Travel Trends – Couch Surfing, Niche Newspapers, Media Spend, FedEx, Mobile Internet

Couch Surfing – The end of hotels as we know them? Probably not, but still interesting. If you are looking for a free place to stay on your next vacation and do not suffer from any sleeping disorders like sleep walking, can find you a couch to crash on. Oh, that’s right, you are staying on someone else’s couch. CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit. So far, there are 586,956 available couches who have hosted 474,622 ‘successful’ surfing experiences. A brilliant concept (love the way one surfer put it: a global community based on trust, honesty, reciprocity, generosity, optimism and a sharing of all the good things in life) and from the sound of it, you will actually meet some interesting (and not scary!) people. Unfortunately, Oprah’s couch is not on the list…I checked.

(Just in case you need more, here is the video of Tom Cruise going crazy on Oprah…love that guy.)

Niche Newspapers
– For everyone out there who is advertising on a major papers website, a report by The Media Audit and reported by the Center for Media Research shows that some ‘alternative’ newspapers have an expanding reach:

Alternative newspaper websites with the highest market penetration include:

• Madison Wisconsin’s Isthmus (13.5%)
• The Austin Chronicle (11.4%)
• Charleston, Carolina’s Charleston City Paper (10.3%)
• The New Haven Advocate (10%)
• The Memphis Flyer (9.5%)
• Minneapolis City Pages (9.2%)
• Madison, Wisconsin’s The Onion (8.9%)
• New Orleans’ Gambit Newsweekly (8.8%)
• Syracuse New Times (8.3%)
• Washington D.C.’s The Onion (8.2%)

Interesting stuff.

More Stats – Some more online advertising numbers from the Center for Media Research.

According to a proprietary study by The Media Trust Company, American Express had the largest share-of-voice among travel advertisers (online) as consumers searched on where to vacation, hot travel deals and travel advice preceding Memorial Day, the official start of summer.

  • was the leading advertiser with a 45.57% share-of-voice among car rental companies
  • Best Western earned 25.22% share-of-voice among hotel advertisers
  • United Airlines was the top airline advertiser with a 42.27% share-of-voice
  • American Express accounted for 46.53% of all credit card advertisements

FedEx Launches Facebook’s Package – Well, after all those posts on what not to do on Facebook, MySpace or any other social network, here is an example of a successful ‘viral’ campaign. Released less than two weeks ago, the “Launch a Package” application lets users send virtual goods to friends, from little digital trinkets to photos and links. The items arrive in a FedEx box that the recipient opens to reveal the gifts inside. It has 258,000 total installations and more than 15,000 active users. Not bad considering you could have just emailed those photos. For FedEx, this is a good fit, people are sending stuff to each via Facebook why not wrap a big FedEx logo around it? Feel like launching your own package? Check out

Consumers Not So Mobile – A quick and short article from MediaWeek talks about a survey from AKQA and dotMobi that ‘44 percent of users report having had a bad experience in their initial use of the mobile Web. Slow connection speeds, poor site display and cost are the top three reasons respondents cited for being dissatisfied with current mobile Web services.’ And ‘Three-quarters of respondents said they were most interested in using mobile Internet access to pull up maps.‘ Once mobile internet providers can offer location-based ads on a regular and consistent basis, then advertisers can begin delivering relevant messages to the consumer who is using that map. I can see it now…Ad text: ‘Looking for a visitor’s information center? It’s right behind you!’ Helpful and scary at the same time.

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