Tour & Travel Industry Outlook for Rest of 2019—Its Soft Spots Are Showing
While it should be noted up front that first quarter results on outbound travel from Europe are not a reliable barometer for what to expect for a whole calendar year, the results on Q1 U.S. international inbound tourism to the U.S. recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) are not encouraging reading, as they tend to confirm what international and U.S.-based receptive tour operators were telling INBOUND during IPW earlier this month: Europe is experiencing some “soft spots,” China is down, and Argentina has cratered.
Moreover, the sluggish performance of the international inbound market for Q1 may not be an anomaly for all of 2019. While the U.S. Travel Association has released an April 2019 Travel Trends Index which showed that international inbound traffic expanded 5.6 percent in April, rallying after two months of contraction, US Travel’s Leading Travel Index (LTI) continues to project that “inbound travel growth will be positive, albeit slower, over the next six months, registering at or just below 1.0 percent.”
Below are the tables showing the performance of the top inbound markets for the United States for the first quarter of 2019.
Market Report on India—It’s “Where It’s At”
Perhaps the 300 or so delegates at the marketing update session organized by Brand USA at this year’s IPW had a sense that, of the country and regional markets covered—the UK and Ireland; Europe; and India—India is “where it’s at.” One indication of this was the announcement by Brand USA just before IPW took place, of a Brand USA Week in India (similar to the Brand USA Week for Europe this September in London) scheduled to take place in October 2020.
While there are key country markets that produce more arrivals in the U.S. India, the world’s second most populous nation (it is expected to surpass China for the number one position by 2022), seems to be registering positive numbers for all the key metrics (travel-able population; English-speaking population; growing airline lift capacity; and expanding in-market promotion and programs by Brand USA, etc.) in order to increase its standing and ability to produce visitor numbers to the USA.
In the last decade, with the exception of 2009, which was the trough year of the 2008-2009 Great Economic Recession, the number of arrivals to the USA has increased every year—a feat not matched by any other major overseas source market for inbound tourism. Overall, the number of visitors from India to the United States grew by 125 percent from 2009 to 2018 and has moved it up to Number 7 on the list of top source markets. In 2009, it didn’t register on the Top 10.
Brand USA’s Sheema Vohra, managing director, India, whose New Delhi-based Sartha Global Marketing represents the agency, walked her audience through two dozen slides illustrating some basic information on the India market, adding a wry comment here and there (Sample: alluding to the tendency of Indian travelers to be informal when it comes to itineraries: “We take it to another level; we are not morning people.”) as she presented tables, graphs and charts illustrating the profile of the Indian market. Following are some of those, as prepared by INBOUND.
—India now has a population of 1.3 billion.
—It has the fastest growing economy in the world.
—It will have the third-largest economy by 2025.
—It has the youngest population globally; Indians have an average age of 27 years.
—India now accounts for 19 percent of the total world population in the 20-to-34-year-old age group.
—It has a regional diversity (North/South/East/West India)
—It has growing and affluent classes.
Source(s): International Monetary Fund; Boston Consulting Group; Expedia CAPA India Outbound Travel 2018
Indian Gateways: Delhi-Mumbai air route was ranked as the third busiest in the world where 47,462 flights operated between the two airports—130 flights every day.
—India has 32 National Airports and 105 regional and local airports
—Its airports serve more than 183.9 million passengers
Source: OAG Aviation Worldwide “Busiest Routes 2019” Report; Airport Authority of India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation-India
Key Travel Motivators:
—Ecotourism and nature
Source: 2018 Brand USA Market Intelligence Study
Indian Travel Profile (Comprises):
—Special interest, culinary, events, outdoor activities
Source: Expedia CAPA India Outbound Travel 2018, Amadeus- Future Traveler Tribes 2030; U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, National Travel and Tourism Office
Top Ten Popular US States among Indians:
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
Source: 2018 Brand USA Market Intelligence Study
—Indian travelers are well informed, sophisticated and educated.
—High End Travelers – over the top luxury, experiences beyond hotels.
—There is growth in all market segments.
