The Scan: Booking.com told to stop using display ads that lack real-time rates, and more news
Booking.com, Carpooling, BlockAvenue, Starwood Hotels, Boingo, Hotelbeds, all appear in our roundup of the stories making news and driving opinion on 12 December.
Booking.com gets slapped on the wrist by a UK regulator. The OTA’s display ad, published in August, stated “Portland Heights Hotel & Leisure Centre £102, save £235 for 2 nights.” A customer claimed the rate was unbookable.
Today, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) issued a ruling saying that the OTA’s technology used to supply rates and availability for the ad was not sufficiently “real-time” enough to be accurate, given the frequency with which the price and availability of hotel rooms changed. The ad has been ruled “misleading.”
MORE DIGITAL MARKETING
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has chosen December 13 as the symbolic arrival day of the one-billionth international traveler for 2012. UNWTO will launch a social media campaign that day, 1 Billion Tourists 1 Billion Opportunities, using its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The leading site for connecting Europeans looking to share rides with each other has gotten a fresh look. Carpooling.com‘s new profile layouts include user ratings for punctuality, agreements, well-being, and overall score, plus vehicle information. The site says it now facilitates rideshares that transport 1 million Europeans each month.
We perviously showcased BlockAvenue a startup that aims to bring every block of every street to the cloud. It has recently updated its platform to enable users to actively follow and contribute to conversations happening between fellow residents of their neighborhood. on topcs such as crime and store openings.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts has seen a 300% increase in mobile device bookings in the past year. So it has launched an Android version of its app for members of its loyalty program for all nine Starwood brands. SPG App for Android. It’s also about to introduce digital member cards through Passbook for its SPG App for iPhone introduced earlier this year.
Trover, an social travel guide for iPhone and Android devices created by the CEO of Travelpost, have released a desktop photo uploader. Until now, everything was uploaded by smartphone. Trover also says that it is “developing content partnerships with travel reservation and media websites that increasingly seek fresh, user-generated content.”
Hotelbeds, a wholesaler that says it supplies 50,000 hotels across 147 countries to travel agents, is now focusing on growing its inventory in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions. It estimates 40% growth there by 2015, especially in South Korea and Japan.
British OTA Directline Holidays has signed a yearlong contract with RedEye to boost online conversion through highly targeted email marketing. RedEye has also teamed up with Econsultancy to offer a free white paper on the best ways to optimize a website.
A study conducted by survey firm Qualtrics and Research Now finds that customers say they care more about price than perks when shopping for travel. A survey of 1,110 adults found that only one in four cared enough to pay more for airline amenities like wi-fi, snacks, and in-flight entertainment.
The Israel Government Tourist Office has launched a new site to present Tel Aviv-Yafo as a modern “non-stop” city for international visitors.
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Sean O’Neill is a New Jersey-based reporter for Tnooz. He is also a daily contributor of consumer news to LonelyPlanet.com.
He used to work for BBC Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and Kiplinger's, and used to live in London, New York City, and Washington, DC.