Germany’s Post-Pandemic Market
From the perspective of a veteran operator.
By the time the year 2022 fades into 2023, the professionals who market and promote the Visit USA product abroad will witness some changes in the way they do business. But it’s likely that many of the core tenets of the process will likely remain the same, according to Jeff Karnes.
Karnes should know. Since before the 21st century began, he has been executive vice president of New World Travel, operating out of its Los Angeles headquarters. (Its U.S. headquarters are in New York City, where the company’s president, Peter Dorner, is based. The operator is part of Germany’s DER Touristik and its agencies, which send scores of thousands of visitors to the U.S. each year. The company is owned by the German retailer REWE, one of the largest in the world.)
Germany and the scores of thousands of visitors it sends to the USA, is a most important market. The latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) in Washington D.C. show that, for the first half year of 2022, Germany ranked Number 3 among overseas source markets, sending more than 570 thousand visitors to the USA.
For its clients in Germany—and, in fact, for much of Europe—Karnes told INBOUND with a slight smile, it is likely that that the holiday in the United States is going to remain, largely, a-two-week fly-drive-with-stops-in- San Francisco-Los Angeles-and-Las Vegas-along with-some-familiar-national-parks.
What prompted the characterization of German visitors to the USA was, in part, the news coverage given to the slide of the euro to parity vs. the U.S. dollar for the first time in 20 years.
Did you hear about the currency crash? The slide in the value of the euro against the U.S. dollar that began last year crashed through a barrier of sorts last week as the two currencies are at par for the first time in 20 years. Will it have any impact on the rest of the 2022 holiday season? We’ll have to wait and see.
Time magazine boiled everything down to a paragraph: “The drop in the euro’s value results from recent global economic challenges–a war in Ukraine, supply-chain shocks, inflation and pandemic inspired stagnation, all of which are hitting Europe much harder than the U.S. Even so, the implications of the currency move will reverberate across America and the E.U. for years, experts say.” Click here for complete article.
A Ten-Year Portrait
U.S. Dollar v. Euro and British Pound*
|U.S. dollar ($)
|European euro (€)
|U.K. pound sterling (£)
* Figures from x-rates.com. Based on mid-market day for the 20th of each July. Table by INBOUND. Numbers rounded to nearest U.S. cent.
The table includes the UK’s pound, which is an integral part of the mix above and the two currencies—the euro and the pound—comprise the medium of exchange for at least two-out-of-five visitors to the United States.
Inclusion of the pound in the table also serves as an economic history book of sorts, during which the reader will see episodes of stagnation/recession, along with a 20-plus percent drop of the pound vs. the U.S. dollar in the aftermath of the June 2016 “Brexit” vote that triggered the departure of the UK from the European Union (EU). Still, both the EU and the UK survived.
And what about the post-pandemic tourism industry? Beyond any impact of the euro-vs.-pound-vs.-dollar discussion, there was still the ongoing recovery from the global pandemic that was triggered by the COVID crisis.
For starters, Karnes told us that he expects a “a modest” recovery for the inbound tourism industry to the United States. And he went on to make a number of points, some of which are noted here:
● Consumer behavior in the post-pandemic marketplace is telling. Consider how the visitors from different markets and countries have been accommodating their “pent-up” demand of travelers.
Professionals in the travel trade are finding out that the German consumer is somewhat conservative and methodical in planning a holiday, as opposed to Americans, many of whom are last-minute or impulsive, “do it now” bookers. The concept or practice of a static contract is well-known to the German traveler and operator. For the U.S. traveler? Not so.
● Will the second half of 2022 experience a difference? Yes. One change already apparent is that travelers to the U.S. from Germany and other European source markets have begun to explore destinations and experiences that are further away from large cities and urban hubs. Meanwhile, Americans are “re-enjoying” reliable favorites among the attractions and destinations that they are visiting.
