Beyond the Gateways Drive in UK Urges Trade to Boost Second-Tier Destinations
The intensity of Brand USA’s Beyond the Gateways campaign—trying to get overseas travelers to visit non-gateway, second-and-third tier U.S. destinations—is more apparent than ever in the number one overseas source market for inbound tourism: the United Kingdom. As long as Inbound has been following the travel trade news outlets in the UK, it has never seen anything like the level of boosterism that has been urging travel agents to register for next month’s second annual USA mega FAM, which will break down a total of 100 agents into seven groups and take them on itineraries that will cover destinations in 22 states—about half of which have never been included on a Brand USA-sponsored fam before. The entry period for registering for the mega FAM ended April 3, following a two-week flurry of notices from trade journals urging agents to make sure that they have entered the pool of registrants. The mega FAM takes place May 14-21.
But the mega FAM is just one of the channels promoting the Beyond the Gateways campaign. The Visit USA Association UK, in its Travel News USA e-newsletter, devoted the landing page of its current issue to current products that, with the exception of some generic Visit USA pitches, plugged destinations such as Oklahoma City, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, and Dutchess County, New York. (Hyde Park, in Dutchess County, is both the birth place and resting place of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President.) Featured product that highlighted non-gateway itineraries included the following:
- “The REAL Deal! Or Cowboys & Indians—Kansas and Oklahoma,” from Complete North America, USA & Canada Travel Specialists, is a 14-day itinerary that takes travelers to and through Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Fort Sill and Sulphur, Oklahoma; and Wichita, Cottonwood Falls, Manhattan and Lawrence, Kansas. (www.completenorthamerica.com/cowboys-and-indians-kansas-oklahoma-tulsa-wichita-lawrence-fort-sill/)
- Bourbon Country, which moves visitors along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail through the heart of bourbon country and stop in on eight of the state’s distilleries such as Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve. Guests are able to experience the bourbon making process, view the facilities set in beautiful surrounding landscapes, and stick around for after-tour tastings of the best Kentucky bourbon. (http://www.kentuckytourism.com/dining/bourbon.aspx)
- A Self-Drive 17-Day Route 66 Tour— from £1,729 ($2,580) per person—from American Sky USA Holidays & Tour Specialist (www.americansky.co.uk). The self-drive itinerary takes travelers on a journey that includes through the classic Route 66 destinations that include: Chicago; Springfield (IL); St Louis; Springfield (MO); Oklahoma City; Amarillo; Santa Fe; Albuquerque; Holbrook (AZ); Williams (AZ) ; Las Vegas; and other stops before ending the trip with two nights in Santa Monica—the official end to U.S. Route 66.
U.S. Hotel Rates “Going through the Roof”
The latest year-over-year data from the two principal hotel research firms in the country—STR and PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR)—show that, from February 2014 to February 2015, U.S. hotel supply has fallen behind demand, and that rates are going “through the roof.” In short, the key metrics for the hotel industry revealed the following.
|Metric||YoY ChangeFeb. 2014 to Feb. 2015|
Sources: STR, PKF-HR
What Does A Club Sandwich Ordered from Room Service Cost in 15 Cities?
Using data from a recent TripAdvisor report on room service costs, a Washington Post blogger produced a graphic illustrating the cost of five basic items common to all hotels in either their room service and mini-bar service: a standard club sandwich, a bottle of water, a bag/container of peanuts, a bottle/can of soda, and an individual serving of vodka. We’ve put the information in the table below.
Room Service & Mini Bar
Source: Jody Sieradzki/TripAdvisor
New Multi-Purpose Entertainment and Attraction Destination Opening soon in Buena Park
Located about a mile away from the long-standing and popular Knotts Berry Farm along Beach Boulevard in Buena Park, California is The Source, opening some time in 2015. The Souce is a 450,000 square-foot urban center featuring shopping, dining options and cutting edge technology. The space is designed to reflect “the digital energy of Times Square, the visual energy of Tokyo and the avant-garde of Seoul.” In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to see some of their favorite musical artists at the 2,000 seat performance venue presented by YG Entertainment. In 2016, phase two of the project will see the construction of a 150 all-suite hotel that will feature meeting space, dining and a roof-top pool and bar. For more information, visit: www.sourceatbeach.com, or call 714.994.4300
USA is Clear Long-Haul Favorite for Travelers from Key APAC Markets
Annual results of a member survey conducted by online travel company Travelzoo Asia Pacific shows that, despite the distance, the USA is a favored international long-haul destination of key APAC source markets. Destinations were selected from a list of 44 suggestion country markets. In releasing the survey results, the company said that the Nov. 12, 2014 visa agreement between China and the United States is expected to heighten mainland Chinese interest in U.S.-based holidays.
