Online advertising predictions for 2013

As we ring in the new year, advertising trends will continue to change and progress. In 2013, online advertising is expected to be even more innovative and dominating than in past years.

  1. Mobile traffic will continue to rise. It is expected that by the end of 2013, one in three paid clicks could come from a tablet or smartphone. With this drastic increase in mobile usage, in-app advertising spend is expected to skyrocket as well.
  2. Cross-channel and cross-device advertising and measurement will explode! Where customers used to simply click on an online ad and purchase, the lines between online and offline worlds are becoming blurred as customers utilize mobile devices to conduct more product research than ever.
  3. Owned and earned media will become the rule, not the exception. Advertisers will leverage their owned media as marketing tools even more so than in years past, taking advantage of the cost efficient control that they have to reach niche audiences. In a year where word-of-mouth marketing will continue to grow, earned media will be that much more vital as the customer becomes the channel.
  4. Online advertisers are going to finally realize the true value in social media. The fact is, we no longer live in a world powered solely by direct response marketers. It is now all about building relationships with customers and gaining access to larger audiences. A new year is just going to continue to enforce the importance of utilizing social media, and even provide deeper data to support it.
  5. Online marketing will become even more targeted. Facebook has already taken the plunge moving far beyond basic demographic targeting. With custom audiences where sponsored stories or ads can be used to target a specific set of users, what’s to come next?
  6. Real-time optimization will be the norm.  Advertisers have now moved beyond the click and require insight into the brand impact of their online activity alongside their click data. We are moving towards a time in which advertisers will be able to track all of their campaigns against key metrics, and utilize online dashboards to adjust creative, frequency and more to optimize campaigns in real-time.
  7. Online display formats and units will continue to evolve. With digital infographics becoming vital in telling an advertisers’ story in 2012, the new year will only further enhance the need for online marketers to utilize different online formats to more effectively deliver their messages. Newer, larger and more customizable online units will continue to be developed in 2013, offering advertisers more innovative ways to build their brands.

Read more about 2013 trends and predictions:

Randy’s Top 10 of ’12

Again, if for no other reason than my own amusement, it’s time to produce my Ten Best Movies of the Year list. This year I’m approaching it a little differently.  Instead of the ten best films, I’ve decided on the ten that had the biggest impact on me.  A good number of them, like Argo, Moonrise Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook, would have made a best list anyway.  But as I look back on the year, there are some films that stick in my head that probably weren’t among the “best “I saw.  Yet there they are, stuck in my head.  So this year a small, but exceedingly creepy, horror film like Sinister and a 90-minute trip into insanity like Killer Joe make the list. To make room for them, really good films like Lincoln and The Sessions had to go.  To fans of those films, I’m sorry.  They’re great.  By all means, see them if you haven’t already.  If it’s any consolation, they’re both on my Close-But-No-Cigar list.

Finally, remember that this list comes from films that I have actually seen.  Sounds obvious.  But in case you’re wondering why movies like Zero Dark Thirty or Amour aren’t here, it’s because I haven’t seen them yet.  No other reason.  But I will say they’d have to be pretty great to knock Killer Joe off the list.

On that note, and in no specific order, here we go.

Moonrise Kingdom – I’ll admit it.  Any time I walk into a Wes Anderson movie, I’m biased.  I already expect it to be great.  Great in that, you know,  “Wes Anderson” kind of way.  A film that is quirky, funny, has a perfect soundtrack and an attention to visual detail and composition unlike any other director’s work out there.  There’s usually nothing in a good Wes Anderson film that will remind you in any way of the real world.  He creates worlds of his own that are wonderful places to inhabit for a couple of hours. For all of those reasons, and more, Moonrise Kingdom might be my favorite Wes Anderson movie so far. Where else will you find a cast that includes Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jason Schwarzman, Bob Balaban and Tilda Swinton in roles supporting the two love-struck teenagers at the center of the film?  The story is small and sweet, the laughs come at a steady rate, the plot twists are wonderfully absurd and the whole thing looks beautiful from the first shot to the last.  Every frame is composed like a painting.  Nothing is left to chance, with every detail considered and respected.  See it twice.  The first time, see it for the story.  Then again, just to enjoy all those little visual touches.

