What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...

Jul 15th, 2016

Destination Tourism

How Pokemon Go is transforming travel

Pokemon Go As Pokemania sweeps the world, it's turning gamers into travelers and redefining tourist attractions.
Pokemon Go involves finding and capturing virtual Pokemon characters at real life locations.
The game is forcing players to become tourists in their own cities, and beyond, pounding the pavement to clock up the required distance (at least 2km) to hatch their eggs, and it's drawing their attention to local landmarks they may not have noticed before.  "We have helped users all around the world have fun, socialise, and get more fit as they play and explore," Niantic chief executive John Hanke said in a blog post when Pokemon Go was released last week in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
These days at iconic tourist attractions around major cities, you're as likely to find Pokemon hunters glued to their smartphones as you are to see tourists snapping selfies.

Source:  News.com.au. 
Georgia Welcomed More Than 100 Million Visitors in 2015, Industry Impact Generates $58.9 Billion in Economic Impact

Georgia sign The Georgia Department of Economic Development's Tourism division announced today that Georgia welcomed an estimated 102.4 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 3.7 percent.
"Congratulations to Georgia's entire tourism industry on this incredible achievement," said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. "Tourism is one of our most important industries, impacting communities from the North Georgia mountains to our Golden Isles and from the Chattahoochee to the Savannah River. Not only is Georgia a top vacation destination, but our tourism industry assets provide a robust quality of life for Georgians."  Since 2012 travel has been on the rise in Georgia, adding nearly 14.76 million domestic travelers to the market, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates. 

Source:  The Douglas Enterprise. 
Algae outbreak again plagues southern Florida beaches, tourism
Florida Algae Environmental advocacy can be an arcane game, especially in southern Florida. After all, not many people understand the intricacies of the Everglades ecosystem and how man's plumbing of that system over the past century to facilitate growth and development has created a situation that demands a replumbing in order to protect beaches, waterways, reefs and drinking water.
But you don't have to be an environmental scientist to be alarmed when algae blooms, caused not by a natural process but rather by a human-managed one, force beaches to be closed, make marinas look like an especially thick green-pea soup and emit smells so strong that they can take your breath away.

Source:  Travel Weekly. 
Confederate flag's removal could drive tourism, sports to SC
Since the Confederate flag's removal from the State House grounds a year ago, boycotts of the state have been lifted, paving the way for a boost in tourism and the chance at high-profile sporting events. The NAACP and NCAA last summer lifted their boycotts of South Carolina, put in place after the 2000 compromise that removed the flag from the State House dome to a nearby flagpole. The state NAACP convention has returned to South Carolina after spending recent years in North Carolina and Georgia, said Dwight James, the S.C. NAACP's executive director. Last year the convention was held in Spartanburg. This September it's slated for Columbia. "The word is slowly getting out that the flag has been removed from the State House grounds," James said.

Source:  The State. 
Universal Orlando Aims to Attract More Conventions With Fifth Hotel

The Orlando Sentinel reports that tropical-themed Sapphire Falls Resort will open Thursday with 1,000 rooms. It will have 115,000 square feet of space for meetings and events and a covered walkway to another hotel's conference area. The Sentinel reports that Universal now advertises almost 300,000 square feet of meeting space throughout its Orlando hotels. The dean of the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Abraham Pizam, says the average convention guest spends up to four times as much as the average leisure tourist. Orange County Convention Center Executive Director Kathie Canning says the county's 2 million-square-foot convention facility expects to add Sapphire Falls to the list of hotels it works with to book rooms for larger events.

Source:  Skift. 
Brand USA Says It Is Having Trouble Reaching Its Tourism Goals
Brand USA quietly released its fiscal year 2015 annual report earlier this month, and on the organization's quarterly board call its executives wrestled with the realization that tourism isn't increasing quite as quickly as they had anticipated. In order to play catch up, Brand USA has raised its target compound annual growth rate for inbound tourism from 4.2 percent to 4.8 percent from 2016 to 2021. "We are significantly under where we need to be for that target [of 100 million visitors by 2021]," said Caroll Rheem, Brand USA's vice president of research and analytics, on the June 9 Brand USA conference call. "The leading driver of our underperformance is the 10 percent decline in Canadian volume."

