Using Social Media to Find New Prospects

One of the biggest challenges we all face is finding good prospects for premium customers. Indeed, travel companies—including airlines, cruise lines, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators—are constantly seeking new ways to obtain prospects and win more business from existing customers. Many travel companies are turning to social media to find these prospects as well as communicate with their existing clients and business network on a daily basis. Such social media outlets as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, among others, represent huge opportunities for travel companies seeking new customers, as well as ways to better address the needs of their existing travelers. What LinkedIn’s New Survey Says Earlier this year, LinkedIn completed a survey of business and leisure travel that provides travel companies with ways to better understand modern travelers and…
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The Outlook For Affluent Travel

In the current climate of political and economic uncertainty, and terrorism reports dominating our news media, it is important to keep focused on how these issues impact the affluent travel market. Luxury travel advisors, deluxe hotels, luxury cruise lines and other upscale suppliers are keenly interested in the answer to that question, so I asked Cara David, managing partner for YouGov, for her firm’s latest survey of the U.S. affluent market. YouGov is a global market research firm that captures the views and perspectives of over 4 million consumers worldwide. One of YouGov’s most recent surveys captured the views of 2,515 U.S. based “affluent” consumers on a range of expenditure categories, including travel. The study analyzed differences between customer age profile and annual household income from Base Affluent ($150,000-$199,000 annual household…
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The TripAdvisor Effect

Since it began as a user-generated hotel review website 16 years ago, TripAdvisor has grown to become the most visited travel site in the world. That’s a remarkable achievement and one that hoteliers around the world have become keenly aware of when designing their marketing strategies. Over the past three years, however, TripAdvisor itself has morphed to include both metasearch and booking capabilities. It now stands poised to possibly become the third largest online travel agency (OTA), competing with Expedia and Priceline, along with their slate of other travel booking brands. This represents an opportunity, but also a threat to major hotel chains and independent hotels. On the other hand, TripAdvisor is walking a thin line in trying to balance its business in user-generated reviews, metasearch and bookings without offending…
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What To Do When Travel Crisis Strikes

It's happened again. This time it's the Zika virus that is impacting travel throughout South America, Central America, Mexico and even the Caribbean. It began in Brazil, which is top of mind these days for travelers because of the upcoming Olympic Games, set for August in Rio de Janeiro, but quickly spread to other countries. Every few years the global travel industry is hit with a virus scare, from H1N1 flu in Mexico to bird flu in Asia and the Ebola crisis in Africa. Zika fever is particularly alarming - an almost symptomless disease that is undetectably mild in most adults but in pregnant women can cause terrible birth defects in their babies. It is also particularly fast moving with a number of cases now reported in Florida, including three…
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The Importance of Agility

Agility is the one word that will define effective sales and marketing in 2015. Specifically, the ability of an organization to rapidly interpret, adapt, and respond to customer demands and changes in the travel industry. With today’s ever-evolving channels of distribution, changing demographics, and the continued emergence of new destinations, sales and marketing executives must be prepared to interpret these changes and move quickly to adapt. Agility is essential to improve revenues and to increase ADRs and bottom line growth. Travelers continue to learn about destinations in new ways, and hotels are opening everywhere across the globe in response to their demands. Major companies like Hilton, IHG, and Starwood are introducing new brands based on in-depth market research and opening properties in unlikely locations. Take for example the number of…
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Keep It Simple!

In line with my recent blog post about the use of technology in meeting rooms, I have come to the conclusion that hotels in the luxury sector still have much work to do when it comes to the design and implementation of in-room technology. As a business road warrior who spends countless nights in hotel rooms all over the world— predominately in the US, Europe, and Asia—keep it simple! Admittedly it has become much easier. Connecting to Wi-Fi in many hotel rooms no longer requires a technology degree, but there is still room for improvement. More hoteliers are including basic Wi-Fi access in the room charge. This is essential, and every hotel should understand that their guests expect it. Adequate lighting continues to be an issue with too many switches,…
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Survey Says…The Affluent Are Spending

It’s excellent news for our industry! The fact that affluent consumers are spending money was one of the key trends that emerged from the American Affluence Research Center’s Fall 2014 Affluent Market Tracking Study, a survey of the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households based on net worth. And, the segments in which they want to spend that money is extremely encouraging for us. Forty-two percent of the respondents indicated that they prefer to divide their discretionary income among durable goods, and local experiences or travel. This is an important sign of positive consumer confidence among high-net-worth individuals, and it also extends to holiday purchases. A reported 80 percent of the affluent said they will spend more or the same on holiday gifts this year compared to 2013. Here is…
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The State of Golf Travel Today

The State of Golf Travel Today

The pulsating thrill of U.S. and European sports competition, the promise of unrivaled golf play and, of course, spectacular greens and fairways that inspire some of the greatest swings around – this is the embodiment of the 40th Ryder Cup, which tees off on the PGA Centenary course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland this week. As the New York Times said this past weekend, “The Ryder Cup remains… one of the consistently best competitions in international sport.” With one of the most watched sports events in the world ready to launch, I started thinking about the state of golf travel today – trends, emerging destinations and the like. So I reached out to various friends and experts in the industry to get their perspectives, and their feedback proved to…
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Luxury Travel Summer Report: Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia

On The Edge of Wildness I rarely write about a specific property or experience, trying to focus my thoughts on the business aspects of hospitality and tourism. From time to time, however, I come across an experience that I believe is worth bringing to your attention. Recently I have visited the Island of Sumba – which lies about 400 KM southeast of Bali. For the past 26 years and perhaps longer, surfing aficionados from all over the world have been making the journey to the Indonesian Island of Sumba to experience the left hand wave at Nihiwatu, a magnificent surfing paradise. It was in 1988 that Claude and Petra Graves first arrived and painstakingly set about building a small resort with eleven keys. They continued to attract surfers limiting the…
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Innovation in Australia

While moderating the Tourism Australia Summit recently, I noted key themes emerging included digital technology and an extraordinary bounty of culinary adventures driving tourism to Australia. Tourism Australia has a reputation for innovation and thinking outside the box with an approach to marketing its destination that others in the tourism industry may want to watch and emulate. Technology is the preferred method of providing content to the travel industry and potential long-haul travelers, feeding them an abundance of information on experiences unique to Australia. Bloggers, digital writers and new technology leaders addressed the online/mobile approach to attracting customers. An innovative use of new media demonstrated how integral technology is in motivating tourists to dream — and book. Newly developed billboard capabilities recognize when a certain international flight passes overhead. The…
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