News: New sales appointments for Ascott in Thailand

News: New sales appointments for Ascott in Thailand

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The Ascott has welcomed new members to the team, with Thitirat Ditpanya joining as the new assistant director of sales and marketing, and Tasanee Ua-Aksorn as the new marketing manager for Thailand.

Newly appointed Ditpanya is a Thai national.

She brings with her over 18 years’ experience in the areas of sales, team management, strategic planning and a wealth of expertise in the sales and marketing.

She has previously worked with various five-star hotels and serviced residences groups including akyra Thonglor Bangkok (Formerly Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Bangkok), Compass Hospitality, Chatrium Residence Sathorn and President Park Group.

Ditpanya will now oversee sales and marketing team for the Ascott Thailand Cluster, representing 11 existing properties as well as more under development projects.

She leads the effort to provide room booking ease for a combined total of more than 3,000 rooms across Thailand.

Ua-Aksorn has been appointed as the new marketing manager for Ascott Thailand cluster.

She has a previous background in marketing and communications in leading hotel groups including AccorHotels Group Thailand and Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia.

Currently Ascott is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Thailand, with 18 properties and more than 3,000 units across Bangkok, Pattaya and Sri Racha (including under development projects).

All well-appointed properties are nestled in prime business and entertainment districts, designed for discerning expatriates and travellers on business or leisure.

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October 24, 2017 at 10:35AM

News: Boeing unveils $14bn Singapore Airlines deal during White House ceremony

News: Boeing unveils $14bn Singapore Airlines deal during White House ceremony

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Boeing and Singapore Airlines have formally announced a deal for 20 777-9s and 19 787-10s, during a ceremony at the White House.

The order, previously attributed to an unidentified customer, is worth $13.8 billion at current list prices.

The value of this sales transaction will sustain thousands of US suppliers and more than 70,000 direct and indirect US jobs during the delivery period of this contract.

The airline also has options for 12 additional aircraft, six of each aircraft type.

The signing ceremony, witnessed by US president Donald Trump and prime minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, included Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Kevin McAllister.

“SIA has been a Boeing customer for many decades and we are pleased to have finalised this major order for widebody aircraft, which will enable us to continue operating a modern and fuel-efficient fleet,” said Goh.

“These new aircraft will also provide the SIA Group with new growth opportunities, allowing us to expand our network and offer even more travel options for our customers.”
Singapore Airlines has more than 50 777s in service and is the launch customer of the 787-10, which is set to deliver in the first half of 2018.

With a prior order for 30 787-10s, the airline now has 49 on order, making it the largest customer for this type.

A long-range airplane that’s efficient at any stage length, the 787-10 will serve the airline’s medium-range operations while partnering with the 777-9 for the carrier’s long-haul routes.

Its subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot and SIA Cargo also operate Boeing airplanes with the 737 MAX 8 and 737-800, 787-8 and 787-nine Dreamliners and 747-400 Freighter types in service, respectively.

“Boeing and Singapore Airlines have been strong partners since the airline’s first operations 70 years ago and we are thrilled to finalise their purchase of 20 777Xs and 19 additional 787-10 Dreamliners,” said McAllister.

“Singapore Airlines’ order is a testament to the market-leading capabilities of Boeing’s widebody airplanes and we look forward to delivering the very first 787-10 to them next year.”

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October 24, 2017 at 10:28AM

News: trivago Hotel Relations seeks to bolster independent hotels

News: trivago Hotel Relations seeks to bolster independent hotels

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trivago has launched trivago Hotel Relations, a new wholly-owned subsidiary that will foster strong direct relationships with independent hotels.

The company will focus on empowering hoteliers around the world to be more competitive online and to drive more direct bookings through their hotel websites.

“With this step we are accelerating our ability to scale an exceptionally skilled international salesforce and build stronger ties with hoteliers.

“It enables us to work even closer with hoteliers and better support them in making their direct marketing successful,” said Johannes Thomas, managing director and chief revenue officer at trivago.

