Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Rise and Rise of the Social Dragon

This years’ TDS Asia summit, held two weeks ago in Singapore, was the first to incorporate a conference track dedicated to social media so I thought it would be fitting (and yes, much quicker) to round up the most salient trends and topics of the summit by looking at what caused the greatest flurries of twitter activity that we had displayed throughout the summit.

As a proud adversary of tweeting, trending, retwooting etc, I was nonetheless impressed by the scale and sheer potential of the technology for instantaneous information sharing.  Using our summit #tag and a neat twitter analytics tool called Storify we managed to amass over 1000 tweets from 200+ individuals over the 2 days and from 16 different countries. When you consider the multiplier effect of Twitter big-wigs sharing this info with their thousands of followers, and this being retweeted many times over – The implications from a brand PR perspective can be staggeringly beneficial or damaging in equal measure.

The following are just a small selection of the stats and trends that caused the biggest spikes in twitter activity:

Analyse this! Data acquisition and analysis is crucial in an increasingly promiscuous online world. The brands that intelligently leverage customer data can grow both market share, marketing ROI, customer loyalty and reduce price elasticity

Make data available to everyone in your company- The Priceline Group #tdsasia

Can't wait for airlines to do it! RT @faithyoong: Wyndham's conversions up 30% after integrating TripAdvisor reviews on their site #tdsasia

Geek is good! The big theme from #TDSasia is we need more "geeks who can speak"...understand tech, and communicate it well

Make publishing decisions based on social analytics to stay relevant with your audience. - Barbara Pezzi #TDSasia

Don't measure activities, but results." - Barbara Pezzi #TDSasia

"What is the business problem am I trying to solve? How can social media analytics give me answers to solve it?" - Kelly McGuire #TDSasia

"Number of social conversations about travel is doubling every 6 months." #TDSasia

The beautiful thing about social analytics is that you're working with public data. Huge opportunity for competitive insight. #TDSasia

Focus on integrating your technology platforms to see all data in one place." Prashanth Radhakrishnan, Starwood #TDSasia

Use online customer reviews to understand where your brand sits in the competitive landscape. - Kelly McGuire, SAS Institute #TDSasia

#Travel businesses that will succeed will be the ones that use data the best. - Adrian Currie #TDSasia

Big data is very important. Make sure you filter that and put it into the hands of your employees to make decisions. #TDSasia

Effective use of data requires processes, systems and a culture of using data for decision making. #TDSasia

Beyond Mobile Mania: Have a focused mobile strategy and clear goals!

Wow - 95% of mobile apps do not get opened a second time? #TDSasia #mtravel

"Be crystal clear on what your brand/product stands for." #TDSasia (Also know what you are NOT)

Paypal predicts $7bn worth of mobile payments in 2012 #tdsasia

Google Q1 2012 Singapore & Australia travel queries on tablet three times bigger as queries via mobile phones #tdsasia

 @simpliflying at #tdsasia focus on the business goal, not on the medium. It's not about the fan or the follower.

Focus on and reposition the customer at the heart of everything you do

Consistent theme so far at #TDSasia - create a customer-centric organization. How are you using new technology to do this?

Love this: Webjet brings a life-size cutout of a customer saying "What's in it for me?" to all meetings. #TDSasia

Tips from Lufthansa - be authentic and be where your customers are. Be relevant and build sustainable relationships.

Personalize and Humanize your brand to become more relevant

Understand the "Internet Culture" of your audience to guide #content marketing strategy. - Sam Flemming #TDSasia #smtravel

Lufthansa now among Top 5 airline FB pages, with over 1mn fans. Impressed with @flying_emirates, which is in Top 15 in a month! #TDSasia

"I am Roger Smith" video campaign @RSHotel used as a great example of humanizing your brand by @edwardperry #TDSasia #hotelmarketing

 @HiltonHotels welcome program includes chinese speaking concierge, translated welcome letters, 'local' food #TDSasia #custserv

"When mistakes happen, be human. Relationships matter." - @simpliflying #TDSasia

Social listening and real-time service can resolve issues, keep guests happy and prevent negative online reviews. - @edwardperry #TDSasia

Make publishing decisions based on social analytics to stay relevant with your audience. - Barbara Pezzi #TDSasia

Engage Target and Monetize your consumer when they are in ‘spending mode’

Guests more likely to spend when they're traveling. At the booking stage, they try to save. Implications on mobile strat ...