Django UnchainedDjango Unchained – This film is just too much.  It’s too long, too violent and too talky.  Makes much too much use of the n-word.  It has too many scenes that are hard to watch.  It plays way too fast and loose with historical accuracy.  All of which is why it’s so damn good.  Because Quentin Tarantino doesn’t care.  Of course he could have cut it to less 2 hours, 45 minutes.  Sure, he could have splattered less blood, cut down on some of the dialogue, been more historically accurate and made the whole enterprise just a little more comfortable. But that’s not why we go to his films.  He makes the films he wants to make and as an audience, we can judge for ourselves whether or not we like them.  I’m going to guess there will be a fair number of people who don’t like Django Unchained, for all the reasons listed above. To them I say, “It’s Quentin Tarantino.  Did you not know what you were getting into?  Have you not seen Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds? What did you expect?”  The crowd I saw it with on Christmas Day knew what to expect, and they loved it. It’s a great glorious mash-up of the Wild West and the Plantation South that goes over the top early and often.  And the last thirty minutes are not unlike watching a cartoon (albeit an exceedingly violent one).  I mean that as the highest compliment. Jamie Foxx and Samuel Jackson are perfect, one as the hero, the other a villain.  And Christoph Walz, who won the Oscar playing Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, may be even better in this one. Tarantino’s movies aren’t for everyone, and he’s fine with that.  But if you’re a fan, Django Unchained is essential.


Headhunters – Sometimes I will go an entire year and not see a single scene in a single film that makes me say, “Whoa, I’ve never seen anything like that before.”  On the other hand, Headhunters had at least three of them all by itself. Not to give too much away, but if you’ve never seen a guy covered in human excrement being chased by a Norwegian Special Forces agent while driving a farm tractor with a pit bull impaled on the front of it, then you need to see Headhunters. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Norwegian film from a novel by Jo Nesbo, one of that country’s most popular mystery/suspense authors.  It’s about a small, unassuming guy who works as an executive search consultant (hence the film’s title).  Because he also has a very beautiful wife who has become accustomed to a very lavish lifestyle, he supplements his income moonlighting as an art thief. Anyway, the movie really gets going when he steals the wrong painting from the wrong guy and everything jumps the rails from there.  There’s lots of action, plenty of violence and an incredibly serpentine plot that is all neatly resolved in the end. It’s Scandinavian crime fiction at its best, without being a lame imitation of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s also a lot of fun.

21 Jump Street/Pitch Perfect – These are on the list as one entry, because I came to see both of them in much the same way. Based on the trailers and, admittedly, a certain amount of film snobbishness, I had decided not to see either of them. And not once, but twice, a person who is a bigger film snob than I am said, “Trust me, it’s really funny and surprisingly good.  Just see it and tell me I’m wrong.” He wasn’t wrong. In fact, 21 Jump Street and Pitch Perfect were (along with Silver Linings Playbook) my favorite comedies of the year.  Much better than anything Will Farrell, Jud Apatow or Adam Sandler threw at me. Of course, 21 Jump Street is the re-make, or “re-imagining” of the 80’s television show that launched a young actor named Johnny Depp.  In the 2012 version, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum (who is a very talented comedic actor) are the cops who go undercover into a high school world where the tech geeks are the cool kids and the jocks are the outcasts.  It’s smart and funny the whole way through.  And though I admit I am somewhat hit and miss with Jonah Hill, he’s excellent in this. Pitch Perfect plays on the natural absurdity within the world of college a cappella singing competitions.  Who knew this stuff had gotten so big?  Good thing, because it’s naturally hilarious and the perfect vehicle for a really enjoyable ensemble comedy.  The a cappella renditions of the songs are strangely infectious as well.  And Rebel Wilson is on her way to being a star. I guess the moral of the story is not to judge a film too severely based on trailers or subject matter.  I did, and would have missed two really good times if I hadn’t given these movies a chance.

