Category: Travel

Me, @ Active with . . . me, Kate Kinnish!

So you’ve had a little insight into the worlds of some of my colleagues over the past few weeks, and it’s been suggested that it’s my time to shine! I’m Kate, Director of Travel and Marketing at Active.  If you think you’ve spotted Zoe Ball in a chunky knit around the office, that’ll probably be me.

Say hi @KateKinnish

The best thing about my job is
The people I work with and the places I have been so lucky to visit.  Iceland, Rio, South Africa, Zambia, US, Lapland to name a few!

The key thing I have learnt recently is

What do you have too much of?
Chunky knits

What do you have too little of?

What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased?
An Oast House, a real one!!

What’s your favourite advert of all time?
Compare the Market (I have a secret love for Meercats)

Favourite place in the world?
Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Funniest office moment at Active?
Every day in this place is funny

Favourite thing to do in London?
Borough Market

Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
A cross between Zoe Ball and Chesney Hawkes

What piece of technology can’t you live without?
My iPad

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m really called Elizabeth


Things we’ve seen. . . Things we love

This week in Things we’ve seen… Things we love, media planners give pause for thought to location-based advertising in the skies; we ponder the impact of Channel4’s brutally honest warning to advertisers, and Heathrow Airport bosses claim that restricted flights are damaging the UK economy.  There’s never a dull moment!

Channel4 warns of February failure

Channel4 has written to agencies warning them that the channel will fail to deliver on its advertising deals for February.  This unorthodox move is positioned as a shift towards an era of transparency with clients about performance but raises serious questions about the health of the channel’s financials and rating figures, in a time of revolution and development for television.

Steve Hewlett at the Guardian suggests that trading is the way forward for Channel4, and this may mean some important deals and perhaps a concession on its premium prices will be afoot.

This one’s for you, Rover

Presumably from the ad masterminds who kickstarted Pester Power, British television debuted an attempt at Puppy Power this week with the launch of the first ever advert for dogs by Bakers.

The ad is made up of a selection of barks and high pitched whistles designed to encourage dogs to react by pricking their ears and tilting their heads.

Dogs at the ready, let’s give it a go!

Lay back and enjoy the coup

Tourists in the Maldives are stoically finishing their cocktails as the country’s political turmoil continues to bubble over.

Is it the insular nature of the islands that keeps the peace around the pool, or is political instability becoming less of an obstacle to a thriving tourism industry.  As Egypt prepares its recovery from last year’s protests, perhaps the balmy breezes of change are blowing.

Live on  in the Air

News that live Premier League football will be broadcast as in-flight entertainment was met with rowdy cheers from football fanatics across the globe.  The introduction of a mile-high live broadcast has surely got the cogs turning in the global betting and gaming market.

Location based marketing and live broadcast has so far proven to be a perfect partner to the gambling sector.  Watch this space to see how they make it relevant for the skies!

Skyscanner finds 2012’s top travel gadgets

As tech-geek travellers ourselves, we were particularly excited to read Phil Dalbeck’s guide to the top 10 travel gadgets for 2012.

Our favourite is the Powerbag, a backpack which keeps all your gadgets charged all day long! Well worth the dosh to make sure you’re always connected, wherever you are.

Britain, abroad

In preparation for a very British 2012, the Government has rolled out a ‘GREAT’ campaign to all corners of the globe including New York, Paris and Delhi to boost tourism around the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics with the aim of attracting an extra 4.6 million visitors.

Particularly striking is the Union Jack branded New York subway train.  Now that’s some westbound Central line extension!

Can TripAdvisor be trusted?

This morning the ASA made TripAdvisor strip its strapline of ‘honest travel reviews’ due to the ongoing debates around fraudulent posts and libellous wars between hotel managers and customers.

Theoretically, this should provide customers  with uncertainty surrounding its credibility to rest.  If TripAdvisor is to remain the valuable go-to site for tourists across the globe, it should have seriously reconsidered its strategy earlier.  Despite its ‘advanced and highly effective fraud systems’, the site must begin to  speak frankly to its users about the need to exercise the caution that runs hand-in-hand with user generated content and encourage impressionable readers to use the power of logic and judge reviews by quantity as well as by quality.  After all, one glowingly positive review floating in a sea of negativity is easy to spot with the right training and a good old pinch of salt.

Its continued success in the market relies on honesty in its positioning, rather than its reviews.  While TripAdvisor will never be 100 per cent accurate or guarded against fraud, what it can do is deliver a range of appraisals that guests, diners and adventurers really care about – opinions which go beyond chocolates on the pillow or the value of the chardonnay.

This landmark ruling by the ASA will force all curators of user-generated content to re-evaluate how their site is marketed.  TripAdvisor and its contemporaries document the power of word of mouth and champion the voice of the people.  What we have always known and what we must all remember; is that people – despite their refreshing candour – cannot always be trusted.


