German Operator Features Trump in Ad Campaign
He’s done it again. Timo Kohlenberg, the boyish and adventurous president and CEO of America Unlimited, the Hannover, Germany-based USA specialist, has launched a promotional campaign using the highly negative impact on travel consumers of the Trump brand and, playing on the meaning of the word, “trump,” is turning it into a catchy hook that is registering with Germans.
When last we checked, Kohlenberg, who studied marketing in both London and New York before joining the family-owned firm that he now runs, was cited in the travel trade media along with other German operators lamenting the impact of U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and immigration-related proposals on travel to the United States.
A practitioner of what is described as “stunt marketing,” which is seen in everything from the splashy America Unlimited van he drives around Hannover and showcases at trade shows to a six-story banner on the side of a Hannover high-rise building, as well as his own attire, Kohlenberg has developed a new consumer-and-trade campaign hinged to the meaning of the word “trump” that has generated much notice.
The essence of the promotion, he told the Inbound Report when we asked him about it, is this: “Trump means triumph in German as well. You are supposed to focus on the real trumps in America, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, instead of talking about politics.”
Continuing, he explained, “We wanted something edgy, something where people would stop and take a second look, especially with these out-of-home components, we need to get the attention in the first place. This campaign plays with the current political issue and therefore gets people’s attention a lot.”
A staple of an America Limited campaigns seems to be the billboard, which depends upon a four-to-eight second window of a motorist’s attention. Kohlenberg has the campaign slogan and one of its images, such as the Statue of Liberty, on billboards in Hamburg, Berlin, Hannover and Frankfurt.
More important than its impact on motorists is how the campaign has been received in the new media. And it has received a substantial amount of attention in both the consumer and trade media, with the coverage usually featuring an iconic image—or “trump,” he might say—in the coverage.
Chinese More Likely to Visit USA because of Trump
According to a new Brand USA survey, Chinese travelers were the only group of visitors that claimed that the political climate in the United States under Donald Trump has made them more likely to visit than before. USA’s survey suggests that Trump’s election has led to an increased interest among Chinese people to visit the United States. Survey respondents were given a multiple-choice list factors influencing travel plans; one of them evaluated the influence of the political climate on travel decisions.
Among the countries surveyed, Mexican nationals showed the most concern, followed by Canada, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, and France, all of them showed moderate concern. Travelers from India, Japan, Brazil, and South Korea were less sensitive to the political climate than respondents from other countries but still showed a decreased likelihood in visiting the United States. In the three-month period between December 2016 and February 2017, Chinese respondents were the only group of respondents which had gotten more likely to visit the United States because of the U.S. political climate.
The two key tables from the Brand USA survey, which was discussed at the organization’s recent board of directors meeting, follow.
Speculating as to why the survey results showed what they did, Jing Daily had this to say: “The reasons for Chinese travelers’ relative excitement about travel to the United States following Trump’s inauguration remain debatable. On the one hand, it could indicate relative confidence in a United States led by Donald Trump, but on the other hand, it could also indicate that Chinese travelers fear that the United States’ fraught relationship with China may cause heightened travel restrictions in the future—making the currently tense political climate a good reason to visit the United States sooner rather than later. At the same time, Trump’s calls for making the United States a safer place may also be resonating with Chinese tourists, who are known for being security-conscious. A perceived lower risk of terror attacks and violent crime on U.S. soil should, therefore, make Chinese travelers more interested in visiting the United States.”
Late-Breaking: NYC-Based Receptive Operator Now Has Sole Owner
Flat Seems to be the Norm in Outlook for Japanese Travel to USA
The results of the latest Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) quarterly survey of the Japanese travel trade suggests that the outlook for Visit USA/North America traffic from the second largest overseas source market for the United States is not much different for the peak travel months of July through September 2017 than it was a year ago (April through June 2016). In fact, the numbers have not changed very much in the past three years. What changes there are in the quarterly report appear to be in the market segments within the Japanese population. (We’ve included the two most important tables from the survey below. It’s relatively easy to translate the value of the numbers in the tables; just refer to “A Note on Methodology” following the tables.)