Source:  Skift. 
Sports Tourism

An 'innovative' way to make golf cheaper, faster and more fun
We all know what ails golf: Takes too long. Too expensive. Too hard. Mindful of those issues, the Arlington Heights Park District aimed to create a new experience. Officials renovated and rerouted Arlington Lakes Golf Club to the tune of $2.4 million (plus $400,000 for clubhouse upgrades) - a bold step that has the attention of American golf's top governing body. "It's innovative thinking," said Hunki Yun, the USGA's director of partnerships, outreach and education. A banner on the new patio at Arlington Lakes reads: "Discover Your Drive." Here's what it means: Players can knock out a three-hole loop in about the same time it takes to watch a sitcom. If they set aside an hour, they might be able to complete a six-hole loop. The third and six holes now return to the clubhouse. 

Source:  Chicago Tribune. 
Vacation Rentals

Hawaii Governor: No Aloha for AIRBNB tourists 
Imagine a lodging company with places to stay in 34,000 cities and 191 countries and more than 2 million accommodation listings. This is airbnb, founded in 2008 in San Francisco by Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharcyk.  Airbnb is about a special experience when traveling and a homestay. Many airbnb guests not only want to save money, but are interested in learning about how people live and are often interested in making friends and understanding new cultures. Stay in an apartment, in a castle, in a tree house, a beach cottage or a garage - airbnb offers all of it. Opportunities like this may not go well with major hotel groups in regions where travel and tourism is a major industry. Hotels and resorts are in the accommodation business and don't want private citizens to interfere with their income. They want tourists to buy $15 dollar Mai Tais and not go to a supermarket and make it themselves on their own lanai overlooking the ocean.
Source:  Global Travel Industry News. 
Vacation Rental Pros Rapidly Expanding with Acquisition of Waterfront Vacation Rentals

Vacation Rental Pros, LLC. one of the fastest growing vacation rental management companies in North America, reached an agreement to acquire Waterfront Vacation Rentals, based in St Petersburg, Florida. The move adds an additional 185 St Petersburg Beach-area vacation rental properties to the management portfolio of Vacation Rental Pros, giving the company over 1,650 total properties under exclusive management contract. "We are thrilled to expand our existing presence in the Tampa/St Petersburg market, which plays host to more than 21 million travelers per year," said Steve Milo, founder and owner of Vacation Rental Pros. "In addition to Waterfront's existing client base, their top-notch management team brings a wealth of experience in new and growing markets of St Petersburg Beach, Clearwater Beach, Madiera Beach and Indian Shores, and puts us in an excellent position for even more growth in the near future in Southwest Florida."

Source: VRM Intel. 
Lodging Industry

Earlier this year,  we lamented the fact that although a few companies have attempted to allow or at least help guests choose a specific hotel room for their stays, the ability to do so was limited at best. Now, however, that seems to no longer be the case. On June 30, GLH Hotels, an owner-operator of 14 London hotels with brands that include Clermont, Amba Hotels, Guoman Hotels, Every Hotels, Thistle Hotels, and Thistle Express, debuted ChooseYourOwnRoom.com, letting guests do exactly that. Unlike other efforts in this space including, Room 77 and Hilton Worldwide, GLH Hotels' system actually lets guests book the exact room they want at the time of reservation, as early as 50 weeks out. By contrast Hilton's Choose Your Own Room feature, is only enabled after the booking is made and just a day or two before the guest is scheduled to check into the hotel. 

Source:  Skift. 
"Millennials are not a monolithic group," says Sarah Kennedy Ellis, vice president of marketing and strategic development for Sabre Hospitality SolutionsHer view is based on a new research report from Sabre on millennial traveler behavior. If you define the generation broadly as 18- to 35-years old, you'll get a confusing picture, she argues. It's often savvier to look at the sub-segments, to get an accurate understanding of its travel behaviors and profiles. At the most obvious level, older millennials (meaning those over age 30) tend to travel differently than those still in school, as noted in Sabre's global online survey of 1,150 millennial travelers. Hotel marketing should reflect that variety, the company argues. 

