CalTravel Connections Newsletter
CalTravel Ticker
Volume 8 | #6 | December, 2011
In This Issue
Please enjoy this edition of the Ticker newsletter brought to you as a service of the California Travel Association (CalTravel), under the direction of CalTravel's Communications Committee, and Ted Molter, CalTravel Immediate Past Chairman of the Board, Director of Marketing World-Famous San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

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Americans Choose Travel as the Ultimate Life Goal Survey Reveals Travel-Related New Year's Resolutions Top List for 2012
If Americans could only accomplish one goal in their lifetime, nearly three-quarters would choose a travel-related goal, according to a survey commissioned by Princess Cruises. And of those Americans with a "bucket list," a surprising majority (61%) still expects to cross something off their list by the end of the year despite the madness of the holiday season.

The recent survey polled 1,000 Americans and examined how travel plays a part in bucket list goals, including New Year's resolutions for 2012. Other findings include:

U.S. Travel Survey Shows Security Tops Air Travel Frustrations
Washington, DC - New survey data shows four of the top five air traveler frustrations relate to the checkpoint process, though a majority of travelers are supportive of recent initiatives to improve traveler facilitation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association to mark the 10th anniversary of TSA, the survey results were announced by U.S. Travel’s President and CEO Roger Dow at a press conference at Washington Reagan National Airport.

“I want to thank the men and women of TSA for a decade of dedicated service,” said Dow. “While we recognize the significant steps TSA has taken to improve security screening, the process still remains inefficient and frustrating for millions of Americans.”

Amex Report Shows U.S. Consumers Spending More, But Carefully
Some Americans are opening their wallets to spend on big-ticket items, according to the newly released American Express Q3 2011 Business Insights Spend Sights report. But, in an uncertain economic climate, consumers remained cautious as they selected value overall, choosing carefully when to splurge. Airline tickets were among the areas worth indulging in while consumers chose value hotels and limited frequent retail purchases.

Consumers traveled in style while remaining budget conscious, resulting in disparate spending trends across the airline and lodging industries. First class and business class airline tickets proved worth splurging on across all business and consumer groups. Even average consumers opted for luxury in the sky, increasing spend on first class by 9.6 percent while decreasing spend on economy tickets. In lodging, however, value proved the key consideration, especially among large businesses, which increased spending on economy lodging by 41.6 percent and ultra-affluent consumers, who increased spend by 20.2 percent.
Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Park Utilizes Renewable Energy in California
A 600-watt wind turbine powers the lights and sound on the “High Striker” game. The power generated by the turbine is stored in a self-contained unit adjacent to the game. The park’s Ferris wheel is also powered by renewable energy. Solar panels generate more than 71,000-kilowatt hours annually to run the ride

CalTravel & Cal State Fullerton to Partner On New California Travel Tracking Report
BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- New 'CalTracker' Report to Benefit Travel and Tourism Industry Professionals

The California Travel Association (CalTravel) and California State University Fullerton, Center for Entertainment and Tourism Communications (CETC) today announced a partnership to produce a newly-created data analysis report that will provide current and ongoing market intelligence for travel and tourism industry professionals in California.

"CalTracker" will measure and assess statewide tourism industry performance data and will synthesize a variety of lodging, attraction, transportation, entertainment and hospitality information on a monthly and quarterly basis. The report will also feature a summary evaluation and measurement index.

"The new CalTracker will combine a variety of diverse data in one succinct and comprehensive report," said John Severini, CalTravel President and CEO. "Industry professionals will find a wide mix of 'indexed' data and will be able to easily track industry change and growth on a local and statewide basis."

CalTravel Chair Susie Santo added, "This new tool will be the 'go to' barometer for important travel and tourism statistics in a comprehensive and user-friendly format."

CETC Director Don Anderson acknowledged, "This valuable industry performance report will set a comparative scorecard standard for the California visitor industry, and will allow organizations to be more effective in their business planning and for state and community governments to easily access information and recognize the value and importance of this industry."

CalTracker will be compiled by CETC with an anticipated release date for the first report in spring 2012.

Escape to sun of Palm Springs
After gray skies and chilly temperatures, a few days at Palm Springs in the warm Southern California desert felt just right.

During the sun-drenched days, high temperatures in late fall and winter average between 70 and 80 degrees, which is why October to May is the town's high season for tourism.

Visit in the summer and you might just melt: Daily high temperatures average between 100 and 110 degrees.

With a population of a little more than 48,000, Palm Springs is a small town but it's part of a growing region, the Coachella Valley, which also includes nearby Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Thousand Palms.
Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium Breaks Attendance Record
The aquarium hosted crowds over the Thanksgiving holiday and set a new record on Saturday with nearly 4,000 visitors. It was the first holiday period after the release of a movie about the aquarium’s famous dolphin, Winter. To accommodate the influx, ticket stations were moved outside and the aquarium doubled its hospitality and guest services teams.

