US Travel’s Coronavirus Resource Info
The global concern over the Coronavirus virus has created a desire for up-to-date and accurate information for travel and tourism leaders and professionals worldwide to use in response to the crush of requests from travelers for reassurances that everything possible is being done to respond to this crisis. At Connect Travel’s INBOUND, we support the efforts of the U.S. Travel Association toward these ends. US Travel is refreshing the information on its website home page on what actions they are taking toward these ends.
U.S. Travel is in close contact with authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security and officials at several U.S. airports about ongoing developments. It continues to share the potential impact on travel, as well as convey our industry’s needs.
Go to www.ustravel.org for the very latest news on developments having to do with the coronavirus crisis, as well as links to relevant source material and to other organizations who are working to combat the spread of this serious virus.
All of us involved in the international travel and tourism industry have an obligation to do all that we can to help, and to do our part, cope with and eventually eliminate this virus so that both the industry and its people stay healthy.
IPW Works for Vegas, and Vegas Works for IPW
When the international buyers and suppliers of the U.S. travel experience gather together May 30-June 3 in Las Vegas for the 52nd edition of IPW, they’ll be taking part in an event and a community that shows what a city can do to make IPW work, and make it work well.
As part of a strategy fashioned early on in the new millennium to grow the number of both short- and long-haul visitors, Las Vegas is now hosting IPW for the third time in the span of a dozen years (2008, 2013 and 2020). Only Orlando has been an IPW host city more times. (Las Vegas and Los Angeles have both hosted the show on five occasions.)
From 2009, the trough year of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, Las Vegas’s total number of international visitors went from some 4.4 million visitors to 5.8 million visitors—an increase of one-third (33 percent)—in 2018, the year for which complete data are available. The showing for overseas (this excludes Canada and Mexico) inbound visitor traffic went from 1.8 million to 3.1 million, an increase of more than 70 percent.
Those INBOUND readers who try to figure how, or why, Las Vegas is so successful in making IPW work for the stakeholders its travel and tourism industry—there are about 150,000 hotel rooms in the city—more than in any other city in the USA—and IPW delegates will experience part of that on the Sunday night opening reception at Caesars Forum, a 550,000 square-foot conference facility and the latest addition to the portfolio of places and experiences that comprise Caesar’s Entertainment.
The Las Vegas Strip and the World’s Tallest Observation Wheel will serve as a backdrop for the event. Caesar’s Entertainment, who hosted the closing party in 2013, promises memorable food, drink and entertainment to officially kick-off IPW.
But, in the spirit of a message that tells delegates “We will not get in the way of your Vegas,” the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the scores of thousands of people who make up the travel and tourism industry want to make sure that delegates will have the time to experience parts of Las Vegas and its surrounding areas that new and returning visitors either never thought were there, or had the guts to try—from rafting the Colorado River, to touring the Valley of Fire, going behind the scenes of some of our most famous shows or even trying out some of Vegas’s daytime pool clubs.
Then, to close things off on Wednesday night, everyone will go back to where it all started–Downtown Las Vegas. The Fremont Street Experience and the hotels and casinos downtown will host delegates under the world’s largest video screen that just finished a $32 million upgrade to its video canopy that spans over which five city blocks. The canopy is now seven times brighter with four times the resolution. And what we will see on the screen will surprise us.
So, delegates should make sure that they arrive early, hydrate and be ready to play as hard as they are going to work at IPW. Be sure to check with Las Vegas CVA information specialists in the reception areas of the Las Vegas Convention Center for additions to, and other updates of, the IPW agenda. Also, INBOUND will be publishing additional features regarding the big event in future issues.
US Travel’s Roger Dow Cautions on Travel Ban Expansion
“While the countries affected by the expanded policy represent a very small fraction of visitation to the United States, restricting entry to the U.S. carries a negative perception that threatens the reputation of our country as an attractive and welcoming destination for global business and leisure travelers,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, in commenting on the announcement last Friday that the Trump Administration expanding its travel ban to include restricting on visas for six more countries.
