Where to Go in 2019: USTOA Reveals Top Destinations, Travel Trends

February 7, 2019
Venice_082518_576e2(c) Karen Rubin

Venice, Italy. USTOA named Italy as the top destination for 2019, but also raised concern about the impact of overtourism in the most popular places, like Venice. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) named Italy the most popular or “hot” destination for travelers in 2019, in a recent survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

The top 10 “hot” destinations for the coming year also included Iceland, which ranked second, followed by Japan, Vietnam, Australia, France, Spain, Colombia, Cambodia and Portugal.

USTOA tour operator members also identified their top 10 off-the-beaten path or emerging destinations that they see gaining popularity in 2019: Iceland ranked first, Cambodia ranked second, followed by Croatia, Colombia, Vietnam, Portugal, Bhutan, Bolivia, Myanmar, and Ethiopia.

“It’s interesting see five destinations – Iceland, Cambodia, Colombia, Vietnam and Portugal – appear on both the hot destinations and emerging destinations lists,” added Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA. “This tells us that off-the-beaten path travel experiences continue to grow in popularity among travelers.”

Demand for immersive, culturally rich travel programs continue to remain high. Roughly 82% of members offer art and culture travel experiences. The art and culture category was also the highest ranked experiential program for travelers in 2017, based on volume of sales. Two thirds of membership offer honeymoon and romance programs, 63% of members offer adventure programs, and more than half (56%) offer multi-generational family programs.

Economic Impact and Growth Ahead

According to the study, the tour operator members of USTOA project to close out 2018 with sales reaching $18.7 billion dollars, representing 9.8 million individual travelers.

Furthermore, member operators are extremely confident about business in the year ahead: 100% of responding tour operator members anticipate growth in sales in 2019.

“Since the first PwC study was commissioned in 2012, it’s the first time we’ve seen such a bullish response with our entire membership projecting growth ahead,” said Dale. “It’s even more encouraging that more than half of members (56%) forecast growth of sales ranging from seven to 10% or more in 2019, indicating a potential boom year.”

While the Active Members of USTOA view the upcoming year with optimism, they also addressed the global risks that could impact the industry over the next three years. Terrorism topped the list with 17% of members responding they are “extremely concerned.”  However, this level of concern is a considerable drop compared to the 2016 PwC study when more than half of member (59%) were “extremely concerned.”

Political instability and overtourism, a new category this year, were the next two global risks that members were “extremely concerned” about, as named by 13% of survey respondents.

In addition, tour operator members projected that roughly 63% of total packages sold in 2018 were through travel agencies, “Reinforcing the critical role of travel advisors in the continued success of members’ businesses,” Dale cited.

When asked whose traveling, tour operator members responded that about half (48%) of their customer base are 51 to 70 years of age. The next largest category was age 36 to 50 years representing 20% of customers. Gender is split evenly with 51% female and 49% male.  Within the escorted/guided and custom tour category, female passengers were represented slightly higher at 59%.

The research was released at USTOA’s 40th Annual Conference & Marketplace, held at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix AZ, November 26-30, 2018.

U.S. Tour Operators Association members, representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

 

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Kennebunkport Resort Collection Unveils Igloo Ice Lounge for Paint the Town Red Festivities

February 6, 2019

KENNEBUNKPORT, ME– Paint the Town Red officially kicks off Saturday, February 2 at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel’s “Frosted! A Freezing Good Time” Ice Bar celebration hosted by Portland, Maine native Chelsea Roy of The Bachelor Season 22 and Bachelor in Paradise.

The Kennebunkport Inn is taking the Paint the Town Red festivities to a new level with its Igloo Ice Lounge. Each igloo can host up to eight guests who can enjoy small plates and specialty cocktails while wrapped in cozy throw blankets on fur lined seats. The Igloo Ice Lounge also offers outdoor fire pit seating, a heart-shaped Cornhole board and board games to keep guests fully entertained. Igloos can be reserved for private events for $275 each.

The Igloo Ice Lounge is open 4 to 8 pm Sunday through Thursday and 4 to 9pm on Friday and Saturday through March 31, 2019.

