A jumbo-sized roundup of news from DMOs, destinations, parks and attractions as well as vendor news
Following months of work by the team at Houston First Corporation, President & CEO Michael Heckman has announced that Houston will be the host city for the next season of Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning show, Top Chef.
“…will highlight the exceptional diversity of Houston’s world class culinary scene and will provide tens of millions of dollars of positive public relations for H-town as we accelerate our recovery from Covid. Huge shout out and credit to HFC CMO Holly Clapham-Rosenow and her team for their work to land this for Houston,” said Heckman.
Discover Puerto Rico reaffirms LGBTQ friendliness with a new campaign, “Live Out.”
Creative content is centered on the idea that Puerto Rico is a place where travelers can celebrate one’s full self; a place to live out travel dreams in a welcoming atmosphere that encourages self-expression.
“Among Discover Puerto Rico’s core values are inclusivity, agility and the importance of being collaborative. These elements are even more prevalent as we look to the support of our LGBTQ+ community, both on Island and off,” said Leah Chandler, CMO, Discover Puerto Rico. “We are fostering a travel industry that is safe and welcoming for both guests and employees. By increasing representation and strengthening our position as an ally, we make Puerto Rico welcoming for all travelers and support a historically excluded community.”
In other news from Discover Puerto Rico: Remote worker campaign results are in from the spring “Deskover” campaign (The Travel Vertical, 4/27/21). The sweepstakes giveaway attracted 14,642 entries resulting in 90M impressions and $1.6M in ad value.
So, which one is the real Jennifer Hudson? To celebrate her 40th birthday, the celebrity’s wax likeness—fingernail art included—by Madame Tussauds was unveiled at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt in New York City before its installation at the Times Square attraction.
“We’re so excited about this new addition to Madame Tussauds New York,” said Tiago Mogadouro, head of marketing at Madame Tussauds New York, in a press release. “By introducing such a powerful essence to our New York family, we hope the addition of Jennifer Hudson offers an exciting new experience for our guests.”
Cedar Rapids Tourism was a sponsor of the Connect THRIVE Summit in Las Vegas on Sept. 18-19 where the DMO hosted the fabulous Carson Kressley as keynote speaker in conversation with the entertaining David Downing.
With special thanks to Julie Stow, Director of Meetings & Conventions, for her enthusiastic support.
The Philadelphia metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is recovering faster than its Northeast competitive set, including Boston, New York City and Washington, DC. Labor Day weekend was particularly strong; hotels had 67% occupancy on Friday and 85% on Saturday; the highest rates on record since the pandemic’s onset.
To keep this momentum going, Visit Philadelphia will launch a fall tourism marketing effort to promote hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions through an advertising, social media, web site and public relations push designed to drive overnight hotel stays from Northeast markets through December.
“We’re always happy to report good news about our tourism industry, but we know there’s still a ways to go before our region’s strong mix of business, group and leisure travel returns in full,” says Jeff Guaracino, president & CEO.
Last week, Nevada Commission on Tourism approved the allocation of nearly $13.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to visitors bureaus and other related agencies, including $1 million for that office’s efforts toward encouraging in-state and domestic tourism.
The remaining funds will be split four ways with the largest portion of $7 million going to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as a direct grant for domestic and international marketing initiatives. Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority will receive $1.25 million as a direct grant to target domestic visitor marketing and $760,000 will be used for rural grants to help smaller communities and tourism outlets promote their attractions.
“This funding opportunity allows important tourism and outdoor recreation programs to move Nevada forward in recovery,” Brenda Scholari, Director for Nevada Tourism and Cultural Affairs, as quoted in Casino.org.
At Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, firefighters applied a fire-resistant foil wrap blanket around the 102-foot base of the world’s largest tree to protect it against wildfires raging nearby.
Last week, the National Park Service allowed press photographers into the Giant Forest, a spectacular grove that contains five of the largest trees in the world by volume, including the 275-foot tall General Sherman estimated to be 2,300 to 2,700 years old.
Sadly, California wildfires in 2020 killed 7,500 to 10,600 of these large trees, roughly 10% to 14% of all the the world’s sequoias, according to the National Park Service.