Sinister – Had this been a ten best list, Sinister wouldn’t be on it. It was just a small horror film that came and went quietly in the late summer without a lot of fanfare.  I think it did okay at the box office, but it certainly didn’t set the world on fire. But there was something about it (a few things actually) that made it different from standard horror fare and managed to plant the film into my brain for some time. Briefly, it’s about a true crime writer who, hoping to research and write a best-seller, moves his family into the house where a horrific crime took place.  An entire family was found hanging dead from a tree in the backyard.  All except a little girl, who disappeared and had not been seen since. Granted, a pretty gruesome crime, but pretty standard modern horror movie stuff.  Where Sinister became different for me was in the way the crime, and others like it, were portrayed. In exploring the house, the author finds a box containing an old projector and four or five reels of vintage Super 8 film. Of course he watches the films and discovers, as we do, that each reel chronicles the murder of an entire family.  We see the hanging.  Another group is drowned and a third family is literally lawn mowered to death.  I don’t know about you, but for me there is something very creepy about seeing these things in grainy Super 8 home movies.  Tends to makes them much more real and less cinematic.  Sent a chill up my spine.  Anyway, the movie gets more supernatural as we discover the evil spirit behind and the actual perpetrators of the crimes, culminating in one of the darkest, most pessimistic and bleak endings to a film I’ve ever seen.  Which, naturally, I loved.  I admired Sinister, because it was able to do what every horror film aspires to, but few achieve – it creeped me out.  And it wasn’t afraid to end on a decidedly down note.  Another positive.  If you like horror, seek it out.

The ImposterThe Imposter – This is the only documentary on the list, but it’s a good one. It’s a story that starts out very strangely, and gets weird from there.  You spend the first half of the movie following the story of a young boy who vanished without a trace from his home in a small Texas town.  Nothing is seen or heard of him for years until he miraculously “reappears” one night, cold and shivering, in a phone booth in Spain.  A few problems arise, however. He is now of Algerian descent, his blond hair has turned black and he speaks with a French accent.  Of course, he’s the imposter of the film’s title.  He admits as much on camera. Still, incredibly, he was able to convince the US State Department and members of the missing kid’s family that he was the missing boy.  Much of the film’s first half is spent listening to his explanation of how he did it.  It is fascinating and absurd at the same time.  A testament to the notion that people can be made to believe anything if they really want to.  From there, the second half follows our young Algerian to Texas to “reunite” with his family.  That’s when it turns from a documentary about a total deception into a mystery that asks what really happened to the missing kid. The question is never completely answered, but you do leave the film with some strong opinions. In addition to being a riveting story, the film is done is a style I haven’t seen before in documentaries, combining first person interviews and voice-overs from many of the actual people involved with well-shot re-creations of events, sometimes placing the spoken words of the real people into the mouths of the actors portraying them. It sounds odd, but it works incredibly well. The Imposter is one of those documentaries that remind us that real life can be much crazier than the most fanciful fiction.

Safety Not Guaranteed – The film begins with a classified ad.  A man in a small town in the Pacific Northwest is advertising for someone to join him in time travel.  The ad goes on to state that since his time travel technique is still experimental, their safety is “not guaranteed.” A writer for a current events/pop culture magazine sees the ad and convinces his editor that he and a couple of interns need to get up there immediately to build a story around this loon who is looking for a time traveling companion.  And so they do. And that’s about it, really.  This is one of those small independent films that doesn’t have the budget for big stars and immense special effects, so it has to entertain you with interesting characters, believable dialogue and an engaging story.  Safety Not Guaranteed has them all, as well as Mark Duplass, who plays the time traveler who isn’t nearly as crazy as we expect him to be, and Aubrey Plaza as the intern who develops a relationship with him.  It’s funny without trying to be hilarious and thoughtful without trying to be profound.  It’s a film that understands its limits and doesn’t try to exceed them.  And in doing so, succeeds completely.

