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Hotelicopter : The World’s First Flying Hotel - World's First Flying Hotel - Hotelicopter Hoax - THE HOTELICOPTER : ELEVATE YOUR STAY - The Real Story Behind hotelicopter’s Launch Campaign

The owner of Hotelicopper has been trying to create the world’s largest helicopter as well as the world’s first flying hotel by modifying a Soviet-made Mil V-12 since 2004. This massive flying machine features everything from room service and private entertainment systems to extras like yoga classes, tea garden, spa treatment, gaming and many others that someone would anticipate from a 5-star hotel. With the length of 42m and 14m of height, this giant aircraft can fly with a maximum weight of 232,870 lb. Maximum speed of this flying hotel is 255 km/h and expected cruising speed is 237 km/h.

Message claims that attached photographs show a unique flying luxury hotel called the "Hotelicopter" that is soon to begin its first tours

The Hotelicopter features 18 luxuriously-appointed rooms for adrenaline junkies seeking a truly unique and memorable travel experience. 

Each soundproofed room is equipped with a queen-sized bed, fine linens, a mini-bar, coffee machine, wireless internet access, and all the luxurious appointments you'd expect from a flying five star hotel. Room service is available one hour after liftoff and prior to landing." The Hotelicopter is due to fly maiden journey this summer(June 26th) with an undisclosed price...

If you are interested,There is three fly tour. 

Inaugural Summer Tour - 14 days (Friday, June 26th, 2009 - Friday, July 10th, 2009) 

California Tour - 14 days (Friday, July 17th, 2009 to Friday, July 24rd, 2009)
Bay/Jamaica, European Tour - 16 days (Friday, July 31st, 2009 to Sunday, August 16th, 2009) 

Dimensions Length: 42 m (137 ft) 
Height: 28m (91 ft) 
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 105850 kg (232,870 lb) 
Maximum speed: 255 km/h (137 kt) (158 miles/h)
Cruising speed: 237 km/h (127 kt) (147 miles/h) 
Original Mi Range: 515 km (320 mi)
Our augmented Mi Range - 1,296 km (700 mi)

The Hotelicopter. It is what it sounds like, a hotel with wings designed for those five star clients that don’t want to bother with the hassles of flying. This is aviation heaven, the compilation of every desire any frequent-flyer ever had, made real.

The Experience
The minute you step onto The Hotelicopter, you are greeted into the plush welcome lounge, and then shown to your own cabin, where you can enjoy your private entertainment system, full bathroom and shower, and a queen-sized bed.
Visit the SkySpa, where you can indulge in a deep tissue/shiatsu/myofascial massage, get a manicure and pedicure, or touch up those highlights! Or perhaps you want to take a soak in the jacuzzi or indulge in our dry sauna. You can even hit the high pressure tanning bed.
You have internet access, cell phone reception, flat screen TVs with extended channel selection, DVD players, and Wifi
“On-call flight attendants” attend to your every need, business center, concierge, fitness center, whirlpool, sauna, steam room, spa/salon offering massages and tanning, common space area with live music at select destinations, blackjack table, art gallery, wine tasting, yoga studio and hydro-garden, tea garden, Japanese garden with koi pond.
Concierge, babysitting & Kids’ Kamp, array of newspapers and local magazines provided in-cabin prior to landing in each destination, Welcome kit for each location, complimentary kids’ activity kits for use during driving in destination cities, customized souvenir from each location, commemorative gifts for inaugural riders.

