Singapore Airlines leveraged eBay for Inauguaral Flight of new A380

October 23, 2007

Only 2 days left to the inaugural flight of the new super-plane Airbus 380 from Singapore to Sydney by Singapore Airlines. The new double decker Airbus A380 is due to make aviation history with
it’s first commercial flight on October 25. The flight will
be between a return flight between Singapore to Sydney.

Creating buzz, giving back, being the first, and leveraging the Internet were the recipes for Innovation for Singapore Airlines. So many companies talk about innovation, but this has been a flawless execution with taking a bit

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of risk.

Due to the demand from aviation enthusiasts to be first to fly on the revolutionary plane Singapore Airplines
have come up with a novel way

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to distribute the tickets fairly –
auction them on eBay to be paid with PayPal! All the proceeds from the
sale of tickets on the first flight will be donated to charity. eBay and PayPal will subsidise the fees and ExxonMobil Aviation are
donating the fuel for the flight to ensure the charities

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get the
maximum benefit possible. The money will be split equally between, Singapore’s Community Chest, The Children’s Hospital (Randwick and Westmead), and Médecins Sans Frontières.

The auction on eBay ran for two weeks from August 27th to September 10th, attracted over 26 million hits from over 160 countries, and generated over US$ 1.9 million for charity.
auction was one of the largest charity auctions, and among the most
complex, ever held on eBay, and the largest it has operated across the
Asia-Pacific. Some 366 auction items have been listed over the last 2
weeks, including seats in all three classes, in singles, pairs and
The eBay pages hosting details of the Singapore Airlines
A380 First Flight Charity Auction recorded over 26 million hits during
the auction, with Australia, Germany, the US then Canada making up the
most visitors to the sites. Data suggests internet users from over 160
countries visited the auction pages at some point during the auction.
Throughout the two weeks of the auction – conducted on eBay, the
world’s largest online marketplace – around 2,000 bidders pre-qualified
by paying a security deposit, while several thousand others registered,
so far buying 638 seats on both legs of the flight. A record was

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achieved for the sale of the first Singapore Airlines
Suites package on the Singapore-Sydney flight, which sold for
US$100,380 (S$153,000). The bargain of the auction was a single
Economy seat from Sydney to Singapore, which sold for US$560 (S$853). The Suite Packages include a 1:100 (2 by 2 meter) model of the
A380, a flights
paid trip to Singapore Airlines headquarters in Toulouse, France to
witness the delivery of the first Airbus A380, VIP transport to and
from your flight on the A380 including first class tickets from
anywhere in the world to Singapore and limousine

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transfers between
Singaporean purchased three Singapore Airlines Suites, two Business
Class seats and an Economy Class seat on the Singapore-Sydney sector,
paying US$56,000 (S$85,280) for the six seats.
made up the largest nationality of successful bidders (15%), followed
by Singaporeans (11%), Britons (6%), Americans (4%) and Germans (3%).
The other 60% come from all over the world. Successful
bidders ranged in age, from a San Francisco man who will turn 22 on the
day of the flight, to a 76 year old from Vancouver, Canada.

Here I am with my friend Michael Stellwag, eCommerce Director for Singapore Airlines (North America) at the iMedia Summit (toggether with Andrew Brooks from Value Click) discussing this online auction.

Have a look at this video where Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng takes the CEOs of Airbus and Rolls Royce on a tour of its first Airbus A380.

Preview of New Travel Search Engine

October 15, 2007

And new start-ups in the travel category are continuing to roll-out, which is great, and keeps it interesting. I was especially intrigued when my friend Yen Lee (originally from Vancouver – my current hometown), former head of Yahoo! Travel and former EVP at Worldres introduced me to his new venture a few months ago…and now he is ready for beta launch very soon. So we got on the phone, and I asked Yen a few questions about his new venture, Kango.

Tourism Internet Marketing Blog (TIM): Yen, what is Kango and what is the value proposition to the consumer?

We started Kango to help you make better decisions about your personal travel. Kango complements today’s travel booking sites (e.g. Expedia,, by enabling you to find travel choices based on your desired experience and lifestyle (e.g. where to go for a warm weather beach vacation or what to do on a family trip to Calgary), then move directly to your preferred travel booking site.

A personalized travel search engine, Kango collects travel options and traveler opinions from all over the web and returns the most relevant recommendations on where to go, what to do and where to stay based on your preferences. For example, we return one set of hotel and activity recommendations when you are traveling to Vancouver on a romantic getaway and a different set when you are going to Vancouver with the family. Like web search engines (e.g. Google), Kango’s recommendations to you are not influenced by advertising.

