Saturday, May 1, 2010

For managing multiple channels for room-distribution to maintaining rate parity across all channels

RateGain, one of the most awarded travel technology companies, offers a channel and inventory management solution for Hoteliers worldwide.

ChannelGain, a Channel & Inventory Management solution for Hoteliers
From managing multiple channels for room-distribution to maintaining rate parity across all channels, ChannelGain helps more than 2000 hoteliers perform tedious tasks easily and efficiently. This product is a web-based platform with the capability of managing multiple extranets. Rates, inventory and restrictions can be managed across multiple merchant and retail distribution sites from the efficiency of a single interface.

Features: -
• A web-based platform to manage your online distribution from any location globally

• Manage unlimited channels and truly exploit the long tail of online distribution

• Ensure rate parity across all channels and manage multiple channels from a common pool of inventory

• With Linked Rooms, the most popular time-saving feature, use one single master room to apply price updates for several room types on different channels

• RMS integrations allow you to view the rate recommendations from systems inside of ChannelGain and accept, modify or reject them before pushing to the channels

• 90-day updates feature allows you to update the whole year ahead in just four updates

• Ability to manage channels and partners that do not have an extranet and generally send updates via email

• 24 x 7 x 365 support with pre-defined turnaround times (SLA) irrespective of time zone you are in

• Fetch reservation information from channels via BookingFetch functionality

To know more about this channel & inventory management solution and for a product demo, please visit or contact me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coca-Cola 'Expedition 206'

In 2010, Coca-Cola is sending a team of Happiness Ambassadors around the world to visit 206 countries in 365 days.

Their mission: Find out what makes people happy.

According to Coca-Cola:

In January 2010, a team of three travelers will begin an unprecedented journey. A mission. An expedition. A quest to visit in 365 days 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold. These three travelers are more than mere explorers–they are Happiness Ambassadors, and they will seek and share the optimism and happiness of Coca-Cola from Aruba to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between. They will participate in some amazing events including the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in Shanghai.

Throughout the year-long journey, these Happiness Ambassadors will be sharing their blog posts, tweets, videos, interviews and pictures so you can follow their adventures in every country along the way.

But first we need your help. We need you to help us select the lucky travelers who will undertake this exciting and record-breaking journey. Which Ambassador team will uncover happiness in every corner of the world? It’s up to you. Check out the team profiles, vote for your favorite and let the journey begin.

The campaign is called 'Expedition 206' and will run throughout 2010.

There is an online voting being done to choose which teams should be preferred to undertake the journey, from a shortlist of nine finalists. The winners will begin their journey on 1 January in Madrid and end it in Atlanta on 31 December, at the World of Coca-Cola museum.

Mash-up Social Media Strategy – USP

It will be documented via the official Expedition 206 website as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr.

The public can engage with the campaign by acting as virtual tour guides, making suggestions as to where the ambassadors should go and what they should do when they are there.

"This mash-up of social media — online photo galleries, video clips, blogs, microblogs, social networking — combined with an amazing journey, enthusiastic travellers and a theme of happiness is a great way for us to connect with people around the world.” – Adam Brown, director of digital communications and social media at Coca-Cola

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America's Best Young Entrepreneurs 2009 - BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek readers nominated a record number of young entrepreneurs.

Here is the list
1. Ascension Aircraft
What It Does: Aircraft sales and leasing
Founder: Jamail Larkins, 25
Web Site:
Based: Augusta, Ga.

What It Does: Online collaboration tool
Founders: Aaron Levie, 24, and Dylan Smith, 24
Web Site:
Based: Palo Alto, Calif.

3. Click To Client
What It Does: Online marketing agency
Founder: Shama Kabani, 24
Web Site:
Based: Dallas

4. Emergent
What It Does: Renewable energy consulting
Founders: Jesse Gossett, 23 (left); Jayson Uppal, 23 (center); and Chris Jacobs, 21 (right)
Web Site:
Based: Boston

5. I Bec Creative
What It Does: Web development and graphic design
Founder: Becky Stockbridge, 25
Web Site:
Based: Portland, Me.

6. Intern Queen
What It Does: Internship placement consultancy
Founder: Lauren Berger, 25
Web Site:
Based: Los Angeles

7. ModCloth
What It Does: Online marketplace for indie designer fashion and decor
Founders: Eric Koger, 25, and Susan Koger, 24
Web Site:
Based: Pittsburgh

8. NoteHall
What It Does: Online marketplace for class notes
Founders: Sean Conway, 25 (right); Justin Miller, 21(far right); B.J. Stephan, 24 (left); Fadi Chalfoon, 23 (second from left)
Web Site:
Based: Tucson, Ariz.

9. Trunk Club
What It Does: Online clothes shopping service for men
Founder: Joanna Van Vleck, 26
Web Site:
Based: Bend, Ore.

