Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

On the road…

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Hello WAYNers, hope this update finds you well!

I thought it was time I gave you an update on what has been happening here at WAYN HQ over the last few weeks. It certainly has been hectic, as it always is! I’ve had the privilege of attending a few key conferences and visiting partners in some exciting corners of the world and one of my most recent  trips was to Kenya to attend the E Tourism East Africa Summit at the beginning of September. My presentation covered the importance of social media for the travel industry, highlighting in particular our partner Journey Kenya, who are winding up a successful campaign on the WAYN platform and how to best engage with users in a social media context by providing relevant offers and original competition ideas.

You can check what Journey Kenya has done on WAYN here:

The conference got a lot of coverage in the press and we were delighted to be featured as a page lead in Business Daily – you can read the full article here

Earlier in the summer I also attended and presented at another successful conference on digital media in the Middle East, which took place in Jordan, as covered by the Jordan Times In fact, I came back from both Nairobi and Amman reassured that there is a steady increase in understanding from players within the global tourism sector, of the importance of the web and social media as a strong marketing tool. Let’s hope this translates in more activity online!

Owing to our participation in such conferences, WAYN has been getting quite a few mentions in the press as of late. Additional coverage followed the publication of the results of our European Travel Survey. As some of you may remember, my last blog entry coincided with the launch of our new research division ‘Insights’, so it is great to see that our Research unit is already showing some results! You can read the press release about the survey results here

Still on the PR front, you may like to see one of the latest interviews on the WAYN Story that was done for Frog Valley, an initiative for keen entrepreneurs! you can view it here :

Interview from Frog Valley

Finally, we are getting ready for the World Travel Market conference, taking place this year in our own backyard- London. I will be making a presentation on the social media revolution as part of its expanded Technology and Online Travel event program (, and I’m looking forward to forging partnerships with many of the participants in this ever growing global travel and tourism market – Hopefully, see you there!

But before WTM, there will be certainly more travels for me: France, Poland, Jordan (hopefully) and California…

On the road…again! :)

Safe Travels

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Greetings, after a memorable few days at Le Web!

Jerome and I were in Paris this week for what has got to be the biggest conference covering the web and social media that I have ever been to in Europe. Over 2,000 of the leading people from the digital media world, representing nearly 50 countries, turned up to mingle, be inspired and hopefully learn something new.

Le Web audience

The theme of this year’s event, which was celebrating its 5th year, was the real-time web. And as Hermione Way posited on her recent Video blog, you can’t get more real-time than Twitter! The tweet stream which was being displayed alongside the speakers for most of the conference sessions was moving so fast that you could barely read it. It’s amazing though how people will still post their tweets for their 3 seconds of fame and to foster engagement amongst their followers.

I think we can all learn a lot from what Twitter has achieved.  What on the surface looks like a really simple user interface, is in reality an powerful broadcast and engagement platform that has taken the world by storm. We were fortunate enough to hear from the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey who is also acting Chairman. Jack was a great inspiration and I found the story behind what led him to invent Twitter very enlightening, as it touched on the importance of knowing where people are and what they are doing.


Here at WAYN, ever since the beginning we have always believed in the potential value of real-time engagement based on your whereabouts and activities and we are busy working on a variety of capabilities that will hopefully unlock some of the value being demonstrated in this area, but more as a compliment to the way people use sites like Twitter and Facebook, rather than instead of. I look forward to announcing more on this in the New Year, but in the meantime, check out our new Activities offering, which is one of the first in many steps we are taking to broaden our appeal beyond travel.


Jack’s new invention – Square – is quite simply – ingenious! Soon, we will all be able to transact with others via our mobile devices without having to be set up as a business merchant with companies like Natwest Streamline. Instead, you will be able to get your Square adaptor and raise all the money you need from your friends, family and fools to set up your next bootstrapped venture by simply asking for their credit card 😉


There were many other highlights such as people like Chris Brogan reiterating why culture is so important, along with many other amazing speakers who are helping to change the world. I could go on for ages and I’d be only scraping the surface, but there is one other aspect that I really wanted to add a  special mention to, and that is the folks at Microsoft Bizspark. Microsoft can often get a bit of bad press from the early adopter community as many entrepreneurs see them as the slow moving giant that can’t compete with the cachet of Apple for example. However, when you consider the fact that Microsoft remains the world’s largest software company, that is to be expected. However, for WAYN, Microsoft represents an important enabler for our business and many people tend to forget that many of the world’s leading technology stacks rest on a Microsoft based platform, like ours does.


The Microsoft BizSpark program is a fantastic example of how Microsoft are working with a number of start-ups to help them succeed. Particularly those on BizSpark One, which helps accelerate the growth of high potential start-ups like us, through nurturing a one-to-one relationship with Microsoft. The reason I am “bigging” these guys up is because they really pulled out the stops for us this year to show their support. It is thanks to them that we were bestowed the privilege of attending Le Web as they sponsored our tickets and also gave us access to our own booth, like all the other BizSpark One companies. And last but not least, and certainly most enjoyably – they helped put on the best parties at Le Web, which brought everyone together and strengthened relationships, which can be priceless. They even had the brands of their BizSpark partners flashing up on the screens in this trendy boutique that housed us for the Drink Tank after party on the closing night, which was a nice touch. For those of you who are keen to find out more about the various perks you get as a BizSpark partner and would like to take advantage of their various technology platform benefits on Micrsoft SQL and Azure cloud computing for example, you can find out more here.

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Peter Ward and Jerome Touze at the BizSpark One Stand at Le Web 2009

That about wraps it up for this instalment. Le Web, as Loic Le Meur said himself “has become a platform” for us tech and new media geeks from around the world to benefit from. For me it was great to see some of the familiar faces from across the internet sector. Le Web has definitely morphed from a European event to a Global one and represented one of the top 5 trending topics on Twitter, generating over 100,000 tweets. Hats off to both Geraldine and Loic, for pulling it off! They definitely learned from most of the mistakes from last year. My only one complaint?.. Why couldn’t the food be as good as the Nespresso coffee? 😉

Roll on next year…