Pandemic aside as far as discretionary spending goes, Halloween candy sales surged: up 29% this year and 43% over two years ago. The National Retail Federation forecasted an all-time high of $10.14 billion in consumer spending on Halloween-themed items like candy, decorations and costumes as more people got back to celebrating Halloween. Households with children spent on average $149.69 on Halloween items compared to $73.57 for households without. Source: NWI Times
More fun facts? The top brands associated with Halloween candy are Hershey’s, Reese’s, Oreo and Kit Kat; the chocolate brand with the most positive online reviews is M&Ms. Source: Manufacturing Net
This activation is guaranteed to make national news. The “Celebration Gator,” a themed float, is hitting the streets of New York. It’s a 60-foot-long alligator float, one of the longest in the 95-year history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism will debut the float, a tribute to the state’s unique culture and tourism, as children grace its platform in baby gator costumes, surrounded by stilt walkers to amuse onlookers. Riding the float in style will be Jon Batiste, a high-profile musician and TV personality.
The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® airs live nationwide on NBC on Thursday, November 25, 2021, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. in all time zones.
This is Community with a capital “C.” Some 12,000 readers of Tucson Weekly have voted in their annual Best Of Tucson® 2021 poll, crowning Visit Tucson as “Best Instagram” for the second consecutive year. Nice one!
Lonely Planet has spoken. West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Vancouver Island, and Atlanta are rocking it in these top 10.
Arrivalist reported last week that America’s “Road Trip Rebound” isn’t limited to select states. On Oct. 27, the Daily Travel Index revealed that over the previous 30 days, 43 states out of 50 saw more road trip activity than during the same period in pre-pandemic 2019…with North Dakota leading the pack! Check out road trip activity on any given day.
More U.S. adults plan to attend at least one live event or attraction in the final quarter of this year (61%) than during the first three quarters combined (51%), according to research conducted in October.
Amusement parks, zoos and aquariums led with 23% having already gone and 26% planning to go by the end of the year. Fewer people said they were up for fairs, festivals and carnivals, with 21% having already gone and 28% planning to by the end of the year. Only 18% said they have already attended a concert or play, with 25% planning to do so by year’s end. Last, 14% said they have attended a sporting event, while another 17% said they will be going by the end of the year. Source: Bankrate
Keeping it real: Reputation management matters, and so Tripadvisor is keeping on top of the good fight.
In its 2021 Tripadvisor Review Transparency Report, Tripadvisor says it rejected or removed more than two million reviews in 2020, some manually and others by using review analysis technology. Travelers submitted over 26,000,000 reviews to the site in 2020…and that was a slow year!
That’s about 9% of all submissions, including nearly one million judged to be fake, with more removed for other reasons, such as profanity. Tripadvisor penalized 34,605 hotel properties for fraudulent activity and banned 20,299 members from the site.
The company said 67.1% of the fake reviews had been caught before making it on to the platform by its pre-posting moderation algorithm.
Steve Paganelli, Director | Destinations, Hotels and OTAs at Tripadvisor, says this report, “…shines a light on the steps we take to maintain a responsible platform for travelers and businesses alike. Our travelers’ trust is our #1 priority, and with all the uncertainty travelers have faced the last 20 months, it has never been more important to get reliable travel guidance you can trust. So proud that Tripadvisor continues to remain a trusted, brand safe platform for our community of advertising partners and travelers.”
AMSTERDAM — Just a manufacturing minute! Did you know that the world is in short supply of a primary color? “Paintmakers Are Running Out of the Color Blue,” reports Bloomberg News. It seems that the latest fallout from global supply-chain disruption means that Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel NV is running out of the ingredients to make some shades of blue. It’s “complete chaos,” was the comment reported widely.
Taking a deeper look into blue, “Competitor Sherwin-Williams has also voiced concerns over shortages in the last few months, and while it’s easy to blame the pandemic rush of home projects, it goes deeper than that. According to a September CNBC report, a deep freeze in Texas earlier this year that slowed petroleum production had a big impact on paint, which uses it as a key ingredient.” — Manufacturing Net
BERLIN — As seen on LinkedIn (H/T to Jared Alster), this German health and wellness startup app had trademark registered their name, but not their logo. In any case, as for organic reach, M-sense Migräne had 178K views and 3.5K comments within 48 hours of posting this.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of State will begin issuing passports with an X gender marker option to all new applicants as of early 2022. The move is seen as a major step in honoring all identities within our traveling community with the objective of leading to a more welcoming and inclusive travel experience. Other countries recognizing a non-binary gender option for citizens include India, Nepal, Netherlands, Australia and Germany.
Spokesperson Ned Price said, “I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons.” The U.S. State Department press announcement is found here.
FLORIDA — Awesome taste: MICHELIN Guide and VISIT FLORIDA announce the first-ever restaurant selection for Miami, Orlando, and Tampa to cover the star-rated culinary scene in the Sunshine State. Visit California initiated the first MICHELIN statewide partnership in 2019.
