Updated Arrivals Data Tell a Sad Story for 2017 …
China, Mexico and South American Markets Tanking through First Eight Months of Year: The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTT0) last week released preliminary data on international arrivals through the first eight months of 2017 which suggest that, if the global market performance of the U.S. as a destination continues as it did through August, it will fall short of NTTO’s own estimate for 2017. Issued three weeks ago, that estimate indicated that 2017 will produce an overall figure for international arrivals just a tenth of a percent lower than it was in 2016.
Some random notions that jump out of the tables of arrivals data for the Top 15 overseas source markets, as well as Canada and Mexico—these two markets furnish more than half of all international arrivals to the U.S.—include the following:
—China shows a year-to-date decline of 5.6 percent vs. 2016, even though NTTO’s estimate for full-year arrivals indicates an increase of 2 percent. This may have been a result of visa rejections early in the year when Embassy visa officials were more aggressively screening applicants.
—Mexico’s arrivals seem to track with what NTTO is projecting for 2017, which amounts to a major decrease vs. 2016. This means a decline of more than 1.5 million visitors.
—South America’s four top markets—Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela—all show year-to-date declines.
—Meanwhile, of the top five source markets from the Eurozone—Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands—only Germany showed a reduction in year-to-date arrivals for 2017 vs. 2016, and a small one at that: down just four tenths of a percent. The strength of the Eurozone block is due, possibly, to the Euro’s gain upon the U.S. dollar in 2016.
Here are the numbers, which speak for themselves.
How Attractions Can Prepare for Chinese New Year’s Visitors
Happy New Year! For Asian countries, the new year is not only celebrated on January 1st, but also on the traditional Chinese New Year which occurs between the end of January and middle of February each year. Here is a link to find the date and corresponding Zodiac animal for each year through 2030.
Also known as Spring Festival, it is becoming increasingly popular to take long-distance trips during this two week period. This bump in tourism in the winter is great for many of us. It is a slower season when we are happy to see any visitor come through the door! Over the years I have leveraged this business through some simple actions that anyone can take.
Chinese New Year is a festive occasion with red lanterns, banners, and the Zodiac animal featured prominently. This article gives some great information on the most popular decorations.
I have been able to travel to Chinatown in NYC to get decorations at pop up shops that are sandwiched everywhere on the busy streets. I usually am lucky enough to get one of the office staff from my favorite tour operator to come with me and help me figure out what to buy.
One time when I went shopping alone, I ended up coming home with a poster that was particularly colorful and festive. I placed it prominently at our group check-in area, only to be told by a tour guide that it said ” Happy Marriage”! I ended up taking it down and giving it to a woman in my office who was getting married later that year. So unless you read Mandarin, its best to bring someone with you or choose items with no writing!
If you aren’t located near a major city, there are plenty of places online to shop for Chinese New Year decorations. We buy some that are generic and can be re-used, and then some that feature the Zodiac animal of the year. This is an inexpensive way to make Chinese guests feel welcome and special.
Offer Asian food
If you offer food, consider offering an Asian specialty during Chinese New Year. It is a good time to experiment since it typically isn’t busy, and your cafe can develop items that you might be able to offer full time as your Chinese visitor market grows.
One easy option- noodle cups. They are easy to display and there is a great sales margin on them. You will also see that customers tend to stock up- they will buy multiples so they can have them in their hotels. You do need to provide plenty of hot water. We learned quickly that the demand for noodle cups made it necessary to upgrade our hot water supply. But for starters, you can just use several urns that have never been used to hold coffee (that leaves the water with a coffee taste).
I have learned that the noodle cups that are popular in the U.S.( like Oodles of Noodles) are not what Chinese want. It is worth the effort to find noodle cups that are Chinese. We have gotten samples from our suppliers and asked tour guides to give us their opinion on which would be most popular. They appreciated being asked, and we got expert taste testers!