The Kennebunkport Inn is offering an Igloo Stay & Play Package, starting at $395 which includes a two-night stay at the Kennebunkport Inn, snowshoe rentals for two, an L.L.Bean boat tote filled with winter themed goodies and two complimentary Igloo Ice Lounge drink tickets. The package is available for travel through March 31, 2019 and can be reserved online or over the phone at 1(800) 573-7186.

The celebrations continue each weekend all month long with a full line-up of culinary experiences scheduled at various properties and restaurants in the Kennebunkport Resort Collection (KRC). The roster includes an oyster shucking class with local bivalves and wine pairings, sushi making demonstration with sake tasting, a tap takeover with Biddeford’s Banded Brewing Co. and an Earth at Hidden Pond pop-up dinner.

Cupid’s Love Shuttle can be booked for KRC guests needing transportation to and from the Portland International Jetport for $40 per person (one way). KRC guests can take advantage of the Love KPT hotel packages starting at $479 for a two-night stay, three course dinner, while the Put A Ring On It package puts KRC’s Cupid Concierge in charge of curating of a romantic proposal. The Cupid Concierge is available to curate a romantic rendezvous for couples staying at a KRC property throughout February and can be reached at cupid@lovekpt.com or 207-967-1517.

Throughout February Dock Square in downtown Kennebunkport will be decked out in sparkling red lights and “#LoveYourSelfie” photo stations will be positioned throughout town for love birds to stop and snap a selfie. Paint the Town Red celebrations continue all month welcoming sweethearts with a calendar of special events and stay packages.

KRC Stay Packages

  • The Love KPTpackage starts at $479 and includes a two-night stay at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, the Kennebunkport Inn or the Grand Hotel, arrival goodies of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, a three course dinner for two and late check-out. The package is available for travel through March 31, 2019 and can be reserved online the individual property’s website.
  • For those looking for an over-the-top engagement, KRC’s Put A Ring On It puts the Cupid Concierge on speed dial to help curate perfect romance. Beginning with luxury accommodations, the package includes an original love poem, bottle of Dom Pérignon in Waterford crystal champagne flutes, a personal photographer to capture the “big ask,” four dozen red roses and chocolate covered strawberries. Plus, KRC recently partnered with luxury honeymoon travel specialists, CIRE Travel, who will waive all planning fees for couples (valued at $1,000) booking the Put A Ring On It package. To really ramp up the romance cupid can also provide a custom engagement ring (valued up to $8,000) from a local jeweler. Available through February 28, 2019, the package can be booked by phone at 1-(800) 573-7186.

Red Hot Events

 

Red Plate Dinner Series

  • Saturday, February 16: Sushi Making Demo, Sake Tasting + Dinner at The Boathouse Restaurant – An interactive demonstration on the art of sushi making paired with light bites and sake tasting, a three course meal and sushi rolling kit to take home; 4-6pm; $50 per person.
  • Saturday, February 9Earth Winter Dinner Pop-Up at Ocean – Hosted by Chef Joe Schafer, this not-to-be-missed event provides a first taste of the of the 2019 Earth menu. The evening begins with welcome cocktails and appetizers followed by a three course dinner with plated appetizer, family style entrees, plated dessert and additional surprises. Tickets are $135 per person and include food, cocktails, wine pairings with dinner and gratuity; 6-9pm.
  • Thursday, February 14Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Burleigh and The Boathouse Waterfront Restaurant.
  • Saturday, February 23Tap Takeover & Beer Dinner with Banded Brewing Co. – Biddeford’s Banded Brewing Co. takes over the taps at The Burleigh. Chef Eric will serve light bites followed by a four-course dinner paired with four of the brewery’s most popular beers; 5-9 pm; $75 per person.

