Is Periscope The Next Big Thing?

It’s no secret that social media should be playing an important role in your marketing tactics. With the fast-paced landscape and constant emergence of new channels, it’s important to always keep an eye on what might be the next big thing.

It’s worth taking a look at Periscope, a new social channel that is quickly catching fire.

What is Periscope? It’s a new live-streaming video app that launched about a year ago. It was recently purchased by Twitter for $100 million.

How does it work? Periscope is a mobile application, so that means there’s not desktop version of it. You access it from your mobile device or tablet.

Why would people use it? For users, it allows them to share an experience live with the push of a button.  You can witness a baby’s first steps through the eyes of the mother, the tension of a protest through the eyes of a bystander, or the look of a bride through her father’s eyes on her wedding day.

It allows users to travel the world without leaving their couch. Viewers can send messages or express their love for the video by tapping the screen to send hearts to the poster.

Should your brand use Periscope? If you have a robust Twitter following, having a Periscope account might be a good idea. After all, the integration of Periscope videos into Twitter is rather seamless and creates a unique user experience. If you don’t have a strong Twitter presence, that isn’t to say that Periscope won’t work for you. Intent, strategy, and content all play an important role in any new social channel launch.

Bottom Line: It’s always tough to tell what will be the next big thing in social media. It depends on early adaptation, integration into existing platforms, user ease, and the ability for brands to somehow create a voice or presence in the channel. It never hurts to “squat” on a new channel. In other words, claim your brand’s user name and don’t deploy content right away. See how the community is using the app and then create a strategy as to how your social presence can benefit from this channel and start posting when the time is right.

Author: Dilara Casey.  Article Source

U.S. Government Will Investigate Open Skies

The three big airlines are getting their wish.

The Obama Administration said Friday it will investigate claims made by American, Delta and United airlines that the three major Middle East Gulf carriers receive subsidies from their respective governments that have skewed the marketplace.

The domestic carriers have asked the government to review the Open Skies Agreement after providing the U.S. Transportation, Commerce and State departments with a 55-page report earlier this year that alleges Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines have received $42 billion in subsidies over a 10-year period from their respective governments in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The debate has become contentious between the U.S. airlines and its several union supporters, who claim that American jobs are being lost by the growth of the Gulf carriers, and travel advocates such as the U.S. Travel Association and the Business Travel Coalition, which claim that the Open Skies Agreement has fostered fair competition and that U.S. airlines have also received subsidies from the government.  Read entire article here.
Author: Rich Tomaselli.  Article Source.

How To Become A Confident Networker

We all know that networking is an important aspect of promoting ourselves professionally. Not only is it a good way to hear about new opportunities, but it also increases the chances of somebody referring you for a job that interests you. In fact, according to Elizabeth Garone in her BBC article “Take the scary out of networking,” a study from Millennial Branding shows that 71 percent of human resource professionals place a high priority on referral candidates when searching for new employees.


However, the truth is not all of us feel confident walking into a room full of strangers, let alone trying to make conversation with people we’ve only just met. Yet this is precisely what you need to do in order to build your professional network. Fortunately, if the thought of introducing yourself makes you break into a cold sweat, the following seven tips can help you become more confident so you can make the most of your next networking opportunity.
1.Practice makes perfect. Before you attend your first networking event, it’s important to understand that networking is a skill you can hone over time. Don’t place too much pressure on yourself; instead, allow yourself to gradually grow accustomed to introducing yourself to others and striking up conversations. The more often you put yourself into a networking situation, the easier it becomes.

Click here to read the entire article.

Author: Angelia Gambinol.  Article Source

Travel Ranks Third In Mobile Commerce

Mobile accounts for 29 percent of e-commerce transactions in the U.S. and 34 percent globally, according to Criteo’s “State of Mobile Commerce” report on the first quarter of 2015. Mobile transactions are anticipated to reach 33 percent in the U.S. and 40 percent globally by year’s end.

Why It Matters:
The findings expose the unyielding clout of mobile; wise travel agents will acclimate quickly to the trend and fortify their digital strategies. In a chart ranking the categories of mobile shopping, travel placed third, behind the categories of Fashion & Luxury and Mass Merchants, but ahead of Sporting Goods; Health & Beauty; and Home. Smartphones are unsurprisingly responsible for most of U.S. mobile sales; however, travel sales are higher on tablets ($85 to every $100 spent on a desk-top computer) than smartphones ($36 to every $100 via desktop).

Fast Facts:
- Majority of U.S. mobile transactions are via smartphone. When compared to conversion rates on desktop or tablet, rates via smartphone are lower; however, smartphones generate more transactions due to much higher traffic.

- iPhones hold 9.2 percent of e-commerce transactions in travel, while Android smartphones account for 8.2 percent of e-commerce transactions in travel.

- New segment of “same night” hotel booking has increased booking travel via smartphone.

What They Are Saying:
“Mobile commerce is growing like a weed,” said Jonathan Wolf, chief product officer for Criteo. “In just the last three months, there was a 10 percent increase in mobile transactions here in the U.S. Smartphones are now the majority of mobile transactions, and the growth of larger screen sizes and better mobile sites is only going to accelerate this trend.”

Author: Valerie Chen.  Article Source.

Webinar: ASTAPAC Political Influence For Travel Agents

To many people, the term “PAC” conjures up images of smoke-filled rooms, suitcases full of cash and corrupt politicians. But the reality is more complicated. When it comes to influencing public policy, ASTA faces a choice – rely on the strength of our policy arguments, or supercharging that policy work by engaging in the political process.

Decisions are being made every day in Washington, D.C. and in state legislatures that will have an immediate and tangible impact on ASTA members’ bottom lines and the way they run their businesses.

