What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Jan. 26th 2016
Destination Tourism
New Space Coast tourism campaign to push beach nostalgia
Tourism officials are dipping into the past to attract future visitors to the Space Coast. A major theme of the Space Coast Office of Tourism's $3.88 million marketing campaign for the current year will be the beach vibe of decades past, and how tourists can recapture those memories today. The campaign - paid for with money from the 5 percent tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals - will focus of attracting families with children and empty nesters. Office of Tourism Marketing Director Tiffany Minton said one key tag line in the marketing campaign will be "Cocoa Beach: Still Cool."
Source:  Florida Today. 
Myrtle Beach launches new promotion to help Canadians beat weak dollar  
Myrtle Beach If the value of the loonie against the American dollar has you afraid to head stateside, you are among an increasing number of Canadians who are choosing to stay and travel within the country in an effort to get the most for their money.  This has meant trouble for U.S. destinations that rely on tourism for their local economies. In an article by the Canadian Press, experts say tourism to the U.S. was down 9% in 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.  "When you're talking about 25% or so loss in the value of the loonie -- that's a pretty significant hike in prices in stores or on menus in restaurants for Canadian visitors," Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida, told the Canadian Press.

Source:  Toronto Sun. 
As a bitter blast of cold air sends temperatures plunging across much of the northern part of the country, Palm Beach County tourism leaders are hoping the frigid weather will send frozen out-of-towners flocking to the area's sunny beaches. Although the National Weather Service in Miami warned of chilly temperatures across South Florida early Tuesday morning, with wind chill readings to expected to drop to the mid-40s in Palm Beach County, forecasters on Monday said the Mercury was expected to dip to dangerously low levels across the Midwest.

Source:  MyPalmBeachPost. 
Spring Break 2016: If you bring Panama City Beach chaos to Alabama, 'you're going to jail'
With Panama City Beach clamping down on spring break hedonism, should the Alabama coast be bracing for a season of mayhem. That fear has been raised lately among some in the Gulf Shores-Orange Beach area, but local officials say they don't see much cause for concern - and they say they're fully prepared to shut down any public misbehavior that could damage the area's carefully cultivated reputation as a family-friendly destination. "If you come here, you better behave, or you're going to jail. It's that simple," said Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. "And we're not going to put up with the nonsense Panama City puts up with.

Source:  AL.com. 
HILO- For generations Hawaii has held the distinction of being one of the world's premiere vacation destinations. Its pristine beaches, temperate weather, gorgeous topography and vibrant cultural offerings have drawn visitors from far and wide, making the state one of the most photographed and discussed getaways on the planet. But if the advent of the Internet has taught us anything, it's that some people can find fault with anything - even paradise. Online review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor are chock full of glowing reviews and tips for travelers on how to enjoy the wonders that can be found on the Big Island, but if you flip those reviews around and take a look at the lowest of the low ratings, you'll find a mixture of commentary that ranges from thoughtful, probing criticism to trolling of the highest order.

Source:  West Hawaii Today. 
How does one repeat a boom year? That's the question Southwest Florida tourism, travel and hospitality leaders are asking themselves. It's no small matter to an industry that accounts for an estimated one in five jobs in Lee and Collier counties alone. The final numbers aren't yet in; however, odds are high Lee and Collier counties will achieve record bed tax collections in calendar 2015. To be sure, they've garnered a nice chunk of statewide tourism, which is projected to be a record-buster, topping 100 million visitors by year-end. On 2016, "I have an optimistic outlook," said Tamara Pigott, executive director for Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Source:  news-press.com. 
Free parking has been a signature feature of casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip since (we'd guess) the days of Bugsy Siegel. Despite the gaming industry's relentless search for new sources of income, it's survived as an artifact of competition - no Strip property dared to start charging for parking for fear of losing customers to the casino next door. You can kiss this tradition goodbye. MGM Resorts announced that it will be charging up to $10 to park at its premier Strip properties. It's a safe bet that other Strip casinos will fall into line soon. 

Source:  msn.com. 
Lodging Industry
Online travel agencies tipped to lose market share to hotel direct channels
Tnooz Hotels in the third biggest tourist market on the planet are starting to fight back against the dominance of online travel agencies.
At least, this is the forecast contained within research from Phocuswright shared at the FITURTech event in Madrid, Spain, this week.
Spain comes behind France and the US in the rankings for the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with some 65 million visitors in 2014 (up 7% on the previous year, according to figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation).
Yet the country's hotels have relied for many years on OTAs to fill their rooms, or have agreements with European tour operators for package holidays.