● Midst all the “busy-ness,” consumers are sharing a now familiar lament. Yes, more Germans are now using OTAs to book shorter trips. However, those who assemble their own holidays online find out that they are all alone if something goes wrong. If one books through DER or other operators, they have backup and 24-7 service operators provide.
● Hotels represent a real challenge for some industry partners. While hotel room rates are back at pre-pandemic levels and healthy occupancy rates have returned, services and amenities have not. Beleaguered by an industry-wide shortage of employees, reports of reservations that are missing and unkept beds have become a fact—and they are not infrequent. There have been some instances in which hotels have simply lost reservations.
● For likely the same reasons affecting operators, agents and consumers are experiencing a shortage of available airline flights. It seems to be a chronic condition: There simply are not enough skilled workers to maintain the planes or operate the highly computerized infrastructure used by air traffic.
● Perhaps it’s a matter of a safe or a safer harbor for those who like breaches, but it doesn’t seem to matter to those enjoying the experience, as the numbers of travelers going to Hawaii are “through the roof.”
● And again, expect the industry’s recovery to be modest. This means that the pace and volume of sales might not reach pre-pandemic levels next year, 2023. In other words, the industry should work to make 2024 the next 2019.
A note: for INBOUND, a conversation with Karnes is a refreshing experience. Not only does he know what he’s talking about, but he does so with a refreshing courtesy—in a way that makes one want to use the archaic word “courtly.” If you would like to carry on the conversation with the courtly Jeff Karnes, you can reach him at [email protected].
French Not Booking ‘til Last Moment
Surroundings (or Alentour), a digital platform for local tourism in France, recently reported on a survey of the expectations of French holidaymakers this summer on national territory. Among the major trends: leisure booking is done at the last moment, by gleaning ideas online. Preference goes to outdoor activities.
In terms of tourist activities, the trend is last minute: 83 percent of holidaymakers plan to book their leisure activities once there. This is what emerges from the survey carried out by the Paris-based research institute, Odoxa (http://www.odoxa.fr/), for Surroundings.
Although the Odoxa survey focused on the domestic market—it looked at behavior and expectations of 822 French holidaymakers who planned to travel on national territory between May and September 2022—the results provide French travel marketers with a better framework of understanding French behavior and its relationship to the travel product as part of a whole. This will no doubt not be lost on those who French operators and agencies who sell Visit USA product.
A note: For the first half of 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) reported that France ranked Number 4 among all overseas source markets to the U.S., sending more than a half-million visitors to the United States.
From the Survey—The big trends
- For their holidays, 73 percent of French travelers surveyed planned to stay in commercial accommodation (hotels, hostels, vacation homes, lodges and other seasonal rentals, etc.), rather than in a second home or with friends (26 percent).
- Nine out of ten intended to practice tourism and leisure activities. Sports and outdoor activities are the most popular (49 percent), closely followed by culture (48 percent), gastronomic or wine tourism activities (35 percent) and guided tours or “tours.”
- The average budget granted to leisure activities reaches 351 euros. (Almost a quarter of those surveyed were even ready to go over 600 euros.)
- More than 8 times out of 10, these activities are decided at the last moment and booked on site.
- 79 percent of holidaymakers asked people working in the accommodation where they are staying for recommendations to find out about nearby leisure activities (76 percent), restaurants (73 percent), monuments and other points of interest (65 percent).
- The other preferred method for finding out what is possible is the web, via activity recommendation and reservation sites or the destination’s tourist office.
Observed Timothée de Roux, president of Surroundings: “The results of the Odoxa survey reinforce our convictions concerning the need and the opportunity represented by the digitalization of the offer of tourist activities in France.”
For UK and USA, Mobile Phones a Must
Social networking influences the way we travel, whether it be for leisure or business, a recently published YouGov Global Profiles report tells us. From planning and researching trips to keeping in touch with others, it’s no wonder that most leisure and business travelers say that having their phones on them can enhance their travel experience and that they like to stay connected to people back home while traveling. They are an integral part of the travel experience.
