The much anticipated annual World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, generating more than £2.8 billion of business contracts between attendees, opened it's doors to the media and invited guests in London at the London ExCel with a spectacular display of song, dance and plenty of glamour on the morning of the 6th of November. It's the key event for the world's travel and tourism industry, with practically the who's who of the industry coming together to discuss important issues, close important deals and reveal new product and service offerings in a world exclusive. Below are some exclusive snippets I gathered from the action-packed three-day event.
Here is what I had to say about the importance of attending the event:
BBC News anchor Aaron Haslehurst opened the event for the media with an overview of the year for the industry. He summarised that the industry is more optimistic in 2017/8 than last year with over £3 billion in business and is set to grow. He also revealed that Italy and Greece are actually enjoying the high growth of tourism despite Brexit happening, and this trend is set to continue. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, gave an inspirational talk on his thoughts and strategy to make the national flag carrier a leading five-star airline while at the same time keep costs down. Despite being a tough year for the airline, Mr. Cruz is optimistic that 2018 will be a fruitful year for British Airways, and that cutting down on certain things, such as free in-flight food & beverages on European and Domestic routes is the correct thing to do because the majority of passengers would prefer that. Aviation experts predict that the introduction of paid services, such as in-flight Wi-Fi could also bring in extra income for airlines. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Cricket legends attend the WTM 2017
When the world comes to London!
China's economic growth will see a trend in the independent traveller- whereas before it used to be that group travel was popular in the country. Chinese visitors to the UK will also increase in the coming year. A particular reason is the awareness about global tourism generated in China via digital and social media platforms such as WeChat: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Slovenia, one of those countries that deserves more attention than they get. With great food, wine and spectacular views, this is a country that offers a lot for the tourist and is not that expensive either. Foodies delight, Slovenia will be a major hit list in 2018 according to industry experts. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
THY Turkish Airlines had one of the biggest stands I have ever seen displayed by an airline. The award-winning airline has constantly been voted the best in Europe and offers more routes worldwide than any other airline...will they be the next Singapore Airlines? We shall see. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
SAUDIA- Saudi Arabian Airlines unveiled new Business and First Class seats and products during the WTM 2017. They have ambitious plans to operate to over 200 routes by 2020 and maybe even plan more routes to London, a traditional destination for them, and to emerging markets such as India and China. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Busy dramatic London sky earlier today. An Airbus A300B4 of DHL on approach to Heathrow's runway 27L (at around 3,000 feet and descending on the ILS glideslope), while a BA Embraer E190 crosses paths at around 2,000 feet on approach to City Airport (they are using runway 09 today). Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
(L to R) John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures; Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online; and Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute at the Reuters Tomorrow's News 2017 event in London, June 14, 2017. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
It’s been a year of huge change and disruption for the global news landscape. On the evening of 14 June at One Marylebone in London, the Tomorrow’s News 2017 event hosted by Reuters unveiled some of the key news consumption shifts in the last 12 months, what’s influencing news attitudes and behaviours, and what the future holds. Some of the key questions revolved around fake news and to understand what are facts worth and how they are verified.
The lively discussion was attended by some of the key influencers in the media industry.
On the discussion panel were Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online and Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign. The discussion was chaired by John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures Reuters.
The opening and closing speeches were conducted by Jeffery Perkins, Commercial Director, EMEA, Reuters. The discussion revolved around a report published by Reuters, which included a global survey of 1,711 Reuters.com users, and the findings which show that while fake news can be damaging for both news brands and advertisers, brands which advertise on trusted news sites can benefit. Unfortunately, Ben de Pear – Editor of Channel 4 News could not make it to the event because he was busy covering the tragic news of the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London.
Some of the findings of the report included:
Some of the highlights of the event included:
Chinnappa said that Google is “trying to give the answers that the users are looking for when they search, which is a very specific thing. So, for us, when you look at false news, on some levels, that’s news spam. It’s people trying to game the system. And we’ve been trying to fight that from the beginning of Google. He noted that as a father he understands the need for security and privacy of content on the site, especially when it comes to graphic content- and that Google is working very hard to make sure that brands and individuals are not lined in with the graphic content and are moderating the content that is published. He also mentioned that it is a challenging task.