President Donald Trump’s proclamation on the issue bans people from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria from receiving immigrant visas and suspends the visa lottery for people from Sudan and Tanzania. A statement from the White House press office indicated that the new rules do not prevent people from traveling to the United States for tourism, business or other non-immigrant travel.
Last Friday’s proclamation keeps the following existing restrictions in place:
— A ban on tourist or business visas for people from Libya and Yemen.
— A ban on travel for some Venezuelan government officials.
— A ban on all entry for people from Iran except for those traveling under student or exchange visitor visas.
— A ban on Somalians traveling under immigrant visas.
— And a ban on all travel by people from North Korea or Syria.
Chad initially was on the travel ban list, but the Trump Administration removed it after saying the country improved its security measures.
According to some news accounts, the inclusion of Nigeria—it is Africa’s largest nation, with a population of 204 million—seems to have attracted most attention. Nigerian nationals already have a relatively strong presence in the United States. According to the Institute of International Education, Nigeria had 13,423 students studying in the U.S. It ranks 11th among all nations in the number of international students studying in the United States.
An American Community Survey for the year 2016—the latest for which data are available—estimated that 380,785 U.S. residents report Nigerian ancestry. The 2012-2016 ACS estimated that 277,027 American residents were born in Nigeria. It also estimates that these states have the highest Nigerian-born population: Texas, with just over 60,000, had the highest Nigerian-born population of any U.S. state.
In his carefully worded statement, Dow also explained that “It is important to note that the new policy primarily relates to those seeking to immigrate to the U.S. as residents—as opposed to temporary visitors—and broadly describing it as a ‘travel ban’ isn’t wholly accurate.”
And, he added, “protecting the country is paramount—everyday travel cannot continue without it—but policies must always strike a balance between meeting security imperatives and continuing to welcome everyday travelers to the United States. Robust and safe international inbound travel to the U.S. is essential to the administration’s goals for economic, job, and export growth.”
US Trade’s Luxury Sector Bullish Over Prospects for 2020
Results of the 2020 Pulse of the Industry Survey are in, and they tell us that the luxury travel segment of the travel and tourism industry is nothing less than buoyant when it discusses the outlook for this year. Conducted by Strategic Vision, a consulting firm based in Tarrytown, N.Y.—about 25 miles north of mid-town Manhattan in New York City—the survey talked to CEOs, presidents and senior executives at leading luxury travel management companies, providing us with a fairly reliable assessment of the industry. (While the survey’s respondents are primarily concerned with outbound travel, their answers seem to sync what the travel trade is reporting globally about the luxury travel sector.)
As the trade publication Travel Agent put it: “This year’s survey finds an overwhelmingly positive outlook with a strong economy that is prevailing over concerns about global instability … The insatiable drive to travel is one of the reasons luxury travel executives believe that 2020 will be another banner year for the segment.” Some highlights from the Pulse of the Industry Survey follow.
The forecast for growth in 2020 is mostly about leisure travel.
* Noted the travelmarket report: “Last year’s survey found similar results, signaling that the experiential travel megatrend is still on the rise.”
More than two out of every five (42 percent) respondents indicated that concerns about overtourism had a negative impact on travel decisions. Sustainability issues also registered with travel trade leaders.
Sustainability Issues Which Had the Most Influence
Also: Nine out of ten of the travel management executives surveyed said they face competition from suppliers and other partners who are marketing directly to their clients, while 86 percent said their advisors need to search more sources than in the past for rates and/or information.
IMF West Will Help You “Go International”
Connect Travel’s International Marketing Forum West on February 25th in Marina del Rey, California will underscore Connect’s commitment to a brand that has no peer in the travel and tourism industry in the United States. IMF West is a one-day event focused on providing tools, research, and insights to help industry professionals initiate or enhance their global marketing efforts. Recognized Industry experts will lead informative sessions throughout the day tackling the challenges of creating a global strategy.
Unique in its program content, IMF is also singular because it affords those who attend the opportunity to come to Marina del Rey for IMF’s program, or combine it with participation in Connect’s RTO Summit West held the following day, on February 26th. There, delegates—they are primarily senior representatives of DMOs and travel suppliers—will have the opportunity to meet in one-on-one business with receptive tour operators from throughout the Greater Los Angeles-South California area and transact Visit USA business.