The Staying Power of the Senior Segment: Compared to the previous quarter (October–December, 2016), the senior market is 20 points better and is the best performing segment at present. The family, students and solo travel segments have gotten stronger by 10, 17 and 8 points respectively. By improving by 4 and 2 points respectively, working women and students segments have not shown any sizeable changes. During the April–June quarter, seniors will still lead the travel demand. Incentive travel and business/technical visits will improve by 18 and 5 points correspondingly. Honeymooners will be 8 points stronger, working women will grow by 5 points and solo travelers will improve by 5 points.
A Note on Methodology: The Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) asks all member companies to register as survey monitors. JATA conducts the quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends involving 548 registered companies and publishes the results. The Survey of Travel Market Trends is designed to grasp trends in the travel market based on responses to questions on current conditions and those anticipated over the next three months. The survey asks participating companies to rate their sales results for each destination and customer segment by choosing from three categories: “good,” “average,” and “poor.” For items outside their business scope, respondents select “do not handle.” Each share of “good,” “average,” and “poor” is then divided respectively by the denominator, which is equal to the total number of responses minus the “do not handle” (including “no reply”) responses. Finally, each share is processed into the Diffusion Index (DI) by subtracting the percentage of “poor” from the percentage of “good.” The highest possible index figure is +100, and the lowest is -100.
This was an Internet survey, conducted from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23, 2017. The number of registered companies surveyed was 567; the number of responding companies responding was 282. Response rate: 49.7 percent.
Q&A: The Tour and Travel Industry Speaks out about Trump and Exchange Rate
“This could be the greatest time for travel businesses to reinvent themselves.” With IPW in Washington, D.C. just seven weeks away, every sector of the tour and travel industry faces significant challenges stemming from the current global political climate and a strong U.S. dollar. In this environment, NAJ’s Inbound Report called upon a panel of thought leaders representing a cross section of the to ask them for their comments and ideas on how the plan to adjust their marketing strategy in this era of a strong U.S. dollar and sensitivity to the USA’s new Administration.
Q: “How does the US politically sensitive environment and exchange rate change your International sales tactics?” Answers were as follows. (Some responses have been edited for the sake of brevity.)
- “While cyclical trends affecting travel intentions and expenditures in different world regions can lead to mixed results on a country level, the overall international market still increased over past performance in 2016. Therefore, we aim to amplify the diversity of our international market mix through a number of tactics including out-of-home media, social media, tourism trade events and conferences, global communications, marketing partnerships, and more.”—Fred Dixon, president and CEO, NYC & Company
- ‘We are more than ever looking for avenues that will allow us to communicate the open and welcoming nature of Houston. Public relations and social media outreach efforts are key to our efforts. In terms of the exchange rate, we are focusing on value. Houston has always been an affordable destination and that matters more than ever now.”—Jorge Franz, senior vice president of tourism, Visit Houston
- “We tend to concentrate on the positive that the guest receives value for their money by staying at the Hotel Beacon. For example one of the things we offer is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and we have kitchenettes in all of our rooms and suites.”—Tom Travers, general manager, Hotel Beacon, New York City
- “In 2016, New York City had the lowest crime rate on record and there were again no major terrorist incidents. …People need to be clear about the Trump Administration’s travel ban proposals. If implemented, it would affect an infinitesimally small percentage of the world’s population. We are open and welcoming to the rest. This is our message.”—M. Elaine Kellogg, executive director, business development, Gray Line City Sightseeing New York
- “If anything, it has made us work harder and invest more in our key international markets. We also rely on our international office representatives to provide us with market intelligence so we know how to best communicate our messages.”—Rafael Villanueva, senior director of international sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
