INBOUND’S MARKET OUTLOOK FOR 2018
European Commission Sounds Brexit Alarm for UK Industry
The European Commission (EC) has triggered a period of high anxiety in the tour and travel industry in the United Kingdom because of the way post-Brexit rules might stymie the operations of UK-based airlines, specifically those that fly direct or connect to Eurozone markets from the UK. The EC rule, it is feared, will cause UK airlines will lose their automatic right to fly to the European Union post-Brexit.
(The European Commission (EC) is the de facto executive cabinet of the EU, responsible for proposing legislation and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. The EC operates as a cabinet government.)
Triggered by a June 23, 2016 referendum vote in which Britons voted to exit (“Brexit”) the 28-member EU, Brexit will become effective March 29, 2019. The EC has issued a notice which says that, for a carrier to obtain and keep an EU operating license and benefit from intra-EU air traffic lights, a carrier must have its principal place of business within the EU and be majority owned and effectively controlled by EU member states and/or EU nationals.”
It added, “In order to continue benefiting from the freedoms of establishment and to provide air services within the EU internal market as of the withdrawal date, air carriers are advised to consider any measure required to ensure that the conditions for holding an EU operating license are complied with in all circumstances.”
The notice made it clear that UK airlines will no longer have the right to fly between the UK and Europe post-Brexit: “Air carriers of the United Kingdom will no longer enjoy traffic rights under any air transport agreement to which the Union is a party, be it to or from the territory of the United Kingdom, be it to or from the territory of any of the EU Member States … As of the withdrawal date, the operating licences granted to airlines by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will no longer be valid EU operating licenses.”
Because the effective transfer to a post-Brexit world is now just about 15 months away (think ITB 2019), the EC notice has the tour and travel industry in a near apoplectic state, perhaps best expressed by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), which said the announcement by the EC Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport was “cause for great concern.”
“Here it is in black and white from the EU Commission – UK flights to the EU will be grounded in March 2019 should no agreement be reached” said BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton. “We need the UK government to sort air traffic rights now. Once again, no deal is not an option.”
Putting Together an NYC Package? Here are 4 Things Chinese Luxury Travelers Look for
A just-published piece in Jing Travel tells tour operators who organize tours of the city for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) the four things most important to China’s luxury travelers. Excerpted here, the short list is based on conversations with operators who have experience with packaging NYC product for Chinese HNWI travelers.
(“VIP luxury shoppers are regularly invited to stores’ grand openings in China, [so] when they travel abroad, they expect a similar ‘rolling out the red carpet’ kind of experience,”—Serena Huang, founder of YOLO luxury travel, a New York-based boutique travel agency.)
The List of Four Most Important “Do’s” follows:
- Provide Fodder for their WeChat: Even affluent Chinese travelers like to get a bargain. But in New York City, shopping is often less of a priority because only American brands such as Kate Spade and Tory Burchare cheaper than they can find them elsewhere. Instead, what attracts them most is the experience of shopping in an exclusively NYC style that will impress their friends on WeChat. To accomplish this, they prefer to interact with local people as much as possible. High-end retail stores such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
- Personal Shopping Assistants: In order to maximize their time in New York, they expect to shop with the help of a personal assistant and a mandarin-speaking translator. A good personal shopper can intuit a client’s style immediately, and knows the equivalent sizing across different brands, making the experience seamlessly efficient. They are also knowledgeable about local fashion trends, and can offer an expert eye on some more sophisticated luxury goods that travelers won’t come across in China.
- Chances for Career and Social Advancement: According to Serena Huang, founder of YOLO luxury travel, a NYC-based boutique travel agency, Chinese women usually shop for themselves and family, whereas men like to buy business gifts. This different shopping preference reflects the type of events they wish to attend in store. In partnership with a third party, usually a financial institution like Morgan Stanley or Wells Fargo, tour operators often collaborate with luxury retailers to host networking events. They bring high-net-worth clients from China, mostly men interested in making career connections with New York-based professionals. In such settings, the store and the goods displayed function as an ice-breaker, and an
- Secret Spots: For younger affluent Chinese travelers, itineraries are influenced by media and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). They like to visit independent stores around Soho and art galleries in Chelsea during the day, and sip cocktails in a speakeasy in the East Village at night. Local, hidden gems excite them.