Top APAC Nations and Their Top Destinations by Market,
With Rank & Share
|1. Japan (40%)||1. Australia Domestic (50%)||1. USA (38%)||1. Japan (49%)||1. Japan (56%)|
|2. USA (31%)||2. USA (34%)||2. Japan/domestic (28%)||2. Australia (31%)||2. Switz. (22%)|
|3. NZ (27%)||3. UK (29%)||3. Italy (22%)||3. Korea (28%||3. Italy (20%)|
|4. Australia (26%)||4. NZ (27%)||4. France (20%)||4. Maldives (25%)||4. USA (20%)|
|5. Taiwan (25%)||5. Italy (22%)||5. Spain (18%)||5. Thailand (21%)||5. Maldives (19%)|
Source: The member survey is an annual initiative by Travelzoo Asia Pacific conducted in collaboration with WIMI, a consumer insights consultancy firm. More than 4,300 Travelzoo members in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan participated in the survey.
The Travelzoo study also revealed that Chinese members will travel the most in 2015, taking an average of 6.4 leisure trips and spending an estimated $8,558 on average. Japanese members plan to take 5.2 leisure trips and spend $4,605 on average, while Hong Kong and Taiwanese members both plan to take 4.2 leisure trips, and spend $6,674 and $5,799 on average respectively. While Australian members will travel the least in 2015 (3.8 leisure trips), they will be the biggest spenders ($10,483 on average).
Germany Notes: Thomas Cook Reducing Amount of Deposit For Package Tours and DER Appoints New Manager.
In separate moves that should make it easier for Germans to purchase their travel arrangements, fvw reports that:
- As a result of a German Federal Administrative Court ruling last year, Thomas Cook Germany is reducing the amount of a deposit for brochure package holidays from 25 percent to 20 percent, and for last-minute trips from 30 percent to 20 percent;
- The deadline for paying the remaining 80 percent of the vacation package price has been changed from 40 days to 30 days before departure; and
- Alltours has increased the number of sales outlets in Germany by 10 percent by signing up 800 more travel agents following changes to its commission arrangement. The majority of the new agents are smaller outlets.
- Meanwhile, Sedat Tatli has been appointed to manage the DER Touristik brand, Meier’s Weltreisen, beginning in June. He has been promoted to the job from his current position as M-W’s product manager for Asia and the Indian Ocean. He succeeds Matthias Rotter, who has been appointed as managing director of the DER Touristik Frankfurt, which includes responsibility for Dertour and ADAC Reisen.
UK Hodge Podge—Product, Prognostications and Personnel Changes
- Dubai-based dnata travel, part of the Emirates Group, has acquired a majority stake in Imagine Cruising, a UK-based holiday firm. Apart from its UK location, the company also has offices in Cape Town in South Africa. So does dnata, and the deal is still subject to regulatory approval in that company. The acquisition is dnata’s latest in the UK. It has previously acquired Travel Republic, Gold Medal and Stella Travel Services.
- Casey Hurford, product manager for letsgo2, has joined Kenwood Travel as product manager. Also joining Kenwood is Pete Brudenell, former partnership marketing manager at British Airways Holidays.
- Thomas Cook has appointed former Tui UK managing director Chris Mottershead as business development director. Mottershead, who has been working for Tui in Russia for the last four years, started at Thomas Cook’s Peterborough headquarters on April 1.
- Andrew Cooper, CEO of the Owens Cooper consulting firm,, told a recent seminar held by McIntyre Hudson and Barclays travel, that he foresees a good year for travel in 2015, but warned the more risk-averse firms that hedged currency and fuel could suffer. The former Thomas Cook director of government and external affairs added that, although he was in a generally positive frame of mind because the number of people travelling overseas is rising, there are a number of indicators that are giving contradictory messages. Although oil prices have fallen, he said, the strong U.S. dollar is offsetting any advantages for those that buy their oil in dollars. The weak Euro is good news for the sector, however, but not for the likes of the main bedbanks that have bought their accommodation in advance.
B2B hotel accommodation wholesaler JAC Travel has acquired accommodation provider TotalStay Group for an undisclosed sum. The transaction was supported by Vitruvian Par
City Tours, Visits to National Parks and Monuments are Most Popular Activities for North American Travel
A recent survey commissioned by the NAJ Group, based on the response of 344 travel professionals comprising U.S. tour operators (domestic and receptive), international tour operators and travel agents found that city tours and visits to U.S. national parks and monuments are the most popular activities for North American travel.