The supplier-buyer ratio is such that, between business appointments and morning and mid-day functions, as well as a closing reception, “everybody meets everybody” by the time it is over. For additional information on how to register, click here.
The IMF experience will also take place later this year with IMF East, April 15, 2020, at the Grand Hyatt New York, between Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building in mid-town Manhattan; and IMF Florida on October 13, 2020 at the Omni Orlando at ChampionsGate in Kissimmee, Florida.
“International marketing is not reserved for the tourism supplier with the biggest budget. A global presence is possible for any business with a creative strategy and an understanding of world markets,” explains Will Seccombe, president of Connect Travel, adding,” The International Marketing Forum West will bring together professionals in tourism marketing to discuss and explore how to successfully execute a global strategy in today’s rapidly evolving and highly competitive global marketplace.”
The IMF agenda will address the following subjects:
International Travelers Destination Decision &
Buying Behavior – Established Markets (Erin Francis-Cummings,
president and CEO, Destination Analysts)
A data-driven look at how travelers from the U.S.’s top markets are making their destination decisions and how they’re transacting that travel. We’ll start at the top of the funnel to examine what are the top attracters and deterrents for selecting destinations, attractions and experiences and which digital media and offline sources have the biggest impact on consumer’s selection. From there, we’ll look at how that does (and doesn’t) correlate with actual buying behavior.
What the Hell is Going on in China? (Alinda
Xiang, president & CEO, East West Marketing)
From trade wars to travel warnings, the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese governments is a non-stop rollercoaster. But what does that mean for U.S. destinations seeking to develop or expand their Chinese visitor base? We’ll take a look at trends in Chinese visitation and, more importantly, the most recent developments in the Chinese travelers’ decision-making process. Gain insights on where destination decisions are being made and how you can tap into this ever-expanding market.
Is India the next China or the White Whale?
(Kathy Smiths, vice president, international tourism, Los Angeles Tourism)
Everyone is intrigued by the rapid growth of arrivals from India. But depending on who you ask, Indians are either high-spending, upscale hotel-staying dream visitors or frugal business travelers staying with friends and family. Add to that the highly fractured ecosystem of agents and buyers and the world’s second most populous country is perplexing to say the least. Our panelists will break down this emerging market and speak truth to what the Indian market is – and isn’t – and whether (and how) you should approach it.
The South is Rising Again – Getting Started in
Latin & South America (Daniel Schwartz, director,
Americas, San Francisco Travel; Tyler Gosnell, director of
international marketing, Visit California)
New markets from South and Latin America are on the rise, with significant new lift coming to the U.S., particularly in the west. Countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Panama are suddenly real opportunities for growth in international visitation while countries like Brazil and Mexico continue to show growth. This panel session will provide a 101-session covering the state of these markets, media consumption habits and booking behavior. You’ll leave with actionable takeaways on how to get started – or ramp up – your destination or attraction efforts in these markets.
Data Privacy the Future of Marketing for DMOs, Attractions & Suppliers (Gray Lawry, vice president, strategy & insights, Miles Partnership)
Europe’s launch of GDPR has started a wave of new data privacy regulations around the world that are fundamentally changing how destinations reach global consumers. With increased importance being placed on “first-party” data, destinations and attractions will soon be challenged to find targeted audiences through “traditional” digital network providers. At the same time, travel agents and tour operators have an opportunity to leverage the first party consumer data they have collected to create innovative new ways to partner with DMOs and other suppliers. In this session, get a better understanding of what regulations like GDPR mean for the industry and how destinations and travel providers need to adapt to be effective.
Why Overtourism & Responsible Travel Matters
Now (even though you have empty rooms)
You have plenty of empty hotel beds and open seats – so why are we talking about this depressing subject? Because your potential customers and local communities are. From Paris to Copenhagen to Amsterdam, the impact of overtourism is big news in much of Europe. Consumers from these markets are becoming more aware of how these issues impact communities and have a rising desire to participate in “ethical tourism.” We’ll talk about how you can work with your trade partners to get ahead of this coming challenge by developing (and marketing) product strategies aimed at visitor dispersal and low-impact visitation.
