50 million unique monthly users. 25 reviews are published per minute.

72 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 72 YELP Founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees. Europe and North America are covered by 18 million reviews. In October 2012, Yelp acquires its competitor Qype for 50$ million, reaching 93 million visitors. preferences, but it s vital to match each attitude with the number of users who follow that pattern. The individual origin of who is sharing lacks any importance regarding ability to access the Internet (technological or structural difficulties and censorship aside) but their collective capability to influence according to their criteria is fundamental. the several studies referred, access frequency and level of trust granted go up. The younger the traveler, the more he trusts his sphere 2.0. As countries, Spain or Canada may stick out in some important KPIs, such as time spent at social networks or comments input (according to Facebook Key Facts) but Asian countries (India, China, Indonesia and the Philippines as reference markets) are the most eager to share their experiences and photos, maybe because of the local courtesy and good manners 76. This might just be interesting, but what should be our focus is the numbers: this region of our planet has more than 1,000 million active users at many different social networks by the end of The most Instagrammed place on Earth in 2012 was Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Reviews, whether user-generated or written by professional bloggers or journalists, are the most trusted source of information by social travelers, but not equally important for all of them. According to Nielsen, women prefer amateur authors while men are more willing to put their trust on more experienced reviewers. Once the source has earned our confidence, as we drop the age level of the participants in 76 Sending thanking cards or letters and gift-giving after visiting somebody is traditional among many Asian cultures. Reevoo Consumer Purchasing Report - Sept 2011 Digital generations who were also born under social networking revolution see this as the natural extension for their traveling experiences, just another positive one of the many that build it up. Let s see what happens if we wonder not who is reading the reviews but who is writing them. This interesting group is formed by those social travelers who are above 45, something that may make us rethink what we knew about social networks. The young are still the structural pillar behind social networks but middle aged people, maybe not so comfortable sharing their privacy, are the ones writing the reviews and leading the analytic content generation the rest of travelers trust. Georeference, geolocation, geosemantics... are neologisms that are already part of our daily attitude on the Internet and social networks, but maybe, as users, we still don t have the complete picture of possibilities they re offering. Foursquare depicts the perfect example of how we have been using geolocation so far. With more than 2 million unique monthly users (around

73 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 73 FOURSQUARE Social network based on sharing its member s location in real time and activities to do there. It s one of the most used apps by social travelers during their journeys. They have established a badge reward system to increase affluence to certain places. Almost 2, 5 million unique users in the USA in September Foursquare screenshot 25 million registered), its growth was steady all along 2012 and progressive until the third quarter of the year, when it meet its break-even point. Whether using Foursquare, Facebook or any other geolocation app or social network, almost one in every two travelers use them to let their corresponding network know where they are and what they are doing and discovering. Geosemantics and the rest of the geo family projections in the future are positive because not only the increase in the number of check-ins by users under 30 is steady, but also 70% of travelers will manually update their Facebook 77 status to match the current location during their holidays. Geolocation services able to adapt and respond in real time will play a leading role in the future. 77 Facebook Key Facts Technology is increasingly allowing us to upload more and more content within a proper context what is regarded by the rest of users as much more relevant. Detail from Online Travel Industry Statics by Funsherpa sourced in Facebook Key Facts and Online Travel Study by emarketingeye Geolocation services for travelers still face a long way ahead not just because they need to monetize their large user bases but because they should also overcome some restrains still present in many travelers. An in-deep analysis of the data obtained by Total Media for Social Travel Report reveals that, once

74 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 74 Detail of Techie Traveler infographic by Lab42 we have come back from our journey, the way we share it comments, reviews, photographs, etc.- tends to exclude one from each other. Reviews, the most frequent option of user-generated content, are preferred by those social travelers who neither write blogs nor participate in social networks. On the other hand, those who actively write a blog are more willing to talk about the content they have supplied as much as any other subject related to traveling. Therefore, it seems to be clear that although sometimes the lines can be blurry and mingle, social travelers can be divided into two categories by the way they share. Most of them prefer sharing from anonymity but there are those ones who enjoy doing it in first person, whether as amateurs or professionals, paid or not. Review sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp have already become true recommendations engines, attracting the online searchers after the first exploration has been done at search engines. Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study

