REMINDER: INBOUND will not publish next week, as we will be a part of IPW #50 in Denver, Colorado. We resume publication with the May 30 edition of INBOUND.
Thomas Cook Reprimanded Over Discount Policy
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has given the country’s second largest operator a rather firm slap on the wrist, ordering it not to claim a holiday has been discounted unless it can prove that it has actually sold one at the original price. ASA told Thomas Cook that it wasn’t enough simply to claim the package was cheaper than the launch price if no bookings had been taken.
A consumer had complained to the ASA about an ad on Thomascook.com for a 14-night all-inclusive holiday at the Melia Cayo Guillermo in Cuba, which claimed that the holiday was £2,736 ($3,698) and had been discounted by £350 ($473). The consumer said they had been monitoring the price for several months and queried whether the savings claim against the ‘was price’ could be substantiated.
Thomas Cook Retail told the ASA the holiday had gone on sale 17 months before the date of departure, but it admitted that no bookings had been taken at the full price. However, it said this should not be interpreted to mean that the launch price was not a genuine, retail price, but said it was willing to consider how it could make changes so that the pricing basis of holidays would be clearer to consumers.
Upholding the complaint that the Thomas Cook advertisement was misleading, the agency said: “The ASA considered consumers were generally aware that holiday pricing was fluid and that some variation in price might occur for that type of product, but that consumers would understand the savings claim against the ‘was’ price to mean that by purchasing the holiday at the lower price shown in the ad the consumer would be making a genuine, meaningful saving against a price that had actually been charged …
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Thomas Cook Retail Ltd to ensure savings claims represented genuine, meaningful savings against prices that had actually been charged for the holidays in question.”
Several Reports Point to Strong 2018 bookings to the U.S.
Tour and travel industry professionals from throughout the world will be gathering beginning May 19 in Denver and departing following the close of business at IPW on May 23rd. In between, the 6,200-plus delegates who gather to do business at the world’s most important venue for conducting Visit USA business.
By then, we should have a fairly good idea on the state of business and on the outlook for business in 2019. Based on some straws in the wind, along with a reliable statistical measure of current activity, it seems safe to say that the market is bouncing back from the sluggish years of 2016 and 2017.
In additional to upbeat anecdotal accounts reaching the INBOUND Report in the past several weeks, there are these:
—At an industry gathering last week in the UK—it is the number one overseas source market for U.S. inbound tourism—Deloitte’s global head of travel and aviation, said that, despite the fact that leisure spending in the country is dwindling, told “consumer confidence remains high … but consumers still want to go on holiday.”
—In Germany, which is the number two overseas source market from Europe, a series of trade surveys, travel agencies have reported improved booking numbers for the first several months of the year, topped off by a report last month that bookings were eight percent higher than in April 2017.As a result, travel agency bookings are an average 6.2 percent higher in the half-year balance of the tourism year 2017/18 than they were in the previous year. Morever, DER Touristik which claims to be the largest long-haul operator in Germany, is predicting a good year for the USA, with holiday prices 10 percent cheaper than they were last year, thanks to a stronger euro.
—At NAJ’s Active America China Summit held several weeks earlier in Atlanta, business meeting activity was intense and demand was high, with Chinese operators working with U.S. travel suppliers on product designed to appeal to FIT travelers and to second-tier Chinese markets.
—And, finally, this: International inbound travel spiked in March, registering 55.5, the highest level since April 2014 (due in part to the timing of Easter this year). The Leading Travel Index (LTI)* continues to project an upbeat outlook in inbound travel, which has the potential to surpass growth in the domestic market over the next six months.
*The Oxford/U.S. Travel Leading Travel Index (LTI) is an indicator of the future direction and pace of travel volume to and within the U.S. over the coming three and six months compared to the same period in the prior year. The LTIs represent average readings over the next three and six months. The LTI econometric model is based on data sets that have demonstrated to predict near-term future travel: online travel searches and bookings for future travel, consumer travel intentions data, and economic fundamentals. A score above 50 indicates expansion. A score below 50 indicates decline.
