Creating Powerful Customer Connections
Two RCCL brands along with Southwest Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are the preferred choice of Americans for “getting us there,” according to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study. The travel companies rank high in their ability to make customers feel “connected” to their brands. Within cruise, Royal Caribbean International is the Harris Poll EquiTrend Cruise Line Brand of the Year, followed closely by Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. In air, Southwest Airlines topped the list, trailed closely by JetBlue. Southwest was noted for its “spirited brand character, coupled with bucking the nickel-and-diming trend,” and for creating “a passionate and devoted following.” Alaska/Horizon Airlines earned the 2012 Full Service Airline Brand of the Year.
Global Travel and Tourism: Engine of Job Creation
The global travel and tourism industry is the planet’s second-largest job creator, after education, it was reported at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 12th Global Summit in Tokyo. An average of 50 jobs is generated by every $1 million in travel expenditures. In 2011, 98 million people were directly employed by travel and tourism. That’s six times more than automotive manufacturing, five times more than the global chemicals industry, four times more than the global mining sector, two times more than the global communications industry and one-third more than the global financial services industry. As a whole, the global travel industry’s direct contribution to the world GDP is $2 trillion.
In Praise of the Renewal of River Cruises
"The rebirth of river cruising is the most exciting product I’ve seen in 10 years. It was always kind of a non-event. You got on a boat, you had a cabin, you ate at the assigned time, and you went through locks and cities. Look at it now, with the amenities that are provided and the change in hardware. It’s literally taken off. We are selling millions of dollars of river cruises every year now." – Craig Pavlus, president, Pavlus Travel & Cruise, Inc.
Hotel Rates Up 5% in North America
Average hotel rates paid by North American travelers domestically increased by 5% in 2011 over 2010, according to Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index (HPI). Globally, hotel prices increased slightly less – 4% on average in 2011. Recovery in the Pacific outpaced the rest of the world with hotel prices up 8%. Other findings: American’s top three favorite domestic cities are New York City, Las Vegas and Orlando, while their favorite overseas cities are London, Paris and Rome. The Hotels.com HPI is based on bookings made on Hotels.com and tracks the real prices paid per hotel room night, rather than advertised rates.
Carnival Corp. executive Howard Frank told an audience at Cruise Shipping Miami that he's been wearing a Costa lapel pin since the January Concordia accident to demonstrate his pride in the line's management team and crew. “The crew are the heroes, and as the days unfold some of these stories will be told,” said Frank, vice chairman and COO of Carnival Corp., which owns Costa. Frank, who is chair of CLIA, also had high praise for Italian ship captains. “I couldn't feel in better hands than when Italian captains are on the bridge.”
If your clients like to be treated with respect, arrive at their destination on time and find their bags waiting for them, United Airlines might not be their best choice – at least if this year’s Airline Quality Ratings report is to be believed. According to the report, United had the highest rate of consumer complaints in 2011 with 2.21 complaints per 100,000 passengers. The airline also experienced a drop in on-time arrivals. Also, the number of lost or damaged bags was up from 3.4% per 1,000 passengers to 3.66%. Rounding out the list of five worst airlines were Continental, American, US Airways and Southwest.
Going Bananas, Who Wants to Come?
Honduras’ Banana Coast unveiled the port’s initial shore excursion program, which includes cultural, soft-adventure and eco-tour options. The destination’s signature tours will visit the Campo del Mar Nature Park, which features 22 acres of flora and beach. Other offerings include a VIP airplane ride to the Mayan ruins at Copan; an 18-station lagoon, rainforest and beach zipline; snorkeling in Guaimoreto Lagoon, and a culinary tasting tour in the colonial town of Trujillo. The $30 million Banana Coast project is is scheduled for completion by spring 2013.
Plenty of Untapped Markets
Anyone who is concerned about the cruise industry’s growth potential should consider the populations of India and China, says Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. “Even 1% is 25 million potential customers, and that would more than double the industry. When I look into the future, it's awfully bright."
Vacation Time: Where Does Your Boss Stand?
Next time you’re ready to ask your boss for vacation time, be grateful you don’t live in Italy or South Korea. While 73% of Americans find their bosses are supportive of vacations, the same is not true in Italy or South Korea, where 56% and 52%, respectively, believe the boss disapproves of employee vacations. At the other end of the spectrum, employees in northern Europe are much more pro-vacation, with Norway and Sweden boasting the highest boss-approval percentages (88% and 82%, respectively).
Fran Golden contributed to this report.