The NAJ Group’s 2015 RTO Summit in Orlando this week was the occasion for the presentation of awards to the recipients of this year’s “Coolest New Products.” But just what is “cool”? What does it mean? As one judge who was part of the selection process explained, “’Coolness’ is classically defined as something that is fashionable and impressive at the same time. Beyond that, it’s hard to define but we all know it when we see it.” There were five products honored this year. Each honoree was presented with a plaque, and there was a video program explaining each product. Following are excerpts from the narrative provided during the awards presentation.
Louisville CVB—The Urban Bourbon Experience: In Louisville, they don’t just drink bourbon – They experience it. They cook with it, celebrate it, stay up late with it and even make furniture out of it. Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail is made up of some of the best bourbon bars in the world. Visitors are urged to grab a passport, try a bourbon flight or an Old Fashioned (Louisville’s official cocktail), eat some bourbon-infused food, get a stamp and they are on their way to earning Bourbon Country Citizenship.
There are a half-dozen distilleries in or near downtown Louisville and another three are scheduled to open in the next two years—all within walking distance of one another. And there are bourbon-related special events. The Bourbon Classic 2016 will be a rare, interactive opportunity that delivers education and entertainment exclusively focused on the Bourbon enthusiast – held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.
THE RIDE, New York City: THE RIDE burst on to the travel scene in New York City with an all new approach to a motorocoach tour. Its immersive adventure uses iconic landmarks in the city as a backdrop for an interactive experience. Passenger sit theatre style in custom-built, multimillion-dollar motorcoaches as the city passes by them for 75 minutes while two on-board hosts entertain them.
At certain points along the way, THE RIDE stops so that its passengers can enjoy live performances—with Manhattan as a backdrop and its sidewalks as a stage. As both theater and tour product, THE RIDE has received rave reviews all along the way.
North River Lobster Company: It is the largest, and only, floating lobster shack in New York City. A new attraction that is docked along the Hudson River in Mid-Town Manhattan, it requires no reservation. Passengers simple come aboard, pick from a wide variety of seafood staples, place an order with the bartender and grab a seat.
North River Lobster Company takes diners on short cruises out onto the Hudson up to seven times per day. Passengers dine and unwind at their leisure, and can take advantage of a sailing schedule designed for quick lobster lunches, happy hour drinks, sunset dinners and incredible views of the Empire State Building and the Midtown skyline.
The restaurant’s raw bar features a selection of regional favorites including Oysters, Littleneck Clams and Jonah Crab Claws sourced from various regions – including New England, Canada, and even Hawaii in order to serve the best seasonal product. The result? The North River Lobster Company received nothing but rave reviews locally and nationally this past summer.
For more information, contact: www.northriverlobsterco.com, or Janice Bennett, director of travel industry & group sales, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, World Yacht & North River Lobster Company ([email protected])
SPEEDVEGAS—The name says it all: Scheduled to open next spring is the new and exciting SPEEDVEGAS, just minutes from the “Welcome Las Vegas sign” on Las Vegas Boulevard where customers will be able to race exotic cars known worldwide. SPEEDVEGAS is a built-to-order, customized 1.5 mile Formula 1-inspired track that will be open seven days a week.
Clients will have the opportunity drive the latest and greatest Supercars including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Shelby Mustang and more! The new attraction will also offer a great atmosphere for groups to gather—it has observation decks, cafés and adrenaline activities for everyone—as well as multiple meeting spaces and an event center with both indoor and outdoor facilities that can include catering, entertainment and action all in one. It will be a unique opportunity for receptive operators to generate additional revenue. And all SPEEDVEGAS experiences with be commissionable.
Wild Walk at the Wild Center in the Adirondacks: Opened several months ago near the Wild Center in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake Placid, New York, the Wild Walk is a 1,250-foot treetop network of bridges and platforms that allow visitors to get a spectacular view of the Adironacks. Those who make the trek can see for more than 25 miles.
The breathtaking project—there is really nothing quite like it in the continental United States—took years of design work, and its construction was funded by a combination of gifts, grants and financing totaling more than $5.5 million.
It is already recognized as one of the top destinations in New York—attracting more than 50,000 visits a month—with over 900 live animals, hands on activities and displays, a panoramic theater, café and museum store, it was described by the Boston Globe as “the place to go.” And recently, the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) recognized Wild Walk as an award-winning project in their Celebration of Architecture and Design Program during its annual conference.
For more information, contat: www.wildcenter.org, or Hillarie Logan-Dechene, director of philanthropy, THE WILD CENTER (hlogan—[email protected]