Review of Google Think Travel 2012 Middle East – World Islands Dubai

The Google team hosted it’s first ever “Think Travel” event here in the Middle East today at the Lebanon Island (World Islands) in Dubai. A well-chosen, buzz-worthy venue, no doubt…most attendees were equally keen about the event as they were to see the state of the (much touted) World Islands. All in all an eventful day with a great mix of insights and industry discussions, garnished liberally with rhetoric.

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A Nifty Crowdsourced Apple iPhone App for Swiss Hotel School Students

Kudos to IMI for continuing to innovate and push the boundaries. A great story shared by dear friend and fellow tech enthusiast, Lukas Ritzel.

For the past few months some 80 international students of more than 20 different nationalities who currently study at IMI University Centre in Luzern, Switzerland have collected data to create the the world’s first crowd-sourced student guide. The iPhone App is a collaboration with Luzern Tourism which also has its own tourism city guide and covers much more than just the best places to have your pizza or beer. It’s about Swiss culture, stories about Heidi and even answers questions like: “Do Swiss people really eat most chocolate of all nationalities?”. The Student iPhone App also collects many of those insider tips which only international students currently living in Switzerland can know about, having lived abroad for such a long time.

The app is now a free download on the Apple App store from: (Direct Link). Alternatively search for “Luzern” and you will easily find the IMI University Centre iStudent Luzern app on the Apple iPhone Store.

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Understanding Why Hotels Rank Worst For Data Security And What To Do About It

The hospitality industry shares many of the same data security vulnerabilities as the retail industry — accepting and storing cardholder information and personal information collected through participation in loyalty and rewards programs — yet lags in the adoption of data security practices, which makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals. We talk to Gary Palgon to understand the basics surrounding the key data security issues and what hotels can do to secure valuable information. Though many of these issues fall in the realm of IT, knowing the basics are a must for all digital hotel marketing professionals too.

[] What are the most common problems associated with data security and how do payment cards feature here?

[Gary] The most common problem is that data is not secure; rather, it generally resides in applications and databases as unsecured, clear-text data in most cases … whether it’s payment card information or other sensitive consumer or employee information.

[] Your recent press release stated that 38% of all data security attacks were against hotels and resorts last year, making the hospitality industry the #1 target for breaches – what is the source of this information and how is this usually evaluated? (Global vs US-centric, methodology?)

[Gary] Trustwave’s Global Security Report 2010: Based on data collected by Trustwave’s SpiderLabs, this report includes analyses of investigations of data compromised in 2009, detailed technical information on top vulnerabilities, and an actionable global remediation plan.

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Web 3.0 – The Sensory Web

Here’s a great presentation by a good friend (and extraordinary hotel educator), Lukas Ritzel. Lukas presented on the topic of the sensory web (Web 3.0) at the second ever TEDx event in Switzerland (Zug – May 27, 2010).

Explore Lukas’ presentation below using Prezi, a superb presentation tool:


Here’s a video of the presentation:

CMO Marketing Outlook Report – Efficiency and Insight Key Focus in 2009

Someone from Global Fluency recently got in touch with the CMO council’s 2009 Marketing Outlook Report. I think the report reflects pretty much what we’ve been hearing lately from marketers around the globe and in every industry…the recession is not time to cut back spending on marketing – but more so to become leaner and smarter in everything we do. Measures range from shifting traditional ad spend to more efficient online channels, boosting analytics, etc. Here are the key findings from the CMO Council report, along with the PR blurb that accompanied it…hope you find it useful.


CMO Council’s Marketing Outlook ’09 Report Reveals Retaining and Training of Key Staff Critical in New Digital World; Limited Agency Turnover and Changes Are Planned

PALO ALTO, Calif. (March 17, 2009) – Customer anxiety and cutbacks are the biggest factors influencing marketing budget allocation in 2009, reports the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council in its annual Marketing Outlook study. Despite a restrained economy, however, marketers see budgets holding up fairly well with dollars being stringently controlled and directed against growing and retaining market share.

The CMO Council audit of over 650 marketers across all regions of the world indicated a disconnect between management mandates for ’09 and marketing’s limited plans to invest in automation, collaboration and process improvement. More surprising, senior marketers expressed limited aspirations to elevate their positions and forge tighter links with line-of-business executives, finance, the CIO, and IT groups. This year’s report was sponsored by the sales and marketing practice of Deloitte Consulting LLC, the Jigsaw business community, and Ad-ology.
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