Archive for June, 2011

An update from Jerome

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Hi all,

Its been a while since I said hello in these pages so I jumped at the opportunity to pen this week’s WAYN blog entry. It’s certainly been a very productive time for myself and for WAYN generally. As you are surely aware, the site is continually being upgraded and the whole team is encouraged that these improvements have had a marked upswing in traffic and buzz. You don’t have to look further than the biggest publication in our industry to know that WAYN is raising eyebrows!

And of course there’s more to come. Speaking of which, I was recently in India on a media tour where I met with the management teams of some of the top companies in the media, social media and travel space- the likes of Snap Deal, Times of India, Cleartrip and Conde Nast India to name but a few. Besides a renewed appreciation for that country and its economic potential, I came away with a sense that there is tremendous scope for some mutually beneficial partnerships between WAYN and its Indian peers- the fruits of which our Indian members can hopefully take advantage of soon! Here’s an interview that I gave to the prominent Indian blog alootechie about the trip.

On a more personal level, prior to my trip to India, I was honoured to participate at the e-G8 forum in Paris, where the leading figures from the internet industry- including Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Wales and Eric Schmidt- met for an internet summit called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The purpose was to discuss the future of the internet- especially with regards to the subject of regulation- in advance of the G8 meeting and I was very lucky to be witness to, and a participant in, some engaging discussions.

So, as I said in the beginning of this entry, it has certainly been a productive time here at WAYN HQ, and as always, the team and I continue to work to ensure that our community of members have the best possible experience on the site.

Speak soon!


WAYN signs three year, multi-million dollar advertising contract with South African Tourism

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

* This post consists of our latest press release. Visit our press section for more




WAYN signs three year, multi-million dollar advertising contract with South African Tourism

South African Tourism moves into Top 4 most social engaged National DMOs online

London, 20 June, 2011- WAYN, the largest travel and lifestyle dedicated social platform in the world today announces the signing of a three year, multi-million dollar advertising deal with South African Tourism. Under the terms of the deal, WAYN will promote South Africa to its 17 million strong membership, growing awareness and driving product via a dedicated microsite on the WAYN platform. The deal also incorporates a research element, giving South African Tourism up to the minute statistics on its audience, as well as a competition that will run on the site.

The deal is an extension of a partnership that has existed between WAYN and South African Tourism since 2009, and is testament to WAYN’s key role within the travel and lifestyle vertical as the foremost conduit between brands and consumers.

The signing of the deal comes on top of impressive growth figures in WAYN traffic and registrations since the site’s re-launch in February 2011, with traffic to the site tripling in the last six months and monthly visits surpassing 12.7 million.

The announcement coincides with a study by WAYN Insights,’s research arm, which ranks South Africa within the top four most social engaged National DMOs online. The study, which is based on the number of ‘likes’ and followers National DMOs have accumulated on their official Facebook fan pages and Twitter and WAYN profiles, found that Australia was by far the most socially engaged National DMO brand with over 1.6 million fans and followers, followed by Spain (419,978), New Zealand (400,851) and South Africa (272,540).

WAYN co-Founder and co-CEO Jerome Touze stated: ‘This new long term deal exemplifies South African Tourism’s faith in the ability of the WAYN platform to grow audience and market share, and the site’s recent re-launch has certainly made WAYN the place to be for companies operating in the travel and lifestyle vertical. We are primed to help South Africa become the most socially engaged destination in the world.”

“There are very few lifestyle choices in the world as social, or as naturally given to social networking, as travel,” said William Price, head of e-marketing at South African Tourism. “South African Tourism is determined to put South Africa at the very heart of online conversations about travel; about destinations; and about travel experiences. WAYN is the biggest travel and social media platform of its kind in the world, and our partnership with WAYN makes sense for many reasons. It gives us access to the broadest global demographic and direct access to the very people we want to invite to come and experience the amazing destination that South African is.

“We know that consumers make travel decisions after having researched and engaged with others online. South African Tourism is very serious indeed about growing arrivals beyond global growth trends and about maintaining the competitiveness boost that the 2010 FIFA World Cup brought. Our partnership with WAYN is but one component of a broader mobile and social media campaign. The relationship is set to be the lifeblood of the larger campaign. It will not only give us access to a world of consumers, but it will also give us research data and metrics to help keep our campaign relevant, our destination compelling and our arrivals growing.”


The Top Ten National DMOs worldwide in terms of Facebook ‘likes’, Twitter and WAYN followers (as at June 14, 2011):




WAYN’s pivot pays off as traffic triples – can European networks thrive against Facebook?

Friday, June 17th, 2011

*This post was originally published as an article on the TechCrunch Europe website on 16 June 2011. Click here to access the original article

By Mike Butcher

Is the recession over? Are people really hitting the globe-trotting trails again? Looks like it with news out of WAYN, the travel and lifestyle portal-turned-social-network which has pivoted several times since its launch in 2003 (making it one of the world’s oldest networks).

Back in 2009 they hit 15 million members and introduced a new feature allowing members to share their future plans – “intention broadcasting” as it’s known in the trade. It’s likely this was the best pivot of all to date.

In those two years they’ve now grown towards a total of 17 million members. But more significantly they’ve been iterating the site to the point where now, they say, the site is generating a new traffic high of over 12.5 million monthly visits, putting it above TripIt and Tripwolf, and neck and neck with Lonely Planet (according to Alexa figures). That’s a tripling of growth since their 3.7 million figure in December 2010.

It’s a long way from May 2003 when co-founders Peter Ward, Mike Lines and Jerome Touze started the site with £25,000. The site even reached profitability last year.

And it’s a significant achievement, given most people would have thought European-based social networks were going to have trouble against the Facebook juggernaut. Interestingly, WAYN has 20,000 photo uploads per day – this, despite the appearance of mobile photo apps.

What’s helping WAYN of course is its focus on its travel and lifestyle vertical – and to be frank – an extension of its audience from the typical Gap year kids (who are probaby using Facebook as well) to an older demographic which is travelling more.

WAYN’s says it now has the following key metrics:

• 17 million registered users from 193 countries – Up to 10,000 new members per day. In 2009 it had 15 million.

• 12.5 million monthly site visits compared with 3.7 million in December 2010 – a tripling of growth.

• They say their Google Analytics results show that in the last 3 months, they received 16.5m unique visitors – generating circa 35 million total visits so just about two visits per month. Time spent up to 15 minutes.

• 65,000 destinations and activities are added daily (“intentions broadcasting”)

• 875,000 daily messages sent (includes comments, messages , IMs etc)

• 20,000 photo uploads per day; 18 million photos in library

• User payments have increased by over 1000% in 9 months.

Here’s an interview I did with co-founder Pete Ward at Founders Forum recently:

Interview with Peter Ward, by mikebutcher. Uploaded with SoundCloud iPhone