- No matter the scenario, as tourism industry professionals, our job is to double down, step up to the plate and make sure the customer experience is as welcoming as possible. The exchange rates have been affecting the business for quite some time. A shrinking dollar means a higher demand for value and additional reasons to justify their expenditure on a unique experience. Our marketing budgets have become more fluid so we can respond to opportunity. The rules are different. With any revenue generating touch point – from front desk to sales and marketing must be empowered to enhance conversions.”—Robert Graff, vice president of marketing, Papillon Group
- The exchange rate is by far more topical and important to their travel interests and options. Now, more than ever, we need to be present in key markets to protect our market share and to make sure everyone realizes the USA and our destinations are open for business and travelers are welcome. Day-to-day life hasn’t changed and visitors have more options and experiences than ever before. It is more often value for the experience than value for the dollar.”—Brian Said, vice president, global development, Choose Chicago
- “ We will continue to focus on the abundance of choice for all budgets to address exchange rate concerns along with the variety of affordable activities: a day at the beach, a museum visit, a signature food truck experience, to name a few. The silver lining to the current exchange rate is that our resources go further in many of our key international markets, which allows us to do much more in promoting Los Angeles as a premier travel destination.”—Kathy Smits, vice president, tourism, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
- “At the current time, the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council has not made any changes to its international marketing strategy. We continue to monitor indicators, but key international markets–especially Germany–are strong and do not seem to be impacted.”— Stacey Mitchell, director of sales, Florida Keys and Key West
Q: How have you adjusted your marketing to communicate a positive message to international trade?” Answers were as follows.
- “With recent events related to the two proposed travel bans and surrounding rhetoric, we have launched the ‘New York City – Welcoming the World’ campaign and messaging. The campaign, valued at $3 million (USD), landed in the UK in March, and later in spring it will be seen in Germany, Spain and Mexico..”—Fred Dixon, president and CEO, NYC & Company
- “We are back to basics. In my opinion, face to face contact matters more than ever right now.” —Jorge Franz, senior vice president of tourism, Visit Houston
- “We really haven’t adjusted our message to international travel trade. We are simply reinforcing the message above and asking our partners to clearly communicate these accurate and positive points to their clients. —M. Elaine Kellogg, executive director, business development, Gray Line City Sightseeing New York
- “We have stayed on the message that NYC is a safe and great place to visit.”—Tom Travers, general manager, Hotel Beacon, New York City
- “We haven’t adjusted our messaging all that much. Las Vegas is a welcoming destination and we continue to promote our brand promise of Adult Freedom, where you can escape reality and partake in whatever that phrase means to you. It is also a place where you can get the most bang for your buck and our value proposition still resonates well with the international audience. Las Vegas is an escape and the gateway to the many national parks. All of these messages continue to be strong today.” —Rafael Villanueva, senior director of international sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
- “Organizations have seats or rooms to fill, revenue managers have to adjusting pricing based on demand. When demand is weak, that means every hotel can drop their price. This is where relationships come to play and the sales and marketing role becomes even more critical. Companies need to provide flexibility, value, encourage advance and pre-bookings and provide operators with targeted promotions and specials. This could be the greatest time for travel businesses to reinvent themselves. Smaller, nimble and responsive companies will benefit the most.“ —Robert Graff, vice president of marketing, Papillon Group
- “We highlight value for money, that we are open, welcoming and now is a great time to visit. Many markets are enjoying amazing airfares and long haul carriers are helping mitigate the exchange rate fluctuations. Travelers are savvy and have access to information that can help them find ways to still take a trip within their budget by taking advantage of pubic and often free activities, bundled attraction passes that provide savings, travel in shoulder periods, connected yet diverse neighborhoods, etc to maximize their time. Once in Chicago, travelers are delighted to find that they are in a major American City with a variety of experiences thus providing more value.” —Brian Said, vice president, global development, Choose Chicago
- “We have not adjusted our marketing to the trade at this point. What we have begun to do is speak directly to our elected officials to make sure they realize the economic impact that international visitors bring to Corning and the Finger Lakes, and that replacing these visitors is not likely, or even desirable. I do reach out directly to the international trade partners to ask if there are any opportunities that CmoG can take advantage of in partnership with them. We all want to succeed in this challenging time, and we can only do it by working together.” —Sally K. Berry, tourism sales and marketing manager, Corning Museum of Glass