Killer JoeKiller Joe – First, a note of warning.  Killer Joe is not for everyone.  I’m not even sure I would rate it a “good” film, but I’m not going to forget it any time soon either. It is rated NC-17, with good reason.  So if you find it and you dive in, only to discover you really don’t like where you’ve wound up, don’t blame me.  I warned you.  But for those who do possess a taste for the unconventional, Killer Joe provides quite a journey. It’s set deep in the heart of Trailer Park Texas where the rain never stops falling and the average adult IQ seems to hover around 60. Emile Hirsch is a young, inept drug dealer who has somehow lost a stash of drugs and is now being pursued by more dangerous, less inept drug dealers.  He needs money fast and so shows up at the trailer where his father, stepmother (Gina Gershon) and younger sister live.  Naturally they have no money, but the son and his moronic dad (wonderfully played by Thomas Haden Church) devise a brilliant plan to kill his ex-wife (who is also the boy’s mother), collect her life insurance and thus,  solve all their problems.  All they need is someone to do it.  Enter Killer Joe, played to perfection by Matthew McConaughey.  Joe is a detective in the Dallas Police Department who, naturally, moonlights as a hit man. But first there is the matter of Joe’s fee, which of course the two plotters don’t have.  After much discussion, Joe agrees to take the kid’s 18-year-old sister as collateral until the insurance money is collected.  Yep.  Like I said, it’s not a film for everyone. At any rate, it all goes horribly and hilariously wrong from there until the grand finale with all of them together in the father’s trailer.  It is then that Gina Gershon performs the scene with Joe and a drumstick of chicken that surely earned the movie its NC-17 rating. It’s twenty minutes of film unlike any I’ve ever seen.  Before you reject it as exploitive trash, be aware that Killer Joe is directed by William Friedkin ,of Exorcist fame,  and is filled with first-rate actors who are clearly having the time of their lives. Especially McConaughey, who, with his solid performances here and in Bernie and Magic Mike, has had a really strong year.  It is a legitimate film… that just doesn’t happen to be for everyone.

Silver Linings Playbook – In real life, people aren’t perfect. In the movies, they are often very close.  Not the people in this movie.  They are as far from perfect as you and me and all the rest of us who occupy the real world. And Silver Linings Playbook proves that the lives, loves, trials, quirks, ticks and other assorted baggage belonging to a group of less-than-perfect people can make for an enjoyable and funny film. Bradley Cooper is the damaged soul of the movie.  He’s a manic-depressive who has been institutionalized after finding his wife and another man in a “delicate” situation and nearly beating the guy to death.  But as the film begins, he’s on his meds, doing better and going home to live with his mother and father in Philadelphia.  Remember, I said he was doing better.  I didn’t say he was cured.  The film is primarily his story as he tries as hard as he can, fighting his demons the whole way, to work his way back into a life that is something close to normal. It’s a funny and touching journey, with some really fine performances.  Like Robert De Niro, who plays his father – a crazed fan of the Philadelphia Eagles whose obsessive-compulsive, ritualistic behavior in support of the team makes him just slightly less unhinged than his son.  Or Jackie Weaver who, as his mom, does her best to keep the men in her life on something approaching an even keel.  And of course, there’s Jennifer Lawrence. She is the young widow who has dealt with the death of her husband in some highly inappropriate ways and is also trying to find her way back to a normal life. Her vehicle is a ballroom dance competition, which she convinces Cooper’s character to join her in preparing for and competing in. Her performance is ridiculously good.  At the age of 22, she is on the verge of her second Best Actress nomination in three years.  The movie is filled with great side characters and some very funny situations.  And though the ending is very pat, very sweet and very predictable, it’s okay.  Because it’s nice to see something good happen to characters you’ve really come to like and who could really use a good break.


Argo – This is just an exciting, interesting, well-made film.  It has plenty of suspense and more than a few laughs.  Any film that can combine a view of the ridiculousness of Hollywood with the dead seriousness of extracting Americans from revolutionary Iran is walking a fine line.  Argo walks it perfectly.  The fact that all of it (well, almost all of it) really happened makes it that much better.  For me, the Hollywood stuff was the best part of the film.  John Goodman’s character describing, with biting accuracy, the roles of various people involved in a film production was hilarious.  His claim that a rhesus monkey could be trained to be a director was an audience favorite. Alan Arkin was perfect as the crusty producer who knows exactly how to navigate all of the Hollywood nonsense and get the ball rolling on an imaginary movie.  That was the funny stuff.  The serious stuff took place in Iran, and it was good too. Well acted, well paced and even though I knew how it would turn out, pretty suspenseful. The feel was real, and I appreciated that the Iranian guards and revolutionaries were not treated as cartoon bad guys, but as actual people who felt they had a legitimate beef.  It made them feel more dangerous.  Finally, I know that the final chase through the airport and down the runway in Tehran didn’t really happen. So?  This is a movie!  It’s supposed to be entertaining.  I was on the edge of my seat.  Laugh at me if you want. At any rate, Argo had a lot of fun poking fun at Hollywood while at the same time showing us that Hollywood played a part in a pretty heroic achievement. I had fun watching it.