*The Oxford/U.S. Travel Current Travel Index (CTI) measures the direction and pace of travel volume to and within the U.S. on a monthly basis compared to the same month in the prior year. The index is comprised of a weighting of hotel room demand and air passenger enplanements that represents the overall volume of travelers each month. A score above 50 indicates expansion. A score below 50 indicates decline.
Seat Counts on Top 20 Transatlantic Air Carriers in 2018
While lift capacity between the U.S. and Asian source markets has greatly increased in recent years—reflecting the growing strength of the region, particularly China, India and South Korea—the volume of traffic and the route structure this year shows that the competition is still intense for routes between the USA and Europe. In an analysis of routes set for this year’s peak travel season, S18¹, the online site anna.aero, which specializes in airline network news and analysis, noted that, “During a typical peak week this summer more than 3.35 million seats will be available between these regions, 5.9 percent more than during the equivalent week in S17.” Its analysis of schedule data for the week beginning 31 July 31st that Delta Air Lines will offer the most departing seats by airline, while London Heathrow tops the airport rankings. Heathrow to New York JFK is the largest route based on available seats.
According to anna.aero, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines hold three of the top positions in the transatlantic airline rankings. Between them they will account for 23 percent of all weekly seats in this market during S18. Delta is the single largest transatlantic carrier, accounting for 8.6 percent of the available weekly seats on its own. The IAG Group accounts for three airlines in the top 20 (British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus).
The tables below show the rest of the rankings, as well as the fact that London Heathrow is the busiest airport for Transatlantic activity, and London Heathrow-New York JFK is the busiest Transatlantic route.
UK SHORTS—Holiday Spend is Down and more …
- UK Holiday Travel Spend Down First time in Five Years: Speaking at last week’s Barclays Travel Forum, Graham Pickett, who is Deloitte’s global head of travel and aviation, told the gathering that while “consumer confidence remains high, leisure spending is dwindling.” “Our surveys are showing a decline in consumer spend, particularly in holiday experience spend,” said Pickett, who added, “I found that quite surprising. We’ve been running these surveys quarterly for four or five years and this is the first time we have seen a significant fall. It is a concern for me.”Pickett predicted that late, or last-minute, bookings are going to be a challenge because there will be some excess supply and capacity, suggesting that the industry will witness a last-minute market and some deals, observing that, “The level of consumer debt and consumer borrowing is high and back to the levels of pre-crash. But consumers still want to go on holiday.”
- TUI CEO Says Thomson Rebrand “Took 10 Years off” the Company: TUI Group’s chief executive, Fritz Joussen, believes its shift away from Thomson in the UK has “knocked 10 years off the brand. TUI is now compared to a brand 10 years younger,” he said following the release of the group’s half-year results.
Speaking following the release of the group’s half-year results, group chief executive Fritz Joussen said unaided awareness of the TUI brand in the UK was now “where Thomson was before the rebrand.”
“We are all done,” he said, adding, “Tui is now compared to a brand 10 years younger. A brand usually ages with the customer.”
Thomson was the last of the many European national brands shut down by TUI as it moved to a single, global brand—part of the company’s strategic plan since the merger of TUI Travel with TUI AG, its parent company in December 2014. Thomson Holidays started trading as TUI UK on October18, 2017. Another TUI brand, First Choice was left untouched.
Thomson was one of the oldest tour operator brands in the UK. Originally named Thomson Tour Operations and renamed in 1997, it was founded as part of the Thomson Travel Group in 1965 following the acquisition of four tour operators, Skytours, Riviera, Luxitours, Gaytours and the airline Britannia Airways by Roy Thomson.
Receptive Tour Operator of the Month
Founded 41 years ago in Los Angeles, California, AmericanTours International (ATI) has grown to become the world’s largest Visit USA tour operator, featuring more than 80 escorted motorcoach tour itineraries in more than 10 languages through the U.S. and Canada, self-drive, city packages and over 4,000 FIT hotels and 25,000 direct connectivity hotels, all with instant confirmation. ATI offers easy XML connectivity and customized web booking sites. The company’s leadership team has become two of the most visible and well-known leaders of the tour and travel industry in the United States, with Noel Irwin-Hentschel currently serving on the Brand USA Board of Directors.
