Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-24-15

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone in the States!  In this week’s #SundayMusings we’re going to build off of last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” on mobile travel and link in loyalty-related articles, ahead of next weekend’s latest “Loyalty to Brands” write-up.  Here are several write-ups that I have found on brands that I have some level of loyalty to when booking travel.

#1 – “National’s App Adds “Virtual Aisle” Service” – via AutoRentalNews.com

Premise: Earlier this year National Rental Car deployed a “virtual aisle” to its Emerald Club members and users of National’s mobile app.  At specific airports around the US, National’s mobile app allows you to conduct a real-time inventory check on what cars are available at the airport.

Thoughts: National Rental Car has always been my preferred rental car provider for as long as I have been traveling for business.  The bypass of the counter feature was enough for me right out of the gate.  However, I’ve never had a negative experience with National, their customer service has been solid, and their mobile app includes just about everything you could possibly need.

#2 – “Hilton HHonors Rewards Program” via Wanderbat.com

Premise: Wanderbat provides a rundown on the Hilton HHonors program and all of its features, implied value, the encompassing hotel chains that fall under the program’s umbrella, and more.  The write-up suggests that earning points via your spend level at Hilton properties does not carry as much value as other hotels.  However, there are a number of partner programs that can be connected to your Hilton HHonors account.

Thoughts: This write-up provides quite the extensive list of benefits, how to earn and redeem points, and runs the gauntlet of coverage on the program.  Within a few clicks you will be able to find a similar rundown for your hotel of choice.

You may have already seen this but my loyalty in the hotel space has been with Hilton HHonors.  That will provide you with everything you need to know about why I am a loyal member to their program.

#3 – “Best Airline Rewards Programs” via USNews.com

Premise: USNews.com reviewed the top ten frequent flier / airline loyalty programs and came away with the ranking found in the link above.  JetBlue and Southwest are at the top of the list, respectively.  The bigger airlines – United, American Airlines, and Delta – find themselves in the middle of the pack.

The page linked to above provides a quick summary blurb for each of the ten airlines measured.  Each airline is then one, additional click away for a more comprehensive review of their respective loyalty program.

Thoughts: While I have preferences in airlines, I am not loyal to anyone in particular.  This is largely due to differences in flight destinations, convenience, and price.  Very rarely do I purchase an airline ticket without checking prices and flight times at each of the following locations – Newark, JFK, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia.  All four are anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes away without any major traffic issues.

It is incredibly tough to be loyal to an airline when you are traveling to various locations.  If you are traveling to one location for your job every week or month, it makes it a lot easier to rack up miles and eventually earn enough for reward travel.  However, I let my points accumulate with Hilton vs. any airline program due to what I view as stronger, more usable benefits.

Moving away from stories and reviews, I wanted to provide a few additional links for mobile travel.  Here are a few mobile travel apps that I find to be very helpful while I am on the road.  The links below are to the apps’ Google Play page.

  • FlightTrack: Offers free and paid versions – link is for the free version – and is typically ahead of airlines when updating delayed flights, gate information, etc.
  • Waze: When I run into issues with Google Maps and the navigation within it, I quickly turn to Waze.  This is somewhat ironic since Google now owns Waze and they should probably be better intertwined by now.  I digress.  Waze will provide you with the appropriate driving directions, alternative routes, and notify you when law enforcement may have been tagged by other users on the roads ahead.
  • 1Weather: I started using this weather app when I purchased an Android Wear smartwatch.  However, I wouldn’t recommend waiting to use this app for your weather and forecasts needs instead of The Weather Channel app.  It is far superior in my opinion.

Tweet of the Week:

Found Simplify’s tweet on a Twitter search for “mobile travel” and loved the link that is embedded here.  Tnooz.com provides a quick summary on travel and hospitality news, specifically with links to mobile and technology.  No surprise that the top stories connect mobile travel to the Apple Watch, as more brands look to make their mark in the wearables market.

