Straight Men in Danger of Extinction in Travel Industry?
A coalition of LGBT travel groups has announced that it will lead a travel and tourism industry effort to determine why there are so few straight men in the industry and to make recommendations to reverse a decades-long trend in which the percentage of straight males working in travel and tourism has gone from majority to minority—by some accounts only 15 to 20 percent of adult males in the industry are straight.
“The situation presents a challenge to an industry that has always committed itself to diversity in its labor force—from entry level to senior management,” said a spokesperson for the group. “And now we find ourselves with far too few straight males. We run the risk of losing the insights and contributions they can make in the packaging, promotion and delivery of the travel experience.”
No one who the Unbound Report spoke to was specific as to why there has been a decline in the percentage of straight males working in the travel and tourism, although several authoritative sources suggested that the current situation is the failure of straights to maintain a sharp appearance for both retail travel customer and B2B markets. “People just don’t want to buy from unpleasant looking, out-of-shape males who never dress well, don’t know about the importance of having a nice tan and don’t know how to decorate a booth at a trade show,” one source said.
The coalition spokesperson said that the group will first start a recruitment and mentoring program that, in addition to teaching traditional sales, marketing and retail skills, will stress the importance of proper dress, appearance and partying skills.
IPW Update No. 1—IPW 2016 to Introduce Hot Yoga in New Orleans
In order to conserve energy in the heat of the day in mid-June, the New Orleans Convention Center has announced that they will turn off the air-conditioning during IPW from 2 to 4 PM on Tuesday (June 21) following the show’s luncheon. In lieu of the normal 5K morning fun run/walk, IPW officials have found a silver lining, positioning the two hour interregnum as an industry-wide Bikram Yoga (a.k.a. Hot Yoga) session: “Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 104-110 °F, with a humidity of at least 40 percent,” said Malcolm Smith, general manager of IPW, adding, “Operators are always asking attendees to be more flexible. Now, they just might get their wish.”
IPW Day 3 Luncheon to Go Vegan—Doors to be Locked from the Outside
In an effort to stem the flow of buyers from the Wednesday luncheon and allow some chickens, cows, pigs and fish to roam or swim another day, IPW has decided to make its luncheon on June 22 in New Orleans a vegan extravaganza. As part of this year’s theme “New Age Travel,” the menu will be sure to have those rogue operators from the UK, who always duck out to have lunch at an undisclosed bar location with their friends, salivating.
Among the dishes the all-you-can-eat buffet will offer are: Raw Kelp Noodles with Organic Kale Chips, Grilled Buffalo Po’Boy Tofu with Apple Cole Slaw capped with Quinoa Chocolate Chip cookies. Additional stations include; Roots to Toot About, The Grain Falls Mainly on the plain in Spain and more. And to limit buyer defections this year, IPW officials will lock the exit doors from the outside and install porto-potties at the back of the room for those who need to heed the call of nature.
Industry Fundraising Activities to Help Cash Strapped Brand USA
Even though Brand USA is allowed to spend $200 million annually—with funds coming from private sector contributions and proceeds of a $10-per-visitor fee charged to travelers to the U.S. from Visa Waiver nations—Brand USA is broke. A large staff, high rents, slow and costly response times, high fees charged by its ad and research agencies and a recently discovered accounting error resulting from a misplaced decimal point in the agency’s latest quarterly financial report, has prompted an ad hoc committee of travel and tourism industry experts to develop a program of quick-cash fundraising events.
So far, the Unbound Report has learned, the Top Four promising list of projects, to be launched formally in June includes:
- Nationwide bake sale during National Travel and Tourism Week.
- Car Washes outside IMAX movie theatres screening the “National Park Adventure.”
- Visit USA Committee-sponsored bingo games in the more than 30 countries that have Visit USA Committees;
- A Brand USA Volunteer Brigade that will raise cash by staffing kettles and ringing bells outside major USA gateway airports; and an a fundraising telethon over the Independence Holiday Weekend led by Rosanne Cash and LL Cool J.