To purchase event tickets, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/kennebunkport-resort-collection-8295220906

Paint the Town Red exclusive offers and experiences are available from February 1 through February 28, 2019. Sweethearts can follow the love on social media using #lovekpt. For more information, visit: http://destinationkennebunkport.com/paint-town-red-february-kennebunkport/

 

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NYC Must-See Week Jan. 21-Feb. 10 Features 2-For-1 Admissions to 57 Experiences

January 16, 2019
nyc-museummile_20170613_154e2 (c) karen rubin-guggenheim

Take advantage of NYC Must-See Week, offering 2-for-1 admission to 57 experiences including iconic NYC attractions like the architectural gem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Frank Lloyd Wright building, celebrating its 60th anniversary © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tickets are on sale for NYC Must-See Week. Now in its third year, the program has expanded greatly and offers 2-for-1 admission to 57 unique experiences including iconic NYC attractions, popular and lesser-known sites, historic locations, culturally diverse museums, unexpected tours, sightseeing cruises, varied performances and more. A complete list of participants can be reviewed and tickets—valid from January 21 through February 10—can be purchased by visiting nycgo.com/mustseeweek.

“NYC Must-See Week gives locals and visitors inspiration and motivation to get out and explore the City’s leading attractions, cultural organizations, performing arts and more,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “Fifty-seven 2-for-1 deals across the five boroughs provide world-class offerings at an unbelievable value.”

During NYC Must-See Week, there are options for everyone, including:

  • Immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences: Go underwater without ever getting wet at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Times Square or test your espionage skills at Spyscape: Interactive Spy Museum, also in Midtown Manhattan.
  • Observation decks: Travel to the top of the Empire State Building Experience or book the One World Observatory for stunning cityscape views from Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan.
  • Tranquil retreats: Seek reprieve in the greenest borough, the Bronx, at The New York Botanical Garden or enjoy serenity at antebellum Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden in Lenox Hill, Manhattan.
  • Architectural gems: Discover authentic and groundbreaking Himalayan architecture at Staten Island’s Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art or visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Frank Lloyd Wright building, celebrating its 60th anniversary.
  • Museum Mile mainstays: Visit the aptly themed Museum of the City of New York or Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum*.
  • World-class museums beyond Fifth Avenue: Consider options such as Intrepid Sea, Air & Space MuseumMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), Rubin Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Cultural heritage museums: Uncover lesser-known cultural organizations Museum of Chinese in America and the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue.
  • Family-friendly activities: Enjoy Poppy’s Best Day Ever at DreamWorks Trolls the Experience, zipline at the Bronx Zoo or catch the winter production Odd Day Rain at Tada! Youth Theater.
  • Waterfront wonder: Embark on Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events, two established musts, or board upscale Bateaux New York to elevate the experience with bubbly.
  • Historical enrichment: Step back in time at Revolutionary War–era Fraunces Tavern Museum or take a fact-filled Lower Manhattan Tours walk, followed by a visit to the 9/11 Tribute Museum.
  • Behind-the-scenes diversions: Partake in the magic and significance of Carnegie Hall Tours, Madison Square Garden All Access Tour or tradition of a famed sports franchise with Yankee Stadium Tours.
  • Pop culture: Reserve On Location ToursThe Tour at NBC Studios or a spot with the stars at Madame Tussauds New York.
  • Music and performing arts: Attend the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln CenterNew York City Ballet, Inc. or Dance Entropy.
  • Global connections in NYC: Tour United Nations headquarters or enjoy the melodic Distinguished Concerts International New York.

*Editor’s note at time of publishing: due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, this museum’s participation is pending until further notice.

NYC Must-See Week is produced in partnership with AARP. It will be promoted through out-of-home media across the five boroughs, print and digital advertising, NYC taxicab commercials, content on NYCgo.com and social media posts across regional travel and lifestyle influencer accounts and the organization’s verified handle @nycgo with the hashtag #NYCMustSeeWeek.

Last month, NYC & Company announced the alignment of three signature programs with a new initiative, NYC Winter OutingSM. From January 21 through February 10, NYC Must-See WeekNYC Restaurant Week® (concludes February 8) and NYC Broadway WeekSM will create an irresistible draw for domestic and international travelers as well as NYC residents looking to experience a curated selection of the best of New York City activities, dining and entertainment on a dime. For additional information, interested consumers can visit nycgo.com/winterouting.

