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TripAdvisor to become Facebook and Instagram of travel


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TripAdvisor is soon going to acquire a full-fledged social media avatar as good as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and FourSquare. It will create a social media platform for travel and makes restaurant critics, travel experts and influencers of every user. TripAdvisor unveiled a new site and mobile experience launching later this year. Currently in beta, the world’s largest crowd-sourced travel platform is evolving to become the most personalised and connected travel community, inspiring and empowering individuals with social assistive tools to plan and book better with relevant advice and information from people and experts they trust. During a preview event in New York organised for press on Sept 17, a demonstration of the new platform revealed that the new TripAdvisor will be optimised for mobile devices and take heavy cues from Instagram and Facebook.

Beta version of the new look

TripAdvisor has set out an ambitious strategy to transform itself into a social media platform for travelers. Users will be able to create personal profiles where they can post reviews, recommendations, photos and videos of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. While this feature already exists, the update will amp up the social media aspect, with users able to follow friends, influencers and major travel brands. Members will be able to save posts that appear on their travel feed, and, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, social media validation will be possible with the addition of “Like” buttons. The new TripAdvisor expands its community beyond travellers to also include brands, social media influencers, publishers and friends. Travellers can follow and connect with individuals or content creators who share information that is relevant to their interests.

Complementing our more than 661 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor members will be able to create and view inspirational and helpful new forms of content including photos, videos and articles. The new platform is also being pitched as a space for content creation, for sharing content, and as a one-stop shop, where users can book their hotel directly from the site. Members will also have the ability to create “Trips,” which can be in-depth travel guides, itineraries or simple wish lists of things to do while traveling. Trips can be made private and saved for personal use or shared with the community to inspire and help others.  

Powered by the world’s first “travel feed,” TripAdvisor members will also be able to discover more relevant information faster when planning travel. Assisted throughout the entire travel planning process, members can draw advice and inspiration from their friends, family and trusted experts. When a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, their homepage transforms into a personalised feed of information. When searching a particular destination, the feed automatically narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location. For example, members planning a trip to Paris may see a food critic’s article on the best restaurant in the city, an influencer’s travel guide of “must-do’s,” and a friend’s review of a new hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

Steve Kaufer, CEO, introduces the new TripAdvisor travel feed on Sept. 17, 2018 in New York 

“TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO & co-founder of TripAdvisor. “The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience. We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalised, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor.”

A New, Valuable Audience for Brands and Publishers

While in beta, more than 500 social media influencers, well-known consumer brands, publishers and travel partners have joined the new TripAdvisor — with more being added every day. In addition to the many content creators joining the platform, TripAdvisor’s team of destination experts and TripAdvisor Media Group brands, including Smarter Travel, Cruise Critic and TheFork.com, will also contribute to the site experience through unique profiles. These partners have already started to create hundreds of pieces of inspiring and helpful travel content, grow their followers, and provide valuable feedback to improve the experience.

Members will be able to follow favorite brands like National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Business Insider & Insider Guides, PopSugar, Great Big Story, Pandora Music, GoPro, Goop, NYC & Company (via their consumer-facing tourism website, nycgo.com), Nashville Music City, and The Knot, among many others. Members will also be able to follow leading social media influencers like television personality and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, as well as travel bloggers, like TravelBabbo.

TripAdvisor’s Impact on Travel and Tourism

TripAdvisor has unveiled its new site and mobile experience at a time when the company’s impact on the travel and tourism industry is massive and growing. Two recent studies show a growing reliance on TripAdvisor during the travel planning, booking (pre-trip and in-destination) and post-trip experience. According to a 2017 Oxford Economics Study, the TripAdvisor platform has influenced $546 billion USD (10.3%) of global tourism spend annually in the travel and hospitality industry as consumers sought our review content as a part of their decision-making process. A 2018 study from comScore found that 60% of people booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during the travel planning and booking process, and a full 74% of travellers used TripAdvisor when booking on hotel websites. The new TripAdvisor site and mobile experience is set to come out of beta and launch globally to the public later this year across all markets and languages where the company operates.

TripAdvisor covers approximately 7.7 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants and provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 456 million average monthly unique visitors, all looking to get the most out of every trip.

