Archive for the ‘Industry Beat’ Category


Rough Guides Launches New Travel E-Books

Check out these new e-books from our friends at Rough Guides: Rough Guides Snapshots, a unique way to access local and reliable guidebook content for specific areas of the world. These standalone regional guides feature places like The Northern Territory (Australia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Fes and the Middle Atlas (Morocco), among many others.

Each Snapshot contains all the travel tips, expert background, trustworthy reviews, practical information and detailed maps that you’d expect from Rough Guides.

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The travel research and planning site has launched a new Travel Q&A feature, allowing users to login via Facebook and get recommendations, photos and other input from friends on potential travel destinations.

Uptake's New Travel Q&A Feature

Uptake's New Travel Q&A Feature

What makes Uptake’s approach different, and maybe even better, than other social travel sites such as is that Uptake accesses all your friends’ information about a particular destination, not just check-ins and places people have lived. You’ll get access to friends’ photos, comments and status updates about your destinations of interest, which results in much more information being shared. And as we all know, the more information the better when trying to plan a trip.

To try Uptake’s new Travel Q&A feature for yourself, visit, log in, and let the sharing begin!

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TravelMuse Featured as Top Travel Site on

We wanted to say thanks to, for featuring TravelMuse today as one of their site picks.

According to them, “TravelMuse makes it easy to plan your next trip by helping you save information from any Web site offering relevant travel recommendations and also giving you the tools to organize all your research in one place.”


Read all about how to create a comprehensive trip by clipping points of interest to your trip, scheduling them into an itinerary, and saving your trip to review later or share with others.

And of course they loved our handy custom printable PDF guides for any trip you create – how could they not?

Thanks,, for featuring us!


Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” to Make Inaugural Flight in October

Boeing’s newest and highly-anticipated aircraft, the 787 “Dreamliner” finally took off for Tokyo last week. It is scheduled to make its first commercial flight on October 26, with Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA).

The Dreamliner provides unprecedented fuel efficiency and travel comforts, and many industry experts expect the aircraft to revolutionize commercial flight.

Photo credit: Boeing

Photo credit: Boeing

The Dreamliner is faster, lighter and more eco-friendly, thanks to new fuel-efficient technology and an external structure of composite materials instead of aluminum.

Travelers will experience more natural light from wider windows, a wider variety of in-flight entertainment, and higher humidity to alleviate dry eyes and headaches. The plane also sports larger drop-down luggage bins, and buttons to adjust light coming into the cabin, in place of window shades.

Experts consider the new 787 to be the prototype of air travel in the future, and that future may be here sooner than you expect. According to Boeing, there are 821 planes on order so far, which means you might be booking your own flight on a 787 in the not-too-distant future.

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Google Flight Search Makes its Debut

Google flight search launched last week, and it’s already become the buzz of the travel industry and travelers everywhere. It’s fast, fun to use, and easy to get the results you’re looking for.

Try this for inspiration: enter your departure city and the dates you’re thinking about traveling. Voila! Cities pop up with prices for flights on those dates. Click a destination and instantly get flight times and details, then narrow down by airline, frequent flier program, flight length and more.

The only thing you can’t do — so far — is book your flight. Head on over to your favorite airline website for that. And if you want to research an international flight, you’re out of luck — at least for now. But we’re sure it’s coming soon, along with lots more helpful travel features we’re sure they’ve got up their sleeve.

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The United Kingdom continues to be one of the most popular destinations for travelers (3rd most popular for U.S. travelers) from all walks of life—from families to solo travelers to history buffs to outdoor adventurers and everyone in between. While it can be a bit daunting to decide where to go and what to do in the U.K., VisitBritain, the national tourism agency responsible for promoting Britain as a world-class destination, takes the guess work out of planning your trip. Expertly created itineraries and useful products, such as transport tickets and sightseeing tours, allow you to plan a trip that is fun, customizable and full of must-see attractions.

vb photo jp

TravelMuse is thrilled to announce its partnership with VisitBritain. Starting today, TravelMuse will be featuring an array of incredible trips to the U.K. created by the experts at VisitBritain on TravelMuse’s home page, within the “Destinations” pages, and also on relevant “Trip” pages. People planning to travel to England, London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can use these trip plans as the basis for their trip.

For more information, please read our press release at

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Social Media Strategies for Travel 2010


TravelMuse is excited to take part in the EyeforTravel’s Social Media Strategies for Travel USA 20010 conference, which will be held in San Francisco from March 24 to 25 at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf.

We’ll be making a short presentation and participating on a panel focusing on the Best Practices to Get the Highest ROI on Your Social Media Initiatives alongside Henry Harteveldt (Forrester Research), Brandie Feuer (Tropicana Las Vegas) and Yvonne Chen (Facebook).

Last year I attended and presented at the conference and came away armed with lots of ideas, so I am looking forward to this year’s event. The conference is aimed at travel marketers who want to learn more about social media and how to generate leads, drive traffic, boost conversions and ultimately grow sales. Here’s a taste of what will be covered this year:

  • Analyzing the Advancing Social Media Landscape
  • Managing the Strategic Importance of Social Media in Your Business
  • Managing Your Brand Reputation Online
  • Social Media Metrics and Meaning
  • Twitter and the Rise of Micro-blogging
  • What Extent are Travelers Influenced by Social Media?
  • Boosting CRM and Loyalty Results

There’s a wide range of leading industry experts from new and established companies presenting, including Facebook, Hilton, Virgin America, Orbitz, Yapta, Uptake, Tripology, SouthWest and more.

To find out more and register, go to

To receive a 15 percent discount on your conference pass, send an e-mail to Gina Baillie ( and tell her that TravelMuse referred you.

