Get Your Click on! Your ITB Photo Could Win $300!
We are sponsoring the first “Spirit of ITB” photo contest where attendees can submit photos of their appointments with tour operators, networking at evening functions offsite-anything that captures the spirit of the show. Just send us your ITB photos and win! The Top 3 selected by our judges will be awarded $600 in total prizes (First Prize-$300 American Express gift certificate; Second Prize-$200 American Express gift certificate; and Third Prize-$100 American Express give certificate) and will be featured in the Inbound Report.
What should you submit? Photos of people-individuals or team appointments, which capture the spirit of the event: delegates in their booths meeting and talking; people stopping to give your camera a smile; gatherings in and about Berlin ExpoCenter City; and group shots at social functions.
When should you submit them? By the close of regular business (5 p.m., PDT) on March 16th.
When will the winners be revealed? Finalists will be announced on March 23rd in the Inbound Report. Reader comments will be invited in order to help select the winners, who will be announced on March 30th in the Inbound Report. (Winners will be notified beforehand.)
Where should you send the photos?
E-mail the photos, individually, to: [email protected].
Anything else? It is mandatory that each individual in each photo by full name, company or organization and title. No exceptions. And it would help to be specific as to the time location of the photo. As well, let us know who took the photo.
To follow the progress of the contest, make sure to read the next Inbound Report.
“The sky is falling!” Or so it seemed a year ago at ITB’s third day, when we found American Ring’s executive team–Stefan Frank, Margaret Dietermann and Sam Zonni—holding meetings at a table that was moved outside their booth. Evidently, a portion of the booth’s ceiling had collapsed right onto Ms. Dietermann’s arm the day before and they weren’t taking any chances.)
Also From Last Year—Hans and Franz: Every year, the two men pictured here can be found roaming the ITB floor showing elaborately designed facial hair and INBOUND’s publisher has always wanted to know their backstory. Evidently, they represent a club that keeps alive a tradition from the 18th Century in which each regiment in the Prussian army sculpts their beards and mustache into a unique design—sort of a crest made of hair.
As ITB Starts, German Market Outlook is Flat—at Best
As the world’s largest travel trade show, ITB which takes place this week (March 9-13) in Berlin is the one venue at which the global tour and travel industry gets to take its own temperature. The business conversations and information exchanges at the late winter/early spring event gives one a basis for making a fair determination as to how the upcoming summer travel season will perform, how interest is shaping up for 2016-17 winter holidays and what new products are hot for 2017.
And if the talk in the host nation is any indication of trend lines, it suggests that Germans, as well as consumers in other key European source markets, are hesitant in their travel plans and intentions. A collection of survey and poll results, as reported in the German travel trade publication, FVW, tells us the following.
—Last year, Germans took fewer holidays last year for the first time since 2010 and there could be a further downturn this year, according to the annual Tourism Analysis by the Hamburg-based research organization Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen (“Foundation for Future Studies”)
—The study (based on a nationwide survey of 4,000 adults by the Hannover-based research firm GfK) said that, in 2015, only 54 percent of Germans took a holiday of five days or more, compared to 57 percent in 2014 and 2013.
—The proportion of people over 55 who took a five-day holiday dropped by six percentage points to 48 percent but the number of 35-54 year-olds who went on a five-day trip increased by two percentage points to 61 percent.
—The outlook for 2016 is no better. Asked about their travel plans for this year, 21 percent said they are not making any travel plans at all. This is two percentage points more than last year.
—The number of undecided consumers was put at 37 percent.
—However, the average length of a trip actually increased in 2015, for the first time in many years and after a steady reduction over the last decade—the average holiday was 12.6 days last year compared to 12.1 days in 2014.
—In terms of destinations, Germany retained top spot in 2015. Among foreign destinations, Spain remained number one ahead of Italy, Turkey, Austria and France. Asia was the top long-haul destination region, followed by North America and North Africa.
—The average holiday cost for Germans on holiday last year increased to €1,109 ($1,219) per person from €1,071 ($1,171) in 2014.
—According to Ulrich Reinhardt, scientific head of the foundation, “many Germans don’t want to cut their holidays any more. Instead they are saving on transportation or accommodation costs and are spending less at the destination, rather than having less time there.”
