Travel News and Trends Headlines Update on November 18, 2021

The Dutch lodging company CitizenM has raised $1 billion to speed up their expansion. According to their CEO, more than half of the money will be used to add new hotels.

Interesting to read Rafat Ali’s post expanding on the things that get him excited about the travel industry during its comeback. What excites you about the travel industry, Alex? I’d love to know 🙂

Booking Holdings will acquire Getaroom, in one of their biggest acquisition deals in the past years. Getaroom joins the group to form a new strategic partnerships business unit, which is aimed to improve B2B distribution for hotel partners as well as offering a strong tech solution for partners.

I really liked Amadeus’ work on analysing their data and talking to experts to spot six trends that will impact the travel industry in 2022. You can see their findings here.

Japan’s “Go to Travel” campaign for boosting domestic traveling is expected to have a comeback in February 2022, with some adjustments on the initial campaign. As it seems, travellers can expect incentives for traveling on weekdays and discount rates for accommodation facilities.

Did you watch this recent interview with Brian Chesky talking about all things Airbnb? He talks about architecture, about the impact of the pandemic on the business, about how Airbnb is shaping cities and about going public. Very, very good stuff!

Might not be directly related to what I normally discuss here on this newsletter, but if you have 2 minutes I strongly recommend you to watch Iceland’s amazing take on Mark Zuckerberg’s intro to Metaverse. A bit of humour to brighten your day, Alex.

There seems to be a shortage in Japan for skilled train pilots in the future. So yesterday they presented a first try out with a driverless bullet train, which ran for 5km, reached 110km/h and missed ​​it’s stopping point by 8 centimeters. Not bad.

The travel-discovery-app Elude has announced additional $3 million funding to improve the booking experience. Their solution focuses on presenting people how far they can go within their budget, showing packages combining flight and hotels. Sounds very millennial to me, and I love it.

Founded in 2019, the rental tech startup Enso Connect saw a 17,000% growth in six months (pandemic who?) and now the Canada-based startup just announced a seed round of $2 million.

Amenitiz is a Barcelona-based startup doing great work on providing all the necessary tools and resources hoteliers need to run their own properties. Well, seems like we are not the only ones thinking that they are doing great work: they just secured €6.5 million in seed funding.

FunNow has just announced a $15million investment round. From Taiwan, the startup will now focus on expanding their daily life activities booking app to new locations.

Cloudbeds announced it has raised a $150 million Series D round, bringing the company’s total venture funding to $253 million. The company aims to continue growing its team, expanding its product offerings, and investing heavily in delivering top-notch tech to the industry.

YAY for entirely new, zero-emission, traveling experiences! Eve and Widerøe Zero just announced a partnership that aims to develop urban air mobility solutions, initially focusing on implementing eVtol operations in Scandinavia. At the same time, but in another side of the globe, Varon Vehicles and Flapz announced they will be joining forces to bring eVtol to Latin America. Loving to watch the momentum building up around this topic.

Cloudbeds has raised $150 million. Serving clients across 157 countries, the hospitality tech provider says it will mostly use the capital to create new features and functions for their products, apart from growing its team and to accelerate customer acquisition. This round brings Cloudbeds total funding to $253 million.

German startup Volocopter and Rome-Fiumicino Airport have announced their plans on making flying taxis a realistic option for travelers to reach the city center from 2024 onwards. And as it seems, Paris and Berlin are on Volocopter’s radar, too.

Still on the topic of flying taxis, the UK-based flying taxi startup Vertical Aerospace recently announced $205 million raised in funding. They are the startup pioneering zero-emissions aviation. Yes, you read it right: zero-emissions aviation.

Founded in 2019, the Seoul-based autonomous driving startup 42dot raised $88.5M to accelerate its growth. If you never heard about 42dot before, start here: although 42dot CEO and co-founder, Chang-Hyeon Song, is also ead of TaaS (Transportation as a Service) at Hyundai Motors, the startup raised $42 million pre-series A in 2019, counting on South Korea’s several big conglomerates, including Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and LG Electronics, among others.