Malinarich noted that brand attribution or recognition on social media is difficult. “If you spend your whole day snacking on Facebook, you know you’ve read things about Trump or whatever it is, but you don’t who wrote them or made the video at the end. …it’s just kind of a jumble in your head and you remember the actual stories and the headlines, but you don’t really remember who provided that.” One of the best things I heard was when she said that the problem with mainstream media is that the majority of the key decisions on stories are made by a select few group of networked people and not the mainstream junior staff and that is challenging to change. Does that mean that stories are biased or that editors tell their staff to write stories to shift the public’s viewpoint of someone in government or create a base for a public debate through influence? Maybe.
The way people buy online advertising, McCabe said, was to look for the cheapest way to find people who look like they might be interested in their brand. “That means they don’t pay attention to necessarily where the ad is going to run, so then you have the situation where people are chasing numbers by any means. It’s definitely something advertisers need to be wary of.”
On fake news, Newman said “Whose responsibility is it? Is it publishers, is it platforms, is it users? In this world, it’s all of those. Users get the benefits of greater choice, but downside of that is they have to do more work themselves to work out what is true and what isn’t.
They are, and they relish that. They see that trade off when you talk to them. From a publisher’s point of you, they need to do more about transparency. From a platform point of view, they need to do more as well to show the value of brands.
One of the key trends that nobody spoke about was Big Data and the effect it could have on the publishing and media industries. I mean, for example, if you have one person who has spread fake news then how much of an effort in terms of time, money and human resources would it take to turn that mistrust with the public into a credible and trustworthy piece of news? How much of a help would Big Data have in this, if any?
Other main areas of discussion revolved around the following key areas:
(L to R) Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute; Jeffery Perkins, Commercial Director, EMEA, Reuters; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online; Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign; and John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures at the Reuters Tomorrow's News 2017 event in London, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Wedding cake and card given by Emirates airline cabin crew on flight to Dubai from London. Great flight...photos on their camera came out better (yes, hard to believe that a PHOTOGRAPHER could not take his own photo!)...never had 12 crew surrounding my seat...what a celebration!: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Noodles, green peppers, diced chicken thigh, Chinese spices and voila! Though, I am just a student...chef in the making.
When your fiancée is flying from London back to her hometown in China for Chinese New Year and in order to prepare for our wedding (which is on Chinese New Year itself!), you want to do something to make her trip extra special. Unfortunately because of logistical and personal reasons, I could not go on the same flight as her, and will be joining her a week later in Yangzhou. So, I passed a kind request to the lovely team in the PR department at British Airways to see if they could do something. I was hoping that the Captain would make an announcement, but the wonderful crew of flight BA169 from London to Shanghai exceeded all expectations. Not only did they upgrade her to Business Class (known as Club World at BA), but she was given a surprise congratulatory announcement in-flight. I could only wish I was there, but what a flight she had. Great stuff. Massive thanks to the Senior Purser, Captain and the whole operating crew of BA169, and of course, the ground staff at BA's head office in London. You guys are amazing. The perfect customer service that one can ever hope for.
The tube strike in London has brought some positive news...had an interesting commute to work on an old London bus this morning- complete with a conductor, who not only collects tickets but provides a full customer service and controls the number of passengers on the bus: "Hold on tight then", "No passengers allowed to stand up on bus"... Last time I took one of these was in the 1980s!
Finally, we can all say "Thank god it is over"....I am, of course, referring to seeing the end of 2016. In a year that saw Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States of America, numerous terrorist attacks around the world, terrible natural disasters in Italy, Chile among other places, and the deaths of many famous people, I am sure we would all like to put this year behind us and move forward.
For me personally, 2016 has been good because I got engaged to a wonderful woman, and 2017 is going to be an even exciting time as we both prepare to get married in January during Chinese New Year. I have been overwhelmed by a feeling of thankfulness. This year has been perhaps the best year of my life so far. I am grateful for the support and love of my friends and family and above else, I am grateful for an amazing job and a career that many others dream of having- I LOVE my job as a writer. I am grateful for my fiancée, Vicky, for the incredible positive influence she has had on my life and the constant motivation she provides to me.
This was my first time to visit the New Year eve's fireworks in London. Usually, every year we stay at home and watch the event on TV. However, given that I was provided two media tickets to cover the event, both Vicky and I enjoyed what must be the best New Year festivities ever. It was also nice to bump into the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who took time out of his busy schedule to come and briefly chat to the media. What a year it has been for him and if there is one piece of great positive news in 2016, then it has to be Sadiq Khan being elected by the people of this great city as their mayor.
One piece of advice for anyone who wants to visit the fireworks display next year - try to stay on the Embankment side of the river as that is the place to capture the best views (and avoid the thick smog from the fireworks afterwards!). Here's cheers to a healthy, prosperous, safe and joyful 2017 for all of us.