75 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 75 As an interesting regional difference, Asia would rather share through blogs or posts in social networks, on personal profiles as much as on companies ones, while North America is more concerned about reviewing. I like commenting what you like reading Social networks make us feel good, 76% of social media users say feeling positive after connecting, and according to Nielsen s Social Media Report 2012, we feel connected and informed; the same two main reasons why we enter social networks. This pattern of positivism is the same that tells apart whether we will comment or not. Text100 study reveals quite clearly that positive experiences are those more commented while the negative ones will only be shared by 5% of travelers. The second point that affects our decision to comment is provided by the consideration given by our community to whatever we want to post. Social travelers will comment about what their communities like. After this first non-profit approach -in which we are just returning what we took from the community to get inspired, plan and book- 26% of travelers worldwide 78 say they will comment more if there was some kind of discount or reward at loyalty programs. However, not only money can trigger comments because 10% of social travelers will also enrich the community with their personal input if it was done by playing some sort of game, as social networks are understood as part of their leisure time. No Wi-Fi, no party Mobile devices spread has widen so much that we should no longer consider its presence a trend but part of our behaviour: part of the attitudes, tools and aims social travelers show when planning and traveling. 78 Redshift Research for TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study Redshift Research para TEXT100, Travel & Tourism Study In Google s Travelers Road to Decision 2012 they have grasped this and showed the evolution during last year; projections ponder a stronger rising curve. In the near future a very promising one-, more and more social travelers will go online from their mobile devices. However, even though most travelers will have their mobiles with them during traveling time, if we have a look at Redshift Reasearch data, we see they are not going to use them as much as they expected. We already know social travelers enjoy using technology in every service provided so, why aren t they connecting while abroad? Maybe the most plausible explanation is subdue under the general aim of social travelers to find the best value for their money because one in two would use their smartphone or tablet on location if there was free Wi-Fi. Almost half of those interviewed by Redshift Research for Text100 wish they could contact their friends and family at social networks and check out the news during the holidays but won t because Wi-Fi, though available, is not for free. Few hotel chains offer this service. It shouldn t come to our surprise that other fellow travelers who had

76 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 76 Hotspotting screenshot, via Google Play experienced the same problems created apps focused on finding free Wi-Fi at every corner of the globe, like Hotspotting (around 50,000 downloads in December 2012) or those that allow Wi-Fi Tethering like Open Garden with several million downloads according to Google Play data. If asked why they re not using social network more frequently during their travels, it s interesting to notice that a quarter of those surveyed would connect if phone roaming services were cheaper. Social networks might have been here for a short time but we have already got used to using them and, moreover, we can tell lies apart from the truth. Our aim to offer the best side of our brand or product can lead us to wrongly understand that a long list of positive comments is the best face we can offer to social travelers, but that is not accurate, according to Reevoo s Consumer Purchasing Report. Social travelers value as independent and therefore trustworthy those sites that contain a balance between positive and negatives comments and reviews. Nobody s perfect and social travelers accept that as part of the natural enchantment in an adven- Reevoo Consumer Purchasing Report - Sept 2011 Equally remarkable is another 25% that under no circumstance would go online in social networks during holidays, because it s relaxation time. This is closely related to the main reason (especially in North America) to choose one destination instead of another: the need to relax and go unplugged from the system. Reviews, from trends to manners Negative reviews can become a nightmare for any tourist product supplier but if dealt properly and with respect for the user, they can also be the best ally for our online marketing. Social Travel Report, by Total Media for Tourism SouthEast

77 NH HOTELES. THE SOCIAL TRAVELER IN A GLOBAL REVIEW 77 ture, but under no reason will accept to be cheated or fooled. Give for granted that a claim for more info or a complaint about a service, even if not asked where the brand wants it to be, cannot be dealt lightly as the risk is too high. Customers and users will spend a lot of their time comparing several options before proceeding with the next steps of their travel for what they will read carefully the comments under an app -or at provider s website- and they will also get informed at third parts, always under closer supervision by friends and family. The consumers analyzed by Reevo give much more credit (58%) to reviews generated by independent companies that to the ones done by the questioned brand (20%). There are several companies that offer providers the chance to erase or disguise negative reviews that users generate freely at sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp. The latter ones claim that, despite having detected an increase in the number of providers that want to have negative reviews out, it is simply impossible. Anyway, sometimes is hard to understand the new reality social networks have brought to our lives. The effective way is not hiding negative info away from social readers: who wants to do so must take into account that sooner or later they will be spotted and publicly warned. The half dozen reviews they wanted wiped out most probably will become an unstoppable avalanche able to dig any positive comment behind. Social networks are bringing closer every actor in the tourism industry and the best path to follow is transparency, as much as we can. It s necessary to comprehend that negative reviews aren t compulsorily negative if we focus on who is the real main character of it; the customer. On this page runs Google, according to Jason Freidendfelds when he says that usually the best approach is placing useful info for the reader, providing information that people finds genuinely helpful. Social Travel Report, by Total Media for Tourism SouthEast

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