The TourOperatorLand.com website by the NAJ Group (it also publishes the INBOUND Report) has introduced both receptive tour operators, U.S. tour operators and international tour operators to travel product and services of U.S. travel suppliers and DMOs. Visitors to the website can use its exclusive Receptive Finder™ to find the right RTO. It is designed to help both the travel trade and travel suppliers find the right U.S. based receptive tour operator to sell their products on the international travel market place.
The receptive operators, who are vetted and qualified by the NAJ Group also take part in at least one of NAJ’s RTO Summits series. The Summits take place annually in Los Angeles, New York City and Orlando. The next Summit takes place October 24-25, 2018 in Orlando. For more information, visit: www.TourOperatorLand.com.
Celebrating IPW at 50 Years: What Was Your Most Memorable Moment from “The Super Bowl of Travel and Tourism”?
As we prepare to gather in Denver this weekend for the 50th edition 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 have been a part of IPW (formerly Pow Wow) over the years. This week, we feature the recollections of these well known tour and travel industry leaders: Brian Said, vice president, global development, Choose Chicago; Sally Berry, tourism sales and marketing manager, Corning Museum of Glasss; and Alberto Sanchez Lavalle, editorial director, Ladevi Ediciones, Argentina.
Brian Said: “It was in Las Vegas I got out of the plane and got onto the bus; I meet a client on the way to the hotel. By the time we got out of the bus, I had sold him a tour series to Philadelphia.
Sally Berry: “My most memorable moment was at Pow Wow in New York way back in 2005. On one evening event we went out to Ellis Island and I was able to walk around and see where my grandfather and grandmother’s names were on the wall. That to me was such a powerful moment and probably wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t in the industry.”
Alberto Sanchez: “Most memorable moment? It seems it would have been yesterday. But it was in 1986 in Phoenix, Arizona, when I participated in my first Pow Wow. Over the years the event was catching me more and more, to the point that since then I have not missed any. It is indeed the ‘Super Bowl of Travel and Tourism.’ I am already preparing my suitcase.”
NEW AIR SERVICE
With the world’s peak summer travel season is upon us, the last month has seen airlines launch, or announced plans for, new service on more than a dozen new long-haul routes to the United States:
- Eurowings has added 27 new routes to its Austrian and German portfolio over the last week including a new route from its Düsseldorf base to Miami.
- American Airlines has introduced three new transatlantic routes to Budapest, Prague and Venice. Budapest and Prague are connected to Philadelphia, while Venice benefits from a six-times-weekly service from Chicago O’Hare.
- LOT Polish Airlines has begun transatlantic service from Budapest to New York JFK, and from its Hungarian hub to Chicago O’Hare.
- Norwegian began its first long-haul route from Amsterdam on May 7th, with four-times-weekly service to New York JFK. The airline has competition on the route from KLM (20 times weekly) and Delta Air Lines (twice-daily).
- Five days before the Amsterdam inaugural, Norwegian added its latest U.S. route—from Paris CDGto Boston three times a week.
- WOW air introduced its latest U.S. route link to its network on May 3, adding a four-times-weekly service between Reykjavik/Keflavik and
- Eurowings has added a new flight link between its Düsseldorf base and New York JFK. It operates daily, except on Tuesdays.
- Iberia, part of the IAG Group, hasbegun three-times-a-week operations to San Francisco from its Madrid It is the latest addition to Iberia’s US network which has services to Miami, New York JFK, Boston, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles.
- WOW air recently introduced two new U.S. airports to its network: from Reykjavik/Keflavik: Detroit and New York JFK. Service to JFK is daily, while the route to Detroit will operate four times weekly. Detroit services will also see A321 operations, with WOW air presently having 13 of the aircraft type in service.
- LOT Polish Airlineshas added a flight between New York/Newark and Rzeszów. Lot will operate the route weekly, with flights leaving Newark on Sundays, with the return service from Rzeszow departing on Monday. The route faces no direct competition.
- Norwegian has added it latest California connection with a new flight between Paris CDGand Oakland. The European carrier will operate the connection four times weekly.
- Primera Air has begun its first transatlantic flights from London Stanstedto New York/Newark, just over a week after launching flights to Malaga and Alicante. While there is no direct competition on the airport pair, Air India, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways all offer services from London Heathrow.