 @edwardperry suggests hotels could learn from airlines and innovate with "social lounges" to help travelers meet each other #trends

China and its travellers are only going to become more commercially important – Develop a diverse strategy to tap into this huge and growing market

Chinese millionaires are 15 years younger (on average) than their counterparts in the west. #tdsasia #luxury

Your ability to tap in to the China travel market is partially dependent on the receiving destination to market itself #tdsasia

What are you doing to assist Chinese travelers in using your products/coming to your destination?

However don’t discount India:

Over $1B pumped into internet start ups in India last year - English is India's 1st language! - Himanshu Singh

Indian market is V price sensitive and Chinese market is tough to enter without the right JV partner/product flexibility...& vice-versa

Hottest new emerging trends

I learned a new term from Flocations: Flashpacker. Apparently its is a traveler that has the time but a limited budget #tdsasia

RT @simpliflying: Wow! Singapore has the highest % of Smartphones in Asia, at 62%! #tdsasia

Japan- 97% 3G penetration. Not surprised! #tdsasia

According to Google, hotel mobile searches have increased by 3000% from 2010 to 2011 #tdsasia

What's happening today in Japan in terms of mobile is possibly a peep into future for other countries :) #tdsasia

Wow - interesting. RT @msaio: #tdsasia Air Asia gets up to 14% inbound traffic from Facebook in Malaysia - More than from Google! #comscore

For any of you who missed our social media and mobile videographic, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stnFeBHfU44

And here is a mash-up of all the conference tweets showing the most salient trends and topics that were ‘trending’: http://www.eyefortravel.com/tds-asia-2012-twitter-highlights

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Following Facebook’s relatively disappointing IPO it's worth remembering that globally social media and mobile drive travel sales

It’s that simple, forget PR stunts or the amount of friends your company has, our research (Eyefortravel Marketing Barometer) shows that half the travel industry sees social media providing them with real measured sales.  The same research shows that 27% see mobile growing as a sales channel.  At our recent shows the debate and interest has been around this sweet spot ….where mobile and social combine to give you a real time communication channel you can use to inspire and convert and so produce the cash rewards and market share that your hard pressed company needs. We will have fresh data in July and it will be great to see if this trend continues.

The trouble for Facebook is that unlike Google, who effectively forced us to advertise to build its huge revenues, Facebook delivers an awesome way to communicate for free with our customers and can’t really change that without damaging their core product.  Mobile Social networking which is Facebook’s fastest growing area makes it doubly hard to monetise.

Finally Facebook is not an awesome way for some of the world’s fastest growing and biggest markets.  Asia is a different world, Facebook and Google may be an effective way to communicate with your customers in The USA, Europe, India, Africa and South East Asia but they fall flat on their faces in the world’s fastest growing market - China and the regions 2 heavy weight markets of Korea and Japan; here you need to work with Mixi, Cyworld, Baidu, Renren, Sina, Weibo and others to make an effective social media campaign.  The region also has the highest and lowest 3G and smart phone penetration rates.  China will have a predicted 1 billion mobile web users but in Vietnam it is a different story. How you create and drive your social media and mobile channel in such different markets will be key to your market share and future success.

If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities for Social Media and Mobile in Asia, we have a show where Facebook, Renren and a whole heap of innovators will be debating the future of this fascinating trend in Hong Kong this November 20-21. http://events.eyefortravel.com/social-media-and-mobile-asia/index.php

By Tim Gunstone