PR Siren: travel, social media & marketing

Social media round up – fakeation selfies, anyone?

A car hire firm at Heathrow Airport faced a barrage of criticism on Twitter this week after describing cyclists as a “hazard” in its advice for overseas visitors to Britain, adding that they “become most indignant if you hit them”.  The website – – was brought down by traffic as a result of the Twitter campaign but has since issued an apology – adding that “cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets”.


The ‘selfie’ has taken over the world in recent years with everyone from President Obama to The Pope taking part in the trend. This has led to the latest craze of the ‘fakeation selfie’ – taking a snap that makes it look like you are on holiday when you’re really at home. Fakeation selfies have filled social media feeds, fitting in well with the usual holiday photos that clog up our timelines at this time of the year. The fakeation selfie is not as easy to create as some may think; using your knuckles to look like sunbathing thighs against a beach back drop can be quite tricky! In other selfie news, Microsoft has given employees a first look at its soon to launch ‘selfie’ phone with a 5 megapixel forward-facing camera.


After a man was charged £75 for three bottles of sparkling water at a London hotel this week, social media was rife with posts about ‘greedy hotels’. The astronomic bill for what would usually cost less than £2 in a supermarket was attributed to the hotel’s minimum spend policy after 4pm and sparked an en mass rant about overcharging by high end venues. The incident prompted nearby restaurant to take advantage of the situation and reassure tweeters “Confirming that our sparkling water is not £25 per bottle. Even after 4pm.” #Thirsty?


New website to launch this week,, showcases the best cities to live and work from and encourages you to break the office boundaries, taking your work to more interesting places. The site ranks cities based on votes from visitors to the site, and provides lots of interesting information on the city for those who fancy a break. Categories include everything from temperature, internet speed and estimated costs of living comfortably. Currently, Asian cities are proving to be the biggest hits, with Chiang Mai in Thailand at the top spot.



Our friends in the Southern hemisphere almost brought the internet to a standstill earlier this week following an amazing #sydneysunset. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were all abuzz with glorious pictures of the orange, pink and purple sky as the sun set across Sydney. Those stuck in the office weren’t to be left out; many joined in the action by posting pictures of the sun doodled on post-it notes.


Social media round up – the role of social media in world events and holiday photo inspiration

After last week’s crash of Flight 17 when Malaysia Airlines turned to Twitter to keep the world informed about the disaster, it would seem growing numbers of airlines are taking to the social media site to keep the general public informed about confusing or chaotic events. Twitter’s central role in airlines’ communications strategies was also illustrated on Tuesday when American Airlines, United Continental and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines all used the platform as part of their efforts to inform the public about the cancellation of flights to Israel because of safety concerns. With more airlines on Twitter today than have their own loyalty programmes, it is becoming increasingly clear that when it comes to direct airline-to-customer communication, Twitter is the best medium.


On Wednesday the Commonwealth games began with a flash of tartan at Celtic Park, Glasgow. The ceremony had everything from spinning tea cakes to a giant kilt. The Queen officially opened the games with The Commonwealth baton, which had travelled for 288-days, spanning 120,000 miles! With over one million spectators expected to descend on the city, accommodation is getting tight. With releasing figures showing that 90% of all Glasgow’s accommodation was occupied, even before any events had started. With the average room rising 158% they are now encourage people to look outside the city, or to bring a tent as city sites have been set up ready for over 1,000 campers.


Social media site Foursquare has revealed its new logo as it moves into its new personalised era. The famous check-ins, that the site was famous for, will now occur in their new app ‘Swarm’ – all past check-ins, friends and photos will automatically move over to this app. Once you teach the app about you, the new Foursquare will recommend places that match your likes in whatever city you are in. The new logo features a map pin and superhero emblem as according to Foursquare ‘the new app is giving you superpowers to explore the city that you are in’. This app is the perfect travel tool for those searching for something that is suited to them.

amivitale on Instagram

Rather than posting the traditional holiday cocktail snap or the tanned knees on the beach picture that litter Instagram and Facebook feeds at this time of year, take some inspiration from National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale. Vitale’s Instagram has attracted over 85,000 followers with her stunning travel pictures, and while her tips are largely for professionals they also offer great advice for the casual photographer looking to raise the bar on Instagram.