—They spend more on quality.
—Bleisure-Growing Opportunity: beyond gateways, road trips, culinary, shopping.
—Baby Boomers comprise a fast-growing market.
—Curated local experiences.
Source(s): B2C/B2B surveys in collaboration with travel trade media partners/tour operators/pan India travel trade database; UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Traveler Trends, Continued:
—Millennials-traveling with friends/solo trips/family. Immersive local experiences, outdoor, road-trips, consider non-hotel lodging options (e.g. Airbnb).
—Growth in affluence.
—VFR profile is changing.
—Mobile connectivity and eCommerce.
—Change in social structure.
—Social media ranks high as a travel influencer.
—Evolving spending patterns-big spenders.
Source(s): B2C/B2B surveys in collaboration with travel trade media partners/tour operators/pan India travel trade database, E&Y Report, ASSOCHAM 2018
Source : Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Hootsuite.
Increasing Airline Lift—Especially through Connections out of the Middle East: As per Expedia CAPA India Outbound Travel 2018 report, 34.5 million outbound departures are projected from India in 2025.
Increasing Airline Lift II: As per IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast in October 2018, India will be the third largest aviation market by 2024
Major Gateways (no ranking):
Boston, New York, Newark, Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Francisco, Seattle
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, National Travel and Tourism Office India Market Profile
Working with the Travel Trade: Something to consider is the fact that the tour/travel sector is unorganized. No licenses are required to conduct business. Other realities include:
—There are regional companies that are aggressive in their marketing and advertising;
—The major companies in the trade are pan-Indian in their presence, and are the trend setters.
—The decision makers in the trade comprise senior managers/owners for most regional and mid-size companies.
—They prefer working through land operators and DMCs.
—Be prepared for multiple quotations.
—They have limited destination knowledge.
—Expect to receive extraordinary requests
—Be prepared to change set programs.
Cultural Nuances: Everyone’s heard the admonition that travelers from India prefer vegetarian cuisine. While it is true that many Indians are vegetarians, there are many travelers from the country who will enjoy beef or pork. Here are some other points to think about.
Finally, and Very Important to Know: The future potential of the Indian market is enormous because …
- It has the largest young population of any major nation;
- It is already one of the world’s fastest growing outbound markets;
- India’s Millennials are geared to pleasure, rather than possessions.
- It is experiencing an increase in ultra high net worth individuals (UHNIs) with high disposable income.
- There is huge depth and potential across the country.
- U.S. visas to Indian travelers are good for 10 years.
- It is culturally similar to the USA, and is the world’s largest democracy. It has a similar ideology, way of working and empathy as does the USA.
Source: UNWTO; Boston Consulting Group; FICCI-Deloitte Report ”Consumer LEADS” October 2018
Message of Connect Travel’s Active America China—Receptive Edition: Chinese Travelers Welcome in USA
The receptive tour operators who get together for Active America China—Receptive Edition (AACRE) Sept. 17-18 in San Gabriel, California for a day of one-on-one business appointments with DMOs and travel suppliers followed by a day of visits to the offices of receptives who sell to China, have another item on the agenda.
Explained Jake Steinman, founder of AACRE, there will be a new session consisting of a China inbound update at the Sept. 17 luncheon, “a collaborative town hall that will brainstorm ideas and effective ways destinations and suppliers can communicate directly with Chinese consumers to make sure they know that they are welcome in the USA.”
“The dialogue will continue the following day as AACRE delegates stop at the offices of receptive tour operators in and about San Gabriel to keep the discussion going while they visit,” added Steinman, noting that receptive tour operators have direct lines of communication to tour operators in China and very much want to let their clients to know that, whether it be talk of a trade war or punitive tariffs, the tour and travel industry wants you to visit the USA.” (INBOUND will be reporting on what ideas and suggestions come out of the meeting with the receptive operators.)
This year’s AACRE will be the third since the event was launched in 2017. It takes place in an area that now has more Chinese-speaking residents and businesses than the Chinatown community 10 miles away in Los Angeles.