Try Something New
This can also be a good time to see if there is an activity that this market might enjoy – and pay for. Is there a hands-on element of your attraction that you can try? The Chinese tour operators are always eager for DIY projects (DIY is a more common term than ‘hands- on’ for the Chinese market) that they can sell to customers. The key is to make it easy, quick and something that won’t take up much room in the luggage. Pricing is important as well. Look for a future post on tour costs and the Chinese market.
Red money envelopes
These small envelopes traditionally contain money and are given out to friends and family. This article gives a great background. I have seen retailers such as the Mall of America give out Red envelopes that contained coupons for discounts, free passes to the rides, and other items. So smart! This small gesture shows that you are China ready. It would be easy to produce a discount card for your retail outlet and place them in an envelope. Red money envelopes are even available for digital distribution through WeChat! (If you aren’t familiar with WeChat, check out these posts.)
Retail products in form of Zodiac animal
Highlighting items in your gift shop that feature the zodiac animal of the year is another way to increase revenue. It is even better if your products can contain your destination or attractions name which will make it a great souvenir. Can you offer a product that has all the zodiac animals as options? I have seen people that would like to buy products that feature the animals of their family members. Or a whole set. Keep in mind that they have to be lightweight and easily packed.
Social media is very popular with Chinese and everyone takes photos and posts them for friends and family to see. First, off, make sure you offer free wifi. That should be a basic amenity. Second, are there photo ops that also include the name of your destination, your logo or your website? Let your guests promote you at no cost. Make it special for New year by featuring the Zodiac animal as a photo opportunity!
I have been offering workshops on becoming China ready, as well as trainings on how to use WeChat. As I often say, you don’t have to be fluent in Mandarin, but you do need to know WeChat to be successful in this market. Email me if you would like more information on the training and workshops.
I am looking to grow my subscriber list to 1000 by June 1. Can you forward this to a colleague or friend who might enjoy learning more about the tourism industry? Thank you!
The post Chinese New Year- a winter boost for Tourist attractions appeared first on The Attractions Coach.
(Sally Berry is tourism sales and marketing manager at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. A veteran tour and travel industry marketing professional, she launched The Attractions Coach nearly two years ago. A frequent speaker and program panelist at industry conferences and workshops, she will be making a presentation on “How to Market on WeChat” at the upcoming Active America-China conference March 25-27 in Atlanta. For more information, visit www.activeamericachina.net.)
ATI’s Noel Irwin Hentschel and Bonotel CEO Faisal Sublaban tell their stories at RTO Summit West
Storytelling is the new Black: The program on the first day of NAJ’s RTO Summit West next week (Feb. 21-22 at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, California) will be feature with experts from different segments of tour and travel industry telling delegates their stories from matters as diverse as a look back at the 40-plus-year success of AmericanTours International to a day in the life of a tour operator (featuring the tour operator herself).
The presentations from the RTO Summit West will be covered in upcoming issues of INBOUND. Below is the agenda for the Summit program.
9:00 am-9:30 am: Ch..ch…ch…Changes! The world of the receptive tour operator is evolving in several different directions that are both understandable and contradictory: Consolidation of the bed banks and fragmentation that has created a slew of new operators specializing in groups. NAJ’s INBOUND Report has tried to stay on top of it.
Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of NAJ, will present an updated look at the market.
9:30 am-9:50am: Forward Thinkers—Part 1: How tourism sales professionals can help operators sell their product by micro-targeting high-potential visitors. While the industry focuses on relationship marketing, there are now numerous ways to micro-target potential travelers in an affordable way that tell your story in a way that will help operators sell your programs.
Case study presentations: Billie Moser, Vice President of Tourism, Travel Portland.
9:50-10:10 am: How to Use “Facebook Live” to Conduct a Fam Tour and Site Inspection. According to our research 66 percent of 2017 IPW buyers are on Facebook. Jason Hackett, CEO of digital agency Briar Katama, walks us through a Facebook Live Fam Tour developed for his client Gulliver’s Gate in New York. (via Skype) Using Facebook’s Custom Audience to reach IPW 2017 buyers in a new Way. Custom Audience is like e-mailing on Facebook
10:10-10:25 am: They call it an “Uber for Live Interpreters: Meet OnVoy. A new service that connects international visitors with language challenges (or hotels, attractions and restaurants) with live interpreters who can translate in real time.