Starting next year, a 18-hour ferry route will be connecting Norway and the Netherlands. Travelers can expect a very modern ferry-cruise, with space for ​​1,500 passengers and 350 cars. The startup making this happen is Holland Norway Lines.

Ghost kitchen meets room service with Butler Hospitality. As Phocuswire described it: “(the startup) offers virtual room service by operating restaurants in hotels and delivering to non-service hotels nearby. Its model is designed to take an existing asset – in this case a hotel property – and help monetize and maximize its square footage.” And now Butler Hospitality raised $35 million to expand their dining concepts and strengthen strategic partnerships.

Chalo is the startup leading the digitalization of buses in India and they have now acquired Shuttl, which operates thousands of buses aimed at working professionals. Interesting moment for the $20 billion bus-market in India.

Here is a merger aiming to make life easier for hotels: Cendyn and Pegasus have joined forces to provide hoteliers with a platform to boost their direct bookings and improve guest experience.

MarTech and AdTech News Headlines Update on November 10, 2021

Cyber security content isn’t dull

It might be a corporate space, but cybersecurity brands are producing content that truly stands out. As more of our daily life moves online, cybercrime, ransomware and other hacking attacks become a larger issue. Generally, the message from cybersecurity providers is the same: “We will protect your business and personal data from cybercriminals.”

While it’s truthful, it’s not memorable. One way they can differentiate themselves is through creativity. At the moment, cybersecurity videos are pushing the boundaries of branded content.

What are they doing?

We took a look at the latest content efforts by ExtraHop, Akamai, HP Wolf Security, Norton and even some animation we did for Cisco. For anyone who’s not an IT expert, cybersecurity is an abstract concept. As a result, many of these brands use metaphors like an office lobby or goalkeeper to explain what they do. Some go for the blockbuster approach with big-name actors, some use humour or employ a documentary format. The one thing they all have in common is engagement.

What’s fuelling this creativity?

These videos are emerging in a very corporate and risk-averse space, vying for the attention of a small audience. CIOs and CSOs are the most sought-after leads in the world, and you have to cut through the dozen or more pitches they get in their inbox every day. What better way to win them over than with some creativity?

Large scale hacks making headlines regularly — Sony and Target for example — and the ways cybercriminals find breaches is becoming more complex too. As hackers get craftier, targeting new points of entry, it makes sense for cybersecurity companies to be smarter not just in their solutions, but in the way they market themselves to their audience.

Facebook is now called Meta

In Case You Live Under a Rock, Facebook Changed its Name to Meta

The Story

Facebook has changed their name to Meta.

What is the metaverse?

Remember the early days of the internet when everything was in “cyberspace?” This is the same idea as the metaverse. The term metaverse aims to explain a cultural shift where brands, creators, and developers will create new experiences and items that change the digital world. In layman’s terms, the emergence and overlap of technologies such as crypto, NFTs, online gaming, AR, VR — you name it.

Mark Zuckerberg stated that the metaverse will “unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.”

So, then what is Meta?

Meta is the new name for the parent company that owns apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. The platform Facebook, and all of its sister apps, generate more than $86 billion in annual revenue and serve more than 3.5 billion people worldwide. Zuckerberg hopes that this new name will help propel the company towards a future of AR and VR products. The New York Times reported that leaked internal documents show plans for brick and mortar Facebook stores with intent to sell VR headsets, AR glasses, Portal devices and more.

In Zuckerberg’s 81-minute announcement of the name change, he invited a special guest to chat with: an avatar version of himself. Zuckerberg explained how Meta aims to spend billions of dollars over the next decade basically creating this virtual world.

STC POV

It’s no surprise that the sneak peak into the metaverse and name change to Meta came with a wide array of reactions. Some think this name change is a step in the right direction, better yet, towards the future. Others feel this is a failed attempt at distracting users from the bad press that Facebook has been getting lately.

