U.S. Domestic Travel is on the Rise
Expedia Research Updates Afford Hope to Connect Travel Webinar Gathering: The latest of Connect Travel’s “Staying Connected” series continued last Thursday with updated insights from Expedia Group™ Media Solutions via its director of business development, Derek Price—a familiar and oft-quoted presence in both the international and domestic travel & tourism markets.
“Domestic is really ruling, sort of, the decision-making of our customers,” said Price, as he introduced his presentation, which was based largely on Expedia research conducted over a four-month period that coincided with the unofficial beginning last April of the worldwide corona virus-drive global pandemic.
Expedia’s online legions of customers and visitors were still traveling, he explained, and if they weren’t actually traveling, they were visiting online to check the status of things, dream about travels they would like to take, or actually shopping. The following tables and graphics illustrate some of the key points made by Price.
“Many of you who may be on the destination side are seeing that drive market is even more important now than it ever has been before in fact we are seeing people willing to drive longer than they ever have before.” (Derek Price)
“Nine in 10 travelers would use an OTA to book travel in the current climate.” – Expedia Group Media Solutions
The Millennial is Rising*
→ Millennials are more likely to use a travel agent (compared to Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers)
→ More than 70 percent of Millennials plan on using a travel agency in the future.
Source: MMGY Global 2016
* Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted defining range for the generation. (Wikipedia)
—Health and safety information is critical.
—Travelers are staying with family, or at vacation rentals
—Domestic car trips are trending.
—Travelers are using a range of sources to book travel.
• “From the very beginning they (travelers) never lost the love of traveling and we found
that a good portion of our customers were still coming to our site on a regular basis
to dream about where they were going to go next … that’s really a positive story to tell.”
• “Many of you who may be on the destination side are seeing that the drive market is even more important now than it ever has been before; in fact, we are seeing people willing to drive
longer than they ever have before.”
• “I’ve got to be honest with you I don’t think I love anybody enough to be in a car with them
for 1,500 miles but they’re willing to do it, and I think that’s super exciting so, if you if there are any car rental companies, also rural hotels—what a great opportunity to start talking about road trips because people are not driving that distance.”
• “One of the things that we are hearing is that in the non-urban locations, those hotels that are set farther out from city center are actually seeing stronger occupancies than those hotels
Downtown. And I think it’s because people are looking to give themselves space away from the crowds. “
• “For those of you who are wondering when I talk about deals and offers—especially from an Expedia Group point of view—it’s not always the least expensive price, and in fact, very often, lowest price is not the winner; it is the value of what people get … It is all about how safe they’re going to feel within the product that you’re offering. So, if you’re not doing it now, I would certainly recommend including some type of health and hygiene information within your messaging.”
• “About the advanced booking window—people are really looking for that short-term window someplace and going on vacation in the next zero to three weeks, so something to think about when you’re talking with your partners or talking internally with your stakeholders is that consumers are looking to book short-term and that is because there’s a comfortability level saying ‘Okay, if I can travel in the next two weeks, I kind of know what’s going to happen’.”
COVID-19 Impacts Air Traffic Routes
With the virus halting air traffic in most places, routes to and from Middle East have experienced growth that has skewered the primacy of routes that included a European partner. According to the airline network planning intelligence publisher anna.aero,* Dubai — Heathrow is now the world’s top international route by ASKs (Airline Seat Kilometers, or ASK, is a measure of passenger carrying capacity. It is equal to the number of seats available multiplied by the number of miles or kilometers flown.) This is based on the week beginning 30 September 2020 using OAG schedules data.
It rose from fifth place in the same week in 2019, despite ASKs being down by nearly half.
This pushed Heathrow – New York JFK off the top spot to fifth. This follows most Europeans being banned from the US because of coronavirus, and Americans needing to quarantine in the UK for 14 days.
The world’s top-20 international routes now have almost 1.91 billion ASKs. This is down by 64 percent. from 5.25 billion in the same week last year.
What is much more interesting – but perhaps not particularly surprising – is how the composition of the Top-20 has temporarily changed significantly because of coronavirus. For instance, one will notice that Paris Charles de Gaulle, which was part of three top route pairings last year, is nowhere on the Top 20 this year.
