Flickr Rolls Out Photo Overhaul to All Users

After three weeks of testing, Flickr is rolling out its massively redesigned photo pages to all of its users.

The
redesign overhaul focuses three key aspects of the photo page: the
navigation, the context behind photos and the size of photos themselves.
Flickr
has increased the default view size of photos “by 28%” — that’s 640
pixels wide. You can also darken the background around photos so you
can enjoy the images and nothing else.

Navigation has been
revamped as well. There are new navigation buttons above each photo to
help you browse from one photo to the next. You can also switch between
contexts via the new film strip in the sidebar. Finally, photos now
carry the “who, what, when, where, and how” of each photo. The company
uses this information to help create photostreams and to facilitate
photosharing and storytelling via the website’s massive database of
images.

via www.mashable.com

Are Companies Missing Their Opportunity to Connect with Customers?

Imagine that it’s November 1994

A
new company launches a website. It is a new venture, starting out with
an innovative idea, solid funding, and a lot of ambition. There’s only
one major challenge – the market is well established and filled to
capacity with companies serving every niche.

Eleven months later a
competitive company launches a website. The new entry has 100 years
plus history of serving customers through catalogs and bricks and mortar
stores. There’s an established database, regular mailings, and heavy
foot traffic to introduce to online shopping.

Conventional wisdom
would say that the second company had an advantage over the first even
though it was fashionably late to the ecommerce party.

Conventional wisdom is wrong.

read more via socialmediatoday.com

Americans Head to Travel Sites for Vacation Planning

Americans Click It to Book It

Travel
site categories experienced a gain in activity in June as Americans
entered the heat of travel season. More than 100 million Americans
visited the category during the month, affecting the following travel
sub-categories: Transactions, Hotels/Resorts, Ground/Cruise, and
Airplanes.

Travel –
Transactions sites ranked as the top gaining category for the month of
June, growing 32 percent to 5.2 million visitors. Viator.com ranked #1
in the category with 1.1 million visitors, followed closely by
TravelPN.com with 1.1 million. OneTime.com grew to 853 million unique
visitors, while WWTE.com attracted 457 million visitors.

Hotels/Resorts
sites also saw strong growth during the month with 36.6 million
Americans turning to these sites for lodging options. Marriott ranked as
the top property, growing 16 percent to 6.5 million visitors. Hilton
Hotels attracted 6.0 million visitors (up 13 percent), followed by
InterContinental Hotels Group with 5.1 million (up 14 percent), Wyndham
Worldwide with 4.0 million (up 9 percent), and Disney Travel with 3.6
million (up 5 percent).

via www.prnewswire.com

Google-ITA Acquisition: What Lies Ahead?

On July 1, 2010, Google officially—and finally—announced the acquisition
of ITA Software, a leading provider of airfare shopping technology, for
US$700 million. Subject to regulatory approval, the acquisition has
raised a multitude of questions—and opposition—across the travel
industry.

What form will Google and ITA take, and what does this mean for online
travel? Will this be another metasearch, competing head-to-head with
Kayak and Bing Travel? Does Google plan to enter the OTA fray and get
transactional? Is this the end of travel SEM and SEO as we know it? How
will travel search change? And what scenarios should travel companies be
planning for?

via www.phocuswright.com/

TripAdvisor + Facebook = TripFriends

It seems like social media, and Facebook in particular, is the topic of
every hospitality conference these days. It's no wonder: with half a
billion Facebook user accounts created, it's become the tool many
travelers use to keep in touch with friends around the world, sharing
photos, making plans, and giving advice. Surely, hotels and inns are
going to come up in these conversations.

TripAdvisor has just introduced a new tool to make these conversations
easier for travelers: TripFriends. With TripFriends, travelers
researching a destination on TripAdvisor can now see which of their
Facebook friends have been there, and which consider themselves an
expert. They can post a travel question for all of their friends to
see, or they can send a personal message to a particular friend, all
without leaving TripAdvisor.

via tripadvisor.com