Presenter: Kristen Brecht Baker, Founder and CEO, OnVoy.
10:25 am-10:45 am: Morning Break
10:45 -11:05 am. State of the International Traveler +How will Trump Influence Inbound Travel to the USA? The most recent Annual State of the International Traveler from the San Francisco-based research and marketing firm, Destination Analysts, not only reveals valuable new insights into the factors that contribute to travelers selecting specific destinations, but also includes market-by-market perceptions of our President from the top 10 inbound source countries.
Presenter: David Reichbach, Destination Analysts.
11:05-11:20 am: Where’s the Beef? Does “India Ready” mean Going Vegetarian? According to NTTO research, India is tracking closely behind China to become as the next wave of inbound travelers. Contrary to popular myth, only 30 percent of Indians are vegetarians but what do destinations and attractions need to do to service and prepare for them?
Presenter: Larry Friedman, Global Ready Education Trainer, BRIC Marketing Group.
11:40-12:00 pm: Mark Ma, Director of Marketing, C-Tour Holidays (division of C-Trip).
11:20-11:40 pm: Forward Thinkers Part 2: In Conversation with… senior level receptive operators about their business, their newest initiatives and where they see the industry moving in 2019: Faisal Sublaban, CEO, Bonotel
12:00-12:25pm: Forward Thinkers Part 3: In Conversation with…Noel Irwin Hentschel, Co-founder and CEO, AmericanTours International. Last August, ATI celebrated its 40th Anniversary as an inbound receptive operator. Join us as we honor ATI on this momentous anniversary and their co-founder as we look back at what they’ve accomplished and then look forward to what’s ahead.
12:30-2:00 pm: Lunch on own
2:00-2:20 pm: We Chat Tips and Tricks. Sally Berry, Corning Museum of Glass.
2:20-2:40 pm: A Day in the Life of a Tour Operator. How do tour operators spend their day? Aniseh Dalju, CEO, Onward, will provide an hour-by-hour account of a typical day from the time when she awakens to when she retires to bed.
2:40-5:00 pm: Receptive Insight Roundtables: A series of rotating roundtables each led by a receptive operator hand selected for their area of specialization. Confirmed companies include:
Table 1: Loni Feit, New World Travel
Table 2: Alma Alvarez, Best Day Holidays
Table 3: Aniseh Dalju, Onward
Table 4: Mark Ma, C-Tour
Table 5: Jesse Yang, Choose a Destination
Table 6: Daniel Shen, Lion Tours
Table 7: Tommy Hirahara, JTB and TPI.
Table 8: Mark Goldberg, Ameribound Tours
Table 9: Patrick Swen, Lassen Tours
Table 10: Takeshi Sakakibara, TourAmerica
Table 11: AmericanTours International (TBA)
How it will work: Each of the Insight roundtables will be led by one receptive operator and will include 7-8 suppliers and DMOs, organized geographically, who will introduce their products and discuss ways to make their offerings more sellable. Suppliers will rotate every 35 minutes to another receptive table.
What the Hell is a Flashpacker?
This headline was certainly attention grabbing. “No, we haven’t misspelled ‘backpacker’, but rather are shining a light on a whole new type of traveler,” explained Travel Weekly Australia last week when it ran the “Flashpacker” headline, “and they’re not schlepping around with giant packs and minimal spending money.”
The “flashpacker” is a new trend identified by Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), a CEO group that serves and represents the country’s tourism, transport and aviation sectors. TTF says that the “flashpacker” is the newest tourist that travel sellers and destinations ought to keep an eye out for.
Basically, they’re described as being the usual backpacking age—18 to 24 year old—but they have a high disposable income, and few major household expenses (“no mortgages or flashy cars”).
