Posts Tagged ‘history’

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Black Friday- Make It Green for Your Hotel

It’s not too early to start planning for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mr. Larry Mogelonsky – CHA

Make no mistake, Black Friday is a beast. For those unfamiliar, I’m not referring to the stock market crash in 1929, but rather the busiest shopping day of the year occurring over the U.S. Thanksgiving long weekend. The day is hugely important for retailers with billions of dollars in sales, and I see no reason why your hotel can’t also capitalize come November 25, 2011. But first, let’s review some history and how it ties into present day consumer expectations.

The Thanksgiving weekend is the traditional time for people to start their Christmas gift purchases, something established long before the official naming of this grand sales event. Our current iteration of Black Friday originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s when the combination of fans for the annual Army-Navy football game and shoppers drove the city into a bottleneck. It has since evolved to more generically reference the bedlam at malls nationwide and the point at which retailers go from red to black in the accounting books.

With most people taking time off work and its prime placement before the upcoming holiday season, Black Friday has always been destined for great things. In an effort to lure this blip of consumers and heighten impulse buys, a few select retailers started by offering Black Friday promotions. This in turn caused other vendors to compete with their own Thanksgiving specials and extended shopping hours. Soon, everyone had their own limited-time deals, all vying for customer dollars.

With the Internet, this behavior went haywire. Flashy websites and social media inform shoppers of Black Friday promotions well in advance of the day, as well as inundate those consumers with reminders of the event. Many companies offer Internet-only specials. The World Wide Web also lets people comparison shop to better locate the best deals.

It’s peer pressure on a massive scale. Those who aren’t involved may feel as though they’re missing out, while those already in the fray may be inclined to ramp up their deals to stay ahead of the pack. As such, Black Friday specials are now the norm, and in order to continually draw attention, many retailers have resorted to exorbitant discounts, often far exceeding anything else during the year. This has also perpetuated a “wait until Black Friday” mentality which puts even more focus on this day.

Purchasing hotel rooms, however, is quite different from retail purchases. But, who’s to say hotels can’t join this phenomenon? The best way to get the ball rolling is to use your website to promote your deal as well as provide the avenue for transactions via your online booking engine.

Alas, it’s not that simple. Black Friday is the most competitive shopping day of the year and everyone else has already slashed their prices. A regular deal will only be met with a ho-hum response. You’ll have to be aggressive and add a touch of creativity if you really want to stand out and profit.

For starters, map out an offer your guests can’t refuse. The easy way is with strong discounts on room rate. This tactic makes sense if you are offering rooms in a forecasted lower occupancy period, but it might also erode ADR to the point of putting you back in the red.

You can avoid this dip by limiting the number of rooms at this deep discount. Or, in lieu of a significant markdown, build a moderate price reduction into a leisure package which might also include transportation, meals or spa treatments – anything that will make the future experience streamlined and carefree. Lastly, to mitigate loss, consider adding criteria such as full pre-payment and a limited or no cancellation policy.

Next, create a standalone flash sale site to further differentiate your Black Friday specials from your other promotions. The goal is to market your deal explicitly and drive impulse buys. The design should be straightforward with the specs bolded in a list on the home page, social media icons populated correctly and a direct path to purchase. Emphasize the holiday spirit of gift giving and perhaps consider placing a countdown ticker, keeping in mind that web sales don’t have to abide by regular store hours.

But all your web efforts and RevPAR number crunching will be in vain if you don’t promote the endeavor. Again, your home base is your website. Add a tiny banner or javascript announcement to the corner of the screen that links to your dedicated sales page or flash site. Next, leverage your social media connections to build anticipation with a slow drip of the inside scoop. As an aside, these networks are very pervasive tools to coerce shoppers the day of and to answer questions about your deal.

As you well should know, the only way to build this anticipation is through diligent preparation. If you’re going to rake in the crowds like some of the current retail juggernauts, you have to form a plan by the end of September at the latest so that the marketing engine won’t have to resort to last-minute tactics. If you give this project your full attention, I see no reason why Black Friday can’t be green for your hotel.

Multi-generational Family Travel Rises

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Multi-generational Family Travel Rises

Tour operator advises how to accommodate so-called ‘3G’ adventures

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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Tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA – http://www.austinlehman.com/), the active travel company,reports an explosion in multi-generational or “3G” (three generations of same family)  travel.

