Ex Visit Florida CEO, Will Seccombe, to be a Featured Presenter at eTourism Labs Next Month
Program has 45 Leaders, Experts on eTourism: Less than two months ago, Will Seccombe had to resign from his position as president and CEO of Visit Florida over an expired $1 million dollar contract with the globally known rapper, Pitbull. He will discuss his experience with the program that led to the controversy.
Slated to take place over two days (March 14-15, 2017) in Philadelphia, NAJ’s eTourism Labs (a product that evolved from NAJ’s annual eTourism Summit in San Francisco) “is actually ‘three-fer’ opportunity for the serious tour and travel industry digital marketer,” explains Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, which also publishes the Inbound Report.
The three components include: “Digital Media Strategies Built around Measurement,” a workshop addressing the latest media strategies and an “ROI Parade” featuring the latest ways marketers are calculating value for their funders; a full-day workshop covering Video Creation and Distribution called “Visual Storytelling”; and a “Boot Camp for Newbies.” Specially designed training for new hires or P.R. staff making the transition from traditional to digital? (Designed in collaboration with Destination Marketing Association International).
Attendees will hear from 45 experts about the future of native advertising, content marketing strategies, Addressable TV, cross device attribution, influencer marketing, video sharing psychology, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, web design and practical panels that will discuss such topics as tactics to replace website traffic lost to Google algorithm changes.
“We’re fortunate to be able to hear from Will Seccombe about his experience and about what can go wrong when the objectives of a destination marketing campaign clash with the agendas of elected public officials,” said Steinman. “All of us will benefit from what he has to say.”
Along with two other senior Visit Florida officials, Seccombe lost his job in the wake of revelations that the organization had a $1 million contract with Pitbull (the stage name for Armando Christian Pérez, a Miami native who still lives in the area) to promote Florida, as well as criticism on the part of some state legislators of a promotional video, “Sexy Beaches.”
Because of the legal structure of the private-public Visit Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, while praising the work of Visit Florida during Seccombe’s more than four years with the organization, had to ask William Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami CVB and chairman of the board to ask for Seccombe’s resignation. All of this action took place in the week before Christmas.
For complete program and registration information, visit: http://labs.etourismsummit.com/
International Visitors Snarfing up South Florida Homes—Most Pay Cash
n 2016† buyers from other countries purchased 10,885 residential properties (an increase of 1.9 percent for the previous yeas total of 10,678). This number comprises about a quarter of all sales—non-international buyers made 76 percent (or 34,387) of purchases. And half of these purchases were made by buyers from Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. These are just a couple of the findings in the just-released 2016 Profile of International Homebuyers conducted for the Miami Association of REALTORS® by the National Association of REALTORS®.
The 74-page report suggests a link between South Florida and the region’s key visitor markets and hints at many possibilities as to why visitors from these markets are doing more than merely having a vacation when they come to Miami and other key destinations in South Florida. Some of the key findings of the survey include the following.
- On average, Miami’s international buyers purchased more expensive properties compared to other foreign buyers.
- Almost three quarters (72 percent) of Miami’s international buyers paid cash for their purchases.
- 75 percent of MIAMI foreign buyers intended to use the property as residential rental, vacation home, or for both uses.
- 94 percent of foreign buyers visited Florida at least once before purchasing a property.
- 62 percent reported the exchange rate changes had a significant effect, higher than in previous years.
- 76 percent of international buyers are fluent in a language other than English (vs. 73 percent in 2015). 79 percent of referrals/leads for purchases came from personal contacts, previous clients, and business contacts.
- Buyers from other countries purchased $19.4 billion of Florida residential property in the 12 months that ended july 2016.
Following are some of the tables and charts from the survey.
One might suspect, on the basis of the following two charts, that buyers of real estate in the U.S. are do so to have a stable investment—one that is immune to a dollar that, in recent years, has grown strong vs. other currencies.
The U.S. Dollar Has Strengthened Against Most Currencies since 2014 (Two Tables)
The following chart gives a broader picture of key international real estate buyers—especially where they are from—of properties in the whole of the United States. China leads all nations.
†A note on the survey: The 2016 survey provides information on the international residential transactions of Miami Association of REALTORS® (“MIAMI”) members during August 2015–July 2016. The 2015 survey covered the period July 2014–June 2015. The MIAMI survey was conducted from August 9–October 4, 2016, yielding 1,496 respondents. To increase the number of respondents from Martin County, the 45 respondents who reported Martin County as their primary business area in the 2016 Florida survey were included in the analysis. Altogether, the combined set consisted of 1,541 respondents.