Let’s break down these POVs to see both sides of the same coin:

Positive POVs

  • This name change allows the company to compartmentalize aspects holding it back so it can reset and try new things.
  • Placing Zuckerberg at the helm of a new corporate identity gives each sub-brand greater freedom and autonomy to have their own culture, politics and leadership.
  • A few years ago no one thought we’d have a mini computer in our pockets — this is simply one more step towards the exciting future of tech.

Negative POVs

  • “At the heart of the ‘Meta’ rebrand is still a social platform of misinformation and society ills.”
  • With all the privacy concerns around Facebook already, these new technologies will create a privacy minefield.
  • One writer stated, “I’m skeptical that Facebook — a lumbering bureaucracy whose biggest breakthroughs in the past decade have mostly come by buying competing apps or copying their features, rather than developing its own ideas internally — will create an immersive digital universe that people actually want to spend time in.”
  • Facebook’s reputation is permanently damaged and anything the company does, even under a new name, is tainted by association.

Pinterest is losing MAUs but gaining revenue

Pinterest Users are Dropping

The Story

Pinterest loses 10 million monthly active users after reporting a loss of 24 million MAU the quarter prior.

The interesting part

Although Pinterest is actively losing MAUs quarter over quarter (QoQ), revenue and stock prices are up. How? The platform is generating higher revenue per user. Thanks to a strong focus on shopping capabilities, Pinners are engaging with shopping surfaces at a rate up more than 20% QoQ and up 60% YoY. Last quarter, Pinterest saw an average revenue of $5.55 per U.S. user. With 444 million monthly active users, you can’t deny the potential of this platform.

The concern

The numbers don’t lie – if Pinterest can drive these kinds of sales while losing MAUs, then they should be fine, right? Well, if their users keep dropping, it becomes riskier for advertisers to put their paid efforts towards Pinterest. As COVID restrictions continue to ease, many worry the effect this will have on Pinterest since the platform saw such immense growth during lockdown.

STC POV

What sets Pinterest apart is its focus on shopping, as opposed to social engagement. This alone provides the platform with more opportunities to maximize its current user base and drive a stronger response compared to other platforms. Pinterest also has a secret weapon: Gen Z! Pinterest reported that searches on the Shop tab by Gen Z Pinners have increased over 200% YoY. With the growing support of Gen Z and a focus on shopping, we think Pinterest is a viable social commerce platform.

Instagram allows all users to have shoppable stories

Instagram Expands Links in Stories to All Users

The Story

Links in Stories are now available for all users regardless of follower count or verification status.

Why should I care?

Allowing all users to put links in their stories allows for endless opportunities to monetize and drive sales. Furthermore, this feature can be used to share an item with your family, drive donations to a charity, or bring awareness to a cause of your choosing. This feature was previously only available to those with verified or with over 10,000 followers.

Driving more engagement

Instagram has also added Add Yours stickers that create a public thread within Stories. This feature allows for someone to post a custom prompt that users can respond to in their stories. This thread can be a hashtag, a theme, or simply an excuse to post dog photos.

STC POV

Stories have proven to be a strong driver of engagement so it’s no wonder why Instagram is capitalizing on the feature. Stories allowing for more customization and creativity, mixed with their time sensitive nature, has caused many users to favor them over in-feed posts. We are excited to see Instagram finding new ways to utilize stories to drive not just engagement, but also sales.

Facebook advertising: Alternatives?

With Facebook’s stranglehold on digital advertising, will there ever be another viable option for marketers? With 2.85 billion monthly active users, the social platform has been the default go-to for advertisers. However, recent events, from the outage to the whistleblower testimony in congress, have put a dent in the platform’s lustre.

It’s been claimed the company turns a blind eye to hateful content and misinformation to maximise profits. So, what are other digital advertising options?

  • TikTok: BMW and Ralph Lauren have given it a try. As well as traditional in-feed display ads, add-ons include branded stickers, filters, hashtag challenges, and more.
  • Reddit: an online-based community forum that appears to cover every topic imaginable. Reddit Ads are in its infancy but it’s definitely an untapped market.
  • Twitter: The ability to promote tweets targets the right audience via hashtags and trending topics.
  • LinkedIn: highly targetable and can be very important for those in the B2B marketing space.
  • Google: Search has been making a comeback, as have display ads, which can be purchased inside content streams.
  • Quora: The world’s largest Q&A platform. Works similarly to search with your ad appearing below the question it’s related to.