The three-city Florida dining guide will be MICHELIN Guide’s fifth US destination after New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, and California. Guide inspectors will begin discovering culinary gems around the state next year and the inaugural edition of The MICHELIN Guide for Miami, Orlando and Tampa is scheduled for 2022.
MEMPHIS — Via the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Memphis Tourism received $2.2 million in federal CARES Act funds to help bring back tourism. In a move away from their traditional role, the DMO decided to use some of the dollars to create events, spearheading a 10-week outdoor music series, “Get Loud!” in partnership with the state, the Downtown Memphis Commission, and Beale Street.
“We are a marketing agency, and we don’t produce events,” Regena Bearden, chief marketing officer for Memphis Tourism told Memphis Business Journal. “We encourage people and help people do their events, but we don’t typically promote, develop, and execute events on our own. But COVID made everything a little bit different for everybody. So, we jumped in there and did it and the state really wanted us to do it. It’s been a great learning experience and fortunately helped achieve the goals of what we set out to do, which is to get people back to work and visitors back to Memphis.”
OTTAWA — Canadian tourism media and colleagues are commenting on the new appointment of a dedicated Minister of Tourism, saying this could be an industry game-changer. MP Randy Boissonnault of Edmonton is also Associate Minister of Finance and was previously special advisor to the prime minister on LGBTQ2* issues.
* In Canada, the community is sometimes identified as LGBTQ2 for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirit instead of LGBTIQA+ for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms, such as non-binary and pansexual.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Last week, the AP reported that North Dakota Tourism was working to extend its spokesperson contract with actor Josh Duhamel, a native of Minot, N.D. Among the least-visited states in the nation, North Dakota’s top tourism official said the 48-year-old star has been effective in attracting visitors to the state that is better known for its brutal cold weather than as a vacation destination.
“He has helped expand our image and awareness of our state,” said Sara Otte Coleman, Director of Tourism at North Dakota Department of Commerce. Not everyone thinks that’s the correct strategy going forward.
In an open letter to a local media outlet, a resident suggested, “Since 2013, Duhamel has been the face and voice of ND Tourism for which he’s been paid over a million dollars, averaging nearly $300,000 every two years…Our third biggest industry shouldn’t be marketed in 2023 like it’s 2013. ND Tourism’s marketing should be as original and powerful as the state itself. While Josh Duhamel has been a great partner for the past eight years, maybe it’s time to find new talent in North Dakota.”
Meantime, there are positive results from $6.5 million of CARES Act funds used to expand marketing, inspire visits and raise awareness of North Dakota. A Legendary Road Trips partnership with iHeartMedia resulted in 7.2 million impressions through on-air and social media. Advertising reached 167 million impressions, driving a 23% increase in website visits and more tracked arrivals to the state than any other year. North Dakota Tourism consumer newsletter subscriptions also went up 12.3% with a 39.5% open rate, more than double the industry average.
In preparation for the U.S. border re-opening to Canadian recreational travelers, Tourism and Marketing is intensifying advertising and marketing efforts. Additional digital advertising started on Oct. 4, and new billboard, bus, social media and newspaper advertising begins running Nov. 1. To date, North Dakota has lost more than 672,000 trips from Canada, which amounts to an approximate lost visitor spending of $197 million.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s share is $5.6 million of the American Rescue Plan dollars in federal relief dedicated to help travel and tourism, and the state is planning the kind of tourism marketing campaign it’s long talked about doing.
Indiana Destination Development Secretary & CEO Elaine Bedel says it’s not that people have a negative image of Indiana but rather that people don’t have an image of the state at all. She says that’s an obstacle to attracting skilled workers who want to know why they should move to the state.
The relief bill allows states to spend the tourism dollars on infrastructure, job training, marketing or economic development planning. Bedel says a committee of stakeholders concluded that putting the money into marketing would make the biggest impact, elevating Indiana’s entire range of tourist attractions from state parks to museums.
COLORADO SPRINGS — The Culinary Insider program consists of 18 restaurants in the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs to give access to off-menu items, specialty drinks, and prizes.
The pass, which ran through October, cost $10 and proceeds went to benefit scholarships for local students pursuing careers in the culinary arts. The technology is powered by Bandwango.
DALLAS — “Big Things Happen Here” is retired. Visit Dallas is rolling out a new marketing campaign under a new tagline: “Find Your All.”
D Magazine is a fan. The publication reports, “This is a much better look for Visit Dallas…The new campaign goes heavy on the city’s cultural strengths, a big tent that includes food, theater, the arts, and music. And it more accurately reflects the Dallas of today than any lines about how things are big here. We live in a diverse city. Most people go without cowboy hats and boots. And the people who live here are doing a lot of creative, compelling things.”