- British Airways has announced an increase in flights to Washington D.C. this winter. Beginning October 28, BA will be adding three flights a week to its Washington Dulles
- Still more flights to New York: Norwegian is to launch an additional daily flight between London and New York in the autumn. Beginning October 29, the extra frequency will depart from London Gatwick at 09.50 and land at New York JFK at 13.00.The return flight will leave JFK at 19.40 and land at Gatwick at 07.10 the following day.
- British Airways has launched its nonstop service from Nashville to London. British Airways is not the first to attempt a direct London flight from Nashville. In 1994, American Airlines launched the same route, but canceled it just one year later when the carrier ended Nashville’s hub status.
- JetBlue has announced plans to introduce two new daily nonstop flights to Mexico City with service from Boston and New York JFK beginning Oct. 25, 2018. The new routes, subject to government approval, will add to JetBlue’s existing service to Mexico City from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale. JetBlue will offer six daily flights between the U.S. and Mexico’s capital city. JetBlue’s new service to Mexico City follows a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to require certain airlines to divest airport slots in order to enhance competition at Mexico City International Airport.
From TourOperatorLand.com*… Our Featured Partner of the Week—Visit Sarasota Beaches and Beyond:
Soak up the sun along our white-sand beaches. Treat yourself to diverse dining, enriching arts and culture, shopping districts of all sorts and natural Florida fun. In Sarasota, with festivals and special events year-round, each Sarasota moment is uniquely yours. For more info, click here.
* TourOperatorLand.com is hosted by the NAJ Group, which publishes the INBOUND Report
Mall of America® Announces New One-of-a-Kind PAW Patrol attraction opening in Nickelodeon Universe®
A new, one-of-a-kind PAW Patrol immersive experience is scheduled to open in Nickelodeon Universe® late summer 2018. Based on Nickelodeon’s top-rated animated preschool series PAW Patrol—which is produced by Spin Master Entertainment—the new 4,000 square-foot-attraction will light up children’s imaginations as they recreate their favorite PAW Patrol missions inside the world of Adventure Bay in an exciting open-play experience.
The PAW Patrol attraction will transport guests into a fun, creative play environment where kids can help Chase, Marshall and all their friends through many of the familiar sites of Adventure Bay. Whether preparing for rescue missions inside of Lookout Tower or climbing down to the beach to see if there are any turtles or crabs that need saving, kids of all ages will find something new around every corner while visiting the attraction.
“As we celebrate our 10-year partnership with Nickelodeon this year, we are thrilled to continue bringing new experiences of all levels to life for guests to enjoy,” said Jill Renslow, senior vice president of business development and marketing, Mall of America. “We remain committed to creating immersive storytelling experiences for guests of all ages and this new PAW Patrol attraction fits perfectly.”
“PAW Patrol is a runaway hit and a beloved preschool property around the world,” said Gerald Raines, senior vice president, global recreation and location based experiences, Nickelodeon Group. “Making the debut of the brand-new PAW-themed attraction the perfect addition to Nickelodeon Universe, as we celebrate the milestone 10th anniversary of Nick’s first-ever standalone theme park.”
Replacing the recently retired Jimmy Neutron’s Atomic Collider ride in Nickelodeon Universe, the PAW Patrol attraction admission is included with Nickelodeon Universe all-day wristbands, or six points for guests choosing to pay per ride.
Located at the east entrance of Nickelodeon Universe, the PAW Patrol attraction will join the more than 27 rides and attractions located inside the 7-acre theme park, and the more than 520 world-class shops and attractions at Mall of America.
About Nickelodeon Universe: Located in the center of Mall of America®, Nickelodeon Universe features seven acres of unique attractions and entertainment, including 27 rides and attractions for guests of all ages and courage levels. Themed after the No. 1 entertainment brand for kids, Nickelodeon Universe offers Nick character meet and greets, spine-tingling rides, the longest indoor zipline, unique retail shops and more.
About Mall Of America: At 5.6 million square feet, Mall of America is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America with more than 520 retail stores and restaurants; Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park; SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium; FlyOver America; Crayola Experience; Hard Rock Café; The Escape Game; CMX Cinemas; and more. The Mall opened in 1992 and is located in Bloomington, Minn., minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and adjacent to the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport.