For the fourth consecutive year, ALA reports mid-double digit growth in 3G trips both in pre-set, small-group and custom departures. Seventy-five percent of its custom exclusives are 3G bookings, mostly requesting national park trips, an ALA specialty.

“Our Yellowstone National Park family adventures are sold out for 2011 and we’re now taking bookings for 2012,” said Dan Austin, founder and owner. He added that family programs to other national parks such as Yosemite, Glacier, Bryce & Zion and Grand Teton still offer good space this season.

ALA’s 3G experience is in line with industry-wide statistics, said Austin, noting that 3G trips have recently been identified as top trends by mainstream travel companies such as Virtuoso and American Express Travel. Austin cites U.S. Travel Association research that notes that 30 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers vacation with children or grandchildren along. TripAdvisor reported this year that 92 percent of families with children surveyed last year planned to travel in 2011, up from 88 percent who did so last year. There’s also more international travel by families (predicted to be up 5% from 2010) because so many of today’s parents are becoming more and more world-travel savvy and operators such as Austin-Lehman are developing family-focused programs abroad.

Austin suggests that 3G families and their travel consultants explore together the various options and ask the following questions of the tour operator “to assure that meeting the complex needs of three generations surpasses all expectations.”

Hotels can take these points in mind when marketing to mutli-generational families or choosing tour providers to work with.

Accommodations

  • Are the accommodations family-friendly (i.e. meeting needs of both adults and kids)?
  • Are there children’s menus and safe places where children can roam when parents are socializing, reading on the porch, or sipping wine by the fire?
  • Is there a place to swim?
  • Does the itinerary allow parents to enjoy their own quiet meal if desired knowing children are being cared for, fed and entertained? (ALA ends its Yellowstone programs at Chico Hot Springs Resort where adults dine by candlelight while their kids have pizza by the pool.)

Pre-set Departures, Group Size and Guides

  • Will the group be big enough to allow interaction between multiple families with kids the same age, yet small enough to allow intimate and personalized attention and service from the staff and guides? (ALA says that a maximum of 18 on a family trip is the preferred number.)
  • Are guest rosters on pre-set family departures arranged insofar as possible with families who have children of similar ages? (Austin said his company does its best to match up three or four like-minded families with children of similar ages on the same departure.)
  • What is the guest to guide ratio? (ALA recommends a maximum of six guests per one guide so that everyone gets individualized attention.)
  • What are the guides’ qualifications? Summer break teachers experienced in working with young children can be the best, says Austin.

Equipment and Transportation

  • What kinds of equipment are used for activities and how is the equipment adapted for 3G use?  For example, Austin’s team offers kid-size mountain bikes and even tag-along kiddy carriers on all trips and new high tech electric bikes on all European trips.
  • What kind of transportation is used from Point A to Point B on a trip?
  • How is luggage stored and moved?
  • Do the guides offer any ongoing dialog and/or fun games to help pass time en route?

Flexibility and Age-Appropriate Activities

  • How flexible is the itinerary if someone wishes to veer from the day’s planned events?
  • Are there age-appropriate activities? Ask if the itinerary is flexible to accommodate, if necessary, individual programs for a range of guests 7 to 70 years old.  Austin cites a Montana trip where guides spontaneously set up an easy half-day horseback ride for grandparents who otherwise would have sat on the porch as younger family members did an intensive hike.

About Austin-Lehman Adventures
Austin-Lehman Adventures, with a 37-year legacy, provides adventure vacations on five continents, has built an international reputation for small group active travel to destinations in North, Central and South America, Europe, the Pacific Rim and Africa. The company specializes in adult and family multi-sport, hiking, biking vacations that emphasize history, culture and nature’s charms.  Trips are limited to 12 guests (18 on family departures) and feature excellent regional dining, distinctive accommodations and all-inclusive rates and services. In addition to scheduled group departures, ALA offers customized trip planning.

Travel: the Original Social Media

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Travel: the Original Social Media
Dear Fellow Traveler,

In recent weeks the world has witnessed unprecedented change roll across the Middle East, as a revolution in one country, aided at least in part by the burgeoning power of social media, helped spark a revolt in another country (again aided by social media), which helped spark yet another, and so on. These events remind us that today, thanks to technology, we are interconnected as never before in human history.