According to anna.aero, among the other 14 new routes that make it this year are the following:
• Antalya – Moscow Sheremetyevo,
• Los Angeles — Tapei
• Doha – Heathrow,
• Amsterdam – Bangkok
• Doha – Manila.
If Reunion, Martinique, and Guadeloupe were sovereign countries, says anna.aero rather than parts of France, 15 new routes would have featured this year. Paris Orly — Reunion would have been first by ASKs, Orly – Pointe-à-Pitre fifth, and Orly – Fort-de-France ninth.
*anna.aero stands for Airline Network News & Analysis–a free and open website dedicated to airline network planning intelligence, produced by a multi-disciplinary team that includes experienced airline and airport network planners.
Editor’s Note: Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the Middle East
Travel Trade Talk
• New Dates for IPW 2021: The U.S. Travel Association has announced that IPW, its annual international inbound travel trade show that was canceled this year, will be a live, in-person event held in Las Vegas from September 18-22, 2021. The September dates are revised from previously released 2021 event dates. US Travel, together with premier sponsor Brand USA and our hosts, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Travel Nevada, secured later dates to provide additional time for international long-haul travel to the United States to broadly resume. U.S. Travel plans to open registration for IPW exhibitors in mid-November. IPW buyer and media registration will open in early 2021. IPW 2021 will be held in the newly constructed West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Planning for IPW show floor and media marketplace activities, as well as related official events, is underway by the IPW Host Committee.
• Corporate Travel Management buys U.S. rival Travel and Transport: Australia based Corporate Travel Management is acquiring Nebraska-based TMC Travel and Transport, along with the Radius Travel Network business for more than $274 million. The company says that the move will give it a formidable presence in the U.S. market and beyond with the new merged entity generating more than $8.5 billion in sales. It also gives it a larger foothold in the UK, Germany and France.
T&T’s executive team will integrate with CTM and Kevin O’Malley becomes CEO of North America. “We are excited to bring our two companies together under the CTM umbrella,” said CTM founder and managing director Jamie Pherous. One consequence The Travel and Transport name will eventually disappear and be absorbed into CTM, Radius Travel comprises a network of corporate travel agencies in more than 100 countries.
• HolidayTaxis signs an agreement to become a transfer provider to newly launched OTA Thomas Cook. ”On behalf of the entire team here at HolidayTaxis Group, we are thrilled to have been selected to support the re-launch of this iconic travel brand” said HolidayTaxis Group CEO Ian Coyle, adding, “In these challenging times that our entire industry is facing right now, HolidayTaxis’ proven ability to deliver customer satisfaction to our global partner network—combined with our Covid-19 related protection protocols, partnership support and efficient API connectivity—will enable Thomas Cook to switch product and destination focus as it chooses, in line with government and market forces that influence our industry booking patterns.” David Scott, Thomas Cook head of ancillaries and financial services, said: ‘It’s important to us that our customers have choice and flexibility, plus feel safe and secure when arriving or heading home from holiday.
• TUI Destination Experiences morphs into TUI Musement: A brand new brand to be known as TUI Musement has been established in order to accelerate the transformation and growth of the European travel group’s tours and activities businesses. Previously known as TUI Destination Experiences, the new unit will feature a digital platform-plus model combining a scalable online platform for sourcing, producing and distributing tours and activities in more than 50 countries worldwide. Newly integrated teams will focus on specialist areas, such as business development and supply management, enabling Tui Musement to combine and capitalize on the existing expertise, according to TUI Group.
Executive board member Sebastian Ebel said: “With these changes we start a new exciting phase of our growth story. “We are developing a global tours and activities leader, which will be in a dominant market position once tours and activities returns to growth.” TUI Musement offers more than 130,000 “things to do” in holiday and city destinations worldwide and is expanding its offering by connecting new suppliers. The inventory is distributed to all 21 million Tui customers, through B2B partnerships – such as a recent strategic partnership with Booking.com – and B2C through the Musement and TUI websites.
TUI Musement chief executive David Schelp said: “Musement has been a key driver of our overall growth strategy since the acquisition in 2018.” (TUI acquired Musement two years ago from Hotelbeds for $136 million.) • Hotelbeds partners with DMC NexusTours, Thomas Cook:Destination management company NexusTours has inked a strategic partnership with global bank Hotelbeds. NexusTours will become the preferred provider for transfers, local assistance and tours and experiences in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. It gets access to Hotelbeds’ 60,000-plus travel trade buyers including tour operators, airlines, and retail travel agencies. NexusTours’ recently launched its Concierge Service which will be available to Hotelbeds’ travel partners.
