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Last week, lastminute.com group announced its new media business, The Travel People.
In such an interesting time for online advertising, I wanted to know what this means for lastminute.com group and the advertising on its sites.
Mirroring big publisher websites, is this a move towards more bespoke campaigns and away from standard display?
What is travel?
Airbnb is certainly trying to define it, with the message that inclusion and community make for memorable experiences. We shouldn't stand for standard, the homogeneity of a hotel chain.
The internet in general is encouraging a fightback again corporate globalisation (though perhaps these are simply our death throes?), with everything from homespun craft available through Etsy and crowdsourced cycle routes on Strava.
I watched John Kearns perform recently (a storytelling comic that won the Edinburgh Comedy Award) and he had one line designed to show how much he wanted to return to a more personal world.
He spoke about seeing tourists in the more garish areas of London promoted by guidebooks, such as Picadilly Circus, and how he wanted to talk to each of them and tell them about the really niche and beautiful parts of London, often tucked in neighbourhoods that tourists never make it to.
I'm getting to the point here. lastminute.com has produced a lovely piece of content designed to show parts of London that only the discerning have discovered*. It's called 100 Things in London and it's a nice bit of content marketing.
Let's take a look and I'll attempt to point out why it should go well.
Lastminute.com has launched a recommendation tool that generates ideas for city break based on what a user wants to do on their holiday.
'Inspire Me' asks when they want to leave, their budget per person and what they feel like doing from a selection of six activities.
How bad is the newspaper business hurting? If the shameless link selling the Express Group is engaging in on its websites is any indication, newspapers have it pretty bad.
The sales team at the Express Group has been sending emails to SEOs promoting the company's "SEO advertorials", which are little more than keyword-rich articles published on Express.co.uk, DailyStar.co.uk and Ok.co.uk that the Express Group is willing to pepper with paid links.
Marko Balabanovic won an award for Innovation in Multichannel Marketing at Econsultancy's Innovation Awards last year, and this year he is a member of the judging panel.
I've been talking to Marko, who is Head of Innovation at lastminute.com, about lastminute.com labs, how the team looks to innovate, and some of the products it has created...
Travel search engine Travelocity has redesigned the homepage on the .com version of the site, aiming to provide more inspiration for users with more deal and offers.
According to Travelocity, the aim was to achieve a balance between a simple page design and providing ideas for customers who may arrive at the site without a fixed destination in mind. I've been talking a look at the redesign...
It's not the best time to be an internet entrepreneur if you need funding. Thanks to a global recession, investment is pretty hard for most new startups to come by.
In the United States, which has the most robust VC market, investments by VCs plummeted in Q1 2009, reaching their lowest level in 12 years. VCs are focusing on their existing investments, being far more conservative when it comes to making new investments and are increasingly asking more of entrepreneurs, both in terms of investment criteria and deal terms.
Lastminute.com recently launched a new version of its website in the UK and France, with new sites for the rest of Europe to follow.
I've been talking to Lastminute.com's head of customer experience Leah Russell about the thinking behind the new site, and the challenges of providing a usable website for different markets across Europe.
In a challenging market environment it’s a good idea to have a plan, especially when that plan is bold and forward-thinking.
It turns out that lastminute.com has such a plan, for the online pureplay is moving into the seemingly perilous world of offline retailing.
Travel comparison company lastminute.com has opted for a low key launch of its revamped website, giving users the chance to use the new version and give feedback.
The redesigned version of lastminute devotes more space to providing holiday ideas and showing the latest deals on offer, so the search box is less prominent than before. The old version is still running alongside the new one, which gives me a chance to compare the two.