The Route
The 2009 Hotelicopter Travel Schedule has just been announced, and includes our Inaugural Summer Tour, a California Tour, and a European Tour. Each tour lasts from 14 – 16 days, with stops in different cities.
Hotelicopter Specs
Dimensions Length: 42 m (137 ft)
Height: 28m (91 ft)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 105850 kg (232,870 lb)
Maximum speed: 255 km/h (137 kt) (158 miles/h)
Cruising speed: 237 km/h (127 kt) (147 miles/h)
Original Mi Range: 515 km (320 mi)
Our augmented Mi Range – 1,296 km (700 mi)

REALITY - The "Hotelicopter" is an April Fool's Joke:

In late March and early April 2009, stories about the "Hotelicopter" - a luxuriously appointed flying hotel - begin circulating via travel blogs and websites, social networking sites, and email. The stories included photographs of the Hotelicopter along with shots of rooms available for guests. A video of the Hotelicopter in action was also posted to YouTube. Supposedly, the Hotelicopter's maiden voyage is scheduled for June 2009 with other "tours" to follow.

According to the stories, the Hotelicopter is modelled on an old Soviet Mil V-12 helicopter and features 18 luxuriously-appointed soundproof rooms complete with queen sized beds, wireless Internet and room service.

However, the "Hotelicopter" was in fact an April Fools Day prank launched by a hotel search engine company. In a clever marketing ploy, the company used the prank as a promotional tool for a new hotel search engine website, An article about the prank on notes:
A company, after being in news for its "flying-hotel joke", has launched a new brand for its hotel search engine, hotelicopter.

hotelicopter, which was previously known as VibeAgent, searches 30 travel sites in real-time, aggregating hotel room rates, availability, photos and video to instantly reveal where to find the best hotel deals. It has access to more than 65 travel partners and 150,000 hotels. owns up to the prank on its site blog:
Oh, and yes, we’re the folks behind the flying hotel of the same name. We were just having some fun, and had no idea it was going to blow up like it did - we've gotten about 1.5 million page and video views just in the last week - so thank you very much for all the attention and support - and hopefully we made you smile

The photographs of the supposed cabin interiors on the Hotelicopter were in fact taken from the Yotel website, apparently with Yotel's full compliance and knowledge. Yotel offers tiny but very well appointed hotel rooms inside airports. 

For the record, only two Mil V-12 helicopters were ever built. The first prototype was destroyed in a crash in 1969. The one remaining Mil V-12 is now displayed at the Monino air force museum in Moscow. 

Vibeagent drops mask: Hotelicopter – I feel Fooled

In a Press Release dated April 9, 2009 Hotelicopter is presented as a “New” Totally Awesome Hotel Search Engine after “The Hotelicopter had attracted wide media coverage with its April Fools Prank”

Almost everybody in Bloggistan loves the way Hotelicopter was launched as an April Fools prank and then turns out as a hotel booking engine. “Good marketing” they say. I beg to differ.

Although I can appreciate a good joke or to be fooled and certainly can laugh about myself, I feel fooled by Vibe Agent in another way:

First the search engine is not at all new. Basically it is the same search engine as it was three days ago under the name VibeAgent.

Secondly I have been involved as a very active “beta tester” in the building of VibeAgent. I’ve posted two posts about it here and here and referred to it in many other posts.

I wrote:

It is meant to be a community that shares hotel reviews on the one hand and combines that with best price searching on the other hand.

The members are called Agents. They write the reviews. They are unpaid.

VibeAgent has teamed up with an impressive list of travel and hotel portals at the back end, like Price Line, and many others.

So: It started out as a community driven hotel search engine. As a sort of mini Tripadvisor, but a bit more advanced. In the meantime Tripadvisor has overhauled its website entirely and became part of Expedia.

Now with this repackaging of the site as Hotelicopter VibeAgent has wiped away its entire own community.

Where are your approximately 5,000 plus Agents, Adam?

Was that part of the deal with TripAdvisor? You being able to show Tripadvisor reviews provided you did away with your own base of hotel reviews?

I’m not amused and I believe many with me.
The Real Story Behind hotelicopter’s Launch Campaign

The following is the story of how hotelicopter punk’d the Internet for fame and profit.