- “Los Angeles celebrates diversity and rolls out the red carpet for visitors and this will not change. Residents hail from 180 countries and speak more than 220 languages in our city; we come from everywhere and welcome everyone. Our President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. captured this sentiment and expressed his gratitude to our travel trade partners in a personal video message that we shared across our key international markets. Our trade partners are instrumental in promoting L.A. globally and we wanted to ensure this message was effectively communicated. Our international offices and representatives continue to work closely with the industry to promote L.A.’s most defining features: creativity, openness, variety and diversity.” —Kathy Smits, vice president, tourism, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
- “Our international messaging has and will always be positive. Florida Keys travel points focus on the convenience factor for a subtropical islands vacation that can easily be reached via major U.S. international airports. We also highlight the more laidback atmosphere of the Keys and how longer vacations can be easily paired with major attractions in Orlando, or other Florida destinations, for operators seeking diversified sun vacations for their clients.” — Stacey Mitchell, director of sales, Florida Keys and Key West
And this: After answering the two questions, Robert Graff e-mailed us from his cell phone with this quick after-thought that is worth mentioning: “An increase airline capacity to the USA, combined with Low airfares, are also helping us keep USA vacation cost in check.”
New Brand USA Campaign Designed to Send Visitors beyond Gateways
Brand USA has a new campaign, “See How Far You Can Go—a new interactive website feature that it launched last week aimed at getting more international travelers to come to the United States by engaging them through interactive features on its website (VisitTheUSA.com), and challenging site visitors to see how far they can go” while at the site.
The new interactive campaign will launch in 11 major international markets: including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the UK. Combined, these markets account for nearly four out of every five (79 percent) international visitors who come to the United States, according to the latest data available from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office. Under a goal established several years ago, Brand USA would like to bring 100 million visitors to the U.S. by 2021.
The campaign will target various forms of social media and feature unique video content captured from a first person viewpoint designed to make the experience more relatable and shareable. It will focus on a trio of aspects, including possibilities, proximity and personas, with the latter encompassing excitement, local and escape.
Brand USA will look to showcase the many and often unknown possibilities overseas visitors will have within a few hours of their gateway into the U.S. That component is targeted toward “people who are in a situation where their pockets are challenged or they perceive that their dollars won’t go as far,” Brand USA President and CEO Christopher Thompson told the trade publication, Travel Pulse.
“Whatever is motivating them as far as the persona, it [the campaign] invites them to picture themselves in the middle of that and it’s a social-first approach, meaning that the creator actually has them in the middle of one of those experiences,” added Thompson.
Brand USA hopes is that its website users will not only be drawn to the content but share it as well. “That third party validation of the experience is way more compelling than any way that we could tell the story,” said Thompson.
UP IN THE AIR
New Air Service to the USA
—Miami is hot as Avianca Brasil (Oceanair Linhas Aéreas S.A.) has announced that it will launch daily passenger service between Miami International Airport and Sao Paulo on June 23, 2017. The flights will be served by Airbus A330-200 aircraft that seat 238 passengers. Miami will be the first U.S. destination and only the second outside of Brazil for the airline, which has operated freighter service at Miami since 2015.. MIA currently serves an average of 71 weekly non-stop passenger flights to eight cities in Brazil, which is the most of any U.S. airport. Avianca Brasil is the fifth passenger airline to schedule a launch into the Miami market this year. Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris began four weekly flights to Guadalajara and daily flights to Mexico City on February 1st. Volaris was followed three days later by Canadian airline First Air, which began charter passenger flights from Ontario on behalf of Celebrity Cruises. On April 6, low-cost transatlantic airline WOW air launched three-times-a-week service to Reykjavík, Iceland. Aer Lingus will launch first-ever service from Dublin, Ireland in September, with three weekly flights.
Airline Market Share From Mexico
Starting April 1st, Aeromexico began non-stop daily flights between Mexico City and Detroit. (Delta Air Lines also flies daily between the two airports). Detroit becomes Aeromexico’s 18th U.S. San Jose, California will become the 19th on July 1st. And starting 1 May the carrier will also offer daily flights between Monterrey and Detroit.
—British Airways recently launched service over a 5,365 mile route that will connect London Gatwick to Oakland, California. †
—On April 3rd, LOT Polish Airlines launched its first flight to the U.S. West Coast, beginning a four times weekly service between Warsaw Chopin Airport and Los Angeles (LAX). No other carrier currently operates on the nearly 6,000-mile connection. And starting April 28, the airline will begin a four times weekly service between Warsaw and Newark’s Liberty National Airport, a route it has served in the past. †
—Norwegian launched service March 28th between Copenhagen and Oakland –a 5,460-mile connection. The twice-a-week flight becomes Norwegian’s 8th mainland U.S. destination, joining Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Orlando, Norwegian now provides 10 weekly flights between Europe and Oakland. †
—On March 29th, SATA Azores Airlines launched twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) operations between Barcelona and Boston. The 3,880-mile connection is flown via Porta Delgada, where passengers change from the A320 flying in from Spain to an A310 with continues onto the USA. Barcelona currently has four non-stop U.S. flights—to Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia and Newark. †
—Surinam Airways returned to Orlando Sanford on April 3, launching weekly service from Aruba, with the flight originating from Paramaribo. Flights operate into Sanford on Mondays arriving at 16:30, with the return flight to Aruba departing on Tuesdays at 16:00. †
—Virgin Atlantic Airways has begun several UK-USA flights from Manchester. On March 28, the airline started three weekly service to San Francisco, the first ever direct route to Northern California from the North of England. The following day it started a twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) route to Boston, which will compete with Thomas Cook Airlines’ twice-weekly operation. And on May 25, the airline will begin daily flights to New York JFK from Manchester, as it replaces the existing Delta Air Lines service. †
† Source: anna.aero
From Jing Daily: Why Targeting Chinese FIT’s Are Difficult for Tourism Businesses
From Jing Daily: Why Targeting Chinese FIT’s Are Difficult for Tourism Businesses
by Daniel Meesak, April 7, 2017
The rise of the Chinese free independent traveler (FIT) has become a common theme across travel conferences and events for many good reasons. The promise of a way to bypass bargain-oriented Chinese tour operators, and the idea of an affluent, more “sophisticated” Chinese clientele is certain to generate excitement among tourism businesses around the world. For smaller tourism businesses in particular, Chinese independent travelers could represent the first real step into the booming Chinese tourism market, which so far, has mostly benefited leading brands and multinationals that have secured spots on Chinese tour operators’ itineraries. It all sounds incredibly appealing, but how does one find FITs and keep them?
The elusive Chinese independent traveler continues to baffle companies that seek to attract them to their establishments, with good advice scarce and result-oriented marketing services difficult to find. In many cases, the sheer amount of research, time, and budget required to make an active push into China’s growing FIT market makes it a prospect not worth pursuing until either the market is bigger or the barrier of entry is lower.
“For a marketer faced with the challenge to grow the number of Chinese customers, options can almost seem overwhelming.”
Targeting Chinese independent travelers isn’t difficult for these smaller players because of a lack of choice. For a marketer faced with the challenge to grow the number of Chinese customers, options can almost seem overwhelming. Should I invest in one of the many Chinese tourist certification programs available from a large range of companies—none of which represent the Chinese government—which tout intangible benefits that may or may not strengthen my position in the Chinese market? Should I promote the business at one of China’s many travel trade fairs? Are our rooms or services bookable on Chinese platforms such as Ctrip and Qunar, and if not, how do I accomplish this? Perhaps I should run some marketing campaigns on Chinese social media such as WeChat and Weibo, as well as on China’s leading search engine, Baidu?
In many cases, the sheer amount of research, time, and budget required to make an active push into China’s growing free independent traveler (FIT) market makes it an elusive prospect not worth pursuing until either the market is bigger or the barrier of entry is lower.
The good news is that some of the key components (almost) required to receive Chinese independent travelers have gotten easier to implement in recent years. China’s competitive payments processing industry has pushed UnionPay, AliPay, and Tencent (WeChat Pay, TenPay) to work closely with overseas payment services providers to make their services easier to implement for businesses around the world. A diverse and exciting portfolio of bookable properties to show to their growing number of FIT customers has also driven China’s online travel agencies to make it easier for foreign businesses to get listed on their marketplaces.
Even so, implementing these key components of a Chinese-serving business may seem like a waste time and money. A business with zero reviews on Chinese travel platforms is hidden deep in the search results, and potential customers will—as can be expected—prefer more well-established options.
“ … some quick internet searches will lead the humble marketer to realize that setting up a page on China’s Facebook is nowhere near as easy as setting up a Facebook page.”
The question, of course, comes down to marketing—and that’s where things get difficult. The power of Chinese key opinion leaders (KOLs) in driving consumers to certain businesses and brands is undisputed, and WeChat has quickly become the marketing tool of choice for China marketers around the world. Yet, while WeChat, described as China’s Facebook or WhatsApp, may seem like an easy inroad to B2C marketing in China, some quick internet searches will lead the humble marketer to realize that setting up a page on China’s Facebook is nowhere near as easy as setting up a Facebook page.
Likewise, while reaching out directly to a non-Chinese KOL for some commissioned, sponsored blogging may be straightforward, simply finding a relevant Chinese KOL—not to mention successfully contacting them—poses a serious challenge. Even the most obvious and seemingly easiest option of them all, pay-per-click search engine advertising, reveals a plethora of challenges in China.
For WeChat, Tencent provides a relatively straightforward process for setting up an official account, the WeChat equivalent of a Facebook page. However, what isn’t made obvious is that such pages are limited to reaching international WeChat users, i.e., WeChat users outside of mainland China. To set up an Official Chinese Account, a Chinese business license is required, a severely limiting requirement for any business without a corporate presence in China. The only option available to remedy this problem is to hire one of the many digital marketing agencies in China that cater toward foreign businesses, which will use its (or one of its associated businesses’) business license to register a WeChat account in their client’s name.
Such services naturally come at a cost, part because of the Chinese agency will be legally responsible for content posted to all its associated WeChat accounts, and ties its client’s WeChat presence to a Chinese agency. With the agency being the legal owner of the WeChat account, changing marketing agency down the line can be either costly or impossible—not an ideal negotiating position. Even with the account set up, the marketer is posed with the same challenge as with listings on China’s travel platforms: how does one generate excitement and grow followers?
For Baidu search advertising, there are similar problems that arise. Setting up a Baidu account requires an initial payment, and unless an operator has a so-called ICP license—which, for a business, requires a Chinese business license—will require working with intermediaries just like in setting up a WeChat account.
Lastly, reaching and signing KOLs in China will more than likely require going through one of China’s many KOL agencies, some of which are catering to a foreign clientele. While independently seeking out and contacting KOLs is certainly an option, the language barrier and walls raised by agencies representing KOLs make it a challenging venture. Additionally, identifying relevant KOLs that are well-read among the intended market segment in China may require plenty of local expertise.
Looking beyond the digital channels and instead toward more traditional marketing options for travel businesses reveal an industry still very much centered around B2B relationships and a focus on Chinese group travel. China’s leading outbound travel events are all exclusively B2B, providing little opportunity to reach China’s experience-seeking independent travelers.