Verdict is in—There’s been no Real Brexit Impact on UK Travel to North America
The latest data released last week by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that—despite the weak pound and the shock to the UK’s Central Nervous System caused by the June 23, 2016 “Brexit” vote in which Britons voted to leave the European Union—outbound traffic to North America for the five months following the Brexit vote has actually increased be nearly two percent, year-over-year, for the same period in 2015. (Note: about 90 percent of UK visitor traffic to North America goes to the USA).
To put the information in perspective, we’ve entered it into the following four-year table below.
Also, overall, In the 3 months to November 2016, UK residents made 18.5 million visits abroad, an increase of 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015. There was an 18 percent increase in trips made to visit friends and relatives, while the number of holidays increased by 8 percent and business trips increased by 9 percent.
TUI Launches Global Travel Magazine
Reinforcing its path to becoming one global travel brand, the Hannover, Germany-headquartered TUI Group has launched what it says is the biggest branded content website in the tourism sector—travel.me—after gathering social media content from all of its brands worldwide. The online travel magazine includes posts from 600 social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, with some of the content still bearing the signature of the company’s former national brands.
“TUI’s brands range from airlines to cruises and from hotels to tour operators. Each of them has a genuine treasure of stories, now recovered through travel.me,” said Magnus Huttenberend, head of digital communications at TUI Group, in making the announcement, adding, “For the first time, we tie together the content of all brands under one digital roof – in line with our oneBrand strategy. Thanks to multiple content use, we have created the largest branded content portal in the tourism sector.”
Travel.me is available in English and German and content from the various channels is automatically fed into the system, reviewed with some content curated by editors, and subsequently put on the site. Users may directly like or share most content on travel.me without leaving the site. Further languages and channels and the incorporation of user-generated content and live feeds from special events are under development, said TUI. One can visit the English language site at:
The launch of a global website for a global brand is in keeping with TUI’s strategic direction implemented at the end of 2014, when the travel company merged with its parent company, TUI AG. Since then, the company has offloaded non-core businesses and has nearly completed the elimination of individual company and/or corporate brands. The last to go are the two UK brands, Thomson and First Choice.
Also, the company is currently reviewing bids from potential buyers of TUI’s collection of some 50 specialty brands, which currently operate under the Travelopia umbrella. The brands include such names as American Holidays, Citalia, Brightspark, Educatours, Gullivers Sports Travel, Grand American Adventures, and Hayes & Jar
Is the Terrible Winter Triggering Holiday Purchases for Germans?
The latest report from the Nuremberg-based marketing research company GfK had some good news for the German travel trade, reporting that its monthly survey of travel agencies showed a 13 percent summer bookings rise in December, and that demand had picked up strongly in the second week of January, and midst a particularly harsh winter for Germans.
Last fall, European experts announced that the winter of 2016-2017 would be the coldest in the last 100 years as arctic air masses arrive over the European continent. And they were right. And according to German meteorologist Dominik Jung, the lowest temperatures were expected to be recorded in January and February. March will not be any warmer, and temperatures would not increase until April. His predictions were supported by AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi and by Elena Volosiouk, specialist at Phobos Meteorological Centre.
In reporting on the GfK release of the survey results, the German travel trade publication FVW said that Germans already started booking their summer holidays early in good numbers in November and December, and that “this trend appears to have strengthened in the first few weeks of the new year, which is traditionally the strongest booking period of the year.” Some other highlights from the report:
- Alltours, the Number 5 tour operator in Germany on the basis of market share, had a “good” bookings increase compared to last year.
- Schauinsland, Germany’s Number 7 tour operator, said it had a “very satisfactory” December.
- North America specialist Canusa reported double-digit growth for Canada and a single-digit rise for the USA.
- Travel agents are also happy with the start to 2017. For example, Derpart, one of Germany’s largest travel agencies, has a sales increase of about 8 percent compared to last year
- Another major agency, Lufthansa City Center, said it has had a “high single-digit” rise.
- As for destinations, Spain remains the favorite among German travelers. But, with the decline of Turkey as a destination for German travelers, Greece has become popular, with TUI, indicating that it has experienced a 41percent increase rise in bookings for the destination for summer 2017.
- Thomas Cook, Germany’s second-ranking tour operator, told FVW that Greece was an “absolute trend destination” for many different customer groups this year.
- Mexico is performing very strongly with TUI, the Number 1 tour operator in Germany, reporting a 71 percent bookings increase. TUI also reported strong growth for the USA, South Africa, Canada, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Dominican Republic as well as Indonesia.
Six Things You Should Know about the Chinese Shopper
Most of what we in the tour and travel industry have read or published regarding the shopping habits of Chinese visitors to the USA—with the exception of proprietary research not readily available to the public—comes from the perspective of professionals who are a part of the industry. Just recently however, the magazine, Retail Week, published an engage article by Tammy Smulders on “Six Things You Should Know about the Chinese Shopper,” which the Inbound Report has digested here.
