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Travel and Tourism

Malaysia Airlines Damage Control Begins with $5000 to Cover Each Family’s Expenses

malaysia-airlinesThe public now seems to have a far better idea about what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370—but the story isn’t anywhere close to being over.

Last night, after clarifying that its now-infamous text updates were part of a larger effort to convey the new conclusions about the flight to passengers’ families, the company took its first damage control step by offering $5000 to those families for each passenger aboard the plane, which is now presumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.

While that total may look small (it’s already inspired outrage on social media), it’s not a settlement; it’s a gesture to “help families cope with the immediate financial strain” created by the nearly two-week-long search and related travel expenses. As searchers continue to narrow the area in which they expect to find the plane, commenters have begun to speculate on the big lawsuits sure to follow.

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STUDY: Travel/Hospitality Customers Demand a More Digital Experience

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Earlier this month, MCD (Magnani Caruso Dutton) Partners published a white paper that should be of great interest to everyone with clients in the travel/hospitality industry.

The survey, conducted among 1,000 random consumers in the three major travel sectors (business, leisure and family), found that they overwhelmingly want a more digital experience in exchange for that elusive brand loyalty.

What does this mean? In the press release, MCD creative director John Caruso simplifies: “personalization and convenience.”

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Malaysia Airlines Dedicates All Media Channels to Missing Flight

malaysia-airlinesAs the entire world follows the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and its 200+ passengers, you may wonder what the company’s communications team is doing to address the rapidly-evolving story.

The answer is, essentially, “everything.”

The Malaysian blogger behind “Unspun may be the best source for info on MA’s PR efforts at the moment, and he gives the company a general thumbs up on the crisis comms front.

First, a visit to the company’s English-language homepage reveals a link to a “dark site” reserved for such incidents, which amounts to a series of numbered press releases regarding the missing flight.

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A quick scroll through the statements shows us that the airline is responding to almost every potential update.

The same holds true for its social media assets.

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Metropolitan Museum’s Chief Digital Officer Shares His Artful Perspective on Social Media

Met Museum Roof Cloud City FinalWhat does New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have in common with the Broadway musicals Kinky Boots and Jersey Boys, the Frick Collection and the Manhattan skyline? They’re all top five NYC attractions on TripAdvisor.

That’s what Sree Sreenivasan discovered when he checked the popular travel review site. He’s the Met Museum’s first chief digital officer, and formerly worked as Columbia University’s chief digital officer and professor at their journalism school. He spoke at The New York Times Travel Show on Friday about the museum’s digital initiatives.

The Met’s exhibits and collection ranges from modern sculpture (Cloud City 2012, above) to ancient objects (William the Hippo, below). The museum has long been active on digital fronts, like interactive video screens, digital photography and social media. The Met’s digital efforts are especially interesting given its global audience and high-profile art fans, like celebs Bono, Psy and Steve Martin.

Sreenivasan’s goal is to enhance and expand on the museum’s existing digital programs, leaving no masterpiece unturned. He outlined the Met ‘s current social media status and future plans. He also shared tips that can apply as examples beyond the art world.

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Terranea Resort Near L.A. Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Local Brand Influencers and Guests

Terranea Resort Courtesy of“A land unto itself” is how Terranea Resort, an uber-luxury oceanfront property set on a peninsula in southern California, is described on its website. For its guests Terranea serves as a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of Los Angeles, located just 30 miles away.

Yet the resort’s secluded setting was proving to be both a benefit and a challenge. Agnelo Fernandes, Terranea’s SVP of sales and marketing, said the property lacked awareness among SoCal residents. Speaking at HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York on Tuesday, his case study outlined the social media programs the resort pursued to be more SoCal-local.

Before launching its new theme, “Discover a Land, Not Far Away”, the resort targeted the local community, especially lifestyle gurus active on social media. The goal was to offer entrée‎ to Terranea so they could share their experiences, and in the process grow the resort’s fan base.

