07 October 2015

#178 - Ch.. ch.. ch.. changes


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #178 1400 BST (UK), Weds 07 Oct

Ok, it's time (long overdue, actually) for some changes around here.

The weekly Hangout on Air format is not working. It's increasingly hard to attract guests and audiences on a weekly basis, and distracting (from other work) too.

So, after three years of weekly HOAs (you can't say I'm not persistent!), this will be the last one.

Travel Coffee Break will continue, but my plan now is to produce around one a month, plus the short-notice pop-up HOAs that I often host from events like next month's World Travel Market.

The monthly HOAs will be on specific travel/tourism topic areas, with numerous guests, and trailed long in advance.

I'm also dabbling with mobile Youtube livestreaming. I can already livestream from my laptop onto the Travel Coffee Break Youtube channel, but Google have just teamed with Samsung to offer mobile livestreaming on their S6 phones running Android 5.1 Lollipop (eat your heart out, Periscope!), which I can livestream only on my alastairmck Youtube channel at the moment, but hopefully soon on the Travel Coffee break channel too.

Anyway...

For this last edition, I'll be chatting with aviation expert Malcolm Ginsburg about the latest airline industry news. You can watch & ask questions on the event page.

Image: Bigstock/thinglass


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

30 September 2015

#177 - Really? Already?



Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #177 1400 BST (UK), Weds 30 Sep

Really? It's Wednesday already?

You can tell I'm prepared (not) for today's edition! It might be brief. I'm hoping Malcolm Ginsburg will be ok for his usual Aviation news briefing... but if not you are likely to just get me blathering on for a few minutes!
You can watch & ask questions on the event page.



This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER.

You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

15 September 2015

No show this week

KLM B787 Dreamliner over the Dutch coast

As I suggested last month, this week's edition (Weds 15 Sep, 1400 UK) won't be happening - I have other stuff getting in the way - but I am hoping, if the timetable and WIFI work out, that I may do a pop-up hangout or a periscope on Thursday/Friday when I'm visiting KLM's Control Centre and Social Media Hub in Schiphol.

To get the notification, keep an eye on the Travel Coffee Break G+ page, but more importantly, make sure you are following me on Twitter. Likewise my Twitter ID, @alastairmck, is also my Periscope ID, if you want to get 'Scope alerts.

09 September 2015

#176 - Aviation News from Vietnam


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #176 1400 BST (UK), Weds 09 Sep

It's back to the routine, after last week's flurry of activity surrounding the Blogstock festival... Except for Malcolm Ginsberg, our aviation expert, who is flying out to Vietnam & back on their shiny new Dreamliner.

You remember the one? It made a dramatic take-off at the Paris Airshow in June, climbing away almost vertically!

Anyway, Malcolm has worked out that he will be on the ground in Vietnam at Travel Coffee Break time, so if (BIG 'if') the WIFI Gods are on our side, he should join us from there, to deliver his weekly aviation news round-up.

Also, at the end of the week I'll be moderating a panel discussion at the Wonder.London social media conference, and it's possible the conference organiser, Oliver Gradwell, will pop in to talk about.

If neither show up, then you'll just get me blathering on for a while!

You can watch & ask questions on the event page.

Image: By ERIC SALARD from LE GRAND VILLAGE PLAGE, FRANCE (VN-A861 787 LBG SIAE 2015) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

27 August 2015

#175 - Eyes Free Navigation


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #175 1400 BST (UK), Weds 02 Sep

When you are walking through the streets trying to find your destination, or just exploring, are you focused on your surroundings, or just your phone?

Thought so!

Navigating your way around unfamiliar territory often results in us missing out on seeing the finer details as we keep our eyes glued to a phone to follow a map and/or read information about the surrounding sites.

It doesn't have to be that way. Google has spent a lot of time and effort developing and refining Google Voice Search, to the point where it is pretty sophisticated, and definitely under used!

Case in point: I use it quite a lot, so a few weeks ago when my girlfriend phoned me in a panic because she couldn't find the French restaurant where she was supposed to be having her next meeting, all I had to do was say "OK Google, where is Villandry St James?" for it to instantly appear in Google Maps. Now that is pretty clever (given my French accent!) and very close to the 'Star Trek computer' standard they have as a declared goal.

Later this day (Weds 02 Sep) travel photographer & online influencer, Macca Sherifi, with some Google folk, will be leading a demonstration tour (Press only. By invitation.) of London’s King Cross area, using the Google app and Google Voice Search. It's Google's first ever "Eyes Free" review tour, and will highlight how, if you ask Google a question, you will be answered verbally, allowing your eyes to wander free!

