What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Jan. 19, 2017
Destination Tourism
Despite Shootings and Zika, Florida Tourism Remains Strong
It hasn't been an easy eight months for Florida.  In July, the Zika virus surfaced in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood and eventually spread to other parts of the city, causing panic among residents and tourists.  And on Jan. 6, a gunman opened fired at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, leaving at least five people dead.  But at least so far, any damage to Florida's travel market because of the events seems to be minimal, and several indicators show that tourism to the state is thriving.  Florida generated $85.3 billion in spending by tourists in 2014, which made it second only to California in tourism revenue, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group. 

Source:  The New York Times.    
FlingGolf: Can new fad boost local golf business? 
It's golf! It's lacrosse! It's ChuckIt! - all rolled into the sport of FlingGolf.   The new sport could portend a revival for golf courses in the United States, similar to the way snowboarding did for the ski industry.   "Snowboarding didn't kill skiing," said Joe Beditz, president and CEO of the National Golf Foundation. "It saved skiing. It saved the operators. We have to find our version of that."   The city of Brookings might consider capitalizing on the new sport, too, as an additional revenue-generator for Salmon Run golf course.   The sport has been waning in the past decade, said James Keegan, a Denver-based consultant who helped Brookings with its challenges at Salmon Run in 2013.

Source: Curry Coastal Pilot.    
Wellness tourism on the rise as travelers ditch beaches
When I was told I had to do a story on the experience economy, in particular yoga, I thought this is going to be interesting....Whilst I've heard about the health benefits a daily dose of downward facing dogs can generate, I'd never given it a go.  It appears as though I'm in the minority, with wellness tourism, particularly in Australia, on the rise.  According to the U.S.-based Global Wellness Institute, global wellness tourism grew at about twice the pace of regular travel experiences between 2013-2015.  With that in mind I set out to find out why so many people are ditching the regular beach holiday and instead opting for a week or weekend of yoga and mindfulness.

Source:  CNBC.    
House spending bill would limit visas for workers 
House Republicans are set to approve a must-pass spending bill Thursday that would dramatically reduce the number of visas available next year for seasonal workers like the ones who have been hired at President-elect Donald Trump's golf courses in Florida.   The measure does not renew a one-year, one-time expansion of the H2B seasonal worker visa program that effectively increased the number of visas available in 2016. It was championed by lawmakers who represent cyclical tourist hubs in places such as the Colorado mountains, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and at Trump's golf courses at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., and in Jupiter, Fla.

Source: The Washington Post.    
Tourism leaders look to locals to market area as vacation destination           
Palm Beach County's tourism leaders are calling on local residents for help marketing the county as an international vacation destination on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.   The push is part of a new advertising campaign, dubbed "Friends Trust Friends," unveiled Monday by Discover The Palm Beaches , the county's official tourism marketing arm.   Under the plan, the agency hopes to use social media posts by both locals and out-of-town visitors to convince travelers to book a trip here.

Source:  Palm Beach Post.    
Vacation Rentals
Airbnb grows Florida's tourism industry 
Home-sharing is a growing trend as an alternative to hotels and condos when traveling on vacation and is bringing in big money to Florida.   Melana Weems never thought she'd be a "bed and breakfast" host.   "It's wonderful. I have people from all over the world that are coming to stay," says Weems.   Weems takes part in Airbnb, a home-sharing service which allows people to experience a different side of a city they're visiting.  "You can have a bonus room that just has a pullout couch someone can stay in, you can have a private room that has it's own bath or you can rent them your entire property," Weems explains.

Source:  WJHG.com. 
The Most (and Least) Expensive Cities for Vacation Rentals
In search of the perfect destination to celebrate the holidays? Where you stay will take up a serious portion of your vacation budget, so before booking a flight, you should figure out what you can expect to spend once you're there.    Short-term rental websites have made it easier than ever to find a place to stay. They're helping to lower the cost of travel in major cities, and locations that were previously forgotten by the hotel industry now have a growing number of rentals from which to choose.   So which cities have the most and least expensive rentals?  We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer Datafiniti, a company that tracks web data, including short-term rental listings on the major platforms.