10. Tumblr
What It Does: Microblogging platform
Founder: David Karp, 23
Web Site:
Based: New York

See the full slide show of 25 U.S. Entrepreneurs Ages 25 and Under

Yahoo's "It's Y!ou" Campaign didnt click - YouGov

There's evidence that Yahoo's $100 million "It's Y!ou" ad campaign might actually be hurting the company's brand. A company called YouGov interviews 5,000 people a day and asks them about brands. For Yahoo, they asked "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?"

YouGov then gives the company a score between -100 and 100, compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive.

Here's the bad news for Yahoo (YHOO). Since the launch of "It's Y!ou" campaign on September 28th, Yahoo's buzz score dropped from a 35.4 to a score of 25.5 as of yesterday, Monday, October 12th.

Source: Business Insider, Silicon Alley Insider

Friday, October 9, 2009

Evolution of Social Media: The next phase

A powerful tool to understand customers and increase ROI. Next phase of Social Media will not monitor but merge business intelligence to analyze & take effective measures

Over the past few years social media has emerged as a powerful platform not only for connecting likeminded people online but also to understand specific preferences of different niche groups. There are a number of such examples. Not just the big brands but even the small and medium sized businesses are making their presence felt through this platform and are also introducing innovative marketing campaigns to leverage this highly lucrative platform. Few companies have been able to garner impressive ROI, one such example is of Dell, the company made more than 3 million USD using Twitter as a medium to reach out to its existing and potential customers. There are many other examples.

It seems that the life cycle evolution of social media is waiting for the next giant leap. One can classify the evolution of social media so far into three phases;

• First Phase: began with one or two sites and then graduated to networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, Video and Picture sharing.

• Second Phase: Techies coined the term Web 2.0 to make their presence felt and interesting applications were introduced.

• Third Phase: The current phase, where digital marketing evolved from the web marketing era and became synonymous with an integrated digital marketing concept that imbibed web 2.0 and mobile marketing. Companies realized the potential and power of this combined Digital Marketing Concept and came up with innovative marketing campaigns. Thanks to the creative and digital agencies for these path-breaking concepts.

One common trait in all the innovative marketing campaigns is that despite huge engagements & participation by the target audiences that resulted in sales, companies used social media platforms to reach out to their customers and engage them with interesting tools instigating them to buy. Dell is a unique example where they approached the customers with the core objective of listening to their opinion and getting their feedback. An interesting fact is that the company used this information to align its marketing and sales approach to digital platforms.

It is clear that just Listening to the social media consumer is no longer enough. It is time for companies to think out of the box and not just use social media platforms to make their presence felt. They should get involved in different ways, such as product/services conceptualization and development, positioning, communication, offers/discounts etc. Basically, use social media to understand what people are talking about, understand their viewpoint and preferences, gather insights, identify their problems and opportunities, and reach out to them with much more efficient marketing strategy. Brands also need to be more flexible in how they approach social media, avoiding “One size fits all” approach to marketing.

Another important aspect is to merge the marketing concept with localized touch i.e. one should not forget that the basic definition of social media is community based networking. Although the platform is globally available; it is advisable to transform the global campaign with a localized digital marketing strategy e.g. in Asia and Europe, where every country has different and unique culture, socio-economic divides.

From a technology perspective, to complement this approach, Google has taken a path-breaking approach once again with SideWikis.

What’s in the Future?
The fourth phase: which is yet to begin can take forward the concept of SideWikis leading to the emergence of technologies based on human intelligence and will track and analyze all the opinions voiced by users on social media platforms. These tools will not only track comments but also act like a typical sales or BD executive who categorizes similar opinions and approach them with a right proposition.

Popular social media platforms like blogs, facebook, twitter, discussion boards etc. can be integrated with technologies that can carry out the following processes:
• Track user comments and opinions
• Understand requirements and talk like human minds
• Categorize the opinions and comments
• Create graphs and charts using business intelligence
• Provide a user interface for the BD and Sales executives to access list of potential targets with their exact requirements and approach them with the right sales or brand awareness or image enhancement proposition

One major example in this context is Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot listening platform. Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot listening platform provides companies with actionable insight into consumer opinion of their brand, product, or market. VoxTrot technology can identify opinion from large quantities of text, whether it's an in-house content repository or the vast blogosphere. Crimson Hexagon's VoxTrot Opinion Monitor has its roots in a statistical algorithm created by Gary King, a professor at Harvard University. Proven in research and commercial settings, the technology is patent-pending and already in use with global brands.