Macca will join me to talk about Voice Search and its uses & benefits.

And, my regular guest, aviation & business travel expert, Malcolm Ginsberg, will be here as usual to update us on the last aviation news.

You can watch & ask questions on the event page.
Image: CC Flickr/Bruno


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

25 August 2015

#174 - Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp

Red Star Line Museum

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #174 1400 BST (UK), Weds 26 Aug

Between its birth in 1872 and its demise in the 1930s, the Red Star Line carried thousands of desperate immigrants from Europe to America.

That story is told in the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, where the hopes, fears & condition of the migrants are highlighted in their personal stories, which, in turn, resonate in our own contemporary news from the Mediterranean.

Travel writer, Roger Bray has been to the museum and is joining me to talk about it.

And, my regular guest, aviation & business travel expert, Malcolm Ginsberg, will be here to update us on the last aviation news.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.

Image: CC Flickr/John Lord


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

Forward Planning


Blogstock, Amsterdam, Tenerife, Norwegian Escape

I have some tweeks and adjustments to the normal weekly schedule (IE Wednesdays at 1400) in mind...

Week beginning... Normal edition, Weds 1400 UK - Will it happen? What's different this week?
Mon 31 Aug Yes - Main Topic: Using voice commands on Google Maps  Extra pop-up HOAs, Livestreams & Periscopes.
As with last year, I'm planning to do some 'live' streaming from the Blogstock festival on Fri 4th & Sat 5th Sep. These will be short-notice. They may take the form of HOAs if there are remote guests who would like to join, but I'm thinking I might just livestream interviews through Youtube. It's also likely I'll try a few 'scopes' so if you want the alerts for those, make sure you are following me on Periscope.
Mon 7 Sep Yes Nothing. Normal week.
Mon 14 Sep Possibly not I'm going to meet the KLM/Air France social media team in Amsterdam on the Thursday. I may do this week's HOA from there, or just a simple 'scope'.
Mon 21 Sep No No show this week. I'm on holiday in Tenerife. But you never know. I might do an impromptu 'scope' or two.
Mon 28 Sep Yes Nothing. Normal week.
Mon 05 Oct Yes Nothing. Normal week.
Mon 12 Oct Possibly I may move the HOA to Tues 13 in the evening to co-incide with a BGTW.org social media evening.
Mon 19 Oct Yes Nothing. Normal week.
Mon 26 Oct No
I'll be on board NCL's latest ship, Norwegian Escape, and may do a 'scope' from there.

18 August 2015

#173 - Cycling the West Coast of Ireland


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #173 1400 BST (UK), Weds 19 Aug

Paul Kennedy has a great job.

He organises cycle tours along the 'Wild Atlantic Way' from one end of Ireland to the other, in 6 days... or 10, if you want to be a little more relaxed about it.

He'll be joining me to talk about Wild Atlantic Cycling, including the itineraries, the dramatic landscapes, and the fun they have along the way.

And, if he can finish his meetings on time and find some wifi, I'll be joined by my regular guest, aviation & business travel expert, Malcolm Ginsberg. We'll be talking about the latest airline news.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

11 August 2015

#172 - Blogstock Preview

Audience in a tent during Blogstock14


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #172 1400 BST (UK), Weds 12 Aug

Last summer a rather unique festival was launched at Elstree, just outside London.

Blogstock is a 2-day gathering of social media experts, travel bloggers, parent bloggers, fashion bloggers, videographers, travel companies and digital/social media startups, in a field in Aldenham Country park, and, after its hugely successful first year, it's back for a bigger & better second year.

The company behind Blogfest is Traverse events. Traverse is already known for its traditional travel blogger conferences, and its social networking "Mingles", and Michael Ball, one of the founders of Traverse, is joining me to preview Blogstock 15, which gets underway on 4th September.

And, as usual, I'll be joined by my regular guest, aviation & business travel expert, Malcolm Ginsberg. We'll be talking about the latest aviation news, including no doubt the sale of London City Airport.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.


05 August 2015

#171 - Aviation Roundup


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #171 1400 BST (UK), Weds 05 Aug

A short edition this week. I'll be joined by my regular guest, aviation & business travel expert, Malcolm Ginsberg (www.btnews.co.uk). We'll be talking about the latest aviation news.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.