Source:  Priceonomics. 
Airbnb no threat to Hyatt, other big hotels, chief marketing officer says
The global chief marketing officer at Hyatt Hotels Corp. said she doesn't see Airbnb as a big threat to large hotel companies.   "If you look at the numbers, most people who stay at Airbnb stay for leisure, not for business, and the bulk of our business is built on the business traveler or groups," Maryam Banikaram told the Chicago Tribune.   She said business travelers whose companies are paying for their lodging are looking for the consistent experience a brand hotel can offer, and for amenities most Airbnb locations don't have, such as a business center or a gym.

Source: Chicago Business Journal.    Read More...  
Business News
Inntopia Acquires DestiMetrics
Inntopia, the travel industry's leading eCommerce and central reservation provider announced today the acquisition of Destimetrics, a leading comprehensive market intelligence provider for the destination leisure travel industry.   The acquisition of Destimetrics follows Inntopia's merger with Ryan Solutions in November, and adds one more key component to Inntopia's offerings: a full suite of market intelligence reports and analytics for the travel and hospitality industries.   As a result of the acquisition, Inntopia now provides the most industry-complete integrated commerce, marketing, and business intelligence technologies in the industry.

Source:  Press Release.     Read More... 
Airline Industry
After years of record profits, airlines face turbulence in 2017
The U.S. airline industry has enjoyed three straight years of surging profits and has poured much of that windfall into buying shiny new planes, building swankier airport lounges for VIP customers and paying big dividends to investors.
At  Los Angeles International Airport, some of that cash has been used on a renovated Alaska Airlines lounge with an automated pancake machine, an  American Airlines lounge with a video-game-loaded kids room and a Delta lounge with a Starbucks espresso machine. A lthough U.S. airlines are expected to remain profitable in the near future, industry watchers say 2017 could mark the end of the industry's financial nirvana.

Source: Chicago Tribune.   Read More...  
Is Travel Experiencing A "Trump Bump?"
Leisure and business travel grew "significantly" following the surprise presidential election of Donald J. Trump in November, said the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), possibly portending a strong 2017 for the travel industry.   According to the USTA, the first monthly Travel Trends Index (TTI) to encompass post-election data "signals a strong showing by the travel sector." Domestic leisure travel registered a 53.0 on the USTA's TTI scale for November 2016, where anything above 50 indicates growth. Leisure travel registered below 52 in September and October.

Source:  Travel Market Report.    
Experts Predict Last-Chance Tourism As Top Travel Trend For 2017
Whether it's fatigue from 2016 or the changing political climate, the new year promises to be a banner year for travel with nearly one-third of American adults saying they are more likely to take time off this year compared to 2016, according to a recent AAA survey.  Overall, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 - with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. And while flight prices are predicted to be 8 percent higher than last year, they are still down 9 percent compared to two years ago, according to Hopper.

Source: Forbes.    Read More...  
Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Hovers Near Highest in 12 Years
Consumer confidence was little changed in January from its highest level since the start of 2004, showing Americans are still optimistic that fresh economic policies will spur growth.
The University of Michigan said Friday that its preliminary index of sentiment was 98.1, after 98.2 in December. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for 98.5, with estimates ranging from 96 to 100.   The latest reading indicates sentiment remains strong after President-elect Donald Trump's November victory, with Americans and businesses betting that tax cuts and looser regulation will help bring more opportunities for jobs and higher wages. 

Source:  Bloomberg.     Read More... 

DestiMetrics joins Inntopia/Ryan and Northstar Travel Group
We are pleased to announce the sale of DestiMetrics to our long-time associates at Inntopia , a subsidiary of Northstar Travel Media Group . Both individually and collectively, we've been committed to providing the best possible market intelligence and enabling travel technology to the leisure travel industry. And along with Ryan Solutions , who recently joined the Inntopia-Northstar family, we're combining forces to set a foundation for the future - a future in which resort intelligence, data-driven decision making, and enabling technology are all becoming increasingly strategic. 

The Story: Over our 12-year history, we've pretty much created our own business model, mining actionable destination travel research and providing "what you ought to know" to a growing client base of subscribers. Today we support hundreds of lodging properties and dozens of destination communities in both mountain resorts and, more recently, sun/beach destinations as well. We've grown slowly and carefully, taking our work very seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously in the process.

But as the marketplace grows and morphs, so must we all, and this new ownership structure is very much about preparing for the next generation of "what you ought to know" to be successful going forward.

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 Volume 83