Posts Tagged ‘tourism industry’

Eight New Businesses Certified by Greener Nebraska

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Eight New Businesses Certified by Greener Nebraska


LINCOLN, NEB. (Aug. 8, 2011)—Eight Nebraska businesses recently earned certification from Greener Nebraska by meeting green performance standards.


The eight businesses qualifying for certification were:


  • Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center, Wood River
  • Western Nebraska Segway Experience Center, Scottsbluff
  • Lincoln Children’s Museum, Lincoln
  • Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon
  • Green Acres Motel & RV Park, Red Cloud
  • Best Western Settle Inn, Omaha
  • Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Denton
  • Mom’s Pantry, Ogallala


Greener Nebraska, developed by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division, strives to reduce the tourism industry’s impact on the environment and to attract travelers interested in visiting green destinations. Its certification process previously had been restricted to tourism-related businesses along Nebraska’s nine Scenic Byways; the program expanded this year to help businesses across the state become more environmentally friendly.


Now that the program is open to businesses throughout the state, getting certified through Greener Nebraska is a simple and free way to promote your conservation efforts.


Visit our website,, to learn more about the program and to begin the certification process.


Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Tourism and Transportation

One of the great debates in tourism is how do we differentiate between tourism and travel, and the tourist and the traveler.   There are perhaps as many definitions of these two terms as there are tourism and travel professionals.  Some tourism entities define tourists as someone who has traveled at least 100 miles from home and spends at least one night in a taxable place of lodging.  Industry professionals often define visitors as people from another political jurisdiction who spend money in a place not their own, travelers are people who go from point A to point B for any purpose and for any length of time.  In all cases, however and no matter which words we use travel and tourism involve leaving place “A” and going to place “B”.  Despite the fact that the industry would prefer to think of itself as emphasizing interpersonal relationships, fun, relaxation or education, tourism and travel always involve getting to someplace new.  It is for this reason that travel and tourism are very oil/price-sensitive products with high spoilage rates. That is to say, once an airplane has left the gate, the profit from unsold seats can never be regained. The same is true of unsold hotel rooms or attraction tickets. To make tourism even more sensitive, most people are not obliged to travel except in cases of business and family.

For the most part, leisure travel is something that people elect to do, rather than are obliged to do. This right to not travel, simply to spend one’s vacation at home, means that the tourism industry dare not allow itself to become arrogant or too self-assured. It is in this light that travel and tourism experts need to watch the rising cost of oil carefully. No one knows at what point travel can become so expensive that people simply decide to forgo it. While no one can predict the future, it is also a mistake not to plan for the future. Then as realities develop, those plans can be adjusted as needed. To help you plan, Tourism and More offers you the following ideas and scenarios.

For the foreseeable future, assume that gas and oil prices will continue to rise. Gas pump shock is now something that travel officials will need to consider. In those countries, such as the USA, where gas prices have traditionally been low, the public is less likely to ignore rising fuel prices. In fact, every day as citizens pass a gas station they are reminded that the world’s major industrial powers are in a state of wage stagflation coupled with energy inflation. There is already a move to greater carpooling, and seeking of alternative forms of transportation.

-Do not panic; do plan.  The continual rise in fuel prices will impact every aspect of tourism. This is not the time to panic, but rather to be creative. Hold a local summit meeting between hotels, restaurants, attractions, and even such secondary tourism components as police and city governments. Develop several scenarios and then develop creative methodologies to meet these potential challenges. Remember, in a crisis, it is easier to modify a pre-set plan than it is to develop a new one from scratch.

-Take an active role in developing gas price incentives. Until now, tourism entities have mainly taken a reactive role in gas price issues. With gas pump price-shocks becoming more common, tourism and travel may need to become creative. For example, create promotions that include a free tank of gasoline for new visitors, or people spending an extra night in hotels or at attractions. The bottom line is that gas pricing often creates emotional reactions, and tourism is a business of emotions.