2016 ITB action is underway. At the Georgia booth as the event opens are (left-to-right): Mindy Shea, director of international sales, Visit Savannah; Tracy Vaughan, director of international accounts, Georgia Tourism; Dennis Kemp, regional sales manager, Georgia Aquarium; Peter Hannaford, UK representative, Georgia Tourism; Brandon Barnes, director of international sales, Atlanta CVB; and Anja Hoebler, Germany representative, Georgia Tourism.
—According to analysis by data analysts for the Trevo Trend of customer inquiries in German travel agencies and on booking portals in the week of February 11-17 for holidays up to mid-September—interest in holidays is higher than it was at the same time last year,
—But this interest is not being converted into bookings. In January, sales revenues “went red,” declining by 12 percent year-on-year, according to GfK.
—The low booking trend is especially evident (in figures for the past three months from the Holidaycheck website) for Tunisia (63 percent less traffic and 47 percent fewer bookings, Egypt (down 30 percent) and Tunisia, but bookings for Bulgaria up (+72 percent); and Spain and Portugal are up by 40 percent.
NAJ’s RTO Summit East to be part of National Travel & Tourism Week
For the first time in its 11-year history, NAJ’s RTO Summit East will coincide with National Travel &Tourism Week, announced Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, which organizes the RTO Summit East, which will be held May 2-3, 2016 in New York. National Travel & Tourism Week runs from Sunday, May 1st through Saturday, May 7th.
“RTO East was moved to a Monday-Tuesday of National Travel &Tourism Week for the first time, on May 2nd and 3rd,” he explained, “so that attendees can use the remainder of the week to celebrate NTW with tour operators in their offices while they make post RTO Summit sales calls.”
In addition, Steinman said, the RTO East Summit is working with TripAdvisor to create Digital Day on Monday, May 2nd, with sessions focused on helping international sales and marketing staff to have a better understanding of international online marketing techniques and practices. Also, the May 3rd closing reception for Summit, co-sponsored by Gray Line New York, will be a celebration of National Travel &Tourism Week and will be open to all receptive tour operators in the area.
View full information for RTO Summit East, visit here:
http://www.rtosummit.com/rto-summit-east/rto-summit-east-agenda/. The RTO Summit Digital Day will be open to New Yorkers at an a la carte rate.
Two of the World’s Worst Three Airlines Are UK-Based
Easyjet, Britain’s largest airline, was rated second-worst in a new survey ranking the world’s best and worst airlines, and Virgin Atlantic came in as the third-worst in a rating created by AirHelp, a company that provides legal help for customers making claims for delayed flights. Worse than either Easyjet or Virgin was the Portuguese carrier SATA, based in the Azores.
AirHelp rated 34 major airlines according to three categories: each carrier’s quality rating (i.e., the Skytrax World Airline Star Rating—a rating of one to five stars—is a global airline rating system that classifies airlines by the quality of their front-line product and staff service standards.); the airline’s on-time flight performance, as reported on Flightstats.com, during the last quarter of last year; and “claim processing”, which considers the number of rejected flight compensation claims that were later up-held in court, and the time it takes for the airline to acknowledge, handle and pay out a successful claim. It is unknown how many passengers were surveyed for the latest rankings but the data was drawn from 3,607 compensation claims made in the final quarter of last year.
