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30th October 2008

Expertise and Thought Leadership Important in Purchasing Decisions




A recent study from Forrester Research found that blogs drive more business than social networking sites do. ” While social sites are great for making connections that may lead to new business development projects, purchase decisions are far more influenced by blogs and content based on personal and business expertise,” says Bill French of MyST Technology.   “Continue to expand your social media strategy, but focus on rich content that helps your prospects and customers understand your businesses’ expertise.”



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28th October 2008

Perkonomics – ATrend That’s Made for Travel

  Image by egg

Trendwatching.com’s October report is about a trend they call Perkonomics.

PERKONOMICS: A new breed of perks and privileges, added to brands’ regular offerings, is satisfying consumers’ ever-growing desire for novel forms of status and/or convenience, across all industries. The benefits for brands are equally promising: from escaping commoditization, to showing empathy in turbulent times.

There are two major benefits that your customers clearly crave—status and convenience.  As we move towards a consumer society that’s based more on experiences, on status stories, on the ephemeral—and in which, for many, time is now the only true scarcity—expect perks and privileges to become an integral part of every B2C industry and sector.

How can this trend be implemented by travel venues to alleviate the effect of the expected econonomic squeeze in the next year?

  • Exclusive access to privileges and experiences
  • Anything that can help save consumers’ precious time
  • Empathy with your customers’ hassles and struggles should be a top-priority no matter how the economy is doing. When things get really tough any gesture of kindness and understanding will be truly appreciated

Who is getting it right?  Airlines who offer upgrades, priority boarding and no middle seat guarantees.

What’s in this for you?

  • Adding perks often requires the ability to partner with other products or services, so brands with the best partnering skills—and therefore access to the best exclusive offers—will win.
  • Perks, when done well, foster customer loyalty.
  • Perks can give you the leading edge when it comes to attracting first-time customers.
  • Perks can make for great if not invaluable PR; customers will tell others—perks are excellent conversation starters—while the media (trend watchers included) love a good perk story.
  • Perks can help make boring companies (insurance, anyone …?) interesting again, and thus more desirable.
  • Perks can help cultivate more desirable brand perceptions and associations—think anything from showing you actually care about your customers (gasp!) to showing you care about the environment, offering eco-perks
  • The best way to make your perks known is to write about these unique experiences and time saving offers.  Syndicate the content via RSS so that it finds its way into many social media sites and search engines.  One in five people who log onto the Internet go to a social media site (Hitwise)  Almost 100 percent use search engines. More travel purchases were made online than offline last year. 

    If your information is not visible in search and social media sites,  they’ll find someone else.  And now is not the time to lose potential customers.


    let potential customers know about

    posted in content syndication, RSS Search Visibility, travel | 0 Comments

    26th October 2008

    Social Media Reaches Hard to Contact Audiences

    social media

    Image Cambodia4Kids

    “Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” says Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, who released findings from a new study in September.  “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”

    When asked about specific types of interactions, Americans who use social media believe:

    • Companies should use social networks to solve my problems (43%)
    • Companies should solicit feedback on their products and services (41%)
    • Companies should develop new ways for consumers to interact with their brand (37%)
    • Companies should market to consumers (25%)

    Men are almost twice as likely (33%) to interact frequently with companies via social media than women (17%.)   Of younger, hard-to-reach users (ages 18-34), one-third believe companies should actively market to them via social networks, and the same is true of the wealthiest households (household income of $75,000+). Two-thirds of the wealthiest households and the largest households (3 or more members) feel stronger connections to brands they interact with online.

     This is very good news for marketers.  If you don’t already have a social media strategy in place, now is the time to get started.  One of the easiest ways to get your content into social media sites is to make your content available in RSS feeds and make it easy to save and share.


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    24th October 2008

    Travel Trends for 2009 – lean and green

    Image by Ravox Photoworld




    TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel community, has announced the results of its annual travel trends survey of more than 3,000 U.S. travelers.

    The main trend identified is that travelers will be going lean and green.  What does this mean?

