Gay travel. US favourites.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 27

   Gay travel. US favourites.

 New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco are the main destinations for US gay and lesbian (G&L) travellers, according to research by Community Marketing. New York was visited by 30% of G&L travellers, Las Vegas by 25%, and San Francisco by 24%.   Following the findings, Las Vegas’s visitors body plans to launch a campaign specifically targetted at G&Ls. Helping Las Vegas to overtake San Francisco have been new clubs that target G&L audiences, as well as shows hosted by gay entertainment icons like Elton John.   The US G&L community is reckoned to be a US$65bn travel market, which would be about 5% of the annual US$1.3tn travel industry, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.   The Fox

Leisure travel. The future.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 25

   Leisure travel. The future.

  The following is a summary of the executive summary of a study by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute for Kuoni Travel, the Swiss-based tour operator.   A cerebral reflection on the future of travel is useful on occasion.   The market for holidays is becoming more dynamic and complex. Customer behaviour is increasingly incalculable. Although short-run movements in the market are well documented, there is no overall picture of long-term perspectives. The question is: In what direction is the holiday and travel sector heading?   Any comments from me are in italics.

  [] The most important driving forces for change:   1. Social.

 – Ageing society: In 2020, the elderly will be in the majority in Western Europe. Children and young people will be in short supply.

 – Individualisation. Growing demand for individual holidays. Falling demand for package tours.

 – New family structures. More and more singles. Ever fewer families with children.

 – Health consciousness grows. Destinations with potential health hazards will come under pressure. Areas with contaminated water and beaches, polluted air, ugly buildings, a risk of infection, etc, will be avoided. Same today?

 – Ecological, ethic and social values become more important.

 – Decline of the middle class in Western Europe.

 – Leisure time declines. Western Europe must work longer again. Delaying the pensionable age retards growth of senior travel.

  2. Technological.

 – Availability of information. The spread and performance of information and communication technology continue to increase. Access to tourist and booking information will become even simpler, faster, and cheaper.

 – Transport: more, faster, and cheaper long-distance connections.

 – New search and mapping services. Geo-tagging, Google Earth and GPS revolutionise maps.

 – Tracking services make it possible to ‘tag’ travellers like parcels and to locate them at any time.

 – Extreme engineering. Opening destinations previously unavailable, such as underwater hotels and space trips.

   3. Economic.

 – Greater competitive pressure. Tourists expect more for less money.

 – Booming Asia. Wealth and power shift towards the East.

 – Polarisation of demand for cheap and luxury offers. Growing pressure on the middle.

 – Daily low prices are normal and expected.   – End of industrial working in Western Europe.

 – Growing vulnerability of financial markets.


 – Unspoilt nature will become scarcer and, therefore, more valuable.

 – Climatic change. Regional climatic advantages shift.

 – End of oil reserves.

 – Traffic jams will become chronic, the consequential effects increase and make travelling even more difficult.

 – Ozone hole: the sun is dangerous. Sun? Just say no! But if we sit in the sun, or don’t, will make no difference to the ozone layer.

  5. Political.

 – Political uncertainties increase and prevent or restrict travel.

 – Terrorism. Security measures, visa regulations, and entry controls will become more strict and make travel more complicated.

 – Opening up of China. China and its numerous previously-unknown sights, could develop into the world’s popular tourist destinations over the next 15 years. Why? Or why not Russia as well? We think the China’s outbound market is exciting, not particularly inbound travel.

 – Disintegration of shared values. Clash of cultures. Intercultural conflicts spread and intensity. Thus, travelling will become more dangerous again.

    [] The most popular destinations in 2020:

  Segmenting mass markets and premium markets will continue. The differences between rich and poor will be more obvious than anywhere else. Decisive for an intensive experience is personal service down to the smallest detail coupled with great style. “I experience something that I will always want to tell. No one can relate a similar experience.”  
1. Super luxury.

  Travel continues to be important for the super rich. After all, there is no better material way of demonstrating success than by travelling. The world’s richest people want solely to associate with and measure themselves against their peers. In this connection, exclusiveness and the private sphere are key notions that define the elite. However, there are differences between the various generations. Via ultra-luxurious holidays, younger people show how far they are ahead of their contemporaries. The baby boomers see themselves as pioneers. Instead of investing in their businesses, they now invest in experiences, in their own lives and in the family.   Seems to be based on the experience of non-super-rich observations. We think the above is misleading or even wrong – relating a travel experience with non-individual matters (such as impressing peers). Some of these comments seem more suited to the nouveaux-riche.  
2. Luxury.

