Who Are Brazil’s Top 25 Travel Companies?
The Brazilian travel trade publication PANROTAS has just ranked the nation’s tour and travel businesses in several categories, and the formidable presence of CVC and its various brands, helps to define just what the tourism industry’s distribution system looks like and how it works. Some observations:
—For as large as Brazil is, the tour operator segment is small, not much larger than a family reunion. The Brazil Tour Operators Association (Braztoa) says it has more than 90 tour operator members, although INBOUND found the number smaller when doing a search of the organization’s website.
—The small number of operators is deceptive, as it obscures the relationship between tour operators and travel agencies because, throughout Brazil, the office that houses a travel agency will also house a similarly branded tour operator. Someone making a booking at or through a travel agency will have a travel agent going to the tour operator component of the business it is a part of in order to assemble a package using an operator’s rates. Who gets credited with the booking?
The Association of Brazilian Travel Agents, or ABAV (Associação Brasileiros de Agents de Viagem) says it has more than 3,000 associated companies, in charge of 80 percent of the national market service. ABAV’s site tells us that In Brazil, according to official data, travel agencies have nearly 35,000 direct employments and more than 100,000 indirect employments. (CVC, the nation’s largest operator, is also its largest travel agency, with some 1,200 locations throughout Brazil.)
—The tour and travel sector of the Brazilian economy is recovering. The data regarding operators furnished by PANROTAS shows double digit percentage increases in sales turnover for 2017. This is due in part to the fact that the of the worst economic recession in Brazil in a century—so bad that the news media referred to the situation simply as “A Crise” (“The Crisis”)—was in its trough in 2016, as bankruptcies in the tour and travel industry continued following the collapse in 2015 of Nascimento Turismo, the nation’s second-largest tour operator. In other words, there was no direction for the industry to go last year but up.
The following tables were compiled from material in PANROTAS.
Final 2017 Numbers Show UK Market Down
The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week released its preliminary statistics on overseas travel and the data confirmed what many in the U.S. tour and travel industry had suspected through much of 2017: Last year was an underperformer.
For 2017, total departures for North America (the USA usually accounts for about 90 percent of the total market) were down 5 percent vs. 2016. This contrasts with a 2 percent increase in the overall number of international travelers from the UK, and a 3 percent increase for UK travel to Europe.
If there is any single culprit that, more than any other factor, contributed to the decline in the market, it was probably the performance of the British pound sterling vs. the U.S. dollar. The pound fell 17 percent against the dollar in 2016, much of the decline following the June 23rd “Brexit” referendum, in which Britons voted to withdraw from the European Union. The weak pound during the latter part of the year influenced the purchasing decisions of British travelers for 2017.
For 2017, the pound rebounded—it closed 2017 at $1.35 vs. the dollar, up 10 percent from $1.23 at the end of 2016, but still down 9 percent from the $1.48 exchange rate that closed out 2015. The ONS data on UK overseas travel are significant in that they are the first numbers for 2017 from a major U.S. overseas source market. It will likely be another couple of months before the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) releases full-year figures on arrivals to the U.S. from the major source markets for international travelers. The table below (remember, the latest data are preliminary) puts the performance of the UK market for travel to North America into a five-year perspective.
Notes on the latest ONS data release:
- December 2017: UK departures to N. America were 200,000 (vs. 247,000 in December 2016) = Down 14 percent
- Last quarter of 2017, UK departures to North America totaled 920,000 (vs. 1,021,000 in Q4 2016) = Down 10 percent
- For the full 12 months of 2017, UK departures to North America totaled 3,940,000 (vs. 4,133,000 for = Down 5 percent
Connect Marketing Acquires Etourism Summit
Connect Marketing, a division of Connect (a Tarsus Group company), has acquired the eTourism Summit from North American Journeys, Inc. Founded in 2000, the eTourism Summit is the leading event and community that connects destination marketing professionals with best practices and innovations in digital media.
Connect Marketing’s mission is to connect marketers with the products, services, people and ideas necessary to thrive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace. The acquisition of eTourism Summit supports this growing mission.
The restricted attendance format of the eTourism Summit balances demand for delegate spots with the deep networking opportunities in an intimate learning environment. Peer-to-peer sharing is integral to the aims, benefits and actionable takeaways for those who attend.