This technology analyzes the vast social internet (blog posts, forum messages, Tweets, etc.) by identifying statistical patterns in the words used to express opinions on different topics. It uses these patterns to calculate the percentage of opinion for reach opinion category, as defined by you, the business user. Competitive technologies, by contrast, simply count the number of mentions of different keywords or infer generic positive/negative sentiment. You can read about the technology in detail at following links:
- How a listening platform provides actionable insight
- Measuring brand equity in the age of big data

I would love to hear from you on this article, be it in response to what I have outlined here or your own thoughts on the subject. In case you have an opinion or viewpoint, let’s connect and discuss innovative options for the transformation of Social Media & Web 2.0 to the next level.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Intel-powered ‘Blogathon’ 2009

In July 2009, Intel launched a new range of ultra-low-voltage processors that enable PC brands to build ultra-thin notebooks offering long battery life and sophisticated processing capabilities in an easily portable form.

Objective: Intel wanted to demonstrate these lifestyle benefits more than ever…

Strategy: Intel tapped Singapore’s most influential tech and fashion bloggers to generate a profile for a visually uninspiring, but technologically exciting, product. Top 10 famous tech bloggers from Singapore were prepared to embark on a live 24-hour, non-stop, Intel-powered ‘Blogathon’.

1) Create maximum visibility for the slimline notebooks fitted with Intel’s range of ultra-low-voltage processors;
2) Bring the chip to life for consumers by making it relevant to their lifestyles;
3) Educate consumers on the performance of the Intel Core 2 Solo chip.

Execution plan (17 July - 18 July)

Hardware provider (Laptops): Lenovo

Sponsor (design and appearence): Singaporean fashion brand TANGS

Selection process of bloggers: An intensive audit was conducted to identify relevant, influential bloggers to participate in the event. An equal percentage of both ‘tech geeks’ and ‘fashionistas’ were engaged with a view to expanding brand equity between both groups.

Media channels & platforms A reality-TV-style video was aired on YouTube four days before the launch. It also served as material for the participants to include in their blogs. The video revealed the bloggers’ initial thoughts about the challenge alongside a sneak preview of their makeover experience at TANGS.

Microsite: A Flash-based microsite with blog aggregator was created to inspire the bloggers to create content over the 24-hour period.

Analytics: A tracking system was integrated on the microsite to ensure precise measurements usually unattainable in a blogger engagement programme (such as measuring the time spent per visitor on average per blog post).

BTL/On-ground support: To maintain a high level of interest during the event, attract on-ground traffic, and maintain a constant level of dialogue, real-time Twitter conversations were aired on LCD TV screens placed in each window display; a product demonstration booth allowed shoppers to try out the Lenovo laptops used by the bloggers; and trained product specialists from Lenovo provided on-site education on the laptops and the capabilities of Intel’s Core 2 Solo processor.

Digital agency: Ogilvy 360ยบ Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, responsible for the live integration of the visual capabilities of Flash

Blog platform: Wordpress, content management system

After the event, a video summarising the highlights was posted on YouTube.


Total hits on the micro-site: 3,705 people from 34 markets visited the microsite in five days; 88 per cent were from Singapore. The site helped build an organic database, with 353 votes cast on-site.

Total visitors / Blog participation: 3,958 unique visitors. A total of 140 blog posts were generated in 24 hours, averaging 5.8 blog posts per hour; 817 comments were posted in 24 hours, averaging 34 per hour. It was covered across eight news platforms, 51 external blogs, and a leading design portal,
With no prizes or activities created on the site to incentivise visitors, bloggers were challenged to create more engaging content than their rivals and to read and comment on posts. This resulted in 42,372 page-views in five days, averaging about 11.44 page-views per person; each visitor spent on average 12:04 minutes on the site, the equivalent of 24 30-second TV commercials watched consecutively in the same time period; the bounce rate was low at 32.42 per cent. Only three out of 10 visitors dropped out in under a minute, while around 10 per cent of visitors (300) viewed 20 pages or more.

Reference: Haymarket Media

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In-game Advertising - Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing

Video gaming is expanding in popularity across Asia Pacific and so is the practice of in-game advertising, as its offering available to marketers expands. In-game advertising (IGA) refers to the use of computer and video games as a medium in which to deliver advertising.

Companies like Google and Microsoft have already joined the bandwagon and are offering interesting propositions of in-game advertising. Microsoft, which bought Massive in May 2006, is a leader in placing dynamic advertising in games. The market is filled with many smaller players, such as a company called Double Fusion. But it's also attracting other big technology names, including Google, which bought AdScape Media for $23 million in 2007. The new ad format is provided by Massive Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. In-game advertising is available through Microsoft Advertising across the region and campaigns are currently running in Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Microsoft showed off its Massive advertising platform in Sep 2007. Flashing high above 43rd Street were clips from a series of games that showed avatars stopping to view a movie trailer for the Hollywood blockbuster 300. A Toyota advertisement also lined the outfield wall in a baseball game that's played on Microsoft's Xbox game console.