Meanwhile, Hotelbeds has inked a strategic partnership with recently re-established brand Thomas Cook. (See article above on Thomas Cook’s new relationship with HolidayTaxis Group.) The move with provide Thomas Cook’s new online-only holiday business with access to over 180,000 unique hotels in 140 countries via Hotelbeds. At the same time, Thomas Cook becomes one of Hotelbeds’ 60,000-plus travel trade buyers, which include tour operators, travel agents and airlines. “All of us at Hotelbeds are immensely pleased to see Thomas Cook relaunching and we’re delighted to be able to support their new model. We look forward to watching it grow once again into one of Europe’s leading holiday brands,” said Leon Herce, global sales director at Hotelbeds. Thomas Cook just recently re-established itself as an OTA under owner Fosun Tourism Group, which is also the parent company of Club Med.
Germany—No News is Probably Good News
When one reviews the available new data on sales volume in the retail travel industry in Germany—data sets for travel and tourism simply aren’t available for the wholesale or tour operator sub sectors—there is one, just one, impression or interpretation of the information that is in the remotest way positive. And that is: the numbers for the month of September were about the same as they were for the month of August. In other words, it didn’t get any worse.
It’s pretty much the same assessment for the wholesale-long-haul segment of the industry. The German travel trade publication fvw tells us that just 5 percent of Germans are planning a foreign holiday this autumn “amid calls from politicians for people to stay within the country to avoid coronavirus.” It’s difficult to tell, based on what data there are, if there are that many German travelers planning the same or otherwise.
Back to the latest travel agency numbers:
—The total invoiced turnover of the travel agencies recorded in the ta.ts travel agency mirror* in September 2020 was minus 84.2 percent compared to the same month last year.
—The billed tourism turnover shows a minus of 77.9 percent in September.
—The turnover in air traffic registered a minus of 94.7 percent for the month.
—The turnover from the tourism sub-division cruises was down 78.3 percent.
— “Other” sales were minus 70.5 percent.
—The number of tickets recorded was is minus 88.8 percent.
Viewed cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to September was minus 73.5 percent.
—Tourism recorded a minus of 69.3 percent.
—Air traffic recorded a minus 79.7 percent.
— “Other” sales had a minus of number of 60.8 percent.
—The number of tickets showed a minus of 75.3 percent.
—The cruises segment recorded a decrease of 62.8 percent.
Below, INBOUND presents the data in a tabular format.
* – Travel Agency Technologies & Services, which is based in Frankfurt
• Could Portland’s Facial Recognition Ban Affect Airlines, or the Way Other Business Operate?
*By Natasha G. Kohne and Michelle A. Reed
INBOUND recently came across an article on lexology.com which could have considerable consequences for U.S. airlines and other businesses. Following is an excerpt from the article.
“The City Council of Portland, Oregon unanimously passed a ban on facial recognition, set to take effect in January 2021. The Portland ban is currently the strongest in the United States, preventing not only government agencies, but also private businesses from using facial recognition technology. The ban also applies to facial recognition used by airlines at airports. Starting in January, local government agencies, including the police, as well as stores and businesses, will be banned from using facial recognition technology.”
Read here the complete article by Kohne and Read, who are with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, with its largest office in Washington, D.C. It is an American international law firm and the largest lobbying firm in the United States by revenue.
• Are Fees Beginning to Challenge Primacy of Commissions for Agents?
During the first couple of months of the coronavirus-driven global pandemic, some travel agents—hit with an onslaught of requests for refunds for canceled tour packages—began to charge set fees for the work they put in to business of counselling and making travel arrangements for their clients and customers. And now, there is evidence that the practice is spreading. Reporting on a Travel Weekly article on the topic, Jamie Biesiada tells us that a report from Harris Agency Reviews, indicated that, in total, 58 percent of respondents surveyed said they did not charge a fee before the virus crisis. Of those agents, 60 percent said they were planning to start charging a fee in the next six months. (You can read the entire article here.)