“Jake Steinman and his team have built a world-class event with a tight community of tech-savvy tourism marketers,” said Will Seccombe, president of Connect Marketing. “We believe that the addition of the eTourism Summit to the Connect Marketing portfolio of events will provide the tourism and hospitality marketing community with an unparalleled thought leadership and networking platform.”
Attendees at the eTourism Summit get up-to-the-minute, real-life examples of the latest applications in video, content marketing, email marketing, search, social media, mobile and web design. They learn how fellow tourism marketers and their media agencies are using the newest tools to build incremental traffic at every stage of the funnel.
“eTourism Summit connects the travel industry with Silicon Valley,” said Steinman, founder of eToursim Summit. Not only do attendees receive critical information on the latest trends in e-mail marketing, search, social media, mobile and web design, but they also learn how tourism marketers are using new tools to uncover new growth. I am thrilled that the event will now be part of the Connect business, and I look forward to working with the team to make the event even more valuable to the community.”
“We look forward to working with Jake, his team and the Advisory Board to ensure that the eTourism Summit continues to be the premier educational conference for digitally focused tourism marketers,” said Seccombe.
Registration is open for the 18th annual eTourism Summit in San Francisco Oct. 10-11, 2018. For more information, please visit www.etourismsummit.com.
About CONNECT Marketing: Connect Marketing is the marketing division of Connect, serving marketers with bleeding-edge thinking, cutting-edge strategy and industry best practices through immersive and engaging educational events. We connect marketers with the products, services, people and ideas that allow them to thrive in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace. For more information, visit connectmarketinglive.com.
CONNECT/Tarsus Group: Connect is a leader in the meetings, travel and tourism industry. Specializing in destination marketing, the company produces a full suite of digital programs, online and mobile solutions, meetings business and travel magazines, trade shows and consumer events, travel guides for newspapers and leisure magazines and destination information, which is distributed through broadcast and custom programs. More information about the company’s brands and services is available at connectmeetings.com. Connect is part of U.K.-based Tarsus Group, a business-to-business exhibition company with more than 150 events worldwide.
North American Journeys: North American Journeys is the leading event and media company offering a suite of products for the tourism and travel industry. Visit www.northamericanjourneys.com for more information.
Celebrating IPW 50 Years: What Was Your Most Memorable Moment?
Here, as we head toward Denver, May 19th, and the 50th iteration of IPW—the most important event on the inbound tour and travel industry’s calendar—the INBOUND Report shares recollections of and about the event from those who were a part of IPW (formerly Pow Wow) over the years.
This week, we feature two tour and travel industry professionals—each of whom attended 40 or more IPWs: Barbara Friedman, who retired several years ago after nearly 41 years with Omni Hotels and Resorts, lastly as global director, international accounts; and Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, which publishes the INBOUND Report.
Barbara Freidman: “I thought about all the Pow Wows/IPWs, my first being 1974 in Orlando. I went consistently and never missed one until I retired. My last was Chicago 2014. What an incredible experience. And I looked forward to going every year. It was my highlight! In thinking about experiences, here are some memorable moments:
• My first (1974) was the most incredible convention. I felt validated in my job, excited and provided an opportunity to meet many of my clients for the first time face to face. Always treasured.;
• Seeing Tony Orlando and Dawn in Dallas. We were in the Anatole ballroom, and everyone tied their napkins together and started singing. So much fun and camaraderie.
• San Francisco—Tony Bennett was the entertainment/ and trip to Alcatraz; and
• How about the dishes dropping in Albuquerque—Also, the New Orleans suppliers serving us the meal.
Jake Steinman: “My most memorable IPW moment? There were two of them.
“New Orleans 2002 when a bird flew into the convention center and pooped on the head of a Japanese tour operator. To make him feel better, I related that in some cultures this is a sign of good luck. Without missing a beat, he came back with, “you must mean good luck for the 6000 people who were not sitting in my seat.
“In Nashville in 1997 I overheard two German operators from a company called McFlight bantering in the men’s washroom One asked, “what do you think our chances are of selling Nashville,” the other replied, “Have you ever seen the movie ‘Mission Impossible?” Today, Nashville is included in over 100 German tour programs and McFlight is out of business.”