He explained: “We’ve seen significant success in our hotel direct business over the past two years.

“At the same time, we learned that scaling a sales organisation requires a different culture, operating mode, and set of talents compared to a technology organisation.

“We believe that being a dedicated company provides it with the necessary freedom to determine its own identity.”

The different requirements of a tech organisation and those of a sales organisation inspired the decision to set up a dedicated sales subsidiary that can create its own identity, culture, and employer branding.

Instead of recruiting engineers, the new company aims to recruit the top sales talents from around the globe.

trivago Hotel Relations, based in Düsseldorf, Germany, will be the entity responsible for trivago’s relationships with over 310,000 hoteliers around the world.

The company starts with over 160 employees from 21 countries and aims to grow its team in 2018.

This is intended to accelerate trivago’s efforts in providing travellers with more choices and the option to book direct.

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October 24, 2017 at 10:08AM

News: Wyndham Hotel Group signs five new properties across south-east Asia

News: Wyndham Hotel Group signs five new properties across south-east Asia

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Wyndham Hotel Group continues to strengthen the presence of its upscale Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and upper-upscale Wyndham Grand brands across south-east Asia with five new hotel signings in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The five newly acquired hotels will be managed by Wyndham Hotel Group and add 3,436 rooms to the hospitality giant’s growing portfolio.

The company currently has more than 110 hotels throughout south-east Asia and the Pacific Rim with 11 hotels and resorts branded under its namesake Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Garden flags.

Barry Robinson, president, Wyndham Hotel Group south-east Asia and the Pacific Rim said: “There is enormous potential in growing the upscale segment in south-east Asia which is a booming tourism hotspot thanks to the region’s rising affluence, improved infrastructure and increased flight connectivity.

“We are responding to the robust demand for quality hotels in exceptional locations throughout the region.”

He added: “At our upscale Wyndham and luxurious Wyndham Grand properties, guests are promised unforgettable travel experiences with tailored services and quality amenities.

“These five new properties add to our global presence of Wyndham and Wyndham Grand hotels and resorts in 145 major cities and resort destinations including New York, Shanghai, Gold Coast, Doha and Salzburg and solidifies our commitment to providing distinctive stay experiences to all travellers.”

The Wyndham brand first entered the south-east Asia market two years ago with its first location in Phuket, Thailand.

The upper-upscale Wyndham Grand brand launched in Phuket in 2016 and since then, the company has continued to make major progress in the growth of its upscale portfolio across the region recently opening hotels in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The new hotels include:

Wyndham Opi Hotel Palembang – Sumatra, Indonesia: Scheduled to open in March 2018, the 259-room hotel located in Palembang’s new OPI entertainment precinct will be the city’s first five-star hotel from an international chain.

The hotel will offer elegant accommodation from Superior Rooms to Presidential Suites, two restaurants, a lounge, an outdoor pool, a fitness centre and a spa. Extensive conferencing facilities will be available with seven venues including a ballroom accommodating up to 2,200 people.

Wyndham Dreamland Resort Bali – Indonesia:  The upscale Wyndham Dreamland Resort Bali is ideally located close to Dreamland Beach – an emerging destination lauded as Bali’s new Kuta Beach.

Dreamland Beach is popular for its unspoiled coastline overlooking stunning sunsets and is known to have some of Bali’s best reef breaks.

The resort will open in December 2017 and will boast 190 stylishly designed one-bedroom suites as well as villas with private pools.

The upscale resort will also feature three food and beverage outlets, two swimming pools, one children’s pool as well as a spa and wellness centre complete with a yoga studio.

Wyndham Grand Cam Ranh and Wyndham Cam Ranh – Vietnam: These upscale hotels are part of an 800-hectare development in Cam Ranh Bay that comprises an entertainment zone, an upscale marina, a polo club, a theme park, luxury villas and other attractions.

