Airbnb is Changing the Travel Industry in 4 Big Ways
Jul24

Airbnb is Changing the Travel Industry in 4 Big Ways

Airbnb was founded in 2008 in San Francisco with a mission to give people a sense of belonging. Since then, the website and app have taken off and have become a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. As the name states, it’s a website that allows anyone to become a host to their own B & B, or bed and breakfast. It has become especially popular for college students and young adults due to its low prices and local venues. Hosts and guests alike have fallen in love with Airbnb, giving other travel sites such as Expedia or HostelWorld a run for their money. Airbnb.com is more than just a reservation site. When you go to airbnb.com, you are instantly welcomed with a slideshow of warm videos and the phrase “Belong Anywhere.” The search bar for a destination keeps a low profile, allowing you to immerse yourself into what airbnb has to offer. You have easy access to videos of hosts, company culture, and featured locations, allowing you to get to know what this company is about and who is representing it. When you are done checking out their owned content, you can go to your own personal profile and see where you have stayed, where you’re going, and where you wish to go in the future. They do a really great job of integrating your information with what the site has to offer, instead of keeping a very dry profile page. Side note: They even have a video dedicated to intern life at airbnb. I guarantee Expedia does NOT have that. Airbnb’s brand represents more than just a company’s trademark. Although the video above does an incredible job of explaining airbnb’s symbol, I will quickly recap. The bélo represents a pinpoint on a map, the letter ‘A’ for airbnb, a traveler, and a heart. Those four things together, in airbnb’s mind, is all you need to travel, and they’re right. Airbnb goes a step further to establish their brand with their consumers by asking travelers to create their own symbol at Create Airbnb and take it with them on trips, or if they’re hosts, have it in their windows. It’s good when a consumer an identify a brand or simple, but it’s even better when they can relate to it, and that’s nearly impossible to do. Airbnb’s app is almost too user-friendly. I first discovered airbnb through the app. I got an email from a friend that had used it before and told me to check it out. I did, and instantly fell in love. I spent hours going through cities I want to go...

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Room.me aims to help you avoid terrible roommates
Jul10

Room.me aims to help you avoid terrible roommates

In August 2012, I was starting my freshman year of college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. However, I didn’t know I would be going there until May, just three months before the first day of class. I handled the transition pretty well,  the only problem was that roommates were slim pick-ins. All of my friends that were going there had already picked roommates so I was stuck with, cue the horror music, a random roommate, and thus began the worst 9 months of my life. I would wake up to all of the lights on and Playhouse Disney would be blasting from the TV. I would receive threatening texts if one of my friends entered our room, saying they couldn’t be trusted. The room was literally divided, all we needed was the tape to go down the middle. It was a pretty miserable experience, at best. Now, three years later, I have come across a new company called room.me, a start-up that started last August based out of Berlin and San Francisco. It is essentially Tinder for finding a roommate, and it could have saved me three years ago. This July it introduced its services to the bay area of San Francisco, and there has been a lot of talk and speculation about this new company. Room.me’s mission is pretty simple: we’ll help you avoid horrible roommates by matching you with like-minded people. In order to find out who you’re compatible you must go to room.me and begin the process. Sign up through Facebook or Twitter, create a profile, and answer nine questions. The questions are pretty traditional: early bird or night owl, smoker or a non-smoker, and your preference on noise. Once you finish this quick survey, you are taken back to the homepage and you can choose if you’re looking for a roomie or a room to stay in. If you click roomie, people’s images pop up and it gives you a percentage of how compatible you are with them. If you choose rooms, you can see how much each space is, what they are asking for, and how well you would mesh with the other roommates living inside. The process is quick and the website is very user-friendly. There’s no app, but I’m sure there will be if this start-up takes off, and I believe that it will. According to a recent Zillow study adults are relying more than ever on roommate living situations to save on expenses and doubled-up households account for more than 76 percent of all living situations nationally. Furthermore, San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in, and young adults simply cannot make enough money to afford a living...

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Ready or Not, Self-Driving Cars are Here to Stay
Jul03

Ready or Not, Self-Driving Cars are Here to Stay

I feel like the past two years (2014-15) have been an ode to the blockbuster hit “Back to the Future.” Blogs, websites, and people alike are constantly bringing up what crazy inventions we should have based on Hollywood’s expectations. If we were living in the Back to the Future I & II universe, we would have things like self-tying shoes, self-walking dogs, and 19 “Jaws” movies. Even though we’re lacking Pepsi Perfect and the Lexus’ version of a hoverboard seems to be a bust, there is one thing that is actually happening that is even better than a flying vehicle: a self-driving car, brought to you by Google. “A self-driving car? Yeah, right. That’s crazy,” may be some of the things that are flowing through your mind. It is crazy, and it’s awesome. Although it has been in the works since 2009, Google first introduced the concept to the outside world in December of 2014. The world and the Internet blew up discussing this idea, but no one really took it seriously. Well, it’s about time to because Google has released these bad boys onto the roads in Mountain View, California. Yes, real roads! Although the self-driving cars are fresh out of the garage and onto the roadways, the “training wheels” are still on. The vehicles are still equipped with a steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal, and a qualified driver will be there to take over if things go awry. The cars drive conservatively, with a speed that taps out at 25 miles per hour. However, higher speeds are being tested back at Google’s headquarters. To remain cautious, they pause 1.5 seconds after a stoplight turns green since, statistically, several accidents happen during that crucial time. However, there have been some hiccups in the process of getting these guys onto the street. The Google cars have been in a couple accidents, luckily they were either idle or moving at less than 5 miles per hour. We must remember that they’re still prototypes after all! Yet, the biggest obstacle the Google car creators have faced are us, humans. People refuse to get behind the idea of a car that they aren’t in control of. Maybe we hate the idea because the human race likes to be in control, or maybe it’s the innate fear that is instilled in us of putting our lives into the hands of computers. Whatever the reason may be, we are going to have to accept that this is the most ground-breaking invention since the Internet. Self-driving cars, as stated, are run by computers. Computers don’t make mistakes. But, humans do. Whether it’s because of a drunk driver or someone who is texting, nearly 1.3 million...