Florida’s Most Original DMO Thinkers
CEOs of Two Florida destinations show the rest of us how creative destination marketing is done:
Within the state of Florida, David Downing and DT Minich, CEOs of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and Experience Kissimmee, respectively, are considered outliers. While other CEOs running destination organizations advanced their careers through their political skills, these two became known for their abilities to unite their business communities around their creative visions.
DT spent seven years heading up Visit St. Peter/Clearwater before he was recruited in 2014 (“After setting tourism records, Pinellas tourism chief D.T. Minich leaving for Kissimmee job” declared a headline in The Tampa Bay Times) to turn around the Kissimmee CVB, a beleaguered community residing in the shadow of Orlando and known primarily as the epicenter of the low end motels within minutes of the Disney and Universal.
Downing, after serving under Minich as Visit St. Pete’s director of public relations, then deputy director, was familiar with the destination’s unique marketing assets: world renowned beaches, and a community of edgy art galleries that existed in separate universes. “**We’ve based our marketing strategy on the belief that beaches and culture are not separate, but are both integral parts of our overall brand,” Downing told us. “So we don’t do niche marketing in the traditional sense, but make our outreaches wholly reflective of who our visitors are. For example, our outreach to the LGTB community is part of an overall ‘inclusivity’ campaign where we let everyone know they are welcome through the wide variety of images we use in our ads.”
Extending the Reach of the Brand: Recently, Visit St. Pete began positioning itself as “Orlando’s beach” by registering beachesoforlando.com domain and flooding Orlando with ads educating visitors and locals that the beach is only two hours away, going so far as to work with local Orlando news stations to include Clearwater Beach conditions in their weather reports. Their latest “beach by night” initiative (pictured below) is told through breakthrough photography both online and in nearly a million copies of their destination magazine, and last year they created two novel VR-related outreaches: a virtual site tour of major meeting spaces throughout the destination for use at trade shows, and a co-branded Uber promotional campaign that included in-car VR headsets that allowed passengers to tour balmy St.Pete/Clearwater in the middle of a brutally cold Chicago winter.**
“We’ve always been marketing in Orlando, but based on the work of Leroy Bridges and our incredible in-house digital team we learned that there’s a much higher visitor volume coming to our area than we thought previously,” Downing said. “Central Florida visitors and residents have always looked east of Orlando for the beach. We want to convince them to look west, where we have two of America’s best beaches (St. Pete and Clearwater) according to TripAdvisor.” Altogether, Visit St. Pete-Clearwater spent $1 million last summer on an in-state marketing push that also included Jacksonville and Miami, as well as the Greater Tampa Bay market.
At Disney’s Door: Meanwhile, DT Minich was charged with taking the Kissimmee CVB brand, which had been known as the area with the cheapest hotels to be found near the Disney and Universal Studios.
“I started out by converting the agency from public to private which made it easier to form marketing coop partnerships with the major theme parks,” said Minich. “After a year of gathering feedback from the tourism community, consumers and the trade, I realized we had three things going for us: the world’s top theme parks minutes away; access to nature with the head waters of the Everglades; and the largest concentration of rental homes in the world,” (a fact which they were able to independently verify).
That inventory included clusters of upscale 6-10 bedroom mansions that could elevate the destination’s appeal to upscale families that travel together. At the same time he began sponsoring the most prestigious events activities in Dubai, he began marketing to the Brazilian market, which nearly collapsed following political scandals, devaluations and unemployment, as a value destination that families could still afford.
Early last year, São Paulo-based tour operator Trend Group (Grupo Trend), which also has offices in Orlando, purchased 500 homes to add to its inventory in the area. Luis Paulo Luppa, Trend’s chairman and CEO, noted that he counted on the help of Minich in researching the move. And now, Osceola County, where Kissimmee is located, calls itself the vacation rental capital of Florida.
Finally, the Royal Touch: Though it resides in the shadow of Orlando, Kissimmee last year embarked on a guerilla marketing campaign to the trade that drives home its proximity to theme parks by co-sponsoring last year’s lunch at IPW’s with Universal Florida. And this year, realizing the IPW coincides with the May 19 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Megan Markle, UK tour operators and media received authentic wedding invitations to a “Royal Wedding Party” the Saturday before IPW in Denver to watch a tape-delayed broadcast complete with a wedding cake, dress instructions and a host of other British accoutrements.
Bonotel’s “Edgy” CEO Introduces “The Hotel Boss.”
