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Travel and Tourism

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.

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Spirit Airlines CEO Explains What You Get When You Fly on a Budget Airline

Spirit A319-3The average consumer wants to get things on the cheap, but doesn’t always know what exactly that means. On its face, spending less money is always preferable. But when you actually experience the budget option, it can be disappointing.

That’s exactly what Spirit Airlines is running up against. With the cost of air travel increasing, flyers are looking for a deal. Their eyes are drawn immediately to the low price tag. But then they take their flight and they’re looking for more.

A couple of weeks ago, a story ran in The Dallas Morning News that included a stat from the US Public Interest Group showing that Spirit has the “highest rate of consumer complaints among US airlines.”

Rather than get angry and defensive (at least not publicly), Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza decided that the problem could be a failure to communicate. After all, over the past five years, eight out of 100,000 customers have complained, leaving 99,992 people who didn’t. He decided to respond with an explanation.

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Ignore All the Vomiting: Royal Caribbean Tries To Sell Us on Cruises

The new CEO of Royal Caribbean cruises appeared on CBS This Morning late last week to make a case for why we should be planning our cruise vacations ASAP.

Adam Goldstein was recently promoted to COO and president of Royal Caribbean after 12 years spent with Royal Caribbean International. This new role does include some corporate communications work, so it shouldn’t be surprising that in less than two weeks, Goldstein was appearing on a major morning news program to address yet another illness outbreak this time sickening 105 passengers and crew on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas. The previous week, 117 were sickened.

The problem looks to once again be the dreaded norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control gets involved, passengers miss out on their vacations, and you have an all-around mess on your hands.

Cruising’s reputation is also in a sickly state, with Gayle King noting at the top of the interview that trust in cruise vacations is down 12 percent.

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Another Cruise Industry #PRFail?

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Planning a cruise? You may or may not receive attentive customer service on social media.

While the latest skirmish with bad experiences hasn’t made the sort of headlines created by last year’s series of Carnival “challenges”, it did earn coverage on legal specialist Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News blog. And it gives us an opportunity to compare corporate crisis communications at three of the top cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival all had ships unable to re-enter or leave port after an oil spill last weekend, but they went about addressing the problem in different ways.

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