-Make sure you know how people arrive in your community.  If you are a destination to which most people drive, then you are going to be directly impacted by the high cost of motor fuel. If your tourism industry is airline dependent, airline service cutbacks and flight frequency (often caused by high airplane fuel prices) will impact every aspect of your tourism industry. One solution for many will be to expand markets by finding more visitors closer to home. While this temporary solution may help the local hotel industry, it is not adding to the community’s economy as tourism revenues from outside of the local region begin to fall. Instead, develop compensatory marketing schemes that will continue to make travel to your destination a worthwhile place to visit. In some areas, such as many island destinations, there are no closer markets. In that case, develop creative pricing, along with creative airport hospitality. Get travelers to forget the woes of travel as soon as they deplane.

-Higher fuel prices mean that the tourism industry needs to be thinking of its product as an integrated whole rather than as a series of independent components. The additional cost of transportation means that visitors will be seeking other ways to economize. Visitors do not see their tourism experience separately as hotels, restaurants, transportation, and attractions, but rather as a unified experience. The tourism industry now needs to do the same. Each component needs to be working with the other sectors of the industry to find ways to compensate for higher fuel prices. If visitors do not see the total experience as worthwhile, then all of the tourism industry’s components will suffer.

-Be aware that the rise in fuel prices has caused many airlines to cut back on service.  Most airlines have taken the position that higher fuel costs should translate into (1) poorer service and (2) higher ticket prices. It may be a number of years until travel historians will be able to determine if this policy was wise or not. What is known is that people enjoy flying less, and now where once the trip was a positive part of the travel experience, when combined with security considerations, many people now dread the transportation component rather than looking forward to it. This cutback in service means that on-the-ground tourism service providers must work extra hard to provide compensatory good service. For example, hotels (a major component of the hospitality industry) may want to ask their guests how they are arriving, and notify front desk personnel to be extra patient with people arriving by air. Registration counters may need to provide a small snack realizing that airlines no longer provide meals, and rooms may need to be readied at earlier hours for those people who arrive by air prior to 12:00 p.m.

-Show your appreciation. All too often tourism businesses act as if they are doing the customers a favor. This is the time to develop creative ways to show appreciation. For example, locales may want to develop “welcome passports” to be used at restaurants and hotels where visitors are provided with a free “extra” as a way of showing appreciation. Follow-up letters may also be sent in which the local tourism industry thanks people for visiting. The letters can even be e-letters and used as a way to encourage visitors to return for another visit.

-Lobby for serious energy policies.  Over the ten years, politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have used energy as a political football. Millions of dollars have been wasted in non-productive attempts to find energy solutions. Tourism and travel must find ways to show the world that they are leaders in creating sustainable solutions rather than allowing themselves to be seen as part of the problem. The industry’s future may very well depend on what energy solutions are developed.

Tourism in a World of Technology

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

The goal of “Tourism Tidbits” is to provide travel professionals with a monthly, easy-to-read overview of creative ideas. With proper referencing, we invite you to quote or reproduce  “Tourism Tidbits” and to pass it along to a friend.

“Tourism Tidbits” is published monthly in English and Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.  Mtra. Patricia Koalska of Mexico does the Spanish translation, Ericka Amorim of Lisbon, Portugal provides the Portuguese translation, Elise Magras from the French Caribbean provides our new French translation, and Dr. Turgut Var provides the Turkish translation.

T&M extends its heartfelt sympathies to all those who have lost so much in the recent tornados that have swept across the southern USA, to the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and to the victims of violence in the Arab countries.

for May 2011

Tourism in a World of Technology

In these precarious economic times, the hospitality industry composed of tourism and travel is facing a quintessential question. Technology has the great advantage that it allows tourism industries to replace expensive human labor with technological labor, thus not only reducing labor costs but also avoiding issues of customer service.   Yet technology may produce a whole new set of unintended consequences.