One tour operator told Jimg, for example, that they will take clients to a secret lingerie museum inside the Victoria’s Secret store on Fifth Avenue, which opened in May this year. Its latest exhibit features a $3 million angels’ bra, Gigi Hadid’s bodysuit, and Stella Maxwell’s crystal-encrusted one-piece from last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Paris. A lingerie expert will also introduce the fashion show’s history and host a pajama party, where she offers tips on wearing bras the correct way. Other experiences on young travelers’ bucket list include Tiffany’s newly opened Blue Box Cafe, which offers them a chance to channel their inner Audrey Hepburn.
Smartphones More Important than Partners, Say a Fifth of Travelers
It Travelers Use Social Media to Brag: It might come as a surprise to find that 19 percent of those polled in the recent survey conducted by Hotels.com for its Mobile Travel Tracker said that they would rather travel with their smartphones than their partners. (The surprise is that the number is smaller than industry insiders would likely estimate.) The finding comes from a survey that contacted 9,000 respondents across 30 country markets, with “travel bragging” constituting a major reason that travelers post something while on vacation.
Some of the interesting findings that came out of the survey include the following:
—15 per cent of men travelers admitted to using dating apps out of town.
—Holidaymakers are invested in “travel bragging,” which has seen many eager to trade travel brags for “likes.”
—The average traveler spends 62 minutes a day on social media while on holiday.
—When bragging about where they are and what they are doing, 70 percent of travelers use Facebook and 49 percent use Instagram.
—When it comes to what travelers are bragging about on their trips, 57 percent said they posted items about food and 56 percent put up photos of landmarks.
—Travelers get more anxious when their phone runs out of battery (17 per cent) or when they lose Wi-Fi (eight per cent) than if they argue with their partner on a trip (five per cent).
—Sometimes referred to as a generation of “filter-loving, hot-headed and often love-drunk youths,” 45 per cent of 18-to-29-year-olds surveyed admit they are not afraid to upload a picture with their loved ones on holiday.
—A gender difference: Women are more likely (42 percent) to flaunt having a partner online, while men prefer posting images of a “serene, drama-free cityscape” (38 per cent).
As an example of the country markets surveyed, we were able to find the information on India:
—Indian Millennials are into travel bragging on social media to invite admiration and build fame among their friends and followers.
—In a figure that is much larger than the global sample, more than 40 per cent of respondents from India admitted that they spend over four hours a day bragging on their mobiles while traveling.
—When it comes to what social media savvy Indian travelers were bragging about on their trips, 64 per cent said it was a photo of food. (Travel braggers show off their “foodporn” to those stuck at home with their roti and sabzi, posting gourmet dishes from across the globe.)
—Some 85 per cent of 18-29 year olds from India said that they would rather upload a selfie than cityscape photos (51 per cent) while on holiday.
Thirty-one per cent Indians admitted that they would rather travel with their smartphone than their partner.
—More than seven out of ten (71 percent) Indian travelers felt easy access of smartphones is contributing to rise in leisure trips and hotel stays.
—58 per cent of Indian travelers said that they wouldn’t enjoy their holiday without their smartphone in hand.
—For Indians, getting the perfect picture plays an even bigger role with 26 per cent of Indian participants confessing they would pose anywhere for that flawless selfie, often putting selfies ahead of safety.
New International Air Service
Delta Air Lines is launching a new flight from Rio de Janeiro to New York. The new flight begins on Dec. 21 and, through its strategic alliance with Gol, will expand the reach of this service to 23 other destinations in Brazil with uninterrupted connections at the Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro.
On Dec. 11, Xiamen Airlines launched its first long-haul route from Qingdao to Los Angeles. Xiamen will offer three weekly flights on the 6.282-mile route. By launching services between Qingdao and Los Angeles, Xiamen Airlines now offers five non-stop transpacific city pairs. The airline also serves New York JFK, Seattle-Tacoma and Vancouver in North America.
Air China has begun a flight from Shenzhen to Los Angeles that will operate three times weekly
on its 787-9s. The new route means that Air China is now the second Chinese carrier after Xiamen Airlines to link the Chinese city to the US, with the latter carrier linking Shenzhen to Seattle-Tacoma.
Copa Airlines began flights to Colorado on Dec. 11, connecting Panama City to Denver. The new service is offered offer four times a week, with the route facing no direct competition. With the launch of flights to Denver, Copa now serves 13 destinations in the US, with it already having a presence at Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York JFK, Orlando, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington Dulles. According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Copa carried 2,282,022 passengers to/from the U.S. in 2016.
NAJ Group’s Year in Review
As 2017, NAJ’s 21st year in operation, draws to a close we wanted to take time to review the various innovations and that were implemented.
The Secret Show. NAJ staged the first edition of Active America China, Receptive Edition (AACRE), the surreptitious invitation-only event that brought together some 35 U.S. travel suppliers and DMO sponsors with a 50 quality receptive tour operators for two days of presentations, one-on-one appointment and field trip to six offices.
Five Sold Out Shows: For the first time, five of NAJ’s six boutique trade shows, the RTO Summit West in Los Angeles, NAJ’s RTO Summit East in New York City, Active America China Summit in Portland, Active America Receptive Edition and eTourism Summit were all sellouts, which proves that sometimes it’s ok to be the tallest midget.
Introducing new Digital tools for International sales. Sometimes against their will, we subjected RTO Summit attendees to an eTourism for international education day in an effort to train international sales professionals on using cost-efficient digital marketing tools to supplement traditional relationship marketing and advance their careers. Additionally, professional development enhancements such as executive coaching sessions and international sales strategy sessions were added to the one-on-one sessions at RTO Summit West.
Affordable Luncheon Sponsorships. NAJ announced its “Sponsorship-Buy-the-Minute” feature for its upcoming RTO Summit West in Los Angeles in February 2018. Timed, one, two or three minute presentations will run during the event’s marketplace lunch where sellers will be able to present to all operators for as little as $950.
DMO as MatchMaker. In 2018, DMO will play a major role in introducing their independent hotels to receptive tour operators at all RTO Summit events. NAJ is launching the Year of the Independent Hotel initiative, which will reward DMO’s bringing a list of independent properties with additional promotion support.
New on Touroperatorland.com
NAJ’s tour-and-travel-industry focused website, TourOperatorLand.com introduced a series of tools and features designed to make the site more user-friendly and ROI efficient, including:
New Homepage look and feel that makes navigation simpler and quicker from the homepage.
Partnership with Open Table…connecting operators to 42,000 restaurants where they can easily book groups.
At-A-Glance Group Dining: That displays Group Dining, Ethnic Dining and Open Table in one easy-to-read page. (See example here (hotlink it) http://www.touroperatorland.com/ataglance/ataglance_dining)
Hi-Res Trackable Tour and Travel Hotel Photos- destinations will be able to include tour and travel hotel images on their portals trackable to both the hotel and DMO contact. (Click here (Oakland) to see the prototype.
China-Ready Content. A new link making it easier for Chinese operators to access a destinations Mandarin marketing materials (or website) will be available on portals.
For more information, or if you have questions, send an e-mail to [email protected]
At a Glance: Lancaster
For full information Click Here
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Long-time tour and travel industry veteran Sam Rogers is leaving his post as executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Visit Baltimore after more than 10 years in order to become interim president and CEO of Visit Norfolk in Virginia. Rogers had worked at the Norfolk bureau, previously, in the 1990s. He also served as vice president of the Philadelphia CVB from 1997-2005.
In Brazil, the CVC group has announced the appointment of Mariana Alcobas as a sales executive for its TREND Operadora brand. She works out of the company’s office Curitiba, capital city of Paraná, which is just south of São Paulo. Alcobas has more than 10 years experience in the tour and travel industry, including tenures as an account manager at Bedsonline, and as supervisor of sales at Gold Arrow Turismo.
Jeannette Linfoot has decided to leave Saga after two years serving as CEO of the group’s tour operating division. Saga will now bring the tour operating division together with the cruise division under Saga Cruises chief executive Robin Shaw. Before joining Saga in December 2015, Linfoot was managing director – emerging markets at TUI. She started at Thomson (now a TUI brand) in 1995 where she stayed for seven years before moving to Barcelona to lead TUI España between 2002-2003.
Stacey Mitchell, who was recently named director of the Tourism Development Council of Monroe County, Florida (It operates under the Florida Keys & Key West brand) after serving as its director of sales for 18 years, has a successor for her old position: He is Jim DeKeyrel, an 11-year Key West resident and former American Eagle airline station manager at Key West International Airport. Mitchell replaced Harold Wheeler, who retired as TDC director after 21 years at the agency.
Former TUI UK & Ireland CEO David Burling has had his role on the executive board of the company extended another thee years until May 2021. Burling has overall responsibility for the company’s northern region, covering the UK & Ireland, Nordic countries, Canada and Russia, as well as hotel purchasing and the airline platform. He has been a member of the Tui Group’s management bodies for almost six years.