Chinese Spending Has Gone Global
As a brief preface, here are some numbers: In just 10 years, the share of the market for luxury goods represented by Chinese shoppers has grown from 5 percent to has grown to 31 percent, thanks to the country’s strategy to engage more with global markets following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, plus greater interest in travel and western culture by Chinese people.
China’s travelling population make up 24 percent of global luxury spend, with only the remaining 7 percent of spend occurring inside China.
With the number of Chinese people who own a passport expected to rise from just 4 percent to 12 percent by 2026, the desire to buy luxury items abroad is sure to increase as well.
A Love of Designer Labels
- We asked high-spending Chinese shoppers: “What would you spend $10,000 on, given the choice of a range of items and luxury experiences? Over 60 percent opted for designer fashion.
- When we asked a number of affluent European and American shoppers the same question, 56 percent chose a luxury holiday.
- It can be argued that many Chinese shoppers place far greater importance on luxury products than experiences. But the majority are not interested in discovering niche labels or the next big thing.
- They want established global mega brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes.
A Love of European Brands
- When asked: “What brands best represent luxury?”, many nationalities pride themselves on their own stable of luxury brands – Italians are considered to advocate Armani, Bvlgari and Ferrari, while the French often go for Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.
- Chinese shoppers however, also favor the French brands of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès, with almost 60 percent preferring to travel to France to buy these brands in their market of origin.
- Although only 21 percent of Chinese shoppers say they go to the UK to shop for luxury, the number of Chinese visitors into Britain rose by 45 percent last year, spending £586 million ($736 million).
Again, with increased levels of Chinese passport ownership, visitor numbers to Europe and corresponding spend will continue to rise over time.
Buying Luxury to Make a Statement
- For Western shoppers, it is considered that many buy luxury products as a personal and private reward for something achieved. For many Chinese shoppers on the other hand, luxury items are bought in order to make a statement about who they might be, how much they could earn and to demonstrate taste and style.
- This difference is vital in understanding how to market to those people for whom status and how a product makes them feel is more important.
- When asked: “Which luxury items constitute an expression of personal style?” 12 percent of Westerners selected home furnishings, whereas 22 percent of Chinese respondents opted for a luxury watch.
Friends often dictate Style
- Across Europe and America, a person’s style is influenced by the people around them. Many Westerners turn to people in restaurants, bars or walking down the street for inspiration when trying to create a personal look.
- In China, style is often influenced by friendship groups—social acceptability is all about adopting the fashion and cultural codes of the people you spend time with.
How brands influence these codes is vital for success.
Appreciating things social, mobile and digital
- The majority of travelling Chinese that buy luxury goods are wealthy and second generation—80 percent of whom are under 45-years-old.
- Their spend has increased 10.5 percent compared with two years ago and many use social media, mobile and digital options to learn about brands and interact with luxury branded content.
- There are huge opportunities for advertisers to create an affinity with the right content across the right digital channels, and feed an insatiable Chinese interest.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
In the UK, Monarch has promoted Dawn Hardwick to the newly-created position of head of trade sales and distribution. Reporting directly to Ian Chambers, Monarch’s chief commercial officer, Hardwick is now responsible for all airline trade sales with a focus on “delivering a coherent trade distribution strategy,” building stronger relationships with trade partners and supporting the growth of airline sales.
Former Thomas Cook managing director Richard Calvert has joined the Shearings Leisure Group as its new chief executive, following the departure of Denis Wormwell, who left the business after almost 10 years to pursue a non-executive career. Calvert joins the group from the U.S.-based holiday firm Celebration Travel Group, where he was president and CEO.
Abercrombie & Kent has tapped Mikael Castro to head up its new office in Brazil—at the same time the company announced that it is adding several small, luxury private-jet itineraries this year, the latest in a series of upgrades and expansions by the luxury-tour operator. The new Rio de Janeiro office is A&K’s sixth in South America and 53rd in the world. Castro, who has 10 years’ experience in the tourism industry, joins A&K after operating his own sustainable tourism consultancy for nearly five years. Previously he was a manager at Compass/Brazil Ecotravel.
Carlos Silveira has joined Trend Operadora as a sales executive. He’ll be responsible for serving one of Brazil’s main markets, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre. Silveira will report to supervisor Alexandre Tedesco and regional manager for the South, Daniel Moser.
After just a few months on the job, Julia Haywood has stepped down from her post as chief commercial officer for United Airlines. Haywood joined United from Boston Consulting Group in August and has now returned to the consulting firm, where she had served in different capacities since 2005.
Visit Phoenix has promoted Lorne Edwards to vice president of sales & services.Edwards joined Visit Phoenix five years ago as director of sales following a 16-year career at Hyatt Hotels Corporation during which he served in a number of sales positions, lastly as director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Mass.