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Travel and Tourism

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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Malaysia Airlines Damage Control Begins with $5000 to Cover Each Family’s Expenses

malaysia-airlinesThe public now seems to have a far better idea about what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370—but the story isn’t anywhere close to being over.

Last night, after clarifying that its now-infamous text updates were part of a larger effort to convey the new conclusions about the flight to passengers’ families, the company took its first damage control step by offering $5000 to those families for each passenger aboard the plane, which is now presumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.

While that total may look small (it’s already inspired outrage on social media), it’s not a settlement; it’s a gesture to “help families cope with the immediate financial strain” created by the nearly two-week-long search and related travel expenses. As searchers continue to narrow the area in which they expect to find the plane, commenters have begun to speculate on the big lawsuits sure to follow.

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STUDY: Travel/Hospitality Customers Demand a More Digital Experience

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Earlier this month, MCD (Magnani Caruso Dutton) Partners published a white paper that should be of great interest to everyone with clients in the travel/hospitality industry.

The survey, conducted among 1,000 random consumers in the three major travel sectors (business, leisure and family), found that they overwhelmingly want a more digital experience in exchange for that elusive brand loyalty.

What does this mean? In the press release, MCD creative director John Caruso simplifies: “personalization and convenience.”

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Malaysia Airlines Dedicates All Media Channels to Missing Flight

malaysia-airlinesAs the entire world follows the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and its 200+ passengers, you may wonder what the company’s communications team is doing to address the rapidly-evolving story.

The answer is, essentially, “everything.”

The Malaysian blogger behind “Unspun may be the best source for info on MA’s PR efforts at the moment, and he gives the company a general thumbs up on the crisis comms front.

First, a visit to the company’s English-language homepage reveals a link to a “dark site” reserved for such incidents, which amounts to a series of numbered press releases regarding the missing flight.

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A quick scroll through the statements shows us that the airline is responding to almost every potential update.

The same holds true for its social media assets.

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Metropolitan Museum’s Chief Digital Officer Shares His Artful Perspective on Social Media

Met Museum Roof Cloud City FinalWhat does New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have in common with the Broadway musicals Kinky Boots and Jersey Boys, the Frick Collection and the Manhattan skyline? They’re all top five NYC attractions on TripAdvisor.

That’s what Sree Sreenivasan discovered when he checked the popular travel review site. He’s the Met Museum’s first chief digital officer, and formerly worked as Columbia University’s chief digital officer and professor at their journalism school. He spoke at The New York Times Travel Show on Friday about the museum’s digital initiatives.

The Met’s exhibits and collection ranges from modern sculpture (Cloud City 2012, above) to ancient objects (William the Hippo, below). The museum has long been active on digital fronts, like interactive video screens, digital photography and social media. The Met’s digital efforts are especially interesting given its global audience and high-profile art fans, like celebs Bono, Psy and Steve Martin.

Sreenivasan’s goal is to enhance and expand on the museum’s existing digital programs, leaving no masterpiece unturned. He outlined the Met ‘s current social media status and future plans. He also shared tips that can apply as examples beyond the art world.

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Terranea Resort Near L.A. Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Local Brand Influencers and Guests

Terranea Resort Courtesy of“A land unto itself” is how Terranea Resort, an uber-luxury oceanfront property set on a peninsula in southern California, is described on its website. For its guests Terranea serves as a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of Los Angeles, located just 30 miles away.

Yet the resort’s secluded setting was proving to be both a benefit and a challenge. Agnelo Fernandes, Terranea’s SVP of sales and marketing, said the property lacked awareness among SoCal residents. Speaking at HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York on Tuesday, his case study outlined the social media programs the resort pursued to be more SoCal-local.

Before launching its new theme, “Discover a Land, Not Far Away”, the resort targeted the local community, especially lifestyle gurus active on social media. The goal was to offer entrée‎ to Terranea so they could share their experiences, and in the process grow the resort’s fan base.

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