The 423-room Wyndham Grand Cam Ranh, due to open in March 2018, is situated on an 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman.

Avid golfers will enjoy the links-inspired golf course featuring an elevated site of rolling sand dunes as well as a 6,000 square metre club house that overlooks the surrounding landscape and ocean, driving range, and golf beach club. Other facilities include multiple restaurants and bars, swimming pools, spa and wellness facilities and a convention centre.

The 855-room Wyndham Cam Ranh located on the oceanfront of Cam Ranh’s Long Beach will open in 2019 and offer a variety of leisure and business facilities including a large pool and a pool bar, two restaurants and a bar, a day spa and gymnasium as well as meeting rooms.

Wyndham Resort Tropicana Nha Trang – Vietnam: The US$200 million mixed-use development is the largest hospitality development in Nha Trang offering 1,709 keys upon opening in 2019.

Located on a pristine beachfront, Wyndham Resort Tropicana Nha Trang will comprise two 50-storey towers with hotel rooms and condominium units ranging up to 250 square metres, along with a retail complex spanning six floors, a convention hall, a spa, a pool and a wellness centre.

The hotel is situated in the downtown Loc Tho Ward on 40 Tran Phu Street, a major thoroughfare which will connect guests to a myriad of eateries, entertainment and local markets in the nearby vicinity.

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October 24, 2017 at 09:50AM

Public-relations woes may be catching up with Uber

Public-relations woes may be catching up with Uber

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UBER has had a tough year. It has fired staff on the back of sexual-harassment allegations and faced reports of a hostile workplace culture. It has been sued for allegedly stealing self-driving-car technology.  It lost customers when it flouted a New York taxi boycott in protest of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. And, amid all the turmoil, its boss resigned. But despite all this, the company continued to win more and more customers, including business travellers.

Now, however, there are signs that the tide may be turning. Certify, an expense-management software company, has released its latest quarterly report on business-travel spending in America. And for the first time since it started collecting data in 2013, Uber has seen a decline in use among business travellers.

Uber and other ride-hailing apps still dominate the business-travel market for ground transport, accounting for around two-thirds of it. And they are growing at the expense of traditional services. The market share of taxis and rental cars declined by one percentage point to 7% and 28%, respectively, in the third quarter of the year.

But even as ride-hailing continued to grow, Uber saw its share inch down, from 55% to 54% in the latest quarter. By contrast, the market share of Lyft, a competitor, jumped three percentage points to 11%.

Uber’s position in the market may seem enviable, but it reveals risks in the company’s strategy. Uber has made consistent losses, with the aim of capturing a huge market share and then being able to raise prices. But that will only work if it remains the most-dominant player in the ride-hailing world and keeps rivals at bay. 

Other data from the Certify report show the value of dominating a market. The most popular spot for travellers to expense both lunch and dinner in America, for instance, is McDonald’s. Though it is hardly anyone’s idea of a hearty business meal, its ubiquity bolsters its popularity. 

But even McDonald’s cannot raise prices without losing business. That is because it has so many competitors snapping at its heels. Uber hoped to transcend this issue by capturing a vast market share. But if the latest report is a sign of a real trend, Uber’s dominance may be waning.

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October 24, 2017 at 09:48AM

News: NATS rolls-out new Arrival Manager system at London Heathrow

News: NATS rolls-out new Arrival Manager system at London Heathrow

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Aircraft flying from Europe into London Heathrow Airport now benefit from more accurate delay information thanks to the advanced data available from NATS’ Arrival Manager system.

The data feeding into AMAN now comes from the point at which aircraft push back off the stand (within the Extended AMAN horizon) and not from the previous point, which was take-off.

This gives both aircraft and controllers even more advanced delay information and should reduce the time aircraft spend holding in one of the airport’s four stacks.

AMAN, the system behind Cross Border Arrival Manager, provides automated sequencing support to controllers handling traffic arriving into Heathrow.