While the growing power and influence of social media across the globe is striking and undeniable, it’s worth noting that a force similar in many ways to today’s social media has for millennia shaped our cultures and our history. Since long before Marco Polo returned to Venice to tell his fantastical tales of 24 years spent in the East, travel has served as a catalyst for the dispersion of ideas and ideals across the globe.

Travel, it could even be argued, is the original social media. Like social media at its best, travel at its best deepens our understanding of the world around us and creates bridges of understanding between both individuals and cultures.

Ultimately, whether travel (or social media, for that matter) is a force for good or ill depends entirely on us. Will it help lift millions out of poverty or will it simply further enrich a fortunate few? Will it contribute to the lasting conservation of our planet’s remaining great wildernesses, or help hasten their demise?

We at Sustainable Travel International fervently believe that travel can be a force for good in the world because we’ve seen it with our own eyes, again and again; important conservation projects funded by tourism revenue, local people empowered by decent jobs and educational opportunities created by tourism, and the connection and understanding engendered by the simple power of a smile and a handshake.

If you are a travel provider and you share our belief that travel can and should have a positive impact on our world, we’d love to talk to you about how our programs can help you operate more sustainably. Or, if you’d prefer, just scroll down and register for our upcoming free webinar ” Sustainable Tourism 201 – Putting Pencil to Paper” on March 22nd to learn more.

Safe and happy travels,

Matt Kareus
Director of Marketing
mattk@sustainabletravel.com

Gov. Heineman Declares May 8 – 16 as ‘See Nebraska Week’

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today kicked-off ‘See Nebraska Week,’ which runs from May 8 to 16 and encourages Nebraskans and other travelers to learn more about vacation options in Nebraska. Several new tourism campaigns were developed this year to promote opportunities for summer travel across the state.

“We want to encourage more Nebraskans and their families to take advantage of travel opportunities throughout the state,” Gov. Heineman said. “Visiting a site along one of our nine scenic byways or exploring our state’s history on a road trip will lend the traveler not just an off-the-beaten-path experience, but a summer full of memories.”

Travelers in Nebraska spent more than $3.7 billion in Nebraska on overnight trips in 2009, and annual spending in the state has increased by more than $2 billion since 1990. Nebraska’s tourism industry provides more than 42,000 jobs and is the third leading industry in the state.

The Nebraska Byways Passport program highlights the many destinations along the state’s scenic byways. Travelers are encouraged to pick up a souvenir passport at one of 27 participating locations along Nebraska’s nine scenic byways and collect stamps from each location visited for a chance to win a prize.

The Division of Travel and Tourism has also created a program encouraging young people to help plan their family vacation. The History Along Nebraska’s Byways program supplements the Nebraska history curriculum offered to fourth graders and will be distributed to 1,140 schools across the state. Designed with the help of educators, the materials include a Nebraska map with icons for various historical locations across the state, a Nebraska byway history video and classroom activities including crafts, worksheets, interactive games, and field trip activities. Subjects include state symbols, American Indians, map reading, explorers, pioneers, forts and military bases, among other topics. More information is available online at historywithtyler.com.

The division is also offering a new RVNebraska brochure with information to make the most of a trip along Nebraska’s scenic byways, including details on campgrounds along byway routes and top attractions.

Nebraska remains one of the most cost-effective destinations in the nation for travelers. AAA consistently names Nebraska one of the top five most affordable vacation destinations in the United States, with average daily vacation costs for a family of four well below the national average.

Richard Baier, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, said, “Nebraska offers travelers great value and great attractions. After a long winter, this summer is a good time to get out and see a new part of the state.”

Travelers can find interactive maps, road trip ideas, trip planners and more online at VisitNebraska.gov.

Nebraska B&B Association

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Nebraska is a diverse state, with rolling grasslands, astonishing sandhills, meandering rivers, ancient oak forests, and cosmopolitan cities. Outdoor recreation is abundant here. There are miles and miles of quiet and rushing rivers, for peaceful floats or exciting rides down the rapids. Hikers are delighted by trails through the dry sandhills of the northwest or the woods of the northeast. Fishermen are drawn to the Prairie Lakes Region. Bikers enjoy the many scenic byways.

An enormous amount of history has flowed through Nebraska, particularly during the westward expansion of this country, and it is fascinating to explore that history in depth. This land was – and is – peopled by Native Americans. Settlers of European descent traveled here in search of lush farmland and a better life. Lewis and Clark spent a great deal of time here, exploring the Missouri River and surrounding land.

Learn more about Nebraska Travel Info & Events



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