    Travelers will be visiting national parks, hiking, and engaging in adventure activities. Seventy-three percent of U.S. respondents said they plan to visit a national park in 2009, up from 62 percent one year ago. Fifty-three percent will go hiking in the coming year, up from 50 percent last year. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed plan to engage in an adventure activity, an increase from 40 percent in 2008. Thirty-three percent of travelers will go cycling and biking, up from 28 percent, and 11 percent of travelers are likely to participate in an extreme sports activity, compared to eight percent one year ago.


    Thirty-four percent of U.S. respondents said they will visit an environmentally-friendly hotel or resort in the coming year, up from 30 percent in 2008. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they will be more environmentally conscious in their travel decisions this year, than they were the year before. Last year, 26 percent said they would be more environmentally conscious.

    If you have outdoor adventure activities at your destination or eco-friendly attributes, feature these on your website.  Write articles about your adventure vacation ideas and syndicate them so they get picked up in search and by other websites.


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    23rd October 2008

    Think Beyond Your Immediate Subscribers



    The guys at Mashable hit the nail on the head once again – take a look at their post about Forrester’s recent report on RSS usage.  The real takeaway is reaching beyond your subscribers, says Mashable:

    Content producers who push out their work via RSS need to think beyond marketing directly to the user. It’s more important to market to the devices and the networks now.

    There are so many websites and networks that use content in an RSS feed. It is important to make your feed available and useful to individuals, but it’s time to start thinking in terms of how your content can be reused and resyndicated.

    What exactly does this mean:

    • Some influential bloggers have had their feeds picked up and used by mainstream newspapers
    • With the right content and frequency, it is possible to have your feed indexed by Google News
    • Make your content readable and accessible on devices like the new smart phones

    posted in RSS Submission | 0 Comments

    22nd October 2008

    Travel Journalists Track Trends with RSS Feeds

    beach photoImage Anzman Consulting


    The Daily Dog is a PR trade mag with tips for getting better media coverage.  In a recent interview some high profile travel journalists said they prefer to track travel trend information via RSS feeds than go on free ‘junkets’ to a hotel or resort.

    The economic squeeze has left many media outlets with fewer resources – many newspapers and magazines have had to cut staff recently. Now more than ever they need good travel information.  They can’t visit all the places they’d like to write about, so they need a constant flow of information from trusted sources.

    What better way to feed this needy media monster than offering really good content about trends and destinations? Give them quality travel content – text, images and video –  and weave your venue, hotel or client into the story.

    Create a travel news section on your website and syndicate the content with an RSS Feed.   Not only could it get you mainstream media coverage it will improve your search visibility too.



    posted in content syndication, RSS Search Visibility, travel | 0 Comments

    21st October 2008

    Travel Factors for 2009

    google earth us airways

    Image:  US Airways Routes Google Earth





    In the midst of all the doom and gloom being predicted for the travel industry, there are some counter balancing influences that could increase travel to the US in 2009, says the eTourism Summit Blog:




    1. The continued weakness of the U.S. dollar.  Financial experts expect the dollar to remain weak due to the continued reduction in interest rates by the Federal Reserve and our growing debt.

    2. Fuel costs are coming down . In just the past three weeks they’ve plummeted by nearly 50%, allowing some airlines to lock in rates by purchasing futures contracts. This will eliminate, or at least reduce, some of the fuel surcharges while the drive market will benefit from lower prices at the pump.

    3. Visa Waiver program expansion approved.  Seven new countries have now been admitted to the visa waiver program and TIA estimates this may increase arrivals by 1 million passengers.

    4. Hotel rates have been reduced in the short term.  Many hotels who have depended on business meetings and corporate travel are slashing their rates, some as much as 25% a month, to entice new business.

    5. The prohibitively high cost of traveling to Euro-denominated countries has resulted in domestic tour operators re-balancing their brochures for 2009 with more U.S. products than European offerings.

    So one would expect to see more people searching for US travel content online next year.  Will your venue be found?

