Monthly Archives: November 2012

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 11/19/2012


Travel summit notes rise in demand for exotic destinations

Travel agents and tour operators who attended Ensemble Travel Group’s recent Las Vegas conference report that travelers are increasingly being drawn to exotic and off-the-beaten-track destinations. “The hot destinations are Ecuador, the Galapagos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, African safaris. People are going for big-ticket items. It’s like they want to spend money now because they don’t know how things will be later on,” said Judy Ruffini, a regional sales manager at General Tours.

Airlift problems hamper tourism in the Caribbean

Air travel between Caribbean islands usually consists of multileg flights that take several hours. This lack of convenient flight options could be one reason that tourism in the region is not growing as rapidly as hoped, tourism experts say. “Intra-Caribbean tourism is down by 40% in the last five years. Make air travel more accessible — get rid of the visa regulations, make it cheaper — and more people will travel. It changes the equation,” said Richard Doumeng, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.

Luxury travel is leaning toward uniqueness, customization

Luxury travelers are increasingly demanding customized trips heavy in out-of-the-ordinary experiences, experts said during Signature Travel Network’s Sales Meeting and Trade Show in Las Vegas this week. “We have arranged white-linen banquets on the Great Wall and trips down a tributary of the Li River (Guilin) in bamboo rafts. We take clients to studios of major artists and fashion designers. In Beijing, there’s a private $300 million art collection, which people can see, and be taught by the owner how to understand Chinese art,” said Margot Kong, a vice president with Imperial Tours in San Francisco.


Survey: Holiday travel spending will rise 12% this year

An annual survey by Allianz Global Assistance USA indicates that holiday travel spending this year will reach $72.9 billion — up about 12% over 2011. Forty-five percent of respondents said they are “very confident” that they will take a holiday vacation this year, compared with 42% in the previous year.

Business travel could benefit from U.S. “fiscal cliff,” group says

The impending “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and reduced federal spending could benefit business travel over the long term, the Global Business Travel Association says in a report. “The elimination of tax cuts and reductions in federal spending would lead to reduced deficits and lower interest rates over the long run, resulting in business travel spending and an overall economy that grows more quickly after absorbing the shock of the fiscal cliff,” the GBTA said. However, the U.S. economy stands to lose $20 billion in business-travel spending over nine quarters if the economy goes over the so-called cliff, the group says.

U.S. Travel Association grass-roots program will focus on Congress

The U.S. Travel Association has unveiled plans for a grass-roots initiative that aims to cultivate industry advocates in Congress. “Every congressional district in America can thank travel for jobs and economic activity, so we’ve designed a program to build our bench of champions in Congress, those members who will stand with us and play offense on policies to protect and stimulate increased travel,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. The Travel Blitz program is set to launch next year.


Norwegian overcomes hurdles to become successful in Hawaii

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 10% price increase on Hawaii cruises next year is a big improvement from several years ago, when the line’s 2,138-passenger Pride of America was struggling.


Virgin Atlantic gains short-haul slots at Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic said it has been offered all of the Heathrow short-haul slots available following International Airline Group’s acquisition of BMI. International Airline Group is the parent of British Airways.

DOT approves Delta’s route to Tokyo from Seattle

The Department of Transportation has approved the request from Delta Air Lines to transfer service from one of its two routes between Detroit and Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Seattle. The switch will “open Haneda access to a new region of the country,” the DOT said.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 11/5/2012


Future travel will include nontraditional destinations, study finds

Market research firm Euromonitor International has released the results of its “Global Trends Report,” which shows the world’s top emerging travel trends. The study says U.S. travelers will be increasingly drawn to destinations previously off-limits to foreigners, such as Myanmar, Cuba and North Korea. The travel industry is also expected to see a rise in “technology-free” vacation packages and trips that focus on relaxation.


Effect on tourism is a contentious issue in pro-marijuana measures

Measures that will loosen restrictions for the recreational use of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado have raised questions about its potential effect on local tourism, this feature says. Opponents in Colorado say the measure could have a negative effect on the state’s image. “If Colorado receives international media attention as the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana in their constitution, Colorado’s brand will be damaged and we may attract fewer conventions and see a decline in leisure travel,” said Visit Denver CEO Richard Scharf.


Norwegian Cruise Line will raise prices for Hawaii sailings

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced plans to increase fares on cruises in Hawaii. Prices for cruises aboard the Pride of America are scheduled to increase by about 10% starting Jan. 1, the cruise line says.

MGM Resorts and Royal Caribbean partner to offer more benefits to loyal members

MGM Resorts International and Royal Caribbean International recently launched a strategic partnership to benefit members of    both companies’ loyalty programs, MGM’s M life and Royal’s Crown & Anchor Society.


Holiday air, hotel bookings filling fast

Travel agents say demand for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday travel is up sharply, and that travelers who don’t make plans early may face sold-out locations. “This is not a great year for procrastination,” said Simon Bramley, vice president at Travelocity, where Thanksgiving ticket purchases are up 9%.

