I returned late last night from Stockholm. The first leg of my flight was on Brussels airlines flight. Their in-flight magazine “There” carried very interesting articles on how social networking is transforming travel and shopping sectors.
Nick Calrke, an editor of a city travel guide, writes on how twitter has enriched his travels. He was at a shopping mall in Copenhagen and tweeted about it. Within minutes he got responses recommending a pastry shop on the ground floor and a better mall close by. A guide book cannot compete with this kind of knowledge being shared by-the minute on social media. This coming from the editor of a city speaks for itself. Also guidebook does not lend itself to social interaction. A group of friends landed in Brussels without any plans-but after asking their twitter followers, they were invited to a private party and saw in the new year with the locals.
Foursquare is a networking site for travelers. It has a “check in” system which enables you to tell your friends exactly where you are, using the GPS on the phone. It is not just about what you are doing but where you are doing it. It has a game like feel. You can earn points every time you check in and become mayor of somewhere if you check-in enough number of times. Now Facebook too offers a similar functionality called “Places”.
Other sites making an impact on travel are Tripwolf, TravBuddy and Tripatini-dubbed “Facebook of Travel”. David Appel, founder of Tripatini says, “it is no longer about the writer telling the reader where to go and what to see. It is about sharing knowledge when things happen, using people you are connected with online and pooling resources. Which is why social media for travel shows no sign of reaching its final destination-travelers will always want information and social media sites will always be able to provide it.
A Spanish fashion brand Desigual has launched a campaign that rewards its fans for being kind to online bloggers. Fans can indicate which item from their current line they’d like and wait for the company to alert them to a particular blog post to target with uplifting comments. These are not the company’s own blog but rather their favorites chosen from across the web. The first 100 comments that received a reply from the blogger will receive the clothing item they requested. Being a blogger this campaign truly wowed me. What would I not give to be selected by Desigual.
Barcelona is the hotbed of companies with websites that steer purchases through peer group recommendations and collectively bargained discounts. It may not seem like a great marketing idea, but venture capital is pouring into “Social Shopping” sector.
As they say “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”
PS: You can read few more interesting articles from “There” magazine here