A Horrible Half-Year for UK Operators
In addition to a global pandemic, the travel and tourism industry, as is the whole of the UK economy, is also experiencing a recession.
“O Wild West Wind, thou first breath of Autumn’s being,” wrote the great English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in his monumental “Ode to the West Wind,” in which he speaks of the both the silent and thunderous power of the season of Autumn, and asks in abject mercy at the end of his great work, “O Wind, if Winter comes can spring be far behind?”
Like every other sector of the travel and tourism industry in the United Kingdom, tour operators have taken a bloody beating in the numbers that tell their story since the coronavirus-driven global pandemic that has sapped all energy from the industry since it made its presence known about the beginning of last April—coincidentally, this is when operators seek to get their Air Travel Organizer License (ATOL) for the number of passenger for the coming year. It is a floating figure, adjusted every six months.
Earlier in October, In the latest six-month deadline for seeking ATOL authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the statistical impact of the pandemic is reflected in the numbers comprising the tables below.
Of the Top 20 ATOL license holders/operators, none sought authorization to carry more passengers than they sought six months ago. In fact, all but two (On the Beach Travel and We Love Holidays, which sought authorization for the same number of passengers) tell us, through their authorization requests, they sought authorization for fewer passengers.
In fact, calculated Travel Weekly UK, The UK’s ten largest ATOL holders have collectively reduced the number of passengers they are licensed to carry by more than five million. I the tables below, INBOUND lists the Top 20 ATOL holders for both Spring and Autumn 2020. Travel Weekly UK also reported that less than 1,000 of the 1,261 ATOL licenses that expired on September 30 have been renewed during a period of “huge pressure” on the travel sector, the Civil Aviation Authority said last week. The CAA also indicated that, at the time, 995 had been renewed in the September round with a further 90 still in the process as of October 1.
Can Spring be far behind?
COVID-19=More Camping & Outdoors Travel
One indisputable consensus piece of wisdom that emerged from the more than 20 “Staying Connected” online discussions hosted in the past six months by Connect Travel (publisher of the INBOUND Report) is that both domestic and international travelers to and within the United States would be searching for new, different, less crowded and “off-the-beaten-path” travel experiences in.
This shift in traveler intentions was no secret to the team at Kampgrounds of America (KOA), a well-known brand in the recreational/outdoors travel sector. KOA says that leisure travelers predicted in May that their first trip once COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted would be a camping trip, and the results of the fall special edition of its annual North American Camping Report suggest that those predictions exceeded travelers’ intended level of participation.
The report—”The Growth of Camping Amid COVID-19: Fall 2020 Update”—shows that 21 percent of leisure travelers took a camping trip this summer once restrictions were lifted. One-fourth of North American campers indicate that their first camping experience occurred since the start of the pandemic, and 42 percent say that they will still take planned camping trips during the remainder of this year.
Last month, the Report surveyed general leisure travelers to understand if behavior and sentiment toward camping had changed from initial reporting conducted in May 2020. Not only has camping activity increased, but camping is still considered the safest type of travel, according to more than half of leisure travelers (56 percent), which is a 10-percentage point increase from May results.
When North Americans make the personal decision to resume their travels, 29% of leisure travelers –almost half (45 percent) of campers and even 15 percent of non-campers (leisure travelers who indicate they do not camp) – plan to replace a cancelled or postponed trip with camping. Prior to the pandemic, camping accounted for 11 percent of all leisure travel trips, while post-COVID-19, camping could account for 15 percent of planned trips through the remainder of 2020.
Additional key findings of the “Growth of Camping Amid COVID-19: A Fall 2020 Update” include the following.
Camping Activity This Summer:
—Nearly half of all campers indicated either starting camping for the first time or restarting after having not camped in recent years.
—Millennial travelers represent the highest interest in camping since the start of the pandemic; 19% of —Millennial travelers went camping for the first time since the start of the pandemic representing the highest proportion of new campers.
—One-in-five Canadian campers say that they have taken their first camping trip ever since the start of the pandemic, and another 1-in-5 say that they have started camping again after not having camped in recent years.
—Since the pandemic began, 46 percent of leisure travelers have indicated spending more time outdoors – 57 percent of campers and 36 percent of non-campers.