Word’s Best/Worst Airlines
|Airline||Country||Score||Quality Performance||On-Time Performance||Claim Processing|
|2. KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines||Netherlands||8.5||8||8.8||8.7|
|3. Air Baltic Corporation||Latvia||8.2||6||9.4||9.3|
|4. Air France||France||8.2||8||8.3||8.3|
|5. Lufthansa German Airlines||Germany||8.2||8||8.6||8|
|6. Air Canada||Canada||8||8||7.9||8.2|
|7. Emirates||United Arab Emirates||7.9||8||8.2||7.6|
|8. Croatia Airlines||Croatia||7.9||6||8.2||9.5|
|9. British Airways||United Kingdom||7.8||8||7.7||7.8|
|11. SAS Scandinavian Airlines||Sweden||7.8||6||8.6||8.7|
|13. Air Berlin||Germany||7.7||6||8.4||8.6|
|14. Flybe||United Kingdom||7.7||6||8.7||8.3|
|15. Delta Air Lines||United States of America||7.6||6||8.5||8.2|
|16. LOT - Polish Airlines||Poland||7.5||6||8.8||7.7|
|17. Vueling Airlines||Spain||7.5||6||8.4||8.1|
|18. Condor Flugdienst||Germany||7.4||6||8.7||7.6|
|19. Wizz Air||Hungary||7.4||6||9||7.3|
|20. United Airlines||United States of America||7.4||6||7.9||8.3|
|21. American Airlines||United States of America||7.35||6||8||8.1|
|22. Turkish Airlines||Turkey||7.3||8||7.6||6.2|
|23. WOW Air||Iceland||7.2||6||6.1||9.5|
|25. Norwegian Air Shuttle||Norway||7.1||6||8.7||6.5|
|27. Alitalia - Compagnia Aerea Italiana Spa||Italy||7||6||8||6.9|
|29. Aer Lingus||Ireland||6.8||6||8||6.6|
|30. TAP Portugal||Portugal||6.8||6||8.1||6.2|
|31. Swiss International Air Lines||Switzerland||6.4||8||7.9||3.3|
|32. Virgin Atlantic Airways||United Kingdom||6.2||8||7.6||3.1|
|33. Easyjet||United Kingdom||5.8||6||8||3.4|
|34. Sata International||Portugal||5.2||6||6.7||2.9|
Brazilian Travel Industry High Five’s Itself over Tax Battle Victory
Travel and tourism leaders in Brazil engaged in a burst of celebratory self-congratulations last week after it had waged a furious campaign and effectively killed a 25 percent tax that would have affected travel packages purchased abroad by tour operators—with the cost passed along to consumers or absorbed by the operators themselves. The episode triggered a never-before-seen demonstration of outrage on the part of the industry, warranting special meetings between government officials and industry leaders that received non-stop attention on the part of the news media. So important had the issue become in less than two months that the country’s Minister of Tourism, Henrique Eduardo Alves, decided to forego formality and release immediately, via Twitter the news of a provisional measure eliminating the tax.
What started the controversy is that Brazil’s federal government chose last December not to renew a tax exemption on bank transfers/remittances of funds abroad. The action ended a policy of exempting international bank transfers of up to 20,000 reais (about $5,300 at the current exchange rate) from a 25 percent levy on one’s income tax return. The exemption, which was approved by Brazil’s Department of Federal Revenue (it is commonly referred to as Receita Federal), had been in effect since 2011.
By early last week, Congress had passed and President Dilma Rousseff had signed into law the provisional measure reducing the tax on remittances abroad from 25 percent (a de facto 33 percent by the time other charges are incorporated) to 6 percent (an effective 6.38 percent)—the same as credit card purchases made by Brazilians abroad.
Did the tax and/or its provisional elimination have any impact on business and will its provisional elimination have any impact on future business? We posed the questions to Celyta Jackson, vice president of RDP, Inc., a Miami-based global marketing and communications firm who has extensive experience with the Brazilian market (she had earlier predicted to the Inbound Report that Congress would likely take action on the 25 percent tax by the first week of March, which is what happened), who told us: “I don’t believe we’ll see a surge in Brazilian spending in the U.S. because of the reduction. The 25 percent tax was in place for only two months. Not truly long enough to impact travel pricing severely or have dire consequences for jobs.”
Then, echoing a theme struck in different news accounts of the development, Jackson said, “What is important to me is what I see as a new maturity from BRAZTOA (Brazilian Tour Operators Association)—learning to become effective advocates for the tourism industry and to ‘play nice’ with government … channeling change through law and reason can work in Brazil,” adding, “Braztoa must continue to be a watchdog and pro-active advocate for the industry. I believe they will be.”
The celebratory tone is likely to be heard and repeated many times over next week (March 15-16) at the FÓRUM PANROTAS in São Paulo. Sponsored by the trade publication, PANROTAS, the forum is recognized as “the” industry event each year, attracting about 1,500 leaders from every sector of the travel and tourism industry, as well as government officials. (For more information, visit www.panrotas.com.br/forum.)
