Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

5 Digital Marketing Tactics for the Travel & Hospitality Industry

Monday, June 10th, 2013

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Reaching Today’s Digital Traveller

The following 5 powerful tips assist you with optimising your digital marketing efforts and connect with your customers where they spend most of their time online.

1.    Grow your Subscriber Lists

If you are looking to engage with consumers the key is to create a social buzz around your promotions and attract repeat customers. Broaden your reach by acquiring more subscribers who have a keen interest in your travel brand’s offerings.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you promote digital engagement on your website with high visibility email opt-ins, social sharing buttons and real-time promotions?
  • Are you asking for travellers’ email addresses at the point of sale?
  • Are your contact details easy to find on all your online platforms?

2.    Deliver Relevant and Timely Messages

Travellers are on-the-go types by nature, so relevance and timeliness is key. Some customers travel often, as often as several times a month, while others plan one large scale holiday a year. This makes it crucial to connect with them on the right channel at the right time.

To avoid annoying your subscribers, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you see customers unsubscribing often?
  • Has your deliverability rate been falling?
  • Are your social media messages being heard?

3.    Personalise your Interactions

Cross- channel marketing assists with reaching an individual at the perfect time. This is imperative in the travel industry as booking holidays can be planned or extremely spontaneous, such as a last minute business trip.

“25% of people unsubscribe from permission based emails because the content hasn’t been relevant to them from the start.”

The key is to be more than just relevant, you need to be personal. Have a look at these questions to optimise engagement with your subscribers personally:

  • Does your social media manager have regular, personal interactions with your fans and followers?
  • Does each customer that asks questions receive a personal reply? (This is either via email or social media in most cases.) This includes compliments, enquiries and complaints…
  • Are you constantly collecting new data about your customers?

4.    Automate the Travel Customer Life Cycle

You have the mighty task of reaching the digital traveller who is already on-the-go and constantly multi- tasking. Bring effective messaging to travellers at every stage in the customer lifecycle and support them along the way.

Ask yourself:

  • Do travellers receive automated communications according to their travel preferences at every stage of their buying cycle?
  • Do you have a shopping cart abandonment strategy?
  • Would a prospective customer receive any re- targeted messages about hotel packages or travel destinations they were browsing?

5.    Increase Customer Loyalty

Frequent flyers is a buzz term at the moment. Travellers are one of the best audiences to retain as loyal customers as they are highly likely to rebook with your brand if they have had an incredible experience there.

Evaluate your current customer loyalty status with these questions:

  • Are you rewarding return customers with points or discounted stays?
  • If so, are you giving these perks away often?
  • Are you giving freebies to keep subscribers excited about your brand?

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This user experience ensures that there are no risks of missing that narrow window of time when travellers are ready to convert their tentative travel plans into a purchase.

Image References:

ExactTarget, Downloadable Resource, viewed 7 June 2013, <http://pages.exacttarget.com/EN-5MarketingTravelTips/?ls=Blog&lssm=Corporate>.

Groupon, Travel Advertisment, viewed 10 June 2013, <http://www.groupon.co.za/deals/johannesburg/anytime-holidays/3065894>.

 

Casinos ban Google Glasses

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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Casino’s in several states of America are forbidding gamblers from wearing Google Glass, the tiny eyeglasses-mounted device. This device is capable of surfing the Internet, taking photos and recording videos.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement ordered Atlantic City’s 12 casinos to bar casino patrons from using the device this week.

Casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Ohio Connecticut have also made the decision to ban Google Glass to prevent cheating in gaming such as poker and blackjack. Security workers at the famous Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts will be asking patrons to remove devices if they suspect that the person is using the device to secretly photograph or take video recordings.

“If these eyeglasses were worn during a poker game, they could be used to broadcast a patron’s hand to a confederate or otherwise be used in a collusive manner,” David Rebuck, the division’s director wrote in a memo to the casinos.

“Even if the glasses had not been used for cheating … their presence at a gaming table would lead to the perception that something untoward could be occurring, thereby undermining public confidence in the integrity of gaming,” he wrote in the directive.

In a statement, Google said, “We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues.” It said its “Glass Explorer” pilot program “will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.”

New Jersey casinos ask anyone wearing the glasses to remove them, and can kick out any customer who refuses.

 

Sony launches Xperia Tablet Z in SA

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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Sony Mobile has launched its new tablet in South Africa. The company is looking to capitalise in the hype of the Xperia Z smartphone.

 

Xperia Tablet Z Specs

The Xperia Tablet Z has a 25.6cm display and is powered by a 1.5Ghz quad core processor. that puts it near the top in terms of mobile device performance.

