This week’s top story is about WeChat. As we mentioned last month, more and more travel marketers are looking at messaging services as the “next great frontier” for customer service, user experience and marketing efforts.

This week’s news about Star Alliance, which is now using China’s popular WeChat messaging service to court high-spending travelers in the country, therefore comes as no surprise.

Keep reading below for all of this week’s digital marketing news.

Star Alliance Tests WeChat for China Marketing Push
The 28 airline members of Star Alliance are making a concerted push to reach international travelers in China, and they’re using the popular messaging app WeChat to do it. The airline member organization created an “Elite Gathering” via WeChat’s group messaging feature, allowing high-spending potential travelers a private zone to network and trade travel tips. As Star Alliance’s Director of Loyalty Marketing, Mark Davies, noted, “social channels are the best to reach frequent travelers [in China]. In this culture, they’re more believable than other more traditional advertising channels.” Read more

Pinterest Doubles Down on Location Services
Pinterest is ramping up efforts to integrate location data into all aspects of its platform, according to a company announcement made earlier this week. The company plans to automatically add data to all pins uploaded by users, adding details such as the pin’s location plus any relevant store contact details and opening hours. Many marketers familiar with Pinterest’s location “upgrade” believe it may be part of a larger plan to eventually sell advertising on its “Place Pins” feature, which could prove useful for travel marketers. Read more

GoPro Launches Compensation Program for Creators
It looks like quality travel video content is about to get more expensive for marketers. That is, of course, because the marketplace for buying and selling video content is about to get more competitive, thanks to the entry this week of adventure-sports camera company GoPro. The company announced plans for a new “Awards” licensing program to compensate GoPro video creators for the use of their footage in advertising campaigns. Read more

Hilton and Uber Partnership Takes Data Sharing to Next Level
It’s no surprise ride-sharing giant Uber has been actively looking to partner with hospitality brands. Earlier this year, the company announced a deal with Starwood, allowing the brand’s SPG members to pay for rides using loyalty points. In another deal from last month, Uber announced that members of Hilton’s HHonors loyalty program will soon be able to access a “local scene” feature which suggests popular destinations visited by other riders. Read more

Expedia’s CEO Shares Digital Marketing “Test and Learn” Insights
Online travel booking giant Expedia is known for its relentless digital philosophy of “test and learn,” a process the firm uses to stay nimble and quickly adapt to the ever-changing digital whims of consumers. In a recent interview on the practice, Expedia President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi shared some additional tips around how his company implements the theory in practice, including encouraging transparency around failure, constant iteration and retesting. Read more

Orbitz Tests In-App Marketing Campaign with Mibi
As consumers’ time spent in mobile apps continues to rise in comparison with other digital mediums, it’s creating a quandary for marketers, who have less opportunities overall to reach these users with traditional digital ad techniques. Orbitz is taking a different approach to in-app marketing, partnering with a “habits” appmaker called Mibi to launch an ongoing challenge around weekly sharing of vacation photos. Read more

 

Photo Credit: Star Alliance is looking to court new loyalty members in China using the country's popular WeChat service. Jura Tone / Flickr