To help you catch up with all of last week’s top travel and technology news, we’ve picked out the most substantial stories in the news for your reading pleasure.
Cruises attract record number of passengers - According to reports, Britons took a record of 1.7m ocean cruises last year, of which 700,000 were first time cruisers. The figures from the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that the number of passengers starting their cruise from a UK port also rose from 100,000 in 2011 to 753,000 which has been due to a rise in air fares. PSA also went on to say that if current trends continue, half of British passengers will board their cruise ship in the UK.
Royal Caribbean announced that it will base a second cruise ship in Southampton for the first time next year, almost doubling its UK capacity.
One in eight holiday packages sold are a cruise, compared with one in 25, nine years ago, said the PSA. Ultra luxury cruises saw a surge in winter holidays with a seasonal rise of 33% over the year, which related to an 8% overall increase.
The top destination remains the Mediterranean which showed a 10% increase in passengers, followed by Northern Europe in second place. However cruises around the Canary Islands and Madeira attracted 19% more passengers in 2011 than in 2010.
An emerging trend for short cruises from UK ports meant 50% of all cruises booked were for seven nights or less. The number of passengers taking a European river cruise also rose, by 7% to 80,000.
Why Pinterest works in the travel industry - Pinterest has been seen to have the potential to be the most important social strategy component for destination marketers. At its core, Pinterest is a visually appealing and addictive bookmarking site. But it has been found that the average user of Pinterest is simply not just bookmarking common links, funny videos and reminders.
While previous digital memory enhancing sites did a nice job of helping customers remember good sites, Pinterest is helping more and more customers plan. Interactions on Pinterest are not a reflection of what customers lives are like, but rather what customers want their lives to be like. A critical point of understanding Pinterest is that users are not just sharing images of their current life, travels or memories, but rather their hopes, dreams and plans for the future including travel.
For destination marketers there is a key moment of influence during the travel planning process, when a selected destination goes from a customers subconscious awareness to a must have focus. Once that decision has been made, the influence of a destination marketer’s impact is greatly reduced. Yes they can supplement, assist and inform, but the travel decision at the top of the funnel has been made. As much as destination marketers would like to believe that tourism advertising is the deciding factor for selecting a holiday or holiday location, this is rarely the case.
The power of Pinterest is not yet that obvious, however its ability to drive traffic and (perhaps) sales, opens the window into the travel aspirations of the consumer. By telling the world where they want to go, rather than where they have been, travellers on Pinterest are sharing rare insights into their demographic and psychographic preferences. And if given a choice, the majority of destination marketers would rather influence the travelling consumer prior to the destination selection, instead of after - Pinterest provides that opportunity.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the content on Pinterest is not reflective of the current moment, but rather the future. Pinterest allows the chance to steer a visitor toward a specific destination before the decision has been made, giving an opportunity to influence at the very top of the travel planning process.
However unlike the current group of social sites, where participation often seems forced rather than authentic, Pinterest presents a unique moment for destination marketers; the moment when a destination moves from passive to possible… all via a pin.
Apple unveil new iPad with high definition screen - The new iPad has a retina display which has four times more pixels than the iPad 2 with razor sharp text and richer colours, transforming the entire iPad experience. The tablet is also powered by a new A5X chip with improved graphics performance. Chief Executive, Tim Cook, claimed to have "redefined once again the category Apple created".
Apple dominates the market but should face a fresh challenge later this year when tablets running the full Windows 8 system are expected to go on sale. The new iPad, also features a 5 megapixel camera sensor. It will be able to run on 4G LTE networks where the service is available and can act as a wi-fi hotspot for other devices if carriers allow the function. It is 9.4mm thick, slightly thicker than the 8.8mm profile of the iPad 2. The basic 16GB model with wi-fi only will cost £399 and the top of the range 64GB model with wi-fi and 4G will cost £659.
Apple's Marketing Chief, Phil Schiller, said the tablet has the same 10 hour estimated battery life as the previous model using only wi-fi. That limit shortens by an hour when using 4G.
It is due to go on sale on the 16th of March in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan. The previous model will stay on sale at a reduced price, starting at £329. Mr Schiller said that would make it more affordable for schools to buy the machine.
Mixed reactions - IMS Research said Apple accounted for 62% of the global tablet market in 2011. Ahead of the press conference it said it expected that share to rise to 70% this year. Analysts at Gartner said they expected Apple to maintain its lead and increase the volume of tablets sold, but added that the launch did not contain any news to cause them to increase their sales forecasts. "I'd call the new iPad an evolutionary device with some revolutionary experiences," said Research Director Michael Gartenberg.
Others expressed disappointment following the news noting that the new device's display did not include haptic touch feedback technology or access to the iPhone 4S' voice controlled Siri "intelligent assistant" as rumored. "As tablets are increasingly being used for personal media consumption, it is promising to see a better screen resolution," said Fred Huet, Managing Director of Greenwich Consulting. "But will this be enough to ensure Apple's competitive lead in the marketplace? No."
However, the new iPad won praise from journalists at Engadget who were among the first to try out the tablet. They noted that the improved screen resolution should lead to improved apps. "Apple just put an insane amount of real estate in the hands of crafty developers, and frankly, we can't wait to see what they cook up," wrote Darren Murphy.
50 Billion devices online by 2020 - The number of web connected devices will grow more than four-fold by 2020, networking giant Cisco has claimed. The company also said that there will be more than 7 billion mobile devices globally by 2015, and that a greater use of video will mean total internet traffic will more than quadruple by 2014.
Estimates suggest there are currently 14 billion devices connected to the internet. Increasingly, however, ‘machine-to-machine’ communication, rather than mobile phones or laptops, is expected to play a greater role.
Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s Chief Technology Officer, said that she expected home networking speeds to increase twenty-fold over the next decade, and that workers would increasingly bring their own devices, such as phones or laptops to work. Although this posed security challenges, she said that users were increasingly productive if allowed to use their own technology.
Technology companies such as Citrix have already begun to give new employees a budget to spend on laptops, rather than issuing them with a company machine.
Cisco is hosting its international conference, Cisco Live, in London to coincide with its sponsorship of the Olympic Games. The company demonstrated a new type of video conferencing, bringing different users on to the same 'virtual set' and has also announced a new wi-fi router, promising a 30% performance improvement over current models. The new device, which is aimed at large scale clients such as in universities or shopping centres, is able to offer a tailored service depending on whether it is being used by mobile phones, tablets or laptops.
Cisco says it’s increasing use of the 802.11r standard will allow people to switch between networks in less than 50ms, which could make widespread use of the internet for voice calls a reality on mobile phones.