Where do you see yourself holidaying in 2020? This week we have been igniting our future wanderlust with a look through some of the top travel destinations of the future. Attractions will include the proposed ‘House of Peace’ in Copenhagen, where visitors will be able to sail into a floating sculpture of tranquillity. For those who wish to experience something a little more thrilling, the world’s tallest twin towers are set to be built in Wuhan China and will reach the dizzying heights of 3,280 feet. The towers will hold floating restaurants as well as housing the world’s tallest Kaleidoscope. Lovers of the great outdoors fear not, there is plenty for you too.  An underground park in Abu Dhabi will be the choix du jour for those hoping to relax under a leafy canopy without having to deal with the intense Middle East Sun. These are simply a few of a dazzling array of tourist attractions to come.


And finally, a man in Denver was thrown off of a Southwest Airlines flight this week for a tweet of complaint he had sent at the gate. Mr Watson got into a dispute with a gate agent when he wasn’t able to utilise the priority boarding he would usually be entitled to because he was travelling with his two children. He had Tweeted, “Wow, rudest agent in Denver… not happy.” and included the gate agent’s first name and last initial. After boarding the plane was asked to leave until he deleted the tweet #Oops


Social media round up – Commercial spaceport to open in the UK by 2018


A rather clever map designed by property developer Constantine Valhouli points out the specific geography of New York City references in songs using Google technology. The list of songs is available on Wikipedia, but Constantine thought this wasn’t enough. So far the map includes over 200 songs, but people can submit more by emailing The interactive graphic allows users to explore and discover how certain areas of the city represent certain music styles or eras. It’s only a matter of time before this idea spreads to other cities…Violet Hill by Coldplay as a starting point?

Eight sites across the UK have been shortlisted for the first commercial spaceport outside of the United States. The potential sites are all in costal locations with six in Scotland, one in England and one in Wales. The spaceport will be used for scientific work as well as tourism, with an expected rise of space travel it is planned to open in 2018. Virgin Galactic is already offering tickets to space from spaceport America for $250,000 and the UK plans to capture 10% of the World’s space market by 2030.

Amazon is giving readers the chance to read on the go and download an unlimited amount of books to their kindles for just $9.99 a month. This allows travellers to avoid narrowing down their holiday reads to one book that can be squeezed into hand luggage. The ‘kindle unlimited’ is being compared to Netflix which also has a set monthly rate and gives you access to many films and series. Kindle has announced plans for a library of over 600,000 titles for readers to enjoy – the perfect accessory for a relaxed beach holiday.

Now that The World Cup is over our friends over at Mashable have put together all 63 of the Google Doodles that were displayed on the search engines home page throughout the tournament. Congrats on the win Germany!

London’s second board game café is to open in Hackney. Concept cafes are not new to the capital but with the rise of the ‘old fashioned’ hobby a new trend has evolved for beers and board games. The café aims to hold 500 games, opening in September its owner John Morgan believes its rise in popularity over the last few years is due to peoples need to switch off from cyber space. Wanting to have proper interactions again with people. Their only concern now is drinks getting spilt on the boards!

Sarah Rathbone becomes Managing Director of Siren Communications

With immediate effect, Sarah Rathbone becomes Managing Director of Siren Communications Ltd.

Sarah has worked alongside Rachel O’Connor and the board of directors at Siren for the past 12 years, whilst the business has grown and developed to become a leading Communications specialist operating in the travel and leisure sectors.

Sarah Rathbone

Sarah’s passion for communications and all it can offer has played a significant role in the business’s success today and she has led and directs some of the business’ longest standing clients, achieving awards from leading industry institutions and clients businesses alike on a number of occasions.