It has an 8 megapixel main camera with  2 megapixel front facing camera. The tablet also records video in Sony’s “Exmor R for mobile” format.

With Sony being famous for their ability to produce state of the art sound, it is no surprise that this tablet hosts four built-in speakers.

The tablet is NFC-enabled, allowing multimedia content to be shared with peripherals. It also has 16GBs of storage and a microSD slot.

One of the main selling points of this Android-powered tablet is that it is water resistant to 1m depth for 30 minutes.

The functionality of the tablet has been expanded so it can be used as a TV remote.

 

User Experience

Although the Tablet Z specifications are remarkable to say the least, Sony has announced that they would like to focus on the user experience rather than the hardware of this device. The unit was built with a mindset of entertaining the user.

 

Launch Date and Pricing

The Xperia Tablet Z is expected to be available at the beginning of July with an estimated retail price of between R7,000 and R10,000.

5 Creative Ways to Spend your Lunch Break

Friday, May 24th, 2013

One of the best pieces of work advice you should take is – yes, to make sure that you take your lunch hour.

If you take preference in indulging in your food at your desk, think again – it’s an unhealthy habit! Having no sense of fresh air or sunlight on your skin for stretches of ten hours or more is really not good for your wellbeing. Take time to take a lunch break – you will be amazed at how useful that one hour can be to enhance your productivity and wellbeing.

Beyond running to the nearest service station or shop, shake things up with one of these creative ideas.

1.         Join a Lunch Network

GetLunched.com is a free online network that allows you to “get a lunch connection” or “get a lunch deal”. Here you can personally extend invitations to people and restaurants you want to connect with. It’s very simple, find who you want to lunch with and decide the terms, either “I’m Buying”, “You’re Buying” or “50/50”. Featured restaurants can also help with lunch deals for the day and if you’re a member, you will have early access to the best offers at hand!

For more information, check out GetLunched.com.

2.         Play “Lunch Roulette” with you Co-Workers

No matter the size of your company, you are bound to have co-workers that you have never had a decent conversation with. The idea of “Lunch Roulette” is to grab food with a co-worker you would like to get to know a little better. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about somebody with an hour and some food. Get to know the girl or guy sitting around the corner from you!

3.         Tap into your Smartphone

Be sure to remember the minicomputer in your pocket! Head outside and browse through some really cool and highly rated apps in your lunch hour.

  • Audible.com: Learn something new or engage in a story with Amazon’s audible.com. Get access to over 100,000 audio books or iTunes’ podcast library for thousands of free podcasts.
  • Pictorious: Practice your iPhonography skills and compete in photo challenges— like snapping a pic of unexpected artor a silhouette. You can earn points and rewards as your images are up voted or down voted.
  • SCVNGR: Relax in an around your office environment using this mobile app. Scavenger allows you to complete tasks to earn points – points that lead to real life rewards!

4.       Get a Manicure

If you prefer disconnecting from all technology, head to a nearby salon and treat yourself with an express manicure. Be sure to return to your desk refreshed, with freshly trimmed and polished nails, a simple touch to add to the professional vibe.

5.       Work Out

If a work out in the evening is too tiresome, consider your hour lunch break to recharge your brain and muscles. This is a fabulous energy booster and of course, is healthy for you. Pack a change of clothes and your iPod for your lunch time work out and sweat out your frustrations for the hour, leaving you rejuvenated and energetic for the rest of your working day.

 

work-out

Are Social Media and Technology ruining your life?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Social media and technology have changed our lifestyles and keeps us connected like never before. There are many advantages to social media and technology, however, have you thought about the negatives? Can this have a negative impact on our lives by being an overload of data influencing our lifestyles?

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Can social media and technology have a negative effect on our lives?

Is social media a tool used to share information, or can it be a form of procrastination in the working world, thus hindering productivity?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you play games before your work is done?
  • Do you use online games or surfing the web to avoid completing tasks?
  • Do you check social media posts frequently?

Using social media as a diversion is not advised. From a physical health point of view, it is harmful to be seated and munching  whilst on the computer for lengthy hours. Emotional stress can be a result of social media. This is because updating your status makes you happy , but reading your read friends’ status updates, leaves you feeling envious and negative about your own life. Posts are likely to be positive, as people do not favour posting their worst experiences.

 

What are the negative effects of sharing our life via social media and technology?