Read more

Growth of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Asia

October 13, 2007

Fairmont Raffles SingaporeI was recently in Singapore for the Global Board of Directors meeting of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and to speak on a panel

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at the HSMAI Asia Connect Conference. I then had a day before flying back to Vancouver to spend with some old friends, inlcuding Ian Wilson. Ian is the new General Manager of the Raffles The Plaza Hotel in Singapore and the Regional Vice President Asia for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. So I packed my little Flip Video Camera (just a wonderful little toy…a video camera for just $100), and decided to ask Ian a few questions about how he personally has been enjoying his first few days in Asia (since he is still living in the hotel), how he sees Fairmont’s growth in Asia, as well as the integration of Fairmont-Raffles-and Swissotel.

As a background, Ian and I became friends when we used to work together quite closely together when I headed Internet Strategy for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and him overseeing Global Distribution, Revenue Management, and Reservations. Originally from Banff, Alberta in Canada, Ian started his hotel career at the Fairmont Banff Springs and also attended Cornell University for his undergraduate

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the General Manager at Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, now together with Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Swissotel, has ambitious plans for Asia. Some of the first projects that have been announced include the famous Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
and the new Fairmont hotels in Yangcheng Lake Hotel, Kunshan in
China, Macao (also a Raffles), as well as Beijing (have a look at the interesting design).

Enjoy our litle video clip, which is taken in various locations, including

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the pool of the Raffles The Plaza Hotel, in one of the gardens at the famous Raffles Hotel, the entrance of the Raffles The Plaza Hotel, as well as from Ian’s hotel room (during a quick but heavy rain shower).

Thanks for your time Ian, and all the best of luck in Asia!

ReviewAnalyst launches service to provide Hotels simple monitoring of Online Reviews

October 10, 2007

review_analyst2.jpgI was talking to my old buddy Mike Wylie, former VP of E-Commerce at Wyndham Hotels (during my Fairmont days), and now CEO of his own Internet Marketing Agency Standing Dog. Mike and I created the HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Committee back in 2003. Over the past two years, he has been enjoying his time on his own, and got quite creative in helping his clients. He received requests from his clients to help with monitoring of blogs and review sites, such as Tripadvisor, so he
built an application to do it.

He is calling it ReviewAnalyst. For sure, there are other services out there, like Chatter Guard at steep $175/month (compared to the $99/month that Review Analyst is charging), or Google Alerts or Technorati Watchlist – but they don’t provide the analysis behind the information. I think, it is a great service as far I can tell, but the most important point is still that the hotel should work very hard to nurture happy customers and avoid negative postings; and react immediately if a negative review comes up.

I spoke to Mike a few weeks ago. Here is an excerpt of our discussion:


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MIKE WYLIE: Review Analyst monitors consumer
generated content for hotels on hotel review sites, blogs, video sites and
image sites and brings it all into a simple dashboard where they can track and
analyze the chatter and respond where possible.


TIM: Why did you develop this

MW: We understand the impact that
consumer generated hotel reviews and content can have on a hotel’s
revenue – both negative and positive. It’s something we were
actively managing for our clients and encouraging them to take notice of it and
react to it. So we built an application to make it easier to manage and
ultimately decided to roll out for any hotel.


TIM: Where does the
‘Analyst’ part come in?

MW: First we show an average rating
of the reviews over the last 30 days to show if the reviews are trending up or

Second, we perform an analysis
on the reviews to find recurring keywords to determine if the hotel might have
some challenges or opportunities. For example, ‘service’ is
the top keyword for one of the hotels we monitor. After filtering it further
based on the star rating of the review,

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the hotel identified that service was a
reoccurring theme in its negative reviews.

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By clicking on the keyword in
the dashboard, they can see all of the reviews mentioning ‘services’
and get more details.

Third, since TripAdvisor allows
management responses, we provide a guideline for how to respond and examples
which sample.


TIM: What is the cost?

MW: It’s simply $99 a month
per hotel with discounts for a group of 5 or more hotels.

TIM: What are your future plans for

MW: We will continue to refine it
and the algorithms in place. And competitor tracking will be added over
the next 2 weeks. Additionally, we are adding a fun feature to the
application to gauge a hotel’s ‘TripAdvisor Bookability
Score’. This will be based on roughly six or seven different
factors to determine how likely it is that a consumer would book that hotel
after seeing it TripAdvisor. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

TIM: Thanks Mike, and all the best! Hope to see in Vancouver for Canada-e-Connect.