Looking for a nice, quiet and elegant place to have your anniversary dinner? I would highly recommend the Les 110 de Taillevent in Cavendish Square in London- just perfect. The chef may also conjure up a few culinary surprises too!
...a great man in Hammersmith. I know very well from my time while working at the Walt Disney company in Shanghai and Suzhou how much important it is to provide excellent customer service....it could be a smile, a hello, a greeting by addressing your first or second name (The Ritz-Carlton way!) or just a simple genuine gesture or action that speaks volumes and effectively says "Thank you...you're a valued customer and we want you to come back to us." This barista (he was too shy to have his photo taken) at a Starbucks store went one step ahead and asked me for my name and wrote it in a stylish signature. THIS is what customer service is all about. Will be back for sure.
Time to go back to Shanghai (via Hong Kong)...def will beat DHL to get my parcel to the British Embassy- as that would have taken 3 days...quickest turnaround...12 hours of running around London getting errands done (including a quickfire shopping trip to Harrods) and 8 hours of bliss sleep thanks to a great book by James (read his book...perfect for long-haul flights and short stopovers!). Ciao London...
A typical commute in London. Most of us to do this everyday. The queues are long, but there is a steady flow and no one pushes anyone else (like in other parts of the world) and rest assured that your pockets are safe too (well...just take care like anywhere else...but London is SAFE as can be!): Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Absolutely shocking, utterly unbelievable and very sad to read about the senseless and brutal murder on the streets of England of Jo Cox MP yesterday afternoon. Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed outside her constituency surgery in West Yorkshire on Thursday the 16th of June. The UK is going through a sensitive period in history because on the 23rd of June, the people of Britain will decide if we want to remain in the European Union (EU) or not. Mrs. Cox, who was a Labour MP, was campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU. Yes, during these times you may expect some voters to become emotional and so on, but you never expect someone to physically hurt or kill a politician, or anyone for that matter, just because they believe in something that is different to yours. That is not what the ethics of the UK stand for - we are a democracy, and in a democracy peoples viewpoints should be respected no matter what.
The world needs peace, stability and love. Hatred has no place. One of the fundamental teachings of any democracy is that you may not like someone or their viewpoints, but you got to respect them no matter what. The evil man who committed this heinous crime would sure see that both the law and karma itself will bring him to justice.
I have never met Mrs. Cox. But, I, like many people across the country, have been deeply affected by this...you don't expect this to happen here...not like this...not to a true humanitarian like her. My thoughts and prayers with her family and may she rest in peace.
'Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous' - Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox MP
In a world that has become digital and where media outlets are competing to report honest and reliable news that is delivered accurately and with speed, the question on everyone’s minds is, what is the future of news? This was exactly the topic of discussion at an event hosted by Thompson Reuters earlier this week, where panellists discussed how audiences of tomorrow will consume and engage with journalism, which platforms and formats will dominate, what tomorrow’s news will look and sound like and how it will be monetised.
Navjot Singh, editor of 12ahead.com at The Knowledge Engineers, attended the live discussion held at the EMEA HQ of Thomson Reuters in London on the 1st of June. The event, named ‘Tomorrow’s News’, was a follow-on industry discussion that derived from an important survey by Reuters.com into the news reading habits of over 1,200 of the site’s users, which was released earlier on the same day that the panel discussion was held. The publication’s digital executive editor Aron Pilhofer from the Guardian said it was “doubling down” on paid-for membership after signs of decline in digital display advertising within the industry.
Eighty-four per cent of respondents of the survey said they were interested in receiving breaking news, and 85 per cent of them said they do so by checking multiple sources. The survey also highlighted that when it comes to people's desire to pay for quality news – 62 per cent of those surveyed agreed they would not consider paying.
The research also sheds some light on what digital trends and new technology formats are likely to influence how younger Reuters.com readers will consume news in the future, with over ninety-three per cent agreeing that the increasing power of mobile devices will play an important role, while 88 per cent also cited mobile app development as a factor.
Apart from Pilhofer, panellists at the discussion, which was broadcast live on Facebook Live and on Periscope, included Mark Challinor, head of the INMA, Google’s Eero Korhonnen, Nathalie Malinarch, editor for mobile and new formats at BBC News Online and NowThis president Athan Stephanopoulos. The panel discussion was moderated by John Pullman, global head of video and pictures at Reuters.
In an era of distributed content, what does a news brand mean and do they have a future, especially when a news article ends up on a social media platform? Ms. Malinarch said that trust is important when it comes to a news article, and the accuracy and reliability of a news item determines how much an importance a brand is.