Following are several tables and data breakouts based on the Global Profiles material which illustrate the importance of phones and staying connected to others while traveling. (They show percentage in each country who agree with the following statements).
USA: A phone/tablet can improve my traveling experience
USA: I like being connected to people back home when I’m traveling
Great Britain: A phone/tablet can improve my traveling experience
Great Britain: I like being connected to people back home when I’m traveling
Which platforms do these travelers use? Among business travelers in the U.S. and Great Britain:
—Three in five people who travel for business say they use social media at least once a day or more often (63 percent for the U.S. and 68 percent for Great Britain).
—An additional fifth of all business travelers in the U.S. (21 percent) and Great Britain (19 percent) say they use social networking sites a few times a week, bringing total weekly usage to above the 80 percent threshold for business travelers in both markets.
What platforms are they using?
-Business travelers seem to have a stronger affinity for certain platforms than the overall population.
-In the U.S., they are most likely to be members of Facebook (70 percent vs. 72 percent of all U.S. adults) but skew heavily toward their usage of Twitter (45 vs. 35 percent), Instagram (50 percent vs. 40 percent) and LinkedIn (33 percent vs. 24 percent). This is an important insight for those aiming to reach this audience with their digital marketing spend.
-In Great Britain, a greater share of business travelers uses LinkedIn when compared to the overall British population (33 percent vs. 20 percent).
Question: Which, if any, of the following social networks are you currently a member of? Please select all that apply. (Percentage of business travelers in each market)
YouGov: Not displaying responses for Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Other and N/A
TRADE TALK & Travel Industry Buzz
● The world’s three most beautiful sights, according to some 452,00 travelers: Four of the sights are in North America. Luxury travel company Kuoni has analyzed 452,148 TripAdvisor reviews to reveal which sights around the world people are raving most about. New York’s Central Park, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Fountains of the Bellagio in Las Vegas are the top three most beautiful sights according to visitors.
The top 10 most beautiful sights around the world:
- Central Park, New York City, USA
- Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
- Fountains of Bellagio, Las Vegas, USA
- Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Paris, France
- Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada
- Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, USA
● Hotels are overlooking a treasure lode of revenue by overlooking what their British guests want. British hotel guests will pay on average £40 more per night for a hotel that makes their stay personalized, the equivalent of at least £1.8 billion additional revenue across the global hotel market. Yet, reports TravelDailyNews, research from Mews, the hospitality cloud platform, reveals that very few hotels are seizing this opportunity, with over half (59 percent) of returning guests having been overlooked as a loyal customer. This is not just frustrating guests, but it is impacting on hotel’s bottom line as guests take their business elsewhere. For the complete article, click here.
● What about our pets? It’s estimated that 70 percent of U.S. households have pets, and many of them travel. How do we square this with cleaner airplanes and hotels, renewed interest in national parks and the revival of the road trip? All are post-pandemic travel trends, to be sure. But there’s one trend that wasn’t so predictable: the surge in vacationers who bring their pets along for the ride. For more, check out this article from AARP.
● And … Should operators accommodate dogs on holiday? Thanks to Condé Nast Traveler, INBOUND can point to a list of “12 dog-friendly beaches that humans will also love—on the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, and even inland (hello, lake beaches).” On this list, the reader will notice a few things Condé Nast prioritized: places that allow pups year-round (versus seasonally), have leash-free policies, and could easily prompt the “zoomies” on any given visit. Click here to read the complete article.
- Block Island Beaches, Block Island, Rhode Island
- Baker’s Cay Beach, Key Largo, Florida
- Huntington Dog Beach, Orange County, California
- Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
- Fort Funston Beach, San Francisco, California
- Cannon Beach, Oregon
- Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Illinois
- Herring Cove Beach, Provincetown, Massachusetts
- Dauphin Island, Alabama
- Jupiter’s Dog Friendly Beach, Jupiter, Florida
- Morris Island, Charleston, South Carolina
- Coronado Dog Beach, San Diego, California
● It still takes longer to renew a U.S. passport than it did pre-COVID, but wait times have improved since the trough of the global pandemic, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said last week in a recent conversation with the TravelMarketReport trade journal. According to the source, passports are now being issued within 8 to 11 weeks for routine service and as little as 5 to 7 weeks for expedited service, time periods that cover “when an application arrives at a passport agency until we issue a passport.” TMR reported that this turnaround time is longer than it was in 2019 when the State Department increased the typical processing time from 4 to 6 weeks to 5 to 7 weeks, but still a major improvement over what some travelers have experienced over the last two-plus years. For more information, read the complete article here.