TTF’s chief executive, Margy Osmond, said these people are keen on spending their hard-earned cash on big holidays, and exploring the world in a way their parents never could.
“The days of young people travelling with little more than the shirts on their back are well and truly over,” said Osmond, explaining that “flashpackers” are “opting to take more extensive and adventurous holidays and to increasingly look to gain life experiences such as exploring different cultures, learning languages and gaining work experience through travel.”
New TTF research, she said, has shown that young people plan to spend more on their summer holiday than any other age bracket.
In partnership with Nielsen, TTF conducted research which shows that nearly one-quarter (21 per cent) of Aussies aged 18 to 24 plan to spend between $2000 and $5000 on their summer vacation, while 11 per cent intend to spend more than $5000.
This compares to just eight per cent of people aged 45—64 and 13 per cent of people aged 65 and over who plan to spend between $2000 and $5000. Most Australians (79 per cent) plan on spending less than $2000 on their holiday break, with four per cent planning on getting away with spending nothing.
DER Touristik is Buying the Last Kuoni Standing
It appears as if DER Touristik is in moving to acquire that last part of the Kuoni operation that is still standing operating as a national brand. According to travel trade publications in both France and Germany, DER Touristik is negotiating with the tour operator Travel Lab—it is known on the continent as Kuoni France. Reports indicate that negotiations should conclude by the end of February.
The deal would also include Travel Lab’s other brands: Vacances Fabuleuses, Scanditours, Celtictours, Donatello and Les Ateliers du Voyage. Current management of the company would remain in place for at least three years. Travel Lab has 220 French employees.
Until 2013, Kuoni France was part of the Kuoni Group. The tour operator has been owner-managed since a management buy-out. So, two years later, when DER Touristik Group took over the European tour operator business of Kuoni Group, Kuoni France was no longer one of them.
Kuoni Group has begun to sell off its assets in an effort to remain a viable entity, it sold its European assets in June 2015 to the Rewe Group, the mega supermarket brand that also includes DER Touristik among its components. A little more than seven months later, in early February 2016, the Swedish private equity firm, EQT Partners, announced that it had agreed to acquire the Kuoni Group in a deal that took the Zurich-based company private. Kuoni was been founded in Zurich in 1906.
The acquisition of Kuoni France will give DER Touristik a substantial share of the French travel market. Currently, DER Touristik is the Number 2 tour operator in Germany—behind TUI—although it claims to be Number 1 in long-haul business.
Where Chinese Tourists Go, Business and Economic Growth is Sure to Come Along
The professionals and influencers in the tour and travel industry realize that there are few reporters, columnists or commentators for business news organizations who really “get it” when they write about, or talk about, our industry. Most are still trapped with notions that hoteliers, airlines, rental car companies and attractions are vertical industries. They don’t quite understand reach of the industry. Every once in a while, we at INBOUND come across evidence that someone “gets it.” In this case, it’s Tracy Chen. A portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management, she also writes opinion pieces for Bloomberg. Her latest, “To Understand China’s Growth, Look at Its Tourists,” is a must- read that you will probably want to share with others. That’s why we’re sharing it with you here:
In Canada, Vision Travel Acquires Percy Hunt Travel Group
Brian Robertson, president of Vision Travel has announced his company’s agreement with the Percy Hunt Travel Group to acquire the latter as Vision Travel pursues its strategy to expand.
Vision Travel, which is a Direct Travel Company (Colorado-based Direct Travel ranked #15 on the most recent Travel Weekly Power List of agencies) is based in Toronto, while the Percy Hunt Travel Group is headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan. The acquisition will have Vision Travel’s expand into key markets throughout Canada with 23 new offices added in Western Canada. The offices are located in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
The move “will provide greater access and support to agents across the country,” said Brian Robertson, president of Vision Travel (Ontario-West) making the company the “best of both worlds.”
In an interview with TravelPulse Canada, Robertson said, “This is the right fit for our organization, and allows us to expand our local offerings in secondary and regional markets across Canada. Such a large acquisition will allow agents to maintain the local feel, but give them access to leverage the benefits and support of a larger organization, which in turn, benefits our clients.”