 

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2-For-1 Broadway Tickets During NYC Broadway Week, Jan. 21-Feb. 8

January 16, 2019
nyc-broadway theater_111918_228e2(c) karen rubin

NYC Broadway Week, January 21 through February 10, 2019, is when theater goers have the opportunity to purchase 2-for-1 tickets to 24 acclaimed Broadway shows © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

NYC Broadway Week tickets are now on sale. The popular biannual program, now in its ninth year, will run January 21 through February 10, 2019, offering visitors and New Yorkers the opportunity to purchase 2-for-1 tickets to 24 acclaimed Broadway shows. Of the productions, 11 are new program participants, including: Tony Award® –Winning Best Musical The Book of Mormon; critically acclaimed drama The Ferryman; modern, LGBTQ+ comedy The Prom; and star-studded production True West, among other highly sought-after shows. Tickets for NYC Broadway Week can be purchased now at nycgo.com/broadwayweek.

“Broadway is synonymous with New York City and NYC Broadway Week is the perfect way to discover and experience the world’s best theater at an extraordinary value,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.

The 24 shows participating in NYC Broadway Week Winter 2019 are:

  • Aladdin
  • Anastasia
  • The Band’s Visit
  • Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
  • The Book of Mormon**
  • The Cher Show**
  • Chicago The Musical
  • Choir Boy**
  • Come From Away
  • Dear Evan Hansen**
  • The Ferryman**
  • Frozen
  • King Kong**
  • Kinky Boots
  • The Lion King
  • Mean Girls**
  • My Fair Lady
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Pretty Woman**
  • The Prom**
  • True West**
  • Waitress
  • The Waverly Gallery**
  • Wicked

(*Subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply. **New participants in NYC Broadway Week.)

“We are so proud to again partner with NYC & Company for NYC Broadway Week, which is such a celebrated program,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League. “With nearly three weeks of 2-for-1 tickets and a wide variety of productions including family friendly shows, creative revivals and exciting new works, it’s a great time to go to the theatre.”

NYC Broadway Week is produced by NYC & Company in partnership with AARP, Audience Rewards, The Broadway League, Telecharge and Ticketmaster.

Since its launch in January 2011, NYC Broadway Week has cumulatively sold more than 1,225,000 tickets, generating nearly $84 million in revenue for Broadway. The program, now in its ninth year, welcomes travelers and locals to experience globally renowned, only-in-NYC theater at a value, benefiting the 87,000 strong local Broadway community and bolstering the greater NYC tourism industry. According to The Broadway League, 7.6 million visitors purchased tickets to one or more Broadway shows in the 2017–2018 season.

Last month, NYC & Company announced the alignment of three signature programs with a new initiative, NYC Winter Outing. From January 21 through February 10, NYC Broadway Week, NYC Restaurant Week (concludes February 8), and NYC Must-See Week will create an irresistible draw for domestic and international travelers as well as NYC residents looking to experience a curated selection of the best of New York City entertainment, dining and activities on a dime. For additional information, visit nycgo.com/winterouting.

Tickets for NYC Broadway Week can be purchased now at nycgo.com/broadwayweek.

 

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Reservations Now Open for NYC Restaurant Week Jan. 21-Feb. 8

January 16, 2019
Shalom Japan Restaurant, Brooklyn

Dining at Shalom Japan, one of the uniquely Brooklyn restaurants that combines traditional Jewish and Japanese cuisine. Locals and visitors alike can take advantage of NYC Restaurant Week, Jan. 21-Feb. 8 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NYC & Company has launched reservations for NYC Restaurant Week and ticket sales for NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week. This is the first year that the programs have all launched reservations and ticket sales at the same time, and will also go live at the same time on January 21, under a new umbrella program titled, NYC Winter Outing.

NYC Restaurant Week reservations are now open at nycgo.com. Now in its 27th year, the highly anticipated program provides the opportunity to:

  • Dine 17 daysJanuary 21 through February 8, 2019*
  • Enjoy two-course prix-fixe lunches and brunches for $26 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $42**
  • Explore nearly 400 restaurants among 41 distinct neighborhoods, across all five boroughs
  • Discover 33 individual cuisines
  • View a full list of participants, browse menus and collections, and book reservations now at nycgo.com/restaurantweek

(*Saturdays excluded, Sundays optional; **Beverages, gratuities and taxes not included; brunch optional)

This season’s program features 26 new restaurant participants: 10 Corso Como Restaurant & Café, Bistro Pierre Lapin, Bluebird London, Brooklyn Chop House, Cafe Clover, Fine&Rare, Freemans, Harold’s, Henry at Life Hotel, Il Mulino New York – Tribeca, La Goulue Restaurant, La Sirene UWS, L’Adresse, Ladurée, Le Rivage, Merakia, Morandi, Nonna Beppa, Petite Boucherie, Rahi, STK Rooftop, Tarallucci e Vino East Village, The Eddy, The Loyal, Wallflower, Woo SoHo.