Connect Travel, which acquired Active America China—Receptive Edition earlier this year, has kept it boutique-size, with the number of U.S. travel suppliers, including DMOS, set at ratio that will guarantee that everyone has the opportunity to meet every receptive tour operator that attends.
For more information and to register at this year’s AACRE, which is being held at the Hilton San Gabriel Hotel, visit here.
For Nearly 25 Years, Which Long-Haul Destination has been the Favorite of Brits?
A new ABTA research report that reviewed the travel habits of UK holidaymakers over the past quarter-century has had findings of particular interest to U.S. travel suppliers and DMOs who sell to the largest overseas source market for U.S. inbound tourism:
- Data from 25 years apart show that the USA is still the favorite long-haul destination of British travelers; and
- Packaged travel is still preferred travel mode of half of all UK holidaymakers—despite the emergence and growth of other types of travel.
While the numbers prepared by ABTA showed that the USA has slipped from its position as the 3rd most popular international holiday destination for Brits from in 1994 to 6th most popular in 2018, there is no other overseas/long-haul destination that is more popular, although Mexico has grown in favor, as have some Caribbean destinations.
ABTA’s analysis of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) air travel figures also showed the diversification of destinations people are visiting. That is, while there is still a strong market for traditional package holiday destinations – almost 25 million visits were made to Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta combined last year, a big increase from just over 13 million in 1994– today’s holidaymakers are branching out and going further afield.
For in instance, UK holidaymaker visits to Mexico in 1994 stood at 18,778 whereas in 2018 visits were up by 3,500 percent to 676,734, that’s more than the number of visits to Malta (559,677).
Repackaging the Package Holiday: Package holidays continue to dominate the overseas UK holiday market, despite the emergence of other types of travel, with half of the holidays2 people take each year being package breaks—a figure that has held steady since 2014. However, the first package holidays of the past are quite different from some of the package breaks people are taking today.
ABTA said that travel companies have responded to holidaymakers’ changing preferences—offering packages that include tailor made trips, tours that take people off the beaten track, adventure holidays, river and ocean cruises, well-being breaks and all-inclusives. Holidaymakers also have the chance to personalize their package – upgrading transfers, choosing their own room and even booking a specific sun lounger.
Interviews with ABTA members revealed that customers now often want to be “the first to visit” a destination or particular resort, whereas, in the 1970s, many people chose a holiday location based on where their friends or family had been.
Similarly, a package holiday was often sold with the promise of a “home-from-home” (like the UK but with better weather), but many UK holidaymakers are now keen to experience the best of the local culture.
Travel experts also highlight that—as people have become more seasoned travelers and the UK restaurant scene offers a wider range of cuisines—trends of the past such as packing tea bags, cereal, cleaning products and tinned food for their holiday abroad (as well as confusing prosciutto for raw bacon), have become a lot less common.
¹ ABTA analyzed the International Passenger Survey (IPS) air travel figures for the purpose of a holiday (excluding visits for Business, Visiting friends or relatives or Miscellaneous) from the ONS from 1994 (the first set of full online data available) to 2018 (the most recent set of figures), with three-year intervals, focusing on 16 of the most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers. Visitor numbers are survey estimates and are subject to sampling errors.
The tables above, ABTA points out, show the approximate number of visits for a holiday made to each destination by air travel in 1994 and 2018. It is worth noting that there are fluctuations of visitor numbers in years between, often in response to external events.
A note about ABTA: Founded in 1950 by 22 travel companies as the Association of British Travel Agents, and has grown to be the largest travel association in the UK. The organization changed its name to ABTA The Travel Association in July 2007. In July 2008, it merged with the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO). ABTA has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion (almost $48 billion).
How One Chinese Solo Receptive Operator Does It …
When one thinks about Jennifer Tsou, founder and owner of Apple Express, words such as “low-key,” “laid back,” or “restrained” do not come to mind. It’s as if lexicographers had Tsou in mind when they added “energetic” to the dictionary. That’s the feeling INBOUND got when we first talked with Tsou, during a two-hour train ride from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia following the conclusion of IPW 2017. We also talked occasionally at Connect Travel’s RTO Summits in different years. Apple Express is a receptive tour operator that specializes in the Asia incentive market, based in New Jersey, within commuting distance of Manhattan.