—Prior to the pandemic, camping accounted for 11 percent of all leisure travelers’ trips; post-COVID-19, camping could account for 15 percent of these travelers’ planned trips through the remainder of 2020.
New, First-Time Campers:
—New and re-engaged campers represent a much younger demographic, primarily Millennials who comprise 40% of all campers and 55 percent of new campers who have indicated taking their first camping trip since the start of the pandemic.
—Camping continues to be a family activity with 82 percent of first-time campers – and 70% of campers who have restarted camping this year – indicating they have children in the household.
—Most new campers (53 percent) have indicated they are currently working from home.
—Those new campers this year are significantly more likely than non-campers to have taken more vacation days since the start of the pandemic; 53 percent of these new campers have taken more vacation days in comparison to previous years.
Camping Amid COVID-19 Concerns:
—Across the board – campers and non-campers alike – rank camping as the safest type of travel. When asked to compare camping to other forms of travel, 56 percent of leisure travelers, 63 percent of campers, and 49 percent of prospective campers feel camping is a safer travel alternative.
—This summer, approximately 80 percent of campers have either planned trips close to home or took trips that were closer to home.
—Private bathrooms while camping are important to 48 percent of all leisure travelers, including 42 percent of campers and 58 percent of prospective campers.
—More than half of general leisure travelers (60 percent) are willing to travel to less popular locations in order to avoid overcrowded areas. This sentiment is echoed by 68 percent of campers.
—Regarding the importance of getting kids outdoors, 49% leisure travelers, and 63% of campers, think it’s more important than ever for kids to get outdoors. Even those who do not self-identify as campers have increased this belief since the May survey (36% of non-campers, +12 percentage).
Camping Forecast for 2021:
—It is estimated that 18 percent of the new campers in 2020 will continue camping in the future.
—Of these new campers, 44 percent of both RV and tent new campers and 40 percent of new glampers indicated they are likely to continue camping into 2021.
—Once state or local government restrictions are lifted, the primary barrier for both campers and prospective campers to camping (or camping more often) is most closely tied to the restrictions due to COVID.
—For campers, work status (28 percent) and financial implications (26 percent) are also important considerations; close to half of mature campers (45 percent) cite health issues.
—Among new campers who are likely to continue camping, the most commonly listed reason for continuing is that it’s relaxing.
Survey Methodology: The North American camping survey was conducted by Cairn Consulting Group, an independent market research firm with extensive experience in the hospitality and services industries. The survey was conducted from September 4-9, 2020. The sampling methodology targeted a randomly selected sample of U.S. and Canadian households who participate in leisure travel. Sampling was designed to obtain n=3,508 completed surveys among representative U.S. households and n=500 representative Canadian households. A sample of n=3,508 U.S. households is associated with a margin of error of +/- 1.65 percentage points. Among Canadian households, a sample of n=500 is associated with a margin of error of +/- 4.37 percentage points. All surveys were completed online via an outbound solicitation sent to a randomly selected cross-section of U.S. and Canadian households.
“What’s good for CVC is good for the country”
When Charles E. Wilson, the one-time president and CEO of General Motors, was being questioned by U.S. Senators during a confirmation hearing back in 1953 about whether his stock holdings in the auto manufacturing company might create a conflict of interest should he become Secretary of Defense, Wilson responded, indicating that he did not think so because “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” While the exact contest of the comment lessened the bluntness of the remark, it became a staple of discussion and debate ever since.
And so it goes with the special status of CVC, the largest tour operator/travel agency/travel company in Brazil (and Latin America), where the tourism industry is crucial to the economic health of the country.
CVC is experiencing some challenging times of late, and so is Brazil, as both try to survive and prosper midst the coronavirus-triggered global pandemic that is wreaking havoc and devastation on the country and the company. Through coverage of the industry in the trade news media (especially the publication PANROTAS), one is able to appreciate—and be concerned about the condition of both. Some points to keep in mind as we wait and prepare for the travel and tourism at CVC and in Brazil to re-start.
—Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous, with an estimated 213 million people. (For purposes of comparison, the U.S. is number three in population, with 328 million people, and is the fourth largest in size). Proportionately, Brazil and the USA have suffered about the same in terms of coronavirus cases, with each nation having about 2.4 percent of its population reporting cases of the virus.