Visitors can browse restaurants based on NYC & Company–created collections, available at nycgo.com, including NYC Classics, Fireside Feasts, Raise the Steaks, Best-Kept Secrets, Squad Goals, Dinner Is the Show, Expense It, Sunday Brunch.

NYC Restaurant Week brand partnerships include booking partner OpenTable and Wine Spectator. For the benefit of wine lovers, NYC & Company has partnered with Wine Spectator to identify participating restaurants that have been honored by Wine Spectator’s prestigious Restaurant Awards program. Wine Spectator wineglass icons on nycgo.com will indicate the level of award the restaurant earned in 2018.

Diners can follow @nycgo and @nycrestaurantweek on Instagram and @nycgo on Facebook and Twitter for NYC Restaurant Week content.

Furthermore, locals and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of NYC & Company’s newest program, NYC Winter OutingSM, January 21 through February 10, when three of NYC & Company’s signature programs will align for the first time: NYC Restaurant Week (concludes February 8), NYC Broadway WeekSM and NYC Must-See WeekSM. Unique NYC Winter Outing mini-itineraries and sales for all three programs are now live at nycgo.com. Hotel savings are also available as the winter season offers the most attractive rates of the year. For details on NYC Winter Outing and to book experiences, visit nycgo.com/nycwinterouting.

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Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association to Honor Best in Advertising, Digital Marketing, Public Relations

January 14, 2019

HSMAI will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the Adrian Awards Gala © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is honoring the Gold Winners of the 2018 Adrian Awards for outstanding advertising, digital marketing, and public relations in hospitality and travel. Platinum and Best of Show winners will be unveiled at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on January 22 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

After receiving close to 1,200 entries, HSMAI is presenting Gold Awards to one of the largest groups of winners in the Awards’ history, including 104 awards in Public Relations, 25 in Integrated Marketing, 89 in Digital Marketing, and 48 in Advertising. The 200 judges for this year’s awards are prominent members of the travel industry and subject-matter experts in advertising, digital marketing, media, and public relations.

View the complete list of Gold Award winners on the Adrian Awards website.

“The Adrian Awards are a rare opportunity to recognize the exceptional work being done in travel marketing,” said Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI. “But just as importantly, we are also putting a well-deserved spotlight on the exceptional people behind that outstanding work.”

At the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception, co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google, and TravelClick, Gold winners’ submissions will be showcased on digital displays and honored during the dinner reception. Winners of the Gold Adrian Awards are considered for Platinum Adrian Awards and the “Best of Show” Awards, the Adrian Awards’ highest honor, which will be announced at the Adrian Awards Gala. All winning work will be showcased in the Winners Gallery on www.adrianawards.com following the Gala.

Two new awards will also take center stage at the Adrians this year. The first Facebook Mobile Video Award will be handed out as well as HSMAI honors for Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility.

The evening’s celebration will also pay tribute to the HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization, who will be honored in a private reception and onstage at the Adrian Awards Gala.

The Adrian Awards, the CLIOs of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry, will also celebrate lifetime achievements in hospitality sales, marketing, and public relations. Harris Rosen, President and CEO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, will be honored with the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing. Steve Bartolin, Chairman of The Broadmoor, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations. Stephen Powell, most recently SVP Worldwide Sales for IHG prior to retirement, is the recipient of the inaugural HSMAI Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Sales.

HSMAI also will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the 2018 HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala and at a private reception on January 22, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Every year, 25 of the hotel and travel industry’s best and brightest are selected by a panel of senior industry executives for the HSMAI Top 25 for demonstrating innovative thinking and exceptional results in the preceding 18 months.

“HSMAI is proud to draw well-deserved attention to the remarkable contributions of these 25 sales, marketing, and revenue optimization leaders,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The drive and creative thinking of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds fuel advancement and inspire innovation across our industry, in addition to contributing to the success of awardees’ own hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations.”

The HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds are as follows:

  • Jennifer Andre, Senior Director, North America and Latin America, Expedia Group Media Solutions
  • Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry – Travel, Google
  • Ronald Castro, Chief Strategist, Roca Marketing
  • Christopher Crenshaw, CRME, Vice President, Digital Data Solutions, STR
  • Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC & Company
  • David Downing, President & CEO, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
  • Erica Doyne, Vice President, Marketing, AMResorts
  • Gino Engels, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer, OTA Insight
  • George Galinsky, Senior Vice President Marketing Communications, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment
  • Darren Green, Senior Vice President, Sales, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
  • Chad Hallert, CRME, CHDM, Vice President of Performance Marketing, Noble Studios
  • Allison Handy, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Prism Hotels & Resorts
  • Adam Hayashi, CRME, Vice President of Revenue Management, AccorHotels
  • Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, White Lodging
  • Jay Hubbs, CHDM, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Remington Hotels
  • Jodi Kern, Senior Director, Digital Merchandising, Marriott International
  • Gil Langley, President & CEO, Amelia Island CVB
  • Dave Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Sarah Murov, Vice President, Public Relations & Communications, Loews Hotels & Co
  • Leticia Proctor, Senior Vice President, Sales, Revenue Management and Digital Strategies, PM Hotel Group
  • Julie Scott, President, Colwen Hotels
  • Jim Struna, CRME, Regional Director of Revenue, Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Matt Teixeira, CHBA, Director of Sales, Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Theresa van Greunen, Senior Director Corporate Communications, Aqua-Aston Hospitality
  • Cherilyn Williams, Director, Global Portfolio Marketing, Marriott International

In addition to recognizing outstanding travel advertising, digital marketing, and public relations campaigns, HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala offers hospitality professionals an opportunity to connect for an evening of celebration with nearly 1,000 peers from their industry. Tickets can be purchased at www.adrianawards.com.

HSMAI will also host the 2019 Digital Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis, January 23. For more information, visit www.hsmai.org/digitalconference.

See: HSMAI’s 61st Annual Adrian Awards Honor Luminaries in Travel Marketing

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy ConferenceAdrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization of more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at https://www.hsmai.orgwww.facebook.com/hsmaiwww.twitter.com/hsmai, and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.

 

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Virtuoso Elite Travel Network Partners with Luxury Retreats Villa Rental Company

December 26, 2018

Virtuoso’s affluent clientele will now have access to Luxury Retreats’ more than 4,000 private villas in hundreds of the world’s top destinations.

NEW YORK – Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® has entered into a strategic partnership with Luxury Retreats, a full-service villa rental company dedicated to creating authentic travel experiences. With an increased preference by upscale travelers for greater personalization and flexibility – as well as the more immersive experience that comes with villa stays – Virtuoso’s affluent clientele will now have access to Luxury Retreats’ more than 4,000 private villas in hundreds of the world’s top destinations. Luxury Retreats will also offer Virtuoso clients additional advantages, such as a generous travel credit, superior technology and the support of a global 400+ person team for an unmatched experience.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen demand for private villas reach new heights with a 40 percent year-over-year increase in bookings, leading us to seek out more products and services to feed this skyrocketing trend,” says Albert Herrera, senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships at Virtuoso. “People want to experience destinations as if they’re living like residents, and many times they want seclusion and privacy as well. Whether it’s a Parisian pied-à-terre, beachfront getaway in Malibu or private island in the Caribbean, Luxury Retreats’ portfolio keeps Virtuoso’s industry-leading Hotels & Resorts program at the forefront of traveler demand.”

Luxury Retreats extensively vets every villa in its portfolio, ensuring the highest level of quality accompanied by a best-rate guarantee. With homes in coveted destinations, including Hawaii, Tuscany and Mexico, along with urban retreats, they provide personal concierge services 24/7 to assist with details big and small. In recognition of Virtuoso’s leading position in the industry, Luxury Retreats will offer the network’s clients a generous concierge credit per rental.

