Branded Micro Applications or as most people have dubbed them - Widgets are a hot topic these days. While cruising the net I stumbled upon the launch of a series of fun utilities for the student travel company STA Travel this week.

http://assets.electricartists.com/widgetAssets/statravel_widgets/STASpecialOffers.swf?country=us&photo=Egypt

Travelers can place a series of widgets which include a travel countdown, weather comparison, travel to-do list and special offers device on their
desktops as well as home pages, including social networking sites.   

Brands can be very effective in providing simple tools for their customers.  Some would speculate that widgets would be the death of the microsite, but I would not be one of them.  Micro applications have been around since the beginning of the personal computing.  My favorite widget is the one in the (I am on a mac) upper right corner that tells me the time. For me the widget allows your content, commerce and at times community to be portable.  The microsite gives the opportunity to have rich expansive experience, collect data in a semi-safe environment and create a destination to launch off these lovely micro applications.

What is really smart about this set of mini applications (widgets) is that they are a great utility with one simple message and provide a value to the people who may post them on their site, desktop.  The
STA widgets are perfectly pitched at a young audience used to having
this kind of information at their fingertips, and using the web to
access the most exciting offers and promotions.

Picture_1

I think one cool widget could be a one that allowed travelers to chronicle their experience via SMS and list the posts in a mapping interface.  Or one that let your friends submit the best places to go in the city you are visiting.

Check them out at www.statravel.com/traveltools

ON: STA Travel’s Widgets via @jpenabickley