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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Marriott Fined $600K by FCC for Jammin’ (Guest’s Wi-Fi Signals)

marriottIn May 2012, Marriott pulled quite the coup in hospitality when the hotelier bought the luxurious Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center brand for $210 million.

The chief reason Marriott doled out that kind of coin was to make an impact in the convention space, which was never a problem for the Gaylord estates nationwide. Suffice to say, you would think that rolling out the red carpet for conference attendees would be the chain’s top priority.

Not so much.

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Mount Vernon Promo Casts George Washington as Presidential Badass

“While you can’t re-elect him, you can reacquaint yourself with him.”

That’s the line used to sell a weekend trip to Mount Vernon, “the original Washington Monument”, in this smart clip created by Havit to promote tourism at the Original President’s favorite place to hang out, tend to his tobacco farm and discuss the day’s events with his 318 slaves.

Great idea to frame it as a campaign ad spoof casting Washington as a candidate in order to make the prospect of visiting Mount Vernon just a tiny bit more hip.

One request we think the clip could have included for the benefit of tourists: stop asking him about the wooden teeth and the hemp already. No, they weren’t wood—and it was the (17)60′s, man! Everybody was doing it!

(H/T to the always-great Ad Freak)

Pitch Your Travel and Auto Clients to Journey

Journey is AAA’s bimonthly magazine that covers travel destinations  both between states and internationally in a manner that appeals to residents of Washington and other Northwestern states. “We’re more of an experiential market than a luxury, high-end shopping audience,” explained editor-in-chief Rob Bhatt

He also stressed that his team is interested in travel-related PR pitches, especially about local destinations reachable by car, as well as chefs, restaurants and resorts in the Northwest. But, as always, publicists must show familiarity with the publication’s reader base. “There are certain angles that make sense for a Northwestern audience and others that don’t.”

Get more details on PR pitching do’s and don’ts, plus contact info for all editors accepting pitches in How To Pitch: Journey.

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to over 150 ”How To Pitch” articles, hundreds of articles on journalism and media jobs, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Another PR Fail for Carnival Cruise Lines

We almost hate to pile on Carnival Cruise Lines at this point, but 2013 is turning out to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for one of the biggest names in leisure travel. Almost exactly a month after the Carnival Triumph disaster, a second ship lost power while docked in the Caribbean yesterday and left passengers stuck on board with no electricity, no working toilets and no ability to leave despite the fact that the boat was resting next to land.

To its credit, Carnival is getting creative with its problem-solving strategy this time around: the team plans to fly all passengers back to Florida after keeping them on the boat in order to ensure that no one gets left behind. A sensible move, but passengers aren’t happy, and more email quotes about “human waste all over the floor in some of the bathrooms” and elevators turning “on and off, on and off” obviously amount to very, very bad PR.

A commenter on a previous story made a great point: companies like Carnival often hire “party planner” PR teams that excel at event promotion but aren’t quite as experienced when it comes to dealing with disasters like this one. We’re not sure who’s handling crisis communications for the company right now, but they are about to earn their pay.

Oh, and Carnival might want to move ahead with that “comprehensive review” of the entire fleet. Just a friendly suggestion.

American Airlines Takes a Stab at Rebranding

In case you hadn’t heard, American Airlines faces a number of significant PR challenges. We would review the bankruptcy, the mass layoffs, the employee strikes and the customer service nightmares, but you’ve heard all that before–we’ll just say there are several reasons that American repeatedly finds itself among America’s “most hated” brands. And while the company reported a very small profit in the fourth quarter of 2012 thanks to the tax benefits of declaring bankruptcy, a rehabilitation is clearly in order.

So what can American do to redeem itself in the eyes of its public? How about a new logo?

Check out the official corporate video unveiling the “much-anticipated” redesign (and try not to gag on all the drama).

There are a few more bells and whistles involved, of course.

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Airline Industry to Public: We Don’t Like You, Either!

As PR professionals, we constantly preach about the importance of self-awareness. Brands, companies and people must always be privy to what the public is thinking and feeling. Being tone deaf–or even conveying the perception of being tone deaf–to public sentiment can be PR suicide.

But what about the public’s own collective self-awareness? History has proven that the public is capable of some pretty grisly acts, and those horrible transgressions typically occur when the public is the least self-aware. So let’s take a deep breath and do a little soul searching.

In the PR realm, we’ve addressed, for example, the public’s role in the mistreatment of Kate Middleton and the invasion of her privacy. And now, thanks to a book titled Tales from the Tarmac and written by 16-year airline industry veteran Claudia Helena Oxee, we can once again look into the mirror. The reflection isn’t pretty–Ms. Oxee’s perception of us is both unfiltered and unforgiving.

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The Public’s Love/Hate Relationship with the Airline Industry

Now that the costly and intense presidential election is finally behind us, it’s time to focus on the next big thing in the lives of Americans: Thanksgiving.

After a heated election and a devastating hurricane, the public is weary, emotionally drained and ready to spend some quality time with the people we love. But before we can sit at the dinner table beside our crazy uncles and gaze upon that steaming turkey, millions of us will have to overcome one last obstacle:

The airline industry.

Just when you thought your flight couldn’t get any more expensive, dehumanizing and unreliable, we bring bad news: flights and airports will be even more packed than usual during the coming holiday season. We’re guessing you didn’t believe that could be true, but it is.

Here are the stats to prove it: the average flight in Thanksgiving 2011 was 82% full. In 2012 that number will increase to 90%, with the overall number of travelers 3% higher this year than last. In fact, Airlines for America reports that 24 million Americans will travel between November 16 and November 27. While the number of Americans flying has increased, the airlines themselves have slashed costs, reduced services and stopped running unprofitable routes. Supply and demand–you get it! Read more

Passengers Opposed to the ‘Freedom Grope’

As if people don’t trash-talk air travel enough, now the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are getting complaints about the three-week-old pat-down system, according to the New York Times. Known as the “freedom grope,” two pilots have also filed a lawsuit against the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security saying that the process violates Fourth Amendment rights.

The US Travel Association and the ACLU are asking for feedback from the public about their experiences. The NYT adds that passengers are upset about the lack of official guidelines about the pat-down process.

Of course, passengers are taking their anger online. A video of one passenger’s resistance – the “Don’t Touch My Junk” video – went viral. (CNN coverage below.) And there are whole websites dedicated to the issue, like which wants passengers to “raise holy hell” and offers tips for how exactly one can raise hell. They’re calling for National Opt-Out Day on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving. Happy travels.

Your Online Activity May Make You An Airline VIP

Scene from "United Breaks Guitars," a YouTube video created by a disgruntled United passenger. The video has gotten more than 9.4 million views.

It may seem like airlines don’t care one bit whether travelers suffer through delays, cramped seats, and overpriced, nearly inedible in-flight meals. Perhaps they don’t. But they do care when you complain about it on Twitter.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there have been a number of cases on different airlines where a call to complain gets no results, but a tweet yields the requested frequent flier points, cheap airfare, and other resolutions.

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