This year’s KNP Complex fire, ignited by lightning on Sept. 9, 2021, threaten these famous trees, which are all wrapped in foil blankets. The Windy Fire advanced more than nine miles overnight on Friday; both parks are currently closed. Follow the containment @sequoiaforest.
Los Angeles County is introducing proof of COVID-19 vaccination for customers and employees at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges from Oct. 7, with full vaccination by Nov. 4. Restaurants, where masks are required indoors, are encouraged to set their own vaccination safety protocols for patrons and employees.
Throughout California, indoor events like concerts and sports games with more than 1,000 attendees require proof of vaccination or a recent negative virus test result. LA County’s new order extends the safeguards to outdoor events as well.
The mandate extends to theme parks including Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain (Disneyland is outside LA County).
In other news from LAX, long-awaited improvements in ground transportation at the airport are in the works.
NYC & Company has launched a new meetings-focused digital campaign,”It’s Time to Make it NYC” with the tagline, “Plan a Meeting for Any Moment.”
It comes on the heels of a $1.5 billion expansion of the Javits Center and will maintain a presence on Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, with targeted media across major meetings platforms and publications. The branding will also be seen at industry events and trade shows for the remainder of this year and into 2022.
Did you know? There’s a 10,000-square-foot farm and orchard on the roof of the convention center where they plan to grow 40,000 lbs. of produce each year.
Steamboat Chamber of Commerce would like 75% of its $750,000 budget to be dedicated to destination management and 25% for marketing. Chamber officials said the overarching idea behind destination management is to mitigate negative impacts from growth and tourism, as well as providing visitor education, such as a “Visit Responsibly” campaign aimed at educating visitors on health & safety, wildlife, fires, trash and showing kindness to local employees.
Galveston Island Trolley, est. 1891, will return this October. Three of the four trolleys have been restored and have received the testing needed for state and federal certification.
The trolley car system has been out of commission since Hurricane Ike descended in 2008. The storm severely damaged the trolley cars and 6.8 miles of tracks. After more than 13 years offline and six months of testing, three of the four trolleys are ready to roll.
Beach wheelchairs are available for use at any of eight state beaches in Santa Cruz County, California. Free to use, 10 day-use beach wheelchairs can be reserved in advance.
Pizza + Potties: In addition to setting minimum pay, protecting tips, and putting limits on delivery distance requirements, the New York City Council passed bills to improve working conditions for some 80,000 gig delivery workers.
Specifically, the legislation allows them to use restaurant bathrooms. This legislation is the first of its kind in any major U.S. city. Source: Tech Crunch
Hotels on the Hook: A new NYC local law was passed on Sept. 23 requiring hotels to pay severance to employees. Unless the property brings back 25% of employees and reopens, the closed hotels—including those that laid off 75% of employees—will have to pay up to $15,000 in severance pay to each worker affected.
Vendor & Partner News
See Source is now Datafy, announced last week at eTourism Summit 2021.
Enabling customers to gain valuable insights into what drives their local economy, Datafy helps DMOs (as well as cities, towns, counties, chambers) to allocate financial resources to maximize economic activity by analyzing spending and other behavioral patterns. Datafy uses big data analytics tools to enable data-driven decision making. Thanks to Datafy for the presentation at #eTS21, “Prove Your Value to Stakeholders.”
CrowdRiff, based in Toronto, appears on the annual list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies published by The Globe and Mail. The company of 76 employees operates a visual content marketing platform for the tourism industry.
CrowdRiff was introduced as a “Bright, Shiny, New Object” at eTourism Summit 2015, and now comes in at an impressive #143 on this list (out of 448 trendsetters), showing 3-year growth at 310%.
Arival 360 is headed to sunny San Diego for an in-person (and optional online) conference at the Town & Country Resort. New place, new dates. Arival advances the business of creating awesome in-destination experiences through events, insights, and community for tour, activity and attraction providers.
Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has selected MMGY NextFactor to prepare its long-term strategic plan. The selection of an external consultant for developing a future destination vision is the culmination of discussions by local authorities and the DMO. The topic emerged following an avalanche of complaints and bad publicity following the disruptive Daytona Truck Meet in June. MMGY NextFactor has completed strategic and destination master plans for various Florida markets including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Naples, and New Smyrna Beach.