Lessons Learned – Brand USA Talks about What Works (and what hasn’t)
Creating consumer marketing campaigns that work globally is no easy task. Finding the balance between consistent and efficient messaging and customizing to be relevant for each audience is a constant challenge, regardless of budget. In this session, Brand USA will talk about what types of messaging and marketing strategies have worked best globally, and which ones just don’t translate. We’ll provide real takeaways to consider as you try to balance your own global vs. market-specific strategy.
“Good Co-op/Bad Co-op” for the International Consumer
We all understand the cost/benefit of co-operative marketing: give up a little control of your brand in exchange for a far greater reach and impact for your investment. But in the end, the actual message still needs to resonate with consumers. In this session, we’ll look at how you develop co-op strategies from a consumer-first mentality, looking at traveler interests and behaviors to select the right partners and craft the right product and story. Using real-life examples of multi-destination co-ops that generated meaningful results, you’ll take away new ideas on how to construct successful partnerships.
Free Marketing is Good. Free Audience is even Better. (Chris Adams, Head of Research & Insights, Miles Partnership) While you’re agonizing over where to spend your limited international marketing dollars, millions of potential visitors (who are actively searching your destination or business) are making decisions based on the content and information already available in the world’s largest travel content ecosystem: Google. Are you doing everything you can with Google’s free destination and business tools to provide the most compelling and informative picture of your product for international consumers? In this session, you’ll discover the size of this audience (spoiler alert, it’s huge) and get tips and tricks on how to optimize your footprint throughout Google’s travel and search environment.
Test Your Knowledge – International Visitor Quiz
In this interactive session, we’ll test your knowledge of international markets through a fun and informative live quiz on travel behavior of the U.S.’s top 11 global markets. Who comes the longest? Spends the most? Is more likely to rent a motorcycle? Least likely to tip appropriately? You’ll leave this session with more knowledge on your customer and possible even a prize!
(Connect Travel produces 12 industry events specifically designed to address industry needs in a unique format that creates an efficient and effective environment to expedite the sales process and grow your business. For additional information, visit https://connecttravel.com/)
Blue Man Speaks! INBOUND Talks with a Blue Man Group Marketer
Over the past three decades, Blue Man Group has grown from street theatre to a global entertainment brand. It has a presence at Connect Travel events and at US Travel’s IPW travel trade show—marketing itself to groups of travelers globally. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Blue Man Group’s regional director of sales, Kristen Doss. Based in Chicago, she stays on top of all of the Group’s activities and is continuously looking for new ways to connect Blue Man Group with audiences. We used the occasion to ask Doss about the special appeal of Blue Man Group, how it has changed over the years, and why it is the perfect entertainment option for both domestic and international groups.
INBOUND: First, thanks for taking the time to talk with INBOUND. In the world of entertainment brands, Blue Man Group is singular and unique, and because of its international tours and venue in Berlin, is known world-wide. To start, I wanted to ask you this: Just what do you believe accounts for the appeal of a performing arts production that has no spoken language?
Doss: Blue Man Group is beloved around the globe because of its ability to use music, art and comedy to communicate with audiences. The show, and the unique Blue Man character, uses an array of paints, props and unexpected moments to create an experience unlike no other. Instead of following a narrative or storyline, the audience goes on a journey of discovery with the Blue Men and, because every audience is different, no show is exactly the same.
INBOUND: Are you able to give us a demographic profile of the people or groups who go to a Blue Man Group production?
Doss: The recommended age for a Blue Man Group show is 3 and up and, while I know it sounds a little cliché, it’s absolutely true that there is a little Blue Man for everyone. When we have school groups in the audience, the Blue Men play off of their infectious laughter and wide-eyed wonderment. When we are performing for a group of executives in town for a conference, the Blue Men work to play up their signature brand of irreverent humor to provide a welcome escape from reality.
INBOUND: With Blue Man Group now a staple among group travelers, it’s safe to say that it is popular among tour operators, both domestic and international, who sell it to their clients. Do you know why it is so popular among travel groups and among those who sell group travel?