That’s it for this weekend’s mobile travel-related #SundayMusings.  What apps do you find most useful when you are traveling for business or leisure?  Let me know in the comments below or via email so I can check them out.  Thanks!

 

Pin of the Month – The Modern Mobile Travelers

Infographic by Usablenet.com

Infographic by Usablenet.com

Building off of last weekend’s #SundayMusings, our “Pin of the Month” for May dives in on mobile, specifically the mobile traveler.  This month’s infographic coincides with a free ebook from Usablnet.com.  With an interest in mobile and a desire to always be traveling, this one was right up my alley.

The infographic takes a look at the mobile traveler and provides input and feedback as to how brands can better connect with them.  I particularly enjoy how each section of the infographic itself is followed by an insight blurb to put all of the pieces together for you.

After the demographic and background information, we get to the meat and potatoes of who the mobile traveler is and their respective behaviors.  This includes the very obvious differences across generations / age groups.

There were, however, two items that surprised me a little bit (read: I don’t fit the mold here):

  1. Consumers are consistently more likely to book travel on mobile web vs. a specific app.
  2. Approximately half of mobile travelers say they are influenced by loyalty programs.  I would have thought this would be much higher.

How are you using mobile when considering or booking travel?  Are you a multiple device researcher/planner and purchaser?  Does anything catch your eye in the statistics here like they did for me?  Let us know in the comments below or drop me an email at john@shorebranding.com.

For those unfamiliar with our “Pin of the Month”, every month we post one of the better infographics, pictures, etc. that we find on our Pinterest page and (over-) analyze it in our “Pin of the Month”.  If you have an infographic that you would like to promote here on Shore Branding, just let us know.  Thanks!

 

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 10-20-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week.  We are going to continue with the ‘Tweet of the Week’ that started last weekend.  We’re simply looking for a tweet from a brand or company worth a little extra discussion.

#1 – Big news: today we’re opening up Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world – via blog.foursquare.com 

Premise: On Monday, foursquare rolled out ‘Foursquare Ads’, their own ad platform that will help small businesses connect with local (potential) customers.  With over 1.5 million businesses on the site, foursquare is now allowing businesses to set up advertising campaigns and easily track its performance – knowing who saw the ad, who checked-in at your business, etc.

Thoughts: There is nothing like writing a new tips article earlier this week and putting the “forthcoming” ad platform as a ‘keep your eye out for this’ recommendation … only to have them deploy it the day you are about to publish.  C’est la vie I guess.  Foursquare is looking for revenue builders and this is a potential blockbuster for the platform.  The ability to see who is reacting to your ad/campaign and managing your budget accordingly puts more power right in the hands of you and your business.  If anyone is testing this out already, I would love to hear your feedback – whether that be early successes, ideas for how it could improve, etc. [Read more…]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-21-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Below you will find this week’s Sunday Musings, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.  Beyond two branding stories, there is a focus on mobile in this week’s headlines.

#1 – Foursquare Rolls Out Post-Check-In Mobile Ads – via ReviewTrackers.com 

Premise: In an effort to increase revenue, Foursquare is now allowing business owners to advertise based on local check-ins at certain/specific locations.  The business is only charged when a Foursquare users clicks on the ad itself.  Two brands that are already using the service are Captain Morgan and Toys R Us.  However, brands will not be able to advertise based off of someone checking in at a competitor’s location.

Thoughts: As mobile grows and becomes more and more data rich, these types of efforts should be expected.  Assuming these ads aren’t too cumbersome for the end user, this should be an added benefit for all involved.  Foursquare increases its revenue stream, brands get their message out there in a relevant manner (targeting those that are checking in at specific, desired locations) and the end user may find a great deal for themselves from time to time.

Allow me to use this as an opportunity to remind you to go vote for the location-based app of your preference in our poll at the top right hand corner of this page. [Read more…]