● With overseas source markets making U.S. “outlying cities” a staple of their marketing and promotional activities, U.S. destinations are taking their activity to a new level. Visit Tampa Bay, for instance, now offers German language training for travel agents. In promotional material that encourages agents, it wants agents to show Germans “how to enjoy one of America’s most beautiful outlying cities, and where you can discover an eclectic mix of museums and waterfront activities.” Graduates receive a certificate. Visit Tampa Bay upon completion of German language training. For more information, agents are urged to contact The Travel Institute (www.thetravelinstitute.com)
● The International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has announced the release of 2021 overseas visitation statistics to U.S. states, territories and cities-MSAs*, and a new data visualization tool called the U.S. States & Cities Visited Monitor. These statistics cover overseas visitation to 45 U.S. states and territories and 91 U.S. cities-MSAs for years 2021 and 2020. Data include visitor volume, market share, volume % change and volume # change for each reported state, territory and city-MSA. 2021 highlights include:
- Top state visited by overseas visitors in 2021: Florida (4,092,000)
- Top city-MSA visited by overseas visitors in 2021: Miami (2,759,000)
- Biggest gain of overseas visitors from 2020: Florida (+1,793,000)
- Biggest decline of overseas visitors from 2020: Hawaii (-503,000)
- Top 5 states’ market share was 91.7% of overseas visitors in 2021
Overseas visitation statistics to U.S. states, territories and U.S. cities-MSAs can either be downloaded in excel or explored in a new interactive data visualization tool called the U.S. States and Cities Visited Monitor.
* Metropolitan Statistical Area
TheTourOperator.com Partner of the Week
Fort Worth and Dallas are two distinct cities, only 45 minutes apart and completely different from each other. The beauty of their geography provides many advantages to visitors. Instead of spending hours driving far destinations far away, one can spend that time learning how to be a cowboy or shopping-for example! It’s all here: Western Heritage, Ranches, Sophistication, Arts and even Tax-Free Shopping! And they’re look forward to seeing you soon!
First-time visitors might want to put together a visit from these:
- Bass Performance Hall
- Fort Worth Cattle Herd
- Kimbell Art Museum
- A Texas steak at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse
- Amon Carter Museum of American Art
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden
- Stockyards Rodeo
- Log Cabin Village
If you’re a repeat visitor, enjoy an itinerary from among the following ideas:
- Cowboys Stadium
- Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
- Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- Fort Worth Water Gardens
- Texas Civil War Museum
- Fort Worth Zoo
For more detailed itinerary suggestions, contact Fort Worth’s Verified Destination Contact.
Verified Destination Contact
Director of Tourism
Royalty-Free Hi-Res Photos—A Sampler from TheTourOperator.com Photo Finder
Want to see more? Then, click here for the Visit Fort Worth’s pages in TheTourOperator.com. For more information on how to partner with TheTourOperator.com, contact Betsy Cooper, Senior Director of TheTourOperator and Partner Engagement for Connect Travel.
HODGE PODGE: Appointments, Opening and Changes
Long-time inbound tourism industry veteran Gina Jackson has joined New World Travel in its group department. She comes to her new role with an impressive resumé showing extensive experience at major inbound tourism brands, including a previous tour of nearly 14 years at AlliedTPro, as well as tenures at Jetabout North America and Americantours International.
Edison Rivas has started a new position as contract manager, Northeast USA, W2M WORLD 2 MEET. He joins the company from Trip.com Group, where he was executive contract manager. Previously, Rivas served at such well-known NYC tourism entities as Secret Escapes, JacTravel and GTA.