Social media and technology brings forth great tools to share your life with your loved ones and stay connected. However, this should never be a platform for personal issues as too much information let out could be harmful in the long run.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I exposing too much personal information?
  • Do I want everyone to know about this?
  • Could this post be interpreted in the wrong way?

The key to using social media is for your own enjoyment. It is not a platform to impress others and try to portray the perfect picture of yourself to your friends. Do not be easily swayed by others’ opinions and be sure to not overexpose yourself.

 

Can social media and technology change the way your brain works?

The human brain is constantly working and retrieving new data. This new data can have an impact on cognitive functions in the long run. Social media and technology can also cause shorter attention spans with its instant information and response.

 

What should you do?

There is no need to disconnect from all social media and technology platforms. Simply be cautious in how this is used with regards to time and exposure, and make time for yourself to disconnect. It is always good to shut down and go back to an old fashioned lifestyle to recuperate and stay in touch with yourself.

 

Samsung’s AlwaysOn Wi-Fi service goes live

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Free Wi-Fi service access available from 15 April 2013

 

Samsung Electronics have announced that their AlwaysOn free Wi-Fi service has gone live as of 15 April 2013. With more than 1,000 local AlwaysOn hotspots, consumers will be able to enjoy this free service at almost any favourite location.

 

Samsung WiFi Always On

Samsung WiFi Always On

If you are a Samsung user, on any Wi-Fi enabled smart device purchased after March 2010, you will be able to register  your device for this free service. This entitles you to 1GB of free AlwaysOn Wi-Fi data every month for 12 months, per Samsung device.

 

With the digital age and the need for Internet access at any given time, Samsung has come to the party by allowing consumers to enjoy and be in control even when they are out of the office or home. Samsung consumers get to sit back and enjoy the convenience of this premier Wi-Fi service, simplifying mobile connectivity.

 

To be able to use this service, Samsung users need to:

  • Locate the nearest AlwaysOn hotspot
  • Register on the AlwaysOn network
  • Connect your Samsung device to the AlwaysOn hotspot
  • Select Samsung Registration from the Free Sites menu option
  • Enter your details including the serial number of your device (dial *#06# or found on the back of your device)
  • Begin using AlwaysOn Wi-Fi!

 

Once the 1GB of data is depleted,  you may purchase additional data from the AlwaysOn Wi-Fi portal at standard rates.

 

The AlwaysOn Wi-Fi service is designed to move towards strong value-added offerings to Samsung consumers. Samsung combines product innovation with constant connectivity, allowing you to be connected at any time without additional expenses.

 

To find the AlwaysOn hotspot location closest to you, visit http://finder.alwayson.co.za

 

How to not suck at Twitter

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In the world of Social Media and community management there are some people who just “get Twitter” and some people who don’t.  So this is a fun, yet serious post that I feel is long overdue to help people who are just doing Twitter so wrong, do it a little better – after all Rome wasn’t built in a day, or in less than 140 characters.

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So you have heard about this thing called Twitter, and you have opened yourself up an account and chosen a handle (which is what your name is called on Twitter), what do you do from here onwards? Well let me help you out.

  1. Start following people with the same interest as you:  You can find these people by searching keywords that interest you, in order to find other people who are talking about the same stuff as you, for example ‘running’, ‘fishing ‘, and ‘poetry’.
  2. Get interacting:  The most valuable thing I was ever told was “Interaction is Key” and it really is. How is anyone with a lot of followers supposed to know you are there and that you share their interests if you don’t try to talk to them? So get interacting
  3. Don’t over use #Hashtags: Your tweet has to get across what you are trying to say in under 140 characters. There is nothing more annoying than reading a tweet that goes along the lines of, “Wow, what a great run #Running #Fitness #WorkingOut #RunningTips #RunForFun”. Your tweet gets lost in the hash tag noise.  Tweet it like you would say it, and if you do need to add a hash tag, I would personally stick to 2 maximum.
  4. Don’t join #TeamFollowBack or beg for followers: Team Follow Back is to Twitter what Oil is to Water.  Granted you can put oil and water together but sooner or later they are going to separate and the result isn’t pretty. The same applies to #TeamFollowBack. Your Twitter experience will be diluted because they are following you and you are following them only because you are a number.  Rather have fewer followers who share the same interests as you and really enjoy the people in your community than having millions of people you don’t talk to but feel obligated to follow.
  5. Don’t be an arrogant idiot:  Ok we get it. You have a lot of followers. People may even call you “an influencer”, well guess what? The people who made you an influencer are still following you and can stop doing that at any time.  Respond to tweets, follow the ones trying to interact with you or interact back with them.  Be human. Calling yourself a Twitter celebrity is kind of like the homeless guy at the traffic light. Everyone knows you are there and can see you but only the ones who smile back will give you their spare change or a moment of your time

Good chat kids. Now go forth and tweet, but be ‘Twitter Friendly”

Graph Search: Providing greater access to your Facebook network

Monday, January 21st, 2013

There have been rumors flying around for a while now that Mark Zuckerberg and his very own “team awesome” have been working on a Facebook “search engine”. Well, it is here and its name is Graph Search: certainly an interesting utilisation of the social media platform.