When delay in the airport’s holding stacks is forecast to reach seven minutes, aircraft within the XMAN speed reduction horizon (350NM) are instructed by air traffic controllers to reduce their speed.

Aircraft still arrive at the airport at their scheduled time, but spend more time cruising at a higher altitude and less time in the hold, reducing fuel burn and emissions and easing congestion in the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area.

Based on our data analysis from January/February 2017, the annualised stack hold fuel burn saving equates to approximately 3.57kt fuel or £1.82 million per year.

Peter Dawson, general manager, London Terminal Control, NATS Swanwick, said: “Systems such as AMAN rely on cross-border coordination with our air traffic control neighbours in Europe.

“As an active participant in the Single European Sky ATM Research programme, we are delighted to see the success of this collaboration, which results in real cost and fuel savings for our airline customers.

“This recent improvement in an already highly effective system will also help to further streamline arrivals into the congested airspace in the south east of England.”

NATS is continuing to work on enhancing and refining the Extended Arrival Manager concept, in partnership with fellow ANSPs and industry partners, through the SESAR 2020 programme.

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October 24, 2017 at 09:43AM

A moody Venice in the fog at night

A moody Venice in the fog at night

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Music from Burning Man

A few weeks after Buring Man, the playlists start to appear on Soundcloud. Here’s a set from the Space Party our camp hosted one night

Daily Photo – A moody Venice in the fog at night

If you go to Venice, I recommend you pay a bit extra and just rent a water taxi to drive you around in the late afternoon and sunset as much as possible. Just mow up and down that central canal and take little side-canals whenever you like. The water taxi is great because while the driver is whisking you around, you can then shoot in any direction.. forwards, backwards… whatever you want. And there is so much to see that you’ll be busy the entire time!

A moody Venice in the fog at night

Photo Information


  • Date Taken2016-01-30 00:22:04
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO12800
  • Focal Length194.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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October 24, 2017 at 09:12AM

Lyft Continues Steady Rise in Popularity Among Business Travelers

Lyft Continues Steady Rise in Popularity Among Business Travelers

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Lyft

A promotional image from Lyft. The ridesharing service is gaining ground in business travel, albeit slowly. Lyft

Skift Take: Signs point to an ongoing malaise for Uber, but Lyft still lags behind in overall usage by business travelers.

— Andrew Sheivachman

While Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi does damage control following the scandal that forced a leadership change, Lyft is quietly ramping up its quest to acquire more customers across the U.S.

Lyft continues to gain ground on Uber among business travelers, according to the latest report from expense solutions provider Certify, while taxi usage and car rentals have continued to plummet.

Lyft grew from 3 percent of ground transportation expenses in the second quarter of 2017 to 11 percent in the third quarter of the year, its greatest gain in share ever. Uber, meanwhile, dropped 1 percent to 54 percent in the third quarter of 2017. Car rentals and taxi usage also dropped by 1 percent each. Certify doesn’t track car service expenses in its quarterly report that looks at more than 10 million receipts and expenses submitted by business travelers using its platform.

“The latest Certify SpendSmart report shows how the business traveler is more in the driver’s seat than ever before when it comes to making purchasing decisions on the road,” said Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “Whether it’s a reaction to the latest headlines or the introduction of new features like tipping, the power of consumer choice has become a major factor in travel and entertainment expense spending that in many ways extends beyond the reach of the accounting department or corporate travel policy.”

There are a couple of other notable findings in the report. Tipping through the Uber app, which was introduced in recent months, has been limited among business travelers, with just 3 percent of Uber rides having a gratuity attached. The average gratituity included was just $3.10.

Certain major metro areas saw a big increase in Lyft usage among business travelers. San Francsico saw a 9 percent jump for Lyft and an 8 percent decrease for Uber. Lyft’s share in Boston and Dallas increased by 5 percent.