Katie Bunting has joined the trade sales team G Adventures. She’ll be working with the company’s global purpose specialists team to help elevate and support its agent relationships across the south of the UK. Bunting has a long career in the tour and travel sector. She began her career in travel as a consultant for First Choice, then moving to Co-op Travel as an assistant manager. In 2013 she became a branch manager for Hays Travel. Bunting crossed over in 2019 to the adventure operator sector, taking on the role of partnership growth manager for Intrepid Travel.
John Feenaghty has joined Australia-based Inspiring Vacations as president, North America. He will be responsible for growing the company in B2C and B2B markets across North America. Feenaghty joins the company from Toronto-based Goway Travel; where he was chief operating officer for nearly three years. Previously, he held several senior positions across his 15-year career with the Flight Centre Travel Group, including two years with Liberty Travel in New Jersey.
Luxury tour operator Ker & Downey has promoted Tiffany Dunn to the role of executive vice president and general manager. Dunn will oversee the daily operations and sales strategies of the company, which includes a diverse group of employees in Houston and across the United States. Dunn has served in a variety of capacities at Ker & Downey during her 12-year service for key VIP clients, and oversaw a core team of worldwide travel designers. tenure with the company. She began in inside sales, specializing in luxury travel to Africa. She was then appointed director of sales and operations in 2020 and led the company through the worst of the pandemic.
Adventure tour operator Explore has appointed two senior heads of team in newly created roles: Rachael Stone, who joins as the new head of product role; and Andrew Steward has been promoted to the new post of head of digital transformation. A veteran of the tourism industry, Stone joins has considerable experience in the sector, having worked for Tucan, Exodus and, most recently, Flash Pack, where she led product innovation and strategy. Steward has spent 10 years in the adventure travel industry, having work for six years in a senior digital role with the Intrepid Group before joining Explore to lead the digital marketing team three-and-a-half years ago.
The Globus family of brands is expanding its Canadian marketing team with the addition of a new senior director of marketing for the region. Joining the company into the role of senior director of marketing for Canada is Ainsley Ericksen, who brings more than 20 years of travel industry experience, most recently at Rocky Mountaineer, the world’s largest privately owned, luxury train tourism company, where she served for more than six years.
Lindblad Expeditions has announced the appointment of industry executive Bertha Espinosa as vice president of expedition sales. Espinosa joins the company from Crystal Cruise Lines, where she oversaw all facets of their customer support and service, spanning reservations, group sales, air services, guest relations, and consumer sales. Espinosa brings over 25 years of call center/reservations leadership experience to her new role. Her tours included service at American Express and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Internova Travel Group has announced that Simon Brooks has been named president of Bonotel Exclusive Travel. Bonotel is a leading inbound marketing and distribution partner of branded and boutique luxury hotel rooms to international business-to-business clients. Brooks has over two decades of commercial leadership experience in the airline industry. Having led teams in the leisure and corporate sectors in the UK, his most recent position was as senior vice president of sales, North America, for British Airways, leading the Atlantic Joint Business team alongside American Airlines and Iberia.
Collette recently named Willie Montano as senior director, global brand marketing. In this position, Montano will drive the creation and execution of brand marketing strategy at a multi-channel level in the United States, Canada and Australia markets. Prior to joining Collette, Montano served as the vice president of marketing at Insight Vacations & Luxury Gold USA, and vice president of marketing at CIE Tours USA.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Bureau recently announced the promotion of Ms. Kate Chang from regional director of China to managing director of China. Chang, who joined Los Angeles Tourism in 2013, and is based in Beijing, is responsible for growing L.A.’s business in China, including four offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. She and her team are dedicated to promoting Los Angeles as a top destination for Chinese tourists, driving traffic and tourism economic growth, while increasing Los Angeles’ share of the Chinese outbound travel market.