  New luxury means privacy and adventure, such as spending a weekend with all members of the family in the shade of genuine old trees or Inviting family and friends for a holiday with full service on one’s private island, or simply having time alone with no disturbances.

  Given, however, that the general standard of living is likely to fall significantly over the years until 2020, it will become an ever-greater luxury to be able to satisfy one’s own highly individual wishes or yearnings for a short space of time (or even to simply decide on the time, place and service level of the trip), regardless of whether at sea, in the mountains or in space.

  3. Cheap.

  Cheap is and remains everything that is packaged and easy for the tour operator to handle, such as all-inclusive holidays to Majorca for the family, a trip to Thailand for a couple. Comments clearly for Europe-based travellers; for those in Asia reversed, and those in North America, the family might be Mexico, and the couple to Majorca or Thailand.   Everything that is aimed at the masses will also stay cheap: pensioner colonies in low-wage countries with standardised care services (jointly financed by the medical insurance fund), flights to San Francisco for US$120 or a cruise at a bargain rate with Easy Cruise. Also for Europe-based travellers, although Easy Cruise operates in the Caribbean in the winter.   By 2070, it might even be possible to implant a travel experience in our brains, as in the film Total Recall. Naturally, souvenirs for the home display cabinet would also be provided.

   The Fox

Mobiles inflight. Two developments.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 23

  Mobiles inflight. Two developments.    ·         Skytrax is a research company, but one which we are now close to categorising as one that comes up with improbable findings.    Earlier, its research showed Hong Kong’s airport the world’s best – when it is not. It refused to give us more information on methodology when we requested it – saying our enquiry was not “serious”.    Now, it has found that 89% of those questioned do not want mobile phones to be operable on short- and long-haul flights (presumably medium-haul as well, thus all flights, but we are not clear on this).    Rather pompously, we believe this is rubbish. Furthermore, we think that 90% of passengers with mobiles would use them on flights.    Is Skytrax asking the wrong questions, or the right questions in the wrong context?    ·         Air France, meanwhile, has equipped the first aircraft equipped with GSM OnAir, which should allow the use of private mobile phones inflight.    The system will be on test for six months, but for marketing, not operational. To find out what passengers think, and how they use it.     The Fox

BEB*; not cricket.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 20

   BEB*; not cricket.   Some Caribbean countries were expecting a lot from the Cricket World Cup, held in March and April. Barbados, which hosted a few big matches as well the final, planned for six cruise ships to be used as floating hotels, each with accommodation for 3,000.   But attendance for most of the 50 matches was low, put at under-9000 per match. Part of the reason was that some favourites – such as England, India, Pakistan, and even the West Indies – were early losers. Winners were Australia against Sri Lanka.   Tournament organisers hoped for 100,000 visitors from outside the region; others said 225,000. An estimate for the actual number who turned up is 35,000.   (*I have this semi-serious theory – Big Event Blues – suggesting that momentous international events actually reduce visitor arrival totals. Although these events attract international visitors, many traditional travellers (such as business travellers and even holidaymakers) will stay away from that destination just before, during, and just after the event. They assume that there will be too much disruption to normal movement in the destination. In general, they are right – not only is movement curtailed, but many prices are higher.)   The Fox

Avmark. Back among the liberals.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 19

