PhocusWright Conference, 2009, Blogger Summit – Every Company should be a Media Company

PhocusWright Conference, 2009, Blogger Summit – Every Company should be a Media Company

Elliott Ng will represent UpTake during the PhocusWright 2009 Conference, Blogger Summit Town Hall on Wednesday, November 18th at 9:00 a.m. Ten topics were suggested by the panelists for discussion during a planning meeting a few weeks ago. We decided to collect the best posts and examples about each subject and showcase them. We hope this series lends itself to more insightful discussion during the Town Hall presentation.–Patricia Jenkins, Editor

It’s hard to overstate the importance of being able to game the media and keep your company in the news. But at the end of the day, this is a losing proposition - there’s a limit to the number of press releases, interviews and travel columns you can squeeze out of the media before they get tired of your PR pitches.

To get past the traditional media barriers, some travel companies are straddling the divide between making the news and breaking it – by becoming a part of the media. The travel companies listed below are the ones who are stealing the media’s mojo and beating them at their own game.

CheapFlights (http://www.cheapflights.com/) – CheapFlights has a news section where you’ll find plenty of breaking news. It’s not just about air travel - they write about all things travel – hotels, vacations, legislation, destinations, etc. Even more important – the news really is breaking news, and they consistently publish it before everyone starts weighing in.

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Bing (http://www.bing.com/) – Microsoft’s Bing Travel hosts a community travel blog with some big-name contributors, including Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg, Joel Grus and Rick Steves.

Entries from this blog are getting a lot of exposure in discussions of hot topics in the news, and it’s quite safe to say that this is one of the things that Bing is doing right.

UpTake (http://www.uptake.com/) – The sum of it is that the traditional media approach was found lacking, so UpTake took a large part of its PR budget, and launched a blog network with 7 blogs and 50 bloggers, as part of a plan to inflict lethal generosity on the travel industry.

UpTake co-founder Elliott Ng explains it in this Businessweek piece – “Now we’re breaking industry stories… covering other companies’ launches… getting invited to cover conferences as bloggers. We’ve built real relationships with people in the media rather than just pitching stories.”


CarRentals, UK (http://www.carrentals.co.uk/) – Has a news section, entries from which have started turning up in breaking news alerts of late. The news section features stories from a wide range of subjects, most of which have something to do with either travel or the UK or both.

Roger Smith Hotel (rogersmith.com/) – Take a look at Roger Smith Life and Roger Smith News and you’ll find that everything – the news, the art and all the people – leads you right back to the hotel in New York. And the connections are a lot deeper than just plain talk.

Earlier this year, they ran an ‘experiment’ where a couple from the UK was put up in a storefront recreation of one of the hotel’s suites. Basically, the couple was living in a see-through glass room on the street in New York City, and it was an art experiment by Roger Smith Life covered by Roger Smith News which brought in huge publicity for the Roger Smith hotel.

Hilton (www1.hilton.com/) - Hilton’s Homewood Suites recently launched a family travel blog and community site named SuiteTrip.com. In their own words, “SuiteTrip.com is your go-to guide for everything family travel-inspired.”

Another Hilton outreach is into Travelskoot’s Videos (http://www.travelskoot.com/hilton) - Hilton provides destination videos featuring concierges working at Hilton hotels in these destinations.

Starwood (www.starwoodhotels.com/)- Starwood runs a blog for its SPG members, called The Lobby, which is more of a traditional travel blog talking about destinations and attractions from all over the world, rather than just a Starwood blog talking about Starwood hotels and resorts.