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Kim Jong Un Keeps North Korea in the Dark, Literally

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Must have something to do with Dennis Rodman or those damn pistachios

See this colorful — or absence thereof, depending on whether you call Pyongyang home — picture from NASA? It’s making the rounds for one particular reason. That black hole in the middle of the Sea of Japan and the Korea Bay, just a smidge off the Yellow Sea.

Yeah, that’s North Korea. Ironic, no?

Kim Jong Un, heir to the family of ‘The Walking Dead (and Heartless), literally keeps a dark cloud over his entire country because he can.

The glamour shot of the forbidden country to everyone but demented basketball players was taken by the Expedition 38 crew aboard the International Space Station on Jan. 30. The only significant dot of anything comes from Pyongyang, its capital city.

Interestingly, and borrowed from several reports, per capita power consumption in South Korea is 10,162 kilowatt hours, vastly more than North Korea’s 739 kilowatt hours, according to figures compiled by the World Bank.

Think about that a little the next time you think our government has too much power, kids.

Amtrak’s New ‘Writers’ Residencies’ Promotion Offers Free Rides to Writers

As writers, we’re all too familiar with the common, seemingly hopeless quest to find a place where we can sit and work for hours at a time without household, office, or coffee shop distractions getting in the way. One place we’ve heard many a fellow writer tout as a fantastic, distraction-free workspace is a train — being alone (and somewhat captive) for an extended period of time seems to help inspire the urge to buckle down and be productive.

But what starving writer can afford to ride around on a train every time they need to meet a deadline?

Enter Amtrak. Thanks to a serendipitous Twitter encounter and a successful trial run, the train company has decided to offer promotional “Writers’ Residencies,” which will allow writers to hop round-trip trains for free.

After reading Alexander Chee’s interview in Pen America, which read in part, “I still like a train best for [writing]. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers,” New York-based writer Jessica Gross was inspired to tweet her agreement.

Apparently recognizing a unique marketing opportunity, Amtrak responded to Gross, saying: Read more

Desigual Clothing Brand Reflects Barcelona’s Sunny Spirit

desigual-logo-3“Our runway models are dancing and they’re not serious like they’re at a funeral, as are many models from other fashion brands”, said Borja Castresana, director of global marketing and communications at Desigual, a casual clothing line from Spain. His comment cut to the core of the brand’s positioning statement, “La vida es chula”, translated as “Life is cool.”

Castresana spoke during a Museum at FIT/Fashion Institute of Technology panel on Tuesday about Desigual and how the brand serves as an emblem for Barcelona where it’s based. Both the city and the brand convey similarly positive dispositions. As Spanish trends expert and author Gema Requena said, “the city as brand concept is key for competing in global markets.”

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Airbnb Offers Journalists Solutions to Their #SochiProblems

We’ve covered a weighty topic or two today, so we’ll end the week on a lighter note: as Brian Morrissey of Digiday noted this afternoon, the famously responsive Airbnb decided to make the most of the many journalists documenting their terrible experiences with Sochi hotels by doing that thing they do and directing them toward alternatives in the area.

It started last night with this announcement:

The company’s social team followed up by interacting directly with those journos in need of a better place to rest:

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The High Life Atop New York’s Hotels: 16 Rooftop Heated Bars for Winter Celebrations

Monarch Lounge Terrace2Kimberly Hotel Outside2Manhattan’s high life is hotter than that of many major cities, including the home turf of the visiting Super Bowl teams. Denver has a scenic Rocky Mountain backdrop, and Seattle has the famous Space Needle. But the Big Apple has a growing number of hotel rooftop lounges with panoramic skyline views. The heat is on at many of these bars, now winterized with tents, heat lamps, or glass-enclosed with retractable roofs. So revelers can capture the outdoor spirit and sip a “Mad Mojito” without the Arctic chill.

PRNewser compiled a list of rooftop venues where you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy the festive ambiance. Nearly all are open to the general public and can be set up for private events, though a few are for hosting groups only. These bars, located in midtown and downtown, on the east and west sides, range from casual to chic. But be sure to check ahead to see if the space is booked that night, or you may end up back on ground control.

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