Tag Archives: Smart

3 Smart Ways to Market Travel to Millennials in 2019
December 31, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

In 2018, travel and tourism was a ~$ 1.5 trillion industry.

By 2028, it’s projected to grow to $ 2.4 trillion. And a good chunk of those contributing to those trillions are Millennials–a group that has now become the largest generation of travelers. In fact, Millennials (aged ~21-38 in 2019) now represent $ 50 billion worth of travel consumerism in the U.S. alone.

So what are the biggest things Millennials want when it comes to travel? Valentino Danchev, founder and CEO of travel marketing firm Fidelis Marketing Group, says there are a few standout things:

1. Authenticity

Millennials prefer authentic experiences over perfectly curated, manicured ones. According to Danchev, Millennials want “boutique travel experiences that will transform them from the inside out.”

In other words, they don’t just want to hang out all day by the pool. They want transformational travel–the chance to learn, grow, and explore. They like experiencing local culture in as real a way as possible, so facilitate ways they can do that. Prioritize interactive experiences over passive ones–for example, a small, hands-on cooking class with a local person instead of a day trip to the most famous museum in town.

Don’t be shy about protecting the environment, either. Millennials are the most environmentally-conscious generation in recent history–a full 73 percent are willing to spend more on sustainable goods (as opposed to 66 percent of non-Millennials).

So be green, and then don’t keep it a secret. Make it part of your marketing. Fidelis’s own Grand Luxxe resorts in Mexico, for example, have received a Distinction “S” recognition for environmental sustainability from UNWTO, EarthCheck, and the Rainforest Alliance.

2. Creativity

When looking at what to highlight, don’t focus solely on your amenities. Yes, of course you want to show off your beautiful pool–but be creative in the activities you offer and show people enjoying, because those will often be equally as important to Millennials.

Danchev suggests courses or other immersive activities in fields like art, fitness, or entertainment. Think a craft beer-making workshop in Europe; a wine-and-painting night on the roof of your hotel where guests get to meet one another; a yoga class on standup paddleboards. You could also liaise with a local volunteer site to give travelers the chance to volunteer for a half- or full-day (being on a build site for Habitat for Humanity, for example). 

3. Connection

If I have a question for a company, I’d much rather ask them via their latest Instagram post than scour their site for contact info. I myself used to be the social media coordinator for a large company and know that not only can social media be an efficient way to get ahold of someone, but I’m probably going to reach someone like me, which is appealing.

According to Danchev, you must have a high-quality website if you want to compete for the trillions of travel dollars up for grabs, and you want to back it up with high-quality social media. Statistics back up his recommendation: 62 percent of Millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand with an interactive social media presence.

If you don’t have a social media presence, consider having a chat feature on your website to field questions. You’d be surprised at how many more interactions you’ll get that way than waiting for Millennials to email or call you.

In the end, generational distinctions like Millennials and GenX are arbitrary. Remember that people are people, and people love to travel. Remember to enjoy the journey yourself, and that will come across in your marketing.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

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Got a McDonald's or Burger King Coupon? Here's the Smart, Surprising Thing to Do With It. (You Only Have 3 Days)
December 29, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

This is a story about a smaller restaurant chain trolling McDonald’s, Burger King, and other giants of the business. And it’s kind of brilliant. Before the details, a quick explanation.

The fast food industry is a smart and fun one to follow no matter what business you’re in, and for two big reasons.

First, there’s the pure scale. Make a menu change at McDonald’s for example, and you’re upending the routines of hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans. You can learn a lot just by watching how they develop and test new products.

But second, there’s the marketing.

Think of McDonald’s, which spends $ 2 billion a year on marketing and ads. That’s half the entire value of its much smaller competitor, Wendy’s. It’s an incredible chance just to unpack what they do, and figure out why they think that various ideas will work.

Which brings us to some shoot-the-moon marketing campaigns that can actually turn the big chains’ efforts on their heads.

The only catch? You had to place the order from a McDonald’s restaurant. (Technically, just being within 600 feet was close enough to trigger the offer.)

Of course, Burger King isn’t small; just smaller than McDonald’s. But it shows how if you’re creative, you can use a competitor’s strength–in that case the fact that there are roughly twice as many McDonald’s in the U.S. than there are Burger King locations–to your advantage.

But what if you don’t have 1.7 million Twitter followers and a full time social media marketing operation, like Burger King, to get word of your deal out.?

What if you don’t even have a mobile app (or a burning desire to get people to download your app, which is what the Burger King promotion and so many others these days are all about)?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Smoothie King.

Again: not exactly tiny, although very small compared to McDonald’s and Burger King. Smoothie King has close to 800 stores, heavily concentrated in warmer weather parts of the country.