RTO Summit West-Digital Day Summary- Part 2
The Top Social Network for Travel Suppliers to Connect with Receptives is …
LinkedIn. This was the consensus message from a panel discussion by receptive tour operators at NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, Calif. Nor is it Twitter. Nor is it Pinterest. Nor is it Instagram. While all the aforementioned might have some useful features for receptive tour operators, the site that they rely on most for information, communication and updates concerning personnel and products is LinkedIn.
The panel—it was comprised of Patrick Swen, marketing director, Lassen Tours; Roselle Masse, product director, TeamAmerica; and Aniseh Dalju, co-founder of Onward, a new Anaheim-based receptive tour operator—was almost dismissive of Facebook as an effective medium for reaching them. Some excerpts from what the panelists said, which seemed to surprise the many travel suppliers and DMO staff in the audience for the presentation, include the following.
With Facebook, Masse told delegates, “There is such a thing as too much information … sometimes you have so much information that I disregard some. I may be old school, but I would welcome a phone call once in a while. When you have 2,000 messages or texts, it’s difficult to wade through.”
Masse said that she relied on the information on her LinkedIn account to track personnel information. “It’s useful if someone moves from one property to another,” she explained, which one can learn from updates posted by LinkedIn connections.
Said Swen: “If you are to connect with somebody by asking them on LinkedIn, it’s definitely OK … Professionally, it’s better to ask somebody if they’re on LinkedIn than if they’re on Facebook.”
And Daljuh, who only recently started her own company, Onward, after working for more than a decade with Destination America, observed, “If you’re interested in doing business with someone new … you can look on LinkedIn to see what you have in common.”
How Your Message Matters, Too: Swen drew nods of agreement from his two colleagues when he emphasized the timeliness of one’s message and its appropriateness. For instance, he noted, while smartphone apps are an absolute must not matter whether one uses Facebook or LinkedIn, one has to know how to use WeChat if one is going to sell the travel market in China. But, he said, because of regional and national preferences, if you try using WeChat in South Korea, “Good luck with that.”
The key question that a supplier must ask and answer, Swen emphasized, is, “Are you able to get your message across when you need to?”
What to Say to Those Posting a TripAdvisor Review of Your Business
“Saying ‘Thank you’ carries great emotional weight. You should say it often.” Advice like this was woven throughout the presentation of Andrew Wiens, international destination marketing sales manager for TripAdvisor as he spoke to delegates at NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West at the Ritz-Carlon Marina del Rey, California.
In fact, said Wiens, the conventional wisdom that says “If you have a good experience, tell no one—if you have a bad experience, tell everyone” is simply not true. What TripAdvisor has found is that more than three quarters of its ratings and comments are positive.
It appears that, whether it’s a good review or a bad review, the traveler, the guest or the patron who posts it wants and likes acknowledgement.
|Percentage of respondents who say seeing a hotel management response to reviews makes me believe it cares more about its guest||77%|
|Percentage of respondents who say an appropriate management response to a bad review improves my impression of the hotel||87%|
Data such as the above, in addition to data which show that quick (or “express”) responses to reviews can actually improve a business’ rank in TripAdvisor ratings is one of the reason the company offers a suite of products available to them through www.tripadvisor.com/owners.
At the core of its products, are the best practices that TripAdvisor lists for management responses to reviews:
- Sign up for review notification e-mails
- Read TripAdvisor’s guidelines
- Respond promptly
- Say “thank you”
- Be original in reply
- Highlight positives
- Address specific complaints
- Be polite and professional
Lest anyone doubted that Wiens was aware that the Summit audience included tour and travel professionals internationally, he reminded delegates that TripAdvisor operates sites in 45 countries and in 28 languages. He also displayed the following numbers.
