TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Travel and Tourism

STUDY: Media Coverage Has Little Influence on Consumers’ Travel Decisions

If only I'd read this BEFORE I bought tickets

Here’s an interesting, somewhat contradictory finding from our friends at travel blog Skift.

Turns out that media coverage of a given destination wields little, if any, influence when it comes to determining where consumers will take their next vacations.

If true, this finding might require some travel/leisure-focused firms to adjust their strategies…

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Mobile Content Strategy

Mobile Content StrategyStarting September 24, learn how to write content for smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices! In this online course, students will learn how to publish across multiple channels and manage the workflow, optimize content for mobile devices, and  engage with their audience across screens. Register now!

Now the Sultan of Brunei Has His Eye on The Plaza Hotel in New York

plaza hotelThe Sultan of Brunei is looking to expand his holdings with the possible purchase of The Plaza hotel in New York City. That hotel plus two others come with a price tag of $2.2 billion. The current owner,  Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara Group, would like to sell in order to get his hands on some cash to get out of prison. He was arrested in India earlier this year on money laundering charges.

Back in May, the Sultan — and by extension, the Beverly Hills Hotel — faced some high-profile protesters including Jay Leno, Richard Branson and Ellen DeGeneres because of Sharia laws he put in place in April. These laws promise to inflict harsh punishments such as incarceration, stonings and amputation for “crimes” such as homosexuality, abortion and adultery.

“Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible,” we wrote at the time. The Sultan’s investment agency owns the Dorchester Collection.

These big-name Hollywood celebs asked for a boycott and promised to keep away from events held at these hotels until there was change. It cost $2 million in business.

New York has its fair share of celebrities. But more than that, what New York has is a lot of business travel in addition to millions of tourists per year. And a lot of high-end hospitality competition. Criticism on the East coast could be just as, if not more, potent.

Read more

12 Digital Tools to Optimize Your Travel

Travel Tech Paws and Relax Alfie the Pug Courtesy of Nick Morrish British AirwaysSummer is the busiest travel season, so it’s the best time to be equipped with tips to minimize hassles and maximize the experience. But these days sorting through the maze of travel technology can be  nearly as time consuming as circumnavigating the globe.

An Internet Week New York panel of travel industry insiders gave their top picks for websites and mobile apps that assist with flights, lodgings and language translation, and we’ve come across other sources since then. The list below takes business and leisure travelers every step of the way, from planning to booking and beyond.

In-Flight Entertainment

1. “Paws and Relax” Video Channel: British Airways just launched a new channel featuring dogs and cats to help passengers unwind onboard.  It’s available on YouTube for non-BA customers. (Photo above courtesy of Nick Morrish/British Airways)

Read more

16 New York Rooftop Watering Holes That Double as Cool Summer Event Venues

Hotel Americano La Piscine Official PhotoAfter New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘Roman Holiday’, it’s time for the rest of us to take a rooftop holiday. An increase in the city’s stylish boutique lodgings has led to a related rise in hotel rooftop bars. What better places to escape street-level construction noise and get together with PR colleagues and clients?

PRNewser compiled a list of rooftop venues across Manhattan where visitors are welcome in small or large groups. Some spots even have swimming pools for hotel guests or for day-use. At the Dream Downtown’s PH-D Rooftop Lounge, you don’t need an advanced degree to use the pool, just pay a steep fee. But be sure to check ahead whether any of these bars are already reserved for private evening events, or you may be lobby-bound.

Our tour of summertime rooftop getaways follows our earlier post about heated rooftop venues. Some lounges listed here serve as retreats and others are for revelry. Either way they beat lower-level summertime options. Among the newer midtown entries are Viceroy Hotel’s roof and Archer Hotel’s Spyglass bar. Since Sonny’s Soda Shoppe at Mondrian SoHo Hotel downtown features an Italian beach theme, it’s an ideal spot for Mayor de Blasio to extend his holiday.

Read more

Malaysia Airlines May Undergo a Name Change as Part of a Major Rebranding Effort

malaysia airAfter the disappearance of MH370 back in March and the attack on Flight 17 over the Ukraine 10 days ago that resulted in the deaths of 298 people, Malaysia Airlines is planning a rebrand that likely includes changing the company’s name.

The airline, which is majority-owned by the Malaysian government, is seeking outside investment, is rethinking its routes and is considering additional outsourcing options for both PR and financial reasons.

The airline is also pressing for an international body to monitor the skies.

