Cuba and Airline Fuel Prices

Cuba, Cuba and more Cuba

In case you haven’t noticed, Cuba has been in the news a lot lately thank to the beginning of normalization of relations between the island nation and the United States. This has led to an increase in interest in travel to Cuba. Because of this renewed intrigue, Airbnb recently announced more than one thousand homes would be part of its rental program. Airbnb says the average nightly rental rate will run you about $42. While most of the rooms available are in and around Havana, some others are also available.

However, some analysts note that the 1950’s “stuck in time” appeal many people associate with Cuba could be lost with the normalization of ties and commercialization with the U.S. While it appears that the change is inevitable, the window of opportunity to explore Cuba as it has (largely) been for several decades is open right now, especially because several real estate agents and cruise lines have already been scoping out the island looking for opportunity.

Cheaper travel thanks to fuel prices?

For the past several years, airlines have cited higher fuel prices for higher airfares. However, things may be changing thanks to cheaper oil. Delta Airlines President Ed Bastian says the relaxed prices his airline and a number of other are beginning to enjoy will inevitably trickle down to consumers.

However, Bastian notes that before prices start to fall in step with oil those $50-$60 per barrel oil prices would need to be the norm for some time.

Hootsuite Picture Posting and Snapchat Geofilters

As usual, things keep moving at a rapid pace on social media. Here are two items for you to note this week.

Post Pictures with Hootsuite

Hootsuite Picture Posting

Hootsuite subscribers recently received an email explaining a brand new and updated feature that would allow pictures to automatically generate in Twitter newsfeeds through instead of appearing as an link. This is a great addition! Research has shown the effectiveness of imagery in generating clicks and engagements on social media and this was Hootsuite giving its subscribers the ability to capture an audience’s attention much better than before.

Unfortunately, not everyone was able to automatically access the new feature. However, there is a quick and easy way to manually enable the feature:

  1. Click here to visit your dashboard
  2. Click your profile icon in the top left corner
  3. Click on View Social Networks
  4. Click the Profile Settings tab
  5. Under Image Uploads, select

That should do it! You can now automatically generate pictures when you attach them to tweets!

Snapchat Geofilters

A recent addition to Snapchat is the ability to include geofilters on your snaps. Geofilters are overlays that can be added to pictures when you’re in specific locations (like the example in Indianapolis below). Adding a geofilters isn’t difficult at all. Just follow the tips on the Snapchat website and add your design to allow people to start branding their photos. This is a great opportunity for any DMO, festival, event or attraction to begin harnessing the power of Snapchat.

Snapchat Geofilter


Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Dave Serino PresentingThe 2015 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held in Grand Rapids earlier this week. The event was attended by travel and tourism marketers, CVB’s, hoteliers, exhibitors and everyone else in between. The conference provided the perfect backdrop for these people to come together to discuss and learn from different practices around the industry. The keynote was delivered by the first winner of NBC’s The Apprentice, Bill Rancic, who had some inspiration words for everyone in the room. Attendees were also treated to a great presentation on visual storytelling by Sheila Scarborough with Tourism Currents.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley was on hand to announce a venture between Pure Michigan and Google to provide 360-degree imagery of more than 40 locations across Michigan using a mounted camera called the Google Trekker. Check out the short video overview below to get a better idea of the technology and how it’s used.

Additionally, some exciting news and information on the state of Michigan tourism was presented by David West, Vice President of Travel Michigan. While we could provide an exhaustive list of some of the fascinating points made, some of the key takeaways mentioned:

  • #PureMichigan is the number one travel hashtag used in the entire world
  •  Pure Michigan ad campaign generated $6.87 for every $1 invested in 2014
  • A record 113.4 million visitors came to Michigan in 2014, spending a record $22.3 billion

Dave Serino TweetsTwoSix Digital was also represented by founder and strategist, Dave Serino. Dave gave a presentation called “How to Create Content that Converts & How to Build an Audience That Engages.” The presentation touched on a number of ideas and worked to inform people of some of the free tools at their disposal to help reach the right audience and get them to advocate for your brand.

In all, the event was a huge success in the eyes of attendees, which was made evident by the social media stats from the three day event which included more than 680 tweets and more than 6 million impressions. You can check out those stats and see what people were saying in the Pure Michigan Tourism Conference Twitter Report. We’ve also created a Twitter list with everyone from the conference who used the conference hashtag, #PMGCT2015. We will see everyone next year in Lansing!


Likes Decline, Mobile Boarding & Travel Surveys

Facebook Cleans up Page Likes and Adds New Tool

Topic DataBrand managers could see a drop in the number of Facebook page likes on their pages. The social network recently announced it would remove likes on pages that come from deactivated or memorialized (pages kept active for the deceased) accounts. Facebook says that most pages shouldn’t see a significant drop in the number of likes and the change should provide more accurate insights for brands.

On the plus side, a new tool from Facebook may provide more information to brand managers looking for information on what target customer demographics are saying about topics of interest. Facebook, working with Data Sift, developed what it calls Topic Data. Facebook says Topic Data “Topic Data shows marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities.” The tool launched earlier this week and has limited availability at this time.

UPDATE: Some of the pages managed by TwoSix Digital and other professionals in the industry we communicate with are ranging anywhere from a decline of .02% of their total audience to as much as 4.3%.

Mobile Boarding

If a new report is to be believed, 1 in 3 boarding passes for airplanes will be delivered by mobile devices by 2019.

Juniper Research claims the number of people using their mobile devices as boarding passes will continue to rise exponentially. Juniper notes that proximity sensors in devices through apps will likely become the dominant way we check in and use passes but, for now, bar codes displayed on devices will continue to grow in use and popularity.

Travel Survey Results

Travel marketers and industry professionals can now get their hands on the latest TripBarometer report from TripAdvisor. The report surveyed more than 44,000 travelers and hoteliers to get their thoughts and travel practices. You can take a closer look at the report – broken down into a handy infographic – here.

Additionally, you can also check out a new report focusing on millennials and travel was also released by Yahoo Travel.