Doss: With no spoken language, Blue Man Group provides no barrier to anyone to whom English is not their first language. Blue Man Group appeals to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds which makes it the perfect addition to any tour itinerary for travelers from all around the world.
INBOUND: About two-and-a-half years ago, Blue Man Group was acquired by Cirque du Soleil—another unique performing arts experience. How has it changed what the Group does?
Doss: Since Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group’s involvement with Blue Man Group, additional opportunities for experimentation have presented themselves. The playpen got bigger and Blue Man Group is now able to bring ideas to fruition that weren’t capable of exploration before. However, you won’t see any acrobatics introduced to the show… Blue Man Group has an identify all its own.
INBOUND: Last year, you launched a new North American Tour which prompted the L.A. Times to say in a review: “The show pushes the boundaries in color, bright lights, music, art, a little magic, and exciting human connection without a spoken word.” Anything new planned for this year or the near-term future?
Doss: We are always seeking new opportunities for Blue Man Group, and to introduce the Blue Man character into different spaces. We launched our first ever documentary series last year, ‘Becoming Blue,’ which tells the story of the Blue Man training process. We also debuted our educational offering, Backstage on the Stage, taking school groups even further into the creative development of the show. And, as you mentioned earlier, we will be at IPW this year where we will have a booth and information about contracts for all Blue Man Group resident productions.
In Brazil, One Can See Clearly Now—The Rain Is Gone
Following a year in which there were episodic starts and stalls for the travel and tourism industry performance in Brazil, the latest monthly Overview report from the trade publication PANROTAS and the business journal Fecomercio was decidedly upbeat as it analyzed the latest economic numbers and other data.
After struggling through its worst economic recession in a century from 2014 to 2016, the nation’s economy appeared ready to stabilize until there was a sudden contraction early last year. Full-year data for 2019 are not yet available, but it appears that the country escaped another recession. As the January Overview indicated, “in the domestic environment, the country is showing signs of being increasingly on track.” Other notes from the Overview included the following:
—Christmas sales were at record levels and surpassed those of the pre-crisis period, between 2012 and 2014.
—Almost 100,000 jobs opened up in November, the best result for the month since 2010—and according to another survey by IBGE, the number of unemployed fell to 11.9 million (compared to a total of 12.2 million in the quarter ended in November 2018).
—In addition, inflation in Brazil is under control, maintaining the purchasing power of the population. the end of 2019, the official price index had a rise of 4.31%, slightly above the target set (4.25%).
—With more jobs, more income and more confidence there is less default risks and the supply of credit goes up. In November, consumers contracted R$ 190 billion in credit in the financial system, an increase of 8.9 percent over the same period in 2018. (This number is important, since many Brazilians borrow money, in effect, to pay for their vacations.)
—In general terms, the economy grew by close to 2.5 percent by the end of 2019.
—The two major measures of consumer confidence both showed increases at year’s end.
A Good Year for the Travel and Tourism Industry? The Overview put it this way: “Great expectations for the year are turned to acquisitions of major players, such as Despegar and CVC Corp., for the future of Latam Travel franchises (the company will no longer have physical stores and recommended they be transferred to Agaxtur).“
However, the national aviation industry now has only three major players (Gol, leading the domestic market, Latam, leading the international market, and Azul, leader in destinations operated in Brazil) with the shutdown last May of Avianca Brazil. There ae also high expectations regarding the resumption of Boeing’s MAX aircraft, which halted Gol’s international plans. January started with Azul, Gol and Latam announcing more domestic flights in their networks (Latam had a 20 percent growth), but also some specific additions to their international network. Azul will fly from Campinas to New York and Recife to Buenos Aires and Gol from Porto Alegre to Punta del Este, Uruguay. (Industry analysis have cited high ticket prices for long-haul travel as a challenge for those marketing and selling Visit USA product.)
More Travel for Brazilians? Also, on the brighter side, the Overview noted: “According to Capital Research analysis, Brazilians shall travel more in 2020. Besides the six holidays that will fall on Mondays or Fridays, such as Carnival, Corpus Christi and Black Consciousness Day, it is expected that Brazilian have some money in the pocket to travel due to signs of economic recovery.”