    Have you rethought your content strategy and key phrases so that you can make the most of these trends?


    Getting the right content syndicated in RSS feeds will make you much more visible online.

    posted in content syndication, RSS Search Visibility | 0 Comments

    19th October 2008

    Travel Brands Lacking in Social Media Activity


    Image by J Lastras

    Peter Kim created a list of brands active in, or affected by, social media. As of yesterday there are 270 brands on the list and only 3% of those listed are in the travel and hospitality space. What a wasted opportunity!

    These are the travel brands on the list.

    Best Western

    Carnival Cruise LInes

    Intercontinental Hotels


    Open Skies

    Starwood Hotels

    Pressfeed has a few more to add to the list

    Holland America

    Grey Line of Alaska

    Niagara Tourism

    Albert At Bay hotel

    Vancouver Coast and Mountain

    I searched around to see if I could find other hotel brands that are involved in social media marketing.  I found a few firms who specialize in hospitality marketing, and I see some hotel blogs.  What I don’t see is hotels and tourism sites using RSS Feeds.  It’s such a no-brainer. Any destination has a wealth of content they could be syndicating. As travelers look closer to home for vacation and business meetings/conference options, it’s time for travel brands to re-think their search and key phrase strategy. An RSS Feed with good content will improve your search results and bring qualified traffic to your website.

    “We can all agree that 2009 will be a challenge for the hospitality industry in most markets,” says Lodging Interactive. “There will be shifts in marketing budgets.”

    One cost-effective way to reach your audience is to get your content off your own website and out onto social media sites.  The best way to do this is with an RSS Feed. 


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    11th October 2008

    Hawaii – Troubled Tourism Seeks New Marketing Ideas

    hawaii sunset

    Image by  ejbst25


    According to a report from Hospitality Advisors LLC Hawaii hotels are reeling from the economic slump that has crippled the state’s tourism industry.  They suffered a $156 million decline in year-over-year revenue from April through August.  Ouch!

    Hoteliers are turning to the State for more help with their marketing in the hope that a new $4.5 million marketing campaign, part of a larger $12.5 million effort aimed at shoring up the industry, might hold the losses.

    But they’d better take a hard look at what marketing campaign they’re planning.  That old saying – we know half of our marketing works, we just don’t know which half – won’t cut it in this climate.  Same old, same old is not the way to go now.

    At the recent eTourim Summit held in San Francisco the consensus was that the best way to market right now is online, using cost effective search, PR and social media strategies.

    Case studies proved the effectiveness of using content syndicated in RSS feeds to boost your search visibility and drive qualified traffic to your site and using social  media sites to interact with people who are interested in your venue or destination.

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    29th September 2008

    Content Syndication Works Well for Travel Sites



    There have been some new reports out about the behavior of people who purchase travel online.

    Prophis eResearch shows that travel 2.0 has become firmly entrenched in the travel industry. An estimated 19 million Americans have visited one of the top ten travel 2.0 traveler community based sites such as TripAdvisor in the past 12 months, bearing out the research from eMarketer that rates word of mouth – consumer reviews and opinions – as the most trusted form of advertising online.


    Creating great content about your destination and syndicating it in RSS Feeds, with rich media – images and video – can increase your online visibility. 

    A 2008 study on online consumer behavior in the travel sector by Google UK and ComScore fi\und that consumers are using search engines in more sophisticated ways to research and purchase travel. The Internet is rapidly becoming the number one resource for the travel consumer. Many travel businesses could be missing out on the opportunity for additional bookings and branding opportunities by overlooking the value of advertising against generic search terms (e.g. ‘package holiday’, ‘Italy travel’)  And with search engines now using blended search to display results, if you have digital assets such as images and video syndicated in feeds you could get seen more often when people search for travel ideas.


    Add interesting content on a regular basis. Include reviews and experiences from people who have been to your hotel or venue.  RSS and content syndication is a great Web 2.0 marketing tool for travel sites.






    posted in RSS Submission | 0 Comments