Meet Jeenie™ at IPW: A Live Interpreter in your Phone—Part IV
Who should use Jeenie, and how much does it cost? Last week, INBOUND told you how Jeenie— “the-first-live-interpreter-in-your-pocket-app”—recruits its interpreters. We conclude our series on the new app this week, just in time for IPW, where you will be able to meet the startup company’s CEO, Kirsten Brecht Baker, will tell you more about the product. She will be easy to find—she’s sharing Booth #343, along with the NAJ Group, which publishes the INBOUND Report.
So, INBOUND asked her what are Jeenie’s target market segments—travelers, hotels, visitor information centers, etc.? And is its focus on inbound travel to the USA, rather than outbound travelers?
“We’re looking at both inbound and outbound travel and tourism,” she answered. “Right now, we’re working with DMOs and CVBs hotels, even restaurant sand shopping centers, in order to equip their tourists with skills. Like others in the industry, we’ve seen a switch from group to FIT business, especially among millennial travelers. They want real, authentic and immersive experiences. They don’t want to be with 30 people following the guy with the umbrella. Now, they can just turn on their language Jeenie.”
Brecht Baker stressed that her startup company is tailoring its product for outbound travelers, too, helping t hem load the app before they embark on an overseas journey, noting, “We can work with platforms like airbnb. We’ll be in airports, too. Travelers will be able to use it like the Lyft or Uber app.”
Oh, one final question: How much does it cost? The basic cast is $1.00 per minute, she told us, explaining that package and volume discounts are available, as are subscriptions—at a lower cost.
Those IPW delegates who stop by Booth #343 will experience a very short demo of the product, Brecht Baker said: “It immediately solicits your location, asking ‘What you do you need?’ We walk them through a scenario and let them use it … three swipes with your thumb and you’re talking to real person.”
At a Glance: Alabama
For full information Click Here.
HODGE PODGE: Shits, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
The TBO Holidays Group has announced the appointment of Marina Aniquini (left) as product manager Latam, while Cláudia Regina Ferreira will be manager of Latam operations. Aniquini has more than 15 years of experience in the tour and travel industry, having worked in the airline and theme park sectors.
Ferreira previously worked in a car rental company, as well in the hotel sector. Both will report the TBO’s commercial director for the Americas, Ana Vainstein, who is based in Miami.
Ellie Hirschhorn has joined Travelzoo as general manager, U.S. She is based in Travelzoo’s New York office. She previously served as chief digital officer at Simon & Schuster, as general manager of MTV.com and as executive vice president of digital media at CBS Sports. Ellie holds a B.A. from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Two days after he was approved as the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau’s director, Scott Dahl submitted his resignation to Mayor Jim Langfelder. According to the Springfield State Journal Register, Dahl, who was approved for the job on May 1, e-mailed his resignation to Langfelder on May 3rd, saying that “a family issue will not allow me to move forward at this time.” Before taking the post for two days, Dahl was regional director of membership development for the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association for almost 16 years.
Rick Fried, a prominent Honolulu attorney, has submitted his resignation as chairman of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) after Governor David Ige withdrew Fried’s nomination to continue as board chairman. Fried became chair in 2015. His departure comes in the wake of a long series of state audits critical of HTA. According to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, at least 11 HTA staff members in key positions, have left the agency since 2015. HTA only has 20 full-time employees and 10 contract workers.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has announced that Gonzalo Rubio has joined the tourism sales team as the new domestic sales associate. Previously, Rubio held sales positions with Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, and Walt Disney World Swan Resort.
Lindsay Fast has been appointed tourism director for the town of Surfside in Miami-Dade County. Fast was previously trade marketing manager for Club Med USA. She was also held managerial positions at Monaco Media International in Monte Carlo, Hunter Hamersmith Advertising Agency in North Miami and Celebrity Cruises.
Happy Work Anniversaries:
Brian Stacey for 36 years at Tauck World Discovery
Stefan Merkl, owner of Esplore Marketing LLC—now two years old
Steve Markuson, celebrating 8 years at Twin Cities Gateway CVB