How does it draw the line between technology and personal service?  There is no doubt that technology plays an important role in tourism and travel.  Most of us are now used to booking our airline reservations on line, dealing with telephone trees and other cost saving devices. These technological advances have allowed corporations to save on manpower while at the same time empowering customers to make their own decisions.  On the other side of the equation, travelers use more technology then ever before and often the tourism industry has taken advantage of this desire (need) to stay in touch with its clientele.  Most of us are now used to being almost harassed with on-line surveys or computer driven telephone calls.  Now we have entered into the world of e-marketing, a system that may be called an advanced form of “spam.”

Although many hotels do provide free internet services, many of the “better” hotels have added additional charges for local calls, for internet access and a per page fee to receive a fax.  These additional charges combined with less personalized service often means that travelers have the idea that technology has become a one-way street. Technology is used to provide less personalized service and at the same time to generate additional revenue at hotels, on airplanes, and at transportation hubs.

Despite the misuse of technology, tourism and travel are highly dependent on technology and its use has made life a whole lot easier. There is no doubt that the cell phone has become a major part of our lives. And although technology etiquette may lag behind technology machinery the inconvenience of someone speaking too loud on a cell phone is more than outweighed by the safety, security and convenience that cell phones bring to most of us. On the other hand, technology’s growth has allowed worldwide terrorism to attack the tourism industry.  Cell phones can save lives or detonate bombs; air conditioning units serve to make life bearable in hot climates, but also pollute the atmosphere and can be carriers of disease.   The dawn of the computer age permits us to know weather forecasts around the world, allows business travelers to stay in touch with their offices and to supersede the problem of cross time zones negotiation, but can be used to destroy air travel.

Technology then has become a mixed bag for the tourism industry. It creates a great deal of conveniences while at the same time has been used as a way to increase revenues and to lessen customer service.  The world of technology has made air travel safe and abundant but has also brought about the need to go through long security lines and daily hassles. Certainly, some parts of the industry have begun to use technology prudently.  When used ethically, technology can be a great help in increasing our communication and security.  If on the other hand technology is used for selfish or destructive purposes than it can become a nemesis within the travel and tourism industry.  Hamlet’s question “to be or not to be” has never seemed more poignant in its relationship to travel and tourism.  To help you decide how much or how little technology is right for your tourism business, Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions:

Remember that tourism is about people “interfacing” with other people. No matter how good your technology may be, technology does not provide human warmth of take-home experiences.  Be mindful that tourism is about the selling of memories and then ask yourself at what point are you willing to sacrifice memories for efficiency.
-Make sure that your employees are well trained in the use of technology. Technology is only as good as the people who use it. Often tourism centers hire people who simply are not up to the task, misuse the technology and create more problems then they solve.  Train, train and then train your people some more.  Do not update so often that your employees’ knowledge base lags behind the technology’s capabilities.
-Use technology wisely: While even the best computer can never substitute the care and love that comes from another human being, technology if used properly can solve many a problem in tourism.  Among these are:
* Issues of time. Nothing upsets the tourism industry’s clientele as much as the misuse of time.  The proper use of computers to facilitate both check-ins and check-outs of places such as hotels, allows the person-on-duty to attend  to other problems.

* Clarity and consistency. In an interrelated multi-lingual world a great deal of information can be provided to guests in their own language without linguistic, pronunciation or grammatical errors.
* Ease of place – use technology and social networks to allow visitors to research from home and to gather basic information.  However, many hotels and transportation companies seem to hide telephone numbers on their web sites. Combine basic information that can be given on a computer with the human side of information. Remember that if the tourist can never reach you, then you may find that your customer has found a more user-friendly location.

If we like it or not technology touches almost every aspect of the tourism industry.  If we are smart enough to use the benefits of technology such as convenience, speed, and accuracy and avoid some of the pitfalls, lack of human contact, user friendliness, size of lettering, and lack of human contact, then technology can be a great time and cost saver. But if the tourism industry forgets the importance of the human element and that tourism is all about the experience then it is making a major error.