Look at credible online publications

Align your advertising campaigns with reputable publications, such as The New York Times or The Washington Post. It needn’t be a global news brand either. We tend to think advertising across digital media is going to make a comeback.

Streaming services

While Netflix and Disney+ have no advertisements, HBO Max and Amazon Prime do, specifically for their lower-tier subscription. The same applies for Asian streaming service Viu; ads even appear during scenes. Another approach is to sponsor a particular programme, where brands are integrated.

Don’t forget YouTube

With more than two billion users, there’s a big potential audience. Usually, the ad is placed at the beginning, middle, or end of the video. For the duration, it can run from five seconds (non-skippable) to six minutes (skippable). The targeting is great, and YouTube is increasingly becoming a big-screen, sit-back-and-watch experience, the type of environment advertisers love.

Interesting Marketing Video and Report

Everyone who’s been working from home during the pandemic has experienced this. Humour is the only way to get through it.

Beautifully animated and coloured Shopee has flipped its usual marketing strategy with something a bit more heartfelt.

With an obvious dig at its competitors, Apple showcases privacy as its market differentiator.

Don’t let the simple black and white animation fool you, this is the most comprehensive video about hybrid working we’ve seen.

With a mix of 2D and 3D animation, Firefox proves that all you need is 30-seconds to get your message across.

The New York Times shows how B2B case studies could be done with a mix of voice over, stock footage, motion graphics and short powerful grabs from talent.

How to Use Instagram for Business with HubSpot and Talkwalker

Learn how to get followers, build your audience, set goals, and measure success with this free Instagram for Business Kit from HubSpot and Talkwalker.

  • Everything you need to get started with Instagram
  • 22 free Instagram post and story templates
  • What, when, and how to post on Instagram to get followers fast
  • Using hashtags: best practices, tips, and a full glossary of common hashtags to use
  • Using Instagram Stories vs. posting photos and videos
  • Setting goals: different ways Instagram can help grow your business
  • Advanced chapter: using contests to grow followers quickly and make a big splash
  • Measuring success and proving the value of Instagram to your executives
How to Use Instagram for Business with HubSpot and Talkwalker
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3 Tips for Leading Hybrid Teams Effectively

Want to simplify leadership of hybrid teams?

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, organizations had to scramble to work remotely. But as leaders adjust to a new era of hybrid working – a mix of office, remote, and frontline employees – it’s vital to ensure we’re leading these teams effectively by keeping them motivated and engaged.

3 Tips for Leading Hybrid Teams Effectively

Running a profitable business in a post-COVID-19 world means that leaders need to evolve from a working model of putting customers first to treating employees as an equal part of the equation. Research over the years shows that focusing on employee engagement can lead to 23% more profitability, and significantly higher levels of wellbeing as well.

So while the hybrid working environment may present many opportunities, putting employees at the heart of your business has never been more important.

Continue reading “3 Tips for Leading Hybrid Teams Effectively”

Planning Guide for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

The year is winding down which means it’s time to start strategic planning for your upcoming campaigns. Don’t know where to begin? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

Planning Guide for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Read this article to learn:

  • Key dates and how to develop a campaign timeline
  • How to craft a winning always-on influencer strategy
  • What to budget for influencer incentives
  • Where you score on the influencer marketing maturity scale
  • 4 ways to measure your program ROI
Continue reading “Planning Guide for Influencer Marketing Campaigns”

Navigating the journey to the anywhere workspace

In the wake of the pandemic, distributed work has become a viable, long-term strategy—sparking new ways of collaborating, innovating, and achieving business goals together. But reaching a place where work can easily happen anywhere is a journey, with many challenges and opportunities along the way. Let’s explore what it looks like, and how to get there faster.

Navigating the journey to the anywhere workspace
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