She specifically pointed out that in an environment like Facebook, where the distinction between news outlets seems to become blurred when everyone is covering a particular story in a similar video format with text on screen, there will be characteristics that will make individual publishers stand out. "Certain news brands are a destination and they will continue to be." She said.
"If you spend 30 minutes in your Facebook feed watching videos, at some point you are no longer sure where they came from. Why would people look for the Guardian or BBC on Facebook? They need a reason to do that and publishers need to work out what that reason should be.”
"The distinguishing quality can be the outlet's personality, or impartiality, or trustworthiness."
Pilhofer said that the Guardian views print news as “the bridge to our future”, as he revealed it is managing the traditional news medium for decline while looking to drive growth from digital and membership. The key question asked was ‘Who is going to pay for news in the future?’ and ‘How is it going to be funded?’
In regards to how are we going to actually pay for news in the future, it goes without saying that there is an awful lot of gloom in the industry at the moment with bad news being heard almost every other day. So, for example, just in the last ten days we’ve had the Daily Mail UK saying that there has been a collapse in ad-spending and share prices falling by more than ten percent, disappointing revenue figures from the New York Times, Buzzfeed missing revenue targets, and to make matters even worse we have seen data that one in five people in the world are actively using an ad-blocker on their smartphone. So, with all of this in mind, the key question is, where is the money coming from?
In response to John Pullman’s point that the Guardian is shockingly losing over a million pounds a week (!), Pilhofer went on to comment: “We all know what’s happening with print, that hasn’t really changed. It’s a constant decline and I don’t think I’m going to be breaking any news here by saying that isn’t going to change. We know where that story ends.”
Agreeing with Pullman, a confident Pilhofer went on to say: “It is without a doubt incredibly challenging. The thing that has happened recently is that digital display [advertising] has absolutely cratered. The New York Times, for example are down one per cent year on year on digital display after years of growth – sometimes high double digit growth – and so where does that revenue now come from?. Revenue has to come from readers and so we are doubling down on membership which we launched about a year and a half ago. So that’s where we see the opportunity and the one place where we really can start to drive some revenue.”
In regards to the payment subscription and the sensitive issue of paywalls, Pilhofer said The Guardian was not considering a paywall, despite previous statements from the company that members are likely to gain access to more content in future as part of their subscription.
“I think the danger with a paywall is you put up a paywall and then do nothing else and suddenly the money starts coming in – and that’s exactly what we saw with the New York Times – it explodes then it plateaus and everybody goes ‘oh good, the internet’s solved”, explained Pilhofer.
He continued: “The danger with paywalls is they can lull you into a sense of complacency so you don't look at the fundamentals of your business. For example a business that has been for almost 200 years, in our case, oriented around a single product that is a printed newspaper.”
“Now we’re getting into a world in which you have to think about suites of products and new products and new revenue streams and how do you realign a company that has been fundamentally organised around one thing to be reorganised around many things and what is the role in particular, in our case because we are an editorial-led organisation, what is the role of editorial in that?”
“That’s why membership, which fundamentally has to be driven by editorial, is transformative and is the thing for us that will push us in the direction we need to go.”
He added: “The strategy is not anti-print. Print is a big piece of what we’re doing but we are managing it for decline because that’s responsible and that’s just frankly the way things have been heading for the past 15 years.”
“We talk about print as being the bridge to our future and that’s actually the right way to think about it and that’s the way the New York Times is thinking about it.”
“You’re ring-fencing costs and you’re thinking about how we can manage to create the best possible print product every day, which we do, and still drive growth where growth is – and that’s going to be on the digital side. It just is. It’s not going to come from the print side.”
The Guardian's data insights team looks at metrics for success that can be aligned with the outlet's strategy, including that of attracting paid members.
Athan Stephanopolous of NowThis said the company's insights team works closely with editorial to "measure the performance of every single piece of content on each platform" it publishes on, but putting this data in the larger context of "success" differently according to each platform's specifics. He confirmed that Snapchat has become its most important platform - now 15% of monthly traffic.
"We have to think about people's behaviour. If we only consider the stories that are important to us, it's a futile exercise if people are not interested in them. Said Stephanopolous.”
He went on to say: "When someone likes your page, they're essentially giving you the authority to enter their newsfeed, so we have to take that seriously."
Click here to watch the full discussion, as recorded live on Periscope.
This article was first published on 12ahead.com and on the blog of The Knowledge Engineers.
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