Category Archives: Travel

The new and improved My Destination

…if that is even possible I hear you say.

Over the recent months I have put on here a number of My D references including infographics. And you know what I don’t mind, as I really believe in what we are doing here. This blog is about my industry thoughts on travel, SEO and the Internet and I feel that the bigger the internet becomes the move it needs to be really local.

After working for or with my companies who think they are local, it is a refreshing change to be apart of one that actually is. There is a strong sense of team and identity in our network [hub and franchise model] and we are all working together to make this work. Lots of local input, mixed with systems and processes from the centre can make a truly powerful collection of travel enthusiasts who can punch about their weight.

So…as of today, the 6th of September My Destination is officially unveiling the revamped design. There is more emphasis on video, images, virtual tours and real UGC. And there is plenty of more to come.

Here is a chunk from the official press release

My Destination, (http://www.mydestination.com) a leading online travel guide with a focus on local knowledge and expertise, today re-launches its portal of 68 destination websites that span the world (with a further 55 destinations literally in the making), from British Columbia in North America, to Malta, Singapore, Kenya and Tenerife. With dedicated local teams at each of its destinations who have been building ‘on-the-ground’ relationships with local businesses (51,000 in total) and communities since 2006, My Destination cements its USP of local expertise with the new site.

Showcasing local tips, local expert reviews, and exclusive offers that are only attainable through our local relationships with businesses, users enjoy the kind of information that travellers cherish, but can usually only attain once they arrive at the location (and rarely find on big name global travel guide sites). Since My Destination’s earliest days ‘local expertise’ has been its mantra and this is now vindicated as a sustainable proposition and differentiator against the omniscient Google as the latter encroaches more and more into the travel sector (first with the buyout of ITA (for bookings), then Zagat (user reviews), and now Frommer’s (editorial content)).

“By the sheer size of the web, there is quality content out there. Google has the key to find it. But for all its complexity we still think that at the end of the day it’s sheer brawn and computational power – that’s what search engines are good for, and what Google does best. But that’s a commodity. My Destination is more than that – we aim to give our users value-add. For us this is through ‘local expertise’, and there’s only one way to get that and it’s with people on the ground, not with rows upon rows of computers in the middle of the desert on the other side of the world, or an editorial team in global head office. We absolutely pride ourselves in our ‘hand-made’ approach to each of our destinations so that we offer our users the service and knowledge that only local people can provide” – Neil Waller, CEO

There is a lot of social noise today from our ever growing network and hopefully trade and industry press in the coming days.

Its official

Some images from one of the launch posts.

My Destination launch 1

My Destination launch 2

Where is Norman?

…we know.

The intrepid traveller Norm is hiding on the HP can you find him? If you are getting stuck, even my son found him!

What do you think of the site? Feel inspired?

Trip to Frankfurt – August 2011

For the first time in (can’t remember, think ’98) ages, we actually had some time to see the city that we were visiting. After a couple of hard days and harder nights the whole e-commerce team did a boat trip down the Main in Frankfurt. To be fair, Frankfurt for a small city has an impressive skyline, especially lit up at night. But a dull river side!! Entschuldigen Sie.

On Friday we had lunch on the boat and did this route.

River cruise in Frankfurt

River cruise in Frankfurt - the route

Then we had a full 8 mins to find a cab and get to the airport and make the long Friday night travel home.

Here are the photos taken while still walking through the main square.

Frankfurt's main square - statue

Frankfurt's main square - statue

and kept walking and saw

Frankfurt's main square - impressive buildings

Frankfurt's main square - impressive buildings

and kept walking and one more click…

Frankfurt's main square - town hall or church?

Frankfurt's main square - town hall or church?

The square is very pretty – shame I didn’t get a chance to know what it was all about ! At least I got to see some of the place I visited.

Alternatively we all could use technology to take our own time to look around.

[googlemap lat="50.110382258285334" lng="8.682171106338501" align="center" width="630px" height="440px" zoom="19" type="G_SATELLITE_MAP"]60311 Frankfurt am Main, Germany[/googlemap]

How do I find out what is going on in European travel?

Manneken Pis

Are you focusing on the right things or p***ing it away?

I am a search marketer in the travel sector, I have to confess I don’t know as much about travel as I should. I have traveled and I like holidays! I also know how the travel industry infrastructure works and how to make that work on large scale e-commerce sites.

We are all obsessed about improving site conversion. Focusing on qualifying visitors and introducing them to the right landing pages. Then tweaking and MVT’ing those pages to get the conversion/continuance/reduce bounce improvements we seek.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that the basics of marketing. You need to have the right PROMOTION, the right PLACE (site), but you need the right PRODUCTs at the right PRICE.

In the last couple of years due to the global macro-economic buying and traveling patterns have changed. So, ensuring you are promoting via marketing through to merchandising on-site the right destinations for the country you are selling in is essential. Then with the right essentials/extras/package at a price that the consumer will pay.

If you are running either a SEM or SEO campaign we too should be promoting the destinations that will actually sell. That is the only way that you will be prioritising your resources and getting those incrementally efficient sales. Being no.1 for a destination nobody is searching for it good, but pointless.

So, how do you find out what those trends are:

  • Your colleagues. There will always be experts. Either other marketers with a passion and/or those who are located in the market
  • Trading trends – watch the growers and the falling stars metrics in your internal data
  • Google – you have to have a suspicion – but you then can confirm it with products like Google Insights
  • Attend Briefings / Conferences & Events from industry experts
  • Official tourist boards and EU data sources
  • Blogs of personalities or figure heads

Here are some of my RSS subscriptions favourites this week

There are plenty others, but here are just the sites that I have read today and worth a note.

My pet hate is when you get so obsessed with a small increment you MAY miss the big picture. Always look for the bigger trends in travel.

Newspapers joining the debate as experts

I am currently sitting opposite my boss who is on an online panel inside the TimesOnline travel section answering questions from the general public.

I thought it was worth a mention to comment on the engagement online and angle the paper is taking as experts in travel and the place for experts to discuss travel.

TimesOnline debate on travel

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of users (I am sure they are not all staged questions from their PRs!) and the use of inline polls on topics to gauge the participants opinions.

This I think could be the future for ‘experts’ to host the discussion.  Little shocked though on how little onsite promotion they had.  Maybe they are warming up.  Well done – Matt – you look tired after all that typing!!

Nanobreaks – new travel trends

Hotels.com Nanobreaks new trend

Hotels.com Nanobreaks new trend

Did you know the new thing in travel if you don’t have time for a weekend break? Try a  “Nanobreak”.

In a recent press release from Hotels.com they explain from their extensive data that people are not cancelling their holidays, but instead are changing where they go, and for how long for.  In the Nanobreaks release they talk about a 29% Year on Year increase in people looking for a single night stay. Previously people would go Friday and come back on a Sunday.  Now people are going early Saturday til late on Sunday to squeeze the most out of their trip.

From a UK perspective, the winners are cities like Bournemouth, Brighton, Edingburgh and London.  But also people are taking advantage of some great airfares and travelling to Marrekesch, Venice, Rome, Copenhagen and Nice.

So much so, Hotels.com are currently running a social media campaign around “Nanobreaks” and their onsite page explains it here.

Nanobreaks – the Nanolog campaign from Hotels.com >>

It seems that people are resilent and wont give up on holidays, but will just change where and when they go.