“As the world’s leading luxury rental site, Luxury Retreats has the proven ability to match discerning travelers with authentic experiences, personalized service and incredible properties to create unforgettable vacations,” said Amr Younes, head of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Luxury Retreats. “In partnering with Virtuoso, we are able to further deliver on our mission of bringing luxury travel to an even larger, highly-discerning clientele.”

Virtuoso clients can now enjoy the best of both worlds when booking a Luxury Retreats property: access to some of the world’s most exclusive private homes coupled with the expert guidance and peace of mind that come when collaborating with and booking through a Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisor. Furthermore, given the boom in multigenerational travel – the top trend of the year according to Virtuoso’s 2019 Luxe Report – demand for Luxury Retreats’ extensive worldwide roster of fashionable homes will continue to increase given their ability to cater to the preferences of each family member.

Virtuoso® is a leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than  $23.7 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.

Luxury Retreats is one the world’s leading villa vacation rental companies, offering over 4,000 homes and villas in the most sought after destinations across the globe. A global team of passionate travel experts and partners hand-pick and inspect each property, ensuring that guests are offered only the very best on the market. Luxury Retreats provides 24/7 concierge service to customize each getaway, as well as dedicated villa specialists to help guests find the perfect villa – all without charging membership fees. In 2017, Airbnb acquired Luxury Retreats to help further its mission to provide a variety of homes and experiences for every type of traveler. For more information, visit www.LuxuryRetreats.comwww.LuxuryRetreats.com.

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Belmond, Owner of Luxury Hotels, Orient Express, River Cruise Properties, to be Acquired by LVMH

December 21, 2018
Venice_082418_331e2(c) Karen Rubin-San Marco

Venice, Italy, where 40 years ago, Belmond was established with the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani, Belmond is being acquired by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, one of the leading luxury groups in the world, and Belmond Ltd., owners, part-owners or managers of 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties, jointly announced they have entered into an agreement for LVMH to acquire Belmond.

Established over 40 years ago with the acquisition of Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Belmond owns and operates a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. The company operates in 24 countries with its unique and distinctive portfolio of 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences.

Belmond’s iconic properties include hotels like Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico, Hotel das Cataratas in the Iguassu National Park in Brazil, and Cap Juluca in Anguilla.  Legendary trains, such as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman and exceptional cruises such as Belmond Afloat in France fleet and Belmond Road to Mandalay, complete a portfolio that offers extraordinary experiences with curated activities and an understated personal service to a globally-diverse, highly refined customer.

Through this acquisition, LVMH will significantly increase its presence in the ultimate luxury hotel world. Synonymous with history, heritage and timeless experiences, Belmond has a seasoned management team and is an ideal complement to the Cheval Blanc masions, renowned for their exceptional service, architecture and unique gastronomy.

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Offer of LVMH, added: “Belmond delivers unique experiences to discerning travelers and owns a number of exceptional assets in the most desirable destinations. Its heritage, its innovative services, its excellence in execution and its entrepreneurship resonates well with the values of the Group and is complementary to our own Cheval Blanc maisons and the Bvlgari hotels activities. This acquisition will significantly increase LVMH’s presence in the ultimate hospitality world.”

For more information, visit Belmond.com.

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2018’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations – WalletHub Study

December 21, 2018
Holiday Lights in New York

Enchanted by Macy’s holiday windows with a whimsical snowy spaceman theme © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner. With Christmas being the most popular holiday in the U.S. and one of the most expensive – Americans are projected to spend up to $720 billion over the holiday season this year – the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations as well as accompanying videos.

To help Americans celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 31 key metrics. The data set ranges from Christmas events per capita to average price per Christmas party ticket to shopping centers and outlets per capita.