As with any booming industry, “get rich quick” schemes in the form of “get Chinese tourists quick” are many, often promising different types of magic bullets that cut through the complexities of operating in a complicated and highly regulated market. With exaggerated and unverifiable claims, Chinese tourists and customers are often promised after getting some certifications, creating some social media accounts, or perhaps getting featured on the provider’s online platforms on “the Chinese internet.” As can be expected, the first part of the “get rich quick” scheme often involves paying a fee. No refunds.
The reality, unfortunately, is that a sophisticated approach is necessary to reach China’s sophisticated independent travelers—and that requires time, money, or both.
“Engaging with the local Chinese diaspora is an excellent way to avoid the pitfalls of marketing in China and encouraging organic growth in the Chinese market.”
In the end, the safest and perhaps cheapest way to gain success with Chinese independent travelers is to simply provide a memorable and unique experience because that’s what they’re looking for in the first place. Chinese KOLs are critical to a successful marketing mix in China since word-of-mouth is king in the Chinese market, making delighting Chinese travelers all the more important for future success in the market. Another aspect that is often forgotten is that the perhaps most experienced Chinese travelers live abroad—as international students or expatriate workers—and serve as highly regarded KOLs. Engaging with the local Chinese diaspora is an excellent way to avoid the pitfalls of marketing in China and encouraging organic growth in the Chinese market.
However, all is not lost. The number of Chinese independent travelers going abroad is growing each year, and eventually, they’ll discover any great tourism business around the world. Making a well-informed and cost-efficient active push into the market as its growing is the challenging part, but it can also be immensely profitable.
Dave Thornton, 70, a leading figure in the New York State travel and tourism industry for four decades, died suddenly on April 1st at Kingston (New Yok) Hospital. Thornton and his business partner, Charles Daley, owned and operated Destinations of New York State, one of the largest DMOs in the Northeastern U.S. The company organizes motorcoach and tour operator sales blitzes and International promotional sales missions throughout North America for New York State tourism suppliers and other DMOs. Thornton was a familiar figure at IPW, as Destinations of New York State attended the annual event for more than 30 years. Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Sherian; two daughters—Sarah of Boston and Andria Thornton of Pleasant Valley, NY; one: Larry and his wife Leann Thornton of Saugerties, NY; one sister, Joan Foley of Saugerties, NY; a sister-in-law, Nadine Thornton of Fairborne, Ohio.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Art Jiminez has joined Reno Tahoe USA as the agency’s executive director of sales. Jiminez, who was most recently vice president of marketing for Travel Leaders Group in Las Vegas, previously served for more than 15 years as senior director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Stefanie Schulze zur Wiesch, TUI Germany’s former head of strategy and marketing chief, has taken over responsibility for TUI’s holiday homes activities with the task of developing the new TUI Villas program and has also become CEO of Atraveo, a holiday homes portal.
Clodagh Oxley is leaving her position as executive director of the Visit USA Committee Ireland to become marketing manager for the Talbot Hotel in Carlow, which is about 45 miles southwest of Dublinl. Clodagh had served the committee for the past five years. Previously, she had worked for five years in sales and marketing for Delta Air Lines.
Salvatore Carusone has been named purchasing manager, West Coast USA & Western Canada, at Sunhotels in Las Vegas. He joins the company from Holiday Professionals, where he was product manager West Coast. Carusone’s career also includes tenures in managerial posts at Kuoni and Kuoni-owned GTA.
Alan Humason has been appointed executive director of the Mendocino County Tourism Commission. A veteran of more than 15 years in the marketing/communications industry, Humason most recently served as executive director of Yolo County Visitors Bureau.
Götz Ahmelmann has been named chief commercial officer at airberlin, replacing Julio Rodriguez, who has gone on to Niki, the low-cost Austrian airline. For Ahmelmann, the move marks a return to a position he already held (2014-15) before moving to Etihad Airways, where he served as vice president, European Equity Partners at Etihad Airways for two years. Ahmelmann has also served in senior sales positions for Lufthansa.