Google on Driving Traffic to Your Travel Product Using Machine Learning
We’re always thinking about travel, a just-completed study from Think with Google tells us. Most of those thoughts, the report says, lead to booking decisions that have nothing to do with price, and machine learning can help. (Note: Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.)
The average traveler spends 13 percent of his/her time online conducting travel-related activities.
That won’t surprise anyone who’s ever started planning an
Alaskan vacation after scrolling through a friend’s wilderness photos or
researched Rio hotels after watching a documentary about Carnival.
When it comes to travel, inspiration is everywhere. As a result, the purchase path is full of twists and turns. It ranges from days to months, stretches across thousands of touchpoints, and generates a mountain of data in the process. In the survey that produced its report, Google asked more than 7,000 travelers from six countries how they plan a trip from beginning to end, starting with what inspired them to travel.
Source: Google/Bain, Global (AU, BR, DE, JP, U.S., U.K.), “Infinite Paths to Purchase,” 2019.
Even after completing a booking, many travelers continue to research and find inspiration.
But people don’t act on every inspiration. Each traveler has underlying needs that vary by trip.
When a brand shows it can meet those needs, people usually respond by taking an action. While needs can be emotional or functional, they’re the considerations that matter most to each traveler — often more than price.
Samples of underlying need as reflected in comments: “I need a dog-friendly hotel.” “I need things to do in Kyoto.” “I need a wellness trip to recharge.”
New research reveals that leaving these needs unmet will more likely deter a booking than price.
And needs-based bookings are more valuable than price-based ones, lifting revenue across major categories.
Before they booked, travelers showed interest in comfortable hotel beds, time-of-day availability, and airplane movie screens, signaling their unique needs: sleep quality, activities that fit their schedule, and in-flight entertainment. By catering to those needs, brands can earn more valuable bookings: +27 percent for international flights,⁷ 22 percent for hotels,⁸ and 14 percent for tour packages.⁹
Travelers’ unique needs are important for marketers to address. But how do marketers know what those needs are?
Clues from anonymous traveler IDs appear across searches, sites visited, videos watched, images viewed, tickets purchased, tours booked, and more. That volume makes it hard to tell what’s relevant.
Samples of “anonymous” traveler IDs:
—Traveler read an article titled “Best Hotels for Couples 2019”
—Searched “How long to train a dog.”
—Searched “Best dance lessons in Italy.”
—Visited local library website.
—Searched “When is feast of Santa Rosalia.”
—Booked October flight to Sicily.
—Browsed hotels in Palermo.
—Watched videos about homemade dog food.
—Viewed photos of the Amalfi Coast.
(The type of traveler above needs a couples vacation.)
By reviewing anonymized and aggregated data points in real time, machine learning can identify clues to understand what really matters to travelers. This allows brands to prioritize relevance across ads, while the data itself remains private and secure.
The chaos of the travel journey is an opportunity for marketers. It may look intimidating, but with the right tools, marketers can use these signals to deliver a more meaningful experience to every traveler, trip by trip.
• Focus on needs, not price: Today’s travelers need help planning not just any trip, but the right trip experience for them. So, whether your travelers value “adventure,” “health and wellness,” “family time,” or something else entirely, knowing what motivates them can inspire new products, value propositions, and marketing strategies, which can all help to build customer loyalty.
• Let consumer behavior guide your strategy: Since there is no single path to purchase, today’s travel brands should think holistically about all potential interactions with a traveler. After all, there are opportunities to re-engage someone even after they’ve completed a booking. A data-driven approach can help a brand find those opportunities and appear at the right moments of influence.
• Build relationships early with search: One of the best ways to engage travelers at the start of their journey is through search. Destination searches indicate that people are beginning to narrow down their travel ideas, even if they haven’t yet settled on all the details. Search also makes it easy to test and iterate, so you can experiment with how to reach more travelers and quickly identify the right audiences.
• Connect across the journey with machine learning: Machine learning makes it possible to analyze millions of nuanced interactions within seconds, and an ML-first marketing strategy can help future-proof your brand. With the power to automatically tailor messaging to different audiences, customize creative, and even free up time for other areas of the business, machine learning can help you connect with the people who were looking for you all along—whether they knew it or not.