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Go to Infinity and Beyond with Your Content Marketing, Thanks to Pixar
Jun26

Go to Infinity and Beyond with Your Content Marketing, Thanks to Pixar

Pixar has been a big part of my life for a long time. I never got hung up on Disney princesses or My Little Pony, instead I was always waiting for the next Disney/Pixar movie to come out. As I grew older, my love for animation and creativity never faded. I am proud to say that I have seen every Pixar film including “Inside Out,” Pixar’s newest film, that was released last Friday. When I was younger, I was in complete awe with each movie that was debuted.  The raw imagination and creativity they bestowed was astounding. As I grew older, I realized that they kept getting better. I’m an emotional person, but the stories and characters Pixar creates leaves me an emotional train wreck (don’t tell me you didn’t cry when Woody and the gang almost burned to death in the incinerator). Being 21, I am still in complete awe with Pixar, specifically how they have marketed themselves as the best storytellers of all time. Being a content marketer myself, I think we can all learn a thing or two from Pixar’s marketing and storytelling. Never forget where you started. Pixar is famous for the Easter eggs that they drop in their films. There are even theories that say all of the films take place in one universe, especially when the luxo ball and Pizza Planet truck show up in every film. More importantly, the combination of A113, which is actually the number of the animation classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where many Pixar employees start their animation career. They drop these clues to entertain the audience, but more importantly to remind themselves where they came from. Be proud of your brand’s history, and remind yourself that you’re lucky to be there. Furthermore, it assures your readers that you take pride in being apart of your company’s culture. You may not be able to hide rubber balls and codes in your writing, but you can tip your hat to the past with a few sentences. Keep it simple for the viewer, or reader. Emma Coats, a former storyboard artist at Pixar, tweeted some knowledge that she picked up at Pixar: “Once upon a time there was _. Every day, _. One day _. Because of that, _. Because of that, _. Until finally _.” This is Pixar’s guideline for each film. The movie may be elaborate, but at the end of the day it can be summarized in a couple of sentences. Use this model for “Up”. Once upon a time there was a couple in love. Every day, they promised they would go on an adventure. One day, the wife died. Because of that, the...

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8 Tips to Market Yourself the Right Way on Instagram
Jun19

8 Tips to Market Yourself the Right Way on Instagram

Instagram currently has 150 million monthly active users and 16 billion photos on the free photography app. However, Instagram has come a long way since its launch in November 2010. In its early stages, Instagram, and its users, were trying to figure out what the app’s identity was. What was its purpose? It soon became apparent that Instagram didn’t have an identity, but rather something that is completely transparent for each and every user that adds a filter to their latest post. Now Instagram is becoming an incredible marketing tool for both people and businesses alike. Whether an Instagrammer uses their profile as a selfie machine, picture book for your travels, or a DIY blog, the app is becoming as important of a social network than Facebook or LinkedIn. There are a few tips you should be following if you are representing a brand or marketing your personal brand on Instagram. Employers and customers alike can use your account as a portal to who you are and the brand you represent. Whether it’s your personal or professional account, these tips should benefit your Instagram with more likes and more followers. 1. Allow people to know the person behind the camera People like following interesting accounts, but they need to know who they’re following and why your account should be important to them. Make sure your profile picture and bio are authentic to who you are. Your image should either be a great picture of yourself or a logo of the brand you are representing. Spend time on your bio to ensure an instant connection with your audience. Expert tip: Make sure that your Facebook or business’s website link is featured in the bio, as well. 2. Create a niched community that reflects who you are Is your Instagram used for traveling? Follow travel accounts and double-tap their pictures. Do you use it for your business? Find local, national, and international businesses that are similar to your company and build a relationship with them by commenting and asking questions. In order to get quality followers you must create a like-minded community that is interested in what you are posting. 3. Don’t be selfish, get those fingers tapping! Instagram is a two-way street. You can’t expect engagement if all you do is scroll through your homepage at 2 a.m. Instead of being selfish, waiting for likes to roll in, be nice! As stated above, liking people’s pictures is great, but go the extra step by commenting and interacting with the pictures you come across. Not only will you get more engagement from that account owner, but others will see your name much easier when it is in the comments rather than in a slew of hundreds of likes....

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