  Avmark. Back among the liberals.  I had been worried about US-based Avmark. An aviation consultancy, I have long been impressed by its straight talk, and its liberal approach to the business. It seemed to match mine.  Then a couple of months ago it produced a tortured commentary on the US/EU bilateral. And one aspect of that – the share that foreigners can own of a US airline, currently limited to 25%, where most other nations will allow 49%.  This is my interpretation, but Avmark appeared to be saying that how can we trust these foreigners if they own 49%. Will our skies be safe from terrorist attack, and will airlines owned 49% by foreigners obey US government orders?  Yes, extraordinary.  This was enough for me to determine that it will be a long time before the EU gets more liberalisation out of the US. The EU has gone ahead with the US/EU bilateral – which is amazingly one-sided in favour of the US – in the belief that the US will come around to being more liberal.  Forget it.  But now Avmark has come back. In a recent commentary it related some facts about the current flavour-of-the-month – business-only airlines or subsidiaries.  Forming a business-class airline to attract a high-yield passenger has been presented as the solution to many problems. Avmark points out some problems:  -There are only a limited number of passengers who are prepared to pay business class fares (or even discounted business class fares).  -Business travellers are driven by schedule and frequency and [Virgin’s plan for] 15 aircraft would be hard put to cover all of the key city pairs.  -While business travel tends to be less elastic than leisure travel during economic downturns, it is still price sensitive, and business traffic frequently moves to the back of the bus when times are tough.  Business traffic makes up 30-35% of traffic but 60-70% of revenue. But it is economy passengers that make a service viable. Only 35-40% of the business class seats are filled with full-fare passengers. The rest are crew, frequent-flyer awards, and upgraded and free passengers.   The Fox

Versace. Into hotels.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 17

  Versace. Into hotels.  A reflection on Versace’s move into hotels – on the 10th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s murder*.  Some other comments are included in the current issue of Travel Business Analyst.  The only example of Versace hotels is a single one on Australia’s Gold Coast. Of course it is the wrong place – even in Australia, then Melbourne or Sydney would be better. But this is an impressive hotel, and something that can be seen to be a good example for what a fashion hotel should be.  Fortunately, Versace is more than just clothes or jewellery fashion. You can certainly argue that groups like Bulgari are moving into a foreign field with hotels because their skill area is – in the case of Bulgari – jewellery and not hotel design.  Versace has more credibility in this area, as it has design skills in addition to clothes.  Thus in the case of its Gold Coast hotel, there are not just Versace clothes pictures in the halls, but perfume in the bathroom, cups and saucers, and cushions. Together these parts make the whole project better.  That said, someone needs to manage the group’s locations. The second Versace is being built in Dubai. Even if everyone has a hotel in Dubai, or is building one, that is still the wrong location for a Versace – second time around.  It needs a hotel in New York or Paris. Or in London or Milan. After all, think what ‘Dubai and Gold Coast’ would look like on its fashion items. *Fashion designer Gianni Versace was killed by a spree killer (not a serial killer, as many believe), probably partly connected with Versace’s homosexuality. A spree killer is one who kills many on one occasion. Versace’s alleged killer started on the US west coast and moved across the country killing certain types of people. The alleged killer committed suicide shortly after Versace was shot.  The Fox

The future. Multi-mode transport companies.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 13

   The future. Multi-mode transport companies.   When I think of it, it seems common-sense. ‘It’ is a multi-mode transport companies.  The start has been made, unwittingly probably, by some rail companies sort-of trying to match airlines by forming an alliance – Rail-Team. That will be a disaster, or rather, it will not work, because the two main participants – railway operations from France and Germany – are both state-owned.  That in itself may not be a problem, but the real factor is that even if those two operations are managed by management professionals, they are ruled by street-fighting unions – whose main purpose seems to be to prevent innovation on the basis that it may reduce the benefits of those who have jobs.  But back to the main concept – multi-mode.  The railways have moved in this direction because they are expecting to face competition in the near future (well, France will probably resist until at least the mid-term future).  Why should those competitors, when they come, be other rail companies? Why, indeed, now that airlines are finding shorthaul in-Europe flights either economically and/or competitively unattractive, do they not create their own train service?  If Air France is losing traffic to railways on Paris-Marseille, then run its own train service on the fast-train track?  France, however, may be a poor example because of complex constraints in France concerning competition, state-owned operations, etc.  Then why not Lufthansa operating trains Berlin-Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Brussels, Frankfurt-Paris, and even Paris-Marseille? It could still operate flights on those routes, particularly for the connecting traffic, but most point-to-point traffic would go on the train.  And likewise, why should rail companies not start operating flights? (Although setting up an airline is more costly – particularly the cost of an aircraft and its driver, compared with a train and its driver.)  And expand this multi-mode to buses. In some cases, buses may be more effective than a train service.  All this may indeed happen. But as with today’s airlines, from time to time they will abandon what they have created. Airlines were once keen on owning and running hotels, for instance, but most have now dropped out to ‘return to basics’. When the next wave comes, they will add hotels again for the same reason they did before – improve customer service.  And that is why the multi-mode system will eventually come – to improve service to the customer.    The Fox