I’ve just returned from the EyeforTravel Marketing Conference in Miami, where I presented The Anatomy of a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign (the story behind our new brand launch) to many of the leading marketers in our industry. I was pleased to see that the new brand for our hotel search engine, launched a month earlier for only $3,000, had about 70% brand recognition within the audience.

In case you missed it, we launched a viral marketing campaign on March 27th based on a fictional flying hotel. You can still view the April Fool’s Day web site here and the video here.

As many of you already know, we decided to change our name and our brand because VibeAgent (our previous name) did not accurately represent our new positioning as a hotel search engine. We were looking for a new brand that a) related to hotels; b) was fun and social; c) was memorable; and d) provided us some SEO lift for the word “hotel”.

So after much brainstorming, we decided on hotelicopter. The name clearly relates to hotels, is fun, memorable, and gives the Google bots some red meat to chew on.

Our newly rebranded and redesigned site is the first major travel site to utilize Facebook Connect as its user system. This means that users can create an account on hotelicopter simply using their Facebook account credentials and instantly have their Facebook and hotelicopter accounts linked to each other. No need to recreate your social network either – it travels with you from Facebook to hotelicopter. We’ve also integrated TripAdvisor hotel reviews and many improvements to the user flow and feature set on our new site.

As we were scheduled to launch April 8th, we found ourselves in the fortunate position of launching a new brand based on a fictional flying hotel right after April Fool’s Day. Our launch campaign practically created itself: we would bring a flying hotel to life as an April Fool’s Day prank to build pre-launch buzz and drive inbound links to our new domain name. The Hotelicopter was born.

The largest helicopter in the world is the Mil-V12, a Russian-made vehicle created in the 1950’s of which only two were ever made. If we were going to create a plausible flying hotel it had to be big. The Mil-V12 provided the perfect inspiration. We simply added an extra floor to house the Hotelicopter’s 18 luxurious rooms, yoga studio, art gallery, and koi pond – and four GE turbo-thrusters to provide the power necessary to lift and transport the extra weight.

Once we had an idea of what our flying hotel would look like, we turned to the talented designers at PerspectX to create a 3D model of the Hotelicopter and make it come to life, and the equally talented Aidan Keith-Hynes at Starlight Productions to do the post-production work on the raw footage. We called Yotel, the English-based airport hotel chain, and asked if we could have permission to publish photos of their hotel rooms on our site and credit them with designing the interior of the Hotelicopter, and they agreed. We put a web site together in-house using a free WordPress template, and created a press release of Hotelicopter’s launch that was downloadable from the site (we did not, however, push our fictitious press release out over the wires, as we felt that would be crossing an ethical boundary). With a web site, photos, video, and a press release, we were armed with the content we needed to launch our campaign.

The next step was to build out the distribution network. This consisted of setting up accounts with the usual suspects – YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – and providing visitors to our April Fool’s Day web site easy links to watch our video, join our fan page, and follow us in the twittersphere. We complemented these three communities by posting our high resolution video on Vimeo and posting our Hotelicopter photos on Flickr.

With the content and distribution networks in place, it was time to strike the match. That’s when the social news and bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Reddit came in. Each of these channels provided us access to unique audiences of early adopters, or to coin Malcolm Gladwell’s terms from The Tipping Point: Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople.

With this campaign, our hook was simple: “Wow, check out the world’s first flying hotel!” Within a few hours of posting a few hooks, we caught our first big fish.

Gizmodo, the top ten blog focused on consumer technology, posted at 6:20pm on Friday, March 27th about the Hotelicopter after being tipped off by a loyal reader (Kyle Redinger, the owner of the media site Cvillain – thanks Kyle!), and mayhem ensued. We had decided to host our April Fool’s Day web site at GoDaddy under a basic account, and our site was quickly brought to its knees from the ensuing traffic. We quickly upgraded our account to handle the extra load, but for several hours people had a hard time reaching our web site to learn more about the world’s first flying hotel. In hindsight, this may simply have contributed to the buzz – 130 people posted comments to the Gizmodo blog entry, with the general gist of the conversation revolving around the questionable veracity of this new vehicle.