U.S. Government Bans Some Types of Attractions at Ski Resorts on Federal Land
Congress instructed the U.S. Forest Service to permit several types of summer activities at resorts operated on federal property. However, some attractions are prohibited, including waterparks, pools, amusement parks, and golf courses. One opponent of a proposed mountain coaster in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon said county officials should follow the federal government’s lead and prohibit amusement park rides on publicly owned park land.

Las Vegas Tourism Industry Forecasts 39 Million Visitors This Year
LAS VEGAS -The Las Vegas tourism industry continues to show signs of a steady recovery, with officials forecasting 39 million visitors to the destination in 2011, only the second time in history they will reach that mark.

Through the third quarter of 2011, Las Vegas has experienced 19 consecutive months of growth in visitor volume and the average daily room rate. Occupancy at Las Vegas properties has increased more than 4 points to 85.2 percent, more than 20 points ahead of the national average.

"After a year and a half of steady growth, we can say with confidence the tourism industry in Las Vegas is in recovery," said Tom Collins, Clark County Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). "We expect the growth we have seen to continue in 2012."
Shanghai Disneyland Resort Expected to Attract at Least 10.5 Million Visitors Annually
The 3.9-square-kilometer (741-acre) resort is expected to host 10.5 to 15 million visitors annually, according to Alastair M. Morrison, director of the International Academy of Tourism. Construction began in April, and the resort is scheduled to open in 2016.

European Tourism Continues to Grow, Despite Economic Trouble
Good news for European tourism: despite continuing economic turbulence European tourism industry figures are up. These are the findings of the ITB World Travel Trends Report, compiled by IPK International and commissioned by ITB Berlin. The figures are based on extracts from the European Travel Monitor and World Travel Monitor as well as on assessments by more than 50 tourism experts and scientists from around the world.

According to the findings, a year-on-year comparison shows that trips out of Europe have increased by four per cent. Economic uncertainty in many European countries has not affected travel spending, which has risen by two per cent.

8 Countries Especially Tricky for Americans to Visit
Some tourist visa applications are easy — an Australian visa, for example, can be acquired in a few minutes via the Internet. Others, however, can take weeks, if not months to procure.

The following eight countries, including China, India, and Brazil, are especially tricky to visit if you’re a U.S. citizen.

To ease the process, we enlisted the help of an expert, Medhy Habimana, director of operations for visa service VisaHQ. Habimana walks us through how far in advance you should begin the visa process, the amount of money you should plan to pay for the paperwork, and what you can expect once you arrive
New York City's hotel boom to get bigger
In a sign of continued confidence in New York's booming hotel market, the New York Observer reports that a developer wants to supersize a hotel planned on Broadway between 29th and 30th streets -- an area being hyped as "NoMad."

The goal is to build a 600-room hotel that appeals to business travelers and tourists alike with moderate rates, the article says

Hotel guests lose sleep over snoring, other noises
When Sharon Kirkwood walks into a hotel room, often the first thing she does is listen.

It's not a raucous party down the hall that she's tuning into. "It's the mechanical type sounds that drive me crazy — the rackety sound the heat/air conditioning (unit) makes, the buzzing of certain types of light fixtures," says Kirkwood of Farmington Hills, Mich., who works in consumer sales.

When it's just too noisy, Kirkwood says, she'll summon hotel staff and pose the question: "Could you sleep in this room?"

For corporate trekkers who need a good night's rest to propel them through on-the-road meetings and presentations, noisy hotel rooms can be the bane of their business trips.

Noise was the top hotel complaint cited by respondents in a 2011 J.D. Power and Associates North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. It beat out smelly rooms, sluggish Web connections and rude staff.

"It can certainly hurt satisfaction, there's no doubt," says Stuart Greif, J.D. Power's vice president of global travel.

Even the snoring guest next door can be a problem — so much so that Crowne Plaza has snore monitors patrolling hallways at some of its British hotels, and is trying out snore-absorption rooms in properties

U.S. hotels expand their reach into China
Several U.S. hotel chains are ramping up their push into China, pledging to build dozens of properties there in the next three years.

Sheraton, owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, announced on Wednesday plans for nine new resorts in greater China by the end of 2012. With nearly 4,000 rooms, a 10th resort in Macao, a special administrative region of China, will become Sheraton's biggest hotel and Starwood's largest resort.

Marriott International last week signed a deal for its 100th hotel in China, the JW Marriott Hotel Shenyang in the northeast, and pledged to add a hotel a month in the country over the next three years. Already, Marriott has 56 hotels in China, including JW Marriott, Renaissance and Courtyard hotels. An additional 44 are in the works.