1-9Google/Bain, Global (AU, BR, DE, JP, U.S., U.K.), “Infinite Paths to Purchase,” 2019.
Visit Ithaca—Connect Travel’s Tour OperatorLand.com Partner of the Week
“Gorges” discoveries await in Ithaca, midway between New York City & Niagara Falls in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Hidden waterfalls, unique views, unexpected beauty. Nestled in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, Ithaca is best known for stunning waterfalls and dramatic gorges. Ithaca is a culinary wonderland where fresh, local, and organic are daily specials. Ithaca is the perfect hub to experience all the Finger Lakes Region has to offer. Pack comfy shoes and a keen sense of curiosity.
For more information, visit: https://www.touroperatorland.com/index.php/destinations/visit_ithaca
HODGE PODGE—Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Andrew Turner is leaving his post as head of industry sales for the tour operator Intrepid Travel to join destination management company Discova, which is owned by Flight Centre. He has been with Intrepid for nearly eight years. He will lead a sales team located in major source markets such as the UK, US and Asia Pacific region from London.
Alison Best has joined the Northstar Travel Group—it puts out the Travel Weekly family of travel trade publications—as business development director. A long-time veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Best has previously served as: executive vice president of Destinations International; president and CEO of Visit Oakland: and senior vice president, business development, for the Santa Monica CVB.
According to reports in the UK travel trade and business press, the Chinese conglomerate Fosun, which had invested in the now defunct Thomas Cook, has recruited a number of former Thomas Cook executives in order to re-launch the brand as an online operation. According to the Times of London, the new entity appointed Alan French, formerly group strategy and technology director, as chief executive, with Raj Sharma, a former finance executive, joining as chief financial officer and Phil Gardner, Cook’s head of sales, ecommerce and marketing, as head of marketing.
Nancy Drolet has joined Toronto-based Jesson & Company Communications as its new senior director, travel trade, where she will be responsible for all trade activities for destination clients including education, attendance at trade events as well as other responsibilities. Nancy joins Jesson from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), where she was a business development representative. The CTO announced last fall that they would close their North American offices along with their office in London, England.
Cheryl Offerman, global tourism sales manager for Meet Minneapolis, has retired after serving nearly 25 years with the organization, and after more than 30 years in the travel and tourism industry. “In addition to long walks on the beach and finally having time to read the stack of books I’ve accumulated,” she told colleagues in an e-mail, “I’ll begin a new part-time profession by teaching English as a second language to immigrant children.”
Christian Armond has been appointed by Ocean Holidays Group as its first marketing director. He joins the company following tenures at loveholidays, where he was marketing director; and TUI, where he was head of digital marketing. Ocean Holidays Group includes Ocean Florida, specialists in Florida and U.S. holidays; since 2004 Ocean Florida has sent in excess of 250,000 customers on holiday and as a result has become the number one independent Florida Travel Specialist in the UK.
Debbie Girard has been appointed director of business development for TRAVELSAVERS Canada. Girard brings over 20 years of travel industry experience to her new role with the company, which is based in Vancouver, Canada.
Boston-based Audley Travel recently appointed Anne-Marie Kline as head of North American marketing. Previously, Kline was senior vice president of global marketing for Living Proof Inc.
Trafalgar and Costsaver Canada, which specialize in in guided vacations, have announced the appointment of Mohit Dayaram as sales manager for the greater Toronto area. His previous experience includes tenures as a sales professional for Kensington Tours, WE and DW Alexander.
The Brazilian tour operator Trend has announced the promotion of André Pedroso as manager of the company’s São Paulo base inland. Pedroso has more than 14 years of experience in the tourism business, eight of them with Trend.
Also from Brazil: Maryane Giacometi is no longer a marketing and communication specialist at Flytour Viagens. She has joined the Visual Turismo team, assuming the supervision of the operator’s marketing area. She will report directly to Thais Machado.