Who Are the Tour and Travel Industry’s Best Networkers?
At a Glance: Sarasota, FL
For full information Click Here
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Barbara Adriano has been appointed senior group manager for AlliedTPro. She previously headed Adrian Planning & Consulting, primarily an events planning group in New York City. She also served as group manager for TeamAmerica for four years.
Brian Wright recently joined Santa Monica Travel & Tourism as director of global business development. Previously, Wright was director of DMO and executive relations for Visit California; prior to that, he was senior director of communications for the same organization. Wright also served as director of marketing for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite.
Daniel Gathercole is the new managing director of First Class Holidays. He succeeds Paul Ainsworth, who has become the company’s chairman. Previously, Ainsworth, co-founder of the business, was managing director. The appointment of Gathercole also sees director and co-founder Sharon Mason move into the new role of chief operating officer. Gathercole joins the company from outside the travel industry. He has spent the last five years as marketing director of golf retailer American Golf.
Simon Laneres recently joined World2Meet as contracts manager USA-West. A veteran of many years in the tour and travel industry, Laneres was previously market manager South USA for more than five years at GTA, Prior to that, he was product manager at AlliedTPro.
Brand USA has appointed two new regional directors: Karly Melo (left) is regional director in Canada; and Lourdes Berho (right) is regional director for Mexico. Melo, a public relations professional with experience in destination marketing will collaborate with the Toronto office of TimeZoneOne, a global creative-services and communications agency founded in New Zealand in 1994. Its global headquarters are in downtown Chicago, with an office in Christchurch, New Zealand and Toronto, Canada. Berho, founder of Mexico City-based Alchemia: In the Business of Transformation®, and former CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board has over 25 years’ experience as a leader of global companies; with expertise that spans brand development, integrated-marketing strategies, and travel and tourism.
Gina Gemberling has been named vice president of sales and services at the Little Rock CVB. Gemberling comes to the post from her job as executive director of the Springfield (Ill.) CVB.
Nick Longman has resigned his position as managing director of TUI UK and Ireland “to pursue new business challenges,” according to a company statement, which also noted that all members of the UK and Ireland board will now report into David Burling until a new managing director for Tui UK and Ireland has been appointed. Longman has held various leadership roles in the business since 1998, joining as head of audit for First Choice. He later became the integration director for the merger of Thomson and First Choice in 2006 and UK distribution director in 2008. Longman took on the role of managing director for the group’s UK and Ireland business at the beginning of June 2015.
Caitlyn Mooney was recently named director of sales for group sales at Visit Champaign County (Ill.). She was previously area director of sales and marketing for Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 by Hilton.
Bruno Sá’ has left his job as part of the regional sales team of Brazil’s MMTGapnet after five-and-a-half years with the tour operator, which is currently combining products and operations with Flytour Viagens. The two companies announced their merger late last year. Those interested in contacting Sá’ can do so via [email protected].
John Feenaghty has been appointed to the newly created position of chief operating officer at Goway Travel, which is headquartered in Toronto and has offices in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Sydney and Manila. As COO, Feenaghty will focus on the development of a long-term plan which includes the gradual retirement of Bruce Hodge, Goway’s founder and president. A 25-year veteran of the tour and travel industry, Feenaghty was most recently with the Flight Centre Travel Group in Australia, where he held a number of senior roles over 14 years.
Ruth Hilton has been promoted to sales and business development director for The Travel Corporation (TTC) in the UK and Ireland, following the departure of Paul Melinis. In the newly created position, Hilton will be responsible for the sales, marketing and business development of all four guided holiday brands in the UK & Ireland: Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Trafalgar and CostSaver.
Terry Williamson has become an executive director at the London-based Palatinate Group, which operates both Your Golf Travel and Spabreaks.com. Williamson is a former chief executive of JacTravel; He also held senior roles at Cosmos, Monarch Travel Group and Thomas Cook.