We Have Moved

We’d like to thank all of our loyal readers, fans and followers, who have followed us here on WordPress. We have taken the New Media Travel.com name to another site.

If you follow us at travelvideopostcard on WordPress, we ask that you join us over at the new NewMediaTravel where we will continue making posts on the new site.

Thank you for your continued support!

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Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish’s “Prison Cell”: Audio PostCard


Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) may well be Palestine’s greatest poet, and perhaps that of the Arab world.

His works, though specific  to the Palestinian question, are much broader. They speak of dispossession, yearning, the need for a home. The broken wings of birds

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Ottawa, Canada: Sound-Rich, Travel Audio PostCard

Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is a quiet, unassuming city with a quiet elegance and lots to do, especially for families.

We invite you to sit back and listen to this sound-rich Audio PostCard from Ottawa.

 

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How BlogFrog Monetizes the Massive Influence of Women Bloggers


How BlogFrog Monetizes the Massive Influence of Women Bloggers

How do you get to be called the largest women-blogger network in the country?

You believe in what BlogFrog CEO and co-founder , Rustin Banks, says: “Elevated authentic editorial brought to you by a brand is the future.”

What’s he talking about?

He’s talking about sponsored conversations with a very large blogger group that pose questions near and dear to a brand’s heart, and solicits viewer responses ( chatter, votes, stories, advice, suggestions, etc.) near and dear to a brand’s bottom line.

The same brand that paid to have the sponsored conversation to begin with.

Nothing especially unique about this ever since the line between editorial and advertising got blurry, and more blurred back a little while ago.

But in far-ranging article in Entrepreneur Magazine by Jennifer Wang, we learn that Banks has successfully tapped into the mother lode of online influencers: Mothers.

Statistically, as the article points out, “moms” lead the pack in innovation in digital commerce and media, with this generation of moms being “tech-savvy, highly educated and (controlling) 85 percent of household income.”
They’re also the most “social demographic,” meaning if they like or dislike something, they say it. On line. Socially and virally.

So, BlogFrog, borrowing a sentiment from Pinterest, perhaps, set out to become a social network organized around what people are interested in, not who they know. Which led to their having 125,000 active members and 65,000 bloggers, with a reach of 10 million parents making it, arguably, “the largest mom-blogger network in the country.” As we said.

Lots of social networks offer bloggers the opportunity to generate revenue through advertising on their blogs.

But the three-year old BlogFrog actually offers tools for bloggers (mostly “moms”) to create their own communities, discussions and video content, and connects these to brands willing to pay to be part of the conversation.

The company vets its bloggers. Based on a range of “influence factors,” it chooses its chief bloggers (“community leaders”) and sets them loose to create a larger blogger group around topics of interest to brands, who pay a fee determined by the number of bloggers and their reach.

Already ABC News, Lego, Procter and Gamble are reportedly among the big brands that have signed on probably because BlogFrog fills the need for customers and brands to be connected, but without advertising, which has no real capacity to drill down and customize the brand’s messages.

Bloggers are happy because the company has allegedly paid out more than half a million dollars in one year to them.

What’s cool about the site (besides being able to earn some big bucks) is that unlike a typical blog, there is a conversation among community, questions and answers, back and forth. In a blog, there is no cross conversation; no sideways chatter.

However, it’s not that simple to sign up and get going. While the actual signing up is relatively easy, I was left feeling unsupported in my next steps and had trouble with the embedding code.

Still, as Laurie Turk of TipJunkie.com, the popular DIY/craft site says, BlogFrog “is giving women bloggers the opportunity to wield power and influence…to make a ‘mom blogger’ a profession.”

And that, as they say, can be taken to the bank.

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Posted in Travel for Women, Travel News, Travel Professionals, Travel Technology, Travel Tips, Travel Trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Companies Stress Brand Promotion Over Customer Service


Why Companies Stress Brand Promotion Over Customer Service

You can’t blame travel suppliers and companies for their myopia. For all too many years they’ve had a Pavlovian response to their brands: promote them, and get around to taking care of customers later.

Or maybe never.

In spite of all the brouhaha that suggested social media was the way of connecting with and servicing customers, the facts seem to speak differently, according to Hotelmarketing.com . They report that 62% of customers are looking for more support through social media. But, brand reputation and promotions still top the list of how companies are using social media.

In the travel industry, there are not many destinations or destination management organizations (DMO’s) that use their on line presence to support the needs of their customers, or would-be customers.

They’re just too busy promoting the virtues of their properties to actually ask what their customers want, and more importantly to answer questions or provide quality, individualized advice.

Unfortunately, the disconnect between what customers want and companies are giving is actually growing. At the end of 2011, MarketTools reported that only 23% of US companies provided customer service via Facebook and 12% provided customer service via Twitter.

Econsultancy goes on to point out that many companies just don’t get that they’re in business to serve us, the people, who spend 23% of our time on line. And that using corporate social media muscle to promote brand and not to give the people, their customers, a voice, is very wrongheaded.

Econsultancy’s cool infographic shows that, once again,  that the retail industry has the highest percent (45%) of customers using social media as their voice, and contacting (and getting) support through social media.

Travel and Hospitality comes in third third with an unimpressive (34%), but Health Care comes in last, with just 9 % of customers using social media to contact a health provider or hospital.

The travel industry in particular needs to do better.Too much emphasis on using the Internet and social media to generate bookings by featuring glossy images of ocean liners and attractive (if empty) dining areas, pools and beaches. They fail to make themselves available to support and sustain their clients using the new or social media platforms to hear the voices of the traveler and provide quality customer service.