In Germany, Matthias Lange is moving into the top management level of the DER Touristik company and has been given new, additional tasks. According to published reports, DER Touristik wants to further sharpen its focus on customer centricity and has appointed Lange as chief marketing & customer experience officer (CMXO). Lange thus expands his existing management role as marketing manager and managing director of online sales to include the topic of customer experience. He will also become a member of DER Touristik Germany’s central management body, the Executive Committee. Lange joined DER Touristik nearly five years ago from DB Vertrieb GmbH, a truck transportation company.
Jourdan Mackey recently joined the team at Visit Baton Rouge as tourism sales manager. She joined the bureau from her post as manager of new business development at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter where she was manager of new business development. Previously, she held managerial positions at several hotel brands in New Orleans. Mackey points out that she is a Louisiana native, wife, mother, and avid traveler. And she’s ready to assist with your travel plans so you can experience the unique culture, food, and hospitality for yourself! She can’t wait to welcome y’all!
From SearchWide Global:
—Brand USA, the USA’s destination marketing organization, is recruiting for a senior vice president of integrated marketing. More details here.
—The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence has an opening for a new executive director. More details here.
—Explore Butte County in California is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—The City of Vacaville, California is searching for an executive director for its Downtown Vacaville. More details here.
—Visit Williamsburg has an opening for a chief marketing officer. More details here.
—Visit Walla Walla (“Where wine, culture and the beauty of the outdoors meet”) is searching for an executive director. More details here.
—The Fredericksburg (Texas) Convention and Visitors Bureau is recruiting for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—Visit Dallas has an opening for a director of the Film & Creative Industries Office. More details here.
—The Pacific County Tourism Bureau, which serves the Washington coast and Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County, is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—Visit Vancouver WA is searching for a director of group sales. More details here.
—The Los Angeles Convention Center is recruiting for a new general manager. More details here.
—Visit Bath, in Virginia, is seeking a president and CEO. More details here.
—The Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau is searching for a president & CEO. More details here.
—Discover Santa Clara™ is searching for a chief executive officer. More details here.
—The Orange County Convention Center, site of the recent IPW 2022 in Orlando, has an opening for a deputy director. More details here.
—Santa Monica Travel & Tourism has an opening for a new director of communications. More details here.
—Discover Santa Clara is looking for a new CEO. More details here.
—The Muncie Visitors Bureau is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—Visit Greenville SC is searching for a president and CEO. More details here.
—The Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau has an opening for a vice president of marketing and communications. More details here.
—Visit Wichita is searching for a new vice president of sales. More details here.
—The Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau is seeking a new chief financial officer. More details here.
From LinkedIn Jobs: Known to many across the board in the travel and tourism industry, the LinkedIn list (click here) has numerous job opportunities posted. Following is a sample of some of those jobs currently listed.
—Hilton has an opening, based in McLean, Virginia, for a director, executive communications. More details here.
—MGM Resorts International has posted a job for the position of public relations manager (hybrid) in Las Vegas. More details here.
—Visit Detroit has an opening for a sales manager—all levels of experience (Hotel, Tourism, CVB). More details here.
—New York City-based USA Guided Tours is searching for a tour guide in the New York City area. More details here.
—Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation looking for a senior director, communications. Job is based in Los Angeles, but reporting to the senior vice president, marketing & communications. More details here.
—Santa Monica Travel & Tourism has an opening for a communications manager. More details here.
—The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a creative copywriter. More details here.
—The Fruit Company in Hood River, Oregon is recruiting for a tourism manager. More details here.
—There is an opening for a senior manager of social media currently available at Visit Florida. More details here.
—The Wisconsin Department of Tourism is searching for an Industry Marketing and Partner Relations Manager. The position is headquartered at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s office in Madison, Wisconsin. More details here.
—Argonaut, a Noble House Hotel, has an opening for an area managing director in San Francisco. Click here for more details.
—Travel Wisconsin has an opening for a visual production specialist. More details here.
Have a job opening that you would like to post on INBOUND? Just mail it to us at [email protected].