Frito-Lay Develops New Tracking Chip Buried in Salty Snacks
The eternal quest for a single tracking benchmark for international travelers may finally be at hand as Frito-Lay has announced that their R&D department will introduce a microscopic GPS “chip-in-a chip” that can be embedded in a grain of salt contained in specially packages of prepared peanuts, potato chips, pretzels and other snack foods served on all international flights arriving in the United States. The chip will be able to immediately track the destinations visited by inbound travelers. For U.S. travel industry suppliers, the tasty chips–they are programmed to have a life of two years (the length of an ESTA authorization)—will be able to provide a fairly accurate tracking mechanism as they will be programmed to recognize the traveler’s identity by cross-referencing their airline seat number with the ESTA authorization data. At its start, the chip-driven information collection program will apply only to travelers from the 38 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, plus China.
United Airlines Announces Formation of New Low Cost Carrier
Throwing caution to the wind after the humiliating failure of TED, UAL has created a new low cost carrier targeted to the niche of passengers are who do not complain about the lack of legroom available on their airlines. Fetal Air, which will launch service between Chicago and Gary, Indiana, has a six minute inaugural flight in which the unique selling proposition will be no legroom whatsoever. Each seat is directly abutted against the one in front of it, allowing the usual 330 configuration to expand to 963 seats. “We’re targeting the immense market of flexible travelers,” said a United Spokesperson. “To facilitate Mother Nature calls,” he said, “We installed a little track on the aisle that allows passengers to roll to the restrooms. Word is out that they are also considering making oxygen optional for a $25 fee after it was discovered that nearly all passengers on the Chicago-Gary service held their breath for the full term of the flight.
Madame Tussauds to Open New Museum That Replicates Congress
In a rare bi-partisan move, majority and minority leaders in the U.S. Senate and the United States House of Representatives have signed an agreement in which the famed producer of wax people will reproduce the wax likenesses of elected officials on the floor of the House and Senate.
As is the case with real Senators and Representatives, the likenesses will sit motionless and passive. Madame Tussauds technicians will, however, program the likenesses to nod occasionally. “This will create a realism factor unlike any other Madame Tussauds attraction,” said a spokesman for Merlin. “As live telecasts show us, each chamber usually has one person speaking, with almost no one else present to listen. Our likenesses will create the illusion of a full house through the nodding and looking off functionality as well as an elected body that actually listen to one another.”
HODGE PODGE—Gossip, Rumors and Other Unsubstantiated Items from the Tour and Travel Industry
Mark Zuckerberg is departing Facebook to take over as president and CEO of the NAJ Group, replacing Jake Steinman, who founded the organization more than 20 years ago. Word is that Zuckerberg has been unable to attract any friends at Facebook and hopes that the contacts that he develops at NAJ’s Summit events will help him find real friends. ++ The Unbound Report has learned that US Travel’s Malcom Smith, general manager of IPW, will show NTA “how it’s done” in an attempt to add relevance to its Travel Exchange Show. ++ A group within NTA is looking to organize an Agnostics Travel Association, but its members seem to have trouble finding anyone who cares whether or not there is such a group. ++ The Trump Organization is quietly sending out feelers to see if there is some group or population demographic in the United States that Donald Trump has not yet insulted or offended. If you know of one, contact: www.trump.org.
One More Thing: Headed to Canada? Insure Yourself against Effects of a Trump Election
The possibility that Donald Trump just might be elected president of the United States has created a stir of activity among Canadian destinations that seek to capitalize on the weakness of the Canadian loonie vs. the U.S. dollar and the increasingly stated desire on the part of U.S. residents to get out of the United States should Donald Trump be elected president. In addition, a number of service industries have also found the fear of a Trump presidency a solid selling point as they market their products. Here is one example:
(Remember, this “news” is published in the spirit of April Fools Day 2016, which is today.)