The Close-But-No-Cigar List

I see a lot of movies.  And each year there are a lot more than ten that I really like.  The following is a list of some of them from 2012.

Lincoln – It’s a good as everyone says.  Especially Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones.  It’ll probably win the Oscar for Best Film.  I’d be fine with that.

The Sessions – It’s a true story.  Writer with polio hires a sex surrogate.  John Hawkes plays the writer.  Even though he’s limited to moving nothing but his eyes, he’s great.  Helen Hunt plays the surrogate.  Even though she spends about half of her screen time completely naked, she’s great too.

Bernie – Jack Black is funny again!  It’s his best performance in years.  Also features Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey in full Texas smoothie mode.  And the story is true.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – It’s visually stunning and has some great acting from people who had never acted before.  Uplifting story too.

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Scary movie about a scary kid, and the mother who tried (and failed) to control him.  Consider that this film was released more than a year before the Newtown shootings and feel the hair rise on the back of your neck.

The Cabin in the Woods – You think it’s a typical attractive-but-dumb-teenagers-being-stalked-in- the-woods film, until you realize it isn’t.

Dark Knight Rises – I like “Dark Knight Christopher Nolan” more than “Inception Christopher Nolan.” Looking forward to Joseph Gordon Levitt as Robin.

Skyfall – Any film that features Javier Bardem as a crazy villain with bad hair (warning: gratuitous Anton Chigur reference) is okay by me.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi – Almost made the Top Ten list.  Even if you don’t like, don’t eat and don’t care about sushi, this is a fascinating film.  It’s as much about obsession and a lifelong dedication to one’s craft as it is about raw tuna.

Jimmy Kimmel is ready to rumble

This week, Jimmy Kimmel is moving from his midnight time slot to 11:35 pm, entering the ring with the late-night heavy-hitters of Letterman and Leno. ABC is hoping that the 25 minute difference will help boost their ratings, because simply put, many people decide to go to bed around midnight. There are a lot more people still watching TV at 11:35 pm than at midnight. This shift is historic because it will be this first time that all three of the major broadcast networks will have late-night talk shows all competing at 11:35 pm.

Jimmy KimmelThe arrival of Kimmel in the 11:35 time slot means a younger generation is starting to plant its flag there. At 44, Kimmel is younger and edgier than Leno and Letterman, both in their 60s, and brings the highly coveted 18-49 demographic. Kimmel will also have a head start on Jimmy Fallon, who has been rumored to be the heir apparent for Leno at NBC.

It’s no coincidence that the time shift comes at a time when Kimmel’s audience is steadily growing, while his rivals’ ratings are slipping. This past year, Kimmel was well-received hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and hosting the Emmy Awards.  Jimmy Kimmel Live! is also coming off its most-watched season in five years, growing 3 percent in total viewers and proving the only broadcast late night show to register an uptick this year according to ABC.

Although the Kimmel show still lags far behind Jay and Dave in the ratings, with a viewership of only 1.9 million, compared to Leno’s and Letterman’s viewership of around 3 million each, Kimmel is a legitimate threat to the current late-night landscape and should prove to be a solid move for ABC.

Season of Giving

“Life’s most persistent and urgent questions is: What are you doing for others? – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our Reno office helps package food in the local food bank.

R&R Partners has again opened its hearts this holiday season! We are so proud of the kindness and generosity of our employees in every office and the charitable efforts of the R&R Partners Foundation.

R&R’s helping hands reached out from coast to coast! Our Washington, D.C., office chose two charities to assist: The Greg Gannon Canned Food Drive and Martha’s Table, both of which do incredible work for the hungry and underprivileged in our nation’s capital. For the Greg Cannon Canned Food Drive (in its 25th year), our folks in D.C. collected 85,000 cans and boxes of food. For Martha’s Table (where President and Michelle Obama served food the day before Thanksgiving), we donated a huge box of winter coats, toys and books.

Our Los Angeles office showed its holiday spirit with a toy drive that provided more than 50 toys for the Children’s Bureau.  In Reno, our team packaged food at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

In Las Vegas, R&R helped 68 children of Child Focus (a program of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children) receive gifts this holiday season, and many of our employees volunteered their time to help the local food bank, Three Square, and build a house with Habitat for Humanity. We also held a food drive for Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

R&R employees in Las Vegas help local food bank Three Square.