"The idea is to have advertisements appear and fit in naturally to the games just as they would in real life. But these advertisements are also dynamic. So the ads can be updated or changed by the advertiser at any time." -- Jay Sampson, VP, North American and Asia Pacific sales for Massive, Microsoft's in-game advertising marketplace.

"In-game advertising provider Massive Inc., acquired by Microsoft in 2006, has signed up or renewed contracts with several publishers, notably EA, Blizzard Entertainment, THQ, and Activision. Eagerly anticipated games like Need for Speed: Shift will feature the technology that continuously collects 'anonymous' information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis, and downloads advertisements to be shown in the game.

"The games industry sees in-game advertising as a promising new revenue stream. Video Games with revenue expected to break the $10 billion mark this year and garner over $300 million in advertising investment, the gaming industry represents a strong marketing opportunity.

Video gaming offers the opportunity to connect with traditionally difficult-to-reach consumers-- young affluent males. It attains the fourth-highest reach (after TV, internet and radio) against teens and heavy gamers. Not only can in-game advertising efficiently reach key consumers, it can also reach them while they are actively engaged with the medium.

In order to maximize the value of in-game communication, several studies have examined the role of brands within video games and players' attitudes towards gaming and in-game communication. The goal has been to learn how best to use games to create meaningful relationships between brands and consumers.

The results are a set of insights and guidelines that will help deliver more effective in-game communication.”
-- Fran Kennish, Senior Partner, Director of Strategic Planning at MEC MediaLab

Industry figures suggest that such advertisement could increase profits for publishers by an extra $1 to $2 per game unit sold - a significant increase over the current $5 to $6 profit per unit.

Publishers see this revenue stream as a way to offset growing game development costs, which are estimated to rise up to $20 million per title for a 7th generation console. Some developers believe that the extra revenue will reduce the risk involved in a game development project, allowing them to experiment with more innovative game-play and new ideas.

In-game advertising has even replaced purchase price as a revenue model for some mobile phone games. In 2005, spending on in-game advertising was US $56 million, and this figure is estimated to grow to $1.8 billion by 2010 according to Massive Incorporated, although Yankee Group gives a lower estimate at $732 million.

Yankee Group revealed that the global in-game advertising market, which generated $77.7 million globally in 2006, continues to develop at an exponential rate. By 2011, worldwide in-game advertising expenditures (fixed product placement/static ads and dynamic ads) will grow to $971.3 million.

"As ubiquitous connectivity continues to reshape the media and entertainment landscape, media fragmentation and clutter are a result, making traditional advertising channels less effective. Advertisers are increasingly finding in-game advertising to be a greater investment value because of the variety of opportunities that exist in and around games. Video games represent an 'above the line' opportunity, which means that video games should be used to build brands and not as a call to action that distracts from the game play." - Michael Goodman, Director, Digital Entertainment, Yankee Group's Consumer Research Group

In-game advertising is seen by some in the games industry as offering a new revenue stream, allowing developers to offset growing development costs and to take more risks in game play. Advertisers see in-game advertising as a prime way to target the male 18-34 demographic, who are increasingly neglecting television in favor of computer and video games.

However, some gamers see these moves as greedy and invasive, dubbing in-game advertising software as spyware. This view was demonstrated by the backlash against Electronic Arts' Battlefield 2142 which contained in-game advertisements from IGA Worldwide. This has not, however, stopped traditional firms such as Nielsen Media Research branching out into the in-game advertising space, by announcing a new video games ratings service (similar to Nielsen ratings) called GamePlay Metrics to serve in-game advertisers.

According to a recent news in Media Asia, McDonald's becomes Microsoft's first in-game advertiser in Hong Kong -- McDonald's is to set to unveil its first in-game advertising campaign for the Hong Kong market in conjunction with Microsoft Advertising. The initiative will feature a series of virtual 'McDelivery' billboards in five leading video games on the PC and Xbox 360 platforms. The games include PES 2009, The Need for Speed, Undercover, Rainbow Six: Las Vegas 2, NBA Live 2009 and Burnout: Paradise.

“There is a growing opportunity for in-game advertising because it is the only platform where people are completely immersed in one activity. When gamers play a game, they tend to only play the game. We don’t see trends that indicate they do much multi-tasking which would split their attention away from the game.” -- Richard Dunmall, Managing Director, Microsoft Advertising Asia Pacific

“Computer and online games are where young man and women often hang out with their friends these days. The in-game advertsing platform is suitable for advertisers like fast-food chains, sports and fashion brands alike who are looking to target the demographic using gaming. The in-game advertising is imbedded in the game environment, and should be an extension of advertisers’ existing marketing campaigns, as part of the media channels across multiple platforms". -- Kenneth Andrew, Marketing Director, Greater Asia Pacific, Microsoft Advertising