Source:  Tnooz.com. 
Airbnb Takes Its Case to U.S. Mayors Conference
Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of global policy, appeared on Thursday before hundreds of American mayors with an enticing pitch: Team up with us to collect millions of dollars in taxes for you. On Wednesday, however, the head of the hotel industry's lobbying group had sent the same audience a very different message: Airbnb isn't a good partner; it is breaking your city laws.
The heated battle between Airbnb, the popular room-sharing app, and the hotel industry is playing out in city halls across the country, including those in New York and Los Angeles, which have either passed or are considering restrictions on the service.

Source:  TheNewYorkTimes.com. 
Americans leave plenty of their vacation days on the table at the end of each year, but that doesn't mean they aren't traveling. More than 100 million of us will hit the road this holiday season alone-an all-time high. Although the majority of Americans choose to get away within the U.S., close to 70 million travel abroad each year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Here's a look at the stories that defined the travel experience in 2015. This summer, Disney banned selfie sticks from all of its theme parks after a photo-related incident shut down a roller coaster for more than an hour. 

Source:  Time.com. 
Sighseeing The dollar is strong which is great news for Americans headed abroad and tough luck for foreign visitors coming to the States. It's also bad for the U.S. tourism industry. Jobs and big money are on the line, for businesses large and small that depend on foreigners choosing America as a destination and spending big when they arrive. International visitors tend to stay longer and spend more than American tourists, meaning they have outsized impact on the U.S. tourism economy. The realities of exchange rates mean the industry has to do things differently.

Source:  Marketplace. 
Travel brands catering to millennials have also been quick to assume this generation is cash-strapped, designing products and experiences with this purchase behavior in mind. As it turns out, the assumption about this generation's lower incomes leading to lower travel spending doesn't hold up. Consistent with millennials' prioritization of experiences over other purchases, their travel spending often outpaces spending on other items. "They've spent the second-most on vacations in the last 12 months among the four generational categories, and they're looking to spend the second-most among the four categories in the next 12 months," said Steve Cohen, VP of insights at MMGY in a 2014 interview with Hotel News Now.

Source:  Skift.com. 
The big change in customer service in 2016 will be that we won't have to talk to actual humans nearly as often ... or ever if we really don't want to. "The primary way people interact with one another will become Web chat, text message, and Facebook Messenger. Those will become the preferred ways that people interact with a business," predicts Hotel Tonight co-founder Sam Shank. Hotel Tonight launched one of our favorite hotel innovations this year with its Aces system, a chat feature that connects guests with the company's team of insiders for access to everything from local tips to recommendations to room and hotel requests.

Source:  Yahoo.com. 
Airline Industry
Delta CEO Richard Anderson has helmed his current post since 2007, steering his company through nothing short of a sea change in the commercial air travel industry. Aviation journalist Kathryn Creedy recently discussed Anderson's impact on Delta and the airline industry with Airways News' Benét J. Wilson. Creedy says: "Anderson is a polarizing figure, but it's unfair to say that you either love him or hate him. He's created a new philosophy of running an airline for profitability, not market share. We now have a group of managers that adhere to this new philosophy and that has never happened before."

Source:  Roadwarriorsvoices.com. 
After years of pleading poverty, hitting customers for extra fees and cutting perks like free peanuts to boost the bottom line, U.S. airlines this month will report record profits that make 2015 the best year for the industry in decades -- since well before the federal government stopped regulating fares and routes in 1978. In first three quarters of last year, airlines reported nearly $17.9 billion in net income after taxes, according the Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation StatisticsFourth-quarter earnings reports due this month are expected to deliver positive news, confirming 2015's eclipse of 2006, when airline profits hit $16.5 billion, according to the bureau figures dating to 1990.

Source:  USA Today. 
Applications for U.S. Unemployment Aid Rise to 6-Month High
Unemployment pic The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since July, though applications remained at historically low levels.
Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased to 285,000, the highest since April. The number of Americans receiving aid has fallen nearly 9 percent in the past year to 2.2 million.
The new numbers, though, show some loss of momentum in the labor market amid a sharp economic slowdown and financial market volatility.

Source:  NBC News. 
DMX Mark
Understanding the profile or your destination guest

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 Volume 59