—The Tourism Economics Research Group at the University of São Paulo reported that the sector lost 384 thousand formal jobs in 2020, an amount that corresponds to 45 percent of the total vacancies closed in the Brazilian economy until August. Tourism accounted for almost half of the total job loss in the Brazilian economy, even though it accounts for only 4 percent of the country’s signed portfolios.
—In relative terms, the most impacted activity was that of the travel agency. The 20,000 vacancies closed at branches and operators represent 29 percent of the total formal jobs that existed in the segment at the beginning of the year
—Prior to the pandemic, CVC had about 1,336 “brick-and-mortar” agencies throughout Brazil. The latest estimate is that there are 1,200—about a 10 percent reduction. This is important to know, as such agencies drive the retail sales that are expected to help keep CVC afloat until regional travel within South America and long-haul international travel to North America, Europe and Asia return. As of now, there is simply not enough lift capacity or routes active to drive a recovery to these destinations.
—One consequence is that, in recent months, CVC has been going through a restructuring of its sales and marketing operations at its major brands, which include CVC, RexturAdvance, Grupo Trend, Submario Viagens, Experimento InterCambio Cultural, and Visual Turismo. Aside from CVC itself, Americans who work the Brazilian market are probably most familiar with Grupo Trend, the Orlando-based receptive tour operator. Those who follow the news on job availability and departures have seen a steady stream of layoffs and furloughs. (However, those who checked last weekend’s issue of PANROTAS would have notice openings for seven mid-level jobs in the tourism industry.)
Physical stores drive the bulk of CVC’s sales on domestic travel in and around Brazil. There are already around 1,200 franchises operating, compared to approximately 1,336 in the pre-pandemic. Few are restricted due to the pandemic and, according to Andrade, the number of franchises that closed the doors definitely does not reach 10 percent.
Quick Summary: What the numbers and developments detailed about show that the travel and tourism industry in Brazil has taken a heavy hit. Right now, its condition is in stasis, waiting and preparing and knowing that what is good for CVC is good for Brazil.
Hodge Podge: Appointments & Changes
Oscar Perez Laffargue has been named market manager, sourcing, rest of the West and Hawaii for global bedbank Hotelbeds. He had previously served as contract manager, sourcing, Canada after joining the company in 2019. Prior to joining the company, he was president of Portland-Maine based Creative Travel. He was also director of product contracting for Tourco.
Liz Gilbert has stepped down as senior director of Hornblower Cruises and Events. She had been with the company (and its previous brands) for 20 years. While she is transitioning to the next chapter of her career, she told friends and colleagues online to “stay tuned for the next adventure.”
Diane Selby has been appointed as trade partnerships director for ITC Travel Group. She will lead the agency sales team and work with chief operating officer Lisa Smith to develop the luxury tour operator’s trade strategy. Selby joins from Virgin Atlantic, where she was business development manager for more than six years. Her 30-plus years’ experiences in the travel industry also includes commercial and relationship management roles at Etihad, British Airways and American Airlines.
Eric David has been appointed director of affinity partnerships at Panorama Travel Solutions, which marks a significant market expansion for the company. The new travel services business offers global discount travel membership clubs and custom travel technology solutions to B2B affinity partners including large employers, banks & retailers, trade associations and others via their operations in the U.S., Mexico, Asia and Europe. David joins the venture from his own consulting business. Previously, he was vice president and general manager at Expedia Group, where he served for nearly eight years.
Charles Harris has been named president and CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. Harris comes to the position from Visit Anaheim, where he was chief marketing officer and executive vice president, public affairs. He had served at Visit Anaheim since early 2014.
Katie Thomas is joining the SITU team (UK-based SITU is a global serviced accommodation business) as the senior global product manager. She will continue to drive SITU’s efforts to make finding and booking serviced accommodation effortless. Thomas has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel and tourism industry. She comes to SITU from a role as the head of technology product management at the Flight Centre Travel Group.
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau has appointed Michelle Conway as interim president/CEO. The appointment took effect Oct. 12. Conway, the bureau’s director of marketing, will take on the role upon the departure of Jennifer Wesselhoff, who announced her appointment as President/CEO of the Park City, Utah Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau last month. Wesselhoff’s last day at the Sedona Chamber was Oct. 9. Conway has been with the Sedona bureau since 2009.