Read more

Where’s the LUV? Southwest Airlines Kicks Passenger Off Flight for Tweeting

LUV

In most circumstances, love (or LUV, Southwest Airlines’ NYSE Symbol after its home airport Love Field) does go a long way. In the case of Minnesota resident Duff Watson, it got him kicked off the plane.

According to his hometown CBS affiliate WCCO, Watson was asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Minneapolis because he allegedly threatened the safety of an agent via Twitter. His tweet called out an agent by name, gave her the distinctive title “rudest agent in Denver,” and directed it at @SouthwestAir shortly before takeoff.

The complaint didn’t work out the way he planned.

Read more

Air New Zealand Pulls Safety Video Starring Sports Illustrated Models After Backlash

Air New Zealand partnered with Sports Illustrated in February to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary and make an airline safety video. (???)

But once the video went public, it was met with push back from activists in Australia, namely Natasha Young, who launched an online petition to have the video nixed because it “objectifies” women and “disregards those who are conservative” and have conservative sensibilities. That spawned a hashtag, #AirNZsexism. The petition attracted 11,000 signatures. And now, Air New Zealand has pulled the video.

The airline says the video — which stars Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, including Chrissy Teigen and Christie Brinkley – has been pulled as a matter of course; it regularly rotates the clips the airline says.

Read more

Naming Names in the Growing Ranks of Hotel Brands

Epiphany HotelWhile there’s no magic formula for launching new hotel brands, E = mc2 best suits some recent hotel concepts. That’s because the famous physics energy equation reflects new or planned properties and brands, namely Epiphany from Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Moxy from Marriott International and Curio collection from Hilton Worldwide.

Branding was a hot topic at NYU’s International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference this week in New York, where panelists weighed in on the degree-of-difficulty factor, the rationale for launching new offerings and repositioning legacy brands. Names do matter, but they’re only part of the picture. Below are key takeaways.

Creating new brands for the long-haul: “Brand building isn’t for wimps; it’s for the persistent and patient. Most brands grow slowly, and you need to think several years out, since you’re often signing 20-year licensing agreements”, said James Anhut, SVP of design and quality at IHG/InterContinental Hotels Group.

Big hotel companies still have an edge, noted David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. “It’s immensely difficult to start from scratch. But it’s easier for larger scale hotel companies to create smart brands that will appeal in the long run.”

Read more

Holland Tourism: Masters of Cool

Amsterdam Clipper Ship Sign2 Cropped“I never had such a good backdrop”, said President Obama. During a recent state visit to The Netherlands, he took a side trip to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s renowned Nightwatch painting. As his comment indicates, he was duly impressed. Only select destinations worldwide merit presidential visits, and a visit to The Hague prompted Obama’s trip.

The President’s visit may help put The Netherlands front and center for U.S. travelers, who represent the country’s fourth largest source of visitors. The Dutch tourism effort in the U.S. has been quite active lately, as Holland continues to upgrade its star attractions. Many of its famous museums are being renovated, and they’re reopening in stages.

We checked with The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) about its PR and marketing programs. They partnered with Amsterdam Marketing, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for a 3-year joint marketing program, “Holland. The Original Cool”. The campaign’s video series has been the most visible joint effort. Launched last year, it features Pim de Koel, the country’s cool brand ambassador, as he teaches an American traveler about unique aspects of Dutch culture. Last year the video received over a million views, and this year it’s a three-part series, with the second episode debuting today.

Read more

The Four Seasons Will Have Its Own Planes To Go Along With Those Extravagant Round-The-World Trips

four season jetThe Four Seasons is taking its branding experience aloft, launching its own airplanes to go along with the $119,000 round-the-world tours the company offers.

The plane offers flatbed seats, carpeting and fancy toilets. Ooh la la. Wifi, chef service, spa treatments and tee times will also be available. The plane holds 233 passengers and will take off from Los Angeles starting in February 2015, heading to Bora Bora, Thailand, India, Turkey and London, making stops at Four Seasons hotels on the ground along the way. There will be accommodations for skis as well. Because, of course.

In April, the trip will go across six cities including Milan and Prague, taking tours of 16 museums and theaters. This will cost about half of the winter trip ($69,000).

And in August, the 24-day trip will visit cities including Seattle, Tokyo, the Maldives and the Serengeti (a region rather than a city, but you get it), with a stay at the company’s first safari lodge included. The price for that jumps back up to $119K.

BTW, if you’re traveling alone, that $119,000 price tag grows to $130K. Or you can have the whole plane chartered for $110,000.  Per day.

Read more

NEXT PAGE >>