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With TravelMuse approaching 3,000 followers on Twitter (@TravelMuse) I was interested to read the results of a new survey “Travel Insights 100 Survey Reveals How Twitter is Being Used by the Travel Industry”  published by UpTake and conducted by Travel Insights 100, a newly launched travel industry panel led by Uptake, Tips from the T-List and BootsnAll.


After surveying online travel industry experts and bloggers they conclude:

•   52 percent just started using Twitter in the past twelve months.
•   31 percent claim to be Twitter addicts (where they use Twitter ten or more times a day).
•   The top three subjects to tweet about are blog posts (93 percent), travel industry news (70 percent) and travel information (82 percent).
•   Consumers could use Twitter to help plan a trip by looking for insider tips and recommendations (75 percent), connecting with local Twitterati (69 percent), and finding a deal (63 percent).

See full survey results.

Elliott Ng, co-founder, UpTake said “…we are still very much in the experimental phase of how these social media tools can be best used.” I agree and as I discussed with a research analyst yesterday, I think sharing best practice is one of the most valuable ways to learn how we can leverage these new tools. The Travel Insights 100 panel seems positioned to do that, and I look forward to reading more in the future.

Although Twitter may face a rocky road ahead as it figures out the challenges of monetization, spam, relevancy etc., I also agree that micro-blogging is here to stay, especially as we see greater adoption of the mobile Web. While penetration of smartphone users is still fairly low (17 percent in Q2, 2009, source Nielsen), it shows significant growth potential and offers a platform particularly suited to micro-blogging.

I would like to ask this panel some other questions such as:
•    Do you measure the ROI on Twitter, what metrics do you regularly track?
•    How much time do you actually spend on Twitter everyday? I find myself distracted some days managing multiple social media sites while trying to get other work done. It brings a new meaning to multi-tasking!




I returned last week from the annual Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME) conference in blisteringly hot Las Vegas, Nevada. Here are my top 10 takeaways from a great event.

10. Imagini demonstrated some cool and useful technology that wowed everyone. The special sauce is something called “visual DNA” that profiles consumers based on their reaction to photos. in the United Kingdom has integrated it into its booking path—it’s called the Hotel Visualiser—and it’s driven a real uptick in conversions.

9. With great challenge comes great opportunity. Some of the most successful brands were born during the Great Depression. Today, in the midst of a “Great Recession,” new and interesting companies are hatching to define the next generation of online travel. Trazzler, for example, thrilled the audience with its deft integration of social media platforms—Twitter and Facebook.

8. It’s the economy, stupid. Every segment has felt the pinch from destination marketing organizations (DMOs), to online travel agencies (OTAs), to airlines and hotels. Henry Harteveldt of Forrester used the term “neo-frugal chic” to describe the new reality. We’ve seen the end of excess—flash is out, value is in. Absolutely.

7. Social media is inextricably linked to daily business. Case in point: Dan Comenduley, manager of communications marketing at United Airlines, says the airline has created a dedicated Web site for its top 500 travelers (Global Services customers, perhaps?), whereas JetBlue … has leveraged the “twittersphere” to connect with cost-conscious fliers. These two varied approaches work because they enhance the respective business model of each company.

6. ROE (return on engagement) is the new ROI (return on investment) is a hot topic. Jeff DeKorte of Travel Ad Network described the current online booking and shopping experience to be as interesting as withdrawing $20 from an ATM. I heard one person grumble, “If we (the travel industry) were marketing sushi, we’d call it ‘cold, dead fish.’”  Ouch. Several emerging companies—Imagini, Nileguide and TravelMuse—shared novel approaches for inspiring, engaging and building trust with users through compelling design.

5. Shorter trips are the norm. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is seeing “consumers more willing to take a break than a vacation.” Why? People are afraid to go away for more than a long weekend for fear of being laid off.

4. Despite the economic challenges of today, successful companies are building strategic plans for the future. The Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau, for example, is planning conventions out to 2030. How does one even begin to imagine what life will look like 20+ years from now? This video helped get people thinking outside the box.

3. The great American road trip is alive and well. The industry is seeing much greater strength in road travel than in air travel as gas prices are down by 50 percent versus July 2008; airfare is down a more moderate 4.1 percent thru March 2009.

2. The number of people unsure of where to go has doubled in the last 12 months from 11 percent of the traveling public to 20 percent. The need for travel inspiration has never been greater.

1. Twitter has exploded. It was astonishing to see, since last year most attendees had no idea what Twitter was. This year, dozens of attendees tweeted away (read the stream here: #atmeconf) and lots of press, bloggers and industry insiders followed the posts remotely. Questions poured in from around the Web, making the Q&A sessions livelier. Wall Street 24×7 recently posted a story on 10 ways Twitter will permanently change American business.

Here’s an 11th: Meetings and events will never be the same again.



Let the Good Times Roll at the NATJA Annual Conference


The North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) will hold its annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio, next week—June 2 to 5, 2009. As well as a great list of speakers, the conference features an evening at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Featured speakers include:

• Keith Bellows, editor in chief, National Geographic Traveler

• Joe David, author of Gourmet Getaways

• Christopher Elliott, travel blogger and National Geographic Traveler’s reader advocate

• Kevin Fliess, CEO and co-founder, TravelMuse

• Fran Golden, travel editor, Gatehouse Media

• Jeffrey Lehmann, host of Emmy-winning PBS series Weekend Explorer

The schedule includes sessions on: getting your foot in the door with an editor, surviving new media, tips on workflow for editorial photography and how to grow your business. There is also the opportunity to tour the city and attend a destination shoot and critique.

NATJA is a professional association of writers, photographers, editors and tourism professionals dedicated to redefining professional development for the travel industry. Members can register for the conference for a special rate of $475.

Be sure to say hello to Kevin!

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