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TOM HALL - SUCCESSFULLY UTILIZE EMERGING PLATFORMS

  1. Successfully utilizing emerging platforms Tom Hall / Director of Editorial & Brand
  2. Experiment on emerging platforms fast rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, try simple things, make the most of partnership opportunities with smart people, all the while keeping the traveller at the heart of everything that you do
  3. @tomhalltravel from @lonelyplanet says prioritise your audience’s needs over design or tech tricks when innovating on new platforms #DigiWorldForum
  4. Content-first model
  5. Guides app Help travellers ‘in-destination’ find good places around them, with curated recommendations and tips from our experts. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  6. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  7. More on Guides ● 4.7 star rating (iOS) ● Constant feedback in Slack. ● 4+ mins avg. session time. ● ~200K MAUs. ● Working on more POI images. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  8. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  9. Q4Q3 Q1 (2018)Q2
  10. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  11. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day Trips app Help inspire travellers before a trip, with other people’s stories, and give them a place to amplify their own adventures after they go.
  12. Serving the mobile travelleExplore every day
  13. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  14. More on Trips (iOS) ● 160K+ downloads (since Aug). ● Seeding it with good content key. ● ~6.5K ‘Trips’ created so far. ● Search feature highly requested! ● Stories also viewable on web. ● Built with Swift. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  15. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  16. But it’s not just about apps...
  17. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day Help travellers plan ● 62% who visit are planning a trip. ● Destination pages. ● Larger trips, need more context. ● Mobile responsive - functional. ● But also enjoyable to consume.
  18. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day Entertain travellers ● Travel News (/news). ● Utilizing AMP for faster load. ● In Google News too. ● Daily content. ● Heavily social + shareable.
  19. Connecting people to other travellers...
  20. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day Fostering a travel community ● 6M+ followers on Twitter. ● #lpchat & #lpexperthour ● Instagram weekend takeovers. ● ‘LP In the Wild’ on Facebook. ● Snapchat Live Stories. *
  21. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  22. So, to wrap it up...and stop babbling. How is Lonely Planet utilising emerging platforms? By aiming to inspire and enable them, through providing the best content and technology experience we can via: our 2 apps (Guides and Trips), the mobile web version of lonelyplanet.com, and by cultivating an engaged social community of travellers. Serving the mobile travellerExplore every day
  23. Oh, and one more thing...
  24. “We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.” -- Barack Obama
  25. Explore every day
  26. Explore every day. T: @tomhalltravel E: tom.hall@lonelyplanet.com

Notes de l'éditeur

  1. Good morning, and thanks very much for coming.
  2. Or just to summarise what I’m going to say. Experiment on emerging platforms fast rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, try simple things, make the most of partnership opportunities with smart people, all the while keeping the traveller at the heart of everything that you do
  3. Even shorter version for social media @tomhalltravel from @lonelyplanet says don’t forget your audience when innovating on new platforms #digipublish17
  4. Or if you’re an Instagram user Here’s the time earlier this year we found a rogue hamster in our office. She lives with our Scandinavia Editor and has been named Mavis.
  5. So, a little background on Lonely Planet. We spent about 30 years as ‘the guidebooks people’ 1973-2003 is, as I will now aim to convince you, a golden age of travel content and fashion. This is the original team in Melbourne in 1981. It was the first ‘official office’, and it was in what was a derelict milkbar. There’s Tony and there’s Maureen Wheeler (our original co-founders). And that person there is Andy who has been with the business since the beginning. Employee number 1 (or 3, depending how you look at it). She’s about to retire at age 70, is still in the office right now (in logistics for the books) and she is an absolute gem. (I have no real idea who the rest of the people are but they look pretty cool). So, this team of people back then had one primary aim...and that was to inspire and enable travellers on their adventures abroad, through independent and trustworthy advice… That aim being rooted in the belief that travel is a force for good (when done responsibly).