Best Cities for Christmas Celebrations
1 Orlando, FL 11 St. Louis, MO
2 Las Vegas, NV 12 Washington, DC
3 New York, NY 13 Cincinnati, OH
4 Atlanta, GA 14 Birmingham, AL
5 Pittsburgh, PA 15 Denver, CO
6 San Francisco, CA 16 Houston, TX
7 Los Angeles, CA 17 Portland, OR
8 Chicago, IL 18 Tampa, FL
9 Seattle, WA 19 Miami, FL
10 Dallas, TX 20 Austin, TX

Key Stats

  • Fresno, California, has the lowest average price for a Christmas party ticket, $9.00, which is 5.4 times lower than in Plano, Texas, the city with the highest at $48.21.
  • New York has the most Christmas events (per square root of the population), 0.0472, which is 29.5 times more than in Wichita, Kansas, the city with the fewest at 0.0016.
  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.0225, which is 20.4 times more than in Fort Worth, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0011.
  • Orlando, Florida, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.2119, which is 51.7 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0041.
  • New York has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.1312, which is 62.5 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.0021.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-for-christmas/41924/

More from WalletHub

Best Winter Holiday Destinations

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Young Musicians Invited to Apply for 7th Annual “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center, Long Island

December 21, 2018

All Types of Kinds was the 2018 winner of the “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at the gold Coast Arts Center, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Long Island, NY (December, 2018) – Applications are now being taken for the 7th Annual “Your Big Break” (YBB) Talent Competition, organized by the Gold Coast Arts Center, Love Revolution Org., and the Rick Eberle Agency. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, January 6, 2019.

There is an OPEN CALL for submissions for musicians ages 15 to 25 living on Long Island and in all five boroughs, who do not currently have a recording or publishing contract to submit for the showcase events; interested artists must perform with a band or solo with an acoustic guitar or sing to a backing music track. Though artists are judged in areas from stage presence to overall musicianship, YBB is largely a singing competition. There is NO FEE to enter.

To be considered, email to gnacbigbreak@gmail.com: one MP3 song, one photo, a short bio. Or enter online at Reverbnation, https://bit.ly/2G8quOb.

Judges are major players in the music industry, with past years having included ReverbNation.com’s Lou Plaia, All Music Inc.’s Guy Brogna, songwriter Tara Eberle Drouin, producer David Caggiano, producer Richy Petrello,  and label executives Stephen Marcuccio, Jerry Lembo, Linda Ingrisano, and Mark Ambrosino. 2019 judges are soon TBA.

Finalists will be assigned mentors who will work to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals. 2019 mentors are still TBD – while this past year’s have included American Idol’s Robbie Rosen, Dream Recording Studio’s Jason Melker, Sojourn Record’s Mark Ambrosino, producer/songwriter and former VP of A&R at Atlantic Records Jimmy Bralower, singer/songwriter John Hampson of Nine Days, singer/songwriter Ryan Star, and songwriter/producer Donnie Klang of MTV’s “Making the Band”, songwriter/producer Ido Zmishlany, and others.

Prizes Include:

The chance to open for national acts at Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville, New York (Tom Angenbroich, Loaded Concerts)

Recording Time at The Loft Sound Studio (Donnie Klang, Matthew LaPorte, The Loft)

PR and social media campaign including management, booking, and label services consultation with the Rick Eberle Agency (Host)

Musical equipment from All Music Inc (Guy Brogna, Judge) and ZOOM North America (Stephen Marcuccio, Judge)

Feature on ReverbNation.com (Lou Plaia, Judge)

Feature article in Good Times Magazine (Rich Branciforte, Judge)

Each evening is capped with a special headlining performance. Past artists who have performed in the headline slots have included: Buddhist Priest, Iridesense, John Hampson of Nine Days, The Brady Brothers, and Sir Cadian Rhythm – all of whom are local musicians who have had major success in the industry, with hopes to further inspire the next generation of New York stars presented each year.

The 2018 YBB champions, All Types of Kinds, play a wide variety of music ranging from rock to pop, folk, punk, funk, hip-hop, blues and country – even sometimes all at once. The members come from diverse backgrounds that make for an amalgamation of musical textures and vibes. Their EP, “Love Songs (Or Songs For Your Ex)” debuted earlier this year, and they are currently performing dates all over the country.

Past winners Paris Ray, Youth Be Told, Katie Zimmer, Annika and Matt Grabowski and finalists SEE and Zofolk have gone on to work with major producers, managers, and agents.

The semi-finalists are selected from some 1,000 submissions.

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance, and outreach. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the region for over 20 years. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops, and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. More information can be found at www.goldcoastarts.org.

For information on upcoming classes/exhibits/activities at the Gold Coast Arts Center, visit www.GoldCoastArts.org or call 516-829-2570.

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