Sarah, currently deputy managing director, will assume responsibility for the entire day to day operation, supported ably by Siren’s management team which includes Lisa Wong, financial controller, Emma Wayman, senior account director, Claire Winsor, account director, and Katie Wright, account director.

Sarah will continue to report to Rachel O’Connor, founder and chief executive and Siren’s board and shareholders including Marie Louise Windeler and Charles Anson.

As part of her new role, Sarah is charged with continuing to ensure that client needs are placed at the centre of the service offering and that account teams, and importantly the business, maintain their reputation for consistently delivering strong ROI and highly effective communications counsel.  A key feature of this is to maintain strong strategic and creative capabilities within the teams and to continue to innovate with the exciting changes across the field of communications.

Rachel will continue to work in the business on a part time basis, spending her time with specific clients and on business development.

  • Siren has worked in the travel, lifestyle and charity sectors since its inception and employs 16 people across communications disciplines
  • Working alongside specialist service providers in representation, content generation, media planning and buying, crisis etc
  • Top 150 PR Week, Alternative Social media top 150
  • Increased profitability consistently over last 4 years

For further information please call Sarah Rathbone or Rachel O’Connor on + 44 (0)207 759 1150 or email

Siren Communications management team

Siren Communications Management Team


Social media round up – Germany beat Brazil and a Barcelona time-lapse

As Germany scored five goals in just 29 minutes against Brazil on Tuesday, the home team’s humiliation was painfully sensed by the rest of the world, with even the German fans muting their celebrations. Losing the game 7-1, Tuesday has officially been identified as the day that Brazilian Football was demolished on its home turf. More than just German and FIFA world records were broken however on this historic night, so too were that of social media giant Twitter. 3.6 million  tweets recorded about the event, making it officially the most tweeted-about sporting event ever! It may have been an awful day for Brazil but it was a great day for Twitter!


American low cost flight provider, Spirit Airlines, has launched its Hate Thousand Miles giveaway campaign this week and invited wronged flyers to share their gripes and ‘Unleash that Hate’. The airline is offering customers in the U.S. the chance to get their issues off of their chest within 140 characters and in return they will be rewarded with 8,000 Free Spirit miles. This clever little campaign means that anyone keen to get a free flight will need to take a paid-for trip first as they won’t quite have enough to travel on the reward alone.

We can now say goodbye to carrying the extra baggage of maps and city guides when on our travels with the launch of the new offline feature on the TripAdvisor smart phone app. The feature requires users to download guides, city maps, photos, reviews and attractions whilst they have an internet connection so that they can access this material whilst offline on their travels. This allows travellers to enjoy maps on the go without having to search for free Wi-Fi spots or risk racking up bills for roaming charges whilst touring.

A young American cheerleader has found herself at the centre of controversy this week after over 332,000 people signed an online petition demanding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg remove pictures of her posing alongside animals she hunted on safari in Zimbabwe. Facebook removed the pictures deeming them to glorify violence – dismissing claims they removed the photos under duress from animal rights groups – much to the ire of hunting advocates and gun-rights supporters.

We love a time-lapse video and this week’s find from Rob Whitworth is an absolute gem. This mesmerising, two-minute, “flow-motion” city tour of Barcelona is sure to have you booking your tickets to the coastal city before the video even ends. Reportedly the video took 363 hours to make, with 78 filming hours alone. A word of warning, while the video might give you serious wanderlust, it may also result in some serious motion sickness – well worth a watch though!

Social media round up – KLM get it wrong on Twitter

KLM Airlines are well renowned for being at the top of their game when it comes to social media strategy and engagement. The airline is behind some of the most creative travel social media marketing campaigns to date. But this week saw KLM lose a few points with an ill-conceived tweet sent as Mexico crashed out of the World Cup. The tweet, which joined the words ‘adios amigos’ with an illustration of a Mexican man with cartoonish sombrero, moustache and poncho in a Departures sign, offended a significant volume of social media users. KLM have since apologised with an official statement – but it just goes to show that even companies with a great social media track record can sometimes slip up.

london skyline from cockpit

This week, British Airways have asked pilots to submit their best views from the cockpit. The top view in the world, unsurprisingly, was the Northern Lights, often seen on North Atlantic crossings. London’s skyline was named above many exotic locations such as Mont Blanc, Sydney Harbour and the Golden Gate Bridge – all of which made the top five. The most extraordinary entry came from British Airways chief Boeing pilot, Captain Al Bridger, who was lucky enough to see the Soyuz 35S space craft returning to earth when on a flight to Singapore.