TripAdvisor Globally: The Numbers
|Unique monthly visitors to TripAdvisor||350 million|
|Reviews and opinions posted||290 million+|
|TripAdvisor members||90+ million|
|User contributions made every minute||190+|
|Number of people who view TripAdvisor content on sites other than TripAdvisor each month||500 million+|
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Tracy Ward, who recently took over as director of the Flagstaff (Ariz.) CVB, may or may not have his job very long. It turns out that Ward, a veteran of more than two decades in the travel and tourism industry who was hired last Nov. 6 and started work on Nov. 23, from Experience Kissimmee in Florida (where he was also interim director for more than a year) apparently returned to the Orlando area between those two dates when Orange County sheriff’s deputies picked him up on a battery charge. It turns out that Ward and his roommate apparently had a dispute over the dog who lived there—the roommate accused Ward of letting the dog out of the kennel—during which Ward allegedly landed two punches to his roommate’s head. Flagstaff officials have said that Ward had passed a standard background check before he was hired, and they have reviewed the Orange County Circuit Court records on the case and discussed it with Ward and are waiting to see what the outcome of the case will be.
In France, Soléa Holidays has announced the appointment of Alexander Espitalier Christmas as CEO. He took over the post on March 1st. He will continue to run its operations for France, the Benelux and Southern Europe. Pascal Boyer will become, in turn, commercial director of Soléa on the same date. He worked previously for Nouvelles Frontières, TUI PLC, STI Travel and Travel 24 France.
Vincent Lhoste has left the Reed Exhibitions group for the travel insurance sector, joining UK-based AXA Travel Insurance as global sales director, travel. At Reed, Lhoste served as director of IFTM (Reed Expositions France) from 2007—2012 before taking over WTM Latin America, Asia and China until January of this year. Previously, he worked for TUI France as director of production and for Travelport as director of sales and marketing.
Alipio Camanzano, who headed the popular Brazilian travel website, Decolar.com, for eight-and-a-half years, has been named the new director of CVC for online sales and Submarino Viagens (literally, Submarine Travels, which CVC had acquired) as CVC, the nation’s largest travel company pursues greater share in the online travel market in Brazil.
Abby Spatz, chief marketing office for NYC & Company,has left the organization. Her tenure lasted a little over seven months. A veteran of more than two decades in marketing, communications and advertising positions, Spatz had come to NYC & Co. from Blissworld, which specialized in beauty and skin care products, where she was vice president/head of integrated marketing communications.
IN MEMORIAM: Jack Lindquist, Georgiana Clark
Jack Lindquist, who was hired as Walt Disney’s first advertising manager in 1955 and who became the first president of Disneyland, died of natural causes on Feb. 28 in Anaheim at age 88. Among his many achievements, Lindquist was one of the original commissioners of what is now the Visit California Association. He was also inducted into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders in 1989, and received numerous other awards during his career. Lindquist, who retired on Nov. 18, 1993 (Mickey Mouse’s 65th birthday), was a recipient of the ultimate honor for Disney insiders: a window featuring his name on Disneyland’s Main Street. It reads: “J.B. Lindquist, Honorary Mayor of Disneyland.” In retirement. he was revered and often consulted. He lived with his wife Belle in an apartment near Disneyland. From their apartment balcony, they would watch the nightly fireworks at the theme park. Said Marty Sklar, former vice chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, “The title of Jack’s memoir really says it all about his professional career: ‘In Service to the Mouse.’ That’s who he was and what he did.”
Georgiana Clark, owner and co-founder of Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in Felton, California, in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, passed away last week following a long bout with lung cancer. Georgie, as she was known, along with her late husband Norman Clark, started Roaring Camp more than a half century ago with a dream and only $25 dollars. Norman Clark, who passed away in 1985, and Walt Disney were friends were fellow train buffs and friends. It was while Norman was attending a conference for train buffs in Hawaii, he first met Georgie, who was a native Hawaiian—descended from Hawaiian Royalty. Norman and Georgie were a fixture in their booth at IPW for many years and were successful selling their attraction to tour bus operators as a lunch stop feature half way between San Francisco and Monterey. After her husband’s death, Georgie Clark ran the business while raising their three daughters: Chemene, Melani and Kapiolani. Their daughter Melani, who grew up at Roaring Camp, was elected CEO several years ago. Meanwhile, Kapiolani works in guest services at Disneyland.