Yellow Media and Google Enter Strategic Partnership to Support SMBs in Egypt

Yellow Media – Formerly known as Egypt Yellow Pages and Google Ireland have signed strategic partnership agreement that will make Yellow Media the first Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner in Egypt and the second one in North Africa.

The Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program enables strategic relationships between Google and companies that can deliver the power of Google AdWords to their local merchants. Small and medium-sized businesses working with a Premier SMB Partner receive professional, full-service AdWords account management, from account setup and activation to ongoing campaign monitoring and optimization.

The official announcement was made on April 22, 2012 in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel with tens of attendees of technology reporters and journalists from major news papers and online news and technology portals in Egypt.

The event was held by: Marc Lambert – Managing Director of Yellow Media, Ahmed Hafez – Head of Sales in Google Egypt and North Africa, Lars Mourey – Director of Sales & Marketing in Yellow Media, and Mohamed Salah – Director of Digital Media in Yellow Media.

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Following the official launch event, a 2 day intensive training course was given to 200+ Yellow Media sales professionals by the Google Egypt team. Wael Fakharany – Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa – Google gave a very insightful keynote speech about the success story of how he managed to transform Google Egypt from a country office that only had one individual (Wael Himself) to tens of millions of dollars in a few years.

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

To get a free consultation now, or to sign up for Google AdWords fully managed service by Yellow Media.

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Interview with TripAdvisor Commercial Director Business Listings EMEA, Karen Plumb

Karen Plumb, Commercial Director Business Listings EMEA, TripAdvisor

Karen Plumb, Commercial Director Business Listings EMEA, TripAdvisor

Travel review web sites and hotel reviews on online travel agencies are among the most influential forces most frequently cited by travelers when shopping. User generated content is so important and it is here to stay, it helps people to make their decisions,  TripAdvisor definitely takes the lead with more than 50 million unique monthly visitors, 20 million members, and over 50 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide containing 1 million+ hotel, restaurants and attractions in 90,000 destinations.

In this interview Karen Plumb shares with us in the power of TripAdvisor and the value it can bring  to businesses. Also Karen gives us insights about the new partnerships TripAdvisor is having with local search sites and directories to empower businesses.

Mohamed: Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Karen: I have a background in hotel marketing, having worked at both InterContinental and Thistle Hotels, where I held a variety of international eMarketing and International Marketing roles. I have also worked before in an online company at CheapFlights running the consumer email product and the hotel website, CheapAccommodation.com. I love working in the online travel environment and TripAdvisor is a great place to be.

Mohamed: How do you encourage users to post reviews? Do you run any sort of incentive programs that strengthen customer loyalty?

Karen: TripAdvisor has added badging to the site to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of our active community of reviewers. These badges serve as just one more way users can determine which reviews are most relevant to their trip-planning experience.

The first badge is given after three reviews and users that have contributed over 50 reviews receive a gold badge and a Top Contributor designation.

In our management centre, we provide owners with tools and widgets to encourage guests to write reviews following their stay.

Mohamed: Independent travelers value TripAdvisor as a research tool to find the best hotels that fit their needs and meet their budgets. Are you thinking about building a tool that would allow users to compare hotels to help them in the decision making?

 Karen: TripAdvisor is constantly searching for new ways to improve its websites to continue to help travellers plan and have the perfect trip. Users can search for hotels by relevant categories and read reviews by like-minded travellers to find the right hotel to suit their needs. Each review is also broken down into detail with travellers rating hospitality businesses on a number of factors, allowing users to make an informed decision during their holiday planning.

Mohamed: What’s your value proposition for the hotel owners? What types of hotels would benefit most by having a commercial business listing on TripAdvisor?

Karen: Whilst being listed on TripAdvisor is free for properties we offer the  Business Listings product to enables accommodation providers to add direct contact details on all TripAdvisor website domains as well as TripAdvisor’s mobile website to convert our highly qualified traffic into direct bookings.  . Accommodation providers can add their phone number, email address and website homepage to their listing as well as posting a special offer to gain additional attention

The benefit of a TripAdvisor Business Listing is that it is on a page where viewers come to look at guest ratings, reviews and photos of a specific property. According to a Forrester survey in 2007, 87% of consumers looking for hotels are influenced by reviews and want to read them before they book. If a hotel has put in the hard work to earn good reviews from their guests, a Business Listing will allow the hotel to capitalise on them.