NAJ asked those surveyed to select the most popular activities for travel in North America based on their clients’ purchasing history, nearly 60 percent reported city tours, and well over half reported visits to national parks on monuments as the most popular.
Most Popular Activities for North American Travel
|Visits to national parks, monuments||55.10%|
|Historic, cultural tours||36.80%|
|Technical industrial tours||3.10%|
Question: On the basis of what your clients are purchasing, which are the most popular activities for their travel in North America? (Choose your top three). Base: All Respondents. 319 completed surveys.
Conducted for NAJ by Destination Analysts
New Members Named for NAJ Strategic Advisory Council
NAJ founder and CEO Jake Steinman has announced that three more senior travel and tourism industry leaders have agreed to served on NAJ’s Strategic Advisory Council, an association of thought leaders and professionals from representing various sectors of the industry who will assist the NAJ Group in shaping its strategic vision for the future. The new council members are: Sharon Siskie, vice president, marketing and sales, international at Disney Destinations; Karen Kurth, sales director, international at Disney Destinations; and Bob Gilbert, vice president, sales and marketing at Exotics Racing. Following is the complete list of Strategic Advisory Council members.
NAJ Group Strategic Advisory Council
- Uri Argov, founder and CEO, Tourico Holidays
- Peter Dorner, president, New World Travel
- Mike Gallagher, founder and chairman, CityPass
- Sheelagh Wylie, head of trade sales, midway attractions, North America, Merlin Entertainments
- Sally Davis Berry, tourism sales and marketing manager, Corning Museum of Glass
- Malcolm Smith, vice president of business development and general manager of IPW, U.S. Travel Association
- Evan Saunders, founder and CEO, Attract China
- Mike Prejean, sales, international, contracts and missions, Louisiana Tourism
- Teresa O’Neill, vice president, global sales, Travel Oregon
- Alberto Cervera, head of specialized groups, tourism sales and loyalty groups, TUI/Hotelbeds
- Robert Graff, vice president of marketing and international sales, Papillon Group
- Sharon Siskie, vice president, marketing and sales, international at Disney Destinations
- Karen Kurth, sales director, international at Disney Destinations
- D.T. Minich, president and CEO, Experience Kissimmee
- Bob Gilbert, vice president, sales and marketing at Exotics Racing
New CMO for Brand USA
After the position had been officially vacant for months, Brand USA has announced the appointment of David Whitaker as its new chief marketing officer. A veteran of nearly three decades in the travel and tourism industry, Whitaker comes to the position from Tourism Toronto, where he has served as president and CEO for almost eight years. Prior to his tenure in Toronto, Whitaker spent 17 years with the Greater Miami CVB, lastly as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
The last person to hold the title, Yvonne La Penotiere, held it for less than a year after she was appointed to the post in June 2013, just in time to attend ipw 2013 in Las Vegas. La Penotiere, who had spent most of her professional career in the Minneapolis area, left Washington, D.C. to return to the area for family-related reasons, according to reports. Then, she officially left Brand USA last June. In the interim, Tom Garzilli, senior vice president, global partner marketing, has handled many of the public duties of the CMO.
Notes from Canada—Actor Stars in Film Promo Targeting China, While Fam Tour Targets UK
While the registration process for the Brand USA mega FAM 2015 closed last week, registration is still open for UK travel agents seeking to be one of 50 agents who will be spread out among 11 fam tour itineraries across Canada Sept. 9-18, 2015. Organized by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), the fam tour itineraries will take those who secure a spot among the chosen 50 to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador or the Yukon. Registration closes May 31, 2015. CTC’s airline partner in the fam tour is Air Canada.
Godfrey Gao, Taiwanese-born Canadian model and film and television actor, and also an ambassador for the CTC, pitches Canada in a new film short directed at Chinese travelers. The hope is that Gao—he is a widely known household name and image in Asia and his father is from Shanghai—will stimulate interest in Canada among the millions of Chinese who regularly go online to research travel information. More than 22 million people have viewed last year’s film on major Chinese streaming websites, such as Youku, Pptv, Sohu and LeTV, according to the CTC.
The U.S. might stand to benefit from the film’s impact, should Chinese visitors make Vancouver, which is Gao’s hometown, their point of entry, as Vancouver is also the point of entry for nearly 10 percent of the Chinese travelers who visit the U.S. following their arrival at Vancouver International Airport, which is just 28 miles from Blaine, Washington. Blaine borders Canada and is an international point of entry into the U.S.