Intrigued by her energy, story-telling ability and her non-stop pursuit of international clients and customers for her one-person receptive business, we had a chance to talk with her on the Saturday just before IPW 2019 launched in Anaheim. Throughout our discussion, INBOUND had the feeling that Tsou is able to carry on several different conversations at once, bringing them altogether to make a point. But, as non-stop, friendly and engaging as she is, one should not mistake her for anything but a deadly serious business woman and entrepreneur who embodies what it means to be a receptive tour operator in an industry that demands innovation and adaptation—lest one perish. Following is a distillation of our conversation’s main points.
How Did You Get Started in This Industry? While Tsou pegs her start in the tour and travel sector at 2005, she indicates that she has to go back to the late 1970s when as a native of China, she moved to Hong Kong (where she became proficient in Cantonese, on top of her Mandarin background). Shortly after, she made the move to New York City with her family.
Her first job was for a specialty business that involved the marketing and distribution of informational videos throughout the USA and Canada. During this period a friend in the inbound tour business suggested to her that, because of her communication experience, she could come help welcome tour groups from China when they arrived at JFK International Airport. Her arrival there marked the beginning of her start in this industry, for shortly after, the same friend began asking for help in coordinating services such as buses, accommodations, attractions, and restaurants.
This was a wise move, for in 2005, the year that she moved over to the tour and travel industry for good, marked the beginning of the online video sharing service, YouTube. No one needed videocassettes any more.
“Learn Everything You Can”: While Tsou didn’t necessarily say it this way, it is effectively what she did to build her business. She realized early on that a one-person operation has to be able to answer every kind of question from a visitor, especially when a step-on tour guide becomes ill or doesn’t show up for a group for any reason. Her solution? She studied and passed the examination to be a certified New York City tour guide.
She also realized that her airport meet-and-greet sessions with visitors were her main face-to-face contact with nearly all of her groups. It didn’t take her long to recognize the travel fatigue of nearly 14-hour flights, plus additional time going through Customs. In response, she began bringing bottles of water to distribute to her groups as they arrived to meet her.
Tsou’s Rules: By the end of our conversation at IPW, Jennifer had passed along a number of bits of advice and practices that she has come to live by as a receptive tour operator. Here are some of them:
- Make sure your tour bus is properly insured and registered.
- Safety first: Don’t ask your drivers to put in long hours each day. This is not safe.
- Always connect with the group leader during the duration of the tour.
- Be attentive to incentive groups if they need something.
- I don’t talk about politics. I let my clients know that. My business is to provide an enjoyable travel experience to the United States.
Tsou’s Rules II— Seeing Trends: While JFK is still the Number 1 airport gateway for Asia coming to the East Coast, other cities such as Toronto, Philadelphia and Newark have begun to get more business.
- Wedding groups especially like the New York Botanical Gardens, a 250-acre green oasis in The Bronx—as a backdrop for wedding photographs.
- Asian shoppers still like famous brands to buy and take back home, especially when it comes to accessories.
- IPW and other trade shows are not particularly important for conducting business on the spot. Rather, she tries to meet clients and associates face-to-face and find out what’s new in order to keep her information up-to-date.
- Business to the United States is currently down a little, primarily because of tension between China and the U.S. over trade issues.
- The rejection rate for visa applications to visit the U.S. is high and affecting business, but the situation especially hurts operators who run group series and find themselves having to cancel trips because they don’t have enough passengers to fill a series bus. The Chinese tourism industry could do more to education prospective travelers as to what is involved in the visa application process.
- Tsou’s company specializes in incentive groups, bringing more than 50 a year to the U.S.
- Her business is a service, not a luxury. Meaning it isn’t free. When the international client receives her sample itineraries, then proceeds to online and book things direct, it hurts the company-client relations. If this happens, she cannot be there to help resolve any issues that may come up, as she isn’t involved in these particular transactions.