What’s finally interesting about the infographic is that the disconnect may be the result of top brass not knowing how to use social media.

Seventy-three percent of corporations and companies said they would “use social media for customer service,” if they understood the tools available to them.

It certainly is time to get past that.

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How One Family Learned to Give Up Electronics and Love Aruba w/Video


How One Family learned to Give Up Electronics and Love Aruba

Kim Orlando loves to travel. She should, she’s the CEO of travelingmom.com and she especially loves to travel with her family.

When the idea of a family trip to Aruba came up, Orlando knew she wanted to go and, better still, take her family. But, she also knew that she wanted them to experience the  island’s beauty, and detach from their electronics: phones, computers and tablets.

Challenging? You bet. Orlando’s brood consists of three kids ages 11-15, and of course her husband, Rome.

Naturally, no one wanted to part with their electronic lifelines.

To sweeten the deal, she offered each kid twenty bucks. “I thought that was the best way to ease the pain,” Orlando said. “I’d give them each twenty dollars and they could spend it on texting, or pick up some great stuff in Aruba to bring back,  and build a memory with.”

How did they react?

Not surprisingly, not happily. Said Sophia, 13, “ It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.  Shopping or texting my friends?  Too hard!”

Dario, 11, has a girlfriend, so for him, giving up his phone and texting was decidedly not something he was happy with. But mom was able to make it work.

“So, the kids were finally able to detach during our hike, windsurfing and at dinner but otherwise there was a lot of negotiating attempts,” she laughed.   “My daughter shopped.  But then she got smacked with a $100 texting billl a month later!”

But freed from their devices, the  family gradually succumbed to Aruba’s charms.

One of the high points was a breakfast al fresco, arranged by DePalm Tours , and a family hike through the Arikok National Forest.

Of course they explored Aruba’s famous caves, the homes of former pirates, some say, but with intact Arawak Indian hieroglyphics  from the 14000′s.

The golf courses of Aruba were a compensation of sorts, because Orlando’s family are golf addicts.

But at the end of the day, when all the Aruba action was over, would the Orlando recommend that other families go cold turkey and leave their electronic devices off and out of reach?

“If you can get away with leaving the electronics at home, do it!,” Orland says.

Since that’s unlikely for most traveling families, she strongly recommends a family pow wow  and coming up with some sort of “electronics plan.”

She also recommends checking with  phone service providers to see if they can put limits on texting. We suggest asking service providers for special offers and roaming charges.

At the end of the vacation, does Kim  Orlando think it was worth the effort?
“Absolutely!” she says.
“This electronics challenge has become part of our family vacation story.  We laugh and groan about it long after the trip is over.”

But that’s how memories are built. Right?

Watch the 1-min Family Travel Video PostCard

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Posted in Destinations, Family Travel, Family Vacations, Travel News, Travel Tips, Travel Trends | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Titanic! w/video


Long Live the Titanic! w/video

“God Himself could not sink this ship,” a  crewman of the Titanic said to one Mrs. Albert Campbell, as she boarded the ship in Southampton, England

In May 1911, the RMS Titanic gracefully slid  into  the bustling harbor of  Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she was built by Ireland’s skilled ship builders of the Queen’s Yard of Harland & Wolff
A crowd of some 100,000 people cheered the birth of what was then the largest movable manmade object in the world.

Fast forward to April 14, 1912.

Just four days into her crossing, heading for New York, the majesty of the seas, the Titanic, hit an iceberg and began her agonizing sink into the sea.
At 2:20 the following morning, the Titanic sank completely; 1,517 people died. There were 2,358 people on board.
Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, was  the closest city with direct rail and steamship connections. so recovered bodies were  taken to Halifax, the capital,  for burial.

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic  in the pocket-size city has the best collection of wooden artifacts from the ship in the museum’s permanent Titanic exhibit.

There’s a eerily perfectly preserved deck chair, for example, and large pieces of oak carving.

The exhibit is powerful in its simplicity, and the clean, simple lines of the museum allow visitors to to reflect on the tragedy and the irony without distraction.
For a strong sense of the moment, The Titanic Times is a very interesting read.

Taken from the Belfast Newsletter of April 17th, 1912, the language captures the feel of the dismay and disbelief of the times, reporting on the ship that “buckled into pieces.”

To mark the  years since a watch sailor called out, “iceberg right ahead,” and in recognition of the Titanic’s Irish heritage, the Titanic Museum Attractions in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and  Branson, Missouri, are giving  away six, 11-day trips for two to Belfast.
The 12 winners of the “Back to Titanic 100th Year ‘Tour Ireland’ Sweepstakes”
will sail  to Belfast and visit the birthplace of the world-famous  ocean liner.

Both museums have Titanic exhibits shaped like the ship, and both try to bring the story to life through sight,  sound and artifacts.

In July, Titanic Museum Attractions will allow every guest who visits the museum to pay tribute to the passengers and crew by depositing a single rose petal into a container in the Memorial Gallery.

On April 15, 2012 – exactly 100 years after the RMS Titanic was lost – each of the rose petals will be carefully laid onto the surface of the Atlantic Ocean directly where the Titanic sank.

The sinking of the Titanic is more than an oft-told tale, but it’s lost neither its capacity to captivate an audience, nor its appeal to marketers.

Watch the one-minute Titanic Travel Video PostCard 

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