HotelTonight expands and official launch for Crashpads, GetYourGuide uses British monarch, Gmail goes visual, and more

This is a roundup of product news and announcements for travel MARKETING in tourism and hospitality for March 2014.

Friday 28 March 2014:

HotelTonight expands in Europe, official launch for Crashpads

  • The last-minute mobile booking service for hotels is moving into 25 new city destinations, mostly in European countries such as Denmark, Turkey, Greece and Sweden, as well as Argentina. The move coincides with the official roll-out of its new Crashpads product line of budget-friendly hostels and cheaper hotel properties.

Wednesday 26 March 2014:

GetYourGuide uses British monarch in first TV ad

  • The tours and activities OTA is hitting German TV screens with its debut 20-second spot. The ad features an actress trying to mimic the UK’s Queen Elizabeth in Berlin.

Tuesday 25 March 2014:

Today Google announced a trial of a visual way of presenting “promotional mail”

    • Promotional e-mail newsletters, especially from travel marketers, often have images buried inside. Users can now sign up for a field trial that lets them view the promotional messages in a more eye-catching way, without having to open the message to see the images.If you send promotional emails, the Gmail Developers site has details on how to give customers a better experience in Gmail using this feature, such as using markup language to specify which image and subject line you want to appear.


ixigo revamps trip planner

  • ixigo, the India-based travel planning and metasearch site has added a number of changes to its trip planner tool. The changes include the integration of Google Streetview’s 360 degree view of monuments in India, expanded content coverage (for over 63000 places to visit, 17000 activities and things to do, 16000 hotels, 5000 nature and wildlife spots and over 5,000 tips from travellers), ability to add pictures and new destinations, and ability to review train and stations. The current content coverage is 60% higher than a year ago.

Venture Republic launches English version of Tabiness

  • Tabiness, a curated online travel content service from (a travel metasearch service in Japan), is now available in English language. This service is targeted towards inbound travellers to the country, and content to this service is provided by over 200 travel experts. To begin with, travel content (location tips, pictures) is available for five destinations – Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Washoku, Onsen.

Monday 24 March 2014:

Vanilla Air launches LOHACO jet

  • The Japanese low-cost carrier in partnership with LOHACO, a local e-commerce site, has launched a new jet by name LOHACO. This new jet started its service on March 15. Through this initiative, the airline plans to increase its brand recognition as majority of Vanilla Air customers book tickets via its website. LOHACO is jointly operated by online office supplier ASKUL and Yahoo Japan.

UberX debuts in New Zealand

  • UberX, the low cost service of Uber has launched in test mode in New Zealand, users will experience limited inventory during this phase.

Wednesday 19 March 2014:

TripAdvisor launches site for New Zealand

  • Travellers in New Zealand now have their own local version of the user review website, with local content, currency and other elements customised for the country. The launch follows the company’s stated push into localising its brand two weeks ago, beginning with South Africa and Philippines.

Monday 17 March 2014:

Kayak extends package trip tools into the US

  • Following the launch in Europe last year, a US version of the site’s package search functionality will launch this week. Vacation Package Search will take content from providers such as Expedia, Orbitz, JetBlue and parent company Priceline.

Door2Tour relaunches website

  • The new look and feel is the third iteration of the service since it initially launched in 2006 and includes some 30,000 product lines from tour providers. It consolidates content covering global touring trips, events packages, cruise and standard package trips.

Wednesday 12 March 2014:

Roomlr joins forces with NextPax

  • The deal means users of Roomlr will be able to search for accommodation from providers such as InterHome and TUI. Roomlr is using a tool provided by NextPax known as the PaxGenerator to power the new search engine. The site claims to have almost 200,000 products on the system as a result of the partnership.

Friday 7 March 2014:

SpiceJet app for Windows Phone

  • India-based low cost carrier, SpiceJet, has launched its (first) app for Windows Phone. Users of the app will be able to book tickets, check flight status, check PNR status, check into flights, buy premium seats, and contact 24×7 sales & reservations support.

UberX launches in Singapore

  • UberX, the low cost service of Uber has launched in closed beta mode in Singapore. The company has entered into its second year of operation in the country. Also, the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges that the drivers have been bearing till now will be passed on to the ride fare.

Tuesday 4 March 2014:

Uttar Pradesh tourism ad

  • Uttar Pradesh, the state that is home to the world famous Taj Mahal has launched a new ad that highlights various unique aspects of the state:

Uber in Bangkok, Chennai

  • Uber has launched in test mode (limited cars) in Bangkok, users can use the promocode UBERSAWASDEE to avail a free ride (up to 300THB). Also, in Chennai, after weeks of running Uber in test mode, the service has launched officially.

Monday 3 March 2014:

Thailand highlights its medical tourism

  • Thailand Extreme Makeover, a new digital marketing campaign launched by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) positions the country as a medical tourism destination. Participants are asked to send their photos and reasons for wanting a makeover. Three winners of this contest will be invited to Thailand for a complete makeover performed by Thailand-based surgeons. The winner (selected by voting process) will be given $5,000 cash prize and a luxury trip to Thai tourist destinations.

NB: Send links or releases for travel marketing news direct to Tnooz via email.

NB2: Travel marketing image via Shutterstock.

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