Yes, she plans on staying in the industry.
Why? “It’s a lot of fun … meeting lots of different cultures.”
New Air Service
Announcement of new overseas routes by airlines slows to a near-halt during the peak travel season of summer. This year, it’s even a little slower, driven in part by the widespread grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after two planes of the model crashed during a recent period of less than four-and-half months: An Indonesian-based Lion Air flight crashed last October, followed by an Ethiopian Airlines crash this past March 10. Shortly thereafter, most airlines grounded the aircraft. Some carriers were unable to find replacement craft before the start of the airline year’s peak season, which begins at the end of March. As a result, some flights were suspended as carriers re-routed some customers and found replacement aircraft.
Since the beginning of last month, the following major additions to international service to the United States have been added.
—American Airlines launched three new transatlantic routes from between June 6 and June 8, with two of the routes being Philadelphia-to-Bologna and Philadelphia-to-Berlin Tegel. The Berlin Tegel route operates four times a week. The Philadelphia-to-Bologna route operates four times a week as well. In addition, American has launched a Dallas/Fort Worth-to-Munich flight.
—KLM has begun nonstop transatlantic service between its hub in Amsterdam to Las Vegas. The flight will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, with the flights expanding on the Air France-KLM transatlantic network, while also serving to strengthen the joint venture portfolio with Delta Air Lines. KLM will be the sole operator on the Amsterdam to Las Vegas.
—United Airlines launched a New York/Newark to Naples route in late May. The non-stop seasonal service will face no direct competition from any other carrier.
—LOT Polish Airlines this month started direct flights between Warsaw Frederic Chopin and Miami International Airport. The four-times-weekly service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. At the launch of the flight, Rafal Milczarski, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines said: “At present there are nearly 500,000 people of Polish origin living in Florida. We are very glad that we can meet the expectations and needs of the Polish Diaspora in America who now…can take advantage of direct flights on the route between Poland and the U.S.”
—El Al has begun transatlantic service three-times-a-week between Tel Aviv and San Francisco International. El Al will further expand its US route offering later this year, launching flights from Tel Aviv to Las Vegas in June, and seasonal service to Orlando is scheduled to begin in July. The carrier has also confirmed more flights to the US for 2020, with Chicago O’Hare service expected to begin in March next year.
—Alitalia launched its latest U.S. route early last month, adding Washington Dulles to its network. The operates five times weekly from Rome Fiumicino.
—Also, early last month, American Airlines introduced daily summer service between Chicago O’Hare and Athens.
—Norwegian has launched flights between Madrid and Boston. It operates three times weekly.
Source: anna aero
What’s Up! What’s on the Horizon?
Connect Travel has a seamless calendar of tour and travel marketplace activities and events. Find out more about each of these upcoming events merely by clicking on its symbol.
Connect Tour, powered by Connect TRAVEL, takes place Aug. 26-28, 2019 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. It brings domestic tour operators together with U.S. travel suppliers during pre-scheduled one-on-one Marketplace appointments. Featured speakers include WWE star and movie actor John Cena and Olympic Champion Michael Phelps, who has won 23 gold medals in swimming
Active America China: The Receptive Edition, Sept. 17-18, San Gabriel, California. A boutique product development show, AACRE attracts 30-40 receptive tour operators who conduct business meetings with U.S. travel suppliers, who also take a field trip to Chinese tour operator offices.
The inaugural Connect THRIVE Summit, Oct. 3-5 in San Francisco, will focus on community development through LGBTQ travel, sports, and entertainment. The featured speaker at this year’s event is renowned television news anchor Anderson Cooper.
eTourism Summit, Oct. 7-9 in San Francisco, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. A must-attend event, it brings together travel suppliers and providers who are the leading thinkers and practitioners at the forefront of travel’s digital frontier in an intimate setting where they 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.
RTO Summit Florida, Oct. 23-24, in Kissimmee, Florida targets the large receptive tour operator community in Central Florida, bringing them together with travel suppliers who work the international market for educational sessions, business meetings and networking social functions.