Once Gizmodo posted their story, hundreds of amateur bloggers had an interesting story to post about and the visual candy to support it, and inbound links to started piling up. This grassroots momentum kept site traffic and buzz going at a steady rate for the next three days, catalyzed by celebrity tweets from David Pogue of The New York Times and Guy Kawasaki of and the perennial Internet conference circuit. Gizmodo’s post was followed up three days later, on March 30th, by sister site Engadget, the third most heavily-trafficked blog online. Again, the post was fairly straightforward, discussing the Hotelicopter as if it were real, albeit somewhat aerodynamically ill-conceived.

But this time, only two days before April Fool’s Day, readers dug a little deeper into the story and started calling Engadget out in the comments section for getting “punk’d” by The Hotelicopter. In a surprising move, Engadget actually pulled the post completely from their web site that night, most likely prompted by Gizmodo’s retraction post earlier in the day entitled The Hotelicopter Outed as a Fake. And Wired magazine posted an uppity blog post entitled Hotelicopter Hoax Flies Over Bloggers’ Heads – ironically it turned out – about how lame the other big blogs were to get punk’d by The Hotelicopter, even though they themselves incorrectly credited the source of the hoax and botched their fact-checking about the actual Russian Mil-V12 helicopter (which they were quickly taken to task for by their readers in the comments section).

However, the story was far from dead. While Gizmodo, Wired and Boing-Boing were declaring The Hotelicopter a sham and incorrectly crediting Yotel with a “brilliant hoax,” plenty of people – the vast majority in fact – still believed The Hotelicopter to be real, discovering it on our web site, an amateur blog, or YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, or one of the many social bookmarking and news sites that were helping spread the word about our flying hotel. During all this we were tickled pink, as you can probably imagine, as the goal of our campaign was to generate buzz and inbound links to our site, and the growing controversy about the veracity of our flying concoction was helping drive both beyond our wildest expectations.

Over this period of time, our YouTube video became the most popular video in the Travel category, and ultimately one of the 25 most-viewed videos for the week. Another thing that truly amazed us during this time was the geographic distribution of our site traffic. In the four days between our site launch and April Fool’s Day, the top five cities driving traffic to our site were New York, London, Moscow, Amsterdam, and Budapest. The Russians were eating it up! We weren’t sure if they were confused as hell or laughing their asses off.

Between Engadget’s post and April Fool’s Day we were averaging between 4,000 and 8,000 visits, and about 20 to 40 tweets, an hour. And except for a miniscule pay-per-click advertising campaign placed on Facebook, this was a completely viral campaign. It was being driven entirely by the online community.

On Wednesday, April 1st, our campaign reached its climax. We woke up that morning to a big article in The Telegraph, one of the biggest newspapers in the UK: Millions of web users fall for hotelicopter April Fool. The Huffington Post, the most heavily-trafficked blog online, featured us in their post about Best April Fool’s Day Pranks and linked to our video. Ryan Seacrest and Kanye West featured us on their personal blogs. We were featured on Daily Candy’s web site and in their popular email newsletter. We were even called by The Today Show the evening before and told we were going to be featured on their April Fool’s Day segment, but were ultimately bumped by the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s choice of a birthday gift to the Queen of England (an iPod, of course).

On April 1st, 300,000 people visited our site, and over 150,000 watched our video on YouTube. Countless more learned about The Hotelicopter from another site or a friend that had read about it online. As the day came to a close, we moved the April Fool’s Day site from into the subdirectory, and launched the hotelicopter splash screen in its place. We wanted to continue the sense of mystery surrounding hotelicopter, and leverage all the buzz towards the launch of our new hotel search engine on April 8th. So we created a countdown on the page, and directed people to sign up via Facebook, twitter, or email to be notified with the “real” hotelicopter went live.


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