  6. So, this team of people back then had one primary aim...and that was to inspire and enable travellers on their adventures abroad, through independent and trustworthy advice… That aim being rooted in the belief that travel is a force for good (when done responsibly). And it’s exactly the same today... It’s just that now that ‘team’ is a whole lot bigger and scattered across a few continents. This is me waiting for an Uber in north-west Namibia earlier this year. My wife and I both turned 40, and decided to deal with it by travelling as much as possible, so we saved our pennies and took our children to this remarkable country. I used my LP all the way, as you’d expect (plus a few insider tips from one of the writers, that I got before I left!) So...for that destination, having a physical guide to leaf through on the long drives through the desert was really helpful. A book made sense, as the medium for me to consume that travel advice.
  7. But obviously, nowadays, there’s a stack of places or types of trips where a book doesn’t make sense for you, and your mobile is the top-of-mind tool to go to for information (and not just travel information, but any information!) In cities this particularly makes sense, when navigating around is usually a crucial thing and you want to use tools like Google Maps or Citymapper.
  8. But it’s all still content. And the ultimate aim is the same still, in our eyes as a brand: to inspire and enable travellers. Whatever the medium, it still comes back to how best to inspire and enable the traveller. And not just one type of traveller, but a varying array of demographics and mindsets, with different preferences for how they like to consume their information. That’s why we nowadays operate as a content-first business, and build our products and services around that premise. Rather than single channel, we’re multi-channel, and although that’s a simple enough thing to just say, it’s meant a lot of hard work and investment with our internal tech under the hood to get to that point over the last decade.
  9. But it has set us up for the future… A good example of this is our new API ‘Open Planet’. Essentially, it acts as a pipe out of our primary Content Management System (called ‘Atlas’). Meaning we can utilize it to get our content into exciting new and emerging mediums, such as those in the Voice area, like Google Home and the Amazon Alexa. In that instance we tied up Open Planet with a third-party tech partner ‘Assist’ (based in SF) so that on these devices you can speak to Lonely Planet and get ideas for your next trip. We’re currently live on Google Home devices in the US, and the Alexa experience will be out pretty soon.
  10. What Open Planet’s also enabled us to do, more importantly, is to do great stuff with speed in the mobile space. Like our flagship app Guides, which now been downloaded by over 1.7M travellers.
  11. So, a bit more context behind Guides… 15 or so years ago we had a Lonely Planet offering on PalmPilots. Following that era, we were initially a pretty early adopter in the app space and had a bunch of different iOS apps out there, from 2008. However - apart from a few interesting examples like early attempts at audio walking tour guides and some phrasebook apps - we weren’t in all honesty delivering the best experience with these apps, in hindsight, as it was essentially trying to cram an entire guidebook onto your phone. It was very book-y, and although in the ebook space for tablet devices that’s fine, in the mobile app space it clearly isn’t the ideal solution for the traveller on-on-the-ground using it. After a big cull of these old apps then from the App Store, and rethinking our offering in the context of being a content-first business, we released a new singular ‘master’ app in late Jan 2016 (for both iOS and Android) - that was Guides. The focus here being that it was an ‘in-destination’ app for travellers on the ground in a city.
  12. And that’s why the primary view of the app is map based (which we partnered with Mapbox for), and why being able to use those maps offline was key - so travellers didn’t get stung with data charges, or come up against signal issues (a common argument against travel apps in days gone by). So, at first Guides launched with 38 or so cities, with amount of info for each that felt ample but not overkill. We’ve been adding and adding to that since, collecting a lot feedback along the way, and we’re now at over 175+ cities, with more to come. You download only the cities you need or want, within the app, and that keeps the app pretty light on your device in terms of size. That was definitely the single piece of feedback that we kept getting from launch - ‘looks great, operates smoothly, but more places, please!’. And that makes sense as a demand on our brand, as one of the things we offer in the print space is a breadth of destinations - in particular for those more off-the-beaten-path places - so we should be able to reflect that in our mobile offering. So again, investments in our internal tech, like the Open Planet API I mentioned before, have really helped with that. That’s why we’ve got your big hitting destination like Rome in there of course, but also ones like Riga (in Latvia).
