This week’s top story is about wearable tech and the travel industry.

Wearable technology refers to any device that can interact with other internet-connected objects. Increasingly travel brands are using such wearable tech to provide customers with a more personalized and seamless experience, handling everything from wallet-free payment for services to navigation in large event spaces and resorts. Though the tech is still relatively new, the launch of Disney’s Magic Band program back in 2014 demonstrated the concept’s potential.

The latest travel brand to embrace wearable tech is Carnival Corporation, which introduced a new program called the Ocean Medallion at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. The small disc-shaped medallions, which can be carried by guests on a keychain or necklace, allow passengers to control a variety of on-ship experiences from unlocking cabin doors to locating friends and family on the ship to receiving food and drink on demand.

How might other travel brands make use of wearable tech? Read on for more analysis, plus the rest of this week’s top marketing stories.

Carnival Unveils New Wearable Tech “Ocean Medallion” Program at CES 2017
Carnival Corporation is launching a new wearable device initiative for cruise ship passengers called the Ocean Medallion. The cruise company says passengers will able to use the medallions for everything from ordering on-demand food and drink to unlocking the doors of cabin suites to locating other cruise guests on ship and enabling paperless purchases of merchandise. Read more

Fort Lauderdale Features Transgender Model in New LGBT-Friendly Ad Campaign
Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s tourism board has been actively promoting the city as a LGBT-friendly destination for several decades. The company is upping the ante on its LGBT outreach approach in 2017, thanks to a new mainstream media campaign featuring transgender model Isabella Santiago. Read more

Understanding the Emerging World of Chatbots
Messaging apps and “chatbots” were on many travel marketers’ minds in 2016, with the topic coming up frequently at industry events and during investor calls. But what exactly are these two technologies? And what are their potential business applications? Here’s a good primer on what marketers need to know about chatbots this year. Read more

Does New York City Need All Those Yellow Cabs? New Study Says No.
New York City’s ubiquitous yellow taxis are such an iconic fixture of Big Apple life that it’s hard to imagine walking down a street without seeing one. But based on a recent study by researchers at MIT, they’re really not all that efficient. According to the researchers, NYC’s 13,000 taxis could be replaced by the equivalent of 3,000 ride-sharing cars from services like Lyft and Uber. Read more

How Local Search Marketing Can Encourage Spontaneity
Marketers tend to think about local searches in a highly goal-driven context. Questions like “what’s the best pizza place nearby?” often take precedence over questions like “what’s a fun place to spend the afternoon?” According to this opinion piece, marketers would be wise to think more about how to incorporate this type of spontaneity into their digital marketing efforts. Read more

A Look “Behind the Curtain” at the Complex Game of Airline Pricing
Airfare prices might be one of the least understood subjects in the travel industry, seeming to rival fields like nuclear physics and chaos theory in their ability to confound passengers and experts alike. This examination of airline pricing strategies offers a glimpse inside the complex world of aviation supply and demand. Read more

Photo Credit: Carnival's new "Ocean Medallion" wearable program hopes to transform the cruise ship passenger experience. Carnival Corporation