Connect Travel Marketplace, Feb 19-21, 2020, at Florida’s Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, is a young and emerging international travel show, specifically designed to address industry needs, by bringing international tour operators and U.S.-based receptive tour operators with U.S. suppliers and DMOs.
The Connect Travel Marketing Leadership Summit, also on Feb. 19-21, 2020 at Florida’s Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, has an educational program focusing on trends and technologies that will transform tourism marketing in the next three to five years. A featured speaker at the 2019 Summit was former President George W. Bush.
Test Your Winter Wear in the Summer: The luxury performance brand, Canada Goose, will be opening its first Minnesota location at Mall of America® in fall/winter 2019. The store will showcase the full assortment of the brand’s outerwear, knitwear and accessories, as well as seasonal collections and collaborations. The new store will also offer a ‘cold room’ – an immersive experience where guests can test the brand’s warmest parkas in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 degrees Celsius) to find the perfect jacket for the adventure they seek. For more information, visit: https://www.mallofamerica.com/plan-your-trip, or call 952.883.8800.
New this year at Hershey’s Chocolate World: Unwrap and taste your way through the tale of Hershey’s Chocolate with an all new theatrical experience the whole family will enjoy! From the bean to bar and everything in between, this all new attraction is sure to dazzle your taste buds, fill you with laughter and sweeten you with Hershey heartwarming moments. Ticket prices start at $15.95 for adults (Ages 13+) and $12.95 for children (Ages 3-12). Children ages 2 and under: Free. For more information, visit:
https://www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld/en_us/things-to-do/hersheys-unwrapped.html, or call 800.468.1714.
And, in addition to everything else, this boat is quiet! Visitors to Key West (the southernmost community in the continental United States) who like to dolphin watch or take a snorkel tour now have a new eco-friendly option: Honest Eco Sustainable Tours’ SQUID, Key West’s first electric-powered charter boat—a lithium ion battery-powered hybrid vessel with electric motors. It burns about one quarter gallon of fossil fuel per guest. SQUID is built with carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. For more information on SQUID and a variety of eco-friendly tours, visit: https://honesteco.org/, or call 305.294.6306.
Visitors to America’s heartland are soon to have yet another reason to visit the region with the opening later this year of the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station, the centerpiece of a $187 million family complex slated to open later this year. The aquarium is expected to house 13,000 aquatic animals, including more than 60 sharks and rays in a 250,000-gallon tank. The new attraction will serve as the core of a new complex that also includes the St. Louis Wheel, a 200-foot high observation wheel will have 42 fully-enclosed and climate-controlled gondolas. Each gondola will comfortably seat six adults. Each St. Louis Wheel ride will last approximately 15 minutes, with passengers taking three or four giant rotations over the city’s skyline. The Aquarium’s website is promising a tickets section soon. For more information, visit https://www.stlouisaquarium.com/, or call 314.923.3900. (Image: SHUTTERSTOCK/nodff)
Air Travelers Still Prefer to Deal with Humans at Airports
While remote ticketing, check-ins and other technological improvements have made the air travel experience a little smoother for passengers, airline patrons like to deal with humans when problems arise. This is the main takeaway from a just-released survey report from OAG, “The Airport Delight Report: Humans vs. Machines.”
Yes, high-tech changes and automation have improvement the airport experience, but these don’t take care of some of the issues confronting travelers. For instance, outside of ticketing and check-in, passengers prefer human customer service vs. automation for virtually everything else:
—Baggage handling (54 percent vs. 45 percent) for automated customer service;
—Security (55 percent vs. 45 percent);
—Boarding (64 percent vs. 36 percent);
—Security (55 percent vs. 45 percent);
—Concierge (83 percent vs. 17 percent); and
—In-flight services (80 percent vs. 20 percent).
Also, OAG, in its survey of 2,000 travelers, found that …
—Travelers don’t mind being tracked– if it leads to a better experience. Nearly 60 percent of travelers would let airports track their location through a mobile or wearable device to redeploy staff to cut down on wait times.
