hotel industry and airbnb

The Sharing Economy, Hotel Industry Disruption and the Changing Travel Landscape

By Vanessa Horwell / May 19, 2017

Since Airbnb’s debut in 2008, the home-sharing startup has gone from nuisance to nemesis for the hotel industry. For nearly a decade, hospitality executives largely dismissed the impact Airbnb would – or rather, could – have on their businesses. As recently as 2014, two industry leaders played down the threat (or perceived lack thereof) posed …

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Mobile payments and mobile commerce

Are Mobile Payments & Mobile Commerce Finally Tying the Knot?

By Vanessa Horwell / May 10, 2017

Over the past few years, we have seen a steady growth of mobile payments across all industries. In a study last November, 93% of consumers surveyed by Deloitte reported using their smartphones for “shopping.” By that measure, shopping is the number two activity (second only to work) for which consumers use their mobile devices. Today, …

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Empathy Marketing

Injecting Empathy into Marketing: Profoundly Optimistic, or Profoundly Cynical?

By Vanessa Horwell / Apr 18, 2017

Advertising Age recently published an opinion piece positing that empathy is “picking up steam” and likely to become an official marketing buzzword for 2017. Like many themes I’m seeing this year, empathy (in the context of advertising and marketing) is both a visceral reaction to our collective political anxieties and a fallback for brands when …

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Crisis PR, and the Loyalty Numbers Game

By Vanessa Horwell / Apr 6, 2017

There is a number – 72 – that I can’t get out of my mind. It’s the percent of airline loyalty programs ‑ 72% – that claim to have been victims of fraud. I’ve used this number before, most recently in an article in which I shared a few thoughts about loyalty program fraud. The …

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Too Sexy For My Leggings… and Other PR Fails

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 31, 2017

Most progressives will agree that we’ve been treated to a cornucopia of PR gaffes on an almost weekly basis during the last 18 months. It could be longer -‑ I’ve become immune to “that” noise, so it was with somewhat sick delight that I started following United Airlines’ recent PR cluster when a gate agent …

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Fighting Airline Loyalty Fraud: The Constantly Moving Target

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 27, 2017

The monetary value of loyalty programs continues its global ascent. In the U.S. alone, the current stored value of loyalty currency stands at approximately $50 billion, by some estimates. That’s an impressive number. Here’s another: Nearly three-fourths (72%) of all airline loyalty programs have been hacked or defrauded in some way, according to a survey …

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Convenience Stores Face a New Loyalty Test: Will They Pass or Fail?

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 17, 2017

In the old days, you would drive your car into a convenience store forecourt and, while filling your tank at the gas pump, stroll inside for a soft drink, a slightly stale sandwich and maybe a pack of cigarettes. Once your gas tank was full, you’d pull out a wad of cash or a credit …

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Cyber Security

Here’s Your New Title: Chief Marketing & Internet Security Officer

By Vanessa Horwell / Jan 27, 2017

A recent article in Social Media Today had the arresting headline, “Why Marketers Are Now in Charge of Cyber Security.” Let’s think about that for a minute. Nobody is secure from hacking and data theft, not even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. After repeated hacking, Zuckerberg now runs around with duct tape on his webcam.  3M …

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The Trump Tweets: Protecting Your Brand (Values) in a New Political Era

By Vanessa Horwell / Jan 18, 2017

With each day delivering a fresh maelstrom of Twitter trash and nonsense posts, it’s been overwhelming and hard to focus on just one issue. Some of the Twitter outbursts have kept me up at night. In fact, breaking out in cold sweat in the late evening or early morning hours seems to be the new …

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The Return of the Tactile Experience: What It Means for Technology Companies

By Vanessa Horwell / Jan 5, 2017

Each decade, it seems, has spelled the end of an era for old or “redundant” technologies.  For those who remember the 8-track, we lamented its loss when cassettes came on the scene (I’m aging myself now). Several decades later, cassettes and vinyl records found themselves on the way out with the arrival of DVDs, CDs …

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Facebook data


By Vanessa Horwell / Jan 3, 2017

Facebook repeatedly has corrected traffic data that it makes available to its advertisers. In its latest snafu, Facebook reported inaccurate user engagement figures. It appears that the number of people who shared or commented on a Facebook link exceeded the sum of shares, likes and comments for that link. That’s not supposed to happen. If …

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Car rentals


By Vanessa Horwell / Dec 29, 2016

The New York Times reports that, in an increasing number of areas, “the Lyft and Uber experience for both business and leisure travelers is simply worlds better than turning to a rental car.” I can’t disagree with that. Uber’s ride-sharing service, barely five years old, is valued today at more than $60 billion. (Hertz, one …

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