It’s privately held, and even if you’ve never tried it, you might recognize the name from the $ 40 million naming deal it has for the NBA New Orleans Pelicans home arena (“Smoothie King Center“).

Now, like its bigger competitors, Smoothie King also has a rewards app, and it’s launched a contest to try to incentivize people to download and use it. (The “Change-a-Meal Challenge.”)  

But what attracted me to this whole thing is how Smoothie King is kicking off its promotion: By letting you use any coupon from any other fast food restaurant — McDonald’s or Burger King included — at Smoothie King.

It’s good for only one day, New Year’s Eve, and regardless of the competitor’s coupon’s value, it gets you $ 2 off a smoothie at Smoothie King on December 31.

And in truth, I don’t know how many people would take advantage of it. But that doesn’t really matter in a way; what matters in this social media age is whether you can find a truthful, fun way to troll your competitors and turn their strengths to your advangage.

As a marketing strategy, I think it’s brilliant.

As for the Smoothies, well, I don’t know. I’m writing this from New Hampshire, and it looks like the nearest Smoothie King would be a three hour drive away. You’ll have to let me know in the comments.

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This automatic smart lock is both convenient and secure
April 9, 2017 10:10 am|Comments (0)

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I LOCK IT‘ could make locking your bike a whole lot easier. It uses Bluetooth to lock and unlock your bike. It even has an alarm that goes off when it senses someone tampering with your bike. Read more…

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Vinci smart headphones have a friggin’ screen on them
January 6, 2017 5:20 am|Comments (0)

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LAS VEGAS — The idea behind the Vinci headphones, it appears, was to cram all the technologies available to mankind into them, even those that you don’t really expect from headphones. Besides being untethered to a music source, they listen to your voice, cancel outside noise, track fitness, charge wirelessly and, yes, they have a touchscreen on one of the earpads. 

We found the Vinci, which come from a very successful Kickstarter campaign that started in Nov. 2016, at ShowStoppers, a smaller event accompanying CES. 

The Vinci are quite an insane product, but they’re not quite there yet. The prototype I saw at CES is version 1.0, and it didn’t have several of the features listed above, including noise cancelling.  Read more…

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Open Source Pioneer Mark Shuttleworth Says Smart “Edge' Devices Spawn Business Models
January 5, 2017 2:50 am|Comments (0)

Ubuntu, a version of the Linux computer operating system, runs on many of the servers that power cloud computing. Ubuntu pioneer Mark Shuttleworth …


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Smart Sex Toys
November 27, 2016 12:20 pm|Comments (0)

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Google’s smart speaker will be cheaper than the Amazon Echo, report says
September 30, 2016 1:20 am|Comments (0)

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Amazon might be getting a little worried.

Pricing details for Google’s upcoming smart speaker, the Amazon Echo-like Google Home, may have just been leaked and they suggest that Google’s speaker will be a lot cheaper than Amazon’s.

The speaker will sell for $ 129 when it goes on sale later this year, according to a report in Android Police. Google Home, which the company first introduced at its I/O developer conference in May, is a speaker that also has Google Assistant built in. (You can preview the assistant in the company’s new messaging app, Allo.) It can also control smart home devices, complete searches and help you manage tasks like managing your grocery list. Read more…

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To Protect Privacy, Apple’s Smart Speaker Said To Have Opt-In Camera Capabilities
September 26, 2016 5:55 pm|Comments (0)

The Apple smart speakers are said to have cameras that recognize individual people.


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Gartner’s 10 Strategic Technologies For Government, 2016 Include Internet of Things, Smart Machines
July 3, 2016 7:40 pm|Comments (0)

Gartner forecasts 25B IoT-based installed devices by 2020, with 6.8B alone in smart cities. Smart machines will become a catalyst of Industrie 4.0 adoption across global governments. Spending by national, federal and local governments worldwide on technology products and services is forecast to grow from $ 430.1B in 2016 to $ 476.1B by 2020.


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Amazon Echo Dot gives you a voice-controlled smart home for only $90
April 16, 2016 12:10 pm|Comments (0)

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Nobody saw it coming. While Apple and Google were busy trying to beat each other to the smart home with HomeKit and Nest, respectively, Amazon snuck in from nowhere with the Echo and its Alexa voice assistant and embarrassed them both.

When I reviewed it last year the Echo could only do a handful of things like play music, read the news, tell you the weather and set timers. Today, the Echo’s a full-featured, voice-activated smart home hub thanks to all the third-party devices and services that can connect to it.

The Echo’s success pushed Amazon to put Alexa in more devices and now she’s available in the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and two new devices: the Tap (read my review here) and Echo Dot. Read more…

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