December 2008 Archives

Big number of the day: How much IFE costs

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It costs about $4 million to fit out a Boeing 777 with an IFE system and about the same again to maintain it over a five-year period

Yikes. In that case I'll just get it installed on one of my 777s...

(From an article on in-flight entertainment in today's Times business section.)

Video: 24 hours of air traffic in one minute

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A huge hat tip to Barbara Cockburn over at TW's stablemate Flight International for posting this one-minute video tracking 24 hours of air traffic.

It does, as a great commentary by David Learmount says, show traffic "moving in patterns like organised colonies of ants" - which allows amateur cultural theorists like me to use words like 'emergence'. Great stuff.

Hotel Blogs has posted about a blogosphere kerfuffle over mice at the InterContinental Grand Hotel Paris, and I've been adding a few comments.

Here's the video that started it off:

"Make a video in response," I said. Alex Bainbridge said that was "a very sensible idea" over on his blog, where he questioned whether the video should have been published in the first place.

Andy of Hobotraveler disagreed with me, arguing that mice are a pretty ordinary problem which it's best to solve quietly. Guillaume was of the same mind, saying "a quick apology should be enough".

Why is it an interesting discussion? Because two big questions arise from it:

  • Engage with public criticism or ignore it? A key decision for brands developing their social media strategy
  • Are we entitled to perfection? Mice aren't the end of the world, but they shatter the aspirational image for which customers are paying a premium. Is that a failing severe enough to merit 'trial by internet'?

And my answers, since you ask, are 'engage' and 'yes'...

How to add Santa stuff to your flickr travel photos...

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Pssst... wanna see something really useful?

Niotre Dame des Doms in Avignon with Santa accoutrementsAdd a 'ho ho ho beard' or 'ho ho ho hat' note to your flickr photos and you'll get resizable Santa goodies - seen here adding festive charm to my pic of Notre Dame des Doms in Avignon. (Via Lifehacker.)

Okay, it's not that useful. But I reckon travel companies might have got a nice viral out of this, or at least some fun community stuff - get customers share their hat-and-bearded travel photos, award prizes for the best and so on.

Give it a go and post links to your best ones in the comments...

Eureka! They need a blue whale on Oasis of the Seas...

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They'll put all sorts of crazy stuff on cruise ships these days, but the prize for least likely suggestion goes to Youtube user jpbalkenende.

Here's his/her comment on our vid of Oasis of the Seas under construction:

What would be cool [is] if they had a blue whale sculpture in their central park like the the one in the New York Museum of Natural History. Biggest ship of the seas and biggest animal of the seas. But it would take up some room and obscure some views I guess.

Nobody loves a natural history exhibit more than your blogger, but... yes, jpbalkenende. Yes it would.

Holiday Extras launches 'expert panel'

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Holiday Extras - a company that provides airport hotel and parking and theme breaks - has just launched an expert panel to help customers with holiday and travel related queries.

The experts cover the following topics:

It's early days ie not many questions have been posted. There are no feeds from the message boards which means you have to return to find advice and see answers. The press release says users will be able to search posts but I couldn't find the search function.

The panel looks good though and there is a helpline too.  

Martin Couzins, managing editor 


Top four: Travel virals that got it right

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The travel blogosphere has said 'meh' to the Holiday Extras Paul Kaye viral (now ASA-approved).

But there have been some campaigns that were right on, or at least somewhat closer to, the proverbial money...

1. Where the hell is Matt?

A guy dancing his way around the world: a simple idea with endless potential for reiteration. Eventually adopted by gum brand Stride.

(Incidentally, simplicity and reiteration are how a picture of a cat asking for a cheeseburger started a content empire with reported revenue of $0.80 per page...)

2. The MyTravel press conference

MyTravel's comedy video got the tone right. It shocks you slightly on the first viewing, but quickly devolves into feelgood, Tom and Jerry-style fisticuffs. A huge hit in the TW office. 

3. Where is my gnome?

Travelocity's interpretation of the 'travelling gnome prank' piggybacked on an existing meme and supported the viral stuff with other touchpoints (TV, online, print, real-world gnome hunts).

4. Wee Willie Walsh

Wee Willie WalshT-Enterprise's simple flash game rode the news agenda. Every media organisation was desperate to add something new to its Terminal 5 coverage, and this fit the bill.

What else deserves to be here? Leave a comment...

Open post: Do you find the Holiday Extras viral offensive?

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One viewer said the web-only ad for Holiday Extras, starring Paul 'Dennis Pennis' Kaye, is racist to both the Irish and the Romany communities; the ASA decided it isn't.

Travolution pointed out that it is rubbish either way; TW Blog's colleague Nicki 'Celebs on Holiday' Rose said, "Have I woken up in 1975?"

Over to you...

Update: Nobody has challenged it, but given that the ASA has ruled the vid inoffensive I'm changing the head to emphasise that this is about personal opinion.

The BOOT on Twitter during Mumbai: Essential, but flawed

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Tim at the BOOT blog has posted about Twitter and the Mumbai terror attacks, and it's a valuable piece of testimony.

With family members caught up in the attacks, his need for information was urgent, and he paints a compelling picture of moving from traditional sources to a mix of web TV and microblogging services as the events unfolded.

He also has some reservations about Twitter and noise that echo Guillaume's recent post on Hotel Blogs.

Perhaps this is the service's achilles heel: it has to be busy to be useful, but the busier it becomes, the harder it is to use. Events like Mumbai throw that problem into stark relief:

At the height of things the Twitter feed was completely unmanageable. Too much information steaming too fast and none of it verifiable

Update: Amy at E-Media Tidbits has some good commentary on Twitter's shortcomings during Mumbai, particularly concerning credibility.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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