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How willing are you to have a phone for live streaming!

 

Honestly enough, I never tried live streaming myself on any social media platform. Never found any occasion to do so, or if there was an occasion, it never came to my mind. Although, before Facebook or Instagram, I had opportunity to go live for my YouTube channel. I would have loved to do that given the number of subscribers, but still I didn’t. That makes me really wonder, whether people go live on social media platforms that often! I have indeed seen a few facebookers going live, but not in big numbers. Having said that, I still find it a cool idea to have a smartphone dedicated to live streaming. ASUS has been leader in many technological innovations and now it claims that its Zenfone Live is the first phone to have live beautification technology.

So, the idea of phone depends on how willing are you to go live streaming. But then, will you go for a phone for just live streaming on social media platforms? It can be an added advantage but can it be the main driving force for your decision to buy a phone?

Zenfone Live comes in three exciting colours- Navy Black, Rose Pink, and Shimmer Gold.

Given that one needs to live stream itself quite often- what would be the requirements! A good connectivity which doesn’t breaks the streaming or freezes it, good microphones that can relate the sound as desired and of course a good camera that captures you beautifully. All these three things are also necessities of modern smartphones. But for this phone ASUS has specifically worked upon last function the most. In this regard, ASUS has sensed that a live streaming most means broadcasting oneself and one hindrance to that is the apprehension about how one would look on the camera. That’s the reason for ASUS to work upon the live beautification technology which can control the way you look on live streaming. That means that you can control the fairness or sharpness of your features.

Still not reviewing the phone as yet to get a unit for the full review. Just discussing here the features of the phone.  ASUS claims that ZenFone Live’s front-facing camera is made for snapping sharper, clearer selfies. The sensor has extra-large, 1.4μm pixels that improve sensitivity to light by up to 200 percent compared to smartphones with standard smaller pixels. ZenFone Live also has a soft-light LED flash that illuminates true skin tones, and it’s equipped with a wide-angle lens with an 82° field of view — so users are able to frame, capture details in wide angle and broadcast it to the world.

ZenFone Live also has a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0-aperture, five-prism rear lens, and benefits from ASUS PixelMaster’s industry-leading low-light technology to increase light sensitivity by up to 400 percent. It also enhances noise reduction and boosts color contrast by up to 400 percent. It supports up to 12 different camera modes, including real-time Beautification, Low Light and Super Resolution modes, to captures beautiful, high-resolution photos.

To ensure that the user’s voice is always heard, ZenFone Live has a pair of highly sensitive MEMS microphones that are expertly tuned and precisely positioned to reduce noise. This careful arrangement means that speech pickup is crystal clear, so users are able enjoy live-streamed social-media fun in total clarity — whether the backdrop is a busy street, a noisy bar, or the hustle and bustle of a shopping mall.

ZenFone Live features a powerful speaker with a five-magnet design and metal voice coil to produce loud and clear audio with supreme quality in every scenario. This speaker is powered by a smart amplifier that increases audio resolution and loudness while ensuring that the speaker is not damaged.

ZenFone Live also features DTS Headphone:X™, a revolutionary surround-sound technology that synthesizes a full 7.1-channel virtual surround-sound experience, making all content sound better over headphones. With this unique combination, ZenFone Live produces delivers audio that’s up to 67 percent louder than the previous generation, while also extending low-frequency reproduction by up to 17 percent and reducing distortion by up to 15 percent.

BeautyLive app introduces the world to real-time beautification, allowing users to create and maintain the perfect look when going live on their favorite social-networking sites.

BeautyLive combines smart software algorithms and hardware acceleration to automatically smooth skin and remove blemishes, and it integrates seamlessly with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The result is the ability to craft and broadcast instant glamor that keeps the user looking as beautiful as they want to be throughout every live-streaming session. The BeautyLive feature works with both front and rear camera.

 

 

ZenFone Live’s brilliant 5 inch IPS HD display shines brightly through strong glass that is precision-milled at the edges to create a gentle, 2.5D curve. The natural, ergonomic feel of the glass flows around to the back, for comfort that matches the fine style. ZenFone Live also has an impressive 75 percent screen-to-body ratio, for more screen and less bulk.