—Only 19 percent of travelers said they see value in interactive robots that provide information and concierge services. In comparison, 40 percent want more baggage loading zones to expedite security lines, 54 percent would value in-airport, turn-by-turn directions for navigating terminals and gates, and 75 percent want real-time updates on expected boarding times.
—More and more airline passengers prefer automated retail operations in airports: 54 percent of millennials, 37 percent of business travelers and 35 percent of all travelers reported interest in self-checkout retail options at the airport.
For those who thought that airlines and airports had exhausted all potential source of revenue through add-ons … Surprise. In evaluating traveler sentiment around two untapped airport revenue opportunities (on-demand, gate-side delivery and pre-ordering through mobile), OAG found that, while only six percent of travelers have pre-ordered food or drink for pickup at a gate-side restaurant, 66 percent would consider taking advantage in the future. And while only 9 percent of travelers have ordered gate-side delivery of food and drink, 62 percent are willing to try it out.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
TravelNevada has promoted Christian Passink to director of sales and industry partners. In this position, Passink will oversee all efforts to promote the state to international visitors as well as supervise TravelNevada’s rural outreach and grant programs. Previously, he was an international market manager, where he had direct responsibility over the agency’s international promotional efforts in France, German-speaking Europe, the UK and the northern European countries. Passink, who began his career with TravelNevada in 2008 as rural programs manager, has an extensive background in the resort management and hospitality industry, managing luxury resorts in the Lake Tahoe area.
Lacey Cameron has been promoted to the post of senior manager, global market development, for Explore Georgia. She will add Canada and Mexico to the domestic market she currently oversees. Cameron, who joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development in 2016, has a resumé that includes tenures with Visit Charlotte and the Atlanta CVB.
Vincent Denizot has been appointed director of retail distribution at TUI France. A 17-year veteran of TUI, Denizot has held various positions within TUI France in the commercial field as director of the East and Paris/Ile-de-France regions, then as distribution support director and then as director of tour operating operations since October 2018.
The Little Rock CVB has promoted Kayla Kesterson to the position of sales director. Kesterson, who joined the bureau in 2018, had been serving as sales manager. She joined the CVB after a tenure as director of communications, workforce development and special events for the Arkansas Hospitality Association.
Graham Horner has been appointed managing director of Simpson Travel. He replaces David Bence, who left in January to become finance director of UK Leisure and Consulting Services. Horner was previously marketing director of Scott Dunn, marketing director of The Telegraph Media Group and head of loyalty at Coca Cola GB. He has been working with Simpson Travel as a non-executive director since January 2019.
Kara Franker has been named senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. She joins the bureau after operating her own marketing and communications company where she served a number of Florida-based DMOs. A lawyer, Franker also served a tenure as assistant state attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Edward Stoddard has been named communications director at the Central Pennsylvania CVB. He comes to the bureau from the Huntingdon County (Pa.) CVB, where he spent nearly 11 years. His last position there was as marketing director. Previously, he was marketing development manager for the Centre Daily Times for almost 18 years.
Luxury Travel Group has appointed Simon Lynch as director of sales. Lynch joins from Abercrombie & Kent, where he had worked since 2010 overseeing the sales strategy at A&K’s UK tour operation in Cheltenham and London, including its retail, B2B Sales and VIP client division. Before A&K he oversaw STA Travel’s Scandinavian business based in Stockholm.
The social media and booking technology company Passport Online has expanded its team to include a new sales director position, hiring Stuart Palmer to the role. Palmer started his career as a branch manager for Greenwich Travel Inc. and, most recently, served as director, U.S. sales and business development for Apple Leisure Group’s Amstar DMC. He will report to Jeanne Colombo, who was recently promoted to vice president of strategic partnerships.
Red Label Vacations Inc. has announced that Carolyn Bujtas has been promoted to director of sales and operations for the retail brands redtag.ca and itravel2000.com. Bujtas brings more than14 years of experience to her new role. Her travel career started 14 years ago, working as a sales agent for itravel2000.com. Since then, she has grown into a senior managerial position; overseeing itravel2000.com’s product training, travel agents, sales, groups, booking processes and more.