“We’re a middle man. We sit in the middle between a supplier and our clients, the tour operators and travel agents. If you don’t provide value as a middle man, you deserved to be disintermediated.”
Faisal Sublaban (left), president and CEO of Bonotel Exclusive Travel, shares a laugh with Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, following Sublabam’s remarks during a panel discussion during NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West.
As part of the “Hotel Boss” Vlog, Sublaban, speaking during a panel discussion at NAJ’s recent RTO Summit West in Los Angeles, made several remarks that reflect his creative, out-of-the-box thinking about the RTO’s role as middleman and hotel marketer. This video includes parts of his discussion at RTO West and a visit to the Los Angeles offices of Avantstay where he talked with Sean Breuner, the company’s co-founder and CEO, and Reuben Doetsch, co-founder and CTO of Avantstay.
To see more of Sublaban’s remarks at the RTO Summit West, as well as his talk with Avantstay executives click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaDGl8X49O4&feature=youtu.be.
Case Study: San Diego Sees Hainan Airlines Tijuana Flight as “Semi-Direct” Service
And the flight doesn’t even land in the U.S.—Rather, it Goes to Tijuana, Mexico; Deciding to work with what it has, the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) is turning to Tijuana, Mexico—it’s just 20 miles south of downtown San Diego—to fuel a marketing campaign aimed at bringing more Chinese visitors to the city. In a slide-show outline form, here is what has been happening, as reported by Jing Travel.
—Taking advantage of a new Hainan Airlines Beijing-Tijuana-Mexico City route (it is the closest flight to San Diego originating in China, SDTA is working directly with Hainan Airlines to promote the Tijuana stopover as an additional gateway to San Diego.
—The new flight service will take passengers to the Tijuana International Airport, located on the international border between Tijuana and San Diego, provides Chinese travelers with easy and convenient access to San Diego and its many unique offerings.
—Based on market analysis, “we expect to see an increase and impact to San Diego arriving to Tijuana Airport and crossing the new Cross Border Xpress (CBX) into our destination,” says Joe Timko, international public relations manager at San Diego Tourism Authority. (Cross Border Express is an airport terminal located in San Diego County, with an access bridge connecting it to the Tijuana International Airport. Upon landing, international passengers retrieve their luggage and then walk across a pedestrian bridge into San Diego, where they will clear U.S. customs and immigration – all without leaving the terminal.)
—It is estimated that 20 percent of passengers will disembark at Tijuana International Airport, located directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, and potentially cross the border to San Diego via the Cross Border Xpress. CBX provides an exciting new option for Chinese visitors to San Diego without having to stop another California or U.S. city such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle.
—To increase awareness and interest in travel to San Diego among Chinese FIT travelers and to generate overnight hotel/motel stays for San Diego, SDTA’s in-market representation firm, Aviareps, in partnership with Hainan Airlines, is conducting training sessions for the top 25 Chinese wholesalers and operators, such as Caissa, Utour, Tuniu, BCTS, and more, to educate them about the new flight and the opportunities it offers for Chinese visitors to San Diego.
—In late February, SDTA hosted an annual luncheon for Los Angeles-based Asian tour operators, most of whom were Chinese tour operators, to discuss the new route and the opportunities it provides to Chinese visitors to the region.
—SDTA will continue its in-market efforts by participating in the Visit California sales mission and meet with key travel trade contacts in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei to discuss further the new flight and San Diego in April.
—In addition to that, SDTA is also partnering with Brand USA to launch a multi-channel consumer direct advertising program in China. Elements include online travel agency campaigns with Ctrip and Fliggy, and consumer advertising campaigns with Baidu. There will also be influencer marketing programs with key opinion leaders (KOLs) in China.
—Other components of the Brand USA program include developing and distributing in-language video content including Brand USA’s Native Traveler and Destination-at-a-Glance series, developing a San Diego landing page on GoUSA.cn, launching San Diego’s WeChat and expanded social promotions on WeChat and Weibo.
—SDTA’s overall $1 million investment to carry out its China marketing plan is estimated to deliver more than 250 million impressions in the Chinese market. In 2016, San Diego welcomed 122,000 Chinese visitors, a 15 percent growth compared with 2015. SDTA forecasts China to become San Diego’s largest overseas market within the next five years.