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October 24, 2017 at 07:34AM

Post-Hurricane Marketing in the U.S. and Caribbean Puts Tourism Boards to the Test

Post-Hurricane Marketing in the U.S. and Caribbean Puts Tourism Boards to the Test

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Coast Guard News  / Flickr

Hurricane-ravaged destinations are launching marketing campaigns to try to move past the storms. Pictured are members of the U.S. Coast Guard in Houston after Hurricane Harvey in August. Coast Guard News / Flickr

Skift Take: Marketing campaigns are always a key ingredient in responding to natural disasters, and showing travelers that a destination hasn’t completely bottomed out. To get the message out, it also helps to have sufficient funding and resources, which some islands are currently lacking.

— Dan Peltier

Many U.S. and Caribbean destinations this year are doing hurricane damage control in terms of post-storm marketing — something that largely wasn’t needed for a significant swath of the region for more than a decade.

Storms such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria caused an estimated $188 billion or more in damages this year, making 2017 the costliest season on record, according to AccuWeather. The wreckage from the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was also very substantial but didn’t reach this year’s level.

The region’s travel industry and visitor arrivals have also grown considerably over the past dozen years.

The Caribbean had 22.2 million tourist arrivals in 2005 compared with 29 million in 2016, a 30 percent increase.  Social channels — which didn’t exist or were nascent a dozen years ago – serve to spread both images of the devastation and can be used for marketing purposes, as well.

Hard-hit destinations like the Florida Keys were relatively quick to launch marketing campaigns telling travelers to come back, trying combat what it sees as misperceptions of the situation on the ground after the storms. While the archipelago suffered a direct hit from Irma, the outer islands had minimal damage.

Andy Newman, a spokesman for Monroe County’s Tourist Development Council, which handles destination marketing for the Keys, said some U.S. government agencies have done the destination more harm than good after Irma. “The Department of Defense did a press release after the storm that said the Navy would come in and evacuate 10,000 Keys residents because there was no water for them,” he said. “I spoke to the Key West city manager and I kept saying, ‘where is this coming from?’ We found out subsequently that it was too late and the information was broadcast.”

Newman added: “Then, the [Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)] administrator was quoted as saying 90 percent of residences in the Florida Keys were damaged or uninhabitable when actually the amount is around 25 percent.”

Parts of the Keys will undoubtedly still be in repair mode for its high season, which starts in December, but it will still have perfect vacation opportunities, Newman contended. “Most of the time with a storm we’re in the cone and then the storm misses us and then the media takes off and we’re stuck with this perception,” he said.

“Another challenge for us was the BP oil spill in 2010,” said Newman. “We never got one single drop of BP oil but the media was saying that the oil would reach the Keys and that made many travelers worry.”

The destination is leveraging all of its online platforms to show the Keys in real-time and convey accurate information about which parts are fine to visit. It’s has enlisted the support of Gloria Estefan, a South Florida native, to use her song “Coming Out of the Dark” in a marketing video highlighting recovery in the Keys and also showing how some areas were untouched.

Miami Is Bouncing Back

Nearby Miami, which fared much better than it was initially projected to during Irma, also isn’t a stranger to dealing with weather-related misperceptions.

The lead up to Hurricane Irma was prolonged, said Rolando Aedo, chief marketing officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Technology was the bane and beauty of all this,” he said. “As good as we’ve become with technology and predictions, hurricane tracks still change.”

Beyond the human tragedy, Aedo said hurricanes and extreme weather take a financial and psychological toll on the travel industry. “We had 10 of the prior 13 weeks before Irma with positive revenue per available room growth,” he said. “We were building momentum from Hurricane Matthew and Zika.”

But the area’s tourism industry is mostly back on track. “Our hotels did take a hit but meeting planners are a unique track,” said Aedo. “Outright cancellations for meetings hasn’t happened and this is where we’ve really pulled up our sleeves.”

Places like Miami want to keep building momentum. The Greater Miami CVB launched its Miami Now campaign on September 18 after Irma clipped the area.

The convention bureau normally spreads its deals and promotions over the course of a year, but consolidated many of its annual promotions post-Irma to assuage wary travelers. “We’re communicating that we’re open for business but perhaps doing that in an elegant and nuanced way,” said Aedo. “Being such an international destination, we have a global network of 52 agencies around the globe and having them amplify our message is a tremendous tool that we didn’t have during the last active season 10 years ago.”

Cayman Islands Was Unscathed but has work to do

The Cayman Islands took a beating from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 that caused major setbacks and it took years for its tourism industry to recover, said Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.

This British Overseas Territory has so far escaped the wrath of this hurricane season, which officially ends on November 30, but it’s still trying to market how it’s different from competing islands.

The destination just launched its first romance campaign, which wasn’t connected to recent hurricanes, said Harris.

The campaign features Cayman Islands native and actress Grace Byers and her husband Trai Byers, who both star in the TV series “Empire.”

“We wanted to refresh and make the Cayman Islands a little sexier,” said Harris. “In recent years we’ve played it really safe.”

Harris said the Cayman Islands has long been known as a destination-wedding location and its tourism board has been marketing weddings for years. But the romance and couples aspect was still somehow missing.

The average party size of travelers to the destination is 2.3 people, said Harris. “Our demographics shifted in terms of our target markets,” she said. “We’re still protecting our family market but growing couples became a priority.”

Learning From History

New Orleans has also been taking a second look at how it markets itself, something it’s done periodically but particularly since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., said the smartest thing the city did after Katrina was speaking with one voice and bringing sports teams, hotels, restaurants and the convention and visitors bureau together to the same table.

New Orleans’ first post-storm ad campaign started in spring 2006. “A couple of months after Katrina we started telling travelers to come back and we had volunteers here,” he said. “We hosted Mardi Gras that February.”

After Katrina, the convention bureau created a hospitality master plan through 2018 and worked with Boston Consulting Group on a 12-point study to find ways to reduce crime, improve taxi service and revitalize popular tourists areas like the city’s French Quarter, for example.

Romig said the city’s tourism industry is about where he thought it would be in 2018 when it created its master plan nearly 12 years ago. “There are still many things we haven’t been able to do yet,” he said. “Soon after our study was adopted we had the BP oil spill. People weren’t coming to New Orleans because they thought there was oil on Bourbon Street.”

The New Orleans tourism body also thought it would have a $45 million marketing budget by this point but is only about two-thirds of the way there, said Romig.

The city also didn’t reach its 13.7 million visitors by 2018 goal – it got 10.5 million last year and isn’t projected to make the goal this year. But the city did get $7.5 billion in annual visitor spend.

Remnants of Katrina still linger but New Orleans, for the most part, is looking forward. It recently launched its “One Time, In New Orleans” campaign to help celebrate the city’s 300th birthday in 2018. The campaign includes an ad that’s airing during Monday night football in the U.S. that encourages travelers to connect historical New Orleans stories with experiences they engage in during the coming year.

“We’re appealing to everyone’s nature to share a story either before, during or after a trip,” said Romig.

In Houston, where many locals are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, the city’s tourism board has taken cues from New Orleans.

“We learned from Katrina to have a crisis communication plan,” said Jorge Franz, vice president of tourism for Visit Houston. “Every bit of planning that we could have done that we learned from went into play.”

Houston also welcomed many Katrina evacuees and has experience with the humanitarian aspect of natural disasters. Franz said the tourism board was involved in opening the city’s convention center to Harvey evacuees.

“New Orleans reached out personally to us and it’s very real stuff,” said Franz. “To try to put a pretty face on it is not what we want to do, we want to be honest. We’re an open and diverse city and that’s what the whole country saw. We’re not deterred by this event.”

Franz said the city has once again laid out the welcome mat for travelers. “We’re going to be thanking consumers who have helped us,” he said. “We haven’t lost any significant pieces of our business. Business travel is so essential to Houston and as soon as the airport reopened business travel started to come back. Hotels are also running with high occupancy.”

