“The Ride” – a new sightseeing brand in NYC!

Ever heard the term “only in New York”? Well a new company has taken sightseeing in New York City to a whole new perspective! “The Ride” is a new moving attraction which allows the city to become a canvas while the passengers’ eyes soak the streets and timely placed performers.

Creators of The Ride took a Prevost touring motorcoach and transformed the interior to include long, theater-style seating rows facing toward the street. As the vehicle moves around notable NYC landmarks, passengers are immersed with high tech video, audio, and staged performances to make this an amazing moving attraction with quite the the passenger impact! The roof is even glass, allowing for uncompromised views of the moving skyline.

In years past, the travel & tourism industry has seen many new and successful attractions help to deliver new experiences. We have seen amphibious vehicles roams streets and waterways (think *quack quack*), and new speedboats providing a thrill to both Boston and New York Harbors. This new brand in tourism promises to allow the streets to tell the story along with a little help of technology.

For information and tickets, visit http://www.experiencetheride.com/

LV Air’s Brilliant Branding for new Las Vegas to NYC service

Since 2008, nearly 20,000 daily seats have been eliminated from the greater New York City to Las Vegas air travel market. The Northeastern US also has a growing number of casinos popping up from Atlantic City to Southeastern Connecticut. As the economy begins to repair itself, Las Vegas has noticed that gamers are opting to stay local. Vegas needs a new and unique way to get their high profile casino gamblers back to the Nevada desert. Enter LV Air!

Yesterday it was reported that a new airline called LV Air intends to charter wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft to provide new passenger service between Las Vegas McCarron and New York’s JFK International Airport. The twist is that the brand’s aircraft are slated to have nightclub inspired mood lighting, club music played while boarding, flatbed seating for 18 passengers in it’s premium cabin, and onboard iPads available. Other features include holograms of celebrities providing the pre-flight safety announcements, meals catered from notable Las Vegas restaurants, and luggage transfer service direct from the aircraft to hotel room eliminating waits at the baggage claim carousel.

LV Air is talking to multiple casinos in Las Vegas to create partnerships for transportation of the casinos’ best “high rollers”. The agreements are said to include allowing those casinos to have first rights over seats to transport their clients. It is widely known that many casinos operate or lease private jets to transport their biggest players to the casinos. This concept would allow the casinos to provide a luxurious and unique air travel experience while avoiding the cost of leasing or operating their own jets.

Brilliant branding, multiple sales channels, and providing a unique experience from the big apple to the desert oasis is coming this year. Keep your eye out for developments at LV Air!


The Baby Boomers are Coming – Make sure you are ready!

The baby boomers are arriving at early retirement and those of us in the travel industry have been waiting patiently. This gigantic group of more than 76 million Americans have huge spending power: One estimate suggests that the baby boomer generation accounts for about 50% of all discretionary spending and about 80% of today’s leisure travel (data from http://www.thirdage.com). Keeping in mind the changing characteristics of the maturing adult, now is the time to make your adjust your brand image and product offering to meet their needs.

People approaching retirement today have become much more technology savvy than previous generations. If you advertise online, do not assume that a senior discount is the only way to draw attention to your brand. Incorporate pictures of seniors in graphics, create special web pages showcasing target products, and stay on top of online forums and groups where you can highlight your product and create an impact.

Senior citizens will continue to like packaged products. A hotel that works with a nearby restaurant to provide a special meal package allows both venues to increase sales…. Just be sure that your brands compliment each other! Value added travel experiences are not new but with the size of the upcoming retirement population, it is worth revamping your product image and cooperating with others to create an experience the mature consumer will enjoy.

If you are in the hospitality industry, make sure your interior and exterior lighting is good, stairs kept to a minimum, entertainment is age-appropriate, and product has the retirement crowd in mind. A great suggestion would be to contact a local senior citizen activity center and invite a few folks over to visit. Show them what you offer and ask for their thoughts.

In any case, get ready because the baby boomers are a big crowd with a big impact!