  13. And we’ve seen some positive results so far. Our mobile team have monitored our star rating closely from the get go, and quickly adding more cities helped us along there. We have a regular stream of our App Store reviews piping into a channel in Slack daily, which anyone in the company is free to see and oftens triggers side conversations about particular fixes and improvements, and whether a certain feature should be prioritized over others or not. Downloads are obviously key, but interaction and regular engagement is more important. Just over 4 minutes for a session time is pretty solid. Floating around 200K MAUs. So people are coming back and using it, but we’d always want that regularity rate to be higher, naturally, and we constantly work towards ways of encouraging that whether that be through push notifications or other means. As we add more and more Points of Interest to the app for the expanding set of cities, we’re consistently trying to up the imagery in the app, as it’s something our users have asked for. A lot of this has been sourced through a scheme we have called Lonely Planet Locals, which are contributors around the world who help to augment our author pool. ***Android app was Java; now Kotlin.***
  14. Marketing, wise our Facebook app ads, display activity off-site, smart banners on-site, and email sends helped a lot at launch and on an ongoing basis, but our features in the App Store have far and away been the biggest drivers of downloads. And that’s testament to the hard work of our mobile team on the product itself and how they’ve designed and built it, and the thought that’s been put in from them to ensure the app is genuinely useful to the traveller, on this medium. (And for those more interested in that build aspect, it was initially done in the Objective-C language, but since mid-last year all new code has been Swift - that’s for the iOS one.)
  15. Something else that’s been top of mind with the Guides app for us throughout its evolution - especially when thinking about presenting an aligned view of the brand - is to ensure it doesn’t exist separate to the other things we’re doing as a company, and to integrate it as and when it makes sense for the traveller. A good example of this has been our ‘Best in’ campaigns. We ensure around these we earmark the relevant destinations accordingly in the app, and inject any additional content that may make sense to give people a further sense of that place and why we think it’s a good place to travel right now. We also know that having a multimedia experience within an app, is kinda something consumers have come to expect now.
  16. If you look in the app at the moment, you’ll see our current #1 Best in Travel destinations - Seville, Belfast, Santiago, and Tallinn (in Estonia) - and you’ll see an example this campaign integration works. There’s additional video content when you open up that city, produced especially for our Best in Travel campaign which launched a few weeks ago - and for which there was a bit of a buzz and debate around Canberra in the press here, I know! It also exemplifies how in part we’ve begun to monetize the app, through wider sponsorships with partners such as GoPro. Brands we feel complement what we’re doing rather than distract from our offering to travellers, or feel incongruent.
  17. The other thing our annual Best in Travel marketing has bled into...is our most recently launched app, Trips! And I wanted touch on that now and explain it a little first, as it’s an offering that’s complementary to our core app being Guides. If Guides is for the traveller in-destination, Trips is for the traveller in the before and after part. Trips is currently just on iOS, and is soon to be out on Android too.
  18. Here’s the sizzle video from our marketing to give a little more context, with our awesome South America Destination Editor, MaSovaida, who works in our Nashville office.
  19. It’s kinda akin to a travel-centric, photography-led version of Medium (for those who use it) and the idea is to enable people to present their trips in a beautiful and simple way, and share it with friends. Rather than posting a torrent of photos on your social media channel of choice for an entire trip, the idea is to cluster your travel images and videos together, create a bit of a narrative around it, and then put it out there to the world in a slicker, more magazine-y way. Or, if you’re not interested in creating you can simply ‘arm-chair’ travel through it looking at other people’s trips. Here’s a couple of snapshots of mine from that Namibia trip I mentioned earlier, in Feb. There’s then various curated, collections of these stories within the app from Adventure to Wildlife, and it was one of these thematic buckets we created to recently showcase some of our Best in Travel top destinations (as mentioned before).
  20. It’s still early days with Trips, but it’s had a good start so far downloads wise. Involvement of various influencers who were able photographers was crucial for launch. We cherry picked a select few out of our Pathfinders programme - which is a scheme we run with over 2000 bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers. To further boost this, we partnered with a photography site called Unsplash to seed some extra content with some of their top users in there. This meant people had a good sense of the quality content of the app when they first launched it, and it didn’t feel full of stock imagery or stuff devoid of personality. Like with other things we do as a brand, ensuring there was a feeling of authenticity was key. Saying that, at launch we knew we didn’t have all the themes and destinations we wanted covered so we intentionally decided to launch without search functionality. Meaning the primary layer of discovery was through signing in via social and following others in your network, or looking on at our featured users. We anticipated people would want this search feature introduced but after launch it was even more requested than we expected- so we’ve since bumped it up the priority list of features, and it’s set to come out before the year’s end.
  21. Just a few example of some of the bloggers we worked with tweeting out their Trips stories they created… (Atlas & Boots are a lovely couple with a great outdoors blog and I encourage you to check it out, if you haven’t heard of them before.)
  22. There’s more to it than just Guides and Trips. Mobile web is key and for us in terms of volume, making up half of our yearly traffic, and it’s still by far the biggest platform by which to interact with and serve the mobile traveller, globally. It’s also where a bunch of the video content we’re producing lives (example on the slide), following the launch of our video hub on the site in Q2, and that’s certainly a real growth area from us in terms of brand partnerships and ad revenue.
  23. We know from Usabilla survey research on our site that the largest majority of people are coming to the site to plan a trip - they’re in that stage inbetween general inspiration and booking. Hence, probably the most important part of our website is our destinations pages, which help travellers in the planning phase to get a bit of wider context for a place - especially for those higher level places like for a whole continent or country - and we’ve worked hard to make these pages more responsive but also just more visual and enjoyable to consume on mobile. You can see here from a branding point of view too how we’ve tried to be somewhat visually consistent with the look and feel of our guidebooks, so it feels familiar. Along with making these key pages more visuals, comes load time challenges...
  24. And that’s why for example we’ve invested in converting parts of our content to Google AMP pages, such as with our travel news content. These are the stories that sit on /news. They’re intentionally, more snacky, zeitgeist-y, and have a bit of a lighthearted tone. And among other things, the intention here is to have a more daily interaction with people generally interested in travel, rather than just pure travellers. And considering this content is inherently social media-esque in nature, its key that it loads quickly on mobile, and that pays dividends with metrics like average time on page.
  25. Which leads me to the next bit… Part of serving the traveller on mobile, is also utilizing the tech available on that device to connect them to other like-minded travellers and making them feel part of a larger travel community. Historically, on the web proper, we’ve done this through our Thorn Tree community, one of the first active travel forums on the web (turns 21 this year), but these sorts of digital communities are obviously now most apparent on social media platforms. Platforms made by companies that we know are fiercely mobile-first these days.
  26. So being active on these social platforms, that people use so much on their mobiles, is key. And that doesn’t just mean flinging lots of stuff out there, but actually fostering a community of travellers in these places and creating content and a calendar of activity that helps that happen. This means weaving in our destinations experts and staff, who are travellers themselves, and making them available to the community to have a discourse with. As well as simply spotlighting members of that wider community too! (As per the example on the screen of a traveller/photographer who did an Instagram takeover for us following Burning Man this year, to give people a sense of what that was like.)
  27. A few examples of those things… That Snapchat content had over 4M views in 24 hours, and that was something we worked on with them rather than it just being via our own account.
  28. ...and ensuring we’re setup and geared right internally to do this!
  29. I wanted to finish with a quote. All of this falls down unless you work hard at it, and have high standards, and hold each other to account to be as good as you can be. We’ve a hard-earned reputation to nurture and grow and we take that seriously, so beneath these executed ideas are a ton of other that didn’t make it, or fell at earlier hurdles, or are waiting for a time to be brought to fruition.
  30. .
  31. Thank you.
  32. .
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