U.S. Travel has announced a new city and dates for IPW 2021 due to the cancellation of IPW 2020. Las Vegas, scheduled to host this year, will host on May 10-14 next year. Chicago, which had been slated to host in 2021, agreed to step aside and will instead be the host city in 2025. The cooperation between these two cities is being applauded by the travel industry. Other future host sites—Orlando in 2022, San Antonio in 2023, and Los Angeles in 2024—remain unchanged. President & CEO Roger Dow: “Cancelling #ipw20 was a difficult, though clearly necessary call, and our future host cities came together to achieve a win-win outcome for the future of the event.”
Enlightening research, insights, surveys, data, blogs from the experts. Find out what American travelers are thinking. On weekly surveys, the next wave of American consumer sentiment is in.
|COVID-19 Resource Center
|Daily Travel Index
|Update on Coronavirus’ Impact on American Travelers
|Five Indices for DMOs to Track for Recovery
|Covid-19 Travel Sentiment Study
|MMGY Travel Intelligence
|Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS): Impact of Covid-19
|Covid-19 Travel Industry Updates
|Changing Social Media Behaviors During Coronavirus Pandemic
|Covid-19: Resources for Tripadvisor Partners
|Covid-19 Travel and Tourism Research Resources
Longwoods International findings in summary by Amir Eylon, President & CEO: “…intent to travel seems to have stabilized after heading back up from the low point three weeks ago, clearly reflecting a hesitancy to travel despite the pent-up demand. A lot of mixed messages in the media last week with talk about re-opening the economy in several states and countered by stories about the potential risks of re-opening too soon is likely helping to feed this hesitancy. One bright spot in this week’s results, the percentage of those surveyed who indicated that the coronavirus pandemic would “greatly impact” their decision to travel in the next six months has trended slightly downward in the past four weeks, from 67% to 61%, though still far above the 35% on March 11.”
App Annie, an analytics firm, indicates Zoom downloads rose 740% over the past month. Zoom claims 300 million daily participants, up from 10 million before the pandemic. Others want a piece of the action, reports The New York Times. Facebook unveiled its expansion with video group chats for as many as 50 people on Facebook Messenger, up to wight people on WhatsApp video calls. Google made Meet video chat app more accessible through Gmail. Cisco is promoting Webex teleconferencing as more secure compared with Zoom. And Verizon is acquiring BlueJeans Network, a videoconferencing service.
In a webinar for members of SATW (formerly Society of American Travel Writers), editors shared the latest on the destination-related content that travel publications are planning for in the coming months. Managing editors from Travel & Leisure, American Way Magazine, Departures, Travel Weekly, Miami Herald and Atlas Obscura mentioned: National Parks, state parks, big outdoor spaces, domestic road trips, hikes near airline hub cities, smaller cities, Canada (when the border re-opens).
United Airlines became the first large U.S. airline to make it mandatory for flight attendants to wear face masks. Flight attendants will have the option of wearing their own face coverings or use the ones United provides. Air Canada requires passengers to wear face masks as well. San Francisco International Airport has imposed face masks for passengers. And Italy-based airplane seating company Aviointeriors is looking at more potential solutions for further personal in-flight protections. For a roundup of the latest airline and airport-related news (as of 4/25/2020), visit SFGate.com.
And in breaking news, JetBlue is the first major U.S. airline to require all passengers wear face masks effective May 4.
In other airline news, JetBlue has asked the U.S. Transportation Department for approval to suspend flights to more than two dozen U.S. airports where they say demand has fallen by 95%. JetBlue wants to halt service through Sept. 30 to including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Dallas and Detroit, among others.
Delta wants to suspend flights to nine airports: Lansing, Flint and Kalamazoo in Michigan; Worcester, Massachusetts; Hilton Head, South Carolina; Pocatello, Idaho; Brunswick, Georgia; and Melbourne, Florida.
Barry Diller, Chairman of Expedia Group, (which has landed a $3.2 billion financing package), announced Peter Kern is the new CEO. Kern has been a member of the board since 2005 and became Vice-Chair in 2018. Eric Hart is CFO. Diller said, “We are unable to make any predictions as to when travel will rebound but we emphatically believe that it will, for….’if there’s life, there’s travel.’”
Diller shared some thoughts on social distancing during a CBS “Face the Nation” interview last weekend. He said removing the middle seat on airlines is “absurd,” adding, “I don’t think that makes any sense,” calling it “a myth” that social distancing could be effective in airplanes, restaurants, theaters and other such places. Watch the clip here.