Timothy Bush has been named chief tourism development officers for OneSpartanburg Inc. in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It is the state’s first such consolidated business, economic and tourism development organization. Bush joins the organization from his post as president and CEO of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism, the tourism board for Lafourche Parish, where he had served since March 2015.
Bodo Thielmann is the new CEO of Cologne-based Destination Solutions and, as a result, becomes a member of the management board of its parent HRS Group. He was previously at Belvilla, a holiday residence rental firm. He has also held senior management positions at OYO Vacation Homes and Axel Springer, the global media and tech company. Thielmann succeeds Timo Beyer, who is leaving the HRS group.
Bertrand Godinot has been appointed CEO of easyJet airlines for France and the Netherlands. easyJet airlines is part of the EasyGroup, whose brands include a tour operator that sells extensive North American product. Godinot replaces François Bacchetta, former easyJet director for France and Italy for 15 years who was appointed CEO of Easyhotel last spring. Paris-based Godinot was previously Apple country director for France. He was with Apple for almost 12 years.
James J. Palmieri has been promoted to the post of executive vice president at American Queen Steamboat Company & Victory Cruise Lines, which are part of the Hornblower Group. Previously, Palmieri served as principal and co-founder of Shore Excursions of North America.
Alexandre Bruno, manager for Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo for the tour operator Trend (it is a CVC brand) has just left the company, where he spent just over a year, and is looking for new opportunities. Bruno has over 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, including nearly 14 years with CVC.
Kevin Bate, former senior director of business development for Simpleview, has been promoted to the position of vice president of global sales for the company. During his 15-year tenure at Tempe-based Simpleview, a company that provides marketing and other tools for DMOs, Bate has been an integral part of the new business team, working to generate business on six different continents and build an international sales team. In this new position, he will focus on further expanding the organization’s global footprint in Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Joe Ponte is replacing Paul Carter as chief executive of Hotelplan UK. Carter is stepping down at the end of October for personal reasons. Carter has been CEO of Hotelplan UK since the spring of 2017. Joe Ponte will start his new role as CEO of Hotelplan UK on 1 Nov. 1, when he will also become part of the Hotelplan Group’s executive management team. He joins the team from Explore Worldwide after 2½ years as managing director. Explore’s deputy managing director, John Telfer, will take charge until a longer-term successor is found.
After unveiling a revamped corporate operating structure, CWT has announced key leadership roles for its RoomIt & commercial business unit, the newly created TMC arm overseeing areas including supplier management, products and solutions, as well as CWT’s RoomIt hotel distribution division.
Effective immediately, the core leadership team of the RoomIt & Commercial unit will be comprised of:
—Erica Antony, who will head the strategy and marketing of CWT’s products and overall business proposition
—Vince Chirico, who will head up supply chain partnerships, including identifying new partners.
—Brian Mogler, who will oversee all trade air, ground and hotel supplier relationships, along with CWT’s travel management, data and air solutions.
—Derek Sharp, who assumes responsibility for the RoomIt business and CWT’s hotel solutions
—Julian Walker, who will lead external market communications and brand management, including brand development, industry events and sponsorships.
All members of the new unit’s leadership team currently serve in leadership roles with CWT.
Posted Industry Jobs
From SearchWide Global:
—The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau has an opening for a new president. Click here for more information.
—A new president and CEO is being sought by Destination Madison (Wis.). For additional details, click here.
—The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is looking for a president and CEO. For more information, visit here.
—The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is looking for a new president & CEO. Click here for more information.
—The City of Omaha has an opening for the position of director, parks, recreation and public property. Visit here for additional details.
—The city of Fort Smith Arkansas is searching for an executive director of its Advertising and Promotion Commission. Click here for more information.
—The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new president and CEO. For details, visit here.
—The Virginia Tourism Corporation (it is the state’s DMO) has an opening for a director of research and market intelligence. Click here for more information.
—In the Charlotte/Concord area of North Carolina, Great Wolf Resorts as an opening for a director of sales and catering. For details, click here.
—Explore Ashville Convention and Visitors Bureau is searching for a president and CEO. Click here for more details.
—In Florida, the Naples•Marco Island•Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking for a deputy director. For more information, visit here.
—Visit Santa Clara is searching for a president and CEO. Click here for more