At a Glance: Boston, MA
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HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Jessica Banchs has become part of the partnership marketing team for Hotelbeds, following a short tenure with the company’s Tourico Holidays brand. Previously, Banchs—she’ll be working out of the Orlando area—she was destination sales manager for the Arlington (Va.) CVB and sales director for Globo International Tours.
American Airlines has appointed Janelle Anderson as vice president–global marketing. She will report to Kurt Stache, American’s senior vice president – marketing, loyalty and sales. Anderson joins American from PepsiCo with more than 15 years of leadership and brand experience. In her most recent role as vice president–shopper marketing, Anderson led the cross-divisional marketing team for PepsiCo’s three divisions—Frito-Lay, Pepsi Beverages and Quaker.
Collette’s managing director Carl Burrows and its head of marketing Michelle Laverick have been put under consultation (the stage, in the UK, prior to being officially laid off) and the company is realigning its business. The office will be led by head of UK sales Neil Sehmbhy (left), who joined Collette six months ago, having previously worked for Office Serve and Care UK, and Stephen Mills, who joined Collette two months ago to head up UK partnerships and business development. Dan Sullivan, the company’s chief executive and president, told Travel Weekly UK: “We’re having a reorganization. We’ve seen overall growth of 12 percent globally this year on top of 12 percent in 2017, but the UK has been relatively flat. It hasn’t been great.” Sullivan also said that most of the rest of the 20-person team in the UK would remain in their roles, except for a few changes in the marketing department.
The tour operator Hoteldo Brasil has announced that Antonio Marcos Roudão, who previously worked for Grupo Trend, is now part of its sales team. Roudão has also had tenures with such tour and travel industry companies such as MGM and CVC Viagens.
Also joining Hoteldo Brasil from Grupo Trend is Pedro Gabriel Souza, a new account executive of Hoteldo for the Center-West region of Brazil. Prior to his service for Grupo Trend, Souza had worked at Schultz and Interep.
Andy Duncan has been appointed as the new chief executive of Travelopia. He succeeds Will Waggott. New to the tour and travel industry, Duncan has previously served as chief executive of Camelot UK, the National Lottery operator and chief executive of H.R. Owen, the UK’s largest luxury car business. He also spent three years at the BBC, as director of marketing, communications and audiences. Formerly a part of TUI, Travelopia has 53 brands in its portfolio, including Hayes & Jarvis, Jetsave, Citalia and Sunsail.
Lisa Burns was recently named as the new executive director of New York’s Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council, an organization comprising 14 official county tourism promotion agencies. A veteran of more than 25 years in the tour and travel industry, Burns previously handled marketing and public relations for New York State Parks Genesee Region and Letchworth State Park. Prior to that, she was vice president and tourism director for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Agency.
Brand USA has selected Contineo Marketing Group in China and, effective May 1, will name James Huang as its regional director to manage its strategic travel trade and marketing efforts in China.
Huang will be responsible for working with Brand USA to create an integrated strategic plan and ensure it is successfully executed. He also will coordinate the work of Brand USA’s four China offices of AVIAREPS, the tourism destination marketing agency representing Brand USA in China for the past several years. Huang’s career highlights include work with the Scandinavian Tourism Board and Tourism Victoria.
In the UK, Chris Harrington is joining A2B Transfers owner Hoppa Group as sales director. He will succeed current business to business sales director Phil Norris, who retires this month after nine years with the transfer provider. New to the tour and travel industry, Harrington has more than 20 sales and leadership at HSBC, technology business Maru/edr and manufacturer UKCG Group.
Darryl Leggieri has been named the new president of Discover Saratoga. He succeeds current president Todd Garofano, who announced last month that he is leaving to pursue other interests outside of the industry, according to the organization. Most recently, Leggieri served as the director of sales and marketing for The Saratoga Hilton.
Dan Whitehouse has been appointed become marketing director for Saga Holidays and Cruises. He joins the over-50s specialist in April from Titan Travel following what Saga calls a “significant review” of the senior marketing team. Whitehouse previously worked in the Saga marketing department and moved to the Saga-owned escorted tours specialist in 2011 after a period as marketing director for the AA.
Gina Mann recently joined Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix as vice president of business development. A long-time veteran of the tour and travel industry, she was previously vice president of groups and events for SPEEDVEGAS. Her resume also includes tenures of more than a decade as a senior sales executive at the Las Vegas CVA and more than 20 years in both sales and operations for hotels in Las Vegas.