China has become one of the hottest markets for U.S. hotel chains because of its rapid urbanization, thriving middle class and growing popularity as an international destination. The China National Tourist Office estimates that China had 26.1 million visitors last year.
Vegas pitching airlines, travelers as gate to Asia
LAS VEGAS – Never mind "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Perhaps the new slogan for America's gambling capital should be "Stop over for a quickie in Sin City."

A quick visit, that is. Las Vegas tourism officials are betting that a new air terminal will lure some travelers to use Las Vegas as a regular stopover en route to Asia or other foreign places.

Some might never leave McCarran International Airport, while others might decide to make casinos happy by hopping in a cab and spending a few hours gambling.

Either way is fine with the airport — it just needs enough people traveling here to justify a $2.4 billion expansion conceived when Las Vegas was much busier. The new terminal opens in June.

The city still expects most visitors to vacation here for longer periods, but the new pitch marks a big change from past years when Vegas could count on filling planes solely as a destination. Since the Great Recession crushed tourism, airlines have canceled Vegas-bound routes and left casinos scrambling for customers.

Several Cruise Lines Suspend Parasailing Excursions in Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have suspended all parasailing excursions throughout the Caribbean after a Celebrity passenger died in an accident on Nov. 15 in St. Thomas. Carnival Cruise Lines suspended parasailing excursions in St. Thomas until further notice.

The 60-year-old woman from the U.S., who was sailing on Celebrity Eclipse, died after participating in a company-sponsored parasailing shore excursion. The guest’s 34-year-old daughter was also injured in the accident.

The excursion crew provided initial care until both guests were transported by ambulance to the Roy L. Schneider Hospital in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, where the woman was pronounced dead. The daughter is still being treated at the hospital, Celebrity said in a statement. A member of the line’s Care Team is providing support and assistance to the hospitalized guest and her family.

An investigation is under way, and Royal Caribbean and Celebrity said the parasailing excursions will remain cancelled indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Gap between first class and coach 'has never been so wide'
"The gap between first class and coach has never been so wide."

That's from The New York Times, one of two media outlets that ran an in-depth look at the topic during the past week. And while that development isn't exactly a news flash to anyone who has flown in the back of a plane recently, both reports offer an interesting look on how and why that trend is playing out.
Do social media efforts really make us more loyal customers?
A new study questions the effectiveness of social media marketing to consumers at a time when hotel giants continue to ramp up their efforts.

Marketing tracker wrote about the study of 5,000 people in the US, UK, France and Germany.

Just 18% of respondents believe that a social media interaction with a large company or one of its brands would prompt them to buy from that business again, the study says. That figure fell to 15% for smaller business, a group that could include independent hotels.

The findings are interesting, but then so is the source.

The study was commissioned by Pitney Bowes, the mail services giant that deals in postage meters and machines used in direct-mail campaigns.
Keep the following in mind when you consider the value of advocacy and your involvement in Cal Travel. Let us help you get “permission” for whatever your business needs.

Moving beyond impressions
Internet advertising is so cheap (particularly Facebook and run of site network buys) that just about anyone can afford a million impressions, and a billion isn’t out of reach.

Pretty soon it turns into noise. An infinite number of impressions is dangerously close to no impressions at all.

The conversation media reps have with advertisers quickly devolves into, "how cheap can I buy a million impressions?" What a waste. That number, out of context, is nothing but a crutch, a poor stand in for the insightful analysis that media buyers ought to be using.

Far better to focus on two things, both leading to the real goal:

Perception. Does the ad you’re running increase the value of your name? Are you perceived as an annoyance, an interruptor--or are you a valued sponsor, a trusted friend, someone who is making things better?


Interaction. Not merely a click that leads to a sale. I’m talking about any sort of interaction with you or your organization, whether it’s an online chat, a phone call or navigating your site. Too often, online marketers are focused on pennies per click instead of long-term value per engagement.

Both perception and interaction lead to permission. Permission to deliver anticipated, personal and relevant messages over time. Permission to tell a story. Permission to earn attention on an ongoing basis.

Impressions don’t automatically get you permission. In fact, they might cost it.

[I'm amused to sometimes hear people refer to my concept of "Permission Marketing" as "Permissive Marketing." Pretty Freudian.] Read more...
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The California Travel Association (CalTravel), incorporated in 1981, is the official voice of the California travel industry. It is an independent, nonprofit association unifying California's many travel-related businesses to ensure the future health of tourism through our collective strength and corporate activities.

CalTravel's mission is to serve as a catalyst and a voice for the various elements of our industry. It is dedicated to increasing our educational standards, articulating our political concerns, and promoting the economic well-being of California tourism. CalTravel is a partnership of action, in action! The Association serves as a vehicle to provide a united voice in support for our industry. Only through our willingness -- yours -- to become involved, can we effect the necessary changes and ensure the future health of our businesses, the California economy, and the California travel industry.

The organization appreciates your continued support. For more information about upcoming CalTravel activities and events and opportunities for you and your California business to get involved visit our website at

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