Mohamed: Recently you have expanded in many new countries in the Middle East and have announced partnership with Yellow Medya in Turkey. How is this going to help both the hotel owners and the end users in Turkey?

Karen: Yellow Medya will be integrating TripAdvisor onto all of its platforms, including online and mobile. By doing so, users of Yellow Medya platforms will have access to TripAdvisor reviews and opinions for accommodations, restaurants, attractions and all hospitality businesses currently listed on TripAdvisor websites.   In addition in the coming months Yellow Medya are helping TripAdvisor populate our database to ensure that every tourism business in Turkey is represented and can benefit from the global coverage TripAdvisor can offer.

Yellow Medya will also be offering a TripAdvisor Business Listings Programme, encouraging accommodation businesses in Turkey to adopt the Business Listings product.

We believe adoption of Business Listings within the Turkish hospitality industry will help businesses gain more visibility in front of our large community of travellers.

Mohamed: What is the most requested feature by the users that is not ready yet on TripAdvisor? What are the new things that you are introducing to TripAdvisor in 2012?

Karen: Earlier this year, TripAdvisor launched a new integration with Facebook that instantly personalizes the site for each person who visits, surfacing trusted reviews from friends, most popular destinations among friends, and an interactive social map.

Now when travelers come to TripAdvisor websites, while logged into Facebook, they will see the activities their friends have shared first, helping them to make more informed decisions when planning their own trip.

In addition our award winning mobile site and apps are becoming increasingly popular enabling travelers to research their trip whilst on the move.


 

Want to learn more about this subject? Visit TripAdvisor for Business Blog where there are lots of information on how accommodation providers can get the most out of TripAdvisor.

About TripAdvisor:

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features (including Flights search, TripAdvisor Mobile and TripAdvisor Trip Friends) with seamless links to booking tools.

Egypt Yellow Pages Ecosystem

There is no question that local search is now one of the core services of many web and mobile applications offered today. Think about the big market players such as Google and Facebook, both of them offer “places”. Social media check-in apps such as Foursquare, verticals like hotel review sites (Tripadvisor),  restaurant reviews sites, food delivery sites, map providers such as Navteq, or even directory assistance services offered by mobile operators, all their services are based on a venue database. If they don’t get it right there is very little point in offering their services.

Think about the effort and cost needed to maintain your own database. Thousands of businesses open, close, or relocate every month. This is the opportunity where what is offered by Yellow Pages is exactly the need of all these applications and services.

Egypt Yellow Pages is no exception, the integration between Egypt Yellow Pages database and their partners is becoming a key strength for many of these applications making use of the most complete business database in Egypt covering over 220,000 listings and 170,000 map locations.

Here is the ECO-SYSTEM of Egypt Yellow Pages

Egypt Yellow Pages ECHO-SYSTEM

I’ll go through the details of each of these systems and partnerships in future posts.

6.5 Million Egyptians on Facebook

I keep hearing lots of numbers of Facebook users statistics in Egypt, the total number as of today (17 March, 2011) is

6,393,080 people

How did i know these stats? There is a very simple trick to know this number yourself… Go to the advertising link at the bottom of the FB page, click on create ad button, then you will get a page at which you can specify your targeting options…

Make sure to select the date Any-to-Any and the country Egypt, which should be selected by default if you live there. Wait for a few seconds and then you will see on the right side of the page the up to date total number of Facebook users in Egypt. The total number of users is now:

Facebook users in Egypt in March 2011

What makes a good salesman in a struggling economy?

About 9 months ago i decided to setup a self insurance / retirement plan for myself. Not believing in the value of the government social insurance in Egypt which is a big lie you put yourself in, a false feeling of being secure and covered by the time you retire… Spend 25 years working and then when you retire you will get a big fat 600 EGP per month… that’s gotta be charity not social insurance…..