Nathalie Boyer is leaving her post as executive director of Transat Distribution Canada, and has accepted a senior executive role outside the industry. Boyer formally leaves Transat on July 31. At the same time, the Montreal-based company has announced the appointments of Louise Fecteau as general manager of Transat Distribution Canada, and of Karine Gagnon as commercial director for Transat’s Quebec region. Currently commercial director for the Quebec region, Fecteau has more than 25 years of experience in the travel industry. Karine Gagnon, currently Transat’s manager, product and destination services, will replace Fecteau and report to Joseph Adamo, TDC president and Transat chief distribution.
Saga CEO Lance Batchelor is to retire in January 2020 after six years with the senior travel specialist. Chairman Patrick O’Sullivan said: “Lance has led Saga with a resolute focus on reinvestment and rebuilding a truly customer centric organization. On behalf of the Board, we are grateful for his contribution and wish him every success for the future.” Batchelor’s career resumé includes management positions with such well-known brands as Proctor & Gamble and Amazon.com.
Robert Reed has joined Air Canada Vacations as manager, national accounts. Based in the Mississauga office, he will be reporting directly to Erminia Nigro, general manager, sales, Ontario, Manitoba & National Accounts. Reed has nearly three decades experience in the travel industry, and he comes to his new post from Transat where he held the role of director, national accounts.
In the UK, Barrhead Travel, which is owned by the Minneapolis-based Travel Leaders Group, has promoted Caroline Donaldson, formerly head of commercial, to the position of product and commercial director. Donaldson will oversee commercial agreements, product development and business development for all areas of the business, including cruise. Donaldson joined Barrhead over 16 years ago as a part-time long-haul consultant before progressing to manage the department. She was appointed business development manager in 2007.
Ensemble Travel Group co-president Lindsay Pearlman has decided to leave the company. After serving as executive vice president and general manager of Ensemble Canada for four years, Pearlman was appointed in January 2011 co-president of the group, which has 850 member agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Prior to joining Ensemble Travel Group, Pearlman was director and general manager at American Express and also held positions at Travel Services Network, Canada and General Electric in Calgary. David Harris, who was appointed to the newly created role of CEO in March, and President Libbie Rice will handle all management responsibilities and running the global operations for Ensemble Travel Group.
Happy Work Anniversaries to:
Ron Kuhlman for 28 years at the Virginia Beach CVB
Lynn Brewer for 27 years at the American Bus Association
Anna Kozma for 23 years at Gray Line CitySightseeing New York
Laura Avital for 23 years at Mill Brook Travel
Harry Wade for 13 years at Duty Free Americas.
David Jackson for 12 years at the Pocono Mountains CVB
Jesus Garcia for 12 years at the Atlanta CVB
John A. Cooper for 12 years at Yakima Valley Tourism
POSTED INDUSTRY JOBS
Visit Vancouver USA is searching for a president & CEO. Click here for more information.
The Empire State Realty Trust (Empire State Building) has an opening for a new vice president of operations. For more information, click here.
The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a chief tourism officer. Click here for more information.
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is looking for a president & CEO. For more information, click here.
The Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for an assistant executive director—finance & administration. For additional information, click here.
Visit Oakland has an opening for a sales manager. Visit here for more information.
Meet Minneapolis is searching for a senior director of destination sales. For additional information, click here.
The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a vice president of sales. For more information, click here.
The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for a vice president of people strategies. Click here for more information.
Discover Lancaster is searching for a president and CEO. For more information, click here.
Discover the Palm Beaches has an opening for the position of associate vice president—integrated marketing. Find more information here.
Destination Cleveland is looking for a vice president of convention sales and services. Get more information here.
In the southwestern United States, a leading hotel management company is searching for a national revenue and sales reporting manager. For more information, visit here.
The Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama has an opening for the position of general manager. For more information, click here.
Freeman, the world’s leading brand experience company, is searching for a regional director, production. Click here for more information.
Destinations International is Looking for a senior director of educational development. For more information, visit here.
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