Dinner at the Caly Canto Casitas in near La Paz, Mexico
The economy is on the mend, the baby boomers are entering retirement and the millennial generation is now in their 30’s with more earning power. These factors and other societal trends spell greater demand for experiential travel. Experiential travel can be loosely defined as unscripted interacting with local inhabitants in genuine, non-touristy environments. This is contrast to past travel pages that focused on tourists viewing shows put on by performers. Read more
Mazatlan From the Water!
When I was a kid, I remember watching game shows like Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right on TV where the grand prize was a trip to “Fabulous Mazatlan!” Yes, Mazatlan has always been a popular tourist destination for North Americans. Yet, in recent years, this Mexico beach destination fell on hard times. It was overshadowed by the exponential growth of Puerto Vallarta along with the Mexican government’s investments in Cancun, Cabo and Ixtapa. Without investment there was little excitement and energy. Mazatlan failed to attract new hotels and let its tourism infrastructure decay. When negative news of drug violence and cartel activity became public, it accelerated the tourism decline to a low point when the major cruise lines took Mazatlan off their itineraries. This was an ultimate low. Read more
It was announced today that the Department of Transportation levied a fine of $100k against Liberty Travel and $40k against STA Travel and AAA Mid-Atlantic Travel because their booking agents failed to disclose that the flights they were booking were code-shares. Code-Share flights are when partner airlines agree to provide transportation on each of their connecting flights and charge one fare. In theory this increases competition as an airline can offer service to cities where they may not have flights operations. Hopefully, for the traveling public fares are kept lower and they have access to more flight options as the airlines combine their efforts. Read more
I think there may be hope after all my fellow Americans. Earlier this week the Department of Justice filed suit to block the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Predictably, the forces that stand to capitalize on the combined company have their marketing departments going full throttle to say how great it will be if the merger is approved. I’m not so sure. Read more
Lake Osprey RV Country Club
We recently re-launched our RV Camping Resorts module and were amazed at the quality of some of the facilities. There is a new breed of resort emerging that caters to class-A luxury motor coaches in addition to some really fine traditional RV Camping Resorts. Read more
On a recent trip to Las Vegas I noticed that things are changing. While gambling is a draw for many, the entertainment options are exploding. NBC Travel published an article this week entitled Crowds return to Las Vegas, but gamble less the author noted that “The total revenue from gambling and entertainment other than gambling was $15.3 billion in 2012, $500 million less than was spent in 2007.” However, it must also be noted that the days of cheap food and drinks are also gone. Also the big shows with top name entertainers are back and tickets are not cheap. So part of the revenue lost from less gambling will be made up in more other spending. Here are some examples of current shows at Las Vegas Casinos: Read more
I traveled to Orlando last week on business. This was an interesting time to be in Orlando as the verdict was being handed down for the trial of George Zimmerman. The trial only 20 minutes away from where I was staying. The Orlando area was as expected totally immersed in the societal implications of the innocent verdict. I guess this led me to reflect on things during my trip that normally I would just ignore.
It was kind of a surreal moment when the verdict was announced. Everyone had an opinion. My take is that knuckleheads do stupid things. That’s why they’re knuckleheads…because they do stupid things. Some pay with their life and others pay for the rest of their lives. Read more
The fate of Travel Agents is in their hands
If travel agent industry leaders continue to be satisfied with isolated part-timers then all hope is lost. Put a fork in travel agents.
However, if industry leaders encourage full-time dedicated professional travel agents to form strategic business alliances and partnerships with travel writers to act as online demand generators there is reason to be hopeful. In other words, either they decide as an industry to get the message out online about the value they provide or they will parish. Read more
The Disney Cruise Line scored tops in in a recent JD Power cruise passenger satisfaction survey.
This probably surprised a few people until you begin to think a bit about how the major lines have morphed into one big homogenized product. Read more
Hawaii Hotel Updates
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii Resort
Every month the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau announce statistics about new tourist arrivals that smash previous records. Hawaii is indeed the hottest vacation destination this year. Much of this increased demand from both the east and west comes can be attributed to the energy generated by the hotel properties. They have used the recent recession as an opportunity to update and renovate providing entirely new vacation experiences. Here’s a sample of improvements the Hawaii Hotels are offering. Read more