Join Erika Richter to learn about why and how ASTA has chosen to engage in politics through ASTAPAC, and the works helps travel agents.

Thu, Apr 16, 2015 2:00 PM3:00 PM EDT

What Are The Best Times To Post Social Media?

Have you ever wondered when you should be sharing your content on the social web?

Your visitors and followers prefer using social media sites during specific hours. So if you start sharing your content when your users are on these social sites, you’ll not only gain more shares, but you’ll also notice an increase in traffic.

So, when should you be sharing your content? Well, just follow the times in the infographic below.

Click here to read the entire article.

Author: Neil Patel.  Article Source

TSA To Market PreCheck

Aiming to increase the number of travelers authorized to use expedited TSA PreCheck lanes at airports from the current 4.6 million to 25 million, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is targeting the 36 million U.S. travelers who take three or more airline trips per year with a marketing initiative to enhance the PreCheck brand.

At the same time, the agency, a division of Homeland Security, said last month it will be scaling back on an airline-based program under which carriers have been allowed to qualify some members of their frequent flyer programs for PreCheck. Over time, airline-qualified travelers will find that they are approved for the expedited PreCheck security lanes less and less frequently, according to a TSA blog post in late March.


However, travelers who have “known-traveler numbers” through Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry, Nexus or Sentri programs or as a result of TSA’s own PreCheck authorization process will continue to get expedited screening with the same frequency as in the past.  Continue reading here.

Author: Kate Rice.  Article Source.

Employment At Travel Agencies Is Highest In Five Years

Alexandria, VA, March 30, 2015 – Increasing demand for the services of a professional travel agent is causing employment at travel agencies to rise, according to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). ASTA’s 2014 Labor & Compensation Report finds that 74 percent of members had at least one employee or Independent Contractor (IC) in 2014, the highest percentage of agencies with employees and/or ICs since 2010.

“Strong travel sales have necessitated increased hiring among agencies,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “The pressure on the labor market will continue because agencies are forecasting strong 2015 demand.”

On average, agencies have seven employees, a number which has remained steady over the past few years and 11 ICs, a number that has gone up slightly. For corporate agencies, the average number of employees has risen, while their usage of ICs remains low—81 percent have employees, 19 percent have an IC.

Many agencies saw their average salaries increase over the past decade for almost all positions. Full-time travel agent salaries have increased 19% for experienced agents and 18% for new hires. Salaries for managers with sales responsibilities increased the most at 20%.

Agencies that hired in 2014 said referrals were the strongest source of new hires followed by newspaper advertisements. Agencies found that FAM trips, discounted travel, flexible hours and a relaxed company environment appealed most to potential hires.

A third of Independent Agents (one-person agencies) had employees/ICs working for them in the past. Most changed their business model due to industry changes or the economic slowdown in 2009-2010. Two-thirds do not plan to hire in the future and plan to stay a one-person operation having fully adapted to their current business model.

Survey data was collected through the 2014 ASTA Research Family. The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers.  The survey data was collected online via in September 2014.  There were 325 respondents out of the pool of 449 family members. This reply level indicates a minimum of 95% confidence with an error rate +/-5% representing the total ASTA agency membership.

For more detailed results on the average and maximum salaries of various positions in the agency community, members may go to Or, attend the ASTA Global Convention to hear more from ASTA Director of Research Melissa Teates.

4 Things to Build Human to Human Strategy Content

Content marketing seems to be the newest thing that every startup and big organization is trying to build on. But if you haven’t produced content before, how do you approach it? We aren’t all writers, but when it comes to the approaching and providing your audience with a valuable read that is somewhat realted to what you do everyday then it is easily achievable by any one person. But how do you approach it?

 Build an effective system for your content producers

Organizations often make the mistake of selecting their content management systems based on the “Technical Features” these systems have. It is a a big list of buzzwords and complicated names that only 2% of the organization would understand and care about. This gigantic system might somehow suit their needs on paper but does it suit the needs of the most important part of the system: the user.

Have a great content management system isn’t the formula or the trigger to make your video go viral or to write a blog post that will be shared across the globe. These systems are used by people. Thus to be a successful content creator, you need to be able to know what the people want, what is the value you are bringing to them with this new system, and what is their role in creating and maintaining content in your organization.

Understand your people

For your reference, here is a list of the easiest and most useful content management systems to date:

“CMS/Content Management System: It’s a buzz word in the web development industry as it helps website managers present their information to the internet audience.”

Build your content for your audience: Bring Value

Click here to read the entire article.

Author: Motasem El Bawab.  Article Source

ASTA Destination Expo Sends Positive Message

Travel trends, agent education and industry evolution were among the hot topics in Marrakech, Morocco, in late February, when nearly 300 travel agents from the U.S. converged for the ASTA Destination Expo (ADE), a five-day confab of networking, instruction and exploration of one of northern Africa’s most legendary cities.

The gathering also provided a forum for ASTA officials to publicize their organization’s progress in the industry.

“ASTA is coming back, folks,” said Roger Block, chairman of ASTA and president of Travel Leaders, noting that ASTA is now on sound financial ground. “The focus on the financial side of the house has been extremely important.”

Moving forward, Block said that ASTA’s goals include attracting younger members and further developing educational opportunities for agents of every age and experience level.

“ASTA is in the unique position of offering the type of education that no consortium can,” he said. “We came up with education tracks for corporate-focused agencies, for leisure-focused agencies, for business owners and more. We think it will be totally unique. Whether you’re 20 and just getting into the industry or whether you’ve been in the industry longer than I have, you’re going to find education that will be very valuable for your business.”  Continue reading here.

Author: Mark Chestnut.  Article Source.

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