Available, at the moment, only to English (US) audiences, this social search engine was not developed to index the web. Instead, Facebook is indexing their map which is growing by close on 1Million new profiles daily. Data such as images, videos and connections are used in searches to provide an accurate result. This offers Facebook users the chance to dive deeper into their network.

How do I use Graph Search?

The search may be done in the search bar at the top of your Facebook window. Facebook users will be able to search for anything from photos to people and even interests. For example: if you are interested in forming a running group in your area, you would search, “People interested in jogging in Rivonia”. Graph Search will then pull all related profiles from within your profile that match your search request. The search result will provide results in order of “friends” closest to you, right down to mutual friends and connections.
Having been built up as a “database of people’s lives” Facebook allows lives to cross and the world to become more open. Graph Search has been designed to provide users the tools they need to make the most of their close and extended network.

Why is it useful?

Facebook predicts that this search platform will become a useful tool. From recruiting right through to forming niche groups, doing market research and even dating, Graph Search has allowed us access to valuable information, at our fingertips.

What was once an online platform to interact with friends and family, Facebook is now an empire that in many ways has become an integrated part of both our personal and business lives.
When to expect Graph Search…

Facebook has announced that they will slowly roll Graph Search out and as it becomes a more commonly used tool, they will certainly expand on its functionalities.
Once again we are left with the question, “What is next, Facebook?”.

Digital Marketing Institute Launches in South Africa

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) officially launched in South Africa yesterday. The opening address was made by Mr. Ian Dodson, the CEO, in which he promised to ’build the digital economy one person at a time’

Present at the launch which was held at the Balalaika Hotel in Sandton, was a delegation of the Irish Trade Commission, and a number of South Africa’s top Digital Agencies. Also present was Blue Magnet, the 1st of 5 accredited training institutions that the Digital Marketing Institute has partnered with to roll out its wide variety of course material to the local market. With its flagship course being the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, they offer theoretical training with practical outcomes.

The DMI promises to introduce a number of standards over the next few months. These are set around the standards in the industry and training of Digital Marketing, through the planned advisory council.

Globally, the DMI spends considerable time working with its partners around the globe to maintain these standards, formalise, and rollout education.

The DMI promises that through its dedication to educating professionals in the field of Digital Marketing, career growth and competitiveness in a global jobs market will increase.

“The Digital Marketing Institute spends considerable time working with our various partners at the Advisory Council.  This ensures that the syllabuses for our various courses are exactly what is required in order for you to further develop your career.  We get input from organisations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Universities and other Educational Institutions as well as some of the world’s leading Advertising and Marketing Agencies” says Ian Dodson.

With online marketing being the core focus for businesses across the globe, DMI hopes to improve the current standard of quality within South Africa and worldwide. The focus on education and training means that we will be able to develop the digital industry in South Africa and through that, reach and target foreign investors.

CEO, Ian Dodson introducing the Digital Marketing Institute

Verify Your Pinterest Account

Monday, November 5th, 2012

On the 25th of October 2012 Pinterest announced the launch of a new feature that allows users to verify their accounts, and the good news is that it’s really easy to do too.

How to verify your Pinterest account

  1. Visit “Settings”
  2. Click on the “Verify Website”

You will then be directed to the following page: (This is what I saw while verifying Talooma)

If 1 and 2 in the above picture are too tricky for you to do, get hold of  your company computer go-to guy to assist you.

Currently Pinterest only supports top-level domains but they are working on supporting more options in the future.

When your website is verified ,  people will see a checkmark next to your registered domain (e.g. next to www.talooma.com) in search results.

Pinterest has always been open to asking for help from the community and even have a “Top Ideas and Featured Requests” option on their support site, where users can provide suggestions and improvements they would like to see on the site. This is a feature that neither Facebook nor Twitter can say they have – Pinterest has asked fellow pinners for any suggestions for different way to verify accounts.  This definitely means that the process will become more user friendly in the future. It’s great to see a social network making use of crowd sourcing to improve their service and their offering for the long run.  Nice one, Pinterest!