The R&R Partners Foundation has touched many lives throughout the holiday season (more on that soon). Although the year is coming to a close, R&R is committed to keeping that giving spirit all year long.  Here’s to giving in 2013!

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.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 10/22/2012


MGM gets approval for Macau casino-hotel

MGM Resorts International received approval from the Macau government to open its second hotel-casino on the China-controlled group of islands. MGM China Holdings, a joint venture between MGM Resorts and Hong Kong billionaire Pansy Ho, will build a $2.5 billion, 1,600-room hotel-casino on Macau’s Cotai Strip. Plans call for 2,500 slot machines and 500 gaming tables.

Airlift priority for Jamaica

The island of Jamaica is in good shape for the upcoming winter season, with advance bookings at many resorts pacing ahead of a year ago at this time.


PreCheck will check in at Honolulu airport

Honolulu Airport was expected to launch the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program this week. Not all airlines participate in the program, and passengers must be eligible to go through an initial screening in order to participate.

Orlando, Fla., hotel activity in September was lower than a year ago

The hotel market in Orlando, Fla., declined in September, as 55.2% of rooms were filled compared with 56.2% the previous year, according to Smith Travel Research. The average daily rate decreased 1.4%, to $80.35, as children went back to school and fewer large-scale events took place.


US Airways Group reports record Q3 profit

US Airways Group posted a record third-quarter net profit of $245 million, up from $76 million a year earlier. Excluding special items totaling $192 million, the result was the second-best third quarter in the company’s history.

Delta posts $1B third-quarter profit

Delta Air Lines reported a third-quarter net profit of just more than $1 billion, aided by $279 million in one-time items. The result compared to a $549 million profit a year earlier.

Southwest will take over AirTran flights in 4 cities next year

Southwest Airlines has announced that starting in April, AirTran service at airports in Flint, Mich.; Portland, Maine; Rochester, N.Y.; and Charlotte, N.C. will be converted into flights under the Southwest brand. Southwest also unveiled new services that will launch also in April, including daily service between Boston and Kansas City, Mo., and between Houston and Pittsburgh.

Spirit: We don’t want you to pay our $100 carry-on fee

Spirit Airlines will be charging a $100 carry-on fee to passengers who do not pre-pay for bags. Some industry experts say it could hurt business, but Spirit says the fee will dissuade passengers from slowing the check-in process with last-minute bags.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 10/8/2012


Delta eyes New York market with added routes, landing spots

Delta Air Lines has added more than 100 daily flights at La Guardia Airport in New York, a move that it hopes will increase market share in the region. The airline this year acquired landing spots from US Airways. “We’re trying to win New York. That’s really what this expansion is about,” said Gail Grimmett, a Delta executive.

Delta will cut number of nonstop flights to Europe

Delta Air Lines has announced that it is reducing the number of nonstop flights to European destinations including Barcelona, Spain, and Milan, Italy. The carrier says it will be shifting its capacity toward connecting flights through Paris, where it plans to add more flights in partnership with Air France.

Delta Air Lines plans expansion of flights from Seattle to Asia

Delta Air Lines is looking to capitalize on its partnership with Alaska Airlines to add flights from Seattle. The plan includes expanded service to Asian destinations such as Shanghai, China, and proposed service to Tokyo-Haneda, Japan.

Row 44, Allegiant team up for streaming success

Allegiant Travel Company subsidiary Allegiant Air will launch Row 44’s Video-On-Demand service on all of its Boeing 757 aircraft. It will be the first carrier to use the wireless, streaming in-flight entertainment system.


In Sin City, green goes beyond what you gamble

Las Vegas hotels are making even more of an effort to go green as tourists are in the market for sustainable hotels. MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands have incorporated sustainable practices into their business models. MGM’s CenterCity project, for example, earned six U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certifications. Hotels in the city have embraced composting, rootop gardens, recycling and water-saving measures.


Cruise sellers expect improved business in Q4, 2013

Many travel agents reported weak business in the cruise segment during the third quarter, brought about by competitive pricing and slow bookings. However, agents’ optimism is high for the year’s remaining quarter, with prices expected to regain strength going into 2013. “There’s pent-up demand, an end in sight to the presidential election, and bookings are pretty attractive,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown of Cruise Critic.