The ZenFone Live features a premium build quality with sandblasted metallic finish that feels as great as it looks.

To enable all these features in a decent phone apparatus Zenfone Live has got Qualcomm® Snapdragon™  Quad-Core Processor with Adreno 305 GPU. On storage front it has 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM (MicroSD support up to 128GB SDXC) and 100GB of Google Drive space for 2 years. AT 2650 mAh, the battery might be a bit turn-off, but than there has to be some compromise.

It has got multiple connectivity options- Dual SIM Dual standby (2G/3G/4G); Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi-Direct, Miracast, hotspot, Bluetooth V 4.0; LTE Cat. 4 and GPS/AGPS/GLONASS.

Like it or hate it, but ASUS’ standard ZenUI app is there to boost up many performances. Phone comes with Android 6.0 with ZenUI 3.0. And, all this comes for mere 9,999 INR for the starting model!

So! Wanna Go Live!! I will certainly like to go live next time I am travelling, but still not sure whether I would need the BeautyLive App!!

 

Land of dreams on a digital mission

Crater Lake Cyclist_Whit Bazemore
Crater Lake Cyclist_Whit Bazemore

USA has always branded itself as a ‘land of dreams’ for travellers around the world. So much so that it even launched a music video ‘Land of Dreams’ by Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal to market itself in potential markets. Interestingly four years after the launch this song still continues to be best showcase for Discover America. But now the dreams are being disseminated digitally as well. At least, that’s what the fourth annual Brand USA mission to India promised.

Grand Teton
Grand Teton

Starting this year, Brand USA, the agency that looks into the marketing and promotion of destination USA in international markets, will commence direct consumer campaigns in the Indian market. These campaigns will be more “digital” in character, with focus on young travellers and undoubtedly many of these campaigns will run through the social media.

Riding upon the success of ‘Land of Dreams’, Brand USA has now also commissioned world famous travel and adventure film makers MacGillivray Freeman Films of ‘Everest’ (1998) fame to make a film on USA’s natural attractions with a special focus on 100th anniversary of National Parks.

Carroll Rheem, Vice President Research & Analytics Brand USA
Carroll Rheem, Vice President Research & Analytics Brand USA

Carroll Rheem, VP – Research & Analytics, Brand USA said in Delhi last week that the agency has created “video assets” for digital campaigns and these will be driven through online platforms, which are frequently visited by travellers for information on US destinations. Brand USA has been running direct consumer campaigns in 10 overseas markets so far, and from next year, these will be expanded to 2 more markets, and India is one of them.

Leading a roadshow of US suppliers in New Delhi, as part of Brand USA’s annual India trade mission, Rheem said that the country is an important source market for the US, and there has been consistent growth in the long-haul share of India to the US over the years. In the last 3 years, this share increased from 20% (2012) to 26% (2014), she added.

While the US is looking for a CAGR growth of 4.2% to achieve its target  inbound figure of 100 million by 2021, the growth in Indian inbound numbers to the US holds a lot of promise with a CAGR growth of 9.6%, and is expected to continue for the next 5 years. Around 9.62 lakh Indians visited the US in 2014, registering a growth of 12% over the previous year. USA expects the Indian inbound to cross the 1,000,000 mark in 2015.

Only concern for USA is extremely volatile currency market and its impact on long-haul travel, but that is still to be watched out for as this Indian currency devaluation has yet not started showing its impact. Generally a devaluation of 10% could be a cause for worry but USA hopes it not to affect outbound travel from India to US.

Brand USA 4th India Mission Delegation
Brand USA 4th India Mission Delegation

US delegation included destinations, attractions, hotels and receptive operators. The Brand USA annual India trade mission recorded participation of 35 suppliers, representing 21 companies from the US. These included tourism boards like Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, San Francisco Travel Association, NYC & Company; Visit Florida, Visit Orlando, Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau;  DMCs like 7M Tours, Sans Incredible Vacations, and Maxim Tours; shopping attractions like Simon Shopping Destinations, and Sawgrass Mills; and hotels like Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and The New Tropicana Las Vegas.

The roadshow was held in Chennai and Mumbai, before concluding in New Delhi.