Dr. Peter Tarlow’s Newsletter

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

for January 2011
Producing Great Events

Major events are an important part of tourism. Be these events conferences or conventions, sporting events or religious rallies, major events impact almost every area of a tourism industry. Major events mean hotel occupancy, shopping at local retail establishments, food being purchased for and at the event and an increase in restaurant and entertainment revenue. Major events also offer the local community a non-haphazard approach to tourism planning. While the leisure tourism market is open to economic ups and downs due to anything from a change in weather conditions to an act of violence, major events produce a much more stable population. In the world of major events most financial outlays have been made well in advance and as such the event is less subject to market fluctuations. On the other hand, there is stiff competition between locales for the major event business, and in some cases, such as in some forms of sport championship games, it is the winning team that determines who will be the host community.
Events cover a wide range of fields, from fund-raising dinners to political rallies, from sports events to school reunions, from professional and academic conferences to family reunions or religious experiences, all are events and all add to a community’s economic health. To help you get the best meetings and special events for your community consider some of the following:

-If you are attempting to attract a new special event, study every aspect of the event prior to bidding for it. Often communities competing for special events simply do not do their homework. Before speaking with an event specialist, make sure that you know the basics: what are this event’s demographics? What are its special needs? What do they not want? How do their dates match yours? For example, if you are going after a religious convention or special event, you may want to consider what drinks to serve and what you need to avoid.

_To get the best competitive advantage consider your strengths and weaknesses. Doing a good assessment of what your community has to offer an event is essential. Ask questions such as: How do you stack up against others in your price range? Are your employees multilingual? What do potential customers think about what you have to offer and about what others are offering?

-Make sure that you know the answers to what in English are called the basic “w” questions. (Who, Why, When, and What) These are the essential questions that produce not only successful events but create positive word-of-mouth advertising. Make sure that you can answer fully: Who is holding the event and for whom is it targeted? Why are they holding this event? When will the event take place? Where do they want to hold the event and are your facilities adequate? What expectations do the event planners have and can you meet these expectations?

Develop sophisticated checklists. Make sure your checklist goes beyond the basics. Include such items as: what VIP requirements will the special event need? Do the event planners need you to make appointments with the fire marshal or other city officials? What happens if the airport closes down? Do you need to coordinate with an ambulance service? What problems might attendees have when they are outside of the event venue? What special political, medical, religious or social sensitivities might the event goers have?

Know to which threats the event may be subjected. For example, are you in a hurricane zone, is this conference liable to have political infighting that might impact your locale, does this conference act as a terrorism magnet, or will the conference become a disturbance to local businesses and citizens? For example, political events often require streets to be closed off, traffic patterns to be moved and other inconveniences to local residents. While these are not a threat to the convention attendee they may become “threats” to the sanity of the local population and to other businesses.

Decide what is the best use of your time. Events are really controlled moments in time in which memories are made. As such, how you manage your time will impact the success or failure of an event. When working with an event manager spend some time to learn who is in charge of each of the events aspects.

-Learn what the event’s time necessities are and prepare a time line for your role in the event. Often it is the small things that win over a client or make an event special. Having a time line means that there is less chance of a mistake or an oversight. Time lines should indicate not only when something is to be started but also by when it is to be completed.

-Offer the best technological support possible. In today’s world that is both face paced and multi-tasking, technology is king. Hotel’s that charge for internet are doing themselves and their community a disservice. Let your event managers know what technology you have. Do not over-promise, many event managers and business people are unforgiving when it comes to not delivering on a promised piece of technology.

-Nothing wins back people as well as a smile and a willingness to make it right. No matter how well you plan an event, something will go wrong. Most people understand that mishaps will occur, what is not acceptable is refusing to recognize these mistakes and make them right. Saying merely “I’m sorry” is nothing more than a polite way to shun responsibility. Do not make excuses, make it right and make it right with a cheerful smile. The bottom line is that major events are a form of tourism and the essence of tourism is customer service. The community that forgets this basic rule is gambling with its tourism industry and reputation.

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

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

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