Highly anticipated dance festival Tomorrowland, which takes place in Belgium every July, has upped its social media game by introducing a Facebook element to all festival bracelets. Once activated and connected to Facebook, festival-goers can keep in touch with new friends in this mini-global city by touching the heart on the bracelet simultaneously with a nearby bracelet. With a simple push of a button, contact information is traded and a daily “friendship email” is sent to guests to keep the Tomorrowland memories alive after the party is over.  Tomorrowland’s annual ‘after-movies’ have catapulted this festival into the spotlight with the 2013 video reaching over 71 million views in under a year.

This week saw the launch of the first Instagram website. IKEA created the web-style Instagram account to promote their new PS 2014 collection. The Instagram gridded profile (ikea_ps_2014) acts as the home page of the website, with each image representing a range of items (benches, storage, tables). The images are tagged with many other accounts which take you to pages dedicated solely to one product which feature images, videos and information on the particular item.

A tale of two cities

A blog by Katie Moine

Having spent the past 10 years in Sydney, it seems fitting to mark my arrival at Siren Communications, and indeed London, with a post celebrating all that is great about the two cities. There are a few things I have come to love about London in my three months in the city, the stunning old buildings, the transport, citymapper, the canal boats, I could go on, but here I’m going to compare two of my favourite things: food and the weather.

London streets

London does a great summer – and I am just talking about summer here, the thought of an English winter has me terrified. Having grown up in England before migrating to Sydney 10 years ago, I have never been able to hack an Australian summer. It is quite literally too hot to do anything except seek out a patch of shade. And unless you live smack on the beach it is almost impossible to get there to cool down – I’m not sure if anyone has ever burnt their hands on their steering wheel in England but it doesn’t make for a pleasant drive.

In London however I am delighted that the 15SPF in my foundation will see me through the day. No longer do I have to skulk along the pavement desperately seeking shade and no longer is it necessary to reapply ghostly thick sunscreen every time I step outside. Another amazing thing about the English summer is that it is day light all the time! I still can’t quite get my head around this, but I’m pretty sure I’m enjoying it.

One thing that definitely leaves London wanting though is food. Sure there is an amazing array of food ready to grab on the go at lunch, but what about a cheap pub meal? I used to enjoy a delicious steak at my Sydney local for $10 or £5.50, and it was amazing. Here I have to pay triple that for something that is decidedly mediocre. And don’t get me started on the seafood I still reel in shock when I see the ‘prawns’ at my local supermarket or the avocados which have seem to have two stages of ripe in the motherland: rock hard or rotten.  But at least I once again have an endless supply of English chocolate on hand.

Social media round up – Pinterest, powerful passports and ‘Emojinalysis’

A few years ago, many of us would have turned through pages and pages of holiday brochures for inspiration on where to travel next. Today, it’s all a bit different – Pinterest has become the platform of choice for those wishing to create a ‘scrapbook’ of images as they plan their next break. This week, Mashable shared the most-pinned places on earth. You’ll know many of these destinations or sights, but some may surprise you!


In the news this week, Britain topped the list of the world’s most powerful passports, due to it having visa-free access to the highest number of countries in the world. Along with Sweden and Finland, British passport holders are able to enter 173 countries either without a visa or with a visa-on-arrival, while runners up the US, Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg were able to access 172 countries. Afghanistan ranked worst in the list with passport holders only able to access 28 countries visa-free.