Source:  Tnooz. 

Uber Technologies partnered this week with Hertz, one of the world's largest car rental companies, to offer short-term auto rentals to ride-hailing drivers -- a move intended to court new drivers and keep current ones on the road. The partnership, which launches in Los Angeles and will be rolled out to other U.S. cities in the coming months, will allow approved Uber drivers to rent a car from Hertz to drive for the ride-hailing company. The weekly rentals cost $180, which includes auto insurance, unlimited miles, vehicle maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Uber has a similar agreement with Enterprise, which charges drivers $210 a week. Uber competitor Lyft also offers a short-term rental program through General Motors, starting at $99 with conditions. Outside of these programs, car rental companies typically do not allow customers to drive for Uber and Lyft. 

Source:  Los Angeles Times. 

U.S. employment rebounds strongly in June, calming fears of economic slowdown

Job Market The U.S. jobs market picked up speed in June, new government data showed Friday, allaying fears that the economy was headed for a sustained slowdown after a weak start to this year.
Employers added 287,000 jobs in June, up sharply from a meager addition of only 11,000 jobs the month before. Though many analysts expected job growth to rebound, they were also waiting to see if the dismal figures from May were repeated, which would be an indication that the economy might be sinking into deeper trouble.
Instead, the latest employment data exceeded forecasts, and a broad range of industries reported job gains. The latest data takes away one source of anxiety even as the U.S. faces potential new threats from Britain's vote to leave the European Union. 

Source:  The Washington Post. 
Special Event
Case Study
Problem:  A leisure destination municipality is interested in increasing the vibrancy of their town during shoulder seasons but does not have enough data to know when events should be held that would most benefit their community. They currently track their lodging and sales tax collections but they are on a monthly level of granularity and not timely.

  • Boost sales and lodging tax revenues during shoulder seasons and drive traffic to local business
  • Increase overnight visitation during otherwise slow times
  • Measure their return on investment for the event to determine of goals were met

Solution:  Implementation of DestiMetrics' Daily Occupancy Report, where lodging properties submit daily level of granularity data to DestiMetrics. The data are aggregated in to a detailed line graph (think of an EKG) that shows paid and unpaid historic actual occupancy as well a forward looking occupancy for the current and prior year.  Data are collected monthly or bimonthly and provide a view of the overall destination's performance while keeping individual property data confidential.

The Results:  The municipality was able to:
  • Pinpoint which weekends were already performing well and which would most benefit from an event.
  • Once events were planned, they were able track advance reservations to determine if additional marketing was needed and if they could accommodate the anticipated demand. 
  • Better prepare their retailers & restaurateurs for the incoming visitation, not just for these new events but every month throughout the year.  
  • Post event they were able to determine if lodging occupancy increased and if the event was a positive impact on the economy of the community. 

We'd love the opportunity to tell you more about our Daily Occupancy Report.  Click on the link below to schedule an online demo.
"The Daily Occupancy Report is a very valuable tool for our entire community to keep a pulse on visitation to our resort so we can plan, react and offer the best guest experience possible."

        -Kelli McDonald
Economic Development Manager 
Town of Vail
Upcoming Events & Presentations

Copper Mountain Homeowners Association Annual Meeting

September 4

Copper Mountain, CO


Central Reservations Association of Destination Resorts (CRADR) Fall Meeting

October 3 & 4

Alyeska Resort, AK


Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA) Fall Summit

November 9- 11

Sandestin, FL


Vail Town Council & Economic Advisory Council Presentation

December 20

Vail, CO


Let us know if you'd like to connect at any of these events.
Quick Links
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn

 Volume 64

DestiMetrics LLC | 678 S. Franklin | Denver | CO | 80209