Moving Forward

While some destinations impacted by the storms are returning to a semblance of normalcy, others such as Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico face a long road to recovery. In Puerto Rico, for example, 80 percent of residents remain without power.

Some Caribbean islands are still hoping to pool together funding and resources to launch a regional marketing campaign in time for high season, but those prospects don’t look promising.

Destinations like the Florida Keys are welcoming back cruise ships and – slowly – other overnight visitors. But from a destination marketing standpoint, some plans have been put on hold.

Newman said the Keys has changed a lot of its public relations plans for the fiscal year that began October 1. “We were going to hire a Chinese PR agency and do other things in Europe,” he said. “But we decided to pull that back and focus on our domestic and traditional UK and European markets. The bottom line is that we need to be able to fish where the fish are.”

The Turks & Caicos received some hurricane damage this season, albeit mild compared to some of its neighbors. The destination decided that even with many travelers perceiving the Caribbean as an unfavorable place to visit because of widespread misperceptions, it won’t offer any discounts on hotel room rates because of the storms, said Ramon Andrews, director of the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board.

“Our product hasn’t changed and we are delivering the same level of service and luxury refinement that was had prior to the hurricanes,” said Andrews. “The experience isn’t less, so the rates aren’t either. There is no lasting damage that will impact a visitor’s trip. The beaches aren’t any less pristine. The hotels aren’t offering a reduced level of service.”

“Visitors who come to Turks & Caicos now will not feel a difference in the experience compared to those who came prior to the hurricanes, and offering a discounted rate can imply otherwise,” said Andrews.

Andrews said maintaining rate integrity is also being done with hospitality workers in mind. “The importance of rate integrity is not something to take lightly; with a hotel background myself, I know that firsthand,” he said. “It’s also worth noting that maintaining rates guarantees staff salaries and that subsequently their needs and costs of living are met, which was also a very important point for us in supporting our people.”

There’s little doubt that the region is dealing with challenges – and more intensely unfavorable weather – that wasn’t as acute during past hurricane seasons.

The Caribbean is still in its shoulder season. Tourism boards are waiting to see if their post-storm marketing efforts will pay off in a few months.

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October 24, 2017 at 06:30AM

Video: Hilton CEO on Why Hotels Will Never Stop Launching Brands

Video: Hilton CEO on Why Hotels Will Never Stop Launching Brands

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Skift

Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta spoke at the Skift Global Forum in New York City on September 26. Skift

Skift Take: Hilton isn’t the only hotel company intent on launching new brands. But it remains to be seen whether there’s a breaking point for having way too many hotel brands.

— Deanna Ting

Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said that he doesn’t ever expect his company to give up trying to persuade consumers to “stop clicking around.”

“We want to have more direct relationships with our customers,” Nassetta said at last month’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, adding that having consumers book direct is beneficial not only for Hilton and its hotel owners but for guests too.

“We know a heck of a lot more about them … so we can deliver in a customized, personalized way what they want,” Nassetta said. “You get a better value. You get the best price by buying with us. Points with real value. Access to digital tools through our app. By engaging with us and knowing more about you, we can customize the experience. You get better value and a better experience.”

Bottom line: Don’t ever expect Hilton to cease working to convince consumers to “stop clicking around.”

“You’re going to see that forever. It will take on different forms and iterations, but it will never go away,” Nassetta said.

Brand Proliferation Continues

Another thing we can expect to continue to see from Hilton is the launch of new brands. Nassetta said that while Hilton has 14 brands today, it is also considering adding “three or four more.”

Nassetta hinted that these new brands would include a five-star luxury soft brand collection, a sort of “Hilton Plus” brand, an urban micro brand, and a “hostel on steroids.”

“In 2018, you will see our urban micro [brand] come out,” Nassetta said.

Watch the entire interview above. Or consider reading more coverage of the Skift Global Forum.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.

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October 24, 2017 at 06:02AM