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Travel and Tourism

JetBlue’s Premium Service Rollout Strategy: ‘Don’t Call It First Class’

jetblue-mint-serviceWe’ve been watching JetBlue‘s “Mint” service rollout campaign with interest this summer because it makes for a great case study in brand messaging.

The basics are these: JetBlue has, despite some colorful incidents, established a reputation as the “we all fly coach” airline for the little guy—an image reinforced by clever “we get it” stunt campaigns. The Mint offering toys with that equation by giving certain passengers on certain cross-country flights (New York to LA and, later in 2014, NY to San Francisco) a “premium experience”, but during the rollout, JetBlue’s comms team has taken every opportunity to remind the public and the media not to call it “first class.”

The web copy is telling:

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 11.45.15 AM

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Study: Young Folks Love to Travel (and Complain About Your Travel Clients)

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Here are some alternately encouraging/frustrating results from the latest Harris Interactive poll on the behavior of those pesky Millennials: they travel a lot and they’re not afraid to spend money, but they’re also far more likely to share their disapproval of less-than-satisfactory hospitality experiences with the rest of the world.

The basic findings:

  • Professionals 30 and under travel significantly more—for both business and pleasure—than their older counterparts. They’re much more likely to turn business trips into personal vacations.
  • While traveling, they spend money freely: 42% of the “Millennial” contingent say they would use company funds to buy “a fancy meal” and 32% said they’d spring for room service.
  • Yet they’re quick to warn the public about bad service: 26% said they’d posted at least one negative review online over the past year.

So they’re liberal with their definition of “business expenses”, but they’re very critical of the service they receive.

You’re probably aware of this, but most travel brands have begun creating campaigns aimed specifically at this demographic: USA Today names Marriott‘s “Travel Brilliantly“, but expect more campaigns that emphasize quality of experience over price point to appear on mobile and social platforms.

Also: those negative reviews will just keep coming. So…yay?

Betty White Takes Air New Zealand’s Latest Video to the Next Level

If Betty White were anyone else, we would have grown tired of her by now. But somehow she just stays cool. It’s quite impressive.

Air New Zealand, which already cemented its identity as a super “quirky” brand by featuring Richard Simmons, Bilbo Baggins, David Hasselhoff and a pair of conjoined sheep in its flight safety videos, has taken a step up the cultural ladder with this clip:

Even if you think White’s shtick is worn out (and we don’t), you have to admire a brand that carves out such a unique niche for itself and sticks with it. Compare this to your usual flight safety videos in which a suit-and-tie CEO discusses the integrity of his company while stock-photo models show you how to vomit into a paper bag. Big difference.

We might even say we envy ANZ’s AOR PadillaCRT, because why wouldn’t we?

H/T to Skift

American Express and TripAdvisor Want to Keep Your User Reviews Honest

I'm dreaming of more money.

Oh yeah, she’s a member.

Online reviews are important. Online reviews are completely unreliable. Today is Wednesday.

Here’s one more undeniable fact: American Express has teamed up with TripAdvisor in a noble attempt to keep user reviews as honest as they can possibly be. The project might not be quite as revolutionary as it sounds, though.

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How Much Will Airbnb Damage the Hospitality Industry?

Fancy pants.We’re going to take a wild guess here: your travel and hospitality clients hate Airbnb.

Why wouldn’t they? Vacationers and business travelers alike are quite keen on the idea of saving time and money by renting someone’s room for a few days. Despite the fact that this subletting practice is illegal in some states, recent cases reveal that the government and the hotel industry may not have much power to stop it.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman wants to crack down on Airbnb just like he cracked down on the firms that pay for fake client reviews on Yelp and Amazon, but the courts have told him “not so fast”. And just like the “reputation firms”, these newfangled sublet companies will almost certainly keep popping up.

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Pitches That Worked: UAE Airline’s ‘Flying Nannies’

It’s tough out there for an airline. Even if you don’t happen to be British Airways, sometimes you feel like everybody hates you. Of course air travel brands look for ways to stand out, and after some opted for child free “quiet zones“, Etihad Airways found a nice Bizzaro World alternative with its new “flying nannies” service.

