It is challenging for us to make broad generalizations about what the tour and travel industry professionals who subscribe to the Inbound Report are most interested in reading. We do know, however, after taking a look at the results on the number of readers of each article for the past year, that they were most interested in the sale/acquisition of units of two major European tour operators. We show two articles on the subjects as being No.1 and No. 2. Actually, there were a half dozen articles on the same two subjects, in total, that could have qualified for Top 10 status. So, we stretched the base of articles a little to include some others in the list, which follows.
- “Kuoni up for Sale—Carlyle Group among Those Interested”—This was the headline article in the first issue of the Inbound Report for2016. It remained an item of intense interest for a month. Then, in February, it was announced that Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners had acquired the Zurich-based Kuoni, one of the oldest tour operators in Europe.
- “Out of Left Field Department: And Now, Word is that Booking.com is after Hotelbeds”—Published in early April, this was one of a series of articles in the months-long saga that generated a high level of interest as TUI, Europe’s largest travel company, moved at a deliberate pace in reviewing offers for its Hotelbeds unit. A UK private equity firm, Cinven, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, combined forces to make the acquisition in late April.
- “Caps on Visitor Numbers, Higher Fees Loom for U.S. National Parks”—Tour operators were especially concerned upon reading this item, published in June, as the U.S. National Park Service announced that it was seeking solutions to overcrowded conditions at some of America’s popular national parks.
- When Jerry DiPetro—a long-time receptive tour operator who had transitioned into semi-retirement—passed away suddenly last September with a heart attack during a routine meeting with senior sales executives at Blair Hotels in Wyoming, it generated an outpouring of heartfelt comments and reactions—more than for any other industry figure we lost during the year.
- “NAJ’s RTO Summit West, Feb. 17-18 at the Marina Del Rey Ritz-Carlton: a Visual Log”—We want to believe that most people read the Inbound Report for its editorial content, but they said otherwise via the large number of readers who apparently turned to this photo log instead.
- “Brand USA Goes through Third CMO in Just over 3½ Years”—Tour and travel industry professionals were stunned to learn (the Inbound Report was the first to report it) of the departure of David Whitaker from the top marketing job at Brand USA in order to become president and CEO of Choose Chicago. Whitaker had held the BUSA job for a year.
- “Tourico Strikes Deal to Book Hotels for Virgin Holidays”—Orlando-based Tourico Holidays, which seems to be a step or two ahead of the curve in developing new product and new technology, made other operators everywhere take notice when it announced an agreement to partner with the well-known UK tour operator.
- “Heads Roll at Visit Florida. CEO Ousted after $1 Million Pitbull Deal is Revealed.”—A combination of indignation on the part of public officials over a “Sexy Beaches” video and a million-dollar contract with a world famous rapper was enough to cause the firing of Visit Florida’s top three officials … just a week before Christmas.
- “Aniseh Dalju Launches Own Receptive Tour Operator Company”—The Inbound Report was the first to notify tour and travel industry professionals that Aniseh Dalju had left a major West Coast receptive tour operator after a long tenure in order to launch her own tour operator business.
- “Travel Industry Speaks Out about the Election of Trump”—A week after the Nov. 8 general election in the U.S., the Inbound Report set out to find out what our readers thought about the result and the prospect of a President Donald Trump. Reactions ranged from “I don’t expect much of a change in international visitor-ship” to “Devastated. I believe America went 1,000 steps back in all aspects.”