This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

26 July 2015

#170 - Luxury Canal Cruising in France

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #170 1400 BST (UK), Weds 29 Jul

Travel writer, Mary Anne Evans, has just returned from a leisurely barge cruise in the Tarn valley with European Waterways, and will be telling me all about it. And I hope I may be able to get somebody from European Waterways to join us and talk about the other options in their portfolio of river & canal cruises.

I've got space for a second topic; if you have a travel item you'd like to talk about, let me know.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

16 July 2015

#169 - Timelooper


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #169 1400 BST (UK), Weds 22 Jul

We are time-travelling this week!

Timelooper is a location-based mobile virtual reality (VR) time travel app that enables users to see a location as it was in the past.

Woman using a Timelooper headset
Timelooper.com are launching their VR app on Weds 22nd July at a series of historic locations in London, and just before they do (literally a couple of hours before they do), their CMO, Elizabeth Clark Cummins, will join me in this week's hangout to explain how it works, and why we - tourists, and especially attractions & destination marketers - should be excited about it.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.


Images:
Steampunk Time Travel - Bigstock/Prometeus
Timelooper in use - Timelooper




This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

08 July 2015

#168 - Walking, Cycling & Cruising

Three walkers look acros landscape

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #168 1400 BST (UK), Weds 15 Jul

There are two main themes for this week - gentle activity holidays (walking, cycling, kayaking) in Europe... and cruising.

Four weeks ago a team of bloggers embarked on 30 days of gently active holidays with Headwater Holidays in Europe.

Under the hashtag #30activedays, five bloggers have been filming, tweeting, & posting as each spends 6-days on the road (and path) in Italy, France & Austria.

They are...
"We decided it was a great way to celebrate our 30 years of selling relaxed walking and cycling holidays," says Headwater's Marketing and PR Executive, Melanie McAnaw, "with one 30-day itinerary covering some of our key destinations."

I will be joined by blogger, Abigail King and hopefully some of the others, to talk about their experiences, and by Melanie MacAnaw from Headwater to talk about their holidays.

AND...

My regular guest, Aviation & Business Travel expert, Malcolm Ginsburg, should be joining us 'live' (if the Interweb gizmos and WIFI Gods are onside) from Royal Caribbean Cruises' Explorer in Gibraltar.

As usual, you can watch & ask questions on the event page.

Image: Walkers CC Flickr/Christine McIntosh
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This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

07 July 2015

#167 - Bespoke Touring

Sri Lankan Buddhist monks on the beach.

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #167 1400 BST (UK), Weds 08 Jul

A little 'last minute' this week, but I'm hoping I may be able to secure some extra people (tour operators mostly) at an AITO event tonight, who can join us for this week's travel chat.

I do have Sam Clark from the Experience Travel Group, joining me to talk about their bespoke holidays in (mostly) the Far East & Indian Sub-continent, from where they began their business in Sri Lanka.

If you want to join us on the panel, let me know. To participate you need a laptop or desktop with a webcam, mic, earphones/headphones, a quiet room and stable wifi... and a Google a/c helps.

Or you can just watch & ask questions on the event page stream.

Normally I'd tell you to use the Q&A app. But these days most of the top Hangout hosts are getting viewers to ask questions & leave comments in the event page comments, and using another app to monitor & display them. I may experiment with that this week.

Image: CC Flickr/Denish C


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

01 July 2015

#166 - London Airport Expansion

Aerial view of proposed new North-West runway at LHR

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #166 1400 BST (UK), Weds 01 Jul

Well, Sir Howard Davies has published his findings on which option is the best for expanding runway capacity in the South East of England, and comes down on the side of Heathrow.

Aviation expert, Malcolm Ginsburg, will join me to discuss whether he got it right and what happens now.

If you have any knowledge on this, you'd like to share, let me know. To participate you need a laptop or desktop with a webcam, mic, earphones/headphones, a quiet room and stable wifi... and a Google a/c helps. Or you can just watch & ask questions via the Q&A app on the event page stream..

Image: Aerial view of Heathrow with the new North-West runway - courtesy LHR.


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

17 June 2015

No Wednesday HOA this week

There's no HOA this week.

(The Tues pop-up HOA replaced it)

Normal service restored next week

10 June 2015

#164a - Pop-up BGTW Presentation

Monkey toys hanging from a wire

BGTW Social Media Evening

BGTW members gather each month for an event of some sort. This month (June) it's a presentation on 'How Social Media Can Enhance Your Professional Portfolio', in central London.