“Google and Alphabet are not immune…” said CEO Sundar Pichai in last week’s memo to staff. Google is expected to slash its marketing budget by about 50% for the second half of 2020, a deeper cut than reported one week earlier. Directors have been warning of a freeze on hirings. “Last year, it increased its headcount by at least 15%, the annual report shows. In addition, there was an increase in advertising and promotional expenses of $402 million,” reports CNBC.
Tripadvisor is reducing its staff by 25%, shedding 900 jobs, of which 600 are in the U.S. and Canada. The announcement spoke of the need “to seek significant cost savings that will help Tripadvisor get to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The message to employees came from Steve Kaufer, CEO and Co-Founder, as seen here.
Cunard luxury cruise line has cancelled sailings for its three queens. Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through July 31. For the ship Queen Elizabeth, the cruise line has cancelled its entire Alaska season and all departures up to and including September 8, 2020. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have also called off their Alaska cruise season. “Sadly, all sectors of Alaska’s tourism industry are having to make challenging decisions right now,” said a statement from Sarah Leonard, president and chief executive of the Alaska Travel Industry Association.
“Hawaii Travel Authority paying for visitors to return home” is the attention-grabbing headline in Travel Pulse. And The New York Times reports, “Visitors who break Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine rule may get an unwelcome gift: A free flight home. ” According to Hawaii’s Department of Health, the agency has provided the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) with $25,000 to pay for the return flights. So far in April, VASH has sent at least 20 visitors back to their airports of origin…” Turns out, the initiative isn’t new. “We’ve been helping victims of crime or other adversity they may have experienced in Hawaii for the past 23 years,” VASH President and CEO Jessica Lani Rich said in a statement.
The International Nightlife Association (INA) was founded in 2012 in Barcelona, a nonprofit member of the UNWTO with the goal of promoting the best clubs and the practices in nightlife. Now, INA has issued a “Sanitized Venue Certification” to reflect COVID-19 protocol. It’s known as International Nightlife Safety Certified (INSC), designed and implemented so venues can gain the trust of clients.
The New York Times Sunday print edition (circ. 918,000) has suspended its travel and sports sections. Executive editor Dean Baquet told employees the Travel section of the newspaper is being replaced with a new section called At Home beginning April 26. Skift reports a comment from editor Amy Virshup who moves from travel to the new home section, indicating that travel will publish content online as “news, service and more essayistic or creative pieces, rather than destination coverage.” Read more from Cheddar here.
The American Bus Association, representing its 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the US and Canada, has launched a task force for recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. They’re working through safety, cleanliness and best practices led by ABA Chairman Don DeVivo of DATTCO, Inc. in New Britain, Conn., ABA Board Member Terry Fischer of Transportation Charter Services in Orange, Calif., plus motorcoach industry safety professionals.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has formed a Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. Its 80 members will focus on reviving the economy in the nation’s most populous state. Billionaire Tom Steyer, a former presidential candidate, will chair the task force that includes former California Govs. Gray Davis, Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson. Other members include Bob Iger, Walt Disney Company executive chairman, Janet Yellen, former head of the Federal Reserve, Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
Casey Burdsall, most recently sales director – tourism for Adara, has joined Bandwango as part of their growing sales team. Describing herself as, “Tourism lover, supporter, dedicated salesperson and friend,” she is currently based in Portland, OR.
Washington Tourism Alliance announced the appointment of David Blandford as its interim executive director, effective May 4. Blandford was previously senior VP – public affairs at Visit Seattle. Blandford was part of the group that launched the Washington Tourism Alliance in 2011, formed in Washington State Tourism Office folded.
In Georgia, Kathy Tilley has moved from her position as interim president of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce to a new role as president & CEO of Visit LaGrange. Tilley spent years focused on destination marketing and has a background of almost 20 years focused on it at Callaway Gardens.
In Maryland, Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel CEO and President Connie Del Signore is on paid administrative leave while she is being investigated for an internal personnel matter. Del Signore has served as Visit Annapolis’ president and CEO since 2003 after she served as president of the Reading & Berks County Visitors Bureau in Pennsylvania.
Hear from travel industry PRs. Skift is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 30 at 11 a.m. EDT. How can brands help the rebound effort from a communications perspective? What key strategies are PRs providing their clients and what has been most effective? What ways can brands inspire travel without encouraging it? Will travel PR return to status quo or will we see larger shifts in the way communications are handled? Register here.