TravelWatchNews

Travel e-commerce and travel marketing tools help hotels and tourism operator market and manage distribution and direct business. See our detailed blog on the state of the industry:
AXSES Blog- Travel Marketing Tools

arcRes Travel Marketing Suites is a world leader in making the Internet work for hotel brands and tourism operators. With AXSES’ recently announced Facebook Bookings Application, it covers the entire spectrum of e-commerce from direct sales, Global Distribution and social networking:

Web info on arcRes Marketing Suites:

›› http://www.arcres.com/ecommerce-and-travel-marketing.cfm
TravelWatchNews

The web is becoming a platform for participation rather than a medium for delivery.

I have been writing for some time about the Internet at a crossroads (e.g. Search at a crossroads). That crossroads is the evolution of the Internet. it is not here by grand design but by evolution itself. The web has morphed into a huge ‘small world network’, connecting services, applications, people, places, ideas and knowledge in unforeseen ways.

Peter Hershberg managing partner of Reprise Media, points out that YouTube, Twitter and Facebook all started out with simple objectives and have evolved to something much more:

“YouTube started as a service that allowed people to post videos but has since become the de facto place people turn to when they want to find video content on any subject imaginable. Twitter started as a way to issue personal status updates to your friends, but is morphing into a search engine that allows you to tap into the now – what’s going on now? What’s the groundswell of sentiment around a topic? Facebook began as a way to see more information about people you were going to school with. Now it’s become a way for friends to share interests by becoming Fans of brands and lifestyles and posting articles, opinions and information”.

This evolution has created a network, never conceived and still not defined. It is a work in progress. But it is clear that form, function, process and context have changed and all parts are merging almost at the speed of thought

Web design and marketing, once about ensuring that people could find your website, is now also about your website finding people. It’s about reaching out to people where they already are, i.e., participating in a personal social network. It’s about adding value by interacting with these networks of people in a meaningful way.

There are over 400,000 independent developers building Facebook applications to harness this. One is Oodle, who helped Facebook with their marketplace classified ads application. I used it recently to list my house for rent and within a week it could have been rented twice.

At AXSES, we have built our arcRes.com travel platform into a Facebook application. It allows arcRes users to publish specials as well as rates and web content to Facebook. All this information on Facebook as well as the ability to get holiday quotes and to book, is managed from the arcRes admin system which also manages information on the user’s website and a network of other marketing channels. Facebook is a different type of channel; one where meaningful participation and shared knowledge is the driving force.

Ian R. Clayton, AXSES
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See full article on our blog Blog

Related article Engagement Marketing

›› http://axses-ianclayton.blogspot.com/2009/04/neworder.html
TravelWatchNews

We wrote about advertising at a Crossroads nearly a year ago; today we read about Expedia’s new PassportAds, The first program of its kind in travel advertising. We wrote about Search at a Crossroads, and now, TripAdvisor (actually another Expedia company) launches Integrated Search.

It’s to be expected – the whole way we do business is shifting fundamentally. Like Philip C. Wolf, President and CEO of PhoCusWright Inc., says, it’s a perfect storm: MORE >>>

›› http://axses-ianclayton.blogspot.com/2009/03/atacrossroads.html
TravelWatchNews

A Social Net Primer – how to use Facebook in your travel business

Social network users made up 41.2% of the US Internet population in 2008. 60% of Internet users are consumers of all user-generated content (e-marketer).

The great success story for social networking in 2008 was Obama. Obama has 5 million Fans on Facebook and it clearly played a significant role in his campaign to win the USA election. Spurred on by his success, more and more businesses are using, or wondering how to use Facebook and similar Social Media services.

At AXSES, we began to track the Social Media a year or two ago. At first, it was the technology that we observed ‘it was going to change the way we communicate’, it was changing the Internet.

We began a Facebook project to see how we could use it. We became a Fan of Jennifer Figge, who is planning to swim from Africa to Barbados. Jeniffer’s manager contacted us and we put him in contact with the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA). The BTA launched a similar Facebook project shortly after.

Here is how it works: You sign up and then go about inviting friends who invite friends who might then become advocates and might follow your communications and special announcements.

Facebook is personal, so a real person, not a company, is expected to create a Facebook account. They may then add pages, photo galleries, groups and make comments which can be sent to others and seen on respective Facebook pages.

Facebook “pages” can be about company and products. In fact, we made the mistake of setting up a profile for the Barbados.org rather than a page, this, it turns out, may have some advantages (more details to follow). Many companies have also made this mistake!

In all, we quickly set up the following: A profile for the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia (BTE) (http://barbados.org), pages for http://BookingsBarbados.com
and a photo gallery for http://BarbadosBoardwalk.com, to name a few.

We added Groups in several of these pages and started discussions on topics such as the St. Lucia marketing strategies, the pros and cons of dealing directly with hotels, etc.

We added RSS feeds, which will display our clients’ “Special offers” on Facebook. Anyone who looks and becomes a Friend of Barbados.org can elect to see these Specials directly on their own page. That is powerful!

4 million people use http://Barbados.org each year. If they choose to become a Friend or Fan of Barbados.org, they will see all our posts, news and specials. It will give us a useful way to communicate socially with travelers, on their terms, on their own sites and not with in-your-face advertising.

We plan to integrate Facebook with all clients and to link Facebook pages from our travel websites. We are now investigating how best to help hotels and operators use Facebook and all social networks.

Check back later to see our suggestion for a social network strategy for tourism.

Ian R Clayton, AXSES
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See blog of this article for a bit more detail:
Blog- SocialNet