A bunch of speakers will talking about Social Media in general, Twitter, Pinterest, (the speaker on Facebook has dropped out), and I will be speaking on G+ and Hangouts on Air.

So, what could be more obvious than to do a 'Live' Hangout on Air at the same time?

Clearly I will need to burn a ton of incense and make a few sacrifices to the WIFI Gods in advance of such a presumptuous venture, but hey, let's give it a go!

Usually with these events, the talks are supposed to get underway around 1900 UK, but herding gossiping guildies with drinks in their hands into a meeting room to start a presentation on time, is like herding cats, so it'll probably start a little late.

I don't know the order in which we'll be speaking, but some guildies who can't attend would like to see what's happening, so my thinking is, I'll try to stream the whole event (haha!), and I'll invite remote guildies and a couple of other selected participants to participate in the HOA during my bit.

The No. 1 golden rule of presentations is: never demo a computer 'live' because they always mess up when doing something unusual. So if we keep our technical expectations low, we should be ok.

The Hangout event itself is here.

Participants: I'll send invites out to you when I fire it up, about 15 mins before we start.
Viewers: You can use the Q&A app (top right of video screen) to ask questions before & during the hangout.

Images: Hanging monkeys - CC Flickr/Fahrradfritze


This video (below) is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

#164 - Aviation & Open Mic


Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #164 1400 BST (UK), Weds 10 Jun

I haven't done an 'open mic' edition of the Travel Coffee Break for months & months, so this week will have an interesting 'retro' feel.

My semi-regular guest, Malcolm Ginsberg from Business Travel News, will be joining me to talk about this week's news from the aviation industry, but after that I'll throw the floor open to anyone who wants to join and talk about travel & tourism.

I'll put the link for joining here on the blog, I'll share it to all the TCB followers on G+, and I'll post it as a comment on the Event Page itself.

To participate you'll need a laptop or desktop with a webcam, mic, earphones/headphones, a quiet room and stable wifi... and a Google a/c helps.

If you don't want to appear, you can always ask questions via the Q&A app on the event page stream.

Image: CC Flickr/drewdomkus


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

02 June 2015

#163 - Jousting at Arundel

Jousting & Medieval Tournament Week at Arundel Castle (Photo; Victoria Dawes)

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #163 1400 BST (UK), Weds 03 Jun

The Jousting and Medieval Tournament Week is set to return to Arundel Castle in West Sussex on 21-26 July.

Arundel Castle in West Sussex will play host to the world's longest international jousting competition, as part of its Jousting and Medieval Tournament Week taking place from 21 - 26 July, and one of the main organisers of the joust, Stacy Evans, will be joining me to talk about the tournament.

It is serious stuff. Challengers from across the globe converge on the Castle grounds, all hoping to be crowned champion of this illustrious jousting contest.

Four teams comprised of knights from as far afield as the USA will vie for glory, while the individual knights will also compete for induction into the Order of Arundel - the highest honour a knight can receive in the UK.

And there's a point to be settled by five times team champions, England. Last year, newcomers The Burgundian Alliance stripped them of their crown in a surprise lastminute victory. Teams from France and Poland will also be hoping to emerge victorious.

Malaysia Airlines aircraft on the ramp
Meanwhile, back in the 21st century, regular panelist and aviation industry guru, Malcolm Ginsburg from Business Travel News, will be popping in to talk about Aer Lingus, the Malaysia Airlines restructuring, and probably an update on the ongoing saga of Sir Howard Davies' Airports Commission and London's third runway.

As usual I'll switch the Q&A app on (top right of video screen on the hangout event page) so that you can ask questions before & during the hangout.

Images: Jousting at Arundel Castle, Photo: Victoria Dawe
             Malaysia Airlines - CC Flickr/Philip Brookes


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.

26 May 2015

#162 - 20 Years of Overlanding

Acacia Africa Overland Truck parked up at sunset

Travel Coffee Break (Live Hangout on Air) #162 1400 BST (UK), Weds 27 May

Acacia Africa are, quietly, celebrating 20 years of operating overland trips across Africa - 'quietly' because 21st & 25th seem like more important anniversaries.

All the same I'm going to be talking to Acacia Africa director, Vivian McCarthy, about how overland travel has evolved over the past two decades.

As usual I'll switch the Q&A app on (top right of video screen on the hangout event page) so that you can ask questions before & during the hangout.

Image: Acacia Africa


This video is a livestream placeholder BEFORE the Hangout starts, and the recorded video AFTER. You can watch the hangout here, but it's not the best place. The best place is the hangout event itself.