I knew nothing about insurance so i contacted one insurance agent, his name is Mahmoud, who can give me an advice on which kind insurance fits me, there are basically 3 kinds of  insurance companies in Egypt: governmental, private and banks… Well, Mahmoud did a great job on teaching me the pros and cons of each kind of these companies, he got me offers with numbers from a bunch of them…. and he made his recommendation to me… of course i haven’t taken his words for granted but i did some more research by myself to reach the same conclusion that he recommended to me…

My final decision was to go with governmental insurance for a company that Mahmoud works for. Paying a yearly installment for the next 20 years… having chosen this installment to be small enough not to affect me under bad economy or whatsoever was a wise decision.

I have to pay my next installment on May, i only have 30 days to pay, if i’m late for 15 more days i pay a penalty, if i’m still late i my insurance is dropped and i have to re-active it again… Having know this i asked Mahmoud last year that i would like to pay my yearly installment on March of every year rather than May… why would i wait and put myself in this situation.

But now things are different right? the economy is not so good and people are afraid to spend money, so it is better to keep my cash until next May, perhaps until the end of may to utilize my time allowance until its end… Why would i pay now early 2 month in these current conditions? That’s probably what a typical sales guy would think. Right? Would he have the nerves to call me now and ask me to make my installment payment 2 month earlier? but guess what he did…

One day i came to the office and found that Mahmoud has left me his business card a couple of days ago when i was out of town and asked me to call him. When i called him he told me that he has lost all his contacts and he is trying to reach them by dropping off his business card to their work places… and he asked me whether i am still willing to pay my installment 2 months earlier as agreed… and guess what? i told him yes i am willing… there is no point in waiting, since i will have to make the payment anyway. He was a bit surprised himself… and he was happy of course, collections means bonus for him…

did he say “Why would i bother and call him now? the situation is not clear now… let’s wait until May” or “I lost his number, i am sure he is gonna call me back to pay at may or to cancel, i won’t bother myself finding his number again”

It is really small things that does matter… and in our struggling economy, good salesmen can have their companies economy rolling back again and in turn help the economy of their countries… People can just choose sit and assume and do the “WHAT-IF” analysis and do nothing… or they move and work hard to achieve their goals… Assumption is the mother of all screwups

This is one thing that makes the difference between a salesman and a good salesman…

Egypt Yellow Pages Partners Day

I’m a little late to talk about this one, but last Sunday, January 16th 2011, was Egypt Yellow Pages first event for 2011, the best thing we thought we would do this year with, is to honor our partners and give them a big thank you for being so awesome through 2010… Our event title is Enhancing Local Search And Location-Based Services With Key Strategic Partnerships

Hosted in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in garden city, more than 40 communications media specialists, editors and journalists covered the event that was attended by Egypt Yellow Pages strategic partners: Ministry of state of administrative development – e-Government, Nokia/Navteq, Al Masry Al Youm and Akhbarak.net

The event started with the keynote from Marc Lambert, managing director of Egypt Yellow Pages. The speech was so insightful, Marc explained how our strategic partners will help us enhance the local search services on more platforms by making it available through our partners sites and in the same time focusing on offering location based services which is the future of the local search…

 

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

Marc Lambert giving his keynote in the event

I had the opportunity then to present some figures and insights about our achievements in 2010, which ended up with us having more than 175,000 business listing in our database out of which 115,000 are geocoded. At the time i am writing this blog post, we have about 180,000 listings and approaching 120,000 geocoded listings… 2010 was also a year that witnesses tripling our website traffic from 400,000 visits per month to over 1.2 million visits, a truly new milestone for local search in Egypt.

 

 

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Mohamed Salah, Director Digital Media, Egypt Yellow Pages presentation about insights and search trends in Egypt for 2010

Our partners were the ones who presented our strategic partnership details to the media, the following were representatives of  our partners:

Mathia Nalappan, General Manager – North Africa, Nokia
Phil McKinnon, Head Of Marketing – North Africa, Nokia
Mohamed Abd El-Jalil, Head Of Solutions Sales – North Africa, Nokia
Sahar Afia, Project Manager – Government Services Development Program, Ministry Of State For Administrative Development
Kismet EL-Sayed, Shareholder / Business Development Director, Al-Masry Al-Youm
Osman Ahmed Osman, Founder, Akhbarak.Net

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