Tourism Australia. Home to criticism.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 11

  Tourism Australia. Home to criticism.  Tourism Australia might be doing well in creating awareness with its So-Where-The-Bloody-Hell-Are-You promotional campaign, but it is facing rather more mundane criticism at home.  To me, this has the whiff of jealousy. The states, flagellantly (my word), are unhappy that the TA is attracting all the attention. After all, in politics, you are supposed to criticise the opposition. And in Australia, the ‘opposition’ also means states against the federal government, and even states against states. Particularly, but not necessarily, if the state is run by a political party different than the federal government.  Silly, but that’s life.  The main criticism seems to be, say, Queensland criticising TA for neglecting Queensland in the TA publicity campaigns. Maybe too many pictures of Sydney Opera House, and not enough of, er, beaches?  Part of the problem is of course just that. Picture a beach in Queensland, and even if it is nice, there are also nice beaches in Florida, Rio, and Bali.  Another part is what I might call the Bali-Bind. There was, and still is, complaint among the regions in Indonesia that Bali gets more promotion than, say, Medan. But tourism marketeers know that it is Bali which sells Indonesia. Sell Medan and there will be fewer visitors, for sure.  So it is with Australia. If you promote Hobart (even its attractive-enough little harbour) as much as you promote Sydney (its impressive harbour plus bridge and opera house), then there will be fewer visitors to Australia.  If you promote Sydney or Ayers Rock (or other visually- or evocatively-attractive places), then you will get more visitors. And some of those would also visit Hobart.  That said, this is unlikely to change. Because, as noted above, politicians need to criticise, even if the criticism is not warranted.   The Fox

Australia. Bloody right.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 09

  Australia. Bloody right.  There is a lot of criticism in Australia of the SWTBHAY (So Where the Bloody Hell Are You) visitor campaign.  Probably, that indicates it is a success – which, in attention-gathering terms, it indisputably is. I lean towards the any-publicity-is-good-publicity school; for instance, I think Hilton should be paying Paris for the publicity she has brought the group.  Obviously, in the long term, SWTBHAY needs to do more than attract attention; it needs to attract visitors. But that task falls to everyone else – not just Tourism Australia – and the TA is well aware of this.  To make sure that those people who have noticed Australia following SWTBHAY think or plan or actually visit Australia, the whole marketing machinery needs to be put into action. But the first attention-gathering part has been done.  There usually is this sort of criticism for a banal (in the positive sense of the word) campaign. It was actually the same for the Gday Mate campaign from Paul Hogan in the 1980s – one line of which was Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie. Many Australians did not like the film or the campaign – because it depicted them in a single way.  The Fox

Outbound travel. China and the US.

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 FOXTROTS  Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 


2007 July 04

   Outbound travel. China and the US.   We believe that the US is the No 1 desired destinations for Chinese nationals – dismissing the surveys that say, in their turn, that Australia, France, Italy, and others, is (are?) most favoured.   At present the US does not have a group visa – which is why it cannot have ADS (approved destination status). But new political realities in the US lead some to expect that China and the US will get around this – even if they do not actually introduce a group visa.    Nancy Pelosi, the new Democrat Speaker/leader of the US House of Representatives, has been reported as saying that she is going to get Chinese to visit the US. Knowing her reputation, we would expect something significant to happen in the next six months.   And that could also significantly change travel patterns – particularly as most of the larger US airlines are trying to expand their services into China as a way of offsetting losses elsewhere.   The US has already made some moves, similar to ADS. Its ‘Tour Track’ program works with seven travel agency groups in China. TT promises three-minute visa-processing for groups of at least six people.   Meanwhile, Los Angeles has become the first US tourism-promotion office in China. (Not the first American office, as it claims; Canada has been there nearly 10 years. And not the first city office either; both Hong Kong and Macau have offices there.)   LA Inc, the Los Angeles visitors bureau, projects a 12% increase in visitors from China this year through 2010, based on average growth achieved in 2005 when the total was put at 86,000. It adds that arrivals in the US from China will increase a total 46% 2005-08 – that would be an average 14% annually.   In fact forecasts are not realistic unless criteria on visas are included. If the US arranges something like ADS, then the forecasts above will be surpassed in (full) year one.   The Fox

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