AA offers double-mile rewards to compensate for flight disruptions

American Airlines has announced that frequent fliers will be getting double elite-qualifying miles for flights from through Dec. 31 to compensate for flight disruptions that passengers experienced during the carrier’s contract negotiations with its pilots. The airline appears to be nearing an agreement with leaders of the union, who hope to “reach a final agreement this week to be voted on by pilots,” this feature says.

Airlines seek new fees despite ancillary revenue increasing

Airlines earn ancillary revenue for extra baggage, Wi-Fi service and other goodies, and they stand to make 11.3% more in 2012 than they did with such fees the year before, this feature says. Major carriers will earn $36.1 billion in fees this year, according to a report by IdeaWorksCompany and Amadeus. But watch out for new charges. “The low-hanging fruit is gone; they are going to have to invent products,” says travel writer Joe Brancatelli.


Priceline to buy Kayak for $1.8 billion will buy travel metasearch company Kayak for $1.8 billion. Priceline will pay $40 a share for Kayak, including $1.3 billion in stock and $500 million in cash, the companies said Thursday afternoon.


Tropicana Las Vegas to become a DoubleTree by Hilton

Las Vegas’ Tropicana hotel will be reflagged in January as the Tropicana Las Vegas — a DoubleTree by Hilton, marking the first time a Hilton Worldwide-branded hotel will be on the Las Vegas Strip since Hilton spun off what would become Caesars Entertainment in 1998.

Mexico’s Interjet will add Las Vegas service this month

Mexican airline Interjet will begin service to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Nov. 15. Flights will operate twice a week from Mexico City’s secondary airport in Toluca. The new route marks the fifth U.S. destination for the airline.

Sponsored links: Who should pay who?

Of its annual revenue, Google earns $38 billion from the sale of “sponsored links” alone. It seems Google has successfully convinced advertisers that the links they provide are of value to their businesses as a form of advertising. That is until recently.

Many European newspapers and magazines are pushing for legislation to change how Google, as well as other search engines and newsgathering sites, earn revenue.  They believe Google and its counterparts should pay them instead as their newspapers and magazines provide the material these sites generate revenue from.

Reversing the monetary flow seems imminent. A German bill is already being reviewed by Parliament and would allow publishers to charge search engines and news curating sites a fee to display parts of their articles with links to the paper or magazine.  In France, President François Hollande is aggressively pushing for similar legislation unless a solution is found by the end of the year to compensate the publishers for their content. Italy is also starting to look into similar action.

Google is adamant that these types of laws go against the free flow of information on the Internet and would destroy their existence.  They have countered with threatening to exclude these sites from search results.  This is no empty threat either as in France alone 30 to 40 percent of news sites traffic comes from Google.  Publishers are already struggling to increase revenue, which is why they are trying to reverse the current monetary flow with Google.

It seems both sides are dependent on these dollars being placed in their favor. Is there a solution to benefit both sides? Would a pay wall help or hurt the papers and magazines?  I think the most important part is that this will affect users.  Either search results will be missing pertinent information, or site vistors may be forced to make up for missed revenue by subscribing.  The ever-growing idea of free information on the Web is at stake.

A beast that needs attention

Being the third most visited site in the world is not an easy task.  YouTube ranks just behind the giants of Google and Facebook as the most visited websites on the internet.  This comes as no surprise. The power for people to capture themselves through video is easy enough for a 3-year-old to manage, but how do brands and organizations leverage YouTube to their advantage?

Old Spice on YouTube

Old Spice’s YouTube brand channel.

According to YouTube, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, which equates to 3 billion hours watched each month.  These types of numbers are mind-boggling and the ripple effect reaches far outside of YouTube itself.  More than 500 years of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook and 700 videos per minute find themselves on Twitter.

No doubt a powerful tool, but most brands upload their TV spots, or try to think of something so funny and outrageous hoping that it will be the next “viral video.”  Unfortunately, this is very difficult to achieve on YouTube.  While this can happen, you have better chances of taking the money you spent doing this and doubling down at the nearest casino.

Companies such as Old Spice, Red Bull, and Go-Pro have found that YouTube can help drive exposure, but they are the few that have found success.  Almost all companies find themselves spending a lot of money with little to no results, thus deeming it as a marketing failure.  To avoid complete and udder failure here are five starter tips for marketers and brands to follow:

1st – YouTube is its own platform; content should be unique and should be well thought out.

2nd –Make sure that you promote your video(s) through YouTube using Google platforms. Spend money to help get some eyeballs and help leverage your plan.

3rd– Make sure that you plan your strategy ahead of time. Are you looking for views or do you want people to take action?

4th– Consider using YouTube celebrities (people already on YouTube that have thousands to millions of views and subscribers) for brand integrations and product placements.

5th– Ensure that your YouTube plan fits well with branding and other marketing strategies; YouTube can help you leverage your current and future goals within social media.

Success on YouTube can be very challenging, but using these basic tips can help you get on the right track. YouTube is a platform that allows you to target the audience you want, which keeps advertisers coming back.  If you’re nice to YouTube it will be nice to you.