Beaches Brand for Target Markets

With so many beach destinations available, it really is the case of which one matches your specific needs. Each beach brands and then markets itself to a specific demographic first and then widens the scale by promoting how there is “something for everyone” there. Then there are the various reputations, which often sway different travelers either to or from a particular destination.

Back in the mid 90’s, much of the state of South Carolina’s annual tourism marketing budget was spent in the state of Ohio. I do not want to miss-quote the actual figure, but I believe it was something like 75% of allotted funds. As a college student, we would take trips from Charleston up to Myrtle Beach and notice that almost every out-of-state license plate was, in fact, from Ohio! Guess it worked! Myrtle Beach has both branded itself and built a reputation as an affordable family-friendly beach area with a host of attractions, great golfing, loads of entertainment, and a within a day’s drive of it’s largest domestic target markets.

In contrast, however, Miami’s South Beach brands itself as a whole different kind of beach destination. As a party like atmosphere where cocktails and music flow all night long, South Beach brands itself as a hotspot of fun with a strong connection to Latin America. Drawing the wealthy, yuppies, and international tourists, South Beach has the über-luxurious marine amenities to support their brand. Miami also attracts other industries (fashion and film, in particular) that help support the local travel industry.

So which beach is for you? These are just two of thousands of global examples. First consult your budget, decide how far you want to travel, the season in question, and what you enjoy most from a beach destination. Make a list, narrow it down, and then start using your favorite search engine to find the beach…. err…. BRAND that is best for you!

Take a look at this promotional video on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and notice how they feature and repeat some key drawing factors for tourism.

For more information visit http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com

Hospitality industry and the “element” behind branding green

A few years ago I was at the National Tour Association’s “Spring Meet” in Uncasville, Connecticut. Tour operators, suppliers, and destination management companies converged to discuss a number of industry issues. Hot then – and still hot now – is how to turn brands “green” (toward environmental sustainability), capture customer appreciation toward this, and reduce costs. That last bit was challenging in 2006; I remember one hotel sales executive saying that using bio-friendly washing detergent for linens was extremely cost prohibitive. I wonder where things have gone since then?

The trend to become green was and is not going to stop. In 2008, Starwood Hotels launched the “Element Hotels by Westin” brand in Lexington, Massachusetts. Element is the first major hotel brand to mandate all properties adhere to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The hotels feature expansive natural lighting to reduce energy costs, public spaces and flooring developed from recycled content, smart in-room recycling techniques, water and waste reduction technologies, and even… get this…. the old paper “do not disturb” cards have been replaced with magnets! Smart and functional, Element is definitely part of the eco-chic revolution in hospitality.

The travel industry as a whole has lot of responsibilities: We have to protect and ensure safety of the consumer and ourselves, we have to provide value to the consumer; and we must move toward environmental responsibility in the products and services we provide. Consumers of all kinds are now choosing to patronize brands that reduce the impact on the world’s natural resources. So if you ignore your impact on Mother Earth, you might just lose a sale!

Will you come up with a new way that the travel industry can improve sustainability?

Leave a comment here or email david@thetravelimpact.com

Corporate Mergers – Where Do the Brands Go?

During the previous decade, the travel industry entered a period of Darwinism. Survival of the fittest became the reoccurring theme and that resulted in a number of large mergers. Acquisitions were not frequent due to frozen capital markets in the Great Recession and fear over where the global economy was headed. As the travel industry contracted and new brands emerged where the did the previous ones go? And what exactly happens to brand recognition during the merger?

Airline mergers are a great example because of their size and impact on the whole travel industry. Remember America West? They became part of US Airways. How about Northwest Airlines? They are now part of Delta Air Lines. Continental has recently begun is rolling itself into United Airlines.

While the airlines try to limit confusion during the conversion process, brand managers know that featuring the best of each individual brand often works best. For example, Delta took what they felt were the best parts of both Delta SkyMiles and Northwest’s WorldPerks and developed one that both client bases would enjoy. The new United is adopting Continental’s most recent livery while keeping the name “United” on their jets.

I think brands take their place in history and never really evaporate. Use the link below to see the Delta Air Lines family tree and the parts of it’s sum: