Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2014 03:57 PM
It's not quite US vs. USSR, but the modern-era space race between SpaceX and Virgin Galactic is getting more interesting as each brand gets closer to blasting off with humans aboard.
SpaceX is crowing about its construction of a new commercial launchpad in South Texas alongside the Gulf of Mexico with help from more than $20 million in local and state incentives, while Virgin is drawing comparisons from Land Rover about the rigor of its vehicle testing.
Virgin Galactic has said it plans to go airborne with tourist flights to space later this year from a base in New Mexico at a pricetag of $250,000 a head. It has accepted more than $80 milloin in deposits from about 700 individuals, which the brand pointed out is about 20 percent more than the total number of humans who've ever gone to space.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 7, 2014 01:52 PM
Ride-sharing app Taxi Magic was one of the first of its kind when it debuted in 2007, but it's since been pushed to the back of the line thanks to headline-grabbing brands like Uber, which debuted two years later. To combat the new onslaught of car services, Taxi Magic is rebranding, Skift reports.
Now known as Curb, the fleet-driven service also introduced a new CEO, Patrick Lashinsky, who has been with the brand for a few months. Curb is mainly funded by Concur, the travel and expenses management firm that recently struck partnerships with both Airbnb and, strangely, Uber.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 29, 2014 05:22 PM
Business travel accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and it's only growing. Despite the recent string of airline disasters, the Global Business Travel Association expects spending on business travel to go up around 7 percent this year, to about $1.18 trillion—$292.3 billion of that in the US, according to the New York Times. China, with a sustained 16 percent yearly growth rate, is expected to pass the US in travel spending by 2016.
With plenty of money to be made, brands are tweaking their business models to accomodate the industry's influx.
Airbnb, which is in the midst of a rebrand, is devoting an entire section of its new website to business travelers. "It's about making it easier to find accommodations that are appropriate for work trips," says Lex Bayer, head of business development and global payments at Airbnb, according to USA Today. The offering will cater to travelers that are looking to combine business with pleasure.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 18, 2014 10:01 AM
US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), once the Republican vice-presidential candidate way back in 2012, did not win himself many fans in the travel industry in April when he showed off the House Republican Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Resolution and it didn’t contain one blessed penny for Brand USA, the public-private partnership that launched in 2012 and helps market America to foreign visitors and the travel industry around the world.
“This budget recommends ending these subsidies and eliminating the new agency because it is not a core responsibility of the federal government to pay for and conduct advertising campaigns for any industry. Moreover, the travel industry can and should pay for the advertising that it benefits from," the document stated, according to Travel Weekly.
Ryan, apparently, did not have enough support this time around, either, because the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week unanimously approved legislation that will fund Brand USA again, Travel Weekly notes. Some changes were made dealing with oversight but the organization still receives essentially the same $100 million chunk of change.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 16, 2014 03:55 PM
Surely, many Airbnb users tidy up their places for incoming guests, and now the controversial service is doing the same with the launch of a new brand identity and user experience.
Launched in 2007, Airbnb has grown to accommodate millions of travelers in nearly 200 countries, capitalizing on the growth of the sharing economy. But Airbnb's success hasn't been without controversy, namely legal spats in cities that say the company avoids hotel taxes and violates housing agreements.
All that aside, Airbnb is pushing forward into new markets with its refreshed brand and tagline, "Belong Anywhere." In a livestreamed event, Airbnb detailed its new logo, a symbol it's calling a "Bélo," along with a redesigned website and mobile experience that “make it easier for users to find the information that they need while also making listings on its platform more appealing,” TechCrunch reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 11, 2014 01:52 PM
The use of beacon technology has been fast-growing among retailers who use the smartphone function to push special offers and information to consumers as they wander through their stores. But now, other industries, especially travel, are experimenting with the technology to convey information and boost loyalty programs.
Brands are hoping their use of the new tech will attract Millennials and other digitally-connected consumers who are open to sharing data in return for a more personalized experience.
Marriott is currently testing beacons in its hotels to push deals for nearby retailers as well as in-hotel discounts to loyalty club members who have the brand’s app open on the premises. According to Adweek, members could get offers for such things as “test drives of Porsche or Lamborghini cars and a discounted rate at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai” on their mobile devices.
"(We're) taking aim at the next generation traveler and really making sure we're addressing their needs," Karin Timpone, global marketing officer for Marriott, told USA Today. "They like the instant gratification and encouragement along the way while they earn points."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 20, 2014 03:52 PM
Whether the feds like it or not, Bitcoin is here to stay. And now the startup currency is taking steps to make it a more legitimate business by developing a Standards Committee tasked with creating and adopting a Bitcoin Unicode symbol, examining denomination conventions and recommended standards.
“The Bitcoin wiki currently lists a dozen denominations under 1 BTC, from ‘sanbitcoin’ to ‘bitcoinbong’ and ‘satoshi’. Although many of them are used on a daily basis, they are not standardized,” said the Bitcoin Foundation, the entity behind the organization of the currency.
With more consumers and brands starting using and accepting the currency daily, and the value of Bitcoins in circulation exceeding $1.5 billion (as of last year), standards and regulations are indeed needed.
Expedia is now accepting it as payment for hotels and bitplans a roll-out to flights and car rentals if the demand is seen. Other online sites including Namecheap, WordPress, Reddit and Flattr accept it.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 11, 2014 01:50 PM
Streets across London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Milan and Lisbon are at a standstill. Is it the end of the world? No; but for cabbies, it might be.
Today, thousands of licensed cab drivers across major European cities are protesting private transportation app Uber, which has been stealing away business from London's black-cab drivers and hundreds more in what Uber has called "healthy competition" in an industry that has been unchanged for decades.
The San Francisco-based startup now operates in more than 100 cities in 37 countries with a value of $17 billion, but it's not alone. Similar apps like Hailo and Kabbee use private-hire drivers with their own vehicles to pick up passengers, who can arrange for a car at the touch of a screen. The original service has spawned lower-tier options as well, including UberX and now UberTAXI, which the company launched in response to the London protest and allows users to virtually hail a London black cab.
But besides putting more control in consumers' hands, Uber is facing claims from local companies and governments that the service evades local taxes and licensing laws, putting regular cabbies at a disadvantage.Continue reading...