Someone representing Eithad, which is the official airline of the United Arab Emirates because of course it is, thought this story would have wings—and it is indeed quite odd. Here are some choice bits from the press release:

Identified by bright orange aprons, each Flying Nanny aims to provide a ‘helping hand’ to families and unaccompanied minors.

The course includes in-depth training, from the world renowned Norland College, concentrating on child psychology and sociology…

And with this training they will offer “activities”:

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Facebook Freaks Out Over Boobies

Most people know that posting pictures of boobies on Facebook is a surefire way to get banned. But what if the “Boobies” in question aren’t breasts, but birds?

Christmas Island Tourism, the small Australian island’s tourism board, says its Facebook ad inviting eco-tourists to its annual Bird ‘n’ Nature Week has been unfairly banned. Along with images of the Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby and critically endangered Abbott’s Booby, the ad featured the text: “Some gorgeous shots here of some juvenile boobies.”

The potentially sexual (pedophilic?) dual meaning didn’t sit well with Facebook, which banned the ad for “addressing the age, gender or sexual orientation of users on Facebook”.

But considering the birds aren’t exactly “Facebook users”, the manager of the tourism board, Linda Cash, assumed the ban was a mistake. “We presumed our original advert was blocked automatically,” she said, “so we appealed to Facebook directly who re-affirmed the campaign was banned due to the sexual language—particularly the use of the word ‘boobies.’”

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Philadelphia Wants to Throw a Big Gay Party

“Get your history straight and your nightlife gay.”

While France’s department of tourism wants Parisians to be nicer to foreigners, our own City of Brotherly Love aims to attract a slightly more…decadent audience. This commercial is not the very first aimed specifically at gay tourists (Philly itself started in 2004 and Key West followed in 2011 with this “out before it was in” spot), but we do see a trend developing here: campaigns designed to promote brands that don’t in any way identify as gay to the gay community.

In June we noticed the many varied brands that had anticipated the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling and made the most of it, and we expect that pattern to continue.

Well, at least the clip doesn’t push any gay stereotypes, right? While we can’t see Memphis or Little Rock releasing a commercial like this one, we think it’s safe to say that firms will be working on many more gay-themed campaigns in the near future.

Belize’s Perfect PR Response to Unflattering Mention in ‘Breaking Bad’

On last Sunday’s episode of the AMC hit drama “Breaking Bad“, Brian Cranston’s character — a drug kingpin — threatened to “send [someone] to Belize,” an alternate euphemism to “sleeping with the fishes.”

The scene was widely discussed on social media, with many speculating whether the show had inadvertently dealt a blow to the country’s tourism.

“Some people may have perceived that to be somewhat of a crisis,” Alyssa Carnegie, the director of marketing and industry relations for the Belize Tourism Board, said in an interview with the New York Times, “but we really thought of it as an opportunity.”

Following Sunday’s episode, the Belize Tourism Board demonstrated its sense of humor (and impeccable timing) by tweeting humorous invitations to the “Breaking Bad” actors and characters, inviting them to take a real trip to the country.

Paris Tourism Board Asks French People to be Nicer to Tourists

In America, a grown man will bury his house underground and arm his pets with flame throwers because he believes the government is out to take his freedom. So before we judge Parisian waiters, let’s keep a little perspective.

But, yes, the French government is asking its population to be nicer to tourists, especially French people who work in the tourist industry. In terms of pride and culture this is a significant emotional step for France, and from a PR perspective, it marks a mature and very business savvy move in the right direction.

The world has suffered through a debilitating recession for years now, and the tourist industry has been hit hard—which means the populations who make a living from tourist dollars are struggling. There are many things about the horrible economy and financial strife that are beyond our control as people, but being nicer to people who give us money isn’t one of them.

The French government—knowing that increased competition from other foreign destinations, especially in Asia, will increasingly entice travelers to bypass France and Paris—is being prudently proactive. It has already passed out 35,000 “Do You Speak Touriste?” pamphlets to tourism industry professionals, taxi drivers and café workers, with 20,000 more on the way. The pamphlets offer tips on how to be culturally sensitive to people from different nations including the United States, Japan, and Spain. Fighting stereotypes with more cultural stereotypes? Uh oh. Read more

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