Ovation Travel Group has announced plans to expand in the western United States, where it will increase the number of independent advisors throughout the region. To develop and lead Ovation’s anticipated growth in the region, Beverly Hills-based Aanchal Gandhi is joining the company in the newly created role of vice president of leisure and independent advisors. Gandhi, who will report to Gina Gabbard, senior vice president of leisure and independent advisors, was previously a corporate and luxury travel consultant for Protravel International
Chris Simmonds has been named the new managing director of the senior travel specialist, Saga Holidays. He joins the operator from his post as chief executive of Revitalize, a national UK charity providing respite holidays for disabled people and carers. He had previously worked for Saga for nearly a dozen years, lastly as managing director.
Former Red Sea Holidays sales director Jason Hilton has joined ITC Travel Group in the same role. He has joined on a 12-month contract covering maternity leave for current director Sarah Roberts. Hilton was sales director at Red Sea Holidays for eight years and, before that, worked with TUI and as head of sales at My Travel.
Andreas Heimann, managing director of German tour operator DER Touristik’s travel agency operation, is now also responsible for online sales for the company. In addition to his previous responsibility for own travel agency sales. With this step, the company wants to further expand DER sales across all sales channels and use synergies in omnichannel. In his new function Heimann takes care of DER Touristik Partner-Service, Derpart as well as DER Touristik Online and Strategic Market Research in addition to DER travel agencies. Matthias Lange and Maximilian Küppers continue to be Managing Directors of DER Touristik Online.
The Kentucky Derby Museum has named Katie Fussenegger as its new vice president. Previously, Fussenegger served as president & CEO of ShelbyKY Tourism since 2010. Overall, she had been with the organization for nearly 13 years. Her experience in the travel and tourism industry also includes a tenure at Louisville Tourism.
In France, Barbara Riou and Guillaume Benjamin join the Visitors sales team: Barbara Riou has been tapped for eastern France and Guillaume Benjamin will be responsible for Paris, 93, Hauts-de-France and Belgium.
Posted Industry Jobs
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit Santa Clara is searching for a president and CEO. Click here for more information.
—Travel Portland has an opening for a vice president of community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion. Click here for additional details.
—The Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in Illinois is looking for an executive director. For more details, click here.
—The Spartanburg (S.C.) Convention & Visitors Bureau is seeking a chief development tourism officer. Visit here for more information.
—Travel Portland is searching for a vice president of community engagement & diversity, equity & inclusion. For additional details, click here.
—Visit Pittsburgh is searching for a new president and CEO. For more information, click here.
—Discover Lancaster is searching for a new president and CEO. Click here for more details.
—In Little Rock, Arkansas, the DMO there is searching for a senior sales director. For more information, visit here.
—The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—Visit Pensacola is looking for a new president and CEO. For more information, visit here.
—Visit Salt Lake is searching for its next president and CEO. For more details, click here.
—Travel Marquette is searching for a group marketing sales manager. Click here for more information.
—Visit San Antonio is looking for a director of market strategy. For more details, click here.
—There is an opening for a director of sales and catering at Great Wolf Resorts. Click here for specifics.
—Visit Orlando has an opening for a director of visitor services. For more information, visit here.
—The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (Explore St. Louis) has an opening for a vice president of sales. Click here for more information
—The Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a president and CEO. For more information, visit here.
—The Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for its next chief executive officer. For more details, click here.
—Brent Robinson Vacation Rentals on the Alabama Gulf Coast has an opening for a director of marketing. For additional details, click here.
—The El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau has an opening for a director of convention development. Click here for more details.
—An international hotels & resorts company has an opening for a regional director of sales and marketing; the position is based in Vancouver, B.C. Visit here for details
—A hotel management company is searching for a remote director of revenue management for the Embassy Suites brand who will oversee two recently renovated hotels. For more information, click here.
—The Saugatuck Douglas Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new executive director. Click here for more information.
—The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for a vice president of people strategies. Click here for more information.
From HARP wallen Global Executive Recruitment and Search:
—In South West London, an award-winning international travel business looking for an inside sales executive. 12-month FTC. For additional, information, click here.
—In the Northern Home Counties, a luxury tour operator is looking for a marketing planning manager; will be reporting to the Head of Marketing. For details, click here.