The Wednesday Wrap – things we like. . . things we love

We’re half way to the weekend which means only one thing: the Wednesday Wrap is back to round up our favourite news and views.  This week, Facebook show their social conscience, More4 makes its iconic idents work as hard as possible and Lady Gaga gets the seal of approval from the ASA.  Enjoy! 

Facebook gives back

SMEs have long been thought the key to kick-start the economy, and yesterday Facebook announced its plan to give away £4.2million in free social advertising to small firms across Europe.

Get clued up, SMEs and use it wisely!

More 4 takes us on their rebrand journey

More4 are rebranding and 4Creative, the team behind the idents echo its ‘making and building’ focused programming by releasing a rather polished video showing the work as it happens.

Take heed: there’s more to an ad than just the ad.

The ‘lost decade’ of US tourism is over

As appetite for travelling to the US reaches recovery, a safe and simple approach to visas is required, according to the Wall Street Journal today.  Current delays cost billions in lost tourism and foreign investment.  Change is essential.  Sit up, Obama.

Time Out makes TV sociable

The dream marriage of digital and TV moves further toward reality with the news that Time Out is branching out with a TV guide powered by social media.  Links to Twitter trends, discussions about shows, recommendations and ‘favourites’ are set to turn just ‘good TV’ into an event. #LIKE!

Balls in, Gaga out

The ASA has stepped in to scold Universal Records  for their risqué  Steel Panther ‘BALLS OUT’ ad on the grounds that it is demeaning to women, despite pleas of irony.

Maybe they should take some tips from Lady Gaga.  Her ‘writhing on the floor displaying her cleavage, kissing the floor and “sensually” rubbing her stomach’ in the Universal TV ad sets the standard for acceptable, apparently.  In all the confusion, one thing’s for sure: the ASA may be the best PR tool brands could hope for.

How corporate trade can work for travel

By Kate Kinnish

In December, we found ourselves with a reason to celebrate (and it wasn’t just for the holidays). After examining our financials, we saw that 2010 showed us a 316 per cent increase in media billings from our clients in the UK travel sector – predominantly tour operators, hotel chains and airlines.

While we have a range of clients, this increase proved something we’ve been saying all along: As the economic uncertainty continues (with people not travelling abroad as often as they used to), travel brands will be looking look to maximise inventory such as rooms, seats and holiday packages in exchange for advertising opportunities and ways to win new customers.

A number of hotel groups work with us by exchanging their rooms at full market value in return for a credit, which they spend on their marketing campaigns to help promote their brands. We then sell the rooms to their customer base.

Using corporate trade enables those in the travel industry, or their media agencies (with whom we work with daily), to use their existing inventory to help fund anything from TV ad campaigns and digital activity, through to printing and corporate hospitality.

If you’re in the travel industry and are looking to save money on your media spend while shifting a bit of overstock, talk to us. Last year alone, our clients used over $136 million worth of inventory to help fund media purchases – an added value and cash savings in excess of $100 million.

Top Winter Sun Destinations for 2012

By: Kate Kinnish

The snow may have started last week, but that’s no excuse not to dream of sunnier times ahead. In fact, there are plenty of fantastic places around the world that are still sunny – even in January. While you may have to go a bit further afield than Spain for 30 degree heat, you don’t have to break the bank. And because it’s off-season, many hotels and airlines offer discounted rates in order to shift rooms and seats. Here are our Top 5 picks for Winter Sun.

  1. Thailand
    It may be a year-round destination, but with flights in January running under £500 return, there’s no better time to go than in the dead of winter. Just stay clear of the east coast if you’re looking for a beach holiday – it’s the rainy season.
    Flights direct to Bangkok can be found for around £500 or less
  2. Cape Verde Islands
    Off the Western Coast of Africa, this cluster of 10 islands is a very unique mix of Portuguese, Brazilian and African culture.  There is an average of 8-10 hours of sun throughout the year, and temperatures remain in the high 20s even in January
    Getting to Cape Verde in January is a bargain £250
  3. Puerto Rico
    This island in the Caribbean is often overlooked for more ‘exotic’ island getaways, but for sun and culture seekers, it should receive top marks. In addition to the 25-degree weather, beaches and mountains, January brings the San Sebastian festival – a four-day party in San Juan complete with parades, carnival rides and music
    Flights from London in January are around £450 return
  4. Tunisia
    If you’re looking for a warmer destination not too far from home, head for the South of the country.  Here you can combine a beach holiday with an adventure holiday (the Golden South is where they filmed Star Wars and The English Patient). January weather is slightly colder (16-18 degrees) than destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, but it will feel like the tropics compared to the UK
    January flights to Tunisia can be found for as low as £88 return
  5. Mauritius
    A holiday here may break the bank, but there’s nowhere else like it. Some of the world’s most fantastic resorts and spas are located on this pristine island off the coast of Madagascar. An over-water villa in the middle of the crystal clear blue Indian Ocean may just be the best way to forget about winter coats and mittens
    A direct flight from London in January is around £720
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