With an increasing number of complaints about comments made on social networking sites, a senior officer has warned that Facebook squabbles are wasting hundreds of hours of police time. Most often linked to family matters and over sharing information online, which in the past would have been spoken about privately. While Facebook accounts for the majority of ‘harassment’ cases on social media, police do receive a number of complaints from all networking sites, including Twitter.

Smartphone users around the world rejoiced this week as Unicode announced it is releasing 250 new emojis this July. Highlights include: wind blowing face; derelict house building; the Celtic cross; black skull and crossbones, and of course the ‘reversed middle hand with middle finger extended’. Whilst extensive, the list is not all-inclusive, one notable absence is the hot dog despite a petition from Chicago drive-in restaurant, Superdawg.

While you wait for the release of the new emoji’s in July, get involved in the latest emoji craze over on Emojinalysis, which analyses your recently used emoji use. This hilarious new tumblr is setting the ‘Twittersphere’ alight with its witty and brash diagnosis with what is ultimately wrong with your life.

London on Instagram – a few photos from Siren Communications

The Siren Communications team have been snapping their way through London this summer. When the sun shines, it’s a great city to photograph…

For more photos of our fine Capital (and more!), follow Siren Communications on Instagram at


Social media round up – Top 10 greatest landmarks in the world

This week, Delta tweeted a photo following the U.S.’s win over Ghana in the World Cup, adding it to the list of airlines posting tweets that have gone awry. The photo depicted the final score of the match, with a photo of the Statue of Liberty beside the U.S. score and a giraffe beside the Ghana score. The problem? There are no giraffes in Ghana, except at zoos. As one blogger put it, “No, the entire continent of Africa does not look like ‘The Lion King.’” To add salt to the wound, Delta offers direct flights to Ghana. Doesn’t anyone at Delta know what it’s like there? Of course, folks on Twitter jumped all over the airline for the giraffe gaffe (how often do you get to use the words ‘giraffe gaffe’!?) and the airline subsequently took down the tweet and posted an apology.

Mashable recently announced the top 10 greatest landmarks in the world. Featuring Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls, the list does incorporate some spectacular sights. With thousands of years of history between them, it’s no surprise these mosaic tiled floors and ornately painted ceilings form part of the greatest landmarks. The list has caused quite a stir of conversation in the Siren Communications office as to which other global sites should be included…what do you think?


After last week’s Instagram announcement of in-feed advertising coming to the UK later in the year, The Guardian’s Media Network has looked at how likely brands are to use this new option. The photo and video sharing platform has already introduced ads in the US and UK, Canada and Australia will soon be seeing posts from brands they do not follow in their feeds – much like on Facebook and Twitter. Based on the US trial, the advertising option appears to be geared toward bigger brands with fairly huge budgets, so Media Network has crafted a few simple steps for avoiding the large cost and using the platform to generate an engaged audience and brand advocates. These include posting exclusive and interesting content to give followers in other communities a reason to follow on Instagram; be creative and create a recognisable visual identity; use relevant popular hashtags; and make the most of user generated content.

Users of the internet seem to enjoy dealing out a good dose of shame. Be it misogynists who can’t deal with women eating on public transport, or people who have had enough of their pet dogs’ mischievous behaviour, social media loves to shame! Travel blogger and travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Spud Hilton, piqued our interest with his new “#CarryOnShame” campaign. The campaign aims to out people who break the rules while flying, by taking onboard excess carry-on luggage. While both airlines and travellers are at fault for not enforcing or complying these rules, it will be interesting to see whether Hilton’s call to ‘name and shame’ will have an impact.

World Cup fever has gripped the nation but according to a Meltwater social media study, while England is one of the favourites to win, we won’t be making it to the final. The research discovered ‘World Cup’ is generating an average of over 100,000 social media hits per day, with Brazil and Germany predicted to make it to the final match while England, Brazil and Argentina are the top three favourites to win. But if you’re after some advice on where to place your bets, be warned, it remains to be seen whether our collective online rambles are any more reliable than the ‘Psychic Brazilian turtle’ or ‘Paul the Octopus’.